Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keystones the Cornerstones of Leadership

A keystone is the architectural piece at the crown of a vault or arch which marks its apex, locking the other pieces into position.[1] This makes a keystone very important structurally.[2][3] In an arch, the keystone is usually larger than the voussoirs that make up the arch and may serve primarily an aesthetic purpose. Some say that a keystone is not as important structurally as the voussoirs, since the removal of any of the voussoirs would cause the arch to collapse but this is not necessarily true of the keystone.[4]

The term is used figuratively to refer to the central supporting element of a larger structure, such as a theory or an organization, without which the whole structure would collapse.

Those of you who follow me regularly know about the PA Keystone Technology Integrators. Each year in the summer, a group of "tech savy" teachers are invited to participate in a week long intensive professional development program called The Keystone Summit. Most people arrive at the summit thinking they are going to learn a lot of stuff about great new tools...but they come to learn something that folks in the blogosphere have known for a long time. It is not about the's about doing new and innovative things to "Turn up the HEAT" in your classrooms. I was invited to that summit in 2005 and have been returning every year as a staff member sharing with the teachers not just technology. Every year that is, until this one. This year I had to make a difficult decision. I am working on my Administrative Certification and I needed to complete 180 hour internship. I knew that I couldn't commit the time and the energy needed to dedicate a week to be on campus for the experience and boy was I disappointed, but I did offer to do whatever I could to help create a virtual presence this year.

As I set up the wiki and ustream channels and coveritlives, embedded content and fix formatting I realized, this was just as much work as being there...without the face to face connections of being on the Bucknell campus to be with the group. Boy was I disappointed. As I listened in on some of the sessions, I missed the learning and I missed the connection. I listened in as Chris Moersch talked about ways to turn up the HEAT (Higher Order thinking, Engaged Learning, Authenticity, and Technology Use) in your classroom. I was able to sit in on many of the sessions, but this year it was different...not just because I wasn't there, but because I was thinking about all of these things through the lens of an administrator. I started to think about how as a principal or curriculum leader I could use some of the LoTi principles to change a building culture, to change the way teachers think about teaching an learning

At the last minute, a presenter was unable to make it for their workshop on Professional Development Models in the 21st Century so I, I could teach that in my sleep so I pulled together a presentation titled 21st Century Professional Development through PLNs (with the help of my PLN) and asked if I could come and spend the day. It was what I was missing...the chance to connect, explore and innovate with some REALLY amazing teachers some teachers that will soon be leading the way in their district not because of a certification, but because of the skills they learned this week and how they reflected on these ideas...Connect, Innovate, Explore and Lead.

One of my favorite activities at Summit is during small groups where each group member is given foam blocks with the words lead, connect, innovate, and explore and think about how these 4 ideas are connected to change in schools. Back in 2007 after the summit, I wrote a post Connect, Innovate, Explore, Lead...which comes first? that shows how my group viewed it.

Each attendee is asked to think about envisioning a school that would meet the needs of students in 5 years. To build this school would require all of the ideas listed on the bricks. They were asked to "build the school" stack the bricks so to say in order of importance.

I wish I had my new "livescribe pen" to jot my notes as a pencast, way back then;-) but you can see by the pictures that I took that year,,,every stack is different, every story is different, and each day I think about these 4 cornerstones: Lead, Connect, Innovate, and Explore in how I am going to affect change.
Although EXHAUSTED, I got home and saw Scott McLeod's tweets and realized that today was Leadership day, Last year I wrote about Leading By Example and again this year, I reflect that leadership NOT just what principals need to do, but something we ALL can do to lead in school innovation and change.
Yes...this week, I finished my administrative certification September I will be returning to the classroom. What this week has taught me is that whether I am facilitating student learning in a classroom, working in a professional development in guiding teachers, or acting as a principal guiding a shared vision if I remember to connect, innovate and explore...if I think about was to Turn up the Heat...great things will happen.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010


Create Your Own Personal Learning Networks for PD

Session Notes

Creating your own personal learning networks is one of the easiest things to do.
Finding the right resources for you is also not difficult, but with all of the resources out there

so how do we get start to learn the same way our students do....
This session will look at some social tools for your own personal learning

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I was so impressed with how the participants took to twitter and diigo and CHECK OUT THE POSTS that the participants left via email on my posterous site


If someone new from PA is following YOU ...consider adding them to your PLN ;-)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

DMCA updated: My thoughts....

