A long time coming!

The last article I wrote was from the last week in March and that feels like a web eternity! It's not for a lack of having things to discuss :-) On the contrary, there are so many conversations I'd like to have that I can't quite seem to fit them all in.

For example, I got to really sit down over Easter with my wife's cousin's husband (say that 10x fast!) who teaches at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Jon is a Professional Development Specialist and Instructor in the Agriculture Education Program. I didn't even know that was there was a preparatory program for Ag. Education?

Jon quickly forgave my ignorance and we had a wonderful conversation about how technology has improved and hindered the Ag. Ed programs at UM-Columbia. Jon's PhD. thesis covered cognitive theory in Ag education(or something along those lines). We talked about the change in Bloom's Taxonomy(Another Bloom's Link) and how Ag Ed. naturally lends itself to teaching higher order thinking skills, critical thinking skills, and extensive processing skills. All those fun things that can be facilitated through technology.

Jon talked about how his graduate students are receiving professional development through pod/vodcasts and how he'd like to be able to observe students doing practicum work using a webcam. Again, my ignorance kicked in and I thought, "Wow, all this great teaching and learning in an Ag. Ed. dept." Thanks for setting me straight, Jon!

The theme that came up time and time again in our conversation was the necessity for great teachers. It doens't matter how much technology you have, how many PowerPoints your students have done, or how you are using the technology. Without a great teacher in the room, the technology will be wasted and the PowerPoints will be nothing more than "PowerPointlessness" (a term I first encountered in a keynote by Jamie McKenzie).

Great Teachers + Sound pedagogy = Student Acheivement

That is successful teaching!!

Imagine what happens if we teach those "Great Teachers" how to collaborate with others using a wiki? Create blogs where students are engaged in authentic writing? Producing finished podcasts for audiences beyond the walls of their small schools?

As Dr. Suess put it, "Oh, the places you'll go!"

Something to think about.

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