Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wind, Snow, and Extreme Temperatures!

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you; the title of this global learner post really is wind, snow, and extreme temperatures. That’s because during my latest Spring Break GL project I bravely faced sub-zero wind chills, extreme heat, icy roads, blinding snow, and even gigantic (snow) cats in order to converse with people about technology from all over the U.S., and I dare say, the world. Yes, it’s true, while on the lift, in the lodge, and even in the hot tub I surveyed ordinary people from such places as Mexico City, Ireland, Australia, Kansas, Indiana, Italy, Texas, etc. in a relentless effort to learn first hand about technology use in the niche of people who travel to Vail, Colorado for ski vacations.
The findings:
1. A high school teacher from Maine sometimes uses DVD’s, he guesses.
2. Most people still have never heard of a Smart Board.
3. Ipods are widely used while skiing-regardless of age or ethnicity.
4. Most people are inclined to check emails, text, and do who knows what else on their mobile phones while eating lunch in the lodge-children included.
5. Kids can even text while doing backside 360’s and Mctwists! Okay, I made that up.
6. Check out this terrain park “data” I collected and posted to the web--- Wait, I didn’t do this, but I could have! http://broadbandsports.com/node/4811
7. People continue to get separated from their groups on the slopes even with GPS and cell phones!
8. Most people are impressed with what technology can do for 21st century learners, but few actually encounter anything impressive in their own learning or in the education of children and teens that they know.
9. Most people love the idea of students video conferencing across continents.
10. ACSD14 Global Learners are leaders in 21st Century learning!
Next Steps:
Get a grant that will pay for me to travel the world visiting schools and interviewing locals about technology. Any takers?
What I would change:
I could possibly do such a survey from the comfort of home using…uh, technology! Na, in some cases face to face is just more fun!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Break Nerd Night :)

Hello fellow Global Learners!

Liz and I are going to be SuperNerds and work on tech stuff on Tuesday night, 6ish. Unfortunately, even though we are on vacation, we still end up doing work. (PROPS to you if you AREN'T doing any work!!!!) If you do plan on doing some GL work, or if you just want to bask in our awesomeness, you are absolutely welcome to come over. I will be cooking a Mexican dinner for all my amigos :) and after "schooltalk" we'll eventually do some work. If I don't see you, have a fabulous spring break!!!

SuperNerd Night- Tuesday 6 p.m.
Dinner, Drinks and Techy Talk
@ kate's casa (call or email for my address!)
(509) 432-1327

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Glogster.com and other tools

Have you made a Glogster Poster yet? I was playing around with it and made this one at the link below:


I was able to embed it into my classroom blog, but can't seem to do the same here.
My plan is to have my students make posters as another way to discuss sustainability and green community issues. Then we will upload them to our classroom blog (or Ning site for my 8th graders) and they will have to comment on each other's glog.

I found this through a WizIQ session that you should go back and check out if you need fresh ideas for a wiki or a blog. The moderator of the session shows so many cool new Web 2.0 Apps that I hadn't seen before (LibriVox, Yappr, Glogster), and several others that I've heard of but haven't used much (voicethread, voki, etc). She also offers help to anyone who has questions and has a wiki, blog, and other help pages. All of these are listed in her WizIQ session at the very end (and here). DEFINITELY check it out if you need some ideas!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cool Wearable 6th Sense Technology from MIT

Okay, this just shows how much of a geek I am but I totally want one of these. I think changes in the way we interact with technology is fascinating. My instructor at Walden University shared this video link with me at the Teaching, Entertainment, and Design website (TED). In the video Dr. Patty Maes and her student, Pranav Mistry, talk about a clever invention they have designed that changes the way people interact with technology. It is definitely worth a gander. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/pattie_maes_demos_the_sixth_sense.html

It's a wearable device with a projector that works with your cell phone to allow some pretty interesting interactions with your environment.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

