Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The END to Copyright Confusion~and a new beginning

Yesterday at the National Constitution Center the The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education (pdf) was released. I have to say I have been looking forward to this for the past year!

The code outlines five principles, each with limitations:

Educators can, under some circumstances:

  • Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them and keep them for educational use.
  • Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.
  • Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.

Learners can, under some circumstances:

  • Use copyrighted works in creating new material.
  • Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.

The limitations and circumstances are explained more fully in the report.

Five different attorneys reviewed the work and it has already been endorsed by the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the Action Coalition for Media Education, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Visual Communication Studies Division of the International Communication Association, and Media Education Foundation. The code was facilitated by Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide of American University, and Renee Hobbs of Temple University.

At the event there were 2 panels who spoke about their involvement with the work and statement. Here are some of my take aways from the event:

Jamie Bischoff: Partner at Ballard Spahr a copyright attorney quoted the Chicago manual of Fair use...This right of fair use is a valuable one to scholarship and it should not be allowed to decay through the failure of scholars to employ it boldly. The most radical thing in the code, she suggested, is the suggestion that educators CAN figure out...not that any use you want to make is not a fair use, but there are a lot of rights in educational context that rely don't need to be cleared....Fair Use is a RIGHT, that we WILL lose it if we don't continue to employ it boldly, actively and in good faith!

Peter Jaszi: spoke about the the theoretical underpinnings of the larger movements of creation of statements of best practices in fair use. He listed 2 "pillars"

  1. Fair use doctrine has become more important especially as we embrace a new way of thinking of fair use ANALYSIS...not just following "guidelines" and deciding whether new use that is being undertaken is or is not transformative. That if copyrighted material is used it both adds value to what was taken and repurposes it-offers for a different end or goal.
  2. The other pillar was that when use communities speak...the courts listen! Consistently over time if a court wants to know if a given use of unlicensed material is or is not fair they look to the use community in which that use occured.
Peter also talked about the guidelines that are what most folks follow when they think about using copyrighted materials and are quite contrary to the statement they presented, as a "trap for the unwary". While they are well intended to create minimum safe harbors, are inadequate in scope and are often misrepresented by copright owners and misunderstood by educators as representing outer limits. The code of Best Practices is designed to demonstrated that your rights as educators and learners will make clear that fair use is dynamic, living and should not be defined to a rule book!

Pat Aufderheide who did her work with the documentary filmmakers reminded us that in order to have creativity in education we need to have conversations with the "gatekeepers" to get them beyond the rigid guidelines where folks can assert their rights... and Kathy Im from MacArthur foundation came to discuss how MacArthur Foundation is supporting the work because of the desire to keep a balance...and reclain the ORIGINAL INTENT of Fair Use. Fair use has been misconstrued for some time. Participation in digital environment is are different and the interest is to have kids have a CRITICAL EYE!!!!

Joyce Valenza decribed how her kids and teachers WANT to be TRANSFORMATIVE, but that there is a MAJOR disconnect between what her kids put up on youtube and facebook and what they will put ups as a school because of the strict "guidelines". Before this release, she felt uncomfortable posting on school server some work that is clearly transformative, but now her real work begins-informing people about what transformativeness really is....Rhys from The Media Spot talked about the importance of critical decision making in fair use. Sherry Hope Culver talked about how important the document is and how useful it will be in classroom settings...WE CAN make the changes now with this support.

As I listened to the release conference yesterday (and again today in the recording) I realized that this is not was that this release is not as the slide show that was used in the presentation claimed, the END to Copyright Confusion, but a new beginning... the FIRST STEP towards understanding.

Educators need to step up and start to talk about it. We need to stop feeling threatened by the so called “rules” and reclaim our rights under Fair Use and teaching teachers and students to think critically about their use of any materials in creatNational Council of Teachers of English has adopted the statement released yesterday and from the section entitled THE TYRANNY OF GUIDELINES AND EXPERTS states…

Today, some educators mistakenly believe that the issues covered in the fair use principles below are not theirs to decide. They believe they must follow various kinds of “expert” guidance offered by others. In fact, the opposite is true. The various negotiated agreements that have emerged since passage of the Copyright Act of 1976 have never had the force of law, and in fact, the guidelines bear little relationship to the actual doctrine of fair use. Sadly, as legal scholar Kenneth Crews has demonstrated in “The Law of Fair Use Guidelines,” The Ohio State Law Journal 62 (2001): 602-700, many publications for educators reproduce the guidelines uncritically, presenting them as standards that must be adhered to in order to act lawfully. Experts (often non-lawyers) give conference workshops for K-12 teachers, technology coordinators, and library or media specialists where these guidelines and similar sets of purported rules are presented with rigid, official-looking tables and charts. At the same time, materials on copyright for the educational community tend to overstate the risk of educators being sued for copyright infringement — and in some cases convey outright misinformation about the subject. In effect, they interfere with genuine understanding of the purpose of copyright — to promote the advancement of knowledge through balancing the rights of owners and users.

In fact, this is an area in which educators themselves should be leaders rather than followers. Often, they can assert their own rights under fair use to make these decisions on their own, without approval. In rare cases where doing so would bring them into conflict with misguided institutional policies, they should assert their rights and seek to have those policies changed. More generally, educators should share their knowledge of fair use rights with library and media specialists, technology specialists, and other school leaders to assure that their fair use rights are put into institutional practice.

Frank Baker asked a question that CathyJo Nelson posted on her blog

OK, if you watched the stream of the event (or if you plan to watch it after the fact) here is my BIG question”

Does this report clarify it for you? or does it muddy the copyright/fair use waters?

