Monday, April 30, 2007

Credit to Tom Abeles

Tom has been feeding me a lot of interesting info. I thought I would share it with you.

Contact Consortium


Reinventing Schools
(this site is from 1995)

You Have to Read This

After reading this, my brain has been going non-stop about the possibilities: Future Learning Environments.

This article not only broadened my mind as a teacher, but taught me history about the Wilson Campus School, located in my home town of Mankato, MN. For more on the Minnesota Experimental City, see this Wikipedia link here.

Not to get to philosophical on you, but I pose this question: What is a school?

My definition is quickly changing, but still centers around educating future citizens to think critically. Technology is changing things at a rapid pace and students are up to the challenge. As teachers, we need less of the status quo and more pushing the envelope. I am trying to keep my foot on the accelerator.

Back From New Mexico...

I should have a lot to write about after three days in New Mexico at the National Charter School Conference. I do, I do! Now I just have to find the time.

Here are some sessions I attended:

  • Advocacy: How to Get What You Want Without Becoming a Bully (Antita Mendosa, Amerischools; Russ Moore, Seamless Education Consultants; Marta Reyes, California Department of Education; John Thatcher, Connections Public Charter School)
  • Education Excellence Through One to One Computing (Brian Schmitt, NComputing)
  • Toward Next-Generation Charter School Legislation (Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform; Phil Andrews, Charter School Solutions, Inc.; Sara Mead, Education Sector; Todd Ziebarth, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)
  • Building a Taxonomy of Public Charter Schools: The First Step Toward "Apples to Apples" Research (Ginny Blankenship, Charter School Policy Institute; Ted Kolderie, Education/Evolving; Mark Van Ryzin, University of Minnesota)
  • Race, Class and School Reform (Dianne Piche, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights; Lucretia Peebles, Loyola Marymount University)
  • Charter Schools and Unions: Can They Get Along? (George Fatheree, California Charter Schools Association; Steve Barr, Green Dot Public Schools; Jonathan S. Gyurko, United Federation of Teachers; Dan Quisenberry, Michigan Association of Public School Academies; Lydia Rainley, Center for Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington)
  • Getting in the Political Trenches: Recruiting and Financing Candidates for Public Office (Jon Schroeder, Education/Evolving; Jim Griffin, Colorado League of Charter Schools; Ember Reichgott Junge, former in State Senator/former House of Representatives candidate; Andy Rotherham, Education Sector; Greg Brock, All Children Matter)
  • Cyber Charter Myths and Realities (Barbara Dreyer, Connections Academy; Allison Perz, Ohio Council of Community Schools; John Watson, Evergreen Associates, Inc.)
Additionally, I got to witness Howard Fuller and Ted Kolderie be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Above: Ted Kolderie accepting his award. Below: Photo opp. with D.J. Howard Fuller.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Education Evolving Rolls Out a New Website

If you have never been to Education Evolving's site or haven't visited for a while, check out the new layout and updates. I personally love the use of video they incorporated into the new design. Now, I just hope that people will pay attention to changes that need to be made in public education for it to be sustainable.

Education Evolving

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Everything Google

It is hard to say what is next from Google, but I am hearing rumors around the Internet about offering a free cell phone (I am not going to renew my current contract).

As if Google needs me advertising for them... They are amassing an impressive line-up of free web based software thus far:
  • Gmail - email (separate from the below accounts) - has built in IM for fellow gmailers
  • Blogger - blogging software
  • Calendar - links to gmail and you can share your calendars with others.
  • Docs and Spreadsheets (with presentation software soon to follow) - allows you to save to the web in your account. You can collaborate and let others view your document using a web address.
  • Notebook - can take notes in a web based environment
  • Orkut - extensive social networking program
  • Page Creator - easy to build websites with templates built in
  • Picasa - online photo editing (easy for embedding using html)
  • Google Talk - instant messaging, video chat and allows users to leave voicemail in place of text (while still an email message)
  • Google Video - includes searchable videos from YouTube being that Google bought the site
There are other programs like: Google Earth (satellite viewing of the world) and Sketch Up (3D modeling). You can sign up for these programs, for free at the Google accounts page or use the Google search engine to learn more. The programs work together for the most part, which is the reason why I am so fond of Apple's software.

What does this mean?
In my opinion, Google will make it possible to ditch expensive operating systems like Windows and Mac make that we all pay big bucks for. All a person will need is a web browser and a connection to the Internet to do all the things Windows and Mac make you pay expensive licensing fees for. Google is truly cutting edge and will hopefully save us all money.

For All You Non-Traditional Types

If you have an interest in how technology can be used in learning, you should check out a man by the name of Mark Prensky. He is what many would label a futurist (according to Wikipedia) and has ideas, that a few years ago, seemed a bit crazy. Before last year, his ideas seemed a bit far fetched to me.

Last school year, I had two students (Rob and Seth) base their senior projects around much of Mark Presky's ideas and opinions. The students would make comments like "Why doesn't education use gaming?" and "Why don't my parents understand why technology shouldn't be feared?." The concept of both of their projects was to prove to my previous school (Minnesota New Country) that kids need to be surrounded by technology for them to be engaged in learning. I can honestly say that I learned as much, if not more than my students from their work. (It is important to note that technology is a tool and doesn't replace content) More technology doesn't scare me. Does it scare you?

It is hard to argue that the Internet, as we know it, is changing quickly. We are going from the information age to the networking age. It is now possible to collaborate with people around the globe, as long as they have an Internet connection. Education is changing as we know it too. Experimenting is taking place and the "traditional" ways of delivering education will surely change.

This is a wordy entry today, but thanks for sticking with me.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Interesting Online Journal Concerning Technology and Education

Check out the online journal "On the Horizon."

I had the pleasure to meet the editor (Tom P. Abeles) this morning at a discussion on "Rethinking Public Education," but on by Growth and Justice.

It was a worthy discussion that brought together voices from all over the education community.

Couldn't Refuse Posting This

This PowerPoint (using Slideshare) goes a long way in describing my feelings towards technology and teaching.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Two Great Sites for Learning

Check out Learn Out Loud Podcasts

And also, Learn Out Loud Video Podcasts

I haven't had much time to check these out, but you can thank Karen for sending me these resources. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Looking for Good Projects

If you have a project you would like to share with others, let me know and I will post it to the blog. I have gotten some good feedback about Tay and Jess' project.

Even if you don't go to EOCHS, feel free to share.