Friday, December 19, 2008

What about Google?

Google has been in the outreach to educator mode since 2007, by training 50 educators per session using the train the trainer model. Each training session, called a Google Teacher Academy, is offered for 50 educators and now over 250 educators have been Google trained. Educators must apply by answering a few questions, with a limited number of characters in the response and a 60 second video explaining how they provide "Motivation and Learning" OR "Classroom Innovation". By training educators with Google tools and then asking them to pay it forward with other educators Google is able to spread their tools and ideas around the globe. Currently, the Google Academy has only been held in the USA, but during the last Academy, educators were accepted from outside the USA.

You may all know Google by the Google browser on the Internet, but did you know that Google is also a popular email option, calendar option, blog option, office suite option and more!
You need to know and understand 3 things about Google:
1. Google has free applications online which are part of the ReadWriteWeb, also known as Web 2.0 tools.
2. Google can afford to keep these applications free to consumers by the advertising you see on their search pages.
3. Google is on the cutting edge with various applications and a sense of an all in one suite. Everyone knows Google, oh you mean the search with the cool graphics, gmail, yes! There is even more if you dig deep on the Google Applications pages.

On November 18, 2008, I was one of 50 educators accepted to attend Google Teachers' academy in NYC. I was thrilled to be accepted and represent my school district and my State. I was also pleased to be in the company of Alice Barr, of Yarmouth High School and Sarah Sutter of Wiscassett High School. Once we arrived in NYC we were joined by another Maine educator, Kern Kelley of Nokomis Middle School, who now is a Google Trainer, along with his full time job at Nokomis Middle School. Mainers should be proud that our state is well represented with educators who are using web tools in innovative and collaborative ways.

As part of our acceptance in the Google Teachers Academy, each educator follows a plan to pay it forward and offer training to others not only locally but in some form of a collaborative project.

One activity that I am excited about is a community project to be offered at Wells Public Library in two sessions during January and February 2009. The activity Google goes Viral! is a presentation, for all levels of experience, with some hands on offerings during class. There will be a followup class after the first session in order that people may try out the different Google applications during the week and then come back to the followup session to learn some more about using the different Google applications.

You will leave the session, Google going Viral! with knowledge about :

* creating a gmail account
* calendar sharing
* creating a google document for sharing
* Website for personal use as well as sharing

Stay tuned throughout the year for more Google information!

Resources: Kern Kelley

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Primary Documents and Where to Find them!

This was cross-posted at 12/2/08
How many of you have used the Library of Congress Collections for your curriculum, content and most importantly your students?

If you have never used the online collections here is the perfect time to begin. No matter what your content area you will find something that you can use. Plus, by introducing your students to the wealth of materials they have available to them, you will be opening their eyes to a place where they can research their own primary sources when the time comes.

The Library of Congress opened their online Internet doors in 1991. I have visited the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, but I have not used the primary sources in any of my classes, nor have I had an opportunity to share this resource with my students. So, to make up for that I am sharing this important resource with teachers.
The LOC, as it is affectionately referred to, has designed a great jumping off spot for teachers. The spot is called the Learning Page and on that page there are menus to use a timeline, lesson plans , features and activities, collection connections, community center and my FAVORITE, professional development. Why is professional development my favorite? Because LOC provides the handouts for you to host your own through a video conference or with something as self serve where you choose a topic and go through the steps yourself or in a group at your school. I chose CREATIVE PORTRAITS:
Using Art and Artifacts to Deepen Historical Understanding
There is something called the facilitators framework,complete with handouts and the primary sources you are looking at and how much time you will need to deliver the workshop.

Thanks to the Library of Congress for all their good information, please share this with your students and staff. Take time right now and go on a Library of Congress tour!

Now to put this idea into practice! I am looking for a librarian to team up with on this venture and offer this workshop afterschool, any topic and any school day. Contact me on twitter cheryloakes50 .

Monday, December 01, 2008

Library of Congress, Primary Sources

Screenshots of Library of Congress Online

Sunday, November 23, 2008

FREE for educators!

If you have always wanted an interactive whiteboard in your classroom here is a way you can try this out for FREE for a year. The beauty of this is that there is a plug-in that allows you to set this up in your moodle page for ubiquitous use by your students! The offer is from Elluminate, an online tool you can use with multiple people, audio and video tools along with the whiteboard. Give it a try, or if you would like a demonstration please watch your email for an invitation to a training.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back from Google Teacher Academy! NYC 2008

The Maine Connection at Google Teacher's Academy in New York City, November 2008. 
Okay, this was just a phenomenal event. More to come.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Have you wondered about Fair Use and Copyright for your classroom!

Doug Johnson, author of the Blue Skunk blog, has written a comprehensive post about the lastest ruling. I won't attempt to comment yet, but will send this post out for you to read and relate to your classroom practice. I've also sent it to our librarians and asked for their impressions and interpretations.
You can read his post here:

There are also supporting documentation and videos:


and  at

It all debuts November, 11, 2008!

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wonder what you can do?

I love how David Warlick does this! He not only thinks big ideas, but he "does" big ideas. If you are inclined to want to participate, be a prosumer, join in his conversation. We can all have a part. How much do you want change? Yes, CHANGE, that 6 letter word that most of us avoid! But, the time for change is here and we can be part of the change, embrace it and shape it. Join in the conversation. Go to David's site and follow the directions. Do this soon, these links are time sensitive and will require you to act!
Big Ideas 4 Education.
No time to chat, must go and add to the ideas being generated.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What does this all mean?

This was cross-posted at

Often times in these posts you read about new technology tools designed to engage and motivate learners, as well as change the way we provide instruction. Today is an observation about how the technology goes underground and the content takes over in a surprising way.

This month, I have attend trainings in my school about using online tools and data where I have observed some interesting findings. In the past, I have written about how we educators complain that we don't have any more time to learn one more thing in our already busy lives. However, we really do, especially when the tools are integrated and provide substance to our content or mission.

The following examples are mentioned only to put the observations in context, not to endorse any one product over another. It is the integration of and interactivity of the product that is paramount.

Our district has been using Northwest Evaluation Association for the past 5 years for online fall and spring achievement assessments for our grade 2 to grade 10 students. This has been a valuable resource for our students, staff and parents. The fact that the student can take a one hour test on Monday and the teacher can have the results on Tuesday is remarkable. Once the testing window is closed, in district, the teacher and administrators have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips; provided the teacher and administrator have access to the technology tools. All the student, classroom , district and national data are available online for review, for instructional remediation, for instructional and curriculum development and for viewing student growth over time. In the past 5 years, our teachers and administrators have grown in their ability to use the data beyond the score and in fact are using the data to instruct each student or groups of students based on their need to learn a specific skill. NWEA has also grown in their delivery of data. What used to be a static report is now an interactive report display about a student, a group of students, a grade level, a school or a district.

