Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Fave gift? Don't know whether it was the humidor with a selection of 'gars, the new Samsung phone, or the Leatherman set, wow...
However, I have to say that my new ability to read the time on my wrist in binary has to be right up there!
I'm uploading a pic from my new cellphone as we speak :)
Monday, December 24, 2007
I use Netvibes to aggregate my RSS feeds. It's a cool tool that I would love to share with you, so here it goes on my list of "to be created" instructional videos. More on that later.
Meanwhile, I have been struck this week with how posts from so many of the education-related bloggers I follow (or "arse"=RSS, according to one particular German-British friend of mine) via my Netvibes interface are reflecting rather dramatically on how they are personally striving to re-examine the relevance of their own teaching practices, toward incorporating social networking, Web 2.0, and as-yet-unimagined new technology tools rekindle the relevance of education.
Vicki Davis, "coolcatteacher" blogger, starts with a poem, and cross-posts at the TechLearning bloggers' outlet. She argues that blogging is not the "death of writing," as many old garde have argued, but its evolution, and continues, warning about changes to come, that "...as we move forward to a society that can send and receive education any place any time from anyone, the best teachers will become SuperTeachers and the worst schools, districts, and teachers may find themselves completely without a job."
Sandy Wagner, "Ed Tech Administrator" blogger and head of a 5000 student school district in western NY, describes a student panel whose work resulted in his realization that "our students had anywhere from 60 to 600 contacts on their 'friends' lists. They are spending upwards of two hours a day communicating using these tools. More importantly, students said they would like to be able to contact teachers using these tools."
Jeff Whipple, prolific commentator at his "Whip Blog, musings about technology and education," points out challenges by writing, "Certainly the ability to build a global learning / work network will be a valuable tool in the next few years. My concern lies in the methods students used to generate traffic. Global citizenship will require not just connectedness, but value to that connectedness. Students soon found that more traffic can be generated by questionable content that content of redeeming social value. What do they learn from this? Where do we start the discussions of digital citizenship when the biggest library is but a click away from the world’s largest arcade, the world’s largest “TV/movie/music” store and the world’s largest porn shop?" I discovered Whipple's post, which you can read here (and should, since it talks about one educator's use of social networking to measure their grade by traffic on their websites) via David Warlick's commentary on it at David's 2Cents Worth blog.
It's all interconnected, ya'll. It's all common sense. It's not just some "kool-aid" radical trend. It's the way things are going. As Vicki opines, we are the teachers, we are in the best positions to help our students cope with what Ian Jukes calls "information overload." Let's all go out of the locker room, onto the playing field, and make a difference--one infused with kindness and love of learning...
Happy Holidays to you all, and to all a good day...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Teaching College Math Technology Blog: A Clever Video about Fair Use
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Charlie Bit My Finger--Again!
Little Kid Trying to Say "Blood"
and the "Blood" remix
Times have changed: We didn't even turn ON the tv tonite...
YouTube reports views in the millions for one of these and near that for the others. Clearly, times have changed...
Monday, December 17, 2007
You people who want retail clerks to holy up Christmas for you, listen to me. They’re clerks. They don’t make the rules. They’re just doing what the corporate weasels upstream tell them to do. It’s just like the greeters at PoFolks restaurants hollering, “Howdy! Welcome to PoFolks!” They’re just trying to move some merchandise while pissing off the minimum number of customers. Nobody’s going to kill Christmas.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Whether you're a teacher of young'uns, a momma or a poppa or any other flavor of caregiver, or even if you're just a grown-up lover of illustrated books, this project, as Karen says, "is impressive in its scope. It covers the world of children's read-aloud books with an array of authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, and others involved in children's literature."* I just listened to episode number 281 of "Just One More Book" and I highly recommend it to you. The hosts are knowledgeable, clever, and literate, and it's a shortie (~8 minutes).
Podcasts are a way to learn on the go, ya'll. If you have a long commute (or even just a short one), you owe it to yourself to treat yourself to this free, rich learning tool. Someone at a teacher's conference once made the remark that there are so many of them that "if you want to learn about cigar-smoking nuns in Wisconsin," all you have to do is seek out that podcast. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it is true that there are at least tens of thousands of podcasts available for free download, and most of them are free.
I have a linkset at del.icio.us that offers ways to learn about podcasts and extensive resources for learning how to do one yourself. Go learn!
