Sunday, January 24, 2010



That word instills fear in some, excitement in some and both for others. Change can be difficult, but I believe it is all in the way of how you approach it.

There are those that the word change makes their knees start shaking. They are like Chicken Little running around and screaming "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" They get all flustered at the slightest change and need lots of reassurance that things will be okay. They look to others for help without looking at what they themselves are capable of first.

There are those that embrace change. They are the ones that have no fear in trying something new and appear to be very accepting when things come their way. When change does fall in their lap, they persevere ahead and do not let it drag them down. It's like they don't even miss a beat!

Personally, I am someone who feels both. I tend to look change in the face and say "Come on and get me!", while in the pit of my stomach are butterflies fluttering about and banging into each other. On the eve of a change in our district technology this is exactly how I am feeling.

How do you approach change? Any tips to quiet the butterflies?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Little People Fear Nothing

I give all the credit in the world to the kindergarten teachers of the world! I spent one hour with two different kindergarten classes today and my eyes were open to a whole new light.

I was in the computer lab awaiting their arrival and trying my best not to worry about all these little persons coming in and scampering about. And then I heard it.... "Oh my goodness! There are COMPUTERS!!!" Those little ones were so overcome with excitement how could one not get pumped to be with them?!

The kindergarten teacher and I got them each settled at a computer with each child clutching in their hands a card with their first name, last name and student ID number, like it was the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory. The way our network is currently set up is that students can sign on to an individual account using this information. Well, let me tell you, this was a feat in itself just getting them logged in. Once we all got our names spelled right and the right ID numbers typed in we were good to go!

I keep coming back to the idea of play in technology to see what kids can figure out by exploring on their own. So first we talked about what it meant to explore something. The kids decided that it meant: look around and see what you can find out. So I let them loose to explore Pixie2. There truly are so many Possibilities with Pixie.

After they got over the shock of being asked to "just explore" it was not long until you heard the sounds of little voices full of joy and wonder. It seemed so natural to them to shout out "Look what I did!" and then the students around them look over and then exclaim "Cool! How did you do it?" And then the best thing happened - they started teaching each other what they had figured out through exploring. After awhile we came back together as a class and I had students take turns showing what they had learned to everyone.

These little people had NO FEAR in clicking buttons to see what would happen. In just a few minutes time they had figured out everything that probably would have taken me 30 minutes to talk about and show and they probably wouldn't remember. There is something to be said in setting them free and letting them guide you in what they need help with.

So....let the little people in our schools at that technology and sit back in amazement at what they can do!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Idea of Playing

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the first gathering of a small group of colleagues interested in discussing The Digital Writing Workshop by Troy Hicks. We were only supposed to meet for an hour but the conversation was flowing so well when we looked at the clock we were of course over that!

An interesting topic of conversation that was raised was the idea of play in using technology. Some educational philosophers share the idea that children learn new concepts through play. Some academic programs are based around the concept of learning through play at the primary level. I say - Yes! - learning through play is a great idea!

When I was teaching first and second grades it was always powerful to allow students time to explore new tools before getting down to "the real work" we were going to do with them. It never failed that the students would start driving the instruction and learning through the discoveries they made while exploring.

I, and others, are finding this same concept of learning through play holding true with students learning new technology tools. By allowing students time to explore/play with a new tool they end up learning the features of that tool. Students end up sharing with one another what they have figured out and this leads to them engaging in conversations. And always, I mean always, they end up figuring out something I didn't even know yet!

What do you think about the idea of play using technology? Is it powerful? Do students learn from it? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wonderful Wallwisher Possibilities

I have a confession....

I am amazed at Kevin's Meandering Mind! I have learned so much from this member of my PLN and have been inspired by him. I am very excited to learn from him live at the Dublin Literacy Conference in February!

Wallwisher is a web-based tool I became aware of from him recently through his blog. Kevin posed a question and then opened up the opportunity for his PLN to answer through using Wallwisher. It was so interesting to see such a variety of educator's answers from across the U.S. It demonstrated the power of global learning!

I want to share about Wallwisher to my colleagues and also demonstrate the use of a PLN at the same time. Here's where you can help!

Please go to my Wallwisher and comment on an idea of how teachers and/or students could utilize Wallwisher in their learning experiences. I will be sharing this with colleagues throughout the next couple of weeks.

Thanks in advance for your contributions!