Too Crafty? an inside look at the mind of Christopher Craft

Christopher Craft PictureChris Craft is vibrant, energized, cutting-edge thinker who is a world language teacher for CrossRoads Middle School.  He is currently working on his masters in Educational Technology and a doctorate degree in Education Psychology and Research.  Not only has he presented three sessions at SC EDTech 2007, but he uses and utilizes various technologies afforded to him that will have most in awe.

Here are some of the things he does with technology:

Blogs, wikis, multi-user networks, moodling (blackboard-type), twitter, gcast, just to name a few.

What are these technologies and how does it help him facilitate teaching and learning in his classroom?

If you go to his website, Class 326 dot com (hosted by wordpress.org) you will see a front page that instantly shows what he taught that day.  He simply uses his cell phone and calls a specific number and records with his voice what happened that day.  Gcast then converts it to a podcast-audio file for students and parents to listen.  This then is embedded on his website home page with the text to accompany it.  You can even get the daily plan via e-mail if you just subscribe to it.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

One more thing he does brings the power of a network of teachers, student photo stories and a wiki page.  It is called the Life ’round here wiki – Life Round Here.  Chris invited teachers all over the world to join in this storytelling project.  Students were asked to make a studentstory/photo essay about life in their area of the world.  You can read more about this from the link above.  He has a counter that is a map of the world and has those who have visited the page and location (!!Class without borders!!).Life ’round here wiki / frappr map

I had the opportunity to meet with him and discuss his thoughts about technology.

Some ways to change how we teach with technology:

The first thing that came out of his mouth was…”Systemic change….?”

I believe this to be true.  We need a shift in thinking in a systematic way.  There are other teachers out there like Chris who have figured out how to use technology on their own and have created dynamic learning environments for student learning.  We need to have a well thought out plan based on theory and best practices.  Otherwise we could be taking one step forward and two steps backward.  A culture needs to created with student-created design in mind.  Teachers will still need to lead with best teaching practices, but they will need to have a switch how they teach.

Talk about a classroom without borders, Chris Craft, has started on this journey!  I can’t wait to see where he goes!

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