Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Teaching versus Learning

The last several weeks I have had some awesome conversations regarding teaching and learning in our schools. I have been completely blown away with the professionalism and the desire to grow from the teachers in the Owensboro Public Schools! My thoughts are still swirling from the conversations that took place. A high school teacher at OHS shared her thoughts and asked a question that has me REALLY thinking...Why don't teachers realize that being "OK" is not Good Enough? She brought up a good question regarding generations of student and past students. Could they walk into a classroom and answer the question..."What year is it?” Easy enough question, but the implications run deep! This video came to mind, “Progressive Education in the 1940s”:

This video touts the merits of the “revolutionary teaching ideas” of the 1940s, especially the use of projects. Seventy years later, how far have we come with our schools? Sadly, in spite of today’s “revolutionary teaching ideas” we’re still basically doing things the same way and getting the same results. Insanity, according to Einstein.

Another teacher posed another question, “Are we in the business of schooling or in the business of learning?” This really hits the nail on the head for me. I’ve been really thinking about this for several years. Is it time to abandon “schooliness” for the love of learning.

OPS is at a critical juncture. As we explore and develop our 21st Century Learning Continuum and move forward with the rollout of more classroom technology tools, it’s vital that we change our focus from teaching to learning. More computers won’t change what happens in the classroom. Our recent conversation and the comments that school reform doesn’t work rings sharp and clear. Re-forming what we’ve been doing for so long won’t yield new results. Our current system of doing things is more focused on “schooling” not “learning.” To reach our goal of developing students to be better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and independent learners, radical change is necessary, and radical change necessitates risk. I’m convinced that our technology initiative is synchronous with the equally important change toward demonstration of proficiency rather than attainment of grades. This will be a very scary proposition for teachers, students, and parents, but according to Robert Kennedy, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Our only hope for success is a willingness to make drastic change. Are we willing to take the risk?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Needed....more first followers

I'm so excited and so proud to be a part of the OPS digital curriculum team. I am also scared to death! We need lots and lots of help...can you help create a movement?

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he’s doing is so simple, it’s almost instructional. [...]

Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it’s not about the leader anymore – it’s about them, plural. Notice he’s calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

[...]A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Video - An open letter to educators

“If institutional education refuses to adapt to the landscape of the information age, it WILL die and SHOULD die.”

The video is An Open Letter to Educators. Happy viewing!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Future of Print

I don't think there is any doubt that tablet eReaders are going to be a significant part of education in the very near future. I found a video that shows an example of what some of the interactive experiences will soon be for our younger children both in and out of school.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Resources for Grammar and Punctuation

There are many different websites that can be used to teach your students about grammar and punctuation usage. Some of the best are interactive and can serve as fun reinforcement tools for those who are working to retain what they have already learned. Here are a few websites to bookmark and try throughout the school year:
Quizlet– This free flashcard site has hundreds of pre-made English grammar flashcards that can be printed or studied online. Quizlet also allows users to create their own flashcards.
Free Rice- Students can give rice to hungry people when they play the FreeRice English grammar game online. The United Nations World Food Program will donate 10 grains of rice to the needy for every question that is answered correctly. There is no limit to the number of questions that can be answered each day.
SpeakSpeak– Created by an English language teacher from Great Britain, SpeakSpeak provides a large collection of free English grammar and vocabulary exercises. Exercises are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced students.
Chomp Chomp – This site offers definitions for common grammar terms, interactive grammar exercises with accompanying handouts, quick tips and rules, and projector-ready presentations.
Using Using English is an excellent place to find ESL tools and resources. Useful features include a grammar glossary and reference, printable handouts and worksheets, English quizzes, and a text analysis tool.
Web English Teacher- The Web English Teacher provides many different punctuation resources on her site. Resources include materials and lessons on commas, semicolons, apostrophes, capitalization, and more.
Parapal online- Parapal online provides a wide range of interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises designed to improve listening, writing, and reading skills.
Grammar Bites- This site offers definitions for common grammar terms, interactive grammar exercises with accompanying handouts, quick tips and rules, and projector-ready presentations.
Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) – Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab provides more than 200 free resources to help students learn grammar and mechanics, punctuation, style guidelines, and more. The OWL also has a selection of suggested resources for writers and ESL students.
Grammar Girl- Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty provides information on grammar, punctuation, style, and word choices through a free newsletter, blog, and podcasts. Students who visit the Grammar Girl site can also submit questions to be answered by grammar experts. - Created to supplement the bestselling Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, provides a free online guide to grammar and punctuation usage. Other free site features include online quizzes, videos and tests.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great Web Sites for Kids!

