Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008 TIES Exceptional Educators

Congratulations to Dean Dahl, 6th grade Reading teacher at South View and Jon Zetah, 3rd grade teacher at Cornelia on being named the 2008 Edina TIES Exceptional Educators for technology integration!

TIES 2008: The Perfect Storm: Emerging Technologies with Tim Wilson

Osseo, Minnesota Technology Director Tim Wilson spoke at TIES to a packed house on emerging technologies.

He began by reminding us about exponential growth. It grows slowly at first, but then takes off. Sometimes we don't understand what's happening until it's too late!

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, said that "the number of circuits on a computer chip will double every two years."

In 10 years, we've gone from the pentium chip to the Atom chip, which is the size of a grain of rice!

In 1998 there were 8 million transistors on a chip. Now there are 820 million! If we are teaching math standards, understanding Exponential growth should be one of them!

So what do the next 10 years hold? If Moore's law holds true, the chips of 2018 will have 25,600 million transistors!!! If this is true, all of the ways that technology has changed in the last 10 years will be infinitesmal compared to what's happening. The computing power of the iMac of 1998 has the same power of the iPhone today! What will this mean for education?

Ray Kurzweil quote-

People tend to overestimate what can be achieved in the short term, but underestimate the long term. Similar what Daniel Pink says in "A Whole New Mind"

The Perfect Storm is this:

Ubiquitous Internet + Powerful Mobile Devices

Ubiquitous Internet

  • Wifi

  • 3G

  • WiMAX-Blanket of Internet access to a large area, including rural areas (Not here yet)

Powerful Devices

  • Acer Apc

  • HP Netbook-$349 today (A stocking stuffer for some of the parents!)

  • Blackbery

  • Nokia

Resistance (You could replace work with school)

1994-e-Mail has no place at work

1996-Internet Access has no place at work

2002-IM has no place at work

2005-Social Software has no place at work.

Intel is currently looking at using Facebook!

Products coming along

I-Tech Virtual Laser Keyboard-Projects a laser keyboard on a table and you can type on the table!

Heads Up Display-Teleprompter that you wear!

Virtual Retina Display-Beamed write on the retina (With "Little Lasers")

Contact lens with display built in

He used PollEverywhere and had the first 50 people who texted to him to answer the question of what policy best matched our district cell phone policy.

23% said no way no how

56% Don't let us see them

21% possible learning tool

Should schools get out of the buisiness of providing the technology and become providers of the content?


Online Learning-Right now, we still don't know how to use it! In Minnesota, we pit districts against each other for funding. The completion rates are horrible right now. Over 50% don't complete the course. But if we don't limit ourselves to the technology we have now, and focus on the engagement possibilities with video connection, will it matter where you are?

What if you used a virtual display, but all your classmates were there too in a syncronous session?

Purchasing and Supply of Equipment-Right now, many kids say that they'll just work on it at home. In many cases now, the connection at home is faster, and they're using their own equipment. Within 2-3 years with Cloud computing and distributed computing, we won't be installing software on computers, with a thumb drive at school.

In Osseo, he forsees that they will never have more computers in their inventory than they have now. Companies are giving staff stipends to purchase their own computer. He gave props to Edina with opening up the High School to students. Everyone will learn from our mistakes!!

Access to all the information does not make you smart in the 21st Century. Standardized testing needs to catch up!!

The question came up regarding equity, and how can a district insist that students bring the technology if they have 60% free and reduced lunch.

Tim suggested that districts maybe need to be a provider of Internet service with wifi outside the school day into neighborhoods.

How do we deal with minors on Web 2.0 Tools. Tim said we should run the tools internally. Even Facebook! On Moodle you can make courses public, and you could make other applications accessible on a case by case basis to allow for authentic learning opportunities.

Someone asked about using used cell phones and a text only plan for:

a)Keeping them out of landfills

b)Allowing them to be used in education

Monday, December 8, 2008

TIES 2008 Explore the World of Molecules on Your Computer

Penny Springer, chemistry instructor at Prior Lake High School demonstrated Atomsmith software for "classroom molecular exploration." Penny and I taught about 6 years ago at McGuire Middle School in Lakeville.

She gave an overview of the software, by starting with a gas lab model. The software has a model window on the left, and experiments, instructions, and formative worksheets on the right. The worksheets add a level of accountablility that she likes.

In the simulations, you can adjust gas type, model type, preasure, temperature and size of the space the molecules. She ran a simulation with water, and you could see the hydrogen bonds form as the temperature decreased.

She currently teaches general chemistry, and with the software she is able to help the students visualize molecular structure and modify it quickley to teach specific points. She pointed to research that showed

"students learn and retain more through the use of text, and
pictures/annimations, especiallywhen words and visuals are presented simultaneously" e-SchoolNews, March 26, 2008
Her favorite is the Lewis Structure Lab". The software in her words is "dummy proof" so that as they add data, if it it is too small or too big, the color changes to let the student know that they need to adjust their data. Using trial and error, students can get the right structure with electrons and bonds that would have been very dificult to understand just out of a textbook.

Here are the key takeaways, benefits for her students:

  • Can use as a lecture tool

  • Visual

  • Interactive

  • Enjoyable

  • Deeper Understanding

  • Using tools they are comfortable with

  • More one on one student/teacher time

  • Lectures are more effective/visual

  • Saves Teaching Time

  • Students are actively involved in the lectures

  • Gives the "why" right up front

  • Live at the molecular scale!

  • Reflective journaling

Assignment options:

9th grade: Students are assigned 4 elements and asked for comparison/contrast information.

Gas laws are now on the ACT test, so this gives students a visual.

This software is course specific, but provides a tool for teachers that can have a strong impact on acheivement!

TIES 2008: TICL presentation

Teachers who spent the last year learning about Tech Integration through TIES shared some of the methods of integration that they worked with the last year. Teachers in Bloomington, Northfield, Hinkley and St. Michael collaborated on this project.

-Garageband, Audacity, mixcraft
-a way to record
-place to host (TIES Urban Planet has this capability)
-gabcast.com, gcast.com-use our phone to create (Can’t re-edit and add sound tracks)

Access to new technology-Student Engagement!
New way to present
Authentic audience

Learningathand.com, willowweb are examples of sites that have good ideas.

  • Making connections
  • Collaboration
  • Sharing
  • Used Google Docs to share and collaborate with a classroom in Alaska.
  • They also used Google Documents to collaborate on their presentation.


They recommended Wikispaces.com and PBwiki.com for wikis.

JING Project

Jing allows you to capture images, record video, and share. I have used that on this wiki here.

VoicethreadThey showed examples of student comments on Voicethread based on one image, country of origin project where kids completed a collage project and students commented on the top 6 examples, and an example in math where students take turns showing how to solve an equation and a professional development voicethread regarding teaching online.

Several staff in Edina have used Voicethread.com for different projects. Here's my first as an example

This collaborative project focused primarily on how they would take what they learned back to their classrooms. I wonder if a project between districts exploring a similar initiative would prove to be valuable?

