Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Digital ePortfolios Presentation at IT Summit 2009

Presented by: Michelle Morley and Debbie Ivanochko

Session Link: http://gssd.ca - k-8 online resources - Presentations

My notes:
Three parts to the portfolio:
  • to show growth
  • to show a achievement
  • to show competence
Digital literacy portfolios are a way of presenting individual student work that is stored in digital form.

Sharepoint was used to host the eportfolios.
If a teacher logs on, they see all of their students.
If a parent logs on, they only see their child's work.

The Benefits:
  • Provides a richer view of a child's learning.
  • Provides an explanation of learning expectations.
  • Increases communication with parents.
  • May assist in the providing information to Student Services Coordinators.
  • Assists in the assessment for and of learning.

Tuesday Morning Keynote IT Summit - David Warlick - Redefining Literacy

My notes from the presentation:

David used Prezi.com to make his presentation. Definitely something I'm going to check out for making future presentations.

Backchannel at: http://davidwarlick.com/knitter

Teacher must be a master learner and practice these skills in front of its students. Share something you learned in the last 24 hours.

Handout of the presentation: http://davidwarlick.com/handouts

Second Life Office: http://davidwarlick.com/sl/

Second Life allows us to create a library without constraints.

David is a result of a "perfect education" who performed repetitive tasks, in straight rows. Preparing a workforce who would work in a career for 30 years and then retire.

The telephone has changed the way we do things. It is now an example of redundancy where technology has changed to not require it anymore. Print newspapers are migrating to the web because they are too expensive to print anymore.

We are spending too much time teaching children on how to use paper. It is important to teach them how to manipulate digital information.

Webcams & Skype are breaking down the walls and allowing people to participate even when they can't travel or afford to go to a workshop, conference or class.

Conclusion: We need to stop integrating technology to teach how to use tools, but we need to teach literacy to be able to process and understand information landscape of the future. We need to be able to ask questions and be skeptical of any information that is provided to us. We need to question where it comes from. We need to develop critical thinking skills.

We need to be "digital detectives" and backtrack to see where our information has come from. Collect digital clues to see the source of the website. example: http://martinluthrking.org/ is really published by a white supremacy group called Storm Front. We were brought up in a generation where teachers gave us information and we could trust it because they knew the source. Digital information is different because we don't always know the source.

Exposing what's True!
  • find
  • critically evaluate
  • organize
  • apply
How to understand numbers: Library of Links from Landmark tools on http://landmark-project.com/, click on raw data. Demonstration of how to understand numbers using spreadsheets like Excel.

Writing: audience is wider by the way that final product is presented. Video is very powerful and shared with the world on the web. To whom are we communicating?

Expressing ideas in different ways: schools who don't prepare students for their future are sweatshops preparing students for our pasts.

We must include ownership of information in our definition of literacy... respect of ownnership, accuracy and infrastructure.

Definition of Contemporary Literacy:
  • exposing what's true
  • employing the information
  • expressing ideas compellingly
  • using information ethically.
Sharing of a website: We're Not Afraid.com a website made by a student the day after the London bombing. Anyone could post photos.

For a great concept map of his presentation, see it in Warlick's Conference notes.

Monday, March 23, 2009

10 Disruptions that Could Transform Your Classroom by Dean Shareski at IT Summit 2009

My notes on the session:

Dean did his presentation using Cooliris. Definately something I want to check into.

Links to videos and items presented at this session:

Inspiration for the presentation:

  • Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Horizon report 2009 edition from the new media consortium
  • "Experiment of anarchy" Eric Schmidt
  • "The future has already arrived. It's just not evenly distributed yet." William Gibson
  • Microsoft commercial "How they see the future" video
  1. Smart Phones and other mobile devices - video "iphoneu" "tonchidot" "poll everywhere"
  2. Low cost computing - netbooks (what do you spend on textbooks?, kindle on Amazon
  3. Cloud Computing - everything is housed on the web, Google Apps
  4. Live Streaming - ustream, Brian Crosby: Sparks Nevada teacher to include students using Skype, qik video, Mr. C's Class Blog
  5. Back Channels and Micro-Blogging - Sharing, public chat, K12 Conference.org for video, Twitter, social networking
  6. Immersive Environments - video games, teen second life environment, applying new knowledge and allow for collaboration, online engaging environment
  7. Privacy - idea of privacy is changing (outside interaction between teachers and students)
  8. Time Shifting - What is Face to Face good for? - taking lectures out of school time and spending the time working together at school.
  9. Open and Connected - free stuff online - MIT Open Courseware, online courses how to offer distance learning.
  10. Outsourced Instruction - Differentiated instruction and grouping students based on need and interest (ex. Clarence Fisher teaching with a school in L.A.)

IT Summit mid-day keynote- Telling the New Story Live

IT Summit 2009 Keynote: Telling the New Story Live
with Dean Shareski, Kathy Cassidy, Clarence Fisher, Darren Kuropatwa


The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman = Great Book!
I like how he is using the Identity 2.0 presentation format with lots of pictures in his slideshow.

Conversation format is interesting. Darren is live on a TV and not here in person and the others are sitting on chairs at the front of the room.

Clarence: making global connections made him aware of the world being a big place and needing to connect with others.

Kathy: started blogging and someone else commented meaning that someone else was reading it. Connected globally with New Zeland. Importance of getting kids getting globally connected.

Dean: nothing like getting kids to talk to other kids about what they are really living instead of learning everything from a book.

Darren: Alan Levine BloggerShop was inspiration for getting active online with students. Now blogs with students and professionally.

Sharing of their classrooms: what a day looks like in their rooms. Tech is integrated as part of what the students are doing all day in the classroom.

Authentic, real learning is done through sharing and world partnerships.

I like the idea of having students "writing their own textbook" that is good enough that learners can educate themselves reading the book. Darren has a "How To" for setting up the online textbook in the class.

How do you find the time? Everything is a choice. Making online learning a priority. You have to give some things up in order to change the classroom.

Smart Board Presentation at the 2009 IT Summit

Integrating Smart Board Into What You Are Already Doing
IT Summit: Morning Session
with Milissa Gavel, current administrator and former teacher using Smart Board in the 5/6 classroom from Davison School in Melville, SK

Notes from presentation on Smart Boards:

Web links:

Davison is a “Smart School” where each classroom has a Smart Board

Senteo Interactive Response System demonstration

SMARTboard resources on website

Demonstration of using numbers board to demonstrate the use of the smart board to represent a number.

Demonstration of how to do collaborative editing

Demonstration of slides, flips and turns

Demonstration of collective sentence building

Demonstration of doing location on a map of Canada – naming the provinces and territories and making Canada into a puzzle

Demonstrating Locking feature of Smart Board and screen shade and spotlight use on web.

Demonstration of use of virtual protractor to measure angles available in gallery feature of Smart Board

Smarttech.com for resources
- smart education shortcuts to lessons.

Creating a Global Collaborative Project by Kim Brown at the IT Summit 2009

Creating a Global Collaborative Project
Presented by Kimberly Brown

My notes from Kim’s presenation:

Reason to build collaborative projects is to make friends outside of the school or classrooms. Enables students to learn how to network. Join Ning Groups and put your name out into cyberspace.

Interesting Nings to visit:

When blogging, students need to develop their network to get feedback and hits on their blogs.

Find a topic that really interests you because you are going to be spending a lot of time working on it.

Develop a project by networking with other teachers that have a similar interest. Idea suggested by Kim to network with last year’s Heritage Fair teachers from Nationals and set something up.

Uses wikispaces for unit planning and collaborative project planning.

Demonstrated some of her projects right now such as the Iditarod project.

Jamie McKenzie - IT Summit Monday Morning Keynote on Reading across a Dozen Literacies

Monday morning kicked off with a keynote from Jamie McKenzie on Reading across a Dozen Literacies.

Websites mentioned include:
Focus on student centered learning and questioning.

