10 Skills Students Should Graduate With

Yesterday, at the NJEA Technology Integration Institute, I presented the morning Keynote. I shared ten skills I feel that students should graduate with. These skills don’t have anything to do with standardized testing, or memorizing facts, they are just what skills students need to be prepared for college and beyond.

  1. How to determine who is the authority on the Internet
  2. A knowledge of reference sources
  3. Good digital citizenship and the ethical use of information
  4. Where they can go to stay current
  5. Established personal learning networks
  6. Knowing who their teachers and mentors are
  7. To always contemplate responding and interacting with content
  8. That they are content producers
  9. Knowing how to be safe on the internet
  10. Being cognizant of what’s in the pipeline
I had many interesting comments after I was finished presenting. One that particularly stuck with me was about special needs children. Some teachers I spoke with mentioned that the parents of those students didn’t want their work out there for anyone to see. Have you or do you deal with this in your school?
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New Jersey is “In Tune” With Technology

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Tomorrow, October 13, the NJ Association for Educational Technology (NJAET) will hold it’s 22nd Annual Conference. Their theme this year, “In Tune with Technology” has led to some great session descriptions and I’m really looking forward to networking with the presenters (I’ve listed some of the sessions below).

I have two sessions to present tomorrow; one presentation style and one conversation / hands-on style. I’ve embedded the decks below and I’ll be Tweeting using the hashtag #NJAET09 if you want to follow along with me and anyone else who may be Tweeting from there as well.

“In Tune” with the 21st Century Student

Session Type: Presentation
Presenter: Lisa Thumann
, Sr. Specialist in Technology Education, CMSCE, Rutgers University

We have a framework for teaching students in the 21st Century. We’ve been told to combine skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies, but how do we, as educators, help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st Century? Join us in a discussion to learn more about how we can address the needs of our networked students.



“In Tune” with Your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Lisa Thumann
, Sr. Specialist in Technology Education, CMSCE, Rutgers University

Are you on Twitter or Plurk, have a Diigo or Delicious account set up already – but you are just not sure where to head next? Join us as we tap into the collective intelligence of the group to find information and support our network both online and off. Whether your PLN is overflowing or just starting to grow, this workshop will help you to mine your network to best suit your needs. Bring your big ideas, your hopes and your dreams and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

“In Tune” Tech Tips to Create Activities for Community Interaction

Session Type: Presentation
Presenter: Ted Krulikowski
, Director, HELM Education Foundation

Explore ways students can participate in various community service projects using technology as a catalyst. Projects range from senior computing classes to interacting with community organizations and civic committees. Many school/community activities will be discussed and demonstrated.

“In Tune” with Centers from Heaven (K-5)

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Carol Cherson
, Thinkfinity Trainer, ETTC-Middlesex

Are you trying to develop centers for your classroom? Do you have at least one computer center?  Then this is the class for you. Using the FREE site, Thinkfinity, you will leave this workshop with interactive sites, lesson plans and ideas. This workshop will help you with every curriculum you teach now and in your future.

“In Tune” with Concept Mapping for the 21st Century Classroom

Session Type: Presentation
Presenter: Alexis K. Morgan
, Teacher/Special Needs Teacher, Camden City School District

From Shakespeare to science, Kidspiration and Inspiration can help students plan, research, collaborate and complete projects successfully. Learn ways to meet the diverse needs of students that allow them to organize and represent complex information in meaningful ways. Participants will also view the many uses of InspireData, an important tool used to develop analytical skills and strengthen critical thinking.

“In Tune” with Creative Expression through Digital Storytelling

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Dr. Nancy Sardone
, Assistant Professor of Education, Georgian Court University

Rediscover the art of storytelling using today’s digital tools. Digital storytelling is a tool to promote the development of digital and media literacy as well as the traditional literacies of reading, writing, speaking, and art that are foundational to all content areas. Learn the effective principles of storytelling, how to use (free) Windows-based Photo Story 3 software and digital media production techniques so you can guide students in their own creative expression.

