Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Are you preparing your students for their future?

Recently in my doctoral program, I came across this article posted by a colleague in one of my courses. As a K-12 educational leader, it made me ponder the questions: Are we doing all we can to prepare our students for the future? Are they learning the necessary skills from us that they need in order to perform and function in the world? Teaching and learning are changing, are we keeping up?

This article linked below describes one college who is now requiring all students to successfully complete at least one online course prior to graduation. Interesting.

TIE Conference 2007

The conference is over and I can't believe how fast it went. I am excited about the new things I have learned and only hope that I am going to be able to use them in my class. It takes a little more than just me to be onboard with Web 2.0 to make it happen!

The conference was wonderful. Thank you for having the wireless internet available. I was able to keep up with this blog everywhere I went. The speakers were incredible as was the variety of breakout sessions.

I am thrilled that the state's middle school computer teachers have all come together and started their own association. We hope to meet every year at this event!

I would like to thank the TIE staff for all their hard work and dedication to making this event happen every year. We know it doesn't just come about by magic.
I hope to see many of you at the Systems Change Conference in the fall!

PS ~ Check out the cluster map to see who is checking us out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Student 2.0: New Technologies, New Opportunities for 21st Century Learners

Julie Mathiesen - TIE

Julie took off from the in-depth session I took with her on Sunday about Web 2.0 tools. She truly believes we need to know who our current “customer” is and what they are all about. You will find her presentation on her wiki.

Julie showed us a cute little video about Digital Immigrant vs. Digital Native. She pointed out that “You might be a digital immigrant if….”

She also gave us some new vocabulary like: Screenagers and the MySpace Generation. She also gave us MMORPG – Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

Teachers don’t know much about gamers because we don’t play games and don’t get the draw. There are games that thousand, even tens of thousands of kids are playing all together.

Electronic communication: “Email is so, like, 2005.” Teens do instant messaging.
Voice communication: Cell phones vs. text messaging.

There are currently 173 million people using MySpace. Julie, being the hip and happening young woman she is, showed us her “MySpace” page. Her page may not be “rockin’”, but she uses it for the great reason of keeping track of her kids. Since I do the same thing, I think it is something parents should do. If MySpace were a country, it would be the 9th largest.

Our generation gap is turning into a generation LAP since many of our kids are lapping us. Start checking out places like Second Life. Many universities as well as ISTE are represented here. What a site!
Five ideas to go forth with:
Go Public! Start blogs! Get student work out in the world
Be! This is Social Bookmarking. Keep your favorites online. If you tag them, you can have them come into your wiki automatically.
Get Wiki! Julie has a Wiki Challenge: Come to the TIE site and paste in your own standards. Link resources to make students proficient with this standard.
Fast Forward! YouTube or TeacherTube. Check out the content. Watch some video and then learn how to MAKE a video.
Get Game! Explore the world of games.

Julie, what an awesome job! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge with us!

Technology Tools for Schools

Joe Hauge – TIE

Joe explained the advantages of being a TIE member. TIE is funded on soft money through grants and they do powerful work for school districts.

Benefits of membership:
Vendor discounts
Individual districts struggle with getting good pricing
As a collective, TIE has been able to generate more discounts
All vendor discounts are on the TIE website (
Support Technology Coordinators
Technical training is very expensive, but also very important. Some examples:
A+ Certification
Microsoft Certification
New Horizons technical training
Professional Development for teachers and administrators
Face-to-face training
Online workshops
Working on putting workshops on DVD – set up for an in-service
Classroom Management is out
Winning Words will be out in August
TIE conference
Data Analysis Service
TIE’s redesigned website

Systems Change Conference – MAPLE (Midwest Alliance for Professional Learning and Leadership) in partnership with TIE
It will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain, November 14-15-16, 2007

Systems and Design in Technology

Wayne Lang
Technology Coordinator and Trainer in the Rapid City Area School District

Strand 1 of the new technology standards (Nature and Concepts of Technology) relies heavily on systems thinking and design. Educational technology fits well into Information and Communication Technologies. There is so much change coming that we need to find out how to deal with teaching our kids.
Strand 1 includes:
History and Progression
Relationships with other fields

System is made up of several parts that all work together. We are surrounded by all kinds of systems. Systems help us to see how individual parts work together, understand complicated things, and deal with future changes.

System thinking can be broken down to the simple model of input, process, and output. Feedback is also a necessary element to make certain the system works.

