Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ISTE Conference 2012 Power

Friday, June 22
Friday, after the closing of the school for the 2011-2012 school year, we headed to beautiful San Diego, California. We were headed out to #ISTE12 (International Society for Technology in Education Conference 2012). With great expectations in mind and business cards printed, we packed our bags and were on our way. Well almost... The heavens decided to open up on our way to the airport. We wondered if a monsoon had descended upon us. Of course, this meant the airline would have issues. Plane coming to get us was stuck in the Carolinas. So they sent another plane instead. Once we were finally seated on our plane the delays continued. Then the announcement comes over the loud speaker, “Does anyone have a medical background on board? A doctor or a nurse? One of our passengers could use a little medical attention at the back of the plane.” I feel bad for the person that needed medical attention. But seriously!?!?! Finally we are off to the magic that is #ISTE12.

Saturday, June 23
We were scheduled to attend the Discovery Educator Network ISTE pre-conference that next morning. However, with getting in so very, very late we unfortunately had to pass on this day of professional development and fun with our DEN friends. But as our plans had now changed, we had the flexibility to explore the city and check in for the conference. We picked up our conference bags and went for a walk around the Seaport Village. After such a hectic May and June at school, the beautiful scenery was much appreciated.

Sunday, June 24
Our conference experience began. ISTE provided a Kick-Off celebration to help get things underway. Peggy Shehy and Mario Armstrong provided great comic relief as they reminded us of other famous dynamic duos: Batman and Robin, Spock and Captain Kirk, Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, and of course Mac and PC. We were encouraged to network and find our own partnerships. We met some lovely ISTE members during their networking activity.

During the conference, ISTE Award winners were recognized. Of course, our camera shutters clicked away in rapid succession as our Director of Technology received our Third Place SIGOL (Special Interest Group for Online Learning).

We then proceeded to the USS Midway for a light reception sponsored by an Interactive White Board vendor. They presented success stories in the field from some schools that had increased their student achievement rates. Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology US Department of Education, addressed the group discussing the need to challenge our students and foster our teachers that are interested in researching that which works in Education.

Afterwards we went for dinner at a “World Famous Restaurant” that was quite an enjoyable way to end our day. We returned to our hotel to rest up for the next day's #ISTE12 adventures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life-long Learner

For students, summer is approaching.  Tomorrow they all return to their families for the next few months without the daily check ins with us from 8:27 to 3:15.  I know they will be excited for this "freedom".  Not spending their days with their wonderful educators at our school will have an effect on their development.  Some parents will organize enriching trips and visits to the library.  Some will encourage reading and some will encourage vegetation.  Hopefully more parents will choose wisely.

I love that we have many online resources that continue after the bell tomorrow.  Students will be able to "play" with Brainpop (http://brainpop.com), Starfall (http://starfall.com), and Discovery Education (http://discoveryeducation.com).  How little do they realize they are increasing their knowledge base while doing so.  Summer should mean put learning on simmer not turning off the gas.

Personally, I will be getting ready to attend an international technology conference.  I will making additional connections on Twitter.  I will be spending the summer exploring the features of Edmodo, updated Microsoft Office and Google more in depth.  Our goal should be to foster a sense of life-long learning.  I am grateful that my PLN helps me to be continually growing.  I enjoy modeling this desire for life-long learning.

What are you eager to explore this year? What do you hope to learn more about during the summer? I'd love to hear what everyone is up to now that we have "free time".

Friday, April 27, 2012

LHRIC Tech Expo

 LHRIC Tech Expo
April 27, 2012

The BOCES Lower Hudson Regional Information Center hosted a technology expo yesterday in Briarcliff Manor. It was hosted at the beautiful Edith Macy Conference Center. (#LHRICEXPO, Website Information). This full day conference occurred on a Friday. What a great way to begin the weekend. Feeding our #edtech brains with the nourishment to ponder new ideas, re-evaluate current practices, and strive for a better tomorrow for our students. Oh and did I mention as always the Edith Macy Conference Center provides the most wonderful food to nourish our physical selves while the Ed Tech discussion feeds our thoughts.