Annotated List of Some Great Web Sites for Kids - try them on your Smart Board!
Switcheroozoo: Create new animals, learn about animal habitats, play animals puzzle and memory games.
Giggle Poetry: The self proclaimed number one fun poetry site for kids on the web! Learn to write poetry, create poems online, and read and rate hundreds of poems. Teacher resources available.
Jack Prelutsky: Explore the wacky and inventive poetry of Jack Prelutsky, the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.
Jean Marzollo: List of Jean’s books online as well as paper format. Preschoolers can enjoy listening to a book read to them as they view works and illustrations. Short and Long bio of Jean.
Kaboose: Where Family Comes First: Lots of arcade-style games to play online and coloring pages to print out.
Mrs. P: Kids can listen in as Mrs. P (played by Kathy Kinney) reads aloud classic children’s stories. The site also contains interactive games and activities. Requires a high-speed Internet connection.
Wildlife Film Maker: The National Geographic Wildlife Filmmaker allows kids to make animal movies using short clips of a wide variety of animals. With a simple drag-and-drop interface, they can add animal sounds, music and captions. Once a masterpiece is completed, it can be saved on the site to share with family and friends or e-mailed directly to them.

Have Fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It's hard to believe I've been a teacher for 21 years! WOW! I have to admit that it has been a fantastic ride. Of course, I have days where I mumble and grumble...but boy do I LOVE what I do! I love being with the kids the most! It makes me proud to know that I am part of helping create opportunities for our little ones that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Working with teachers and other administrators is a blessing as well. I have had some wonderful mentors over the years and continue to have some great ones even today. It makes me proud when I get excited about a new venture into learning and it becomes contagious. I've been really excited about the use of technology in our schools for quite some time now and Sutton has become a school where the technology is infused in everyday learning activities. I am certainly proud of the teachers for seeing the relevance of technology and being willing to take a risk to grow professionally and to find new ways to engage the students. But every once in awhile a day comes along that makes me exceptionally proud of something or someone. Mrs. Tucker, one of my most favorite people in the whole world and an AWESOME teacher, came to me yesterday and wanted to create a blog to link to our website. She wanted to provide the kids and the parents opportunities to access some of her knowledge as a teacher with the click of a button. Now the fact that she wanted to share her knowledge wasn't the surprise...the surprise came that after 30+ years...well, being a very experienced teacher, she wanted to take such a risk and get out of her comfort zone to continue reaching towards greatness. What a message to me that the great teachers don't even realize that they are great, and that great teachers are never satisfied. I am so proud, proud to have such a great mentor in my life!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One of the folks I have come to know through some of the collaborative wiki's, bogs, etc. suggested to her Middle School Math teacher to create a Math wiki for her Pre-Algebra, Algebra & Geometry students. The power of the technology integration is NOT about the tool (the wiki itself), but about the math and a long list of other skills that are being addressed and embedded.
Students are reviewing content they learned in math class, they are organizing definitions, linking information, creating visuals, screencasts, audio files and tutorials. They are using various tools, such as Skitch and SmartBoard Notebook software to create the image and video files, but have also tapped into PowerPoint and Animoto to create math tutorial music videos.
The math teacher had an informal classroom discussion about students’ perspective of the value of the wiki. Students then brainstormed more formal questions they would like to see on a more official survey of their thoughts regarding the wiki and its effectiveness as it relates to their learning.
She created a Google Form and 7th and 8th grade students took the survey. A sample of the results are below. What are your thoughts about a wiki as a teaching/learning tool? Do you think students could/would feel they are learning better/differently/more engaged? Or is this just wishful thinking on our part?
Does the presence of the visitor’s map impact your work?
  • Yes. It shows me that there are people in the world that are counting on our work to learn about math, from a student perspective.
  • Yes, because it makes me feel like someone is looking at my work that I have done, and that its helping them. This encourages me to work harder!
  • A little. It makes us want to make the Wiki good for our viewers, but i don’t feel that way.
  • Yes it does. I find that whenever I see the map and it has more dots for more people, I feel that I need to work as hard as I can to show off and impress the people who go on and use this site.
  • No. I really couldn’t care less if it is there or not. I don’t even look at it.
  • Yes, it does, because it makes you work harder because people are looking at your work.
  • Not when there’s mostly 1 or 2 views.
  • Yes, the more viewers makes me want to work harder
  • Yes, it helps to see that people actually appreciate our efforts.
  • No, although I do enjoy being able to see who’s visited our map, it doesn’t really impact my overall performance on the wiki.
  • Yes. if there are people looking at my work then I want to do my best and make it professional.
  • Not really. Just because someone from somewhere else is looking at the site doesn’t mean I need to care. Somebody in the class will probably edit the page and make it look nice anyway.
  • Yes, because it motivates us more that more people are looking at the work we have done.
  • Yes, it does. When I see how many people have viewed the wiki, it drives me to want to make it the best it can be.
  • Yes. The first thing you see when you go to the wiki is the cluster map and it shows you that other people are looking at this and judging us on this. We should do a good job and try our best because that is what they think of us, if we do a horrible job and put in no effort they will think that we are all lazy.
  • Not really. I just do what needs to be done and seeing who is accessing the wiki from where does not impact my work at all.
  • No. It is an interesting tidbit to put on the wiki and I like looking at it, but it does not really influence me to do better or worse.
  • No, it does not impact my work. When I am editing, I never even look at the visitor’s map. I think it is cool, but it does not effect how I work on the wiki. This is on the internet and can be seen by anyone, but even if it was private, I would still put my best effort into it. I think it is amazing how many people have looked at our site and possibly used it to help them with math!
  • Yes it shows me that other people use this stuff not just us. It shows that it serves a big purpose. Plus its just really cool to look at.

