Success at the Second EdubloggerCon East

Group Photo from EduBloggerCon East 2009
Group Photo from EduBloggerCon East 2009

Yesterday marked the second annual Edubloggercon East. We met, thanks to the Alan November team, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from 9:00 to 5:00. Our agenda was packed. I’m planning to blog about the session that I led on backchannels (Jeff Lebow UStreamed it and it is archived at EdTechTalk.com), but I need to meet with Liz Davis to finish preparing for our sessions at BLC09

The sites from the Web 2.0 Smackdown (thanks go to Steve Guditus for taking such great notes) are listed here:

Lee Kolbert shared bubblecomment.com

Joyce Valenza took us to Google to demonstrate Google Squared, the Wonder Wheel and “Show Options” in Google

Andrew Connelly from Glogster talked about the benefits of the Education version of Glogster at http://www.glogster.com/edu/ – check it out – up to 200 student accounts per teacher

Jim Walker shared the Firefox add-on Fireshot for taking screenshots and easily editing them

Raju Gupta showed us Socrato!

Andy Pethan shared Aardvark

Karen Janowski shared the Pulse Smartpen by LiveScribe

Emily Valenza shared Instructables

Lisa Parisi shared ImageChef for generating your own images with text on them – so cool!!

Beth Lloyd shared Xtranormal for taking your text and making it into a movie – take a look, it’s so much more than that.

Kelley Connoly shared Stixy

We took a look at YoLink

Darren Kuropatwa – talked about how WolframAlpha will change homework. (Students will have to explain why WolframAlpha used the steps it did to solve the problem.)

Liz Davis announced www.socialtecheducation.com

Thanks go to everyone who attended both physically and virtually – it was a fantastic day!

I Hope It’s Not My Last Chance

Tomorrow I will be speaking for the third and final time at the NJEA Technology Institutes at Stockton College. I’ve really enjoyed talking with New Jersey educators there. The feedback so far has been positive and the teachers seemed to have been enjoying their time in the digital storytelling, podcasting, Web 2.0 and SmartBoard sessions after each of the Keynotes I’ve been giving.

In a way, I kind of feel like this is my last chance. For what, I’m not really sure. Some of the teachers registered for all three of the July Institutes, some only one. Some that attended the two-hour hands-on sessions, didn’t attend the Keynotes. But I took my role as the Keynoter very seriously and put a lot of time and effort into the message I attempted to relay.

My first talk was on July 7 and was centered around the concept of developing a professional learning network. I set up a Twitter hashtag for the Institutes and with the help of my friend and colleague, Kevin Jarrett, have been able to UStream and archive each of the Keynotes. I was shocked and humbled when there were more educators in the UStream the first day than in the physical room.

During the second talk, I focused on what we could do to utilize all the portable equipment our students have access to. Of course many of our schools have some of these “boxes” on premises, but the focus of our time together was how to use what the students already had.

I’ve collected all of my resources on my wiki at http://sites.google.com/site/thumannresources/njea. I’ve embedded the Slideshares there. I’ve put links to all the videos I’ve used and the articles I’ve referred to. I’ve Tweeted as I usually do, yet occasionally the past few weeks, I’ve used the #NJEA hashtag where appropriate.

So, tomorrow, I feel like it’s my last chance to be a change agent for some of these teachers who I may not see again. They may not use some of the tools and techniques I referred to. They may, quite frankly, not be interested. But I’d like to think that many of them are.

Tomorrow’s presentation is about the 21st Century Classroom and the The Networked Student.  I am very fortunate to have such great resources to pull from. I’ll be sharing with these hundred educators Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malstrom‘s No Future Left Behind video. I’ll also be showing some footage of some interviews that I’ve had with some students over the last couple of weeks. One other video I will sharing with be Wendy Drexler’s The Networked Student.

So, if you’re having your coffee tomorrow morning and can spare some time, please join us. We begin between 9 and 9:15 AM EST. I’ll Tweet out the link to the UStream. I am @lthumann on Twitter. Thanks again for your support.

Spontaneous Professional Development

I’m not quite sure where I first heard the term. It might have been back in May when I read Wes Fryer’s post about The Importance of Online detailedstatemapofnewjegm6Professional Development or in the Blogger’s Cafe at NECC when talking with Dean Shareski and Scott McLeod about how to encourage teachers to reach out to their network’s for information and assistance.

I rather like the term though. It speaks to me. Isn’t this what Twitter is to so many of us? I know what you are thinking. “Lisa is blogging about Twitter again?” Well, I was on a Google kick for a while and now it looks as if my focus has shifted to professional development as for the next three Tuesdays I will be keynoting for the New Jersey Education Association‘s (NJEA) Technology Institutes. Obviously all the presentations will focus on educational technology.

July 7, 2009 – Spontaneous Professional Development (through Twitter)

July 14, 2009 – Portability and Powerful Learning Tools

July 21, 2009 – The 21st Century Classroom and the Networked Student

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 as last night I asked Twitterers to share some resources with the NJEA attendees using #NJEA.

