Tonight was the first meeting of a book club for media specialists on Wiggins & McTighe’s book Understanding by Design. The book club was the brainchild of Sarah S., a high school media specialist in my county who realized that if SLMS were going to have high expectations for teachers’ instructional design, that we SLMS needed to be at the top of our game in that way, too.
But Sarah didn’t stop with just having us read the book. She’s shepherding us through Second Life, securing virtual meeting space and coaching us all through our own Second Life IEPs (how do we sit? talk? stop flying? get up the stairs? see the other people? stop our legs from twitching when we’re seated on the sofa? stop looking at the wall? take a photo just to prove that we made it? etc.) so that next week, we can hold a synchronous discussion there. So we’re getting so much more out of the experience. (An alternative is for participants to use the Moodle she set up for us to share ideas, an idea which I love, because that’s another technology we could all benefit from knowing a bit better. Nice differentiation!)
We get to try a newer technology under someone’s capable guidance, we get to explore a new book together, and we get a chance to experience an online learning community. Sarah’s leadership helps us put our money where our mouth is — because aren’t we trying our hand here at some of the social learning that the AASL Standards promote?
And boy, oh boy, when we all figured out the “real people” behind the scuba-gear wearing avatars, did I get excited. There are great Michigan practitioners in this group, so if you are a member of MAME and haven’t yet joined, it’s not too late! Drop me a line at slmamblog [at] gmail.com and I’ll put you in touch with Sarah, our fearless (and patient!) leader.
The fabulous Gigi took this photo of the two of us. Apparently, the sofa we’re sitting on controls our posture because we would randomly twitch our feet and put our hands behind our heads! You’d hardly know that it took us, as a group, about 25 minutes to figure out how to ambulate well enough to actually sit.
Some people take photos of their kids’ first steps or videos of their early speech. Us? We are pretty darned excited to sit down.
Now if only I could figure out how to change my Second Life clothes …