Monday, December 17, 2007

Uploading a Video to Teachertube

Here is a video from last Wednesday featuring a lecture by Claude Sigmund on the philosphers whose ideas influenced the founding fathers of the United States.
After editing the video in Windows movie maker, I saved it out as a movie in the smallest possible size that would still play in a 320 x 260 window, around 20 mb. I then uploaded the video to

On Teachertube, you can either link to the URL of the video, or embed it as I did here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TIES Exceptional Teachers

EHS Science teacher, Jeff Krause, and Concord Elementary 5th Grade Teacher, Chris Tower are congratulated by Director of Media and Technology Services, Dr. Michael Burke for being honored as Edina's Exceptional Teachers for Technology Integration at the 2007 TIES Conference.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

TIES Closing session: Dr. Gary Prest-What it Takes

Former superintendent of Bloomington School District Dr. Gary Prest presented on a new STEM initiative:
  • Students (Knowing every student)
  • Team teaching (Collaboration, PLC's, shared planning time, Communities of Practice)
  • Equiped and Ethical (Teacher credentials and experiences indicates our staff are well prepared, teaching is a public activity and character is under moment by moment review-a formal code of ethics)
  • Motivated (Teaching is intensely personal, staff show their motivation everyday)

Teachers are present for all of the firsts in students lives, the aha moments, the struggles, etc. It is a privaledge!

TIES: International Applications of Internet2: Engaging the Millennial Generation

Jennifer Oxenford , Associate Director, MAGPI GigaPoP, University of Pennsylvania, spoke about Internet2 and how it is transforming the K-20 community.

A number of opportunities are available right now for educators:

Here are some K-20 resources from MAGPI on Internet2 opportunities

TIES wiki site

TIES: Knowledge and Skills for a Digital World: The Refreshed NETS for Students

Don Knezek, CEO from ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) spoke about the new NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) for students.

In 2006, ISTE began work on the next generation of NETS for Students, which focuses more on skills and expertise and less on tools. Specifically, they address

  • creativity and innovation;
  • communication and collaboration;
  • research and information fluency;
  • critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making;
  • digital citizenship; and
  • technology operations and concepts
View the new NETS*S

TIES wiki site

TIES: Videocasting made easy

Suzanne Tomlinson, an educator from Humbolt Community School presented various methods of creating a vodcast. She pointed out that you can convert PowerPoint files to movies using Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Producer, Serious Magic, SnapKast (which makes an mp4 and RSS feed)
Other programs convert movies to mp4 such as 3GP Converter, or you can use a site like

Snapkast is a one stop option similar to ToolFactory for podcasting.

Tips for converting PowerPoint files to movies:
  • Set font as large as possible
  • Use white space between bulleted text
  • 3 bullets per slide
  • Make graphics as large a possible
  • Keep slides uncluttered
  • Use Web friendly colors
  • Compress picture objects to reduce size, delete cropped objects
  • Use empty square bullets on the lists so presenter can check off items
  • Embed atypical fonts in PowerPoint
  • No movies,sounds, or animations

She then demonstrated using SnapKast, using 4 steps to create the vodcast:
  • Record
  • Format-ipod is 320x240. ipod touch is 480x320
  • Play
  • Podcast

It will place a "Snapkast commercial" on the front end of your movie.
Cost: $55.99 for educators.

TIES: Virtual Schools and 21st Century Skills

Susan Patrick from the North American Council for Online Learning spoke about the connection between online learning and 21st Century skills.
North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL)

Online learning is opening up opportunities for districts, teachers and students to share resources.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills wokred to define technology literacy which is a component of NCLB. They identified 6 key elements of 21st Century Learning:
  • Emphasize core subjects
  • Emphasize learning skills
  • Use 21st Century tools to develop learning skills
  • Teach and learn 21st century context and content
  • Use 21st Century assessment that measure 21st Century skills-Where else do you see bubble sheets in our society?

Time magazine article about 21st Century students.

Problem: The old model in brick and mortar schools does not fit in our world today. We need to rethink how we use time and technology to individualize teaching for every student in class.
Here is the framework:

Patrick referenced the new ISTE NETS standards that came out of the Partnership's skill set. The key is embeding 21st Century skills in teaching the core subjects, designing professional development for online instruction, and support the creation of 21st Century assessments, and focus on high school reform. The key is to focus on the results, not the structures that matter most, and to redefine the rigor to include 21st Century schools.

An anti-tax group in Florida tried to discredit the Florida Virtual school last year, and instead found that the data system, assessment strategies and student acheivement were models for successful programs!

  • The Futurist Top 10 Breakthroughs Transforming life in the next 20-30 years.
  • UK and China struck a 29 billion online learning initiative
  • Chinese teens are encouraged to question their history texts and are being graded on the quality of their arguments.
  • Singapore teacher training includes training in Second Life. Singapore and Mexico require online learning training.

