Monday, December 14, 2009

...and a child shall lead them

Watch this middle school student manage her life and learning with confidence and pride. You can hear the enthusiasm in her voice. In 3 minutes and 20 seconds she gives us a breathtaking vision of what is possible, and how quickly the digital world has evolved.

So, here is the challenge. How do we provide our CCHS students with the same educational opportunities? How do we provide the tools for students to acquire information, the critical thinking skills to evaluate and reflect on what they find, the tools to understand, make meaning and share their learning, and the organizational skills to manage it all, as shown by this middle school student? What she demonstrates is the result of careful planning and a systemic, consistent approach to learning. This is an incredibly exciting discussion for educators, and it is inspirational to see students mastering the skills we want for our own kids. It is time for us to begin pushing ourselves to move away from paper and shift toward the intellectual skills and digital tools to seek, find, organize and share.

As adults, we have to jump in as well, and this terrific middle school student is leading the way for us. These are a few FREE Internet desktops designed to help organize the web to work for you. My personal favorite is iGoogle, but they all look pretty amazing.

With Symbaloo, you can now create your own desktop on internet, including your favorite websites and sources. The advantage is that you can navigate easily to the most important websites, without remembering the links. 

Pageflakes, the social personalized homepage, is revolutionizing how we how we start with and use the Internet. At, you can easily customize the Internet and make it yours using ‘”Flakes” – small, movable versions of all of your web favorites that you can arrange on your personal homepage. You can also participate in the Pageflakes community, sharing your page as a “Pagecast” with a private group or with the world, and connecting with other users across the globe. Over 235,000 Flakes and 140,000 Pagecasts are available for thousands of uses and interests, including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, news, sports, e-mail, local events, search, photos, music, videos – even interactive tools like a calendar and a to-do list – and just about anything else you do on the web at school, work and at home.

Edu 2.0
EDU 2.0 is a free, web-hosted learning management system that allows anyone to create an online school in minutes. It's easy to use, comprehensive, and can be accessed from any web browser.

iGoogle lets you create a personalized homepage that contains a Google search box at the top, and your choice of any number of gadgets below. Gadgets come in lots of different forms and provide access to activities and information from all across the web, without ever having to leave your iGoogle page. Here are some things you can do with gadgets:
  • View your latest Gmail messages
  • Read headlines from Google News and other top news sources
  • Check out weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
  • Store bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
  • Design your own gadget.

Listening to the enthusiasm of a middle school student share her learning and demonstrate her skills is certainly inspirational for me, and provides an exciting glimpse of what is possible in education. A very nice gift in this holiday season.

Thanks to Buffy Hamilton and her Media 21 Project, Wendy Drexler, and Dr. David Loertscher for sharing and leading the way.

Photo credit:
Flickr Creative Commons
Digital Collage: Child In Me
Uploaded on February 19, 2006
by Isabel Ginsberg

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Anonymous David Truss said...

A great video and some great questions asked.
I love this statement that you made:
It is time for us to begin pushing ourselves to move away from paper and shift toward the intellectual skills and digital tools to seek, find, organize and share.
The more people that think that way, and ask the questions around how we do this, the faster our students will be at helping to point the way, like the student in this video.
Thanks for sharing!

December 27, 2009 at 1:44 AM  

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