As news unfolded recently about the newly elected pope, people around the world were in close touch with the news. Whether via tweets, television, live stream, text or other means, the word traveled fast! This Washington Post article discusses some means of media access and how it has changed over time.
In talking with my son, he recalled being in his 8th grade classroom when Pope Benedict was elected. This memory stayed with him as I am sure thememory of this week’s new papal election will stay with many for years to come.
On the east coast, schools had let out by the time the identity of Pope Francis was announced. They did however, watch prior coverage such as news of the white smoke. Below are some responses shared on twitter on how classrooms learned this news.
Mike Rogers school in St. Paul, MN had a chance to learn about the conclave in advance.They were on break when the pope was announced but the surely felt connected to the process because of all of the work they had done in advance.
As the Papal Conclave gets underway, the web is rich with sites and resources for teaching about the process. Sorting through the sites for the most accurate and education ones can be quite a challenge. A number of good sites were shared recently in the weekly twitter chat #CatholicEDchat. In this post, I explore some sites and offer a few suggestions for those looking to use them in the classroom.
I recently worked with teachers from a local Catholic school on a professional development day. We explored the of the links below.
How Do They Choose the Pope
This video from Busted Halo explains both the tradition and the process involved in the papal conclave. It tells process succinctly and in an engagingly, interesting way.
Adopt a Cardinal
www.adoptacardinal.org - This site allows visitors to randomly generate the name of or ‘adopt’ a Cardinal. It gives facts about the selected Cardinal such as age, location and more. Thanks to @barbinnebraska for this one!
http://electingthepope.net/ - This is an educational site created by a group of bloggers, writers and educators. This site is both comprehensive and informative and is a valuable resource for those exploring the topic.
Cardinals Active on Twitter
This list of Cardinals on Twitter is set up by Fr. Roderick. It is an easy to ‘follow’ list which is broken down by country.
Sadlier Prayer Cards -
Classes can download these prayer cards and use them in prayers supporting the Cardinals in the conclave.
As we explored the sites, teachers creatively shared many ideas on how they could use these sites. Also, thanks to Dave M for telling us about the video above!
Ways to Use Papal Conclave Resources in the Classroom
1. Younger Students – Share the Visual Papal Conclave on a large screen or smartboard. Students can listen and learn visually. They can generate questions and explore answers as a class.
2. Teachers can work with a classroom students or groups of students ‘adopt’ a cardinal. They can then do further research on that cardinal and the area he is from. Students can pray for their selected cardinal.
3. Teachers can use the How To Choose video or the comprehensive www.electingthepope.net to use as a springboard for further research. Students can fill out a KWHL chart to check their knowledge and explore questions they may have.
4. Students can role play or re-enact the process to form a deeper understanding and connection. Any of the above resources can inform their work.
5. Students and teachers can follow twitter accounts of cardinals. Although media updates may be at a minimum during the conclave itself, these tweets can prove a valuable resource going forward as the new pope is elected and takes his place in Rome.
I hope these sites are helpful. Please share any sites or lessons that you have found for this purpose.
When I first began to use twitter, I thought it an unusual concept. What could I say and who would I follow? What would communicating openly look like? What could it possibly have to offer educators?
That was September of 2008. I found out quickly that it was an incredible and powerful tool. Once I began to use it, I quickly realized the immense benefits in terms of professional learning, building community and shared ideas. A study I came across this week underscored those benefits and caused me to reflect on what drew me in.
Making a Social Network Meaningful
What was really beneficial to me in this shift was how I happened upon Twitter. It was in a workshop held for 20 of our high schools in the Archdiocese of Phila. We had 5 people from each school including administrators and teachers. In looking back what got me hooked was knowing I’d be connecting initially to people I already knew.
The fact that others in our schools were getting onto Twitter meant a lot to me. I wanted to delve into it myself. The fact that our workshop was being led by others well versed in using twitter did too. (Willrich45, snbeach)
An Place to Connect with Like-Minded Educators
What Does the Research Say?
In reading this article posted in Edweek, I recalled what drew me in and still does! – connecting with like minded individuals who shared the same interests.
The article highlights data collected by MMS Education noting a trend towards private social networking and online communities. Though open and public social networking is here to stay, private communities have a solid base and that base if growing! Private communities allow for both a more targeted and seemingly safer way to connect with others for educators.