Do you think your work on the wiki contributes to your own learning?

  • Yes, I believe my work contributed to my own learning because every time you write something down you learn.
  • Yes, even if we have already learned a subject, putting it on the wiki helps me review what we have learned in the past.
  • Well, I don’t think about it for myself, I think about contributing to others, for their learning experience. I think it helps I just don’t recognize it, because I am a good student/ make good grades in math class.
  • It does because some of the definitions and lessons in the earlier chapters I was not here for so when I look at the information about each chapter and definitions it helps me understand and learn what I missed.
  • Yes. It is a review of the things we, as a class have learned so far. It also always helps to remember things by writing/typing them in detail.
  • Yes, because you are reviewing what you have learned in unique ways with videos and photos.
  • Not really. It’s fun to do, but I never use it.
  • Yes, when I edit I find mistakes that even help me understand what the right thing to do is.
  • Yes. I study and learn from the wiki. It helps me study for my tests.
  • Yes, It helps me to type out how to do stuff that we are learning and see how you do it too. I really like putting pictures on the pages too to show my work better.
  • No. I usually do things i know how to do already.
  • No because I do not look at it at home.
  • Yes. I believe that working on the wiki helps me remember past chapters and lessons as well as the current ones. It is good to once a week have a quick refresher of what we have been doing in math class all year.
  • Yes because when I am editing a page I have to remember the lesson and try to put it into easier words and sentences and sometimes make a picture. You have to know what you are talking about before you talk about it.
  • Kind of. It does help me remember math that we had learned at the beginning of the year, but that is about it. The wiki does not really affect me when it comes to studying for tests.
    Yes. I feel confidence when i look at the hard worked on parts of Geometry. When we go to a new chapter and it uses tools from previous ones, I can usually find that information on the wiki.
  • Yes, working on the wiki definitely contributes to my learning. For example, something may be confusing to me, bu then I work it out step by step on the wiki and it becomes clearer. Not only that, but working on the wiki also helps me review work from earlier in the year.
  • The info definitely is an easier way to review stuff than opening our text book. It makes the topics more interesting, but since we have such a small class, a lot of the lessons are not posted by the time of the test. It is nearly impossible to add all this stuff by the time of the test. If something was unclear I can try to see if the wiki will help me understand it.
Do you think your work on the wiki contributes to other students’ learning?
  • Yes, and No…. It depends on how they view everything we put up on the screen. I believe it is some ways helps them because it is in a student perspective.
  • Yes, because if just a teacher is teaching students about work. then those students might not get the material that was taught because it might not be out of a student perspective of learning.
  • I don’t feel like other students from our school look at the other class’s pages for information. Maybe for tips on their pages, but nothing academic. Maybe next year, in Algebra, I look at their Wiki for insight and help. But, I won’t be looking at it now, because that isn’t what I”m learning.
  • Yes because this website goes into detail to every little thing we have learned in math this year. It is very comprehensive. I think this will help many people in their math classes.
  • Yes, because a students perspective of learning will help other sudents.
  • No. I don’t think a student from a different class would go on our wiki to learn.
  • Yes because many people view the wiki
  • Yes, when someone does something wrong and you fix it, the next time they see it they learn that they were wrong.
  • Yes. If I edit a page and another student needs help on that lesson then that page might help them understand the lesson better.
  • Yes, we have been working really hard on the Wiki and I hope other students are learning from us. It should help because we put a lot of information into each page.
    Probably not because I do easy things everybody gets. They don’t look back at the old stuff.
  • Yes because they can also use the information for their math study.
