Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do we choose our passion or does our passion choose us? #edchat

Tonight I joined over 500 participants in an online presentation featuring Sir Ken Robinson and hosted by Steve Hargadon at http://learncentral.org.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sir Ken Robinson's work I recommend that you start here, but for the sake of brevity his message is about passion. 

I had been eagerly anticipating this event which I learned about through the Infinite Thinking Machine blog about a week ago.  I even spent the hours leading up to this evening's event by following and participating in the #edchat discussion taking place in Twitter which was devoted Sir Robinson's theme of passion in education. Very geeky, I know.

For the record. I did not set out to be an educator.  As a result, I'm not officially considered one.  I spent the entirety of my University experience taking literature courses, art classes, and creative writing workshops with the understanding that I was going to be a poet and an artist, or at the very least a Bohemian barrista in some funky underground coffee house.  That was my passion. Then I graduated.

I have spent just about every day since working with youth in settings ranging from homeless shelters and Boys and Girls Clubs to core academic settings working as a classroom aid and my current position as a technology integration consultant.  This is my passion now.  Working with students and teachers using technology to learn and share and hopefully nurture our passions together.

I refer to myself as an edtech accident.  But there are no accidents - I just can't get over my surprise that this is what I love to do.  I love putting off my homework (to become a real teacher) so that I can join a lot of passionate educators who also dig the funny box you're staring at right now in a conversation that is complex, incomplete, and capable of transforming our educational system.  It is not if, it is when.  Which is why there is fear.

Passionate people are scary. We take risks. We ask difficult questions. We are not afraid to answer them.

We also make mistakes, get carried away, or unfairly dismiss the misgivings and struggles of others. We do not always inspire others with our passion, believe me!

I must also cultivate compassion.  I cannot allow my passion to close me off to other opinions or opportunities.  But neither should I stifle the kinetic and creative energy that I've found or found me - I'm not sure which.  I'm not sure that it matters.

Tomorrow I will ask my students (and colleagues) as they come into our building about their passions as a part of my ATA Question of the Day.  I'll let them answer on netbooks or their cell phones, ask others face to face, and give those who aren't in the mood a smile. I'll let them all know that I love what I do.  It's who I am. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Video Tutorial - Submitting Google Docs in Moodle

Tracking  and evaluating student work in Google Docs using the share features can be a bit daunting if you are not meticulous about your organization of folders.  

Another option is to have students submit their Google Docs in Moodle as an "Online Text" assignment by pasting the URL link from the Google Doc (note: this only works if the link is copied from the Share link feature under the share tab)  

This tutorial walks through the steps of adding an "Online Text" assignment submission link and demonstrates how students would share their Google Doc link to your Moodle course.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Link of the Week #12 - MailChimp

Email Marketing and Email List Manager | MailChimp

The excitement of another MACUL conference has started to wane and routine has started to set in, so I was excited when I received an e-newsletter from John Sowash. He used a web service called MailChimp to design and deliver a dynamic html styled newsletter to the mailing list he had gathered during his presentation.

John's e-newsletter stood out from the other messages in my inbox because MailChimp allows you to use templates and html coding to deliver what is essentially a web page embedded in an e-mail.

Another great feature is the unsubscribe option. Not everyone who gave me their e-mail address wants to continue receiving updates or links to the video tutorials I make.

Setting up a Free account allows you to send 3000 "campaign" messages per month before prompting you to upgrade. I could see teachers using this a means of delivering their class newsletter or having students produce a persuasive argument campaign.

There are also built in tools for building your social networks like twitter or to promote websites and blogs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alan November - #macul10

Alan November - #macul10 

Adding technology to a classroom will not change learning by itself

Teachers do not have the right information they need to teach well

Students do not have the right information they need to learn well

Neither Teachers or students have the right relationships

Schools continue to look the same after another decade of technology

We are all a bunch of "techno lusting nerds" in a "technology ghetto"
  • makes it hard to see what needs to change

Why did the majority of the people in the room get the wrong answer to a question which we should have all been able to answer correctly?
  • When someone has a misconception it is very hard to change that learning
  • unlearning?
  • The mental model could be inaccurate or incomplete

If I (the teacher) do not understand the students misconceptions then all new related learning is lost to that misconception
  • We have to unteach before we teach
  • Students are passing assessments without understanding the important fundamental principles taught
  • Is Alan "unteaching" us right now? I'm not sure.
  • Showing a chart where the right answer has a plurality of the correct answers but the total of wrong answers is higher.

Teacher's do not have the right information at the right time to teach effectively
  • Too much is invested in the teacher delivery method
  • We have to invest in getting the information needed to be learned

Research shows that mistakes made on homework gets baked in and is reflected in assessments.

