I’m in San Franciso now – great flight out. I spent the day walking around the city and enjoying the day. I love this city! I am looking forward to attending some great sessions in the morning! I’ll close with a night time picture. Both of these pictures were taken through the windows in my room or the hotel. Great view!
In the morning I have an early flight to San Francisco. I will be attending the TRLD Conference. I have signed up for a workshop with Dave Warlick and Julie Coiro. I hope I get in both. This has been a last minute thing. We get to go to one conference a year and since NECC is local this year I’ll be at two! Hooray!
I did not know about this conference, just found it on the web.Â The keynote speaker is Ellin Oliver Keene. She the author of one of my favorite books, Mosaic of Thought.
I lucked out getting a great flight fare through Hotwire. Those of you who fly a lot share your tips for finding the best fare! It took me a long while and I just sort of stumbled onto this.
I will be blogging for the conference! Second hooray!
I am consumed with keeping all the pieces of this research on blogging into a manageable form that will be useful as we start this summer digging into all that has transpired and what it means. I have had much to learn about the research process and one side aspect of this project is that I have been unable to blog in the manner that I am accustomed to. I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize the results. The problem is that I don’t know what areas those are so mostly I have been quiet about everything. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve started but then not finished. I’m also knee deep in transcribing sessions. I’ve been using Dragon software – my less than “affectionate” name for the software is Cruella. Transcribing is a tedious and time-consuming process.
At this point I have so many thoughts in my head. So many truly interesting things have been going on and the conversations with students tell us so much. Now bear in mind that I have no idea at this point what the results will be but the difficult part for me is that there are so many areas that I want to blog about with this community and I have felt great frustration in being silent. I miss being able to blog about whatever crosses my mind. I will be able to do that at some point and I know that but boy do I wish I could have the conversations now. Those conversations are how I as the teacher get feedback that in turn gets me rethinking and considering other aspects that I may not have noticed. I think the research is more important than the blogging at this point but I also think some aspects of research need revising. I have enough sense to know though that I have much to learn in this area so I’m trying to be patient and keep learning. Let my understandings unfold and keep on working at learning to have patience!
I had an interesting conversation with Rena Shifflet this past weekend. She told me about a book that said research was a lonely process. The book was Particularities by George Noblit. I need to read it. I met Rena at a workshop at NECC in Seattle. She had created some really great blogging projects. I look forward to following her blog and know she will add much to our conversations. She gets the possibilities that blogging and other web tools offer.
Two ofÂ the kids in the Blogical Minds group have been blogged about and both posts are really going to make a difference to those two student bloggers.
See kids do the darndest things!
A special thanks to my two good blogging friends, Lani and Jim!
Lani sent me this link yesterday and it started my day off with some needed humor (oh if it only wern’t so true though) I just had to share.
If you want to hear some good podcasts from elementary students who interviewed legislators, Georgia State personnel, and others at a Georgia State Legislative Appreciation night head over to these two students blogs:
On Emmy’s Corner you have:
Interview with Mike Metzler
Interview with Gail Davenport
Interview with Jimmy Pruitt
Interview with Barbara Meyers
And on Jhonny’s News you have:
Interview with Preston Smith
Interview with Nannette Commander
Interview with Roger Bruce
Interview with Jill Chambers
Interview with Jim Flowers
Interview with Allen Freeman
I think these fifth graders did a pretty good job for a first attempt at podcasting and interviewing!
I was recently asked to give a rationale for educational blogging. I thought I’d share what I wrote and invite comment.
Blogs are reshaping our environment. They are beginning to emerge in large numbers in the educational field and offer great potential to transform learning and teaching. It is about new literacies appropriate for this time. The quote below comes from Don Leu, to be published soon in a book by the International Reading Association (http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~djleu/newlit.html) I feel it is a very appropriate focus as relates to the new literacies and blogging for educators. Donald Leu of Syracuse University expresses it far better than I ever could.
â€œThe new literacies include the skills, strategies, and insights necessary to successfully exploit the rapidly changing information and communication technologies that continuously emerge in our world. A more precise definition of the new literacies may never be possible to achieve since their most important characteristic is that they regularly change; as new technologies for information and communication continually appear, new literacies emerge (Bruce, 1997; Leu, in press a; Reinking, 1998). Moreover, these changes often take place faster than we are able to completely evaluate them. Regular change is a defining characteristic of the new literacies.Â
This simple observation has profound consequences for literacy and literacy education. The continuously changing technologies of literacy mean that we must help children learn how to learn new technologies of literacy. In fact, the ability to learn continuously changing technologies for literacy may be a more critical target than learning any particular technology of literacy itself.â€Â
There are many skills and concepts that need to be addressed to effectively help teachers learn to use blogs throughout their curriculum to foster these new literacies. It is not just a matter of transferring classroom writing into digital spaces. Teachers need to address writing for a public audience, how to cite and link and why, how to use the comment tool in pedagogical ways, how to read web materials more efficiently as well as explore other ways to consider pedagogical uses of blogs. Blogging requires us to teach students to critically engage media. Students need instruction on how to become efficient navigators in these digital spaces where they will be obtaining a majority of their information.
Blogging is educationally sound for teaching students because:
- Blogs provide a space for sharing opinions and learning in order to grow communities of discourse and knowledge — a space where students and teachers can learn from each other.
- Blogs help learners to see knowledge as interconnected as opposed to a set of discrete facts.
- Blogs can give students a totally new perspective on the meaning of voice. As students explore their own learning and thinking and their distinctive voices emerge. Student voices are essential to the conversations we need to have about learning.
- Blogs foster ownership and choice. They help lead us away from students trying to find what the teacher wants in terms of an answer.
- The worldwide audience provides recognition for students that can be quite profound. Students feel more compelled to write when they believe many others may read and respond. It gives them motivation to excel. Students need to be taught skills to foster a contributing audience on their blog.
- The archive feature of blogging records ongoing learning. It facilitates reflection and evaluation. One student told me that he could easily find his thoughts on a matter and he could see how his thinking had changed and why.
- The opportunity for collective and collaborative learning is enormous. Students have the opportunity to read their classmatesâ€™ blogs and those of others. This is not possible in a regular classroom setting.
- Blogging provides the possibility of connecting with experts on the topic students are writing.
- The interactive nature of blogging creates enthusiasm for writing and communication.
- Blogging engages students in conversation and learning.
- Blogging encourages global conversations about learning–conversations not previously possible in our classrooms.
- Blogging provides the opportunity for our students to learn to write for life-long learning.
- Blogging affords us the opportunity to teach responsible public writing. Students can learn about the power of the published word and the responsibilities involved with public writing.
You’re going to love to hear the excitement from Emmy and JhonnyÂ as they share their thoughts and observations on interviewing legislators. This Legislative Podcast also contains some interesting observations about blogging. The kids will be working on putting their podcasts together tomorrow. I can’t wait!
Last night GSU hosted the annual Georgia State University Leadershop Appreciation Night. It is an annual legislative reception to honor and recognize Georgia’s legislators and state officials. The university gets to showcase accomplishments and share priorities with state legislators and officials. The College of Education invited two students from the Blogical Minds groupÂ to represent their group by blogging, asking good questions, recording interviews, and joining in the celebration to spotlight education. Podcasts will be posted a little later on the class blog. You don’t want to miss those. A caricature artist was on hand to add some fun to the occasion. So here’s Emmy….
And here’s Jhonny:
Now here is the instructional technology teacher, the principal. and the classroom teacher. Emmy provided some humor which gave us all a good laugh.Â She quipped that’s what happens to technology teachers (on left), that’s how the principal looks in the morning (center photo), and that’s how the classroom teacher looks at the end of the day. (on right). Yep, laughter synthesizes learning. It was a night to be proud of some fine young bloggers! Their voices were heard!
Take a look at the good questions that the blogicians came up with to ask their legislators. Two student bloggers will be attending a legislative event and mix among the group to see which legislators will be willing to be interviewed.