Here are some of my notes:

Keynote Session Attended:
David Warlick, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Twitter: @dwarlick
This was not my first time hearing Mr. Warlick. But each time the experience is just amazing. What an eloquent, engaging, and informative speaker he is.
Notes from the keynote:
  • We should strive to be a learner. He presented a photo of Stonehenge and informed us that scientists and mathematicians are attempting to recreate and calculate the sound that might have been heard inside Stonehenge. He claimed that he did not know this the day before he presented to us. I love this modeling of being a life long learner.
  • The core of teaching should be to become a master learner.
  • Mr. Warlick gave us a website with links to his resources. They can be found at http://idave.us. (Please becareful. I typed it incorrectly with a .com.... this is not the correct page. Please note the .us).
  • And event notes could be found at http://colearners.idave.us.
  • A really ingenious idea he has on his page. He uses an addon of a Google map that plots where he has been for a presentation. What a great day!
  • Mr. Warlick also demoed a cool tool, http://knitterchat.com/. A backchannelling site of sorts.
  • We have moved from an information scarcity society to an information abundance society
  • Children today have no ceiling.
  • Information today is networked, digital, and abundant
  • We live in a “culture of hyperconnectedness”.
  • Rather than necessarily bringing video games into the classrooms, let's figure out what it is about video games that we can learn from and bring that experience to the classroom setting.
  • Mr. Warlick demonstrated the use of Scratch. This made me wonder if Scratch could be downloaded onto an offline computer. Then students could create but we wouldn't have to worry about the implications of the share button. Teachers could share by manually sharing the created files without having the automatic public sharing.
  • We should be teaching digital responsibility – copyright, appropriate use, etc
  • We learn from traction (the hard places). Excellent point. Makes you think about kill and drill vs. inquiry and exploration.
  • Education should be a Responsive Experience
  • The web moves at the speed of light http://personalizemedia.com/the-count has the data
  • What can we learn from Gaming? Students need goals. Students need appropriate rules. How do our rules help us accomplish our goals?
  • Start small. For example with an image. Then let students question their way into a topic.
  • Good education provokes conversation.
  • In gaming (and as it should be in education) It inspires personal investment. Children succeed by getting it wrong! How often do we learn from the wrong answer in the real world. We should be preparing students for this life skill.
  • Mr. Warlick showed us doodlebuzz.com, http://doodlebuzz.com/
  • According to their website, “DoodleBuzz is a new way to read the news through an experimental interface that allows you to create typographic maps of current news stories.”
  • An interesting idea. Search on a topic through the news. Draw a doodle, line, etc. News articles will shoot off the doodle. Draw another line from a specific line of news to see more information.
  • Students should be guided by safely made mistakes in order to grow
  • Let's make it not about what you have been taught but about what you have taught yourself

First Session Attended:
Amy Rosenstein, 10:10 – 11:00 am
  • Mrs. Rosentstein is a third grade teacher in Ardsley.
  • She played an informative video on Skype. If this was your first time seeing Skype it did a wonderful job highlighting the tool's features. I have used Skype for many years. I did not know that you could drag and drop files directly to your connected partner through the Skype software.
  • Mrs. Rosenstein showed a video synopsis of her program where students connected to individuals around the world.
  • She mentioned Skype in the Classroom, http://skypeanauthor.wetpaint.com/ and Epals to find connections.
  • Teaching students to ask good questions is an important skill. Questions that lead to discussion are much more conducive to conversations online then yes or no questions are.
  • Someone asked if Skype sessions can be recorded. Mrs. Rosenstein suggested Vodburner. I should try this again. I had attempted it before but was not successful. But after listening to Mr. Warlick remind us that we learn from getting it wrong, maybe it is time to revisit the tool.

Second Session Attended:
Rus Healy, 11:10 – 12:00 am
Well the useful points from this session were that we need to define the structure around beginning to think about Bring Your Own Technology. You need to define your intended audience. Will you begin with teachers, students, community, or any mix there of when designing your program?
Our goals should be:
What resources do we want members of the wireless network to access?
What users should we support? And how will they be supported?
Where will we provide this access?
What control level do you need to provide?

Pleased to have had lunch with my colleagues from New Rochelle and Adam Bellow. It was great to catch up and compare notes.

Third Session Attended:
Adam Bellow, 1:10 – 2:00 am
Twitter: @eduTecher

I have had the pleasure of knowing Adam for a few years through both the Discovery Educator Network and ISTE Young Educators Network. It is always great to hear him speak. I always come away with a wealth of information and new ideas.

It's funny, as I am about to blog, I notice I begin to write my notes as “Adam shared a soapbox link, http://bit.ly/TechForum2012.” Interesting how my edtech voice changes when it is a member of my PLN. Above I wrote respectfully “Mr. Warlick gave us a website with links to his resources”. Why am I not now beginning this section of notes as “Mr. Bellow”? Perhaps it has to do with Adam Bellow's kind nature. Although he has many accolades behind his name, he never fails to greet those he knows and remembers warmly. I feel honored that through the DEN and ISTE I have met many wonderful, highly reputable ed tech leaders. Many of whom I am graced with the privileged to call friends. These members of my PLN would not be addressed Mr. Dembo, Ms. Naugle, Mrs. Parisi, Mr. Davidson, Mrs.Sheehy, Mrs. Sharoff, etc. The wonderful thing about PLN's is that P. Yes Paula L. Naugle (my former roomie is always special in my heart). But I mean PLN as in Personal Learning Network. The P for personal is what makes it such a great social learning experience.

