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Showing posts from 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 paint

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, "

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 som

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

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. " Tec

The Alice Project

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to sit in on a Webinar put on by John Pederson , Educational Technology Liaison with WiscNet in Madison, Wisconsin (And Tri-State PLP Community Leader!), featuring Christian Long . Christian shared an activity he has created for his students, " The Alice Project ". As John eloquently stated in describing the seminar: This project turns 16 groups of high school students loose on the book The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition . Teams of students use various “Web 2.0″ technologies to build a public presence for their learning, develop an ongoing (and carefully edited/maintained) digital portfolio of their discoveries, and demonstrate the use of these tools as story-telling/presentation catalysts. Behind the scenes, Christian is consciously shifting his “teaching” efforts to that of co-learner, collaborator, and advisor. He’s connecting his students with the rest of the world using the technology and helping them experience a real world audienc

Rick Wormeli: Formative Assessment and Feedback Part 2

In the second half of Wormeli's talk, we began looking at a definition of mastery. He argued that mastery requires nuance, and that their are multiple levels (Introductory and Sophisticated) "Anyone can repeat information, it's the masterful student who can break content into it's component pieces, explain it, and alternative perspectives regarding it cogently to others, and use it purposefully in new situations." He suggests that defining mastery would be a very productive team/department meeting. You must be able to define these before developing assessments. Wormeli, who works with college professors on assessment, used examples from " Teaching the Large College Class" , by Heppner to demonstrate "What we are really trying to assess?" At the post secondary level, assessments are being created and graded not by the professors, but of others, to filter out subjectivity. This will be moving to K-12. We then moved into discussion of Different

Rick Wormeli: Formative Assessment and Feedback Part 1

Edina welcomed Rick Wormeli , author of "Fair Isn't Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom" to the district to share his thoughts on Formative Assessment and Feedback. I decided to attend to see how these assessment principles can be enhanced by the use of technology integration. But ended up thinking more about how it might apply to my own professional development offerings! He began by talking about the book " Inside the Black Box ", by Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black. They discussed the impact of intense formative assessment professional development as having the greatest improvement on student achievement . Wormeli said he should be able to circle in a teacher's grade book , what is formal and what is informal assessment. Assessment is taking stock to be used for a decision purpose . The root is "to sit beside", which seems to indicate a coaching. Accountability is to enter into a relationship of mutual support. &qu

Powerful Learning Practice Cohort Begins Tomorrow!

Last January, I had a conversation with John Pederson , at the Educon 2.1 conference in Philadelphia about Powerful Learning Practice , a " a long-term, job-embedded professional development program that immerses them (participants) in 21st century learning environments ", developed by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson . He was trying to put together a cohort of districts in Wisconsin, and had asked Will and Sheryl if he could include districts from Minnesota as well to get the the optimal number of participants. Since I was from Minnesota, he wondered if I would be interested or know of other districts that were interested in participating?After pitching it back in Edina and getting the go ahead to proceed, I presented the opportunity to the TIES Learning and Technology Advisory group, and after a lot of conversations and the inclusion of a great group of educators from New Hampshire, tomorrow we kick off the cohort in Oregon, Wisconsin! Our team consists of our two

Moodle IS boring!

Recently, Sarah Horrigan, a British educator had an interesting post , brought to my attention by colleague Claude Sigmund . Horrigan was talking about how her colleagues were complaining about the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) their institution was using. It got me to thinking about pushback I've heard in our district regarding our VLE "du jour", Moodle . Staff using it for professional development complain that it's " clunky " or " too hard " or "boring." As Horrigan correctly points out however, I then got them to imagine a really great learning experience that they'd had while they were at school or university and what made it great. I then asked the group 'did anyone's great experience involve a great teacher?' Hands. 'A really great subject area?' A few more. 'A really great activity or experience?'. Lots of hands and nodding. 'Did anyone's great experience involve how brilliant the room

Screencast.com Media Roll

For those of you creating Jing movies for students one of the issues you may have had to deal with is managing and posting the movies themselves. (Unless you've purchased the " Pro " Account and are uploading to iTunes !) With Media Roll , Screencast.com has taken the management off your hands! Now, Math teachers can create Jing videos for sections of a chapter, save them in a folder labeled with that chapter and then embedthe Media Roll for that chapter on sites such as Edline and Moodle ! If embedding is not an option, you can copy the RSS feed from each folder, and add that to your Moodle course or Edline Content.

1:1 Laptop Learning Pilot-Another Milestone!

