Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FINALLY Stepping Into the 21st Century

Ten years ago I thought that I had rushed happily into the 21st century. I use an iPhone and an iPad. I have figured out how to use the iPod portion of my phone and can download a song while sitting in traffic. I can work off of either a Mac or a PC computer. I have even given up paperbacks for my Nook. Yes, I still scream “Richard” at the first inclination that there is a technology problem, but that makes us both happy. It really does. Heck, I went to ISTE last year. Doesn’t that make me technologically savvy? Doesn’t that make me someone who has moved from being “a child of the sixties” to an “old lady” of this new and exciting century? But last Saturday I was told—right to my face—NO!

On January 8, what I like to refer to as the beginning of my birthday week, Richard and I dragged ourselves out of bed on a beautiful Saturday morning to go to a district technology conference. I was going because I wanted to hear Heidi Hayes Jacobs. I had read her book last year and wanted to hear what she had to say. Richard was going to hear the Colorado folks in the afternoon. I have attended many conferences and ten times that number of workshops, but I don’t remember every being so absolutely challenged to make a change in what I am doing as an educator. Heidi was so strong in her presentation that I am now anxiously writing this blog.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs believes, like I do, that everything that we do must be in the students’ best interest. She also believes that the students should own the learning, a concept that we in ELA have been working with John O’Flahaven on for at least 10 years. She challenged each of us in the audience to learn one new twenty-first century technology tool that we would share with our peers and with students. When I mentioned to my peers that my job does not offer me the time necessary to really learn these tools, Heidi immediately called me out on that idea. “If you have time to buy new shoes, you have time to learn this” burst immediately out of her mouth. I know she is right. I bought new shoes at DSW on Sunday, so that afternoon I sat down and learned how to use livebinders.com. It really did only take moments for me to set it up and create my first binder. I now know how to place web sites in there, but I could use some advice on attaching documents. My new philosophy: If I buy shoes, I learn a new technology tool. If I learn a new tool, I buy new shoes. This is certainly a "win-win."

Using the internet to communicate with one’s peers is also important to Dr. Jacobs. She asked who belonged to a NING. I proudly raised my hand. I have belonged to the English Companion NING (http://englishcompanion.ning.com/) for several years. But I seldom read from it. When I first began, I didn’t see anything new, so I didn’t take the time to really delve into the possibilities. On Sunday I went back to that NING and found many very interesting ideas. I read an archieved book study on Smith and Wilhelm’s book, Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements. It was wonderful to read what the authors had to say about the text. They enhanced and extended many of the ideas they had discussed in the book. I recommend the book and the book study.

Since Saturday morning, I have learned how to use livebinders, read extensively from a NING, and have now figured out how to set up and add to my own blog. Those of you who joined the 21st Century ten years ago are certainly not terribly impressed. I, on the other hand, am excited to be an active member of this new century that is and will continue to be influenced by technology. Next I am going to work with bookglutton.com. Karen Justl sent it to me, and it seems to be the perfect tool to have book club discussions around the world. Maybe I will see you there.

11 comments:

  1. Wow Diane. To not have time... you have done alot in 3 days. Thanks for taking the leap and modeling for others! I am very excited for you, ELA, and the kids in SBISD.

    ReplyDelete
  2. BTW I love the name. Very creative!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Diane-

    I was also excited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs on Saturday. The idea that students should own their learning resonated with me and throughout the day. I wish you could have heard Anne Smith's presentation as that was her central focus as well.

    While I am continuing to learn everyday - new web 2.0 tools and iPad/iPod apps, I still haven't made the commitment to using Twitter as I proclaimed I would this summer. You are truly my inspiration! :-)

    PS. Let me know about BookGlutton!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like a great motivator to me... You will soon have MANY shoes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You continue to lead by example by inspiring those you come in contact with. BTW, this is my first ever blog entry! And so I make my entrance into this aspect of the 21st century!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am going to check out LiveBinders! A visual organizer works for me! Thanks for pushing and pulling me along with you, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love this blog, Diane. I think you are such a great role model. I thought I was doing a pretty good job communicating with technology. As I read YA books, I post the book on my Facebook page with suggestions on how they could be used in class. I think a better place would be on a blog like this! I'm going to set one up and see how it goes!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, this is a giant step for me. I think I may have figured out how to actually respond to you. I had this great comment I wrote for your first posting about writing. But after spending 10 minutes writing, I couldn't figure out how to post and I lost it. Now I want to set up the dyslexia blog my group has been talking about!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Upon completion of my Saturday sessions, I immediately looked at my curriculum, both ELA and Social Studies, to find ways to make projects and writing more tech saavy. I can say that I found new ways to incorporate tech It doesn't hurt that 8 of 20 of my students got programs into both areas.
    ipads for Christmas. They love it and so do I!

    ReplyDelete
  10. http://www.hackeducation.com/2011/01/26/mconnect-mobile-learning-mcgraw-hill-and-emerging-markets/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HackEducation+%28Hack+Education%29#

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your excitement is evident in your blog!
    I like the creative name you chose. Good luck and I look forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete