Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Online Conference to check out...

I was contacted this week by Anne Mason, the Online Facilitator for the ICT PD (Information and Communication Technologies Professional Development) cluster programme, an initiative of the New Zealand Ministry of Education. She wanted permission to use my Connected Classroom Video on Teacher Tube. It looks like an interesting conference so I thought I would pass the link along...should be some good information--take some time to check it out.

Time4 Online Conference: Engaging Learners in an Online Environment
28 May - 8 June

Prepare students for the 21st Century. Explore examples of collaborative online learning and the application of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning. Presenters include educators and students from New Zealand and overseas, with keynote speakers Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach , Student Voices and now included, Derek Wenmoth. Sheryl begins the conference this Monday, 28 May, with three video clips and a discussion forum.

Access audio and video links and support material, and participate in collaborative online areas. The Pre-conference Preview and activities are now available, and gaining interest throughout New Zealand and the world. We encourage you to actively participate, so register now, sign our Visitors’ Book, add a comment in the Cafe area and become familiar with the online environment before it begins this Monday, 28 May.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

PA step forward, one step back..?

As thrilled as I have been with everything Classrooms For the Future...I was equally shocked when I read in Dangerously Irrelevant today (sorry Jim ...D... comes before T... in my bloglines) about the proposed cell phone ban in Pennsylvania. As Scott points out, the vague language of the bill
"... portable electronic devices that record or play audio or video material shall be prohibited on school grounds, at school sponsored activities and on buses or other vehicles provided by the school district" can serve to prohibit well, just about EVERYTHING....HMMM.... CFF requires each classroom to be equipped with such devices.

I disagree with this as an educator, but also as a parent. I want my kids to be able to capture meaningful events... I want to be able to keep in touch with them if they are getting back late from an event.... is this not a step backward?

State Representative Angel Cruz, Democrat from Philadelphia, invites your input on this proposed bill. So go ahead, let him know what you think. I know I want my voice to be heard. If you are a blogger...reading this post...I hope you will encourage others to do the same.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

To click or not to click....

As more schools move to 1:1, I am curious if anyone has found a "clicker like" system that students can log in from their lap-tops and teachers get the results. It seems silly when kids already have laptops in their hands, that you should have to put ANOTHER tool in their hands just so kids can click in...
I was catching up in my bloglines and back in April, Christian wrote in the think:lab about some Clicker-like tools--there were quite a few more mentioned in the comments. I finally got a chance to check some of them out.
Qwizdom : Needs a clicker
2Know: Needs a clicker
CPS: Needs a clicker
GRRRR...So far a clicker system built into the laptop doesn't seem to exist, maybe I am giving away MY million dollar idea....Any developers out there want to work with me:)

In the meantime, give me your take on any of these solutions:

Monday, May 14, 2007

TEACHERS..are you paying attention....

I spent an entire week at Apple training talking about what teachers need to know about teaching and learning in the 21st century, but it all REALLY hit home as I was looking over the pages of our Latin American wiki project this weekend. The whole time this project has been evolving I have been so impressed with how the kids are collaborating, but what has struck me even more was what is happening as these kids need to present their final findings.

After their research is done and the pages are completed, the final activity is for the kids to TEACH the material to their classmates and do you know what they have planned? Embedding a YouTube Video of Che Guevara speaking out about Cuba's disadvantage to view in class during the lesson. They have taped interviews an uploaded to Google Video (scroll to page bottom to view.) They are using Quia Quizzes to test prior knowledge of their classmates. One group has asked me if they could embed a news ticker for current events. Yet another is creating an activity using subetha edit where they can discuss what they learned when reading the page for homework...they are choosing to use the tools that engage them, help them to learn best.

Teachers...are you paying attention...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

When students become the teachers

Today on the wiki....

gigiw writes:
sp5 students-question
Why is Puerto Rico not considered a Caribbean country on the countries list while Jamaica and the Bahamas are?
Posted Today 8:57 am -
marthalsp5 writes: re: sp5 students-question
I do believe it's because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of America and is not technically it's own independent country.
Posted Today 1:45 pm -
talsp5 writes: re: sp5 students-question
Technically it's not an indpendent country (since our government has pretty much infiltrated theirs). It's a Caribbean state, but not a country.
Posted Today 1:46 pm -
tonymsp5 writes: re: sp5 students-question
According to the facts Puerto Rico is a common wealth of the United States of America therefor it cannot be a Latin American country! (:
Posted Today 1:46 pm -
vannamsp5 writes: re: sp5 students-question
Puerto Rico is partially part of the United State because of their currency. It's not a independent country.
Posted Today 1:49 pm -
brittanyrsp5 writes: re: sp5 students-question
Martha, this is true, but the bahamas are too, if I am remembering correctly, and despite that it is U.S. territory Puerto Rico has its own history and culture, which greatly differs from that of the United States. I stand by that they should be inlcuded in this list

By the way sp5= spanish 5 Seniors answering the freshman questions (and debating what they spent the last 5 years learning. Evaluating, judging, defending....all higher level skills....NONE of this coming from the teacher....just students hungry for the answers

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Addicted to the idea of Going GLOBAL...