Just curious.

The media lab has some great case studies and teaching materials that you can use right away. I say whether it clarified or muddied the water, you can non deny that the need to think critically and to teach our students to view material with a critical eye...I encourage folks to download the statement , listen to the recording, JOIN THE WIKI and become advocates for their educational rights under fair use.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Making the top 10...and a new Challenge

I made ISTE's list of TOP TEN BLOGS for the month of October. Hard to believe considering the company I am in on this list. Needless to say I am both floored and flattered~ Since I am so far behind in my "subscriptions" folder in my email...I heard about this on Brian McKee's TRT Blog and was able to search through my ISTE Sig Newsletters to find the link. I wanted to publicly thank Brian not only for spreading the word, but emailing me to to help me find the link. I also wanted to the blogs with whom I shared the honor in October. You may be familiar with some of them... but there were a few (including Brian's) that I know I will be paying attention to!

Top 10 Ed Tech Blogs for October 2008

ENJOY!!! I am feeling the need to take on Steve Dembo's 30 days to becoming a better blogger challenge. The next month will be crazy with the release and Google Teacher academy, but I am going to really try to keep up with this challenge!

I have updated my ABOUT PAGE by linking out to my main page, I currently use sitemeter on my site, but have never done much with the emails that I get from them. When I went back to analyze I noticed that I get the most hits on days that I actually write, probably because I ping technorati and put it out on twitter when I do.

In terms of thank yous...I really like reaching out to folks who inspire me or who are talking about things that I am passionate about. This week I found 2 blogs (outside of my echochamber) who had published an invitation to the Release of the Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Education on their blog. Since there was no place to leave comments, I sent each one the information to the Live Stream page so that they would be able follow if unable to attend. Both were appreciative and one even comment that they liked my blog :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rebooting the News...What ARE the critical Skills for 21st C literacy?

One of the things that ed tech folks are always talking about is that we all seem to be barking about how important technology integration ONE ANOTHER. Well, this past weekend I had an amazing experience at a gathering in Philadelphia entitled
"Rebooting the News:An Agenda for 21st Century Civic Engagement"
I have to admit, I was first drawn to the event through my affiliation with Temple Media Education lab, and after all did have "21st Century" in the title, but when I arrived at dinner on Thursday evening hosted by Renee Hobbs director of Temple's Media Education Lab I thought "I am totally out of my element... Here I am hob nobbing with journalists, and news people, what is my purpose" You will see that I discovered that by the end of my post ;-)

The format of the conference followed the Open Space Philosophy. There was very little scheduled in the way of formal sessions, again something that made me a little unsure as to what my goal was in being here...In a nutshell, they started with some overall goals:
  • Consensus statement on need for civic/news education frameworks in K-12 teaching
  • How to make news a vital part of education
  • Knowing how to use news lit / media lit to create a culture that thinks deeply and communicates effectively.
  • Coming up with new idea about what “news” means
  • Opening up new possibilities to work together for news literacy
  • Thinking about if we can change the economic structure of the news industry so it isn’t profit driven but focused on the public interest?
  • Talk about how can journalism education be reinstated in school curriculum
  • What news literacy really looks like in a middle school or high school classroom
  • A news literacy outline that everyone agrees would work in classrooms.
  • A consortium of people in different fields pushing for cross-curriculum media literacy.
..then we posed interesting Conversations: that people selected to attend and then report out on.
...and ended with creating statement that to me really represents literacy across the curriculum

I was really blown away not only by the process, but that by the end of the weekend we had reached a consensus statement about the importance of news literacy. Here is what was concluded:
A consensus statement of participants in "Rebooting the News:"

News surrounds us and as such news literacy is an essential life skill for everyone. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: Knowledge of current issues is essential to informed citizenship in a democracy. We are concerned about the effects of media messages on children and others. Modern participatory culture makes every citizen a potential creator of news in social media, blogs, email and the web. We believe a literate citizen understands the purposes, processes and economics of news.

Therefore, it is time for American education to include the acquisition of 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging the reliability of news, differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions in the media we create and distribute. News literacy standards can be research based in multiple content areas. It can be taught most effectively in cross-curricular, inquiry-based formats at all grade levels. It is a necessary component for literacy in contemporary society.

Signed at Philadelphia, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008:
At the beginning of the weekend the focus was on news do we get students / people to critically analyze the news, how do we involve the news in curriculum...But I realized that it is not just NEWS to which this statement applies AND it is not just the ed tech folks who are concerned about school reform learning reform and 21st Century skills. I have spent the time since the conference reflecting on the statement and these words...
  • 21st-century, critical-thinking skills for analyzing and judging
  • differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions
  • research based in multiple content areas
  • inquiry-based formats at all grade levels
Go ahead...fill in the blanks on the subject, science, math, literature, use of technology...isn't THIS what we are ALL barking about? An answer to the question
WHAT ARE THE necessary component(s) for literacy in contemporary society?
You know what...journalists should have some concern about what is happening to news, the form it takes and the consequences of it.

On Tuesday, the Christian Science Monitor announced they would no longer be creating a print version...
Wednesday, October 27th David Carr New York Times: Mourning Old Media's Time was a wake up call to everyone who grew up in a world where we took newspapers for granted.
Did you know that this coming Sunday marks Opus's Last Day in the Sunday Comics

The funny thing is... we were still in a paper only era, I would never have come to know ANY of this "news", as I found the article via Will Richardson's message on twitter regarding a post he wrote about this article that I am sure he found via his RSS reader. I also learned of the connection between Reading, Writing, and Social Media literacy from following Will on Twitter. Dennis Richards summarized this information from the NYTimes Article on his blog regarding the challenges of reporting news in the future...

