I recently had the opportunity to attend the FETC Technology Conference in Orlando for the Education Blog Awards sponsored by Discovery Education and eSchool News. eSchool and Discovery did an amazing job treating us like royalty. My thanks and appreciation.
This was a unique experience for me: I had the opportunity to talk with educators who deal a bit more exclusively in technology than I do, and what amazing ideas they had! To my fellow award winners: Wes Fryer and Bill MacKenty, thank you for giving me such great ideas for the use of technology — the use/meaning of RSS, PodCasting and the likes. You make me feel more connected. This seems to be where technology can best serve education. To my new friends at Discovery, especially: Steve Dembo and Dawn Strunk, much appreciation for teaching me some new stuff, the amazing conversation, and great new ideas.
What do I take away now that I am back in my lab? Here I sit, a science teacher. There are many instructional strategies that help improve student learning: inquiry-based laboratories, authentic research, conceptual and analytical teaching/questioning, technology . . . the list goes on and on . . . I am obligated to prepare my students for the 21st century workforce, and regardless of whether or not my students become practicing scientists, they need the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to succeed in a technology-centered world. We, therefore, as educators, need to provide diverse opportunities for our diverse learners.
The advent and use of blogs in education provides the opportunity to expose students to cutting edge technology, and using good conceptual questioning connects good teaching with good teching. The essence of this and all of my blogs (see www.labanca.net) are the comments that my students provide to me and to each other. Their ideas develop from succinct, yet thought-provoking responses that build off of the question AND the responses of their classmates.
I was interested to hear that one of my fellow award winners choses not to use comments on www.eduwonk.com. This is interesting to me because the comments in my blog are its essence. Perhaps the way I use the blog technlogy is a bit “non traditional” compared to the pure bloggers, but the power of the blog as an instructional tool to promote student conceputal learning can’t be beat!
Thanks must also go to my friend, doctoral cohort, and colleague Nick K., (blogs at http://apenglishlitcomp.blogspot.com and http://english12ns.blogspot.com) who shares a similar philosophy for use of blogs with a totally different dicipline (English).
My final comment at the Blog Awards Panel discussion was “Just do it!” It really isn’t hard. Click here for my blog that I use for professional development to help teachers begin using blogs with their classes.
And now back to the way I usually blog . . .