Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Eighth Floor is Building a Cyber Cafe

The Eighth Floor is building a cyber cafĂ©. Scott has been chronicling the construction progress on our Ning site. Check out the pictures. It should be finishce by the start of classes on September 20th. We are pretty excited about it, but I bet you are saying, “What does that really mean and how is this good for me?” Good questions! And, guess what? I have some good answers.

What does this really mean?

We won’t be serving lattes or muffins, but you can always find coffee on The Eighth Floor and sometimes Norma brings in some amazing baked goods she is more than happy to share. You will have a place to enjoy our epic view of Tulsa. You will be able to work on a laptop at a counter in a comfortable chair that Norma took great care in picking out. (She test drove A LOT of chairs!) You will be able to visit with others, either from your school or other districts or learning levels. Essentially, you can just hang out. You might even see an impromptu technology slam. (Are you trying to imagine what that would look like? Geeks don’t write poetry.)

Why is this good for me?

Okay, so, why is just hanging out good for you? On the surface it may seem like wasting time. But assuming that would be a mistake. Consider what you know about
informal learning. In my estimation, this is where the lion’s share of learning happens – between the lines of formal /structured education. I have seen more problems solved, more ideas shared in the 2 minutes at the end of a break than sometimes in a whole day of “class.” Some call this just in time learning. In a culture where we want only the information we need when we need it, what better place to throw together an on-the-spot learning community.

And I care about learning communities because . . . .

The Eighth Floor is the perfect hub for your professional learning communities. Notice I said “communities” – plural. The reality is we can’t survive with just one learning community anymore, the one that for many teachers only consisted of the other teachers in your hallway or those who office around you. Now, you can create communities online for your whole school, your district, your state, for a specific subject, specific project . . . you get the idea. We have been relying on learning communities (or networks) all our lives. So really, we have been relying on informal learning all our lives. Learning communities might even be more important than food. Go ahead. Try to get through a day without a single instance of informal learning.

Please don’t starve yourself or vow to spend the entire day interacting with only inanimate objects. Just trust me on this one and come up the Eighth Floor and simply hang out. It is quite possible you will learn something.

Just Sayin’
Lee Anne