Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Students inspire my professional development

We chose the late start time for iTeam meetings in part because members are engaged in activities that parallel teacher's professional development and collaboration. Brandon has reliably come at 7:30 am nearly every Wednesday since November. Today, we learned quite a bit from each other. 

Initially, he was browsing the workshops page at the "Closing the Gap" conference site. He enjoyed participating in two conferences and wanted to see whether he could find new opportunities to learn and participate. We learned that we missed the deadline for presentation proposals and the conference is held in Minneapolis. So, we used the links tool at the Closing the Gap site to find local connections.

The search produced a link to Maine CITE , the Coordinating Center for Assistive Technologies. The Maine CITE site provided a link to the Maine Accessible Instructional Materials site. And the Maine AIM site provides a link to the AIM Community of Practice. The list of members includes Cynthia Curry, the MLTI specialist interested in AIM and Universal Design. I wonder whether they might be open to having an iTeam member join the community of practice?

Then, he showed me Free Rider 2. It is a game and game creation site that simulates trick riding (dirt bikes, skateboards, wheel chair, ...). He found a particularly challenging course and showed me how to use it. He observed that people must spend tremendous amounts of time to create the tracks they share. I asked him whether he had tried to create any tracks; he had but could not find it. I think he showed it to me because he knows I want to learn how he and friends use technologies. I asked him whether he saw any connections between the game and school. He couldn't think of any. I surprised him by pointing out the games connection to physics and math. I suspect we will see a new round of interest in his work there. I can hardly wait to see where it takes us.


Cynthia said...

Please do contact me regarding an iTeam member on our AIM CoP.

Thank you.
Cynthia Curry

SC Spaeth said...

Earlier, I might have responded, "School's out for the summer, I'll talk with him about it when he returns in September."

Now, we are encouraging students to work in their communities and extend learning beyond the footprint of traditional school hours and days- iTeam footprints on snow days. So, today, I can say, "I hope to see him on Monday and we will get back to you soon."