I’ve written about how some of the teachers in my school seem to be afraid of using technology in their lessons, what I see as the reasons for that fear and the implications our awareness of those reasons could hold for our teaching.
We held a lengthy academy meeting yesterday afternoon, taking advantage of time set aside for that during a full day of professional development sessions. We talked about the color of polo shirt that will be part of our uniform, our intention to enforce wearing of the uniform, and how we would go about that.
We also talked of our desire to form partnerships with the parents of our students, how we would have a parent breakfast one day, a dinner one evening, and a regular schedule of family events like picnics, bowling parties and more. My academy, now teacher administered and making decisions though consensus, is forming a cohesiveness planning for next year that has been missing all this year.
One of our tasks has been to create a brochure to give to the fifth graders in our feeder schools to interest them in expressing a preference for our academy over the five others in the building. I did the drafting and my colleagues did the tweaking, and it turned out pretty well.
Things were going so well in our meeting that I decided to give my colleagues their first lesson about integrating technology in teaching. I fired up my trusty Macbook, launched
Firefox and went to http://www.wordle.net/create. I then pasted the text of our brochure into the textbox and hit the “go” button.
Wordle takes text, drops out the most common English words like ‘the’ and ‘it’, then takes the rest of the words and creates a design in which the most repeated words are larger and more prominent than the words used less often.
This is what appeared:
I bet you get a good idea of what our academy is all about.
My colleagues’ jaws dropped. Then, when they realized how simple it was, I saw the light in their eyes.
Now its my job to keep it there.
Its going to be a fun year.
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This is a cool way to advertise and visually consolidate the salient ideas of your academy to attract new students. Teachers should be helped to understand and embrace technology. I see that your on-line community of Tweeters is quite sophisticated re: technology, but not so at the NYC DOE. Not surprised.
Next step.. delivering the goods.
My online community of tweeters, my PLN, are an amazing group of teachers who gladly share resources, advice, time and information with anyone who is also willing to share. I have learned almost everything I know about education technology from them, but what is more important is that they have given me the support I need to take the risks inherent in trying something new. I have never met any of these people face-to-face, but I know I can depend on them without question.
I am very much looking forward to the end of school on June 26th, even more than usual, because the next morning I will travel to Washington, DC for the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC)where I will be meeting many of the people in my PLN for the first time. I can hardly wait.
Man, this blog is getting addictive.
The idea of creating a presentation like this, and the passion with which you deliver on that message, is really inspiring, especially since the system has so many ways to beat us down.
Above it all, Dev, you write with all your heart. It really shows–especially compared to my snarky crap on my blog.
Thanks for your comments Luciano, they mean a lot to me. FYI, I can do snarky crap, too. You’ll see.