There are many “new” schools opening up all over the world offering different, alternative, out-of-the-box and innovative approaches toward the education model. I wanted to keep a list of schools that I want to evaluate and research even further. I have heard of these schools in various contexts and open to add more to this list.
- TEP Charter School – Paying teachers a salary of $125,000 and a bonus structure up to $25,000.
- Harlem Children’s Zone – Tackling education on all fronts of the community.
- Rocketship – Offering a hybrid school model where students meet with teachers on block schedules and then have learning lab time with an adaptive learning management system. Lowers cost of operation model.
- School of One – Uses learning algorithm technology to provide customized curriculum for each student.
- MATCH Charter – Established a MATCH Corps program where new teachers go through a residency on their first year of service.
- New Tech Networks – Getting lots of press with the 21st century learning model of collaborative, project-based, and technology-based curriculum.
- Generation Schools – Urban education offering small class sizes, lesser teacher workloads and more professional development. Teachers have staggered-vacations which gives students a 200-day school year.
- Kunskapsskolan – School in Sweden well known for its personalized approach to education.
I often write to express my thoughts and reflect on my profession, hoping to share and collaborate with colleagues and peers. Today, I write in hopes to be heard. Today, I have been inspired to finally write this grand idea that has been brewing for quite awhile. It is in fact “dreaming big…”
I have been in the educational technology field for a few years now and have fully embraced the concept of web 2.0 as the 21st century way of learning. In the past three years, I have built a technology program at our school that embodies collaboration, problem solving skills and innovation. From my engineering class to our teacher professional development program (TEKA), our school has embraced 21st century learning. This year has been particularly successful as we have moved to a Google Apps environment for our collaboration efforts. The real time collaborative environment allows staff members to communicate more effectively and share knowledge to truly create a personal learning network (PLN). Our ever growing internal wiki has expanded ten fold with information and lessons tailored for our environment. I can safely say we are an empowered group of learners who understands self-directed learning in a collaborative environment.
With much success at our school, I have been inspired to see how this PLN can grow to our bigger charter network. Upon reflection, I couldn’t think of a better way to promote the web 2.0 concept than at our annual charter school conference. Having been inspired by collaborative efforts at other conferences, I thought using web 2.0 tools at our annual conference would be a game-changing idea.
Our annual charter conference brings together the brilliant minds and passionate educators from all over the nation. For the past three years, I have come away inspired and motivated to teach after our week of collaboration. However, I have come to the realization that despite the inspiration that comes from the conference, the knowledge and collaboration efforts that extend after the conference has been comparatively minute. I also come to realization that during the conference, the chances of more collaboration and instant reflections may not be fully materialized without using technology to drive the conversation.
I remember going to a conference over a year ago where I was first introduced to Twitter and how it was used at the conference at that point was beyond my scope. However, having used Twitter actively now for the past three months, I finally put together the purpose of using Twitter at that conference and the potential impact it can have on information sharing. The concepts of web 2.0 has been around for many years now and trying to describe it here is not going to turn any heads.
Instead, I want to connect web 2.0 with our annual charter conference. I want to dream someday that our conference will utilize web 2.0 tools such as Twitter to spark conversations with true real time collaboration. I can envision being at one of the sessions and “tweeting” my reflections on the speaker and having another teacher responding to my thoughts in real time. I also see others learning from each other through the #conversations and archiving people’s topics and links. Moreover, having several active television monitors spread across the conference for people to learn and be in the “know” of what is going on at the conference. Active live “tweets” will take the conference into a whole new level of real time reflections, surveys, and polls. Using other web 2.0 tools such as wikis to archive and Poll Everywhere to get instant feedback will bring and keep new ideas into fruition. The best part of Twitter is that mobile technologies allow the individual to post their thoughts instantly through Internet ready phones or texting capabilities.
I dream of having having a booth (Adelante Cafe) with my students teaching teachers how to use web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter and Edmodo at the conference. It would be a sight to see my students helping the conference participants logging on Twitter and learning how to RT and create #edchats about our #kss10 conference. It would be a beautiful thing to see the power of the crowd produce content rather than just listening to content throughout the conference. In my humble opinion, it will greatly enhance the experience of the week as all teachers and staff members will feel actively involved, as they share out their reflections, ideas, and information in real time.
I write this idea inspired by one of our program’s important mottos of “Dreaming Big…”