TIES 2008: Today's Evens, Tomorrow's Odds

Keith Rysoski, Superintendent of Stillwater Area Public schools talked in his session about "Thinking out of the Box".
Teachers need to facilitate the learning, but we put them into a box that makes it difficult.
If we want them to think outside of the box, we need to get them out of the box.

He used a video of an amoeba to illustrate that students are constantly learning and changing. We should be asking kids questions like:
Why is it moving, why does it change, what if we shown a light on it or dropped saltwater on it? Instead, we ask them to draw and label the parts, then assess them and are satisfied.
He asks buisiness leaders what skills students will need to have to be successful in 2021, the year this year's Kindergarteners will graduate?
What is technology- He brought out a microscope to illustrate that technology appears in many different ways. Just look at the phones kids have today!
He said that if you want to start a one to one program, just to have a one to one program, don't do it.
Look at what are the skill sets that kids will need to be successful, besides reading, writing and math.
Look at the 21st Century Skills. Just because creativity is not on a state test, that doesn't mean we should ignore it. What are we doing to prepare kids to be better tomorrow than they are today.
He used the 1989 San Francisco earthquake to illustrate the many authentic learning opportunities he was unable to introduce to his students because each student didn't have a laptop.

1. At the HEART of what makes the Oakland program successful.
Belief in NOT the technology-Kids, opportunities, access to information, creative expression. "I am successfull and I didn't learn that way!"
Passion there will be people against you! Because it's what's right.
Determination only successful if you are determined

2. The HEAD component is:
Role Playing If you were comfortable in the old paradigm (desks in rows, sage on the stage, etc.), teachers need to facilitate learning, not dictate learning! Teacher: "I had to remember I was the (Insert discipline here) and they were the technology expert" Where are the students in the classroom
Professional Development-After 6 years, teachers going to conferences need to talk with others who teach the way you do. Make connections to allow this conversation about instruction. THE KEY!

Cell phones out on the desk using them as student response systems.

3. HANDS component
Rule Book-How do you make sure they won't do something that their not supposed to? Expectations! If you think they won't follow,they won't! Stillwater meeting Parent-"You can't give these to the kids, they'll throw them out the bus window!" Student-"These same people who don't trust me with technology are the same ones who call me to babysit!"
Roll Out/Roll In plan He would prefer the roll in didn't happen, but allowed for more extended learning
All Hands on Deck-Minimize down time. Have a plan in place.
Lids Up/Open- Teachers decide when kids will be using them. NOT all the time. Don't be afraid to say, "Lids down!"

He showed a series of pictures of students using their laptops in class and pointed out that this was not a computer class, it was integrated in regular classes.

One to One Learning Initiative, not Laptop initiative!!!!!
He encourages people interested in starting this initiative, to begin, and end with Professional Development-This is not Technology professional development-It's tied to the curriculum!

Pink shifts to the right

Hey everyone Claude Sigmund here. Long time reader, first time poster for Mikes Blog....

I really love Pink. His book is sort of window into the world and what we need to do to teach towards it.

Remember the video "Shift Happens" Pink takes that video and talks about the concepts contained within that video. The economic, social and human consequeses that we face on a daily basis.

He helps us understand that creativity is not just art. That decisionmaking and problemsolving is a kind of creativity. Science is creative... but not how it is presented or often taught. How do we change the standard way of thought. How do we teach for our future... not for the present?

A book worth reading and a conversation worth having.


TIES 2008: Teaching with Tablets

The first breakout session I attended was on Teaching with Tablet PC's, by Tami Brass from the St. Paul Academy and Summit School.

The Toshiba M700 is what they use for staff and students. The school has been using tablets w/teachers for 4 years. They use carts for grade 6, piloting for students at grade 7, and at grade 8 and up have traditional PC's.

She used "One Note" to ink on the screen. It is part of the Office 2007 suite, or for roughly $15 per machine individually.

The reasons for tablets:
  • A Whiteboard in your briefcase
  • Inking Office and printable documents
  • Reduce printing and paper use.
  • Take advantage of specialized applications and features.
She demonstrated presentations, music, flash cards with "Ink Flashcards", Scratch, Sketch-Up, Art Rage for science projects, Snip for screen capture, and Inspiration.

With all staff and students on tablets, they have been able to go paperless, and by using One Note, they stay organized and don't lose homework. The kids create notebooks on the server, and a cached copy stays on the computer. Teachers and students can then sync at school and teachers can see student work. Things like assignment sheets, Class Notes, Practice, Handouts and Homework reside in the class notebook. Students ink in the notebook and teachers can color code in red to mark the papers.

With student's handwriting on the tablet, they have noticed that kids are more careful with their writing. Using the stylus, you can highlight sections of the notebook and link.

You can also create your own "handwriting fonts". Research says that kids get more out of lessons from teachers if it's handwritten.

On her conference wiki, you can view more resources for different curricular areas.

She did mention that she used to work at Cincinatti Country Day School, where they had a one to one program with tablets for kids k-12.

She finished by demonstrating the new tablet coming out in January based on the Intel Classmate, it will have a built in Webcam and video input/output. They will retail below $500, depending on the opporating system. Equus Computer Systems is Intel's partner in this venture.

Daniel Pink Keynote at TIES 2008

Daniel Pink was the keynote speaker at this years TIES Technology Conference. Creative Minds Collaborating for a Web 3.0 World is the title of this year's conference. I had heard Pink speak at the University of Minnesota last spring in a conversational setting, and was interested to hear a more direct message and whether he had any new things to share.
He started by talking about "What makes a Good Speech?"

  • Brevity

  • Levity

  • Repetition!

He said the repitition comes from a teacher he had 30 years ago, Mrs. Path, who said, "Repetition is an effective form of emphasis!" She told him over, and over and over!

His focus today was on education and the economy. While not an educational expert, he said that his ability to focus on systems gives him .
The purpose of education in America is not to deliver employees to buisiness, it's about helping kids reach their potential, civic responsibility, and well informed citizens.
We must win that argument if we want to do well by our kids.
We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.-Similar to John Dewey in the 1930's and 1940's.
He then discussed some of the concepts from his book, "A Whole New Mind."
He talked about growing up in the late part of the 20th century in the middle class, where if you were good at math, you went into medicine or engineering, if you were good at language arts, you became a lawyer.
This does not define our kids future.
This is not wishful thinking, it's actually that the scales are tilting toward the following:

  • Asia-Outsourcing of jobs that used to be done in the United States. Pink says that the number of white collar jobs outsourced, is actually much less than people think, but it is understated in the long run. India has a BILLION people! Even if only 15% of the population reaches a economic level similar to ours, that's 150 million people, greater than the population of Japan and the number of workers in our economy. In 14 months, India will be the largest English speaking country. The cost of communication is effectively 0, given things like Skype. ROUTINE is the fault line between our past and our kids future. Any job that is routine, will be leaving our economy very quickly. If you can write down the steps and get a right answer, those jobs will be gone! Accounting, financial analysis, computer programming, certain types of law, are all professions that are routine and will be quickly outsourced.