1 - number of movie reviewers left on staff of The Los Angeles Times
1 - number of dollars TV Guide was sold for
2 - number of days the Christian Science Monitor will publish each week in the future
5 - number of days the Christian Science Monitor will not publish each week in the future
40 - percent of people The Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest paper in the country, will cut from it’s editorial staff
50 - percent of people The Los Angeles Times has left in the newsroom after 7 years of reductions
90 - percent of revenue the newspaper industry still derives from the print product
600 - number of people Time Inc., the Olympian home of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced that it was cutting
3,000 - number of people Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, plans to lay off 10 percent of its work force

~ Information from Mourning Old Media’s Decline, David Carr

In the comments of Will's post, David Jakes left a great comment referencing EPIC 2014 a video created by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson with music by Aaron McLeran based on a presentation they gave at the Poynter Institute which explores the effects that the News aggregators, Web 2.0 technologies, blogging, social networking, and user participation may have on journalism and society at large in a hypothesized future. I was glad to read Joel Adkin's comment leading me to Chris Brogan's post: Reach Outside your Fishbowl ~ which led me to 2 people outside of MY fishbowl to follow and learn from. I found reading my own aggregator that David Warlick put his 2¢ in on Going online Only.

As I was still pondering the conference and all of these recent articles surrounding news, and the importance of "news literacy" as an important learning skill, I came across a pretty heated conversation on twitter that Jakes had stirred up, that may have been sparked by the panel he recently moderated at Tech Forum...“Are there new literacies that connective technologies create? ..or do these tools afford the attainment of a literacy in a different way?
AND “People want schools to be better, but not different.” Do you believe this to be true? How exactly does Web 2.0 make schools better? Rather than trying to summarize all of the great arguments about tech, and news, and skills and learning, I used summize, skitch, omnigraffle, and scribd to put together a montage of a conversation I am calling Twitter on Literacy! Go on read for yourself...

What I find most interesting about all of this is that I am pretty sure ALL of the folks I linked to in this post will find it with the subscriptions they have through technorati to their own citizen journalism....

Citizen Journalists, New Media, News Literacy, Web2.0 for School Reform, Critical Skills for 21st Century...
We are all saying the same thing...and we all should be concerned until we can work TOGETHER outside of our fishbowls or echo chambers to tackle these tough questions..

SO... I go back to the original question(s) that have been rattling around in my head for ...well quite some time now...
WHAT ARE THE necessary component(s) for literacy in contemporary society?
How do we break out beyond our own "learning networks" to cross pollinate and share the same message?
AS Will eloquently put it...The problem for us is that we’re still teaching like our kids are going to be reading those edited, linear, well-written newspapers when the reality is they’re not. And the bigger problem is that, by and large, we still don’t know enough about the “new” media world in our personal practice to push those conversations about change in any meaningful way.

Would love to hear your thoughts?
OH and while you are at it, why not pass this post on to someone outside your echo chamber

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Bob Sprankle wrote an interesting article the other day called Who-ogle Are You...
since I think about this ALL the time, and it is time for my reflective "birthday post" I thought I would take time to reflect on my life on line and how much it has really come to mirror my personal and professional life.

Bob raised some interesting questions about when folks switched from a pseudonym to real identity online and what we should be teaching kids. I started using groups as someone else, but never really felt like "myself" as a result. over the past 3 years I have attended and trained at the PA Keystone Summit, worked as a Classrooms for the Future coach, attend Discovery Educator Network conferences regionally and Nationally, PETE & C and several NECC conferences. I feel blessed that I have gotten a chance to meet quite a number of remarkable folks face to sit across the dinner table or in the blogger's cafe and have some incredible conversations about education, learning, and LIFE! I wanted to be able to continue these conversations, to meet who they were talking to, and to learn MORE! I appreciate when folks use their "real self" avatars and remember last winter approaching Diana Laufenberg at educon to "introduce" myself..yet I felt like I already knew her "story" so well from "following her" online. I have to admit, the of someone "following me" was kind of creepy at first, because I had those warnings that I shouldn't reveal my identity online...but the more I got to know others online, and the more opportunities I had to meet folks face to face the more I realized the power and value of these online relationships. Trying to maintain ONE online identity I have been able to find my "friends" no matter what new group or tools I try sure...and my friends find me...

Some people meet Kristin Hokanson and use @khokanson to stay connected. Some get to know @khokanson for the things I write online. I am a pretty transparent person so what I represent online is who I am...I don't feel the need to keep separate identities and to wake up on my birthday to this many wishes via email, skype, twitter, facebook, and face to face or cell phone calls is a good visual of the power of the network.

So to all my friends...thanks for the birthday wishes. I am glad that you are a part of my life!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Digital Responsibility

Today we will be discussing our digital responsibility at CFF bootcamp from 8:15 - 9:15 EST and 9:30 - 10 :30 EST at CFF Bootcamp. We will be covering it live blog style from at least 2 locations. Will be interesting to see how this goes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What would you tell the candidates...

