NECC Live, Webcast Sessions, and Podcasts

Thanks to a heads up from Joyce Valenza’s post NECC: If you missed the thrill of being there, I realized that the webcast and podcast sessions from NECC 2007 are now available online. Here are the links to the various (not exactly easy to locate) repositories for each format:

And so the conference goes on… we can be absorbing additional sessions for months. In any case, if I missed anything please leave additional links in the comments – particularly if you have any podcasts of your own up (from NECC or the edubloggercon).

Final NECC Reflections

I’m exhausted. Nearly four days after returning from NECC in Atlanta and I’m still exhausted. The adventure on the way to out there left me with only two hours of sleep before heading to the edubloggercon. Saturday and Sunday night I did alright getting the sleep and exercise I needed, but after that it was the usual conference whirlwind of staying out too late and then staying up polishing presentations even later. The flight home was another ten hour nightmare (but I was still better off than many of the other edubloggers trying to get home on Wednesday). I got home at 3 am Thursday morning.

The following morning was lost to sleep, exercise, and recuperation – and things that needed to get done at home. The rest of Thursday and Friday was a mad dash to take care of critical projects, and I again skipped my workout Friday morning – always a mistake when it comes to my stress level. Since then Saturday and Sunday, though more relaxed and healthy, have been a rush to catch up on email, RSS feeds, and conference follow up (business cards etc). Finally, I am writing my final NECC reflections… but I’m exhausted. I’m ready to put the excitement behind me. (And I hope you’ll excuse this bit of self-indulgent blogging. The exhaustion has turned out to be a big part of the conference experience for me.)

That being said, I am coming away from the conference with a few key bits of new (or renewed) learning, most of them more personal (and humbling) than educational technology related, but don’t miss the last one if you’re an edublogger:

  • I know that ed tech is far too large a field for anyone to be an expert in anything, but from time to time I get to feeling like something of an expert in some specialization – web 2.0 tools, say, or video games in education. I was happily humbled on both fronts this past week. For instance, in the very first session of the formal conference, I picked up a few new tools from Jim Gates. Similarly, I was genuinely impressed not only by how far the educators in Second Life have come, but what they are doing with students! And this is to say nothing of the excitement of finally “getting” twitter, which really deserves an entire post in and of itself. Hopefully I’ll be less exhausted soon and be up to writing about it.
  • It’s time to retire my slides. They’ve evolved well over the last few years, but the bullets finally need to go. I need to get on the presentation zen and digital storytelling train here. David Jakes’ comments on this topic were particularly compelling. (As were Terry Freedman’s comments about presenters not talking too much about themselves.) Though my actual sessions and workshops focus on interaction as much as possible – and though I present more often from an interactive wiki than from slides these days – and though what presentation I actually do does follow a digital storytelling model to some degree on account of the anecdotes I throw in – it is nevertheless finally time for me to kick my slides up a notch. And, damn, I just got Benton to help me design a new theme. I wonder if I’ll still use it. Ultimately, I’m just a little too embarassed that someone might throw me in with the folks who were “reading bullets” at NECC. My only slide-based presentation was the Internet Safety and Awareness one, but Vicki was there and I was particularly self conscious anytime I was cranking through a slide of bullet points.
  • I realize I’m a terrible networker… to the point of being socially awkward even. I don’t know how many times I heard someone (usually Mike Lawrence) say “If you’re not networking, you’re not working” at NECC this year, but I suppose I wasn’t doing my job much of the time. It was interesting, but somehow short of instructive (for me), to see how easily (or seemingly so) many of my fellow edubloggers could network. I heard Chris Craft (I believe) compliment Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on her networking – and I, too, was impressed. And Mike Lawrence (not an edublogger) is of course the master. It’s why he’s the executive director of CUE I think. At any rate, not only are my networking skills not what I’d like, I managed to put my foot in my mouth more times than I care to think about. Again, I’d like to extend my apologies to Terry (for my own ignorance). Even so, I loved the experience of the edubloggercon and getting to meet and chat with so many of my fellow edubloggers.
  • I wish I had been more deliberate about meeting people I hadn’t met – and meeting up with people I know. For instance, Mark van ‘t Hooft was obviously there. I’ve enjoyed his blog, but I didn’t get the chance to meet him. Also, I would’ve liked to have had a more in-depth conversation with probably a dozen or more of the bloggers who met in the bloggers cafe throughout the conference, but sadly I generated relatively few chats over a meal or other shared activity outside the madness of the cafe.
  • When I’m done with this dissertation, I need to start traveling to more of the regional educational technology conferences. This would not only be a good way to expand my business and clientele (I find presentations to be my best advertisement), but it would also give me more opportunities to improve on all of the points above – to learn from and be humbled by others’ presentations, to fine tune my own presentations, and to practice networking (and meeting with people deliberately).
  • There is indeed a very real tension between my practice as an educational technologist and my role as an academic and Ph.D. student. Dr. Abbey Brown’s impassioned speech following Dr. Cheri Toledo’s impromptu sharing with residency students really challenged me in this respect (there was a Walden Univeristy residency in parallel with NECC). I think both the web 2.0 publishing ethic and the peer-review ethic have an important role in our society. Right now I’m existing at an intersection of the two and there is probably another posts’ worth of thinking to do on this topic too.
  • Perhaps the most overwhelming take away for me, though, was the fact that there were really many different NECC conferences happening in Atlanta. Others have mentioned that even with the amazing growth of the edublogger community, we are a very small minority (of about a hundred) in an event of over 20,000. David Warlick posted what look like amazing numbers when we look at last year’s NECC posts versus this year. But, even with the significant jump, I suspect that this year’s posts (748 posts tagged NECC07, 987 posts tagged NECC2007 and 3,149 posts with the string “NECC 2007” in them) were probably generated by not many more than the 100 or so edubloggers on the list. While my average might be high, I generated 21 of those posts myself. Assuming more overlap than not in those numbers, that’d be an estimate of only about 150 bloggers responsible for all the content we’re excited about… even if we call it 200 bloggers, that’s all of 1% of the attendees at NECC! I spend no more than 15 minutes on the show floor, and most of that talking to colleagues at the Google booth. There were folks for whom the exhibit hall was the most exciting part of the conference! “We” either have a long way to go, or we need to accept that these tools are not for everyone.

