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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/30/2008

  • This page outlines how we are sharing video on the Horizon project this year. After literally hours of testing to overcome the "youtube barrier" we have worked out how to use Ning as our video sharing and embedding platform.

    Using tools like a firefox plug in that allows downloading of any video AND zamzar, these 7 videos literally show you how you may "snag" and edit any video. Just remember to follow copyright laws when you do this.

    This innovation was quite an epiphany for us and the videos were our effort to make it easy and take the video sharing aspect of the project out of the teacher's hands.

    tags: education, video, hz08, edu_newapp, technology, techintegrator, professionaldevelopment

  • This handy music player converts between ALL formats of music. I needed to take a song to put into a movie and converted it here. There are some robust tweaks that let you make your music sound better that I haven't even gotten into. (Hint, convert your mp3 to .wav to put in a movie.)

    tags: education, edu_newapp, audio, geeks4, brightideas

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Upcoming Events & PD w/ Me (and others)

Here are some upcoming events (some free and some not) I'd like to share with you. All of them have live elements that you may want to join!

Sounding Board Informational Meeting
Kim Cofino
Wed April 30th at 11:00 am UTC (see local times here). You can access the session via the link on the Sounding Board page. There is still time to sign up your classroom to be a peer review classroom for the horizon project.

Innovative Uses of Technology in the Classroom
Friday, May 2nd 10:30 am - Noon EDT
Free Ustream of Panel Discussion
This Friday, May 2nd, I'm very excited to be at Princeton this Friday at "Students and Electronic Media: Teaching in the Technological Age"on a panel with Kevin Jarrett (about Second Life) and Daniel McVeigh (Ocean of Know). I'll be ustreaming our panel and we'll have a backchannel chat (check my blog Friday morning for instructions)

If you're near Princeton, this is free and registration is still open. (I think.) See the agenda here. (Kathy Schrock and some other amazing people will be there too!)

Planning Meetings for Online Course for Digital Citizenship
Wednesday, April 30 12:30 pm CST (1:30 EDT)
Thursday, May 1 7:30 pm CST (8:30 EDT)
Kate Olson is hosting two "planning" / idea meetings about the opportunity to create a free course for parents, students, and anyone interested in learning more about digital citizenship, safety, and success. Elluminate links are posted at the Ad4dcss blog.

The First In-Person Flat Classroom "Course" with Julie Lindsay and me
Tuesday, July 8 - Wednesday, July 9th
See full schedule.
Yes, we will ustream some of this (probably the opening and closing) but the rest of the time, I hope you can understand, Julie and I will be focusing on those who are attending.

We've talked for two and a half years now about truly sharing and teaching what it takes to "do" a true Flat Classroom/ Horizon Project collaboration. Honestly, if the movement is going to grow (as it is), it will require many more teachers and schools understanding how it works and doing it themselves. Truly sustainable, culture altering movements such as we believe flat classroom should be, cannot be monopolized by anyone. The shifting world-view that we see in our students needs to be shared with others.

This arose out of a discussion I had with Steve Hargadon at IL-TCE about how Julie and I wanted to do this but didn't have the time to plan it... so Steve, who always does things up to the standards that Julie and I also aspire to, is planning this event for us.

And Elizabeth Helfant in St. Louis has Julie and I spending some special time with her school and selected schools in her association on Monday and is letting us continue on in her amazing facilities through Tuesday and Wednesday. We've created a wiki and will be sharing what we do for this on an ongoing basis. (If you're interested, registration information is available on the wiki. Who knows if we will do this again, but this time will be very, very special.)

NECC Presentations


Saturday, June 28th
I wouldn't miss it for the world. This is my favorite PD event FOR ME! Listen and learn from many amazing people. I'll never forget last year as Julie and I were talking, having met for the first time and Jeff Utecht from China plops down in the seat between us. Talk about amazing moments!


Monday, June 30 8:30 am - 9:30 am at NECC
Adam Frey, cofounder of wikispaces and I will share updated information on wikispaces and I'll talk about how we use the site in projects.

Exploring Classroom 2.0 Panel
with Steve Hargadon
Monday, June 30 12:30 - 1:30 pm, NECC

Flat Classroom "Birds of a Feather"
Monday, June 30 2:00 - 3:00 pm NECC
Join Julie and I as we facilitate discussions between people interested in creating "flat classroom" style projects. We will be grouping you in ways to facilitate meaningful connections.

Flat Classroom "Mini" 3 hour workshop
Wednesday, July 2, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
For those going to NECC, Julie and I are doing a workshop on Wednesday Morning sponsored by SIGTel. There are some slots still open, I think. We will work to include external participants in some of the work as well via ustream and wiki. Stay tuned.

