Sunday, December 08, 2013

It's quiet at the blog. Too quiet.


Up early on an icy winter Sunday morning I realize I've neglected my blogging, perhaps unforgivably. While blogging may now be considered passé by some these days I do still believe in it.

This belief may not be apparent for anyone who took note of the closure of the Bloggers Hut at ISTE SIGVE in Second Life this past July, after five years of monthly updates at Oh!VirtualLearning! and inside the little hobo shack that had been its home since moving to ISTE SIGVE from ISTE Island after its own demise. As explained at the blog post just noted, I am just so busy these days with my virtual school, an online public school in the creation of which I'm so immensely proud to have had a part, that I've yielded much of my advocacy for virtual worlds to other more capable hands.

I do continue to support their efforts when I can, by attending inworld events like the Virtual Education Round Table, by microblogging via Twitter and Facebook, and by attending weekly SIGVE Office Hours and events when I can. But it's a measure of my distance that I completely missed this weekend's Minecraft and More Unsymposium online all day yesterday and the day before. I hope to catch up on its archived glory this week, and I'm thankful for all who did participate, as we seem to see more and more activity in virtual worlds with the advent of Minecraft and the continuing success of the World of Warcraft teacher community. Still, it seems we continue to stand at the upward curve of the adoption cycle eternally looking up at the spike to the apex which we've been predicting for so many years.

I'm just rambling here, but I hope to keep this blog alive and sometimes rambling is just all there is in this complicated world. Why keep it alive? There is so much to celebrate, and as my dear sister-in-law Amy once commented, "Your blog is your masterpiece, your book."

I'm hearing Dylan in the background.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Coming up soon: Wainhouse Research Virtual Summit

I'll be coming in for Q and A toward the end of the presentation of a recorded discussion between me and friends Jan Zanetis and Lance Ford, hosted by Wainhouse Research's Alan Greenberg. We had a lively chat about disruptive technologies in education and I hope the attendees enjoy it!

Join in as you can, from 1-5pm today!

Join us online for the next Wainhouse Research Virtual Summit focusing on the education market and how colleges, K-12 institutions and corporate trainers are changing the face of instruction through the implementation of new technologies. To be held 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET on November 12, the Wainhouse Research EDU Virtual Summit offers users the chance to watch informational webcasts and collaborate with others seeking to broaden their understanding of technology’s evolving role in education.

To learn more about the event and to register for free to attend, click here:

VirtualSummitLogo
 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Perfect Media Trifecta for Spring Registration

Metro Schools touts success, flexibility of virtual school ran live on Channel 4 News last week and is available to watch online now. We are so proud of our MNPS Virtual School students at Nashville School of the Arts, who are profiled in the piece; and that pride extends to all of the over 350 students taking a class or classes with us while enrolled in their MNPS school of choice or zone.

We're also very proud of our nearly 100 full-time students, and you can hear more on that right here, on Nicole Cowan's wonderful Nashville by Nicole show at Lightning100 Radio.

These two share-outs come at a great time for us. We opened the enrollment request window just this week, for Spring 2014, and it will remain open through December 6. Read about that at the third share, MNPS ChildrenFirst blog's announcement of the sign-up process!

Thanks to WSMV Channel 4, Lighting100, and ChildrenFirst for noticing, caring, and sharing!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wainhouse Research Virtual EDU Summit: Innovations & Interactivity in the Collaborative Classroom

Hello? Do you have your online calendar handy? Quick! Add a notation to attend this free online Professional Development opportunity November 12!

Modified from http://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=1996&seid=459&language-code=en&country-code=US&page=10000&no-login=false&clearSession=true
From the organizers:
  
The Wainhouse Research Virtual EDU Summit will be an engaging online event for educators, trainers and technologists who seek to implement collaborative tools and interactive services to enhance education environments. Our goal with the Virtual EDU Summit is to foster greater understanding of the technologies and solutions that are transforming today’s classroom and help educators and students to work, team, meet and learn in real-time, on demand, and over distance.

Make plans to attend the Virtual EDU Summit, where we will focus on the rapidly evolving set of technologies – from Learning Management Systems and web collaboration to video conferencing and lecture capture – and how the implementation of these capabilities can enhance the learning experience. From flipped classrooms to Massive Open Online Courses, from user-generated content to personal learning networks, we’ll hear from a variety of experts familiar with the revolution in education and training.

Join us for presentations featuring Wainhouse Research, WCET, GCI SchoolAccess, the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration, and others in an online venue designed to foster live interactions and Q&A opportunities.


Review the agenda to identify key presentations made available on the day of this virtual event and prepare to explore the virtual hall to engage with other show attendees and to learn about innovative technologies from leading vendors.