Would you like the chance to tell Barack Obama and John McCain your thoughts about how to improve American education?'s your chance...
Teacher's First a non profit service offering a huge collection of online resources for educators at all levels is conducting a survey to ask teachers to prioritize the following list of issues in education. Top on the list... assuring equal access to adequate facilities, equipment, and materials followed by findingalternatives to standardized testing; encouraging greater parent involvement; strengthening teacher preparation; improving physical safety; emphasizing math, science, and information literacy; strengthening early learning and pre-K programs; improving access to technology; finding ways to reward good teaching; funding universal after-school programs; involving the business community; and extending the school day and year.

Check out this Market Watch article then take the survey and look at the full results

What would YOU tell the candidates about the state of American education if you could?

Humbled by some AMAZING Educators

This week coaches for PA Classrooms for the Future are at Bootcamp...this means a 7 am - 9pm day full of information that we can use to help support our teachers in effective technology integration. This morning we got to listen to some of the teachers share what they are doing in their classrooms and honestly all I can say is WOW! The level of rigor and relevance in the activities and day to day assignments BLEW ME AWAY...we got to see 4 teachers one in each core content area, but across the state there were 16 model teachers sharing what they do. Our group took some notes which I am embedding below and am also putting some links to sessions that came through out cross state skype backchannel.

As Diane Castelbuono, PA Deputy Secretary of Education said as she addressed the group at lunch to continue her support of the grant and reinforce that this initiative is NOT ABOUT THE LAPTOPS..It's about transforming how teachers teach and how students learn...
CFF is not about the latest educational fad it is about utilizing technology in effective ways
60 % change classroom set up from rows to learning WANT to be in class and learning is shifting to students...they are producing and they are proud of their work.

Coaches need to provide instructional strategies that meet instructional goals and craft rigorous lessons. I am lucky to work in a place where there is a broad network of support. Take some time to explore some of the great things happening across the Commonwealth of PA!


We are STRUGGLING with our network connectivity...but here are some of the things I wanted to archive from the skype chat to go back and look at later on and save to diigo

book video shared by model lesson teacher for Poetry Webcasts awesome math wiki!

model teacher sharng AWESOME Costa Rica trip podcasting wiki:
the science teacher from aly's school used podbean to host a podcast, and then grabbed the embeddable player code to embed onto her wiki - good stuff alas, we have no teacher webspace...podbean hosts vodcasts too

Lesson idea for Language Arts using who ever wrote the card as a character create a character based on it - character prompt
links from English session at NC: for intro to layered curriculum

What is freedom unit SHS Delaware County
and blog: gifted geom project

CFF Anne Van Meter-Jenkintown 10:26 AM
Have you all seen the "doing what works" site? Videos of teachers teaching! for example

Through out the week these are

During the session Coaches created

Other Comments
Model Lessons are great. We need 5 minute or less vodcasts/screencasts of these lessons so we can share them with CFF Teachers and Administrators

Monday, October 13, 2008

Does PD= Learning?

@teach42 Sorry, but my response to this tweet is going to be just a few more than 140 characters... I know you want to know how much of pd/learning is self directed. So I found it interesting that so many folks shared high percentages of self directed professional development. I started to wonder if it is because the folks on twitter are innovators ~that we like to experiment and lean things on our own or on our own with others....but then I thought again, I have been to many workshops where the presenter stands before the teachers delivering content from a well crafted script, with little differentiation or understanding of needs of the audience. They have a very well planned professional development workshop, designed to deliver a message that we should learn. Ivlisten as teachers all grumble ...

I wonder @teach42 if the better question to not what kind of PD are you involved with, but what you learn best from...AND WHY!!!!!

If we asked these questions about professional development...what motivates us to learn....if it was infused into our professional LEARNING practice, perhaps it would filter down into instruction as well.

Now I pose my twitter poll...
Is attending a professional development....workshop, conference, fill in the blanks, and learning the same? Go ahead...answer me here...I'll give you >140 characters...thoughts?

An Invitation...

Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education

It's no question I have been spreading the message lately that we need to start getting kids to think about media messages and analyze media messages especially with the media surrounding the upcoming election. There is an exciting opportunity in Philadelphia this month...a short, strategic convening for journalists to find common purpose with teachers, educational administrators and public-policy researchers on the meaning and teaching of news literacy. This event is occurring because there is an epic change underway in the way American citizens prepare themselves for self government and it's time to consider what to do about it.
  • Younger Americans are abandoning traditional news products in large numbers. Yet a growing number of teen-agers and young adults are highly engaged with media in multiple forms.
  • American newspapers endure their worst year in decades; yet the Daily Kos political website records 33 million "hits" in one month and online political fund-raising is setting records.
Journalists, teachers, public-policy researchers, engaged citizens...should we be concerned? Do these changes threaten participatory democracy or promise to enliven it? This year, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted news literacy as a critical focus for its membership with a kickoff gathering in August at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Now The Media Giraffe Project, the Media Education Lab at Temple University and the National Constitution Center invite you to help answer this question – and develop a set of news literacy strategies for our communities and for the nation.

With "Rebooting the News: Reconsidering an Agenda for American Civic Education," they will try to answer this question ..and more...
How can we best help young people engage with news media in ways that help them understand and contribute to contemporary society
Hosted by the Media Education Lab at Temple University in collaboration with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies this event will take place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia October 23rd - 25th and will be attended by Howard Schneider, dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism; Ellen Hume of the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT; and a host of other participants.

While the program is limited to 50 delegates to ensure a dynamic conversation keep your eyes opened for ways to to attend virtually and see session conversations that will be archive. I for one have registered and am looking forward to engaging in some of these critical conversations...are they happening at your schools? IF NOT, come to Philadelphia next weekend and get the ball rolling...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Promoting Civic Engagement in the MySpace Age

This summer I was asked if I would be interested in being a guest blogger for the PBS: Media Infusion on the topic of using social media to promote civic engagement.

