Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been.

From "Truckin'" -- Robert Hunter

I'm fascinated by how many times I've headed off in a direction with educational technology, only to end up in an unexpected location:

* The Web Warriors. A year ago, Rick Strobl and I began a web site to aggregate some of our favorite web tools. Rick did most of the work, and I had the hazy idea that the site would help promote with my ambition to make presentations outside of my school. How ironic then that the site would become such a dominant feature within Mercy's sophomore curriculum. For English and American Government most tenth graders are required to produce podcasts. The majority use Audacity, a free cross-platform sound editor. Rick installed tutorials and key download link for the application at our site. Now nearly every Mercy High School tenth grader goes visits the Web Warriors. Not exactly how I envisioned this working, but pretty cool all the same.

* After returning from the 2009 ADE Summer Institute, I was determined to try Challenge Based Learning with my American Government classes. I wasn't sure how well it would work, but I went ahead and wrote a proposal for a CBL presentation at 2010 MACUL. When I plunged into designing the CBL projects I expected it to radically effect my courses and students. What I did not anticipate was how much the students' ambitions would influence how I looked at networking and research. When my students began to fearlessly contact lawyers, judges, academicians, doctors, insurance agents, campaign managers, military officers, etc.; I decided to take networking to another level with M-Hub. My plan is to place students in touch with staff (past and present), parents, and alumnae for purposes like academic research or career guidance. The experience of engaging in CBL actually kicked me up to a new level of passion about and commitment to guiding students as they learn how to network.

I have no idea what strange destination the M-Hub Project may lead me to. But thus far, my tech treks have given me one helluva ride!
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Screen Capture from Web Warriors

2 comments:

Rick said...

Mr. Baker is a man of vision... Web Warriors, based on its daily "hit" count, is a hit outside of Mercy, too!

Larry Baker said...

It's amazing how much more sustainable my "visions" are when I collaborate with creative, talented folks.

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