Thursday, May 31, 2007

IPOD Thoughts

First of all, I would like to announce that Joe and Dave are my new favorite people!
I sped home today and loaded the entire third season of The Office onto my new video iPod. Maybe, this is not exactly educational, but the goal is to get me to understand, troubleshoot, and over-all manage using this iPod as an educational tool. What better way to get started than to watching Michael's debacles?
After loading the iPod to the iTunes on my home computer, I began to wonder about sharing the iPod as a team and with our students. I currently have a shuffle and an iPod mini, all of which no longer work for me because I don't have the same computer (or I've encountered the famous Apple battery issue)
Luckily, my best friend married a network security guy who works for an internet company! After talking with him it seems like we need to make some management decisions about how we use the iPods. This iPod will now only work with the iTunes on my home computer. I can't get audio or visual files using this iPod on my new laptop. Which means, if we wanted to store content on the iPods as we shared them, we couldn't. It will only read one iTunes. However, my friend told me that if we reset the iPod each time we switch computers (or users) it will reattach itslef to the new computer. Or we can elect to use another program other than iTunes.
I'm hoping someone has some insight into how this could work and how we can manage the content that we are using on the iPods.
Also here is the wiki post on ipods: wiki iPod post.
Here is a link I stumbled across on WIKIHOW, it is a how-to on sneaking an ipod into class. It could be something to share with your class the first day of school! I think Deborah Pickering and the Vocabulary people could call it wide reading!
Check out the IPOD shared document and add your own links and advice

One Laptop Per Child

Recently Nicholas Negroponte, on leave from MIT Media Laboratory, took on this non-profit effort to provide a laptop computer to children in developing countries! The first release was in Cambodia and was featured a few weeks ago on 60 minutes. Watch it here: It was amazing to watch these children who had no electricity, no access to media, let alone computers. It took them a couple of hours, and they were exploring and enjoying their computers. They were commenting that it was ironic and powerful that the only light coming from these children's dilapidated homes was candlelight and the glow from their monitors.

There is a link to their website here: . Much of the philosophy of this project is similar to our as Global Learners, technology enhances learning. Concerns could be similar as well. Their concern is hidden costs that go with this technology like wireless or batteries. Ours is kids not having the internet or personal computers at home. Another concern of theirs is theft. What if the laptops are stolen by older kids? I thought about that as well today as we were discussing video ipods being checked out and taken home by our students. If we put too many restrictions on the use of the technology, we are not allowing students to enjoy this technology to its full potential. Is loss/damage to equipment just a necessary risk we have to take?

There is an intersting side story to all this about intel getting into the same "business" of developing $100 laptops and creating competition for Negroponte.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here's a great way to use your SmartBoard

How often do we run out of funds to take students on field trips? Or you just don’t want to take them on a field trip because of the behavior problems that could arise? Imagine taking a virtual tours or a virtual field trips without the stress of finding funds or the chaos of students being out of their routine!

What about in science - you could put a plant (or other specimen) on the doc cam, hooked up to the SmartBoard and projector. Now you have an interactive opportunity to label the parts of your object or help students observe pieces they may not notice on their own.

Here is a website that will search smart-board lessons with state standards. On this page you can search by browsing curriculum standards or subject/grade level.

There seem to be endless possibilities!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Screencast with SmartBoard

On May 17, 2007 a screencast of math features was created during the Global Learners Professional Development. The screencast was captured within SmartBoard software and then uploaded to youtube. I have embedded the video here as an example of how this can be done. The video could be improved by using better examples. However, I can see the value to our students of screencasts just like this. Imagine a scenario where a student missed class or just didn't follow what your explanation of an Algebra problem. If the screencast of the problem being worked were captured and loaded to a class blog the student could go back at any time and review. Anyone interested in trying this? If you are post the result on this blog.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fun with Math

Couldn't resist sharing this site from WikiHOW. I have found some really humorous "how to's." This would probably be saved for Sophmores who could handle this type of lab activity.
How to Calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs
Definitely an interesting way to find Pi and took me a minute to figure out how it works (but there is a proof linked if it becomes too hard.
Anyone willing to try it? Any other "How Tos" that you found there?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Alright, I'm here...

