Monday, October 22, 2007

Reflections on One Year

Today is my birthday...I am one year closer to forty... (too close if you ask me)
I must say...this has been one of the most interesting birthdays I have had to date!

Yesterday afternoon (4pm EDT) I was skyped a happy birthday message from Jo McLeay from Australia (where it was already my bday) and by 8:00 am this morning I had received Happy Birthday wishes via:
email (in several accounts), a Hallmark ecard, and twitter. Several folks popped in via my skype. I received notes on my wall, a gift and a message in my Facebook...F2F my kids & husband got up early to sing, I was greeted by kids in the hall at school (there are 2 seniors--twins with whom I share a birthday...word gets around), and my colleagues left a gift and card on my desk. I received messages on my home phone, my cell phone, my office phone...

So on my birthday, I started to reflect on this past year. Most of the folks who took time out of their day to wish me a happy birthday I didn't know 1 year ago...Many of them I have never really met face to face.

1 year ago, I celebrated my birthday on a hayride with my family...and then the learning began
  • 3 days later I was offered my current job (tech integration coach for Classrooms for the Future) AND my daughter was born
  • 1 month later I used my mac for the first time
  • I attended bootcamp for Classrooms for the Future and made a few connections
  • I created my Connected Classroom video and presented at PETE & C where even before the video was unveiled, I made a few more connections.
  • In June attended edubloggercon where I reconnected with a few folks and connected face to face with a few more.
  • In July was on staff at the Keystone Summit where connectivity was a sort of a theme
  • In the fall CFF Bootcamp rolled around again...and the network I had grown helped make the presentation I did on pretty powerful.
This post isn't about my birthday per se but about how much I have learned since my last birthday...about the connections I have made....I find it absolutely incredible that most of the folks who have popped in to say happy birthday via skype, email, twitter, facebook...I didn't know on my birthday last year...nor have I ever met face to face. If that much can change in 1 year....what will life be like when I DO turn 40...or 50 for that matter...

In the meantime, THANKS for all of the birthday wishes, and thanks for continuing to be a part of my learning network--I look forward to many more years of learning with all of you

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We have a lot to learn...

I don't even know where to begin to talk about the online learning explosion and information overload I have encountered lately, between k-12 online keynote and fireside chat, WOW2 which topped 60 learners, and infrequent posts
are telling me I need to SLOW DOWN and start reflecting to complete the learning process. And boy do we have a lot to learn...

We have a lot to learn about the tools
I wrote earlier about my experience with google presentations. Having all of those folks "show up" for my session was a very powerful model of the tools, but for me it was missing one critical element, the ability for folks who are not there in the room to hear the audio was a real set back. I wanted to LEARN A WAY to add audio to google presentations....but how?

I decided to try google presos another time, with skype. I was invited to "present" a session on Google tools to a class who was at a distance. I could "call into" the class using skype and then use my goole presentation to talk about google tools. Solves PART of the problem, now folks outside the physical room could hear, but only a limited group...those on the skype call. I had directions to the class wiki, but this still did not meeting the objective of bringing folks "in" to the presentation. So right before I "skyped" into Bucks IU for my presentation I had a brain fire...Ustream has been a real hot tool lately--why not use THAT for the audio for afar while using SKYPE to connect with the class I was teaching...really quickly I threw together a channel and twittered it out and lo and behold...I had a few viewers who could either watch me in my office OR use the audio from ustream to hear the content and they could follow along with the "class" in the Google Presentation. I wasn't running ustream "chat" but via skype chat a few folks told me it would be great if they could hear the content....My mind started to think about the possibilities and the roadblocks of the else could it be used?

We have a lot to learn from / with others
So I spent some time popping in on ustream is kind of like dvr in that if you don't catch the live version, you can catch the recording...So I popped in on Will Richardson from time to time...he proved that ustream could really easily be done wirelessly. Darren Draper used a dv camera to shoot his screen. CamTwist was demonstrated as a way to run multiple stream....I REALLY wanted to get a chance to test that skype call when I saw over twitter a ustream skype test, I just had to jump in. The room was packed, the video was choppy, the audio was echoing ....Vicki Davis and I were DYING to figure out if we really DID need all of the software solutions suggested, it seemed to work fine when I did it in my class so I asked her to hop over to my channel to test, The next thing you know I was in a room with 16 viewers and we did IT....we ran multiple skype callers on a ustream video. I wish I had installed and played with my camtwist prior as the "show" was visually not all that appealing....I wasn't planning to broadcast but I had a network of folks willing to help....and now I think I have all of the pieces....but the reality of it is, it is not about LEARNING THE is is about what these tools can do in our schools to help kids to engage in the learning process....Isn't the most important learning the learning we do when we listen to the kids....

We have a lot to learn from / with OUR STUDENTS

In David Warlick's keynote for k12 online conference, he talked about the kids being different, about how they are so connected outside of school and they come to school and their connections are cut off. He talked about his son and showed an example, he talked ABOUT them, but the one thing I think was missing...was talking TO the kids...

UStream had several folks talking to kids...
Web-logg-ed TV Will talked to some kids about Gaming. On Practical-theory-TV Chris Lehmann talked to his kids about how they see SLA and what makes their experience there different than a more traditional High School. I really like how his reflection of this experience was part of his learning process...

