It took less than 24 hours for the world to help me teach my pre-service teachers. That happens all the time but this time the process was especially interesting.
On January 24, nine days after the start of EDM310's Spring 2013 semester, one of my students (I will refer to the student as JJJJJJ) posted this on JJJJJJ's new blog:
JJJJJJ's Post had no TitleLess than 24 hours later the post had received 16 comments from some of the most influential education bloggers in the world. From New Zealand to Canada.
I have just viewed a teacher blog for the 1st part of C4T assignment it was a short post commenting on another teacher's blog or post. My thoughts are, it's all flutter and opinions and we all know what opinions are like, everyone has one. The subject was "school reform" and it's being screwed up by leading internet figures such as Gates, Zuckerberg and Jobs who are nicknamed as "big money guys".
My comment was on how does this help me be a better teacher or at the very least just a teacher. Somebody please explained to me why this class is important, because until the benefit of reading and writing these blogs are explained I'm going to have a bad taste in my mouth.
I didn't even know about it until I received this Tweet from my good friend and mentor in blogging and commenting on blogs William Chamberlain 45 minutes after the first comment had been left:
Who were the individuals who left comments?
Will Richardson, the author of Will Richardson's Blog
Karl Fisch, author of The Fischbowl
Dorothy Burt author of Manaiakalani who helped teach me the power of blogging more than three years ago which I have discussed in detail in Kaia and Room 10 - Why Blogs and Commenting on Blogs are So Important
And 13 others including third grade teachers, math teachers, principals, education consultants, IT directors, art teachers, regional administrators and 3 who remain a mystery to me. Residents of New Zealand, Canada and at least eight different states in the United States. Truly a world of educators who help me teach. I thank them one and all. I never cease to be amazed by the power of blogging and commenting on blogs.
So What Is This All About?
Each semester I have my pre-service teachers comment on the blogs of their classmates (every week for 16 weeks), teachers (twice every four weeks - 8 posts in all for 4 different teachers from a list of over a hundred that I have compiled since I started EDM310 in the Summer term of 2010), and on kids' blogs (for 10 weeks on blogs of first through twelfth graders in classes all over the world.
The student involved in this story (whom I am calling JJJJJJ in this account) left a comment on a teacher's blog. JJJJJJ had only written two posts at the time JJJJJJ left the comment on Will Richardson's blog post We're Getting Rolled. The comment JJJJJJ left was
Hey I'm suppose to post a comment as part of a college class assignment in Elementary Education. I was assigned to read your blog and I must say I have no freaking idea what the heck you're talking about and how your blog is useful to me as a future educator.A few people left additional comments on the post that referred to this comment. But the most important responses were left on the JJJJJJ's post in which JJJJJJ reported the comment he had left on the blog of the teacher assigned to JJJJJJ for the first C4T. That was JJJJJJ's second post ever. The irony is that JJJJJJ was not supposed to publish the summary of the post and of the comment left for the teacher until after JJJJJJ had done both parts of the assignment. I am glad JJJJJJ did not follow my instructions however, since the incident has provided an exciting and important learning experience for me, for all of my students, and, I suspect, many of the other participants in this event.
So what has been learned (or not learned)?
1. All posts must have a title. This requirement was not followed in this case.
2. Use proper grammar. Use the correct words to convey your message. This requirement was not followed in this case.
3. Identify yourself as a student in EDM310. This requirement was not followed in this case but, as I explained in class, there are many ways you leave trails when you use the Internet. Remember, as Anthony Capps said, "You are leaving an intellectual trail and you will be Googled!"
4. Post your C4T summaries after you have completed both parts of the C4T the assignments.
5. You are part of a world wide community of learners whether you realize it or not. That community is eager to join you in learning (and to help you do it).
6. The world will help you. That is why you will be developing a PLN. In these 16 comments there were 9 very useful links. Use them!
7. If you do a bit of searching (click on the names of those leaving comments, for instance) you can find even more links to important materials. You can also find worthy candidates to follow on Twitter and/or to add to your PLN as it begins to develop and flourish.
8. Blogs are indeed powerful - and useful. For you. And they will be for your students as well.
9. Mobile County, Baldwin County and even Alabama (despite being Champions in football) are a very small part of the world. The profession of education is practiced differently throughout the world. Learn about these differences.
10. You cannot learn except by doing. If you won't try something new you should not be going into a profession which has as its central focus learning (or at least should have).
11. You must not teach the way you are taught! If you intend to do so, change professions. NOW!
12. When you get offers of help, take them. Contact those who offer help via Twitter, email, or blog comments. You will be surprised by the responses you get.
13. Although this is beyond the scope of EDM310, I would argue that everything we do is based on opinions. We debate those opinions as a part of the learning process. Remember one of the mottoes of EDM310: Questions Are More Important Than Answers.
14. Don't jump to conclusions until you have made your best effort to understand and use the tools we use in class.
15. Use Twitter. See if you can't make it into your most important source of professional development as I have and as have many of the respondents to JJJJJJ's post and comment.
16. I will quote Dorothy Burt on this one since I want to avoid patting myself on the back:
I would like to let you know that this class [EDM310] is the envy of educators around the globe...We enjoy having a number of your classmates visit our children's blogs (at Pt England School) and my own blog and are always envious when we track back and see the latest things you all are being taught...Be very very thankful.17. We are part of a worldwide educational community as I have said often in class. If you did not believe me then, I hope these events have convinced you that I am correct in that statement.
The complete set of the comments left so far can be found in a separate post Complete Set of Comments Left for JJJJJJ.