Monday, June 30, 2008

Create Live Web TV for the Classroom for Global Audiences

I attended this presentation of Will Richardson's at NECC 2008. Some of you may recognize his name as the author of Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts. Today's topic taught the participants how to stream our own Web TV show. To model his activity, he actually broadcasted his session; perhaps you watched you watched and maybe caught a glimpse of someone you know.
Will's ustream channel:
By combining ustream with the use of Twitter, one is able to reach thousands, make connections, and get involved in profound conversations related to education, politics, history. Will shared a story about a 13 yr old, who using his Twitter connections, created a great ustream webisode on the night that Hilary Clinton was supposed to lose but ended up carrying the state. Many people were logged in and the conversation (using the chat feature) was tremendous -- all created by a teenager in the basement of his house. Just think of what could be done in the classroom!
After a webisode is over, the ustreamer can take his/her recording and post it online into a wiki, web page, or even a blog. If I want to relive today's presentation, I need only to visit Will's blog and pick up some more tips.
There are no limits to how many "shows" you can make, and even better, the shows can be password protected. If your social studies class created live performances of a Civil War re-enactment, you could safely share the show with the parents, grandparents, or others who were unable to attend by assigning a password.
Will also uses Mogolus Studio to broadcast his show.
Will then introduced David Jakes, an IT coordinator who discussed how technology can add to the learning experience. Jakes suggested that to buy the software for a streaming network the cost would be around $15,000; he emphasized that we have something here at our disposal so let's take advantage of it.
He went on to show a couple of examples of how streaming video is being used in the classroom.
David introduced Jim McIntosh who is ont he advisory board for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. This channel orginated the "Big Brother" show. He offered that the mostly highly successful downloaded educational video is Sir Ted Robinson's appearnace at TED. The point being that TED Talks are high cost productions, but using the internet and streaming doesn't require all of this cost. McIntosh also shared that in the U.K., the young children are not watching television. Why? They want to to watch their own shows on their own time so they use streaming to pick and choose what they want to watch when they want to watch it. On that same note, he said that people in the U.K. no longer want to watch the rolling news, unless in the event of some horrific event or huge newsmaker. Otherwise, people want to use the internet and get news from all over. He pointed out Alisa Miller's TED Talk, "Why We Know Less Than Ever About the World," which addressed this issure for Americans.
Jim shared this site:
Steve Dembo took over the mic. He offered comforting advice to we participants that we shouldn't feel intimidated by these tools as they are fairly new. Steveshared the website "" It is pc only and can be used with cell phones. He also shared as another site for mobile streaming, which will send out a Tweet that lets his followers now he is streaming.
Lots of good information here today!!!

The Art of Digital Storytelling

BernaJean Porter from Digitales presented this topic. Ms. Porter is a wonderful presenter; she's very accommodating and makes the participants feel comfortable in the learning environment. Most importantly, she knows her stuff. The concept BernaJean introduced is not new - storytelling; however, the mode is. The internet is filled with free websites that teachers and students can use to create stories to explain concepts in math or science, show character development in literature, or even to create their own original stories. Visit my for links to the many available comic sites: http://del,
Digital storytelling offers a different form of assessment. We may have students who write beautifully, filling their papers with deep content and correct grammar. More than likely, each of us knows a few students who can relate a story verbally, but when it comes to putting it on paper, the whole thing changes. Those students will benefit from this alternate assessment mode. In addition, it's fun.
In this session, I sat next to an educator from Alaska. Her school purchased a site license of Comic Life (a one time fee); it is available for Mac and Windows platforms. This teacher shared with me that by using Comic Life for story-telling, they have seen their native students flourish. Now those students are able to share who they are and to do so with a medium that all can connect with. What a great way to get everyone involved!!!

How Do You and Your School Address Plagiarism?

NECC 2008

Doug Johnson, MN

also keynote at Laptop Institute in Mitchell in June 08.

Doug offered alternate ideas rather than just a plain old research paper, such as movies, interviews, advertising campaigns. He also added that our attitudes must change and we need to accept new ideas.

