Thursday, June 30, 2011

(Repost) Inclusive Practices: Integrating Services & Systems

So, today I had the opportunity to share and discuss how technology & social media might support and inform the construction of inclusive practices across our district. I shared some resources with our Access to Excellence Committee. This committee is charged with Informing district-wide practices related to the ways in which we serve our students whom are identified with disabilities. I wanted to pass along the wiki link & share a couple of thoughts that I was hoping the committee could all take-away from today's meeting. This is what I came up with...
The link is:
1. We are better together.
I think that this page could be a great foundation for collaboration & consultation, sharing practices, disseminating research, etc. With a "common" place to go to find information we can support each others needs despite location. In order to truly embrace inclusive practices we need to share our knowledge with eachother. We need to include all teachers, administrators, etc.
2. Accountability is collective.
As we embark on changing the ways in which we go about business, we must include others in the process. Though our language often refers to students as "your kids" or "my kids" we are all accountable for the success, growth, and achievement of every last one of them. Regardless the circumstance, they are all "our kids".
3. People teach people; the tools help us to make meaning.
Twitter, Google Apps, Wikispaces, Diigo,... Are all just tools. They are certainly worth our exploration. They allow us to connect, share & learn......if we use them in productive and useful ways. They can promote and nurture learning, and thus have a place in our practice. They can break down barriers and create points of curricular access. They can provide an alternative to the traditional way in which we measure growth, competency, progress. They can build bridges to new ideas, and increase our understanding. We need to learn how to use these tools. Not just the ones of convenience (ie. Facebook, which so many already use) but the ones that supplement learning and allow students access where previously it was not (speech to text tools like Dragon). We as educators, in whatever our capacity, administrator, interventionist, special service provider, ...owe it to "our" students to know these tools, to learn how to use them for learning, & to allow them to engage in learning with them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why w3ightless?

w3ightless?? Why w3ightless?
As I first began the process of sharing my reflections, my discoveries, and building my PLN, I wanted to find a way to categorize what I wrote about. I guess I was trying to appeal to an audience. What I found is that there was a common thread amongst my posted reflections, my "almost-posted" reflections, my discoveries and my discussions. I seem to keep coming back to the notion that possibility is not bound by the limits of others but rather by the limits within myself. Eventually, as a reminder so to speak, I came up with the concept of w3ightless-ness. If my challenges are my own, if I embrace the obstacles, if I avoid judgement, if I stay open, then the sky's the limit.

I've always been a big fan of The Roots. On Sacrifice (Phrenology, 2002) Black Thought says "Nose to the grindstone, head to the stars". That line has stuck with me for many reasons. The overall extension/connection for me is that hard work pays off and that dreams and the belief in possibility have a guiding influence in my life. So....w3ightless it is. 

Peace & Love- Matt