Monday, January 16, 2012

Innovation - by Shirley


Definition:   1. the introduction of something new
                     2. a new idea, method, or device

There was a recent chat on twitter #isedchat about what constitutes an innovative teacher, classroom and school. It made me really think about how much my style of teaching has changed in the past few years and how lucky I am to be teaching in a school that allows for innovation and has encouraged me to be innovative.
I am in no way an expert in technology but using technology has enabled me to help my students create, collaborate, share globally and teach others around the world. Yes, the technology tools are only that – tools, but they have helped created the innovation in my classroom and that in turn has encouraged much more independent thinking and doing by my students. I have taken a back seat more and more and see myself not as a teacher but as a facilitator who guides, models and encourages students to take charge of their own learning.

We use a variety of social networking tools in class including our class blog, our Twitter account @pds6th, Skype, Edmodo, Class Wikis - Crispin and Our Ancient Greek Studies

So what have my students accomplished with these tools that is innovative? 
How about these three examples… 

1.  A group of our 6th and 7th graders from Poughkeepsie Day School in New York experienced some exciting real life learning when they participated in the ITU Telecom World 2011conference from Geneva, Switzerland titled, Visions of a Networked Future. Students sat enthralled watching and listening to the innovative speakers’ predictions about the future of technology, sometimes agreeing and also disagreeing with the panel’s ideas. They then rapidly fired inspiring questions to the panel of expert futurists through a Twitter feed, which were then answered by various members of the panel. This was an amazing example of how technology can make it possible for students and experts around the world to discuss and share their ideas. Our classroom truly has no walls……

The panelists were…

Gerd Leonhard... CEO,The Futures Agency,Switzerland
Juliana Rotich... CEO, Ushahidi Inc., Kenya
Rachel Armstrong... Senior TED Fellow, Senior Lecturer, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom
Rohit Talwar,... CEO, Fast Future, United Kingdom
Simon Torrance... Founder 2.0 Initiative, and Chief Executice Officer, STL Partners, United Kingdom

It was a great class and now Rachel wants to Skype with us and talk more about the future....

Some students views...

2. 6th grade students from PDS enjoy blogging and welcome comments, ideas and suggestions from other students around the world. They recently took part in a student blogging challenge organized by Edublogs and met each challenge with excitement, enthusiasm and a variety of wonderful posts and web2.0 tools. They are now participating in a Quadblogging project with three schools from the UK. 

Here is our blog page telling the world all about it....

Quadblogging in 6th Grade 

We are excited to take part in the QuadBlogging project for January and February 2012.

Here is a video explaining what we will be doing…

These are the three other schools we will be visiting through blogging. We uses Google earth to find these schools and will also Skype  and get to know each other as students and bloggers. The other schools will be browsing and commenting on our blog the first week. The following three weeks we will browse and comment on each of the other schools' blogs.  We also hope to do some collaborative writing with these schools.

Here are the first two comments from the UK... 
Nell and Rykiya Said, 
January 10, 2012@ 5:35 am       
Hello ,We wil be quadblogging with your school in 1 or 2 weeks 

Naomi & Ceri-lee Said, January 10, 2012@ 5:36 am       
We really liked how you put lots of pictures and video’s on your blog and now I can finally see
how different our schools really are! Great work.
We love how you made litte avatars for when you comment on something. It’s brilliant!!! 

3.     6th and 7th grade students at Poughkeepsie Day School are involved in the 20/20 NAIS Challenge, which is a team problem solving activity.  We are working with schools in Spain,  Argentina and the USA to help solve the real global problem of Education For All by finding solutions that can be implemented at the local area as well as globally. We use Skype and wikis to collaborate, plan and share our ideas and projects.  Here are links to our wikis explaining what we are doing…
This is a voki introducing one group of students.. 
     Are these 6th graders being introduced to something new, a new idea, method, or device? What do you think?