Did You Develop Professionally?

Image Source http://zcache.com
Image Source http://zcache.com

Let’s review the facts.

On June 22, 2009 I responded to Clif Mim’s Professional Development Meme with the following four summer PD goals:

My Goals:

1. Complete the last two video podcasts for the grant project I have remaining and submit them to the funding partners.
2. Record audio and or video of summer PD and upload to the CMSCE Rutgers iTunes U account for archiving.
3. Continue building the UDL4ALL Ning – add resources, build community, cultivate conversations.
4. Add to my iTouch the Future series of posts.

Now, before you judge me, stop and think about how hectic your summer has been. Think about all the time you spent with your family and friends. Think about all the work you did. Think about all you actually were able to accomplish.

Let’s cut to the chase. Here’s the breakdown of the excuses for not accomplishing any of my goals:

  1. I didn’t finish the video project because during my two-week vacation when I was going to work on it (this is funny, right?) I had to manually code the Center’s fall 2009-2010 catalog (link).
  2. The sessions I intended on UStreaming were in fact recorded, I even uploaded them to Blip.tv . But when I went to convert and edit them down to import into iTunesU I ran into all sorts of errors that I just abandoned after a while.
  3. I did add a bit to the UDL4ALL Ning but not as much as I had planned. I have no excuse for this one.
  4. Blogging about the iPodTouch apps became less of a priority for me as my interests went elsewhere. I bookmarked many great resources and explored many great educational applications this summer though.

Though I did not comply with the 7th rule of this Meme in that I did not achieve my goals by September 7th, I do feel that I have developed professionally. Sometimes our priorities shift. Things happen.

I’m getting ready to welcome a new cohort of educators into the Center’s 21st Century Learning Initiative. I’m looking forward to the 3rd year of the INCLUDE grant and helping districts use the UDL framework to help students reach their objectives. I’m looking forward to traveling around New Jersey and the country to various conferences to speak about technology trends in education and exchange ideas with fellow ed-techies.

I’m looking forward to ANOTHER great year. How about you?

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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/

Professional Development Meme 2009

Clif's Avatar 2008
Clif's Avatar 2008

My first face-to-face meeting with Clif was as the Bogger’s Cafe at NECC08. He was easy to spot. I saw the skin on his laptop and immediately recognized the person that I had been communicating with for many months on Twitter with. I rather enjoyed those first few minutes — connecting a voice with the written word — attaching facial expressions with observations longer than 140 characters.

Clif happened also to be the last person that I saw at the Austin airport before I caught my flight back to New Jersey last June. I’ve since shared some time with one of his graduate classes, shared bookmarks, Tweets and perhaps even some Plurks with him. But I have not seen him face-to face since last June and I am very much looking forward to chatting with him at NECC09.

About a month ago, Clif tagged me in this PD Meme and I promised him that though I didn’t have time to write about it then, I would eventually have a chance to write out my summer goals and tag others to do so as well. I certainly don’t want to arrive in our Nation’s Capitol without having fulfilled my promise to my friend Clif.

Directions:

Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2009 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

Rules: (NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.)

1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/07/09).
3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
4. Title your post Professional Development Meme 2009 and link back/trackback to http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2447.
5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme09
6. Tag 5-8 others to participate in the meme.
7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

My Goals:

1. Complete the last two video podcasts for the grant project I have remaining and submit them to the funding partners.
2. Record audio and or video of summer PD and upload to the CMSCE Rutgers iTunes U account for archiving.
3. Continue building the UDL4ALL Ning – add resources, build community, cultivate conversations.
4. Add to my iTouch the Future series of posts.

I tag:

Lucy Gray
David Truss
John Pederson
Liz Davis
Christy Tvarok Green

What did you do at work today?

My daughters get confused sometimes about what I actually teach. Even though they’ve been to my office, they know sometimes I’m in a school teaching. They know I also go to school every Tuesday night. So they never quite know how to ask me about my day. Sometimes they ask me how work was, sometimes how school was and more recently they have caught on a bit and have started asking me what age the people I worked with that day were. But that can get tricky too.

