Can you spare 30 seconds?

If you can spare 30 seconds please go over to the Weblog Award’s Page and vote for me!  Yes, you can go there and vote once per day.  If you vote at home and work that would be super.  If you are teacher send the link out to all your kids, send it out to everyone in your company, send it to everyone in your family!! There are some big sharks in that pool of finalists and I need all the help I can get.

The Weblog Awards are the world’s largest blog competition with over 545,000 votes cast in 2007 edition and nearly two million votes cast in all editions since 2003.  There were over 5,000 nominations in the 48 categories. My blog is in the “Best Education Blog” category.

So if you can spare 30 seconds, I would really appreciate it if you can visit the Weblog Award’s Page and vote for me…everyday until January 12, 2008 (that’s next Monday).

The 2008 Weblog Awards

Fix the hole, not the peg

A few years ago I was very lucky to have David in my class.  David has Autism.  I have had students that have had autism before.  What made David different was that during the year he was in my class I opened my eyes to a different way of teaching kids, especially special education students.  I realized that every PPT I sat in on was all about how to get kids to conform and succeed in a traditional classroom.  It was the kid that had to change.  It was the kid that would need a IEP, drugs, or checklists.  It was all about taking a square peg and figuring out how to shove them into a round hole.  The meetings focused on fixing the peg, not changing the shape of the hole.  It was very rare to actually get any input from the kid.  We never knew what was going on in the mind of the student.  We seem to enter these meetings with an angle of what does the teacher want the kid to do and how do we make the kid do it.  We sometimes just treat the kid like a lump of clay, and everyone at the table pokes and prods it with suggestions to shape them into what a student should be…in their opinion at least.  Too often we look at the kids weaknesses and try to fix them.  We don’t look at their strengths and try to build on them.  We take a kid who is already frustrated with school, take the things they have the most trouble with, and find ways to convince the kid that sitting in a chair for 55 minutes at a time, taking notes, studying for a test, and doing homework everynight will be the key to their life long success.  We spend a lot of time and money trying to make kids conform to our sytem.  Crazy…

I would like to leave you with a letter written by David for one of his college classes that his mother has shared with me and I have received her permission to share with you.  David was much more than just a lump of clay.  I know that now.  And thanks to him, I will stop trying to mold my students, but instead create an environment in which they can shine. David will shine, as long as he is not forced to become a round peg just to fit into our society’s black hole.

I am David, an individual who possesses autism. My disability makes it difficult to for me to understand the nuances of social conduct. Instead of instinctively knowing these facts, I have to learn them from scratch. For instance, I don’t know when to interject my thoughts into a conversation or when everyone’s interest of my opinions starts to waver. While I have gotten better in many areas, I still have trouble knowing when to speak and how to interpret people’s expressions. I’m still not very good at making eye contact as it’s like getting stage fright, and I am sometimes not aware of my tone. I am also not very social. While I do enjoy talking to people with similar interests, I dislike crowds and extreme extroverts. Being in a packed stadium of exuberant people would be a nightmare for my sense of space and hearing. The situation would overwhelm my senses and make me very unhappy. I prefer a more quiet, controlled environment. I also enjoy my solitude, where I can think in peace and pursue whatever interests me. As a fan of, among other things, Japanese monster movies and anime, I find it difficult to find those who share these interests and so I turn to the Internet. I enjoy reading discussions about them and will, on occasion, join in to add my thoughts to the equation. I also read fanfiction, fan written stories based on copyrighted properties and I often get ideas for tales based around my favorite shows. However, as with with my original story ideas, I procrastinate a lot and have trouble finishing even a story’s plot outline. I hope to overcome this and be able to publish stories about action, adventure, and interesting characters. Many of my tales can get very dark and push a protagonist’s psyche past the breaking point. For instance, I have a story in mind where a very sheltered superhero fan manages to become one and his sanity gradually unwinds when he sees how low people will go. However, that same character will learn to cope with that and still find that people have the capacity to do great and wonderful things. In my own fiction, I’m too idealistic to concede to downer endings.

