On this episode of TTT Monika Hardy and Paul Allison talk with Valerie Burton and Chad Sansing. We are also be joined by Jo Paraiso, whose students in Oakland, CA have been all over Youth Voices recently: http://youthvoices.net/Fremont
What have you been noticing? What dreams are you working to make come true? What connections are you making with people and ideas? What are you doing that's awesome?
Click Read more to see the chat that was happening during this live webcast.
It is an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas - from the very practical to the big dreams.
The Axioms: The guiding principles behind Educon:
1) Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members 2) Our schools must be about co-creating - together with our students - the 21st Century Citizen 3) Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around 4) Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate 5) Learning can - and must - be networked
We started our celebration with a look at a couple of the philosophical touchstones for TTT, mainly World Bridges and the National Writing Project. Jeff Lebow (WB) and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl (NWP) helped us with these starting points.
The goals of Worldbridges are relatively simple and straightforward, as follows, “Our primary goal is to foster understanding and cooperation amongst the citizens of the world. We value civility and respect, open source collaboration, fair distribution of income, and a sense of world identity.” As part of these efforts, Worldbridges seeks to foster positive systemic changes in areas such as education, the environment, and politics. It also supports reliable and fair commerce. And it promotes a “people’s forum” for more civilized discussion of problems, issues, and conflicts that pose significant challenges in united the people of this planet. Values supported by the Worldbridges organization include respect and civility, fair distribution of income, world identity, and open source collaboration.
Jeff Lebow began experimenting with Worldbridges ideas (initially called “World Explorer”) when starting his master’s program in Training and Learning Technologies at the University of New Mexico in 1993 after a year of teaching English in Thailand (Worldbridges, 2007). At that time, Lebow became excited at the possibilities of the convergence of intercultural interaction and collaborative and interactive online technologies. After completing his masters, he returned to Asia—this time Pusan, Korea—where he taught English as a university and began to experiment with online audio and video, which included covering the Nagano Olympics in 1998. After burning out on all his activities and attempting to envision and build a webcasting network his life took a turn, or as he puts it, “I decided to quit my job, shave my head, and go to India for a while to contemplate the next chapter, for me personally and for Worldbridges. After some quality offline time, I decided to give Worldbridges a shot.” In Lebow’s vision for Worldbridges, he sought for it to become a means for using Internet technology for a global webcasting network of people. And it has!
And here's a paragraph about the National Writing Project's core philosophy by Art Peterson in 2004
The National Writing Project's core philosophy, "teachers teaching teachers," is perhaps most directly expressed in the invitational summer institute's teacher demonstrations. NWP founder Jim Gray writes in Teachers at the Center, his memoir of the writing project beginnings, "The most successful demonstrations communicate not only what the teacher does but also why the teacher thinks this particular practice works. The emphasis upon the why as well as the what is important: it provides a theoretical underpinning and it accents a considered approach to writing beyond mere gimmickry" (143). According to Gray, this demonstration serves as a "trial run" for the workshops future teacher-consultants will present during inservice work in the schools, but it is intended to be much more than a simple demonstration of a strategy or technique. It is intended to be a significant "genre" for the circulation of knowledge about practice.
Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.
To get the full effect, take a moment to find some string before you listen to this episode of TTT. How much? Fred says, "About two meters or a little over 6 feet is usually a good length. Hold the string between your two hands stretched out as wide as they go, then add about 6 inches."
Fred explains that he was "inspired by the session we had with teachers using Minecraft, where we explored an online game world via another virtual world, http://edtechtalk.com/node/5102 and I was intrigued by whether it would be feasible to explore a meatspace game in our virtual Teachers Teaching Teachers forum." He sees "string games as a gateway to keyboarding and creativity or finger calisthenics, and computer keyboarding: media magic for tradigital storytelling."
Playing games with string is a human cultural universal. This ancient art form is surprisingly helpful in developing both the manual dexterity and strength needed for computer keyboarding. The approach I use for teaching string games to groups also provides a helpful practice ground for some of life's essential skills: creativity, resilience, cooperation, and storytelling.
And that's not all. Here's an excerpt and a couple of photos from a post that Diana wrote shortly after this episode of TTT:
There were some great quotes that Chad, a fellow participant, shared via Twitter. (I can't recall them all - they were things like "it's important to model failure" and "string games are 'digital' fun".) What I realized was how potent teaching string games would be to analyze your own teaching practice. Listening to Fred teach the group how to make a 3-pronged spear made me hyper-aware of how important detailed, clear instructions are, and the different learning styles at play. The first time I tried it, I failed. The second time, when Fred re-explained and added a few "notice this part here" tips, I did it! I cheered pretty loudly when I succeeded. My webcam wasn't working on Google +, so I convinced my daughter to take a photo of my accomplishment.
I made a 3-pronged spear! Here's proof!
A less complimentary shot of me, with my string jedi master Fred on-screen
Fred mentioned that there are several books and YouTube videos that explain, step by step, how to make different shapes. I think I need a person near me to give feedback (though the string collapsing in unrecognizable shapes is pretty immediate feedback too). I gave myself a goal - to teach the kids in my SK and Grade 7 classes how to make the 3-pronged spear and do it to music at a June assembly. I'm repeating it here so it'll be my contract to myself to try it out and report what results.
This was lots of fun and the perspectives shared by these Minecraft teachers about their students' lives in the game both profound in themselves, and easy to transfer to any classroom or learning situation.
Do you have your EdTechTalk stuff yet? Did you know there are T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, buttons, magnets, and tote bags available? They're all based on Wordle interpretations of the EdTechTalk Delicious tags.
What are you waiting for? These are limited edition items. Shop now and avoid the rush!