I am very proud to share the collaborative project which my EDES 545 classmates and I created as our final assignment. Please visit our wiki, Vision of the Future – Using Web 2.0 in Schools, and enjoy our VoiceThread below:
For me this quote from Marcel Proust sums up what I have experienced in this collaborative project and in this course.
“The only true exploration, the only true fountain of youth would not be to visit foreign lands, but to possess other eyes, to look at the universe through the eyes of others.”
I have had an opportunity few teachers are lucky enough to experience. After a lifetime spent teaching, I have become a student in the digital age. While like Kathy Shrock, I am in fact a digital pioneer, through this project I’ve been given a chance to look at the possibilities of the digital native world through other eyes; through the collective intelligence of my classmates as we built our learning space in the participatory culture on the read/write/reflect web.
In January when this class began I thought I knew a lot about web 2.0. I had taken the introductory class, used the tools for two years, and as a consultant shared them with others. I realize now that I had only scratched the surface. What did I learn?
This class has profoundly changed me, and I want to acknowledge each of my classmates for their part in this change.
Ruth taught me the transformative power of web 2.0 for the global good as she used Twitter to help those devastated by the earthquake in Haiti.
Mark reminded me that education should be playful and fun. By sharing his experiences teaching up north, he reminded me that when you truly value your students, you make a huge difference in your community.
Dawn taught me the beauty and utility of multi-tasking as we Skyped, edited, created, and laughed together, and reminded me that making learning transparent for our students makes us better teachers.
Shirley modelled grace and class and perseverance. Her knowledge of and empathy for her students shines.
Natasha is the perfect 21st century teacher librarian, mentoring teachers and students with grace, respect and expertise.
Jackie quietly stepped in as needed, encouraging here, adding deft touches there, unstinting of her time and expertise. I want to be just like Jackie when I grow up.
One of the highs of the final project was being able to step in and do some of the administriva that has to be done – setting up the VoiceThread account, doing the initial wiki build, sending the emails to keep us on the same page. Sometimes it felt like herding cats, but I find I like that feeling! I love being retired but I do miss helping people.
There were some lows. There’s nothing like being linked to a group of brilliant teachers to remind of you of your own shortcomings – but of course, that’s good for me. And we did hit the depths as we came to grips with the breadth of what we had decided to do, but fortunately the strength of the group came though as we called in the cavalry – and they arrived in time. I don’t think we could have so internalized all the 21st century skills in any more effective way.
For that I thank Joanne, who honoured her students by allowing them the freedom to take a huge risk by doing our final project collaboratively. Through the content, process, trust, and guidance Joanne shared with us over this course, she gave us wings and set us free.
My classmates and I created our “digital tapestry”, where our individual talents, expertise, and creativity are woven together, and each individual strand is worthy in and of itself, but made stronger, more beautiful, and more useful as part of the splendid whole. Joanne, you made that possible.