7 Things you don’t know about me

Confession….

I have been a little down latley.  It seemed as though every blogger out there that I read has been tagged for the “7 Things you don’t know about me” meme–except me.  Geez, it’s like not getting a invite to the party that all the cool kids are going to.  So I am happy to say I am finally one of the cool kids thanks to Bill’s tag! (and tagged again by Jess Muculloch!) So let’s see, seven things you don’t know about me are:

1- I am a heavy metal fanatic.  Love being in the front row of a concert surrounded by people with long hair and tattoos.  I used to have a heavy metal podcast that made it into the top ten in iTunes. I lead a student metal/punk band that played at the 8th Grade outings each year.  Iron Maiden is my favorite band of all time!  On the turntable right now is Dokken, Ratt, and Dio.

2- I spent my college summers leading backpacking trips out to the Rocky Mountains.  Out in the middle of no where for two weeks.  On one trip on the way back we stopped in North Dakota and were camped out on the edge of a plateou.  We were run out of our sleeping bags early in the morning by a heard of buffalo.  We went over the edge and dug into the side trying to avoid the herd.

3-I used to communte to school on my bike.  The lowest temperature I ever biked in was -2 degrees.

4-Almost all the meat I eat is produced on my farm. I have had to stick my hand inside of a goat to deliver a kid.  I kill my own chickens, and have a small herd of very rare heirloom sheep.

5-I spent ten years teaching at the worst most challenging school on the planet.  It was everything that was wrong with public education in one building.  If you think you can imagine what it is like to teach in the worst most challenging inner city school, you can’t–it is a different world.  I never for a second wish that I would have started my career anywhere else. I am still recovering from it, and  I still feel guilty about leaving.  While there I started my transition from being a traditional detention/test/homework/disciplinarian teacher to the odd-ball teacher I am today.

6-I really, really, really want to be a college professor!  My favorite time in the classroom is when I am working with student teachers.  I would love the opportunity to totally mess-up kid’s minds and give them a completly different take on how to “teach.” I can’t quite figure out the path to get there.  It seems as though all professors have a PhD or have done some great research, writing, or other projects.  I don’t see those credentials getting onto my resume until AF (after kids).

7-I am Santa Clauss.  Really I am. I am Santa for our town’s winter festival.  It is a really cool gig making kids smile all day.  Making kids smile really energizes my spirit.  My thesis for my 6th year was actually about using humor in the classroom.

So there ya go.  Now to pass it on and tag other bloggers.

The following bloggers can consider themselves tagged:

Steve Kimmi

Dan Callahan

Terry Shay

Glenn Wiebe

and the last two students that commented on my Blog!

Mallorie and Brian

Make a New Year’s resolution to update your blogroll!

Earlier this year I stopped following all of the big cheese bloggers and podcasters.  I even took the blogroll off of my blog.  You know who they are.  Look at 99% of the blogrolls out there and you will see the same names.  If you are a new blogger or podcaster they are the same ones that are in your blog roll right now.  If you are an old time blogger please update your blogroll with all of those new blogs you found after your initial plunge into the 2.0 world.  Nothing against the big guys, I was just looking for something fresh and new, and wanted to find people who were more like…well, me.  The folks who are in the 400,000s for a technorati rating, get a big smile when their counters hit more than 10 people per day, and just a single comment on a post is enough motivation to write again the next day.  During the course of my search I found many small, and many “big” blogs that I had previously never seen.  One of the first that I found was Delaine Zody’s (or did she find me?).  It is the only blog that I have continuously followed through every RSS reader change.

