Monday, January 28, 2013

Missed Educon 2.5? Session Archives Worth Exploring!

This past weekend, 500 educators descended on the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia for Educon 2.5. For those who couldn't make the trip, most sessions were streamed, recorded and available for viewing. I was able to clear my schedule for a few hours both days to interact and learn. There was great conversation happening on Twitter as well.
Here are my notes from those sessions.

21 hours ago
In his session at Educon 2.5, Jon Becker led a crowd sourcing activity to create a High School MOOC. Thomas Friedman discussed MOOC's in his New Your Times Op-Ed today, though Becker thought he didn't really get it.

Jan 26, 2013
This session at Educon 2.5 titled: The Closer Citizen-Linking Close Reading to a Careful Analysis Of Media and Our Lives by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts from The Teacher's College at Columbia University contains ideas ...

There were some additional sessions that I both wish I could have attended, as well as think might be worthwhile for our staff to take a look at, both for our eLearning 2 initiative, as well as for our secondary study. I have included a link to the session description, and embed of the video recording. Unfortunately, a couple of the sessions did not save, but I think a lot can be gained from those that did!

Developing Our Online Voices: Zach Chase

Standards Based Grading at Science Leadership Academy

Why School?-Will Richardson

Many thanks to the students at SLA for assisting with the recording of these sessions, and with Chris Lehmann, his staff, and the presenters for making this access available for free!

Global Collaboration: EHS French Skype

Edina Public Schools Mission Statement states:

The mission of Edina Public Schools is to educate all individuals to be responsible, lifelong learners who possess the skills, knowledge, creativity, self-worth, and ethical values necessary to thrive in a rapidly   changing, culturally diverse, global society.

Today, French Teacher, Kim Caster helped her students meet the last part of that mission through a video chat Skype session with students in Montpelier, France
Caster spent a year teaching in France a few years ago, as part of a Fullbright grant. Two-thirds of the students in Caster's class were students in the Edina French Immersion program.

Caster's students spoke in French in their questions and responses to their pen pals, and in turn, the French Students spoke English. 
Here are some of the questions that the French students were curious about:

  1. Which part of American History do you prefer? Why?
  2. Do you think the Amendment which allows people to own a gun should be repealed? Why/Why not?
  3. What do you think of French people's style?
  4. What are the best things about living in Minnesota?
  5. Which French celebrities do you know?
  6. Do news programs report about France?
  7. How important is the Super Bowl to you? What do people do on the Super Bowl?
  8. Where do you go when you travel?
  9. What comes first to your mind when you think of France?
  10. What sterotypes do you have of French people?
  11. If you could live in France, where would you live?
  12. Which is your favorite American hero, real or fictional?
This exercise gave students to break down the walls of their classroom, and connect globally with students their age. 

When asked what they think about when they think about the United States, the French students responded, "TV and Fast Food!"

Caster was part of my Connected Educator book study last summer, and it was cool to see her incorporate some of those ideas to help connect her students. Earlier in the year, the same students collaborated on a Voicethread project. 

Caster noted that in France, technology is frowned upon in most schools. Cell phones are banned, which meant that opportunities for further collaboration via backchannel was not an option. Still, hopefully successful opportunities like this will embolden teachers to explore further collaboration.
Here is a sample exchange:

It was telling near the end, when one of the French students commented that she liked the U.S. because of the greater access to technology. Caster noted that because French High Schools are run by the federal government, funding for technology is limited. In addition, pedagogy in France is based primarily on  teacher instruction and student regurgitation. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Educon 2.5: Build a MOOC Workshop with Jon Becker

In his session at Educon 2.5, Jon Becker led a crowd sourcing activity to create a High School MOOC.
Thomas Friedman discussed MOOC's in his New Your Times Op-Ed today, though Becker thought he didn't really get it.

Here's the video of the session.

My Notes  from the session:

Asking the question "What is a MOOC?" is the wrong question. There are many things that are "MOOCish," and all the letters are negotiable!

Types of MOOC's

  • xMOOC's-Corporate sponsored, Coursera etc Packaged with stuffed content. Proprietary. 
  • cMOOC's-Connective, Community MOOC's. Creation is part of it. 
I have seen others talk about 3 types of MOOC's.

