T4T Conversation Summary: Day 1

Our iGeneration Voicethread is off to a great start, y'all! Your comments—which are coming from everyone from classroom teachers to professional development providers and principals—are all fantastic and will definitely spark thinking
and conversation. 

Keep it up, huh?  By Saturday afternoon, we'll all have a better understanding of the possibilities and pitfalls of teaching for tomorrow. 

If you're interested in finding interesting strands quickly, try these:

Becky Goerend starts an interesting strand
on slide one when she points out that students in rural communities don't often have
an awareness of what's possible with digital tools simply because their lives haven't been as heavily influenced by opportunities to reach beyond
the local community. 

That makes me wonder how effective digital change
efforts in rural communities differ from digital change efforts in urban
or suburban communities. 

There are constant conversations about the urgency of
introducing economically disadvantaged students to technology.  Do we
need the same urgency in introducing rural students to technology?

Matt Townsley starts another interesting strand on slide one when
he points out that novelty wears off quickly for students using
technology.  My question is do teachers and schools over-rely on novelty
when introducing new technologies? 

Are we somehow hoping that novelty
will lead to results?  And better yet, what is the solution to pushing
novelty to the background and placing the focus of our change efforts
where they belong:  On sound pedagogy and interesting content? 

On Slide 2, Adam Garry and Paul Cancellieri-–better
known as Mister Monkey in our Voicethread—both talk about the idea
that schools as they currently exist are going to be obsolete before
long.  Teaching students to connect beyond the walls of our classrooms
is the greatest need for our schools and for our kids. 

My question is a
simple one:  What are the barriers to pulling off this outward
orientation in every classroom—-and what practical strategies can
schools take to address those barriers?

Meg Ormiston makes an important point on slide five
when she explains that classroom management isn't a issue when students
have choice over the products that they create because motivation
levels are high.  That got me wondering whether students should have
some choice over the content that they learn as well.  

I'm also curious
about the factors that make student choice—either in products or in
content—so rare in our instructional practices? Is anyone successfully
incorporating elements of student choice into your classrooms?  How?

Probably my favorite thought posted during the first day of the conversation comes from Adam Garry.  On slide six, Adam recommends
changing the way that information flows in a classroom. 

In traditional
classrooms, he explains, information flows from the teacher to the
student.  In student centered classrooms, however, information flows
from teacher to student, student to teacher, students to other students,
and students to those beyond the room. 

By that definition, I wonder
how many student centered classrooms we really have in our schools.  I'm
also curious about the impact that the incredible breadth in our
curricula has on the ability for information to flow in multiple
directions in the typical classroom. 

A pointer for participants:  Many users
have asked whether it is possible for one person to leave more than one
comment on each slide.  The answer is yes—and I hope you will! 
Ongoing dialogue between participants around one concept is what makes a
conversation healthy.

When you do, though, you won't see a new
icon added around our focusing quote.  In order to keep a slide from
getting cluttered with icons, whenever a participant adds a second
comment to a slide, Voicethread adds the comment to the conversation
without adding a new icon. 

Other participants will know that
you've added a second comment by looking at the timeline found beneath
each slide, where they will see a new yellow comment tab.  They will
also see a yellow box—and a groovy yellow speech bubble—surrounding
your icon.

Here's to hoping that you'll take the time to stop by our conversation before it ends on Saturday!  Not only will you learn a ton….we'll learn a ton from you!

4 thoughts on “T4T Conversation Summary: Day 1

  1. Mattie Bearden

    I have not formally introduced myself. My name is Mattie Bearden. I am an education major at the University of South Alabama. I am currently enrolled in a technology course (EDM 310) that requires me to post an a specific teacher’s blog several times. I will be summarizing your blogs, as well as the comments that I have made on each of these blogs. You may view my blog at: My Blog or the class blog can be viewed at : Class Blog

  2. Mattie Bearden

    After reading this post, the main thing that caught my attention was the question “Do we need the same urgency in introducing rural students to technology?” Yes, yes, yes! I do not know how to say it any more clear than that! It is just as important, in not more important for rural schools to have the opportunity to learn through technology. Many urban and suburban schools have SO much more than rural schools, even without technology. Students in rural schools should be given the same opportunities.

  3. Bill Ferriter

    Hey Renee….
    I’m really glad that you’ve stopped by! Not just because it’s always cool to see someone discover a tool that they can use in their own classrooms, but because your contributions to the conversation have been remarkable.
    Not sure if they’ll help you at the college level, but there are a ton of handouts on engaging in collaborative conversations that might be worth sharing with your high schoolers in TiG.
    You can find and download them for free here:
    Hope this helps,

  4. TeachMoore

    I’m really enjoying this VoiceThread conversation about your book and the ideas it has generated. I’m also grateful to you for introducing me to VoiceThread itself as a tool, which I’ll be using even more with my students this year. Just learned this: There’s a segmented bar across the bottom of each page that if you click them will take you through all the comments. I can pick up the conversation on any page where I last stopped and proceed forward adding new comments or questions. This is great!

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