What does this all mean? 5 years ago it would have been the technology integrator running the workshop for teachers and delivering a step by step activity on how to get to the website, how to add a user name and password, how to find a class or a teacher and finally how to find the student or school information. The entire “workshop” would have focused on using the technology to get at the information. Many teachers would have (and did) politely said, “I have this all in my printout of my student scores, thank you very much, and this is way too much work, I'll use my printout instead.” Today, however, the teacher has access to dynamic and interactive information that no longer can provide the depth in the written format.

The next workshop I attended was about myAccess, an online writing program. Our district chose this product to supplement our writing instruction for grades 7-11 and selected groups as a pilot project. This product is about students and teachers logging onto a website, adding written assignments into the database, getting online, immediate feedback based on certain criteria. The critical point here is immediate, online feedback. Your students may already be typing their assignments, then turning them in either in paper format or digital format and waiting for feedback and a grade. Teachers are busy, and teachers want to provide good feedback to students, which is time consuming. However, this product allows for standard assignments, to have standard criteria, and a standard grading process. Any writing prompt that is pulled from the accepted data base will be scored immediately. Any writing prompt that is teacher designed will take a longer period of time for feedback. MyAccess does have the ability to accept teacher designed prompts as well as the myAccess prompts from the data base.

What does this all mean? 5 years ago the technology integrator would have presented this workshop and concentrated on the process of getting online, the step by step activity of finding assignments and adding them to the classroom folder, as well as training the students how to gain access to the site. Today, the students are writing their assignments in class and from home, they are engaged with the assignments, they are choosing some of their own criteria to be scored and they are able to set their own goals. The teachers are looking at the scored data for their students and their class as a whole. The teachers are looking at the data and deciding when to add mini-lessons about certain topics that score low in the class database. The data is automatic, interactive and real time.

Finally, I attended a training about Pearson's online component to the Reading Street series. This product is a piece of the textbook reading series we chose for our grades K-5 students. Pearson has been developing this component for the past 3 years and this year the pieces all came together for our staff. During the training, the teachers received a user name and password to get into the products for their classroom/grade level. The presenter began with the Leveled Readers that our students will have access to from school and home. (We are fortunate that many of our students have Internet Access in their homes and have support to use these materials.) The leveled readers are authentic materials on interesting topics and have the built in tools to read aloud to the students. Then the presenter shared with teachers how to access the online teacher's guide and plan book. There were many gasps in the room as teachers audibly recognized that all the work for the planning of the lessons and themes has been done for them. All the remediation activities have been laid out, and all the enrichment activities have been laid out as well. The presenter demonstrated how teachers have control over the plan book and by simply clicking on an arrow for an activity the teacher can move that activity to the next day or week depending on the class. Finally, the presenter demonstrated how the teacher could view the specific skill levels of the class once the students used the online version of the unit pre and post tests. One teacher said, “You mean that if I use the preset test for my students it will automatically score the test?” “YES.” That sealed the deal. Then all the graphs the teacher has visually to observe student and class progress over time is amazing. Real time data, interactive data and a huge time saver for teachers!

What does all this mean? 5 years ago the technology integrator would have presented this workshop and concentrated on the process of getting online, the step by step activity of setting up the plan book, finding students and adding them to the classroom folder, as well as training the students how to gain access to the site. The technology went underground in this workshop. The teachers were able to concentrate on the content for their classroom purpose. We will still have to instruct students about how to access the site and we will still provide support to teachers to use the site when things change, but the interactivity of the product has offered teachers a real time saver.

What do all these products have in common? A Database.
The other behind the scenes change that has occurred, as a result of these products, is that to benefit from the integrated database there needs to be a system administrator who manages the population of the databases, or uploading of your student population. You don't want your teachers typing in each student name, that will not save time.

What does this all mean for you and your district? When you are looking for a product, ask questions about how to populate their database, ask questions about response time once the data has been logged in, ask questions about how quick the turn around time is to get information back to the student or teacher, ask about how interactive the data is that your teachers will be using. Spend the time finding your product. If you do, your end users will benefit from the structure and the data.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Science images, videos, webcasts. Stop here when looking for content to engage your learners.

The National Science Foundation has opened up their Multimedia Gallery to educators for classroom use. You can check it out here, 
You will find many interesting clips which will explain the unexplainable.  The gallery is searchable by keyword or phrase.
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Virtual Worlds

If you are ready for a virtual world, check out
RezEd is a comprehensive virtual-world resource for educators, students and those interested in learning about using virtual worlds.This site is funded by  MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning. You will find best practices, research, interviews and podcasts about this new type of learning. Bring something new into your classroom.
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How active are your students? Would they write to "win" a Green Computer Lab for their school?

Win a Green Computer Lab for your School!

INSPIRE your middle and high school students to be leaders in the Green Schools movement--and your school could win a state-of-the-art computer lab!

The "Green Light Contest" essay competition, sponsored by PC Mall Gov, in partnership with HP, InFocus and T.H.E. Journal, is seeking entries from students in two categories: grades 5 - 8 and 9 - 12.

In essays of 1,000 words or less students are asked to describe how they and their teachers can utilize technology to protect the environment, with the grand-prize-winning composition being awarded a 30-seat "green" computer lab for the author's school. Two additional first place winners (one from each grade-level category) will each receive a "green" laptop. Winning essays will be published in T.H.E. Journal and winners will be recognized at FETC, January 21 - 24, in Orlando, FL.

APPLICATION DEADLINE is December 1, 2008. Winners will be announced at FETC, January 21 - 24, 2009, and notified by mail no later than January 31, 2009.

Click here to view essay and submission criteria

This was taken directly from the Project Speak Up promotion.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Looking for audio books?