Now please forgive me as I address Mr. Bellow as Adam in my notes:
  • Adam shared a soapbox link, http://bit.ly/TechForum2012.
  • Love the term he used “a fremium service”. He discussed how some tools eventually require a fee. Although I agree with the companies an excellent tool is worth the fee. I also agree with Adam that companies should work with educators to make the fee reasonable. And teachers should have a plan B, C, D, E, and perhaps F and G.
  • Technology evolves so should Education.
  • Adam played a video regarding the History of Ed Tech. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ0nlh5FU5A It was interesting to be reminded where we came from and where are now. It is exciting to consider where we will be?
  • As always, Adam's sense of humor and whit came out in his presentation. He talked about being college (showed an image of a set of desks) and career (showed a cubicle) ready (showed a headstone). His presentations are not those horrid presentations of black text on a white screen with too much information to absorb. Adam models teaching digitally.
  • IEP should be for all students. Doesn't an Individualized Education Plan sound like a universal idea?
  • Any teacher that can be replaced by robots should be.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_Qc_nmSUGQ Love this video. So glad Adam incorporated it into you his presentation.
  • A slide mentioned several tools that I was familiar with however, I am not familiar with http://www.wolframalpha.com/. Thanks Adam! I love learning about new things in passing. It wasn't necessarily something that he was presenting on. Just happened to appear. Digital Learning at its finest.
  • Edmodo is training wheels for exploring social learning. Great analogy. I hope to borrow that for a presentation of my own that I need to do for my superiors regarding a recent project.
  • You can't predict the future. We need to build it. Here here. Not to be dripping with Discovery references but Let's Build It Bigger and hopefully better than it has been. Bring on the interaction. Bring on the enjoyment from learning. Bring on the future.

Fourth Session Attended:
Dr. Annette Lamb, 2:10 – 3:00 am

  • Dr. Lamb (hmm back to that respectful professional tone) covered all the basis of the Google Search left hand navigation panel. So many cool new features have been added. Some I have been taking advantage of for awhile. Some were newly introduced to me by Dr. Lamb.
  • It would be wise as she modeled to go over the left navigation search panel and show students all the possibilities they have to them.
  • In Google similar image search you can now drag and drop an image from your desktop. This was a very cool feature Dr. Lamb showed. I have used the url image and the upload app to tell Google what image we want to find similar images of on the web. I haven't done this via drag and drop methods yet. Very cool
  • Life magazine images are now available in Google Image Search.
  • Youtube has an educator/schools portal. Youtube for schools. FAQ.
    • Appropriate education channels can be limited to view and exclude the extras that are deemed inappropriate
      • BBC
      • Discovery
      • National Geographic
  • Blog search is available on the left navigation search panel. Filter results from the search engine to just blogs.
  • Google patents – find the original primary source documents regarding the filing for any particular patent.
  • Google applications – search for related applications to a search term.
  • Some google skills:
    • Generate questions
    • Identify key words
    • Select google tools
    • Analyze google snippets
    • Identify main ideas
    • Connect to questions
    • Evaluate resources
  • Bubbl.us – web graphic organizers for video, audio, graphics and text
  • If you search in Google by action words they will find videos
  • Reading Levels search by basic, intermediate, and advanced
  • Teach students that the url has changed after clicking on a Google result. You are no longer in Google. Teach them to look at the url address bar to see where they are “located”.
  • Analyze who created the page, why should we believe the information
  • Google Search stories – 7 options of searches (I have been asked to draft a direction sheet on this. I will do so shortly).
  • Google now has hotel finder and flight (show time and distance of any flight)
  • Google Elections
  • I know to Google myself to stay aware of what is written on the web. But use Google Scholar too to see if your referenced in articles.
  • http://www.goorulearning.org/ Gooru for learning tools
  • Google Science Fair
  • Gwigle Game (http://gwigle.varten.net/) to practice searching
What an amazing amount of material was covered quickly.