VoiceThread in Action

Last month I posted about a live conversation I had through Classroom 2.0 about Voicethread. I have been playing around with it and trying to figure how to set it up for best usage in my classroom. I decided to go with the $10 teacher account. This lets me create identities for contributing to the voicethread without setting up individual accounts for each student. I put it to test last week as an assessment for a presentation I did on Cross Linguistic Influence for my CU Bueno master's class. Many of your colleagues are here contributing to the Voicethread (under my fish identities).
Here's how it went: After some fumbling to get my powerpoint to play the embedded videos I presented my review of a chapter we were reading. I had asked those with laptops to bring them and we were able to form five groups. I gave each group an identity (I called them fish 1, fish 2, etc. -which is what I'm thinking of using for my first grade groups). Then I logged them into Voicethread and helped them to click on the identity for their group. I showed them the different ways of commenting and let them choose. I gave out some microphones and a webcam and I set one group up with call-in minutes (fish 1). I let them choose how they wanted to respond. I circulated and helped but very little help was needed except trying to adjust microphone volume.
The Voicethread consisted of some videos of students answering questions with prompts for my colleagues to answer specific questions related to the language forms of the students or feedback mechanisms of the teacher. Overall the lesson was very well received. The interest and motivation was high and the quality of the responses were great.
Some instructional caveats: The project was very absorbing and we ended up going well over the 30 minutes allocated for discussion. In a k-12 classroom setting you would need to have a very simplified practice setting (reduced content-focus and increased practical-focus). I might have done better to include a discussion rubric if this was a graded assessment. I also would ask the groups to state their names in their comments next time.
Set up time: 10 minutes for videoing students, 20 minutes editing videos and putting subtitles, 30 minutes setting up the slideshow and creating identities. (A simplified one with just photos could have been done in 5 minutes).
Next steps: simplified practice with classroom. Perhaps just one intriguing photo and ask the students to list three descriptive words for the photo using two different means of commenting. Then, begin using it for commenting on student writing projects and other learning activities. Finally, students create their own. (Note: the way I have it set up, students have editing authority and could accidentally erase the whole Voicethread or other students' comments. I haven't figured out a way around this yet without paying the $60/yr teacher Pro account. Does anyone have some ideas how to remedy this?)
I really had fun with it. It seems like a great way to present multiple assessment options and is great for emerging writers. I think it can help foster collaboration skills in the classroom and serve as a great vehicle for project-based learning. An added benefit is that it could serve as a vehicle for metacognitive self-reflection in a student portfolio.
Anyway, here is the link to the Voicethread.

Crossposted on MrFisherGlobalLearner

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Live blog: What are YOU doing?

On Friday, March 27, my classes will be participating in a live blog session discussing the topic: Within the realms of food, transportation, and housing, what have you done or what are you doing to prevent or slow climate change, especially in the face of peak oil and a diminishing oil supply, and what goals do you have along those same lines? (So basically: What are you doing and/or what can you do to help heal the planet?)

The times for the sessions are as follows (just click on the class period link to be taken to the blog site):Please note that all times are Mountain Time in the United States (GMT-7):
Block 2: 8:30-9:15 a.m.
Block 3: 9:30-10:20 a.m.
Block 4: 11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Block 5: 12:20-1:10 p.m.

It would be great to have people join us for our discussion!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CLAS Presentation

At Joe's request, here's the presentation I did at the spring conference of CLAS (Colorado Language Arts Society) via Slideshare. Hope you enjoy it/find it useful!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the digital revolution....

and the good news.....

I think this is the first time EVER that I have asked HS students to create a powerpoint or google presentation and ALL know how to do it...its a given... WOW!!!!!

as Bob Dylan would say, "the times they are a changin" (or maybe have already changed!)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Story Town Web Resources - Web 1.0 or Web 2.0?

Are you a contributor and share your voice? Are you a viewer and take ideas? I feel I'm both and am creating students to become both. As a primary teacher, I feel I have made a significant leap from web 1.0 to web 2.0 since becoming a Global Learner. My students continue to use web-based games during independent learning time, but we are working more to complete projects we can ultimately upload to their blog.

This Story Town Wiki sparked my curiosity as to how other people feel about their web use. I began a search for First Grade Story Town resources after seeing what our 2nd grade GL's started with their shared Google site.

The site has grade-levels K-5. Within each grade-level and theme, there are web/lesson resources broken into skills such as: comprehension, grammar, phonics and writing. A lot of resources for each grade level. I could see using some of the resources for introducing, reviewing or practicing concepts. You can easily add the links to a website for student use or link it to a SmartBoard spelling lesson. I browsed briefly and there appear to be writing sites that allow creations(web2.0).

Please browse the wiki or other resources you have and share:

How do you feel about your transition from web 1.0 to web 2.0?

What Web 2.0 tool(s) would you like to know about?

CLAS, Ning, and my next installment

Yeesh... where has the time actually gone? CSAP time already (but I'll reserve comment on that topic; heh). For those who read my first two installments of Education in the 21st Century on Elephant Journal, the third part is up and posted.

Last weekend I did a presentation at the spring conference of the Colorado Language Arts Society (CLAS) on technology in the classroom. I have to admit that before I started, I was a bundle of nerves and was pretty much looking for any excuse to not do it. It's funny: I can stand up in front of 25-30 students all day long, but when it comes to standing up in front of a dozen adults, I'll take a pass whenever I can. Fortunately, it ended up going really well. I hit on Google docs, Google sites, Blogger, podcasting, live blogging, videos, etc. As it turned out, a lot of it was really new to many of the people in the room, even though I thought it would be "old hat" to them. I ended up running out of time, and I really enjoyed myself once it was all said and done.

