Is Your Class on Facebook? Should It Be?

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At BLC10, we had the opportunity to have Erin and Devin Schoening, from Council Bluff, Iowa, present a session on how Facebook can be utilized in class with first grade students. You heard it right – first grade. The two explained how Erin’s class uses Facebook every day to connect with the families of her students as well as with other interested educators and administrators. During her session, she described the use of notes, private messages, picture sharing, video sharing, link sharing to keep up a dialogue amongst all of these parties.

As Erin and Devin were quick to explain, this was not an overnight decision. The two worked with district administrators to develop guidelines, strategies and communication policies for how this tool could be used in her classroom. They obviously did their homework, and I applaud the district for thinking about how to best co-op this tool in the classroom.

Obviously, being on the bleeding edge comes with a great deal of praise and a great deal of pause. Does Facebook have any place in our classrooms? Is exposing students to a social networking tool like this appropriate when they are in first grade? What are the privacy concerns? These are all appropriate questions and ones we should be asking with anything we do.

Recently, Jeff Utecht shared a blog post also commending the two on their successes with this program, and the post brought up a lot of discussion – good discussion. Also, he shared the following Prezi.

It’s my hope that all educators take the time to look for ways to innovate, involve administration in this innovation and continue to ask questions about whether or not the tools so many feel are important are really important enough, safe enough and are in alignment with good pedagogy. Some will be, and others won’t. But through the education of all parties, we can make the best decision together and not respond out of what we think we know.

An Interview with Richard Halkett – Part 2 of 6

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In part two of this series, Alan November and Richard Halkett discuss the demand for Global Skills based on data from the past twenty years. Richard is the Director of Strategy, Research and Global Education for Cisco Systems. In the podcast, Richard examines the polarization of jobs for our students into routine and non-routine work. We think you will enjoy his unique vision of the skills our students will need in the Global Economy.

Student Scribes with Darren Kuropatwa – Part 3 of 3

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In this final segment of Alan’s conversation with Darren Kuropatwa, the discussion shifts to classwork and homework assignments. Specifically, the two emphasize the need for change in the types of assignments teachers give to best make use of the content to which students now have access.

Darren has been a presenter at our Building Learning Communities conference.

Student Scribes with Darren Kuropatwa – Part 2 of 3

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In our previous episode with Darren Kuropatwa, Alan and darren discussed what impact having students publish to a global audience has had on them and on his classroom. In this episode, they continue by talking about how this publication has also led to a shift of control that fundamentally changes teaching and learning.

Alan and Darren also discuss the issues around professional development and personal development that need to be addressed to achieve building a classroom experience like the one he describes.

Darren has been a presenter at our Building Learning Communities conference.

Student Scribes with Darren Kuropatwa – Part 1 of 3

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In a continuation of our series on student learning jobs, Alan speaks with Darren Kuropatwa, math teacher at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In the first part of this conversation, the two discuss Darren’s student scribe program, its impact within his classes, how he manages them and uses them as a part of his teaching and how global publication of student work has engaged his students and enhanced his classroom.

Darren has been a presenter at our Building Learning Communities conference.

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