Panel Discussion on Viral Professional Development
Wednesday, July 2, 1:30 - 2:30 pm (San Antonio Time)
We've been planning this for some time and will be putting the finishing touches on this exciting panel discussion over the next several weeks. This WILL be ustreamed AND backchanneled.

Please say "hi"
The toughest thing about these conferences is in finding the sufficient time to give a decent "hello." I hope if you say "hi" that you'll have your business card in hand a note on the back about anything you'd like to discuss in the future. I try to make these notes myself but am notoriously without a pen (perhaps why I type everything.) We may then be in touch via e-mail later.

Take time to say "hi" and know that I'll do my best to take a minute. I do so love meeting other people just like me. I look forward to these events like edubloggercon and the Flat Classroom workshop where we'll be able to kick back and spend a little more time in conversation.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/26/2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

38 Birthday presents from CoolCatTeacher to you!

Happy Birthday to Me! Wow! Your twitters, skypes, little e-mail notes and more have really made today special. In addition, my family was wonderful and my amazing husband sent me flowers. Although I still have a stack of grading from here to Qatar - I had a good day.

So, I thought that today, I'd give 38 presents to you for you to open and enjoy. One for each year of this amazing blessed life the good Lord has seen fit to give me.

All of these are free and so so cool! I challenge you to pick a present today, open it in my honor, and let me know what you think!

  1. Songbird - This is THE cool opensource alternative to iTunes and it is connected with Skreemr, the music search engine.

  2. Timebridge - This scheduling system plugs into google calendar or outlook and lets you invite people to a meeting, select four time alternatives, and then it books the meeting time that everyone can attend and puts it on your calendar. It reminds them and it rocks!!

  3. Get Atomic Learning Free for 3 months -- I'm copresenting in a webinar with Atomic Learning and Technology & Learning on Monday. If you register AND attend at 4 pm EDT, you will get 3 months FREE from Atomic. This will give you not only the seminar I did for them on Web 2.0 but also, the one that is coming out soon about how to flatten your classroom.

  4. Diigo - This cool tool has transformed my bookmarking, blogging, sharing, and twittering. Install it, set it up to send to your delicious account. Join the educators group (getting close to 400 members) and ad4dcss groups -- when you send things to the group, make sure you select at least one of the tags that "pops up" (these are from our tag dictionary.) Also, go to tools and set up a nice little daily autoblog based upon a tag you specify. (Some just put the tag "blog" for everything they want to go to their blog that day!)

    To get the most out of it, you definitely should use firefox and install the cute little bookmarklets. This is a definite tool for those writing papers!

  5. Zoho Notebook -- This notebooking service completely and utterly rocks! Zohonotebook gives you the ability to EMBED video and web pages as well as snag notes from many places. It is an amazing tool! (Check out some of the pages I demoed in a workshop a while back.)

  6. Google Forms - Google spreadsheets has a cute little tool hidden in the Share tab, the ability to create a form. We're using this for the Horizon Project managers to submit their weekly reports. It is so fast and easy and a great way to pull information into a spreadsheet. I even have my national honor society students entering their service time for me into the spreadsheet.

  7. Firefox - If you're still stuck in Internet Explorer, you simply must try firefox. Give yourself a present! The plug ins are incredible. My favorites are: the diigo plug in, technorati tag plug in,

  8. If you're in Princeton come to a free Conference next Friday, May 2nd - Can you tell, I love free? I like to do work with people who provide their services to the general public and openly share information. This conference on Friday is chock full of amazing speakers and I'm going to enjoy being on a panel with some of them to talk about Flat Classroom.

  9. Twitter - Again, try this one. Some say they don't "have time for twitter" or don't "get it." Just sign up, add me as a friend, and then go in and see whose talking to me, add some who sound interesting and then reply to their messages by saying @theirID -- so to reply to me, you'd say @coolcatteacher -- You may just find yourself conversing daily with some of your heroes.

  10. Hulu.com - I've been beta testing this beauty which lets you watch all kinds of TV shows. Now, you can watch too!

  11. Mogulus - Do you want your own 24/7 TV station? You can do it here. Schedule things to play. Merge videos from other places on the Net. Very cool.

  12. AFI Screen Nation - The Amazing American Film Institute has a new site where your students may upload video and be evaluated by REAL producers, actors, and directors in Hollywood. Their curriculum is totally amazing and I use the videos that come with my united streaming account to teach digital film & movie making. I love the AFI digital storytelling curriculum and highly recommend it.

  13. Toondoo - Make cartoons. This continues to be one of my perennial favorites for cartoons.

  14. Ning (for VIDEO sharing) - I LOVE Ning in the classroom and just found a super cool new feature. If you upload video to ning, it automatically converts it to the most compressed, appropriate version for the web. You may then embed the video anywhere else. This is solving a lot of our access problems for the horizon project b/c schools just unblock the Ning and have access to all of the movies!

  15. Intel Mashmaker - This lets you mash together all different types of websites and I am enjoying working with it. There will be some things I share soon. This is supposed to be a lot like Microsoft PopFly, which I've not tested yet.

  16. Skype - This is another MUST have APP. If you haven't tried it yet, get over there and take a look.

  17. Classtools.net - Embeddable graphic organizers of every kind for your wiki or blog. I Adore this site and use it all the time in my classroom.

  18. Wikispaces -- This is my stable, well supported, wiki darling. One look at the horizon project wiki will tell you why.

  19. Gmail - With the most robust spam filter anywhere, the ability to filter like a fiend, make folders, and import all accounts into one place, this account is a dream come true. Even if you use another service, you can enable pop on that account, set up a gmail and pull all of your accounts into one. And if you use firefox, they have a better gmail firefox extension from lifehacker that is a must install!.

  20. Gcast - I'm really enjoying podcasting from my cell phone -- just a lot of fun!

  21. FriendFeed - A cool little service that I'm really beginning to enjoy to help me follow just a few people.

  22. Technorati Watchlist - A must use for bloggers watching those responding to their work and just to follow the things you want to know more about. The RSS from the search for your blog belongs in your RSS reader.

  23. PhotoBucket - THE place I put my private photos. I like Flickr, but somtimes I just want to make a really cool flash page for my website or do something neat with photos, and photobucket has more robust tools for my photos than I've found other places.

  24. Big Huge Labs for Flickr -- This has some amazingly hilarious Motivational Poster makers and just about everything you can imagine for your photos. Make monster posters, make labels, make anything. If you have photos, this is THE place to PLAY!

  25. Feedburner is a must use for any serious blogger or school Webmaster. You can burn the feed to feedburner, which will let you move your feed from place to place without losing readers! You may also use Feedblitz to e-mail your blog posts to anyone who is "afraid" of RSS. Feedburner has so many other features that serious bloggers will appreciate.

  26. Statcounter - This is my favorite place to track links, traffic, and more. Just a very reliable, accurate site.

  27. Google Reader -- My RSS reader of choice for linear, sequential RSS reading (down the page aggregation), Google Reader now lets you download google Gears and read your RSS offline!!!!

  28. Netvibes - For single page aggregation, I use netvibes as my RSS reader although my home page starts up with iGoogle, I go to netvibes. Their new Ginger version allows you to publish your pages and share with others. I teach my students this handy RSS reader for their Personal Learning Networks.

  29. EdTechTalk - Although I co-host a show here, I always get pumped when I listen to these shows. Do yourself a favor and take a listen.

  30. Creative Commons Searching - This is THE place to look for images, graphics, and audio. It is a must use for students!

  31. 4Info.net - I get the weather texted to my phone each morning. Every time a Georgia Tech football or basketball game ends, I'm texted the score. You can have stock tickers, rss reminders and more texted to your phone. It is amazingly cool.

    When I shared this in Maine, one guy jumped up and yelled, "I LOVE YOU!!!" It is that useful!

  32. Newsmap - When I want to take time to read the news, this is what I use. I adore NewsMap. I teach my students to use it to get abreast of what is happening in the world. If you have 1 minute to read the news, go here.

  33. Classroom 2.0 Live Conversations - Steve Hargadon is hosting these amazing sessions. Simply excellent. Another place to "get pumped" and have some great ideas.

  34. My year long PD IS the K12 online conference -- Go back and watch some videos (I love Silvia Tolisano's presentation). I believe that you should consider requiring teachers to view at least one of these presentations and "report back" to the group.

  35. Cool Cat Teacher Wiki - All my presentations, handouts, archives, and STUFF are there. I love to get out sometimes and when I do, I want to capture it.

  36. Slideshare - I LOVE this slidesharing site. It is very useful.

  37. VoiceThread - If I could pick ONE tool for elementary ed, this is it, hands down.

  38. My blog - OK, I know this is ME and you're already here. However, really, I don't know which is more the gift, your gifts to me in the form of comments, links, twitters, and e-mails or my being able to share with you what I'm doing. If you're able to live life a little better, make it through when you're at your wits end, and learn something that improves your life, then I've done something.

