Friday, July 30, 2010

It's not that difficult-Leadership Day Post

I don't understand why it is so difficult for so many administrators to see that a change in direction is needed and that if they would take the first step that many would follow. I see many administrators write the strategic plans with all the fancy words and that say all the right things but I don't see them model technology use, commit finances to the technology and training of staff, and create professional development and a quality learning environment for teachers to succeed. If administration would do these things then that would significantly improve the education of our students and improve the work environment for our teachers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reaching the Last Technology Holdouts at the Front of the Classroom

Interesting article from Chris Dede, professor of learning technologies at Harvard University. Professor Dede is a leader in educational technology and technology reform. This article pertains to college professors but I think it also applies to us at the secondary and even elementary levels.
My favorite quote from this article, "clinging to outdated teaching practices amounts to educational malpractice." "If you were going to see a doctor and the doctor said, 'I've been really busy since I got out of medical school, and so I'm going to treat you with the techniques I learned back then,' you'd be rightly incensed,". So why is this ok for us as teachers to use the same excuse?
It is time to stop making excuses and start changing the way we teach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 Ways to Share Student Work and Make a Difference

After reading this post on The Innovative Educator blog I found it interesting, even though I really never thought much about it, how most teachers have students produce work just for them and no one else ever gets to see it. It has been proven that when students create authentic work and they are producing it for a audience besides their teacher they do much better work. Check out student blogs and facebook and youtube. Students put alot of time and effort into what they care about, duh. So why aren't we encouraging students to post their work somewhere that others can view and comment on?
So I recommend that you read this blog post and definitely follow The Innovative Educator blog or on twitter (jdthomas7).

I did pull this blurb out of his blog post because I thought it was the best part.

5 Ways You Can Share Your Work and Make A Difference

Share your work on a blog.
People who care about issues are often mobilized via blogs about the issue. Search for your topic using Technorati, Technorati was founded to help bloggers succeed by collecting, highlighting, and distributing the global online conversation. Encourage students to read these blogs and join the conversation in comments and via connecting with the blog author and asking her if she’d like to feature your student-created work. Wa-lah! An instant interested audience.

Share your work with people passionate about your topic on Twitter.
Use Twitter to connect with authentic audiences. You can mine Twitter for information or go to some good sites to find information on topics of interest. Once you see who is Tweeting about these topics follow them, then write to them and share your work. You’ll have a network of people you follow who are interested in a topic you are interested in, and these folks will likely view your work, retweet it, share with others, and help you find places to share it more widely.

Share your work on discussion boards.
People are talking about all sorts of things via online discussion boards. Do a search for your topic “and” discussion boards or do a ning search to find communities of interest. Once on those boards students can see what people are talking about. Various points of view and perspectives. Join the conversation, and share their work.

Share your work on Facebook pages.
Facebook is becoming more and more popular in education and teaching with Facebook provides students with meaningful teaching. From primary school teachers to high school principals, educators are successfully harnessing the power of this medium. Help your students connect to real audiences using this medium by searching for pages on their topic of interest, commenting and publishing their work there.

Share your work with organizations.
In the classroom I share in this post, students were really passionate about their topics but had no idea anyone outside their teacher cared about their work. Well, they do. Students should be lead to search for organizations who support their cause. When they find them, they can contact them, share their work, and ask if they’d like to feature it on their site. The contact may even provide authentic suggestions for improving their work or perhaps also an interview and invitation to do more or share with other audiences.

Open Yale Courses

Found this one on Twitter from @rbyrne. Yale has Open Courseware that is available for free to everyone. This one in particular is on the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. You can view on that link or from Youtube EDU. You can find audio and video files as well as the course syllabus and required readings list. Really cool!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FR Technology Boot Camp

Our first summer boot camp for teachers will take place on Thursday August 19th and Friday August 20th from 8-12 each day. A flyer was included in your July paycheck outlining what we will be covering each day. You can sign up for one or both days if you like. We will be covering different content on each day. We will be working diligently to make this beneficial for all levels in the district.
Our team of trainers consists of Roger Crider, Maureen Garda, Kristin Giron, and Lisa Stewart. Here is the schedule of events for those two days.

Thursday August 19th
Moodle: How to use this course management system to give students what they need
Deliver content in another fashion besides lectures and worksheets
Video, online resources, projects, project-based learning
Chats/discussion forums
Google Docs: Increase collaboration in your classroom
Project-based learning: collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms
Ten Tech Tools for Education: (Glogster, Prezi, Pixton, Wordle, Jog the Web, Youtube, United Streaming, Wallwisher, Todays Meet, Quizlet, Webspiration)

Resources: (Polleverywhere, Delicious, Teach Paperless)

Friday August 20th
Google tools: So you think you know Google? See what tools it provides besides basic search.
Advanced search, Reader, Wonder Wheel, Books, Timeline, Scholar, Alerts, News)
Twitter: Develop your own PLN. Gather content specific information.
Use Twitter to follow content experts and communities of learners
Blogs: Interact with your classes in a format that they will use!
Create your own classroom blog to provide students with information and engage them!
Microsoft Office 2007 Tools: Get up to speed on Word, Excel, Powerpoint and how to use them to engage students in the classroom

Click on this link to sign up for one or both days.

Please email Roger Crider if you have any questions. (

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Improving Education?

So I have been spending alot of my summer reading books, blogs and tweets about educational reform. I came across this article from eSchool, Transform Teaching Through Collaboration, Boost Student Achievement with Connected Teaching. I can't help but think of some teachers who argue that technology doesn't improve education. "Good teachers make good education", they say. I do agree with this. In my mind the number one factor in a good education is a good teacher. So if that is the case then what are these teachers doing to improve themselves as educators? These same teachers complain that they don't have time to learn anything new or try new things or meet with their PLC. They use the same teaching methods, the same overheads (yes I said overheads), the same lesson plans etc. It is time that we as educators become life long learners and teach our students to do the same. If we are to truly transform education we need to meet in collaborative teams, try new things, learn new teaching methods, infuse technology into the classroom and stop wasting time checking papers and having 42/5 class lectures. (I invented this 42min periods/5 days a week)
Sorry for the rant I just have come to a point where it is time to put up or shut up. If you truly care about education then LEARN something new that will improve your classes. And I don't mean read a book to improve your knowledge of content. Learn about education!
thanks and continue to enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Week 3: The Element Chat

Here is the link to our Cover It Live session for the Week 3 Element Chat. We are using Cover It Live to demonstrate another tool that you can use for online, real-time discussion with your students.