Now, in a new set of exemptions pushed for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the legal rights of those looking to do those things have been made clearer and – dare we say – more palatable. That includes the proviso that jailbreaking a device to run an app that has been made incompatible by the handset manufacturer is fair use, as is bypassing copy protection on media (such as DVDs) to excerpt sections for derivative fair use works

This is some big news, news I have been waiting for! You can read more about it here, and here, and here, heck do a google news search to see what is being written or search twitter to see what folks are saying about the news. What concerns me frankly with all of the hype, is that folks aren't going to take the time to read the whole 262 page document of recommendations from the Copyright Office. It is scary but I am sure Renee Hobbs will help put it in plain English for us! In the meantime, you may want to read this shorter Statement of the Librarian of Congress Relating to the Section 1201 Rulemaking

I read in one article "this doesn't make piracy legal. It just means that bypassing DRM to reach a legal goal -- i.e. fair use of things you own -- is now protected by common law."It is therefore becoming INCREASINGLY important for folks to have a better understanding of fair use and all that it encompasses as well as the process one needs to go through in determining whether their use is fair. Things are BOUND to get really interesting

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Don’t Do That Here ...or do we?

Thanks to Jabiz Raisdana for pointing out something that has really been troubling me lately in a great post about what happens when one cuts and pastes another's work as their own...
I am curious if this was a case of misunderstanding or laziness.
Here is my comment to Jabiz's post...

Thanks so much for sharing this post….I have been thinking about this a lot as I start to use posterous. For me it has been a way for me to instantaneously take ideas from a site, and reflect on it and post simultaneously in a number of places. It has jumpstarted me back into blogging a bit. But it definitely raises some questions. I wanted to share a story…
This week I have been working on a tremendous program called Powerful Voices for Kids. In trying to create an atmosphere of sharing, I have been trying to find articles related to the ideas of using media literacy strategy. The other day through google alerts I came across this article I wanted to share with the team. While there was a citation at the top “This is from an excellent website: Checkout the links below to help you Navigate your way through the Lies of Media Trickery!” in reading the page you would think that it was a collection of resources put together by the author… HOWEVER, when I scrolled to the bottom of the page there was a link return to the Propaganda in the Classroom page . When I navigated to and through that page, I found THIS PAGE which was word for word what was posted on the blackbox page…and frankly, I was a little uncomfortable. here is what I ended up sharing with the team, but it caused me to ask….when we have the ability to copy and post with the click of a button, how do you ensure that it is clear the source of things you post and what implication does it have in other places? Hope you don’t mind that I repost this on my own site ;-)

Curious what others think....

Do tools like posterous justify plagairism in the google generation


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Educate yourself (& your students) about Media and Government Propaganda

Propaganda Resources on the Web
Check out the GREAT resources on the site below for developing critical thinking with this list of about 30 great advertising and propaganda resources
via Bill Chapman's Classroom Tools Propaganda Resources
Thanks to a comment left by Frank Baker on my media literacy resources yesterday, I was reminded of how many state's standards include media literacy and the many different ways it can be included in a traditional classroom. Today I found this great post listing all kinds of resources, links and activities to help navigate the ideas behind advertising and propaganda. There are print ad galleries, presidential campaign ads and Historical Radio Advertising... I hope you find something useful!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Media Savy Kids

Great article I found at during today's Powerful Voices Open Door session...

“How do we prepare kids for living in a society where almost all their information and entertainment comes to them through a screen?” asks Renee Hobbs, Ed.D., director of the Media Education Lab at Temple University in Philadelphia.

  The answer: We teach media literacy, which trains children to think critically about both the overt and subtle media messages that wash over them every day. Media literacy — the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms — is growing in importance in schools across the country.

Click on the side link for additional resources including...

5 Media-Savvy Questions That Kids Should Ask

  1. Who created this message?
  2. What creative techniques are used to get my attention?
  3. How might different people interpret this message?
  4. What lifestyles, values, and points of view are in this message? What was left out and why?
  5. Why is this message being sent?

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Searching for India's Hole in the Wall | A World Bank Blog on ICT use in Education

Thanks to Will Richardson for sharing this story about street computers in India. I have heard of this before and am still fascinated by things like the author references below:
The contrast here was for me pretty stark: One the one hand, you had two computers set up outside which received minimal maintenance, and which anyone could use from 9-5 each day.  There was no direction on how to use this equipment, but that didn't stop kids from figuring it out via trial and error (or, more often, from other kids).  On the other hand, you had a dozen computers locked up in a school just a short walk away, gathering dust for lack of 'qualified teachers' to use them, and direct their use.

The image of a locked school computer room door, and of an educator explaining why the door had to remain locked, however, and the image of a bunch of children animatedly using computers on the street less than a hundred meters away, is not one that I will soon forget.
Connect this to finding other kinds of "technology" on the street....Kids can find picture books on the street and they learn to hold the book the right way to have the pictures tell a story. That doesn't mean they can read and understand the written text, but they can figure out how the book "works". I know from my experiences with my own young children that the ease with which kids acquire the skills to manipulate technology is quite different from their ability to critically find and analyze information and use that information to create new things. Yes kids can find and USE this technology but are they really building the skills that they truly need without guidance? I wonder...

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