Sunday, October 2, 2011
Conference call with Jeff Utecht
I have to admit, one of my major highlights in a long time for me was a conference call I had the pleasure of hosting with Mr. Jeff Utecht this week. Well known international technology educator and author the book “Reach”. Jeff was kind enough to Skype in my class for Emerging Technologies of which his book is required reading. To be honest, after reading it. I couldn’t think of a better book to introduce teachers to new concepts in education, technology and the power of Personal Networks or learning communities. To summarize, the conversation quickly turned to Google applications. We all love them and you can tell that Jeff is very passionate about them. When asked to choose just once resource for educators, his response was “definitely, Google applications, they are so powerful and allow for true collaboration as well as the ability to port your work quickly online. NO more corrupt files or flash drives, login from wherever you want”. Just starting with Google applications myself in education, I was sold immediately and will continue my journey with the installation of Google Chrome, more fun playing I’m told. I am currently implementing Google applications with my 8th grade students. When I asked Jeff, what he suggested he stated “naming conventions for email addresses”. Well I already blew that one but I did keep track of all 93 emails through Google excel so I don’t feel so bad. I think it will be much easier for me to quickly indentify my students with a naming convention such as username and year of graduation. Thanks Jeff! The conversation turned to standards based grading due to a recent post of Jeff’s. He stated that “he believed in it only if it assessed skills” and I couldn’t agree more. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my student care or know what the Power standards for my state are (much less do they care, they want to create, have fun and learn, and it’s technology). Did you know face book is not blocked in China? His students are truly connected and are very responsible about their digital identities. They take pride and ownership of their online work and blogs and I hope to instill this in my students. A sense of ‘I am REPRESENTNG me, my family and my school district”. I could go on and on but I believe this is the longest blog post I have written to date. Thank you Jeff, I learned as always and to my students and colleagues, C. Liss, L. Paul and M. Koehler for attending and adding to a wonderful conversation about collaboration, web 2.0 and life long learning.