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On the Blog Again… February 2, 2008

Posted by Joselyn Todd in Educational Technology, Professional Development.
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It has been some time since I have last blogged as I presented at the Florida Ed Tech Conference in Orlando with a fellow MidLink Editor, Karen Kliegman. Our session was initially Brenda Dyck’s brainstorm but when she could not attend the meeting, Karen came to the rescue as did I. Our session was an outstanding success by all accounts as we tried to focus on the reality of the implementation of Web 2.0 tools to support dynamic curriculum content. We presented from a Wiki that you may want to check out as it includes many references to tools as well as the projects we discussed: http://fetcrazzle.pbwiki.com/. You should listen to the interesting part of the presentation where there is a virtual presentation of Brenda Dyck’s Place Based Storytelling Project. It is a wonderfully deigned project that integrates mapping with storytelling.I attended numerous sessions at FETC that were of interest to me as a science teacher: use of Google Earth and Google maps as science curriculum tools, gaming as a means to bring science topics to life, virtual world use for professional development, and social networking platforms as a means to develop learning communities.

I walked away from the conference with many thoughts due to conversations I had with old friends and new friends at the meeting.

1. There is no doubt that there is a plethora of tools that can bring learning alive for both adult learners, teachers, and students, but the missing link remains how one seamlessly supports valuable content with these tools.

2. Approximately 10,000 educators were at the mtg. I have to believe that nearly every one of them wants to invigorate their teaching practice with new technologies offered via the internet. How do we meet the needs of these risk taking educators who want to learn. They need time. They need someone to meet them where they are regarding their proficiency with technology. They need someone to show them how, no matter what their meager resources, that they can infuse their teaching practice with Web 2.0.

3. I am starting to believe that we may be approaching a critical mass of ed tech gurus and ed tech practitioners that can take it to a new level. Perhaps it will take a grassroots effort to inform communities, school administrations, school boards, state legislatures, etc. of the urgency of make radical changes to our current education system. It will likely take public and private entities to make these changes. The shareholders need to be as educated as the teachers in terms of digital literacy and fluency among our k-12 students – the future workforce.

Finally, as we have watched and listened to the political analysts as Super Tuesday approaches (and then will surely pass), it comes of no surprise to me that the leading candidates have at least recognized the power of the Internet to reach their constituencies. In large part this has been driven by the need to raise money for their venture. What is sad to me is that we have heard plenty about health care, the war in Iraq, national security, and the domestic economy- but we have heard little about education even though the candidates are using technology to further their hopes and dreams. We can only hope that soon we will be talking about national education reform along side of the need for changes in our health care system and other.

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