The State of Illinois requires all teachers and administrators to attend so many hours of professional development to be eligible to get re-certified and continue in their position. As an administrator, I must average 20 hours of professional development per year and attend a “special” conference called an Administrator’s Academy at least once a during the calendar year. The biggest complaint that I have about these required hours is that most professional development opportunities are scheduled during a school day when students and teachers expect to see their principal in school. I understand why the State requires these hours and do not disagree that all educators need to stay current on educational practice, not unlike any other professional occupation, so I have tried to keep the best attitude about it and get the most out of them.
Which brings me to the main point of this post(yes, I do have one…I think). Yesterday I attended my annual Administrator’s Academy in Charleston. The title of the workshop was called The Digital Leader @ School. I will say that this one of the most engaging conferences I have attended for some time. The presenter, Meg Ormiston (her website which has a lot of really cool tools, ideas and etc…), did a great job with the material and really knows her stuff! The experience really illustrated the point that we as educators must keep current! Information is growing at an incredible rate and we understand this, but the tools for learning and collaborating are changing just as fast and I am afraid we are falling behind at just as great a rate. In some instances we are banishing the tools by making them against policy or are blocking their access on the Internet because we are afraid of what might pop up or how it will affect the network. In many cases we are using new tools like the old ones!
I am trying my best to model some of the new tools available on the Internet and I am hoping that staff will try to learn about and integrate some of these technologies to engage their students.
Some of the new stuff that I have learned about or have set a goal to become proficient with include:
Twitter I am not sure how this will integrate into the class room. If you look at the upper right hand column of this blog you can see what I am twittering(I wish they would have picked a better name!) about. Basically if I type it in….it will be displayed. People can subscribe or follow my account and keep up with what I am doing or thinking. It might be great for a social group of geeks (like me minus the social part) to keep up with each other. Class room use???? Let me know what you think.
Skype I think this has a lot of potential for many different things. It allows you to phone from a PC(personal computer) to any other connected PC(and if you want to pay, any landline or mobile phone too). It will also allow for live video during a call. Conferencing is possible with multiple users. The ability for your classroom to expand to include other classrooms and experts in their field could revolutionize what you are doing.
RSS Really Simple Syndication. Most news outlets, newspapers, blogs and etc have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to(including my blog!)and get an update every time that something new is posted. If you have an iGoogle account, you can set up your home page to receive whatever your favorite feeds are and you can have all of your favorite information available all on one page! VERY CONVENIENT!
Google Sketchup As the website says:
Google SketchUp is a powerful yet easy-to-learn 3D software tool that combines a simple, yet robust tool-set with an intelligent drawing system that streamlines and simplifies 3D design. From simple to complex, conceptual to realistic, Google SketchUp enables you to build and modify 3D models quickly and easily. If you use Google Earth, Google SketchUp allows you to place your models using real-world coordinates and share them with the world using the Google 3D Warehouse
To Be added as I get time!
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