  • Automation-Automation is replacing our logical, sequential rule placed side. You can now easily look at all the steps of what a lawyer in Minnesota needs to do to help someone get an uncontested divorce. So you can spend $2,000 to see a lawyer, or go to CompleteCase.com and have it done for you for $249! He showed some other sites, like 123divorceme.com and 3stepdivorce.com and Turbotax as examples of how certain tasks are automated.

  • Abundance-The standard of living among middle class Americans is at an all time high. The broad trend is toward greater abundance, despite our current downturn. He showed a chart that demonstrates the spread of consumption. The self service storage industry is now bigger than the movie industry. The iPod is a great example of how even in a downturn, companies can introduce things that everyone will need! (Introduced 6 weeks after 9/11) Companies will retrench and move forward

The big questions that need to be answered today are:

Can someone oversees do it cheaper, can computers do it faster, is what you're delivering in demand in an age of abundance.
What about STEM? This is not a brief against STEM, just a critical analysis of how STEM has been done in the past by having kids spit back results.
Google is trying to hire "Non-Routine Savants". Medical Schools are now using art to teach decision making. Extrordinary observation skills are required to become a good painter, and a good doctor! Yet the first thing to go in elementary and secondary schools is art education!

Here's the problem:
Economy Current Focus

  • Novelty

  • Nuance

  • Customization

Education Current Focus

  • Routines

  • Right Answers

  • Standardization

The 6 Abilities that Matter Most Right Now-They are hard to outsource and hard to automate, and they make us human!

  • Design-Not just Function

  • Story-Not just Argument

  • Empathy-Not just Logic

  • Play-Not just Seriousness

  • Meaning-not just Accumulation

  • Symphony-Not just Focus

He is making his presentation available, and suggested that people to Tweet him!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Syncronicity Regarding the Future of Learning: Are you a Sherpa or a Jazz Musician?

Yesterday, Sara Swenson, Edina High School Librarian (She prefers that term!) shared the following video with me via e-mail that she found on an NCTE Web site.

I thought that the video crystallized for me the potential for educational technology integration, 21st Century learning and learning beyond the classroom walls. It is something we are working on with our Community of Practice. That isn't to say that there won't be road blocks to navigate, or crevasses to traverse! We know they exist now! I was intrigued to see the teacher's role defined in such creative ways!! When people ask you what you do for a living, do you respond as "teacher", "educator", "instructor", facilitator", or are you a "Connected Learning Incubator" or are you still "Keeper of All Knowledge Which Is Good?" Hmmm...

Then this morning, I checked my Twitter feed and Will Richardson had posted about a conference on the Future of Education he attended at Microsoft.
I saw a strong connection between his post and the video, and commented on the blog. When I read the post over again, this quote certainly sounded familiar:
As would be expected, much of the conversation was spent on the barriers to change, and at some point I found myself amazed at how deeply woven the reasons why not are ingrained in our conversations. At one conversation, someone said that many of her teachers didn’t feel like they needed to teach with technology at all since their students were doing just fine passing the tests without it. And I wanted to scream (but instead politely said) ‘then we gotta change the assessments.” Nothing in these conversations changed my view that to really change what we do in schools we have to first change our understanding of what it means to teach in this moment. That doesn’t mean than we throw out all of the good pedagogy that we’ve developed over the years and make everything about technology. But it does mean, I think, that technology has to be a part of the way we do our learning business these days.
I remember in my interview for my current job stating that "a pencil is technology, and if a task is done more efficiently with a pencil than a computer, then use the pencil! "(Of course we don't have a class in pencil either, that's why we need to integrate!!) However, if by having a student blog about a poem, allows them to have an authentic interaction with the poet he/she is writing about, then perhaps the pedagogy should change.

I arrived at work, and there was an update from our local teacher's union with this quote from Education Minnesota Edina President Van Anderson:
We do not know from day to day, or even hour by hour, what we will encounter among our students. Of course, we get to know them (and data can help us do so), and that knowledge helps us plan suitable lessons, but sometimes even the best laid plans veer from the path we thought our students might be able to follow. Then we, like good jazz musicians, improvise.
Later, again in my Twitter Feed, was a post by Dean Shareski , a Digital Learning Consultant from Moose Jaw, SK responding to Richardson with the following quote:
My own experience with meeting people at conferences and having great conversations outside of the formal sessions reaffirm that face to face is good and necessary and in many ways real reason and value of a physical place where people gather. I believe it was Kevin Honeycutt who said, “it was the first time I’d met someone’s brain before I met their face”. Being together is really what my class is about. But the richness of conversations and willingness to be open and transparent is difficult to foster in 3 hours a week where much of that learning is teacher directed. I think the model developed by Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Samms is one we’ll likely see more of in the future. Coming to school to do homework and learning with others.
I had actually attended a Webinar presented by Jonathon and Aaron, and blogged about it here. Their model is one that I see having great potential in a one to one learning environment. I believe the ability for students to connect beyond the walls of the classroom with experts, expert content, and each other will allow for richer learning opportunities in the classroom.

These connections don't have to happen virtually, either.
Last week I was in AP Environmental Science teacher Eric Burfeind's classroom while he had guest lecturer, Phil Miller from the Conservation Breeding Specialists Group using computer modeling software to look at animal populations.

As I have been making and sharing these connections this morning, I hope I am modeling what it would look like for a connected student as well. I've talked before about having a Personal Learning Network, and Sara, Will, Dean, Jonathan, Aaron, and Eric certainly are members, (whether they know it or not!) and so are you! Join me as we climb the "Mount Everest" that is the future of education, I'll be the Sherpa carrying a few tools (rope, ladder, oxygen, wireless laptop) to help along the way!

What are your thoughts? Are you ready to be a Concierge, or a Sherpa, or a Jazz Musician?
What would training for such roles look like? I look forward to your comments!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

30 days to Being a Better Blogger

I have been reading Discovery Educator Steve Dembo's "Teach42" blog for the past year and following his updates on Twitter. He is a former kindergarten teacher turned "passionate" education technology advocate and I consider him to be part of my "personal learning network!" Last month, he set out on an ambitious project titled "30 Days to Being a Better Blogger".

The idea originated last year with Darren Rouse at Problogger.com, but was not necessarily focused on educational blogging. Dembo's project was geared for educators, and I am going through the steps on this blog to show it's potential. He has added a wiki page here, and encourages educators to sign up for the challenge. While the idea was to do everything in November, the site will remain up and can be done at any time.

I have gone through the list of 30 tips (You'll note many changes have occured on this site!) and have included below some that I think would be good to share with students as blogging assignments. The links will take you to Steve's site where you can view more details about the task.

  • Day 3: Write a thank you note Students could write a note to a teacher or classmate, whose post or comment they appreciated.
  • Day 4: Own your CContent This is a great opportunity to talk to kids about copyright and fair use. What if someone took their intellectual property and used it for commercial purposes? This task has them add a Creative Commons License to their blog.