I was glad that my post hit this week as Will Richardson about Citizen Journalists and Wikipedia Editors. In his post, Will described the impact of media on the election and how he has been watching with his kids...
pausing the TIVO like every 30 seconds to ask them what they heard, what they think it means, and then explain why it doesn’t necessarily mean what is sounds like it means. I encourage you to read Will's post and think about the impact that this election will have on the kids we are teaching. In the comments, Scott McLeod urges us to all go out and teach our kids how to navigate the new landscape (like you are)! and Gary Stager replied... teachable moments require teachers with the courage and curiosity to teach, especially today. My comment....while reflecting and analyzing is not new to many of us who are involved in analyzing and reflecting in blogs, it IS new to many teachers. Reflection, analysis and higher level thinking is not a new skill or concept but the amount of new media available....and how it is used, blogs, wikis, youtube, discussion outside the walls of the classroom is new territory. Karl Fisch had an interesting post that talks about how wikipedia knew the VP nominees, before the public and yet wikipedia is discouraged and sometimes blocked in schools. Below is my post where I talk a lot about a resource developed by PBS teachers in collaboration with the Media Education Lab at Temple University in addition to some other great tools for helping your students "uncover" the election2.0 style. There are some great resources and ideas to help provide a framework for teachers who want to teach their kids to think critically about media, but are not quite sure how...

The post below is cross Posted at PBS: Media Infusion please visit and leave your comments at the PBS site and think about what you are going to do this year to use digital media to promote civic engagement in your classroom!

Election time is an exciting time for Social Studies teachers. Rock The Vote, whose stated mission is to “build the political clout and engagement of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country,” comes to the forefront. It is a time when history is experienced in the making. Although this type of political advocacy has existed for quite some time, over the past four years an increase in new media and the political candidates’ presence on the Web has really changed the way people get their political information. Use of social media for teaching is a powerful way to engage students in the learning process and teachers need to learn the right tools to connect their students to this new world of information.

During the 2004 election, 75 million Americans used the Internet to participate directly in the political process. The statistics in 2008 are sure to surpass that as students who will be eligible to vote in this year’s presidential election were born the year Rock the Vote was established. In 2004, MySpace was one year old, Facebook had just launched, and YouTube didn’t exist. For the 2008 election, all of the candidates have accounts on these and many other social networking sites. YouTube You Choose is a common source of political videos and MySpace Decision 08 is reaching out to younger voters.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported in January of 2004 that 22% of all Americans use an online social networking site such as MySpace or Facebook, and that these sites may be playing a political role for some people, especially the young. Even more importantly to teachers, two-thirds of these Americans ages 18-29 report using social networking sites. Of this age group, 27% are using them to get information about candidates and the campaign and 8% of Americans under 30 have added one of these candidates as a “friend.” Students, however, don’t always make the connection between their social involvement in political issues and what they are learning in school. With the emergence of the read/write Web, the Web 2.0 world of information and media, students are already using the Internet to express themselves on their personal sites.

According to Russell Dalton, professor of political science at UC Irvine and author of The Good Citizen: How a Younger Generation is Reshaping American Politics, this is the most educated, most tolerant, and most socially concerned generation in recent American history. Dalton uses a new set of national public opinion surveys to show how younger generations of Americans are changing their views and are creating new norms of citizenship. This is leading to an increase in democratic participation. These young people are ready to engage in the process in their school lives as well. Yet, very few of the sites where the candidates are delivering new media content are permitted for use at school. Although schools’ concerns may have some validity, students need to be given the opportunity to use these types of tools in “professional” settings.

What does this mean for teachers, responsible for teaching political concepts? Students are going to be exposed to a vast amount of media surrounding this election. The major media stations – ABC News: Politics, CBS News: Campaign 2008, MSNBC: Politics, CNN ElectionCenter 2008, NOW on PBS: Election 2008 – all offer RSS feeds and discussion forums within their pages, yet RSS is not often used in traditional instruction.

PBS Teachers has always been a great starting point for finding good lesson plans and activities. For example, NewsHour Extra: Vote 2008 has some fantastic links and lesson plan ideas to help teachers as they plan their election coverage. I also recently discovered the new Vote 2008 section of PBS Teachers, which offers a curriculum guide, lesson plans for elementary and secondary students, election-related online tools, RSS feeds and podcasts. The new Curriculum Guide – “Access, Analyze, Act: A Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement” – was developed in collaboration with the Media Education Lab at Temple University and “is designed to help you discover the power of social media for teaching media and information literacy, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and technology skills while developing students’ understanding of the political, social and economic issues facing our country at election time.” The lessons within the Access, Analyze and Act curriculum help students explore ways in which they can take action on political and social issues using social media.

Most students have been asked to access information through traditional methods. However, in a world where information and digital media are so readily available, it is critical that teachers begin to use different types of information to grab students’ attention. Teachers also need to ask students to critically analyze the information that is given by participating in a way that meets individual students’ learning styles. According to Joyce Valenza, Library Information Specialist at Springfield Township (PA) High School and author of the NeverEndingSearch blog (School Library Journal), the high entertainment and high emotion of sites such as ballotvox and the Public Radio Exchange “hook” young people. Be forewarned if your district or school blocks YouTube, much of the media on this site will not be available on the school campus. However, providing these resources and setting students up with a blog for reflection turns their learning into an anytime, anywhere experience.