Here is a great place I found Wired for Books!
This is just another alternative for your challenged readers. When designing differentiated lessons be sure that you ask yourself, is reading the text the purpose of the lesson or is doing the activity the purpose? If reading the text is the means to the end, then please allow your challenged readers to listen and read along, so they can get to the activity.
If your students are using Safari to research on the Internet, they can use a built in service which allows the text on most pages to be transcribed from text to audio. All they need are headphones to provide the audio without interferring with others who may be reading. These tools help to level the playing field while making the learner more independent.
For more tools for challenged learners check out these blogs for more resources.
Karen Janowski-  Free technology toolkit!
Joyce Valenza- Toolkit!
Beth Goodwin, Cheryl Oakes-
Please share any good sites you have found for assistive technology or Universal Design for Learning.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Google Sketch Up in Maine

What an awesome session I attended with Google Maps at the MainEd08 , ACTEM conference. Using  you can use Google Maps and have students figure out real life problems. If you are an educator using Google Maps and lessons, then think about sharing that lesson on the Google Educator site.  Be sure to share the wealth! It is what I call open source learning. There are so many resources at  the Google Educator site. Get a group of educators, each take one tool, learn about it, incorporate it into a lesson, then teach that to your peers. In a matter of one hour, if each person learns one tool and shares, you could have a series of new tools in your educator toolkit!
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

ACTEM presentation by Beth Goodwin and Cheryl Oakes

On Friday, October 17, 2008, Beth Goodwin and I presented at the ACTEM08 conference. It was a great opportunity to share some FREE webtools with other educators. The presentation can be viewed online. This is where you can follow the presentation by Beth Goodwin and Cheryl Oakes. You can listen to the audio and follow along with the website. Thanks to all the great participants. Thanks to Beth's students for giving us the photos and good information to share.
Here is the link to the article by Bob Sprankle about Wordle one of the favorite tools of the students.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What would you share with a guest at your school? Join me for a tour of Wells Junior High School!

What would you share with a guest at your school?

Last week I had two guests visit me at school. After we chatted a bit about our technology and our hurdles we still have to meet, they asked for a tour.

I was thrilled to show them the renovations that had been made at our once aging Junior High School building. That is really an impressive sight! Especially the 3rd floor library where you have Atlantic Ocean views. However, I also shared the natural things that are happening in our classrooms. They are so natural to me and to those in our school that I had lost sight of where we were in the whole scheme of "using technology and 21st Century Literacy Skills.

Our first stop was a visit to a classroom with a Smartboard projector system. It just so happened that the bulb had blown out and was set to be fixed later in the day. The teacher shared how the day before the lesson had happened with students locating European countries by using Smartboard software and that today they continued finding countries with pencil and paper. Great job with a backup plan, but I wonder if the students had a preference, or if the teacher had a preference?

Then we observed a student Skyping into his classroom from the first floor. He had broken his leg and was waiting for his hard cast to be applied before he resumed classes out in the mainstream. Our teachers were using Macbooks to stream their course content to the student who was using a Macbook on his end too. He did not miss one day of class due to this technology. How is this outstanding? Well, we have another student who is also Skyping into his classes and the preparations took over 3 months to make plans for, while this student's plan was almost immediate. Once the principal heard about the broken leg, he offered up that we could have classes streamed by Skyping the course work to the student. Since the process had been initiated, it was simple to replicate. There wasn't much preparation with classroom teachers, it was just an expectation, and it was done with great expertise.

Then we visited a language arts classroom, where the teacher talked about how we had blogged with 116 students the previous year. This year we were going to begin that project in the fall rather than waiting for spring. A natural progression.

Our last stop was to check in on the physical education class. The students were in small groups and participating in a fitness routine on their Wii. What a great way to use the technology in a way that students will use outside of school too.

What kinds of things are naturally happening in your schools? What kinds of things can you envision happening in your schools? Just a little planning will make some small things happen, those seemingly small things will have a much bigger impact once you and your school begin the journey into the 21st Century.

Thanks to the great folks I work with at Wells Junior High School, you are making a huge difference in your students' lives.

OneTrueMedia part 2

Do you have some students working on a project about the election? Here is a way for them to promote participation. Try OneTrueMedia It is a simple way to create and publish a message. You will need to register. It is free for the basics. Here is my media.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Somethings are meant to be shared!

Last summer, I went to an international conference called BLC, Building Learning Communities, in Newton, MA. It was a great conference in many respects. I met some bloggers from Manitoba,Canada,  Scotland, Australia, all over New England and many great places in the USA. It was amazing to have so many people coming together to share their school experiences and their technology uses.

One presenter was David Truss, Vancouver, CA. He was such an engaging speaker that I was thrilled to see him put some of his work on BlipTV right here.

David has such a nice clear way of presenting his message  and for engaging the viewers to put this message into practice. I love his challenge, I"ll take the laptop and you take the pen and paper.

If this is interesting to you, you can go to Bob Sprankle's site and listen to the keynotes and many of the presenters from the BLC08 conference.

Thanks to Liz Davis for this path I took to find David. Check out Liz's blog.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Does this all count?

A few minutes from our first Seedlings on August 28, 2008, with Bob Sprankle and Alice Barr, and I am reflecting on my MEME, rhymes with seem.

I did it, I made all my goals for the summer MEME. More details to follow on the extent of my goal attainment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Want to celebrate! Tonight I graduated!

Again, I graduated. This time it was from my webcast academy class of 1.2. For the past 2 years I have listened to webcasts, listened to podcasts, created webcasts and podcasts. After plenty of practice, actually teaching the class, with fellow webcaster Susan Ettenheim we graduated! Alice Barr- from Kennebunk, ME, Susan Ettenheim- from NYC and me, Cheryl Oakes- Wells, ME.
So, what is a webcast, I like to call it Internet Radio. It is a collaborative, supportive group of people, some educators and some not, but we join together and have conversations on the Internet, publish the conversations and often have live chats going in a chat room while the audio conversations are happening.
Where can you sign up? How much does it cost? Check out, listen to a few shows, participate in the chat and the if it is for you, join the webcast academy class.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School, homework for Educators!

It is that time! You can smell fall in the air in New England. The evenings and mornings are crisp! You need a jacket for a bit when the sun goes down.

It is also time to apply for a couple of grants for educators!
Here is a new one to me from  then look for Education and the many options. Here is my favorite, field trip grants! You can apply anytime from Sept. 2, 2008 and the last date is closed on November 1, 2008.  Take advantage of this one. Target says it will send one out of every 25 schools nationwide on exciting, enriching field trips. Let me know when you get this grant.

The other is the Best Buy Te@ch Award! You must submit between July 1 and October 12, 2008, winners announced on March 3, 2009. Details are here.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grant information for K-12 math and science.

This is lifted from

2008 TAF K-6 Math and Science Grant Deadline Approaching

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The deadline for this year's Toshiba America Foundation's Science and Math Improvement Grant for K-6 is looming. Educators have until Oct. 1 to apply for the grants, which award up to $1,000 to fund science or math projects. The Toshiba America Foundation (TAF) is urging educators to apply, saying the program "is very easy to access for science and math teachers."
The Science and Math Improvement Grant awards schools for "programs and activities that improve teaching and learning in science and mathematics" in K-12 education. K-6 teachers can receive $1,000 mini-grants for math and science projects. Teachers of grades 7 through 12 can receive grants of up to $5,000. The deadline for K-6 grant applications is Oct. 1. Teachers of grades 7 through 12 can apply at any time during the calendar year. Teachers can also apply for grants larger than $5,000. Such applications will be reviewed twice per year: Feb. 1 and Aug. 1.
The Toshiba America Foundation has so far granted some $9 million to educators since its inception, supporting about 1,600 schools in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. More information about the grant program can be found here.