*Knox, Karen. ""Just One More Book"." Borderlines, The quarterly newsletter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 64(2007): 1-2.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Today (the Ecstasy) I facilitated a fabulous interactive videoconference offered by the Vanderbilt Virtual School, a program about classical music featuring a chamber orchestra called Alias. Wonderful. Marvelous. Underappreciated and underutilized by the tens of thousands of classrooms across the nation that might have benefited from the chance to ask questions of professional classical musicians: The agony.
This week, my kids are all creating holiday cards for homeless folks and retirement village residents who may otherwise not receive anything loving or celebratory from friends or relatives, since--guess what--there are a lot of our fellow humans in the world who have neither. This will be facilitated by technology (.jpg files created in Powerpoint and the freeware Drawing for Children program) and by the local radio station Mix 92.9. I only hope they will utilize our kids' work even though some of it may not fit their "Christmas" mold. Our kids, in our eclectic, diverse, odd, inclusive, wonderful, one-of-a-kind independent school, will be creating "Holiday" cards. Sure, many will be Christmas cards, but we will provide Kwanzaa, Diwali, Hanukkah, and other cards as well. By the end of the week we'll have over 300 of them that I'll print and deliver to the station. Wish us luck. In the long run, of course, it's all about the process, now, isn't it?
Today I also witnessed and archived some fabulous presentations from the freshman class at the School for Math and Science at Vanderbilt, using ustream.tv, and I hope that those experiences will inform my presentations in San Antonio come summer, at NECC2008. Wish me luck.
Peace to you and yours as we barrel into the holiday season. Remember balance, and strive, ever, for that.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The "Big Discussion"
by Scott Merrick, Lower School Technology Coordinator
Those parents who may not be aware of the USN Lower School Technology for Learning webpage might add this resource to your set of tools to keep in touch with what’s going on with your child’s education: http://usnlstech.blogspot.com/. I have a serious interest in keeping up with the "Big Conversation" about what is needed to prepare our children for the world they will inherit from us. My developing knowledge about this conversation informs what is brought to the curriculum in our computer lab. It’s kind of a loop, actually, assuming one can stand back and look at it that way. Much of the larger conversation I keep track of and participate in through my main personal/professional blog at http://scottmerrick.net/. Here’s a picture of the "Clustrmap" that notes the global locations of people who have read that blog since just since April 2007:
In an era when lots of energy in the public schools seems to be going into, as Jeff Uctech notes, preparing our children to be experts in filling in circles with number two pencils, I believe we teachers need to be skating on the outskirts of perception and collaboration. Uchtech elaborates, "Standardized tests don’t allow a teacher to walk on the side of chaos in fear that what they might teach, what may be a different way of learning, will not be acceptable when filling in circles." http://www.thethinkingstick.com/?p=500
Our children’s lives when they are adults will be far different from ours, of that there is no doubt. Assuming that we are, as we like to think we are doing, educating the future leaders of our society, the future architects of our culture, I believe we owe it to them (and to those they will lead and for whom they will design) to expose them to the amazing colaborative tools that are being developed at such a rapid pace that no one can really keep up with all of them. They really need to "learn how to learn," because we do not know the facts they’ll need. We can’t.
That’s why what Chris Dede (along with others) calls "distributed knowledge" may be the key concept our students will need to grasp and embrace if they are to lead in a future we cannot even imagine. Long ago, to paraphrase David Warlick, our great-grandparents needed to memorize everything in order to access it, or to have it on the shelf in their library. If it was not in a book they had read and had purchased, information really wasn’t of much use. An expert on any topic might be three days’ communication time away from them. Today, because of email and Web 2.0 (anyone else using twitter.com?) an expert’s response may be only seconds away. You no longer need to "know" all the facts: You do need to know how to 1) find the facts, 2) discriminate between valuable, authoritative, and valid facts and those that are insubstantial or unreliable, and 3) be able to assimilate valid information into a useful format for whatever task you need it for.
Seems simple. It’s not. Many educators are just starting to sort it out. In the course of that, many of us are teaching on a day-to-day basis and trying to make sure that we’re doing the best we can. Be patient with us. Support us. And trust that we care and that we will proceed with both caution and informed instincts.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
There are so many things wrong with the above sentence, I won't even begin to rant: I've already ranted once today. But consider this, Google Apps for Your Domain in Education, capably and appropriately blogged by good ol' Chris at the infinitethinkingmachine. I want to say, "WTF," but the "W" is not "What" but, more to the point, "Why?"