Digital media surrounds students, so it is critical for young people to develop skills that help them to analyze and critique media messages, skills that will serve them far beyond the election. In the Analyze section of the Blueprint, students not only learn about the role that media has played in other historical campaigns, but must focus on genres and persuasive techniques and then apply them to their own media messages, which they engage in as they act for student empowerment.

In the third section, Act, students begin to ask effective questions, compose speeches and express opinions using tools such as NPR’s Get My Vote and connect election issues from today with those of the past using American Experience: The Presidents. The majority of the tools, lessons, and quizzes offered in the tool section include widget code so that the tool can be embedded on a student’s personal blog or a class Web page providing them the opportunity for professional use of social tools. As a result, students begin to see themselves as being a part of a larger conversation.

So how do teachers go about planning for such a different kind of “election coverage” in the classroom? In addition to the resources right within the PBS site, Joyce Valenza has given us a head start. Her Election Pathfinder is a collection of the major portals, news sources, polls, convention information, blog portals, media, and education-specific resources. What better way for a teacher to model the process than to contribute to this fantastic collection.

While there are many great election resources on the web, the PBS curriculum ties them all together and requires students in addition to meeting the standards in the content areas to meet every one of the ISTE NETS*S Standards by requiring students to demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. It requires them to use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively and to apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions. They learn to understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior – all while demonstrating a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

But don’t let the students’ blogs fizzle as soon as the election is over. How about engaging your students in a Fantasy Congress league? Or expose them to Open Congress, which brings together official government data with news coverage, blog posts, and comments, and have them analyze the real story behind what’s happening in Congress. Rather than having only small groups of political insiders and lobbyists know what’s really going on in Congress, encourage your students to be insiders as well. What about comparing and contrasting current events with some of the free provocative documentaries on Free Documentaries and having students create their own documentaries to be posted to their sites?

Meeting curricular standards while creating socially aware digital citizens…can we afford to teach the election in any other way?

Here are some suggestions for further readings:

I would love to hear from you about the information I’ve presented. Also, please share your favorite resources for teaching about the elections and promoting 21st century skills.

*****  NOTE:  
I also received an invitation from Classroom2.0  that on Wednesday, September 10th, at 6pm Pacific / 9pm Eastern, the creators of the PBS multi-media AND social-media "Vote 2008" curriculum will be joining the Classroom 2.0 Live Conversation

Learn more about "Election 2008: ACCESS, ANALYZE, ACT: A Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement", the latest multimedia curriculum, which was developed in partnership with PBS Teachers and Temple University’s Media Education Lab and the more than a dozen social media tools showcased in this curriculum to engage middle-school and high school learners in the political campaign process.

Following the overview of the resources available, there will be a question and answer session. You might consider taking the quick political quiz yourself (! A wiki for the project is located at

To join the event on September 10th, check the instructions on the Classroom 2.0 Live Conversations page at This event will also be recorded and a link to the recording will be post soon after.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You can tell a lot about a person... what's on his / her ipod. 

This morning I was trudging along at the gym...dead ipod....when my gym buddy took off, she offered me hers.  Now, she is a powerhouse...always pushing herself, and when I got a chance to listen to her tunes, I can see why.  There is tremendous power in music.   As a matter of fact, you may have seen this story on Good Morning America about how the Olympic athletes use music as a way to push themselves through a workout, or prepare themselves mentally for an event.  Several times during the Olympic I saw reference to the Olympic athletes and their dependence on the music that they can easily carry with them for motivation and inspiration.

Jeff Leow, a medical student from Australia, has an interesting post that features some medical studies that looked into the link between music and motivation to exercise. It includes a short description & diagram of the brain, but it got me thinking about the connection that physical exercise and music has on student motivation as well...There has been research conducted and many  books &  articles  written about the role of music and music education in brain development and motivation
...did you know that there are over 100 uses for ipods, yet portable music players are often considered to be "disruptive technology" and not permitted for use in many schools.  You have to wonder whether the recent publicity surrounding the Olympics is going to have any affect on school policy for portable music players...or if it should :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Favorite site I bookmarked this week...

Why continue to exchange emails when event scheduling can be THIS easy?I have been a big fan of scheduling tools such as and here is yet another one to add to your collection.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I am not the only gardener

I have been humbled for the past several summers to have been selected to work with some of the top teachers in the the state of Pennsylvania as a staff member at the Keystone Summit. These teachers come with a lot of knowledge about using technology in the classroom...but they leave with a tool box full of new ideas and some amazing connections...

I keep in touch with many of the attendees throughout the year...following their projects, offering ideas via twitter and skype and when they have success locally and globally, they turn to me with thanks and gratitude....but I am not the ONLY gardener....

One of the pieces of advice I give to folks when they are entering a coaching roll is that they have to choose where they put their efforts - what, when, how much, with whom. Find the rich soil, folks who are willing to be open to try new things. THAT is why I love the Summit so much.

I am not the only gardener... True, I am planting seeds in very rich soil...but it is the teachers going back to their districts who choose what they want to grow and what needs to be let go. We have to know how best to nourish what's important. They are the ones who decide what they need to prune and what needs to be given a chance to flourish and it is the impact of what they are doing in THEIR districts that will impact what we want to have happen in the future.

We need to remember to always pay it forward... to find the rich soil back at your schools...continue planting, watch the seedlings, anticipate potential draught, stay away from the weeds that can overcome they garden they are creating. Think about what tools you have when the garden begins to wilt.

