Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gaga for Google

The Getting Past Google article last week made so much sense to what I see everyday at work. Kids today are so attached to "technology" daily for everything. As I shared last week, we have so many rules at school against bringing technology to school when we as the adults can't do without. Why don't we just use the tools to our advantage rather than ban them? We may be able to get students excited and motivated to become more involved in school if we are open to using some of the things that they're in to. I attended the Governor and First Lady's Conference for women last week. They were talking about motivation, inclusion, involvement and opening doors for women. Although technology was something that was dicussed in one of the conversations one of the main things that was also shared is the importance of motivating girls and women by using things that are of interest to them so that there is a type of buy in already. This blog has kind of turned in to random thoughts but to try to tie it together, I wonder if we prepare our students with high technological ability does that guarantee motivation? One last thing that probably has nothing to do with what I've written but after reading this article, I hadn't realized how often I use Google myself! It's my first stop when I'm lookin for anything. It's been kind of interesting to have that awareness.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The "how I see you see me" philosophy...

The leader creates the environment. True. Any leader, teacher, administrator, superintendents, etc. In order to run a well oiled machine, there needs to be the essential tools: communication and trust. There has to be expectations on both ends. As we discussed in class, when a teacher has established rapport, including communication and trust, there are specific results we get. We get participation, excitement, connectivity, willingness and motivation. This is critical in any type of relationship. One of the topics that I have been exploring for my personal research has been counselor-principal working relationships. In this type of relationship, we can also explore the idea of the "relationship triangle". How am I perceived by them and how did I perceive them. Then, we think about what do they think I thought about them and vice versa. We are always hung up on how we are being perceived whether it's positive or negative. We make changes as needed but we also expect changes as needed. When a student is feeling safe and connected they are ready to learn. Students feel invested in their learning when they feel that someone is invested in them. The topic tonight took me back to graduate school in the field of social work. One of the counseling styles that stuck with me and still does is using a Strengths Based Theory. The focus of this theory being using strengths rather than deficits. When leading academically, emotionally or socially if we focus on strengths we can get better results. I think this all goes along with what we discussed tonight. We have to focus on strengths so that we are motivated and connected, invested and appreciated no matter who we are or what type of relationship we are discussing. I was recently introduced to a video that shows the power of educators and the effect that we can all have on our students and ourselves. Please find time to watch the video on the left that I've titled "education at it's best". It's almost like a rejuvenation for all educational leaders. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Authentic Learning

When reading the Authenic Learning article it made me think of what has commonly been referred to as "on the job training". For many years OJT has been the best form of learning what needs to be done in a new job, career or anything for that matter. I remember starting a new position with the Employment Development Department and having to read the infamous Policies & Procedures Manuals. It was torture! I mostly understood what it said but I didn't really get it until I had to do it. Once I was thrown into the trenches, I learned policies and procedures in dealing with customers and employers and collegues and supervisors and so on and so on. Authentic Learning has given current "learners" the opportunity to better understand the careers or topics being studied. I think that it challenges the research based vs. practical based method of learning. Although both are crucial to the full understanding of a topic, practical experience has not been as readily available as they have become with technology.
The Polaris system that was created seemed to make real world sense. Students were not only doing assignments for their classes but they were able to see the practical use of their school work and gained actual experience. Technology provides accessibility (hands on experience) to real problems and real solutions. Authentic Learning's "goal of giving learners the confidence that comes from being recognized as part of a community of practice" is something that takes students years to gain. Authentic Learning is not as prevalent because the thought is often "if it ain't broke..." unfortunately, that persepctive limits the options that students can have. Often teachers don't have as much technology experience as their students. They may feel intimidated based on their student's vast technology savvy. Although we may not be seeing Authentic Learning pratices in all classroom settings, this is a teaching practice that is going to continue to grow to meet the needs and demands of the continually advanced students.