Wednesday, August 1, 2012

thinking ahead to week 1

School may take summer off but learning never stops: I'm stoked! It's been a great summer for the new model of learning you'll be experiencing in this course. Many learners around the globe are trying new things with technology and they are eager to share and learn with us. Students and I had online interviews with thought leaders such as Steve Hargadon and Howard Rheingold (for the Macarthur Foundation-sponsored Digital Media & Learning Hub at University of California, Irvine). A couple weeks ago I described the model and the outcomes in this talk at OSCON in Portland, OR.

Part of the success story is the way the Class of 2012 accepted the challenge. Check out this interview Ian May & Trevor Hudgins did a couple days ago with an ed tech community based in Calgary, Canada.  It will be terrific to have Ian, Trevor and other members of the Class of 2012 join us for online conferences and forums to shed light on tech, learning, and life after HS.

But even though you'll have alums as a resource, remember the "etch-a-sketch" factor. You are completely different people and this is a brand new year.  Times have already changed. There are tools and ideas on the Internet that didn't exist yesterday, much less last year. The political and economic climate around us changes day by day. So, even though I have some idea of how this might go, and you're certainly welcome to build on and expand the ideas and ventures that last year's students began, I invite you and I encourage you to build from scratch. Imagine how you can connect your goals and your passions to the course in meaningful ways.  We're all in for a surprise as you discover what ideas and tools move you to action as you learn your way through this experience.  Incoming students are already designing new learning experiences and ventures-- who'd've thunk I'd be encouraging an architectural redesign of the room or a mother/daughter team-teaching the literary techniques and themes of Dickens and Dr. Seuss?

Reading this blog, however, is like a scene from one of those old westerns where the sheriff slowly walks down the empty main street and mutters, "It's quiet. Too quiet." And the etherpad is about as interesting as [whatever/not inspired enough to finish the simile]. So, if you haven't yet created your blog or contributed a comment or warmed up with your reading notes...

On the first day of school you'll be [spoiler alert!] writing an essay on the summer reading. On Wednesday we'll begin a conversation about how to make this blog and other 2.0 tools help you contribute ideas and collaborate in new ways. In the meantime, the following tips will help prepare you for the first week:

1. Get to class as early as you can. We'll need every second.
2. Bring a spiral notebook or comp book in addition to your binder (returning students will recognize this as the infamous journal).
3. Post your summer reading notes to your blogs. If you haven't posted them, please bring them to class and be prepared to turn them in. I will return them Thursday so that you can use them on the in-class essay. (Oh, by the way: we're having another in-class essay on Thursday).
4. Make sure you're in the right class. I don't mean according to your program, I mean according to your own heart and mind. This course demands intellectual courage and intestinal fortitude, and it is not for everyone. Be honest with yourself and see me if you have doubts.
5. The following posts (which you'll probably see before this if you're not following the blog or frequently checking it) will provide vocabulary and poetry assignments for Week 1. There will be a vocabulary quiz on Friday, August 17, and you must have the poem memorized by Monday, August 20.

Hope you had a great summer. I look forward to exchanging ideas about the reading and embarking together on a memorable journey. See you 8.14.


  1. For my blog notes I'm not going to rewrite them. Since you're big on technology however, I will use my technological camera to take a picture of my prehistoric note taking. Then i will post the picture onto my blog(:

  2. Could you give some feedback on whether you can see them or not. I might be able to make them darker, or tell me if I even posted them to my blog or somewhere else..

  3. Kaitlyn Furst and I are on a road trip of sorts up north until Monday the 13th, rendering us unable to post notes until then, or possibly even the 14th. We apologize for the delay