Archive for September, 2006

CUE 2007 Session Submissions

Friday, September 15th, 2006

The first week of September was a busy one… in addition to all the start-of-the-year professional development, it was also the deadline to submit proposals for concurrent sessions at the California Computer Using Educators (CUE) Conference in March.

The deadline for Workshop submissions was several months ago, and I’m currently slated to lead three of the hands-on workshops. (Here I provide links to the session descriptions, which I am sharing under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license.)

In addition, I’ve now submitted a handful of concurrent sessions. Some are 1 hour versions of workshops I submitted, and some are ideas that were not yet fleshed out enough to be workshops. I’m excited about all of these, but of course I may not be selected to present all of them… or even any of them. (I also share these under the under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license.)

Today, I am going to submit a handfull of these (all the web 2.0 based sessions) for the K12Online Conference as well.

So, even those these submissions are already in (or will be today), I’m interested in any feedback, criticism, or questions any of you might have in regards to any of these sessions. What would you like to see from these sessions (whether or not you’ll be attending)? See any red flags or anything you don’t like? I’d be thrilled if you let me know.

Full disclosure: I have served on the CUE Conference Planning Committee since January 2005, and I am currently contracted by CUE to coordinate the CUEtoYOU professional development program. That said, I’m personally very excited about all of this. :)

Best Podcasts iKeepBookmarks.com

Thursday, September 14th, 2006


iKeepBookmarks.com – bestpodcasts
(Via John M. Simi, with thanks to Mike Lawrence for pointing it out to me.) This is a list of podcasts assembled by John for a presentation he did this summer. Apparently he plans to keep it updated from time to time… and apparently many of these were contributed by other Apple Distinguished Educators. Enjoy.

Also, be sure to check out the Education Podcasting Network site if you haven’t already. (EPN is provided by David Warlick & The Landmark Project.)

iPhoto and iMovie in the Classroom

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

September 5, 2006 – While Lainie was in Laguna Beach presenting the Internet Awareness and Safety material I had been working on, I was at Rancho Santa Margarita Middle School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District presenting “iPhoto and iMovie in the Classroom” on behalf of Computer Using Educators. (I now coordinate their CUEtoYOU professional development program.)

I was working as a part of a much larger day at SVUSD. The entire teaching staff of the district was in professional development sessions that day, and many of them had chosen technology based sessions. I believe there were tech trainings at all (or nearly all) their sites. The district is lucky to have Michael Morrison and the staff he works with. (Michael is their educational technology specialist… and interim IT director.) The day seems to have gone off without a hitch in all but one lab, where there were some minor technical difficulties. (In my case, there were no technical difficulties, though the space we were in, and the need to load demo media for all the participants created some logistical challenges.) Evaluations of the day were overwhelmingly positive. (They trained something like 800 teachers this day, I believe.)

Despite being at the middle school, I was working with groups of elementary teachers, so I leaned heavily on Eva‘s inspiration for ideas and samples of student and teacher projects. I had one group in the morning, and one group in the afternoon, for 2 hours and 45 minutes each. This made it a bit of a rush to cover both iPhoto and iMovie. For relatively tech savvy teachers, these programs are easy to pick up and the time was no issue. Many even played ahead. For those who are not as comfortable with computers (or Mac OS X) this was a real challenge… and of course I had a wide range of skill levels in the class. Thankfully, I think was able to connect with most of the participants and be sure they were leaving with something they could use… perhaps even for back to school night. (Mostly, though, I think they were excited about beginning to collect and create material for open house. I’ve found this is really the first step in iPhoto and iMovie use… have a slideshow or a movie ready for parents at the end of the year.)

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have tried to do both applications at once. iMovie can always be tacked on to the end of an iPhoto class if the group is making good time and ready for more, but unfortunately I know the beginners left with only minimal exposure to both programs and very little practice time… while some of the others who had basically come for iMovie were left particularly disappointed that I spent so much time on iPhoto.

Regardless, both sessions were a success – folks were happier leaving than when they got there. Some said it was the best technology professional development they’d had. (They said this about other sessions that day, too.) I’m just trying to learn from the experience, improve for next time, and share with others here. :)

Finally, here is a link to the materials I offered on the CUE website:
http://www.cue.org/cuetoyou/workshops/2006-09-05/

If you check it out, don’t miss the inspirational ideas at the end of the handout – culled from across the web… and from Eva, of course.

I wish I could share the student samples here (from Eva’s kindergarden classes and her Debbie Ferguson’s 1st grade classes), but I don’t think that would be prudent. Incidentally, though, if you can – always use kindergarden images for demonstrating iPhoto to elementary teachers… they really enjoyed the adorable little ones.

eLearning Blog: Instant Messaging: Is there validity for curriculum integration?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

eLearning Blog: Instant Messaging: Is there validity for curriculum integration? I just left a comment on this post, and I’m reposting the comment here (I’ve added two more reasons to make it an even 10):

I’m a big advocate of Instant Messaging in Education. My reasons can be summarized by these points:
  1. It can be used to provide on-demand just-in-time support for students.
  2. Mutliple conversations can be occuring between students or between students and the teacher without any of them being interupted or disturbed.
  3. More students can participate than in a traditional class.
  4. It’s a great way to get to know, and then stay in touch, with students.
  5. It helps students prepare for a 21st century muti-tasking work environment. (Including the social use of IM while working.)
  6. It is a better way to contact teachers than calling or appearing in their room.
  7. It can be asynchronous, or synchronous.
  8. Reasons 1-4 (and 5 even) apply to tech coordinators’ (and administrators’) work with their teachers, too.
  9. It can provide a sense of connection for teachers issolated in their rooms.
  10. It is a great way to stay in touch with others in your life, too. (Since we know that “and Life” is important to Education.)

