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The Trials of a ‘Rookie’ Blogger

Setting the Stage

Last night I had the fortune of experiencing a presentation by Clarence Fisher. The focus of his presentation revolved around the value and power of networks in education. He stressed the importance of providing opportunities for our students. Opportunities that allow them to become part of a global stage. Too often the stage we provide for students is our classroom, their audience is their peers. For many students, these peers are the same audience that has traveled with them from grade to grade, class to class for years. It made me think of having to eat the same meal everyday . . . although peanut butter and jelly(my personal favourite) is okay, it would be nice to at least have the chance to order up a 12 oz T-Bone!!

This classroom ‘T-Bone’ I speak of is available through online networking. The stage, albeit somewhat restricted to a classroom, can be (as Clarence puts it) a ‘hub of global activity’. The potential is there to reach outside the walls of your classroom into the world via the internet. Would you trade your PB&J in for a T-Bone? I know most students would!!

Clarence talked about the classroom itself, the physical set-up, exchanging desks in rows for couches . . . textbooks for the world-wide web . . . worksheets for the global stage. Clarence has done this. Teaching in a small mining town in Manitoba, two hours from any other major centre, can definitely limit your stage. Clarence has created a stage for his students to learn, explore, and express their creativity and ideas to the world. His students have been given the opportunity to take control of their learning. Order what they want (so to speak) . . . not forced PB&J!! I commend him for this. Being a ‘trail-blazer’ is not an easy thing.

As I continue my slow journey down the ‘path of technology’ (and all it has to offer), I continue to get more and more inspired by people like Clarence, Dean Shareski, Sharon Peters, George Siemens, Richard Schwier, and Darren Kuropatwa, who have also presented to my EC&I 831 class. I appreciate their insights and their willingness to lead the way and advocate on behalf of students and how they learn. To try to convince educators that there is a need for change and the vehicle for change is right there in front of them. They just need to discover its potential and embrace it. They are convincing me!! As I attempt to follow their lead, I look for my own opportunities to network and provide the same opportunities for my students . . . to get out of the classroom and onto the global stage. I think I owe it to them . . . I think the jar of peanut butter is empty.


One Response to “Setting the Stage”

  1. As you say, the vehicle for change IS right in front of you. Technology has brought some amazing potential, and the presenters you mention have gone the extra mile to push the envelope in regards to pedagogy. Once you see it, it’s hard to look at learning any other way.

    Thanks for you post, it’s great to see that you continually pushed forward.

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