  • Day 5: Globalize Your Blog In this task, students add a Clustermaps widget to their blog to track where visitors are coming from. As you can see by the one in the upper right hand corner, this site has seen traffic from China, UK, Australia, India, Canada and several locations in the US since I posted it last month.
  • Day 8: Comment unto others Dembo remarks here that "sometimes the best way to improve your own blogging is to read and comment on others." This gives an opportunity for students to reflect on others writing, and thereby improve their own. As another member of my PLN, Dean Shareski says, "You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. This should apply with blogging as well." On a personal note, since starting this post yesterday, I've made at least 4 comments on other blogs I've read in preparation!

  • Day 19: Who do you love… and why? This might be a nice activity for your students to explore other's blogs and share what they like about them. It would give them practice linking to other sites and seeing what others are writing, what voice their writing in, and ideas on how they can make their own site better.

  • Day 25: Add a quick 1000 words to your posts This post explores adding images to your blog. Steve gives great examples of how to incorporate screenshots, logos, mashups and photos (Not by using Google Image search!)

  • Day 26: Tag, you’re it. Learn how to incorporate tags on your posts. Last year, by tagging I made a connection with Clay Burell, at the time an educator at an American School in Seoul, South Korea. Clay is one of the best bloggers/writers around, and I may not have made the connection were it not for a tag.

  • Day 28: Link It Up One of the ways that blogging is different from traditional writing is the ability to add links to the text you are writing about. If you refer to a news story, blog, or Web site, LINK TO IT!! This would be a good way for students to make their site more conversational and interactive.

I hope this gives you some ideas for working with students on their blogging. Next Tuesday, I'll be presenting at the 2008 TIES Technology Conference on "The Blogging Cycle". I'll be updating the conference wiki with resources (Including this one) in the coming days. If you give these a try, be sure to let me know how it went!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Edublogs Nominee

My nominee for the 2008 Edublog Awards for Best Resource Sharing Blog goes to Jackie Roehl's Edina National Urban Alliance Program Blog.

For those unfamiliar with the National Urban Alliance (NUA), they are an organization whose mission is:

to substantiate in the public schools of urban America an irrefutable belief in the capacity of all children to reach the highest levels of learning & thinking demanded by our ever-changing global community.

Through the use of Thinking Maps, teachers and students use specific strategies to give meaning to their learning. Developed by David Hyerle, Thinking Maps identify the 8 ways to visually represent information. Jackie has done an exceptional job on her blog offering resources and insights into incorporating NUA strategies into curriculum from a variety of disciplines. She is very deserving of this award!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Adding a Flip Video to a Gaggle.net Blog

The following is a screencast for adding a video clip to a Gaggle.net blog. Unfortunately, Gaggle.net does not allow embedding at the present time, so you have to click on the link when finished to view it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dr. Burke visit to Mill Creek Middle School: Kent, WA


Mill Creek Middle School
Kent, WA
On-site visit by Dr. Michael Burke

  1. District Demographics
    • 770 students from poor and lower middles class, 65% on free and reduced lunch
    • Classrooms all have:
    • Smartboard
    • LCD projectors
    • Color & B/W printers.
    • Document camera
    • Each room has a wireless hub.
    • All students have e-mail.
    • District has 26,000 students
      • 2,200 staff
      • 4 high schools
      • 6 middle schools

    • Most classes only had 20 students

  2. Hardware/Software:
    • CISCO switches and wireless equipment and hubs
    • HP low end laptops
    • Purchased computers
    • Use Moodle for MLS
    • Bought extended battery (6 hrs.)
    • Private fiber between schools

    • For more information: www.kent.k12.wa.us/ksd/it/one2one

  3. Teacher Interviews
    • 8th grade science teacher
    • Easier to differentiate
    • Student in her class have had 1 year experience, no problem using them as tool
    • She can do more with laptops as tool, more access to resources.
    • Students were using spreadsheet for lesson.
    • She received training and laptop 3 months before students.
    • They have classroom set of textbooks for reference.
    • Quality and quantity of student work has improved.
    • Biggest change is the paradigm shift to student centered learning.

  4. Other Teacher Comments
    • Student productivity has increased substantially.
    • Teacher said he gets 3-5 emails at night from students with questions.
    • Could not live without SMART board (note: SMART school)
    • Never enough time for staff development and sharing ideas.
    • Students have been an excellent resource in learning how to maximize use of software.

  5. Student Interviews
    • Students can loose access to laptop for 3 days for code of ethics violation plus detention.
    • Most students have access to internet at home. District worked with Qwest for students on free and reduced lunch
    • They are responsible for making sure they charge their battery every night.
    • Students are responsible for their own computers.
    • If they run out of power they have to use paper and pencil. They’ve learned how to manage 6 hr. of battery life.
    • Cell phones are to be kept in locker.
    • Student felt they were more organized, less paperwork
    • Felt their quality of work had increased
    • They liked Moodle lessons. They can go back and see teacher’s comments and make changes electronically.
    • Students signed up for academy because they liked the idea of using technology.
    • They felt some teachers need more training.

  6. 8th Grade Humanities Class
    • Still had to turn in some reports on paper.
    • Working on book report as a collaborative effort, using word processing to compose report.

  7. Technology Academy
    • Started 3 years ago with 90, 7th graders.
    • Selection by application and lottery
    • Second year the pilot expanded to 90, 8th graders.
    • This year all 7th graders have laptops.

  8. Administrator’s Comments
    • More kids passed state science test last year than the year before, when they didn’t have a 1-to-1 program.
    • Kids are scoring better than state on average on language arts and writing test.
    • Bond, 5 million/year for 4 years to implement district wide.
    • They have instructional coaches who model lessons and provide support.
    • Barbara Grohe, Superintendent, is the chief proponent of 1-to-1 laptop program.
    • First thing they did was to write a 10 year tech plan with vision, revisions are made every year.
    • Start small and grow
    • Set a target where they want to be.
    • Used book “Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works”, as a guide.
    • Worked hard to make sure process, procedures and structure is in place.
    • Infrastructure Breakout
    • Very few laptops (2 or 3 were lost) in the last 3 years – use Low Jack monitoring software.
    • $70/computers for 5 years.
    • District owns machines. Hot Swap is available if their laptop dies during the day.
    • Students have to call help desk for support. If it can’t be fixed over the phone they take it to be exchanged for repair.
    • Took 5 years for wireless network to stabilize.
    • All information is stored on district files
    • Support system is pro-active in monitoring network use and health.
    • Centralized software deployment
    • Customer support center at school, students provide tech support.
    • Unrestricted network storage
    • Very large network data center 5,000 sq. ft. and 64 racks
    • Use SSL VPN for access from home, F5 is the vendor. $75,000. for 2,000 concurrent remote users.
    • Virtual Application Deployment System
    • 6 LCD projectors on carts in case ceiling mounted LCD’s burn out
    • Lightspeed for filtering software.
    • 10 Gig Backbone
    • Remote assist tracking
    • 1300 wireless access points in district
    • 54 staff members for tech support
    • Started with 10% additional machines, for Hot Swaps, smaller percentage is needed each year.
    • Bridge track used to keep track of repairs
    • 48 hr. support turn-around
    • Use paid interns from tech college.
    • Use students to help during summer and school days.
    • Students call in their own support from classroom. 5 min. rule, if you can’t fix in 5 minutes, take it in for a Hot Swap.
    • Very few after school service calls, looking to tie homework support with tech support.
    • Several student intern programs to provide software training for trackers and tech support.
    • Purchase replacement computers every 4 years.
    • Textbooks are online although some classes still require that books be brought to class.
    • Laptops collected and re-imaged each summer.