Doug shared several thoughts on the issue of plagiarism. The first step is to have a clear guideline in place of what plagiarism is. Teach the students the difference between paraphrasing and using as one's own words. Having a CLEAR CUT POLICY is mportant.

eMINTS--a fresh breath for tech integration

Find great resources at the eThemes part of this page--thematically organized websites!

This professional development program provides the training and a framework for teaching content standards with technology effectively. Based in Missouri, it has expanded to a number of states including Utah, Nevada, and Minnesota. This program meets the NSDC standards for professional development and focuses on student achievement. Learn more by visiting the website.

NECC-David Thornburg-Open Minds: Open Education and Open Culture

Open Source:
The challenge....
Technology is changing faster than classroom practice
Before Given current classroom practice, how should technology change?
Now Given current technology, how should classroom practice change?
Now, more than ever, we need access for every learner in the world.
Bringing the tools to all children, it must be:
  • Scalable
  • Sustainable
  • Low cost hardware and open source OS and critical applications are the ONLY way the goal can be achieved
  • Proprietary titles costs must be scalable and sustainable
  • Single platform software is anti-child
Children need to be able to use the same software on whatever platform they've got!!
Don't serve the platform, serve the child!

Open source cell phone - Neo1973

Why open source?
  • Applications are robust
  • Service calls are minimized

Freedom Toaster Kiosk

  • Burn CD of all software using on your school computer and put on your computer at home

Linux is the operating system in Brazil schools - by the end of next year 52 million Brazilian children will be using the Linux system - federal program is computers for all.

Break borders with software:

  • CMap - collaborative brainstorming on the internet - free - suggestion button analyzes the words you have already typed and goes to the web to pull in words that connect to your words to share ideas that might help you brainstorm when you are stuck. Download the stand alone client on any computer you have. Share your Cmpas with the world - for viewing and/or editing - Getting the power in the hands of the kids

What about copyrights and cultural artifacts?

  • Creative Commons allows you to grant people the rights to use your materials totally free

Tropicalia is about cultural mixing: building networks, not walls.

It is xenophilic, not xenophobic.

Open source goes beyond technology to humans.

The way you keep good jobs in this courntry is not by building big walls, but by attracting people with big ideas!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Keynote - James Surowiecki - Wisdom of Crowds

June 29 Keynote
President of ISTE opens:
Connect, Convene, Transform
5 Actionable things to transform:
  1. Be an advocate for change - politicians need to hear from us - find the briefs at ISTE
  2. Share your knowledge and passion - with other teachers, work as a group, inform parents and administrators
  3. Showcase your and your students' work - community leaders, legislators, chamber of commerce
  4. Dream big - have high expectations for students, your classrooms, and your school
  5. Use available resources to effect change - ISTE is a good start - NETS for Teachers, Students, and Administrators

Keynote Speaker:

The Wisdom of Crowds - Book -

James Suroweicki

Blogs about JS -

Under the right conditions, groups of people can be very intelligent, even smarter than the most intelligent person in that group.

Technology enables us to make the work of groups much more powerful. A power that has never before existed.

Jelly Bean Experiment - Guess the number of beans in the jar. The group will be very accurate on the average. Better than any one person in the room. No one person is smarter than the group on the whole.

Prediction Market - Using markets to forecast the outcome of a presidential race - this prediction market has outpredicted the Gallop Poll. Favorites in the markets have won every single race. Set up markets - Google - predicting new offices, new product launches, etc. have matched perfectly to acutal results.

If you get a smart enough crowd, you can accomplish amazing things.

See this in action on the internet - web 2.0 - wikipedia (construction of an online encyclopedia by people continually- collective intelligence) , Flickr (tagged photographs that construct a taxonomy of photos, no one is in charge, collective enterprise of categorizing photos), delicious - for webpages), Google ( how good it is at finding the information searched for, how does it do this?)-relies on the collective intelligence of the people on the web, surveys the internet and asks for a vote on that particular page, and comes out with the answer)

Google found a hidden intelligence - tapping of crowds on the internet.