Virtual Event Details:

Media Partner: AV Technology Magazine; EDUwire

Admission to Attend: Free

Sponsorship Fee: $1,500

Sponsorship Benefits: Virtual Booth Presence, Access to Attendee Registrations Generated by Wainhouse Research and summit media partners

Expected Registration: 300-400

Sponsors: InterCall, PGi, BlueJeans Network, Kontiki, Wainhouse Research, AVTech Magazine

Registration Page: http://engage.vevent.com/rt/uccsummit~edu

Live event date: November 12, 2013 1-5 EST

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Two Wonderful Professional Development Opportunities!

When it rains it pours. In a good way this time.

I'll be sharing about virtual worlds next Monday morning at a uniquely blended online and in-person conference in Iowa, all from the convenience of my garage home office. I did so last Saturday as well, and the forum platform was the same, Google Hangouts. Last Saturday's one hour session was a panel on the impact of technology on learning and teaching, organized and moderated by dear friend Jane Wilde at Marlboro College in Vermont; and it was thoroughly enjoyable, archived at YouTube (a feature of Hangouts). You can watch the session right here if you wish, or watch part of it and come back later to finish. It's digital, y'all.

Scroll on down to see the schedule for the Iowa conference, which is designed in such a way that I don't really have to present at all, just attend, share the viewing of a K12OnlineConference video presentation I created last year, and then be present via hangouts for q and a. I do plan to desktop share my current build for MNPS Virtual School in Kitely, though, so if you want to watch via the live YouTube Stream have at it! Here's the "Connected Learning Hangout":





And here's Leigh Zeitz's online poster for the ITEC:

Learn from Leaders in
Our Online PD Community


These leaders in the field will video conference into our sessions. We will watch their videos on their topic and discuss ideas afterwards. Experience this innovative model for professional development.
Monday – October 14    (Room 309)

*
Scott Merrick - Tennessee


Virtual Worlds for Learning and Teaching: Power Examples to Get You Thinking
Scott Merrick has been exploring 3D online environments and their potential for extending learning and teaching onto the global stage. This session uses a live exploration of a custom-built Wallwisher.com webpage with voice narration created in Audacity. Learn a little bit about several more or less randomly selected (from hundreds existing) examples of the power of virtual environments to help establish “sense of place at a distance.”

10:45 – 11:35

*
Naomi Harm - Minnesota


Creating Seven Habits of Highly Effective Professional Development Learning Experiences
Naomi Harm explains how technology can radically change instructional strategies to bring about socially meaningful learning. Learn how an organization can move to deeper and more creative staff development practices. Seven online highly collaborative tools will be explored and demonstrated. She will discuss how to provide support for an online community-based reflection portal for educators.


12:40 – 1:30

*
Leigh Zeitz - Iowa


Making 21st Century Learning Come To Life in Your Classroom
Dr. Leigh Zeitz will explore 21st Century Learning from the practical side. What is a 21st learning environment? What is the difference between 20th and 21st Century learning? Dr. Z will share ways to integrate new paradigms into your classroom and tools/applications that can address today’s students’ learning needs.


1:45 – 2:35

Tuesday – October 16   (Room 309)

*
Shelly Sanchez Terrell - Texas


The Magic of Mobile Learning
Shelly Sanchez Terrell advocates transforming learning through mobile technology. Features and apps allow learners to move around the classroom sparking creativity and imagination. In this session, we explore activities that get learners analyzing, and engaging with the concepts they are learning. These activities with mobile devices include recording videos, taking photos, and recording audio. We will also explore fun apps that allow students to be imaginative and creative.


8:00 – 8:50  

*
Bud Hunt – Colorado


Make/Hack/Play – Lenses for Learning
Bud The Teacher shares the journey they have taken to
conceptualize and develop their Discovery Center for Make/Hack/Play in his Colorado school district.  This session will be valuable to Iowa educators because he identifies the many ideas/problems/issues that they encountered as they entered the Make Movement and how they addressed them.

11:00 – 11:50
*
Tricia Fuglestad - Illinois
Teaching Art in a Technology Rich and Connected Classroom
Tricia Fuglestad, PBS Teachers Innovation Award winner, explores Integrating technology, web 2.0, and interactive tools in her art room. These activities give students the opportunity to enhance their 21st-century learning skills, practice creative problem-solving, and develop higher-level thinking as they create art. Tricia will share stories and examples from her technology-rich elementary art room and how their online connections have enthralled, enriched and engaged her students.


1:00 – 1:50


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Look out: He's back in Kitely fooling around!

