Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photos from the Fun

On LIVE from the Creek, it's about the learning and the fun! Here's a few shots from our trip down in Orlando, FL for FETC.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Learning Commons - Reinventing School Libraries and Computer Labs

Professor David V. Loertscher from San Jose State University presented this session on how our school libraries need to be transformered to meet the ever growing and changing needs of 21st century learners. It certainly requires 180 degree thinking from how libraries have been run for many, many years. He compared the need for such a change in thinking to how Google has differientiated itself from Microsoft is revolutionizing the model by which tech product is developed.

The Microsoft Model is "if WE build it they will come". The Google Model is "if THEY build it, THEY will actually use it".

Why change the traditional model?

1 - Students are GOING to Google around us anyway - why not use it to our advantage.
2 - Students are networking socially - why not use it to our advantage.
3 - School Libraries are the largest rooms in the building and are usually connected to the internet - whay not use it to our advantage.

Step 1
Virtual Transformation - Instead of the Library's page on the website being one way information only turn it into a giant conversation where students and teachers can collaborate and share ideas. All teachers should have blogs and students are taught to organize and master their own information by having their own iGoogle pages with RSS feeds to their teachers' blogs and websites.
Step 2
Physical Transformation - Divide the space into an open commons that can be rearranged as needed to accomodate varying group needs. This area should be run by para professionals, have its own calendar and house a demonstration center. The other major part of the library should be an experimental learning center that becomes the hub of all school improvment initiatives. All professional development, action research, and idea experimentation happens here. This area also has its own calendar and is manned by the librarian (or cybrarian) and technology coach - who spend their time co-teaching flexibily scheduled classes.

In the library of the 21st century their are no rules regarding checking out books - what a student feels like they need, and can carry, a student gets. Filters for information should be applied to the individual's needs and not the group, with students' needs being placed first - from there you work backwards into how the organization will handle the change - 180 degrees!

Google's Docs, Earth and Sketch Up: Cool Tools and Possible Projects

This session was presented by Rushton Hurley, HS teacher, trainer, and nonprofit guy who teaches Japanese and is determined to try and save the world from ignorance. You can see the slides from his presentation by visiting here. His non-profit website hosts reviewed videos of lessons and projects and can be accessed by visiting here. You can visit here to sign up to recieve free classroom resources via email.

Mr. Hurley ran throught the following free Web 2.0 tools that could be used to engage 21st century learners.

1) Why Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Forms? It's free, on a server somewhere that can be accessed from anywhere on any computer connected to the internet. It 's collaborative nature in general makes it the perfect vehicle for group and team work on documents, projects, and presentations. You can also invite others to just view the work. Forms are a great way to get back data quickly, you can even create self grading quizzes.

2) Google Sites - This is Google's wiki-like space allows for collaborative webpage building.

3) Google Earth - This is an interactive 3D atlas. Be sure to check our Lit Trips on Earth to see the lanmarks from great literary works already cataloged.

4) Google Maps - On Maps you can load information and pictures linked to placemarks. It is way more than just directions and street man can even give you a street view of many places.

5) Sketch Up - This is a CAD-like, but free 3D modeling program that can be downloaded and used to create INCREDIBLE, customized models. You can download models others have created as well. MUST SEE!

6) Google Books - This site offers a limited preview and/or full view of books in various genres.

7) GoogleAdvanced Search - This is a great way to narrow down a broad search with specific words, file types, sites, domains, etc...

8) - This is a free site featuring student-audience videos for use in lessons. All are invited to contribute to the site and all items are screened prior to posting.

9) - This site converts files and more. You can even download videos from YouTube by entering url of desired video and convert. This site converts them and then sends you a message to download it for viewing.

10) - This site offers copyright friendly music that can be used for movies, slide shows and student projects. All you must do is give credit to artists at the end of the presentation

11)Creative Commons Search - This site porvides copyright friendly stuff for use in shows and projects including thousands of pictures.

12) CoolIris - This site is used in combination with Flickr. You can choose pictures and put them in favorites in flickr then create a photo wall for easy reference when teaching.

13) Tag Galaxy - This site also works in conjunction with Flickr to create a photo globe. By the way, this is by far the coolest thing I have seen - I couldn't possibly accurately describe it - see for yourself.

12)Fresh Brain - This site is a place for collaborating and finding resources for online projects

13) Urban Dictionary - This is not a site to show kids while teaching but will help you understand what they are REALLY saying.