And although this post took me three days to write, I'm still leaving the date for this past Friday.

And for those of you who've sent me e-mails. I will get caught up, I promise. Something has happened because I had my e-mail down to zero a week and a half a go and now have over 600 emails! I'm trying not to drown!

Thank you all for the kind tweets and messages and I hope you enjoy these presents!

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/25/2008

  • Microsoft Popfly lets you make mashups and build web pages without knowing code. I am to the point I don't teach the detailed web site creation coding I used to. I teach RSS, embedding, creating wikis, uploading media of all kinds, but I just don't know how important coding is any more at the basic level.

    I want to spend some time tinkering with this.

    tags: mashup, microsoft, education, ad4dcss, geeks4, edu_newapp, technology, techintegrator, hz08, hzmeta, govt_business

  • This is a fascinating blog post about how Alfred Thompson used PopFly to create a mashup activity for a classroom demo for teachers. He also took this document from word into Live writer to make a blog post.

    It is important to look at many ways to do things. I found this information very insightful and cool.

    tags: computerscience_teacher, education, edu_newapp, lesson_plans, techintegrator

  • Excellent overview from Jeremiah about the use of twiter to backchannel at a conference. Backchanneling is something I think that is very important, but there is very definitely a best practice.

    Here were my comments to Jeremiah:

    "I am a classroom teacher and LOVE the backchannel (they are great for test reviews -- like group notes and more) and won't do a conference presentation without one, that being said, I wouldn't use twitter for it.

    Like you said, many people don't use twitter or get it.

    I like to create a "backchannel room" so that it is archived and recruit ahead of time at least two people:

    1) A backchannel "moderator" - they answer questions and I call on them several times to ask for their summary of what is going on in the backchannel (this is when I'm the main presenter)

    2) A google jockey -- they drop the links I'm talking about in the backchannel chat.

    I also like to ask the people in the backchannel to share best practice and what they are doing. I've had people comment that the one hour with a backchannel and me presenting was more meaningful than a whole day at a conference. (More compliments to the backchannel, I'm sure.)

    I've seen backchannels handled very poorly and it was TERRIBLE. It was chaos. And actually downright rude to the speaker. (More like backstabbing than backchanneling.)

    I've also seen it used well and it was incredible!

    The archiving of the backchannel gave me rich links as a presenter and participant AND also feedback on the session which I referred to later as the presenter.

    The backchannel is great -- I just like to use a backchannel ROOM especially for the session (inviting "friends" from around the world who are also watching on ustream) -- and then creating an archived copy of it.

    I think backchannels are very important and you've hit on the core of what is happening in the evolution of professional development and conferences. "

    tags: backchannel, education, professionaldevelopment, hz08, connectingpeople, hzmeta, ubiquitousplatform, virtualcollab, govt_business

  • I spent the day with Emily Vickery, the teacher/administrator at Montgomery Academy in AL, responsible for their PD. This is her wiki, where she shares with others at the school what they are doing. We talked about using RSS and diigo to give links. She is doing great work and will be presenting at NECC on July 2nd -- her students are going with her!

    tags: education, professionaldevelopment, bestpractices

  • This is a website where tv enthusiasts are sharing videos and collaborating. This is an example of how television and all of our entertainment is evolving to become more customized.

    In addition to creating personal learning networks, we will also be creating personal entertainment networks (PEN's) -- all via this amazing thing we call RSS. Understanding RSS is not only important for learning but just living your life.

    User created content is here to stay.

    tags: hz08, connectingpeople, usercontent, video, arts_entertainment, education, digital_access, ad4dcss

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/23/2008

  • Intel Mashmaker is a tool that you download and "mashup" sites together. It is supposed to allow average everyday people to be able to mashup google sites, flickr, almost anything with what programmers call an api.

    tags: hzmeta, mashup, education, techintegrator

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/22/2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let me Fall! Inspirational Song & Performance by Cirque du Soleil

In this, I see so much of what happens when I work with students. Sometimes, we do our best to warn students and yet, they make mistakes and fall. But we love them anyway.

The classroom should be a place where mistakes (of the non life-threatening kind) are allowed and welcomed. If they already know it all, then why are we teaching it?

I needed to hear this song this week. It is just beautiful and I see what happens in my classroom and life in this beautiful performance by Cirque du Soleil.

Oh, and the singer, Josh Groban is only 27!

What does this moving song and performance mean to you?

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/21/2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Free Conference May 2nd at Princeton: I'll be there

I'm very excited about the upcoming "Students and Electronic Media: Teaching in the Technological Age" at Princeton on May 2nd on May 2nd. I will be presenting along with some other amazing speakers.

