Archive for October 2006

More K12 Online Conference

October 31, 2006

I am slowly (but steadily) making my way through the content in the K12 Online Conference.  These are the sessions I looked at last night (and I am hoping to have some time to participate in a few more today)…

Who’s Teaching Who? Are We Ready? by Chris Kaminski – I liked the short introductory video which gave student perspectives on the impact of technology on education.  I honestly was a little confused about the rest of the presentation… I think it was to be a model of how you can design your classroom to be student-centered and to encourage student discussion and involvement.

All About Internet Audio by Lee Baber – This presentation is a pretty advanced work at your own pace sort of session which allows participants to explore an organized website and learn as they go.  I definitely think it is useful for someone who already has some background knowledge in the area.

TIGed Basics: A Beginners Guide to Social Networking in the Classroom by Luke Walker – This presentation is an introduction to Taking it Global which is social networking with “a purpose.”  The introduction explains the basics about what social networking is but also discusses the benefits of teaching students to use social networking within a context like Taking it Global to help teach users about social issues and working toward a cause.  I definitely think this is a program that could be utilized in some of our classes (especially within some of our clubs and organizations).

I am still enjoying what I see and look forward to participating in more sessions today!

Squeezing in Time for the K12 Online Conference

October 29, 2006

Week two of the K12 Online Conference is about to begin and I am still trying to catch up on week one.  My goal is to try and view all of the presentations and then refer my teachers to the specific ones I think they will benefit from the most.

So far I have viewed/participated in the following presentations:

Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning by David Warlick – I enjoyed this keynote address.  I especially liked the way Mr. Warlick addressed the role of the learner in today’s world.

Journey Through the Week as I Journey Up (and Down) the Road by Bud Hunt – In his keynote address Mr. Hunt discusses some of the same frustrations I have with web filtering.

Wiki Collaboration Across the Curriculumby Vicki Davis – Vicki’s presentation is a great resource to help teachers understand the pedagogy behind wikis and give them some step-by-step instructions on how to set up a wiki on Wikispaces.

I Did Not Know You Could Do That with Free Web Tools by Alan Levine – I enjoyed how Mr. Levine designed this presentation to allow the user to view the potential of the web 2.0 tool and then provided links and resources so the user could learn at his/her own pace.

Blog if You Love Learning: An Introduction to Weblogs in Education by Mark Wagner – So far, this has been my favorite presentation and the one I will probably refer most of my teachers too.  Although it is somewhat lengthy, it is pretty entertaining and it can stand alone as a step-by-step training tool.

I am hoping to have some more time tomorrow to catch up on more of the presentations.  One of the great benefits about the conference being on-line is that it is always there, so I can view it whenever I get the chance.  You are welcome to view the notes I have taken up to this point, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the sessions you have participated in… so feel free to share.

Crazy Hectic

October 28, 2006

It has been an out of control busy week for me.  I began by driving to Austin, Texas, Sunday to attend the TSTEM convention on Monday and then drove back Monday evening (so I got home around 10:00pm).

Tuesday I played catch-up at work and then attended the Bishop Dunne 100 Dinner with my husband who teaches and coaches at Bishop Dunne (so I got home about 10:30pm).  It was a nice dinner, a good time and I got to wear my new and fancy dress.

Wednesday during the day I had to finish getting ready for the Design Studio my school hosts and then Wednesday night the Design Studio participants arrived.  We had a meet and greet and dinner (so I arrived home at about 9:15pm).

Thursday and Friday I helped present for and facilitate the Design Studio groups.  We had exceptional participants from Lanier High School, North Salem High School and Waxahachie Global High School.  It was interesting to work with such diverse groups ranging from a high school that will open its doors in 2007 to a high school that has been open for 100 years. 

Although I always enjoy my time participating with the Design Studio, and it gives me time to reflect upon what is and isn’t working on my campus, I will be glad to get back to normal and hopefully slow down a bit.  Maybe I will even have some time to catch up on what has been happening over at the K12Online Conference.

