Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thought of the Day 3.31.10

I found these comments about this New York Times article interesting and thought provoking. Take a few minutes to read one or more of the comments. I have also attached the link to the NYT article as well.

Enforcing School Standards, at last (article)
Article Comments

Should we be "enforcing state standards"? Should even have state standards? Should teachers be held accountable for student achievement?
Just something to think about.

Have a nice break!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.29.10

Here at the Revolution we are about changing education through the use of technology how people think. This past week I had the pleasure of taking a field trip to the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. What an amazing place! If you want to see a 21st century learning experience reserve a time and take your classes there.
What do I mean by 21st Century learning? I'm glad that you asked. In the 21st century classroom students should be working on authentic, student driven, projects that require problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. At the ETC they are all project based. They work in small groups, large groups, on short term and long term projects. It is an amazingly creative, fun environment to learn. Shouldn't all classrooms be the same?

Article of the Week
I have always thought that a true teacher mentorship program would really help teachers in the classroom and if done properly would improve how the district and community view educators. Here is a mentorship program that has merit.

Site of the week
I thought that this site might be useful to you. Ever find a website or online article and you didnt have a printer handy. And you really wanted to take notes on it or highlight the text? Well then use Awesome Highlighter and you can highlight text and post notes to an online page and save it for viewing later.

Video of the Week
Taylor Mali does a great job of making fun of people outside of the classroom. Take 3:09 to laugh.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thought for today 3.25.10

Here is a post from Seth Godin's blog. I thought that it was interesting and provides some points for us to ponder as educators.

What you can learn from a lousy teacher...
If you have a teacher (of any sort) that you cannot please, that you cannot learn from, that is unwilling to take you where you need to go because he is defending the status quo and demonstrates your failure on whatever report card he chooses to use, you could consider yourself a failure. Or you could remind yourself...
1.Grades are an illusion
2.Your passion and insight are reality
3.Your work is worth more than mere congruence to an answer key
4.Persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is a powerful ability
5.Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run
6.If you care enough about the work to be criticized, you've learned enough for today

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.21.10

After this beautiful weekend it is going to be tough to go back to school. I had a nice weekend outdoors with the family and watching some basketball with friends. I did find some interesting tech tools that I would like to share this week.

100 Ways to Use Flipcams in the Classroom
Here is another quality resource from Mr. Byrne. He has been gathering lessons on using flipcams in the classroom from anyone who wants to collaborate. His goal is to get 100 different ways. By the way if you would ever want to try to use flip cams in your classroom I can get my hands on a few for your project. Just let me know.
Ms Giron and I will be taking them with us this Friday on our field trip to the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU. Our students will be using them to gather video footage of our trip and then put together a multimedia presentation for their projects.

Video of the Week
Since we are talking about the ETC at CMU I had to include this Randy Pausch video. Mr. Pausch helped to found the ETC and was also the author of "The Last Lecture". If you haven't read it pick up a copy this summer and check it out. Well work your time.

Upcoming TWR Workshops
On Tuesday, March 23rd we will be holding ActivInspire training in Kristin Giron's room, from 2:30-3:30. If you stay the whole hour you will earn 1 hour Act 48. Kristin is our first ever guest presenter at the TWR Workshops. Please stop by and learn about this new software that we will all be using next school year. Kristin's Wiki.
Next TWR Workshop will be on Tuesday April 6 from 2:30-3:30 in Room 213. The focus will "So you think you know Google?"

Site of the Week
Here is the National Educational Technology plan released last week. This is the plan from the Obama Team for the future of school. Its quite lengthy so I have just attached the link to the Executive Summary of the plan. It gives a nice overview and breaks it into sections so you can read about any of the parts and skip the others.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Burrell Social Studies Technology Day

Today I am enjoying the Social Studies Technology collaboration day at Burrell Senior High School. These collaboration days are an awesome opportunity to learn and share technologies being used in the Social Studies classrooms around Westmoreland County.
A special thanks to Brandon Aganad and Tina Sauers for taking a day out of their busy schedule to attend this workshop. Please feel free to ask them for any resources or opinions on today.

Here is the Wiki being used to house all the resources and discussions from today.