Hey, all,

I am happy to announce that I have a teacher interested in exploring the use of Kitely for synchronous sessions with her online students, so I've been noodling around in there over the past few days updating spaces.

I've ditched the wooden-looking circular floors underneath the "unclassrooms" and textured their floors as translucent blue-sky clouds. I'm working on arranging all the sets of four long 4 student tables in each wall-less, ceiling-less, roof-less "room" to face one another with a teacher stool in one corner. I still have the display objects, a link to the LMS and four teleporters to four different distant discussion islands for breakout sessions.

But the main building has morphed into a blue and orange wonder, no longer the metallic structure obtained from Open University sim. I changed out all the logos to our new banner and added an office for Sherry, newly re-assigned and promoted to v-Enrollment Support Specialist, and put Sarah out front to welcome visitors, as she so capably is placed in our real-world School.

Visit http://www.kitely.com and search "Education." Find MNPS Virtual School II and visit at will. It's the public mirror of what will soon be the crankin'est virtual world school in the metaverse.

Here are some pics:

Unclassroom for Intro to Social Media

Landing zone

unclassrooms

Media at landing zone: Flickr, website, image slideshow, and Prezi

Mike's office

My office, down to the feeding birds on the fire escape



Sunday, September 08, 2013

ITEC in October Looks Promising

Here's something to blog about--old friend Leigh Zeitz emailed me the other day and invited me to share in a remote session at the Iowa Technology & Education Conference in October. I'll do so.

This "flipped" conference is built upon educational videos which are watched onsite and then augmented by a Skype or other technology-supported videoconferencing platform visit by the video's creator. For my session they selected my K12 Online Conference piece from last November. This prompted me to go back and revisit it and, what do you know, it's pretty interesting.

I've been pretty much removed from 3-D synchronous learning environments for the past year or more as my "real-life" work has captured my passion and focus, such as it is (that's a little joke for those who know me and my sometimes scattered attention span). I've been too busy with that to even propose a topic for this year's K12 Online Conference, which I see will be Keynoted by one of my very favorite Professional Learning Networkers, Shannon Miller. Sheesh, another online event for my calendar, albeit a distinctly necessary one.

In preparation for this session I plan to do some update research, so do stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, if you missed it, you can take that 20 minutes and catch the original here:



I for one am looking forward to ITEC, and to catching as much of the conference as possible, with luminaries and PLN colleagues Jeff Utecht and Kathy Schrock amongst the speakers. I'd actually love to get up to Iowa, but I can't see pulling away from the important work I'm doing at MNPS Virtual School to do so.

Thanks, Leigh and ITEC, for the invite, and I'll be there virtually and promptly!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Steve Spangler Still Rocking the Science--Watch Ellen!

Ha.

Years ago while visiting relatives in Denver I was privileged to interview Steve Spangler at his headquarters for my podcast "Snacks4theBrain!"

You can listen to that episode courtesy of the Vanderbilt University Library, here.

But really, I'm so glad he's still rocking the Science! Watch this:


video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Schooled

My recent post about my frustrations in the eBook ordering process is retracted.

I am in the system. Please pardon any systemic missteps I may make as I continue to try to do the best thing by our students.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Undercurrent of Blessings

It's Sunday morning as I prepare to re-enter the workaday world after a fine ISTE conference, a relaxing weekend fishing with my brother Ed, then a week at home catching up with writing, hanging out with family, and prepping a cubic yard of cables and archaic tech gear for next weekend's yard sale. I'm ready for it.

Kind of surprisingly, I miss my team at MNPS Virtual School and I am very much looking forward to the hard work ahead as we address the closure of Summer Success 2013 and the beginning of the 2013-14 academic school year.

As I prep for re-entry, I've been listening to some of my dear brother (from another mother) James Morrison's music on YouTube, as well as his "Son to the Boy" CD, and in doing so I stumbled across a lovely little interview he did a couple years ago for  a YouTube series called "The New Media Artist." It's worth a watch, both because it's Jimmy, and because his musings remind us of some important things. Watch


Saturday, July 06, 2013

THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 5, Wednesday, Reflections

Another up-early morning and I had to finish packing and stow my luggage at the front desk before hitting the Hyatt Ballroom A yet again for EdTech Leaders' annual Online Learning Institute. My plan, which worked well, I may say, was to take a cab out to the airport and pick up a reserved rental car then return to the hotel for my bags before driving to Lake Conroe, north of Houston, a 3 and a half hour or so drive, in order to spend several days relaxing and fishing with my brother, Ed. Ed does important work with The Augustus Group, his consulting company focused on risk analysis and compliance in heavy industry.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--though this eats up all day (8-3) the final day of ISTE, it's time well allocated if one is in the distance learning field. You can see why if you check out all the available round-table sessions at the online agenda, and I'll just elaborate a bit here and we'll be done.