26 percent of teachers said they would join a new social network tailored to educators in the next year, while only 5 percent said they would join a new network for personal use
Social networks are now an integral part of the lives of many. Perhaps this study reflects your own practice. If so, what do you find to be most beneficial to you?
As school leaders and teacher leaders, will you encourage others to join a social network for educators? Will you build a social network of your own?
Conferences and meetings have always been places where people could go to learn. At conferences you hear of new concepts, design new strategies, learn a skill. In today’s web enriched environment though, we can do all of those things online. We attend webinars, tweet, and Linkin. We email, Facebook, skype and chat. We can learn online easily and explore topics in depth.
So why attend conferences face to face? To meet people face to face, to hear their stories, to build relationships. To quote this piece by Sr. Geralyn in the VFLR blog. If we are to provide well for the learning of today’s students we need to
Broaden their vision with your understanding of their world. If that world is way beyond your knowledge, leverage some assistance from another educator.
Just listen to these young adults as they discuss the benefits of Face to Face talk below.
As educators, it is important for us to discern how to best support all new and innovative venues for learning – to make online learning, educational uses of technology AND face to face learning the best it can be!
As powerfully as the tools of today can provide learning and forge connections, face to face gatherings
can deepen our learning and partnerships.
An upcoming conference is planned in Philadelphia and is hosted by Powerful Learning Practice. The agenda is packed with inspiring speakers and collaborative opportunities for educators. This can be just the place to talk with connected educators from all over the world.
Having the opportunity to meet and greet innovative and passionate educators does not come along every day. I’m happy to be part of the planning team for this conference. I look forward to connecting with other educators there – face to face!
14 Resources for Needs Assessments and Evaluations
In bringing the benefits of technology to education and indeed to any organization, needs assessments and surveys are a valuable tool for School CIOs and school leaders. These can work hand in hand with your school plans and technology plans. Both in the planning stages and during implementation, surveys can provide you with valuable feedback which can lead you to the goals you envision.
Seeking input and feed back is essential to the success of any initiative. This survey feedback can act as a ‘GPS’ telling you where you are currently and what you need to do to get to your destination. Your school or district technology plan is your map. Needs assessments and surveys can get you on the right path and keep you there.
These assessments can look at both classroom technology and overall technology needs in your school or district. Below are some resources for this purpose
Note: These resources have been updated, August 2012
Topics for Assessment – Consider Survey Topics
Tech Support and Equipment
Digital Learning and Skills
Lesson Planning for 21st Century Learning
Emerging Technology, New Ideas
Framework & Assessment Instruments – Below are some existing Surveying Guides and Instruments
Framework – Base it on given frameworks such as ISTE’s Nets, P21 or other frameworks
Local Vision - Base it on current school/district vision and other existing plans such as Technology plans
Tools to Use – Sampling of Available Online Tools
Clarity – Brightbytes tool for assessing educational technology. Provides recommendations in easy to use formats for schools, boards. Graphical representation of results. New and dynamic. Ask for a tour.
Zoomerang – Survey Tool- Free version or get additional features by subscription
Survey Monkey – Survey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
Google Docs - Google Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
“Be both a leader AND a follower, teacher AND student. Learn from people who inspire you AND inspire others with your boldness. Lead with conviction AND be prepared to change direction. Walk an authentic path AND inspire others to walk theirs. A leader is anyone willing to grow and change and live out loud.”
I saw this quote online today via communications specialist Randi Thompson. It really struck me as a quote that applies to connected educators everywhere. Whether twittering, in online forums, webinars, or any number of venues I see this is a great mantra for connected educators!
In order to allow people at all levels of your organization to lead, they have to be empowered to do so. Allowing new forms of learning and connecting is key to any school or organization today.
Do teachers have access to tools for connecting? Computers, tablets
Is the internet connection free of overblocking of sites?
Does professional development time allow for learning and exploring new web tools?
Is mentorship encouraged?
Are successes shared regularly?
Do policies support collaborative tools such as Twitter, Wikispaces and more?
The more we can empower educators to connect online for their professional benefit and for that of their students, the more we are the light that is needed in education today.