Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tooting Your Horn

In early February I shared MHS staff development recommendations with the Technology Integration Committee and school administration. Some of the proposals called for organic change to the school culture. I think I made a strong case, but experience tells me that this kind of institutional change of course is rare in an organization of any size.

Nevertheless, I can't for the life of me see why one of my recommendations hasn't been seized upon. I suggested that we take on the school-wide project of creating
"a virtual exhibition space for student performance / exhibitions". Why not? Our students respond with exceptional motivation to performance. Parents and alumni would be pleased. And if we were even somewhat selective about quality, how could this not be an effective marketing device? I really can't see a downside. But rather than railing against the the lack of impact this recommendation has had on the school, I have decided to whip up exhibitions from each of the courses I teach this semester.

Wiki Hall of Fame
I recently sent a press-release of sorts to our communications coordinator with the object of getting my American Government classes' civil rights/liberties wiki projects published in the parent newsletter. After creating the wikis, students
then taught this portion of the curriculum to their classmates. I created a web page attached to my course site for a Wiki Hall of Fame featuring three wikis. Of course the kids were thrilled to be photographed and selected. And less the others feel left out, all the other wikis were linked to the Hall of Fame page as well. So please check out the wikis and give us your feedback!

Shameless Self-Promotion?

Old school sorts may react to the school newsletter "press release" and web site as an exercise in Larry Baker self-promotion. Fine. I plead, "Guilty with premeditation." First, I am consciously trying to define myself as a "go to" educator whose practical classroom experience, creative curriculum development, and enthusiasm for Web 2.0 technologies give him a special skill set. I am certainly not going to let others define me as "techie", "traitor to Luddite cause", "Shakespeare lover", Washed up Basketball Coach" or whatever. (Schools are keen on slotting people that way). And secondly, as I expressed in "Geometrically Progressing. . . ., I am determined to seek multiple consequences from any project that I adopt. In this case, I am executing one of my own proposals (no hypocrite, I!) and doing some branding of "Larry the Consultant" at the same time. TOOT!

On deck?
I have asked my AP students (and their parents) to lift password protection of their Vlogs/blogs, and I am collaborating with another teacher on exhibition of work from Lit into Film students. If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to sample this fare before the school year is done. Stay tuned for more tooting.
"Toot Your Own Horn" with generous permission of 11:30am

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