Why do we need to embrace technology in our classroms and with students - technology is attention grabbing! But just using technology for technology's sake is not the asnwer it needs to help the kid learn better and save us time. That's the key!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tech Tips for Teaching About a Greener Tomorrow

This session was presented by Discovery Educator, Lance Rougeux.

He reminded us that kids spend approximately 6 1/2 hours a day consuming different types of media - usually more than one at the same time. This means, of course, that we need to know what they know so we can use it to further our own goals for them. There is even a site called transL8it! where you can translate "normal" language into IM text lingo!

Lance's main focus was on introducing us to several powerful tech tools that could be used by teachers and students to help sustain and promote conservation of our planet.

1) Blackle - the "Dark Google" is the energy conserving way to search Google. It's black and white screen offers no plug ins or flash and saves monitor usage.
2) Text Google - You can actually text Google at 466453 if you need to search without turning on a computer. As an example: If you wanted to sesrch energy conservation you would simply type web energy conservation in the message field and wait on the return text with links to internet sites you can access right from your phone!

3) Digital Storytelling - allow kids to create tips/commercials using a Flip video and green screen technology, movie maker, photostory, etc... Adobe Premier Elements is great for editing with green screen and MOONK is a free website for creating slideshows and videoshows. You upload there and then get link to embed to blog, website, or wiki.

5) Fodey - This site allows a student to create a newspaper like headline clipping for projects. Challenge students to create a headline and lead to story and type it in - you'll have a jpg of it in moments.

6) Glogster - The free education version can be found at On this site students can create online posters or splash pages by simply dragging and dropping. The posters allow for the insertion of photos, video, text and links to blogs or websites. These posters can be printed or embeded in blogs or websites.
7) Google Earth - In the free version you can create content or find layers already created on global awareness with links to information about topics of interest. When creating layers you can customize placemarks with text, photos or video, and save it to your desktop for later. If the end result is really good you can even upload the layer to Google Earth for others to use.

Lance encouraged us to have students take the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge where kids submit plans designed to sustain our planet. You can find out more by visiting This site also has multiple resources, including virtual labs, for teachers to use.

For more great tips and ideas for student projects designed o promote conservation visit Lance's blog.

Tech Tips Green
View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: den discovery)

The Top 10 FREE Web 2.0 Sites for Educators

The session was presented by Steve Dembo, Online Community Manager for Discovery Education. Steve started out as a kindergarten teacher. Someone learned he could fix printers so he was promoted to technology director and now he works for Discovery Education. How cool is that?
Presentation can be found here.

What is Web 2.0? Web 2.0 applications should be entirely web based. So, for example, Skype or Google Earth, are not Web 2.0 tools. They have to be installed. Web 2.0 should be interactive in some way. It should also play well with other Web 2.0 applications.

#1 Bloglines - RSS feed Reader - It is a service that checks online to see if the blogs you subscribe to have a new post. You can quickly read through your blogs or newfeeds . You can also see who else subscribes to the people you read. You can check their feeds and borrow some of the same blogs to read. It's all about networking to find what would be pertinent to you.

#2 - Social Bookmarking Where you can find your bookmarked favorites on any computer you are on because they are stored in a website. It also shows how many other people online have bookmarked a site. You organize your sites by tagging so you can look at what others have tagged and easily find sites to bookmark yourself. Efficient, easy.

#3 Crappy Graphs - Click over on the right for "Make your own" crappy graph. It would take a lot longer to do something like this in Excel. You can get the code and put it in your own blog. (The words crappy graph won't show up.)

#4 Voicethread - You can upload images to add voice comments to by webcam, microphone or even by phone! It creates a digital story that you are then able to link to or embed in your blog.

#5 Let Me Google That For You - Ok, you have to see this. It just kind of makes a point with people. It shows them what they could have done on their own...

#6 Poll Everywhere - It generates a text # for people to text in the response you request and then it will show up live in the site. You can also use multiple choice responses. You can also embed this in a powerpoint and it will show up in real time. You can also download a spreadsheet to show the responses and what phone numbers they came from. Don't spend the money on classroom response systems. Let the parents pay for the technology.

#7 Shout'Em - You go here and create your own network for microblogging which can be completely private for your students. It can also be sitting on your own domain.