And my stake in this garden...the reason continue to work so hard, planting seeds....
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

I am a mom first...and what YOU all do for children on a daily basis deserves to be recognized!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bookmarks from Diigo Inquiry Based Science

  • Goal #1: Our most important initiative is to shift instructional practices in our school to become constructivist in nature using inquiry-based methods. Both problem and project-based experiences will be the foundation for long-term student-driven investigations centered on living environment concepts. All teachers and students should be involved in real issues that require creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving to generate possible solutions and share findings and learning experiences with stakeholders.

  • #2: Our second initiative is to increase the use of technology to facilitate learning for both teachers and students. We believe that technology (goal #2) must serve pedagogy (goal #1). We believe the infusion of technology must enable teachers and students to research, create, communicate, and collaborate. This initiative will create the transformative process we are seeking in technology infusion for our teachers and students.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Let the Streaming Begin

It's no secret, I am a HUGE fan of coveritlive. I have used to archive conferences and lead really powerful discussions with students. It also seemed to be a big hit at NECC this year.

Well this just in...

Coveritlive users can now integrate LIVE video from Qik, Mogulus and uStream directly into their CoveritLive live blogs. Just like the existing YouTube integration where a video feed can be sent out to the readers to view during a session without the need to send readers to another site or blog, when you integrate this service, the live video appears in the top corner of your CovertiLive Viewer Window. If readers want a larger view, they simply click the video and a larger sized window appears that can then be moved out of the way so they can continue to enjoy both the live blog AND the live video without ever leaving the site where the live blog is embedded. The Support Center in their advanced features area has a short flash movie to demonstrate how to use it...but think about the implications.

What about in a classroom...could you use camtwist or manycam to cast a lesson out to a student who is home ill, and allow them to join in the collaborative notetaking process simply by going to a teacher's wikispace? Couldn't the teacher then archive those ustream recordings and embed with the coveritlive notes

What about at a conference. I often wish when I was at a conference that I could "pipe out" the audio so the virtual participant knows what they are participating in...not necessarily the presenter, but allow someone to be a "fly on the wall". This way they are not only looking at what notes are being taken at the conference, but actually enables them to participate virutally. David Jakes asked a lot of questions about this in his post Chatcasting: A Summary, This whole idea does raise some interesting questions...or ideas.

What do you think about it ok to "broadcast" a conference session, audio..with a slide perhaps to engage the folks who are not there? Where do issues of privacy come into play? In 3 years, 5 years, 10 any of this going to matter?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

NECC 2008: From My Perspective

I have been reading a lot of the summaries of NECC 2008 and because I went immediately unplugged for 5 days after the conference, I haven't had a chance to put in my 2 cents yet....I am still thinking about a lot of things. This was only my second NECC. In Atlanta, I missed the whole "making connections"...I missed the "Blogger's Cafe" and attended a lot of really great sessions that I found out afterwards were "live blogged", recorded in a sense so it was possible to revisit from different points of view. This year, when planning what sessions I wanted to see, I made a conscious effort to avoid things that I knew were being podcast, or ustreamed or that I could go back and revisit at another time....I feel like once again I was missing something. In The Strength of Weak Ties: ChatCasting: A Summary, David Jakes does an amazing job of summarizing the chatcasting process and asking some of the tough questions about its role in future conferences. He especially hit the nail on the head when he asked about the presenter Is having 10 people typing distracting? I had to get over several people blogging my sessions live, I can only imagine ten typing furiously. Wouldn't you want to see what they were saying? I struggle with this even when I am notetaking on the web....doesn't the presenter have the right to see what I am posting (positive or negative) and defend their presentation

I think that because there was no organized process for distributing the "any time / anywhere" content, it was difficult to find after the fact...I am working on a post for myself that contains links to all of the events I want to revisit. I often use microblogging to find out about events when I am offsite, but when right became overwhelming to me. I think a moderator is important and I think all parties need to be "on the same page"

I have seen this be a POWERFUL force in the classroom. I have learned a TON from following "offsite". I will be posting later today my plan for "decompressing NECC", but thanks David for your post and questions. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time...I feel like my pendulum has swung too far to one side....time for me, personally to find out where my balance lies.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

And the Walls Came Down

Once again the wireless network was less than cooperative here at NECC. I apologize to any of you who came to participate and couldn't find our session. It was SO fun to meet face to face with folks that I have been planning with since September. There were probably about 40 folks in the room and 37 at last count in the ustream.

This is a link to our session notes about how tools go viral

as well as the recording

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Thanks for taking the time to go viral with us! Please feel free to share your thoughts about the tools we shared and what going "viral" means to you...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Live Blogging Jakes & Shareski The Power of Powerpoint

It was great to finally get to see David Jakes and Dean Shareski present live. I have had the opportunity to network with them but their message in how to tell a story is great.

They gave 10 tips of what to teach kids.

1- Teach them biology
2- Teach them to make it visual
3- Teach kids how to search for images
4- teach kids about creative commons

5- Teach them design
6- Teach them to sell
7- Color and font choice matters
8- Teach them to incorporate multimedia
9 - Teach students some PowerPoint secrets
10 -teach them to share

***one of my top NECC takeaways I learned about in this session Flickr storm...I am sure this is going to be something that I spend some time reflecting on

Wes Fryer and Ewan McIntosh both have better notes that I do...I especially like Ewan's title...why would you use words when they do just fine in your mouth? but here is my "live blog" in coveritlive from the session.

