7 Months Later – The One Computer Classroom

Most of my job for the Center at Rutgers is sustained professional development. I truly believe in this model as you can only learn so much in four hours or a day. You have to have time to think about it and implement it. Participants have to feel comfortable and willing to ask questions and try activities again.

One of the districts I began working with this year has decided to begin integrating technology into the curriculum by purchasing tablet PCs and projectors for their middle and high school math and science teachers. This is the first phase of a multi-year initiative that they have planned that slowly upgrades their level of technology literacy.

The HS teachers entered their comments in a public Google spreadsheet.

This first cohort of teachers are thrilled to have a laptop/tablet to use. It’s the first piece of hardware they’ve had in years that they can rely on for productivity, classroom presentation and small group activities. We were allotted pretty much a meeting a month. Well, not even. We met five times over the last seven months and communicated via a Ning I set up for all the teachers enrolled in the program.

When we gathered for our final session, the teachers spoke of how thrilled the students were about using the tablet. It’s still novel, even in April. Students don’t have access to tablets in all classes as they’re being rolled out over a couple of years, so they look forward to using it when they can.

Students also look forward to being engaged by the types of technologies and activities that we have reviewed and  implemented this past seven months:

Each session, we also reviewed specific content-related resources in biology, physics, chemistry, environmental science, math analysis, algebra, calculus and geometry.

The biology teacher, Steven Klass, even went as far as to create a private education (social) network for his students using Edmodo. He had requested some information early on in the year about how to create one safely and effectively and we had discussed some benefits of encouraging students to communicate about classroom content online. Using Edmodo, Mr. Klass up his AP Biology students to talk about content online. He also posted resources from class and it turns out, so did they. He was pleasantly surprised when, after a few weeks in Edmodo, students from his class started posting links to biology videos and articles for their classmates to read. He even wound up inviting a few students from another section in so that they could also benefit from the information.

I noted as we were scanning the chat that there was one student who was very vocal in the logs. I asked Mr. Klass if this happened to be a student who participated a lot in his physical class, and no surprise to many of you reading this post, this was a typically quiet student. It was a pleasure to listen as the teachers in the room spoke of how he participate online versus in the room and how the wheels churned a bit as to how this might benefit some of their students as well. Next year, Mr. Klass plans on opening the social network to the rest of his science students.

So, it’s been all positive in my post up till now. I try to be open and honest and this time is no different than others. One teacher admitted that he just could not use technology as a resource for students to submit assignments. He was not having success with it this year. He would, however, set the expectation from the beginning next year with the families, and give it a try again in the fall.

Another teacher admitted that the technology does keep the students engaged, but she was unwilling to share the tablet with them, so the students really weren’t benefiting from hands-on time. Yet, she’s in the chart above transforming from verbal lecture only to sideshows with hyperlinks and videos. There is progress and the hope for more next year.

Are you in a school where the technology is not in the hands of the students? How do you go about getting it to them? Is it through homework or class time or some other way? Please share your experiences or suggestions.

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Final Preparations for #NJEA09

I was honored when the folks that ran the NJEA Technology Institutes this past July invited me to run some sessions at the NJEA Convention this fall. I had remembered reading the blog posts and Tweets from fellow NJ educators while they were in the High Tech Hall last November and felt a bit envious that there was such a large gathering of local teachers interested in using technology to improve teaching and learning in the classroom that I couldn’t be a part of. But this year, I’ll be there in Classroom 2.

My good friend and colleague, Kevin Jarrett, has been sharing resources with me and the others involved in the showcase. Here’s a map to the High Tech Hall as well as the two Classrooms that will be in the Convention Center dedicated to the technology integration. I was also able to (finally) find a link to the online program guide on the NJEA website.

program

I’m presenting five one-hour sessions with the theme: Stretching Your Technology Dollar –  Shoestring Innovations

Thursday, November 5

9:00am Thinking Inside the Box

11:30am Did You Say That Was Free?

1:00pm Are We Teaching Standard Students?

Friday, November 6

9:00am This Is Not Your Grandmother’s Google

11:30am Don’t Be Late-That’s So 2008

Each session will be hands-on in Classroom 2 which is loaded with computers. The way I understand it, you can’t sign up for a seat, so you’ll need to come down to the High Tech Hall a little on the early side should you see a session that peaks piques your interest. While you are there, there are tons of mini sessions going on and there are other one-hour workshops in Classroom 2 as well.

I’m looking forward to networking with and learning from many folks I don’t get to see face-to-face too frequently. I hope to see you there too!!

Thinking Inside the Box

boxesThis Tuesday, July 14,  will be the second of three keynotes I will be presenting for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). As I mentioned in my post about the first keynote , I’ve set aside a section on my wiki for the slide decks and resources I’ll be sharing and I will be embedding the UStreams there as well. I’ve established #NJEA as the Twitter hashtag already and on 7/5/09 Tweeters in the Twitterverse began using the hashtag in any conversation related to these Technology Institutes.

Please consider joining the UStream one or both of the remaining Institutes. They begin on Tuesday mornings at 9:15AM EST. I truly feel these New Jersey educators would benefit from your input on how you use portable devices in the classroom.  Tweet a link using the #NJEA hashtag, leave a comment here, join us in the UStream.

Thanks for your support. –Lisa

We’ll be trying:

Poll Everwhere
http://chacha.com/

We’ll be watching:

Did You Know 3.0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY

Abbott and Costello Video
http://teachertube.com/members/viewVideo.php?video_id=3963&title=Abbot_and_Costello_Maths_Problem

Intel Commercial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypEo7uCUXA8

We’ll be talking about:

How to use the wealth of material available to educators and students in iTunesU, on sites like Teachertube.com, and many others. We’ll also be taking a look at boxes like the iPodTouch and netbooks.

Gearing up for the beginning of a journey…

On Friday, June 27, teachers from four districts across New Jersey will gather at the Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education at Rutgers University to begin the first year of a new initiative I am pleased to be working on. These educators will spend the day getting to know each other and begin immersing themselves in online professional learning networks.

I’ve outlined the day as follows:

  • Topic 1: Why do we teach what we teach?
    • Grade levels
    • Subject areas
    • Areas of interests
  • Topic 2: Focus on the learning not on the tools
    • What skills do you need as an educator?
    • What skills do you need as an individual?
    • What skills will our students need to be successful in higher education and ultimately their careers?
  • Topic 3: Developing your professional learning network
    • Who do you want in your network? Why?
    • What will you offer to educators in your network?
    • What tool(s) do you want to use to develop your network?

I’ve collected some resources I’d like to share with the group:

Council of 21 Concludes its Year-long Study: Preparing Schools and School Systems for the 21st Century

You Tube – Did You Know 2.0 Video

Dangerously Irrelevant: Key Question

21st Century Learning: 9 Principles for Implementation

I’m very much looking forward to meeting everyone and participating in the discussion among this group of educators. Before we reconvene on July 28, participants will have a chance to communicate with each other via Twitter, Diigo and any other form of online networking they choose including Nings, wikis and blogs to define their vision for 21st Century Learning.

What’s New with iTunes U

This past Friday I attended the end of the year monthly meeting for NJECC. Members are asked to bring guests with them to present success stories of technology integration from the school year. We saw some great projects spanning the WII Fit to Scratch to Tablet PCs to the folks I brought from North Plainfield School District who spoke about their iPod and Podcasting initiative.

I Tweeted some new links while I was there. But what I couldn’t summarize in 140 characters or less was what Dave Marra from Apple demonstrated for us.

Among some other amazing tips and tricks Dave shared, he took us through a tour of iTunes U. I admit that I wasn’t as familiar with it’s offerings as I thought I was because I couldn’t wait to get home to starting searching around.

When you get the chance, take a look at these areas in iTunes U to see if there’s anything you’d like to subscribe to and remember – it’s all free.

·         Under the Categories section on the left, you’ll find a link for “Teaching and Education”
Within this category you will find so many wonderful things to view and listen to as an educator.

1.    Teaching and Learning – UMBC’s Hybrid Teaching Workshop

2.     Educational Policy from Stanford University

3.     Duke’s Digital Initiative

4.     Tech-Ease: Classroom Tech Help includes video podcasts on Inspiration, Wikis, Blackboard, podcasting as well as many others.

·         Under the Categories section, you’ll find links for Science, Mathematics, History and Fine Arts as well as other areas of interest. Check them out too.

·         iTunes U is SEARCHABLE!! Try it. I typed “Twitter” in the search box and got back 50 related podcasts.

·         Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find a link for the “Beyond Campus” category. Take the time to check these out. Here’s a few.

1.     Little Kids Rock – nonprofit organization that provides it’s curriculum and musical instruments to schools in need. They have guitar and drum lessons posted in podcast format as well as other videocasts.

2.    The New York Public Library – provides literature podcasts from the author visits as well as a business series on credit management and marketing.  They even have a teen program called “Turn It Up @ The Library” which you can subscribe to.

