I want to write about teaching in middle school at this time in history, when the world and especially the world of education, is changing so rapidly. What my students needed 5-10 years ago to succeed is still relevant, but there is a new set of skills and ways of thinking to which I need to expose them. A set that is changing and evolving every day! As someone who received my Masters in Education over 30 years ago, I have had to take an incredible journey, learning about what a 2.0 World is and how to function in it. Originally, I thought of myself as the immigrant, to use the common language, but as I worked with my students, I have begun to see that I am a tour guide to a world that they know exists but that they rarely visit – except for Facebook and games. In many ways, I know this world better than they do, because I am a constant visitor, tasting the food, tripping down the stairs, meeting new people.
I want to use this place to share my explorations, to identify the tools that enhanced the learning in my classroom, and to learn from those who comment and guide my journey. I would not even be trying this if it weren’t for my PLN on Twitter, which has taught me to reach beyond the walls of my room and make deep, real connections with the world.
I think this is a nice, inviting first post to which probably many of us (teachers of learners between 10 years old and early 20s) can relate in one way or another.
I’m 34 and see myself as an immigrant, and feel I’ve taken quite a journey myself to begin to understand and interact in the 2.0 World (almost a year ago I was even wondering why it was “2.0”!).
And what you mention about your students using the web mostly to play games or use Facebook rings a lot of bells. I can recall conversations with other teachers about that from just a few days ago and a couple of months as well. In fact, the ICT coordinator at the school where I teach made a point of this when coaching us into the blogosphere, so to speak.
I also think that maybe, in addition to the skills we obviously see as still relevant, there are some others we needed to teach decades ago that are also still valid, and we just need to see how they work in a different context. Critical thinking was always a useful if not necessary skill, for example, but I don’t remember such a buzz about fostering it as the one I’ve been feeling this past year. And still, there must have been teachers and teacher trainers instilling it in their learners!
It’s also interesting, I think, to see how attitudes towards (and in) cyberspace have changed from the early 1990s or so. Everything seemed to point then to a technology-driven world that would isolate, alienate and take over our lives (I remember the film The Net, with S.Bullock) and yet here we are, learning from one another and sharing all kinds of things.
All my best wishes in this new and exciting venture -and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think there’s anything I can help with. (@bealup)
Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage my start. I am quite excited by it all. The subject is one that I think about all the time, and sharing my thoughts with others who care about it as well, in more than 140 characters, is going to be fun and challenging. Thanks for sharing the ride!
Welcome to blogging! How do you like it so far? I find wordpress a bit hard. I’m more comfortable with Blogspot.
I am sure your kids freaked when they saw u on FB. What a cool lesson!
Thanks for the welcome. So far – 2 days – wordpress has been fine. There was a question posed on Twitter about which vehicle was best and wordpress came out on top, so I went with it. We shall see. It did surprise them; I can definitely say that.