USN Lower School Technology!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Keyboarding Continues, with Some Additions!

We're working well through our scaffolded touch-typing program in the Lower School Technology for Learning lab. I want to take this news-light opportunity to mention a couple of things that have me working for our students outside of school hours.

The first is a PBS documentary you probably haven't seen, since WNPT, our local public television station, chose to run it at a 3:00 a.m. time slot. Actually, if you have an interest in education, you may have DVR'd it. Good for you if you did.

Here's a trailer for the film:

The special was a documentary on the state of American public schools called "Where We Stand: America's Schools in the 21st Century." And if you didn't see it, there's still a way. Visit the NPT website and search for it, or here, here's a direct link to the show's site, where you can watch the entire show in 5 segments, watch only the segments that most interest you, and also read and view additional material not included in the scheduled broadcast. My own participation in this was through the online virtual environment Second Life, as moderator of a discussion about the show during a special get-together at SL's ISTE Island, the "inworld" home of the International Society for Technology in Education, an 85,000 member-strong organization of which I'm proud to be a member. You can read more about ISTE's work in Second Life here.

There were 20 or 30 educators in at the four separate campfires where we talked about this sometimes alarming documentary. Attendance at my campfire, co-moderated by WLRN San Antonio's Education Director Malinda McCormick, was light, but we did have a nice chat with friend and leading tech innovator Kathy Schrock. We moved to the other voice campfire (two of the meeting groups were using voice chat only) to join 8 or 10 folks engaged in a lively conversation.

The video documentary increased my already intense concern for the future of our children, but it also made me truly thankful for the company I keep at University School of Nashville, especially that of your children.

If you watched it, feel free to comment here.

The second outside project has more impact here at school, and it's another 3-D virtual environment called Quest Atlantis. Sometime over the next couple of months, I hope to break it out here at USN for our 4th graders, and in order to do that I've committed to at least 2 hours in the evening, once a week, for the month of September, for online training facilitated by a wonderful teacher in Australia named Bronwyn Stuckey. She's a member of the faculty at Indiana University, the home of QA, and she's gently leading 15 American teachers through the training, all of us present in the environment synchronously. One of the things I'm learning, along with the remarkable underlying threads of social commitment and kindness and helpfulness that drive the program, is just how to introduce the project not just to my students but also to their parents. So stay tuned for your own learning. Meanwhile, if you want to do some preview, check out .

Lifelong learning: We start 'em early and if we're lucky we work to keep up with them!

Cheers to all.

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