Users of Blackboard Collaborate
First step - tear down some classroom walls. Starting with the district and moving out across cities and states. From there we move out across continents....and then the limits of the Earth and beyond. Too much? Maybe, then again…not really…
When demolition has served its role as the horizon broadenER, altering narrow notions of time, place, culture, and experience....we begin the reconstruction phase. Classrooms redesigned internally with connection, empathy, understanding, and of course, real collaboration. Rebuilding will depend on more than live chats, video streams, and wiki edits. The essential building material is TEACHING. Teacher to teacher, student to student, teacher to student and…What, you say? Student to Teacher….Dogs & Cats Living Together! What’ll they think of next? Oh My!
Having access to Blackboard Collaborate will literally change worlds. My personal and professional world, worlds of my colleagues, worlds of my students and worlds of those sitting in classrooms yearning for the gift of reconstruction….up to 50 worlds changed in one fell contest win swoop! Not too shabby a'tall!
The ubiquitous edu-speak of 21st Century skills is bloated to overflowing with realworldapplicationrelevancerigorauthenticityhightouchflatnessflow. My students and I scream "ENOUGH!" Impatiently we ask, "How far into this century will we go before we get to experience this stuff in a real way?"
I want to answer, "Right now – Let’s get after it!" With this tool I can go beyond my present distance capabilities. I will not only be able to view and speak with distant classrooms with Skype. I will not only be able to merely share in the composition of documents and other artifacts via Google Apps, Ning/Wiki-speak, and countless similar platforms. With Blackboard Collaborate I become a part of team that simultaneously TEACHES and LEARNS and CREATES together. Rather than the students gaining insight primarily from their respective teachers in the comfortable confines of their classroom and sharing that perspective with their round-the-world peers, they will benefit from other teachers’ techniques and approaches. Most importantly, students will learn from those of their more experienced and proficient peers. What more authentic opportunity to really get a concept that through the experience of teaching it? I see of a cohort of teachers assessing a session recording homemade by students from scratch...
I envision the serendipitous scene…it is long past the ringing bell, we are hovering over and around the machines, preparing and sharing our slides and sites, ready to move beyond mere presentation, but Moderation! No longer safely standing by to answer a question here, provide a thought there, but running a meeting with folks half a world away and YOU are in Charge!
Getting there is the real jewel! Learning sessions, numerous and commonplace, are found in personal headset spaces throughout the campus and neighborhood, honing skills, perfecting technique, speaking academically with confidence. We start with small pieces to be sure – book clubs, movie reviews, peer managed tutorial sessions...endless possibilities! Exciting stuff standing alone, but this only hints at the extraordinary professional development opportunities to build authentic learning communities on both an intra and inter campus basis. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a Board member or Superintendent, certainly a building administrator or three found a seat at a session! Too Much? …Not at all!
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity and your kind consideration.