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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Virtual NECC 2006 Post #4: On Creativity, Research, the New Story, Web 2.0, RSS and more



Just a few other notes before "leaving" the conference for the night.

Keynote from Dewitt Jones
Bloggers say this was a stunning presentation with great graphics (expected from a photographer.) Several folks shared some meaningful thoughts that they got out of this inspirational address.

Jeff Utecht learned
"There is more than one right answer when using technology. Different teachers use technology in different ways, all of which are the ‘right answers’ for that teacher and class."
Josh learned:

"Nature shows us that there is more than one right answer -- how many teachers really believe that? How many of our students have been conditioned to disbelieve that? many, many of them have -- having the creativity beaten out of them over many years in an outdated educational system."
C learned:

"In order to be creative, one has to move from imagination to imaginaction. " and

Going after an extraordinary vision there are four steps:
(1) Train your technique
(2) Put yourself in the place of most potential
(3) Open yourself to possibilities
(4) Focus the vision by celebrating what's right in the situation and

"There is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless you are preaching while you are walking."


Blogs and the Blogosphere
Will Richardson presented today at an Open Source Blog Session and created a great presentation wiki. (I was kind of sad that Will left me off his list of edubloggers, but he did list my class wiki on his wiki resource list. I'm still a newbie, I guess..) He also posted a great list of classroom blogs.

His wiki for the presentation is chock full of resources that would take months to read but are a definite thing to bookmark!

Suzanne Porath attended a different session on blogging by Susim Munshi and Susan Switzer (and others.) Her post is full of pithy quotes and great points about new education. The presenters have a how to blog resource page and Bob Pike helped the presenters with some amazing ways to interact with the audience. The presenters also pointed out something interesting:

He also highlighted the Goochland Public schools that require the teachers to blog. He references Alan November's presentation to administrator that asked if the administrators wanted their teachers to use technology (especially wikis and blogs) the administrators MUST also use these technologies.


Why does technology work or not?
Tony Vincent of Learning in Hand attended a conference by
Cheryl Lemke (view presentation notes) urging participants instead of

"actually developing a technology plan, develop a vision statement about digital learning."
I'm impressed with Cheryl's 21st Century Skills:
  • Digital-Age Literacy
  • Inventive Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • High Productivity
She also quoted some research that shows what works, is inconclusive, and cannot be recommended. Unfortunately, you have to purchase a license to search the database and at $500 per year, my small private school could not justify that. For larger districts needing research based solutions, it makes a lot of sense. I did find a lot of the information at http://www.promisingpractices.net/ and it is worth a look for anyone in administration.

I was also intrigued by the following quote:

Research suggests that teachers who assign intellectually interesting work have students who make more grains in achievement. What does it mean to have intellectually stimulating work? There's relevance beyond the school day. Also, there's deep inquiry involved. The third is knowledge construction.
Other Technology Research
Sharon Betts shared some must-read research on emerging technologies. Some were:
She says that

"many states are beginning to accept this type of research as "in-service" credits for recertification. Action research meets ISTE NETS and National Board standards.

http://www.nefstem.org/teacher_guide/intro/index.html
Sustained Joint Literature project using Videoconference/Moodle between California & New York

Janine Lim has created another amazing post about the methologies behind this amazing joint project. It is a must read on the NECC bloggers list! In this project, she says:
"Three 5th and 6th grade classes, two in California, and 1 in New York, did sustained projects together over the last school year. They shared in depth one of their projects. Two students from each classroom divided up the tasks required to run literature circles. In Moodle during the week they discussed and planned, and on Fridays the classes videoconferenced (10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST) to discuss and share their projects."
Open Source Portal

Julie Lindsay from Bangladesh blogged about her time at the open source portal. I particularly like this statement:

"It does not hurt to have multiple ways and choices for teachers and students to do things" Sharon is referring to using more than one blogging method (Moodle and Myeport as examples) for different reasons. "You do not have to be prescriptive".
One blogger was impressed with TappedIn (Free) and the presenter's use of TappedIn himself:
"The facilitator conducted the entire session via video-conference, so he wasn't even in the same state for this session! He had a helper, Dave, who was in the room providing support where needed. It was a very interesting way to do a presentation, and TappedIn is pretty easy to use. There's a chat feature that connects teachers with each other, and you can set up classes for students to do the same."

David Warlick's Telling the New Story Session

It seems David had about 125 people in his session although moments before he had "his head in his hands," it looks like he really pulled it off. (See presentation wiki.) Attendee, Jeff Utecht
says:

We think technology as we were born in a time that was defined by our machines. Students today think in terms of information and stories. The information is more important than the technology they use. Can we as teachers and education move to a place where we can think of information and not technology?
Josh (who took some very good notes) made an amazing observation about David's presentation style:
"After the video David goes thru his online handouts and the wiki page that hosts the notes. Then quiety he says this powerful thing 'This is how we learn in the 21st century. We learn by sharing.'"
Kelly learned:
"When we have new questions, where do the new answers come from? One of the answers will be something that somebody said yesterday on a blog or wiki."


Web 2.0 and Education

Tim Wilson (Savvy Technologist) shared his Web 2.0 presentation with Julie Lindsay and Barry Dahl in the audience. Both truly did an excellent job of notetaking. There were a few great points I gleaned from Julie:

On professional development:
  • "Just in time" rather than "Just in case"
  • Feed the rabbits and starve the snails?? Find your tech champions and give them what they need to go...so they can show by example. Identify and support your champions.
On reaching students:
  • We are in a relevance race with our students! "Technology is crack for the teenage social mind"
  • Marc Prensky: digital immigramts, digital natives "They want to learn in a different way to how we were trained to teach"
  • "What are you doing right now to prepare your students to collaborate seamlessly across cultures in jobs that probably don't exist?" A K-12 school does not have a monopoly on content anymore.
Barry Dahl also chose this session and I liked what was said about keeping kids safe online:

How do we keep kids safe?

  • Keep student work on your network and servers. (legally, you need to be able to pull the plug.)
  • Monitor what they are doing
  • Implement a curriculum to teach students about appropriate online behavior.
  • Recognize that young people will encounter wierdos online. Get over it.

Cool Resources from NECC Today:

JenB attended a Flash workshop by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson of Eduscapes and posted a link to a beginning Flash tutorial from her instructors.

Mike thinks: "both Moodle and GIMP were some really good tools and I hope to test both upon my return to the heat of South Georgia."

A free online classical storybook website (http://www.bygosh.com/index.htm) from several NECC participants.

Steve Sloan highly recommended that we listed to the podcast by Alan November posted today.

A podcast on "Keeping High School Girls interested in technology" has been posted by Kurt Larson.

Steven Rahn was pleased with the attendance at his workshop on RSS and the classroom teacher, he ran out of hard copies of his presentation, but you can read it here. He includes a very complete list of RSS Aggregators. Every hyperlink you could ever need on RSS is in his presentation!

Of Feet and Fish Tacos
It seems some conference bloggers are starving, trying to teach themselves to text message, have sore feet, having trouble with wifi (and Technorati, no suprise there!), eating fish tacos, posting at the open source pavilion, taking pictures from balconies, and creating bogs or blogs, depending on who you read. (I spelled that just like they did!)

Is Anyone Out There?
I've had the busiest day since starting my blog. I hope that this information is helping someone. I've spent about 6-7 hours today learning and reading. As David Warlick said today, "We learn by sharing." I still wish I could have gone, but I am learning A LOT from my chair. It's 10:40 pm EST so I'm turning this one in.
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