On Christmas Day Delaine left me a present in a comment–she gave me a Pop-tastic award.  I get excited anytime anyone stops by and reads a post of mine, but it is with great excitement and a “tear in my eye” that I come to the podium and accept a 2008 Pop-Tastic blog award from one of my favorite people I have never met, Delaine Zody!

pop-tastic

Part of the deal is that after receiving the award you have to pass it on to six other bloggers.  Here are my six choices for blogs that I read for a wide variety of reasons and have kept me coming back regularly over the last several months:

Tech Intersect

Souly Catholic High School

Successful Teaching

eJourney with Technokids

Army of Dude

One Marine’s View

I know that some of you will think this is a bit silly and have a problem with a picture of vegetables on your site so no offense taken if it does not show up.  But I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate what you do.  Even if I have never commented on one of your posts, they still leave me thinking.  Thanks.

Here are the  Rules & Regs for the bling:

  1. When you receive The Award, please post it on your blog, linking back to the person who gave it to you.
  2. In addition, please link to This Post, which explains the origins of The Award.
  3. Please visit Veggie Mom’s Post , which explains the origins of The Award, and Sign Mr. Linky, so she’ll be able to keep a record of all whose Blogs are Pop-tastic! Feel free to leave a comment, too!!
  4. Pass The Award along to SIX Bloggy Friends, whose creativity merits inclusion in this circle. Link to their blogs in your Awards Post, and notify them that they’ve received The Award.

I am more than a teacher — are you?

I used to have a podcast that was simply a “stream of consciousness.”  I might have a concise thought to start with, but where the podcast would go or end up was anyone’s guess.  This post kind of reminds me of that podcast.  It’s a very rough series of four connected ideas.  It all started with the thought “I am more than a teacher.” 

I am more than a teacher.  I am a parent to 100 kids.  Some kids don’t want to hear that, and some parents do not want to hear that.  The fact is, I am with my students more than many of their parents on any weekday.  I am with them more hours during the day than I am with my own children. Whether they like it or not, I will treat them as though they are my children…and I tell them so. 

A couple of hundred years ago in New England this would not have been the case.  Children would have been in constant contact with their parents.  They would have been working side-by-side with them.  Family, rather than school, would have been the primary socializer in kids’ lives.  The rules of social behavior would have matched the families’ belief system that existed in the community.  Growing up was a slow progression towards gaining “adult skills,” both social and mechanical.  School was dispersed of when the child was capable of more valuable work on the farm.  The school master was there only to check on the students’ progress in reading, writing, and math.  Everything else was left to the family, and the community. ‘Growing up” was a continuous process which slowly phased into off farm work and independence for the males, and one that ended a bit more abruptly for females when they got married and left their family.  There were no grades, graduations, or ceremonies to make the transition from one stage to another.

My kids get bounced from teacher to teacher each year.  During the day they get bounced from teacher to teacher every 50 minutes.  How many minutes a day do they spend with their parents? Not in the same house, but “with” them.   If it was more than 50 minutes I would be surprised, nothing wrong with the parents, just a reality check.

So for 50 minutes each day I am their dad whether they like it or not.  Whether I like it or not.  With that comes the acceptance that I teach life first, content second.  I embrace it.  I wonder how kids will be “socialized” when they really do not have a constant adult in their life, or if they have an adult in their class that is only interested in dumping content into their souls?  Do they end up socializing themselves?  

I dress like a teacher on the inside.

“I dress like a teacher on the inside”…this post was sparked by a conversation on Plurk last week.

Many people would not consider me “professional” enough to be a teacher just by looking at me. The judgment would be made based on how I look—what I wear on the outside. My Hawaiian shirt would not be appreciated. My jeans would be frowned upon. My sneakers would be considered a down-right sin.

If you have read more than a few posts on this blog you might be able to figure out that I bleed making the student’s classroom journey a deep almost spiritual one. Where the students go on that journey is determined by the energy the teacher infuses into the room. I believe that each of us has a certain type of energy that gets thrown out into a room and can take over a class. An energy that can say passion, love, hope, I believe in you, and don’t give up. It is hard to release your energy. It leaves you exposed. It leaves you open to insult. It leaves you emotionally drained. It leaves you with tears at the end of the day.

