I miss my friends, my conversations

New job, new challenges! Yikes!

My post Core knowledge and creativity for learning 2.0 has generated a bit of discussion – amongst my old friends with whom it is easy to have robust pedagogical conversations about learning in a Web 2.0 world. Read those conversations and you can see how we changed in a couple of years in our own thinking and our own classroom practice. Our students have been the winners.

Michael suggests that I am ‘biting my tongue’. :-) You might be right about that! Michael, like all my professional friends and colleagues in the Parramatta Diocese, knows how passionate I am about changing the learning opportunities for our students – bringing our classroom practice in alignment with their Web 2.0 world.

So now I miss my teaching friends a lot – because I have no-one with me yet with whom I can have these challenging pedagogical discussions. You know how it is – back to base one, only it’s worse when you have learnt so much with your friends, and you KNOW that things have to change, and change significantly.

At the end of the day, though, it’s deep knowledge and deep thinking that drives learning – Web 2.0 or otherwise. Engagement, even the engagement of Web 2.0, is only relevant where it promotes and commits our students to being reflective, critical thinkers, able to find and use information effectively and ethically, and able to absorb common and core knowledge in order to build and contribute to human knowledge and understanding. You engage learners in a Web 2.0 world by recognizing their multimodal way of thinking and being – not for the sake of the Web 2.0 gimmick but for the sake of attracting and absorbing the interest of our young learners. Deep thinking has always been around – from Socrates to the 21st century. It’s how we get to encourage deep thinking that has radically changed in our multimedia/multimodal world

Stay with me my old friends, as we continue our fantastic transformation as teachers in a 2.0 world. Come with me my new friends, join me on a glorious journey of rediscovery – because I think that’s what it is…rediscovering deep learning, connected learning, reflective learning, and much more – so much more!

It’s not just about the HSC any more. It’s about powering our students into their global futures in ways that none of us teachers ever experienced as learners. These kids, they’re so lucky – if only we’ll let them fly!

Let’s not forget – we talk about Web 2.0 as if its still something new. These kids – they ARE Web 2.0.

Photos: Valentine’s Day Sucks, Even though things could be better, Our schools are flat

6 thoughts on “I miss my friends, my conversations

  1. Hi Judy,

    Trust me – we miss you too!!!

    We miss your enthusiasm for teaching, your love of learning and your commitment to anything Web 2.

    I trust this finds you well and settling in to your new role. I hope you are enjoying it.

    Cheers,
    Megz

  2. Judy : Since you kindly lead the Project Based Learning teachers at the end of 07 in our school, it has been amazing to see how a handful of teachers have progressed when placed into a classroom that unashamedly has been built to service Web2.0 power learning.

    Schools need people like you to poke them in the eye. Less talk and more action is needed. Even though, some of those you mentored are still ‘on the fence’, it only takes 2 or 3 to release students from the ‘flat classroom’.

    As we enter week 6, a relief teacher commented today how stunned she was to see 55 boys, working hard, working together and the teacher being lost in a sea of heads, sitting and working with students.

    Despite an initial ‘cuture shock’ from both staff and students, our entire year 9 cohort has gone from ‘what is a blog’ to now demanding more and more tools to realise their solutions.

    This rush is pressuring the ‘fence sitters’ into action. The students use of web2.0 tools (and mashing them up) is presenting staff with deeper questions and demanding deeper responses.

    I watched a group of year 9 boys interview our Principal in the TV studio we built. He was a little nervous in front of a camera hooked into a Macbook and streaming to Ustream. As two boys arranged the studio lighting, positioned the chairs to get the best angle, the interviewer ran Brother through the questions they wanted answering.

    Brother Patrick gave a great interview. On more than one occasion he had to pause and think quite deeply about the answers. I got the impression that those boys we asking him things that students’ have not asked before. There was little opportunity to trot out ‘off the cuff’ responses.

    They were in control. They ran the interview and were working as a team to solve their problem. They knew it was the principal they had on the hook, and conducted themselves admirably.

    After all, these boys has seen politicians, sportsmen and film stars interviewed before. It was obvious that they have a good idea on how to go about it. The tools felt like the ‘real deal’ to everyone in the room, and the project was being taken very seriously.

    Not at all as Clay Burell described recently as ‘schooliness’.

    I think that the Web2.0 teacher’s peers are probably not in their own school, but that is a good thing, just as the internet liberated artists by extended visual connections, Web2.0 puts teachers and students into a connected community. We might not be working collegues, but I’ve learned more from twitter than I have from any ‘head of department’.

    It is so important to get the support of your ‘cyber-collegues’ to push you through the frustrating days. Kids are not frustrating, the system is. Its not cutting edge enymore – that was 2006 – Classroom 2.0 is do-able. Hey, I’ve even managed to get 2 hours a fortnight for kids to use Second Life – on the time table.

    Friends.

  3. To Judy:

    No. The Judy that I mean did not ask questions. She was on the WordPress Forum to help people who came asking for support. And I asked how it was possible for so many people to get to my friend’s blog which is about art history, a real beginner’s question, as you can see. And that Judy must not have understood such bottomless simplicity.

    Since then we have found out that my friend’s readers are kids who take his texts to do homework. :-D He started his blog in September. By the beginning of December he had almost 500 hits a day! A conservative text-only blog mainly about the Renaissance! Who would understand that fervor? But when the school vacations started … what happened? All those kids vanished and left that blog as lonely as the surface of the moon. –

  4. Hi Judy,

    In fact I’ve been the one who, over the last few weeks, has been wondering “where are all my wonderfully intelligent, forward thinking friends in the CEO?” There’s been such a high turnover and quite sudden changes to support that’s been behind previous projects that I suspect I’m not alone when I feel the ground’s been taken out from underneath my feet!

    Still, I guess I’m being a bit melodramatic here. People come and go, and things change all the time. What’s really remarkable is that the internet allows us to continue the conversations that began in person (just like conversations that began on the internet continue in person).

    Regardless, Joeys is one lucky school to have you! I’m sure everyone there realises that you’ve already done so much for so many schools – to have you all to themselves is a real luxury!

    M

  5. I love what you have written about the questions that people type into Google – that lead them to a blog! I’ve always been stunned by that too, and meant to blog about that…now I will use that as an example for a PD session (or two) about the importance of teaching students that Google is not the Oracle at Delphi LOL. Hope you find Judy12 – it’s not me! Trust me, I haven’t asked questions like that at the Forum – no way! Check out my my ClustrMaps – plenty of visitors in the last 12 months.

  6. I have been looking for “Judy12″ who once in a WordPress Support Forum could not understand a question of mine and thought I was in fact trying to get visitors to a friend’s blog. I had gone to the forum to ask how in the world it was possible for my friend’s blog to get hundreds of hits: how could anyone find him? — And that Judy12 answered promptly that maybe he got all those hits because I was busy blowing his horns in even the remotest places.

    So now, after all that time, if you are that Judy, listen. He and I were both new to this. In fact, I had dragged him here, to WordPress. After a few days, we discovered the stats page and there we discovered the questions that people had asked to get to the blog. And we could not believe our eyes. We could not imagine where people would ask questions like those:
    — Why don’t Greek statues have any arms?
    – Who is the greatest artist?
    – What art do they have over there in Spain?

    And it has taken me all this time, about 4 months, for it to dawn on me that people might actually type in questions like that, complete sentences, at Google, as if Google were the Oracle at Delphi… It has taken me all this time…

    Bye bye.

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