Monday, June 25, 2007
I stumbled upon an article in the New York times today about a student who was suspended for 10 days in 2002 when he held up a sign that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at and Olympic Torch event. Over the past 5 years his teenage angst has sparked great debate in schools and ultimately in the Supreme Court about the freedom of speech.
Regardless of the details of the particular case (the student happened to not even be on school property) it begins the conversation about the rights our students have when they come into our classroom and how far we have to go to censor them. I think a lot of us, especially in the secondary realm, want to use blogs and all of us want to post our student's work online. But, how far do we have to go to make sure that what is attached to the district's site is appropriate and who ultimately decides.
Chief Justice, John G. Roberts Jr., said, "the First Amendment does not require schools to tolerate at school events student expression that contributes to those dangers." So, the student is in some waypromoting something seen to be dangerous then its unacceptable . Justice Thomas, who did not sign the Chief Justice's opinion, argued that "it cannot seriously be suggested that the First Amendment ‘freedom of speech’ encompasses a student’s right to speak in public schools."
As we move into a place that allows our students to produce thought for a world-wide audience, I think its important to reflect on the opinions brought forth in this case. This is an old battle that may find a new proving ground if we do not at least begin to ponder about our own place and stance on the issue.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Why do you think teachers and administrators should attend TIE (Technology in Education Conference)? Why does technology in the classroom matter?
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
As PIO for Adams 14, one of my job responsibilities is to track trends in education news in local and national media. Today, while surfing through the various online news feeds I receive (view my shared page here), I came across a story on NPR about wireless electricity research at MIT. Apparently, scientists at MIT have successfully transmitted electricity with no wires. This is an enormous development. Think of the implications not only for the classroom but for the entire world. Electric cars and mobile devices that charge while in use without wires - HOLY COW!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
(1) News searching. Go to Google News and perform a search. For example, "educational technology". This search covers 4,500 (mostly) newspapers. Once the search is completed on the left-side of the page you will see RSS. Click the RSS hyper-text and you will get the feed. Add the feed to your reader. Now any time a new article is published on educational technology in one of the 4,500 newspapers you will be notified in your reader (Google Reader or Bloglines). In addition, using the advanced search feature in Google News you can restrict by publication.
(2) YouTube RSS: If you want to subscribe to Youtube videos by tag (or keyword) you can do this through your reader. Here is how you do it: first, copy this feed: feed://www.youtube.com/rss/tag/monkey.rss into a web browser. Change "monkey" to the keyword you want to track videos on. For example, if you wanted to know if any new videos were posted on "Darfur" you could create a RSS feed for Youtube using this method and any new videos would post to your reader.
(3) Google Calendar: Several of the teachers in the Global Learners Project (Jeff Lewis, Kelly Schwichtenberg, and Emily Taylor) were smitten with Google Calendar and have decided that their school will use it next year for IB Units and as a school calendar at Alsup Elementary School. Under "Manage Calendars" click the calendar that you want an RSS feed for. At the bottom of the page is a button that says "XML". Click that button to reveal a web address that is a RSS feed. Copy that feed to your Reader. Be sure to make your calendar "public" in order to use this RSS feature. Parents could subscribe to the school's calendar and know when it was updated with new events. How cool would that be?
Dateline: TIE 2007 - Copper Mountain, CO
Boni Hamiltion, author and assistant director of technology integration in the Littleton Public schools gave a compelling 3 hour presentation on integrating technology and the 9 Marzano strategies in the primary grades classrooms. You can read an excerpt from her book online. On her wiki you will find some great ideas and online resources. Will you accept the challenge to try some of these with your elementary classes?
Are there any Global Learners that would be willing to post their course guides, video and audio from their classroom?
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The last lesson I did with my students was a year-end final quiz using the Clickers student-response system. Everything about this activity, well, clicked. I finally figured out how to configure my laptop so it worked with the projector, and the 20 questions were clearly displayed. The students worked in groups of three, sharing a remote, so that they could discuss and cooperate on answers. They were engaged, everything worked, and my final day with this fifth grade class was mighty fine.
The next-to-last lesson involved the hidden text feature we Global Learners discovered was part of Microsoft Word. I distributed laptops to each student and they were able to log on to the internet, where I had planned on showing them how to download the document from the Global Learners Enhancing Education Through Technology website. However, for some inexplicable reason, the students working on wireless laptops could not load the page. We tried typing in the exact address, but a blank screen persisted. Other websites worked just fine. Then I tried typing in the address of the page with the document on it, and that would load, so we were able to download the document. Yet the hiccups were not finished. I did demonstrate how to use and write with the hidden text, but my students had a lot of formatting issues. They spent more time trying to get their text correctly set then they did thinking about the content of the assignment. For example, when a student would backspace to fix a mistake, Word would automatically convert the font into hidden text, hiding their work. Bit of a headache, but everyone managed to finish.
Which brings me to the first lesson I tried, which was a mild disaster. I intended for my students to use an activBook lesson that taught them how to use Excel to calculate Chicken McNugget prices. Perhaps I should have paid more attention in my class, but I could not figure out how to help the students log into the activBook site to view the lesson. Instead, I had to show it on the projector, but it did not hold their attention (it their defense, it was a Friday afternoon, with two days of school left). All the students got from the lesson was some exposure to Excel, which I am now sure they are dying to use again.
All in all, I was glad I did the lessons, and I learned the importance of making sure the technology would work before I had the students sitting with their laptops before them. I can't wait to implement some more lessons in the fall. Right on.