DS106- Started face to face, on Digital Storytelling. 1000's take the course for no credit online to be part of the community.
ETMOOC for Educational Technology and Media is currently going on, led by Alec Couros.

Some college professors are having students take the online Coursera course, but meet face to face in a blended format.

How can we take these ideas and move them into K12? 
A lot of questions to be answered. 

Assume we want to do this.
Participants were brought into two groups, then worked on a Google doc to share ideas.
During the session, Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman) shared his MOOC resources

Aside:One of the disadvantages of attending a session online, is that unless there is a method for online interaction, you can sometimes feel disconnected from the discussion. In the past, Educon has used other streaming media options that allowed for interaction via chat. Streaming via Youtube this year did not allow for that, which was disapointing.

Becker brought the groups back together and noted that one group tried to actually build a course, the other tried to "change the world."

One group:
Creating community, Space, ground-rules, build relationships first before diving in, better for self-directed learners, build teams/sub-groups for support, 

Should it be around a topic, like Chemistry that they do study, or a topic they normally don't study, like "Intro to Jazz?"
Or should it be around a shared interest that is self-selected?

If for credit, we have the constraints of the "semester." If it is "extra-curricular," we might not. Students would definitely need to know what is required and what artifacts need to be created.

What is the "problem" we are trying to solve?

Becker-Educational Technology is sometimes like the "SkyMall Catalog."

We have an opportunity to get kids involved in new, meaningful learning experiences different from what is traditionally available. 
We should try to capitalize on that.
Another problem we are trying to solve is all of the students going to college, racking up a huge ammount of debt, learning things that could be learned for free. 
If you are a self-directed learner, aside from the credential, why would you want to go to college? See Mark Cuban article.

Becker thinks that the best course of action is to start as an extra-curricular activity, and then move from there.

Skill Share is an interesting model for people wanting to learn.

There is some concern about equity from a band-width, access standpoint.

At the end, Becker invited people interested in extending the conversation to visit the Google Doc started by participants. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Educon Session 1: The Closer Citizen-Linking Close Reading to a Careful Analysis Of Media and Our Lives

One of the goals of our eLearning2 professional development is to help staff develop skills to assist students in reading digital content more deeply. 
This session at Educon 2.5 titled:  The Closer Citizen-Linking Close Reading to a Careful Analysis Of Media and Our Lives by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts from The Teacher's College at Columbia University contains ideas not just on text, but on media as well. Worth a look!

Their video examples didn't show up as well on the tape, so I have included them below:

When doing close reading regardless of medium, we need to look at purpose-what evidence should we pull out first, then develop ideas based on that.
At the end, they invited participants to think about the feedback cycle :
What content was being used during their presentation?
What methods did they use?
What manner did they use. You can add your own thoughts here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#ETMOOC: PopCorn Maker for Digital Stories

This week in ETMOOC we are talking about connecting as a way to network and learn from one another. One of the ways we connect is in our Google+ ETMOOC Community. Last night, while reviewing posts, I saw one from David Saunders, who created his introductory post using "PopCorn Maker." PopCorn Maker is a tool in Mozilla's WebMaker Project.


You can even scroll through my tweets on the left hand side while the video is playing. 
I thought it was a pretty cool way to create content on the Web. I'll need to test some of the capabilities on multiple devices, but at first glance, PopCorn Maker looks like a winner! Thanks, David!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ETMOOC: Questions from Alec

Yesterday, I attended the synchronous orientation to the Educational Technology and Media Massive Open Online Course (ETMOOC). Our facilitator or "Network Sherpa," Alec Couros ended the session with a couple of questions that I've heard before in regards to connected education that I tweeted out:

How am I making my learning visible?
I think many of my colleagues would question why they needed to make their learning visible. They attend training, apply what resonates with them in their instruction, but the thought of sharing that learning out, is not something they are used to doing. It isn't necessarily part of their culture. There are exceptions, but many have not bought in to Dean's "Moral Obligation to Share."
For me, I jumped in to the concept of sharing and being connected a long time ago. I try to post some of my thinking on my blog here, or tweet out articles/posts I read that I think are relevant, but often my blog posts are notes from sessions that I attend at conferences or workshops, such as the post below this one. I haven't taken the information jotted down, synthesized it, and created new meaning for others to benefit from as often as I should. 