In any case, I look forward to seeing where this “movement” goes in the next year (and it is a movement – we have the buttons to prove it). I’ll be keeping an eye on the new virtual versions of the bloggers’ cafe in Second Life and on the web. Of course, I also look forward to my own transformation over the next year. It was just before NECC last year that I left the county office of education and started my own consulting and professional development company. This NECC has thus severed as a milestone for me. I made it through the first year of business on my own. In fact – as of today (to the day) I’ve been on my own for a year. Time to go celebrate…

Then on to chapter three of the dissertation.

Ramapo Island: Another Dimension of Learning

DSCN0234.JPGThis was moblogged, but I’ve cleaned it up considerably. In my professional opinion, this was the most important session of the conference. This was the first example I’d ever seen of students engaged in meaningful role-playing in a massively multiplayer environment. NOTE: Peggy is pictured here at the Second Life lounge, where I caught a better image of her. Here is a picture of her presentation, taken with my Treo.

In short, Peggy and her colleagues are working with 8th grade students on a private Island in Second Life. Sadly I came in late, but I saw more than enough to justify the claim I made above. She covered ways they are using the Island for role-playing in many subject areas. For example, in social studies the students role-play immigrating to the US via Ellis Island (complete with a giant model of the Statue of Liberty). In literature class they role-played a mock trial (trying Lenny for murder – from Of Mice and Men). They also hold their literature discussions in-game (in fantastic flying pods), and have more participation for it – among other things, students were less intimidated.

The lack of game-like features in Second Life became an immediately obvious advantage. Like a good tabletop role playing game, the scenarios were designed by the teachers and students and played out in an open ended fashion between live players. The lack of any formal “combat” system or competition of any kind – or even a rule system – was no liability. Obviously we want our educational games to be non-violent, and that is the default option in Second Life. Also, sans game rules, the role-playing is primary.