Friday, June 8, 2007
The following ideas for multimedia projects were submitted by Chilton Foley-Reynolds, co-teacher for the June 11/12 workshops on podcasting and filmmaking.
TEACHER INITIATED - Producer
1. Create multi-media project to introduce teacher or new subject
2. Record a multi-media project to tell the steps in a multi-step project. Then students can access the instructions when ever they need them.
STUDENT INITIATED - Presenter
3. Use multi-media projects as a way to listen to students’ reading patterns. They have to record themselves reading and listen back to it. They can then evaluate their reading performance and try to improve in the next recording.
4. Use multi-media projects as a final project. The students have to create a multi-media project using the information they learned during a unit of instruction.
5. Use multi-media projects to introduce the concept of an audience. They would have to adapt their podcasts to different audiences: children, students, adults . . .
6. Use multi-media projects as an option for assessments. Instead of writing a paper, they could create a multi-media project to summarize their learnings.
INTERACTIVE - Participator
7. Use multi-media projects as an evaluation tool. The students have to create a multi-media project about a certain subject. Then all of the podcasts are listened to during class and evaluated according to the matrix set up. Then students would have a chance to go back an edit their presentations.
8. Create a weekly multi-media project, produced by the students, that explains concepts taught that week.
Using technology can also be a huge motivator for teachers. Not only do new methods of teaching provide a welcome change in the classroom, but students become much more engaged in the material. Teachers can constantly change and update their lessons, and look forward to each school day with renewed enthusiasm. With teachers providing such a positive atmosphere, students are encouraged to learn and grow as individuals. Technology expands the boundaries of our creativity and the imaginations of our students beyond the walls of the classroom.
Education is the only sure avenue of opportunity for disadvantaged children and is the only way to improve their social and economic condition. By adding technology to the classroom, students are not only excited about learning, but also gain vital computer and technological skills necessary for success in this world. We can expand the possibilities of learning, and thus the possibilities for students’ success, by using technology in new and imaginative ways.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
In addition, there's a good one that's all streaming video instruction:
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
"Filmmaking has helped me understand what art is. I know how to make films and storyboards. My friends and I have made a film about cooking. Three of them didn't know how to cook or film, but by the time we practiced they knew two more things about art. I love film-making. “-Shania, 4th grader
"I love filmmaking because it helps me learn about technology. I recommend people to join up to make films."-Arianna, 4th grader
"I think it sort of changed my life because when I get older I already am going to have a history with films as I become a game designer; filmmaking ROCKS!"-Larry, 4th grader
"I really like filmmaking because I want to make movies in the future, but before I got in film-making I didn't know how to make films, but now I'm a film expert."-Sean, 4th grader
"I like filmmaking. It's cool. I think that I might make films every year (if they have it)."-Jayson, 4th grader
Why make films with students?
There are many reasons why filmmaking is a positive and engaging experience for students. I have facilitated after school filmmaking workshops with my third and fourth grade students for the past two years. All students I have made films with are committed, captivated and absorbed throughout the process. Every day of filmmaking they are excited for our sessions to begin. They don't want to leave when it is time to go, they want to work on their films as much as possible, they want to show people what they are creating, and they will come to school on filmmaking days so they won't miss filmmaking!
My students have embraced filmmaking! They are not only learning how to use technology, but they are using it to tell their stories, and share their perspective with others. Through animation and digital film they are being creative, working collaboratively, becoming stronger writers, and building self-confidence. For some students it is keeping them motivated and focused more in school. They are engaged and actively pursuing learning as they create their own films. As I've worked with students I have seen them become independent in using the digital video camera, tripod, and film-editing software.
How to get started…
Making films with your students requires only a few resources and a little time to familiarize yourself with film-editing software. My favorites (and the ones I know about…) are Windows Movie Maker and Photo Story 3 for Windows. Both are free from Microsoft and can be downloaded from their website. Your computer needs to have Windows Media Player installed for the programs to work! Photo Story 3 allows students to import digital photographs into the program and add movement, words and audio to create a film. It is very easy for students to use, and they love adding their voice and music to their pictures. I also recommend using larger picture files, so that your final film project will look sharp when you watch it on a larger screen. Windows Movie Maker is a program that allows you to create digital films. After capturing film on a digital video camera, and transferring it to Movie Maker the clips can be edited and placed on a storyboard to create the film. Working on the storyboard special effects, transitions and music can be added. Students can also import images (like drawings done with Microsoft Paint) to create animated films.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Steve Huff, Ph.D and educational consultant will join us this June 12. Steve will be offering up to 3 levels of presentations for beginning clicker users, intermediate users, and advanced users. Please be thinking about which level you find yourself at. Have any of you Global Learners used ExamView in your classes? CPS-einstruction (the clicker company) purchased ExamView and offer some clever ways of combining the ExamView item banks and the clickers.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Tonia Johnson has released her website "live". You can take a look here.
Tonia has some great ideas going and I'll just bet there will be more to come this summer. Be sure to look at some of the Blog comments her students have made. I'm sure Tonia will be glad to have you visit her site. What are you other Global Learners planning for your Web 1.0 presence?
Friday, June 1, 2007
Anyone who can find me the formula for an Isosceles Left Triangle will get an A for the Final.
God I wish I had them on computers to see how long it will take b4 they figure it out. so far it's been 30 mins and they are getting frustrated. Ahhhh the little things make my day!