As I get ready to head off as a teacher-leader of the New Literacies Initiative next week in Cambridge, MA,that is sponsored by our state Department of Education and features some bigwigs in the field, we are being asked to bring an “artifact” that represents our views on learning and working with teachers.
I thought about how I might do that. Honestly, I wasn’t interested in bringing a digital piece of work. It seems disjointed to have an artifact as a file on my computer. Or am I caught in some conundrum of the digital world of wanting something that doesn’t exist in my hand? No, I want something physical. But what? What represents my views? (And what is easy to travel with?)
It dawned on me that I could bring a Wiki Stix dude, which symbolizes (for me) the use of “play” with students in the classroom and with teachers during professional development sessions that I lead. I always view the work and learning through the prism of having time to play and explore. With teachers, that time set aside in a session is invaluable. Often, we teachers are lectured to by PD folks and then told to implement, but we rarely are given time to just explore a tool or technique or whatever.
Just like kids, adults need time to play around, and through that sense of play, we can try to figure out the possibilities of a tool or idea for the classroom. If I want my students to make movies, I should be making movies, too. If I want my students to create a collaborative document, then I should, too. Glogging? Podcasting? All of it — I do it, too, so that I can share my experiences with my young learners.
My Wiki Stix guy — OK, I need a name here — is a representation of that concept because if you put some of this bendable material (often, I have used clay) in someone’s hands, it is unlikely they will be able to resist the urge to “create” something and that is what learning is all about.
I’m interesting in seeing what the other folks bring and whether or not my off-kilter artifact will fit right in. Or not.
Peace (in the sharing),