As an aside, Peggy mentioned that they have learning environments that look like castles and all sorts of fantastic forms, not just real-world architecture. Students are building now, too. They even have an entrepreneur project where students start in-game businesses, complete with business plans. Peggy showed a video of a student who sells furniture in-game. Awesome.

In health class they explored their concepts of body image. First, students were asked to create the most beautiful avatar they could. Then the reflected on and discussed the experience. Next, they were asked to create the most beautiful cross-gender avatar they could, followed by reflection and discussion. Finally, they create an avatar as close to possible to their real-life bodies. Complete with discussion of the Dove beauty adds, the student discussion and reactions were “nothing short of profound.” Remember these are 8th graders!

In general they reported that students were more comfortable discussing such things in the virtual world than they would ever be in a classroom. Also, they saw an effect where they would here from students, “I’m hanging out with kids in SL who would never hang out with me in real life.”

One of my overall reactions at this point was, “I need this lady on my delphi panel!

There was then some discussion of the options educators have for using Second Life with their students. The most attractive option is a private island with 16 acres of land, complete access control, complete terrain customization, and -most importantly – the potential for being a persistent online classroom. Private islands are half-price for educators… a few thousand dollars a year, I think… easily something an institution could afford.

This was followed by a discussion of several “steps to success’ including getting the administration on board, hiring a consultant, setting up and checking hardware, working with Linden Labs to acquire land, planning meaningful curriculum, and – of course – listening to your students.

They also shared some challenges, including frequent updates and downtime, network lag, booking lab time (of course), and as Peggy put it “time, time, time.”

She ended (as she started apparently) with a visual summary… a video that began with sleeping kids powered down followed by great images of students being digital natives, reading the world is flat, and a Hithickers Guide “don’t panic” sign to boot. With “there’s beauty in the breakdown” as a soundtrack, the text “come down the rabit hole” lead the way to lots of in-world images of Second Life. I had goosebumps.

She ended with a list of resources and the closing statement “I look forward to seeing you in second life.”

I was impressed. Peggy had IT and admin colleagues there to help with the Q&A. I was also impressed by the questions from attendees! They got it! For instance, someone asked if in-game attitude changes have transfered over into the classroom. Peggy responded that she was not sure, but that the relationships have. There were also questions about security that were well handled. Happily, I got to meet Peggy (briefly) when it was all over.

Session link: Ramapo Island: Another Dimension of Learning

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Virtual Worlds: A New Frontier for Integrated Self Expression

This was moblogged… and I arrived late, so it’s a bit rough even though I’ve re-written much of it after the fact. I didn’t capture a meaningful picture, so I’m leaving this post text only.

I walked in during a video of students playing a game. I wasn’t able to sus out all of the context. Then the presenter began Stage 2 of her presentation, but I didn’t catch the title in time. However, another participant shared some of the related links that had already been presented. Three were new to me:

She then proceeded to give us a tour of one of the virtual worlds she was working in with students. I noted that there were tons of “worlds” on her server. She showed us one with piers (over a sort of virtual shoreline) and a variety of content areas represented. Sadly, we could hardly hear her… I’m sure it was great stuff but we could hardly hear her at all, especially over the water sound effect of the world, which was blaring on her computer speakers. Amazingly she was also answering IMs! (I’ve been guilty of this from time to time in a workshop, but never in the middle of a presentation segment.)

At any rate, back to the tour… the storyline is embedded into the game world. She showed us a “gene machine” which allows students to create genetically accurate DNA. Very cool. Unfortunately much of what she showed was just not connecting with me, perhaps because the images on the screen held very little meaning for me.

In any case, it was interesting to hear that they have 3D modelers working with the kids to offload the burden of designing and programming 3D objects. They also look for free (or donated) models. I was hoping I could more about what platform they’re using at their website.

Everything she showed was kid created. For instance, “Liz put that piece of mars down.” The students got really excited when they realized they could put their own recordings in.

During the Q&A I couldn’t hear… and she didn’t repeat the questions. But I did hear that these worlds may be available for others with paid registration. Someday they may be free. For an example, see the Vangough World at activeworlds (above)… Or The Bar from Cassablanca (at the same link).