  • Yes, I think that my work on the wiki helps other students learn because they can visit each page, maybe to edit or just to view and it helps them remember the math lessons.
  • Yes because the book can be very confusing! When we make the page we put it into simple terms and give visual examples that we can understand!
  • Somewhat. I know that I never go on the wiki out of school for math purposes, but for other students possibly having trouble in Geometry this is probably a helpful tool.
    I believe that this can help students (both in and out of our school) that are going into the grade we are working on. This wiki gives them a heads up of things they need to know and gives them a brief explanation of it.
  • Yes, I think that my work on the wiki contributes to other student’s learning. We are taking the hardest math in our school, so we can not help other students from our school in Geometry. However, lots of people have viewed our site and therefore, we are useful to at least some people. We are even helping people outside of the country. To me, that is unbelievable!It can help if for example someone forgot their textbook, maybe he formulas would be posted on the wiki. Also, if something was unclear at school, the description on the wiki might clarify that lesson.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I really consider myself one of the luckiest Principals there is. I work for an awesome district, have an incredible staff, super supportive parents, and I absolutely LOVE my kids! The winter has been a drag on me lately and I needed to take some time to "smell the roses" and get myself refocused. I still remember last year the lesson a little one taught me. I was ready throw up my hands…but sometimes, most times actually, God speaks to me with the strangest messages and changes my attitude completely. I was sitting in my office one afternoon frustrated and feeling sorry for myself when a little girl came in and asked me to read her part of a book. I love being able to do that so I said “ABSOLUTELY”! It was a Winnie the Pooh book and I love Pooh stories, so I opened the book up and read, "It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily. "So it is." "And freezing." "Is it?" "Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately." That simple message immediately reminded me that things could always be much worse and that attitude towards challenges is key. A positive attitude can turn the challenges we face to become opportunities to grow stronger and better. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read to that little one…she was the best teacher just when I needed it most. So winter will not get the best of me...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Google Search

Ever wonder some of the things you can do in a google search? Check out this prezi!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

We have the technology...we have the capability...

When I was growing up I liked watching the Six Million Dollar Man on television. In the opening for the show, there’s a line that says, “We have the technology.” I thought of that – for pretty obvious reasons if you’re familiar with the show - when viewing the video for the Bionic Eye iPhone application.

This is a nice little app for what it does, but imagine what it’s going to evolve into: a portable heads-up display for everything. Yes, right now it lists restaurants, subway stations (in certain cities), and wifi hotspots, but it’s not that hard to extrapolate a few years into the future where this app – or something like it – connects you to all the available information about whatever you’re looking at.

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s on an iPhone-type device, or whether it’s mounted on your eyeglasses, it’s going to be with you effectively 24/7/365 (only “effectively” because you can still choose to turn it off), have 99% uptime, and is going to get better every hour of every day as more information is added to it. Practically every urban location will be geotagged and infotagged (think Google Street View on steroids), extending further and further beyond urban areas with each passing year. In fact, I imagine the app will evolve into a two-way app, with users adding to the database as they go about their daily routines, constantly adding more locations and more data to the database.

Perhaps a few more years down the road artificial intelligence object-recognition software will be embedded, maybe even with some simple sensors to analyze the material it’s looking at, so that the app will be able to peer into just about any object and return information about it’s chemical composition, various useful facts about it, and ways the object can be used.