In order to release my energy, I need to be comfortable. I need to dress like the inner me. The inner me is not a very polished person. I hate working inside. I hate wearing shoes. I hate wearing dress slacks. I hate wearing ties. I don’t even own a good coat. I am happiest in a t-shirt and jeans, shorts actually. I can’t imagine someone walking up to an artist and telling them they would do a better job if they were wearing a tie. Dressing more professional would not make me a better teacher. I know, for eleven years I wore shoes, long-sleeve dress shirt, slacks, and a tie.

**controversial statement coming in 3,2,….** Clothing can be a barrier to connecting with students. Yes, you can dress people in various different garbs and the one in shorts and a t-shirt won’t be selected by students as a “teacher.” But what if you asked students which person do you trust? The one in the tie or the one in relaxed casual clothing? Which person would you be more comfortable asking a question to? The one with the suit or the one with the baseball hat on? I agree that any kind of energy can break that barrier. There was one study that that I came upon when doing research for my thesis a few years ago. They took college students and showed them a 10 minute video of a professor. S/he was not the most engaging person on the tape. In real life when they weren’t acting they were. When those students took a class after watching the video it took them approximately thirty days to begin to have a favorable view of the professor. The students who did not see the video? Favorable impression from day 1.

After reflecting on this post and my experiences, one more thought keeps coming up. If you would not consider me professional dressed in my jeans, if you would not automatically respect me based on the fact that I wear a t-shirt to conferences, then how do you treat the kids in your class that dress different from you? The Goths, the metal heads, the emos, the punks, the skaters, the nerds, the kids with dirty clothes, the barbies, the preps, the kids who wear to much clothing, and the kids who don’t wear enough. Please don’t look at their outside. Look at what they are wearing inside.

“I don’t need to know it for tomorrow.”

The other day a student came into school exhausted. She had had a dance class and CCD the night before and was so tired when she got home that she went straight to bed without studying for a test she was going to take the next day. She decided it would be better to get up at 3:00am and study until school started. I asked:

“Do you remember anything that you studied?”

“Yes, it is fresh in my head from studying all morning.”

“But will you remember it tomorrow?

“I don’t need to know it for tomorrow.”

She knows the rules of the game, and I am not mad at her for playing by them.

How has writing for a world wide audience changed the way you write?

After 2+ months blogging I gave my students a survey to have them reflect on what they have accomplished.  One of the questions was “How has writing for a world wide audience changed the way you write?”  Besides putting capital letters at the beginning of each sentence, here are all of the unedited responses:

I write what people want to hear.

I wanted to perform my best and show people how I can write. I wanted to leave a good impression to the higher authorities reading my blog, therefore I wrote with enthusiasm and intelligence, and I wrote of very interesting topics that grasp the readers’ attentions.

It has changed the detail i put into my writing

I write better now that I know I am doing it for hundreds of people.

Now I always write as if I’m talking to a large audience, even in school.

I work extra hard and think of topics that other people can relate to.

I now know that I’m branching out to people world-wide!

People have given me constructive criticizm and that helped me to do better.

It has changed the way I write by just being aware of what people want to see and how well done things have to be. Basically it has made me a cautious writer.

It has made me think about what I write more and how I could improve my writing by doing it for different cultures.

Its changed the way i write because i get comments from people from around the world and it helps me improve my blogging style.

It has made me more confident with writing for people all over the world to see.

I write more to make the people around the world understand not just the U.S

Well it really make me think about what im putting down.

Writing to a world-wide audience has changed the way I write because you learn to communicate with others all around the world and you get to compare different life styles around the world.

It has made me think about what I write before I write it because everyone can see it.

Yes it has made me more aware about what you put on the internet and who can see it. So your writing has to be perfect.