#8 Mogulus - An entire TV studio in your browser

#9 osTube - Your OWN YouTube. When you go to the website you need to click English because it's a Danish site. It's not easy. You need to download it and an IT person may need to help you but it is very cool.

#10 Prezi - A new way of looking at presentations. Check it out!

It's not about spending more time online. It's about being more efficient with the time you do spend online.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Going Global, Going Public

Dean started out by talking about how we could take a proactive approach to digital citizenship and online safety.

Have you considered your digital identity? You have one whether you like it or not. If you aren't managing your identity then Google is.

Have you checked out Rate My People can start groups about you on Facebook or even create an account with your name. It is better to have your own accounts and manage it yourself.

#1 Filters are important tools that protect our kids: Australia spent 30 millions dollars on a filtering system that a student cracked in 30 minutes. Filters protect schools and adults, not students. Teachers are the best filters. You cannot rely on software.

#2 Internet Predators pose a huge danger to students. Victimization of kids are usually by someone they know. Not strangers.

#3 Current strategies on internet safety and cyberbullying are effective. It is not just a one lesson thing. You need to use every teachable moment to build kids' understanding.

#4 Kids are internet savvy. They aren't afraid to use it but they aren't born just knowing how to use it.

#5 We need to talk to kids about whether what they are seeing online is real. Snopes is the best way to find out about hoaxes. Teacher need to teach kids how to find out who owns a site. They need to understand credibility.

So, have you Googled yourself? You need to know what would come up. Do it! That's the only way to find out what others are saying about you. How are we helping kids understand this? If you think of the internet as a place to look up stuff, you're missing the best part.

Leverage your network - Connect with other educators on, twitter, facebook.
It's a human network. Watch this:

We need to provide an academic stage for our kids to show off their work. Audience makes the difference. Would a basketball team hold a closed game without an audience? No! They want to show off their skills and work. Why? To get feedback (cheering).

A lot of Dean's thinking comes from Clay Shirkey. If you haven't read Here Comes Everybody, it's worth the read!

Here is a recording of the session that was taped LIVE.

Digital Storytelling: Makin' Movies

Joe Brennan is retired from teaching over 20 years. His experience isn't in cinematography but it's his passion. He writes the digital storytelling blog for Discover Educator Network.

Here are some simple Hollywood tricks to pair up with writing you already teach. Download the handbook There are great resources there for you to use to teach kids the movie making skills they need.

Why do film making with kids? To help all students better express their deepest understanding. Harness the appeal of technology and media to engage your learners. Kids like technology. Enable all kinds of students to master the literacy necessary for life and work in the 21st Century.

AFI Screen Nation has a "Learn" channel with great videos for you or for your kids to learn about lighting, shooting and editing among other videos.

Here are some things to know:
Rule of Thirds in filming, Camera angles

Movie making conventions may include: black and white, repetition, slow motion. close ups, theme, green screen

Make public service anouncements with your kids
Re-enact a historical event
Explain a scientific discovery
Comparing Visual Language to Printed Word

Jen Dorman did not participate in this session, but a lot of things Joe discussed are in her presentation here:

Digital Copyright: How to be Compliant in a Digital World

This session was presented by Lisa Scherer from Soundzabound. She started the session with this cute video and song by Weird Al Yankovic called Don't Download This Song.

A lot of school systems are having to pay good money for copyright violations. Publishing anything online with music in the background can be copyright violation. Artists aren't the only ones losing money by illegal use, it is also the people that worked on that music. Everyone that had a hand in it.

Educational Use refers to Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia The conference on Fair Use met in 1997 in order to establish some guielines for educational use. You can ask permission to use anything you want, but you can only use what you have permission to use.

The distinction between “fair use” and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Fair use guidelines state that without specific permission there is no web publishing. In education, for fair use it must be relevant to course content, used for face to face instruction, cite the copyright holder, one time use.

Does all of this sound as confusing to you as it does to me? I have to say, I still really don't understand all the guidelines, but I do know there are great resources online to give me guidance. So, the best advice I can give you is to search for your answers and make sure what you're doing is right before you share online.

As I was attending this session, Kristin Hokanson tweeted this to me.

Check out that great resource here.

Geography is All Around Us- Connect through Technology

Hi Chet's Creek. Thank you to Melanie Holtsman for inviting me to be a guest blogger on your great Professional Development blog.