Last night we had Open House at South View Middle School , home of our first year 1:1 Laptop Learning pilot . We had a nice turn out and parents asked lots of good questions. They received the policy guide and forms they will need to bring with them next Saturday, when students will be coming to a final orientation prior to taking them home. Next week, students will be going through training on Acceptable Use, Proper Care, Personal Safety and File Management, then taking a "Driver's License Assessment" to earn the privilege of 24/7 access. Below are the presentations for each of the units. I'd love some feedback! Acceptable Use Proper Care Personal Safety

1:1 Learning Reflection

The fog is starting to clear! This week we continued on the journey of 1:1 learning with the imaging and testing of student laptops, delivery of teacher laptops, developing our "Driver's License" curriculum and training with the teachers involved in our pilot . The fact that this project is really going to happen is starting to hit home! In the training, we further clarified our timeline, reviewed and edited policies, settled on the " essential questions " of our student training, reviewed Google Apps and Moodle , and clarified our expectations of students and consequences for misuse. A lot to do, in 2 days! During an exercise in which I had the teachers explore some of the presentations from this year's Building Learning Communities Conference , science teacher Nicole Nuckley had this question: How do we balance the time it takes kids to learn the basic information about a subject (information already known and established) with the time we want to give th

Testing out Twitcam

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that I have been using Twitter to share information and learning and develop my Personal Learning Network . Today, I received an e-mail from LiveStream (formerly Mogulus) that they had developed an interface allowing you to send out a link to your stream and interact with viewers via Twitter called Twitcam . You can see a short test I did over lunch. (It was salami!) Might be useful for professional development or a quick conference. I think I'd use the full blown Livestream for workshop streaming or guest speakers.

Great Summer Viewing for Educators

While on vacation I saw on my Twitter feed links to a blog post about 25 Incredible TED talks for Educators . TED , which stands for "(Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an invitation-only event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration." I have viewed several of these talks, and have often found applications to education, even if the original intent was some other topic. The top one suggested for educators right now is a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson on the need for schools to nurture rather than kill student creativity. I invite you to take 20 minutes to view it, and once a week this summer pick another to view. It could be on education, or a topic of interest. July 21-24, the next TED Global conference will be held. Topics for discussion include: What is an accomplished life? Which universe do we live in? Is life a mathematical equation? Where does motivation come from? Who's defining the new geopolitical map? How can we observ

Wolfram Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine

Amazing!! This morning I saw a twitter post from Karl Fisch, the co-creator of the " Did You Know " video. He linked to a blog post he had just finished talking about a new site being released today called WolframAlpha . This is the latest project by Stephen Wolfram , the creator of Mathematica software. In a 13 minute video , Wolfram demonstrates what he describes as the early stages of a project to make " all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone ." As I watched the video, I couldn't help but think of the computer on " Star Trek " answering questions posed to it! The implications of a site like this for educators and students is startling! Do we really know what our students need to know anymore? How can we harness the power of something like WolframAlpha and the new search features that Google has just incorporated into our teaching and learning? As Fisch said in his post: "I wonder whose problem it is if our students don’t

SchoolTube: A Great Alternative!

Recently, I set up an account for our district on SchoolTube , a video sharing site that provides a safe moderated environment for viewing and hosting video. All I needed was some content to test it with.... That came yesterday, when 8th grade science teacher Beth VonEschen asked about filming a demonstration lab so that her students could view it on a day when she was going to be out of the building for professional development. Using just our Flip camera and Windows movie maker, I filmed Beth after school, then added some titles to create the movie below. It took us about a 1/2 hour to set up and shoot, then another 1/2 hour to edit. Not only can she use this with the substitute, but since it's on Schooltube, students who miss class can access it at home via a link on Edline. It also allows students who were in class, the opportunity to view it again, in case they missed something the first time. After creating the video, I uploaded it to Schooltube. They have a 100 mb limit pe

From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning

Today I saw the following Tweet from Jon Tanner, an Oregon, Wisconsin educator: For how many of us, when we see a cell phone in class, is our first reaction to confiscate it? What if instead, we harnessed the tool to enhance student learning? That is the motivation behind the Cellphones in Learning Blog , created by Michigan State Graduate Student Liz Kolb . The site contains examples on using cell phones to enhance learning such as: Poll Everywhere , which turns cell phones into student response systems MuVChat , which allows students to text questions/comments to a screen while watching videos Sending pictures from cell phones to Flickr accounts Yodio -Allows students to call in and create a digital story. So what do you think? Should we ban them, and not know that students are really texting in their hoody , or should we have students use them as a learning tool? If you think the latter, Kolb's site has a wealth of resources to get started!! Photo Credit: From Mykl Rov

Posting Student Work and How it Affects Acceptable Use Policies

Yesterday's TIES Key Instructional Contact meeting, featured a panel discussion regarding the posting of student work and it's affect on Acceptable Use Policies. The panel featured panel members: Jay Haugen : Superintendent, West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Eagan Schools Aimee Bissonette : Attorney, Little Buffalo Law & Consulting; author, " Cyber Law - Maximizing Safety and Minimizing Risk in Classroom " Michael Dronen : Director of Educational Technology, Stillwater Schools The first question dealt with whether or not districts even need an AUP ? Bissonette and Haugen discussed that policies and procedures are two different things and that it was important legally for districts to cover themselves. The question of student e-mail came up. Dronen stated that students in Stillwater have an e-mail address grades 5-12 to use on student projects. He stated that students passing notes in the analog world, now it's in the digital. Students get an addr