Talking about "teach naked" method of instruction - Class time is for doing the work and home is for...(didn't get a clear answer)

How do I correct a misconception if I know what the misconception is?
  • Teacher's don't write the text books which are doing nothing to address and specific misconception
  • Suggests using google queries and tagging to get at the right questions we need pose to students to get at the misconception
  • We want the students to come up with the questions too

  • Tutorials created by students
  • Giving up control over learning

Every teacher is a learner and every learner is a teacher
  • Just dissed smartboards (Hearing that a lot today!)
  • We have underestimated the child's value to contribute to the learning

High Tech High School in California
  • Students are given a list of the most difficult terms to learn in that class
  • Students are challenged to use any means necessary to learn and teach those terms and concepts
  • screencasting, screencasting, screencasting
  • David Britten
    RT @TGustafson: RT @concretekax: My list of free, online screencasting tools http://bit.ly/7DOK4f #macul10

Start bringing 2 students with every teacher to Professional Development
  • Teachers pay more attention (accountability)
  • Students dive in, ask interesting questions, don't want to wait to get started

Global Connections and Video Conferencing, Video Conferencing, Video Conferencing!
  • The grandmother network
  • Start in Kindergarten in every school

Roles for Students - the class note taker (google docs), project at end of class and generate discussion of strengths and missing information, correcting misconceptions.

  • Solve any equation and shows the steps
  • search technology is disruption our notions of Control


Bethany Beaudrie - #Macul10 Twitter a...

Bethany Beaudrie - #Macul10 Twitter and Facebook in the Classroom

4th grade elementary teacher sharing her journey of implementing facebook and twitter in classroom

  • Bethany went from no Facebook or Twitter In one year's time
  • Became interested because of a personal business
  • Parents and students were asking "Are you on Facebook
  • How do I separate the personal and the professional

Suggestion for Facebook
  • Recommend using the "add pages" in Facebook as a way to separate personal and professional
  • Groups was also an option
  • Pages have "fans" - no commitment and a publicly available url that does not require a facebook login (activates one you have 100 fans)
  • Groups have members and administrators
  • Settings are crucial - she is not allowing post backs
  • Helps to get the word out to parents/communicate
  • Attaches the Follow Me message on e-mails
  • Taking screenshots of Facebook page to share parent comments from the "fan" page with the students.  Sharing positive comments, extending the conversation

Twitter - @mrsbeaudrie

Implementing Facebook
  • Using a dry erase board and asking "What will you share?"
  • Students post all day long
  • Make one post per day
  • Sharing how her son's pre-school is using shutterfly to share photos
    • Changes when we ask our children "What did you do at school today?"
  • The twitter post is student updated using a classroom computer
    • Bethany tries to provide some editorial help but also give room for the student work
  • 140 characters is emphasizing concise writing
    • shallow vs. deep thoughts
  • Age restrictions (under 13) must involve the parents
  • Will not allow students to use real names (safety concerns)
  • Applies classroom "umbrella" rules to digital citizenship

  • Started collaborating with a class in Maine
  • Compare and contrast themes
  • Data collection
  • Get answers and input from other students

Bumps in the road
  • Parents involvement has started out slowly
  • but student interest is high
  • The parents are on Facebook the next step is to have them become a "fan"
  • Facebook is still blocked at her school
  • Decided to use blackberry (cell phone) to post during school hours

Using Co-tweet to aggregate the district educators and present all of the streams as a unified twitter identity.  Interesting way to generate standards and accountability. (my thoughts)

Class twitter account is generally set to "protected" for privacy concerns

Always reminding parents and stakeholder about the facebook and twitter accounts via e-mail, newsletter, and verbally


Liz Kolb - #macul10 Cell Phones in Learning Part 2

Liz Kolb - #macul10 Cell Phones in Learning Part 2


1:1 program at Liz's school ran out of funding: sustainability is huge!

Announcing her picture on the fly contest from yesterday's session - Using Google Forms for voting! Winner is Pic of texting while driving "technology don't"

  • moving letters scrambled. Text in a word you could make.
  • Tied to a billboard in NY Times Sqaure
  • Works from the website as well
  • Global answers being posted in real time

  • students could do a keyword business campaign
  • create keyword cards for scavenger hunts
  • text kithard to 50500  for mine

  • no student login needed
  • create visual picture boards (make a collaborative digital story)

  • Allows for cross posting to blogs and wikis without having to embed! (Very cool)
  • I (Kit) started using this after gcast.com went to premium model
  • Useful in Language classes

  • Create a local # for calling
  • Only associates with a real phone # once you set it up
  • Set up groups and give custom greetings (post assignments, have students respond to a question or prompt)
  • FREE calls to Canada!
  • Read your voice mail messages, listen to them on the web or your phone
  • Have students call the number, then associate their name and assign to a group
  • You can receive and send texts for FREE! (Can only send group messages to 5 at a time)
  • You can record phone calls (document and archive a parent phone call) It will announce to both parties that the call is being recorded
  • Record an interview
  • Google Voice Video tutorials http://www.youtube.com/googlevoice

