Monday, May 25, 2009

Videos to get them thinking and talking…

Two great lists of videos were put out this past week and I just had to blog about them.  Showing a variety of videos this year has been one way I’ve really gotten my teachers, administrators, and students to think and talk about new ideas in technology and education.  The two lists below are great resources and I’m so thankful to Scott McLeod and Alec Couros for putting them out there! 

Top 20 TED Talks podcasts for busy school administrators

80+ Videos for Tech. and Media Literacy



Friday, May 22, 2009

Are you a “Green Educator”?

1592903964_7d35eec274_m There are some very interesting posts going on over at ISTEConnects.  The first is a post by Wes Fryer Handouts at Educator PD Workshops.  This post is near and dear to my heart as I’ve been trying for the last couple of years to move away from printing whenever possible!

The second post I wanted to mention was by Joe Corbett - Share your Tips on How to be a Green Educator.  This post evolved from the responses to the one above and is collecting data on a Google Doc.  If you have a second please go over and add your thoughts!

Image Attribution
Image: 'Soy distinto ¿y qué? / I'm different,+so+what?'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

NECC 2009 and DC Capitol Hill Visits

3018986888_a69c1d59c9_m If you are going to NECC this year I strongly suggest going onto the NECC 2009 site and registering for any of the activities you want to go to.  I went on this weekend and things are filling up fast!  I really want to do the DC Capitol Hill Visits (only $25) but have a SIGILT meeting at the same time – going to see if I can do both.  The DC Capitol Hill Visits sound awesome and I would encourage everyone to think strongly about doing them!  Here is the blurb:

Join your NECC colleagues and Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill! ISTE is taking advantage of NECC being in the nation's capital by providing you with the opportunity to go to the Hill and share your ideas and success stories with your Senators and Congressional Members.

A "Hill Visit" package includes:

  • Scheduled appointments to meet with congressional staff from your state. ISTE will arrange scheduled meetings for you to meet with staff for your congressional representative and senators. The number of appointments will depend on staff and space availability—a minimum of one and maximum of three appointments will be made for you.
  • "Boot Camp"—on-site NECC sessions that will prepare you for your congressional meetings to ensure that you are armed with talking points and are confident for your meetings.
  • Bus transportation to and from Capitol Hill (some walking will be required from the capitol bus stop to the congressional offices).
  • A ticket to the VIP Congressional Reception to be held the same evening at the Library of Congress.
    FUN and a T-Shirt! Hill Visits are a lot of fun and a great way to meet colleagues. Each registrant will receive a T-Shirt to wear to their meetings to show ISTE's strength on the hill.

Hill Visit coordinators will contact you just prior to NECC with specific information about the exact time and location of your meetings.

Anyone else out there considering doing this?

Image Attribution
Image: 'United States Capitol'

<-- Cross posted from -->

Thursday, May 07, 2009

21st Century Schools

If you read anything about education and technology, you will hear the term 21st century skills. 21st century schools are being built. Classrooms are being fitted with 21st century tools. But what does it really mean?

I recently found a great site by Apple called Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow-Today, or ACOT2. The site outlines what they believe to be the 6 design principals of the 21st century high schools and the answer is not just technology.


1. Understanding of 21st Century Skills and Outcomes. A survey of business leaders came up with a list of most desirable skills; including, work ethic, collaboration, social responsibility, and critical thinking. There is nothing ground breaking about this list. These traits are timeless. The survey also cited creativity and innovation as being increasingly important. Again, these are timeless and I am confused by using the word increasingly. Innovation, or yankee ingenuity, is as american as baseball and apple pie. Apple doesn't paint the picture of 21st century skills until you click the button to show more about 21st century skills. A link to The Partnership for 21st Century Skills breaks the skills down to Core Subjects; Learning and Innovation Skills; Information, Media and Technology Skills; and Life and Career Skills.

Nailing 21st century skills down is tough. Here is my best attempt at a definition that I could post on twitter.

The ability to find, evaluate, organize, and share information and apply information to collaboratively solve problems.

2. Relevant and Applied Curriculum. Curriculum is becoming less of WHAT content is taught and more of HOW the content is taught. Apple gives six key characteristics of curriculum for 21st Century Learning
1. Involves collaboration and community
2. Based on authenticity and relevance
3. Leverages real-world tools, resources, and methodologies
4. Incorporates a rich continuum of teacher and learning strategies
5. Grounded in rich content with a 21st century context
6. Creates linkages to the outside world

3. Informative Assessment. Taking a chapter test and getting a percentage grade was normal for me in school and even while I taught. It always signified the end of learning that particular topic. Informative assessment moves to make frequent assessments in order to ensure quality learning is taking place and the desired outcome is met. Similar to using a GPS in a car. Informative assessment can be made by students, teams of students, teachers, and the entire world.

4. Culture of Innovation and Creativity.
You can't teach innovation and creativity. Schools must create a culture that embraces creativity for students and teachers.

5. Social and Emotion Connections with Students.
Textbooks don't motivate students. Meaningful relationships with other students, teachers, and adults have a great impact on learning. Schools have to be a community and care about each student and believe every student has something to contribute.

6. Ubiquitous Access to Technology. Schools must allow students to use the tools needed to get the job done. Once a year I get annoyed at the North Carolina Writing Test. They now allow the students to use a computer, but forbids the use of spell check, a dictionary, or a thesaurus. All tools that writers, professional and amateur, use everyday.

Also posted on NC DEN.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

YouTube Playlists

1805997318_c60d5a1d08 I’ve found recently that one of the greatest tools for me is the YouTube Playlists.  I’ve started making playlists of all the videos I use for different projects, trainings, and ones I just find fun!  The playlists are a great way for me to keep everything organized and quickly find my “favorite” videos for any particular situation.

Here are some of my YouTube Playlists:

Advisory Videos

Digital Storytelling

Public Service Announcements

Stop Motion Animation

Trainings – General

Presentations now on

I finally had time this past weekend to work on getting some of my recent presentations up on!  I’ve put all of my presentations under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License feel free to edit and use!  I’ve also updated my When the Best is Free: Images presentation.

Digital Storytelling 2009 (with YouTube videos) next next

Hope these are helpful!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Middle School Instructional Technology Handbook

We are doubling the staff at our Middle School next year and my principal and I thought it would be a good idea to create a handbook we could give to new and returning teachers explaining how Instructional Technology works. I’ve been working on the handbook for the last couple of months and it is finally ready to go! I’ve found it a great exercise in really laying out what we are doing and where we are going next.

I’ve included the handbook as an attachment to this post (I’ve taken out the How-To section and any references to passwords). Feel free to use and adapt – hope this helps some of you out there!

MS Handbook

<---Cross posted from --->