Monday, March 8, 2010

A Perfect Storm

Sometimes it just all comes together. And for me, that time is now. I have had three forces come together recently that have compelled me to action.

ONE: A couple weeks back my administration had approached me and my partner and felt that the time is now to make some changes in the way our kids learn.

TWO: Saturday, I returned from the first Google Administrator's Acadamy, (see last post) where after an intense day of Google, we were asked to create an action plan over the next few months.

THREE: Upon returning, I was made aware of President Obama's plan for Transforming (as opposed to Reforming) the American education system, with an emphasis on leveraging technology to, among other things, break down the divide between how students learn outside of school and how they (don't?) inside.

And this is after attending Educon in January, METC and ICE in February, where the resounding message was to have students "own" their education through student-centered, inquiry-driven purposeful learning experiences.

How can I NOT respond?

However, an initial reaction may be to boil with enthusiasm and quixotically, sally forth into the educational maelstrom.

But that won't last. I'll just end up wet, cold, and discouraged.

Change is hard, especially for an institution like American education, that still keeps an agrarian calendar.

So instead my plan is to purposefully make small changes, one at a time.

And I am continuing with a study of what I learned at the GTA. Sure I am a "Certified Google Teacher," but really, what Friday in San Antonio showed me is how MUCH I need to learn, on my own, from my colleagues at work, my PLN, and our students.

Here's what I plan:

I will select one of the applications I learned at the GTA, and spend an evening, approaching it from this perspective: "What sound uses of this help transform how my students learn?" (Notice the emphasis on sound pedagogy, not magical tools)

One every night? no way. Surely, one night I will have to drive kids to practice, move furniture for the carpet coming, or go pick up my daughter from college. THREE nights a week is reasonable, don't you think?

As I continue, I will collect my data via: this blog, my delicious page (jorech) and by posting questions and findings on twitter (again, jorech).

Tonight, I focus on searching with Google. I'm pretty adept at advanced search, using the "site:" strategy as well as the "Show Options" (Wonder Wheel and Timeline." Instead, I think I will focus on "Books" and "Square." Lisa Thumann, whom I follow on Twitter (and you should too) who did the presentation on Search, said she has my back if I have any questions. God Bless my PLN.

Now I'll ask for a favor. Keep me honest. They say if you are trying to lose weight, to tell someone else so you have a support group to keep you going. See? now I told you. Now I am committed. Here I go.


Henry Thiele said...


One night a week is reasonable as well. That is 52X more per year. We usually consider doubling our odds of learning as pretty good 50X more is awesome!


Debbie G. said...

I agree with Hank that even one night/wk. is reasonable. As you learn I look forward to learning from you as you post on your blog and twitter. I'm at the same point as you with google search. Need to start using other google tools.


jorech said...

Hank and Debbie,

You are both right...Perhaps still a bit quixotic. Once a week sounds more realistic.