Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tulia Tornado

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Google Adventures

In about 45 minutes, I will attempt to teach others about something I am just beginning to learn. I lead some really amazing people in something called staff development. No, it isn't a production line for shephard crooks. It is a means of growing teachers into a new way of facilitating student instruction. And about that word "facilitating"......I like that because it means I don't have to be the expert. I simply have to lead others to the water and guide them in discovering some neat tools. I think too often we expect teachers to be total experts in all areas. That sets them up for failure where technology in education is concerned. I would prefer someone show me what's available then get out of my way so I can take it and run. I think that is what our students prefer. They want guidance, but they also want to show us what they can do above and beyond what we teach least where technology is concerned.

Not many academic subjects can boast that kind of engagement. How many over-achievers are there in a World History or English III class? Most kids will do only what the instructor demands of them and no more. When technology is thrown into the mix, some students will knock our socks off with the quality of products they create.

Today we are covering the neat tools Google has made available to teachers (and the rest of the world) for free. They include Google Earth, Google Maps, Google News, Blogger, Docs and Spreadsheets, Picasa, Google Groups, SketchUp, and iGoogle.

By the way, I kind of like iGoogle. That customization of my homepage is really neat.

Forty minutes to go. Guess I'd better head that way.

Dreams and Schemes

Every day brings a new perspective to my daily routine. Kids, husband, parents, and siblings all give me a reason to look for new ways to accomplish our heart's desire.

Take my latest scheme for example. One of my children has taken to horseback riding like a duck to water. I can blame that on my big brother who "saw" something in her interactions with other animals. Being a "good" parent, I want to encourage the talents and interests of all my children, of which there are four. We now own a horse, travel to horse shows in the region, and are looking for a way to put the horse and the rider in the same general living space. Right now, Uncle Andy has horse custody, but riding once every two to three weeks doesn't lend itself to making a great rider.

Options are surfacing. We'll see where this goes.