Archive for December, 2006

Kids on Why GTA is Not So Bad

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Kids on Why GTA is Not So Bad (Via I haven’t watched it yet, but this looks like a rare opportunity to hear students’ opinions on the topic of violent video games and the effect such games have on their lives… in video format(YouTube of course).

UCLA to Adopt Moodle

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

UCLA to Adopt Moodle (Via Technorati Search for: “Educational Technology”.) More good news… a major (and relatively local) University has adopted an open source course management system. :)

DOPA Dies on the Vine

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

DOPA Dies on the Vine (Via 2 Cents Worth.) Good news, for those of you who didn’t already read about it: the deleting online predators act of 2006 is likely dead now that a new congress takes office.

Why does Dave McDivitt do this stuff anyway?

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Why do I do this stuff anyway? (Via Dave McDivitt.) This is a good read from a teacher (and football coach) using video games in his social studies classes. I’ve linked to Dave before, but this might be a good introductory post to what he is doing if you’ve never clicked through. And I think it comes with a good dose of “and life” to boot.

Best of 2006: The Read/Write Web in Education

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Best of 2006: The Read/Write Web in Education (Via Infinite Thinking Machine.) I’ve posted my contribution to the year-end posts over at the ITM. I explore five trends in the educational use of the read/write web… and make some predictions.

Meanwhile, I’m actually taking some time off for my own reflection and rejuvenation, but I’m looking forward to more (and better) blogging next year, so see you soon. Happy Holidays (and Happy New Year) in the meantime!

Google Teacher Academy: New York

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Google Teacher Academy: New York

The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.

NOTE: Only K-12 educators in the New York Tri-State region may attend this event.

‘Nuff said. Sign up, New York Educators!

What is the “Real” job of teachers? – Practical Theory

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

What is the “Real” job of teachers? – Practical Theory For some great stories about teaching, read this post by Chris Lehmann… and then read the comments.

I’m Going to NECC in Atlanta

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Well, going to NECC in Atlanta was already a given… the good news is I’ll also be presenting. Two (of the seven) sessions I submitted were accepted:

With Power Comes Responsibility: Online Awareness, Ethics, and Safety (Session) Accepted

Wiki While You Work: Best Practices for Educational Wikis (Poster) Accepted

These sessions are on Wednesday June 27th, from 10:30 to 11:30 and 12:00 to 2:00, respectively. If you’re at the conference, I hope to see you there.

I’m grateful that I was selected to present two topics, especially on account of this explanation at the end of the email from the NECC 2007 Program Committee:

Every effort was made to balance the program in the areas of content, topic, grade level, focus, and audience. Due to space limitations, many presenters with multiple submissions could only be accepted once. We appreciate the time and effort involved in preparing a proposal, and thank you for offering to share your expertise with other educators.

The wiki session was originally submitted as a breakout session and was “downgraded” to a poster session… so I could present a second session, I suspect (or would like to think).

The bummer is that this session was among the one’s that were cut:

Learning to Game, Gaming to Learn: Video Games in Education (Session) Declined

I’ve written back to ask if there is any way I can contribute to that topic at this year’s conference. It was something I presented to a lot of interest last year, and a topic which I expect will be gaining increasing interest at the coming conference and in the years that follow. Also, my dissertation will be completed by that time and I’d love to share my research. I hope to hear back from the Program Committee, but in the meantime…

If anyone knows of a “video games in education” birds-of-a-feather, round-table, or other event I might be able to contribute to at this years conference, please let me know. (I’ll be making more of an effort to contact last year’s organizers and participants as well, of course.) Though I am also passionate about the issues I will be presenting, I’d most like to be a part of the games in education events at the conference.

Also on the chopping block were the following sessions I submitted, all of which I presume someone else will be presenting:

Google More: An Introduction to Google Applications in Education (Session) Declined

What More Could You Want? Open Source Software in Education (Session) Declined

It Really Is Really Simple: Introducing RSS for Educators (Session) Declined

Blog if You Love Learning: Best Practices for Educational Weblogs (Session) Declined

I hope many of you had sessions accepted as well and I look forward to seeing even more of you at the conference!