The program began with welcomes and agenda by the dynamic and capable Barbara Treacy from ETLO and moved right into David Rose's keynote. David's organization, CAST, serves students with disabilities with technological support for their learning experiences and is the source for UDL--Universal Design for Learning. If you are not in tune with UDL, you really should pop out and read this. From that website:

Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
His keynote did not ring my bells the way Dr. Chris Dede's did last year, but his message was well taken. That said, it ran over a bit into the scheduled time for the first roundtables, causing us to play catch-up the rest of the morning.

My team and I presented our session at Table 3, right up front, and we had interested and interesting participants there. Our 45 minutes went by quickly as we shared our development of policies and procedures toward scalable best practices in K12 online learning at MNPS Virtual School. I look forward to seeing our evaluations, since it was so very informal, but I think that we made contact with some new colleagues who we will value over the next couple of years.

Andy Wheelock, participant in a 2 million dollar grant just awarded in New York to deliver Advanced Placement courses online, took notes for the table at this Google document. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the notes or the presentation.

For the second session I honestly wanted to visit Georgia Virtual School's presentation on their new teacher education tool but that table filled up immediately. That was fine, because the three of us from MNPS Virtual School sat down at the iEarn/Global Nomads table and learned a great deal about their global outreach in the form of project based learning and collaboration. I can promise that we will be learning more. This is just the thing for a capstone project option in our Freshman Academy, under development, and it could be an option in just about any of our courses. Learn more at http://iearn.org/. Since no one at the table was assigned to take notes, I'm going to pop in the session description here so we all have the info. Thanks to Kristyn and Syed for an engaging 45 minutes.

Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

Our Michael Terry attends the iEarn Global Nomads roundtable
Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
- See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf
We had a sit-down lunch in the adjacent ballroom, which was good though my chicken was a bit dry (great spicy ranch dressing on the salad though); and the cheesecake dessert was universally devoured. My neighbor said "I never finish desserts, but I am finishing this one" just as I was about to utter words to the same effect. Kecia flitted in (Ms. President, you'll recall) and asked me to have dinner with her after her required Pearson meeting, which she anticipated finishing up by 5 pm, as I understood. Then we adjourned (before anyone at our table was served coffee, which we all needed) back to the room for a panel discussion. There's that hurry-up thing again.

The discussion was interesting--featuring Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO, Angela Smith, Texas Virtual School Network Operations Director, and Winnie Bracco, iLearn NYC--





  • Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO
  • Angela Smith, Texas Virtual School Network Operations Director
  • Winnie Bracco, iLearn NYC
  • - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf
    but I have to agree with someone I heard while exiting say "sit and git--they should have just gone straight to the roundtables and finished early enough for everyone to make the Adam Bellow closing keynote." I agree, and I hope conference organizers hear that here and in my evaluation. It's a particularly sensitive area for me, since we are looking at my school at re-configuring our student and teacher orientations to steer away with lecture type experiences. It's practice what you preach time for all of us.

    As is is, my party had to leave even before lunch to make it to the airport by the brutal flight time of 3 pm, and I caught one roundtable (about Texas' implementation of Intel's teacher education courses) and headed for the door without catching the final roundtable (along with what appeared to be about half of the attendees. I felt bad for the roundtables scheduled at the end and I made a note to request the first session next year, should I decide to apply to host a roundtable.

    Brian and Kecia introduce the closing keynote by Adam Bellow
    I made my way to the convention center, hit a restroom and changed into my shorts and New Orleans House of Blues tee-shirt, and hit the main hall just in time to see Kecia and Brian opening up the closing keynote. When Brian announced a surprise ad hoc "speed panel" preceding Adam's talk, I confess that I headed out, got my cab, and had myself delivered to the airport. The good thing is that Brian's keynote (plus the excellent ad hoc panel) is archived and I have enjoyed reviewing it at my lazy leisure. If, like moi, you missed Adam's live talk you MUST catch it right here, right now:



    I had to drive back into the city anyway to get my luggage from the Westin Riverwalk, so I did so and found a parking space on the street down from Kecia's hotel, the Hyatt. I was amazed to find that for 5 quarters I could get a 2 hour parking meter just a block away from the hotel. You certainly can't do that in downtown Nashville!

