Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Writing for Myself: Writing to Teach

I just read Barb's post about the NWP/NCTE convention which you can find at the Teaching with Blogs link. Barb and Laura went to these cool sessions, and I attended some very practical sessions that weren't related to the classroom. I went to a session that explained how to collect and input data for the NWP Inverness surveys that they do each year to get federal funding. This will be helpful because I can use that information to show how many contact hours our satellite has with teachers, how many students our teachers work with, and how many counties and school districts we are impacting.

On Friday, Barb and I presented about the blog and the data I've been collecting. I think Barb and I both felt very proud. We've learned some good stuff about educational blogging and we have insights that we can share with teachers. I saw a lot of attendees nodding their heads as spoke, and Barb and I both had several people come up to us who wanted to exchange emails and find out more.

Will Richardson's been depressed about whether or not school's will shift to accept this technological presence. He's mostly thinking "not" right now. There are huge obstacles for teachers who want to try something new--like blog with students. Don't get down, Will, but we may need to take baby steps for awhile.

It can be done though. There are many people in higher ed who blog with their classes, and they share with one another. One insight that Barb had was that anyone researching technology tools in a classroom spent very little time talking about or with the teacher. She was right. They focused on the student, and the teacher was an afterthought. The students' perspective is important, but in our research, if we don't address the teachers' perspective--the people who have to change the way they have thought about teaching and learning--then we aren't helping other teachers to initiate this change in their teaching.

Thursday afternoon Diane from UMSL and I shared how the Missouri Writing Project Network set up the Literacy Academies in collaboration with DESE. The audience was people from other sites who wanted to know the steps that occurred as we started these academies. We created a timeline for the presentation, and it was a good process to sit down and record what had happened in the last year.

I missed a blogging session at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. I went to a session on New Teacher Initiatives presented by Winthrop Writing Project. Thank goodness Laura went to the session, so she can update me. I also attended Roy Fox and Amy Lannin's session on MMEET--Mizzou's Men for Excellence in Elementary Teaching. They shared the research they are doing with a group of male teachers--interviews, classroom observations, blogging, and focus groups. It was interesting to hear some of their early observations. Several people from Kansas State were there.

From 12:00-2:00 on Saturday, Jane from Prairieland, Amy from MWP, Diane from Gateway, Dr. Fox, and I met to discuss writing a research grant for some work the MWPN is doing.

Sunday morning I attended Lanette's session. She included information on her session. Her dissertation was on girls' personal blogging practices. In her presentation, she explained how what she learned their could be incorporated into the classroom.

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