Also, I plan to make an appearance at the free Parent Seminar the night before (May 1 from 7 - 9 pm,) although I have no formal part, I want to see how they handle this and discuss it with parents.

The conference on May 2nd has the following purpose:

" Electronic media has become an integral part of students’ lives and a major point of interest for educators. Questions about the impact of electronic media on student learning and wellbeing have led many school districts to question how and why they should be using technology.

The purpose of this conference is to showcase innovative uses of technology in the classroom and provide school district with ways that they can enhance their classroom curriculums and professional development programs. An overview of the research regarding electronic media and its links to achievement and social development will be provided as well.

This conference is designed in conjunction with the latest journal issue of the Future of Children "Children and Electronic Media". This issue, due to be released in April 2008 shines a spotlight on Electronic Media, focusing mainly on its impact on childhood wellbeing and policy implications."

The agenda includes my friends Kevin Jarrett, and Rob Mancabelli -- and some new friends, I'm sure.

Watch for a Backchannel and ustream between 10:30 and 12:00 EDT on May 2nd -- we're putting together some cool things.

If you are able to get to the area, please register now! (Make sure you say, "hi" -- I love to meet the "real" readers out there.)

Meanwhile, grades are due tomorrow and I've been off all weekend w/ my husband celebrating my b-day coming up this week.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

What are the 10 best videos for promoting educational change?

We are working to add the 10 BEST videos on educational change to the wiki. What are they? Where should they go (looking for the best on each topic.)

When we give people these videos, we're giving them something that helps them "sell" what they are doing . I suggest showing these videos for professional development, school boards, and anyone who cares about education.

We've started a page for your nominations for the best videos. If we get too many, we may have some sort of voting thing (which would be great to have that much interest!)

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/18/2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Amazing deep learning on a sick day! This floors me!

Just got home late from a track meet and came in to check the Digiteen and Horizon Project nings. I found this amusing blog entry from Nyomi L at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education (NYC - USA) entitled "Sick Day."

"Alright well, today I missed school to go to the doctor to deal with some breathing problems that I've been troubled with and after that, I happened to see a copy of Wikinomics staring at me from behind a Barnes and Nobles window. It wasn't actually on display but someone had left a copy near the window.

Anyway, I took it as a sign that I should take it upon myself to buy and read the book. After all, if I really didn't like it, I could always return it after I finished. Well, I started where I had left off in ITGS and found myself surprising interested. I read it all the way home and for the next couple of hours and found myself interested, inspired and far more excited about the Horizon Project than I've ever been. It's quite an interesting read and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet, especially people involved in this project."

How is that for a sick day? This student was SICK and yet was so engrossed and curious about this project that her SICK day became a day of very deep learning and change for her.

It is an exciting world and I get to be a part of one that helps excite and inspire teenagers from all over the world like this!

It is not without its stresses. I got a twitter from a good friend today about how someone said there was an inappropriate picture on one of the sites. I stressed at the track meet and all the way back.

I got back, ready for the worst. What I found was very mild, if anything. I deleted the pictures that I thought might be offensive, but it was simply one girl kissing another on the cheek as is often done in teenage pictures. Not appropriate for public display and yet the teenager may not realize that.

There are those, however, that may not like the exuberance of kids who are excited about the tools they are using. But, I'm seeing that my students are getting excited and really learning about things.

I feel like that for Horizon that the vehicle is cresting the hill and about to take off. I'm becoming reminded of why this sort of thing is important. It has been very very hard work getting here, though!

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/17/2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Take a look at what has happened in 72 hours.

a cross post at the Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success blog

Since this project is now 72 hours old, I thought we'd give a few stats for what is happening!

  • We have 27 people signed up on the Advocates public list.
  • 16 Readers for our Blog (Feed set up 24 hours a go.)
  • Over 1200 views of the wiki, with 70 edits, and visits from 9 countries and more than 300 unique visitors and 64 members.
  • 74 bookmarks sent to the diigo group with 40 members.
  • 52 members of the Google Group with 24 discussions being tossed around
  • Slowly percolating in the blogosphere with 7 posts so far. We can do better than this, maybe some people are waiting a bit.
  • Lots of tweets beginning to share although I must admit a few of us are hogging the tweets.
  • A logo design and another on the way for us to share and discuss.
  • A set of tags for sharing and facilitating exchange of data and links
  • An aggregation page for all of this (it is my personal launch page to start this.)