I have to admit that technology and I do not get along as well as I had hoped. We argue and fight, it's not pretty. With all the blogs, wikis, rss, and other new terms, I'm reluctant. However, with this Global Learners class and the fact that I teach 21st century students, I am starting to come around. I would like to create a website for my class for all of my students to access. They would be able to email me if they had any questions, pick up any missed assignments, get links to helpful websites, and they could blog with me and the other students . I have never done anything like this, so I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on this idea. I was wondering what worked, what didn't, and if the students responded well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

EdClass in Class!

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to talk about a small success using EdClass and Geometry Sketcher this week in class. Ive had two days of lessons using our new toys and I must say Im impressed with the results. With EdClass I have used 3 lessons so far with my Geometry and Algebra classes. With my Geo 10C class, which is a little more advanced, I used the Golden Ratio lesson and the Finding Pi lesson. Both were interesting and the students enjoyed them. And both were easy to use with just one computer and the students hand writing the tables. The lessons both involved the students measuring things and finding ratios. They saw how body parts are arranged in the Golden Ratio and how the idea and number of PI was created. With the Geo sketchpad I used it in an opposite type of class. I used it in a lesson to teach the defenitions of Parallelograms. The lesson involved manipulation of Parallelograms and some cool visual effects. I used it in a class or perpetual F's and was impressed at how it caught their attention and instead of writing notes on the board, or trying to draw the figures which im horrible at, ive been writing them on word and projecting it on my wall. Well just wanted to share with you all my small success and more importantly ask if anyone else has found any good lessons on either program that you can suggest? Or any other program?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Early Adopters Announced for Global Learners Project

Adams County District 14 is pleased to welcome 10 more participants to the Global Learners project. The latest group to be added are called Early Adopters. These ten were selected from 34 applicants to receive a significant infusion of equipment and professional development with the ultimate goals of engaging students and improving the 21st skills and competencies that the students are going to need when they leave our school system.
The Early Adopters are:
Callie Brownlee (KMS-Math Coach)
Jon Fisher (Kemp-2nd Grade)
Tonia Johnson (ACHS-Reading)
Fred Kreienkamp (KMS-7th Grade Social Studies)
Jeff Lewis (Alsup-3rd Grade)
Jill Minzak (Rose Hill-2nd Grade)
Andrew Palmer (Central-Technology Teacher)
Wesley Robinson (Monaco-5th Grade)
Kelly Schwichtenberg (Alsup-1st Grade)
Emily Taylor (Alsup-4th Grade)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Engage Learners Visually with Digital Projection

Using a digital projector in the classroom opens up a whole range of uses to visually engage learners. From the obvious of displaying general computer applications such as spreadsheets, presentations, web based resources to specialty applications like Geometers' Sketchpad and unitedstreaming clips - bigger can be better. Most digital projectors like the Epson 3LCD can attach to video cameras enabling large screen viewing of almost everything, such as; science tools and projects, works of art and literature, student work of all sorts. Imagine a large venue "show and tell"!? What would you project on the big screen? Jim Moulton at Edutopia has some thoughts on this very subject.