Please consider joining the UStream on any or all of these Tuesday mornings at 9:15AM EST. I truly feel these New Jersey educators would benefit from your take on spontaneous professional development and how you’ve benefited from your personal learning network through Twitter. Tweet a link using the #NJEA hashtag, leave a comment here, join us in the UStream.

Thanks for your support. –Lisa

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5 Changes To Education Meme

Image Source: http://www.medicalpracticetrends.com
Image Source: http://www.medicalpracticetrends.com

I have been tagged by Beth Knittle for this meme. TJ Shay began this meme with the following rules.

List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system.  Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students.  If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.

This is the first semester in many years that I am not taking a graduate class in the evenings. I decided to take a break so that I would have more time with my family and to devote to the astonishing amount of professional development offered through the folks in my PLN via distance. Last semester, as I sat in a room without wi-fi listening to the class discussions, I found myself really feeling like I could spend my time more wisely participating in EdTechTalk events, the DEN or ISTE in Second Life or even some of the impromptu gatherings that happen via UStream or Skype. I just wanted to make sure that I was putting myself in an environment where I could learn.

One thing that stuck with me from one of my recent classes in supervision was that when you go into a school or a district as a new administrator, you should not make immediate change. You should observe and learn the culture before you can make decisions as to what would make improvements.

So, though a part of me wants to make changes in education, the other part of me knows that these things take time, and I’ll keep working towards making improvements within the districts that I have come to know the culture and populations of. The teachers that I work with know that I believe in “taking baby steps” and that things take time.

Here is my list. There are a few that are a bit more achievable, but I can dream big, right?

1.  I would like teachers to view themselves as professionals so that the portion of the population that doesn’t, that sees teachers as working from 9 to 3 and having summers off, will know how much we are devoted to our profession. There are so many devoted educators that put in countless hours to improve teaching and learning in their classroom and to make sure that they meet the needs of their students. Let this be known.

2.  I would like all educators to see the positive in each and every student. I know it’s difficult, but they are all someone’s child and they all need love, understanding and sometimes extra assistance or compassion.

3.  I would like students to play a larger role in the writing of curriculum. If we give our students more opportunities to take ownership of their education, then maybe there will be more success stories. Students need to invest in their futures as well and this is one way for them to do so.

4.  I would ask that administrators find the needs in a district before taking on an initiative to fix something. There is always more than one way to look at something. Let’s make sure we are addressing the right issues before determining what we think are the right solutions.

5.  I would like all teachers to “be teachable“. Mandated professional development is not always the way to go. Educators, and people in general have to WANT to learn in order to truly learn. I would love it if all teachers were open to trying new things, open to doing what they already do well – more, and willing to share resources. How do we accomplish this? Well, I do believe that enthusiasm is contagious…

If you are reading this post, you most likely have thought about this list of 5 things to improve in education. Perhaps you’ve even implemented changes to make these improvements. I’d be curious to know what other things you are looking to change. I therefor tag the following bloggers, but anyone is welcome to leave a comment or post the meme on their site.

Clif Mims

Chris Craft

Cheryl Oakes

Liz Davis

Bud Hunt

Pick one new skill and give it a try

images.inmagine.com/img/image100/10086/10086059.jpg
Source:images.inmagine.com/img/image100/10086/10086059.jpg

Late this past Tuesday I was asked if I would put together a presentation for a group of high school teachers. The high school administration is working on making better use of the hardware and infrastructure already set in the building and they have set up a professional day with some 90 minute workshops on how to integrate web resources into the content areas as a way of renewing the buildings interest in matching the students needs. To kick off the day, the technology coordinator asked me to make a presentation to the 150 or so high school teachers that would “get them excited” about using technology.

If you’ve met me, follow me on Twitter or read my blog, you know it doesn’t take much to excite me about technology. This stuff is my passion. So I immediately recognized that what might be really engaging for me as a member of this audience on a Friday morning at 8am, might bore the heck out of a high school biology teacher who has no interest in technology whatsoever. Thanks invance for your continued support and assistance.

This I found a bit unnerving.

The other issue I was having was that I found out about this presentation Tuesday afternoon and was due in another district on both Wednesday and Thursday. So there wasn’t much time to prep anything. I mostly planned my slide show in my head and wrote notes at red lights while driving. And then finally, Thursday evening, was able to put my presentation together.

I’d like to share it with you. I wish it were later in the day so that I would be able to invite my PLN to join a backchannel and present with me, but I realize that 8am is very early. I may try to set something up on UStream if I get the chance once I am there. I will definitely be on Twitter, looking for moral support as I have to say that this is the largest group I have presented to.

Did I mention that this is the first district I ever taught in?? No, I guess I didn’t happen to mention that.

As Liz Davis I had great fun asking session attendees to dance with us at Educon2.1, I decided to play some music while everyone is settling down. I don’t quite have the nerve to ask 150 people to get up and dance.

I will introduce the video Pay Attention and then use this slide show to lead my discussion. If I’m not able to record it using UStream, I’ll have my iPod Classic with me so that I can record it that way as I’d like to go back and hear it myself. I’m very curious to see what improvements I can make on this particular presentation having had so little time to prepare.