“In Tune” with Digital Storytelling in the Elementary Classroom


Session Type: Presentation
Presenter: Susan Wahling
, ESL Teacher K-6, Westwood Regional School District

Discover Digital Storytelling, an exciting way for students and teachers to create their own stories, combining images, voice, sound effects and music. Especially powerful with ESL students, Digital Storytelling is an immensely creative tool that can be used with students of all ages.

“In Tune” with Lesson Plans that Rock (PK-8)

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Carol Cherson
, Thinkfinity Trainer, ETTC-Middlesex

Looking for FREE, innovative and interactive teaching materials aligned to NJ standards? Thinkfinity is a FREE educational resource. Bring your curriculum topics and leave with weeks of activities (paper and interactive) and resources to enhance every aspect of your classroom. Begin that new unit with lessons that rock.

“In Tune” with SMART Boards and Digital Learning

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Andrew Grefig
, Instructional Technologist, Tequipment, Inc.

This interactive session will focus on how to create engaging activities with the SMART Notebook software. We will explore how rich media, movement, color, animation, drag and drop activities and immediate feedback can be used to increase student engagement in a variety of subject areas.

“In Tune” with Technology: Media to Teach Reading


Session Type: Presentation
Presenter: Dr. Christine Davis
, Assistant Professor of Education, Georgian Court University

Explore well-designed online resources and streaming video clips of master teachers modeling essential reading skills including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. See the value of using online media materials to personalize and support professional development. Participants will be “in tune” with a wealth of technology-based teacher development resources to teach reading.

“In Tune” with the Fundamentals of Wikis, Blogs and Podcasts

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Ryan Evans
, Technology Teacher, Wanaque Borough Public Schools

The array of wiki farms, blogware and podcasting software can often appear intimidating and overwhelming. Take an analytical journey in the creation of wikis, blogs and podcasts. The focus will be on evaluating the major hosts and software, getting started (creating, designing and maintaining), adding users or inviting members, concerns about security and privacy, and practical applications for the classroom.

Get “In Tune” with Music Videos


Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Heather Sullivan
, Technology Facilitator, Freehold Regional HSD

Animoto is a FREE web tool that helps you (and your students) make music videos in just a few simple steps. Discover how you can use this awesome and EASY tool in your classroom.

Google Sketchup: “In Tune” with Math

Session Type: Hands On
Presenter: Carla Hockenbury
, Computer Facilitator, Wm. Davies School

This is your chance for an opportunity to explore the basics of Google SketchUp and how it can be applied in your classroom. The program is especially “in tune” with math but also can be used in other subject areas. Google SketchUp is a free download from Google, which can be used alone or with Google Earth and the 3D Warehouse.

Be Teachable

sunday-at-educon21-0331
Written on one of the tables at http://educon21.wikispaces.com/Conversations#e313-4

Many bloggers have been posting their take-aways from Educon2.1. I have to admit that though I was sad to leave SLA and my PLN on Sunday afternoon and even sadder to say goodbye to Liz Davis as I left her at the Philadelphia Airport an hour later, my brain was fried. I wasn’t ready to think about next year or reflect on this year’s conference.

Let’s be honest. I wasn’t ready to drive home as I hadn’t had enough sleep. I wasn’t ready to tackle all the laundry that was waiting for me or to have to go grocery shopping to make sure that we had supplies for the girls’ lunches on Monday. Oh, and I wasn’t ready for my workshop on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. I was shot.

What are ya gonna do? Get ready!!

The next day I drove back towards Philly to work with a group of teachers on UDL. It was our third of 5 sessions together, so these were teachers that I had already built a rapport with. We talked openly about good teaching and what was working in their classrooms and then I asked them to take my presentation for the day and redo it so that it was more accessible to them.  We worked on the concepts behind multiple methods of presentation and worked on which tools would help them meet the objectives of the UDL framework. At first they were uncomfortable with editing my presentation. I explained that I had designed it that way to make a point and to teach me a more appropriate way to present these same ideas. I was hoping that they had really looked at the YouTube videos and wikis I had shared with them about PowerPoint reform.

On the drive home I spoke with a tech coordinator from a high school in North Jersey. We had been trying to connect with each other for a couple of weeks, so using the hands-free device in the car, I listened to him talk to me about how great the school’s infrastructure was, how they had at least four computers in each classroom, plus a couple of COWs. What he needed from me was to come in and get the teachers excited about using technology and to give them the tools, skills and confidence to bring their school into the 21st Century. I found myself thinking that I’d be happy to help him as log as his staff was teachable.

