Saturday, October 25, 2008

Transitioning: Finding Time and Space

It has been over a month since I have posted on this blog for a variety of reasons, but the biggest reason is that I have been climbing a sharp learning curve in my role as the Administrative Vice Principal at Woodside High School.  I have likened the experience to running on a treadmill and having people throw me things to carry as I run and deciding what to catch and what to let fly by.  In this vein, I am in a mode where I am working hard to become a good administrator, while at the same time remaining connected to my previous roles as an EdTech coordinator and teacher.  One of my primary motivations to get into administration was to advance the idea that school and education is changing and technology will have a major role in that transition. 

Will Richardson's blog, Weblogg-ed, has been one of my favorites since I have entered the blogosphere myself and he seems to have a finger on the pulse of the directions in the EdTech.  His posts on some of the Lessig materials have been spot on and I have read several of the books he has recommended on his site, including Henry Jenkins, James Surowiecki, Daniel Pink, Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky.  His latest post has a quote from Clay Shirky which rings true for me.  
"Social tools don't create collective action -  they merely remove the obstacles to do it." - Shirky
 The tools are available to make education a truly interactive endeavor, yet we create artificial obstacles through legislation and school district policies and regulations to keep this from happening.  The problem is that school districts can't stop it.  The statistics from a variety of sources show that the proliferation of smart phones like the iPhone, the LG Dare and the new Blackberry Thunder which have the ability to present full web pages make any Internet content available to students on our campuses EVERY SCHOOL DAY!  92% of all 17 year-olds have cell phones and given the marketing nature of the nations cell phone companies, where you can up grade your phone every two years, by the time 2010 rolls around, a majority of the students on  our high school campuses will have a smart phone where they can access any internet content. 

To keep up... I am changing some of the blogs I subscribe to... First, I have added Liz Kolb's 'From Toy to Tool' blog where she consistently presents some of the best uses for cell phones in education.  Secondly, I have added Dan Meyer's dy/dan blog.  I have been a fan of Dan's starting this summer and some of his video relating the educational process back to inquiry and student engagement are truly powerful.  I found out that he was a presenter at the ILC in San Jose, as I was last week, but I didn't get the chance to see his presentation, I am hoping we cross paths in Monterey at the CLHS/CUE conference in December, where we are both presenters.