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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I recently completed an introductory course to the world of Web2.0 tools.  The following is my final reflection from that course:

Wow - what a summer of learning this has been!  Just a few short months ago, I would have said that the internet was good for a few things - email, shopping, and Facebook.  Well, I also used it as a resource to look up information for time to time.  However, after attending the November Learning Institute, ISTE, and doing the 11 Tools course, I have had my eyes opened to a whole new world - an exciting world!

There are several resources online that I have come to really depend on for professional growth. I enjoy checking Twitter from time to time using some of my favorite hash tags; I am following several different blogs and using Google reader on my iGoogle page to do that;  and, while I initially found the daily emails from Diigo annoying (so I just deleted them), I have come across some great resources in those emails so I do try to scan it on a daily basis.

One of the things that I would like to do professionally is have a blog that I can use to share information with others.  I've really thought a lot this summer about the need/obligation to be a contributor AND a consumer of information online. I have to admit that, since I do feel so new to this web2.0 world, I really battle the thought running through my head that I don't have anything of value to add to the world out there.  These other people who have well-established blogs...the ones that I'm following...are good enough and why shouldn't I just refer others to those blogs?  But...I have come to think of it differently.  I see my blog starting out as a resource to others in my own little world.  Perhaps it's a place where I can post all of the great ideas that I find...that others may not have the time to investigate & filter through...and share them in a way that I think would work well HERE. And it's okay if there are only a few people who look at it.  If it will help those few people then that is what is important.

As for students...I think that many of the ideas espoused in by November Learning group and through the 11Tools course fit very well with my philosophy of education.  I have always been an advocate for student choice, collaborating, sharing, etc.  I guess the one thing that I've really thought hard about through all of this, perhaps more as a mother of 2 young children than as an educator, is my personal belief that we still have an obligation to raise children who can communicate orally face-to-face with others.  I understand the benefits of giving children the opportunity to collaborate and learn with others around the world...and I "get" that kids are communicating via all of these different mediums whether we like it or not...and I want students who are engaged in what they are learning.  But just like we never migrated to the metric system in the U.S., I don't think we will ever get to the point in our society where we won't need to be able to talk and communicate with others effectively.  Or...perhaps another way to think about it is that those who CAN talk and communicate with others effectively will have a huge advantage over those who cannot. So then they key  - the golden ticket - becomes finding the balance in all of that.

I'm not sure if I've answered all of the "questions" for this tool, but these are the thoughts that I've been pondering the past few months.  I think this is such an exciting time in our world...and in Spring Branch. The other day we were telling our kids about how we would get up on Saturday morning to watch cartoons because they weren't on during the week...and now they can stream most of what they want through Netflix 24 hours a day.  My oldest son's comment was, "I'm sure glad I'm alive now and not then!"  And while I sometimes wish cartoons were only on on Saturday morning, I think I can say the same thing about being an educator.  "I'm glad I'm teaching others now and not 30 years ago!"


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