It has enabled me to be able to write, making sure that anyone who reads it, will be able to understand what I am  saying.

It makes me keep in mind that anyone and everyone is able to see it so I do not want to say something I may regret or something that may be inappropriate.

It has made me use spell-check more and write about different topics.

Knowing that the whole world is able to see what I’m writing makes me think twice about putting something up there. It makes me check my work more carefully and it motivates me to do my best work.

I think i write in a more “open way” so it appeals many age levels.

I think that having a world-wide audience changed the way I write because I really put felling into what I’m writing because I know that other people will be reading it than more than just my teacher.

It made me really look over my work.

It has made me think more about what I am going to write before I write it for everyone to see.

I expressed more to the world.

This made me take my time more to look for mistakes. I also wanted to put my best work out, so people would enjoy it.

I check my spelling and it has made me want to write more.
I write better and a little less off topic.

It is good to write a post with a world wide audiance because then if you are writing you need to keep in mind what a person would think when you are reading it and what they would think of what is written cound be unlimited and you would like that outlook to be posotive.

It makes me want to be perfect.

It makes me think that I can acomplish great things.

It made me think about what I am actualy writing more than usual.

It made me write more professionally and use bigger vocabulary words.

It changed the way I wrote because I new that there were going to be lots of people reading the post, so I had to make the best it could be.
it made me want to write a lot more.

It makes me want to do my very best.

I realize that some of our cutoms are much different than in other parts of the world, so i try not to be blunt when i am explaining things.

I want to make what I’m writting more interesting and make sure that it is good.

I alwasy have to do better so it reprssents how good i can do.

I have more people skills.

It has inspired me to look at their posts and see how much of a deep thought they put into their work, so I try and do the same
my vocabulary has gotten stronger.

I realized that a simple blog entry can promote a voice and different point of view to be heard around the world.

I no longer write pretentiously or just to Amerincans.

I am more open and I no longer assume that they know wht I’m talking about when I write.

It change a major role because i am so use to writing to a teacher and having it grade it and only her and me see it, but now its a bunch o people looking at it. so it became pretty scary and at the same time fun.

Same.

It makes me want to actually take the time into my writing pieces, because, now, i actually know that people are reading it and actually listening to a child and their ideas and imputs; imputs that can be so different from someone elses.

It makes me want to write better because I know that people from around the world will see it.

My writing is more creative

Im not ambaressed to write as much

You can write whatever you want because you know that some audience no matter their age or race, they will relate to your post.

I write more appropiate and I think more

It has my my writing a lot better

I think having an audience like this you think about what your writing and how it can relate to people all over.

My kids rock….


Are you preparing your kids for the unexpected?

You might be familiar with the line “We are preparing our kids for jobs that don’t yet exist…” Ok, but the reality is that when the kid is eventually applying for a job they will probably know what the job and the responsibilities are—unless you are applying at google…but that is another story. However, once they get that job will they be prepared for the unexpected in their day-to-day responsibilities? Be able to handle situations that pop-up without any prior preparation?

Today my kids sat down to do an interview for a podcast at 3pm. They had rehearsed their questions which were personalized based on research, they were able to take a guess as to what the follow-up questions would be, and their opening and closing remarks were already written out specifically for the person. At 3:10pm it was clear the interview was not going to happen. We made the decision to contact the first person on my skype list. Within 15 seconds we had a response from Dean Mantz that we could interview him and by 3:15pm we were skyping with Dean. No research, no personalized scripted questions, introduction or wrap-up. After a rough opening, a little dead air here and there they did awesome. I know this does not sound like a big deal, but for a 12/13 year old to interview someone with out prior preparation and practice is very difficult. After reflecting on the experience I thought that they learned more from this experience than just the answers to their questions. They learned that they can handle the unexpected. They learned that as long as they don’t panic they can control the situation. They learned that they are in charge of the outcome (yes, there was some deer in headlights looks when the skype call was ringing that took a few minutes to go away).