Try your hand at applying for a grant, your idea might be funded.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What is a techtorial?

"Education World Techtorials are weekly, step-by-step instructions on using some aspect of technology in the regular classroom. Short, practical, and educationally sound, Techtorials provide classroom teachers with simple, straightforward tips they can use today!" Taken right from the Education World website!

Do you feel like you are the only one in your hallway that doesn't know how to:

Skype: Talk to Anyone, Anywhere for Free
PhotoStory3: Projects, Slide Shows, and More
A Beginner's Guide to Wikis
Build a Blog
Creating a Podcast
Record, Edit, and Share Sound Files With Audacity
Social Bookmarking
Understanding RSS Feeds
What is a Podcast?

If so, then hop on over to  Education World website!
There are many, many more techtorials, one to surely interest you.

You will find the answers to the questions in the tutorials and way more!

The techtorials are all PDF files, which you can open in your browser, open another browser and try out the recommended tool while reading along. You could even print out the PDF, get a partner and follow along together. What a great way to network and learn a new tool! Good luck.

Over and out.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just the best thing since sliced bread! Now how long ago would that have been new?

If you have been looking for great resources for your students, grades K- 6, check out these sites:

Wikijunior Books-

The aim of this project is to produce age-appropriate non-fiction books for children from birth to age 12. These books are richly illustrated with photographs, diagrams, sketches, and original drawings. Wikijunior books are produced by a worldwide community of writers, teachers, students and young people all working together. Text taken from the site.

Another great resource you will want to check out is the Encyclopedia of Life.


The project is a collection of free textbooks and manuals. You can edit any book module right now by clicking on the edit this page link that appears in every Wikibooks module.

The project was opened in response to a request by Wikipedia's Karl Wick for a place to start building open content textbooks such as organic chemistry and physics in order to bring education to humanity and reduce the costs and other limitations to top-quality learning materials. It was started on July 10, 2003 and has been growing steadily since. As a result of the continuous growth, Wikibooks was split into several language-specific subdomains on July 21, 2004. Text taken from the site.

You can see some of the many resources connected to the Wikibooks site. Click here.

BTW, by the way, here is the information about sliced bread from wikipedia.

The phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread" (and variations thereof) is a commonly used hyperbolic means of praising an invention or development. Sliced bread appears to be something of an arbitrary selection as the benchmark against which later inventions should be judged. It has been said that "the phrase is the ultimate depiction of innovative achievement and American know-how",[6] although it is commonly used in the United Kingdom as well.

The popular use of the phrase derives from the fact that Wonder Bread, the first mass-marketer of sliced bread as a product, launched a 1930s ad campaign touting the innovation. Text taken from
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Dog Days of Summer! (for the Northern Hemisphere that is)

If you are living in the State of Maine, and you are a 4th grade teacher teaming with an art teacher you can apply for a grant from WMTW TV Through a Child's Eye.
This sounds like a fabulous effort by WMTW to empower Maine students to explore and document their world! Do it soon, the deadline is September 15, 2008. Oh, btw, good luck. Let me know how you do!

Here is another digital photography contest from TechLearning.
This is for K-12 for photos that students have taken from Jan. 1, 2008 to October 1, 2008.

The other great grant opportunity is with Best Buy. Best Buy offers a Teach Award. If you work in a school in a 50 mile radius of a Best Buy, you are elegible. The award window is open from July 1, to October 1, 2008.
Here are some further rules:
  • Awards will range from $1,000 to $5,000 based on specific school needs.
  • $10,000 will be awarded to up to 15 applications supporting 9th grade programs
This grant has been awarded to people in our school district, and to a neighboring school district. You can do this. If you would like more information follow the links. If you would like help filling out the award, just contact me. I'd be happy to help. Good luck!

Best Buy also funds a specific donation program if your idea qualifies. Check out the criteria here.

I'll stop back frequently when I find other opportunities!

Add your bubble

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Great link for Social Studies and 21st Century Literacy

The Parntership for 21st Century Skills has published the 21st Century Skills Map for Social Studies with benchmarks at Grade 4, 8 and 12. This document provides the necessary language and examples for any teacher to make meaningful decisions in a classroom about how to present material encompassing 21st Century Literacy.
Here is an example for 8th grade communication:
Outcome: Research, organize and present information in clear, complete and effective formats.
Example: Research information on the local implications of a global issue of concern. Students organize their information and a possible solution and write a persuasive letter that is to be proof-read, peer edited, and finally sent via e-mail to a local public official.

Just by adding the words global issue and email to an already designed lesson, you have bridged the next century. Just try it. Just because this is a social studies content area, don't dismiss it. I am sure you, the great teacher that you are, can find a way to make this work in your content area.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Professional Work Links

Check out the work that summer allows!

Donna W, Beth C, Charlene K, Michele L

It has been most impressive. There are still two more weeks of classes. Aug. 4, WHS and Aug. 11, @WES all about assistive technology and Universal Design for Learning.

Come Join the Fun!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Highlights for this month!

In an effort to support my classroom teachers I am going to publish a monthly collection of the newest classroom resources.

My first for elementary students is a site created by two retired teachers I met at NECC. I will be interviewing them soon and will like the podcast here. They designed the site as a place for students with reading levels from 2nd to 4th grade to research animals, presidents, geography and they are constantly adding to their site. We purchased a subscription from them for our elementary school. It was less than 100.00 for the whole school for the school year. This is such a bargin. You can get more information by going here . I hope you enjoy their site as much as I do. Be sure you bookmark their site when you get there.

This is for anyone looking for primary source documents from American History. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is making primary documents available from all eras available FREE of charge. There are podcasts from historians, lessons plans , and a searchable database of more than 60,000 primary-source documents and transcripts for classroom use and online exhibitions. Also you will want to check out their related site, History Now. If you have never used primary source documents with your students make this year the year you try it out.

This is for anyone looking to engage and motivate their students with lessons and digital resources used by other teachers in your subject or grade level. You can search Nortel Learnit, and Curriki for great ideas and lessons. You can also pay it forward and send in your own lesson ideas for others to use. Check out and register for this site, Nortel Learnit. I love this statement on their lesson plan page, " The 6E's lesson plan format was developed by teachers in consultation with faculty from schools of education in North America and is based on a constructivist model of teaching.
The model we have developed is called the 6ES Model of Instruction (6 E's and an S--Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate, Extend, and Standards)." from the Nortel Learnit , learn about their lessons.
I loved their lesson, Getting Along for early elementary, with a clear social studies theme.
Then this one for grades 7-12 Our troubled world, global issues.
Just by checking out this website your first month of school would be planned!

