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.

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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. 🙂

7 Steps to a Twitter MakeOver

TwitterMakeover

If this visual looks familiar to you then you are
either in need of a Twitter Makeover or know someone who is.

There are ten items that people might look at when they check out your Twitter page to decide if they want to include you in their personal learning network (PLN).

1. Don’t go with the default Twitter background. I’m not saying you have to go and upload a background from Twitterbackgrounds.com, but at the very least, click on the Settings button at the top, right corner of your Twitter window. Once you are in Settings, click on the Design tab and then select from one of the preset Themes. Click “save changes” and you will have a nice new background for your Twitter home page.

2. We know the Twitter bird is cute and that it comes in several different colors, but nothing says you are a Twitter newbie more than the Twitter default avatar. All you need to do is have a picture saved somewhere. It can be on your hard drive, it can be on your shared drive or a thumb drive. It can even be on a photo CD. You just need a picture of SOMETHING. Then click on the Settings button at the top, right corner of your Twitter window. Once you are in Settings, click on the Picture tab and then click on the Browse button. Locate the picture that you want to use and then click the Open button. Click Save and you are all set with a personalized avatar.

3. What goes under your name in the top, right-hand corner on your Twitter page, is your location. You need to let folks know where you are. What country is a great start. The more specific you are, the better. To fill out your location, go back to the Settings page and look about half-way down for the Location slot. You will answer the question “Where in the world are you?”.

4. Underneath your location will be your “one line bio”. This is so important as this is going to be where you will indicate that you are an educator. If you do not fill this information out, most educators will not follow you. Actually, most educators are looking to see in what area of education you teach. Be as specific as you can. To fill out your “one line bio” go back to the Settings page and look about half-way down. Twitter allows you up to 160 characters for this.

5. Tweet something interesting. Are you looking to develop a reciprocal relationship or are you looking to lurk? If you are looking to lurk, you can actually just use Twitter Search and you don’t have to sign up for a Twitter account. But if you are looking to develop a PLN in the Twitterverse, then you have to start contributing. Tweeting that you are “sitting in a workshop” or “trying out Twitter” isn’t really a productive contribution. You might want to consider Tweeting something that you have recently bookmarked or seen someone else Tweet. Also, you can Tweet the URL to a website that you have used with your students or colleagues and say why you used it.

6. Find people to follow. The people that you follow tells a lot about what you are interested in. Your potential Followers may scan the list to get an idea of what you are interested in. Consider using the following sites to help you find other educators to follow:

7. Don’t protect your updates. If you do this, potential followers can’t see who you are.  This is what you look like to them and as someone new to Twitter it says you are not looking to be a part of a reciprocal relationship.

protectedWell, I was going to write up a list of 10 steps, but it turns out it only takes 7. I met with most of the teachers from the Center‘s 21st Century Learning Initiative for a second time this past week after having them use Twitter and Diigo for about a month and decided that we would do “Twitter Makeovers” on many of them. What a great group of educators willing to try new tools to learn and share!!

New Jersey is “In Tune” With Technology

conflogo2009

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.