  9. Miscellaneous
    • Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation http://www.aalf.org/
      Goal is to provide all students access to unlimited opportunities to learn.
      AALF provides consulting services and support to Kent
    • 1-to-1 should help you obtain that which you are unable to without this technological tool.
    • Helps you address diverse learning styles.
    • Results from 1-to1 studies
      • Attendance increases
      • Motivation increases
      • Students write more often and better.
      • Improved test scores
      • Students are engaged in higher order thinking skills.

      Design Strategy for Implementing

    • Success of 1-to-1 program depends on teachers.

  10. Staff Development

    • Used to build foundation and define expectations for hardware and software use.
    • Started with needs assessment of staff ability and knowledge
    • Emphasis on using computers to provide differentiated instruction.
    • Teachers ranked as basic/proficient or exemplary in their use of technology
    • Limited in time, money and training staff
    • Summer institute
    • Some online training
    • Content embedded coaching
    • A lot of training was just-in-time for staff
    • Training on laptop care and Hot Swap procedures
    • Basic troubleshooting
    • Use of electronic resources
    • AUP and how to handle violations

  11. Instructional Model

    • Instructional staff and information technology staff collaborate
    • Used “Understanding by Design” and “Marzano models”
    • Moodle is their learning management system.
    • Teachers share units.
    • Embedding technology across the curriculum

  12. Classroom Management
    • Staff have agreed and are consistent in what behavior they will and will not accept during class.
    • Students 100% responsible for their laptop
    • Teachers design lessons that are engaging for students using real world experiences
    • Electronic Resource Use Policy and AUP
    • Students take test to get laptop “drivers license” which lets them take laptop home.
    • Students leave laptops in Phy. Ed. lockers and in the classroom that they are going to after lunch.
    • District tech department does history check periodically on student use.

  13. Family Involvement

    • Family training is required to discuss AUP, laptop care; Internet safety, discipline, high speed access and getting help.

  14. Evaluation

    • Hired an outside consulting firm

  15. Implementing Your 1-to-1 Roadmap

    • Create a vision and establish desired outcomes.
    • Monitor priorities
    • Provide just-in-time for staff and student training
    • Student training
      • Laptop care and Hot Swap procedure
      • Basic troubleshooting
      • AUP and technology violations
      • Using electronic software and online resources
      • Laptop driver’s license – 80% on test of 50 questions

    • Typical student tech violations:
      • Using when not supposed to.
      • Not on task.

    • Student e-mail is internal only.
    • Policy violation
      1. Verbal warning
      2. Detention
      3. Take laptop away, create a public service announcement, have to have a parent or peer monitor, reapply for drivers license.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Google Earth Trips

Recently, a high school teacher asked me about helping her create a Google Lit Trip using Google Earth. Since I hadn't tried that before, I first started by creating a trip relating to my life and all the places I have lived. I won't bore you with that here! Then, I decided to try it out with my 5th grade son to see if he could use it on a project. Here is what he did...(Note: I used Jing to capture it off of the computer for the movie. Normally the file would just open in Google Earth.)

I see this as a great way to integrate geography and literature with a. Students could create a lit trip for a book they read, add images and a summary of the story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Social Bookmarking Presentation

I'll be speaking to new staff in the next few days during Big 6 training, and put together a 20 minute presentation on Social Bookmarking. I like how the Google Presentation embeds right in the blog!

I'll be coming out to the buildings the week of November 17th to visit further about social bookmarking.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reading at Edina High School

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reading to 10th Grade Language Arts classes at Edina High School. Since they are all blogging, I decided to read a blog post that I thought would be of interest to them.
I chose a recent post by Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson, titled Facebook-An Educational Resource? In the post, Doug explains his philosophy regarding blocking sites for student access and the things he will be sharing with principals in his district about social networking sites like Facebook.

I talked to the students a bit about our filter, and why we block sites like Youtube. Since our network sees a 10th grade student the same way it sees a 1st grader, and Youtube has content that may not be appropriate for 1st graders, it needs to be blocked. (I won't go into the question of whether Youtube has educationally appropriate content, or whether our network should be reconfigured to differentiate between 1st and 10th graders...)

After reading Doug's post, I asked them if they felt that access to Facebook would enhance their learning or be a distraction. Of the 180 students who I asked, 9 felt it would enhance their learning. They were also able to specifically give examples of how it would help, such as groups for each class, collaboration, one stop shopping (So they didn't have to also log in to Edline for assignments).

The remaining students either had no opinion, felt it would be a distraction, or didn't want teachers "spoiling their world".

In any event, it provided for some lively discussion!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I decided to put this blog through Wordle to see what I'm talking about the most here.

I guess it really is about the students!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One to One Learning Leadership Institute: Session 6

Superintendent's Perspective
We finished with Stillwater superintendent, Keith R. Ryskoski , who began by sharing the "Beloit College Mindset", facts about the class of 2012.
He spoke about the analogy of a box, and how we limit our thinking by traditional things that define our "box". We need to think of all the possibilities, and be like the amoeba, constantly changing.
Other thoughts:
  • In 1907 if someone said we'd be traveling around on roads in machines that drove around, they'd have said you were crazy.
  • Are the children of today going to learn and do school the way that we did?
  • If you were starting this from scratch...Start at the middle school. Plan how you will grow.
  • If AP courses are College Board certified, and colleges are requiring students to have laptops, what would cause a High school teacher to say that students can't have a laptop in that course?
  • Laptop carts do not change teaching and learning in the classroom the way that one to one does.
  • A two week window for when you can sign up for a lab or a mobile cart defines the box and lowers authenticity. It's too much work to change the way you teach for 2 weeks, and then go back.
  • It's not a tool, it's how students learn and people are instructing today.
  • It's an information source that goes both ways at an individual personalized level.
  • Where are you going to make an investment that will have the biggest impact for students future, lower class size, or give kids a laptop? He advocates for the latter.
  • We never require teachers to use the technology, but this is what we do here.
  • Textbook replacement-As much as possible! Always up to date. Publishers are now allowing them to just buy the subscription.
  • Students entering school today are now like travellers at an airport. Powering down prior to entering the plane.
  • In the next ten years, the University of North Carolina will have more online graduates than face to face.
  • iTunes U is a great resource.
  • Look at the book Disrupting class!
  • In my mind, Smart Boards are great, but here, every kid has a smart board!
  • Teachers must embrace change in the role of teacher, and of students!
  • Must have parents/community members involved in the planning process. Split the work up regarding investigating different issues.
  • Publicize more rather than less on the front end.
  • Should have had a broader communication to the entire district.
  • Maximize training on curricular aspects that will make a difference.
  • You need to make the first experience very positive. Make it an event.
  • Equipment pick up, 100 people at a time in less than an hour. Celebrate it!
  • Let students personalize the computer case (Appropriately). Contest! Give kids ownership.
  • Don't worry about the kids using it...
  • Communicate how things are going.
  • Do lots of testing prior to system updates.
  • Involve staff in the image.
  • Get it to teachers first, looking at curriculum prior to students.
  • Planning for re-imaging: Do the kids really need to turn them in for the whole summer?
  • Connect teachers in like subject areas with teachers in programs that are using this effectively.
  • It's not about the laptop, it's about access to individualized tools for accessing and producing information.