Come back next month for some more goodies.
Over and out!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Half way to accomplishing my summer goals and meme!

I just realized that I am halfway through summer vacation, (sorry for this brutal reminder), and halfway through accomplishing my meme. My professional learning circle has expanded. My toolkit has expanded and become more purposeful and streamlined. I am adding an online component to my in district professional development course. My learning on a good path!

BLC a session I was able to uStream

I was fortunate enough to attend the session put on by Darren and Clarence. Here is the uStream of their presentation, after fashion, I do get out of the way so you can actually see the presentation.

Here is Clarence's site. Here you will find Darren's site.

Now the focus of this post should be on you viewing the Ustream, however, a quick note about the "background". It is so easy to set up an account to Ustream.
Then configure your laptop with the videocam to allow you to record both video and audio , you select start recording, start broadcast, send out a twitter to your network, or email folks the stream URL for your "TV" station, you are in business!

This makes the learning transparent. This makes a meeting transparent. This makes a meeting available for all to attend whether f2f or virtually. Try it.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

BLC08, David Truss

Use this link all the afternoon
David Truss
Here is the CoveritLive Blog

Thursday, July 17, 2008

UDL Concord Consortium Science for Middle and HS

Use this site

Introduction to our afternoon, with probes and their science lessons.


Use the probes or use the models already uploaded to the site and given data.
I made activity 1085 on temperature.

Web 2.0 for Newbies, Jim W. November Learning

This is a way to deliver the message to new teachers. In 1991 the first Mosaic Website was built, the Internet wasn't just for science anymore. So our students just graduating in 2008 have been alive as long as the Internet. Things are changing so quickly.
This session is totally full, and people are sitting on the floor.
Jim had us introduce ourselves with each other, I met a woman from Detroit.
You want to get a network so when your kids are creating their content, you can get someone to comment on their work. Do this with staff as well.
When youtube is blocked, you can use Zamzar at home and download the youtube video and it is converted so you can use it at school.
Look at the purpose of why you will wiki, blog, moodle, etc.

Shelly Paul has created a website with 15 min. videos on how to use some of the web 2.0 tools. Check it out!

Blogging is easy to use and allows feedback in a controled way and it allows students to share. Comments should be approved.
Blog is chronological, the wiki is more like a book, table of contents,etc.
Much easier than using the old websites.

If teachers are blogging, then administrators need to use RSS to make those connections.

Jim is calling a website to demonstrate gcast! Then it is published to the web instantly.
Great presentation.

Universal Design for Learning

This is dedicated for younger students. This is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Initial starts in grade 3/4 and 5/6.
Carolyn shared the different ways that the information on the portal is available to students, larger/smaller fonts, Spanish/English, speech to text. This is all based on science content. When text is highlighted it auto reads.Students control their input with various changes, feedback and real work.
The Smart Graph Work, is an intuitive graph that gives instant feed back to the student.
Trying to make all the tools, under the learning, to work smarter and more explicitly.
Venier and Pasco probes work with this grant.

5e's BSCS. engage, explore, explain, extend, ellaborate
So activities are based on the above. The Plant photosynthesis project takes the data and sends to the interactive graph. Data collection.
The electricity probes offer a chance to collect data based on the movement of gears etc.
Stories and the CAST story builder.

Since the teacher has a portal, kids log onto the portal, and all the data is saved at the UDL research site.Kids will see all the data collected and are able to write a report based on real data. This is the FEB. edition.
The scaffolding:
Level 1:one or more examples of good responses. Students asked to add to the response in their own words.
Level 2: Students selects the best of several suggested multiple-choice responses.
Level 3: Parts of response are provided, but missing content.
Level 4: Clues are given
Lefel 5: Multiple choice answers to choose from, and chance for the kids to add.

Cloud unit, with a story. Students read the stories over a couple days and then begin the activity.Some stories use models, some use probes.The glossary will be teacher controlled, so words can always be on, or only at the beginning of a chapter.
The questions are scattered throughout the activities.
As part of the teacher portal, teachers control the level the student begins, whether the student can choose the level.
the teacher's computer collects the data to send to the research. The teacher has a program to see what the kids are doing on their computer.
The snapshot function, and student can also take a snapshot of their activities to build information for their report. The snapshot has an interactive piece, text box, draw, and use the snapshots to build a record of the project. The snapshots are then used to answer the questions from the unit.
Alternative assessments.
Teacher can access the test data from the whole pre-test down to a specific student. There is a bar graph showing progress for each student.
Using the CAST story builder, the coaches help encourage the student about specific prompts.The coaches offer help during activities and prompt the student to follow the activity steps and collect data.
Collecting data from AK, MA, MO,CA.
Now we can sign up for the portal, as a teacher.
Always looking for school districts to be part of this project!!! K-12

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Joyce Valenza Libraries Accessible

Great ideas.
Put up an Amazon wishlist for parents and community to purchase books.
Use online polls.
Use Google calendar to have classes sign up for a time slot.
Reading polls to help purchasing.
Use a poll affirming /confirming what was learned in the latest lesson.
How can I sell the databases as user friendly.
Catalog, not use the label find books.
Use igoogle pages or pageflakes, that puts all the collections on the web, widgets, webpages, tools, dictionaries. Get the RSS feed into the page and you will see how it refreshes.
By using these resources, it is how you will be an informational user in this century.
Can we create an igoogle text?
Set up a Pagecast.Calendar, to do list, CNN news, assignments, One url and the kids have the information.
Youtube toolbars, Murdoch, University. LIBX,( for colleges, not K12) wehn it goes to google books or youtube, it tells you whether your library has that selection.
Federated searches:
Search that goes across the webtools, Clusty, Google, comes up with one result list. Federated searches only use the language of the time of the journalists. So like World War I, doesn't come up unless you search The Great War
Kartoo does a visual search,
Clusty comes up with categories, horizontal search and brings up things you would not normally see.
Blog searches and set up RSS feeds.
uhighdatabases- Univ. Chicago.
Gathered all streaming media searches in one place.
Research channel for university lectures.
ebooks and audiobooks
Encyclopedia of life- fabulous for K-12, being developed now

Wikijunior-full color booklets for kids age 8-11.

Free ebooks.

Wikibooks, human body.

Are you available to your students, reference service, email

Dr. charles Best Secondary School Library, put a translator on the page, it is a widget.
IM service for messages from kids.
If one deaf student need this. Ask the libraria IM
Are you linking to your states. available 24/7,
Interlibraryloan is the best, availablbe to kids.