    I headed to the bar. I sipped one beer for over an hour waiting for Kecia and once it became apparent that her meeting was going long with no end in sight, I finally decided to book it. I was tired and not really looking forward to driving through Houston at night anyway. By chance, I had sat at a high table in the bar with a young entrepeneur (he was at the table with the electrical outlet and my iPhone was threatening to die) and had a wonderful conversation with him. John Marcato is the dynamic techno-force behind Poindexter Technology in Marina del Ray, California. He had some Starbucks cards left over from the vendor booth and handed me a 10 dollar card as he left: People can be so nice, and if it's true that I can "have a conversation with a rock," as Dr. Witty said at one point in the conference, it's because I believe that at an event like ISTE, you need to take advantage of networking possibilities, and they are legion. Start a conversation with anyone you sit or stand with. That's why you're there. You're also here to collect ribbons for your name badge:
    ms.harris.the.math.genius has quite a collection

    My annual Me and Dave pic!

    Thanks, ISTE and thanks to all my ISTE friends and family for THE BEST ISTE EVER. We're done here.
    See you in Atlanta, where I just may take my much admired buddy David Warlick's advice and choose not to present. How fun might that be?



    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

    Exchange 2.0 Advocacy and Implementation – Using Technology to Create a Global Classroom

    Join this roundtable discussion with co-facilitators, Global Nomads Group and iEARN, to learn more about creating a global classroom. Modern technology has made the world an undeniably smaller place; in order for our students to be successful in this inter-cultural world, educators and administrators must look for ways to create accessible global classrooms. Physical international exchanges that involve people meeting face-to-face are widely acknowledged as being among the best ways to foster cross-cultural respect and understanding. Exchange 2.0 allows face-to-face, cross-cultural connections to take place virtually in a traditional classroom, making the interactions a part of the classroom routine and allowing more students to participate and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Exchange 2.0 describes curriculum-based, virtual international exchange programs that focus on cross-cultural awareness and critical thinking skills. The aim of Exchange 2.0 is to increase the number of young people gaining cross-cultural experiences in educational settings, turning local classrooms into true global classrooms that can help students develop 21st century learning skills. Through the use of technology, Exchange 2.0 allows this type of international exchange to occur without the expensive costs of traditional physical exchanges. This session will give educators and administrative professionals the tools and resources to implement Exchange 2.0 in their schools, and advocate for Exchange 2.0 on the public policy level. Global Nomads Group (www.gng.org) Founded in 1998, Global Nomads Group (GNG) is an international NGO whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world’s youth. GNG engages and empowers young people worldwide using media, including: interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, and participatory filmmaking. GNG operates at the intersection of international and peace education, striving to serve as a vehicle for awareness, bridging the boundaries of cultural misconceptions, and instilling a heightened appreciation and comprehension of the world. GNG Facilitator: Kristyn Mohr, Program Associate, collaborates with colleagues on GNG programming in the Middle East and North Africa and manages GNG’s largest program in this region, Youth Talk. Youth Talk is a yearlong civic engagement program which harnesses the power of virtual exchange, an online platform and a project-based learning curriculum to build cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship among high school students across the United States and high school students in the Middle East and North Africa. iEARN (www.iearn.org) Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. iEARN is a non-profit organization made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN Facilitator: Syed Muhammad Abdullah is a YES Program Alumna and currently employed at SIE/iEARN-Pakistan as a Project Manager. Among other work, he was an organizer of the 2012 Youth TechCamp in Islamabad, and is the Editor in Chief of Youth Voices International - a blog created by YES alumni for all State alumni http://youthvoicesinternational.com/. He also is the founder of Karachi Tips, a social venture.
    - See more at: http://oli.etlo.org/content/oli-agenda-2013#sthash.4fUClbM1.dpuf

    Thursday, July 04, 2013

    THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 4 Reflections

    I'll get a start on it. Day 4 was the bomb. Here's the "moneyshot" again  to prove it:

    Tuesday morning I actually slept in until 7:30, had a good workout, and dressed smartly for my photo shoot at 11:20. I'd been asked by ISTE to be a poser and you know me, I couldn't resist. But that did mean I was in slacks and had to haul my blue blazer around all day. That's okay though, I look forward to recognizing myself in some upcoming issue of Learning and Leading with Technology. If you check out last month's issue you'll see Andy Wheelock's personable self gracing the inside front cover--like that. You should also catch Andy's article from the May L&LT: http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/201205?pg=5#pg28

    I actually had a sit  down breakfast at the Hilton's Riverwalk restaurant, and the breakfast wrap was good but I never had a coffee refill and no one actually checked in with me at any time. I had to flag down a waiter for a check after waiting patiently for 10 minutes. Food=4stars, Service=1.

