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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Knitting Your Own Bones

I will be leaving soon for the drive to Philadelphia where I teach a grad class entitled "Emerging Technologies for the Classroom and Corporation" (GRIT550 at Chestnut Hill College). In addition to the great pleasure it is for me to get to know the hard-working adult teachers and other professionals who take the class, and to hear their ideas, it keeps me dwelling in K-12, new technologies, and what is happening in areas needing instructional technology. This is in addition to my full-time job now as Product Manager at Tutor.com which also keeps me in the K-12 space along with managing and leading teams in how products are envisioned, designed, programmed, rolled out, implemented, assessed, and scaled up for the market.

But back to GRIT550. One of the themes of this class is to "knit your own bones." This is an old-fashioned phrase my mother used. The idea is that when you break your arm, doctors do not go in and operate (usually) but instead immobilize the arm with a cast so that the bones themselves will heal and eventually "knit" and one day your arm will be okay. An x-ray will show that there was a break but for most intents and purposes, your arm is now healed and usable.

This applies to learning technology because if you knit your own bones, find ways to solve your own problems and issues, don't get the "answer" (e.g. surgery - or having the professor or someone else tell you precisely what to do and how to do it) you have now grown and expanded and you own the new bone you grew yourself. Like with the x-ray evidence, you can relate in detail to others what it took to grow this new "bone"/technology or other knowledge.

So instead of giving a step-by-step tutorial with everyone taking notes while I show how to use Wikispaces, Weebly, Glogster, or Google sites (the four tools they may chose from for the project which has components due during the course) everyone must learn the tool through the online help or another source. If students get stuck, I ask that everyone go to 1. the help for the tool 2. your PLN (and part of the class is choosing and expanding your PLN) 3. another student 4. "the Google" or another search vehicle. Of course I am to be asked as well but often that results in my posing questions about 1., 2., 3., and 4. with some more suggestions about PLN sources of help.

And an x-ray of my "bones" will show evidence of years and years of knitting as well.

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