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The new location is:  http://teachlesslearnmore.edublogs.org

Hope you visit.

Heather

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I read the headline the other day in my Google Reader feed and was so impressed by the initiative that the Calgary Board of Education is taking.

www.cbc.ca

What really burst my positive balloon though were the endless negative comments in response to the article.  The ones from educators were especially distressing.  Is no one getting the message or is everyone so afraid of the future or their job security they are not willing to move into the future?

I love books. I love the feel of them.  I love turning the pages. I love them sitting on shelf so I can look at them. Six years ago when I arrived in Beijing I came with seven well chosen, from my perspective, books.  When I moved to a new apartment 10months later I had 2 big boxes of books. Now six years in I have two full book cases.  I love all of the Amazon sites.  While it costs a lot to ship to China they do send here.

Four years ago I bought my iPaq Pocket PC and became an active user of Fictionwise, Mobipocket and Microsoft Reader. It was wonderful. I could carry a light weight device with me everywhere I went and always have books to read.  The downside was that it had a very short battery but that was workable.

Two years ago, I bought my wonderful iPod Touch and about a year ago they made ereader available. That is my main reader now.  I carry it everywhere.  If I am in a restaurant and it is noisy I put on the earphones, turn on some music I like and continue my reading all on the same device.

At the moment, I have about 90 books on my iPod Touch. Mine is a first generation 15G but for Christmas I am going to give myself the 32G iPod Touch.

I think there is still room for print and digital media.

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I have been enamored with the possibilities in the classroom using Global Collaboration for the past 18 months when I first discovered this great 2.0 world so much so that I began a Master’s program in Integrated Technology in the classroom through Walden University. That program has led me to a course of Educational Research where I decided to investigate what I wrote as the title of this post. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into or how much the question would stretch my thinking and future actions. I have done all the hard core research, read the journals, spent endless hours on the Internet looking through ERIC and every database available to me and I have now come to the point where I must ask for help, ideas, comments from my PLN but first a bit of history.

This past year my class was able to be part of several collaborations including the wonderful Around the World in 80 Schools. We also visited by Skype and webcam with schools in two Australian states, 3 places in the USA and Korea. I We also had a collaboration by Voice Thread with another school in Virginia. t was very exciting and I was proud that we were able to accomplish this. Now, of course, the school is almost over and I am evaluating what happened.

On Friday afternoon we took down the Global Collaboration bulletin board and map and with the exception of the map through everything in the garbage and I wondered if that was the full extent of the actual learning that happened this year as far as GC (as my students referred to it) was concerned? Had it actually made any sort of difference in their lives and their knowledge?

There are things that I realize;

1) I was brand new to Global Collaboration so this was a learning year for both the students and me.
2) I was never really sure what I was supposed to do in the GC.
3) I was never totally comfortable with the concept because there seemed to be so many unknowns
4) The preparation and the followup was not as precise as it should have been and probably accounts for the lack of learning of the part of my students.
5) The time zone difference is definitely a big part of the struggles that happen with this kind of learning.
6) Even though I am going to Year 4/Grade 3 next year after 5 years in Year 5/Grade 4 I am ready to move forward with this type of learning.
7) This type of project can not be done with “by the seat of your pants” planning style which I tend to do but must involve preplanning with the other class and teachers in order to know where we are going.

But my questions still remain – Do long term changes happen with our students when they meet virtually with students from the other side of the world or down under?
Does the age of the student effect what kind of changes can happen?

When I was at the Flat Classroom Conference in Doha, Qatar this past February I saw changes happen among the students as they met face to face.It was incredible to watch and to listen to them but what about when the interaction is virtual and not F2F will there still be viable changes? I hope so and I believe so – what do you think???

To blog or what?????

I love blogging or rather I love the concept of blogging. I love reading blogs and finding new blogs to read. I could spend an entire day just following links to other blogs. It is a huge part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and I shudder to think how much less I would know if I wasn’t reading in the blogesphere but….. I am not exactly sure how I feel about me personally blogging. I think I am lazy or maybe I don’t think I have much to say, though that can’t really be the case as I always have much to say verbally. So what is the problem?

On a side note, I just did a spell check on this short piece and any words that have “blog” as a part needed to be spell checked.  Unfortunately, none of them showed up in the spell check.  Strange – this is wordpress – a blog site.