This week was long. But amazing.oms_wordpress

Monday AM – I spent my morning here working with middle school students and their teachers on video podcasting. Last year I had helped their wonderful Technology Coordinator, Linda Epps, with the list of software and hardware she would need to purchase to start video podcasting with some of the classes in the school. The grant that Ms. Epps wrote included, as we discussed, professional development for the teachers involved, including in-class coaching with the students. So, on Monday, as part of the final phase we storyboarded, recorded, found podsafe music and made the most of the 60 minute block. I saw four classes that day. One ELL, one math, one reading and one writing. By the end of the day we had established a plan for my return that coming Friday.

schwagMonday PM – I left straight from the school and went into New York to check into The Pod Hotel. From there I took the subway to Google.  Did you know that the footprint of the New York office is larger than 2 football fields? Anyway, I arrived between Eighth and Ninth avenues and 15th and 16th streets to meet with Mark Wagner, Cristin Frodella and Allison Merrick to help set of for the Google Teacher Academy the next day. We filled schwag bags, put out the teacher binders and did anyhting and everything to make sure that we were ready for the 59 prospective GCTS.

Monday 8PM – dinner with all above and the rest of the lead learners. We had a fantastic dinner and it was great to catch up with old friends and have a chance to get a acquainted with new ones.

The Night Before the GTA
The Night Before the GTA

Tuesday 7AM – 9:30PM Google Teacher Academy – It flew by. Before I knew it, the day was over. Each participant went through 6 tech tools rotations, 3 inspiring ideas, a tour of the Google offices, presentations by Cristin Frodella and Mark Wagner with regards to GCT responsibilities and details about Google Apps Education Edition as well as group activities, Office Hours with the Lead Learners and of course trips to the micro kitchens.

Me & Erica Hartman
Me & Erica Hartman
Me and Kathy Schrock
Me and Kathy Schrock
Me and Peggy Sheehy
Me and Peggy Sheehy

Wednesday AMAmerican Education Week – I’m lucky that I can work from home occasionally. I try to once a week to catch up on phone calls and e-mails and to be able to participate in my children’s education. On Wednesday morning from 9:35-10:20, parents of first grade students in my daughter’s school were invited to come in and observe a lesson. I was so impressed with my daughter’s teacher. She kept the students engaged and she obviously had varying levels of abilities in the room and worked her way around during the lesson to try to meet all of their needs. She was patient and nurturing and everything that my husband and I had been hoping for in a first grade teacher for our daughter. My daughter and I both enjoyed having each other there. My visit was extended when her Speech teacher came to get her and one of her classmates for their twice-weekly session. Bonus for me – an additional 40 minutes of school time.  I followed the small group of three as they stopped to pick up two additional students and continued with them as they made their way to a small classroom (or closet). I appreciated the extra time with my little one and look forward to speaking with both of the teachers at parent-teacher conferences.
From Speech I was off to the Scholastic Book Fair and then a quick meeting with the building Principal to talk about the needs of the teachers involved in the Center’s 21st Century Learning Initiative.

Wednesday PM – E-mail, Google Reader, returning phone calls and prep for Thursday PM and Friday.

Thursday AM – I usually get to the my office on campus once a week. If I’m there a second time, it’s usually because I’m teaching a workshop in our lab.   We had a quick meeting Thursday morning, one of consultants came in to borrow some software from me to install on her laptop (it was a legal install) and I tried to go through my snail mail. Thursday was also the Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Rutgers Faculty Dining Hall. So at 12:30, I headed over there with my colleagues and enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

Thursday PM – The 4th in a series of 6 after-school academies at a local (to my house, not to Rutgers) elementary school. At the superintendent’s request, I designed a series of 90 minute workshops to be held after school. One set was for the middle and high school teachers and another for the K-5 buildings. Today, I was excited as the teachers were coming prepared with pre-recorded audio to edit in Audacity and then upload to their Schoolwires pages. I knew the group of 10 or so would come in ready to work as they had been so enthusiastic the weeks prior and I had really enjoyed working with them. I was right. They all left that day with something published.

Thursday 7:30PM – I didn’t think my week could get any better, but it did. For an hour Thursday evening,

Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes
Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes

Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oakes and Alice Barr interviewed me on EdTechTalk. Their Seedlings show airs every Thursday night from 7:30-8:30. I usually listen to it on my iTouch, since that’s when I’m putting the kids to bed, but this time I listened live.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them. I hadn’t had the opportunity since BLC08. But I had spoken with Alice and Cheryl at the Google Teacher Academy on Tuesday and we spent some time going through the different events of the day. We also spoke some about Universal Design for Learning and how my Center has been working with some local school districts to bring UDL into NJ. I’m honored that Bob, Cheryl and Alice asked me to join them Thursday evening on Seedlings. I hope they’ll consider asking me back.

