I recently read a post on Will Richardson's blog reflecting on the last year in education. What has changed, he wants to know.
I expect that the changes were not earthshaking. Not yet. Little things here and there -- a district with some new policies, a teacher here or there who sees education in a new light. At some point, changes will start to snowball, and educators will look back and marvel at the difference, but I don't think we're there quite yet. For the longest time, Paul and I had an e-mail address but hardly anyone to send messages to. For a while it probably seemed that there was no communication revolution in the making. And now, e-mail is practically passe. Same with cell phones. Each family member has a cell, something I would not have predicted when I bought my first one maybe ten years ago. And by the way, I have absolutely no interest in the fancy smart phones. At the same time, I acknowledge that some day I might have one anyway.
What has changed for me personally as a teacher? Quite a lot, if I think about it. Here are things I had little or no knowledge/experience of until just over a year ago, but I have implemented or at least played around with since:
RSS and Google Reader (it's a mess right now, but never mind)
blogs (I have two now)
wikis (using the Moodle ones more successfully)
Twitter (I never would have guessed I'd go there).
Diigo and Diigo Education
paperless handouts (I had done this before, but not as much)
backchannel in the classroom
TodaysMeet (I conducted one department meeting from a bagel shop).
There might be things I'm forgetting, but I think it's clear that I am headed in new directions as a teacher. It's not the tools, but rather what the tools can accomplish. I am looking for more collaboration, less paper, more sources of knowledge, more ways to get students excited about learning, and more ways to assess what students have learned.
I know that I have much to learn, but I think that 2009 has been a pretty good start.