Wednesday, July 28, 2010

#ISTE10 TakeAways Part 3: A New Passion Full of Lessons...

Google Forms with @tammyworcester was amazing and gave me a great deal more info than I had already had on this topic. Her tips and tricks are endless and her website is one to share! Numerous templates are available and I will be sure to share the ease with which Forms can be used for data gathering, rubric creators, self-checking quizzes, journal moderating, and class voting. Check out her website for more info Work smarter, not harder with Google Docs…Lesson #6!

The last session I attended was Crap Detection with @hrheingold. The topic was determining what we decide is accurate and reliable content on the web. One piece of advice that was given to the audience was to see what your PLN talks about and regards highly. His handout provides lots of resources to help work with students to evaluate the material they find online. “If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true”…Lesson #7!

Needless to say the conference invigorated me, inspired me, and got me thinking about how to integrate this new information into my work, share with colleagues, and use in presentations for my students and parents. The possibilities are endless! I can’t wait to plan for next year’s conference, as I will be sure to attend the leadership boot camps and many of the ticketed sessions so I never have to miss a session due to overcrowding. #ISTE11 Here I come! Encourage more administrators and teachers to attend...Lesson #8!


#ISTE10 TakeAways Part 2: A New Passion Full of Lessons...

The next session was presented by another person I follow on Twitter, @dwarlick on Cracking the Native Information Experience. Several points stuck with when I left this session. He spoke about the fact that our students live in a social networking, gamer, and hyper-connected world. How can we crack the code and teach the way they want to receive information? How can we change the paradigm of kid-think being “how many pages does it have to be?” to “What do I need to show so that it is evident that I have mastered the concept?” How can education encourage kids to ask questions? Blogging and using video games let them be the creators of their knowledge. Video games with no directions interest students so much that they will spend hours trying to figure out the objective. Do we encourage risk-taking in our kids and encourage them to learn through their mistakes? Don’t chop our kids’ tentacles off when they come to school …Lesson #3!

@reneehobbs gave me a great deal to think about at the session on Copyright and Clarity and Fair Use. I created a presentation for my students last year on Digital Citizenship, and was unaware that I had tapped into her resources already, but they provide a wealth of info for all educators. The message I heard loud and clear from this session is know what transformative use is and how it falls under Fair Use! How interesting it was for the US Library of Congress to decide jailbreaking of the iPhone and mixing video as Fair Use! If your information adds value or repurposes old information then it is transformative use…Lesson #4!

The next session I attended was a Panel discussion on 1:1 Learning—an Update on Mobile Learning Programs in K-12 Schools today. Three schools presented on how they implemented a 1:1 environment and the issues they faced. Most people expressed the fear that the mobile learning devices (MLDs) would come up missing, and everyone was pleasantly surprised to see that the students valued the tools so much that they brought them every day—if not they knew they would have to use paper and pencil to complete tasks with which they normally used the MLD. One school in particular had a great story to share. The school was very old and had difficulty even having two overhead projectors on at a time on a given floor. So with the given infrastructure concerns, there was no possibility of charging a mobile laptop lab let alone have a 1:1 environment. The district decided to work with Verizon and each student received a smartphone that they could then take home to charge at night! Kids brought them back every day as these MLDs are a motivating technology tool for the classroom…Lesson #5!


#ISTE10 TakeAways Part 1: A New Passion Full of Lessons...

I would never have thought that I would go to Denver, Colorado for a technology conference a year ago. I still can’t believe that it has only been a year since I took a dive head first into technology! This past year has really opened up my eyes to a new focus, a new passion!
I went with my Assistant Principal and his wife as they planned a professional vaca-development experience for themselves, which I so graciously became their third wheel and joined them!

As a newbie to an ISTE conference, I soon realized how much I missed from the ticketed sessions and the leadership bootcamps, won’t make that mistake again! So my first experience was the Keynote on Sunday night. Jean-Francois Rischard, an author and former vice-president of World Bank, began with a crowd that I have only seen at concerts in Detroit! I was very awestruck! Only until he began, as many of us soon learned that his presentation skills were lacking. Watching the Twitter stream was both funny and sad; as I think most people could not be believe that he would elect to use a PowerPoint presentation filled with words on every screen. In an arena so large, I am not sure who could see the presentation. I remember tweeting that he actually had his back to audience while he was speaking. Needless to say, it was difficult to give the presentation my full attention, especially with the very ferocious Twitter stream I was receiving.

The first presentation I went to on Monday morning was Backchannel: Let Everyone Speak with @Michael baker, @chrischampion, and @khokanson. This tool interests me as I think this will be extremely useful in the classroom and during staff meetings. I can’t wait to find opportunities to use it this year. One message that hit me loud and clear during this session was what we preach about digital citizenship… When you are tweeting or backchanneling, be positive in our comments, or at least be constructive what we say so that someone can use it to improve…Lesson #1!