Superintendent Shannon Wagner greeted the group with this, "We at Burrell firmly believe that giving teachers technology without the support, training and time to learn is not going to work." They have a full time technology coach for K-12. They provide time for teachers to learn and integrate new technologies into the classroom in a number of creative ways.

Cool Diversity Project!

Cool sites from today
I learned another tool today just from talking to someone at this workshop. Try this one, This site provides a 60 second video of a variety of books or chapters from books. Some of the books covered here are; Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheirt 451, Hamlet, Animal Farm, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Night, Catcher in the Rye and more.

Another cool site shared today,
This one is like Wordle on steroids. It allows you to create text inside of text, facny rollover effects, custom colors and shapes, and its free!!!

Really some good tools shared today. I would check out the Westmoreland Social Studies wiki to get access to resources for social studies.

If anyone needs help using any of these tools and/or applying these in your classroom please let me know.

I want to apologize for not adding links for all sites but here at Burrell they block

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Downside of Good

This is an excerpt from the Seth Godin book, Linchpin.

The Downside of Good
Being pretty good is extremely easy these days. Building a pretty good web site, for example, is significantly cheaper and faster and easier than building a pretty good storefront was twenty years ago. Same goes for writing a pretty good email message, one that can compare with something from a giant corporation, or shipping a package across the country.
The record you can cut in your basement or the food you can prepare with ingredients from the local market--all pretty good. You can buy a world-class CD player for twenty-nine dollars and hire a great lawyer by investing in a few clicks and a phone call.
Employees are encouraged to deliver products and services and inputs that are good. Good as in within the boundaries defined by the boss. Showing up at the beginning of your shift and staying to the end is good. Meeting spec is good. Answering the phone in a reasonable amount of time is good.
The problem with meeting expectations is that it's not remarkable. It won't change the recipient of your work, and it's easy to emulate (which makes you easy easy to replace). As a result of the tsunami of pretty good (and the persistence of really lousy), the market for truly exceptional is better than ever. That's what I want if I hire someone for more than what the market will bear -- someone exceptional.
So yes, good is bad, if bad means "not a profitable thing to aspire to." And perfect is bad, because you can't top perfect. The solution lies in seeking out something that is neither good nor perfect. You want something remarkable, nonlinear, game changing, and artistic.
Work is a chance to do art. Good art is useless and banal. No one crosses the street to buy a good art, or becomes loyal to a good artist.
If you can't be remarkable, perhaps you should consider doing nothing until you can. If your organization skipped a month's catalog because you didn't have anything great to put in it, what would happen the next month? Would the quality and user delight of your product line improve?
Raising the bar is easier than it looks, and it pays for itself. If your boss won't raise your bar, you should.
Are we raising the bar at Franklin Regional? Are you raising the bar in your classroom or are you merely being good?
Just a thought....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Something to Think About

This is a post from Seth Godin's blog. I couldn't help but think, when will the platform of education change and how will it affect us as educators? Penn Hills furloughed several teachers, Central Falls High School in Rhode Island fired their entire faculty, school in LA are giving school control to teachers, online classes growing by leaps and bounds. Just something to think about.

The Wordperfect Axiom
When the platform changes, the leaders change.
Wordperfect had a virtual monopoly on word processing in big firms that used DOS. Then Windows arrived and the folks at Wordperfect didn't feel the need to hurry in porting themselves to the new platform. They had achieved lock-in after all, and why support Microsoft?
In less than a year, they were toast.
When the game machine platform of choice switches from Sony to xBox to Nintendo, etc., the list of bestelling games change and new companies become dominant.
When the platform for music shifted from record stores to iTunes, the power shifted too, and many labels were crushed.
Again and again the same rules apply. In fact, they always do. When the platform changes, the deck gets shuffled.
Think this only applies to software?
The platform for healthcare changed from independent doctor's offices and small practices to hospitals and hmos.
The platform for TV changed from airwaves to wires (so HBO and ESPN win, NBC loses).
The platform for cars is changing from gas engines to alternatives.
And the platform for books is changing (fast!) to e-books and readers. Just published today: the Vook multimedia production of Unleashing the Ideavirus. The price will increase to $5 in two weeks, but right now it's 99 cents. It runs on the web and on your iphone (and the iPad on April 3rd.)
Here's the thing: Vook abridged it, built it, filmed it and distributed it in less than ninety days. They have a software application that they can use again and again for other titles. They've organized themselves to be profitable at a profit margin that few big book publishers can match.
Once again, the platform changes. Insiders become outsiders and new opportunities abound.

