Happy birthday to the Innovate Education, LLC. blog!
We are one year old this month. I am so happy to say that I am beginning to grow an audience on this blog. You have no idea how privileged I feel to be able to write for others in the education community.
I wrote a post back in February about a bad habit that I had - checking Clustr Maps on my blog WAY too often. Back in February I had gained 366 readers in 6 months...
Six months later, I am proud to say the almost 1,000 people have visited the blog. I look forward to the next 1,000 very much! Thanks for your support.
More to come...
Mike Meechin, M. Ed.
For more information about Mike Meechin and Innovate Education, LLC. professional development please visit: www.innovateedu.org
I know in my experience it has always been: "It's about the kids."
Is it really though? You know, about the kids? We are a week deep this school year, and I have tell you that I love this job. However, I am realizing how much demand is really on the educators in my school. From extensive professional development to detailed lesson plans, the demands and requirements are intense. So, where do the kids fit?
I am realizing that even with all the demands that do not directly impact the interaction between myself and my students, I am going to focus on my students first. The rest of the "stuff" will come later.
"It's about the kids."
Actually, it is bigger that just that. I am going to take the company line further than ever this year. I am going to answer the company line of the people that should be running the company. You know, Chris Lehmann, called for action earlier this summer. We need more people like Chris to tow the company line.
You know Chris actually believes in the company line; "It's about the kids."
Lehmann is the principal of SLA in Philly, and travels the country speaking about school 2.0. Chris' idea of being about the kids is to totally redesign schooling to be about the kids. Schools today are not designed to be about the kids. We are too caught up in the system - failing schools, less qualified teachers, standardized testing, narrowing the curriculum - for "it" to be about the kids.
When Chris made the call for action I wasn't sure if I could do anything. But, you know what - I can. I want to organize an Educon of my own, answering Chris's call. I advise others to do the same. It is important... in fact more important than anything else that we [educators] can do right now.
To make it about the kids, it will require a grassroots effort. Excellent educators that call on others and take charge of making change in their communities. Making it "about the kids."
I am going to take the next month to think about how I can make change. I will keep you updated of my thoughts, ideas, and questions here. I also want to leave you with one question...
So, with tomorrow marking the beginning of the 2010-11 school year, I wanted to take a moment to thank my PLN [Personal Learning Network]. And... to tell you that if you don't have one - get one.
I am really looking forward to this school year and putting the changes that were inspired by my PLN into practice. I will tell you that the changes, ideas, and inspirations that I gained from reading, writing, and collaborating were more than I could have receive in ten summers of professional development workshops.
Below I am going to list a few of the changes that will be seen in my classes and then I will discuss the people that you should add to your PLN... now!
My class will see:
Crowd-sourced syllabi and student expectations
Twitter student network
Parent hub using Google Sites
Student instructional cell phone use
Wikis for fast information
Revamped assessments/grading policy
All of these ideas evolved from the ideas from my PLN. Now I will tell you that I did not do as good a job as I should have. In fact, my PLN was rather one-sided. This school year I look forward to opening up the conversation from both sides and offering contributions to the PLN.
Today, through the use of Twitter, blogs, and many more social technologies you can connect with educators all over the world in seconds.
The personal learning network has forced me to grow as an educator more than any other outside force that I have encountered. I encourage you to get involved in the conversation now - the power of the PLN will take you and your students far. This school year I will also be pushing my colleagues to get involved in the conversation. This will only make us better educators, and have a direct impact on our students.
Okay, now for those of you who are going to get started... here are the people that I would recommend. These educators are contributing so much to the conversation. Now, it is your turn to get involved in the conversation.
This weekend I stumbled upon Joe Bower and his blog. The man is doing some mind altering educational reforms within his classroom walls in Canada. He has some amazing ideas and methodologies that will create a neuron party inside your head.
Now pedagogy that calls for the removal of the grading system from education may at first seem - oh, I don't know... insane! But, if you give Mr. Bower's site a read - he will dazzle you with some food for thought. For those who read this blog, you know I am beginning a journey of research with the 50 Point Project. But this abolition of grading is just blowing the doors off of my concept - man oh man!
He forces us to rethink assessment...
When assessment becomes more about covering your own ass in fear of being held accountable and less about student learning, we fail our children in more ways than we would like to ever admit.
Now I am not saying that I agree with Joe's work or his philosophy, nor am I saying that I do not. What I do know is that Joe has inspired me to have more of the tough conversations with my colleagues this upcoming school year.
We are the leaders of tomorrow's schools and if we do not have these tough conversations, who will?
Without these conversations, public education will continue on the path of the status quo. Thanks to Joe Bower and other reformers in the movement - thanks so much. Thanks so much for forcing me to have these tough conversations that will make me a better educator.
Mike Meechin is an educator. He is employed by a school district in Central Florida as a high school social science teacher. Mike is also the owner of Innovate Education, LLC., an educational consulting firm in Central Florida.