Punahou Summer Tech Lab… the inspiration continues

I am thoroughly enjoying Punahou’s Summer Tech lab.  A couple highlights:

  • Lucy Gray presented on the necessity of a search literacy curricula in schools today.  Not just checking the validity of sites (which is what most think about when we think of “searching”) but understanding how to search, applying smart strategies and tools to find relevant, meaningful information.  The emphasis was on Google (of course, right?) and the plethora of filters and tricks within their genius engine.  Here’s a couple for ya:  Control F.  Use this to perform a key word search in any application.  And, www.yolink.com – I wrote about this tool prior to ISTE but it deserves more press.  It will change the way you search.  Check it out.  It’s free. 
    • Ms. Gray highlighted a thought that struck me – learning must be viewed as a continual process not as achievement.  So true.  Life-long learning is what we, educators, teach our own children and strive to emulate throughout our lives.  However, could we argue that achievement is evidence of learning?  So, while learning is a process, achievement along the way can serve as evidence.  It’s when we start to think of achievement as an “end” in and of itself that we begin to limit ourselves and our students.
  • Back channeling with TodaysMeet.  We visited a U.S. History class.  Students were sitting at desks in a circle, each had a laptop.  All students were furiously typing while a few students were asking questions and responding.  It was only until TodaysMeet was projected on the screen that we could see that students were chatting online (posting questions, thoughts, arguments) while listening to and participating in a “traditional” oral conversation.  Multi-tasking at its finest?!  The assignment?  Students were studying the war of 1812 and were divided into four groups.  Each group needed to argue a particular option – full-on war, a naval war, a prepared war, and no war.  Concerned citizens (with different profiles) discussed the option(s) with each group, voicing their questions and concerns and ultimately voting on the “best” option.  The interactions (both online and face-to-face) between students were rich and sophisticated.  Every student was engaged, contributing to the learning and demonstrating spontaneous critical thinking skills.  Very powerful.