Thursday, January 29, 2009

Supporter of No Grades...What Does a Letter Tell You Anyway?

So what does a letter grade tell you anyway? A percentage of a particular content that was regurgitated? Does it demonstrate how insightful or analytical a child is capable of when presented with a new problem? Does it explain how he/she collaborates with his classmates to arrive at a solution.

My son graduated from Prescott College in AZ. And he accomplished it in 4 years! He was diagnosed late in High School with ADD and his counselor at that time said that we would be lucky if he would graduate from HS. This statement at the time...I could not imagine...but she was very close to this prediction, because he was so dis-engaged with his classes...that he barely passed his last few required courses.

My son is extremely bright, but had difficulty with the organizational skills (which were not taught well in school) and are so necessary to be successful. This lack of organization is what held him back and soon he became disillusioned about continuing with an education at the secondary level.

However, after a few years he gave it another try. And ended up not making it through more than a few weeks until he again became bored in the traditional "sit and get" lecture hall style courses with Teacher Assistants who couldn't even pronounce the technical words.

We then discovered, through the internet, the non traditional education at Prescott College. My son was very active in Scouts, so the outdoor education and the "more vans than classrooms" for his learning environement appealed to him. Courses were taught by PhD or Master level instructors and the students not only learned from their teacher but also more from each other.

At the graduation, it was inspiring to hear about the senior projects and the progressive programs that these students were learning and creating ...mostly about saving our environment.

It has been three years, since he graduated and I continue to be in awe about how bright, curious, analytical and insightful he is and continues to be. I am thankful that we discovered a program that allowed him to learn the way that engaged and challenged him at the same time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Resurrection of Blogging for PLN

It has been a week since attending TRLD in San Francisco with the keynote speaker being David Warlick. Unfortunately, but (fortunately) for the attendees that the hard economic times had reduced the audience. During the break out session it was like having an intimate conversation with these talented and innovative leaders of educational and assistive technology.

It has been almost 2 years since I have composed a post. I have to admit that I had become frustrated with my lack of confidence in using these new tools. And not having time or resources available to help me through the rough spots.

Unfortunately, this is the second time that I am writing this I had forgotten to save early and often $%#^$! So here I go again muddling through my mistakes.

It was exciting to learning about the new visualizations tools ie. and that are available to engage reluctant writers. Also, I could think or several uses for the "Self-prompting videos with IPods" by Dan McNulty from the Indiana Patins Project. The short video clips are great for Transition student to use when learning vocational skills and students on the Autism spectrum to learn social skills.

When I returned to my school office, it was encouraging to learn that others are also beginning to explore and develop their PLN Personal Learning Networks. At my next dept. meeting I will be encouraging my colleagues to set up a Delicious account so that we can share and organize out bookmarks and resources.

As I have reflected on the past two years, I do see how it has been a slow, and frustrating learning curve for this technology immigrant. But now that I have seen interest springing up around me I have felt it is time to resurrect the old blog. To be continued....