Our player is me: Stephanie, a second-year fourth grade teacher and novice player on the teacher-tech stage. I could be any one of the many teachers on a similar journey. I would venture to say that we all experience bouts of stage fright at some point in our careers. It is normal. Expected, even. We ask ourselves the same questions: What do I have to offer that someone else can’t supply? What good will my opinion do? Hasn’t my question been asked countless times before?
It was magical learning about a place my students had never before heard of and will probably never see for themselves. Learning that was totally led by the students and their interest in that classroom in Greece. And that learning will continue. The children in Greece, too, have questions for us to answer. More magic. More serendipity. I love my connected classroom.
A great many of our students today can count on communicating at a global level throughout their adult lives. It’s our responsibility as educators of 21st century learners to help them become very aware of and sensitive to the cultural and behavioral differences that are inevitable when communication can take place instantaneously from any two or more points across the planet Earth.
I’ve been thinking about where I’m finding my best support for my own learning these days. While I’ve been going to my Twitter network and saving links, resources, and graphics to help me plan a new technology integration course for teachers, I’ve found that it’s actually my community of inquiry within Powerful Learning Practice that has lead me to the deepest learning. I think I owe it to my learners to help them understand that while Twitter networks might lead them to incredible contacts and resources, our classroom community will be where they can get down and dirty with some really messy learning.
Is it possible for primary and secondary students in two very different countries like Lesotho and Norway to collaborate using technology? What can we learn from each other and how would we even attempt to start such a project? Based on written applications, four high school students from Norway were chosen to accompany me to Lesotho and stay for 4 days. Our goal was to help a primary school with technology and teach the students how to use laptops to make presentations for a joint project with our school. It was an amazing experience!
Marsha Ratzel and Shelley Wright are regular writers here at PLP’s Voices from the Learning Revolution group blog. They both teach science, they both keep popular personal blogs about their classroom practice. Marsha’s from Kansas, Shelley’s from Saskatchewan. Shelley teaches high schoolers, Marsha teaches ‘tweens. They’ve never met but they’ve become colleagues and collaborators thanks to their Powerful Learning Practice experience. This dialogue about classroom Google jockeys is their first joint post for VFLR.