I know that scenario is frightening to a lot of folks, and certainly there are going to be more and more privacy/ethical issues we are going to have to figure out as a society. But, for the moment, let’s focus on the incredibly positive side of this – what kind of learning apps can be built on this platform? What will we be able to do as teachers and students that we can barely even conceive of today, but will be commonplace in the very near future? What happens when the sum total of the world’s knowledge – updated in real time - is available in a portable heads-up display?

Just imagine the possibilities. How many years is it going to be before we see something of this sophistication? I don’t know. My guess is more than three and less than thirty. So you’ve got to ask the question, does your school/district want to be ahead of the curve in figuring out best practices, or behind it?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


With apologies to The Graduate...

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you – just one word.
Jimmy: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Jimmy: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: Collaboration.
Jimmy: How do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in collaboration. Blog about it. Will you blog about it?
Jimmy: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shh! Enough said. That’s a deal.

Cisco CEO, John Chambers has empowered the employees in his company to
cooperate and collaborate like never before. He explains that the bumpy part –
and the eye-opener – is that the leaders of business units formerly competing
for power and resources now share responsibility for one another’s success.
What used to be “me” is now “we.”

Cisco is moving from “me” to “we.” What about your school district? Your school? Your classroom?

“We want a culture where it is unacceptable not to share what you know,”
Chambers says.

How much opportunity does our staff have to share? Our students? Is it an expectation that they share?

Chambers promotes all kinds of social networking at Cisco: You can write a
blog, upload a video, and tag your myriad strengths in the Facebook-style
internal directory. “Everybody is an author now,” he laughs. Blog posts are
voted up based on their helpfulness. There are blogs about blogging and classes
about holding classes – all gauged to make it easy for less-engaged employees
to get with the program.

Cisco provides resources and training opportunities so that less-engaged employees can “get with the program.” Does our school – or district – provide this opportunity?

So, if you’re an administrator, what are you doing to foster collaboration among your staff, and especially your teachers? And I’m talking more than just PLC’s, although that’s not a bad start. What are you really doing to fundamentally change the structure of your school(s) from one of isolation (close the door and teach), to one of sharing and collaboration (knock down the walls)? Is it unacceptable to share in your School?

If you’re a teacher, what are you doing to foster collaboration among your students? And I’m talking more than putting them into groups of four and having the students create a PowerPoint presentation together. What are you really doing to fundamentally change the structure of your classroom from one of isolation (do your own work), to one of collaboration (work with others)? What are you doing to build their skills to succeed in a corporate environment that requires them to collaborate on a global scale?

If you're a student, what are you doing to improve your own collaboration skills - and those of your peers? What are you demanding of your schools, your teachers, your administrators to help prepare you for the collaborative marketplace that is your future?

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
You: ?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Technologically Illiterate

I ran across this post today by Terry Freedman over on the Tech Learning blog where he talks about whether it’s acceptable for teachers to be technologically illiterate and lays out a set of proposed “standards” for teachers.

Before I give my list, I should like to say this. The first step in establishing a standard is to state what that standard is, and/or what it is not. Just because you may not know how to go about achieving it is certainly no reason not to state it. For example, in my classes I always had expectations in terms of acceptable behavior. It would sometimes take me three months to achieve them, despite teaching them every single day, but that's besides the point.

Here is my list:

1. All educators must achieve a basic level of technological capability.

2. People who do not meet the criterion of #1 should be embarrassed, not proud, to say so in public.

3. We should finally drop the myth of digital natives and digital immigrants.

"I'm sorry, but I don't go for all this digital natives and immigrants stuff when it comes to this: I don't know anything about the internal combustion engine, but I know it's pretty dangerous to wander about on the road, so I've learned to handle myself safely when I need to get from one side of the road to the other."

The phrase may have been useful to start with, but it's been over-used for a long time now. In any case, after immigrants have been in a country for a while, they become natives. We've had personal computers for 30 years, how long does it take for someone to wake up to the fact that technology is part of life, not an add-on?

4. Principals who have staff who are technologically-illiterate should be held to account.

5. Schools, Universities and Teacher training courses who turn out students who are technologically illiterate should have their right to a licence and/or funding questioned.