The politics

Why was it political? We talked about it in 5 board meetings in August-November. Board wanted a 5 year commitment. Pioneer Press front page article had an impact. More people from outside the district came to the meeting rather than inside! All 3 board members who lost their seat said it was the right thing to do and they'd do it again, because it is good for kids. What matters is what the kids are doing.

Cost Benefit Analysis

Will be provided later.

One to One Learning Leadership Institute: Session 4

Panel Discussion
On Thursday morning, students and staff participated in a panel discussion on their experience with the one to one program. Here are their comments:
  • Everyone has a laptop, so there isn't the temptation to steal-Student
  • I have more problems with teachers losing laptops (500 staff have laptops in the district) than students.-District Tech Coordinator
  • We have a separate network for students who bring in laptops from home, that is locked down -District Tech Coordinator
  • I'm worried when I go to the high school over the ammount of note writing I will have to do.-Student
  • The laptop doesn't do everything for us...We still need to use our brains!
  • Genius program is used for flash card notes for memorization
  • We type more fluently, "10 Thumbs Typing" is on the computer, but no keyboarding course.
  • My dad tells me I know more about technology than the people at his work!-Student
  • Our parents ask us for help, even if it's Windows. (Mac District)-Student
  • Data within our school is that it doesn't matter what type of computer platform it is.-Principal

How did the veteran staff handle this change in pedagogy?

  • -It was a lot of work, but we went in with an open mind, because we knew it was going to be best for kids. We knew that we would get staff development. The big thing is we felt supported
  • -What an opportunity! At the time I was at the other school with desktop PC's and there was some push back on the platform. I was too excited about the possibilities...but to look at what we've been able to do and where we've been able to go, it's been great!
  • -We do a lot of informal staff development (Hey, stop by after school and I'll show you...)
  • The students teach us
  • We have many long time experienced teachers who are among our biggest users
  • If you're a good teacher who wants to do what's best for kids, you'll want to try this.

How has curriculum changed with this program?

  • I use a textbook, but it is just one of my resources, not the entire curriculum. I suppliment with Webquests and other projects.
  • One of my students found 5 different Web sites with 5 different birthdays for a founding father. What a great opportunity to talk about reliable sources.
  • It's nice as a special ed teacher to pull an assignment off, modify it and have it up for the kids right away
  • Our kids aren't just consumers of technology and learning, their producers. They are actively involved in producing, and as digital natives, it's a natural fit for them.
  • The Minnesota State Standards are Broad and specific... To find a textbook that addresses all of them is near impossible. By having the computers in the kids hands with access to multiple sources, we have the ability to hit more of the curriculum.

How are assessments delivered?

  • I still use paper and pencil
  • I use Quia online tests.
  • We team quite a bit.
  • All of one teacher's tests are on the computer, cause all the assignments are on as well.
  • I teach 350 kids, so having all quizes and tests online makes my life so much easier, and it gives kids immediate feedback. In my opinion, it's a much more superior system. I wouldn't use 100% online testing for Math, cause you want to see the work. I use Quizstar, which has some limitations. Quizstar let's you take the quiz multiple times and gives you your best score.
  • Foriegn Language teachers use Quia a lot, and students think it helps especially with special characters.


  • I have a good amount of homework, like last week we had a political convention. I did a lot of work at home, and since the text book was written in the 90's, it was outdated.
  • It varies with the different grades, but on the plus side, it is faster than writing in a notebook. I try to get my work done quickly so I can play something with my 5 year old sister.

Some staff do a bit of cross curricular projects, but mostly it is pared with like subject teachers.

The typing course on the computer helped me improve my touch typing. Others had keyboarding in elementary school.

Principal says that they don't emphasize keyboarding, and don't plan to. They can text faster than I can type!

Students do not have access to e-mail.

See here for an answer to question #2 on our wiki.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One to One Learning Leadership Institute: Session 3

During the last break there were a few kids sitting by the front door and one had his Macbook open. I asked them if they thought that the laptop had improved their learning? Here are their comments:

Oh, yeah! I don't lose my papers
Definitely-Keeps me more organized.

I then asked them about battery life, as I used similar models in my former job and had issues with them. They said that if you came to school with it charged over night, then you were OK. They had learned to optimize battery life, by dimming the screen and turning off the wireless access when it is not needed.

Laptop Learning at OJHS

(See the principals presentation here)

Oak Land has 1020 students and 94 total staff members. 7% minority, and 11% qualify for free and reduced lunch.

They believe:

1. The only way to prepare kids is by something very close to this 1:1 program.

2. What was adequate for us is not adequate for our kids.
3. Schools need to mirror the world in which our kids will live.

  • Relevant Learning and Relevant Teaching

  • Anytime Anywhere access

  • Our World is a different place

  • Increased Student Achievement

  • All subjects become more meaningful for students and more adequately prepare them for the world in which they will live and work

  • Technology is part of our lives and it is here to stay

Teacher quote: "Give me 30 kids per class with laptops rather than 26 kids without."

They have no computer labs anymore, and the kids "take the library with them".

  • Leadership is critical. They have visited and established a relationship with Westside District in Omaha

  • Help Desk is critical

  • Problems must be viewed as creative opportunities

  • Staff Training is essential-The KEY to success

  • Student care and appropriate use has been exceptional (Theft is low because each student has one)

Laptops are only tools to use...

The principal's perspective:

  • Hiring process is different

  • Teacher observations are different (Intentional with relationships, common assessments, technology to enhance student achievement)

  • Staff Development (Balanced-Initially it was all tech all the time. Must have balance)

  • Extension of the School Day

How do we measure progress? (NCREL, Technology Advisory Task-Force, U of M Evaluation)

If your purpose is only to increase test scores, probably not a good idea. If you are trying to teach students how to collaborate in an authentic learning environment, then it's a great idea.

They went with Apple, because they offered training with the computers.

Tech Coordinators Perspective

Matt Howe spoke about his experience as tech coordinator at Oak Land. He shared a video produced by Stillwater High School Students on the changing role of technology

He shared some findings from the national demonstration sites for one to one:

  • Improved attitude toward school

  • Improved student work-specifically homework completion, higher quality and more creative

  • Improved opportunities to communicate through multi-media

  • Improved student engagement in their progress

The professional development they have offered includes:

  • Basic Skills-The machine is a tool for teachers to use to make instruction better

  • Tech Integration and Enhancement

  • Lesson Makeovers

  • Classroom Management and Productivity

  • Using Online tools and resources

  • Project based learning

  • Initially Apple did training w/ pull outs and even weekends

  • Ongoing training

  • Peer mentorship

  • Learning Communities

  • Student Help (ICE)

  • Just in Time Training

Help Desk

Daily Operation



They have many resources for parents and also offer a Parent Boot Camp to train parents every fall. Internet Safety is included in this training.

