This is the edge and it ROCKS!

Our weekly teacher meetings in Elluminate have come to be one of the highlights of my week.  Just got off of elluminate with over half of our teachers for Netgened— the countries represented?  Qatar, Pakistan, Australia, US, New Zealand — about 9 of us there.  It was a GREAT meeting.

I think the reason I love it is that it is REAL teaching.   Our struggles and discussions today:

  • Helping students understand COLLABORATIVE writing (they want to write their piece in word, paste it in and sign their names) — COLLABORATION requires higher order thinking by definition and is tough to teach.
  • Storyboarding and helping the students accurately request video from their partners in other classrooms.  This is tough because they have to convey the vision.
  • Discussions of ongoing interactions with Don Tapscott to discuss the 8 net gen norms!  The kids LOVE HIM.  Especially after he pulled the bait and switch on them in his first video.  (All the teachers laughed — the kids were throwing things at the smartboard when we showed the video!)  They're talking about customization right now.  (Anyone can join in!)
  • Our Help resources on the wiki and what needs to be added.
  • Planning the potential for an awards ceremony in OpenSim — ready to move into a virtual world.
  • Deadlines!!! ;-)
  • Helping kids connect who are having some things blocked at school. (Sonniya in Pakistan has her kids working at home.)
  • First time teachers struggle with a project of this immensity — Julie and I were able to put our toe in the water — but now this project is immense and any teacher who makes it through is a hero in my book!  
  • Elluminate student summits at the end and how everyone is going to put those into Google Cal so I can put them in elluminate with the correct dates.  (Did I tell you timebridge is our BEST FRIEND?)
  • Just reflecting on how excited the kids are.
  • The great Digital Storytelling Webinar by Hall Davidson with the spectacular Discovery Educators Network today.

And this was just in ONE HOUR!!!   It was rich, full of ideas, and very, very real.  Hats off to the brave (yes I said brave) teachers who undertake this sort of project and the amazing administrators who empower this!

And when we're done — we all laugh because we never know what to say –so today it was Good-morn-after-evening.  Soniiya went to bed (she stayed up until 2 am) and Julie and Sam did too!  I'm headed home to cook dinner and Anne and Steve are headed to school.

This world is not flat – it is very very round and yet, with those who are willing to connect any place anywhere anytime — it is a hugely enriching experience that is transforming us all.

There is no bungee jumping, skydiving, snowboarding adrenaline rush-inducing activity that can replace how I feel after a session like this.  This is the edge.

And all of us who “flatten” and do this sort of thing — we'll never go back to teaching inside the box.  Our box is round and world sized and beyond and this is the way I want to be for the rest of my teaching career. 

Once you've gone flat, you can never go back. ;-)

Good morn-after-evening, my friends.  Remember your noble calling and teach like your life depends on it – for truly the future of this world does.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

murcha March 13, 2009 - 9:50 am

I just love this project. I am an Aussie through and through but am so proud to count the American participants from whichever countries as highly valued colleagues and friends in this netgened project and the preceeding projects. However, our culture is still different to the USA culture, our accents are different, our experiences are different, our outlook on life is different, our climate is different, and yes, our food is a bit different, our houses are different and our geography absolutely stunning especially in the red outback. We use aussie slang, spell differently, drawl with our voices, love the great outdoors, are carefree, layback and obliging people.
Our time zones are opposite and our days ahead, our seasons upside down and our land is down under but how wonderful that we can all get together, share, collaborate and discuss in virtual teams to unite in projects that empower our students with such great learning outcomes. My students love collaborating with the Americans and Canadians as they have an air of confidence that my students just do not possess. They can tease my students into public speaking, public demonstrations and tasting of Aussie foods eg vegemite in front of a camera.
The students involved in the project come from a diverse geographic regions and backgrounds. How fortunate we are to be led by Vicki and Julie, to be able to tap into their knowledge base and ideas, to meet and teach the students of diverse nationalities, cultures, skin colours and creeds. Many are in similar situations to me – a small rural school, classifed remote, where kangaroos inhabit in the swamp below, together with a school in Alaska, where people have to fly in or catch a ferry to get to their school and district! This project has enthused, energised,and rejuvenated me, put me in high pressure situations, hours of hard work, but also found me facing my real class who are motivated, highly interested and also loving every minute of it. Thank you Vicki and Julie for including us, and I agree, this is the edge, even though we sometimes tipple on it, your hands are always there guiding and leading us, and it just ROCKS!

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