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My most valuable communication tool so far this year as a teacher…definitely my iPhone. Oh, I’ve had fun introducing my students to blogs; they’re slowly making their way into the blogosphere with their class blog about reading. I know this will grow over the year as their baby steps become stronger and more confident. I’ve also found a VERY helpful site called which has made organizing the classroom library and keeping track of books much simpler. Yet, as I’ve detailed in an earlier post, communication with parents is key! We’ve set up a website for parents to keep in touch with us and feel informed about what is going on in the classroom. And as that old cliche goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

The iPhone, which had been previously relegated to the depths of my purse, is now out and about with me. When the students are working with their math manipulatives, or sharing a writing piece, or conferring up close with a friend, these previously unrecorded moments are captured, emailed to Flickr, and instantly posted on the website. Voila! Learning is happening, and it’s visible.

If a student were to respond typically to the question, “What did you learn today” with the inevitable grunt, all mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa, or auntie or uncle, has to do is ask about the picture clearly shown on the screen. Better yet, they can ask about the picture first! No beating around the bush, no pulling teeth.

An article in Midweek this past June summarized the results of a survey done on regarding cell phone camera usage. Unsurprisingly, cell phone cameras are the “camera of choice” for young adults. To my mind, my cell phone is always available (I never leave the house without it), I can easily upload pictures to Flickr, email them to friends and family, and I don’t have to carry another gadget with me nor wait to get home to share my pictures with others. In fact, the reason I love Twinkle so much is because the picture option is so easily integrated into the text. It provides the ability to tell a story and share it instantaneously.

One of the big stories the past couple of days in Hawaii has been the arrival and subsequent vacation of Democratic nominee Barrack Obama. Now love ‘im or leave ‘im, there has definitely been buzz about town as people try to get a glimpse of him, not just for themselves, but to chronicle and share with others. What I found truly telling and a sign of the times was a cartoon in the Star Bulletin. Decidedly not the paparazzi, but a whole different breed, with a whole new tool, and a whole different purpose.

The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

Telling stories and sharing them with others, in this case, perhaps one about a potential future president.

Don’t get me wrong. There are deeper issues in education. Ones that we address quietly, on our own, in our classrooms everyday. But perhaps that’s where the potential for change lies. We can’t address them alone. We need to take these issues outside, connect with others whose ed-views and world-views lie within the same or overlapping spheres. Let’s tell these stories…and tell them together.

August 2019
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