Later in the year I actually plan in unexpected events. One presentation they walk in thinking they have five minutes and then learn that they only have one. Another they walk in thinking they are going to present to a friend, and they have to present to a sixth grade class. There are a few others that will remain secret because I know there are some students who sneak looks at my blog. I think that I will try to work in more today after the podcast experience.

I still hear teachers and parents doing a lot of talking about the positive attributes of teachers who give kids lots of traditional work. Lots of homework, lots of class work, lots chapters to read, lots of tests and quizzes, if they get a 79 they get the “C” instead of the “B” and stay off of the honor roll. I hear how this is going to prepare their kids for the future. But will it really prepare them for jobs that don’t yet exist? Will it prepare them for the unexpected?

No bikinis at my school!

This past summer the State of CT started using a new internet filter.  After complaints by some schools that it was too restrictive they sent a letter to the districts with the following decision:

CET voted to provide a default configuration of blocked Web site categories, including all the categories that are currently mandated. These default categories, however, will now be modifiable within each district by the locally assigned network administrator. Only two categories – Child Pornography and Pornography/Adult Content – will be included in the new mandatory minimum filtering level. The mandatory minimum filtering categories cannot be overridden.

Here are the categories that are turned on:

Child Pornography/Child Abuse *

Obscene/Tasteless **

Pornography/Adult Content *

Criminal Skills **

Dating/Personals **

R-rated **

Dubious/Unsavory **

School Cheating **

Explicit Art **

Terrorist/Militant/Extremist **

Hate & Discrimination **

Tobacco **

Illegal Drugs **

Weapons **

The categories with an ** can be modified by each district.  My district also added “internet radio.”  So we cannot access our podcast site in school this year.  We can see it, just not download or listen to anything on it.  The 200 or so videos that we made last year we do not have access to–http://viddler.com is now a rated R site.

I did really like two lines from the letter:

We urge all CEN filter managers to use extreme caution and careful consideration when deciding to unblock a Web site category. For example, if a district chooses to unblock the “R-rated” category with the intention of opening up access to video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Google Video, that action will also unblock ALL Web sites categorized by 8e6 as R-rated or “services pertaining to anything that involves 18 and over material such as lingerie and swimsuits, revealing pictures (sites that are adult in nature without being explicitly pornographic).”

Now follow me here and let me know if there is a flaw in my logic…My guess is that we would not have a problem if we found a girl looking at lingerie or a bikini.  My guess is not many girls would be searching for sites that deal with all the banned content in the box in the beginning of this post.  Most male students wouldn’t search for that content at school. So then filters are created to prevent a small percentage of male teenagers access to certain content on the internet.  Maybe we should also have a no-walk zone around Victoria Secrets in the malls, and we should seriously consider banning teenage boys from beaches in the summer.  They might see someone in a bikini.

It’s all a conspiracy…

This is a totally random thoughts post.

Quick–without thinking–how many teachers have you had that could tell an interesting story?

Late at night when all my work is done, kids are in bed, wife is in bed, and the animals are fed I often sit down and turn the tv on for @3o minutes before I go to bed.  The first channel I flick to is CSPAN.  Tonight there was a guy on there talking about his book Forgotten Heroes.  He was just an older gentleman standing in one spot looking at notes talking about colonists taken prisoner during the American Revolution.  I thought he was fascinating.  My favorite three professors were flat out lecturers, I can listen to audio only podcasts all day, and I like to read books without pictures.

Hmmmm….

Teachers are not suppose to lecture, show powerpoints with lots words, and they are supposed to make sure that they use every conceivable media and hit every intelligence in their lessons.  But I know teachers and professors who break all those rules that kids love.