How do we use this model? Relate the to the student world. Introduce – Plan – Analyze
Use the system all the time and kids will start thinking that way.

It could take between 7 and 20 years of students being exposed to systems thinking before it really pays off.

The Design Process (Technological Method)
Define the problem
Gather information
Generate alternatives
Select the best solution
Produce the solution
Test and evaluate the solution
Report the results

Wayne did a wonderful job explaining the systems thinking method.

For more resources, see Wayne’s website:

Tuesday Keynote

Technology Award
With a welcome to the final day of the 2007 TIE Conference by Joe Hauge, he presented the final technology award to Shelia Jensen of Corral Drive Elementary School in Rapid City. Shelia has been there for 6 years and works with Literacy. She has been a mentor to other staff members. She troubleshoots glitches and incorporates technology daily. Shelia also servers on the Building Leadership Team and as a Building Technology Leader. Congratulations Shelia.

Student Media Fair
We had an opportunity to see a video clip highlighting student technology achievement. I am constantly amazed by the creativity and talent of our young students. I sat watching the video in awe! We all need to celebrate these awesome students and their ingenuity!

Get your students involved with next year’s media fair!

Governor Mike Rounds
The Governor gave a heartfelt thank you to everyone in the room for what we do with the students in the state of South Dakota. He also thanked Jim Perry and TIE for this conference.

Governor Rounds talked about the budget and the moneys appropriated for education and technology.

Guidance Central has been purchased for schools to prepare students for college entrance exams and to plan their high school and college careers.

Education Week announced that South Dakota was one of only three states to receive an A- in technology while the average grade is a C. This article for SD was available at Education Week ( and was amazing to see where we actually are compared to others.

The Governor opened the floor for questions:
What will we look like in 10 years?
Combination of wireless access and voice communication
Kids may have computers in their pockets – a visual world
Will teach them with same technology – series of stories from around the world
Teachers will strive to stay one step ahead
Our challenge is to stay current with what technology students use
Will all students be connected?
Wiring schools was a priority – every school building
Now we need to go wireless
Make it bigger so business can hook in
Funding – How can you guarantee adequate funding for training for one-to-one teachers?
How do you guarantee funding for training for Regent schools?
We don’t have complete buy in even now – it still needs to be sold
You don’t learn by just have the tool, it has to come along with training
We need to have enough schools involved and succeeding to ask for state funding from the legislative body
Ongoing training at the local level – Districts need to match salary enhancement dollars – target specific projects, like training for teachers
We don’t want a merit pay system – we are trying to build teams
Post-secondary level – all students that are graduating have to understand how to integrate knowledge using a computer system
All students will soon be required to have a laptop
How are we going to bring new teachers in to the state?
State sends money to districts, but schools are putting money into reserves instead of teacher salaries
Governor Rounds is pushing for more dollars to go into a salary policy
What can we do to bring high paying jobs to the state?
We are losing kids to other states
Businesses look at South Dakota are worried about finding employees to fill positions
Have to have good job opportunities in the state and young people with the skills to go to work right away
Kids have to have more education
How can large schools like Central High School get involved in the laptop initiative?
Started with small schools because it was too daunting for larger schools to get everything pulled together
The first two rounds are able to share what is and isn’t working
Schools that have the laptops need to continue sharing what is working

The Governor ended by thanking the veterans that do so much for our country.

Congratulations Sheila Jensen--Technology Leadership Award Winner

Sheila has been a mentor in technology integration at Corral Drive elementary school in Rapid City. She promotes reading and writing through the use of laptops, having applied for and received numerous grants to provide technology tools for teacher and student use. She is a member of the building technology committee, and is also an author and inventor. Great work, Sheila!

Monday, April 23, 2007

PodCasting in Education presenter: Janet Hill

How many have tried podcasting? I decided to see what this was all about. There are basically 3 types--audio, enhanced, and video podcasts. We were shown how easy it is to do each type of podcasts with Janet from Apple using several audience participants. She also showed us the free podcasts in itunes. One nice thing is itunes can be downloaded free and works on either platform. If you get into itunes, do a powersearch and look for ecogeeks. Some great free video podcasts!

