In looking back, it has been over seven years that I have been reflecting on teaching and learning and the way that educational technology and communications tools can leverage and amplify the opportunities that are available to all learners, students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
Over the past five months, I have not taken the time to regularly pause and reflect. This does not mean that I have not had any thoughts and ideas. On the contrary, my mind has been racing as we have implemented an extraordinary number of initiatives over the last 20 weeks. I have a large number of drafts that I have started by have been unable to finish.
I had hoped to get these posted during October but I failed to do so. After our first snow and cold-front, where it is feeling like we are getting ready for Winter Break rather than fall and Thanksgiving Break, I am feeling the need to make sure that I begin to carve our time to reflect and share what we have accomplished.
Above, you will see a picture taken today in our eighth grade Design and Engineering course. This panoramic, static image does not provide the full depth of what is going on. It is difficult to see the group on the right-hand side of the picture, working with Scratch and Makey Makeys, learning about circuits, computer programming, and thinking about how to design a physical controller for their favorite game. In the far background, you will see a student who has just taught one of the two teachers in the picture how to use the laser cutter. This teacher is now collaborating with her colleague and planning for a fifth grade art project to begin after Thanksgiving Break. In the front middle, you will see the group of girls who are prototyping the dress that they are creating for the February dance, one that will have LED light patterns controlled by an Arduino LilyPad. They are first building an American Girl doll sized dress. On the left, you can see a group of students working on two separate projects, one who is designing and getting ready to print onto our 3d printer, barely visible on the left while another student is prototyping the device he is hoping to use for his science fair experiment which he will build on the laser cutter and program using an Arduino controller.
The reason I have not posted is because I have been helping create this space, this curriculum, and this ethos in a school in addition to the other major projects we have undertaken, the implementation of a 1:1 program in our middle school, the transfer of our Google Apps domain and migration of our Microsoft Exchange server to this new domain (and old data from our pilot domain), and the implementation of a new learning management system to support our first steps into a blended learning environment.
Personally, I have been supporting the most successful season my senior daughter’s school has ever had in volleyball, winning the Regional for the first time and making it to the round of 32 in the state tournament and helping her navigate the college application process. Plus I have had the opportunity to present and be a part of some awesome projects outside of school.
I am hoping that this post might serve as a catalyst to get back into the habit of regularly (hopefully, at least once a week, once I clean out and post the drafts already begun). I also hope that many of you will are still there to share this with.