Friday, May 7, 2010

World Language Supervisor's Round Table

Today I gave a presentation on "Technology as 21st Century Culture" to the recipients of model program status for World Language and Bilingual/ESL in the State of New Jersey.

Folks are well trained in tech at this level so I took a more personal approach. I took us on the journey of technology, what it was like for my parents, for me in my life, for our students today. We are all hearing about 21st Century learning and so many buzz words, but frequently have little time to explore.

I also wanted to focus hard on the notion of student engagement and also on our own engagement. There is so much talk about "digital natives" - our students, that we don't think about our own learning curve as teaching learners. I think it's so important to get in touch with that. My presentations are always stories - I don't know another way to be - so there was time for people to connect to our experience of moving into a flat world and their own relationship to technology.

We shared stories about futuristic childhood dreams such as those we imagined from watching the Jetsen's, 2001 a Space Odyssey and we tried to put our heads together to imagine what the new adventure was that we are in right now. Then, we explored some great web 2.0 tools individually on our lap tops.

We reached out by Skype to my resident tech expert, Tom Welch, who pulled over on his way to a friend's party in Michigan. Tom chatted with us about interconnected learning and how it differentiates like an Aspen Grove- each part somehow sensing the needs of the other. Later, I Skyped my husband's class at Dwight Englewood school so that Joe could explain how he Skyped with his classes and how he recovered from surgery at home, while keeping his classes on track, virtually!

I closed by including the words of Dan Brown, a popular internet spokesperson for the digital generation. Dan sends us out a provocative message which I believe we must heed. I wonder what you think?

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