This post is also a bit of an experiment. Check my Clustrmap in the right-hand column. There seems to be a lot of verified interest in this blog. Are my colleagues reading it? If you're a colleague of mine, please comment here. Hmmmmmm... If you're a teacher who cares about the future of our children and whether or not they'll be ready for it, please comment here. If you're a parent who is wondering about my sanity, please comment here.
I'll take a "Yo." More, if you have the time...
- Time to plan, collaborate, research, assess and adapt, build, and innovate (I tell them 3 to 4 hours a day — everyday).
- Classrooms that are equipped for learning in an abundant information environment, rather than an information-scarce environment (This means wifi, a laptop in every teacher and learner’s hand, one or more projectors in each classroom, and access to the emerging technologies that channel contemporary literacy).
- Permission to safely innovate and facility to engage in professional conversations about the changes needed for relevant education."
So, taking these items one at a time, how do we provide teachers with these necessaries? Well, I know for a fact that the most innovative teachers I know either get up early or stay up late in order to plan, collaborate, etc., and what--is that just a requirement of the profession? Remember we're talking about a profession universally undercompensated and often disrespected ("those who can't, teach") and currently manacled by massive government oversight and bureaucratic control. I simply don't think anything short of revolution will accomplish the meeting of mindsets from the myriad groups of human beings who have legitimate claim to a stake in the outcomes. Fly up the Freak Flag!
Secondly, where are the funds and the programmatic consensus to allot those funds going to come from? It may well be that a Democratic White House is a hope for steps toward this Warlickian Requirement (I am not a Democrat, by the way, nor a Republican), but who might doubt that most of the first years of any such administration will be spent working to undo the damage 8 years of Republican war-mongering has already (not to mention the further damage that might occur over the next 411 days, 10 hours--see the Bush Timer website to see how many are left when you are reading this)?
Lastly--and knowing David I'm certain this isn't really a completed list: he'll come up with more in future musings--who's going to grant those permissions in the current atmosphere of "accountability" measured by standardized test scores aligned to an agrarian educational system tied (even in some of the best private schools) to "sage on the stage" teaching methods?
I sigh. There's my rant. I don't often do that (I'm well aware that I'm criticizing without offering solutions) but David's reflections needled me into it. It's his fault: Go read the post that started all this. Cheerio...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
WARNING, NOT CHILD OR WORKPLACE SAFE! (due to some more or less grown-up humor).
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
SLedupotential--NECC collaboratively-contrived (by 9 educators in 9 different states)workshop proposal wiki:
SLeducation ning--recently launched socio-professional network at ning.com for stockpiling educationally relevant Second Life videos:
"Virtual or Virtually U: Educational Institutions in Second Life" Paper in the International Journal of Social Sciences, by Nancy Jennings and Chris Collins:
Kevin Jarret's Voicethread for K12onlineconference 2007:
and finally, (or not:), a presentation by Meredith Wesolowski (Meredith Snookums, SL) -- Introduction to Second Life for K12 Educators":
So I did "just read," and I suggest you do too.
That took me to another browser start page tab, my Netvibes, to its own "Education" tab (my netvibes tabs are, in order, left-to-right, "General, Education, Second Life, Music, News, and Technology"), where I clicked on David's most recent rss-fed entry, "Sometimes Size Doesn't Matter,", where he posts a few interesting rhetorical questions of his own.
Just thought I'd start out your day or evening with some impossible though thought-provoking questions. My apologies in advance. :)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Heheheee. I don't even recall what freeware program I used to create this picture, quite a while ago, but I discovered it yesterday when snooping around on my backup hard drive. I thought I'd share. Click to see it full-sized :)
Maybe I should be using this as a profile pic...
Into four weeks of teaching before Winter break. I'm hoping to make it my best four weeks ever.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The bar graph above illustrates (in order of their appearance in the lab) self-reported free choices exercised by my students in the Lower School Technology for Learning Lab this morning. It's the one day of classes this week, and as such I'm offering the full class session for free choice, as long as each time a student makes a selection it's noted on the board.
The graph was created in Google Documents, which we'll be using soon in the upper grades!
Everyone have a safe and fun and thankful break!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Included in the panel is USN alumna Stacey Goodstein, who spoke to our parents and faculty in an appearance on campus just last month. I'm hoping to include some audio from that talk in an upcoming Snacks4theBrain!
