Teachmeet NJ

Calling all NJ educators!

If you haven’t already registered, now is the time!

What is Teachmeet NJ?
A free conference for educators focusing on innovative practices in pedagogy, assessment, and technology integration.

Where will it be located?
(At the Center where I have worked for the last nine years!)
Rutgers University – Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education
SERC Building 118 Frelinghuysen Road Piscataway, NJ 08854

When is it going to happen?
8:00am-5:00pm on Saturday, March 5
Free Registration:
Who is the conference designed for?
The conference is primarily geared towards teach-ers, administrators, and educators, although any-one who is interested in or concerned about educa-tion is welcome.
There will be sessions that are relevant to all posi-tions, content areas, and grade levels. The primary foci of the conference are:
· Effective Technology Integration
· Innovative Pedagogy and Assessment Practices
· Meeting the Needs of All Students

Innovative Format:
All sessions will be hands on and interactive. There will be 3 main types of sessions:
· 1-hour sessions and panel discussions that go in depth on topics.
· 15-minute sessions that are organized around a topic. These are fast-paced and expose edu-cators to many new ideas that they can imple-ment.
· 5-minute participatory sessions where mem-bers of the audience get to share their ideas on a particular topic.

Share in the experience – join us!

Broken Cookies Contain Fewer Calories

I have two Girls Scouts in my house. That’s twice as many cookies that have to be sold to meet their quotas. Twice as much prepping them to say “Thank you berry much” (ode to the new Thank U Berry Munch cookie.)

I was wondering how in the world the girls and I were going to meet their goals this year and then I saw my friend Erica Hartman post a Google Form for friends and family to fill out on Facebook. Shortly after that, I saw a neighbor of mine update her FB status to “Girl Scout cookies for sale”. Was this the route I was going to take with the girls? I wasn’t sure.

Well, we went out yesterday to sell to our neighbors. It started raining as we were out and the girls were getting whiny, but I told them we had to forge ahead as it was the time I had carved out to sell, sell, sell.

When we returned home, drenched, and far from our goal (we have wonderful neighbors, it’s just that most of them weren’t home), I updated my Facebook status to read…

"I was just out with the girls selling Girl Scout Cookies - determined - even in the rain to fill our quota. We didn't make it."


Well, I have an amazing group of friends, family and fellow educators because I immediately got orders for cookies. Some were from local family that I’d be able to deliver as soon as they came in and others were from ed tech buddies that I would see at ISTE11 and BLC11 I think there’s going to be a cookie fest at ed tech conferences this summer.

Now, please don’t take this post the wrong way. I am not looking for more orders (though the girls do want their badges). I just wanted to share another story about how using  social media can increase your reach.

(P.S. A favorite aunt of mine, long ago, had a magnet that read “Broken cookies contain fewer calories”. I still have it on my fridge. I’m sticking with it.)

Educon 2.3 – Foster Change by Leading and Sharing

What has changed in your school or district in the last year? This is the question I mulled over on my ride home from Educon.

There were two sessions that I thought of as I drove. The Same as it Ever Was, but Does it Have to Be with Leo Brehm and Beth Knittle and The Ethical Obligation to Teach, Learn & Share Globally with Dean Shareski and Alec Couros.

Why these sessions?

Well, I’m concerned as to why I’ve been going to Educon for four years, yet I am still hearing all the same concerns from the attendees.

Beth and Leo


If our schools are not doing things correctly, what is it that we want?

We attempted to answer this question in Beth and Leo’s session. They put together a wiki and I’m hoping to see the folks that were there add to it. Here’s what we talked about together:

  • We want learners who can troubleshooting/problem solve
  • We want to focus on thinking skills rather than just skills
  • We want to look at what’s working and clone it rather than work on fixing what’s broken
  • We want self-motivated learners
  • We want the school community to be filled with adult learners (we are all learners)
  • We want to cultivate a lifelong love of learning

Beth recommended viewing  The Tribes We Lead TED Talk by Seth Godin as a resource for inspiration. What he says makes sense to me:

  • You can make change by leading
  • You should connect with people for ideas
  • What we do for a living now is finding something we want to change and assembling a group of people to change it
  • We should organize people who want to talk about something and have the same desires
  • One person can’t do this alone, but together we can get it done. We just need someone to lead us
  • We’re waiting for someone to show us where to go next

What is it that we need?

The group shared examples of what was happening in their schools. Some stories were encouraging and others were what seemed to be a recurring theme of schools in need of help. Here’s what we brainstormed:

  • Learners need to know it’s okay to fail
  • All learners should be empowered in a school
  • Schools should provide/allow for flexible learning environments
  • Learners should be encouraged to be passionate problem solvers
  • We need more time
  • Let’s not focus on the minute details, but work towards a common goal
  • Realize that it may be curriculum redesign that is needed

How are we going to get there?

This brings me back to Alec and Dean’s session as in both our small group and large group discussions, people shared stories.  Is this the solution to our bringing on change? Should we all just talk about what is working and then replicate it? I’m thinking so. What do you think?

I want to listen and soak it up

Beginning today, January 28, 2011, is the 4th annual Educon. This is my all-time favorite conference. It’s a huge reunion of like-minded educators, all gathered in the same place to learn something.

For two years now, I have led sessions with Liz Davis, but this year we made a decision to go to Educon, network, learn and participate in the conversations.

Would you like to participate, but can’t make it to Philly this weekend? Here’s how:

  1. Join the EduCon website and post a short bio and photo
  2. Browse the Detailed Schedule and read about the conversation offerings, sketch out which sessions you would like to view. (all posted times are EST)
  3. Follow the streamed Elluminate sessions by going to the EduCon conversation page and click on the Elluminate link.
  4. Follow the twitter hashtag #educon
  5. Post questions, offer links and resources, from the comfort of your own living room, all throughout the weekend in the forums.