My ending comment: I’ll have to look into this stuff, but for now it’s back to the bloggers cafe for juice – for the macbook and me.

Sweet! I just noticed this session will be available as a video from ISTE. I’ll link to it as soon as it’s available.

Session Link: Virtual Worlds: A New Frontier for Integrated Self Expression

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How Virtual Worlds Help Real Students: The River City MUVE

Following the interview Chris Walsh did with Dr. Dede, I got the chance to see he and his team present on the River City MUVE. I’ve read about this project, and Dr. Dede for some time, so it was great to finally see it presented and discussed… and to be able to ask a question of the panel as well. You can see many of the slides presented in Julie Lindsay’s flickr stream, where I found this picture, which was much better than any I managed to take with my CoolPix L3 and my Treo. The notes below were live blogged on my MacBook and I’m leaving them largely as they are.

Chris Dede: Let’s not start with the technology and look for a problem to solve… Let’s start with the problem.

Technology is doing three things at once:

1. Changing the skills we want from students.
2. New methods for teaching and learning.
3. Changing the characteristics of learners in the classroom (because of how they use technology outside of school).

Great short video to introduce their preso… a bit glitchy though. Brilliant… kids using laptops, cellphones, and video games… and then using chalk… and then going to work in a high tech workplace. Excerpt from a panasonic commercial.

Some review about the way education got it wrong in his generation.
Some review of Friedman’s The World Is Flat.
Also review of The New Division of Labor.

You can major n anything, but you better come out with complex communications and expert decision making.

He’s focusing on 21st Century Skills
– Problem finding before problem solving.
– Making Meaning Out of Complexity
– Comprehension as a team (to make meaning out of complexity)

We can’t teach this skill completely in the real world, because part of what we have to teach in the 21st century is not just how to collaborate across a table – but how to collaborate with someone at a distance in a virtual environment – just as we don’t need to teach the dewey decimal system, we need to teach what to do when you get 2 million hits on Google.

Interfaces for distributed learning.
– World to the desktop
– Multi-User Virtual Environments
– Ubiquitous Computing (the inverse of MUVEs)

Most people associate MUVEs with MMORPGs like WoW – or like SL. As we study those games, there are findings relevant to education.
– The range of users has widened.
– People spend a lot of time exercising an alternate persona (it’s very engaging)
– The learning processes are active (mentoring etc.)
– The content and the skills that people are learning are garbage.

So how do we take this powerful engine with junk in it and do something worth while?

For seven years they’ve tried to do that with the River City MUVE. They try to substitute meaningful content and keep the elements of engagement.

They hope to get to the kids who give up on themselves and give up on science (the hardest thing that they teach).

Students go back in time in the River City environment…

Another great video introducing the environment.

Dede sat down during the video. A grad student got up to speak. Edward Dieterle? They are trying to get River City into classrooms.

Styles are theoretical constructs… wow new idea for me and it went to fast. Maybe I can link to it later. Ah, learning styles? Here… he cited:

Sternberg, R.J. (1997) Thinking styles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Media based learning styles… I’m a bit tuned out.

Active learning based on experience…

Some description of the characters in the game… the mayor, the reporter… opportunities for reflection (that goes beyond just explanation… students are expressing their understanding through multiple pathways).

Another speaker… Diane Jass Ketelhut. She’s been with the project almost seven years, too.

She cited the speak up survey, which showed that parents felt schools are not preparing students for the 21st century.

New pedagogies and tools
New Pedagogies
-Scientific Inquiry
-Situated Learning

New Technological Tools
-Simulate Authentic tools.
and more…

What does river city offer?
– Scientific Inquiry
– Avenue into the technological skills and intersts of students
– A non-linear approach to learning
– Situated learning experiences without leaving the classroom!
– Ability to explore identity as a scientist

Virtual Experimentation
– Students change one factor about the world.
– THen, they check to see the effects on water pollution, hospital admissions, etc…

And they can revert time (and other magical things) because its simulated. Kids could never do this sort of controlled experiment in real life.

Inquiry has a positive effect on learning.
Students like the elements of inquiry – having their own question to solve etc.
They like being “like a real scientist.” It’s like real life to them even though they know it’s fake.

