Wednesday, December 30, 2009


A whole year has passed since I began this blog and I thought it would be a good time to recap some of the main points from my journey. I've worked in a lot of school districts this past year with teachers that are facing similar issues, such as:

  • Providing evidence of student learning
  • Being a reflective, and data-informed, teacher
  • Letting the content/tasks drive the instructional sequence rather than the tool/resource
  • Learning to work together in a collegial/collaborative way
  • Developing a Learning Network beyond the school
  • Understanding one's roles and responsibilities (administrators too!)
  • Developing district initiatives that are process driven, rather than product driven
  • Learning to relinquish outdated traditional teaching practices in favor of modern/research-based effective teaching strategies
  • Realizing that none of what we do matters without the students
  • Believing that everything we do is in the best interest of students

As I look back over the last year, both in my practice and in what I've shared on this blog, I feel like much of what I see as the "pulse" of things is reflected in what I've written. I also see some areas in which I can improve and extend as a staff developer and let what I'm doing and what I've done drive my next steps. I want to practice what I preach, and know that I am being every bit as reflective and transformative as the teachers I am working with.

Everything that we as educators are doing now is game changing. We are empowering students and ourselves through global connections and an insane amount of constantly changing resources. What does this mean for the classroom teacher? It means that you keep doing what you're doing. It means that the content is still more important than the shiny new web tool. It means that the most important 21st Century Skill is still "THINKING." It means that you don't have to jump on every train to reach a new destination, you only need to be "willing to travel."

Now, for the recap! These are some of my favorites from 2009:

Favorite Web Tools of 2009 (meaning, the ones I use most often!)

  • Wordle - Generate Word Clouds from your text!
  • Etherpad - Work together in real time!
  • Twitter - Microblogging service that lets you share what's going on right now! (Perfect for developing your Learning Network!)
  • Wikispaces - Easy and collaborative website building.
  • Google Docs (especially Forms!) - Collaborate on documents or use as online storage for your own documents!
  • Diigo - Social bookmarking service. Save and share all of your "favorites" in one convenient place!
  • Flickr - Save and share your photos.
  • Aviary - Creation Station! Edit photos, audio, take screen shots--lots of creative opportunities here!
  • Blogger - Easy to use/update blogging service.
  • Cooliris - Presentation software that allows you to show a "wall" of images in a cinematic and really cool way!
  • Shmoop - Mega Resources for Literature and History - geared toward both students AND teachers. Really awesome website!
  • Animoto - create videos from your pics, text, movies, and audio--easily!
  • Storybird - Collaborative storytelling that starts with the visual - then invites the textual response. One of my Ultimate Favorites this year!
  • Ning - Facebook-like social networking that teachers and students can use privately.

Favorite Posts from the blog - 2009:

Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is your best year yet!

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. - Isaac Asimov

Picture is of my mother and mother-in-law with their iPod Touches. I thought it underscored what I meant by being "willing to travel." This new technology has opened a lot of doors outside the classroom as well!

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