Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Guest Post - Teaching 2.0 by Meghan O'Neil

Our first guest post comes from East Leyden teacher, Meghan O'Neil @MEONeil1 .  If you're interested in sharing your own learning experiences in this open blog, contact pdidomenico@leyden212.org. 

There is nothing worse than when you create an awesome activity in a Google doc, share it with 70 students, and then realize it was your teacher copy with the answers and notes in it. FAIL. Chances are you can take away editing rights and re-send a new one, but there is that nagging voice in your head that says, “Someone already made a copy of this. It’s too late.”

I learned last year, my first in a one-to-one district, that technology does not always make things easier. In fact, I have worked harder in the last two years than I had my first two years in teaching. Aren’t the first two supposed to be the hardest? And what’s with Google Docs? What about all my binders of awesome worksheets I have created? And my word docs and PDFs? I can’t start over. It’s too hard. And these Chromebooks will mean kids are distracted all the time. And they will never remember all these usernames and passwords, or how to get to different sites or open their eBooks. I mean, just last night I was trying to look up the balance on my student loans and I had to reset my password, and go to my email, and then create a new password with capital letters and symbols and numbers…

My job as a high school teacher is to prepare them for the next step. For the “after graduation” part. Managing accounts, and logging into things, and getting frustrated with technology is going to be a daily part of their lives, whether it’s personal accounts, college, or work-related. It’s okay if everything is not perfect all time. I always have a backup plan in case the day’s technology goes awry.

The bell just rang. I am about to start class, and the students already have their Chromebooks open with the bell work I sent them on the screens. They are waiting for me, but I can’t remember how to extend my screen so that I can start showing the video while I take attendance and send them the graphic organizer they will need for the writing assignment.

“Mrs. O’Neil,” says one student. “Try the function key and F8.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Getting Started - A Space for Tentative Writers

I fancy myself a writer. I have a writer's notebook full of lists, underdeveloped ideas, and brainstorms for future projects. I have Trello boards full of future research questions I'd like to answer and countless Google docs full of drafts of unpublished Blog posts. I love almost every stage of the writing process - brainstorming, drafting, revising - Oh! That's my favorite part! A chance to tinker and explore what's already there.  It's the publishing part that gives me pause. Who cares what I have to say, right?

And yet, when I talk about education with my colleagues, I get so excited and inspired and I think, Why aren't they writing? Why aren't they sharing? What they have to say is important. So, I thought I'd start an open blog and invite any other tentative writers publishers to share their thinking on this blog.

Amy Gorzynski @MsGorzo, a business education teacher who teaches digital literacy courses at Leyden, reminds me that any blog should have a purpose and an audience.  I hope this blog can serve as a space for educators, particularly Leyden educators, to share their learning process and learn from the learning process of others. The purpose of this blog will be to provide a space to document any learning process in which teachers engage. What are you learning? And how are you learning?

And with that, I (finally) click publish...