Friday – I traveled back to Orange Middle School. I worked with students and their teachers for four 80-minute blocks. The classes were all very different. I think the first may have been my favorite as the teacher was actually not there. I had known ahead of time that he was going to be out of the building, but I had wanted to make sure that were able to finish the project, so had offered to work with the students anyway. Did I mention that over half of them did not speak English? I had a great time. They were so welcoming. They were happy to have someone come in who wanted to work with them. I had a webcam with me and we were using the SMARTBoard and the SMART Recorder and they had a blast. We had to do more takes than usual, most likely because of the pronunciation issues, but other than that, I didn’t notice the language barrier. I modeled everything for them and they followed my lead. They were amazing.
The second and third classes were math and reading and we mostly edited. The filming had been done when I was in earlier in the week. But the students were amazed at how easy it was to mute sound, edit out bloopers and add credits to movies.
The last block was a writing class. The students had all written letters to President-Elect Obama and were filming the last of them as I walked in. I sat down with a few of them and modeled how to convert the videos once downloaded from the video camera and then we started bringing them into Windows Movie Maker. From there they really didn’t seem to need me. I was so happy to see that the students were ready to take on projects like this and that the teachers would be able to continue with their plans as the students would be able to implement them.

By the way, my youngest daughter is in the kitchen as I write this asking what grade I teach. My husband is trying to answer her. She’s five.

I can only hope that every week is as rewarding as this one has been. I consider myself very lucky.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Foreign Languages

This is the sixth post in a series I have been blogging about on using the iPod iTouch in the classroom. In response to Day 2 of Steve Dembo’s 30 Day’s to Being a Better Blogger I took a look at what brings most readers to Thumann Resources and it turns out it’s my posts on the iTouch and iPhone applications.

I was most interested in which of the posts brought the most visitors. At no surprise to me, iTouch the Future…I Teach – Music had the most hits of the first 5 posts in the series. Listed below are the remaining four posts listed in order from greatest number of hits to least.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Myself

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Math

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Science

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

Since August was the last time I posted anything about using iTouches in the classroom, I thought I might get back on track a bit with what brings many readers to my blog. I have been saving a few really fantastic sites to use in foreign language or ELL classes. Take a look.

The first app is The Talking Phrase Book. If you look at this application on the web, it will work, but it will not give you a link to any audio. If you look at it on your iTouch or iPhone, it will give you a link to play the audio once you select to convert the English to French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. Just watch this video tutorial to see how easy it is to use this convenient application.

Next take a look at Ask A Word. This is an all-in-one Spellcheck – Thesaurus – Dictionary – Encyclopedia, that is simple to use. It’s worth giving it a try.

You may also want to take a look at the Mobile Translator. This site allows you to take any Spanish word or phrase and translate it into one of ten languages including Korean, Russian and German.

Lastly, please visit Tech Dictionary. I got a real kick out of this site. I think it should be used as a resource at Cyber Safety workshops for parents. Not only can you look up any technology term (I tried CSS, shell and XML) but you can dive deep into their databases of IM-Chat abbreviations and Emoticon symbol combinations. This is the most extensive list I have come across in a long time.

Some of my favorites as seen below:

SFLA = Stupid Four Letter Acronym

( <> .. <> ) = Alienated

As usual, you can see the notes I put together for this post in a published Google Doc.

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

ThumannResources - Google Sites
ThumannResources - Google Sites

You don’t have 20 years of teaching experience if you’ve been teaching the same lesson the same way for 20 years. You have to revisit and revise every time you teach a lesson because there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

I’ve decided that one of the things that I can do to improve the professional development that I offer is to move some of my resources from my old eBoards to my new wiki. As I’m doing this I’m adding some of my presentations to SlideShare and of course editing and updating many of them as well.

On August 13, I’ll be teaching my iPods in Education workshop again. This is one of my favorite sessions. I always look forward to sharing all that you can do with the iPod and I have had a great time blogging about all the resource that are available to educators and students that have access to iPod Touches.

There are a few resources I’d like to share for Social Studies, including some for the upcoming Presidential Election. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you’ve found any others.

iCandidate Poll

This is a set of 20 questions that you answer to determine which of our two Presidential Candidates is a better match for your political opnions based on your answers.

iPodia

This site is Wikipedia for the iPhone / iTouch. iPodia does promise a new version is coming out soon, but I did not have a problem with the current version. Everything that you see on Wikipedia on the regular-sized monitor looks very nice and is readable on their mobile site.