How am I contributing to the learning of others?
My hope is that what I do share has value for those that read the blog, or see my posts on Twitter. For most of my colleagues, though, time is a big constraint to their participation in the networks available to them. There are so many demands on classroom teachers today, that I am amazed how those that do stay active have time in the day to engage!

Be a learning sherpa!
I like the sherpa metaphor when it comes to my role helping staff. I consider myself to be a servant to the needs of staff and the students they serve. 
My sherpa experience through the years.
While writing this, I went back and looked at the post I wrote back in December of 2008 after I first heard the term "Network Sherpa." It's definitely worth a read, especially the comments. It certainly was interesting for me to reflect back on what I was thinking 4+ years ago...
In some ways, there are a few more folks traveling up the mountain with me in my district, but not quite as many as I'd hoped. As we expand our Bring Your Own Device initiative and provide more access for students, I hope that will change. 
As always, I would love people's thoughts and comments!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nancy Sims: Copyright in the K-12 Classroom

Our monthly "Key Instructional Contact" meeting had a guest speaker this month. Nancy Sims, from the University of Minnesota Library System spoke on Copyright in the K-12 Classroom. Group Meeting Notes can be found here.
Sims is a lawyer and Librarian.

Intellectual Property and Copyright Overview
Intellectual property is a legal concept that means different things to different people. Patent lawyers deal with Intellectual property, but may not know about copyright. It deals with things that people own that are not physical objects. 

  • Patents-In the last year, people in small business have been in trouble for using a scanner on a network. Usually not an issue for schools.
  • Trademarks-Usually not an issue in schools. Sims used a few logos as an example. Trademarks are about use in commerce, so most of the time, educational uses are ok. Implications of sponsorship could be an issue, but not an issue in student videos/teacher materials. Doug Johnson pointed out that trademarks could also be words, like "Big 6." 
  • Copyright-Bigger than people think it is. It is automatic, for teachers as well as students. Many times, we only think of ourselves as copyright users, but we are all owners. It is an incentive for people to create. "It's good for the public" to create, thus we all have rights. All Disney products are based in some part on public domain!
  • Usually based on a "bundle of rights." 
  • Some rights are inside the bundle, some outside, and some spaces inside the bundle that educators can move and use.
  • Owner rights with Copyright: Making copies, Distribute copies, Public Performance and Display (Classrooms are defined as "Public."), Making Derivative Works (Doing any one of these things is 100% LEGAL if it is Fair Use, or if any copyright exceptions apply.) 
  • Linking is not a violation, though if it's on Youtube, try to be sure it was put up by the owner.
  • Sharing earbuds is not a violation
  • A camcorder video of a video would be a violation
  • Teacher Classroom Use Exemption-Section 110.1 of Copyright Law (When students and teachers are in the same space) teachers can make a copy. Showing an original copy in an educational setting is almost always ok in U.S. Copyright law. This doesn't translate online at all! She could show something here in the room, but since this meeting was being streamed, she would be in violation. Face to face in front of students is ok, according to Sims. Fair Use, cares about the purpose. 
  •  Sims noted that tne movie broadcast to multiple classrooms is on the boarderline of the exemption.
Copyright: rights of owners, teachers and everyone else

Fair Use
Fair Use is an exception. Sims reffered to it as "the jello of copyright law." It gives the flexibility for free cultural exchange. It exists as the "breathing space" of copyright law. 
Myth: Use one time is ok, but the following year, not. This was from 1976, and it is not actually true.
Myth: This much and not more than that, also a myth. 
Classroom copyright guidelines have been struck down lately. If it is Fair Use once, it is fair use again. 
Quoting a certain amount is wrong in both directions! 30 seconds of a 2 minute film is a significant amount of the movie! It is more about proportional.  We are back to jello! 
She suggests looking at 17 USC 107, and recent cases to learn more about Fair Use.

Fair Use likes teachers! Sims suggests we should be pushing the boundaries!

