Continue to Develop our Mind

Posted on December 1, 2010

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As Educators, where would we be without our developing mind? Not only do our contracts and pay raises connect to growing our minds through classes, workshops, etc., but our mind itself needs to grow to keep our practice sharp. With standardized tests, over connected parents, tuned out kids, and the like, it is hard to find the time to keep sharp and do everything else that we need to do. When Gardner discusses the traits of the five minds embodied in one person (pg. 160) it makes me feel like I am not doing enough to be, as the Army used to stress, be all that I can be. Through continuing to develop a balance among my five minds, I will eventually achieve a better balance and in turn develop into a different person. One could only hope that the cultivation necessary comes with time and reflection.

In order to keep myself sharp and develop my mind, I do use some blogs and other resources. They all serve a different purpose which helps to smooth the path that I find myself on. One of the blogs I use to transform my teaching and feed my desire to be a better connected teacher is the Digital Immigrant blog. Brad Matthies is a librarian at Butler University who writes about technology in higher education.

I read The Digital Immigrant because it helps me bring some of the current research and tools to the forefront. It is not simply tools for Higher Education. There are posts for all grade levels on there. My current pedagogical methods and future goals are addressed on this blog. I want to assure that my students have the best resources to wade through the web. There are so many resources out there, and so many of them do not make the academic cut. One of the posts I used with my juniors and seniors is the CRAP post (could you blame me?). The post really hit home for me and my students because I am always searching for ways to make my students verify their sources. They think that the first search hit on Google is the top criteria for validity on a topic and that wikipedia is not that bad if you only use a little. When they use digital search, they are playing with academic fire and my job is to suppress the flames before they get too deep into academia and the fire hose will not reach any further. This post has helped me get the point across about how to validate what is good for their research.

Besides great posts like what I referenced above, Mr. Matthies also has conversations about Ed Tech articles from popular media. I often miss articles that are intended for the broader audience since I am too busy reading “insider” blogs. The connection to popular media helps me when I am questioned about the latest articles or what the talking heads are going on about. A blog that connects us to those articles and provides some intelligent discussion to go along with it is valuable to me because it connects me to the culture but also exposes me to the opinions of other experts or stake holders.

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