0128091The next day I drove to North Jersey to finish some SMARTBoard mentoring I mentioned in a previous post. I had 5 sessions mapped out for the morning ranging from a group of pre-k teachers with no IWB experience to a 5th grade teacher with over a year’s experience who was thirsty to learn the more advanced features of the technology.  What I didn’t expect was the middle school language arts teacher who walked in the room who had just started working at the school the prior week. She immediately asked me how this technology would help her get her students to be better writers. I asked her how she teaches them to write. We only had 25 minutes together, so you can understand that I needed to make some pretty quick decisions. She was very much against using any technology in the classroom because (…and you’ve heard this one before…) when she was a student, she learned to write just fine without a computer.

I sat and calmly talked with her about how not every piece of technology meets every need. That she might consider using collaborative documents with her students. I asked her if she wanted to make sure that her students were ready for high school, college and the work force in addition to being good writers. She said she was interested in learning how she could integrate technology and still teach the pedagogy behind good writing. She was open to ideas. She was teachable. I invited her to the upcoming Google Learning Institute at Rutgers University.

I was scheduled to drive back towards Philly today to work in one of the middle schools in Camden City School District. I work with a team of stellar teachers there in my 21st Century Learning Initiative. Though I’m disappointed it was canceled due to the snow (the district closed the schools), it gave me a chance to go through my inbox, my notes from Educon2.1 and look back at the week and what’s still to come.

What have I learned?

I tell people I try to learn something each day. I’m pretty sure that on the days I’m out in the field working with teachers I learn way more than one thing. I know I learn more than one thing a day when I attend a professional development event, be it in person or virtually.

I try to be teachable. Whether you are a noobie or a seasoned educator or somewhere in between – be teachable.

The Sylvia Charp Award

As you are getting ready to take a week or so off for the holidays? When you have some quiet time to yourself, (I know, I know, who am I kidding?) reflect back on the achievements of your students, your school, your district and yourself. Think about all the wonderful things that you do or contribute to doing to help improve teaching and learning in your building(s) and consider applying for the Sylvia Charp Award.

charpaward-banner

Nominations for this award only opened yesterday, December 15, 2008, and will remain open until March 16, 2009.

Sylvia Charp, was the editor-in-chief of T.H.E. Journal for 30 years until she passed away from serious injuries as a result of a car accident  in 2003. Dr. Charp was known for her countless contributions to the field of educational technology and her dedication to helping educators use technology with their students to improve achievement. 

To nominate your district you will need to submit three things via e-mail to charpaward@thejournal.com:

  1. A description of the district’s innovative technology program, including how this program met the NETS (http://cnets.iste.org/students/s_esscond.html) and a one-paragraph description of the technology planning process including a list of people involved.
  2. A description of the effectiveness and impact of the technology program, including evidence of impact on student achievement.
  3. A letter from the Superintendent and/or school board president supporting the application.

The winner will be notified this April. The award will be presented at NECC 2009, June 28-July 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. (The winner will receive a check in the amount of $2,000 to go towards registration, travel, and housing for two representatives from the winning district.)

Please visit T.H.E. Journal for more information about nominating your district or to read about the 2008 Sylvia Charp Award recipient.

Engaging the 21st Century Student

Marc Prensky at NJECC 9/19/08
Marc Prensky at NJECC 9/19/08

I had the pleasure of listening to Marc Prensky present at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of NJECC yesterday.

If you remember, Mr. Prensky was not feeling well when he arrived at NJECC’s Annual Conference last March and had to be taken to the hospital. After he was feeling better, he graciously offered to come back and keynote the organizations anniversary celebration which was held in Montclair State University’s 7th floor Ballroom. We had a gorgeous view of the University campus.

Marc challenged the audience with four questions asking volunteers to take a turn at the microphone to make one-minute statements about each of the following questions.
1. Are today’s students different?
2. What should our students know?
3. How should we teach them?
4. Is technology in class a help or a curse?