Pathfinders on your web.Add 5 to the webpage. Use feeds in the pathfinders.
Noodle tools.,citation
Middle school pathfinders, can be in delicious. Delicious link in EBSCO, and you can't embed, so go with a page, wiki.
History Reference center EBSCO.
Copyright friendly media, all the sources, so kids can mashup legally.
If the are content creators must have.

Free open source and Web based Applications,
list the open source options and web based options.
Open Curriculum from all universities.
MIT HS open courseware
Online Research guide for the HS, with links.
NoodleBib 250.00 per year, has a notetaking tool and an evaluation, and teacher can see how the student is doing. is automatically fills in based on the available information.

The unquiet library
The Yes department
Research and documentation Online for sample papers in MLA and APA style give to kids so they can compare what they are doing.

Reading 2.0 Using Technology to Promote books, not replace Then.
Kid volunteers enhance the books with the online media links in the back of the book.

On the library computer homepage, the kids sit down to a quesitons, who would you invite to lunch. Good way to get started. Kids entered picture into contest showing them reading, get a 50.00 Amazon certificate.
Summer reading list, online? It is a wiki? Can parents get to it?
International Children's digital library- for elementary
Edina Public Schools- embedded reading list, Book reviews by kids.
Cool chatter Plug into terrific writers
Lookybook, picture book shelfari 300 books for now.

Shelfari- joycevalenza
Library Thing, will connect to your catalog, use library thing tags.
Playaway, the simplest way to listen to audio on the go!!!
Google book search, set up ebooks, collection of classic books, made available for the full book, these are public domain, Shakespear, Mark Twain
Book Glutton- social place you can make comments and have discussion for inside your class.

Global Studies ning, group for each books kid reading in social studies.
Birthday book club, have your community purchase books for their kids birthday.

Joyce has so many great ideas for library media centers.
Put student writing on the web pages and celebrate student work.

Put media in a parking place on a ning, and then have the code to embed on webpages.
The adventures of Superpresentationman--watch this.
Student work, writing, video and student art, Flickr-where you can isolate pieces of the painting or photo and comment about it.

Student orientation online in the wiki for anyone who misses the day.

Celebrate Student Life!

Podcasting with Purpose BLC08

Check the links at There is also a wiki.

YOU can view the presentation for this.

Bob shared the movie the students made explaining podcasting.

Students are writing their pieces before they record them. There are many edits, peer edits and many rehearsals, and editing.
It is a workshop of activity in the classroom.
Notice the music in the movie, makes the movie! Look for Room 208, presentations.

The Learning Pyramid, see the link on the website.

Creating purpose, points to the book by Richard Brattigan So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away

Podcasting with purpose, the students no longer publish for the refrigerator, but for the world.

Check out 21st Century Skills.
Great links. Presentation.

Michael Richards shared his CoveritLive for Darren's presentation, thanks Michael.

This is not a Test, Clarence Fisher

Snow Lake Manitoba, CA
Live blogging from BLC08
Clarence is setting the stage for his presentation, 1,000 people in Snow Lake, a small mining community. It is 2 hours to get anyplace from Snow Lake, 7 hours to the airport.
However, if you look worldwide, it is the best small place to learn.

I love that Dennis Richards , a superintendent , is Ustreaming this presentation!

You can live in a remote or rural place and still be global.

What happens when you start making connections, what are the trends, change happens.

What do you do with the technology and your pedagogy. The tools will change, but good pedagogy doesn't change.

What can we learn from businesses? Teamwork, transparency, empowerment, communication. Collaboration will allow you to do different things.
What opportunities do we make for kids?

Going global, going public.

What innovation is needed in your classroom for your kids? Think classroom.
Clarence's challenge is distance, not access. He has no museum, no movie theater.

A business has a challenge, the smartest person may not be working for them, so challenge is how to get the benefit of that person outside of your business.

How do we put our kids in touch with these people?
Networks change everything. Networks have changed things for business. It is always learning, always working, 24/7.

Kids are network to the underground digital network. They go home and connect and lear how to use new things.

Clay Shirky's book. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

Innovation is about trust.Innovation is people centered, not technology centered.

We have creative kids who go home after school and create!
Do we encourage creativity, the prototype culture in school? Is it because it might not work, it might fail? How to we encourage that learning from mistakes to find the better answer or better solution?

We need to try, we need to fail, we need to try again with something else or different until it works.

Afrigadget is a blog.

We have failed to re-imagine education for our time. How do we re-invent ourselves and our classrooms. A failure of imagination!

Get out of the way of our students! This is in response to blogging and students wanting to publish at night for their audience in Australia who are just waking up.

Clarence started a project with schools internationally and had the kids decide the project.
All kids worked on Google Docs and created a script, use all the pictures, then pushed this out to the web. Using free tools, kids globally created a project. The student project, Poverty. This was an eye opening project, the kids in Snow Lake considered poverty not having the latest tool, in Kuala Lumpur, the poorest of the poor have nothing. It put poverty in perspective.

New project Thinwalled classroom. connecting a classroom, bookclub online, 3 kids from Snow Lake, 3 kids from LA.
The kids set up a moodle chat for discussions. The chat crashed, so the kids moved to another chat and contacted the teacher with the copy of the other chat.
He has a wiki studying societies wiki which is the social studies book that the students create. He builds on it and keeps it around. This came about because the students were using the same social studies book he had when he was in school. It even had his name in it.

Classroom as a studio for artists, architects,to create, shape and re-shape, lots of time with ebbs and flows. Teacher is the network administrator, the network in and outside the classroom, the information network.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Assistive Technology Goes Mainstream!

This is also posted at TechLearning

While thinking about a plan for this blogpost and preparing for a summer week of professional development for my staff I came upon Karen Janowski's website and UDL toolkit.

I thought I would start out with the challenge. Read further and find out why. As chefs we have a toolkit of our favorite resources in our kitchens, as bloggers we have our favorite links and feeds, as learners we have our favorite resources, so why not start a toolkit for our challenged learners and be explicit about the tools. Karen explains what Universal Design for Learning is about:
Change is centered upon Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which proposes that multiple methods of :

* Representation
* Engagement
* Expression

promote learning for ALL students. Flexibility is embedded within the curriculum. The book, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age available in its entirety at the CAST website, expounds upon these principles and this is a MUST read for all educators.

When I was consulting with some special educators at my school and I shared how to use a couple of online tools to help the students with their writing, the special educator asked me if all the regular educators knew about these tools and resources. My flip answer back was did you already know about these tools? Now that you have learned this you need to share! This prompted my developing a week long course, this post and the challenge!
If you knew that this all existed and didn't do anything to promote this, then you and I are NOT change agents. This is the right thing to do for all our learners.

