Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pygmalion Project: April 3, 2008

Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0 , a post by Will Richardson prompted this comment on a project I am beginning with my grandson.

Will, I've been thinking a lot about the juxtaposition of the tremendous challenges we face as we try to improve schools systemically and the individual learner's right to learn. Is it the story of learning students experience in schools that which is preventing them from fulfilling the promise we see for web 2.0 pedagogies, is it a broader issue of cultural norms and expectations that students have internalized, or is it something else?

I keep seeing in my mind's eye the pictures of your children sitting in your home with their laptops open ready to learn with a teacher who is with them via the internet. (Don't remember where the picture came from. Probably Pageflakes.) Right to learn triumphs over attempts to improve schools!

Here's a conference session proposal I just submitted to MassCUE for their November 2008 conference that describes the platform my grandson and I intend to use to learn more on the topic.

In the original Greek version of the story Pygmalion is a sculptor who creates a statue into which Aphrodite breathes life. Every day students in schools throughout our country are learning without the benefit of 21st Century Web 2.0 pedagogies. What would happen if someone tried to add those pedagogies from outside the system? Google applications, digital story telling tools, blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds and aggregators are some of the tools teachers are using to help students become self-directed learners. If a high school student is not asked by teachers to use those tools, is it possible for a student to learn how to apply those tools to complete his assignments and breathe live into his own learning? In this session John, a Massachusetts public high school student who once told me he did not mind learning, it was the homework he could not stand, will join me to report on our efforts to add Web 2.0 pedagogies into his learning environment. Which tools help John with assignments? Which carry him beyond the assignments into new learning? We will report on what happened and speculate about the implications for John’s future learning and schooling in general.

Here's John's first assignment.

I'd love to have my network join the conversation as this project (Pygmalion Project) moves forward. I'm flying somewhat blind here and could use everyone's help. You can start by commenting on this post.

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