Fifth Session Attended:
Web Tools to Make Your Classroom Rock
Adam Bellow, 3:10 – 4:00 am
Twitter: @eduTecher

A second helping of information on tools to bring to our classrooms were showcased by Adam.
  • He mentioned that Educational technology should be about what the stuff let's us do, not about the stuff.
  • http://mentimeter.com/ A response system creator for phones
  • http://www.thinglink.com/ Make your images interactive
  • http://www.thinkbinder.com/ for online study groups
  • http://fur.ly/ shorten multiple urls into one easy url shortener
  • http://tildee.com/ How to direction list creator
  • http://www.wevideo.com/ Online video editor and collaborator
    • Private and shared libraries can be created
  • http://present.me Put yourself into your presentations. Video over slideshows overlay. Really cool tool. This was demonstrated to me at a DEN event in the fall. But I had unfortunately forgotten about this tool. Grateful for the reminder.
  • http://www.ujam.com/ Can't wait to share this one with teachers. This tool was very new too me. Record audio and convert to instrumentals
  • http://ifttt.com/ Great task created if this then that. Set up parameters to put the web to work for you.
  • http://www.stixy.com/ A popup sticky wall of notes. Similar to a wall of online Post-its
  • There is no finish line. Love that statement. The goal should be lifelong learner and tools constantly change. There really is indeed no finish line.
  • EduTecher, http://edutecher.com/, has a back pack feature where you can save your favorite tools
  • What fabulous resources for everyone to explore and possibly integrate!

What a great day of social learning and socializing! The day concluded with a raffle giveaway. One experience that was quite comical was when I was asked to choose one of the raffle tickets from the bag for the numbers to be called. I quipped, “I don't want to pull the raffle ticket. I want to have the winning raffle ticket.” The number I happened to choose was one digit away from my own number. Too comical for words. Thank you LHRIC for providing such an amazing day. Thank you presenters for a wonderful learning experience. And a very special thank you to the vendors that helped make the day possible.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Celebration of Teaching & Learning -Day 2 Notes

Celebration of Teaching and Learning
Day Two
March 17, 2012

The Celebration of Teaching and Learning (#CTL2012, http://thirteencelebration.org/) took place at the New York Hilton in Manhattan. This two day conference occurred during the weekend of St. Patrick's Day. In a time when teachers and education are being spoken of frequently and many times negatively, it was interesting seeing how many dedicated professionals would give of their time to attend such a conference. As always the sessions were diverse and informative. I will attempt to share my notes from the weekend. There is no way to capture the true nature of the event if you weren't in attendance. But hopefully some of what I learned can be passed on to others.

Here are some of my notes from the second day:

First Session Attended:
Unlocking the Key Tools for the 21st Century
8:30 am
Apple itunesU ny now free
Contest harvard encyclopedia of life
Training for google available through NY Teacher Centers
Intel Teach: Professional Development you can take or deliver
  • teach elements
  • self paced modules
  • get CDs of the instruction instead of online
  • Register as trainer and a kit will come out for facilitated model
  • Project based approaches available
  • Offered via nyscate in facilitated model
  • collaboration in a digital classroom module
  • good pregoogle tool
  • thinking critically with data module
  • common core APPR alignment
  • free teaching tools for 21stobservation century teaching
  • give students an id and password
  • setup groups by teacher
  • showing evidence tool elementary version
  • intel help guide
  • asessing projects
  • engage community and share idea to be entered in kindle fire raffle

Plenary Session:
10:30 am
WNET has an education deptartment
  • free PBSLearningMedia.org, http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/
  • video multimedia
  • Mission Us - middle school history game
  • Mission 2 - undergroundrailroad
  • Henry Winkler, I Can't seem to find a website regarding his being an author other than Amazon, but his bio is on http://thirteencelebration.org/blog/bios/michael-sandel/2862/
  • 29 books written
  • We talk about children but do little because they don't vote.
  • Shocked we don't light incense to educators.
  • Forced to teach same amount to child that gets it fast or slow.
  • He stated that what we do is Herculean. In a time of negative comments on the rise directed towards educators this was uplifting and refreshing.
  • If politicians spent the time and energy they spend on Women's Health issues on Education things would be very different in education.
  • Slicing and dicing with words can leave a child left with scars that remain forever
  • A certificate of appreciation for advocacy in children's literacy was awarded to Mr. Winkler.
  • Michael Sandel
  • Offering civic education broadly received
  • Questioning perspectives and challenging ideas with justice education.
  • Substantive discord

Friday, March 16, 2012

Celebration of Teaching and Learning

Celebration of Teaching and Learning
Day One
March 16, 2012

The Celebration of Teaching and Learning (#CTL2012, http://thirteencelebration.org/) took place at the New York Hilton in Manhattan. This two day conference occurred during the weekend of St. Patrick's Day. In a time when teachers and education are being spoken of frequently and many times negatively, it was interesting seeing how many dedicated professionals would give of their time to attend such a conference. As always the sessions were diverse and informative. I will attempt to share my notes from the weekend. There is no way to capture the true nature of the event if you weren't in attendance. But hopefully some of what I learned can be passed on to others.