Feeling Crafty?

October 20, 2006

The Academy of Irving ISD’s class of 2007 is sponsoring a craft fair and they need your participation!

The craft fair is scheduled to take place at The Academy of Irving on December 9th 2006 from 9am – 4pm.  Attendance is free and all proceeds will benefit the class of 2007.  If you are interested in participating as a vendor or a volunteer you can find out more by visiting their website.

We hope to see you there!!

K12 Online Conference

October 18, 2006

There has been much talk the last couple of weeks around the Edusphere (nice little buzz word) about the upcoming K12 Online Conference, but I have refrained from mentioning it here because I wasn’t sure what to say.  I didn’t quite know what part I wanted to play in the conference and how I wanted to get my teachers involved, but I finally think I have figured it out. 

Unfortunately, I waited too long getting my thoughts organized to submit a proposal to present.  I wanted to present but felt there are so many “experts” out there already that I might not be the right person to present a web 2.0 topic to a global audience, and when I finally did come up with a topic I would be comfortable presenting (two days ago) it was too late ( I will hold on to the idea in the hopes there will be a repeat conference in the future).

I have begun my conference experience by viewing David Warlick’s Pre-conference Keynote address entitled Derailing Education: Taking Sidetrips for Learning.  I must say that I enjoyed it, and those of you who know me, know that it is difficult to hold my attention for 55 minutes (which by the way is one of the great features of the on-line conference… the pause button). 

I enjoyed the extended metaphor of the rail that Mr. Warlick likens curriculum and standards to, and although it may be necessary to have common education goals, I agree with Mr. Warlick that it is essential that students are allowed to take side-trips off of these rails because it is when students are given choice and the ability to construct their own education that they become motivated and engaged learners.

Although I enjoyed the keynote in its entirety, the portion I appreciate the most (no, it wasn’t the Blair Witch like stint through the woods :))  is when he discusses the role of the learner.  “Learning now means more than just sitting in a classroom and listening. It means being engaged. It means observing an experience. It means reflecting upon that experience, sharing it with other people and then engaging in conversation. Learning today is work. It is not passively sitting back and paying attention. It is bringing content together in ways that are personally meaningful to you.” Disclaimer – I am pretty sure that I did not transcribe this quote word for word, but it is pretty close.

I think David is right.  Learning is work, and that is just what I am going to ask my teachers to do (on top of all the work they already do).  I am going to participate in the conference, but to encourage them to do the same, I am going to go around and meet with each individual team, explain to them the concept of the conference, show them the link to the conference page , go over the conference agenda and then encourage them to participate in the sessions they feel will benefit them.  I will be around for technical assistance and/or guidance and I will schedule a couple of “real” meeting times for the teachers who are participating to get together throughout the scheduled conference time to discuss what they are learning and how they foresee using it with their students.  After a few weeks I am hoping to have another follow-up “real” meeting session to answer questions and share ideas once they have had some time to implement some of what they have learned into their classrooms.  What do you think?  I am hoping to get some teachers excited about the opportunity.

I will be posting my reflections as the conference progress, so be watching for them.  I have also taken Mr. Warlick’s advice and posted my notes on a wiki site and will continue to add to it, so feel free to stop by and add your thoughts to mine. 

The Evolution of Beauty

October 17, 2006

I have been impressed with Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.  I realize that they are still advertisers and are trying to sell a product, but I appreciate the marketing they have created with this Evolution of Beauty Video.

I suggest showing the video to your students (especially your teenage girls) and getting their thoughts.  I am sure the interconnected topics of advertising, beauty, ethics and self-esteem could spur some pretty lively discussions or reflective writing pieces for students.

Internet Safety Video

October 16, 2006

Darren Wilson, an Instructional Technology Specialist at one of the elementary schools in the school district where I teach, made a great instructional video about Internet Safety and he gave me permission to share it here.

Take a few minutes to give it a watch and share it with your parents and staff.  I think you will find it useful.  You should also take some time to look around the WT Hanes Website.  It is pretty great!