This is one proud teacher talking…

Multimedia… I throw it around, admire it, want my students to ‘get it’.

Research… (see above)

Goal: authentic research presented in a multimedia format with a student speaking from authority.

Result: AWESOMENESS FROM ALL INVOLVED!

Here’s the situation.  I asked my students to research India (ancient or contemporary) and make a list of interesting things they found.  Way open-ended and ultimately very fruitful.  We generated a random, length list of ideas, places, people and factoids.  Next step, each student was to pick a topic to research, put together a multimedia wiki page using tools we’ve learned and used so far (a Wordle, hand-drawn art captured on the doc cam, images from the internet, video, Powerpoint embedded on the wiki, etc.), prepare a maximum of 5 notecards and speak for 3-5 minutes on the chosen subject.  And I added the stipulation that the only ‘language’ on the wiki was a title, captions and url sources.

Wow.

I mean, wow.

The life of Buddha was covered with authority and complexity.  The Water Palace was shown, described and given historic context.  The Pillar of Delhi was shown, explained and wondered over.

Basically, they knocked it out of the park.  (grin)

And the best part was their collaboration.  Did I mention that they worked as individuals?  This was not a group project.  Yet, when it comes to tech, don’t we all need a buddy?  “How do I get my Powerpoint on to my wiki?”  I responded with the names of 3 students who knew how–ask them.  “Where is my picture Mrs. Haugen took a picture of earlier?”  Again, I reference 2 or 3 students–ask them.  It was magical.

As a bonus, everyone enjoyed ‘touring’ India in this manner.  We saw the sights, heard the facts, and learned a lot.  Bravo, class!

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Got to get the word out–How?

I attended last summer’s Reform Symposium which was my first foray into ed tech webinars.  Needless to say, I loved it.  The great presentations, the chat, all the ideas I walked away with and the concepts that left me shaking my head with admiration.  It was amazing.

Since then I’ve tried to get connected with other webinars (there are many) but I just haven’t been able to get my act together.  On December 30th I was able to tune into Classroom 2.0‘s End of Year Smackdown.  It was a lot of fun.  I heard some great anecdotes on ed tech successes, and there were prizes!  Woot!

So my conundrum today is how to get the teachers at my school to connect with these great resources.  I’ve already marking my calendar for the Reform Symposium‘s New Teacher Symposium on January 8th and also on January 8th Classroom 2.0‘s presentation by Richard Byrne.  It’s funny to be excited about a New Teacher Symposium considering I’m in my 14th year of teaching, but it’s so necessary in my mind to keep learning as if I were new.  My teacher ed program was whole language/project based and not even hinting at Standard’s driven.  Ed tech was an overhead projector.

So back to getting the word out.  I already forwarded the Reform Symposium info to our actual new teachers.  The Richard Byrne webinar would be great for some of our tech-integraters.  I think my hesitation with it all comes from the knowledge that you must implement these ideas/tools/strategies yourself.  No one is swooping in to do it for you (at least not around here).  So I can already hear the chorus of My plate is already full and When am I going to fit that in? It’s frustrating.

So rather than dwell on the chorus of cup-half-empties, I’ll push ahead with mentioning it, gushing about it, sending email reminders, etc.  If one teachers finds something good, then I’ve made a deposit in all our students.  Doesn’t sit quite right–not enough impact, but starting somewhere is better than Admiring the Problem (quoted from our RtI trainer).

I think this one wins for Most Rambling Post Yet (note the ‘yet’).  Obviously I’ve got to do more ruminating on the subject.  Stay tuned.