ISTE…here I come!

This week I sat down to plan our summer travels. Being married to a Guatemalan means a big chunk of our time is spent in the air…flying between St. Louis and Guatemala City to make sure that both grandmas get equal grandchildren time:)     Well, this summer, the time also needs to be shared with San Diego–for the ISTE conference! Both my husband and I are going to go, and I’m very excited to continue to move forward in my tech thinking and purposeful integration.

As I was reading over the NETS (which I had never heard of before), it once again proved how vital it is that we take a look at how we’re using technology in schools. I loved how it touched on the idea that no longer is it enough just to know HOW to “use technology,” but it is imperative that our students gain digital age skills. Digital Age Skills.  It’s both exciting and scary to think that when I went to university to become a teacher, “digital age skills” were never mentioned. It’s just incredible how much has happened technologically in such a short period of time.

What really struck me was when I went to the NETS page for teachers. It says that “teachers must become comfortable being co-learners with their students and colleagues around the world.” Being a co-learner with colleagues around the world is something that now is starting to catch like wildfire. It’s pretty amazing that I am now in a digital PLC (COETAIL) learning from and with colleagues from all corners of the globe with whom I have never actually met. We are all literally just a click away from tapping into each other’s knowledge and expertise. How cool is that.

The other part of that quote though, is what some educators are going to have a hard time swallowing, and that is that teachers are going to need to be “co-learners with their students.” Thinking back to Diana Laufenberg’s Ted Talk (from Jeff’s reflection on his recent conference), teachers and books are traditionally the holders of all the knowledge. The problem now is that the rate at which knowledge is coming at us is just impossible to keep up with. I know that some teachers have a really hard time telling students that they don’t know the answer to something. Yes, it doesn’t feel good to admit ignorance; however, if we as teachers aren’t going to teach (by modeling!) our students how to be life-long learners, then who is? It’s time we sit side-by-side our students and grow intellectually together.

Who knows–we just might learn something from them;)

ISTE–here I come!

 

Anyone out there like me?

I keep envisioning that graph that Jeff showed us in the beginning of this course–the one with the steep uphill climb in the beginning, then the drop, and then the leveling out. I definitely feel like I’m scaling a mountain right now. As I mentioned before, I’m married to a tech wizard. Therefore, I have many gaps in my tech knowledge. So when the wizard is not home and out playing poker (as is the case tonight;), I am left to fend for myself. I guess this is a good thing, but all I feel at the moment is frustration. This course is my first experience with WordPress. Does it get any easier, people???  I use Google Sites, and it is so user-friendly, so I’m just not used to this. Jeff wants us to play around with our widgets (I barely know what these even are) and continue to get to know the site more; however, without explicit instruction, I keep ending up clicking the same thing, and each click just pushes me closer to signing off.

My frustration goes deeper than WordPress. I’m the kind of person that likes to stay on top of things. I like organization. I like being knowledgable. I like being a leader. I’m definitely not feeling like I’m any of those right now. All of this (what we’re learning) is quite overwhelming–exciting, but overwhelming. (How do I twitter exactly? How do I get Creative Common photos and add them correctly? How do I set up my RSS Reader in a way that I don’t have to hunt for it each time? And the list goes on…;) The hard part for me is that I feel so behind. I look at other people’s blogs or questions/comments to Jeff, and I don’t even know what they are talking about sometimes. Yes, I know I need to not worry about others, and just worry about myself and the progress that I am making (I know that I’ve said that to my students before!!), but I just had to express my thoughts, and wonder, “Is there anyone out there like me?”

Emerging from My Cocoon

I’m married to one of the tech guys at school. For this reason and up until a few months ago, I have been living in a tech-less cocoon. Whenever something happened to my computer or I couldn’t get something to work on the Internet, “LUIS!” was all I needed to do. I would not take account of anything as he worked his techie magic.

I began to peek out of my cocoon when I attended to Kim Cofino’s NESA workshop on tech. It gave me a taste of the amazing things that I can do with tech! I’m the first to admit that I have several gaps in my tech knowledge, as I barely knew how to upload photos until last year! However, I’m also the first to say that I’m now willing to take the risk and give it a go. As Jeff mentioned in one of his posts, he expects us to FAIL sometimes! In my classroom, I refer to those mistakes as “Beautiful Oops.” Once we stop making mistakes, we stop growing. And there is not one person in all the world that is all-knowing, ESPECIALLY, in the tech world, as it is ever-changing.

I have to say that I am so thrilled that I ended up signing up for this course. My enthusiasm for wanting to integrate technology (and to do so PURPOSEFULLY!!) has grown leaps and bounds. My husband almost fell out of the bed when I told him the other night that the  iPad 3 announcement was happening March 7th–not because he didn’t know about the announcement (b/c he did), but because, ME, of all people, was telling him!

The idea of connectivism and how the world is moving away from the individualistic way of doing things to a more collaborative style is fascinating. And it makes sense. If I have the world’s experts on a certain topic at the tips of my digital fingertips, why take the time and energy to flip through the one or two books I found in the library? I love how George Siemens writes in, “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age,” that it’s more important to be thinking about HOW we’re going to access future information rather than just thinking about what we currently know. It’s amazing to think that 20 years from now, there may be technology that we haven’t even fathomed yet…

[Now, I can remember from Kim's workshop (and seeing other COETAILers do it) that I should use Creative Commons' photos and then post the link under the photo, but I completely forget to do that. Hopefully Jeff will make another video about it]

 

Under Construction

My 1st blog attempt with WordPress…here I go! So when I was thinking of a title for this blog, I knew that I wanted to say something about being a lifelong learner and what that meant to me. I kept coming up with “Always Learning,” and then realized that the reason why I kept coming up with it was because that is the name of Kim Cofino’s blog! Dang it! So back to square 1. Then it hit me. Under Construction. That’s it! As a lifelong learner, I am always trying to know more and grow more, therefore, never having a pretty final project, but more like a messy construction site.