Do educators have to add all the extra stuff because they are boring folks that kids tune out to preserve their brain cells? Can they simply just not tell an interesting story?  I have seen large groups of kids sit silently and listen to storytellers spin their tales while just sitting in a chair.  I know plenty of people who love TED talks–most of which are just a person on a stage talking for 15 minutes.  I actually started thinking about this last month after returning from Google Teacher Academy. I had planned on sharing some highlights with my kids for about ten minutes.  After sensing their engagement the story went for nearly an hour.  No pictures, no music, no laptops.  All I had was an interesting story.  I also remembered a student who got up in one of my classes in college and taught about King Louie the IV for a 20 minute mini-lesson.  All he did was tell a story, he just talked and everyone listened to every word.  It was a good story…Maybe 2.0 tools are just part of a conspiracy started by teachers to cover up the fact that they are boring.

Now I can hear the chorus of “But everyone learns differently…” Plenty of studies are out that show simply being led through mental exercises are kind of like doing the real thing.  Maybe great lecturers let people smell, hear, feel, and move as the characters but only in their mind.  Almost as good as the real thing.

As a part of interviews I think asking how teachers would integrate technology into the curriculum would be super.  But how about this one “Speak to me for ten minutes about something you are passionate about–tell me a story without moving.”

I became a history teacher because I like stories.  I wanted to put the story back into hiSTORY classes.  I am starting to question if maybe my heavy emphasis on using 2.0 tools are making the stories take a back seat.  I think I have lost my focus.  I have kept my essential questions, concepts, inquiry, conclusions, etc, but have maybe lost the story.

Uh-oh…just had a thought–seriously this wasn’t planned, it just popped into my head.  I was kind of going through what my kids did in the last year and they did tell many stories.  Maybe, just maybe I am feeling the pains of me not telling them the stories.  They are so busy creating and telling the rest of the world stories that they put together that there is no time for me to tell them stories.  I am taking a backseat and becoming more of a spectator rather than the center of attention the more I integrate technology into my classroom.  On the cover of my portfolio that I turned in with my resume was a quote that went something like “The goal of every great teacher is to become useless.”  I think it is happening much earlier his year–and maybe I have created this conspiracy theory to cover up the fact that letting students take control is scary business.  I am in the middle of a huge project with them right now in which they are in charge of telling “the story” to four other schools and they are not turning out how I would have told the stories.  But that’s ok because there is no conspiracy, just my kids driving the classroom with me in the backseat shouting out directions once-in-a-while.

What will the resume of the future look like?

I know you can re-twitter or re-plurk, but is re-blogging legal?  I bumped into post today from Melanie Holtsman.  She writes:

The next time I’m explaining why we need to allow kids to create and collaborate online, I’m going to show this video. It was made by a teenager named Judson Collier, who is applying for a job. He was obviously given the knowledge, tools and time in his education to create and innovate. The most interesting thing to me was visiting his website and seeing how he looked up some other videos for inspiration. Self-directed learning is a skill that all students need to be prepared for. Everytime I want to know something I do the same thing, look up examples of how others did the same thing…

Would you hire Judson or someone with a great paper resume’? Which one better informs you about the person applying? Check out his video:

 
Stop-Motion App-uh-lu-cat-ion from Judson on Vimeo.

I think the post is perfect and I can’t wait to share it with my kids.  I tell them every year to include their online work even on their high school applications.  The online “resume” is the new fronteir.  It seems as thought the world is full of kids who can fill out an application with Treasurer of Senior class, member of the football team, vice-president of the debate club, clarinet in the concert band, volunteer at the soup kitchen, and perfect scores on 6 AP tests.  In one way learning how to apply to colleges and for jobs is a lot like preparing kids for standardized tests.  Getting higher scores doesn’t mean better students, and those pristine perfect resumes don’t mean better employees.  Moving to using online tools to create resumes to communicate “who” you are and “what” you are capable of doing in the future is more important that handing in a paper with what you have done in the past.

I am thinking that Melanie won’t get made for me ripping off her post if you all promise to visit her blog–please do, it’s a good one.