Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fountain of Youth: Reflections on Teaching Uses of Social Tech to Young Teachers

Spent the evening leading my weekly Social Tech in Ed class.

And they are starting to get it.

We've shifted gears from demonstrations of how to use the tech and sessions building PLNs to the hard and vital work of actually integrating SM into daily classroom teaching and learning.

And I am so impressed with how far these young teachers have come in five weeks.

Some of you will remember the "I am scared of Twitter" teacher I mentioned several weeks back. Well, now she's taking part in Tweeted ed discussions and seamlessly using Twitter to complement our f2f classroom discussions. A young teacher who slammed Second Life as useless a while back just stopped by after class to talk about ways he wants to use it to simulate museum education in his classroom. Today, the teachers took the role of students in a social tech integrated AP English classroom; and to a person, even the most self-described 'math'-minded (as well as those just shy to speak) blogged beautiful reflections on the structure and meaning of T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land'.

This is the power of social tech in action. And this is why I am so committed to teaching it's application to teachers.

Because we need our teachers to understand that it's not about 'using tech', but rather is about fully engaging in the reality of the 21st century. And we need them to understand that -- if anything -- social tech is a fountain of youth when it comes to learning and ideas.

Let's encourage teachers to drink from this fountain and re-enliven their teaching and learning.

I certainly don't mind handing out the cups.


  1. Thanks for sharing the progress of this group of teachers - it is wonderful to watch!

    If you have a minute, could take a look at LiveBinders - a paperless 3-ring binder? We have some teachers sharing some great information in their binders on

    But most importantly, we are trying to get some feedback on the concept and would welcome your thoughts.

    Love the work that you are doing - we would like to help.

  2. I think it's great that more teachers are finally embracing technology to reach students. An idea would be to set online homework, where kids type their answers in forms that get sent to you. Because it's on the web, you are able to provide instantaneous feedback, almost immediately after the work has been submitted. I find that the faster the teacher responds, the more motivation there is for the subject at hand.

  3. The line that stikes me most here is this... "Because we need our teachers to understand that it's not about 'using tech', but rather is about fully engaging in the reality of the 21st century"

    It's not just teachers who need to understand this but also adminsitrators and parents. The latest piece of hardware isn't what makes learning more engaging - it's how the teacher (and the students, parents and administrators) embrace the access that technology gives students.

    I'm looking forward to future posts about this class.

  4. I agree with Lynn, that line stuck out for me as well! So true and insightful.

  5. I think it is fantastic that these new teachers are embracing the technology so easily. I am glad that early teachers who still attend their own school get plently of technology training, as well as many other subjects. One big problem that I see is how many older teachers do not know how to properly use the technology. Schools should give more technology workshops to help teachers who do not have access to higher education.


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