ion at Pacific University before being laid off by budget cuts. Before that I taught English and ESL at Richmond High (of "Coach Carter" fame). I published "Building 21st Century Collaborative Learning Communities" which highlights my success with those students, helping them publish internationally in 1996 using a new tool: the Internet. I also volunteered over 40,000 hours on Tapped In Helpdesk since its inception in 1997, and mourned the closing of its server last month. I know more about enhancing curriculum and student involvement through technology than most.
Last month I presented to EVO13 Online (an international group of English and ESL educators) on the subject "Escaping Penitentiaries of Boredom." That link will take you to the powerpoint (6mg, a bit too large for here), if you'd like to see my live presentation,click here. But who has an hour to do so? Too many teachers (not to mention students and yes, even admin) feel overburdened by "testmania." I have a plan to bring used laptops to all middle and high school students in Forest Grove School District by the fall of 2013. Why the urgency on my part? Because my youngest son will be in 8th, and my daughter a sophomore at the high school. I am tired of waiting for the 21st Century, and want my children actively engaged with their own education.
Google education tools, Epals (international K-12 email community with built in translator), Shmoop and Mathway are but a few of the marvelous sites out there. The trouble is not all students have access, and schools feel pressured to teach to tests, rather than having students develop problem solving strategies through collaboration. Imagine a kindergartener making a finger painting, digitally shot by a 3rd grader, and with the help of a few 5-7th graders creating a bilingual (or trilingual) book with students from China (or any other country). It's doable, free, tomorrow. It's not happening because although we all know that students learn foreign languages best at very young ages, students here don't get much in the way of multilingualism, with the exception of dual immersion schools. Yes, everyone should learn English. We should also teach the kids to befriend students of other cultures. Consider that most Chinese students (and Indian, and many others) currently study English. Should we not return the favor?
I am writing here in hopes that you will support my effort against two opponents in the May election. Why should you care since you're undoubtedly not in my school district? How can you help? You may ask these questions (and many more), by emailing me directly, or attending a TBS WiZiQ meeting where I will present, and also have an open forum for all to participate in. Virtual support is vital for this campaign.