    Off I went, hiking to the Expo floor for my one and only pass through it. I was looking for ProctorU, a remote proctoriing service, but I never found their booth. I did find Atomic Learning and had a nice chat with a young rep who shared just what I was looking for--hundreds of tutorials on Microsoft Access. I have a new mission. I'll spend an hour or so every work day working through Access lessons until I can use that powerful database program to automate as much of my work @ MNPS Virtual School as possible. Right now we're spreadsheet-driven, and I want those spreadsheets to talk to one another. As we scale up to tens of thousands of students, that will be absolutely necessary. I will become an Access Power User, compliments of Atomic Learning.

    robin henson..."i shoot people"
    The photo shoot went great, with Robin Henson putting me at ease and taking dozens of shots to which I will have access once they are put up on a private flickr account for me. I sat for a video
    interview with the gracious and professional Aaron Ragen-Fore, who asked me questions about my volunteering for ISTE and my involvements with the communities therein. I hope any of my responses will be helpful to the organization.

    Then it was off to the Playground!

    My plan, developed over the course of the past several months, was to host a central presentation area, run by incoming Lowly High Grand Poobah Kae Novak, featuring a rotating focus on the six learning stations, per this description from the program:

    Outline
    Current plans are to run a learning station for each of six platforms with two experts in person and at least one "inworld." Each station will have a poster highlighting its contents and a display-connected computer and all stations will be connected to the main presentation display via an ongoing Google Hangout. We'll rotate featured presentations at the main display in 25 minute sessions throughout the playground's time. All this will, of course, be piped into Second Life for an audience of avatars representing participants who are educators from around the globe. The Google Hangout Live feature will make our featured sessions available globally via YouTube and also archive the entire thing. We are still accepting recommendations and applications to share, but as this event has in the past run as long as 3 full days we are certain that there will be no shortage of content. This work is so dynamic that we will be working right up to the start of the event to optimize it! Current planned stations (subject to change): Second Life, Minecraft, OpenSimulator/Kitely, QuestAtlantis/Active Worlds, World of Warcraft/Games, and Madly Miscellaneous (wildcard!).

    ISTE SIGVE Virtual Environments Playground 2013, a set on Flickr.
    1005409_10152593700562619_1024406656_n(1)2013-06-25 14.27.142013-06-25 14.27.212013-06-25 14.27.292013-06-25 16.04.472013-06-25 16.05.52
    2013-06-25 16.06.122013-06-25 16.06.282013-06-25 16.07.442013-06-25 16.51.312013-06-25 16.51.432013-06-25 16.53.57
    2013-06-25 17.28.462013-06-25 17.28.592013-06-25 17.30.192013-06-25 17.30.332013-06-25 17.31.452013-06-25 17.33.14
    2013-06-25 17.33.332013-06-25 17.33.372013-06-25 17.37.492013-06-25 17.37.541005409_10152593700562619_1024406656_n
    As you can see from the photos, we had a good deal of traffic as our volunteers shared non-stop. The makeup of the Playground did not hold its shape though. Kae delegated her presentation work station to the capable Chris Luchs, and the audio of the Google Hangout just could not handle the room configuration. Jimi Hendrix was in the room from the start, and feedback ended up being our biggest enemy. Chris at various times fell back to Livestream, and I took over the second presentation station with my Second Life piece (hosting a 30 minute video of students sharing their perspectives about working in Second Life with David Deeds of Mexico City and a long interview with  Gord Holden, who is up to amazing things in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Cynthia Colongne personed the Madly Miscellaneous station, and she held forth on everything from Scratch to Moses to Cloud Party. Andy Wheelock shared his OpenSimulater build of the Anne Frank home, and immersive experential field trip for students and teachers, as well as Kitely. Peggy Sheehy was a gem on World of Warcraft in Schools, taking over the main presentation stage for a substantial piece on that, Marianne Malmstrom, of course, had ringers in the form of actual live students sharing their spaces in Minecraft, including Zoe, the lovely daughter of the lovely Malinda McCormick, whose avatar was among the first I met when I dedicated my Second Life explorations to ISTE. Bronwyn Stuckey presented Quest Atlantis Remixed and then hosted an hour long Minecraft Meetup over at the Second Life stage. And over in a corner Rosie and Bob Vojtek were mad at it with interviews and features on the release of the new 194 page Virtual Education Journal.

    Once our time was up, we held a brief annual meeting, raising Kae to her primary leadership position and sharing new initiatives, such as a MOOC focus, Minecraft research and development, and more.

     After the Playground, several of us headed over to a SIG Reception, where we enjoyed a nice spread of food and chatted with volunteer folks at ISTE, meeting up with Lauren and Heidi, the two dynamic ladies who had done so much over the past months to shepherd us through to this day. I was back at the hotel early that night, in an attempt to catch up on some rest before tomorrow's all-day ETLO Online Learning Institute, at which we were to host a round-table discussion on MNPS Virtual School. So you see, we are not yet done. But we shall be soon!