Two projects that are gaining steam and volunteers:
  1. I Read Blocked Blogs Awareness Day/Week - as part of the digital access aspect.
  2. A Professional Development Class to train people on the 9 digital citizenship topics -- Still forming. The hosting for the Moodle has been facilitated by the great people at Professional Learning Board.
What I'm seeing is that people are just joining in with what fits best with their daily tasks and vision.

I'd really like to see some people begin talking about creating a flyer or handout on Digital Access, which is the first of the 9 aspects of Digital Citizenship as we have outlined on the wiki.

What can you do?
Well, we're really trying to compile things now. I need a little help on the wiki for someone who understands RSS and also, we need some people to start putting thumbs up on the links coming through diigo so they'll start having more meaning. (Our way of "vetting" the sources.)

Will you take 5 minutes and go through some of the links and add your thumbs up -- if you see an important link missing, please send it to the group AND use the tagging standard we've set up, in addition to any other tags you wish to add!

Thank you for caring. This will probably be my last full cross-post on Cool Cat Teacher, if you want to follow this effort closely, please subscribe to the Ad4dcss group blog.

Beware of numbers
I'd rather have 1 committed person than 100 people just putting their names down, and that is what we've got. We've got some amazing, hard working, very BUSY people who don't have a lot of time, just bookmarking a little smarter and tweeting and talking towards a common purpose.

The Cat on the Hot Stove
Some, I think have the cat on the hot stove syndrome.

If a cat sits on a hot stove, he jumps up. The only problem is that he will not ever sit on the stove again... not even a cold one.

I think that so many of us have gotten involved in something just to see it peter out. Just to see it go "poof." So, we don't want to get all involved and invested in another "poof project." We just won't sit on the stove!

Well, if I'm trying again, so can you. I've jumped headlong into thing that went "poof" before too, however, I will say this... every time I have, I've come away with more learning and meeting new people. Even the "poof" projects haven't been to waste.

However, I'm going to predict something. I believe that there are going to be some newcomers on this project who are going to become well known very fast because of their amazing efforts. I'm already seeing it.

If you're a beginner and you don't know where to start... our virtual volunteerism and cooperative efforts as educators are just now getting started. Join in where you see fit. And if you really want to be "in the know" sign up for the Google group and get our daily digest.

On my to do list is to e-mail some amazing bloggers that I know. I've really been waiting until we have all of our wiki edited, feeds coming in and people's names on the list and going so that when we approach the disillusioned who've been doing this a lot longer than I, that they'll know that there is something here.

Teaching is a noble calling and this is a noble cause. This is a connecting point. A facilitation and linking in a common cause to help us. This is grassroots organizing. We want to see you as a part of it!

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 04/16/2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Advocate Action is Heating Up

simulpost with Advocates 4 Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success blog

Just a quick update on this. I'll still keep my focus over here, but we're starting a group blog that I think will end up being much bigger than I. We're looking for a few passionate bloggers to join the group over there with me. Drop me a line!

We've created one page to monitor all of the activities for this project - http://www.netvibes.com/coolcatteacher#Ad4dcss

Where we're sharing
  • We've also got a wiki started at http://ad4dcss.wikispaces.com
  • The wiki uses the links we create in diigo and feeds the resources to the 9 major categories of digital citizenship that we're addressing. (See wiki for those.)
  • We have a diigo group for bookmarking. at http://groups.diigo.com/groups/Ad4dcss
  • This blog is where we'll list major announcements AND resource links, so it will be a good place to follow the activities.
Where YOU can volunteer
  • We have a donated Moodle space and Kate Olson is organizing an online course done BY educators for people wanting to know more about Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success. We are planning a preliminary meeting within the next 7 days, however, we're discussing using the 9 areas of digital citizenship as posted on the wiki to serve as our starting point.

  • We're working on a logo and have a volunteer who is working on this.

  • Wiki Work - We're working on pulling in the diigo links RSS to the wiki page so that the diigo group will automatically feed the bookmarks to the appropriate category. We could use some help putting those RSS's on the page. (Much of this is being done w/ people giving 30 minutes here and there.)

    I would personally love to see the wiki have some basic information, but remember, we're working to create things to go offline so it is about resources, handouts, and useful things.

  • THE BIG THING YOU CAN DO NOW! - Besides telling people about this (include ad4dcss in the twitter or blog post and it will aggregate on our netvibes page so we'll know you're there.)

    We NEED people to join the Diigo group and USE THE STANDARD TAG DICTIONARY. We also need people to go through the bookmarks and thumbs up or thumbs down the best resources so that we may start using that feature. This will sort of be our way of "vetting" the sources.