You Tube Showcased by BHSU

Dr. Len Austin and his students, Brittainy Covel and Chad Grahek, began a lively YouTube demonstration with a clip of Elvis Presley from 1977 in this very building (Civic Center) the end of the hour, they had uploaded and could show a clip of their audience, filmed by Chad's cell phone earlier in the session. This session gave me new insight about what it might mean to "live" on the web...It's the ultimate "show and tell" tool. Today's session was a great introduction to this site and some of the issues surrounding its use. I didn't immediately see great educational connections, but it certainly revealed a lot about our culture...

Monday's TIE Conference

With over a thousand participants, the TIE conference is off to a great start. The gifts are fun - we all got a cool bag and a TIE blanket. When picking up the bag we were given a sheet of vendors. If each of those punched your sheet, you could turn it in for a ticket for extra prize drawings. Lots of prizes have been given away already and more to come tomorrow.

Getting to see friends and explore new technologies is fun. I love the TIE conference and always come back to school with a renewed sense of purpose. I think this year's is off to a rousing success.

Middle School Technology Association

Mary Frances Honner ~ Sioux Falls Catholic Schools
Rosalie Moore ~ Douglas Middle School

Mary Frances and Rosalie are spearheading an effort to pull the middle school technology teachers together in a collaborative environment so that we can share ideas and lessons. With the new state technology standards, we are all looking for ways to cover everything and keep our students current with technology. There was a great deal of interest and I think we will be hearing more from this group. Keep us posted and thanks, Ladies!

Top 10 Web 2.0 Applications for the Classroom

Brian Dzwonek

Brian lead us through a tour of his favorite Web 2.0 applications. You can find his presentation on the web site. Below is his countdown list and a general idea what you will find these applications to do.

10. Ajax13
Simple icons

9. Leafletter
Mini webpages

8. Zoho
Creator (online database)

7. ScanR
Use your cell phone camera as a copy machine

6. Google Docs and Spreadsheets
You need to go through your gmail account and you can use the documents and spreadsheets and collaborate with others.

5. Survey Monkey
Online survey creation tool
It has a basic, free component

4. pbwiki
Education wiki as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich
5 gb space for free

3. Google Pages
Create web pages

2. Blogger
Easy blog tool through Google

1. Basecamp
Online project management tool

Courage To Teach

Maggie Austin, Marilyn Hofer, Marlene Rothermel, and Karen Taylor

We were broken into two circles of trust and these amazing women were able to show us a glimpse into the Courage To Teach experience. I am a member of the second cohort and I honestly wondered how they were going to be able to take this program based on Parker Palmer’s work and do it justice in such a short time. I should have known better than to worry.

In a time when our lives as teachers are so incredibly busy and struggling to keep up with additional content and No Child Left Behind and advancing technologies (that the students frequently know more about than we do) and all the other pressures of our chosen career, we rarely take time to ourselves to remember or find out who we are or why we are teaching. Courage To Teach a a gift that allows you the time for reflection and support.

Personally, I was not sure I had time to be part of Courage To Teach and Marlene assured me I didn’t have time NOT to be part of this program. I will owe her forever! I have found that the retreats give me the absolute luxury of time that I never seem to have. The reflection I have done is both personal and professional. I feel the difference when I walk into my classroom. If you don’t have the opportunity to participate in the retreat program, I highly recommend reading one of Parker Palmer’s books.

The program was brought to South Dakota through the EveryTeacher grant, which is gone now. They are trying to find funding to continue, but at a cost of almost $3000 per person for the 18-month program, it may not happen. That would just be sad!

Thank you, Ladies! Well done!

Using Video from the Web in the Classroom

A breakout presentation by R.L. Erion
His presentation can be found at

Erion's presentation offered educators strategies for utilizing video in a way that works with district technologies policy. The "how-to" details are contained in the presentations files. Once you visit his website you can also find links to resources for educators.
Many districts do not allow use of sites like YouTube for various reasons. It is possible to download videos that may be useful for educational purposes and still show them in your classroom without exposing your students to the entire world of online videos.

A new site that operates in the same manner as YouTube, but is dedicated to more educational fare is TeacherTube -- check it out.

Teacher Tube allows you to:

-Upload and share your educational videos worldwide.
-Upload Support Files to attach your educational Activities,
Assessments, Lesson Plans, Notes, and Other file formats to your video.
-Browse original educational videos uploaded by community members.
-Find, join and create video Groups to connect with teachers, students, and schools who have similar interests.
-Customize your experience with playlists.
-Integrate TeacherTube with your website using video embeds or links provided on your video page.