Here are some of my notes:

First Session Attended:
  • Common Core standards put good teaching in our heads uniformally
  • There should be protocols for professional learning
  • Team based professional learning was discussed
  • School should foster engaged learning tied to assessments
  • Sharing expertise throughout the school
  • Create a culture that collaborative learning is expected to take place
  • Create community to leaders
  • Can change behavior before changing thought and beliefs and attitudes
  • Not just the leader alone but a leader is key
  • Shared values and beliefs
  • Innovation configuration map
  • Behaviors that lead to success.
  • Ideal to unacceptable...continuum
  • Continuous improvement
  • Collective responsibility

Plenary Session:
  • Find and focus on “moments of inspiration and creativity”
  • 20 countries attended
  • John King, Commissioner of Education spoke
  • Transformative power of classrooms
  • Professional Development video series on the Common Core available
  • Write with evidence
  • Metlife teacher survey was discussed
  • http://metlife.com/teachersurvey to read the study regarding the survey
  • Sal Kahn from the Kahn Academy shared his story
  • The Kahn Academy is a nonprofit making educational videos available at no cost to students
  • Engage students when they are ready for it
  • But contain the virtual/live human connection
  • I wonder if we can pull Kahn Academy videos into our google cloud?
  • 5th gr teaching assistants (give students responsibility)
  • Analogy shared: 80% foundation ..passed...80% first floor...passed...etc. By the time you reach the 8th floor construction quality will be down and perhaps whole building will fall
  • Jim Steyer from Common Sense Media discussed the Common Sense Media Survey
  • Schools are deeply uninvested in...We need to change...children should not be at bottom of totem poll just because they don't vote or pay taxes
  • Everything is educational good or bad
  • Fundamental social and emotional learning
  • commonsense media survey
  • “App gap”...less than 10% underprivileged download apps at home
  • Commonsense digital citizen curriculum available
  • Jim Steyer read A prayer for students... I think this one may have been it:http://jimkane.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/a-prayer-for-students-hump-day-prayer-for-11911/. It was rather moving talking about the weaker student and the promising student and was inspiring to help us all keep moving forward in our endeavor to educate today's youth and impact tomorrow's future.

Second Session Attended:
Tali Horowitz and Carla Espana presented on behalf of Common Sense Media
  • SESSION TITLE: Digital Citizenship for K-12: Connecting Students, Teachers, and Parents
  • A sample activity was shared. A digital image of a cheese counter...analogy drawn: favorites, try a new one, get sick from taking in too much... Then the question was posed what is your Digital life like?
  • Some one shared their simile...fitness center...tools but chose a few...feel good after using
  • 7.5 billon under age children on Facebook
  • Spring break is changing. Students don't want it showing up online...behavior changing according to NY Times
  • Dana Boyd...youth media use
  • digital footprints...create positive digital footprint
  • Common Sense Media Toolkit is aligned to NET-S and Common Core Standards
  • Rings of responsibility should be discussed with students
  • Ponder with students – What do I want my digital footprint in 10yrs to reflect? What do I need do now to reach that goal?
  • Rreal student vignettes included in toolkit
  • tip sheets are bilingual

Third Session Attended:
  • SESSION TITLE: Teacher Leadership is Key!
  • Presenters:
    Julie Torres, NBPTS, Dr. Linda Wood, NBPTS, Dr. Eric Wood, NBPTS, Holly Gamble, NBCT, and Kevin Mixon, NBCT
  • Video of Julie Torres from Arizona was shown
  • Who will be leading?
  • walk the walk...go through project yourself
  • Teachers need to feel empowered to lead
  • Mitchell20 project/film
  • Teachers are at bottom of power pyramid
  • relationships from teachers to central admin
  • Impact policy....conversation to decisions
  • Policy for our room
  • *personal technology policy*
  • shout it from the rooftops...What positive message do you wish your colleagues would hear?
  • Stuck in traffic...How do we exit?...change around the standards
  • Support to perform
  • “It is educational malpractice to have ineffective teachers in the classroom”
  • What 3 things will u try this week?...month?
  • Stages in education: fantasy...frustration...master...impact teaching

Idea sparked from the conference:
  • Embrace commonsense.org in New Rochelle... Former home of Thomas Paine author of Common Sense.