Exploring The World From Home

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With many schools closed due to the pandemic, many K12 educators are working hard to understand the basics of running an online classroom. Everyone is trying to help each other, with social media and discussion threads filled with stories, advice, and lists of resources. Lots and lots of lists.

A good chunk of the advice is, of course, centered around using Google tools, like Classroom,1 with the primary focus seemingly on how to continue teacher-directed instruction in an online environment. I wish there was more effort to turn that around and find ways for students to create projects based, at least in part, on their interests and concerns, rather than continuing the fixed curriculum.

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A Few Learning Opportunities

For those who read my rants here in the northern part of Virginia – or the extended area that is annoyingly called “the DMV” (DC, Maryland, Virginia) by some local media outlets – I’ll be participating in these close-by learning events in the next six weeks or so.

Next weekend, November 7 and 8, I’ll be doing two of my Google Earth/Maps-related sessions at the EdTech Team’s Northern Virginia Summit. We’ll be at George Mason High School in Falls Church and there are still a few tickets left.

Later in the month, November 21, join us for edCamp NoVA at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn for a morning of collaboration, discussion, and learning. Learning about what? Well, that’s the beauty of the edCamp concept. The content is totally up to the participants. Did I mention it’s free?

And then there’s the annual VSTE Conference, the premiere learning experience in Virginia. We’ll be in beautiful downtown Roanoke for three days, December 6-8, of sessions and activities covering everything about using technology in the classroom. I’ll be in the Hackerspace area most of the time but also out taking pictures.

If you also plan to be at any or all of these events, please track me down and say hi.

Deferred Learning

I was talking to an elementary teacher this week about ways she might be able to use Google Earth in her instruction.

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With her interactive whiteboard, LitTrips, for studying history, exploring other cultures.

She told me that it all sounded wonderful, something her students would really respond to and enjoy using.

And then… “Maybe we can plan to do something with Google Earth after the SOLs.”*

Sigh!

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything we did in schools was that after-the-SOLs kind of learning?


* SOL = Standards of Learning, the shorthand name for Virginia’s spring collection of standardized tests. What did you think it meant? :-)