Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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Tuesday at NECC

Tuesday started off with an inspiring Keynote hosted by Lester Holt from NBC. After promoting their new NBC Learn program which is archived news clips on demand, Lester interviewed Mali Bickley and Jim Carlton from Ontario, Canada. These two teachers reignited their love of teaching by bringing down the walls of their classrooms through global collaboration. These two teachers worked with iEarn to collaborate on a number of projects. One of the most powerful projects was a project with children of war. They made a connection with a school in Sierra Leone. The project grew into an initiative to build a new high school for these kids in Sierra Leone. The kids in Canada worked to raise money for computers and other things that the students in Sierra Leone needed in order to communicate with the rest of the world. The impact this project has had on the kids in both Canada and Sierra Leone is very powerful. Mali and Jim had lots of great ideas about getting teachers and students collaborating on projects. One simple idea was to have a school collaborate on a project and post their collaborative work on a web page or wiki. For instance, all of the students could learn about water and then each class would post what they learned on a shared page. During the keynote, they also announced some ISTE awards. At least 3 stars were among those honored. Carol Anne Maguire of Rock Our World was honored as teacher of the year. Lisa Parisi, Brian Crosby and Christine Southard were honored for their work on the Harris Burdick collaborative writing project.

I attended a workshop connection Marzano’s, Classroom Instruction that Works to Web 2.0 tools. Stephanie Sandifer did a great job of sharing how the ideas presented in Marzano’s work easily connect to Web 2.0 tools. Stephanie’s session was being broadcast to teachers in Arilington, Virginia, who were participating in the discussion. The discussion was also happening on UStream and on Twitter and Chat. Stephanie demonstrated how these tools could be shared with teachers in a professional development setting. She shared how much more powerful the model of just in time teaching is using web 2.0 tools. Teachers have a need, you then share a way to meet that need using a tool. Teachers remember the tool, because they used it in a meaningful way. Sounds like good teaching practice for students as well.

My day of exploring good professional development models continued with the Kansas initiative “Technology Rich Classrooms.” The emphasized the importance of building professional learning communities. Teachers collaborate together to learn and use new tools in meaningful ways.

I finished off the theme of the day with Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach’s session on Powerful Learning Practice. Again, the idea was set around building a strong and diverse group of people to act as your professional learning community. A lot of emphasis on learning from each other.
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