My name is Silvia Tolisano and I am the Technology Integration Facilitator at San Jose Episcopal Day School and wanted to share my presentation "Geography is All Around Us- Connect through Technology" from the The Florida Technology Conference in Education in Orlando.
  1. What is Geography?
  2. Why Geography?
  3. How to connect?

The majority of the session was spent on the third part "How to Connect?" by sharing concrete examples and ideas as well as what tools you can use.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to stop by at my blog and contact me.

Survey National Geographic- Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study.
Thank you to My Wonderful World Blog for permission to use their "We are not alone" image in this presentation


Score! Winning Strategies to Conquer Information Overload

Kathy Schrock shared how overwhelming it can be as a educator when information is coming from administration, other teachers and students. If you have a plan in place to conquer information overload you will overcome! The networked teacher can look like this:

Image by: Alec Courosa

Kathy took stock of her email and looked at the categories they fell in. She realised that many of the notices could be deleted without even reading. Every email has labels or filters you can use.
Here are her suggestions:
Monitor your email for 2 weeks.
Create applicable folders or labels.
Look for the "filter" instructions.
Create your filters or rules.
Monitor the folders for two weeks to make sure everything is going where you want.
Re-evaluate or add rules.
If this seems overwhelming try ONE rule or label in your filter.

Having a smartphone is information and organization at your fingertips. Kathy's dream is for every student to have internet access 24 hours a day. She thinks all educators should have one. Watch the video she made to convince you.

News Readers - RSS feeds send the information to your inbox instead of you going to look and see if something new has been posted. Here are some you can use Netvibes, Pageflakes, Google Reader and Bloglines. Watch this quick video to understand RSS feeds:

Kathy spoke quite a bit on PLNs - Personal Learning Networks that you connect up with on Twitter, Facebook, Nings. She spoke about privacy and maintaining a personal profile and a professional profile. These are an important way to add the power of what your network members know to what you know.

There was so much she covered I cannot do it justice! Please visit her wiki for more information. Kathy rocks!
Here is her wiki for this session.

The Net Generation: The Next Generaton, Are We Ready?

This session was presented by Julie Young, President and Chief Executive Officer of Florida Virtual School
Florida Virtual School has been growing at 40% for the past five years. This year is the first year they have added K - 5.

She started the session with this video:

The theme is that we have failed you and now we are going to work with you in your world. Students and parents are going to be hearing a lot of this in the media.

As digital natives grow up and enter the workforce and college their expectation will be different from ours. We need to understand their wants and needs because they are our future. We have to understand and embrace change.

The word change and public school don't necessarily go together. Change can be painful or thrilling. We need to pull educators along with the change because the kids need it. It's important for us to ask the hard questions and get the answers.
Here is the spread of educators:
34% Innovators - Risk Takers
14% Early Adopters - Follow the risk takers right away and provide peer pressure on others
34% Early Majority - Will eventually accept the change but won't put themselves out there for the risk
34% Late Majority - Will only make change through peer pressure
16% Laggards - Absolutely late adopters, technologically phobic.

This generation of kids is disruptive. They enjoy disruption. They don't understand adults wanting them to power down at school. Kids feel like they are only engaged 15 - 20% of the time and they just play the game to get the grades.

Unfortunately, some of us are still living this way:

The kids aren't afraid to try and make mistakes. They are tech savvy, personalizers and connected. They are sharing their lives online and making it personal. Think about the ringers on a phone. Many of us have a ring and that is it. Kids customize their rings for each caller. They want things personalized. Why not their education? They want to learn, but we need to bring that connected world to them.

No longer can we teach and kids not learn. We are in a customized learning revolution. By using a virtual school kids are reinventing themselves online. They don't have to be a class clown, afraid to ask a question and avoiding peer pressure. Many special needs kids never need assistance because they are able to be engaged and meet their own needs.

New game called Conspiracy Code teaches American History. Students will play as characters living in new future and bad guy is trying to take over world by altering history. There are clues where you have to find the piece of history that is attempting to be corrupted. Every student has to find truth from fiction about history. It's very engaging. Kids had a say in the names of the characters, how they are dressed and how they talk. In the last 6 months since they have released this in Florida Virtual School they have had amazing positive feedback.

The future is virtual...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Off to FETC

Live from the Creek members are on the road again, this time, not very far away. We're headed to Orlando, FL to the Florida Educational Technology Conference. We hope to be able to send back some real time learning for you about what we're learning. Let us know what you think!