    If you could spend just 10 minutes going through your bookmarks on digital citizenship and tagging them.
We're also talking about several action days a year about different points and I know a lot of you have already broached this subject. Access, digital safety, blogging, so many different things we could do.

Is this some sort of political thing?
Well, honestly, we don't know what this is yet. Any organization of people that becomes effective ends up having a political impact, however, we're not starting off that way.

We're starting off to create useful things to help YOU take the discussion of these tools offline. Handouts for boards of directors. An online class for anyone to take who wants to become educated.

When we have large numbers of people, then we'll have more clout on the political end.

But for now, we have a growing list of charter members who are going to tweet, bookmark, do a little wiki work, and share their ideas.

How do "we" decide where to move?

I think that some fresh faces no one has ever heard of will emerge to lead the charge on some things that we'll sit back and say "now why didn't we do that before."

So, what my role is that when there is a group of people who says to me "we want to do this," I'm using the reach and network of mine to help facilitate and give them the resources to make it happen (and a little geeky programming stuff in the background.)

Power of Newcomers!
Newcomers are perfect for this effort because they more clearly see the obstacles that are holding newcomers from joining in and learning more. They clearly see the other side of the fence because they can remember the other side of the fence.

I wish I had more time to tell you more.

We are looking for a few more group bloggers. So, join in. Speak up. Share.

tag: , , , , ,

From the mouth of students: They discuss

    • Dan Tapscott, Horizon Project 2008’s keynote speaker, gave me insight and inspiration for the project. His knowledgeable comments on the baby boom generation were incredible and it amazed me that he decided to make his entire living on the study of the digital generation, the generation that I am a part of.

    • I am a part of the generation that is an “unprecedented force for change,” and we are actively inducing and creating change that will be beneficial and relevant to the world today and tomorrow.

    • I agree that technology must be at the center of this change in order for it to be effective.

    • Enter technology; students can learn from each other by collaboration through technological advances such as wikis, blogs, You Tube, Facebook, and projects such as Flat Classroom and Horizon.

    • Teachers are no longer “transmitters of data,” but active participants in the student’s learning process.

    • with our advanced, technological world, we must not only acknowledge the new technologies emerging but we must gain knowledge on how to use them.

      Student #2

    • If school became an interactive place where both students and teachers put their two cents in: teachers teaching students, students teaching students, teachers sharing ideas and students executing these ideas-school would be great. If we all focus on change and ways to make interactive learning better we could reach so many people! Not only can we interact with each other but we can raise awareness and pose solutions on the many issues regarding education.

      Student #3

    • I really agree with both of what you two are saying, but my question remains, (in an attempt not to sound too cynical): how is this going to happen? I know that Dan Tapscott seeks to view change in the education system, but my question is, how is this going to happen?

    • but the real issue is, in so many places education is rigid and all about regurgitation of information. How do we look past that? Is it a mindset that we need to learn how to transgress, or is it a gradually changing aspect?

My Phone Call to You: Why we need to Advocate for Digital Citizenship, Safety and Success

I just set up a gcast podcast channel. I don't have time to record and edit podcasts, but gcast lets me make phone calls to you and that is what I did last night.

I wanted to give you insight into why we need Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success and a little background on some of the people involved in the initial conversations as well as my ideas for what may need to happen.

I hope you'll listen.

Sites that caught my eye today! 04/15/2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

My passion is quilted in these letters: ad4dcss

Since I have not yet responded to the Passion Quilt Meme, I've been prompted yet again. This seems a time to unleash my biggest passion for teaching today's students.

Forgive me, I may get emotional.

My heart breaks for these parents who are struggling with the kidnapping and beating of their child for the sake of Youtube popularity.

This news show outlines what happens and talked to a psychologist.

My Prediction
We have a small window of opportunity to suggest and create structures of what WE, the educators who use these technologies, suggest we should do about the whole digital citizenship, safety, and success issue.

Then, we will be TOLD what to do because of our lack of action. And we know how that goes.

This came up Sunday Morning, when many of us came together in a little impromptu meeting with Sue Waters and Al Upton in elluminate (I'll post the link to the recording when it is released.) These are the brainstorming whiteboard pages (unedited). NOte that there are a lot of things on there WE WOULDN't do, but sharing the brainstorming screen will help summarize the things we talked about.

A lot of us are passionate about it. And we're sick of "talk" about cooperation on the matter.