When is too much information just too much information? I have been perusing that thought for the past couple of days as I had let my Google Reader pile up with unread blogs. I was a bit overwhelmed about catching up on them and yet was unable to push the button to delete any of them because somewhere in there was information I didn’t know and I want to know it.

Everyday I receive terrific blogs and ideas and my mind starts to spin and I begin checking out links and going from site to site until in desperation I have to go back to the History icon to find where I have been on this journey and what I was doing in the first place. I am aware that I have Internet ADD or as I like to tell people “I just want to know everything.” The ADD seems to have spread to Blogs as I happily push the orange RSS feed icon to send more and more blogs that I can’t miss to my Google Reader.

I am now aware that I have too much coming into my Reader and that I must do some culling if I am going to be able to actual learn anything that will stay with me. But where do I start?

Nine months ago I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Web 2.0 or the Read/Write Web. Now I am bordering on obsessed with it and have begun my Masters focusing on Integrated Technology Grades 3-12. This may not seem like a major step to you but when you realize I am 57 years old and have wanted to get my masters since I was 24 but couldn’t decide what direction to pursue it is a HUGE thing.

The interesting thing is that out of all the blogs in my reader only 4 of them are not about some aspect of teaching technology and one of them is my personal blog life with heather. Reading Dooce www.dooce.com is a must for me to get through my day. Confessions of a Bad Christian www.daveburchett.comhelps me realize I am not a failure in my faith journey and Chinesepod www.chinesepod.com is a tremendous site, that if I were to use it properly, would greatly improve my communication skills here in China. That is it. All the other 63 are tech related.

Well, I do know that I can’t possibly not read (how is that for bad english?) Cool Cat Teacher www.coolcatteacher.blogspot.com, or Dave Warlick davidwarlick.com/2cents, or Will Richardson weblogg-ed.com, or Jeff Utecht www.thethinkingstick.com or Kim Cofino’s Always Learning http://mscofino.edublogs.org/or Hey Jude heyjude.wordpress.com or Liz Davis http://www.edtechpower.blogspot.com//or…………… !!!! So what is a person to do??? These don’t even include my Second Life blogs or my mini life as Siobhan Oceanlane which has yet to develop or my Wiki or Ning. Help!!!!!!

Well, I am into the fourth week of my first course of my Masters at Walden University www.waldenu.edu and I am still excited though occasionally overwhelmed. I am so thankful that I am able to talk to others who are as excited about technology in the classroom as I am though I think that I probably am a bit more aware of what is out there and being used the classroom than some of my cohort. That doesn’t matter.

This week part of what we are discussing and experiencing is blogging and that made me realize that I needed to get back on this blog and write something. There have been issues with my server as you cannot access this site through the Great Firewall of China but I have a work around that is finally working around again.

I continue to read all of the great blogs out there and am thrilled I am going to hear some of my favourite writers present at Learning 2.008 in Shanghai in September learning2cn.ning.com . I was also very excited to see the posting by Vicki Davis coolcatteacher.blogspot.com about the K12 Online conference for October. That is when I really got excited about Web 2.0 and the possibilities.

I have signed up for Twitter but apparently can only use it web based as I can’t figure out the work around for my cell phone.

My biggest problem is still how to bring all of this into the classroom. How do I make the transition. I teach grade 4 and while I am so excited about many of the ideas I am still at the stage of how to incorporate all of this. In my classroom I have one computer that is designated “teacher only”, though my kids do use it on occasion. We have a full elementary computer lab but our server still tends to be very slow and I find it frustrating. I don’t have the problem some educators have concerning the Administration. Mine is open to new ideas and works hard to find money in the budget for new tech stuff but the fact remains that most of our teachers are just not interested or don’t feel they have the time to learn what needs to be done. How do you work around this?????

I just received word on Friday that I have been approved to go to the Learning 2.008 Conference in Shanghai in September. I am so excited as this is the first time I have been able to leave Beijing for Professional Development. It has become apparent to the powers that be that there is a real disparity in the money spent on PD for the elementary teachers (which is the largest department) and the secondary teachers and so thankfully they are trying to change that approach.

My mind is spinning as I try to keep everything straight, apply it to my classroom in a meaningful way, switch midstream to Inquiry Learning and begin my Masters in Integrated Technology for the Classroom.

How do I keep it all straight?????? Still working on that part.

H