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January 25, 2006

An Interactive Desk?

On January 10, 2006, we announced that MabryOnline was going interactive. We now have students posting to their teachers' blogs as scribes or note-takers. I can't tell you how excited these students have been to take on this unprecedented responsibility. They are doing an excellent job!

And we are slowly beginning the Mabry Global Learning Collaborative. In fact, Mrs. Abrams' Virtual Language Arts class started yesterday with about 15 participants. I know it's hard to believe students wanted homework that night, but each student was just that eager to get started posting their work online. They are off to an enthusiastic start. They are eager to see how people from around the world reflect on their work. Mrs. Abrams has already lined up adults, authors, and educators from all over the US to follow and respond to the students work. Extended family members around the world will also be able to begin participating in their student's school work. The Global Learning Collaborative has such unprecedented possibility!

So, naturally, I thought I could explore making "From the Desk of Dr. Tyson" interactive as well. From time to time I will post reflective information that I think can be a seed for deeper thinking, a way for our broader community of parents, educators and learners to share a collective wisdom that is greater than I or you, one of our readers, can create alone. So, from time to time, I will open a post to accept comments from you, our readers.

To be honest, I have no idea how well this will work. All posts come to me for approval before being published to our site. Naturally I welcome comments that are positive, empowering, insightful, and focused on the topic presented. With all of the divisiveness in our world today, I am eager to embrace some kindness and wisdom that will serve to enable us all to be just a little bit better than we were. I want us all to be able to influence the space around us (virtual, emotional, or real physical space) in positive and supportive ways.

How do you participate?
If the post is open for comments, you will see a link near my name. The link will read "Comments (#)" where "#" represents the number of comments at that time. If you wish to read the comments or add a comment, simply click on the link and follow the directions that appear. I reserve approval rights and will pass on or edit any comments that have any contact information, links, or information inconsistent with the focus I have described above.

We will explore this possibility to see if it can help us soar even higher.

Posted by Tim Tyson at 6:38 PM

I Heard It on the Radio

An author was speaking with an interviewer on the radio this morning as I drove in to school. The quotation she made from her book made me stop and think--which is almost always a good thing. I invite you to stop and think about the quotation as well.

Perhaps you want to share your reflections as comments to this post. What does the quotation mean to you as a student, a child, an adult? You might give us some example, offer clarification, or in some other way shed more light on how this quotation could help us all be better parents, educators, students, and people in general.

The quotation:

"Caring and criticizing are bought with the same coins."

Posted by Tim Tyson at 5:47 PM | Comments (10)

January 8, 2006

Two Really Big Announcements

I hope you have seen the news posted on MabryOnline.  Our internationally recognized web presence is adding interactivity.  You can read about these substantive changes  (the what) in the News section of the website.  I wanted to take a minute to discuss the why.

Our students are growing up in a world that is radically different from the world in which you and I grew up.  With pervasive computing and connectivity our jobs, our degrees, our potential for meaningful economic empowerment can be transfered to China or India via fiber optics in less than a heartbeat.  Globalization isn't coming, it's here now.  As I shared at the beginning of the year, a  few months ago I read a Stanford study stating that 15,000,000 high paying US jobs will be outsourced abroad over the next 10 years.  When you do the math, that's when our middle schoolers will be graduating from college and entering what will most assuredly be a global job market.

I want us to begin to address these issues now.  I want to turn these enormous fundamental changes into the seeds of opportunity for your children.  I want them today to begin learning that their peers around the world want what they have, and they want it badly.  I want our students to realize that the children of the world are hungry for the opportunity that presently is theirs.  (Within a year, MIT will be shipping $100 windup laptops that don't require a stable electrical source to children in the most remote regions of our world!)  I want our students to feel this energy that is nipping at their heels.  I want them to use this energy to maximize their academic performance today!  (Somehow it always comes back to our school goal!)

Additionally, I want our students to gain increased understanding of the world.  I want them to begin now to learn what global collaboration is.  I want them to learn to maximize online collaboration and research (exploration skills) to become ambitious, creative, problem solvers.  Critical thinking and problem solving can no longer be something of which we speak in the abstract.  We must actualize it today!

These are among my reasons for wanting to take the educational opportunities afforded your children to a higher level.  I hope you will encourage your child's participation in at least one opportunity in Mabry's new Global Learning Collaborative.  Work with them to select a school project in which they have personal interest to make it exemplary work worthy of publication to the world.  Don't do the work for them, but encourage them to work harder, to edit and revise and re-edit, to do their very best work.  By doing this, you as their parent are showing them your deep personal commitment to their academic success as well as your deep love for them as your child.

These new projects are just beginning.  They will grow in number and scope over time.  Frankly, I am unaware of any school anywhere that has such an undertaking.  If you know of any, I would greatly appreciate your letting me know about them.  I would be eager to talk with like-minded educators who believe that increasingly, the best educational experiences we provide children are those that forge collaborative relationships to create solutions to real-world problems, issues, and concerns.  As a nation, focusing our energy and resources on minimum standards just isn't going to cut it!

Posted by Tim Tyson at 1:09 PM

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