The end of day 1 of the Learning Institute at the American School of London is drawing to a close. It’s been a great day, if not a bit overwhelming. By the way, they have graciously lent me a MacBook on which to update this blog, so if there are bizarre typos, please realize that I’m using a European Keyboard with British spelling activated. I’m also not over my jet-lag, so please be kind.
Today, we really got to know our new instructor Leah Treesh, a teacher at an International School in Germany and educational consultant for technology. If you have the chance, be sure to check out her website, there’s lots of cool resources and ideas for educators and administrators (I know that I will be culling it when I return home).
Today, we were familiarized a bit more with some of the tools that we will be using. I’m falling in love with the program Mind Meister, that you can use for collaborative outlining. We used it to brainstorm our own thoughts, conceptions, and ideas and it really helped to foster discussion.
I think I’m going to use this for some collaborative, discussion work with my students – especially at the beginning of the year when they are still nervous about participating in the classroom.
- At first it is used as a direct substitution for an existing material with no functional change (e.g. typewriters in lieu of hand-written essays)
- Augmentation is when the tool substitutes for another material/practice and there is minor functional improvement (such as the word processor, which adds on spell-check and a thesaurus).
- Next is modification, which then permits the technology employed to significantly redesign a task (think of paper replacing slate, which allowed for more permanent creations).
- Last is Redefinition, which occurs when technology creates its own tasks and achievements that were previously inconceivable or impossible (code writing, video editing, etc).
We then got to play with some cool tools and software on our own and as a group. It was great to collaborate with my overseas colleagues about their achievements and pitfalls, successes and failures, and share ideas and conceptions. We are even blogging as a group: Surviving & Thriving Teachers (where there will be far better ideas resources than what I can share here).