RSS Reading Habit – Thing 6

I found it interesting to skim the blogs in my reader for articles that might be beneficial for me as an administrator and for teachers in our building.  In Connected Principals, the blog entry, What My Students Taught Me, by Justin Tarte,  he presents 10 lessons he has learned from his students that  are inspiring as I prepare to start a new school year.  A second blog entry that I read has what I refer to as real “meat and potatoes” use. Richard Byrne in Free Technology for Teachers posted a blog  Teachers Tools for Creating Passwords.  How many times do we have to create a new password!  This site offers several tools to do the job for you.

Time is limited for all, so it is important to be able to read only that which will be useful.  While I have a bit more time during the summer to read and the fact that reading the articles in my reader is required at this point, I question whether or not it will be something I do on a regular basis during the school year due to time constraints.  Yes, information found is interesting and can be useful, but what do I not do in order to make time to read?  That will be one of my personal challenges this year.  I think one the word, catawampus from Dictionary.com Word of the Day describes many of the days I have, so perhaps adding another activity won’t change life that much.

Wikis in Our World – Thing 8

I think Wikis are one of the best tools that I have seen to date to be used in the classroom.   They allow the teacher to establish the objective(s) for the lesson and at the same time allows the student to take ownership for his learning.  The students creative reporting of their research on westward expansion is exhibited on the wiki site Let’s Go West . The information presented demonstrates how students organized the material in a clear and informative format for others to enjoy.    The Kindergarten Counting Book is a good example of how even the youngest student is capable of contributing to a wiki in a meaningful manner and an easy start into the world of wikis for the teacher.  Not much “bling” with this one but gets the job done.

As with any technology tool,  the wiki must support meaningful learning in the classroom, and while the bling factor does help with the appeal of the site, I would never want a teacher in our school to spend an inordinate amount of time creating a wiki just for the wow factor.

Thing 7 – Doodle Poll

Doodle Poll tool is an easy way to schedule meetings (faculty, grade level, Community Council) and classroom visits.  I like that I do not have to set up an account to use it thus eliminating the need for me to remember another username/password!  Also, it is quick to set up and the responses, including comments, are easy to view through email.  The fact that there is no cost to use the site makes it even more appealing to me.

I looked at the Doodle Poll tool from an administrator’s eye seeing the possibilities to use it in my work.  I am not sure that it would be very useful for the elementary age students to use, but I can see how it would be helpful in later years as students are planning team meetings to work face to face on projects.  There is not a lot of Bling but the practical uses of the tool I think give quite a bang.

Thing 5: Tidbits of Knowledge from My RSS

I enjoyed perusing the articles on my Google Reader.  A couple of entries spoke right to my heart.  The advice given by Dave Andrade in his article 5 Tips for Success – in school, business and in life provides words of wisdom we should share with our students and model in our everyday lives.  Along the same theme, Dwight Carter shares with the graduates of his high school Parting Words of Wisdom. This message was created based on the principles of a character education program currently implemented in his school.  After looking further, I am interested in starting something similar to Project Wisdom.

Thank you Mr. Carter for reminding me of how I should live my life each day.

Remember to say “please” and “thank you.”
Gentlemen, open the doors for women and the elderly.
Ladies, be a lady… at all times.
Leave things better than the way you found them.
Stay current with events in your community and the world by reading.
Learn something new…. every day.

Forgive others and forgive yourself… often.
At times you will fail, but “no failure is ever fatal and no success is ever final.”
You are always being interviewed. Be mindful of what you say, how you dress, and how you treat others. You never know who is watching or listening.
“Pause before you post.” What you post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites is always public.
Take advantage of the technology that is at your disposal, but the best form of communication is voice to voice or face to face.
Take some time to unplug and connect with those closest to you.
Take advantage of each day you are given, for life is truly a gift.

Thing 4 – The Value of Blogging

First and foremost, I am most impressed with those who have the skill, creativity and talent to create these wonderful blog sites I visited.   I found that the ones I chose to read had different purposes in their publications:  preaching, teaching, reaching, and sharing.  The posts vary in presentation; some are written with warm and fuzzy personal accounts of daily experiences and there are those written with more of a report style.  Each one is beneficial to its reader in a special way. It is interesting to read the comments made by readers.  Their responses demonstrate how they clarify their own thinking on a topic and bring to light questions I had not thought of until reading.   Why I Don’t Assign Homework by Dan Meyer presents his argument on the worth or lack of daily homework.   I found this particular blog of interest to me as I continuously struggle with my philosophy on the value of homework.  An Open Letter to Administrators by George Couros was one of my favorites to read as many of the comments made by others were relevant to  my own situation.

Thoughts about Web 2.0

Steve Hargadon in his article Web 2.0 Is the Future of Education used the terms tidal wave and explosion. I think both of these best describe my view of Web 2.0.  The endless possibilities that are now available  for educators to use to enhance the educational opportunities in the classroom are the explosion and the rate at which these become available are the tidal wave.  So many exciting things are happening in the classrooms of my own school.  Teachers are using outside sources to enrich lessons and students are guiding their own learning.  My concern is for those teachers and students who do not have the learning style that makes using the endless opportunities Web 2.0 has to offer as the optimal experience.

While I am not in the classroom, I have found many of the Web 2.0 tools useful in the administrative office.  Most beneficial to me on a frequent basis are shared documents, video instructional clips and social networking.  I know my toolbox is very limited and hope through 23 Things to add tools that will make work easier, not busier.

My Reflections on Lifelong Learning

I believe that most of us have great potential to learn so much more than we actually attempt to do during our life time.  Most of my hesitancy to learn something new is guided by fear of failure, an end result that has never been acceptable to me.  Habit # 4:  Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner will be my greatest challenge in this journey of 23 Things.  I get so easily lost in the computer world which then leads me to the habit I think will be the most important one for me as I work through this course, Habit # 3:  View problems as challenges.   I am determined to view these tasks (challenges) as adventures where I will win the prize (knowledge) at the conclusion of the activity.  It may take me awhile longer than the average Joe, but I will get there!

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