Another video (this is well planned out) – student focus groups. Great. Are these online somewhere?

Awesome: “I can experiment without getting a whooping.” (Middle School)

They tapped into teachers well trained in the inquiry process to see what they have to say about River City.
– Raised student awareness of inquiry*
– Student-centered experimental design most valuable element
– Best instruction elements-develment of research skills.
– Would teach River City again.

Priceless: “My school should make sure that the science teachers are good and the computers are always working.” (3rd Grader)

She was engaging. Dede’s back up.

Extended Metaphor: Learning is more like bonding than sleeping. (I don’t know if I really captured this.)

We need to expand the ways we teach to handle the variety of ways people learn. Our measures of success are much more difficult to measure than, say, being a doctor. A flu shot works or not, regardless of socio-econmic status or language skills.

Learning technologies are more like clothes than fire. You can’t just stand near them to get the full effect… they have to be tailored.

Now the bar has been set high by the activities students do outside the classroom… and they recognize that sitting and listening doesn’t work. (I’m having a small moment of hallelujah right now – I’m glad I’m involved in this… I slept through far too much of my schooling… in retrospect, though, I wish I had been talking to the people around me more.)

Dede: We looked at what to do with students who do best with direct instruction when we put them in a learn by doing environment. (I’d LOVE to hear more about this. It makes me think of Fiona Littleton’s research that seemed to say that gaming is not a good way to learn for non-gamers. Also, my own students, especially AP students, complained for this reason.)

Now he’s talking about wellness and personal health… and things he knows and doesn’t do. He has the information and he still doesn’t do it. Unlearning isn’t just intellectual… it’s emotional, it’s social… a cohort of people learning together and providing emotional and social support for one another. They try to create that kind of community for students who are unlearning in River City. He says we have it here at NECC, but we need that everyday. Very eloquent talk off the top of his head.

Q & A: It’s Windows only.

I asked more about supporting students who have adapted to directed learning.
– Support from their group (of three)
– Supplemental “workbook” materials
– They get engaged and learn even if they don’t realize it

River City is a 17 hour curriculum and i’s not teacher proof. They wrote the score, the teachers are conductors, and the students are the musicians. We embrace variety… you wouldn’t want a room full of musicians playing trumpet.

Question: Is there potential for distance learning with River City.
Dede: Yes, but the distinction between face-to-face learning and distance learning is going to disappear. All learning will be blended. (He explained this so well… I said “wow” outloud.)

They have used River City in teacher education classes… they invited folks to talk to them more if they are interested in that.

Q: Are you working on future content or updates?

Session link: How Virtual Worlds Help Real Students: The River City MUVE

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NECC Live: Video Games

This post was moblogged on my Treo and I’m going to leave it largely as is. Chris Walsh (far right) interviewed Chris Dede, Damon Talley, and David Gibson. Chris Dede, on the left, is from the Harvard GSE and is responsible for a good deal of research into Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVEs) and the River City educational simulation. Damon Talley, in the middle, is involved with the NASA Toys in Space program, about which I know very little. David Gibson, on the right, is responsible for SimSchool and something called the Global Learning Challenge, which I also know very little about. Here are some highlights of the dialog that caught my attention:

CD: Immersive shared simulation as new definition of games, including engagment and problem solving
DG: games can bring challenges, goals, self-discovery – simulations bring mode building… We’re bringing them together into something that doesn’t have a name yet.
CW: How do we do more than just engage?
DG: are you desinging games or just playing them?
CD: kids are figuring things out when playing games
DG: self determination is key
DT: ours has curriculum integrated
CW: mmo’s and augmenter reality games are hot – can we define and talk about these things.
CD: exqmple: klopfer environmental detective… Also virtual revolutionary war battlefields
DG: in SL we will have handhelds with augmented virtual reality, too. Also our existing tools will be integrated in.
CD: the challenge is replacing what teachers are already doing – not adding to it. These environments do save time spent on classroom management.
CW: where are we going with this?
DG: increase in computational tools…
DT: more videoconferencing
CD: a big issue is research… The power is in the pedagogy and content, not in the tool
DG touched on collaboration.
CW: what are the first steps for teachers?
DG: there are a lot of things out there that are free for the searching and taking, but time is needed to understand it and create the pedagodgy.
CD: there’s much that’s been research
CW: one thing?
DG: learningarcade
DT: nasa kids club
CD: biology materials (didn’t catch it)
Participant: what kind of research is happening?
CD: lots… And some of it is not as rigorous – but is still valuable for making classroom decisions.
What kinds of things do u see happening in 5 years?
GD: I hope we see a turnaround in funding for experimentation.
DT: lower costs for video conferencing.
CD: hopefully breakthroughs in assessment… Games capture a ruch stream of data… If we can find ways of automating understandinh parts of that data it would be an enormous breakthrough.
GD: more authoring toos for students and teachers.