Here’s a link to some of the posts I’ve written about IM in Education: http://edtechlife.com/?s=Instant+Message

Be sure to check out the original post, too.

Internet Safety and Awareness (For Educators)

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

A few weeks ago I posted a draft of an “Internet Awareness and Safety” presentation I was working on for Laguna Beach Unified School District. (Thank you again to those who offered comments or feedback.) On September 5th, an updated version was actually presented to the entire district faculty during a professional development day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there myself due to a prior commitment, but thankfully Lainie McGann was was able to present in my place. Together with LBUSD IT Director Victor Guthrie and LBPD Detective Zach Martinez, they delivered the presentation below and hosted a brief Q&A session.

Here are the materials that were used on Sept. 5th, including a 60 minute version of the presentation and accompanying handouts:

Internet Awareness and Safety (ppt)
Internet Awareness and Safety (pdf)
Agenda (pdf)
Technologies (pdf)
Benefits (pdf)
Concerns (pdf)
Proactive Strategies (pdf)

Note: I am now developing a slightly different version for parents. In fact, I’m working on a mailer for the parent events today. :)

Because I wasn’t at the September 5th presentation, the event itself was not as much of a learning experience for me as it would normally be, but the process of researching and improving this presentation has been extremely educational for me.

For instance, since developing these materials, I discovered this new service for parents: Social Shield – Helping Parents Protect Their Children on Social Networks (Via Christine Olmstead, who tipped me off to News – Uniting parents, Web designer gives them a social shield.) There are several commercial products (including seminars) available there, but there are also a host of free resources. I was most interested in the books recommended by the site. I’m ordering the books, and hoping to use some of this material (or at least point people toward the site) in the upcoming parent events. I’ve even sent Sean Percival, developer of the site, and email inviting collaboration. :)

I hope these materials and links can be helpful to others. Please leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about any of this.

Level 1 Teacher Technology Certification (For Beginners)

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

Following the three-day Trainer-of-Trainers course I lead in August, I lead a five-day Level 1 Teacher Technology Certification course at the Laguna Beach Unified School District on behalf of the Orange County Department of Education. It was not strictly for beginners, but it was a very large cohort (more than 30), with a wide range of skill levels.

In fact, this was probably the most striking thing about the training for me… I would even say it was eye-opening, or that it really put current reality in perspective for me. I’ve spent a lot of time reading, writing, and teaching about cutting edge things like blogs, wikis, and podcasts… or multimedia apps like iLife (or Picasa, Photo Story, Audacity, and Movie Maker on PCs)… but it has been a while since I was confronted with teachers who truly needed “level 1″ proficiency. I had folks in this class who handn’t masted the motor skills necessary to use the mouse to highlight text, who typed URLs into search boxes (this is actually pretty common), and who had never used a word processor before.

In the course of a full week training everyone was able to create their portfolio and to pass the “test out” at the end of the course. By the end everyone had demonstrated the required degree of mastery in internet use, email, word processing, spreadsheets, and powerpoint – and everyone had created a functional blog. It was really a challenge for some, though. There were also many who were perfectly proficient, and these folks were invaluable in helping coach the participants who needed it. There were three people in the room on-and-off throughout the week who had just finished the trainer of trainers – and they were very helpful – but most of the coaching was actually peer-to-peer in the class.

I took away two lessons.

1. There are many more teachers who need these basic skills than I thought there still were. I’m glad that I’ve had a misperception corrected.

2. The most valuable strategy for improving this situation is to facilitate sharing of skills from teacher-to-teacher.

The old coaching or mentor-mentee relationships that many California high schools used during the late 90′s Digital High School days are seeming like a good idea now.I know they passed out of popularity, or formal use after the formal program “dried up” but I hope people will still take advantage of their school’s internal capacity, both formally and informally.

These things also lead me to reflect on the growing gap between the have’s and have–not’s (in terms of teachers with and without tech skills). While the certification program, originally written in 2000, covers Internet, email, wordprocessing, spreadsheets, presentations, and (originally) databases, I think that by 2005, this needed to include multimedia (photo editing, audio editing, and video editing) and the read/write web (blogs, wikis, and podcasts). Instant Messaging belongs in there somewhere, too. That’s a lot of work we have cut out for us… and, what are we going to add by 2010? How do we, or should we keep up?