TIES: Implementing IT Best Practice

Editors note: Teachers-This post will not be as interesting to you!! Skip to the Social Networking post!
Tim Wilson, Director of Technology for Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools presented a case study of his district's IT.
Mission statement: The department exists to further the educational mission of the school district.
Mantra: Efficient and Effective-Guy Kawasaki
Problems: Missed deadlines, no data to know if you're improving, inconsistent proceedures, firefighting-not planning, islands of knowledge-getting hit by the bus, short term focus-create a list of projects that will happen in the next few days; months; years.
ITIL: IT Infrastructure Library

Minnesota industries have embraced this. Started in the 90's in England.
  • Service Support-Incident Management, Service Desk, Problem management, release management,configuration management, change management,
  • Service Delivery- Service level management/agreements, security management, financial management-TCO, Availability management, capacity management-how much bandwith, server space will be needed 2 years from now, IT service continuity mangagement

To implement these processes is a 5 year project at least. Look at things you can do right away.
When implementing something new, there is a certain level of lack of benefit initially. The critical point is when enthusiasm is at it's lowest but benefits are starting to be realized. This is true of educational initiatives as well.

Atributes of ITIL
  1. Service Desk is the single point of contact. They use "Request Tracker" for tickets from e-mail to the service desk. All tickets come to one que so that if all of a technicians tickets are done, they can look at others to assist. Customer service survey 2x's a year to generate data on effectiveness. They will then use a wiki to document progress and documentation. They use "Moinmoin" and include documentation on all of their installations and issues, such as installation of Windows Media Player 11-Just don't do it! One of his tech's will be the wiki master.
  2. Incident Management-Total cost to educate each kid per hour is $7.70. Incidents represent student learning and represent a "learning opportunity cost." Two hours of downtime in a 30 seat lab is $462!
  3. Change Management-Change Advisory Board (C.A.B.) look at requests for change and insure that they can be completed.
  4. Release Management-Read 180 issue last year-$15,000 Learning Opportunity Cost! Engage key stakeholders, release review meetings (include teachers, admin, techs and vendor), review success, improvement opportunities, release review draft, assign next actions and circulate.
  5. Availability Management-Zenoss to see status of equipment in real time. Just put in items that have to be up all the time. Shows graphs of data. How do you define "critical" infrastructure.
  6. Capacity ManagementUse zenoss to track capacity needs
  7. Configuration MangagementConfiguration management data base, RT Asset Tracker, Zenoss, Casper, and Zen Asset manager, what constitutes a configuration item, Asset tags.
  8. Problem Management-Not there yet
  9. Financial ManagementWhat is the actual TCO?
  10. Service Continuity Management-What's critical, and how soon do you need it back?-Answer: Everything, and it's needed back immediately!! Meet with stakeholders, Leverage High speed fiber, build partnerships to make our network more robust. (Link with other districts/government organizations to assist each other in the event of disasters)

Aligning IT vision with constituents needs-TOSA meetings, TAT meetings, focus on the education piece-avoid the geek stuff!

TIES Day 2:Do Sites Like MySpace and Facebook Help Students Learn

U of MN College of Education and Human Development researcher Christine Greenhow presented a 6 month Lit review of the use of social network sites in education. She maintains an emerging site called

She defined Social Networks to Web based services that allow individuals to a)construct a public or semi-public profile, b) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, c) view and traverse their list of connections or others connections within the system. For today's talk, she will focus on MySpace and Facebook.(Boyd and Ellison, 2007)

Common Features
  • Public Profile
  • Privacy Settings (Privacy paradox among teens-How much info to share?)
  • Share Prompts (Face book just started a movie preference option, to create groups of like minded users)
  • List of Connections(Public/Semi-Public; "Friends"-some may be "fakesters", researchers see the term "friends" as a problem.)
  • Messaging (Public comments or private mail messages)
  • Unique Features/Activities (Photo sharing, video sharing, movie annotation, blogging, IM, suport of mobile features)
  • Default Networks (Geography, linguistics groups)

Social Networking sites started in 1997. MySpace explosion in 2003-2004, Facebook 2005 opened to HS students.
  • 55% of US Teens use social networks
  • 66% say they limit their profile
  • 50% use it at least once a day
  • Use it to stay in touch with friends they know, not to meet new people. Many use it to stay in touch with friends they rarely see.
  • 49% use it to make new friends- 2007 survey. Other studies don't show this
  • Older boys are more likely than girls to make new friends and "flirt"

Relevance for Educators
  • Encourage Community and self-expression (U of Penn-Pennster for incoming freshman)
  • Offer immersion for foreign language students
  • Extent impact and life span of educational conferences (Facebook groups, Classroom 2.0 on Ning)
  • Students tend to cluster in groups with homogeneous GPA
  • Very High performing students are on the social fringe-May help red flag kids who need help
  • Only 10 relevent studies regarding SN in Education
  • Themes of Research
    • Self-presentation and Friendship

    • Network Analysis
    • Online/Offline connectionns and social capital-biggest implecation for educators
    • Privacy issues (Must have a conversation regarding privacy and employment, police investigations, friends' privacy settings...)

Do Social Networks help kids learn?