I proceeded on to Steve Dembo’s Policy, Safety, and Social Networking session. As a rather new Tweeter, I had no idea that I followed so many experts, as many of those I follow were presenting! Steve was one of them! I felt his session was info packed and much of what I learned; I am taking back to my district. I write a lot about how we must educate our kids to use this technology rather than just ban it from our school systems. He provided many resources for my district as they explore new technology plans and AUPs for our students and staff. The message I heard loud and clear from this session was that putting information on the web about our students should not be prohibited, but encouraged as long as it is appropriate and beneficial to them in the future…Lesson #2!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

#ETLC10 Take Aways: Ride the Wave!

The keynote for this conference was Jamie Casap an Education Evangelist at Google. I was looking forward to hearing him speak as the company Google interests me; I wonder how I could work for Google? That seems like a future career move for me one day; I am going to look into that soon! Some points that I took away from his speech were how new technology has impacted the different generations. It is hard to believe that children today do not know a world without cell phones and instant communication. Mobile learning devices (MLDs) are the largest growing technology in underdeveloped nations as they are affordable and easily obtained. As schools continue to ban these “pocket computers,” educational leaders have to educate themselves as well as our children to learn the benefits of these devices and practice the safe use of them inside and outside of the school. Jaime shared that he spends a great deal of time educating his children on the safe use of the internet, social media, and various interactive technology. He is confident they practice good digital citizenship, so much so he does not check their status of Facebook or the history of the sites they may have visited.
Jaime predicted that the laptop will be dead by the year 2013. This statement alone reinforces just how slow education changes, especially when we are talking about embracing technology. Currently, every child does not have access to laptops in every school even with a goal of a 1:1 setting. Are we already saying laptops will be outdated in three years…? How can we get technology into the hands of every student?
The mobile learning device is the next wave to ride when it comes to increasing student achievement!

IPads in Education was the next workshop that I attended. Joanna Montgomery works for Apple and was/is an educator. Tons of apps were discussed in this session, many of which I was already familiar. One that sticks out in my mind is the sign language app Sign 4 Me that is also available for the iPhone. This app shows the various angles that people view sign language, such as viewing upward if you were a small child and down if you were a tall adult. Another very cool app is the book of the periodic table The
Elements: A Visual Exploration which is only available on the iPad. This app gave 3D views of each element on the periodic table an awesome way to show kids in a chemistry class where an element came from up close and personal. The last app that was highlighted that was new to me is the iBook app that is also available for the iPhone. This app enables your iPad to be an e-reader. When will textbooks no longer exist? Will there ever be a day that libraries will no longer exist? In my lifetime?

A panel discussion took place during lunch. The topic of the discussion was virtual desktops. I remember hearing about this when I went on a school visit to Holly High School in Michigan. No longer, did each student space require a hardrive. The monitors were at each student space, but the information was held on a virtual server for the school district. As I still do not have a full understanding of this topic, it does seem like another wave of the future. As cloud computing increases and people feel more comfortable with the security of this technology, I expect this feature to explode in public schools. When data can be housed and accessible to students and staff whenever, wherever, and however. What a breakthrough! I am ready to ready to ride that wave!

ITunes U is the next session I attended with Judy Paxton from MACUL. This session was informative as I have not explored this component of iTunes. I think this might be a hidden gem for educators. Michigan educators have linked lessons to the standards. Not only does this provide a wealth of teaching resources, but also provides an opportunity for students to upload videocasts of lessons as well as earn a stipend for quality uploads. I need to explore more of this resource and share with my staff. There was a lesson on an Algebra activity for middle schoolers that was addressed; I still need to check this one out!

The next hot topic revolves around disruptive innovation. Fred Sharpsteen describes disruptive innovation and how it relates to education. His research specifically relates to how students need a customized learning environment that compliments their individual needs. Technology is the rogue wave that needs to disrupt the educational systems of today. Teaching methods must not just integrate technology but must imbed it into the teaching and learning process. Therein lines our dilemma, with continued cutbacks and loss of funding how do we do that if we don't have the technology?

Finally, my last learning experience is one that will help me reach my goal for next year, I want to produce podcasts or, more appropriately coined, videocasts. I explored the Camtasia and Snagit software produced by TechSmith a Michigan company, gotta love the homegrown folks! I was able to create a brief podcast, as no video was available on the computers in the lab. We created a brief podcast to show others how to change the size of the cursor, very cool and very easy! I want to create my own very soon! The main take-away from this session, other than how to use the software was to create a script prior to recording, this was very helpful to have as it was your safety net!

So, what is your definition of an educational leader? How do they use technology? How do they build capacity in their staff to embrace technology in their classrooms? How do we keep up with our kids? How do we afford the technology and the support that comes along with it? Why do I have so many questions? How do I ride the wave of technology to increase student achievement?