Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If it's not about the technology, what IS it about?

Wes Fryer's blog post today reminded me about the importance of semantics when we talk about education and I would propose, more specifically about technology integration, especially as we talk to our leaders and our school boards.

Pennsylvania is on their way to getting it right with the Classrooms for the Future initiative. What is this initiative about? It's about teaching and learning first and technology second. It's about coaching teachers to shift their pedagogy in the classroom first and using technology as the tool second.

I constantly remind my Drexel students that when I am teaching about Multimedia in Instructional Design that it is NOT about the technology. They struggle with this comment at first but eventually get what I am saying. That is, that it IS about teaching, learning, changing pedagogy through collaboration, constructing knowledge, and empowering students by (as Wes said) "giving them an invitation to learn." Ultimately, it IS about our future!

I would love to hear your comments about what it IS about as well!
Visit Kristin Hokanson's blog to find out more about how to tell Congress (and don't forget about the semantics!!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Learning about the Moon...

Tonight there is a lunar eclipse. Being a technologist and NOT an astronomer I felt it my obligation to look up what this actually meant so that if I was asked by the Jay Leno show, or, more importantly my seven year old son, I wouldn't look like I had no idea what I was talking about. What I found interesting was the following quote by Robert Roy Britt in his article "The Disappearing Moon: Why and Where it Hides."

"Modern humans have lost touch with the night sky compared to our ancestors, to the point that even some of the most intelligent people on the planet are too wrapped up in the day-to-day to know much about what's going on at night."

I am wondering that as technologists (and intelligent people) if we are getting too wrapped up in the twitters/blogs/wikis/nings/pownces to remember what it is like to be in the classroom with 30 students and the reality of day to day teaching and learning, even with internet connectivity, somewhat unconnected to our peers and our friends throughout the day, AND which for many includes not enough technology and many administrators who are not sure how to get more or who are fighting with technology departments about how to let the Web 2.0 tools in!

That being the case, those of us who can, should advocate to teach others as Steve Hargadon is doing in his Classroom 2.0 "Conversations"/Talk-Casts. I need to learn more about how to use these tools in my own work environment!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Web 2.0 Teachers and Learners...

Early in my educational training I learned that the expert is not always the best teacher because they tend to "forget" the details of "how" to do something as those simple "how's" have become natural in their use of the tool. I struggle to remember this as I am planning an introductory Moodle training for tomorrow’s in-service in my school district.

Having recently attended the PETE&C conference, I was humbly reminded that there are people who have never been exposed to Twitter or who have NEVER even created a blog or a wiki, used Moodle AND some who really don't even know what these and other Web 2.0 tools are or how they can benefit education. I guess that is what I like about the PETE&C conference, many practicing educators, sharing with others what they are doing even though they may not be experts in the tools.

I was excited hearing keynote speaker David Pogue talk about splintering technology and all of the amazing technological advancements that will be affecting the digital natives that we are teaching, I think we have to also remember that there are many educators who have not yet experienced Web 2.0 and it's possibilities As an educator, I believe it is our job is to remember that and empower them to learn about it, remembering back to our early learning days with this technology and remembering to teach them the basics without making them feel less of a teacher because they don’t know.

To that end, I am trying to create a virtual 2.0 educational field experience for the students in my Multimedia in Learning Design class. I created one this summer that was not well received from the edu-blogging community, possibly because of timing and I understand we are all busy, but I also think that if WE don't take time to teach those who don't know, who will??

These students are VERY new to the Web 2.0 world, while they know IM and Facebook, Web 2.0 tools in instructional design are new to them. Here ere is the original assignment I created this past summer.

Field Experience Paper

Please use APA style and include at least 5 research citations.

Use one of the following blog links (list deleted), or another of your choosing to virtually visit an educator. After reading a number of their blog entries, contact them to complete a short interview via email. You will need to write your own interview questions.

Your interview should ask more detailed questions concerning the topics you’ve read about and their practical application in the classroom. Ask these questions knowing where you are in the teaching process (i.e. just starting, learning more about technologies, or changing careers) and how you would like to incorporate multimedia into the classroom based on what you are learning in this class. Many of these educators are busy so I would suggest that you limit your questions to 5-7 to ensure that you will get a response in a timely fashion to complete your paper.

After completing the interview, do some further research one of the topics related to their blog entries and include your perspective on its potential use in education in your paper. Your paper should be 10-15 pages in length.

I am looking for new ideas to create a virtual 2.0 educational experience, for beginning Web 2.0 teachers who are learning about how to incorporate these tools into their instructional designs. All ideas welcome!! :)

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Monday, February 11, 2008

PETE&C 2008 Conference
Notes/Resources for Sharing

Keynote Speaker
David Pogue - http://www.davidpogue.com/

ETI Session - Ann Johnston
Lincoln Intermediate Unit No. 12
Good Model for staff development. Model for training - all resources in Moodle
  • Integration
  • Collaboration
  • Exposure to traditional/emerging tehnologies
  • Subject focused
  • Web 2.0
Modeling in planning and presentation
6 Teacher Stations (20 min./stations) – for exposure

Wiki's v. Blogs - Showdown in the Classroom
handout on the wiki
You Tube Video – Wiki’s in Plain English

Wiki – document centered by content…
Blogging – David Warlick (basis for use)
Blogs = communication
Blogs = Literacy
Teacher: No requirement for classroom blog but to think about what they are learning and write down their thoughts ~ exploration of their thinking.