Check out what Lisa Thumann,Senior Specialist in Educational Technology CMSCE,
Rutgers University , is doing in her work with teachers.

Lisa Thumann is also working with schools in New Jersey in her work as part of Rutgers University outreach and you will find her toolkit represented here.

Finally, if you needed one more reason to engage in this work of promoting tools for assistive technology for all learners here is a testimonial I heard yesterday.

I met an occupational therapist recently who explained how a student of hers began using VoiceThread for her school projects. This may not seem remarkable until you learn that the student, although able, would not speak in the classroom. Once VoiceThread was added as a tool in the classroom toolkit, the student was empowered to make changes with much peer support.The student recorded her school projects in VoiceThread, her peers were thrilled to hear her voice. Make change happen for your students in need of these tools.

What is your toolkit? If you make a toolkit page of resources please share it here.(Send your link to I will make a page and share the resources with all.
Here is my first attempt at making an assistive technology tab in igoogle. I will explore other ways in Netvibes and Pageflakes. I am looking for ways for students to create their own toolkit using some web 2.0 tools.

Where did I learn all about this? I attended the Edubloggerconeast, unconference, yesterday in Newton, MA. I highly recommend this type of unconference to anyone looking for professional learning. You can check out how Liz Davis made this happen. You can see the organization here at the wiki.

Huge thanks to Alan November for recognizing the importance of unconferences and sharing space before his Building Learning Communities 08.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

EdubloggerConEast July 14, 2008

Live blogging our breakout sessions.
Pedagogy Matters with Richard S. facilitating
Outline the Construct

Behaviorism- shaping- rewards, ex. grades, stars, reinforcement
Connectivism,George Siemens, when you are connect to so many people it really capitalizes on the social learning aspects of constructivism, it is the wikipedia effect, the google docs, If you are accomplished in using your network tools,
Cognitivism- intellectual complexity or cognition-determined right answer, programming language,
Constructivism-building meaning based on experience, project based learning, socially based, Montessori,
-Universal Design for learning
Differentiated Instruction
Inquiry model, studio,
Understanding by Design - multiple representations

Our job,in 10 min. come up with an example of an explicit connection between an activity and one of the pedagogies.

Internet Safety Activity for 5th and 6th graders:
Listen and learn about Internet Safety and Cyberbullying rules. Then students create a poster, comic or skit about a safety rule. Follow up- actually build a page and publish and demonstrating that they follow the rules. This demonstrates the pedagogies of Connectivsm, students created their page and worked with others to complete the task, the teacher was NOT the only one in charge, all students helped one another, Understanding by Design, because all students in regular ed and special ed completed the task.

Art/music collaboration: history of silent films, background,and how can we make this more open to different kinds of students? break students into groups? not so product driven?

Language arts/ vingnettes and podcasts with music,

Digitial Storytelling- 5th grade, kids personal narrative, music, sound effects, shared with the audience world wide, blogged and podcasted so on web
behaviorism: rewarded for their work
constructivism: engagement, personal narrative
Google Tools: teachers investigating tools themselves and thinking about how they can use them in classroom
greater opportunity for creativity, more about how tools could be used

Voicethread: bridging podcasts and vodcasts, where the focus on the up-front preparation before you get to the technical tool

Scratch: give kids the basic and then allow kids to explore the tool and mimic what they learned from other things

Then there was a discussion about the value of exploration with a software or piece of hardwarde and then people can go on to construct their own knowledge about a particular item.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tribute to Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher

You know it isn't often that you meet someone virtually, work with them for a year and finally meet up with them and make great connections. Well, this is how I first met Vicki Davis.

Vicki and I were approached by Jen Wagner and Sharon Peters to make a quartet and become the Women of Web 2.0 in an effort to present at NECC07. It came about when Jen was listening to the male bloggers at NECC06. This had nothing to do with the male bloggers, some of them are counted among my virtual and face to face friends now, but the women's voice was lacking.

Our proposal was accepted. We all chatted online, we decided to try a live podcast, called a webcast, since I had taken WebcastAcademy and was a beginning webcaster. That was back in October 2006! Now 84 or so shows later, Vicki is leaving the show and moving on to make more time for her family and more flexibility in her global projects.

What will this mean? Well, first of all Women of Web 2.0 has taken on a life of its own. The audience and members make the show in the chat room and by being guests. This organization will live on. This organization will change and this organization will be by the educators and for educators.

However, this is my tribute for Vicki! I have learned so much from Vicki. I really admire that she has been so transparent in her presentations, she provides google chats for the back channel, for her classrooms, she blogs about them, for her turmoils, she chats/blogs/struggles openly about those moments and gathers information from her network. She is constantly looking for purpose with new web tools, she is constantly looking to make connections and provide opportunities for others!

Her organizational skills are incredible. She has calendars I have never heard of, she makes connections I have been part of and she orchestrates many behind the scene ideas with great chutzpah! I mean, Thomas Friedman has been part of Flat Classroom, and now VIcki and Julie are in his book!

I am so glad that Vicki was able to come to Maine and get introduced to our wonderful teachers, was a huge positive part of our ACTEM Conference. She is now part of our Maine family.

Vicki has paved the way for those of us in education to continue to make connections, to market ourselves and to look to the future. I am proud to call Vicki Davis a friend, I am happy to have met her family in San Antonio, and I am glad she will be taking more time to hang with her family because family time is precious. You need to be available to make those memories that will get your family through good times and tough times. I agree with the blogger who said, I don't want to regret missing my family times,  I can never make those up,( that is why I took my Mom to dinner this June and missed a show)  but I know my educational peers will be with me through those times and will carry me through those times. So Vicki, enjoy your family, make your own schedule and keep in touch!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Live Blog of Ian Jukes @ NECC 08

Ian recommends for all of us to take the digital diet challenge. He has the challenge here at his handouts page.

We have to learn to teach to the whole new mind, from Daniel Pink.

He says many, kids in school learn in spite of what we do. The top one third do this with ease. We need to direct our teaching to the other two thirds of our students.

These are our students! This is our audience!

Think of the language in the tests, identify, describe, these are the verbs from the lower end of Bloom's Taxonomy. We are not testing analyze, synthesize, the higher order verbs and activities.

We are not preparing kids for the world they are graduating into.

Everyone in our society needs to be about creativity and problem solving. We need to be teaching 21st Century Literacies.

Math not about equations, students need to understand numeracy.
Reading is not about reading text, but also comprehending text and images.
Writing is not about writing text, but also about communicating with text and images.
If we just learn or teach the 3 R's, we will prepare them for the 20th Century, their past, our comfort. They will not be prepared for the 21st Century.

