Okay, I had no idea this #noteacherdesk was a thing. The district is taking away my beloved desktop Mac (all teacher desktops, actually, not just mine) and gave me a MacBook Air instead. This left me feeling angry and resentful because a) my eyes like the bigger screen and b) it was not my idea.
So, since I am working hard to be a marigold instead of a walnut tree I decided to reframe my distress and rethink how I use my computer.
Well, my desk is always messy. I have piles of papers the really just need to be recycled or scanned/filed. But my desk is a holding place for that desktop computer. If I don’t have the desktop, do I need the desk? I have a tendency to use my desk as a private, messy little oasis where I can hide out. I get overwhelmed sometimes by crowds but that means I also get stuck at my desk when really I should be moving more.
I read “Ditching the Desk” on Edutopia and then asked The Nerdy Teacher, Nicholas Provenzano, for an update on Twitter. He said he still loves it so I began planning for a quick spring break rearrange.
So, on Monday, I moved it. I can’t really get rid of it completely right now because it is heavy. And, there isn’t really anywhere else in the school to put it. It’s cleaned off and pushed up against a window. My desk calendar is still there, and the charging cords for various “teacher” only devices. There had been a table there with two older Macs but kids haven’t been using those much at all so they will be repurposed and the table was moved for student use.
My hope is it will be a good compliment to the alternative seating that is already prevalent in my classroom. Honestly, losing that barrier makes me a little anxious so maybe trying this in just the last quarter of the school year is a good thing. If I hate it I have enough time to troubleshoot and make better plans for next year.
Recent Presentations for Professional Development
ASTE 2012 – Infographics
ASTE 2012 – QR Codes
ASD Writer’s Conference Digital Writing – conference flyer
ASTE 2011 – Flashmob Research
ASTE 2008 – Seminar
ASTE 2007 – Wikis
There is still a lot of cleaning up to do, but here are my attempts to create some alternative seating in my high school English classroom.
The other day I stumbled across Timeline JS, a site that assists you in creating multimedia timelines. I found the site while searching for visual autobiography tools for my seniors but after assigning a short, paper, biographical timeline of John Steinbeck, I realized it would be a good project for my Honors American Literature 10th graders.
I suppose it is a bit similar to Prezi but it looks more like a traditional timeline running at the bottom and you control it in a more linear fashion. The website gives you a couple of different ways of compiling the data sets; we used the provided Google spreadsheet with our school district Google Apps accounts. Students were divided into two teams of about 15 students each with one group creating a timeline of the author and the other a timeline of the Great Depression; after appointing a team leader they began populating the spreadsheet with evidence from the web. I appreciate that it has places for students to credit the creators of the material rather than just copying and pasting links.
note the name of the YouTube poster at the bottom right of the video
Here are the timelines : larissawright-elson.com Before the timelines were officially “done” I viewed each while running Screenr to give feedback to the students and have them make the necessary corrections. I posted the links to those videos here in case anyone is interested in how to give verbal/video/screencast recorded feedback.
I like the end result and the variety of media that the students chose to tell the story of their subject. I think this would also work well as a way of proving a thesis for a problem-based learning project or another multi-media assignment that benefits from being more linear in nature. Comparing and contrasting timelines of The Great Depression and The Great Recession perhaps? Students were a little thrown by how finicky editing a spreadsheet can be, but I thought they did a good job of finding evidence.