Passion and Professional Development: Four Philosophies For Lead Learners

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I wrote the following 300 words for the Spring 2007 edition of the OnCUE Journal, which is available in print and online to CUE members. Sara Armstrong, editor of the OnCUE Journal has been kind enough to grant me permission to reprint this article on my blog. The twelve tips that follow will only appear in the online version. Consider this a preview of the Spring edition, which focuses on professional development. (Incidentally, the article draws from my experience coordinating the CUEtoYOU professional development program for CUE.)

Passion and Professional Development:
Four Philosophies For Lead Learners

A passionate student is a learning student1, and the same is true for teachers. If you are leading a professional development event, be sure to engage participants on an emotional level – aim to unleash their passions. These four philosophies can help.

The Lead Learner Philosophy: Don’t think of yourself as a trainer or instructor. Think of yourself as a Lead Learner. After all, the best leaders are also learners. There is wisdom in a Native American proverb, “He who learns from one who is learning, drinks from a flowing river.”2 Be passionate about what you are learning (and the session you are leading). Enthusiasm is contagious.

The Face-to-Face Philosophy: In today’s world of blogs and podcasts, information transmission is no longer an excuse for a face-to-face meeting. It’s a terrible waste. Respect the participants in your session by tapping into their experience, their passions, and their creative energy. Include many opportunities for interaction in your agenda, and provide links where they can access “how-to” details after the session.

The “and Life” Philosophy: Pets and babies help more teachers learn about technology than any trainer. Don’t hesitate to connect with participants’ lives outside of school. Invite them to share ways they can use what they are learning for personal goals. Also, remember they need to care about whatever they are learning – it needs to be relevant to their work, and ultimately, their life.

The Kindergarten Philosophy: Each positive experience a student has in kindergarten is a $1 deposit in their “love of learning” bank, but every negative experience is a $10 withdrawal. Be sure your participants enjoy your session, even if it means moving slowly. Also, be sure participants “practice with a purpose.” Remember, your job is still to help them be the best people they can be.3


  1. Thanks to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. This hook came out of a collaborative brainstorming session with her.
  2. Credit for the Lead Learner philosophy goes to Mike Lawrence, executive director of CUE. He may also be responsible for the proverb, which he cites often. ;)
  3. Thanks to Eva Wagner, kindergarten teacher, professional developer, and frequent inspiration to the author. (She’s also his wife.)

Twelve Tips for Leading Professional Development

  1. Prepare your materials (handouts and online support, including an evaluation) prior to the training.
  2. Test everything and rehearse prior to the training.
  3. Arrive early to setup and greet participants as they arrive.
  4. Start on time by welcoming participants. (Introduce yourself and the topic of the workshop. Include a hook or demo to build interest.)
  5. Provide a welcome activity. (This should get participants thinking, talking, and introducing themselves. It is best if this is related to the topic at hand and to a greater emotional connection beyond the topic.)
  6. Make the presentation exciting and focus on learning by doing.
  7. Use the resources (knowledge and creativity) people bring into the room.
  8. Check for understanding and adjust on the fly.
  9. Wrap up with a reflection activity. (This may be related to the welcome activity, content covered during the event, or participants’ next steps.)
  10. Allow time at the end of the training for the participants to complete the online evaluation. (This should be during the training, not after the end time.)
  11. Be sure participants have your contact information for follow up.
  12. Review the evaluation responses and adjust for the future.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to a PDF of the article as it appeared in OnCUE.

I’ve got new content up…

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I’ve got new content up… but elsewhere.

I’ve published a new post at the Infinite Thinking Machine called The Infinite Wiki Machine about using wikis in education. I address the question of when a wiki is better than a blog.

I also have a Skypecast interview up at Thoughts from a Technospud. Jennifer Wagner (no relation, though we do share the same birthday) interviewed me about CUEtoYOU Professional Development and other recent projects.

I recorded another interview with Steve Hargadon the same day (about student use of Web 2.0 tools) and hope to see that up at some point. I also have a few articles in the works right now, one on professional development (for the OnCUE journal), and one on video games in education (for the Classroom Connect Connected Newsletter).

Meanwhile, I’ve been leading professional development and working on my dissertation. In fact, this weekend I pulled together 182 resources I plan to use, so I am sharing them here. Not all are games in education related… there’s a host of constructivism and organizational change resources in there as well… and a few I’m including for metaphors and other quotes to make a point. I hope this might help others interested in similar topics. Of course, I hope you’ll let me know if you catch any APA errors, too. :)