  • pre-built scavenger hunts for some museums or public places
  • build your own
  • create geo-located virtual tours, games, interactive experiences
  • uses keyword texts
  • School Orientations (Oohs and aahs from the crowd)
  • Set time constraints on length of games
  • Send out time warnings (5 minutes before field trip ends)
  • Stagger starts
  • Works with text messaging, web interface, and smart phones
  • You can embed clues and hints
  • allows random or linear clue delivery
  • Video feature is on the way
  • you can assign grades or points to submissions

  • Uses qrcodes or 2d barcodes
  • Only about 60% of current phones have the ability to read qrcodes
  • Link homework help, weblinks, contact info, using the qrcode posted on website or printed (student pulls out phone and takes picture of code rather than getting a handout)
  • Paste in your class syllabus, student takes pic, they can read it on their phone
  • Math teacher using qrcodes on all assignments

  • make an avatar on the website and then narrate from a phone
  • having an account allows you to edit or save recordings
  • uses a 1-800 number
  • Create an historical character for history class

  • Generate a podcast for any website url and a corresponding phone # for students to call
  • Use when internet access is unavailable

John Sowash - #Macul10 Wiimote smartb...

John Sowash - #Macul10 Wiimote smartboards for $100.00

Smartboards allow students to get up and interact with their environment
  • Physically engaging
  • Encourages higher order thinking skills
  • Improve motor skills
  • Interacts with Web 2.0
  • Reduces sage on the stage instruction

Johnny Chung Lee - The originator of the wiiboard

Josh made his own ir pen 2 years ago.
  • could be good electronic class project but otherwise ... 

Now there are commercial made ir pens available.

IR lights don't light up light an incandescent bulbs.  Use a digital camera or video camera to see the light.

Penteractive.us is the least expensive option
Irpensonline for elementary - no clicking needed

Requires the .NET framework

  • Smoothboard.net - 30 dollars now but most full featured (does have free trial)
  • Pentabulous is free
  • Java whiteboard - only one for the mac

  • Integrated blue tooth
  • Connect the wiimote hold the player 1 and 2 buttons simultaneously
  • Run the whiteboard software (when it's connected the player 1 button should light)
  • Calibrate
  • 70% or better Tracking utilization gives best accuracy
  • Permanent mounting of wiimote is important
  • You can to a doupble wiimote cross
  • John used a camera tripod to mount the wiimote at the presentation and got a 52% accuracy
  • Penteractive ceiling mount clips into drop ceiling rails ($30)
  • Training the students is key (Whoa! there's a wiimote strapped the ceiling!)
  • Threaded wiimote cover ($3)

  • Google Earth was made for the this system
  • Google SketchUp
  • Review Games
  • Protein Modeling
  • Virtual Cell - Pearson
  • Assessment and review
  • Virtual Knee surgery
  • Timeline Creation
  • Concept Maps

Station activities make this system effective for encouraging student use

Assessment and Review
  • Google Web quizzes and have students come up and answer collaboratively

Battery life varies on use
  • The software monitors the wiimote battery life
  • rechargables
  • usb chargers

Mimeo works well with the wiiboard software
  • several support networks for this

  • wiimoteproject.com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cool Cat Teacher - #MACUL10 Victoria Davis: Se...

Cool Cat Teacher - #MACUL10 Vicki Davis: Seven steps to Flatten Your Classroom

Knowing where to focus: Our plates our full.  How are we going to add global collaboration to our to-do-list

How do we tackle problems: Find a few vital behaviors and change them; everything else falls in line.

Kaizen = Japanese Slow,Steady, Improvement

Pick your big 3 from this conference.  What will start doing immediately. Monday!

Influencing deep beliefs
  • NOT Lectures
  • NOT Personal Action
  • Yes, Vicarious Experience (watch someone you trust doing something you fear or resist)

What is a Flat Classroom?

Eracism Project - Voicethread debate
Digiteen Project - Digital citizenship project

10 World Flatteners - outsourcing, technology, etc.

Marzano - Ideal group setting (3 students) but the flat classroom project uses 6 person groups
  • using time differences and scheduling variance to reduce negative impact of 6 person groups

Showing a rubric for student produced video
  • All students must produce their own Video (producer)
  • The outsource part of their production (partner) 

    • collaboration sometimes breaks down but learning still occurs

Education is still stuck in the silent movie era

Showing examples of student video work; students as video currators pulling in authentic global voices.