Student Planner is a PHP portal tool for students, similar to Edline.

EasyGrade Pro is the staff grade book, and they use TIES SIS.

To those who want to just fix/upgrade the equipment we have now there is this quote to consider:

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
-Wayne Gretzky

One to One Learning Leadership Institute: Session 2

In this session, Oak-Land teachers presented on How Technology Changes Teaching and Learning.

Prior to that, there was discussion about staff development, and how implementation is happening. In South Dakota, they gave core staff tablet PC's a few years ago, and have phased in to everyone. Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau had a tech academy this summer, and also uses Atomic Learning. They admitted that some lessons are not suited to tech integration, and that's ok!
The Apple Learning Interchange has resources for staff on specific subject areas, and the new Thinkfinity (Formerly Marco Polo) has a lot of resources for integration with one to one.

Oakland's principal mentioned that he is working with staff during observations this year on how they will teach differently with one to one.

Laptops in the English 8 Classroom
Jesse Fredrickson, who teaches both regular and honors english at the 8th grade level spoke about her experience.
She started by telling us how laptops have changed her teaching:

  • No more "automatic pilot", she's a much more creative teacher
  • She can quickly modify, add or delete assignments, responding to the needs of the students
  • Differentiating instruction is much easier (Electronically alter assignments and quickly distribute to students)
  • Instructional time is much more effectively (No collecting and distributing papers, posting instructional video clips, rather than show in class)
  • Grading is faster! (For daily assignments, they utilize "The planner", which makes it easy to add comments and provide feedback)

She has seen changes in students as well:

  • Students are more organized. Less lost assignments
  • Students have more pride in their work when they know it will be published, they spend more time with the English content.
  • Higher order thinking skills happen naturally and frequently. What type of project will they create? Which Art? What audience?
  • Changes assignments from something they "have" to do, to something they "get" to do!

In the English classroom:

  • Online Textbook with classroom copies (One time online license purchased with the classroom set)
  • Online notebook (Comes w/Text) All accessed from student planner
  • Students without Internet access at home can check out a classroom text.
  • Tech Coordinator said online texts get updated more often.
  • Grammar: Individualized assignments and authentic practice
  • Literature: seeking out information about authors, topics, etc.
  • Public speaking
  • Pre-writing: Inspiration
  • Revising/Editing: The difference is amazing!
  • Publishing: book reports were written on the teacher blog, quality of writing improved
  • Student Web sites
  • Teacher's site includes exemplary student work and ideas

What about books?

  • They don't go away if kids have laptops

Classroom management

Very few management issues. Most of the time when lids are up, they are on task. Teachers do not have remote desktop or Syncronize, she feels that she has become more accountable with student behavior.

Seventh Grade Life Science

Todd Rau, a seventeen year veteran, shared his experience in his 7th Grade Life Science classroom.

He feels that his job is to create well rounded students who will be prepared for the 21st Century. Students need:

  • The Ability to efficiently use technology
  • Communication skills-The ability to make a point visually and verbally
  • Guide on the side as opposed to sage on the stage
  • Self starters-Drive to go beyond the minimum
  • Real World Application
  • Cross Curricular/ Multi-disciplinary

One of his projects is to have students compete for grant money for solving problems in the National Parks.

Another project challenges students to create a digital brochure on topics involving genetic engineering.

A third project involves the students creating a podcast on a topic from a plant's perspective.

He still has students who just want to "get it done", but not as many...

It's a great tool, and if you use it well, the kids will flourish, but if you rely on it... they'll stagnate.


Robin Vought shared her experience with her band students using Smartmusic and GarageBand on her laptop. She has been involved in the one-to-one program from day one, and has had great success.

Technology is a part of their future, and they focussed on how the technology could be used to help students achieve at higher levels in music.

She uses Smart Music as a warm up, the Internet for research on composers, Keynote, iPhoto and iMovie, for presentations, and iTunes to create a library of recordings that are used in class for demonstrations. She also uses Finale and Finale notepad, which are music industry standards.

She has found that the laptop has extended the student day, by giving students the metronome and tuner tools, the same way they do it in class. Students can do scale and rhythm excersizes and solo accompaniments at home, and are learning the rhythm's correctly.

She collaborates with the Literature teacher on the poetry of music for a group project. She feels that project based learning has had a great impact on forging connections for her students.

She said this has increased student achievement greatly in her discipline, but she admits there have been challenges.

Up front, it takes time looking for resources that will apply. Don't add on the computers to what you're doing: embed.

The Help Desk is the key!

She said that kids are taking responsibility for their learning, and she doesn't hear "Why do we have to know this?" as often.

One to One Learning Leadership Institute: Session 1

October 8 and 9 I attended a 1-to-1 Learning Leadership Institute at Oak Land Junior High in Stillwater.
Oakland has had a one to one initiative for the last 5 years.
(Twitter blocked on the filter, but Facebook not!)
There were folks attending from Warroad (Looking at 6th-8th Grade), Harrisburg, South Dakota (Building a new high school designed with one to one in mind-this year all staff have laptops), Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Wisconsin (Building a new middle school, and looking at best options), and Jim Hawthorne and I from Edina ("Go Wireless" CoP) .

21st Century Learning and Learning Tools
Paul Musegades from Apple started things off discussing five challenges:Global Competition, Global Interdependence, Workplace Innovation, Ubiquitous Information and Student Experience.
He noted that skilled worker growth in Japan is 25 million, whereas in China, it's 300 million! We are both competing with them and are interdependent with them!
Ubiquitous information-"Google" is a verb. It's now just a part of our life, and our students have grown up with it.
Einstein-" Never memorize what you can look up in books"

As we look at education in the 21st century, we need to take these things into account. What majors will todays middle and high school students be taking?
How different are today's classrooms from how they were 40 years ago?
Digital content is growing exponentially-There are 6 billion plus photos on Facebook!
The demand for skills have changed.
Critical thinking, information technology, health and wellness, collaboration innovation and personal financial responsibility are quickly becoming the most important skills in the workforce.
He then showed the 21st Century Skills Framework, which we used as the basis for the 21st Century Literacy course in Edina.
Our learning environment must be innovative, where we create, distribute, access and collaborate with information.
Musegades demonstrated how iTunes U now gives schools the ability to organize lectures for access via podcasts, and video lectures.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Educational Vodcasting

Today I watched a Webinar from ISTE on Vodcasting in Education.
In it, two teachers from Colorado shared how they transformed their AP Chemistry class, by transforming all their lectures into Vodcasts, and use classtime for homework and hands on activities where the students can get expert help.

