Educators understand the phrase “meeting of the minds.” Education is not a solo journey. You’ve heard “Together we are better.” So true! I cannot imagine attempting successes in the classroom on my own. Recipe for disaster! We need a solid team of people of many walks of life and places in the world to gain insight into reaching the variety of needs of students in each classroom.
My recent trip to the TCEA conference was 3 days packed of resources, new learning, confirmation of current practices, and a bolster of encouragement to press on for student accomplishment and how varied in approach and outcome that has become.
The conference offered a wide variety of learning topics. Apps, branding, digital footprints and leadership, student choice in learning, and new technology tools and programs were some that I chose to attend. Here are some of my take-aways.
Apps: I keep a running list of those I hear about and have yet to dabble in. (Sure would be great if teachers had a built in weekly block of time specifically dedicated to PD to focus on learning for ourselves!) My list is always on a “to be continued…” status (such as PicPlayPost and Skitch), but here’s one that’s stayed at the top of my list for a while now. I’ve decided to put it in action yet this school year.
- ThingLink – a great way to extend learning and dig deeper with any topic. A picture of something becomes a springboard into a topic by allowing links and works to be embedded and opened by a click on the picture. I’m going to come up with something with ThingLink and National Poetry Month (April)….
Branding: Did you know that your school has a brand? Did you know that you have a brand?? No, it’s not being self-centered in having one. You are promoting your students’ work, your work in some way – what will you choose? Doing nothing isn’t an option! 74% of Internet users use social media. So, share what you learn & what you do – email footers, website links, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Where does your community spend time? Find that and “go”. Check out this resource from Steven W. Anderson @web20classroom School and Leadership Branding from his session.
Digital Footprints and Leadership: Teach to Tweet, get in with the students and see what they use and what they do. Decide to listen, lead by example, and be available to them. (My experience – by doing so, it’s a guarantee to learn from them!) A quote from session leader George Couros @gcouros, “If you don’t know social media, you’re becoming illiterate.” (Don’t let this hit you as harsh; truly consider the validity of it. Opportunity to learn and lead!)
Student Choice: Makes all the sense in the world. Ask yourself – when do you do best at something? It’s when you have an interest and choice in what to learn or do. When will students do best at something? No surprise – it’s when they have an interest and choice in what to learn or do. Find some choices for students to present, to compile, to showcase their talents in school.
Tech Tools & Programs – There are many beyond many! One that I need to discover more of is Discovery Education. I use it but in a far too limited way. I found myself repeating “I didn’t know that?!” during the brief time I immersed myself among the Discovery Educators.
Continued best practices to you as the spring semester continues! Make it a point to be proactive in your profession – to ‘seek and do’ and participate rather than ‘sit and get’ and wait for things to happen as you have team, full staff, or district meetings, attend an EdCamp, share a PD book, and have many conversations centering around what’s new, what’s working, and what’s not.
(By the way, do you have a “what’s new”, “what’s working”, “what’s not” you’d like to share? Would love to hear about it!)