Here's the video:
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A quick googling of "'Second Life' 'Education'" might be a good starting place. Here, I've done it for you, saving you one more click :)
I was at the Conference on Information Technology Monday, cruising around gathering information for my Vanderbilt podcast, and though some of the hundreds of sessions available drew pretty good crowds, I have to say the only standing room only sessions I peeked into were those on Second Life (and one very interesting one on a 3D software platform for crime scene forensics education. I helped out a little in a session by John Miller, from Tacoma State College in Washington, about his NESIM (Nursing Education Simulation) Second Life site, and it was both fun and stimulating, not to mention enthusiastically embraced by the (yes, standing-room-only) attendees. That'll be the focus of my next podcast, due out in two weeks, with audio from the session and possibly even some video.
If all this picques your interest and you have a couple hours Saturday morning, there is a workshop inside Second Life for beginning educators hosted by Elven Institute, an association of real-world librarians. More info at the Elven Institute website.
Monday, November 05, 2007
I thank David for the quick heads up on this one, via my RSS feed of his 2 Cents Worth blog. I took the time to post it here in part because it actually brought me to tears. I'd be interested to see your responses commented here.
Here's the link to Wesch's page containing the video, entitled "A Vision of Students Today," in turn embedded from YouTube.
To post here, use your cell phone to text message to phone number 25622 any message beginning with "@helloscott" and followed by your message. The "@helloscott" will be stripped out of the display and the message will end up on my wiffiti screen, which is embedded below. Like Vicki's doing, I'm just exploring this: It's amazing how every day there seems to be some new clever communication platform emerging. If it's true that being a life-long learner increases longevity, we all should live forever! Wiffiti me!
Friday, November 02, 2007
Tom March put up what he calls a "little rant" at infinitethinking.org Tuesday about a New York Times op-ed piece by David Brooks. I want you to read the NYTimes piece, of course, but I want you to do so by way of March's very brief review of it.
Then go enjoy Brooks' remarkable little prose all about "the Sacred Order of the External Mind," It's good for a few chuckles, as well as its fair share of thought provoking moments, especially in combination with March's take on it. My own read is that Brooks is being not "a bit tongue in cheek," as Brooks describes it, but rather incredibly sarcastic. What do you think?
Have a minute?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Bookmark this site! And sign up for the listserv for once-a-month receipt of new publication announcements; I've just been approved to submit an article for a future special issue on education in Second Life--more news on that later...
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I want to share a little video I put up at TeacherTube a few minutes ago. My school's technology department is adding a little article each week on how our teachers are adopting technology, and I took the opportunity yesterday to drop in on Matthew Haber, USN's podcasting teacher and this year's Nashville Scene "Best High School Teacher" (USN's Joel Bezaire came in number 3:) just after he had attended an online webinar from ISTE. I've been to several of these, folks, and they are genuinely worth the hour of one's time and the 50 dollar fee an ISTE member pays. Visit the ISTE website to learn more. Meanwhile, here's the one minute vid:
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The official conference website has Wes Fryer asking bloggers to post three things they hope to gain by attending this year (remember, this is all online--all virtual--all digital).
Here are mine:
1) Making/renewing friendships with educators who are interested in making education better
2) Seeing how all this works, when facilitated by some of the best practitioners in the field, and discovering new tools or at least valid new use for tools I already know about
3) Adding one more thing to my already overwhelming to-do list!
Okay, the last one might be a little sarcastic, but since number 2 is really two things, I feel covered :)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Now to investigate the new Google Presenter. There's always something!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and before I forget it, an NSTA listserv email pointed me to its marvelous "Behind the Books" podcast series. Any educator can benefit from listing, especially if connected to the sciences!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
--Chris Lehman, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.
Chris is an award-winning educational technologist who has taken his views on the potential of new teaching and learning tools to turn around the decline of our schools into his work at SLA. I will be spending this week catching up on his blog archives. Want to join me? Visit Practical Theory -- A View from the Classroom. Last one to understand it all is a rotten egg...
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
In the "the sun never sets on fun education news" department, I direct your attention to the most recent news posting at the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach's scienceoutreach.org website, which in turn sends you on over to the Learning Sciences Institute 's website's article on our new School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt. According to the news announcement at sciencoutreach.org, "the Learning Sciences Institute (LSI) is a Vanderbilt University-wide center dedicated to stimulating and supporting interdisciplinary research and development in the learning sciences."
