NY/NJ Mobile Learning Summit

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

I looked back at my recent posts and realized that I am only posting about once a month. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s that work and life is so busy. Lame excuse, right?  You’ve probably said the same thing at some point in time, so let me off the hook, just this once as life really has been hectic.

I’ve been working on many things since I moved over to the SGEI at Kean University 11 months ago. Here’s a few of them:

  1. Designed and launched a new SGEI website
  2. Contracted with new consultants so that we are now a Google Apps EDU Professional Learning Organization
  3. Worked with the SGEI staff to develop this amazing list of PD sessions for the 2012-2013 academic year
  4. Planned several large events at the University including the 2nd annual NY/NJ Google Apps Summit and the Mobile Learning Summit coming up this November (see below)

On November 2, school administrators, teachers and network specialists will gather at the STEM Building at Kean University for the inaugural Mobile Learning Summit

Presenting districts in New Jersey include:

    • West Morris Regional School District
    • Randolph Township School District
    • Parsippany-Troy Hills School District
    • Springfield Public Schools
    • West Orange Public Schools
    • Morris School District

Keynote Speaker,  Lisa Dawley, Ph.D., will be presenting “Creating a Successful Mobile Adoption in the Classroom and Beyond!” in the STEM Auditorium and then attendees will select sessions of their choosing including Mobile Devices for Formative Assessment and a panel presentation: Moving Towards a 1:1 – Policies, Procedures and Legal Landmines.

The Mobile Learning Summit is designed for the K-20 education community to discuss, learn and share best practices in regards to Mobile Learning. Visit the Summit website for more information and to register.
Seating is limited. (Please contact me with any questions.)

50 FREE Open Courses on Teaching With Technology

Online Colleges and Universities has published a really useful list of open courses on teaching with technology. This comes at the right time as some of our budgets allow for little professional development. Some of the institutions represented in the list are:

MIT President, Charles M. Vest, anticipates that within ten years, lecture notes, course outlines, reading lists and assignments for over 2000 MIT classes will be freely available on the OCW Web site. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci540010,00.html

Among the list of 50 courses are:

Creativity, Community and ICT
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3623
This unit engages with the debates surrounding the term ‘creativity’ and explores ways in which ICT creates new opportunities for creativity and collaborative working.

Understanding Online Interaction
http://ocw.usu.edu/Instructional_Technology/understanding-online-interaction
This course is designed to provide an introductory level of understanding of the manner in which individuals interact with one another via the network.

Technologies for Creative Learning
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/media-arts-and-sciences/mas-714j-technologies-for-creative-learning-fall-2009/
This course explores the design of innovative educational technologies and creative learning environments, drawing on specific case studies such as the LEGO® Programmable Brick, Scratch software and Computer Clubhouse after-school learning centers.

Interactive Multimedia Production
http://ocw.usu.edu/Instructional_Technology/interactive-multimedia-production
This course familiarizes students with Macromedia Flash. Topics to be covered include fundamental programming concepts (variables, variable types, code re-use, commenting code, and basic control structures) in addition to the fundamentals of the flash environment.

Teaching Using Digital Video in Secondary Schools
http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1543
This unit explores the role of digital media as a teaching tool, focusing on video in particular.

One or more of these FREE professional development opportunities may be of use to you or someone you know.
Check out the complete list at http://www.onlinecollegesanduniversities.com/2010/09/05/50-excellent-open-courses-on-teaching-with-technology/

Mystery Class – A Collaborative Project

Barbara De Santis from Sayerville Public Schools told me about the Mystery Class project. I hadn’t seen it before and the more I read about it, the more I was impressed at how well organized and sustainable it could be in the classroom. I have been recommending Jen Wagner’s collaborative projects for a couple of years and will continue to as the teachers and students that I work with LOVE them and I think they are fantastic, but this was one I had not yet seen.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xoe/84584059/

Mystery Class

“In this global game of hide-and-seek, students search to uncover the secret locations of ten “mystery” sites hiding around the Earth. To guide the investigation, they track changes in day length at the mystery sites and at their hometown, and use other “clues” along the way. As they take this inspiring journey, students unlock the essential questions behind the reasons for seasons and the dramatic changes in day length that result.”


Think about how many ways we can tie this into what we teach in our classrooms. I believe that I would be able to tie this into pretty much every content area. I know you probably have questions about how to participate and the calendar and schedule of events. You’ll be relieved to know that the website is very easy to navigate and I am confident that you’ll be able to find the answers to your questions. There’s even a Frequently Asked Questions section if you’re having trouble finding the right section to look in.

Please let us know if you’ve participated in Mystery Class in the past. Share your experience here as a comment to encourage others to give it a try with their students.

What Music Can Do For You

Chris's Transistor Radio
Chris's Transistor Radio

My family and I recently moved. After many months of unpacking, we are finally coming down to the last six or so boxes that need to be unpacked. Of course it’s those things that really don’t have a place. Those things that we really don’t use, but couldn’t bare to part with. Like my husband’s transistor radio.

I wish I could have captured on film the exact expression he had on his face when he unpacked the little white box the other night. Instead though, I asked him to tell me some stories about it.

Chris told me that he and his brother sometimes listened to the radio together. They would both put their ears up to it and talk about what they were listening to or sing along with the music.

Harry Harrison was the DJ that was on at the time Chris used the “clickwheel” to set his A.M. (as opposed to F.M.) radio to WABC, though he remembers ABC being the popular station at the time. He has no recollection of what was popular on the F.M. stations as he had no access to them. It was circa 1971.

If you look inside this portable media player (PMP), you’ll see that it ran on one 9 volt battery. Whoever gave Chris his transistor radio, was nice enough to leave him notes indicating how to correctly insert the battery. Not only did I notice that, but I opened the PMP without even thinking about it. I wanted to explore. I wouldn’t dare do that now for fear of breaking the tiny components of the electronic/digital gadgets my family has accumulated.

I listened to Chris’s stories and watched the expressions on his face as he reminisced. I rather enjoyed listening to him talk about something he seemed to have gotten so much pleasure out of as he typically tells me only stories of how horrible being the youngest of three brothers was. As I listened, I compared how he used his portable device back in the 1970s to how our students are using them today.

Volume & Station Controls
Volume & Station Controls

Chris told me he could take his radio anywhere. He could walk around holding it up to his ear. He could walk on the street. He could hide it in his backpack at school. And late at night, if his brother wanted to sleep, he could put his radio under his pillow to muffle the sound a bit. He could listen to the music that he liked (we have very different tastes in music) and he could listen to the news. He remembers his time with his transistor radio fondly.

Going into this year, with so many portable media players in school, we might want to consider thinking about occasionally just enjoying them for what they are. Children enjoy music. Some learners will even work more productively with music in the background. But music is a part of our culture. I know that in my family the songs that were playing at social events are part of the memory. I think that seeing the radio that brought him so many hours of musical enjoyment, most likely kept Chris thinking about his childhood for hours.

Here is a list of places where you can access and download free music for your students to enjoy:

http://www.musopen.com/music.php
http://www.publicdomain4u.com/
http://soundzabound.com/
http://www.classiccat.net/index.htm
http://www.openmusicarchive.org/index.php
http://www.jamendo.com/en/
http://freemusicarchive.org/