Sadly, I didn’t have a good questions for the panel at the end. The entire interview, though, will be available as an NECC LIVE webcast. I’ll link to it as soon as it is posted.

Considering 1-to-1: Here’s a Toolkit to Get Started

I started this post on my laptop, but ran out of power. The following is composed from the moblogged notes I took on my treo. Beginning in media res, I found it interesting that the presenters noted that they have seen higher parent participation at the 1-to-1 schools because of laptop orientations they offered. More importantly, they offer what they call a TIP toolkit (or Technology Immersion Pilot Toolkit) for others considering a 1-to-1 implementation. This professionally designed document includes (among other resources) “TIP Factors” or “factors to consider before implementing technology immersion” and “TIPS for Success” or “lessons learned from their technology immersion pilot.” Though the presenters had the slides with the most bullets I’ve seen in a long time, I suspect the actual document will be a good resource for my 1-to-1 work with Salem School over the next year.

I was happy to discover that their tips seemed very familiar based on my experience and reading on the topic so far. Frankly, though, it’s hard to focus on all of these elements during an implementation. I believe the key factor, the one that can help you overcome a shortcoming in any other area is stakeholder buy-in. Other bits that caught my attention in this presentation were the assertion that principals need time to learn, too! Also, they were explicit about the need to have a PLAN for staff turnover, something I learned the hard way during the EETT grant implementation that gave 1200 middle school students in Newport-Mesa Palm Tungsten E handhelds. Naturally, they also noted that curriculum integration and pedagogical support is at least as important as tech support. I was particularly happy to see them recommend using students for technical support. This session and the others like it left me looking forward to working in a 1-to-1 situation again soon.

Session Link: Considering 1-to-1: Here’s a Toolkit to Get Started

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Second Life at NECC

DSCN0235.JPGSecond Life has a big presence at the edubloggercon and at the aquarium last night. Personally, I’m drawing the line at spending time in a virtual world while we’re all here in Atlanta. But, I’m definitely reinvigorated about the possibilities and there is no arguing that others are too. I started taking pictures of all the SL booths in the “Playground” here on level 2 (near the blogger’s cafe), but quickly realized that a video was the best way to capture it. So, here you are… my first TeacherTube upload: Direct Link (The embedding doesn’t seem to work with WordPress… any one have any tips?)

A Computer On Every Desk? Now What?

This is being live blogged during concurrent session one at NECC. In preparation for my 1:1 work with Salem, I decided to seek out sessions on 1:1 at NECC this year. I started upstairs in End-to-End One-to-One Computing Solutions: Engage Students and Empower Educators, but quickly realized it was a Gateway commercial (the first slide made this easy) and headed downstairs to A Computer On Every Desk? Now What?. On the way I went down the escalator with John Pederson and was very tempted to join him in Will’s session… he had a huge crowd, and like John I would’ve liked to have seen Will’s current presentation, but I opted for getting out of the echo champer after all.

So I’m here with James Gates (no relation to Bill), who opened with some humor and then his goals for the session. Among other things he has something of an open source focus. Cool. He also offered political background on Pennsylvania’s move to shared WANs and shared services, including netTrekker, Internet2, Moodle, & podcasting services. He talked also about their professional development programs, and an effort to put a laptop for each kid in all of the core classrooms. Other context included news about failures of laptops (and educational technology) in schools.

As he turned a corner in the presenation he focused on what students need to do…

The first hurdle – students become stenographers. Don’t be afraid to say, “close the lid.” Train students on how to take notes.

The second hurdle – accessing files from home. They used elocker hosted on their WAN (50 MB) and (1 GB), a free service. (This is cool – I tried it with, but James discussed some of the issues with it as well.)

Next he talked about using Moodle (instead of Blackboard). And, cool, the kids have blogs in Moodle, but there are no comments. (This is sad… and arguably not a blog.) He demoed the blog feature a bit. They are now experimenting with using elgg in conjunction with Moodle – for better blog features and locker space.

In addition to the Moodle submission tools, he’s using network shared folders for inboxes, outboxes, and shared folders.

Ah, he’s discussing wikis and He’s very Web 2.0 savvy. He keeps talking about tags, too. He even talked about Scuttle, an open source social bookmarking tool. Schools can even instal their own instance for their students (though, I think this defeats the social bookmarking element to some degree.) Man, now he’s on aggregators, including pageflakes, which I really only started looking at during the edubloggercon. Very cool… it’s a very visual aggregator. Cool! He talked about subscribing to Moodle discussion forums. I’m stoked to hear you can do that. And now he’s at Google Docs. So much for getting out of the echo chamber. I suppose that might be something of a futile exercise here at NECC. ;)

I suppose it should be comforting that I may be right in thinking that these tools are ideally suited for 1:1 implementations. Incidentally, he is acknowledging the “issues” related to these tools, but not letting them stand in his way.

Here’s something new to me… splashcastmedia, which allows you to create web based slide shows and embed them in your own site:

SplashCast enables anyone to create streaming media ‘channels’ that combine video, music, photos, narration, text and RSS feeds. These user-generated channels can be played and easily syndicated on any web site, blog, or social network page. When channel owners modify their channel, their content is automatically updated across all the web pages ‘tuned’ to that channel.

Now he’s talking about , which creates visual timelines from RSS feeds. Here’s a timeline for this site.

Ok… now Joomla:

Joomla! is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the planet. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications. Joomla! is easy to install, simple to manage, and reliable.

He uses it for his school newspaper, a neat implementation

He said that in PA you can’t have public blogs in school, but “it’s a little better than pasted a word document on a wall.” This guy is great. This session is much more fun than I expected.

With ten minutes left, he’s demoing some real classes (password protected, so no link, sorry).

Hm. Then he returned to slides for his conclusion… and my own engagement went way down. I need to heed that myself.

The first question: Are you working with your staff to be sure they don’t over do it? Or to be sure that if something comes in, something goes out? (He pretty much responded yes, that’s a good point.)

It’s a big room and I can’t hear the other questions so much… and it sounds like he putting off some questions for after.

Oh! They don’t even actually have the laptops yet. Oh well, fun session anyway.

Wiki for this workshop:

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Link: June is the Cruellest Month (& More NECC)

Photo_062407_002.jpgJune is the Cruellest Month (Via blog of proximal development.) This is the blog post of the day in the edublogosphere. Personally, I spent the day recuperating from a long travel day followed by an intense day hunched over my laptop or hunched forward into a conversation (that would be the edubloggercon yesterady). I slept in, got in a workout, and worked on my presenations before heading to the keynote this evening. I suspect many of the edubloggers here did something similarly rejuvenating (or spent their day in traditional NECC workshops – or touring Atlanta) because there were hardly any posts in my aggregator tonight… even from my non-education feeds. It was almost weird. In any case, Konrad Glogowski offers this poignant reflection on a year blogging with his students… and the need to reduce it to a final grade. This post helped to keep things in perspective after a day and half with my head in the clouds already. (The student musicians from the keynote pictured here also served that purpose to some degree… and their musicianship seemed closer to what the edublogosphere is shooting for than NCLB and traditional education.)

Incidentally, as I reflect on the edubloggercon yesterday, I remain thrilled to have had the opportunity for fellowship with my fellow edubloggers… but I can’t help but think that when we had those minds all in a room together we could have – and maybe should have – produced something or done something. More on this later (plus a post on the keynote and receptions sometime tomorrow), but sleep now.