"The School" is an innovative project to bring 100 Metro Nashville Public School students to Vanderbilt University campus research laboratories for one day a week the entire school year. For this year's incoming freshmen it's a four year commitment that will culminate in a special notation on their high school diploma and provide them with skills and experience to pursue careers in scientific research and practice. For some audio detail and a fun video from the freshman class's week two experience, get on over to Snacks4theBrain! episode 60!
So, yes, I do that, then I log off and cook breakfast for my boy and me!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Wow. If "Lady Lover" isn't a single I don't know what is. "She Walks the Streets Alone" might be the B side, or then again maybe that's the single.
David, a brilliant and amazingly centered young fellow, originally (I do believe) from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He's been giving my beautiful son Colin guitar lessons every week for about a year, to the point at which Colin's already writing songs and has performed one of them in concert in front of his 5th grade peers (Colin's either stage-bound or just picking up valuable life skills with performance--he's the only pre-teen in the amazingly successful "Shakespeare in the Park" series this summer) and considers noodling on my guitar (a sleek black Scotty Moore-signed Gibson SG-Standard which he may not know is now really his) as natural a free-time choice as watching Spongebob or surfing Club Penguin.
Anyway, git on over to David's website then pop onto iTunes and buy "Love Like a Symphony," David's long-awaited solo offering, independently produced and one of the most hauntingly lovely compilations of original music I have ever heard. The production values are top-rate, the complex arrangements are flawlessly accomplished, and the kind and loving spirit of this good man soar through each song and will lift your own spirit. You'll thank me for this.
I even offer a new genre label for this stuff: "Intellapop." Comment here on what you think about that title. Sure, it's mainstream-geared, but sure, "Love Like a Symphony" is intelligent and thoughtfully done at every turn.
*Scott puts on Bronx accent*: "Just do it."
I probably could've left off with the first paragraph. If you missed it, here it is again:
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Vickie Davis bellied up her counter-opinion in her blog, CoolCatTeacher. What to YOU think?
Comment here (or anywhere--just comment!).
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Congrats, brother. It's about time!!!
Grab a visit to Jimmy's official website from the navbar to the right!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Watch for more video from our Lower School, after Technology Director Kathy Wieczerza put one FlipVideo camera device in the hands of each grade level, K-4 during our final day of start-of-the-year teacher inservice on Tuesday. These handy little devices record internet-ready video at the touch of a button, store 30 minutes of video instantly uploadable to one's computer via the flip-out USB plug, and host the imaging software on the device, so there's no software to load on your computer, PC or Mac. Best of all, they can be bought for about 90 dollars at Costco and other local outlets, a much better price than the 139 dollars they retail for at the company's website.
If you're a teacher, the fine folks at FlipVideo offer a 10 dollar rebate per unit on purchases of 3 or more at a time. Wow.
USN Outdoor Education teacher Cynthia Lee took a Flip on a summer Kindergarten trip to Wyoming and recorded some funny footage at Yellowstone Park. It's hosted on TeacherTube, a sort of a YouTube for educators and students...
Here it is:
Friday, August 10, 2007
In my own school, it has been a great treat for me to be around the most dedicated group of educators I can imagine. I'm going to pop in a little video from the first inservice day breakfast, in which our fearless leader Vince Durnan cajoles us out into the 100 degree heat for a mass portrait on our front steps. One reason I'm doing this is to have a readily accessible video to share with my teachers when I hand out the grade-level FlipVideos we're buying, one for each grade level K-5. The other is for the world to see our professonal community at a rare moment of rest. We'll all be at work soon enough! Here's the video:
Monday, July 30, 2007
If there's one terminology that could supplant the now hackneyed "Web 2.0," maybe it's that, Online Collaborative Tools. There you go: "OCT for Us." You heard it here first.
But meanwhile get thee on over to the wiki (see the blog if you'd like--it's really cool to watch the clustrmap to see the dot or two that gets added on the world map every day) to see (especially) the Individual Report-Outs, the Links and Files, and the News, to which I added just today.
Perhaps your fellow teachers could benefit from a week (or a day, or two, or three) of this kind of learner-driven, self-paced, exploration of the new OCT. If so, I have two alternatives to offer you: 1) visit the wiki and spend some time exploring the tools that we share with you there, most of all Kathy Schrock's list of applications and our own shared resources in the Links and Files page, or B) (sic) email me to begin to talk about schedule. I'm thinking I might take this one on the road, this year on weekends, next summer for a week at a time. Why? It works...
