The personal learning network for educators
Each afternoon between 1 and 1:30 PM, I receive an email from "Naomi Shemer". Not the Naomi Shemer. From the iPad in our school named "Naomi Shemer".
One of our founding 21st century learning teachers, Silvia Tolisano, decided when we first got our iPads that we ought to name each one after a famous Jewish person and sneak a little extra learning in. So we have iPads named "David Ben-Gurion" and "Ilan Ramon" and "Sarah Aaronsohn" and (of course) "Solomon Schechter" and so on. Awesome idea.
And because of the way our gmail is constructed it also allows you to receive unexpected emails from from names you thought you would never see in your inbox!
Hey! I just received an email from Naomi Shemer! How awesome is that!
So...why is "Naomi Shemer" sending me a daily email?
Because my oldest daughter is in Grade 3 this year and according to their class blog:
And that is what happens. Each day Eliana takes a picture with an iPad of where her clothespin ended up for the day and emails it to both me and her mother. Besides the ease of communication the technology allows for, what I really appreciate about it is that it shifts ownership from the teacher to the student. We typically talk about students "owning their learning" - this is an example of our students owning their behavior.
Grade Three is a pivotal year in our school when it comes to a student's digital presence. We have blogfolios for each student in our school, Kindergarten through Grade Eight. [NOTE: We are in the second week of school here in Jacksonville and all of our blogfolios have not yet been carried on to the next grade. They are going live as we update them.] But the teachers have primary responsibility for them in Grades K-2 - although reflection is there from the beginning, they function more like digital portfolios than true blogfolios. Grade Three is when our students begin to assume ownership of their blogs and begin to learn how to be digital citizens. They are beginning by learning how to comment on their own class blog.
I have written often about why we put such an emphasis on blogging in our school. And I, myself, have been blocking off for the last couple of years about an hour a week to comment on student blogfolios. But now I have the opportunity to view the experience wearing my parent hat. And I can see the idea that "with 21st century learning education need not be bound by time and space" playing out before my eyes in my own kitchen. Eliana was not required to comment on her class blog and her teacher was not required to comment back. But she was interested as we were cleaning up after family dinner and he was responsive during prep and now their student-teacher relationship has a different nuance than it otherwise would have had.
And both the father and the principal in me couldn't be happier.