Friday, April 25, 2008


What should your Personal Learning Network do for you?  It all revolves around communication, I think.  "It can be your most powerful tool" says Dr. David Tobin.  While he begins simply by reciting the four stages of learning; data, information, knowledge and wisdom.  He goes on to say a Learning Network can help you by: 
  • helping you sift through all the data to identify which information will be most useful to you.
  • helping you to identify learning resources and opportunities.
  • coaching you and answering your questions as you try to apply your learning to your work.
  • sharing their wisdom with you through dialogue.
I think a personal learning network lets you learn, and let's you teach others in your network.  Remember the collective power of knowledge is always greater than the knowledge of one.

Web 2.0

In order for schools today to be successful they must be data driven.  So, how do we incorporate that initiative into our lives... Often I find myself looking beyond the boundaries of the United States for ideas.  I guess after reading "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman, I began to realize that everyone has the ability to do anything.  And, while that may be a bummer for us, it's an increased sense of participation for most of the world.    Here's where we can take note on what the rest of the world is up to.

A summary of what Europe is collecting for their Learning 2.0 Study...
  1. Identify and Analyse the existing practices and related success factors of major 2.0 initiatives in the field of learning in Europe:
  2. Look at the innovative dimension of using web 2.0 for learning:
  3. Analyse the position of Europe vs. the rest of the world in terms of quantitative and qualitative use of innovative Learning 2.0 approaches:
  4. Discuss the potential of social computing applications to (re)-connect groups at risk-of-exclusion:
  5. Propose avenues for further research and policy-making.
I think these could all be part of a solid case to move to Web 2.0!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Inventing the Boundaries...

David Warlick, a pre-conference speaker form Raleigh, NC in a 30 year educator with quite a bit to share.  His energy has taken me from a "woe is me" to a "get up and get going" about Info - Savvy students utilizing their new Informational Landscape and tying it into their unpredictable Information futures.  David meets up with Bill McGrath and begins with a podcast about his association with thinkquests.  Please take a look for a piece by a Harry from Ghana... who walks 9 miles just to get to an Internet cafe to post his work... the founding agency for these thinkquests goes to the Oracle Education Foundation.

Contests are held each year and you can become a judge of the web-sites, created by students. A rubric exists that we could all use in our classrooms.  Please go and explore!


Not quite a Mish-Mash

Here I am visiting the K12 conference listening to Brian Crosby's keynote address, Brian's presentation begins with a description that sounds like anything new in education has for the past umpteen years...  "Using what is happening in my classroom as a backdrop, we'll endeavor to provide reasons, methods and rationale during our time here that support integration of 21st century tools in education.  We will share a few tools and methods that you may not have access to, but much of what you will see is probably available at your school site.... you just don't know it yet."  

Beyond that 21st century part, I think his news is dated at times.   I don't agree that we shouldn't use our time utilizing new tools to learn old things (multiplication tables, keyboarding).  Isn't that like saying, go ahead and learn to type on a manual typewriter?  Or, get those flash cards out kids, they're the best thing we have to offer.  

Ultimately I agree with is the addition of new tools to support our students new lifestyles.  They live and learn in a mad-flashing world.  Using blogs, wiki's, flickr pages, and videos add new 21st century tools to our students repertoires.   His are just fantastic!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Breakdown & Repackaging - A Lesson Plan

Increased Connectedness.

I'm going in a new direction, sharing, increasing my connectedness. I've taken a snapshot of a lesson plan that I have used in 8th grade and am now using in 5th grade. In 4 years, maybe I can do it with the 1st graders? I want to share it, so you can share it. Pay it forward as they say. I guess you can call that a breakdown and repackage?

This was done for a Windows Environment. In 2003, Governor Benson gave us machines, which are Macs so the directions are a bit different.

Lately I've been asking my students to write\edit direction sheets down when they are learning a new tool\application. It helps them put it in simplest form and when they share it with their teachers and peers, the reward is tremendous. I'm going to let them try Jing a product that works with both platforms.

Pod-Casting and MTV

Did you know it was an MTV DJ that created the term podcast? (Do kids still watch MTV?) I'm didn't know the first part but Encarta and Merriam-Webster Online both list "pod cast" as The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above! Makes you realize how far apart a traditional tool (even an online one) can be from a current technology tool.

Phew, I finally followed the directions on links, I'm sooo proud of myself (and mystified why I didn't do it sooner!). A couple of hours at the kitchen counter shuffling through is all it took!

I have some favorite podcasts I listen to in iTunes... sometimes I share with my class while they're working. Students today multi-task so easily. I don't like the idea of simply podcasting to do podcasting. Sometimes that happens, however I like to use podcasting for things that happen just once. Could be reading the school announcements as podcasts... Use copyright free music and you're good to go with this one. Students love to use podcasts to "announce" things.. their voices are amazing -- the less rehearsed the better... More than the How-to Podcast, I like the Why to podcast? information in this pod cast.

My favorite to date! Okay, we could all use a laugh on a Friday!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Stuck in a Rut?

Today it's another rainy, rainy day in NH. The sun hasn't been shining lately at school or at home. Can I get out of the rut of running between schools and not feeling part of either. Can I make my position one that everyone seeks out, and shouts for glory about? Probably not, I'm a teacher for goodness sake.

I'm pretty good at lists, although sometimes I forget where they are, could be a third born trait? Looking for a "rut rescue" I discovered this newsletter It's full of handy, ordered lists on reflecting on one's position, my kind of place. It's feed: will provide me with updates to read, reflect and ponder for months to come.

I also wonder about what level of connection I’m after. After spending time in the private sector I often hear “Education is different” all the time. Although I’ve been back teaching for 7 years, it’s vital to figure out how to move beyond being an outsider and rediscover why education was my major of choice. Mary M. Brabeck professor and dean of the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education at Boston College says it well, at

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bumper Sticker of the Day... Everyone together is smarter than anyone alone...

Sounds like a student thought of that one. Specifically, education is clearly not black and white anymore. For a very long time my philosophy has been to teach the students to find the information they need. It's a key I say, to anything you want to learn. While we focus on technology tools, the principle of being able to use the tools to inform, manage information, learn collaboration and negotiation techniques is certainly the path I want my students to take each day.

Is it more important to know the answer versus knowing how to find the information? Perhaps. I certainly want a surgeon who knows how the procedure and has practiced it, however, in terms of "fleeting or fleeing data" who cares? Will it be important for our students to name the state capitals? Maybe if it's game show time, however, I believe the best way to have students use the web is to contribute and feel the responsibility of having done so.

I'm not sure Richardson used a splendid example utilizing Steve Jobs, when he called Wikipedia one of the most accurate encyclopedias in the world. He's a risk taker, most teachers aren't, although his parents were educators.. hard call to make.

I love the idea of wikis because of these reasons and have decided to try and see which ones work within my buildings. Imagine telling the students they can do something anytime they want! For me, and maybe the reason PBWiki got it's name.. wikis are better than sliced bread.