Life is good.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Well, predictably, I suppose, the day came, the moments of excitement came and went, and it all worked out the way it should have. See the results of the first day from the USN Web 2.0 for Us workshop here. Especially check out the Report-Out pages on the wiki. Very good stuff.
Kudos to my friend David Warlick who came in via Skype video (we lost our own video due to some un-troubleshootable problem with my webcam and my laptop, but we forged ahead) to deliver most of a marvelous talk of his about Web 2.0 and Literacy. See the page he created for it here. Wow, I say, just Wow.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Thank you Zsuzsa Thomsen! You ROCK! I SAW you with that videocam. You did a great job of grabbing pieces of the hour and a half fun-fest that Jeremy and I did before he lost every electronic connection he had when his power went out from the San Antonio thunderstorm. It's always something!!!
"If my 11 year old is so tech savvy, what about her little 4 year old cousin who's doing things Chloe didn't do until she was 8? The question I want to ask is "are we ready for these kids?"
Chris showed the video I shared with my teachers just three weeks ago, Mike Wesch's "The Machine is Us." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE .
- applicability to classroom--content, needs, standards
- ease of use
- student safety and information literacy
- teacher tech savviness and student media literacy
- copyright and fair use concerns
- tapping into the myspace mind
"The digital divide that we do have control over" is who gets computer time in school. What happens now is that the kids who have all the tech at home get the most computer time at school."
"You can have this whole PowerPoint if you want it. Just copy it, delete my name and add yours...I don't care."
Wikis offer collective editing--a whole roomful of teachers editing a document
On Wikipedia, "the benefit of collective intelligence is also collective ignorance. Absolutely tell your students to use Wikipedia, but let's put it in the context of curriculum and tell the ppl who contribute to Wikipedia "Listen, the person who's coming after you is my 11 year-old so you better make sure your information is correct because she's going to research and correct it if it's not."
Losing track at the moment because I'm getting so into this talk. It will all be online at http://ecb.org/ within the week.
The SREB (Southeastern Educational Review Board) "Online Learning Institute" in the Omni Hotel is going great guns. NECC 2007 officially concluded with the stunning 2:45 keynote address by Dr. Tim Tyson, principle at Mabry Middle School here in Atlanta, a school where administrators and technologists (and, more importantly, teachers) "get it." All the keynotes are, or will soon be, available at the NECC2007 website. Any of my readers or colleagues who may wonder just why it is that I'm so passionate about the immense societal changes that technology is working upon the way children learn and the way(s) we should be teaching them, please go listen to Andrew Zoli's opening keynote; the archived panel discussion ("Why Creativity and Innovation Matter") that he moderated on Tuesday; or Dr. Tyson's closing Keynote.
Or, if you want to cut to the chase, get to the ECB website and hear the opening keynote by educational technologist and futurist Dr. Chris Dede, Wirth Professor of Learning Technologies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As tired as I was by 4:30, Dr. Dede made me sit up and take notice in the Hotel Omni's Ballroom E, linen tableclothed tables surrounded by sort of the upper eschelon of NECC attendees (you could tell that by the coats and ties, and the generally subdued response and Dr. Dede lobbed one explosive concept after another off the podium) when he said that he has "the dubious distinction of holding an endowed chair at Harvard in a field in which I have had only one course in my life. The course was in 1967. It was in a programming language that no longer exists. I used punch cards. And I hated the course it drove me out of the field for the next eight years. We have to do better for this generation."
Another zinger, somewhat paraphrased: "A generation from now there will only be two skills our students will need to to have mastered in order to have a successful professional life. They are: 1) expert decision making (what does your skilled auto mechanic do when all the diagnostics say that your car is working but it isn't), and 2) complex communication skills--the ability to make meaning out of complexity."