After listening to the audience volunteers, Mr. Prensky told us that In order to answer the first question we must first ask ourselves: Are people shaped by their environment? The 21st Century environment is all about change. Since technology is moving so quickly, we have to learn to deal with change on a regular bases. We need to learn to deal with the speed and magnitude of change. We used to have a good handle on what was developmentally appropriate for students. As students have access to more technology, they are exposed to more information. Students come to school with a larger knowledge base than they used to, yet they are still emotionally only capable of handling so much. So change means that the nature of education is changing. Prensky showed the audience the “A Vision of Students Today” video from Kansas State University.

With regard to the second question, Mr. Prensky spoke of teaching students skills and not tools. He referred back to the speed of change we discussed in the first question. Our students will be better prepared for their future if they have skills since the tools become outdated so quickly. He listed the following skills as being important and that “curriculum deletion” might be an option at this point.

  1. Teach students how to follow their passions
  2. Teach students about knowing the right thing to do
  3. Teach them about getting it done
  4. Teach students about getting things done with others
  5. Teach them about doing it creatively
  6. And finally, teach students about constantly doing things better

He recommended reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey and spent a minute talking about why the book was on the NY Times best Seller list and then really urged the audience to read it.

The third question was responded to with another question. Is the time of the lecture over? Marc spoke about “A New Paradigm for Learning” where kids are teaching themselves with the teacher’s guidance. Children are already doing this outside of the school day. He quoted Albert Einstein who said “I never try to teach my students anything. I only try to create an atmosphere in which they can learn.”

Finally, as Marc began his conclusion, he asked us about the fourth question. He said that technology does not support the current way we teach. (I’m sure he was referring to a certain part of the teaching population and not those of use who are student-centered visionaries teaching our students skills and not tools.)

The answer to the fourth question was to let our students fly with it. Let them do the work and our job is to evaluate it. They are the researchers when it comes to the technology, so there is no need for us to create anything, but give them the time to figure it out themselves. This is the model of teaching that we should be striving for from now on.

Lisa Thumann, Marc Prensky and Ned Davis
From Left to right: Lisa Thumann, Marc Prensky and Ned Davis

Many of us Twittered throughout the day. Sharing our thoughts, ideas and comments on Mr. Prensky’s remarks and I was very interested in my PLN’s @replies. I was reminded of the remarks that were made after Prensky’s sessions at BLC08 this past July.

I enjoyed listening to Marc Prensky yesterday. He gave me a lot of food for thought. Though I was Twittering, and taking notes in a Google Doc, and taking the occasional picture, I was playing close attention to what he had to say and to the response of the audience. Take a look at the Doc if you’d like. It also includes my notes from the afternoon session (I apologize for not neatening things up, but it’s Saturday and I have a pretty lengthy to-do list [see previous post].) I’d be happy to discuss any of the four questions with you in more detail here, on Twitter or face-to-face. Just remember, like most people, I have a case of selective listening. I heard what I wanted to hear, most likely.  I probably focused on writing  the parts I agreed with the most.

This I Believe…

“This I Believe” meme started by Barry Bachenheimer is patterned after National Public Radio’s “This I Believe” and is an opportunity to share one’s philosophy of education.

I’ve been tagged by my friend Liz Davis. Thanks for the invite Liz.

Before you read my list, check out this video from the author of The Digital Sandbox on TeacherTube called “Introducing the Conceptual Age of Web 2.0“. I really like how the creator lays out the differences between what was accessible to us on the Internet then and now.

I believe…

  • it’s better to identify the objective of the lesson before selecting the type of technology to use.
  • schools need to relieve teacher isolation by opening doors and loosening filters.
  • we need to nurture all learners – our students, teachers and the community – always encourage the opportunity to learn and grow.
  • one of our biggest barriers in education is time. Use it wisely.
  • that we should allow students to use daily supports when being assessed at a comfortable and appropriate stage of difficulty.
  • subjects should not be taught in isolation – when students can relate to the content they will be more engaged and committed to learning.
  • as CAST says, “Motivation is the essential engine of learning”.

There’s so much more I believe. But that’s where my thoughts bring me to now. In the meantime…

  1. Karen Janowski
  2. Kevin Jarrett
  3. Christy Tvarok

YOU ARE IT!!!