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Showing posts from 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 …

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 …

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), our phone to create (Can’t re-edit and add sound tracks)

Access to new technology-Student Engagement!
New way to present
Authentic audience, willowweb are examples of sites that have good ideas.
Making connectionsCollaborationSharingUsed Google Docs to share and collaborate with a classroom in Alaska.They also used Google Documents to collaborate on their presentation.Wiki'sThey recommended and for wikis.JING ProjectJing allows you to capture images, record video, and share. I have used that on this wiki here.VoicethreadThey showed examples o…

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 pro…

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 briefcaseInking Office and printable documentsReduce 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…

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?"
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 …

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 …

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, 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 s…

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!

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


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

District Demographics
770 students from poor and lower middles class, 65% on free and reduced lunch
Classrooms all have:
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

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:

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 t…

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.

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 …


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!

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.…

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-StudentI have more problems with teachers losing laptops (500 staff have laptops in the district) than students.-District Tech CoordinatorWe have a separate network for students who bring in laptops from home, that is locked down -District Tech CoordinatorI'm worried when I go to the high school over the ammount of note writing I will have to do.-StudentThe laptop doesn't do everything for us...We still need to use our brains!Genius program is used for flash card notes for memorizationWe 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!-StudentOur parents ask us for help, even if it's Windows. (Mac District)-StudentData within our…

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 T…

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 t…

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" i…

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:
SoftwareSnapkast-Converts to PPT and allows upload of audio, and then converts to mp4.Camtasia- To capture video and animation and add voiceoversSnapzproPrometheanJingWindows Media …

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 …

Edina Sophomore Bloggers

From Jackie Roehl, Area Leader for Language Arts at Edina High Schooland 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 info…