Friday, October 24, 2014

Blowing off the Dust

Can you believe it after almost 3 years I am compelled to blog.  Why is that? What has churned up my insides with awesomeness that I have to blog.  Well one name Darren Kuropatwa.  I was blessed this morning to sit in on his session about using images in teaching.  I have seen it all before but Darren being Darren kicked it up a notch.

Before I go into detail with the cool tools from Darren I should really talk about blogging and my lack of it. 

Personally I have not had time.... no I have not made time for blogging or twitter as of late.  Life at school changed with new roles and responsibilities.  I am in charge of our school lunch canteen.  I feed 300 kids various things every day.  It takes up every lunch hour during the school year.  I am not complaining but there went 55 minutes of reflection time. Life at home with 3 teen age boys also tends to get in the way of things.  Choice too comes into play when perhaps I want to spend time with my family and wife or training for a marathon instead of writing and reflecting.  Anyways perhaps this is a reason to write too.  Make time for quick reflection and let some of the goodness and badness out.

Even though I still have maintained student blogs every year since 2007 or maybe 2006 they really did not evolve with the time.  Their main purpose was to build a sense of community and keep the room transparent 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  In recent years students have started to look at the blog a digital paper. 

That was never its intent.  I feel that as my momentum slowed down and I started to learn less so did the purpose at the blog and the students attitude towards it.  For blogs this year to be successful they need to evolve and be what they once were.  Something cool and different that no one else does.  Using new tools to create this community within the blog itself might be the answer.  Many tools that Darren talked about today will allow students to use the blog as a canvas to showcase their learning in ways not yet done in this province and perhaps country.  I am ready to open some eyes again, my students, my colleagues and my PLN.  These kids are ready to show off what they know and l need to be there to help them do this. 

Bringing Blogging Back
So how do we bring blogging back, get that reflection and thinking and create a digital document.  I think it stems from the reason I have not been blogging.  Time.  Kids need to be able to get something created quickly but at the same time do something well.  What if kids use the blog as a digital folder, still do scribeposts but do it in a way that is more efficient.  I had been expecting kids to create scribepost in the same way that Darren and I had been doing for almost a decade.  Life changes and so do the assignments.

I am going to incorporate more video and audio into the blogs.  When kids see the new tools that are out there they should get enthused about blogging and scribing as their older brothers and sisters did years ago.  So what am I going to use? Good question.  What can I use is a better question.  The lab that is attached to my room is so old (How old is it?) that hamsters currently are used to power them by spinning a wheel. 7 year old Dell PC's can type but event that is difficult when the browsers that are on them do not support the java or flash that sites are using. So most of this work will have to be done at home.  For something to be done at home there had better be some kickass apps to use so that I get the use of the thumbs not the video games.

That will be another post but until then I will tease you with this.  Mozilla Popcorn
Imagine making a video in class on an Ipad and uploading it to the spmath youtube account.  
Then at home using Popcorn to add overlayers of links to other places where you could learn about the subject, images and links to more math info and even just some light hearted photos showing elements of the lesson.  This is pop up video meets youtube or any other video on the web.  This can be the driving force of the scribe post with its layers and the blog is the canvas where these videos will live.  
Wish me luck.  Jumping in with two feet!