Friday, July 30, 2010

Leadership Day 2010

This post is part of Scott McLeod's Leadership Day. It is meant to consider the ways that leaders should use technology to move students and teachers forward.

District leadership sets the tone. Teachers and students can "catch" the feelings, visions, and ideas of those who truly lead. It is imperative for all leaders, regardless of their role, to advocate and model the effective integration of technology.

So, my advice for leaders is this: Make 1 upgrade this year.

Let me start by giving you a quick example. Last week, I upgraded my alarm clock. My new alarm clock has a variety of settings, such as "waterfall wakeup," blinking lights, and the ability to be programmed for several different alarms. This has made my life JUST a little bit better. Although I had to take a risk the first time I set it, I was ultimately happy with my upgrade.

Leaders, you can upgrade your old practices with technology.

Consider the following upgrade ideas:
  1. Use Google Forms instead of email to collect information from staff quickly and easily.
  2. During a staff meeting, have teachers collectively brainstorm on a TypeWithMe document instead of using the whiteboard. This will allow you to have a record of the conversation to which everyone can contribute.
  3. Create a free Dropio account. Call the account with your phone to create digital recordings of meetings or conversations that you would like to revisit at a later time.
  4. Read Clay Shirky's new book, Cognitive Surplus. (Or watch the brief TED talk on the book here.) Use quotes from the text to remind your staff regularly that creating something is always better than nothing.
  5. Play a video game that is popular right now. Any game. See how it sucks you in? That's scaffolded learning. Looks for the elements in the game during teacher observations.
These are only a few suggestions. However, I believe that little changes can start to make a big difference in the way that someone perceives the world. Small differences today lead to monumental transformations tomorrow.

Leaders, let's upgrade!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

22 Frames: Captioning and Universal Design

22 Frames is a fantastic resource that utilizes universal design. Every video collected on the site is captioned. Slang terms, idioms, and other unfamiliar phrases are also explained. This site could be helpful for teachers of students with hearing impairments, english language needs, and more! The videos appear current and relevant to high school students. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Takeaways: #ntcamp

This past Saturday, I attended #ntcamp. This was my fourth unconference, and they just keep getting better. Andy Marcinek did a fabulous job organizing the event. The participants were energized, interesting, and collegial. I also walked away with a ton of new ideas.

Here were my biggest "takeaways" from the day:
  • CIPA legislation really focuses on images, not text.
  • Set up a Google Alert for "smackdown" to collect link collections as ed tech conferences happen around the country.
  • Technology integration requires a backward design. This should be emphasized when working with teachers and students.

Random, huh? I think that just goes to show that unconferences really allow you to tailor your learning to your personal needs. I guarantee that no one else had the same takeaways as I did. Some of the points came from the sessions, others came from random conversations throughout the day. But all in all, I have a lot to learn from the professionals in this area. Thanks for a great day of learning everyone!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Angry Dinosaurs

I had the pleasure of attending Higher Ed Camp today at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. It was an incredible day of learning. However, the big "take away" for me was the concept (and possible misconception) surrounding "angry dinosaurs."

What are "angry dinosaurs," you ask? Well, some people use the phrase to describe veteran professionals in an organization that resist change. The colorful phrase was noted to be especially applicable to technology by the group.

Well, I must tell you that I disagree with this concept. To me, it is nothing more than a stereotype. Anyone can be an "angry dinosaur." I've met many veteran teachers that are hungry for new knowledge and I've met some young teachers that were completely void of any passion or inspiration.

For me, the key component of the "angry dinosaur" is the "angry" part. People who cannot laugh and see the benefit of experimentation struggle with change and lifelong learning. So, take a chance in your instruction next September. Be a "happy dinosaur!"

What do you think?

Photo Citation:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wordia Gets New Features and An Update

I've blogged about Wordia in the past. (For that summary entry, click here.) However, I'm bringing this site up again because it recently received a major overhaul. It has lots of new features specifically for educators, including games, archives, curriculum-linked word collections, and MORE. Also, students/classes are still encouraged to post their personal word connections and connotations. If you are seeking ways to make your vocabulary instruction interactive, click here to check it out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mee Genius: A Great Site/App for Elementary Readers

Larry Ferlazzo recently shared Mee Genius on his twitter feed. This site features a sizable selection (about 20) of free books that students can read. Each book has great narration that coincides with interactive text highlights that encourage reading fluency. However, my favorite feature of the site involves "personalization." By answering a few quick questions, you can insert personal information into each story, engaging your readers. The only negative thing I noted about the site were the presence of a few grammatical errors in the books and on the site text. For iPod and iPhone users, there is a Mee Genius app, but it is not free. Other than that, this resource looks like a winner for September!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A November Newbie

On Tuesday, I had the enormous opportunity to be Joyce Valenza’s presentation “side kick” at the November Learning conference in Boston. Over the course of four hours, we worked in tandem to expose teachers to the “latest and greatest” in the world of Web 2.0.