Think about diversity within groups - age, experience, ability level - they can add knowledge and question to groups that wouldn't normally get asked. The group would be less likely to make the same kind of mistake. That is perfectly okay because the errors they make cancel each other out.

Working in homogeneous groups doesn't work well because they easily succomb to group think. They hear their own opinion echoed back at them. Harder to identify their flaws.

The presence of a devil's advocate in a group makes the group decisions work better. BUT, you can't have the same person as the devil's advocate all the time.

Build a diverse team from the start.

Independence - Think for yourself, rely on your own knowledge By nature or nurture, we are imitative. We tend to imitate what others are doing. Imitation works a lot of the time, but you have to move beyond imitation because you are not getting at the collective intelligence of the group.

In conditions of uncertainty, you lose the ability to work and think collectively.

Best group decisions emerge out of conflict. Get people comfortable with the idea that an argument can bring about a good solution.

Groups are smartest when the people are thinking as individuals as much as possible. If you are a leader do not dictate in advance what others are going to say.

Look out for talkative people. Other people tend to talk back to these people. There is no connection between how much someone says and how much they know. :-)

The people that have the information we are looking for are unlikely. Wisdom of crowds comes from casting your net widely. The internet allows this. It also allows us to incorporate the opinions of those that would be uncomfortable exerting their influence face to face. It allows people to say what they really believe.

Technology can play a fundamental role in group work.

Collaborating in a Blogging Triad - NECC - 6/29/08

June 29 - 12:30-3:30
Triad - CIT, Librarians, and Administrators
Focus on Science today since their students were weak in this area of content
  • Cener for Applied Research in Educational Technology - CARET -
  • Educational and Library Research Services - and
  • 21st Century Skills - Teacher as "Orchestrator of Learning"
  • Clip - "Shake it Up" from Teacher Tube
  • Clip - "Blogs in Plain English"
  • Will Richardson has some great information


Student Blogs

Elementary Science Blog

  • Worked in teams or triads - investigating a curricular blog based on Elementary science objectives. They used both Class Blogmesiter and Edublogs
  • Triad Model - Started with the end in mind - improving achievement in science and writing.
  • Not adding to the teacher plate - used the unit that was already being used in science - Ocean Ecosystem
  • Worked from Essential Questions
  • Class Blogmeister Version - done with administrators - to build their capacity in blogging
  • Edublog Version -
  • Used real world experience from the Texas Newspaper to begin the lesson - an oil spill off the coast of Texas
  • Make a Prediction Post
  • The Food Chains Post
  • The Food Chain Disturbed Post
  • Narrative Writing Post
  • What Can You Do? Post
  • Using blog along with the materials they are already using in the lesson
  • Blogs lend themselves beautifully to differentiated instruction
  • Made a special effort to have a web publication form in place as students began to use blogs for their class work.

Digital Citizenship

Our Turn

  • We formed Triads - administrator, CIT, Librarian
  • We made comments about the ocean oil spill
  • My new partners are: Kristal and Adrienne from Courtry Club Hills, IL
  • Both are principals or asst. principals making decisions on the use of Blogs with their teachers and teacher teams.

GPS, GoogleEarth, and Digital Images

I am attending this session at NECC today, which is being presented by Pamela Leland and Kelly Kuntz from Oregon. To get started, we walked through Hemisfair Park snapping photos with our digital cameras and using a GPS to note our coordinates. We then uploaded those photos to Panoramio, a photo sharing site. Panoramio is free, only registration for an account is required.
Then we began using Google Earth to pin our locations and entering our pictures. Ideas offered by the presenters for using this in the classroom include:

1. Finding the author of a book they are reading for class. Perhaps locating where that author was born, raised, attended school, and so on.
2. Teaching geography using geographical vocabulary. Preparing maps.
3. Make observation that can be addressed with data, and collect, organize and display relevant data to answer them.
4. Make observations. Based on these observations, ask questions or form hypotheses, which can be explore through simple investigations.
5. Understand and explain the use of a simple mechanical device by following technical directions. 6. Show the world to the students. Panoramio has pictures posted by other users. If you would like your students to get an idea of what the Eiffel Tower looks like, your own 3 pictures from your trip may not be enough. Open Google Earth, select Panormaio under Geographic Web, and one can find many pictures of the landmark from all angles, at diggerent times of the day and season.
These are only a few, but I think by visiting Panoramio and Google Earth, you will come up with ideas of your own on how to apply this to you classroom. A huge advantage is students can snap digital photos, upload them, and they've instantly become creators on the web! Another nice thing about Panoramio is that the site automatically resizes the photos, which makes things uncomplicated.

Presentation Website

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Text Fixer Saves the Day!

So I'm doing the typical summer activity for teachers--catching up on email and articles and all that stuff I said, "I'll work on it over the summer," when I get to this link about Flickr, and it looks really good and I'm all excited to check it out. But no matter what I do, the link won't work. Then it dawns on me: the link is on two lines. When I try to copy/paste it into my browswer, it keeps cutting off the second line. My brain is too far into summer vacation to remember the full text of the second line, so I keep going back and forth and trying to get it all--AAAARGH.
Then, aha! The light finally comes on. I can use Text Fixer to save the day without having to open a word processor (so time consuming! could take a whole minute!). I go to the website, paste in my text, click the Remove button, and voila! Instantly I have a single line URL that I can now paste into my browser, and the information about which I was so excited is at my fingertips. (See example screen shot below)

Happy Summer Surfing!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Inspire, Not Require

Kevin Honeycutt more than presented at today's keynote session--he inspired everyone in the room with motivational stories and videos interspersed with words of wisdom for how we can make classrooms and schools a better place for kids.

For those of you who couldn't be here--check out Kevin's website (you can download this presentation), go find some fun videos on YouTube, then search for educationally relevant videos, and then find the way to connect your kids to something that inspires them. It just might inspire you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Engaging Students with Photos

E N/Virginia Mills Cotton Products Pastry Cutter G A01 Nothing [G]old Can Stay E
Y Alphabet Block o coloured card disc letter u r003
Alphabet Block s t Copper Uppercase Letter U D Plain Educational Block E DSC_1316 T S Exclamation mark

Our session today was really meant to be focused on student engagement, but the tools I wound up sharing were heavily focused on photos. Still, they are neat tools, most are very easy to use, and I think could be made part of a project-based lesson, or authentic assessment, or differentated strategy in any content area, or provider of student choice (to name just a few characteristics of instruction that engages students). Visit the website here.

Characteristics listed by Schlechty:
  1. Content and Substance
  2. Organization of Knowledge
  3. Product Focus
  4. Clear and Compelling Product Standards
  5. Safe Environment
  6. Affirmation of Performance
  7. Affiliation
  8. Novelty and Variety
  9. Choice
  10. Authenticity

2008 Laptop Institute Keynote-Tuesday

This morning's keynote speaker was Jim Moulton, a former educator who embraces the combination of technology and education. You can find his website at

Mr. Moulton brought up a good point that has stuck with me. He talked of presentations using PowerPoint and commented that all the bells and whistles that we educators think we need are not necessary. In other words, instead of spending our time making our presentation what we believe our students will find engaging and aesthetically please is a waste of time. Keep it simple. His presentation was done in simple black and white, and you know what? I was engaged and didn't miss the slides flying in and out.

You can view his presentation and I encourage you to do so at

21st Century Skills for Any Century

This presentation from Jim Moulton (Maine) is a fantastic focus on the importance of the appropriate use of technology to encourage student learning. Student learning. Project based learning can give students the authentic context for engaging students in the content to be learned. Also, if you have not yet invested the TCPK framework, do. Jim is right on target and every teacher should think in terms of possibilities the way he does.

Also posted on the Leading Together blog.