Monday, April 4, 2011

Who's in My Network

I read a lot.  I used to read books.  The stroke has slowed that down a bit.  I used to read very, very fast.  Skim really.  It's coming back.  So I get through a lot, but mostly on the internet.  I learn by reading, doing, making mistakes.  I love getting a thousand ideas coming across my desk each day.

Professional development has changed a lot for me.  I remember my first few years in Louisiana.  If I needed something I would write a letter (longhand) to my old high school director.  Wait for a response.  I remember when I was so grateful that a veteran director came to my school to work with my band.  I got so many ideas!

I really flew by the seat of my pants.  I was a Teach for America placement, I hadn't had any method classes, but I did have a lot of playing experience and I definitely had great directors and teachers.  I taught what they taught.  And it pretty much worked.  Twenty years of successful groups.

But I would never, ever, want to return to how I used to teach.  I was sooo stupid.

Now I get a lot from twitter, google reader, and the NYTimes (wait, not so much anymore....).  Who is in my reader every day?

Thomas J West: My first stop for music information.

Joseph Pisano: man of a thousand projects.  But always, always ready to help.

Dean Shareski: Blogger I most want to work with.

Alfie Kohn: I have a crush on Alfie.

Frasier Spiers: iPad guru.  Does great writing about his 1-1 experience in his school.

Susan Haugland: She answers when I have a question.  I like that.

Chris Pagliaro: my internet buddy at SHS.  Makes me think somebody's listening.

Now, whats odd is, except for Chris, who I see every day, I haven't met any of those people.  But I think they would all say I'm in their network as well.  Thats cool.

Are we setting our students up for this environment?  I don't think so.  What if our "test scores" were based on the size and quality of our audience?  I made collaboration my goal for my teaching evaluation this year.  Its a goal in our strategic plan, but nobody ever talks about it.  I've increased my twitter followers, doubled my blog readership, presented at workshops, and talked, talked, talked.

Next year I measure the effect on student learning.