Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Goals

June 22, 2010

This morning Will Richardson came to the high school and delivered a presentation to 80 educators who volunteered attend. Mr. Richardson frequently blogs about education or issues related to schooling. Mr. Richardson is the author of several books and spent 22 years as an English teacher. Much of the educational blogging world is influenced by the pioneering work Mr. Richardson has done since starting his blog nine years ago

Informal feedback from those who attended appreciated the opportunity to hear Mr. Richardson speak. The presentation lasted for nearly three hours. There was a break in between and the small setting allowed for those who attended to ask questions during the presentation. The perspective Mr. Richardson shared was that of a parent. Even though he was a teacher for twenty years and has been a respected consultant for the last eight years, Mr. Richardson is the parent of a 6th and 8th grader. During the presentation, he kept saying what are schools currently doing and will do for to prepare his kids or any kids for that matter to be successful after graduating from high school.

Among the various sites, videos, tools and stories Mr. Richardson has collected and observed throughout his career, he said that change could not happen or at least would not alter from the “glacial pace” that characterizes academic reform, unless educators are able to articulate an extensive Professional/Personal Learning Network. Educators need to embody what it means to be a life-long learner and model for students how to build, in an ethical manner, a supportive learning network. Whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Youtube or all of these social networks and more, educators need to build relationships with those who share similar passions.

In the spirit of this message, I wanted to share a few posts that I came across the other day. It is important to set professional goals for the summer. In sitting down with teachers during annual review conferences, a consistent goal set by teachers was to increase their use of technology. While that is a worthwhile focus and especially when considering where we will stand come September 1, 2010 as opposed to past opening days, technology is a powerful tool and not an entity separate from the curriculum. Technology is being infused because it adds value to the teaching and learning process. In my opinion, I see how harnessing what exists (hardware, software, Web 2.0) can alter the dynamic of the classroom and allow us to confidently address Mr. Richardson’s question of how we are preparing students.

Fellow educators posted self-design programs related to improving the effective use of technology in classrooms. Along with this cast, I shared links to some of the programs. Check out the 30 goals challenge. Over 1500 educators have joined the The 30 Goals Challenge since January 2010. This free e-book challenges you to accomplish 30 social media and professional development goals in 30 days. These are short-term goals, such as guest posting, setting up a Google alert, causing a ripple, and contributing to a blog carnival. Download the free e-book to get started.

Also, consider the 23Things Web 2.0 project created by Steve Anderson. The 23 Things Web 2.0 Project is designed to introduce you to the tools that can transform your classroom, school or district. Activities can be completed independently, as a small learning community or as a large staff.

Also included are some additional posts to read including a post on Shelly Terrell’s Teacher Reboot Camp blog about free E-books dealing with Web 2.0 professional development ideas.

Thanks for listening and good luck in your efforts to set and reach some personal/professional goals.