So, here is what we have:

  • A Google Group to serve as an easy-to join e-mail based network for discussing what we're doing. I suggest subscribing to a DAILY DIGEST to prevent getting too much e-mail. For now, the group is named Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success.
  • A "tag" to serve as our focal point to "collect the conversation - ad4dcss
  • Everything updated is being put on the Conversation Aggregator page I created on Netvibes. (Note: This comes from some comments from Jon Becker and Kate Olson -- wishing that we could "control" and aggregate a conversation. This page is being set up to track all of the things tagged ad4dcss. We cannot control the conversation but we can certainly work to include newcomers and ANYONE interested in the topic... even the Non-Geeks. And this was important enough to set up the tags and tracking.)

Why did we pick that?
Well, it sort of came up as an accident and aggregation of everyone's thoughts, but it stands for Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success.

We're beginning to pull together some activities, much of which will just happen from the fact that everything is aggregated! If you us ad4dcss in your twitter post it goes to the netvibes page and I've found that the most useful thing so far!

Some things already spotting through this new looking glass are:
  • Parents as Partners discussion tonight about how to educate parents with students at www.edtechtalk.com - 8 pm EST
  • Professional Learning Board is helping us set up a Moodle Training site for Advocates and others interested in this topic -- we need some volunteers to help Kate set it up.
  • Group blog - This is for those who want to share discussions around this topic. If you're interested, contact Vicki by leaving a comment here. It is meant to be a resource for Advocates and those interested in this topic.
  • We will have some upcoming impromptu and planned sessions. If you want to hold a session and you have an elluminate room or online place to "meet" -- let me know and I'll give you some talking points of groups that are forming.

Current action items are:

  • Listen to the elluminate recording
  • Ask educators interested in forming a grassroots organization to promote online AND OFFLINE action advocating digital citizenship, safety, and success to join this group - http://groups.google.com/group/ad4dcss
  • Join the Diigo Group to share links (See http://digiteen.wikispaces.com for the categories UNTIL group is set up.)
  • Anything you write about the ideas for organizing -- what needs to be done! Tag it ad4dcss if you twitter it type #ad4dcss
  • Join an upcoming discussion or plan to host one. Add them to our Google Calendar page (to be posted soon.)

Current ideas under ACTIVE discussion

  • Global Action Days ("Flash Point" Projects) - eVents, Student projects, bringing out the student voice en masse on these topics.
  • Develop of a curriculum wiki by teachers on these topics
  • Online professional development
  • Talking points documents that may be printed and shared offline to administrators, boards, teachers, etc.
OK, so my question to you is this. Do you want to be an advocate? We are focusing on sharing resources ONLINE so that we may all be more effective OFFLINE. We've got to take this out.

We all have different areas and ways that we may share, so share in the way you feel most comfortable.

Hinges of History
But I'm going to say something here. Some of my favorite books are the Hinges of History books.

We swing upon a hinge of history at this moment. IF you are online now and getting comfortable with this technology, there is a reason. And it is probably so that you may do your part to advocate wise, safe, successful use of the Internet in your area.

We are all too busy and can work together to create materials and other things to do this. If you want to be an advocate, for now, we're open for anyone signing up as long as you want to join in the conversation AND spend a little time ACTING on it. Find a group, organize a group -- ACT.

I'm busy too, everyone. But, I've already bought the domain names and am going to let this be my "virtual volunteerism" project.

Perhaps we are made for a moment such as this. But I'm telling you, I'm tired of this happening and ready for some SUSTAINED efforts on this area.
If we don't do it, people who don't understand the Internet nor our students will tell us what we will be doing.

In five years when you are implementing those edicts, don't come complaining if you didn't at least try.

The debate over the word "digital"

Now, there has been some debate over the word "digital citizenship" and "digital literacy" because after all aren't these subsets of citizenship and literacy. My answer is, OF COURSE THEY ARE.

However, at this point, the mass of educators has not yet understood nor accepted the fact that they are a subset and for that reason, now, we are stuck appending the words "citizenship" and "literacy" with the words digital so that we may be clear in our meaning and laser focused in our efforts.

Maybe someone can debate that elsewhere, but I believe we need to birth some cooperative efforts that will accomplish something.

So, what do you think AND what do you want to do. What are your friends talking about "doing." Let's not just do SOMETHING but do the RIGHT THING, in effective, meaningful, thought out ways.

So, I guess I should tag some people for the passion quilt meme that I hijacked for something I'm really passionate about: Kate Olson, Jon Becker, Sue Waters, Alfred Thompson, and Vicky Hennigan (another newcomer) AND anyone else who wants to!!!

Who's joining in? Who's already doing things? Let's get it started!

tag: , , , , , , , ,

The Rules

  1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.

  2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.

  4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce etc.
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