Monday, December 24, 2007

My RSS Feeds on Education are Achieving Consensus!

Interesting, or at least it is to me...

I use Netvibes to aggregate my RSS feeds. It's a cool tool that I would love to share with you, so here it goes on my list of "to be created" instructional videos. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I have been struck this week with how posts from so many of the education-related bloggers I follow (or "arse"=RSS, according to one particular German-British friend of mine) via my Netvibes interface are reflecting rather dramatically on how they are personally striving to re-examine the relevance of their own teaching practices, toward incorporating social networking, Web 2.0, and as-yet-unimagined new technology tools rekindle the relevance of education.

Vicki Davis, "coolcatteacher" blogger, starts with a poem, and cross-posts at the TechLearning bloggers' outlet. She argues that blogging is not the "death of writing," as many old garde have argued, but its evolution, and continues, warning about changes to come, that "...as we move forward to a society that can send and receive education any place any time from anyone, the best teachers will become SuperTeachers and the worst schools, districts, and teachers may find themselves completely without a job."

Sandy Wagner, "Ed Tech Administrator" blogger and head of a 5000 student school district in western NY, describes a student panel whose work resulted in his realization that "our students had anywhere from 60 to 600 contacts on their 'friends' lists. They are spending upwards of two hours a day communicating using these tools. More importantly, students said they would like to be able to contact teachers using these tools."

Jeff Whipple, prolific commentator at his "Whip Blog, musings about technology and education," points out challenges by writing, "Certainly the ability to build a global learning / work network will be a valuable tool in the next few years. My concern lies in the methods students used to generate traffic. Global citizenship will require not just connectedness, but value to that connectedness. Students soon found that more traffic can be generated by questionable content that content of redeeming social value. What do they learn from this? Where do we start the discussions of digital citizenship when the biggest library is but a click away from the world’s largest arcade, the world’s largest “TV/movie/music” store and the world’s largest porn shop?" I discovered Whipple's post, which you can read here (and should, since it talks about one educator's use of social networking to measure their grade by traffic on their websites) via David Warlick's commentary on it at David's 2Cents Worth blog.

It's all interconnected, ya'll. It's all common sense. It's not just some "kool-aid" radical trend. It's the way things are going. As Vicki opines, we are the teachers, we are in the best positions to help our students cope with what Ian Jukes calls "information overload." Let's all go out of the locker room, onto the playing field, and make a difference--one infused with kindness and love of learning...

Happy Holidays to you all, and to all a good day...

2 comments:

Vicki A. Davis said...

Yes, it is very important that we move ahead into teaching and educating and away from keeping our head in the sand. The difficult thing is that if it were completely up to many bloggers, we would be teaching these things, however, it is not. There are still many educators who feel that such things are the death of our society and the morals that have held us together when in fact, if we ignore them, we will do such harm.

Thank you for discussing such an important topic.

Scott said...

Thank you, Vicki for taking the time to comment, adding clarity to your already lucid commentary at coolcatteacher. When my school's director was digesting details of a proposal my tech team had made as part of a submission process for a very large grant, he noted that to make a proposal for a global 3Di web interface that a team of educators could monitor and make secure (with the help of educator-guided programmers) was in a very real way an indictment of our entire educational system(s). The proposal was not accepted, but true to our prediction, it's starting to develop elsewhere. This last sentence bears both sad and optimistic implications. Glad your here in the blogosphere, and in the edusphere, and I send you great good wishes for the New Year.