Note: This post can also be found on the TIE Tech Blog

Will Richardson Keynote

Will began this presentation with three views about the importance of engaging students in learning and technology--as a teacher, as a parent, and as a blogger; You can visit the presentation for the best information, but here are a few highlights:

  • the impact of social technology on politics--the model is changing, with candidates spending more of their time and energy connecting with people online
  • journalism is changing--anyone can post video or news immedately
  • businesses are changing--more about the conversation around the product than about the product itself, consumers are becoming more interested in others' feedback (i.e. reading the comments on Amazon instead of the publisher promotional materials)
  • will education keep up?

  • digital divide--how do we ensure that all kids can be part of the conversation if the conversation is online and they do not have access?
  • learning is taking place in the conversations following the sharing of content, not during the content presentation itself
  • how do these technologies affect teaching and learning?
  • 46645=Google you can text Google with your search question and receive an answer to your question
  • if we are not teaching our students how to use these technologies, then they will learn on their own (and not necessarily the best information or utilization)
  • collaboration is going to be a critical skill for the 21st C.
  • content is changing constantly--we need to decide how much of the content is truly important for them to know, thus emphasizing a focus on the essential questions and big ideas
  • each of us has to be editors of the information--because no one else is editing it for us--media literacy is key to understanding what information is worthwhile and accurate
  • using technology effectively is more than just doing the same thing electronically--it is a shift in how teaching and learning take place

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Monday Morning Keynote ~ Will Richardson

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Tools for Classrooms

Julie Mathiesen welcomed everyone to this year’s TIE conference and unveiled the new web site, including these blogs and how to stay in touch vie RSS. After the warm welcome from Julie, she presented the first of two technology awards to Dave Ehlers, a technology coordinator from Kadoka. You can see what he has been doing with Classroom Connections at Nice job, Dave!

Will Richardson has been blogging for about 6 years, which is a long time considering that blogs have only been around for about 8 years. He puts his presentations in his blog which you will find at: Mr. Richardson spend some time talking about the way the world is changing.

The world is changing in politics. Barack Obama has raised most of his money through his Internet site. All candidates have a MySpace page. MySpace will be having the first primary online. There will be much few dollars spent on traditional advertising than ever before.

News reporting is changing. With cell phone still and video cameras, anyone can report the news. Hard copy newspapers are selling less copies because more people are getting their news online. The news is more current. Most newspapers have blogs that go with their stories and it becomes a conversation.

People look at advertising differently now. There are many sites to rate products and people blog about things they have purchased and used.

So far, education model is NOT changing. We don’t change very quickly or effectively. Our kids are changing and many of them know more about technology than their teachers. Kids are using technologies that teachers are not like MySpace. Technology is changing very quickly. Mr. Richardson showed us a short clip about new technology and the clip was a year old.

Philadelphia is making wireless Internet available for everyone. One in three people have never been online. How can those children compete in the world today without that?

Mr. Richardson has a Google cluster map on his blog showing all the places people have connected to his site from. He believes that everyone that hits his blog is looking for how technology is affecting learning and education.

While some students have highly inappropriate, they are learning social networking. Email is for old people. Young people communicate through MySpace, instant messaging, and text messaging. Teachers block these things and we don’t teach them how to use these medias appropriately. Bebo and Facebook are also increasing in popularity. Learning happens in MySpace. It may not be good learning, but we are doing nothing about this and teaching them how to use these tools well.

A few teachers are teaching how to build their own networks. They are preparing them for what they are going to encounter in the real world. (Rapid City’s own Geoffy Sheehy would be one of these innovative teachers.) The use of blogs and starting conversations with people around the world is a powerful learning experience.

Knowledge is also changing. 46645 (Googl) is one way to use text on your cell phone to get information. Content is everywhere. You can go to and take courses for free. Content is changing – like Pluto.

Wikipedia is changing the way we look at content. It is a collaborative site that will allow others to edit the content. We need to be teaching what wkipedia is all about. They need to know what is good information and what is not. They need to learn to work collaboratively. The workplace now has team members scattered across the globe and yet they still work together online. Wikipedia is pretty accurate. There is a lot of chat about what should and should not be included in the wiki and this is true collaboration.

Kids have to learn how to edit as well. They need to be able to evaluate sites to understand who and why puts up a web site to determine validity. Some sites are put up for misinformation. We are still teaching kids to read linear text, but more kids are reading with hypertext. Are we teaching how to work with hypertext?