Fair Use is the same online as well as off. She cited the example of the PS22 Chorus as an example of what might appear to be a violation as a group that has never been sued! 

 Contracts and licenses can change all the copyright rules for owners and for users. For example, Amazon, Microsoft or Netflix violations might pose different risks.

Q and A

  • Nature of the work: More room to use Non-Fiction rather than Fiction. Your potential impact on the market can pose issues, especially online
  • Journal Articles: There isn't that much of a market for it. 
  • Magazine Articles: Either downloading for a few dollars, or contacting their sharing department. By sharing with your students, it could harm the market, but judges lately are saying it is fair use. If it is posted to students, it could ultimately harm the market.
  • Contract/Agreements: If you actively agree to abide by a contract agreement about use, and then you violate it, then there could be issues.
  • Liability: If you violate, can you get in big trouble or can you just take it down? For example, if you upload a copyright violation to Youtube, they may ask Youtube to take it down. Or, they could sue you right off the bat if they want. They don't have to take it down first. $150,000 fines for one time!
  • For teachers, if it is part of your job, and it is a reasonable judgement, your employer is responsible for your activities. If they see it is obviously illegal, they can disavow your activities. There is a limitation of liability for educators. Educators making a reasonable guess, who are found in violation, will not face the monetary damages.
  • Modeling good behavior is choosing not to copy if it is a violation, and choosing to copy when it is Fair Use!
  • Sometimes companies ignore violations because it is to their benefit! 
Sims highly urges teachers to look for Creative Commons Licensing and model using it.

Sims handed out a "Copyright Triage" document (Cc that had 5 key points:
  1. Copyright is everywhere
  2. Contracts affect copyrights
  3. Copyright is NOT ABSOLUTE
  4. There is extra wiggle-room for educational users
  5. Individuals are responsible for their own behavior
I think in a perfect world, decisions about copyright should be black and white, so that everyone is clear about what they can and can't do. It's obvious we are now living in an age of "grey," where much of this is going to be left to individual interpretation! It was refreshing to hear a pragmatic approach to this issue.

Here is a presentation Sims recently gave on Open Access Publishing at the University of St. Thomas.

In a side-bar after the session, Sims mentioned that legal exceptions to breaking the encryption is ok for legal use in some cases. DMCA anti-circumvention exceptions. Student remix if critical is ok! Ultimately it is an issue of equity! Her point: Rich kids can rip at home, poor kids can’t at school!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ETMOOC, A Course for Educational Technology and Media Starts Tomorrow

Over the past few months, I have been working with a small group of educators in Minnesota, exploring the possibility of creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for teachers in Minnesota this summer. It started with Byron, Minnesota Tech Director, Jen Hegna tweeting out the idea, and I jumped on board, attending a both virtual and face to face planning meetings.
We're still in the initial stages, but our hope is to combine the efforts of many people who are conducting online professional development for staff, crowd-source it a bit, combine the best ideas and create a learning experience that will provide teachers with good content and learning, as well as connect them to a broader community. Here is our planning document.

I attempted a MOOC last fall, participating in a course through Stanford University on Designing New Learning Environments. Unfortunately, projects at work, the need for sleep, and the fact that I didn't have a lot of skin in the game, meant that it slipped on my priority list, and I did not complete it.

Then last week, I saw some buzz about a new MOOC course, created by Alec Couros from the University of Regina. The Educational Technology and Media MOOC (ETMOOC)  will be an opportunity for me to connect globally with colleagues who are involved with Educational Technology in a more formal way than the informal Twitter and blog posts I read and share, and in a more extended format than during a one or two day conference. I met Couros a few years ago, when I attended the Educon Conference in Philadelphia, and I am excited for the opportunity to learn from/with him! 

This course has been defined as a "connectivist, network based" MOOC, and I will be asked to form, declare and maintain a learning identity. 
To that end, I joined the ETMOOC Google+ Community,  I will be tweeting with the #ETMOOC hashtag, and blogging here about the experience. 

I hope the experience will give me some ideas I can take back to my district as we move forward with our eLearning2 initiative, as well as the professional development I provide for staff. I look forward to our learning journey!