Tuesday, August 21, 2007

First Meeting With First Time 1:1 Teachers

I'd like to open this post with a quote from Will Richardson's book, which I just started reading. I clipped this section because it got me excited about 1:1 computing and made me feel comfortable in not knowing exactly how everything is going to happen this year:

"Not every educator will use every tool discussed in this book. But every educator needs to understand the potential impact of these tools, nonetheless, because our students will be using them (or newer iterations) more and more, and because the underlying concepts they are built on are tremendously important. The social connections that students are now making on the Web, the ability to share and contribute ideas and work, the new expectation of collaboration, the ability to truly extend the walls of our classrooms…these ideas are at the core of this new Web. As educators, it's imperative we understand the implications of these capabilities for our classrooms…For most, however, the significance of these changes is just starting to be realized. We are no longer limited to being independent readers or consumers of information; as we'll see, we can be collaborators in the creation of large storehouses of information. In the process, we can learn much about ourselves and our world. In almost every area of life, the Read/Write Web is changing our relationship to technology and rewriting the age old paradigms of how things work. No doubt, these changes will take many years to process. In fact, as author Dan Gillmor writes, "the people who'll understand this best are probably just being born" (Gillmor, 2005)."

This morning, with two days until students arrive, I met with my freshman English sub department for two hours to discuss first day plans and questions, now that every freshman will have an iBook. And I came away with a list of great activities that I'd like to share. Thanks English 1 Team!

- Create a Ning community for the class using anagrams for each members' name, spend a little time customizing pages, list maybe 4 or so random facts (each student). This becomes a teachable moment to discuss how to decide what kinds of information is appropriate to put online. Then, spend time trying to figure out who's who, a little get-to-know-each-other activity.

- Follow this up by bringing in our librarian for a lesson on reliable sources and citations. Then, students find a poem, YouTube video, photo, whatever, that evokes some sort of emotion in them, post it, describe, and cite/link to it.

- Have students compose an introductory letter or something to that effect (about their summer maybe), then convert into ComicLife or ToonDo comic strip with narrative, or even use a different poetic form to describe each picture.

- We read The Odyssey, and ComicLife could again be used to illustrate several epithets about the self.

- And, Inspiration could be used to research and put together family trees as a pre-reading activity.

Anybody want to add?

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