Difference between literacy and fluency. Fluency is intuitive, unconscious, and internalized skills.

Technological fluency involves transparent use. It is not the pen but what we do with the pen.
It is not about teaching kids excel, it is about teaching kids to be problem solvers. Not about power pointless!
The issue, is critical thinking, time management...
You need to use the camera to get the photo for the assignment! Learn about the technology is the by product.
Media fluency, is not about operating the camera, the audio recorder, but looking at the content and understand how that medium is communicate the message. How is the media shaping our thinking!
First part! more coming.
Part 2---
We need, as teachers, to stop telling the whole story. We can't do this all the time, we need to teach lazy! We need to stop standing in front of kids telling them how smart we are! We need to allow the kids to think outside the lines.
Teachers need to withdraw progressively from being the thinker and teller in the classroom. We need to let our students progressively take charge of their learning so we create independent learners, who know how to find information and solve problems in a creative and new manner. As parents we get this, why can't we as teachers put this into practice?
Why does education rule how students should be learning? Why not put the students in charge of their learning? What would students say about using social networks, cell phones, text messaging in their learning environment?
Oh my, we must let students collaborate, it has to happen! If we are to prepare our students for success we must make environments for our students to collaborate in meaningful ways.
Digital tools for students are not optional! They are part of their culture. There are no boundaries for our students.Students need to create digital products so they can share what they know about the content, the process is as much of value as the product. Digital tools enhance the learning. Choose the better tool to create the product to solve the problem.
Students need guided and supportive feedback with an authentic audience to solve real problems. We need to re-think assessment and evaluation.

Use his handouts you will find the link to many handouts, keep on with the conversation!
Read Teaching for Tomorrow by Ted McCain Corwin Press
Read Here Comes Everybody!
You can email Ian at!

Guess who is coming to dinner? What happens when you invite one person to dinner in San Antonio, NECC 2008?

This post is also at

52 diners show up! No this is not a bad dream, it is a reality.

About 6 weeks ago, in the Twitterverse, many of us were setting our sights on converging in San Antonio for NECC 2008. Well, in the old days, about 365 of them ago, we probably would have sent an email to a few friends, and asked them to invite a friend and we would name a restaurant and a time. Probably by the time dinner rolled around we would have a dozen or so folks deciding upon a place to dine, all of us then would walk to the restaurant and have a fabulous time.

Fast forward to May 2008, 365 days later, and Sharon Betts asked a twitter friend to meet up with her for dinner at NECC08. All of this took place on twitter, a social network where one can leave a message with no more than 140 characters, to an individual or to the group, while singling out an individual.

Sharon made a "mistake" and messaged the crowd on twitter rather than a direct message to the friend. In a matter of 2 min. someone else responded that they too would like to meet up for dinner in San Antonio. In a matter of 20 minutes, there were over 20 people interested in meeting for dinner. The numbers swelled, and a project ensued. Sharon created a wikispace in order to collect ideas for restaurants, a meeting time, directions etc.

In the end there were over 90 people who signed up for dinner. While only 52 were able to attend, when was the last time you organized a dinner party for 52? Sharon searched and found a great spot in San Antonio, on the blue trolley line. She reserved a space for 90 of her closest friends and a time was agreed upon. Now, you may be thinking this is not so remarkable. YET!

You see, many of us in the group had only chatted by twitter, or blog comments or chats at . Many of us had never met face to face. And especially since a whole contingent of people, were traveling from Australia, the UK, all around the US and Canada, this was an event! How could you say no to this event?

Now, if you are still looking for purpose in using Twitter, think if you might use this social network tool to find information about a new Web 2.0 tool, a new book, a new idea, an old idea needing a revision, a collaborative project for your classroom. I can tell you that I rely on twitter as a comprehensive tool in my daily communication among my peers. I can rely on my twitter friends to come to my rescue when I am in need of an idea or support about something.

This is the spirit of NECC, trying something new, trying something using the new tools, sharing with others and keeping the conversation alive. Thanks to Sharon and all who participated. Not only was I able to expand my knowledge, I enjoyed meeting each and everyone of you face to face. Our collective knowledge is more dynamic than our own knowledge.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Graduation speech from Ms. Lewia

I asked Ms. Lewia if I could refer to her speech for those of you who may not have been at graduation. She presented this speech with great polish!

Good Afternoon, Administrators, Senator Collins, School Board Members, Faculty, Staff, Parents, Family members and the Wells High School Class of 2008.

When I was asked to give the graduation inspirational speech, I said, “Are you kidding”… For those of you out there that know me this is not my forte. But this is a special group of graduates! I have enjoyed following all of you over the past four years and look forward to hearing about your new adventures.

I want to share with you today an inspirational story that I read many years ago from the book of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. This story is one of my favorites.

It is titled TRUE HEIGHT.

See the passage True Height.

Today I would ask you to be brave. Explore the great big world out there. Open your hearts and your minds to new ideas and fresh suggestions. If I could give you one bit of advice it would be to try something new every day of your lives, even if it only means taking a different route to work or school. That way, whatever else that journey of life brings, it won't bring boredom.

I’ll leave you today with An Irish blessing that goes like this…
May the sun shine, all the day long, everything go right, and nothing wrong. May those you love bring love back to you and may all the wishes you wish come true.
I wish you all the best in your futures, I love you all and always remember…

YES YOU CAN!!!( At this point a banner dropped from the podium Yes You Can!)

Thanks Ms. Lewia

Permission to post this has been requested from Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises.

My favorite quote, as soon as graduation was over, a student was heard saying, "I can't believe my text box is full!"

Friday, June 06, 2008

Professional Development Meme

It seems that a Meme kicks off my jump into summer! So, I am happy to oblige Michael Richards with  my entrance into this meme.  Especially since he was tagged by Skip Zalneraitis (twitter=skipz), who considers himself a newbie in this world of social web tools. So, Welcome Skip!

Here are the directions:

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2008 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

Here are the rules:

  1. Pick 3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
  2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/01/08).
  3. Post the above directions along with your 3 goals on your blog.
  4. Title your post Professional Development Meme and link back/trackback to
  5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme.
  6. Tag 8 others to participate in the meme.
  7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
  8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

Here are my goals:

1. Learn how to use Podcast Capture on my macbook for instant podcast or videocast publishing.

2. Make some face to face connections with my virtual cohorts while at NECC and BLC .

3. Make my 4 summer professional development courses available online!


Carla Arena

Leah Welch

Jo McLeay

Jen Wagner

Sharon Peters

Vicki Davis

Kathy Shields

Ernie Easter

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