Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Politics and the Classroom

"Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving . . . conflict is a "sine qua non" of reflection and ingenuity. " ~ John Dewey, 1922.
There is an excellent discussion on Wicked Decent Learning this week on the issues of discussing controversial topics in the classroom. Let Jeff & Dan spark your thoughts on these issues . . . and then consider the questions and resources below.

Download "It's an Election Year, Kids"
WDL Podcast
WDL Blog

Question: Should controversial topics be part of what goes on in the classroom?

Essential Question: If so, what guidelines need to be considered?

Edutopia: Politics: Elephants, Donkeys, and Teens
Ethics Scoreboard: Professions & Institutions - Politics, Ethics and Arrogance in the Classroom
For Your Consideration: Teaching Controversial Issues
Controversial Issues in the Classroom (pdf)
Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom

Monday, July 14, 2008

Team Learning - Dialogue

What is the difference between discussion and dialogue?

"The discipline of team learning involves mastering the practices of dialogue and discussion. In discussion (a word with the same roots as percussion and concussion) views are presented and defended and the team searches for the best view to support decisions. Participants in a discussion often want to win and see their view prevail. While dialogue and discussion can be complementary, most teams can't distinguish between them. The original meaning of the word dialogue, according to physicist David Bohm, suggests a free flow of meaning between people. Bohm contends that in dialogue a group accesses a "larger pool of common meaning" that can't be accessed by individuals alone. The purpose of dialogue, then, is to go beyond the understanding held by each team member, and to explore complex issues creatively from many points of view. After dialogue, decisions must be made and thus comes the need for discussion, where action is the focus." -- Peter Senge

How do we promote dialogue in teams?

Review of the Fifth Discipline
Dialogue on Dialogue: Our Process
Robert Hargrove on Dialogue
Dialogue from Peter Senge's Perspective
Team Learning: More than Group Thinking
Process Skills at LIM Resources
Active Listening at LIM Resources

Revisiting 50 Ways to Encourage the Use of Technology by Maine Learners

Last year's original post.

Last year we brainstormed the following list. Care to discuss the ideas now? Disagree/agree? Change your mind? Any others that should be added? Are we using these approaches in Maine?

50 Ways to Encourage the Use of Technology by Maine Learners

1. Connect at where the learner is, not where we think they should be. (Jim Burke)
2. Use user-friendly applications (JB)
3. It is okay to ask for help and to make mistakes (Michael Richards)
4. Use common language not "geek-speak" (MR)
5. Incorporate technology into familiar situations (MR)
6. Provide compelling and meaningful reasons for learning and using technology (Cynthia Curry)
7. Students can become the handy ambassadors of technology usage. (Kern Kelley)
8. Do not be afraid. (Deborah White)
9. Model you own use of tech tools. (based on Will Richardson at ACTEM) (DW)
10. Remember the words of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus series, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" (DW)
11. Remember what you feel like when YOU learn something new. (Ed Latham)
12. Include an atmosphere of fun and exploration in as many activities as you can. (EL)
13. Never underestimate the power of play. (EL)
14. Get comfortable with students being in charge of their learning with your role being to set things up and assist them on their journey. EL)

Added 7/15/08

15. There is almost nothing that you can do that will "break" your computer. (Mark Spahr)
16. Don't be afraid to play (see #15). (MS)
17. Usually, there is no step-by-step handout that shows you how to do it (see #16). (MS)
18. A great way to get teachers on board is to foster their personal use of the technology. (MS)
19. Your students probably know more about this stuff than you do- get over it and don't be afraid to let them teach you. (MS)

Added 7/16/08

20. Use it all of the time. (Sarah Sirois)
21. Let the students brainstorm ways to integrate. (SS)