There were celebrity visitors, such as Andrew Connelly from Glogster, Peggy Sheehy, and Laura D'Elia from Fay School Library in Boston. Joyce set the tone for the session by empowering every member to share their expertise as a valid member of the learning community. Needless to say, it was four hours of fun.

However, the one thing that really impressed me was the sense of welcome and calm that I felt in the session. As a staff developer, I sometimes feel as if I must “entertain” the participants. Oppositely, these folks came ready to engage and share. How did this shift happen?

Well, it happened by putting the creation tools in the hands of the participants. By using a show, tell, and share method, the participants offered useful suggestions and content.

How can we make this shift happen in our classrooms? Easy. Give kids the tools to create. Empower them!

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Power of Advance Organizers

As I trekked to Boston yesterday to join Joyce Valenza for some pre-conference presenting fun (try to say that 5 times fast), I decided to download Clay Shirky’s new book, Cognitive Surplus, to my iPod kindle app.

As the train departed from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, I eagerly began reading. About 10 pages into the text, I inadvertently realized that I had recently watched a video of Clay Shirky where he recounted the main points and stories of the text. Upon that realization, the cognitive connection that I made was palpable. Suddenly, the book became a delight to read. Since I had already considered many of the text’s main concepts and ideas in my head, reading seemed effortless. I was making highlights and notes like a crazy woman, and about 15 possible blog posts popped into my head. Before I knew it, I was outside of Boston and I had almost finished the entire book!

What does this mean for kids?

This experience speaks volumes to the power of advance organizers for our students. Sometimes we don’t expose students to the main points of a text because we don’t want to bore them or we want to keep the content “a surprise.” I consider this to be a critical instructional error. Giving students time to consider content through a widely accessible medium (usually video) before reading complex text can enhance and enrich the reading experience. When students feel control and competence over their reading, they are more likely to engage in the activity for pleasure and enjoyment. (This is the ultimate goal, right? Lifelong readers?)

So, this September, give your students a context for reading. Use videos, retellings, and summaries BEFORE assigning text. Make reading effortless by telling them what the text is about. Students’ confidence will soar, their comprehension will increase, and motivation will be enhanced.

Hey, it worked for me!

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great RtI Resources

Are you interested in "revamping" your RtI process this summer? Check out all the sessions from this year's annual RtI conference in Harrisburg, PA. All of the sessions are available for you to view, and the handouts are available as well. Personally, I really liked the presentation about intensive behavioral interventions for struggling students. Click HERE to check it out. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Book Seer: A Fun Summer Reading Resource

Have you just finished reading a book YOU LOVE? Are you interested in reading another book that is related to it? Check out The Book Seer. This website considers the books you've just read and offers good suggestions for your next book. It's a dream for summer readers. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Multitasking Video from Daniel Willingham

Daniel Willingham, a professor from the University of Virginia, has created a new video. His new video is on multitasking. Using a clear argument, nice visuals, and scientific fact, Daniel Willingham presents the costs and benefits of the behavior. I think this could be a meaningful segment to share with teachers AND students! The video is embedded below.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chris Lehmann's ISTE 10 Endnote: Thoughtful Integration

Marybeth Hertz was kind enough to UStream Chris Lehmann's Endnote speech at ISTE yesterday. As always, Chris was incredibly empowering. He left me ready for September!

However, he used one technique that really resonated with me. First, he asked us to think of our BEST IDEA for our school. Then, he asked us to think of the WORST things that could result from that idea.

To sum it up, we examined the worst consequences of the best innovations.

I think that's a helpful framework for transforming our schools. Identify our best solutions and then prepare to implement them in the most thoughtful way possible. Confront the challenges that face us, and make positive changes for students.

Chris Lehmann's slide deck from the presentation is embedded below:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...