Following the keynote, groups broke out into 10 Round Table discussion groups that will follow each Panel Presentation for a total of three Round Table sessions, at which participants can repeat their choice or choose another (I chose Tools and Resources (see below). Here's the list:
- Designing Online content
- Online Facilitation
- StrategiesAccessibility: 508 and 504 in Online
- ProgramsOngoing Professional Development,
- Mentoring and Coaching for Online Instructors
- Overview of Course Management Systems for Online Learning Online
- Assessment and Assessing OnlinePartnerships and Stakeholders
- Tools and Resources for Online Learning
- Web 2.0 Tools
- Establishing your Online Program: Marketing Retention and Incentives
Each table had a facilitator and a notetaker and I'm suspecting notes will be online after the session ends at 4:00 pm tonite. (Note: Still not available--will revise here when the notes and audio are online)Okay, I was somewhat dreading putting in yet another day of sharing and learning about education, but here I am; and as I stumbled out of the reception following the opening session of the "online learning institute" I felt kind of like I always feel when I let my wife drag me to church on Sunday. Not having really wanted to go, I felt better.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I fnally feel like my "Windows Podcasting: Tips, Tricks, and sTragegies for Success" session today is fleshed out enough with talking points and resources for me to talk non-stop for 50 minutes without making a complete fool of myself. Going to take a walk through the conference center after uploading those resources to the ISTE site.
Most of what I'm sharing is now on my new de.licio.us page, so if you're busy elsewise feel free to learn from there!
Had planned to give away two flipvideo recorders but since they haven't arrived from the company yet that plan may be thwarted. I do have some books and other fun stuff from a commercial company that contacted me to offer them, as well as a Griffin iMic and perhaps a few other things, so come buy if you are feeling lucky!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Sitting in a room with ten white linen-draped tables each populated by four or five teachers or administrators so interested in learning how to get some of the millions and millions of available grant dollars that they got up early on Sunday a.m. to come to this three hour seminar/workshop (heck I already told you I ran here) and I'm going to bullet some points as Sheryl talks:
- collaborate when you write grants--there's power in collaborative thinking
- think strategically and intentionally
- bring people into the process who have expertise in the field
- her district just got the million dollar Teaching History grant from the USDE
- review the literature and identify funders--this is hard but it's the easiest thing you'll do
- weave in a reference to successful research and or grant in the same field
- be a grant reader -- you can volunteer to read grants for local, state, or corporate grant-givers (the insight you will gain will make you an immeasurably better writer as well as help you find funders most likely to fund your project)
- often your grant doesn't have to be the best--if there are 20 to be awarded you're fine being the 20th best
- analyze the RFP (Request for Proposal) carefully
- follow format for submissions precisely -- if the RFP says 500 words, a proposal with 501 will be tossed out summarily, as will a .9 inch margin when a 1 inch margine is required
- get clarification if you need it (and if you don't--you're calling to chat people up makes you familiar to the grant-givers: Find someone who will talk to you!)
- Bubbles (Sheryl passed out bubbles and had the attendees blow them to illustrate how the grant-writers see the "roomful of grant applications" and emphasize that yours needs to be differentiated by precision and mission
- Clearly state who is applying (144 3rd and 4th graders at an independent K12 school and their collaborating students, 200 5th graders in Kobe, Japan)
- Cite prior successes, reframe earlier or ongoing projects
- Give the grant to a non-educator to ensure that it's jargon-free
- FUNDERS FUND GRANTS THAT ARE NEEDY BUT NOT DESPERATE--They will fund grants that they think have a chance for success and if you are hopeless and helpless the response is "I can't help them..."
- Your Needs Statement is precise and to the point, directly relates to the priorities of the district/school as well as those of the funders, is stated in terms of the student/staff to be helped (not the grant-writers'), makes no assumptions, and makes a compelling argument (the art of it)
- Objectives are clear statements of the outcomes expected--great description of the importance of connecting budget to objectives--readers color-code each objective and match budget items to each one and there had better be a balance and no objectives unmatched by a proportionate amount of budget items
- The budget is very specific
- If you include people in your grant be VERY careful--increases in health care, salary increases, etc. can well lose you staff mid-stream due to lack of research up front--check with your payroll person, etc.
- If your grand does not get funded do not give up, ask for readers' comments or ask for someone to call
- Look for rubrik and give it to your pre-reader to score it--you may have to ask for it
- You will never get a grant if you don't keep writing it
Notes for me:
issues--develop higher order thinking skills, improve access to technology for solving curriculum-based problems, Adult education--does it exist? are its methods the latest?, staff development,
(This post is currently in process--stay tuned)
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Made it down for the start of the edubloggercon "unconference," a jewel of an experience that was so inspirational it may as well have been the entire motivation for my driving down here. The morning session saw me chatting with Vicki Davis, a premier blogger who's CoolCatTeacher blog is a great resource for everyone. The room was full of active conversations as bloggers paired up to "interview" one another in order to flesh out the profiles on the edubloggercon site.