My newest "toy" in the classroom is Ning. Doug A. and I are collaborating on a project involving Plan B 3.0; yesterday I hit up Jeff L. to see if he wanted to join us (you're next, Liz!). Actually, as far as that goes, if anyone is interested, I know I'd be up for it... could prove to be very interesting. At any rate, I want my students to not only collaborate within the class, but between the classes as well. To that end, I set up a class Ning page for the kids. Will it work? Well, we'll see I guess, but I do think there's some very interesting potential to become something pretty amazing.


I've been doing some digging around on Ning and after a few trial and errors, I have a few tips/suggestions:

First, I found that even though I told the students it was in essence an online classroom and needed to make sure their profiles reflected that, I still had a few students post pictures and choose names that weren't school appropriate. I am still working with those more recalcitrant students around that issue. Ning does give a privacy option when it comes to who can see and join the page. So far I haven't worried about who's joining it, especially since there is an option to ban members, though I can change that to approving members that try to join if I need to.

Ning does give the option to approve just about anything that could be posted to the page: videos, photos, blog posts, etc. I engaged it after a few students were adding pictures of themselves to the main page.

The students have really bought into it so far, but all we've done is set up profiles. They haven't quite realized how I plan to use this for networking, posting assignments, etc. I have a feeling that they may become slightly horrified when they realize that their "MySpace for my class" is going to be used against them... ha ha!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Are You Doing Right Now!

Global Learners, in the spirit of re-engagement and stimulus, I am encouraging you to comment in response to the following question:

What Global Learner project do you have in the fire right now?

For the purpose of this post, don't post lesson plans, don't worry if it is not finished or well-planned, just tell everyone what you are doing right now that involves the use of technology in the classroom. The goal is to reconnect with the group to see what everyone is doing, and to have the opportunity to follow up with a colleague who has a project in the works that you are intrigued by. So... what ARE you doing right now?

George Washington Carver Grammar Lesson

This is a 2nd grade grammar lesson that goes along with the story George Washington Carver. It is for day 3. I also have days 1,2,4 and 5 if anyone wants them.
My teammate Trisha Campbell actually created these. We split up some of the smartboard tasks and share!
To see this activity, go to https://sites.google.com/a/adams14schools.org/room-21/shared-lessons

Phonics Lesson

This is a 2nd grade phonics lesson that is made for day 2 of the story A Chair for My Mother. I used to copy this for each student, but now do it on the smartboard. I have students pair/share the answer, then call a student to go up and highlight the answer. The students love using their finger!

Robust Vocab

This is a 2nd grade Storytown Robust Vocabulary lesson. I created it out of the lesson activities in the smartboard activities. It is designed to go with the vocab words for the story A Chair for My Mother. I have students discuss the meanings of the words first, then use the word match as reinforcement. Students love it! Go to this site and it is under Robust Vocab. https://sites.google.com/a/adams14schools.org/room-21/shared-lessons

Gallon Man

I used the smartboard lesson Gallon Man, to go with the math lesson I taught on volume.
I had students participate in half of the smartboard lesson Gallon Man. I used this as an introduction. Next, I had students create Gallon Man out of construction paper. I followed the lesson up with the remainder of the smartboard lesson as a kind of review. To see the smartboard lesson, go to this website. https://sites.google.com/a/adams14schools.org/room-21/shared-lessons


Saturday, March 7, 2009


Just got a new toy! The flip ultra 2 gb (60 min of recording time). What is so neat about this is that you take some video, edit it within the camera, connect it to a computer via usb, upload the video to youtube or send it more privately as a link in an email.

This is so cool! Just right for classroom video. So easy to use for kiddos as young as kindergarten and very applicable for older students such as HS'ers.

I could see a classroom set of 6+ for projects etc. A great alternative to other digital cameras w/ video capabilities that require processing of the clips etc. I'm planning on bringing it into my IB myp classroom!




Friday, March 6, 2009

Technology Leadership


The article above "examines how the knowledge and effectiveness of school leaders impacts whether technology use will improve learning for all students."

It's very interesting to think that regardless of the work we do as Global Learners, it is our administrators' understanding of technology (or lack thereof) that really impacts its integration in the classroom.

If this is true, maybe some of our administrators should interview for some of the GL spots for next year... wouldn't that be something?

The article is very good and I recommend it as a bit of light reading this weekend :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hello Global Learners,

I need some feedback from you regarding professional development.

If you had an opportunity to meet with other Global Learners from around the district to plan, collaborate, etc, would you? If yes, who would you meet with and how would you use this time?

Basically, what would be the most beneficial for you? What kind of conversations and worktime would you most like to see at this point in the school year?

If you're feeling burned out and technology integration is not the first thing on your mind these days, I hear you loud and clear. But at the same time, I went to the CoLearning technology conference a few weeks back, and it amazed me how invigorating a simple conversation can be. There is SO much to learn and discuss with other like-minded individuals. So tell me what your ideal technology PD would look like.