I know that both Julie and Vicki have blogged about how the Horizon Project has been somewhat consuming. While I have followed their project, I only began to understand their addiction when I became involved in my own project. Following the students' discussion board, watching the evolution of their thoughts, and how these kids are moving from simply absorbing content to actually creating content has been SUCH a powerful experience...

When asked what they think it means to present to a global audience...
Ketup writes: re: Presenting for a global audience
Since this project has a chance of being global, I feel, just like Lauren, that we should be cautious about what we write. I also agree with Dani, that we should use reliable resources. We should show alot of respect to other cultures; speak the facts!

jillh writes: re: Presenting for a global audience
We need to presnt our facts concisely so other people don't have to wade through tons and tons of compiled information. With people all the over the world who can view things, it's important to say what you want to say as understandably as possible...and for us people, that means nothing as extremely complex as I know some of us are used to writing. it's like on YouTube--if your video description is more than a few sentences, less people will read it.

laurencl3 writes: re: Presenting for a global audience
The idea of our information going global not only frightens me because it means that people outside of our school might be scrutinizing our work, but also amazes me because i think this is an excellent way to get our school and our abilities as such gifted students out into the world! But like I said, the whole global think kind of freaks me out, so to make sure that we look like we know what we're doing and not embarrass ourselves, we should check and double check our facts before posting them, only use the discussion boards for latin america- related topics, etc. And because it seems like this might be our last project of the year (fingers crossed!) it goes without saying that we should put our best work out into the world and show how much we have grown in our first year of high school because we want to show people that we really are ADVANCED and worthy of the Humanities course.
Checking facts, do our best work, being concise, showing respect....all 21st Century Skills...

When asked about collaboration
owaisn2 writes: re: Working Collaboratively
Every individual in the gropup should have his/her own personal job/assignment to do so that the group is able to collect and share information in an appropriate fashion
reginab1 writes: re: re: Working Collaboratively
Dividing up the research and assigning jobs are important; but before we jump into that I think the group should discuss general facts, prior knowledge and their own interests to make sure everything is covered and people are researching what they're interested in. That way, the work will be easier and there's less chance of one person having to pull through a lot of work on a topic that was forgotten.
It has been so great to have them using tools outside of the classroom for this collaboration. Check out how THIS page has evolved--using discussion tools and the wiki mail system.

Thanks so much to Jim G for pointing out our little Latin America Wiki Project... He has way more Latin American readers than the ONE I have (Thanks Jeff D) The Clustr Map shows the students how truly global their work is.....The in-class conversations about what countries actually qualified as Latin American....SO different from GIVING the kids the countries to research. Can't help but think about how cool would it be for them to learn about these regions not from other students in their school, but by students who actually live in the countries they are studying...
SO...If you are reading this ... and you are in a Latin American country OR you are reading this and you KNOW someone who is in a Latin American country...PLEASE pass along our wikispace.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great Graphing Lesson

So I am probably too late to get the free dvd :) but this one is worth passing along.
Do you teach graphing to your students? If so THIS one I found via Chris Craft and Steve Dembo is a great lesson complete with videos and plans. The idea that we can describe things that happen with mathematical graphs isn't new, nor is the idea that this is an effective introduction to a linear unit.

What this teacher did (in his own words)

I went out and taped ten events. They were simple. I walked down two flights of stairs. I ran up a hill. I drove my car. Each event was exactly fifteen seconds long.

I put a handout on every student’s desk with a graph ready for each event.

I played each event and then paused the video. I asked questions like, “When the clock started, was I up high or down low?”

He has the lessons, description AND videos on his site--check it out, I know I will be following it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Thinking outside the box...

I have been following some really cool projects these days. I have been fascinated by Vicki Davis & Julie Lindsay's Flat Classroom and Horizon Project. Julie just posted today a whole list of global collaborative projects. Watching these kids collaborate and create, care about their content, and deal with critical issues is very inspiring. I think these skills: collaborating, evaluating, and creating are so critical in the 21st Century and it has caused me to start thinking outside the box. As a technology coach, it is my job to get teachers to work on making the technology use a seamless part of their instruction and I am really excited about a project that we have just started. While on a MUCH smaller scale then the projects mentioned above, we have created a wikispace for the kids to study aspects of Latin American culture and teach one another what they have learned. We JUST started today and so far I am impressed with the discussion that is going on...the planning, the collaborating....I can't wait to see how this project takes off. If you get a chance...check it out.
I'd love to get some feedback to pass along. It would be interesting to see how the kids react to a global audience.
PS Looks like from my Clustr map that I don't have any Latin American readers....if you know of any that may want to contact us to collaborate or check our information.....
How's that for a shameless plea for readers ;>)