Podcasting with Purpose

Bob Sprankle’s latest Bit by Bit podcast is posted, and I’m just getting around to listening to it. It is the audio from his Building Learning Communities keynote, entitled Podcasting with Purpose.

Wow! Well worth a listen! I think his title is slightly off the mark though, because this presentation explores so much more than just podcasting, per se. He used podcasting as a catalyst for change in his classroom–a change that is much deeper than just one tool. How I would love to have had my child in a 4th grade classroom with this much authentic learning, peer teaching/learning, exploration. His is a story of how these changes are about more than the tools–the change is in the focus of the classroom (learning rather than teaching) and authentic work that engages students. Thanks to Bob Sprankle for a great example for the rest of us who are trying to advocate these changes to teachers that may not love the tools…yet.

The presentation slides are below, and you can get the keynote here. Do them together–and then share! Also, I recommend that you subscribe to his podcast feed! It’s really a great one to have in your ipod!

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Sir Ken Robinson: More on Creativity

We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children. And the only way we’ll do it is by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are, and seeing our children for the hope they are. Our task is to educate our whole being so they can face this future.
Sir Ken Robinson
October 2006, Edutopia magazine
A new video, from April 2008, posted at Edutopia. (16 min)
Are you meeting the creative needs of the students in your school? Are most of our schools?

Blocking…

Wow! My second post today!
I’m just catching up with reading from my RSS aggregator, and I found another short article by Scott McLeod (for American Association of School Administrators ) that seems to fit into my current mindset regarding 21st century skills, NCLB and enabling creative kids in our schools!

In Blocking the Future, McLeod compellingly urges superintendents and other school policymakers to find a way to enable teachers and students to use 21st century technologies to create authentic learning environments in schools. He writes:

…school district leaders have a critical choice to make: Will their schools pro-actively model and teach the safe and appropriate use of these digital tools or will they reactively block them out and leave students and families to fend for themselves? Unfortunately, many schools are choosing to do the latter. As a technology advocate, I can think of no better way to highlight organizational unimportance than to block out the tools that are transforming the rest of society. Schools whose default stance is to prohibit rather than enable might as well plant a sign in front of their buildings that says, “Irrelevant to children’s futures.” Note: I inserted boldface.

Strong words, but so true and so important. Thanks for eloquently saying what so many of us think, Dr. McLeod!

Technology and Administrator PD

A few days ago, Scott McLeod challenged bloggers to blog about technology and leadership today. Here’s his challenge:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 is American Independence Day and is as good a day as any to celebrate independent (and hopefully innovative) thinking and leadership. I hereby invite all edubloggers to blog about effective school technology leadership next Wednesday.

As I think about leadership and technology in my building/district, I must agree with McLeod’s assertion that to many, many administrators, technology seems to be an add-on. It doesn’t seem to be a part of their training nor is technology an integral tool for many of them.
How might I as the librarian facilitate a change–even a small one–in the culture that has grown up in my building as a result?

McLeod asks what is one tool that might be particularly helpful to administrators in my world. My answer: RSS! It’s what makes so many Web2.0 tools possible–and relevant! His assertion in today’s blog entry that tech training for administrators must be job embedded and authentic makes RSS the perfect basic tool. Information that you choose because it’s pertinent to your life comes to you when it’s created! What more could we ask!


I plan to introduce my teachers/admin to some basic uses of RSS in the next school year–for blogs and podcasts, primarily. If educators are exposed to the power of collegial relationships made possible–almost effortless, in fact–by RSS, and they’re exposed to some of the vast pool of expertise at their fingertips, perhaps a few more converts will be created! 🙂

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