Name: Connie Weber
Website: http//
Educational Institution: Emerson School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Teaching Environment: Upper Elementary, Independent School. Teacher of fourth and fifth graders, all subjects
Web 2.0 Focus: Social Networking: Classroom 2.0 for broad contact with educators about use of technology and other educational themes, firesidelearning for focus on conversations about pedagogy, philosophy, news and views, and educational reform.
Description: The heart of professional development might be summarized by this phrase from Donald Schon: we need to “become reflective practitioners.” How do we do this? Join a network of educators from around the world who are passionate about their involvement in learning and teaching, and who are on the cutting edge of use of new technology. Find colleagues who are experimental and enthusiastic, who stay philosophical and are constantly assessing the deepest purpose of it all. Classroom 2.0 has been one of my homes for networking with world educators. It’s one of the most powerful tools for professional development I’ve found, in 30 years of teaching. It ranks up there with the very best conferences and collegial associations I’ve been a part of. And the best thing about CR 2.0 is that it’s ongoing, constantly available, searchable, and responsive to any needs I bring up. Within hours (sometimes minutes) of posting a forum, I have some ideas about what to do; my questions are validated and responded to. I can ask questions; I can contribute answers to others’ questions. This dialogue, this resource-sharing, is certainly an essential part of becoming a reflective practitioner.
Classroom 2.0 has beenpart of my daily life as an educator. Several of my colleagues and friends have joined. Through joining a community of educators much broader and more diverse than we find in our day-to-day existence, we can gain insight and inspiration, and bring these back to enrich our local communities. Recently, I've created a ning for "educational conversations": "sit by the fireside and join the conversation." People especially interested in the pedagogical, philosophical, or reform side of education seem to enjoy this network.
Got something on your mind you want to reflect upon or learn how to do? Start a forum on a professional ning network, like CR2.0 or firesidelearning. Here are some recent forums’ titles: “Describe the ideal 21st Century teacher in as few words as possible.” “Gaming in the classroom.” “Ways to help a blind student.” “How students view their intelligence—the ‘effort effect.’” Post, read, write, debate. Threads follow threads--people post reactions to particular segments in the discussions, or spring off with a related new posting. Discussions go a lot of different ways: practical, philosophical, even poetic. Links accompany postings; often examples of thoughtful work by students and teachers are instantly accessible. Articles of importance are often linked to. You find people who are thinking through the issues you're struggling with, and people who have projects going on that you or your class can join. What more could we ask for professional development? I am deeply grateful to be a part of such a reflective--and active--community.
Teaching and Learning:
Preferred Applications: Classroom 2.0 firesidelearning
Mentor(s) and Hero(es): Will Richardson, Marco Torres, Steve Hargadon
Favorite Web 2.0 Applications Right Now: ning networking, especially the ning I recently created, that hooks up to several other nings and blogs: Also podcasting, sharing of iMovies, connecting with various audiences/collaborators for projects (the active, engaged mode of education), also (it's not directly 2.0) having kids teach teachers how to use technology