We need a broadened conception of reading. Movement from traditional comprehension of a text to comprehending a wide variety of objects and materials. "Students must be able to read a face as well as they can read a book."

Different kinds of information literacies:
  • text
  • ethical
  • numerical
  • technological
  • mechanical
  • social
  • cultural
  • environmental
  • natural
  • linguistic
  • visual
  • artistic
  • emotional
  • media
Is "digital" a literacy or is it a means of delivering or exposing people to the other literacies?

Media Literacy:
Dove commercial on "What is beauty" campaignforbeauty.ca "Dove Evolution"
Discussion questions after watching the commercial:
  • What is real?
  • What impact does the media have on our perceptions of beauty?
  • Natural beauty vs. person created beauty?
  • Can we trust Dove? What is in it for them? They make AXE too.
"Onslaught" commercial from Dove.
Student made parity. "Sloth made" Student synthesis which works in reverse of the Dove commercial to show a model becoming "ugly".

Students need more than just traditional literacy and numeracy. They need:
  • information literacies: see above list
  • curiosity
  • pondering
  • wondering
  • comprehending
  • wandering
  • ruminating
  • rsonance
  • floundering
  • considering processing
  • dissonance
  • questioning
  • visualizing
  • picturing
  • guessing
  • hypothesizing
  • supposing
  • wishing
  • dreaming
  • imagining
  • worrying
  • interpreting
  • observing
  • understanding
  • considering
  • inferring

Comprehending, Considering, Wandering, Wondering, Pondering all all forms of thinking that are woven together in the thought process when "Thinking"

Visual and Artisitic Literacy:
Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus
It is French, English but a paid site. I think it is worth the money.

Discussion about photos: Which one is more beautiful?

Natural Literacy
-being able to function in nature reading the signs of nature to survive in the wild (ex: "Beware of the Bears") Having the capacity to "read" the information in that forum and being able to understand it.

Link between natural literacy and scientific literacy: the capacity to learn from observation and interpretation of what we see.

Scientific literacy used to encompass: natural and environmental literacy and they didn't stand on their own as important forms of literacy.

Emotional Literacy: Link between social and cultural literacy
How are we working to understand our differences and to work past them and learn from each other?

Numerical Literacy: nochildleft.com
- the argument against standardized testing in the US.
-trouble with text literacy - being able to interpret what the question is asking for
-tied to financial crisis: being able to read a mortgage document
-curriculum: students need to know how to interpret the paper to know what it means

Organizational Literacy:
"Corporate Head" sculpture image.
"Wikkilobbying" Google search: Steven Colbert on Comedy Central

Thursday, March 19, 2009

La Géométrie - Grade 6 Math iMovie Projects

My Grade 6 French Immersion Math class spent the past two weeks researching definitions, writing scripts, taking photos and making movies all about geometry. Everyone did a fantastic job. The best part is that all the students in the class can now easily define, identify, create and find examples of different triangles, shapes and other geometric terms. Here are the top three iMovies for your enjoyment. (narrated in French):

La géométrie est intéressante
par Meghan et Molly

Le monde géométrique

par Jordan et Serena

La géométrie: le filme!

par Aaron et Kyle

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Joy of Playing

Today, I was having a fantastic discussion with some of my colleagues about the value of play. After work, I was catching up on my RSS Reader and noticed this TED video posted on their site. The professor, Stuart Brown, talks about the value of play at any age. Watch to learn more:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fun with Wordle

Another web 2.0 app that I find intriguing is from Wordle. This webiste lets you represent your writing in a visual sense by organizing the words you use in a piece of writing or post to a website into a word cloud with the emphasis on the words you use the most.

Like my previous blog post where I analyzed my writing using typealyzer, I wanted to see what one month of writing looks like. Here is my blog in a visual sense. (Thanks to fellow educational blogger, Neil Stephenson for giving me the idea! Neil did the same thing after blogging for a month.)

I like that the biggest word in my Wordle is "students" and that if you read across the Wordle, it says "students learning things". I think that this is another website I will definitely be using with my students in the future.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm a Mechanic!

