Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What voices have you heard?

What voices have you heard from your students? There has been a lot of talk about it is not what we teach but what we as teachers are also learning. So my question once again is what voices have you heard from your students? Is it the voice of being "powered down" because of what is not taking place in the school? Is it the voice of what is going on this weekend with anticipation? Or is it the voice of the girl who is so stone cold due to home that you wonder if she will ever warm up? Or is that a front so you will leave her alone? Or the young man who is loud and boisterous and always has something smart to say? Or is that a front that he is scared? Or is it the silent voice of the young person in the back row that you would never know was there because all they want to do is to be invisible to the whole world but yet there is a body there in that desk?

Yes we need to be learners, yes we need to model all the "it's not the technology, it'sthe tools" we can, but better yet, we need to be open to our students so that they bring whatever voice they have and we help them and ourselves become the most literate, 21st century people we can be. It is their future not ours but in order to bring them to it, we have to know them, we have to hear their voice, we have to know what their voice is truly saying, thinking, feeling and asking, even though their voice does not say it out loud.

Yes we need to learn. But more importantly we need to open our ears and our eyes because we don't teach subjects. We need to learn how to better work with our students and we do that by truly hearing their voices. Learning is messy and that is OK, life is also messy and that can be OK too.

What voices have you heard since school started?

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's A New Year

Since returning from CMK08 it seems all I have done is get ready for the start of the school year. We have installed a new server and now have a total of about 1.6 TB of space to house the volumes we have carved out on the two servers - Anselm & Falcon.

We are preparing 270 iPods for distribution for our incoming 9th graders as well as all our remaining faculty who have yet to receive one. This is our third year of the iPod initiative and we will have a total of 480 iPods in the hands of students.

We are also working with AT&T to up our bandwidth. Our first jump will be from 1.5 mg to 20 mg. Looking forward to that. Along with that we will be replacing switches this year in order to be able to handle the increased bandwidth and to also prep for VOIP.

We have a new 6th grade and we just recently ordered 30 Intel 2Go PC's. We are waiting for them to arrive and will need to get them prepared as well as add a couple of wireless access points.

We finished out our classrooms with SMART boards and projectors. It is amazing to me the amount of equipment we had worked to get over the past few years and now we are giving it away because with the SMART boards and projectors we no longer need them as the desktops play DVD's. We have a couple of TVs and vcr's remaining for the tapes that have not been converted to disk but we are getting there. We have about 35 boards and projectors.

On top of all of this I am teaching 2 classes. Thankfully, I guess, it is the same class but 2 sections. I have juniors and seniors for a Christian Relationship class and we are having fun right now. I just don't have enough time in the day to do all the things I need to do. One thing I am learning is to try and get the most out of those who are working with me even if it is on a limited basis. We have set up a class wiki, Google accounts and have been doing some searches with cell phones in the class. The students have been amazed at what some of the possibilities are and I am glad the administration has allowed me the chance to truly explore these things with my students.

I realize that this is just a lot of info with out a lot of reflection, but I have struggled to get back in the saddle and write. Maybe this will help to kick start a few things. I plan to explain more in depth what we do with some of these things we are rolling out. If you have specific questions about them, send the to me and I will post responses and maybe just make a post about individual items that come my way.

Keep on learning and sharing.