Friday, September 17, 2010

Lighting the Fire

This week I was asked to speak to the District science teachers.  The topic: "21st Century Collaboration."  Hmm. A dilemma.  I don't know about you, but I've had about enough of "21st Century" in the title of anything. I mean, what else should we be doing? We only have 90 years left in this century.  "collaboration."  OK...that's in my wheel house...Cooperative Learning master.

The eyes of my audience were a kaleidescope of emotions. Anticipation, and excitement as well as skepticism and, yes, dread permeated.  Can you say "Differentiated instruction?"

The faces turned to wonder, relief and intrigue as the conversation went on.

I spoke very little about technology.  Instead we talked about "authentic audience,"  and "meaningful purpose."  We talked about "inquiry" and "Positive Interdependence," and how learning science cannot be bridled by the walls of a school.  We talked about "Wouldn't it be great to work with some kids near Ottawa, Illinois, who live on the banks of the Illinois river, infested with Asian carp, and get video, data, and first-hand experience on invasive species.  How about getting in contact with professors and researchers from institutions around the country. Fermilab is right down the road...but why stop there. The excitement grew with the potential of how their classes could change. Then the moment I waited for arrived: "But how can we do this?"

THEN we talked about technology.