There is evidence that students in transition, or with low self-esteem may gain social capital by being involved in social networks. The new NETS standards emphasize skills that are demonstrated on SN sites. Media Literacy skills are being demonstrated when students use SN sites. Students who may not be leaders in a face to face environment, could become one on a Social Networking site, and then become one in the "real" world. Cho, 2007 found that the more connected you are the higher final grades students achieved. Students expect to share their work with their peers and getting feedback from them as well.

The U of MN will be conducting a study of 1200 K-12 students this winter using surveys and focus groups looking at the implications of SN.

Monday, December 10, 2007

TIES Afternoon Session: Planetarium Exploradome

The final session I attended was inside the Minnesota Planetarium Exploradome! This portable dome which seats 25-30 students can be brought to your school for grade appropriate sessions of 25-50 minutes in length. Along with all of the typical planetarium type capabilities, you can also teleconference with scientists to explore issues on earth. In the session I attended, we were in communication with a scientist from NASA, who demonstrated the capabilities of taking data from the NASA Web site, and "wrapping" the Earth with the images in real time. This allowed us to explore carbon emissions as well as ocean surface temperature. The site has data on Oceans, Atmosphere, Energy, Land, and Life.

A really cool feature of this data was the ability to import it into Google Earth! The site is called NASA Earth Observations.
You can learn more about the Exploradome here.

Learning Laptops and Literacy

Two Rockford, MN middle school teachers teaching Language Arts and Social Studies scheduled their 90 minute block classes into one space so that they could share laptops and utilize Web 2.0 tools (Skype, Google Docs) for collaboration and integrated learning.

While they are not doing traditional 1-to-1 computing, they are incorporating tools that will work well in that environment.
They spoke to the ability to collaborating with Google docs for team meetings, virtual collaboration, and calendaring. Their Google calendar is embeded on their Web site, which then students and parents can subscribe. South View Media Specialist has set up Google calendars similarly on her site for staff to sign up for labs and media space.

They showed how their students who had recently traveled to an environmental learning center used a program called Comic Life to share photos of their experience. We could use Photo Story or Voicethread much the same way. Those of you planning a field trip in the near future, may want to consider this as a project when you get back.
One of the teachers had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and included a link to his travel blog, and podcasts on his travels.
Here is a link to their site.

Role Playing Games in K-12

Harvard Professor, Chris Dede spoke at TIES this morning about an alien role playing game, where students worked in teams, and each team member had a code that was needed for the group to move on.
From a tech standpoint, kids learn the interface in 3 minutes, teachers in 15 minutes, so professional development is not on tech but more pedagogical, on how to have a discussion, classroom management strategies, and engagement strategies to get students to care.
By giving the students a common experience, they are then able to have worthwhile discussions. The study is looking at how much face to face vs. virtual time is optimum.
He said the active learning in role playing instruction comes from the progressive movement. The technology makes 3 things possible:
  • higher order skills that can't be taught in lecture format
  • Sophisticated forms of assessment
  • Where the progressive movement got corrupted was based too much on teacher engagement, and the technology allows students to continue learning without being completely dependent on the instructor's engagement.

Dede stated that people are going to realize that there is a flawed set of curricular standards, assessment tools, and accountability tools.
He hopes that the next administration looks to improve these to get a better leverage on learning.
The key will be to evolve rapidly enough to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing society.
He believes there needs to be a variety of pedagogy to student learning, not just one or the other.
He suggests using the emersive role playing at the beginning of a course so that students discover what they don't know, midway during the course for diagonostic formative evaluation, and then at the end as a summative experience.

Web 1.0 gives you top down access to information from experts. Web 2.0 gives bottom up wisdom of the community viewpoints. Web 3.0 will be a set of tools for blending expert knowledge with community input. He is looking at alternative social tagging (Edtags) to explore this in education.

Dede's Web site

Podcasting at TIES

Here's our own Scott Johnson, presenting on ToolFactory Podcasting at TIES Monday morning. Over 75 participants learned how to use ToolFactory to podcast with students.

TIES Keynote Speaker: Kurt Steinhaus

At the TIES conference this morning, keynote speaker Kurt Steinhaus, education consultant to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, spoke to conference attendees about trends in Educational Technology and ways to influence policy makers.
He quoted a new report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association, ISTE and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills that spoke of the need for schools to incorporate 21st Century Skills, provide Robust leadership, and support inovative teaching and learning.
He talked about moving from STEM to StTtEtMt where technology is used as an essential part of learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Steinhaus visited several schools around Minnesota, including South View Middle and Normandale. He quoted Stillwater educator Milt Doroughty who said, "If our curriculum continues to be about information, our students don't need us. If it's about personal development, then they need us desperately!"
Steinhaus concluded his presentation giving practical ideas for influencing policy makers to improve support for technology in education.
Click here, to see the wiki page that includes his PowerPoint.
Here's another set of notes from the presentation.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

TIES Conference

Today was the first day of the TIES conference. Scott Johnson conducted a podcasting session using ToolFactory.
It was nice to be able to showcase some of the things that staff in Edina are doing with Web 2.0 tools.
Stop back for more posts Monday and Tuesday from the conference.