I have taken my summer to learn a little more about education and what is out there in education in the world. I want to get better at teaching. I want to see what else I can do to help me teach the students. What ideas are out there that I have not heard of or that can refine what I have been doing? So spent time with Ted. Ted.com is a website about ideas. Great ideas. The cutting edge ideas... about everything. Ted is a collection of presentations from Ted Conferences over the years. This has become my personal professional development.
I spent time with Sugata Mitra teaching me about how kids can teach themselves. I found that I need to stop pushing the information to the students and I need to present and let them learn or give them time to teach themselves. As we use technology in our school I have heard teachers say that we need to know how to use the computer completely before we teach the students. We can't let them go on their own because we don't k now what they are doing. We are not going to know everything so we need to let the students go (with some guidance) and have them show us what they are doing. We can have them teach the class if they find something new. We want the students to stretch themselves and yet we prevent them from stretching by holding them back from teaching themselves. I need to let go.
Another I learned from was Ken Robinson. I had heard about him on a few other blogs so I listened to his ideas about creativity. I will be looking at my class to see where I can increase creativity in my class. I learned that I need to let kids come up with ideas. I want them to feel comfortable to come up with crazy ideas. In another presentation about Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age, Randy Nelson talks about improvisation and how improve is going with any idea. Go with every idea. When an idea is stopped, it goes dead. I want kids to have the opportunity to present their ideas without having to have these ideas getting squashed. Building creativity will mean I need to hold back on toning the kids down. I will try providing a place on our wiki that the students can type in their ideas so we can all remember what it was. Using a back channel will also give the students a place to ask questions and write ideas.
Steve Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford University in June 2005. It is one of the greatest speeches about how to "connect the dots" in our lives. It is not just because I am an Apple guy, but it is a great speech. Steve shares a few stories from his life that might have gone a couple ways, but he made the best of what he had and moved forward. The dots were put n the page and now he can connect them to see where he was and what helped him get to where he is.
A few other presentations I enjoyed were...
David Logan on Tribal Leadership
Tim Brown on Creativity and Play
Elif Shafak on the Politics of Fiction