My progress into Web 2.0

Well, I thought I would give an update into my adventure to become an active member of Web 2.0. Some days I have to admit, I read more than I respond to. I am going to try to overcome that.

When it comes to Twitter, Riptide Furse and so many others post really great urls and I drift away from one site to the next for a half an hour or more. It has been fun responding to others to help in a lesson or demonstration they are working on. I replied to a comment earlier this week made by Will Richardson, but wondered if I should have deleted it. Does someone so well known in this arena really care what I have to say?

I did join the NECC 2008 ning, and I will admit that I didn't know what a ning was until I saw it. That new step has really been helpful in knowing how to prepare for the conference. It made me happy to accept a new friend request and hopefully some of my own requests will be accepted. I have seen some other nings that look interesting so my goal is join those in the coming weeks.

I think what is holding me back is my fragile web ego, which is kind of strange considering my face-to-face ego is healthly. It feels like the first day of kindergarten, you want to run right in but it is such a strange, new place. You know you learn a lot and make new friends, but you don't want to be rejected. You feel like the others know more than you and that is scary too. It will all be okay though, it just takes time.


I Hate Grading!

The idea of grading is so ridiculous. Being a student that was and is too obessed with grades (currently in Grad school), I always wonder, Why? It is just a letter or number and we as a society decided to give it value.

As a teacher, I have a tendency to put off grading because I don't like it. Besides the hours it takes to truly evaluate an assignment and give feedback, I hate assigning a poor grade to something a student really tried hard on.

As a technology teacher, grading is even harder. My students have various ability levels and I am always asking them to try new stuff. We just finished building pages on wikispaces and some of them are great and some of them are not so great. I know all students tried, but what grade do I give? According to the rubric we created, some are going to fail. What are the implication of that grade? Is it going to discourage a student from trying to create a website or try new technologies?
How would you have felt if someone gave you a failing grade on your first webpage?


Interesting L & L article

I was reading the current edition Learning & Leading with Technology. It is always interesting because of the various articles and reviews of the newest hardware/software. One article that has been particularly interesting is the three part series about professional development entitled, "One Size Doesn't Fit All."

This article is interesting because I think it would be a good way to handle technology professional development at my school. The series made me start brainstorming different opportunities for different levels of expertise:
  • Demonstration and practice with the beginners

  • One-on-one sessions with all levels

  • A blog or wiki to share ideas, frustations, and successes

  • Tech help when using the mobile labs

  • Tech planning days

Then there was one section that described the type of learners as a new technology is introduced in the school environment. I immediately labeled myself an innovator not because I consider myself a technology genius, but I love trying stuff out in the classroom. Overtime I have gotten use to the failures so it doesn't scare me to try again.

I kept reading until I got to the part where they label the innovators as loners. It's true! I wish there was someone in my building that would help me grow as a professional, but there isn't. If I admit something doesn't work for me, others take it as a sign that it won't work for them. I feel bad when I don't have an immediate answer to others' tech issues because I am afraid they will give up. Maybe there are innovators in the building, they just are not easy to see?


Am I only Web 1.5?

I took some time to view the new updates on the DEN national institute wiki. There was a new section where people are sharing with Web 2.0 experiences. While there were the biggies like blogs, wikis, Twitter, and Flickr, there were many I had never heard of before. It just made me feel behind....Something to work on....

Why doesn't my class matter?

I am the Technology Integration teacher at my middle school. This is the first time ever when there was a formal class to learn how to apply computer skills to other subjects in this school. I am very proud of the strides my students have made this year, but I am the only one.

Before I took the technology position, I was a Reading/Language Arts teacher. Back then I was important in the building. My opinion mattered when it came to instruction and data. When my students made strides people cared and wanted to know what I did to try to replicate it. I was on many committees and in the thick of it, but all of that disappeared. I don't understand why?

Technology is the present and the future. I keep waiting to see my students apply their skills in other classes, but there are no opportunities for them.

I want to scream from the stage in the cafeteria: It matters! My class matters! Look what these kids are capable of! Even the ones you throw out of class because they won't work! All of this matters!


Why start?

This leap into Web 2.0 came from two upcoming events for me: NECC 2008 and DEN National Institute.

In the past three years I have been attending the National Middle School Association conference and found lots of information. I declared I wasn't attending this year because the issues in middle school haven't changed and last year there were so few sessions about technology. Plus when I got back to my school, there were so few opportunities to share what I had learn. This year I wanted to attend a conference where I could share in learning with educators like myself. While my school colleagues are keeping track of the countdown until the end of the school year, I follow my NECC countdown on my 2008 DEN calendar.

Then the second amazing event, I was invited to the DEN National Institute. I applied last year and was completely bummed when I wasn't accepted. This year I applied day one, but was determined not to get my hopes up. On April 18th, I received the email that I was accepted and have been on cloud nine ever since. By the way, if you haven't become a Star educator yet, what are you waiting for?

It was incredible that I would have two amazing summer experiences, but was I ready. I felt like a kid again with the birthday party invitation and not knowing what to where or what to bring. So I set out on a mission, I was coming to both parties prepared.

  • I set up a gmail account for all tech stuff (my personal and school accounts are already bogged down)
  • I would join Twitter (had been meaning to try it out anyways)
  • I would develop my personal blog to track my progress and allow myself to reflect on my learning.


Am I ready?

A blog is a big committment for a single person with no pets and no plants. It is not something I want to start and just give it up over time. To make the blog grow it needs care, time, and attention. I have been a part of the Read-Web, but I want to make that final connection. I want to create something that helps me grow.