Teaching has got to change. We are no longer the content experts in the front of the room. If there is an Internet connection in the room, there is someone out there that knows more than you do. Through blogs, it is possible to have authors or other experts write back to your students and give them what a teacher can't. Connections that are possible are amazing and make the learning experience so much more rich. Collaborating with students from all across the world give the students information that a teacher can't.

Check out Marco Torres video about Buckle Up. What a powerful way to have students do work that matters. There are constructive, interesting ways for kids to learn.

Mr. Richardson is an amazing and engaging speaker. I was captured by everything he had to say. I will be purchasing his book and I know what he has had to say has made me think about what I do in MY classroom. Everytime I think I am keeping up, I realize I still have so much more to do. That doesn't depress me - it energizes me! Thanks for the inspiration!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Night’s Keynote ~ Paul Horsted

The Black Hills Yesterday and Today

Paul had a beautiful slide show of the Black Hills. He was able to take many, many old pictures and has gone out and found the exact places where they were originally taken and has taken current photos. It was fascinating to see how much our area has changed over the years. You can feel the history. His photography is exceptional and his storytelling while presenting is entertaining.

For more information about Paul Horsted and his books go to:

Web 2.0 - Blogs and Wikis - Sunday In-Depth


Julie Mathiesen did an extensive session on the use of Blogs using The word blog is take from the phrase web log. She explained the move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and how the web has moved from static to interactive. I liked the analogy of going from an information silo to architects of participation.

Part way through her presentation, Geoff Sheehy joined us to tell us how he is using blogs and wikis with his students. Geoff has been showcased in the media because of his students' blogs on the events of the Rapid City Area Schools lockdown on April 17th. Geoff is a dynamic, energetic teacher whose enthusiasm is infectious. Check out his website and go through all the blogs and wikis that he and his students have created. He uses different blogger for every grade level so that his students get different experiences.

After Geoff scooted back to his session, Julie showed us how to work within a blog site we set up at this very blog spot. works with Google, so you need a gmail account to work there. That is very easy to set up and free. We set up the basic blog and then we learned how to change the presentation design, post, edit, add links, add images, and add video. Julie took us to a site called What an awesome site to find educational videos. I will be spending much time checking out this site.

Julie is going to be offering a breakout session on Tuesday. She is a featured session at 12:40 in LaCroix C/D. She will continue talking about Web 2.0 and 21st Century learners. Check it out! Julie will fire you up about how you can use new technologies to excite and engage your students.


The final part of our in-depth session covered wikis. Lennie Symes took us through some discussion of the book "Everything Good is Bad." We discussed how gamers, television, and the Internet are affecting the way our students are learning.

Lennie has much of his wiki presentation on his site. Wikis are a collaborative tool where many people can work on a project. They are quick and easy to work with. I can see a number of uses for students. I think I will start with putting my assignments and things I want students to know on this kind of a site. I may also have students work on a group research project and have them put all their research into a wiki.

Our keynote speaker on Monday morning is Will Richardson. He is going to also be discussing this topic. This in-depth has me really excited for the speaker!

Tapped In

Tapped In

Come join me in a Monday morning breakout session to learn about a free, online collaborative education website. At Tapped In, you can get an office space and a classroom. You can meet educators from around the globe and collaborate with them on endless topics. Many, many resources are right at your fingertips as well as many professional development opportunities.

Distance education is becoming more popular. Tapped In gives you a classroom where you can take your students and teach them how to succeed in the virtual environment. Collaboration and communication are stressed in the new state standards and this is one option to meet those needs.

I look forward to seeing you Monday at 9:45 AM in Rushmore E!

You will find my presentation at

Sherry Crofut

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SMART in Kadoka

The current issue of i.e. magazine includes an article featuring the Kadoka School District's use of SMART boards to integrate technology. As one of the 2006 Classroom Connections schools (South Dakota's 1:1 laptop intiative), Kadoka is experiencing first hand how technology is changing teaching and learning. Check it out at on page 28.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Indepth on redoing your website!

I will be doing an indepth on Sunday for 15 brave individuals to redo their websites. I think classroom websites are a great management tool not only for the teacher(I feel so prepared when I go to class) but a way of connecting with parents and students. We are going to have a fabulous afternoon making pages with an online calendar program, saving your favorites or bookmarks to a web based ikeepbookmarks, making a photo gallery, a page for importing your newsletter to keep your parents informed! I am working on my website, so check for changes here: