Friday, September 15, 2006

[TIPS] - wikispaces and Day 5 - the final installment

I've mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again, I think. http://www.wikispaces.com is a place to go to get your own wiki at no cost. Go ahead, give it a try. Foreign language teachers, start a wiki for your students where they may only speak/write that language. English Literature teachers, start one about the books you're reading. Social studies teachers, start one about the Revolutionary War or the Lewis and Clark expedition, etc. Let the kids add links and descriptions and images. I KNOW you'll be pleased with the results.
Audio files of this series are available here: http://odeo.com/channel/57888/view (They're not in top-down order, so play according to Day titles)
- - - Day 5 - The Final Installment of Nothing Important Happened Today - - -
I’ve re-read the postings from the past few days, and I’m getting that pit in my stomach again. Our kids aren’t hungry! Worse, many of our TEACHERS aren’t hungry, either. What will historians say about this time in our history 50 or 100 years from now? “They were fat and happy, pompous, and complacent. How could they have missed what was happening all around them?” Move over, King George.

According to this article (http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2004/03/29/focus1.html ), “This year, online enrollment for U.S. degree-granting schools represents 14 percent of all enrollments, up from less than 6 percent in 2000, a compound annual growth rate of 33 percent, according to research company IDC.” Humph! It goes on to say that 16 million people are seeking degrees online – 16 million and one, to be more precise. I started after MY online degree through Bloomsburg after that article was written. :-) Another article claims, “This fall, 2,700 charter schools are in operation across the nation, serving more than a half-million students.” And, according to this article (http://www.uscharterschools.org/cs/n/view/cs_bmsg/3912 ), “Pennsylvania now has 11 cyber charter schools, with more than 10,000 students enrolled statewide, an increase of nearly 50 percent from last year.”

Why are they leaving us? What are they looking for?

Could it be relevance? Could it be, perhaps, that they want to be able to use the tools that they are growing up with in order to study, gather information, collaborate, publish, and learn? Could it be that they’re finding the public schools to be so far behind the ball when it comes to even KNOWING about those tools that the schools have become irrelevant? David Warlick, in his “2 cents worth” blog, wrote, “Never before has a generation been so well prepared to enter the Industrial age.” *Pause for laughter* *Another pause for reflection and panic*

We’ve GOT to start using the tools that they know and use elsewhere or we WILL become irrelevant. We – the TEACHERS – MUST get hungry. We MUST seek professional development opportunities that will provide us with the skills and tools we need. We MUST take them seriously. I’ve been in too many sessions with teacher/prisoners who were there only because they HAD to be there, but NOTHING was going to make them learn anything. You know what I mean. WE must get hungry and we must make our kids get hungry, too …

… before it’s too late.

I’m offering classes – many of them evening classes – on the new web tools like Moodle, wikis, blogs (don’t panic!), and on the Web 2.0 tools in general. I’ll show you how to use RSS feeds to gather and share information with your students. I’ll show you ways that you can use the web as a publishing platform for your students and how to set up collaboration sites, and where to take notes and much more. I DO hope you’ll sign up for some of them. There is SO VERY much at stake here, and another powerpoint isn’t going to save it.

Thank you for indulging me these past few days. I’ll leave today with this blog/diary entry, “Yes, something VERY important IS happening today and we MUST heed it before it’s too late.”



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