Today is a Snow Day in G-Town, much to the delight of our teachers and students. I’m still required to work, but I love snow days as much as the next person. Why? I get a full workday, without interruption, to accomplish any project I would like. I try to get to things I don’t normally have an opportunity to work on.
This morning, I’ve been listening to my first podcasts over at edtechlive. As tech savvy as I’m becoming (thanks to Will Richardson for the reference in his article in this month’s issue of NAESP’s Principal magazine), I’m honestly not always out there trying new technologies.
In an effort to continue learning, I really listened to Chris Lehmann and Will Richardson’s podcasts. Hate to say what others so often do, but I never have taken the time (note I didn’t say that I don’t have the time) to listen or watch. I also watched Robert Scoble’s PodTech video interview with Bill Gates.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think this format works for me. I was cleaning out files while I listened. That doesn’t take a lot of thought. And I wasn’t as engaged as when I’m reading. I also wasn’t really reflecting. Maybe it’s me. I seldom watch TV and could live without the radio. I’m a voracious reader and that must be why blogging works so well for me.
Naturally, my next thought is about learning. If I were still a classroom teacher, I would most likely use blogging in the classroom much more than podcasts or video interviews. That wouldn’t be as helpful to all of the learners in the classroom who get more from audio or video. Once again, seventeen years into education I’m realizing that it’s important to mix it up in the classroom, using a variety of instructional strategies.
Here’s where my thought has evolved and this is the thing that’s different about my thinking based on what I’ve learned through blogging. Instead of teachers directing the different kinds of learning, with all students being subjected to all strategies, connecting with some while their classmates connect more with others—we need to give our students opportunities for creative collaboration where they get to learn in whatever ways work for them. I know it’s being said a lot in the edublogging communities, but it’s about allowing our students to own their own learning with access to the wide, wonderful web with whatever format works best for them.
Can I say again how thankful I am that I started reading and learning online, which has allowed me to evolve into a better teacher and administrator? I keep hearing and reading that it takes getting school leaders involved to make a difference in schools. As a high school principal, I can say with experience that I do have the power, and the responsibility, to make a real difference for our students. As do my colleagues.