6. We should stop being so nice. After all, we've got our qualifications and jobs, and we don't have the moral right to sit placidly on the sidelines while some educators are potentially jeopardising the chances of our youngsters.

Some of the tech questions I answer from staff members are really rather depressing. But it's the bigger picture I'm more concerned with. I think there's a general feeling among teachers (certainly not all teachers, but many) that it's okay to be technologically illiterate. It reminds me of when I was a 4th grade teacher. In about 80% of the parent conferences I had with students who were struggling, at least one of the parents would say "I was never any good at math either." While I don't doubt the truth of the statement, it was the fact that they said it and almost seemed proud of it that bothered me (and of course the message it sent to their student). I can't imagine a parent saying "Oh, yeah, I never learned how to read" and being proud of it. It seemed like there was a different standard for math - not knowing math was socially acceptable, not knowing how to read was very unacceptable.

I sort of get the same feeling today about technology. It's acceptable to say "I don't really get computers" - and many people appear to be rather proud of their technological ignorance. And let me be clear, I'm not saying that technology is the end all and be all of education. As I think I've always tried to say, it's just a tool to help us teach and learn and grow - but an indispensable tool. Technology is the underpinning of just about everything we do today - and especially so in relation to how we communicate with each other. And isn't communication one of the essential ideas that runs through all of our disciplines? The fact that a large percentage of our staff is not only fairly comfortable in their ignorance, but apparently unwilling to make any effort to learn new things (I'm talking instructionally - and even personally), is really worrisome to me. So let me make a rather extreme statement for you to comment on.

If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.

Extreme? Maybe. Your thoughts?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Five Educational Technology Trends for 2010

It looks like 2010 will be an exciting year for the integration and advancement of technology in the classroom. According to an article written by Bridget McCrea in THE Journal, here are the top five technology trends and tools to keep an eye on:

eBooks Will Continue to Proliferate
Although it will be some time before math and English textbooks are replaced by eBooks due to needed advancements in color, graphics and animation, Gerry Purdy, chief analyst for the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, says eBooks "will gain traction in the K-12 arena this year."

Netbook Functionality Will Grow
Netbooks will become more and more popular in schools as they become more affordable and will also help streamline technology by eliminating the need for multiple devices.

More Teachers Will Use Interactive Whiteboards
Federal economic stimulus funds are helping to advance the use of whiteboards. These tools promote "engaged learning," says Sheryl Abshire, chief technology officer for Calcasieu Parish Public Schools in Lake Charles, LA, and they "serve as a catalyst for getting students out of their seats and up to the board to learn."

Personal Devices Will Infiltrate the Classroom
Once thought of only as a distraction, the use of smart phones and iPods in the classroom is beginning to gain the approval of teachers and administrators. "We used to think this was a 'teen' phenomenon," said Purdy. "But it's now culturally acceptable for someone as young as seven or eight years old to have a cell phone. It won't be long before every student will have access to one or more wireless, portable devices in the classroom."

Technology Will Enable Tailored Curricula
New student assessment tools are being developed that will create an easier way for teachers and administrators "to assess, record and track individual student performance in the classroom."

"Historically, schools have given specialized attention to students who 'fall out of the system,' but not when it comes to applying individual curriculum to a broader population," said David Stienes, principal with private equity fund LLR Partners in Philadelphia. "Look for technology to change that in the near future."

What do you think?
Do you agree with these predictions?
What, if any, challenges need to be overcome before any of these technology trends can be appropriately and successfully integrated into the classroom?
Do you think that technology will help make the educational process more about student driven learning rather than teacher driven activities?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Conquering Web 2.0

A series of videos focusing on Web 2.0 has been released as part of Discovery's CDWG’s Conquering Technophobia mini-site, which has the videos as well as a slew of resources for teachers who are looking to learn more about new technologies.

They recently updated the site to include an embed code, so now you can share these videos with your colleagues that may be beginning their Web 2.0 journeys or are just looking for more information.

I've embedded the intro video below and you can find the rest of them here. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Technology in the First Decade of the 21st Century

Others may look back on the years 2000 to 2009 and remember elections, wars, global warming and Michael Jackson, but for a gearheads like me, this was the decade that mobile tech grew up.

During the first decade of the 21st century, we saw a whole slew of new mobile technologies capture the our imagination: the smartphone, the MP3 player, the USB stick, touchscreens, Wi-Fi, 3G wireless, pocket camcorders, digital SLRs and more.

