Sunday, July 11, 2010

Denver, CO in images

For those of you that have asked what we saw and did in Denver, we were able to take an afternoon for a Rocky Mountain tour and to see some sights in the city of Denver.  If you would like to see yourself, check out this slideshow for images of the conference, city and mountains.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

What's an EdCamp or an Unconference?

One of the most powerful things about attending a conference like ISTE 2010, is the conversations you have between the sessions and the people you meet.  That's why I'm so intrigued by the idea of an edcamp or unconference.  This voicethread explains the concept well:

And Lisa Thumann not only explains it here, she is helping plan one coming up soon. 

I have never attended an unconference, but have learned much online from others attending or sharing at them.  I have been intrigued by the idea of how they get started and wonder why I have never seen one with the topic of ed tech where I live or anywhere down south!

So, in the avenue of being "the change you want to see" I'm thinking of planning one.  Anyone with me?  Would you be willing to lead discussions and come learn?  What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Model Classroom: Focus on Quality Before Multimedia Projects Begin

Rushton Hurley and Jim Sill shared their strategies for doing multimedia projects with students.  When assigning the topic for the project, they choose "framing" questions for the project.  These are what questions you want them to ask themselves while working.  They let the students watch videos filmed by others to see what they may have noticed as a strength or weakness in filming.  Here is a great resource for them to use with many videos to see:  Lightbulbs collection.  The students were then able to generate lists with the teacher regarding "strengths" and "weaknesses" they noted in the films they watched, such as: distracting background, low sound, boring questions were asked, humor made it more interesting, etc.  Based on these lists they could then generate the checklist of preparation steps they needed for their project.  As teachers, they certainly could have just done a mini lesson on good filmmaking and "dos" and "don'ts" but because the students discovered these things on their own they understood them better.  An example of one of Jim's student projects was when they had to learn about sonnets.  The students were not really excited about this.  But Jim assigned them sonnets in small groups and after studying (see detailed description of project here).  He allowed them to represent the sonnet in a short video with audio voice over.  They could represent the words figuratively as they interpreted it.  This is an example of the results:


Would you rather your students show comprehension this way? Or by answering questions on a written test? I think the proof is in the product!  Give multimedia a try!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Podcasting, Mobile Media and Mobile Learning

Mobile Media is a fluid environment through which information is conveyed and learning is accomplished.  Mobile Media can include many devices such as cellphones, e-readers, laptops, netbooks and ipods.  Most students have one of these devices, if not more than one.

How do we learn today?  Here is a good example of how many of us learn:

If we're asking students questions that they can answer by searching Google, are we asking the right questions?

What is a podcast?  It is mostly an audio blog and can also handle video and pdf files.  Podcast ready media is a file that can be made into a podcast but an RSS is a podcast you can subscribe to.
The first thing you need is a host/server, then you publish your RSS feed, then the subscriber listens to it from the server.

Here are some excellent podcasts to follow:

Always On - Katie Morrow and Michelle Bourgeouis
Professional Practice of 1-to-1 schools

Tech Chick Tips - Anna Adam and Helen Mowers
Professional Practice

When working with ipods create playlists according to theme, interest, current events, location, subject areas, create smart playlists by using student names to organize student work.  When using apps, organize by pages and folders.

ItunesU has tons of free content provided by Universities as well as K-12 organizations.
Lawrence Hall of Science
Many states have started putting their students content online. professional development resource
State of Maine

Here are some resources to find out more about podcasting or using ipods in the classroom:
Appolicious is a social network for apps for iphone and other smart phones is a network for apps
iPads for Education

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill

Educator Alan November has been asking the question, "What skill do our students need to succeed in the global workplace?" From CEOs to Anthropologists, surprisingly the answer is the same.  Empathy.  Americans in general aren't so good at it.  Being empathetic is a sign of emotional intelligence which leads to understanding, motivation and managing one's own emotions and having an appreciation for the emotions of others.  Our schools need to develop a sense of urgency in teaching our American students how to be empathetic.  They must be able to hold two different points of view at one time.  They must be able to communicate with and be accepting of others around the globe.  As educators we can help students practice empathy when we help them develop a network of people that they can tap into as a resource once they graduate and enter the "real world".