It is report card time and I have been spending a lot of time lately analyzing my students' writing. After reading a number of blog posts about Typealyzer, I thought it would be fun to analyze my own writing after blogging for a month.

This is what Typealyzer says about my blog:

"The analysis indicates that the author is of the type:

ISTP - The Mechanics
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters."

This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing:

What I find funny is that the analysis of my writing on this blog is pretty much how I operate at work and in life. I'm the problem solver type and tend to also be a good listener as I usually wait to hear what everyone has to say and then respond after thinking about it for a bit. The part I find funny is the last sentence about wanting to drive race cars or becoming a firefighter or police officer as none of these things have ever appealed to me. In reading my diagram, I have to say that I will need to work on the right side of my brain.

I think I will have to reanalyze my blog after a few more months of writing to see if things have changed. I think I might also have my students try out this app after they have been blogging for awhile. It would be interesting to compare notes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time Well Spent?

Sometimes I question all the extra hours I put into making things possible in my classroom. Is it really worth it? Does the extra time actually make a difference?

If you read this blog, you are likely an educator and can relate to the hours required after school to get the job done. Likely you spend even more hours than that to do your job well. Because I enjoy most of the things I do for my job, I don't really notice the extra time I put in. I have spent a lot of extra hours lately setting up a number of cyber projects for my students; Classblogmeister, Google Docs, 1001 Flat World Tales and an email exchange with a class in Australia.

My goal in participating in all of these projects was to get my students excited about learning and to give them the opportunity to collaborate and to learn online with others around the world. Being the person I am, I can't just do one project at a time, I have to do a number of things at once. Does anyone else have this problem? You start one project and then you see the connection and possibility in another, and it snowballs from there. After many sleepless nights as of late, I was questionning if it was all worth it.

Today, after finally getting everyone set-up on their accounts over the past few days, I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement of my students as they showed each other how to navigate their way through the programs and applications we were using. They were so excited to try new things and to show each other what they had learned. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I left the school later feeling rewarded for the time I spent setting up our "Cyber School".

Tonight, when I logged into my school Google account to share a document with my students, I noticed that over half my class was online using the chat feature offered through their school Google accounts. Now I know that they would likely be doing this through MSN if they didn't have these accounts, but to see them actually using something school related after hours when they had other options, was very rewarding.

What made my night was when one of my students noticed that I was online and sent me a message that said: "ok.......you are the best teacher on earth!!! Thank you for getting us all connected and stuff."

Funny how you can put so much effort into connecting your students with others around the world, and in the end, they are just as happy to have the chance to be able to connect with each other. After receiving a 'virtual thank you hug' from a student, I guess it really was time well invested.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Universal Design for Learning

My cousin sent me this link on the weekend. It is the keynote from a conference that was put on for teachers in BC called "Reaching Every Student in the Digital Age: A Showcase of Universal Design for Learning." Dr. David Rose from the Center for Applied Special Technology was the keynote speaker. The BCTF has now archived the webcast. You can find it at the bottom of this web page: http://www.bctf.ca/psas/LATA/conference/oct08conf.htm.

If you not had a chance to see Dr. Rose speak on the Universal Design for Learning, it is a great opportunity to learn about it.

I know that this is a long presentation (over 2 hours), but well worth listening to! On the website, you can either watch all or part of Dr. Rose's presentation.

Here are a few things I got out of it:
  • I enjoyed Dr. Rose's comparison of the different note taking styles in his class at Harvard. Very good example of collaborative learning and differentiated styles of note taking.
  • The explanation of the brain and the demonstration of what the brain looks like while it is learning new things was very interesting. MRI technology is fascinating.
  • The sharing of the CAST website http://www.cast.org/ was very useful for differentiated learning using technology. I'm particularly intrigued by the Book Builder function of the site.
  • The curriculum, in its current printed in black and white state, is what is disabling for students. A renewable, ever evolving curriculum would be better able to serve the needs of all students making it more universal.

I hope it generates some discussion. I found it very worthwhile to watch.