    Thank you for staying with me as I work out some reflections and share my great excitement about ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. I'm going to hit "Publish" here but may well come back with some more detail as it sparks in my old brain. Day 5, the final day of ISTE2013, coming up next.




    Wednesday, July 03, 2013

    THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 3 Reflections

    Where are we? Monday? Yes, Monday, June 24, 2013. My Day 3 of ISTE13.

    Up early and down to the Westin Riverwalk's fitness room to get fit. Or at least fitter. And maybe a little less fatter.

    My schedule this day looked like this:
    Monday, June 24
    Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC!
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with Happy Hour at AWE
Presenter's World Hours conflicts with SIGVE Machinima Fest 8:00am-6:00pm Presenter's World Hours
    Location: Registration West

    SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! conflicts with An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning Speaking Engagement 8:00am-9:30am MSIGOL   SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC!
    Location: SACC 103A

    An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning conflicts with SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC! 8:30am-9:30am An Integrated Model for Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning
    Location: SACC 001B

    SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch Speaking Engagement 11:00am-12:00pm SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
    Location: SACC 102

    Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with SIGOL (Online Learning) Annual Meeting
Volunteer Leadership Lunch conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground 11:30am-1:30pm Volunteer Leadership Lunch
    Location: San Antonio Conference Center, Lonesome Dove Room

    Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Volunteer Leadership Lunch
Innovation in Teacher Education Playground conflicts with Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere 12:30pm-4:00pm Innovation in Teacher Education Playground
    Location: SACC Park View Lobby

    Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere conflicts with Innovation in Teacher Education Playground 2:00pm-4:00pm Maintain Academic Integrity in the Cybersphere
    Location: SACC Tower View Lobby, Table 28

    Happy Hour at AWE conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
Happy Hour at AWE conflicts with SIGVE Machinima Fest 5:00pm-7:00pm Happy Hour at AWE
    Location: Esquire Tavern
    Hello, Thank your for RSVPing for the Happy Hour at ISTE in San Antonio!

    SIGVE Machinima Fest conflicts with Presenter's World Hours
SIGVE Machinima Fest conflicts with Happy Hour at AWE 5:30pm-6:45pm SIGVE Machinima Fest
    Location: SACC Lila Cockrell Theater


    7:30pm-8:30pm FlipSwitch Dinner
    Location: Barriba Cantina with 1 guest
    It should be clear as mud by now that I populate my schedule at ISTEs with conflicting events, so that in some cases, where my attendance is not required, I can choose from events of interest without resorting to the online Conference Planner or the app, which was a much hyped new feature of this year's conference. I couldn't miss the events highlighted above because I was committed as a co-presenter in some way. It's an interesting aside that I missed everything I was not committed to in that way.

    So. SIGOL Forum: Connect, Collaborate, and Create with a MOOC was a hoot. Korean television was there, y'all. Really.  I was a bit late so I missed our Kae Novak's introduction, but I heard my friend Jan Zanetis's and Scott Garrigan's. These three shared perspectives on MOOCs, Massively Open Online Courses, from three very different perspectives.

    Kae Novak, an Instructional Designer at Front Range Community College in Colorado, created and oversees, with Lucas Gillespie, the GamesMOOC. The details she provided to her breakout session were invaluable--everything from badges, to levels of engagement to her own philosophic take on churn rates. She comes from the higher ed plane but hobnobs with a whole bunch of K12 educators and her work there will certainly be of value as we shift focus from standardized testing to authentic games-driven assessment.

    Jan Zanetis is Education Advocate at Cisco, Inc. in Australia. I've been a friend of Jan's since working together in the mid 90's at the Vanderbilt (University) Office of Science Outreach. Her share session and breakout table both consisted of informative overviews from the perspective of a highly placed corporate education resource person (she is National Education Advocate for Cisco Corporation in Australia).

    Scott Garrigan, from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, has worked with MOOCs at a university level almost since their inception. He shared some predictions about where all this is going and I can tell you it's disruptive. That's a good thing.

    The camera crew from South Korean television, gathering material for a 60 minute documentary on MOOCs, gave our Scott Garrigan beaucoup attention, as he is likely the one of the three panelists with the most experience creating and leading them. His breakout table also gathered the most attendees for both sessions, including me for the 2nd one.