For all you Global Learners that have a Dell Latitude D520 laptop check out this video to maximize your projection capabilities.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Okay, I am having a hard time admitting it to myself but I think I am a digital immigrant. My dad had an apple when I was 2 or 3 and I used to play with word processors, spreadsheets, and data bases for fun way back before we had "the internet." So in taking in all of this info on what is really out there (the billions of pieces of information organized in truly a spiderweb format) I am having a hard time making sense of it. I like information that is delivered in an organized manner whether outlined with some heirarchy or the basic top to bottom and left to right style. That way, I know how to organize it in my head and store it for future reference. I am really struggling with "getting" all of this, or at least most of it.
I jumped with excitement when I heard that there is a book called Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom by Will Richardson and felt guilty to share it since it seems to go against what we are trying to learn, i.e. books are out, webstuff is in.
My question is this: if I learned certain ways to take in data and organize it so that I can have this "background knowledge" that is so important for the capacity to learn, what are today's students doing? Are they struggling to make sense without the filing system in their heads that I learned? Are they doing just fine and it's me who is stuggling to make sense of it because it is so different from my experiences?
Ruby Payne's book references children who were barely read to have not learned to collect data in an organized manner, i.e. top to bottom and left to right. So without that system, even walking into a busy room causes their eyes to dart around and they could miss important observations, not to mention be overwhelmed. This is how I feel when I look at some webpages. Are today's students who are moving away from books going to miss that basic data collection/processing system that we all take for granted? Does this need to be directly taught at some point? Does anyone know of any references (either books or websites) that address helping students make sense and organize data in the digital formats of 2007?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Global Classrooms: Global Voices Redux

A previous post focused on Global Voices, the new web presence for shedding light on non-traditional media worldwide. Global Voices offers many useful tools for keeping track of what is happening in other countries. In fact, these tools allow you to track countries or categories by subscribing to pages (RSS).

The available tools at Global Voices could have enormous impact on the classroom. If in your classroom you study countries (in a unit or lesson) or topics (e.g. diaspora, ethnicity, or film) you should consider exploring this site. For example, if each student in a classroom is assigned a country (e.g. Romania, Lybia, China) to track throughout a course. This might include reporting on a variety of topics and culminating with an oral report. At Global Voices students could use a RSS reader to track what is being organized on a daily basis. That way students could be aware of current events from the perspective of the new media (e.g. bloggers, etc...). In addition, students could include headlines in their blog or website from their region or on their topic (see the headlines on the right pane of this blog for an example).

What other possibilities could you see for RSS and Global Voices? What classes would this work in?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Global Learning Takes off in ACSD 14

Today, the Global Learners Initiative has taken off in school district 14. The team has launched day one of the professional development for teachers at Kearney Middle School and Adams City High School. Cheers to Dave Tarwater and Joe Miller for their phenomenal delivery of this rich content to our outstanding teachers.
Joe Miller is in the midst of an excellent presentation outlining the parameters of the project, and I'm convinced there's both genuine excitement and trepidation among our teachers. While people are thrilled to be handed a new laptop and several other classroom tools, there is anxiety over the expectations to use the tools properly.
FEAR NOT, teacher friends! The Global Learners Team is here to help. We'll be with you every step of the way. As Dr. Miller has stated, you won't be expected to blog today, and maybe not even tomorrow, but you will find that it's a simple, useful method of communicating with your fellow students, teachers, and world citizens. As a matter of fact, I've just added this post to the blog while sitting here listening to Joe Miller with my ears and typing with my hands.
We're very pleased to see you here today. Hats off to you for being a part of the teaching revolution in Adams County School District 14. Welcome to Global Learning in the 21st Century!

Joost Invite Available

We have some invitations to the Joost application that is currently in Beta testing. If you are not familiar with Joost (, it is a web based application that will allow you to watch TV over the internet and also allows users to discuss the show while watching the show. The TV channels are provided and maintained by Joost and will include National Geographic, CBS and other channels. My guess is that within months your students will be familiar with Joost, so this is your opportunity to become familiar with this technology before your students do.

If you would like a Joost invite, please respond to this post with a brief summary on how you might be able to utilize this type of application to engage your students.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Global Voices

Global Voices is a non-profit media site that aggregates the "global conversation" at a website. The goal of this project is to bring to the forefront places and people other media often ignore, but "new" media like bloggers pay attention to. The idea is that a reader can go to one website to take the pulse of international affairs as measured on the ground. Global Voices has a drill-down feature for searches by region, country, or topic.

What do you think the possibilities are for this new media? Could students use this in Social Studies? In Language Arts? In Math class?