Monday, June 30, 2008

Creating Live Web TV for the classroom and Mogulus are live streaming websites where you can make a TV show that can be shown live on the internet and also can be recorded and embedded in a blog, wiki or website later. This is a newer technology that is not being used as much in the classroom. One reason may be because it is blocked in many districts, but it is being used all the time in professional developement sessions. (I have been in two sessions today that we streamed live to the internet for those who are not here.)

You could film special events that can only be seen with a password also. Think of the plays, Open House, classroom news show, class lectures, classroom student presentationsetc.

How does technology extend the learning experience? That is how you should plan. How could this extend the learning in your classroom. This is cutting edge instruction - start dreaming and dream BIG!

The Wonderful World of Wikis

This session was presented by Adam Frey, cofounder of Wikispaces and Vicki Davis (aka coolcatteacher) teacher at Westwood Schools.

Adam Frey started the session by explaining about the back channel link for the session. For those of you who don't know, it is a chat room for the participants of a session to speak during the session and ask each other questions. There is a back channel moderator in the room answering questions and writing some down to guide the session as it goes on.

From Adam: What is a wiki? It is a standard webpage where you can go click a button and change the content. Anyone can change the content. The wiki keeps track of who makes the changes and when. If you are a teacher and your kids are making changes to a wiki you can look and see who made the change and when. You can have the wiki email you when any changes have been made or you can follow the changes through an RSS feed.

Benefits of having a wiki: Kids don't have to have email, it's easy and doesn't take a lot of time, you don't have to have special software. You can have a fully open wiki or you can have one private for your classroom. They are fully capable of embedding html code to post videos from You Tube, Teacher Tube or Voicethread. There is no limit to disk space for the number of pages you want or amount of content.

The biggest advantage to using a wiki for a group project is that it is "trackable to the comma". You can look at the history tab and see the contribution of each person. Vicki keeps all of her class wikis private for the students and students aren't introduced to public wikis until 9th grade, such as Wikipedia.

What does she put on the wiki?
Course outline, student files for them to download, project list and due dates, embedded videos, student artifacts, spreadsheets, blog posts, websites used for projects on student portfolios.

Creating efolios for the students to complete in high school and use as resume or job interviews. Business now want your application and information submitted to them digitally.

The biggest change in her practice is using tags with the kids for their assignments. She teaches the kids how to use tags and has them tag their work in the wiki by naming it assignment or turnitin.

Subscribe to the edits and discussions separately that your students are having.
Problems: Watch your RSS feed closely for edits and let the students know that you take online spaces seriously like you take the behavior in your classroom seriously. You have to be tough and watch everything just like you are when you set up rituals and routines in a classroom. Don't use computers to babysit. They need to have a TASK when they get on the computer.

Vicki Davis was asked why use a blog or a wiki? Do they need both? She says: Blogs are for opinion and first person writing. Wikis are for facts, the assignment.

Check out this video for more about wikis:

Live blogged - so please excuse awkward writing. :)

Get Wet!

I should know better than to turn the computer on before I'm ready to walk out the door in the morning... I logged on to twitter to see what everyone was doing this morning at NECC and noticed an interesting blog post by Wes Fryer at Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

It got me thinking about professional development and how it is changing and NEEDS to change. My own professional development has become 100% web-based. I don't mean signing up for a webinar, although, nothing is wrong with that...but instead, developing my own online presence and connecting with people around the globe who point me in the direction of new tools.

How do you get started today?
1. Read blogs
2. Comment on blogs so people know who you are and what you're interested in
3. Join twitter and follow people who know what you want to know
4. Join a ning like Setting the Standard, Classroom 2.0, or Flat Classroom

As Wes Fryer says: If you're going to have to get WET!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Opening Keynote-the Wisdom of Crowds

Tonight has been a true magical experience for me. I have wished to attend the NECC conference for a long time and today that dream came true. I am actually sitting here in a gorgeous landmark hotel (The St. Anthony Wyndam) located in San Antonio, Texas. Even with alot of problems with airplanes, connecting flights, and taxi cab driver that couldn't drive, we made it safe and sound. Did I mention the connecting airplane ride out of Nashville, TN. made me have a flashback of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" in Disney?

Well, now back to tonight's magical experience. We arrived at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to listen to the opening keynote speaker. I was biting at the bit (yep,right here in Texas) to plan my week's workshops, to convene, connect and transform as a learner, and of course look at the books that were on sale. How can I do all of this and not miss one moment? Then there was an answer right in front of me. The keynote speaker was on every closed circuit flat screen in the convention center. Talk about multi-tasking. Mission accomplished.

The keynote speaker was James Surowiecki. James Surowiecki is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he writes the popular business column, "The Financial Page." His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Artforum, Wired, and Slate. He spoke about his latest work, "The Wisdom of Crowds".

I walked away with this jewel of wisdom... If you have a diverse group that works together with free flow of information the better the decisions will be. The sum intelligence of a group under the right conditions are often smarter than the smartest person in that group.

Wisdom of a crowd + new tools =POWER. I can't wait to see what the week brings.

My hope is to learn alot to take home to my Chets Creek family, eat good food and have fun.

San Antonio Arrival

This blog post is for all of you who are already wondering what we are doing, where we are going and what we're eating! This may be too much information for some - but it's how we roll on Live from the Creek. We want you to feel like you're really with us. :)

This morning started very early with us heading out the door around 4am! We checked in at Jacksonville International Airport and as our departure time passed we realized something must be wrong. Our plane had mechanical troubles, so they decided to switch. Well, if we weren't awake before.... yikes! We left over an hour later (you'll note in the photos how Susan spent her time waiting :) ) and proceeded to have one of the roughest plane rides I have EVER had. Thank goodness for Dramamine.

We arrived in San Antonio around noon Texas time and checked in to our hotel. On our way to the convention center we explored a little of the Riverwalk in San Antonio. What a gorgeous walkway by the river! We checked in at the convention center to get ready for all of our NECC learning and then prepared for the keynote. I personally can't wait to get started with our first full day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NECC 2008

The Live from the Creek team is headed out of town for some out of sight learning. We're going to the National Educational Computing Conference in San Antonio, TX.

Get ready, starting on Sunday, for blog posts from myself, Susan Phillips AND....introducing KK Cherney. KK is our beloved media specialist and an integral part of our tech team here at Chets Creek.

If you're interested in being a part of the back channel discussions among participants feel free to lurk on the active ning of participants. KK , Susan and I will also be twittering which you can look for this weekend in the sidebar of the blog.
Come virtually along with us! We're looking forward to hearing from you!