Change is Good

Yesterday I resigned from position at the CMSCE at Rutgers University.

Today I listened to Dr. Punya Mishra keynote at  TechForum NY. Dr. Mishra’s presentation reminded me how important it is to publish and share. He spoke of how it’s not the technology, or the device, it’s the teaching methodologies that help students meet their objectives. Though I already knew this, it was refreshing today to hear it and see the nodding heads in the room.

What do I want to do?

My plan is to continue working with educators, administrators and students on 21st Century skills. What do I mean by that? Dr. Mishra said it well, when he said we need to prepare students for the technology of five years from now. We should not be spending precious instructional time on tools as technology should not be taught in isolation. We should combine pedagogy, content and technology in authentic ways.

This is the challenge I face as I join Mike Searson and Janis Jensen at the  School for Global Education and Innovation at Kean University on November 7, 2011. I’m looking forward to this very much. I will miss my colleagues at Rutgers as change is hard. On November 7, I will start my day with the phrase “BRING IT ON!” as change is good.

Students Speak about Authentic Project Based Learing at #TMNJ11

Students from the TEAM Academy Present at #TMNJ11

Yesterday was the inaugural TeachMeetNJ. The event was organized by Jason Bedell and Mike Ritzius. I was pleased to be able to offer the space in the building I work at (CMSCE, Rutgers). I was equally pleased that the wireless held up all day.

Since I was helping Shelly Krause with registration in the morning and making sure all the rooms were set up correctly, I actually only got to one session during the day (and moderated another as well). I do, however, want to share with you the story the students from the TEAM Academy in Newark, NJ shared with us.

Kristen Sigler is the Technology Teacher (5th-8th grade) at the TEAM Academy, a KIPP Charter School in Newark, NJ. She has designed her program using the Project Based Learning (PBL) approach. Her Google Site, Play, Design, Share, lists the options that the students have developed on their own for their course of study.

If you are not that familiar with PBL, take a look at the video the students from the TEAM Academy created.

Camden School District teacher chats with Team Academy student

The three students that facilitated the session were amazing. Using https://sites.google.com/site/teachmeetnj2018iclass/ to guide us through the session, students had us work collaboratively to brainstorm ideas on possible projects. They then introduced the group to Prezi. They articulated how they designed their PBLs and what they learned from the experience. They really worked the room making sure those that needed help received it all while chatting with the participants.

On the class Google Site, Ms. Sigler lists the skills the students have acquired through these PBLs:

  1. Utilize Microsoft Office
  2. Locate and learn how to use web based applications.
  3. Collaborate through web 2.0 applications.
  4. Research reliable websites and cite them using MLA format.
  5. Research and apply the best practices for building a positive digital footprint.
First time with an iPad? No problem

Most of what the students chatted about with us was how self directed they had become. Osamu spoke about how she went to office hours with Ms. Sigler because she wanted to, and now she is a tech teacher in the building. All the students made a point of discussing where you can go when you don’t know how to do something. They talked about Youtube as a valuable resource for them. “The resources are endless”, said one of the students referring to the wealth of information available to them on the web.

These students and their teacher really did a fantastic job yesterday. I truly appreciated their enthusiasm and knowledge. Their presentation at #TMNJ11 was a success!

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:
http://tmnj.eventbrite.com
Website:
http://tmnj.org
Schedule:
http://tmnj.org/schedule
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!

Budgets, Filters and Students – Oh My!

Tomorrow I’ll be presenting at the annual New Jersey Educational Technology Institute (NJETI)  conference. With the way politics has been going in New Jersey and the percentage of districts whose budgets were defeated, I chose my words carefully, yet passionately. I’ve linked below to my deck and here are the resources that I will be sharing:

I’ll be Tweeting from the conference, I’m sure, so if you are there follow the hashtag #NJETI and even if you aren’t, join in on the conversation.

Sweet Searching with Google

There are so many search tools available in Google that this past August when I presented at the Google Teacher Academy in Boulder, Colorado, I named my presentation “Google Search: At A Mile A Minute”. I spoke as fast as I could and showed as much as I could in the 30 minutes I was allotted.

But, I have to tell you that it’s tough to stay on top of all the options that Google comes out with for Search. It is worth the effort though.

Today at the monthly NJECC meeting, Samantha Morra, Sarah Rolle, Liz Bagish and I will be presenting part 1 of a 2 part series on Google Apps to our organization. We are all Google Certified Teachers, so we divided up the topics we wanted to cover and I chose Google Search.

This is the list of Search features I’ll be demonstrating and why I chose these specifically. (Bear in mind that I only have about 25 minutes.)

Google Show Options – We’ll be talking about addressing all learners and looking in information in different formats.

Wonder Wheel

Timeline

Also along these lines we’ll look at Google Squared.

I’d also like the group to know that their schools can import their entire libraries into Google Books and what information they can see about each book there. I’ll focus on:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Searching the Book
  3. Popular Passages
  4. Book Reviews
  5. References from other Books
  6. References from Scholarly Works

This will lead nicely into Scholar Search which we’ll touch on briefly. (Well, everything will be brief, right?)

We’ll cover that Google Scholar searches:

  • Reputable articles
  • Journals
  • Books

We’ll also make clear that Google Scholar does not search:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Popular websites

I wanted to show the NEW Google Image Swirl and I will when I show everyone some advanced Image Search strategies including Similar Images, usage rights and searching by color, picture size and style.

We’ll look at Insights for Search and what the trending topics are for New Jersey for the last 30 days. We’ll talk about how students can compare this information to other parts of the U.S. and other countries.

Lastly, we’ll make sure that people know how to be alerted to any information that is important to them using Google Alerts. I will demonstrate to benefit of Google Alerts and suggest them for your school, district, people you know (like relatives), yourself and topics you are interested in.

I’m hoping everyone is able to learn a few new search techniques. Everyone has their own style, so not every tool I show them will necessarily meet their needs or the needs of the students in their classrooms. And I know I’m leaving so many great search tools out. But I only have 25 minutes. 🙂