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Summer plans

Posted by phourigan on June 11, 2010

I’m technically considered faculty and not staff, so my school year comes to an end next week.  I think that’s something that will change for me as I go forward, but for now I’m content to take my eight weeks “off” and work on a couple initiatives in between visits to the beach:

  • GameMaker and Scratch – I’m holding a one week camp for a variety of ages that will introduce campers to both of these platforms.  To do so, I will have to learn both applications/languages . . . I’m actually looking forward to it.
  • CEC – The class I’m creating for next year’s 8th grade.  I’m so excited to get this off the ground.  The more I think about what’s possible with this particular format, the more I think it will truly engage students and challenge them to actually THINK.  If I do it right, it will be a huge culture shift for out school.  Not only will the 8th grade teachers see what kind of work I think they could be doing, but the students will move into their 9th grade year (and first one to one laptop year) with the knowledge of what’s possible.
  • Professional development –  I had a great conversation with an upper school Biology teacher yesterday.  She asked me point-blank, “I want to use technology more in my classes.  How do I do that?”  My honest answer was, “I don’t know.”  In years past I would have made something up; after all, I’m the Educational Technologist.  As I’ve learned more about what teachers should be doing with technology and learning, it’s become apparent to me that all I can do is show people tools – I can’t force them to make those tools relevant to their subject matter.

So what I suggested to her is that she take advantage of Twitter to reach out to other Biology teachers and see what tools they use and how they use them.  I would be happy to get her started, and once she found some good information I would be happy to help her implement those tools in her classroom.

I was pleased when she gave me an honest answer: “I don’t want to be sitting at home spending more time on the computer than I have to.”  In that case, Twitter is a bad idea.  We finished our conversation talking about the different ways she could connect with people face to face at regional and national conferences.  I’m glad she wants to work hard for her students, and I would offer any day to cover her classes!

  • EdAccess – My favorite conference of all-time.  I went a couple of years ago and got more out of the experience than any other PD opportunity I’ve had.  It’s an unconference, which is great because of the variety of offerings, and everyone is so enthusiastic and helpful.  Both of my young children were born over Memorial Day weekend (three years and one day apart), so I haven’t been able to go in the past as often as I’ve wanted, but now that my younger daughter is a year old I think I can manage it.  If you’ve never been to an unconference, I suggest you give it a try.  EdCamp Philly was also a great experience.

Many thanks to those who visit and read what I have to say.  I have to admit, it’s a great feeling to know that people – even just a few people – are reading what I have to say.  I appreciate your willingness to give me some of your time.

Have a great summer!  I’ll try to update from the beach in between sand castles.

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