3.     American Public Media – offers a podcasts on the 2008 Election Issues

Take some time to explore and sync some these podcasts to your iPod or MP3 player. Have fun.

 

What are 2344 People Thinking?

As more educators in New Jersey move from 1.0 to 2.0 methods of communication, I’m thinking the need for a newsletter may begin to fade. Not that I would stop e-mailing it to our some two-thousand subscribers anytime soon. But it’s time to offer some options and to hopefully start getting some answers.

Many teachers and administrators that I’ve met with over the last few months have started to follow me on Twitter and have signed up for Google Reader or Bloglines to organize the blogs that they have begun to read. They’re open to moving forward into the Web 2.0 world.

CMSCE April 2008 NewsletterThe Center has been using their Listserv to communicate with NJ educators for years now. We use it to send out notices of special events, upcoming workshops and when I joined the staff in 2004, I began to send a monthly newsletter to the ListServ’s subscribers.

According to L-soft the ListServ was invented in 1986. Just two years prior, the CMSCE at Rutgers University was established to contribute to the improvement of mathematics, science, and computer education programs in New Jersey schools and in schools throughout the nation.

Many of you know I abandoned what little blogging I had done at Blogger and decided many weeks ago to start from scratch with Thumann Resources. I gave some thought as to the benefits of the Center’s ListServ subscribers reading the information I present to them in newsletter form in the form of a blog post. Here is what I came up with:

If you click on the http://Bubbl.us image, you’ll see a full screen version of it.

The yellow bubbles represent anything that both the newsletter and blog have in common such as the fact that both are written in html and are best viewed in a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari). Another commonality is that the ListServ will not allow any e-mails to go through with virus attachments and the moderator (that’s me) will not allow any comments to go through that are not approriate or related to the conversation.

The remaining bubbles focus on four major points:

  1. I have no idea how many of the 2,344 educators who subscribe to the Center’s ListServ or the additional thousands of educators who subscribe to NJSSI‘s ListServ (who I also send the newsletter to each month) actually read the newsletter. On my blog I can see how many people visited each post.
  2. Not only can I see how many people visited each post, but I can see how many times each of the links in the post were clicked.
  3. I can track where my readers are coming from. Did they come to Thumann Resources from Google, Rutgers, Twitter, the DOE?
  4. The only person who gets to see the reponses that subscribers submit to the monthly newsletter is me. Many of them are kudos and many others are requests for “a site that can help me with…” and “when will you offer the…” and of course “please remove me from…”, but the blog opens the door to readers being able to leave comments that other readers can read and respond to.

My favorite is number 4. I’m hoping some of you will comment on this post letting me know your thoughts about what I’ve written, what you’d like to share with other educators, what you’d like to see in the newsletter, or anything else you’d like to share.

The Web 2.0 Whirlwind

Someone said to me the other day, “A Web 2.0 workshop? You can teach that with your eyes closed.”

I know the comment didn’t come from someone truly immersed in Web 2.0 and I know they don’t have Go2WEB2O.net in their Google Reader or they would realize just how difficult it is to keep up with all the new 2.0 applications that come out on a weekly basis.

So, I took a look at the eBoard that I used the last time I taught Web 2.0 at the Center. eBoards has been how we’ve organized information for our workshops at the Center for many years now. We have a partnership with Seacliffe technologies and we give every workshop participant a free eBoard for a year when they attend one of our workshops.

So I took a look at my resource at http://web-two-point-o.cmsce.site.eboard.com. I wasn’t feeling the love. I had put a lot of time into it when I had used it last, but since then I had facilitated a half a dozen workshops in districts and a few presentations at conferences and had used various wikis and Twitter to provide the links to the sites.

Am I supposed to do a complete overhaul on this eBoard? For the teachers in NJ that have access to these resources – should I change the links or should I leave it so that they sign up for our summer workshops or again in the fall to update their web 2.0 toolbox.

I thought about it all day. I wrote my agenda, got together a few handouts (I try not to give paper in technology workshops, I prefer to give everything in digital form).

Here’s what I decided. Be honest. Tell me what you think and I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m going to invite the (small) group of teachers to join me in a Google Doc as we create a list of web 2.0 tools we use during the day. This way they can make notes on each tool as we go.
Here’s the list of tools (I have 5 hours of professional development time)
1. Google Docs
2. iGoogle
2. Twitter
3. Skrbl
4. Del.icio.us
5. Bubbl.us
6. Tiny.url / moo url
7. Zamzar / converttube
8. VoiceThread