By the way, for those of you not familiar with Educon:


EduCon 2.3 is both a conversation and a conference.
And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

I hope to see you there, whether in-person or virtually.

Nominations for the 2010 Edublog Awards

I am honored to be nominated for the 3rd year in a row for the Edublog Awards. I’m sure you will agree that it’s always nice to be appreciated.

This year I was nominated in the Best Educational Tech Support Edublog category. (Votes are always appreciated. Just click this link, scroll down until you see ThumannResources, click the radio dot next to it and then click “Vote”.)

What I like most about the Edublog Awards is the chance to take a look at some blogs that I might not have otherwise been reading. My favorite category is “Best New Blog” and here are the nominations:

  1. About A Teacher
  2. bcnpaul1′s blog
  3. Be Cunning and Full of Tricks
  4. Blogging through the Fourth Dimension
  5. Box of Chocolates
  6. Comments4Kids
  7. Connected Principals
  8. Culture of Yes
  9. Digital Dervish
  10. Educating Grace
  11. Eliterate Librarian
  12. Emma Herrod
  13. Experts and Newbies
  14. Hack Education
  15. ideaconnect
  16. InterACT
  17. Inter.Connect.Ed
  18. Language Garden
  19. Libraries and Transliteracy
  20. New City Arts
  21. Michelle’s Musings
  22. MrK’s Professional Reflections
  23. Quantum Progress
  24. Reflections of a teacher and a learner
  25. Teaching Literacy in the Early Years
  26. Speech Techie
  27. The Nerdy Teacher
  28. Think Thank Thunk
  29. Turklish TEFL
  30. Upside Down Education
  31. Venture Pragmatist
  32. Walt Gardner’s Reality Check
  33. Webb’s Wide World
  34. Whose Learning Is It Anyway?

To explore the other categories you can visit http://edublogawards.com/ or select from this list:

  1. Best individual blog
  2. Best individual tweeter
  3. Best group blog
  4. Best new blog
  5. Best class blog
  6. Best student blog
  7. Best resource sharing blog
  8. Most influential blog post
  9. Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion
  10. Best teacher blog
  11. Best librarian / library blog
  12. Best school administrator blog
  13. Best educational tech support blog
  14. Best elearning / corporate education blog
  15. Best educational use of audio
  16. Best educational use of video / visual
  17. Best educational wiki
  18. Best educational podcast
  19. Best educational webinar series
  20. Best educational use of a social network
  21. Best educational use of a virtual world
  22. Best use of a PLN
  23. Lifetime achievement

Happy reading!

Who are Your Friends on Facebook?

I don’t know about you, but I have gotten a recent flood of friend requests on Facebook. Most of them are not from family members or from folks that I truly know well. They are from “Mutual Friends“. You know what I’m talking about. You look at the number listed to the right of their request to see how many mutual friends you have and that helps you decide whether to accept them or not. Right?

When I first started using Facebook back in 2008 I thought I would use it to keep in touch with family and close friends and possibly even those folks that I had met at conferences and edtech events. But that has now grown and I find myself looking at status updates from people I don’t know at all. What happened?

The other day I logged in to update my status and check out what my FB friends were up to when I got an IM (instant message) from someone I really didn’t know.


I didn’t respond.

“when u will reply me? never?”

I know what we teach our students and our children about not replying to people that we don’t know, but I was ALREADY friends with this person. Something had convinced me to accept his friend request. When I clicked on his profile I saw only 4 common friends and the face of someone I had never met in person. I also saw that his status updates were not in English. Why was I FB friends with him?

“sometimes i see u
try to talk to u
but u never replied me
i really wonder why?
just a human i m too
not a monster”

What would you do at this point?

I was so frustrated with myself because if I didn’t want to IM with this person, I should have never accepted his friend request, yet I felt a sense of guilt for not replying.

“i think i saw u
from nice place for example
about education
about projects
i m a teacher and an engineer
and a coordinator of projects”

Feeling guilty and curious, I asked what he wanted to chat about.

“i thought
i would talk
or share somehting
but as i see u dont care
if i disturbed u
i m really sorry

I replied that he was not disturbing me, but that I had to log off and go walk my dog. (This was true as my dog had been barking for a few minutes and obviously needed to go out.)

  • Where would the conversation have gone?
  • How do you make decisions as to who you are friends with on Facebook?
  • How SHOULD you make decisions as to who you are friends with on Facebook?
  • Do you practice what you preach in terms of internet safety?

These are questions I have been asking myself for a few days. What are your answers?

Reinventing Yourself

Would you want to?

If you could stay exactly who you are in the physical world, but reinvent your digital identity, would you?

As I was sitting is Michael Wesch’s phenomenal keynote yesterday morning, I started thinking some more about my digital identity and jotted down some questions.
  • What would I do if I could go to a new school and reinvent myself?
  • Would I erase everything from the Cloud?
  • Would I include pictures of my children, family and friends online?
  • Would I share all of my lessons, presentations and my blog?
So I was watching the Tweets this morning from #BLC10 and saw the link for a site from MIT fly by. I had been meaning to check it out and when I got to the Keynote, I pulled it up and, unfortunately, got a little nauseous as I watched my life unfold before my eyes. http://personas.media.mit.edu/personasWeb.html
One of the many statements that Michael Wesch said that will stay with me was that we should make our place in the world.  If you aren’t leaving breadcrumbs for your students, your friends, family and followers, why not? If you could reinvent yourself, what would you leave out, if anything? What would you add? Just some things to think about.