After NECC 2008: What will I DO now?

Posted on July 6, 2008

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In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.                                     – Author Unknown

The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret to outward success.                                            – Henry Ward Beecher

While NECC 2008 is still fresh, I wanted to set personal goals. What actions, as a result of my experiences at NECC, will I now take?

I came away from the conference with many ideas, conversations, and connections, but, I think it’s important for me to try to focus on a few key areas and force myself to pen action items; otherwise, I might drown in the ocean of ideas, or tread incessantly, or continue to navigate never setting sail.

So, here are areas I want to focus on personally:

     Visual Literacy

  • Read the books I’ve ordered (see previous post for list) to deepen my understanding of what visual literacy in the 21st Century entails.
  • Design lesson/project for my students that includes their exploration of the basics of visual design, their application of the principles, and their understanding of why it is an important life skill. I’m not sure where in the curriculum this belongs, but I know it needs to come early so that they can apply this learning throughout the year.
  • Create lesson to explore Creative Commons and how to cite photos or any sources responsibly.

     Digital Storytelling

  • Design-as part of my narrative writing unit-a digital storytelling project.
  • Create a slideshow as a model for my students: As Daniel Pink  (in Johnny Bunko) uses storytelling to explain a concept, I want to use storytelling (via a slideshow) to explain a reading strategy, making connections. I’m certain I’m no Daniel Pink, but I’m giving it–creativity–a shot.
  • Continue to research digital storytelling, compiling a list of resources and supplemental materials for my students and for other teachers.

     Project-Based Learning

  • Re-read Understanding by Design (maybe order the latest edition).
  • Create at least four (one each quarter) fully developed units for my students this year.
  • Develop resources for the 21clc team as we explore the concept.

       Ed Tech Leader

  • Find and write a grant in collaboration with the 21clc team.
  • Continue to work with the 21clc team and plan for expansion next year.
  • Create an English Department website in collaboration with the English Department (maybe a wiki, blog, or Google site)

Notice, there is no mention of specific digital tools. One of the most important principles NECC reinforced for me is educational technology is not about teaching tech tools: it is about teaching content and skills using the most appropriate tools to maximize teaching and learning, about teaching kids how to find, to select, to evaluate tools to take charge of their own learning.

Hopefully, next summer, I’ll be re-reading this list, satisfied with my progress.

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Posted in: EdTech, Reflection