The thing that is coming through--very powerfully--is the message that for our kids, the technology comes second. And just by happenstance, on my OWN ustream channel a VERY powerful conversation with a 14 year old web programmer from VT. Ardus had been doing web-design consulting since he was 12, and Vicki...who is an amazing host asked do you envision schools? I asked if school was engaging to him? and we talked about what it would take for that to occur. Unfortunately here at my school I can't get enough bandwidth to stream and relisten, but I will post the audio remix later...but his message was POWERFUL--and really I had an epiphany when I stopped to really reflect on it...Ardus said that in school, (and I am paraphrasing from my memory of the conversation) there isn't a whole lot that the teacher is telling him, that he can't google to find....more important the teachers should be teaching kids how to think and solve problems. He talked about a teacher that had good pedagological practices without the computers. We need to remember this. Right now, we are getting tools to change practices....there are some practices that we SHOULDN'T CHANGE just because we have the tools! Yes we need learn about the tools, but it is not about the tools exclusively. Chris Lehman said...

As we think about 21st Century tools and reforming education, we need to remember that we use the tools to leverage the relationships, to extend the relationships, to push a progressive, inquiry-driven, understanding-driven, project-based way of teaching and learning, but without the pedagogy, the tools are nowhere near as powerful.

Yes, we are content experts and we have lot to share but as Arthus said, the most important thing we can do is learn how to learn...Please, read this boy's blog it is so interesting in this echo chamber to hear the voices of the students...

Yes, we have a lot to learn about our kids...we have a lot to learn FROM our kids If you ask them, I am sure they will tell you... They may not know the tools as Arthus does, but they know that they have to start to learn differently, isn't it time we start to listen?

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It should be easy...

This post has been sitting in my scribefire for a long time since I lost the original...Today Jen Wagner's post on watching out not to be a "tech snob" brought me back....

This summer while I was doing summer professional development, I caught a few questions about exporting bookmarks from explorer that I couldn't I put them out to my network "It should be easy..." Jim Gates quickly replied .. "Shouldn't be hard at all..." came in from a twitter direct message from Steve Hardagon.. and really they ARE SHOULD be simple.

But it is NOT and I am really torn between blaming the structures that prevent innovations and wondering when folks need to take accountability for some of this leaning on their own.

I had the pleasure of having the opportunity to get to hear David Warlick speak at CFF bootcamp last week. He talked about some of the things that should be happening in school, that NEED to be happening in schools. He recognized that this is obviously a complex issue, as education should be. Its more than can be expressed in a single blog. He stated that a teacher's job is not simple — not any more. The world that we are preparing our children for is complex, dynamic, and it may never be the same again. But it is also intensely exciting —
..and learning about that world, should be just as exciting as that world really is.

In TechLearning Terry Freeman made some powerful statements about some things which we must regard as simply unacceptable. Karl Fisch went so far as to say....If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write. Now I think this is an unfair analogy in that the internet and technological tools have not been around nearly as long as written works, but the world SURE IS moving QUICK and I think that everyone has a certain amount of responsibility to keep up. David Warlick and Chris Lehmann both had great posts which have been rumbing around in my head as well..

All of this making me think....
When is it ok...
  • Is it ok for a tech integration coach to not know what an RSS feed is?
  • How can we support teachers to learn how to use these tools that they don't even know exist?
  • Should we expect to always get professional emails that contain an appropriate subject line and signature?
  • Should we still be helping people add attachments to an email?
  • Why can astronauts blog from outer space, with elementary students but it is too difficult for classroom teachers?
  • When do we stop and say it is unacceptable?
I agree with Jen that we can't be tech snobs....that we need to help teachers to move forward, to recognize that it is not easy BUT we need to start show them how important it is for them to start to make some changes..and recognize that it is going to take time...

Technorati Tags:

Learning Web2.0 in Bangkok and a session in PA

I returned to my room at boot camp to prepare for my session this past Thursday... I was still a little nervous to be using Google Presentation. I had experience learning it with Vicki Davis and crew when we created a virtual "How to" and had used it the week before but it was still very new to me. When I logged onto my computer to prepare, I saw a tweet that Kim Cofino was doing a Web2.o session in IBS. I was a bit late for the chat, but how cool to see folks from around the world participating in the chat window.

I mentioned in Kim's session that I was there to practice for my session in the am (mind you it WAS morning in Bangkok already.) and the folks in the room asked me to put a link up via I did.
What happened over the course 2 hours was both mind blowing and flattering. It seemed like my entire blog roll popped in my 2 sessions. An amazing group of people coming to learn and try a new tool, but they provided and EXCELLENT example of a collaborative network in action. From the Southern Hemisphere Graham Wegner from Adelaide AU, Allannah K New Zealand, Carolyn Foote Stephanie Sandifer & John Pederson all popped in from TX, and Chris Harbeck from Manitoba Canada. Kim Cofino was now finishing her day in Bangkok Thailand where it was 8:22 pm Thurs and Chris Lehmann principal of Science Leadership academy in Phila PA stopped in to heckle. From IL, Vinnie Vrotny and David Jakes digital storytelling guru dropped by from which was great to point out after our AFI training. So did Darin Draper with whom I am taking a great Social Software class and Mark Wagner and Jennifer Wagner from WOW2 show on edtech talk PA Keystone Scott Snyder took time out of his day.... Chrissy from New Zealand (where it was now 2 am) shared a video from YouTube and Patrick Higgins dropped a link to his social bookmarking wiki In addition 50 people from my "actual session" were logged in..

Close to 100 people...both in the room and beyond were ENGAGED...engaged in learning. Some were learning delicious, some were setting up an account, some were learning google presentation, some were sharing resources, but ALL were engaged. And we learned a lot of valuable things..even with some great scribes in the room (thanks Jim, Lori & Dianne) google presos REALLY are better with audio. We learned that we wished you could archive google chats so I could tell you all that we learned....

and it made me realize a few things too...It made me realize how grateful I am to have such a TREMENDOUS network who are always willing to share their knowledge with others and work on ways to share new tools.

Thanks to all of you for continuing to help me grow...keep on we can keep learning together