Thursday, May 29, 2008

What is a 21st Century Learner? SUMMER PROJECT POST

The West Virginia Department of Education is asking students to fill out a survey about the state of education in the 21st Century. They might even give you an iPod if you do.

Are you guys prime candidates to give them some answers? I think so.

Go here to fill it out:

I hadn't originally intended for this to be my first thematic post of the summer, but then, I was thinking about this survey, and I realized it's perfect to get you thinking about the theme of new media, technology, and our perceptions. So here are a few questions to ruminate:

Did you notice how multiple media are combined on the start page (the video clip, text, graphics)? What do you think was the author's/designer's purpose in setting things up that way? What does this say about his or her perceptions of purpose and intended audience? Do you think this will effectively convey that purpose and reach the intended audience?

What do you think this survey is intended to measure? What results do you think it will produce? What do you think about their potential validity? How do you think the results will be used? What comments do you have about the depth and number of questions?

And last... What appeals to logic, emotion, or ethics are used to achieve the intended purpose? Are these effective? What effect do you think they'll have on survey participation and results?

You don't have to answer ALL these questions--but I'd like you to think about all of them. I am so looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

Summer Guidelines

Over the summer, each of your teachers will choose a broad theme and post 4 blog entries and related questions for you to read and respond on our class blog (2 in June, 2 in July).

Each of you will view and post a response to any 4 teacher postings over the summer. You must post something (comments, ideas, questions, responses, your own links, articles, or other sources related to the topic) twice before July 2nd, and twice before August 20th. Your postings must show that you have read, understood, and have answered "So What?" in relationship to the postings and related postings (your teachers’ ideas, the ideas in the postings, and other students’ ideas).

The goal for our class blog is to create conversation among our class members—it’s our classroom in virtual space and time. Remembering this, ideally you should respond to one another and to your teachers, adding new ideas to our continuing conversation, and, even though you are only required to post 4 times, the more you read and participate, the richer all our experiences will be. Check the blog often, post often, and engage yourself, us, and each other!

Visit this blog often to read, view, and think about the comments and postings! It might be a good idea to subscribe to the posts, just so you can see when new postings appear.

Your participation will be made much easier if you have a Google account. This will allow you to post with a username (not anonymously), to access other Google resources we’ll be using later on in the year, and even to create your own blog. We’d recommend you sign up for a gmail account, too. To create a Google Account, visit the account-creation page.

We will also be asking you to read a group text: UnSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. You can access the book's website at There you can read sample pages and reviews. More information will be coming once your copies of the books are delivered.

Your comment postings will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Conciseness: Post is brief, meaningful, and to the point.

Claims should be supported with relevant evidence. Substantiate your position! Defend your argument!

Post is logical and makes sense.

Purpose and audience are considered (language is appropriate); use your best judgment.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What if …

…Learning was exploratory in nature, and facts weren’t just deposited in students’ brains?

…a class was student-driven and teacher facilitated, and teachers learned right along side of their students?

…students were encouraged to explore topics through the perspective of mathematics, science, literature, history, politics, economics, and logic?

…cutting-edge technologies were seamlessly incorporated into student learning and presentation to others?

…thinking logically, creatively, and critically were the priorities, rather than frantic, disposable memorization?

…meaningful project-based learning was pursued by self­-initiating students and guided and monitored by teachers?

…students were committed and accountable for their own intellectual and academic progress?

Then you might be in the 21st Century Symposium at Berkeley Springs High School during school year 2008-2009!

Are you up to the challenge?