K12 Online Blog Goes Live

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

K12 Online Blog Goes Live (Via A Difference.) This blog is supporting an upcoming online conference for educators interested in Web 2.0 tools. For those of you that are already familiar with blogs, wikis, and the like, join me in submitting a presentation proposal. If these are new technologies (and pedagogies) to you, be sure to attend. Follow the blog for further announcements.

PS. The conference badge now appears in my sidebar.

Level 1 Teacher Technology Certification: Trainer of Trainers (For Tech Lead Teachers)

Monday, September 11th, 2006

In my work for OCDE this summer, I lead a three-day trainer-of-trainers course for the Level 1 Teacher Technology Certification program. This program provides teachers with a preliminary level of technology proficiency in Internet, e-Mail, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Databases. These are skills that new teachers are now trained in during their credentialing process in California, but there are many in the system who still need these skills – and perhaps not surprisingly, these skills don’t always take the first time if the new teachers (even young ones) are not digital natives.

In the past year or so, several pilot programs at specific districts (most notably the pilot at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District) have experimented with swapping out the Database portion for other skills more relevant to teachers. In our case, we chose blogging, and I’m happy to report that in this training (and the one that followed for ‘regular’ teachers) many new classroom blogs were born – and are being used already!

This particular training was an attempt to build capacity in the Laguna Beach Unified School District, by certifying all of their tech lead teachers as Level 1 trainers. (There are two teachers identified as tech lead teachers at each site – and each is paid a stipend to serve as a sort of educational technology coordinator for that site and a liaison to the district.) This training was a surprisingly fulfilling process for me. They were of course easy to work with and eager to learn, but more importantly I really got the sense (from a few in particular) that they really were planning to turn around and use this with their colleagues… and in some cases I think I’ve already seen changes in how they are using technology this year themselves.

I don’t know how much they will use it, but it was also exciting to set up a wiki for them to share custom agendas for their district and to share the many resources I mentioned off hand during the training. Ideally, I hope this will grow into a resource for the tech lead teachers there… feel free to contribute yourselves if you are interested: http://lbusd.wikispaces.org (Note: It turns out none of the blogs linked to this wiki are seeing much use yet… I’ll shared examples when I can.)

The following week’s five-day training for ‘regular’ teachers really opened my eyes in different ways, but that is tomorrow’s post. :)

My Favorite 9/11 Post

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Who Knows What Day It Is? (Via Borderland.) This post by Doug at Boderland is my favorite 9/11 post of the day. There are only ever going to be more and more young people who need to have these conversations and need to have these questions answered. I also wonder how relevant or immediate this day will be to young students. I know that they will live in the world forever changed by 9/11, but I also know how events like Martin Luther King Jr’s death, or JFKs death were vague “history” for me as a kid (and seemed to have happened a long time ago), and yet my parents’ generation remembered them and understood them intimately. Similarly, neither of my parents can remember d-day (both were actually born that week), but to their parents that was a vivid memory. I see this happening now with students like Doug’s – or like my wife Eva’s, who are in kindergarden… most were in the womb on September 11th, 2001. How we tell this story will be every bit as important as what happened, if not more so – from the perspective of our students and children.

I also found Scoble’s post stangely striking. I feel it is a big deal (and a tragedy of sorts) that his blog posts from 2001 are gone. I do back up my blog regularly… and I feel every piece of information (especially historical first hand accounts like Robert’s blog) that we keep is valuable to humanity as a whole… and that each piece that vanishes is a potentially costly loss. The power we have to publish is greatly diminished if the publications lack permanence… or at least staying power. Imagine the value of today’s blogs to future generations of humanity, who will almost certainly have tools to make sense of the volume of information!

Of course, I’m something of an information pack rat, but I think even Robert’s wishing he had his son’s pictures would be justification enough for someone (anyone) having backed them up. I left a comment on Scoble’s post, too.

Senge on Openness… and Microworlds

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Everytime I return to this book (The Fifth Discipline) it gets better, and seems more prescient. Here is a quote from Senge that sounds like Scoble could’ve said it:

Nothing undermines openness more surely than certainty. (p. 281, from a section on “Openness and Complexity”)

It also seems he’d read Papert already, as he has a whole section at the back of the book related to Microworlds. I write and share a lot of what I consider cutting edge thinking on video games and simulations in education, but look at this excerpt from 1990, sixteen years ago:

Now a new type of microworld is emerging. Personal computers are making it possible to integrate learning about complex team interactions with learning about complex business interactions. These new microworlds allow groups to reflect on, expose, test, and improve the mental models upon which they rely in facing difficult problems. They are settings for both crafting visions and experimenting with a broad range of strategies and policies for achieving those visions. Gradually, they are becoming a new type of ‘practice field’ for management teams, places where teams will learn how to learn together while engaging their most important business issues.

Microworlds, will, I believe, prove to be a critical technology for implementing the disciplines of the learning organization. And they will accomplish this by helping us rediscovr the power of learning through play. Shell’s Arie de Geus saus that organization learning occurs in three ways: through teaching, thourhg ‘changing the rules of the game’ (such as through openness and localness), and though play. Play sis the most rare, and potentially the most powerful. Microworlds are places for ‘relevant play.’ (p. 315)

At times, reading Senge even sounds like I’m reading Dewey.