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Showing posts from December, 2009

TIES 2009: Dr. Bernie Dodge on Engagement: What Is It, and How Can I Get Some?

"It's all about engagement!"
Dodge started with a video on "pure engagement", a time lapse of a 9 month old in a room full of toys! Everything in the world was engaging at that point in your life. Now, fast forward a few years, and that student is in school. What happens to stifle that? (Perhaps it's because we can't manage it!)
Engagement is like a valve. No matter how many interactive white boards you have, if the valve is shut, it won't improve instruction. He asked usthe question, What Does Engagement Mean To You? Responses from the crowd included: People have choice, and are actively present, absorbed, "sponge-like", and intensity of focus.
He did an informal study with his gaming students to describe a learning experience that was fun, and another that was boring. One student described looking at artifacts from the Civil War and being asked to look at them, and share what they thought they were.
Another talked about choosing a painting a…

TIES 2009: Robert Marzano Keynote:

Dr. Robert Marzano, led off the second day of the TIES 2009 Conference with a keynote desscribing his research on Interactive White Boards. (IWB) His research was funded by Promethean, and they were a major sponsor of the event. That said, here were some highlights of his talk. Overall, he was less dry than what you see on the ASCD videos.
He started with a general impression of research and looking for the “Silver Bullet.” It doesnt' exist, but we may find “silver beebies!” IWB's may be one of those.
"What will revolutionize education is when we start using what we know works. "
IWB, Student Acheivement, and Engagement Marzano started by talking about Seymour Pappert and "Mindstorms." We’ve come a long way since.
Papert often asked the question, "If Rip Van Winkel had gone to sleep in 1880 and woken up in 1980 if he walked into an operating room, it would look different, but "What about a classroom?" Not so much. Marzano asked, "What would …

TIES 2009: Edina's 2009 TIES Exceptional Teachers

Congratulations to Concord Elementary teacher, Tracy Purdy and South View Middle School teacher Jennifer Buckley, the Edina 2009 TIES Exceptional Teachers! (Pictured here with Director of Media and Technology Services, Dr. Michael Burke)
They have both done a great job of not only integrating technology into their delivery of instruction, but more importantly allowing students to use technology to construct their learning! Congratulations!!

TIES 2009: Project Based Learning-What Does it Look Like, and How Can I Do it With My Students?

In the afternoon session, I attended a session on Project Based Learning (PBL) by John Mergendoller, Executive Director of The Buck Institute for Education . I have used some of the Institute's materials when conducting PBL workshops, so I was interested in what they had to say.Dr. Mergendoller presented the example of "The Monkey Project", a simulation where a school board has to decide whether to teach Evolution, Intelligent Design, or both in their curriculum. Students research both sides of the issue, and overcome their personal opinions to develop their project. Teachers in the example facilitated and managed the process, where students were placed into teams and created a script of a "Mock School Board Hearing."


After watching a video similar to the one above, Mergendoller had participants "Think/Pair/Share and discuss whether we thought this was a good project. The project was approximately 6 weeks, and was a rather large undertaking. For some in th…

TIES 2009: Google Apps in Education: Osseo's Model

I decided to sit in on my new boss, Steve Beutner's presentation on the implementation of Google Apps that Osseo Area Schools Implemented this fall. He began sharing the Common Craft video on Google Apps.


Initially, they thought that Gmail would be the most important tool, but in actuality, the productivity applications of Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Forms have been more popular. You can turn on certain apps, but they are turned on for all users. You can't limit groups to certain applications. It's all or nothing. Just last week, Google Groups was added to the application suite along with Google Mobile and Postini monitoring and managing services. This is used to quarantine e-mail and manage it effectively. They implemented this for students grades 6 and up, as it would have cost $490,000/year for them to provide just cloud e-mail. Google does it for free! Not only that, but they provide 7 GB of storage for staff and students. "Ultimately, it'…

TIES 2009: Michael Horn Q and A

For the second session at TIES 2009, I decided to listen in on the Question and Answers with today's Keynote Speaker, Michael Horn.
Q:The first question for Dr. Horn revolved around the current model of classifying students by grade levels. Do we have a "classification scism" in K-12 education. A:Horn agreed with this, but said that the current model, in place for the last 100 years, has a social component with promotion. At the same time, as we "socially promote".As we move to a more student centered environment, we can still organize students socially, but instead of calling it, "3rd grade", we gear it toward what they are learning. If we decouple online learning and time, making it less about seat time and "Carnegie Units", this will be huge.
Q: EHS Assistant principal, Eric Nelson asked how are districts moving to more online learning dealing with bargaining units? A:Horn said that where it's been most successful is in carving out new…

TIES 2009: Michael Horn Keynote

The TIES Technology Conference 0pened today with a keynote by Michael Horn, co-author of "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns". He discussed themes from the book and how online and student-centered learning supported with technology will lead this innovation. The authors came from the perspective of studying education from the outside, looking in. "If we can understand some of the root causes of why schools struggle, we can help them transform and improve." "Why do successful organizations fail?" was the question that Clayton M. Christiansen, the lead author has been studying since he started at the Harvard Business School.He shared models from the business world that explains performance over time. Since "basic needs" don't change very much, the performance that customers can absorb is rather flat. In contradiction, the pace of technological innovation grows at a much faster pace. "Technolog…