    SIGOL Annual Meeting 2013
    As the SIGOL Annual Meeting got going, outgoing President/Chair Anita Harris welcomed the good-sized group and quickly passed the torch to incoming President/Chair Mike Gormans, who after a few words introduced moi, incoming Vice-President/Vice-Chair, and we got straight on into our breakout sessions, and I was on-the-fly assigned to host the Professional Development breakout. I briefly described the bi-monthly series I had put together for 2012-13, "Priceless Professional Development in Less Than 59 Minutes." I think the assembled were underwhelmed, but that could be a good thing. On my lonesome, I threw all that together on the fly and it worked, sort of. Input from the table attendees told me:
    • A survey of PD needs is in order. We should be delivering Professional Development opportunities "just in time" instead of "just in case."
    • We could look at offering 3 or so strands or themes and alternating them. Perhaps the offerings should be monthly instead of bi-monthly.
    • Data. We need data. 
    • Promotion is important. We had light turnout almost uniformly last year. Promotional announcements went out over the SIGVE ISTE listserv and Twitter and Facebook, but a systematic approach should be instituted and followed.
    So all these notes I pass to our new Chair of Professional Development. Mike, our Chair, and moi, our Vice-Chair, are here for you. I do have to mention that when I tossed out the ask, "Okay, so who's going to drive the survey of PD needs?," there was sustained silence. I followed that up after applying admirable teacher wait-time with "Boy, I sure know how to silence a room, don't I?"

    Never mind, we'll get it done!

    After the meeting, Andy and I headed straight down to the Riverwalk Level to the lovely Lonesome Dove room, where tasty boxed lunches, foot massage machinesISTE Core Volunteers. I took advantage of all of them. Wow. Thanks, ISTE!
    , a real live back massage, and a goody bag awaited invited

    I then headed down to the Innovation in Teacher Education Playground, which SIGOL was nominally co-hosting, and enjoyed a long talk with Jay Heap from Georgia Virtual School. I discovered that his team has been working on an online teaching certification program, a 30 hour online course, completion of which they are going to require before even looking at a teacher application. I'm fascinated and will watch this development closely, because I know we need to develop a more extensive teacher training program and this may well be it. I also admire his institution's Open Source commitment.

    I set up around 2:00 to share MNPS Virtual School's teacher education work but by then things had slowed down so much in the Playground that I had little attendance. Still, duty done. I believe that SIGTE's Chair, Randy Hansen, from National Louis University, did a great job of lining up his learning stations and putting on his first Playground and that this one deserves space next year in Atlanta.

    I made my way then to the ISTE SIGVE EduMachinima Festival at the 2500 seat Lila Cockrill Theatre to help get things started there. Yes there were a few seats left over (attendance counted right livestreamed audio and they watched the same things we were watching via youtube links.
    at 20 of the stalwart) but we had another 20 or so in Second Life, into which I

    We had an absolute blast. One day we hope to fill a theatre like this one with people who actually want to partake of the entries for this, the third year of the young film festival's life. You can view the judge's awards right off this page, seriously and solidly worth your time!

    ISTE SIGVE EduMachinima 2013 Winners*

    People’s Choice

    A Real-Time Interactive 3D Virtual Retail World by Konstantin Lakic, Dragan Lakic -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLvpZuW7558 Length: 3:34

    Judge’s Awards

    Best Overall
    Invitation to Dance by Kae Novak- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMQ3QvWZKfQ Length: 0:51
    Best Special Effects
    rgMOOC Trailer by Kate Guthrie Caruso, Sherry Jones, and Stephen Getter - http://youtu.be/XORjygrnzk8 Length: 2:38
    Best Editing
    It's never to late to start something new by Christel Schneider - http://youtu.be/iQfA7AyQDvA Length: 1:41
    Best Sound
    Red Barn Door - By Tanya Martin, Original Muisc and Lyrics by Woodsong Zapatero in Second Life set design by Bluebarker and Gridjumper
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn2KSHityks&list=UUUT1UrqlEV79TraMafVfX5Q
    Best Machinmatography
    Annabell and the crocodile by Christel Schneider http://youtu.be/WQO9TLdBTVM

    Following the EduMachinima Fest I headed "home" to the hotel and changed into casual wear and took out with Michael to Pat O'Brien's for the Gaggle Party. I can share the invite now the party's over:

    It was fun, and I found my MNPS Virtual School crew, or at least James and Adrienne, perched up high at bar tables overlooking the wild open courtyard below. I was tired though, and after one local beer I made my exit, or attempted to.





    Kecia Ray and moi







    The aforementioned (yesterday) trio of young teachers from our district stopped me and bade me stay a bit. I'm glad I did because Kecia stopped in and I got a great pic with her (or at least I think so):
     
     
     
    And here's us with the Antioch Gang of 3 and colleague Doug Renfroe:

    After that one more brew, I did head "home," getting an early to bed for the big next day. Here it comes, Day 4, and soon.