Thanks to these inventions, people got increasingly plugged into an always-on, totally portable, always-connected existence. Where we stand now, notebooks outsell desktop PCs, people spend more on mobile phones than on landlines, and portable game consoles outnumber the ones plugged into your TV.

2000: PlayStation 2
Console gaming in the late 1990s kind of sucked compared to what we have today. The PS2 is the highest selling console in history with more than 138 million units sold. And it’s still growing, even though it’s technically obsolete.

2001: Apple iPod — Gadget of the Decade
The original iPod weighed 5.5 ounces, had a tiny monochrome screen, and featured a mechanical wheel for scrolling through its menus. It seems ancient to me now with the iPod Touch and the iPhone. But the iPod, combined the iTunes Store for purchasing digital music that same year, giving birth to a cultural phenomenon.

More than any other gadget, the iPod opened the doors to the always-connected, always-online, all-in-one-device world that we live in today.

2002: Microsoft Xbox
What made the Xbox the greatest gadget of 2002 was how it revolutionized playing videogames online, thanks to the launch that year of Xbox Live.

Cheap, fast and, above all, simple, Xbox Live transformed online gaming, my son and his friends lived in my basement playing kids from other states every weekend. I'm not sure they even ate all weekend.

2003: Nothing really came to the forefront that year. But 2004 was a different story...

2004: Nintendo DS and the Palm Treo 650
For the longest time, Nintendo had two distinct product lines: home consoles and the Game Boy. With the Nintendo DS these lines merged, putting a powerful, 3-D console in your pocket.

With its secondary touch-sensitive screen and microphone, players could draw and blow their way to the high-score table, as well as doing the usual button-mashing. But it was the games that made the DS the best handheld you could buy. Mario Kart DS did what even the Nintendo 64 and GameCube couldn’t: It managed to equal what is possibly the best videogame ever made, Super Mario Kart. And then it put it in your pocket

Before the Treo 650, smartphones were an ugly bunch, hard to use and generally clunky. Many people would even carry a PDA (remember those?) along with a “dumb” phone. Palm’s Treo 650 may have been pedestrian by today’s standards, with no Wi-Fi, just 32 MB of memory, a 0.3-megapixel camera and a stubby external antenna, but it was so popular that many owners only threw them out when the iPhone came along.

2005: Motorola Razr
Motorola’s Razr, an impossibly thin clamshell phone, sparked the trend of anorexic mobile devices. The Razr was the biggest sensation that the mobile phone industry had seen before the iPhone came along. The Razr went on to sell 110 million units over its four-year run. And it left us all with a permanent feeling that anything bigger is, well, just sorta clunky.

2006: Apple MacBook
The MacBook was Apple’s bestselling Mac ever. It debuted in 2006 with new Intel chips and a complete industrial makeover, doing away with many design and performance flaws of other Mac notebooks. The success of the MacBook helped Apple brave the economic recession without even delivering a cheap netbook

2007: Apple iPhone
The iPhone changed everything. It started out at $600 as an overpriced luxury device with few features setting it apart from the competition: a multimedia player, a web browser, a touchscreen and a phone. A year later, with the second-generation iPhone, Apple opened the App Store, which opened the door to an army of third-party software developers, adding their own quirky capabilities to the device. We’re still witnessing the killer effects of Apple’s everything-in-one device. There’s an app for practically everything the iPhone is technically capable of, and this is only the beginning. Just wait...

2008: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
In many ways, Canon’s follow up to 2005’s EOS 5D was incremental. It boosted the full-frame sensor from 12.8 to a whopping 21 megapixels, added a bigger, sharper LCD screen and generally did things faster. But the Canon 5D Mark II added one thing that made it the defining gadget of 2008: Full, 1080p HD video.

Kids and adults alike can shoot HD movies with Hollywood-style likeness. My best friend has one with the crazy-sensitive ISO 25,600 sensor (which let it practically see in the dark), and you would think he had another child he is so giddy with excitement. But I do have to admit, it is pretty awesome!

2009: Amazon Kindle 2
This one surprised me with all the consumer excitement. Amazon is very smart and doesn’t stop with the device — it lets you read your e-books on its free apps for the iPhone and the PC, adding a whole new dimension to the concept of “mobility.”

What's next?