Worst problem with online writing is verbal "diareah"
  • Importance of being conscise
  • Using Contextual Hyperlinking
  • Not Social Networking: Educational Networking
  • Online presentation skills using webex, dimdim, Adobe Connect
  • Using one jpeg image and online presentation to summarize project

Five Phases of Flattening your Classroom - see presentation diagram
  • High expectations
  • Intra connected (classroom)
  • Inter connected (classes - school)
  • Managed global 
  • Student to Student (with teacher management)
  • Student to Student (with student management)

There are finite # of International Schools
  • Who ever builds those relationships first . . .
  • Use connections to friends over seas

7 Principles
  • Peer review is crucial
  • Diversity
  • Personal Learning Networks (RSS is huge, tagging #WHS)
  • Citizenship and Problem Solving (effective techno personal skills)Teacherpreneur's Environment
  • Customized and Differentiated

    • Online existence (answer your e-mails, communicate)
    • Digital Citizenship is required to be taught if you receive e-rate funds

  • IT improvements
  • All stakeholders working together

Liz Kolb- Connecting student cell pho...

Liz Kolb- Connecting student cell phones to classroom instruction.

Sustainability - as a tech coordinator, Liz felt that she was always struggling to technology into the hands of students and teachers.  Personal mobile devices seemed like one solution.

http://contxts.com - virtual business card using text message

Philosophy of BYOT - "Bring Your Own Technology"

Basic phones have many functionalities.  Basic txt messaging. MMS texting, phone calling

Cellphones are great because they "extend learning"

Also a useful Assistive Technology solution

Using wiffiti in Spanish class to anonymous editing of writing skills
KWL brainstorm
Grouped work

Film on the Fly: txt messaging film campaign.  The receive txt assignment from PBS. 48 hours to report.

Liz turned it into picture on the fly.  Find examples of Progress? or Progress!

Macul Picture on the Fly activity.  Using textmarks.com

Phone a friend: text a friend - pick one best person to get your answer from

Translated Shakespeare into txt speech. Voting on best translations.

drop.io - teacher examples
  • museum scavenger hunt
  • ringtone periodical table rap
  • Author study - conduct an interview or record an author

  • Algebra quadratics assignemnt - yodio

Live podcasting

Surveys and quizzes

Note taking and organization:
  • dial2do.com

    • useful as an assistive technology
    • speech to text translation
    • listen to websites and newsfeeds


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Link of the Week #11: Urgent Evoke - A crash course in changing the world.

Urgent Evoke - A crash course in changing the world.

Here's an interesting social networking "game" designed to engage participants in quests and missions which develop a deeper understanding and application of Collaboration, Courage, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Local insight, Knowledge, Networking, Resourcefulness, Spark, Sustainability, and Vision.  Players develop these "powers" by tackling real world  problems such as poverty, water and food security, education, and human rights.  

The game was devoloped using the Ning social networking platform, but has a very different feel from other social networks like Facebook.  This is Facebook with a mission and a very convincing atmosphere.  Check out this trailer for Urgent Evoke.

EVOKE trailer (a new online game) from Alchemy on Vimeo.

Is this worthy of the classroom?  Better question may be is this worthy of what education could or should become? Informative, Engaging, Participatory, Authentic, Structured.

Looks like some Hardcore problem based learning to me.

Shout out to http://twitter.com/techsavvyed for sharing this resource.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Screencast: How to reset a Google Form

Google Forms does not provide an easy way to reset your form data or clear results from the Google Spreadsheet. This screencast follows the step-by-step directions found at Abhi's Weblog http://bit.ly/cy6IhK.

Make sure you follow the directions closely and be sure to practice on a Form before trying this on a Form containing important data.

- How to reset a Google Form.mp4

Screencast: Create a collaborative bookmarking and research resource using #GDocs Forms.

Social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo are great, but setting up student accounts and teaching students how to use these sites can be time consuming.

Here is a video tutorial on using Google Docs Forms to build a quick collaborative bookmarking and research resource for your class. 

- Screencast: Create a collaborative bookmarking and research resource using #GDocs Forms.
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Screencast - Getting Started with Google Docs Forms.mp4

I'll be presenting "Transforming your classroom with Google Docs Forms" at the annual Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference in Grand Rapids, MI on March 11 @ 10 a.m.  

This screencast introduces Google Docs Froms as a "gateway" to the Google Docs Spreadsheet.  It also highlights the various types of data which Forms allows you to collect and the graphical summary generated by that data. 

- Getting Started with Google Docs Forms.mp4

Screencast - Using Google Forms on an ipod touch or other mobile device

In this tutorial I demonstrate how to use your Google Form on a mobile device such as an iPod touch or web enabled smart phone.

Using a mobile device with forms could be ideal for quick interview style formative assessments with students or small groups. Or you might hand the student the device and allow them to enter their responses.

I'd love to hear how you might use Forms on a mobile device in your classroom in the comments section.

To learn more about using Google Docs Forms click here.

ScreenToaster - Using Google Forms on an ipod touch or other mobile