NECC Unplugged session on Copyright

This morning I led a session on Copyright and Fair Use at NECC Unplugged. There were about 40 people in the room, and 11 folks watching on ustream. Unfortunately the conditions were not so great, but the conversation was amazing and I think folks left thinking
Here is the ustream recording...
Free .TV show from Ustream
and the information that I posted for the session can be found here

Thanks to all my "twitter pals" who helped set up and made for great conversation and all the new folks I met.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Edublogger Con Closing Notes

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Convene, Connect, Transform...

So this post started this morning and I never got a chance to finish, and it started out titled...the calm before the storm, but the day began and the storm blew through...which you may have noticed in my posts :) but I wanted to post some reflections about NECC so far...
Last year was my first was the place where I made many connections that have helped me to build an amazing personal learning network. At the end of the conference Steve Dembo posted a twitter wondering if these types of large conferences were really necessary...with the ability to stream, twitter, and liveblog do you REALLY need to attend? I thought about that as I was running along the riverwalk. It was really quiet, the calm before the storm. Very few folks were out...very unlike the night before. As I was running along the river, I was thinking about the evening before seeing all the folks that I "work with" all year long, but only get to see and connect with face to face but 1-2 times a year. I was preparing for the week ahead when across the river I saw Pat Sine....a "colleague" that I met only recently but have connected with a number of times. We called out to one another like old friends and it struck me, THIS is what it means to attend a conference face to face. Is NECC needed, YES... it really is and at breakfast this morning Michael Baker summed it up perfectly...
When it [the conference] is streamed to you, you get the information yes, but today information is EXPECTED to be free…When you attend the conference…you get the connections…and you can’t put a price on that

I hope to connect with many of you as we convene here for together we can transform what is happening in today's classrooms

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Edublogger Con Session 4 Web2.0 Smackdown

Unfortunately I had TERRIBLE internet connectivity issues during this session
All tools shared are listed
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EdubloggerCon Session 3-Strategic Tools to Save teacher time

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Edublogger Con Session 2 Social Networking for Schools

Am sitting in session on Social Networking in schools. Will have to go back later for the recording
.TV online : provided by Ustream

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Edublogger Con: Session 1-Creating Reasonable Filtering Policies

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Friday, June 27, 2008

One Word...

It has been a long time since I posted...owe cliff mims a PD meme (it's coming cliff) but as I was going through my Diigo drafts I came across this goody...thought it about summed it up
    the real purpose of this exercise is to alleviate
    our natural tendency to edit everything—and learn
    to flow.

    an analogy would be a film camera:
    when a film is shot, the camera just rolls and captures
    everything—good and bad. when all the shooting is
    complete, the raw film is edited into a cohesive piece.

    the camera operator doesn't keep stopping the camera and
    rewinding and editing on-the-fly—the camera just rolls.
    if it were to stop, some of the best performances
    and spontaneous moments might be missed.

    be the camera. well, that's a stupid saying, but
    you get the idea. in writing—just flow. go back later
    and edit.

    Go write.

Leaving for NECC in a few hours....Guess it is time for me to get back at it!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Catch the Fever: Viral Professional Development - Add your voice!

Viral Professional Development is emerging in education as a viable method of increasing teacher engagement and learning. Using tools such as Twitter, rss readers, blogs, educational networks, and wikis, educators are collaborating on a grassroots level. This year at NECC, a panel discussion of educators on July 2nd at 1:30 pm CDT will be discussing and live Ustreaming a session to discuss viral professional development.

How did this panel discussion originate?

On Monday, September 17, 2007, Google launched the Google Presentation web application to their suite of services. News of this new service spread quickly through the blogosphere and Twitter and soon more than fifty different people made over 500 edits in a twenty-four hour period to one Google presentation. Since introduced, this presentation has been used by hundreds of people to begin conversations centered on free online tools used to weave a web of connections between people around the world.

As a result of this transformational experience, educators begin discussing the importance of sharing the changing nature of professional development and documentation of best practices in VIRAL professional development. The proposal was written in Google docs and since acceptance, an expanded group of educators around the world has used a wiki, elluminate, and a variety of tools to bring a collaborative, immersive viral PD experience to NECC and to people around the world.

Vicki Davis, moderator
Darren Draper
Kelly Dumont
Kristin Hokanson
Robin Ellis
Ryan Bretag
Beth Ritter-Guth
Carolyn Foote

Backchannel Presenters/ Moderators
John Maklary
Stephanie Sandifer

How can you participate?

At 1:30pm CDT on July 2, we will be participating in a NECC panel discussion that centers on the power of the network. During our presentation we hope to demonstrate to all those attending our session in person (and virtually), just how powerful global collaboration can be. Hence, we are asking for your participation in our presentation as well.

1) Join our Ustream

We will be streaming the presentation live on the Open PD Ustream channel at 1:30 pm CDT on July 2nd. You may watch here and participate in the conversation (and even ask the panelists questions).

2) Leave a comment on our voicethread

One way that you can participate now is by adding your voice to the VoiceThread below. Please take a few minutes and add your thoughts about the different tools depicted through images in the thread. We would truly like as many voices possible, offering a wide range of thought on the usefulness of the common tools we all use in our collaborations.

How do you use these tools? How are they important to your professional development? Please add your voice.

Insert embed code for the voice thread from this page -

3) Join the conversation on the NECC Educational networking site

We've created a discussion thread to converse on this panel discussion at the NECC educational networking site.

Follow our most recent announcements.

All announcements and events pertaining to this session will be announced at the Walls Came Down wiki.

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