To be completely honest, I was a bit nervous when I signed up for this class. While I enjoy technology, use it at home, for classes, work and with my students – I wouldn’t consider myself the grand poobah of technology. Perhaps that’s because it is so ever-changing and there’s always something new right around the corner. I’ve been known to wait for the ‘next big thing’ to come out, get really excited by the anticipation of the next new gadget – but when it finally hits the shelves I still remain skeptical that I’ll actually utilize all of the amazing features it has to offer. And so inevitably I’ll talk myself out of getting it.
I suppose that this rambling beginning is leading me to one of the many ‘ah ha!’ moments I’ll be having during this class. But what struck me as I was reading our class syllabus and the assignments, and getting increasingly overwhelmed by it all was – hey I should just start playing around with this stuff. Part of the fear of technology for anyone, I suppose is not understanding what it’s for or how to use it without messing up.
After reading and listening to many of David Wiley’s articles and speeches, the one that I connected with the most was his ‘Open Education and the Future’ speech. I found that a lot of the topics he was talking about paralleled my daily grind as a special educator. Luckily, I work with three amazing co-teachers, who are ready and willing to try anything I suggest in order for our students to be able to access content materials and concepts. We are always collaborating and trying to find new ways to help our student’s access information – as well as differentiate across learning styles and levels. Unfortunately, my little slice of co-taught perfection (and I use the term perfection very loosely here) extends no further from the 6th grade team that I work with. Perhaps it is now my growing understanding of what School Librarians do for students, paired with my special education knowledge, but the whole concept of what we have created in our school for our students to learn has turned into a ‘oh that’s mine, I created it’ environment.
Getting back to David Wiley’s speech, the idea that all information should be easily accessible and given freely is incredibly pertinent for us as educators. As he was describing his ‘openness’ concept, I began wondering how I might integrate this in my school. There is so much worry and anxiety going in to whether or not someone got credit for something that was made, (not that we shouldn’t give credit where credit is due) but shouldn’t we as educators have something more pressing on our minds? Like say our students and what they might be getting out of what we do with the material we are supposed to teach them. It seems criminal to me that we should censor ourselves in this way. To always be in fear of some sort of infringement of policy or ownership. I really connected with Wiley’s comments on the idea of teaching without loosing anything ourselves by sharing our knowledge and strategies with our students, so that they will hopefully someday either continue to use ours or invent some of their own. I also liked his analogy of the honeybee – if we as educators have the spark to connect information with young minds, how can we then turn around and be selfish with that information and how they might end up using it?
I think I’ll leave this learning log here. I have many more thoughts on this matter, but my mind is swirling with too many ideas to stay on track with one particular thought. It all seems rather circular after a while.