Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We Learn - A Creative and Stylish Group

I wish I could remember names. Don't they look lovely? She is a magazine. He is a video.

The Colab experience

Everyone here is hard at work. I love how pensive everyone looks and how everyone is doing things individually toward a common purpose. I love it when my class looks like this.

We Learn and Synchronicity

I thought it was really bizarre how in sync everyone seemed to be in the COLABS at Big Ideas this year. We all seemed to have this idea in our brains that students could use the internet to direct their own learning and keep track of the path they have been on as learners. I love the idea. Now the only thing I have is whatever I save in some more or less organized fashion (mostly less) and my browser history. So we all think and work on this and everyone in our group is on board and I can't see in their brains but it sure seems like we are on the same page. Last year I liked my group but we were all over the place. So we come up with this idea that a program or computer system or app should be created that archives your learning experiences, that directs you, and helps connect you with other learners. It was very cool. The next thing you know there is Danny Hilis giving this beautiful lecture on this learning map (it didn't have the social component but it had everything else). It was so close to what we had been describing in our meeting. That was just amazing. Humans really do have a kind of hive mind. WE can cal it zeitgeist but we do have a sort of internalized vision and drive or instinct that we share that directs the future and builds on our past culture. I loved the beauty of his map and the fact that he had professional artists involved the most embarrassing part of the colab was when I tried to draw something to illustrate my idea. I also tried to show it in a physical way and that was also embarrassing.

Ripple Effect of Big Ideas

Both this year and last what I have taken to heart from Big Ideas is that it is not okay for kids to be bored out of their skulls at school. I can actually remember being so bored in high school that I thought you really could just die from boredom. We give lip service to multiple intelligences, differing learning styles, and blooms taxonomy and then everyone just goes right on lecturing and giving reading and writing assignments and that's it. I love being at Big Ideas because people are looking at the fact that the world has changed, that technology exists and it has the power to make education more just globally. Why we still have textbooks is beyond me. I would love to work with a group of people and create an textbook for English that only used sources in the public domain. I have textbooks in my class so big that kids will never take them home. The thing is enormous, costs a fortune and is filled with excerpts from literature available for free on Gutenberg. How stupid.

Return to the Big Ideas Blog

I actually created a new Big Ideas Blog but I wasn't very happy with it and no one visited it so it died a short painless death. I thought I would recreate myself and disassociate myself from this old blog but I'm back. I got a note a from Megan Simmons, who I like and appreciate, saying where are the pictures, the videos, the blogs from Big Ideas. So I am going back in time. The year ended with my commuter stolen and my lovely and expensive orange harddrive is corrupted somehow so that whole time machine process didn't work. I wanted to abandon this blog because I thought it got depressing and here I go. Final thought on the 2010 Big Ideas, it was super inspiring and had a huge effect on me but a lot of things I tried to do didn't work out. I took a lot of great things from it however. I changed schools and I am not on any committees. Now I implement things in my classroom and rely on a sort of low key approach and it is actually working. Anyway, next blog returns to what happened this year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A more introspective Big Ideas

I really meant to blog during the fest this year and record impressions as they occurred but it didn’t happen. My desire to observe and participate won over my need to document. This year’s fest was more introspective for me than last year's. Last year almost every speaker made me think “Oh I want try that” or “what a great idea, let’s do that”. This year it all was a bit vague. I really love Bill Ayers. I love what he says. I love his point of view and I also love how sort of twinkly he is. I know that sounds ridiculous but he truly is charismatic. The advice to pay attention, be astonished, and do something was a bit vague. I guess it is better than to observe, be pissed off, complain and alienate everyone. I have to say, though, his speech did make me think that and just thinking about it was helpful.

Last year I really tried to implement ideas, some successfully and most not. I realized that my method of being on every committee and arguing my point was seriously not effective.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First day big ideas 2011

Big ideas is on. . Yesterday was great. Met a ton of interesting people. I thought of a friend of mine who wants to be a science educator outside of the classroom. Sometimes it really does seem like sitting in the classroom is part of the problem. We did an exercise where people wrote down a moment as a learner, any time at all in their lives, that had a big impact on them, and for many people it wasnt at school. It might have been running around an estuary, building something with friends, or making a discovery on your own. Maybe as teachers we could find a way to facilitate and then step back.mthe classroom set up itself isn’t so conducive