This year, they moved to a mastery program, where students are self paced, and they have seen tremendous success. Students enjoy the ability to go at their own pace, and
Students are owning their learning, and they've seen all students pass assessments with 85% mastery!
There have been some management issues, but overall, they've had great success.
In the future, they hope to beam video to cell phones via Bluetooth, post to blogs, and embed in Moodle or Blackboard.
To create their Vodcasts, they use the following:
  • Software
  • Snapkast-Converts to PPT and allows upload of audio, and then converts to mp4.
  • Camtasia- To capture video and animation and add voiceovers
  • Snapzpro
  • Promethean
  • Jing
  • Windows Media Encoder
  • Podcast Producer (On 10.5 Macs-Needs a server)-Stanford uses this
  • Microphones
  • Tablet
  • Propagation Method-itunes, Burn DVD, Flash Drives

Their site is :http://educationalvodcasting.com

They contended that the time it took students to listen to the lecture at home was comperable to time completing homework, and that for them, the lectures were shorter, as they did not have to answer questions while recording.

I expected this session to be more nuts and bolts about vodcasting, but came away with an interesting idea delivery of intstruction!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Teaching Diverse and Digital Youth

Today several staff members from Edina attended a workshop at the Zurah Shrine Center, with Jabari Mahiri, on Teaching Diverse and Digital Youth.
Topics included:
The Culture and Discipline of Achievement
Several clips were shown to demonstrate how teachers can successfully engage cultural differences to increase student achievement.
Teachers need: Disciplinary knowledge, Cultural Knowledge and perspectives, Technological Knowledge and Skills, which funnels in to our Pedagogical Knowledge and Practices.
He said that our traditional sense of what Disciplinary knowledge is, is changing as we explore transformative digital tools.
Dewey was right! In 1938 he talked about using the experiences of our students, which Mahiri noted is changing in our diverse society.
There is a cultural foundation of "being an American" that is the foundation we must start from... He showed images of advertisements with people of color on the periphery of the image, which indicates marginalization.
Mahiri says that there is a Discipline Gap and Achievement Gap, and they are linked. He sited the work titled "The Trouble with Black Boys" by Pedro Noguera.
Multiculturalism is people being able to inhabit many cultural persona's, and educators need to facilitate communication in a variety of genres. He talked about using journalism in a variety of disciplines as a way to engage students using their own cultural perspectives.
Freakonomics talks about how the names of people indicates for others their perception. Jake vs. DeShawn. Also, where people lived had a high correlation regarding student achievement.
Research shows that school discipline is tougher on African American students, despite no difference in behavior. Teacher caring and high expectations for academics and behavior have a higher correlation to student trust of teacher authority. Building relationships is key!
  • Digital Culture and Contemporary Youth

  • New media allows us to explore some of the micro-cultures that exist today that may allow us to connect to students in ways we may not have been able to in the past. Digital media can facilitate collaborative learning and mediate the learning experiences with the learners.
    Students at Berkley Alternative School talked about enjoying research.
    Mahiri used "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan to illustrate how our cultural filter effects how we interpret images. He also talked about the modularity of visual images that become part of the whole. Mahiri described the term "chronotopical space" to describe literal descriptions of time and space that can have different meanings based on individual cultures.
    He used clips from the movie "Across the Universe" to illustrate cultural differences to common situations, and how video and and music have become effective 21st Century teaching tools.
    Hip-Hop music led to the rise in the ability to mash media using the digital tools of today! He refered to it as the "Cut and Paste Culture"
    Students creating podcasts on "Romeo and Juliet" with a hip-hop influence.
    We should not just introduce these tools as writing prompts, but we must also allow students to use the tools to express themselves and their learning.
    When students come to school and "power down", for 6 hours a day, it becomes a "penitentiary" . Students are using the technology to connect and learn about the world, and we need to tap in to that.
    He talked about "The Attention Economy", "The Gift Economy"(Text, Music, Film, Software, Tools, and Services all given away for free!), and the "Economy of Social Networks" New Media enables New Literacies (Blogged about here).

    (Michael Wesch's "The Machine is Us/ing Us" video)

  • New Literacies Need New Learning
  • Literacy- Skill(s) in Construcion(S) of Meaning(s) in Text(s) and Context(s).Mahiri shared James Paul Gee's 36 principles of learning associated with digital media and how they relate to teaching practices. He stated that while the digital tools will change, the key will be incorporating the framework of constructivist pedagogy. We had the opportunity to pick 3 and think about how we might incorporate them into our learning environment to transform our curriculum. Our group had a big discussion about not just the new definitions of "Literacy" but also a new definition of "social skills." Mahiri commented that these new methods of communication afford us limitations, but also create possibilities. Rather than talk about Prensky's "Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants", perhaps we need to refer to the different methods as "Digital Visitors vs. Digital Residents."
    Mahiri referenced a book called "The Teaching Gap", which basically says that we teach the way we were taught. As educators we need to look at what is viable and what is not, and different methods of pedagogy.
    He talked about Convergence, where multiple products come together to form one product, with the advantages of each initial component.Mahiri identified methods that have been shown to be effective
  • CREDE Five Standards of Effective Instruction
  • Project-Based Learning-Activity Centers
  • Pedagogy of Collegiality (Youth Radio Strategies)
  • Applying New Principles of Learning: A Second Life for Learning in School
    Mahiri discussed that students are using technology outside of school, almost as a reaction to school. The cell phone is an example of a technology that is being transformed just as it is transforming. People are Students acquire and express "ideas" in "texts" in each academic discipline. He then talked about "Second Life" and "Teen Second Life" where students can become immersed in a virtual environment and role play in worlds that help them learn about life in ancient Rome, or act in a Shakespearian play.

As we look at current pedagogy and look to educating learners in the 21st Century, the implications of Dr. Mahiri's work provide a way to reach learners from different cultures. Click here if you'd like to learn more about adults working with students in Second Life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Edina Sophomore Bloggers

From Jackie Roehl, Area Leader for Language Arts at Edina High School and author of a GREAT blog on National Urban Alliance Thinking Maps

English 10 is continuing the practice of having each student create a blog. This year English 10 students will use their blogs to write about the various texts that they are reading for pleasure. The English 10 team has entered into a partnership with U of M Professors Richard Beach and Cynthia Lewis who will be assigning nearly 60 graduate students to read and comment on the Edina English 10 student blogs. The English 10 team is also submitting a research grant proposal to David Hyerle, the inventor of Thinking Maps, to analyze the student blog entries to study the impact of Thinking Maps on writing, reading, and relationships.

If American Literature teachers want to have students establish a blog this year, students should still have last year’s English 10 blog online and could simply add entries to that blog. That continued blog could become an informal writing portfolio.

This is an outstanding opportunity for authentic assessment of student writing. The English 10 teachers have set up their own blog here, and you can then link to the individual staff's blogs to see what the students are doing.
I've added a few comments to the student blogs, and I invite you to do the same!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ustream.TV: PowerPoint Extreme

Live Ustream.tv feed PowerPoint Extreme session of Edina Tech Camp with Claude Sigmund, 2007-2008 Edina Teacher of the Year.

Edina Tech Tips Channel on Ustream will offer live and archived sessions of training throughout the year. Contact Mike Walker if you're interested in streaming from your classroom!