Weekly Byte 3.10.10

I have been finding alot of resources lately from my Twitter account. Everyone is talking about the need for change in education. One of the best resources I have found is from Wil Richardson. He is an educational researcher and speaker. He actually spoke in August at Burrell. He is spearheading a project called "Ten Big Questions for Education". If you click on this link it will take you to the wiki that he has created to gather input on ten questions for educators to consider. Really good stuff!

PSSA Review Flipcharts
Here is a link to Promethean Planet. They have created several flipcharts to use in class to review for PSSA Math and Reading. If you are looking for a way to review in your classes this might be a good start.

SAS Portal Training Opportunity
The Standards Aligned System is the tool created by the state department of education for writing curriculum, aligning to standards, providing assessments, instructional materials and interventions all in one place. If you are in or approaching cyclical review this would be a good resource for your planning. See Tina about sending department members to training. PATTAN is offering one day trainings.

Site of the Day
Paper Rater, is a tool that allows students to upload a paper prior to turning it into their teacher. The site does not require any downloading of software. Student will get feedback on spelling/grammar, plagiarism detection, and it will even give some tips on how they can improve their paper. This can help to minimize student questions and give the students another resource for feedback on their writing.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.7.10

What a beautiful day! I had the opportunity to enjoy a few things this weekend. #1 the Promethean Conference at Keystone Oaks High School and #2 the Pittsburgh Zoo with my family. This is a nice break from the bad weather we have been having. The Promethean Conference was a great opportunity to see a variety of sessions on using ActivInspire in the classroom. I enjoyed the day with Kristin, Dottie, Gaye, and Carolyn. Take a moment to speak with one of them to see if they have brought back any new tips/tricks for using their boards in the classroom. A special thanks to them for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend and for having a nice lunch together. Way to go ladies!

Promethean Conference
Here are some resources shared at the conference this weekend.
My first recommendation is to become a member of Promethean Planet and gain access to a wealth of resources. Why create flipcharts from scratch when you can download them for free at the Planet?
I would also recommend that you go to the Promethean Planet page and go under "Forums" then "Hot Topics" and you will find the resources shared at this conference. The title of the forum posts, ActivPennsylvania Promethean Educators Conference.

Video of the Week
Some of you have seen this video and there are many versions out there. I just thought this was a good time to share it with you once again.
Shift Happens

Upcoming Workshops
What Moodle Can Do For You March 9 2:30-3:30
ActivInspire March 23 2:30-3:00

Quote of the Day
I have been reading Linchpin by Seth Godin. Godin is an award winning author and blogger. He specializes in business/marketing and how the world of work is changing and what we need to do to compete. While reading the quote keep in mind that we are preparing our students to compete in this new economy.

"It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplacable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else."

What implications does this have for our students?
If this is true how should we change how we educate them in our classrooms?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.1.10

Good day my friends! You know its a good day when you don't have to shovel your driveway. I hope we are done with snow for this year. I would really like to see my grass soon. Hopefully you can find something useful to you in this week's post.

Video of the Week
I have been doing alot of reading about the future of work. Last week's video was from Sir Ken Robinson and his talk about the need for schools to teach creativity. Creativity is key for our students to be competitive in the new world economy.
Dan Pink is another author who focuses on work in the new world economy. Here is a video from his newest book, Drive. This video deals with finding your sentence. We need to help our students find their sentence and hopefully give them some insight into what they want to do in their future.

Who to Follow
A good resource that you can follow on Twitter or through your Facebook is Promethean Planet. They provide up to date resources that appear on their site. All subject areas are covered and allow you to download flip charts that you can use in class. Just search for Promethean Planet on Twitter or Facebook and you are set! If you don't have Twitter or Facebook, GET ON THE BUS!

PETE & C Resources
I found this resource on the Pete & C Ning. Science 2.0 is a site created on Google Sites that provides resources on using Web 2.0 tools in your science classroom. Tools such as wikis and Voicethread are discussed.

Workshop Reminder
Moodle Workshop- March 9- 2:30-3:30
ActivInspire Workshop- March 24- 2:30-3:30

Have a great week!