Places to blog: Kidsblog; Classblogmeister.com – readability level of writing is displayed, very cool.
Presenter – 8th Grade Teacher
Weekly requirement of the science class 20 pts to write, 20 pts to comment
Changing classroom practice from daily journaling and prompt/question of the day to the blog area. Starts by taking students to the computer lab 1/wk, then 1 e/o week, then not at all – students will find a way when offered to HAND WRITE the post and turn it in. Teacher controls all approval of posting, comments, etc.

Web 2.0 in the Social Studies Classroom
Jim Shields, Hatboro Horsham

www.gigipan.org - panoramics of sites all over the world

List of Projects Demonstrated - Contact Jim for links...
Gender and Age
Help meet our neighbors across the globe
Ning Social Network

Other from Colleagues
http://www.mosaickr.com/ - create mosaics from flickr

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Too Much Printing!!!

My question of the day...how do we empower teachers to not print but go digital?? Baby step ideas are needed...I love Wes Freyer's post today about Digital Storytelling but I think I have to start smaller with some of the folks that I am working with.

All ideas welcome!! I am hoping that we can begin to get rid of so much printing and move to more digital teaching, learning, creating and assessing!!

From Fred D'Ignazio's Sparky the Dog...
"Cultural Blindness

We are not doing this on purpose. Most of us adults are not naturally mean, despite what many kids think. We really are people of good will. But we may be terminally blind.

As with any cultural transformation, the inhabitants of the old culture (the world of printed words) can't see the new culture coming. And the inhabitants of the new culture (electronic media) can't understand why most of their world is so foreign to the older persons they see everywhere around them.

Let's face it, we big people love books. We have spent our lives in the company of books. If you added up all the books we've stuck our noses into, you'd be amazed. Even worse, add up all the inches of text we've followed, line after line, page after page, as we've read books over twenty, thirty, or more years! We've spent our lives in "book school" learning this simple equation: KNOWLEDGE = BOOKS. And school is the center of this theory of knowledge. The specialists of book-centered knowledge teach in the schools. Their methodology is straightforward: If you want to know something, find it in a book."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Leaders, Technology Integration and Professional Development

"A new leader has to be able to change an organization that is dreamless, soulless and visionless ... someone's got to make a wake up call." ~Warren Bennis

This was the leadership quote of the day today that a colleage shared with me from his iGoogle gadget this morning. Being a technology leader in my district, I love the quote. Last night's WOW2 EdTech Chat had, from what I could tell, one principal attend. Melinda Miller who has her own blog. We need more principals like her. She also does a podcast with Scott Elias which you can subscribe to from this blog. My research on principal leadership for technology integration also found that we need more principals like them. AND, the conversation last night further validated these ideas by those in the field who were chatting on the topic of technology professional development. Many in the discussion were technology integrators or technology coaches and not building adminstrators.

How do we get more building administrators involved in the discusion? Some are doing it on their own, Aaron Steinly, Assistant Principal at United School District also has a blog for his teachers as does Tim Lauer, Principal of Lewis Elementary, but they are the exception, as is Chris Lehman, not the norm. I am sure there are others that I have not had time to find and sometimes principals discuss these topics on the LeaderTalk blog. I wonder how many building administrators read these blogs?

As a district Director of Technology I believe it is my job to help principals become mini-technology integrators/leaders. Afterall, building principals are (supposed to be) the instructional leader in the building. If we want teachers to begin to think about and then begin to practice changing their teaching and learning environments to more 21st Century-like styles, we, technology directors, integrators and coaches alike need to provide consistent support for the instructional leaders at all levels. Building leaders then need to provide a consistent message of changing instructional practice to their teachers.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Listening, Conversing, Discussing and Debating...Which one are you doing??

I just read an interesting quote from David Warlick's latest post (1/31/08) "Unconference is anarchy in practice. He says that everyone was blogging and podcasting, but no one was listening." He was listening to Andrew Keen on Digital Narcissism.

While I know digital natives are touted to be able to multi-task much better than the digital immigrants, I am wondering who is really listening when they are multi-tasking?? I ask this because if they are really listening, they will begin to more deeply discuss topics and involve others, but is this really going on in our blogs and podcasts today?

Educators are beginning to have conversations about technology and changing teaching and learning. I think conversations are a start it must go beyond that. We must then move forward both with our colleagues that we agree with AND those that we disagree with in our systems to move conversations to discussions and discussions to debates so that the "real" issues get to the table and are recognized. While it may seem like semantics, conversations are informal and begin most often between like-thinking colleagues, which won't cause an irritation in the system (Wheatley, 2001).

Discussions (which imply the taking of action to exchange ideas) can begin to do that but must be followed up with debates (formal, public discussion of ideas and opposing viewpoints). If we don't do move to these higher levels of conversing and listening, I'm not sure that we will ever move beyond the conversation to fundamentally change educational systems and create what we are all conversing about...an educational revolution that embraces 21st Century teaching and learning.

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