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Look Up, Not Down – A Guide to Professional Development

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As I spend more time downtown in Chicago, I am looking up much more than looking down. Reaching new heights is what we want out of all our students and colleagues. We want the sense of wonder and possibilities. I am constantly looking for ways to promote being a “life-long contributor,” not a life-long learner. Learning is too passive for me, in order to contribute, you have to LEARN, then create. It takes another step to create and share.

I will be teaching all summer at the summer institute at DePaul University with the Golden Apple Scholars. These college students are coming off their first year of college.They are quite a diverse group of students: 35% are from Chicago, 33% from the suburbs, and 32% from rural or downstate Illinois. Over 60% are the first in their family to attend college. Plus, they come from a variety of colleges and universities, private and public, and small or large. They will have also had a vastly different education in technology and/or educational technology.

There lies our problem in education today. I anticipate that this year will be much like last year. I am hoping it is not. One out of fourteen in my classes last year had ever heard of google docs, only two were working on online portfolios. These are the students that are “caught” between the old school of teaching and the liberating world of web 2.0.

So, how will I start? With an inventory of skill set, using a google doc, best describing their skills and knowledge in educational technology.

Learning platform of sharing

I have decided to use Edmodo for our platform. (Shh, I have never really used this before, so I have attended webinars to make sure I can soar with them) The first day I will go through the platform enabling them to sign up.

Social Learning

I am going to run the class much like I did when I taught 4-8. The first week is organization. Getting account set up and set the tone of the class of innovation and creativity.

Set up these six accounts. Profile and add me as a connection/friend. Create a short presentation in each one and post them on Edmodo . Content will be discussed in class (It will centered around individual passions and interests.)

1. Google Account (including Google+)

2. Edmodo

3. VoiceThread

4. Animoto

5. Glogster

6. Prezi

Create a creative and artistic product.

Know here comes the kicker. I want my students to look up from the ground, innovate, and see possibilities. I will stress the importance of a mile deep, rather than a mile long. I would prefer a ONE FABULOUS project than five projects that are completed. However, they could do all five projects if they choose. Creativity comes in waves.

Timelines are fine, but I am really more interested in how creative and innovative the scholars can be. I want them to look up to see the sky as the limit, not the ground as the standard.

The purpose of this project is to see what they can create, not if they can create on a timeline. When I stopped placing hard deadlines on projects, not only did the project quality improve, but many students kept a deadline. Fancy that!

I will have two formats for the class one in google sites and the other in a closed community of Edmodo. By allowing students to take risks within the Edmodo site, without the entire world knowing about it. But, for those who want an audience and develop a web presence, the projects will be posted on https://sites.google.com/site/goldenscholars.

Finally, the real key is to ALLOW the scholars to move ahead. I always hated it when the instructor was more concerned that everyone did the same project, in my words “cookie cutter” projects. There might be a few who already have completed an online portfolio and are quite connected with their PLN, those are the ones I will challenge to create a blog and podcasts interviewing fellow classmates on their process and individual growth as a young college student preparing to teach the children born in the 21st century.

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One Response

  1. Carol, My Assistant Principal’s daughter is a Golden Apple Scholar, and I heard all about you from her. I attended the ICE conference a few years ago and met you there and have still followed different things that you have done, so I thought it was neat that she was going to be working with you. My instructions to her were to listen to everything you had to say with technology because it was probably going to be the most amazing thing she ever heard! Thank you for being so awesome with promoting our discipline.

    Stephanie

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