The Educator's PLN

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You can tell it has been 3 days since my last blog, and with good reason! The last three days have been the most incredible, information packed days I can remember in a very long time. I went into ISTE with a plan. I was truly in need of learning how to manage the modern-day classroom and increase student and teacher efficiency in the classroom. This past year has not been my best in the classroom, and as a reflecting practitioner, I can recognize that.

MY plan was shot all to pieces after I the second day. During the bus ride to white-water rafting, I gathered some classroom management ideas from a friend I met on the bus. The "SMART" workshop we attended had such a diverse group of people in the session that we learned a ton from the session, but learned just as much from one another! (once again adding to the network of people we can call on later) At the kick-off event, I met a "Digital Diva" that made three of my chosen sessions obsolete in a 30 minute conversation and of course kept her information and will be contacting her frequently over the next few months and perhaps beyond.

The very first "official" session I attended was Managing the Modern Day Classroom". I was blown away with the multitude of ideas I received. Probably the one thing we will share with our home team is to conduct a survey at the beginning of the year to see who has cell phones with unlimited texting and who has computers with internet at home. Their phones have cameras, too. They can take pictures and upload them to the worksite when doing science experiments. There are a ton of ways to use the tools the kids are ALREADY using at home. First step though is to get the "no cell phones in school" rule amended to "No inappropriate use of cell phones in school". Additionally, just as we have matrices for positive behavior support, we are going to need to model and explain HOW we expect these technological advances to be used appropriately in the classroom.

I have heard so many things to make me rethink the way I think about technology... When paper was first introduced into the classrooms, kids made airplanes and such, so some teachers went right back to the slates. Now, paper is a requirement. Somewhere along the line, teachers taught appropriate use of paper in the class. Pencils could be dangerous if used inappropriately, just like any other technology, but they are required, because someone taught the appropriate use of a pencil. It is our duty as teachers and a school community to teach what is appropriate on the net, what is appropriate with a cell phone, what is appropriate with the PSP's that connect to the net in our classrooms. ANYTHING can be dangerous if misused.

That leaves me thinking about classroom management and how I need to conduct my classes to mold my new students into 21st century learners. I have been reading the "Everything Classroom Management" book. It may sound silly to some of you, but alot has changed in 15 years of teaching. Society, technology, parenting strategies, and the way our profession is viewed is completely different. The things I learned at ISTE are going to help me make that happen. I can't put it all into one blog, but continue to follow along my journey with me and I will give you the highlights of 7 new books, approximately 18 new websites, and a multitude of random strategies..

My colleague attended a session entitled "Tammy’s Favorite Free Web Tools" that had her rushing to the Visions book sale at the Hyatt- .It must have been fantastic, because my colleague makes it a point to NEVER rush anywhere. It might be worth checking out! I"ll do that once I finish this google tools book she lent me. :)

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