Speedymarks.com offers some interactive quizzes for the iTouch. Pictured to the right is the quiz for the location of the United States. The user can select whether they be given 2, 3 or 4 choices to respond to the red highlighted area.

This same website also provides a Country Quiz. The user has a half dozen or so regions to choose from before they have to respond to questions specific to that region.

Once again, I’ve published the Google Doc that I used to gather the Social Studies resources for this post. Don’t forget you can also view my wiki on iPods in Education at http://sites.google.com/site/thumannresources/ or click on the Google Sites button under my picture on the right side of your monitor.

iTouch The Future…I Teach Myself

It’s amazing how many applications are available for the iTouch / iPhone. So far, I’ve blogged about sites for music, math and science and I’ve only made a dent in what’s available to use with students. There are also many sites that we can use for ourselves for productivity and just for fun. Today’s post will be a little bit about all three.

Productivity

· iDetect http://spicyclam.com/idetect/
This is an internet detection connector. If you have an iTouch, iDetect will automatically connect you to wi-fi if there is one available.

· Google Notebook – Mobile Version http://google.com/notebook/m
If you have an iGoogle page set up for yourself, this is great to have access to on your iPhone or iTouch. You could use it in lieu of a Google Doc to access information on-the-go. I’ve used it to access sets of links similar to this Google Doc that I’m no interested in sharing or publishing as a webpage.

· Glide http://www.glidemobile.com/
Sync with your desktop to view Powerpoint and Word docs on your iTouch. It’s a complete mobile desktop. Here’s an article about it.

· Widgetop http://www.widgetop.com/mobile.html
This is the mobile version of Widgetop Check it out if you are a fan of widgets or if you are a developer and you’d like to submit one to them.

· Pogonotes http://www.pogonotes.com/iphone/pogonotes.php
These “notes” are accessible beyond the iTouch unlike the notes that comes pre-installed – take a look at their site.

· iPhone Typing Test http://www.iphonetypingtest.com/
Try it out – see how fast you type with one finger.

· iNetwork Test http://www.inetworktest.com/
Measures the speed of the network your device is attached to.

· iTouch RSS Converter http://rss.blogcast.jp/login.php
iPhone/touch RSS Converter enables you to bring your favorite audio and video podcasts without syncing with iTunes. This tool allows you more space for many music and video on your iPhone and iPod Touch. Try your favorite podcast and you can also discover many podcasts from other people’s choice.

Education

· Quizzler http://www.quizzlerpro.com/quiz/online/index.html
Preloaded quizzes for SAT prep vocabulary, Harry Potter Books, State Capitals, Animals and Nature and more. When you tap on the wrong answer it highlights in red. When you tap on the correct answer it highlights in green so you know to move on to the next question.

Purchase Quizzler Pro to create quizzes yourself.

WARNING: Quizzler was originally developed for Pocket PCs and Palm handhelds. You can adapt the quizzes for the iPhones and iTouches, but their website suggests contacting them directly with any additional questions. It makes me think they are working on developing software specifically for the iTouch.

· iBookmark http://ibookmark.myiphone.pl/en/
There is a function that allows you to import from Del.icio.us

Entertainment

· iDoodle http://www.idoodleapp.com/
I could have used this one in the iTouch Math sites for geometry. You can “replay” your strokes. New to this latest version of iDoodle – you can now add text

video tutorial found at: http://www.idoodleapp.com/iDoodleGuide/index.html
iDoodle.jpg

· Free eBooks http://iphoneplaza.net/books/
They currently have about 20 books- supported by ads for Amazon. (There’s a link right on the main page for a “Deluxe eBook Reader”. It’s a link to buy the Kindle on Amazon.com)

· iPhlickr http://www.chandlerkent.com/iphlickr/
This site is not affiliated directed with Flickr -but allows you to search and view your Flickr photos or the millions of other photos on Flickr from your iPhone or iTouch.

· Google Talk http://talkgadget.google.com/talkgadget/m
IM your Google contacts from your iPhone / iTouch

A few additional items I wanted to mention…

If you are looking to Jailbreak your iPhone – check out Mark Wagner’s blog. He is a fellow Google Certified Teacher that I had the pleasure of meeting in person at NECC in San Antonio last week. He has some great posts on the topic.

Wouldn’t it be great if Diigo had a mobile site?

Still to come iTouch Foreign Languages, iTouch Social Studies and you never know what else I’ll come across. Feel free to leave me a comment with some suggestions. And as always, there were a few sites I looked at that I didn’t list here. Feel free to view my Google Doc.