Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Digital Footprints

Thanks to my PLN on Twitter, I received a tweet with a link to a video that a number of people in my network were watching tonight. When I followed the link, I found a very informative presentation made by Alvin Trusty at the Ohio Ed Tech Conference earlier this year entitled, "Developping a Digital Footprint". Thank you for sharing your presenation online, Prof. Trusty!

Alvin's explination about how to protect your name and reputation by posting good, professional content online is very well done and I think it is an important presentation for everyone to watch. Even if you are not an educator, I think you should watch it as it provides many useful tips and insights into the digital footprint you may or may not be leaving. The presentation runs for almost an hour, but it is an hour well spent!

Link to material in his presentation:

After watching this presentation, I think I will have to check out some of his others. Happy viewing!

Web 2.0 Never Forgets - Developing a Professional Digital Footprint from Alvin Trusty on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Another activity I would like to explore with my class next year is Geocaching. I like this simple introductory video to explain the basics. from 1/29 Films on Vimeo.

Star Wars Stop Motion Story using LEGO

I can totally see some of my students wanting to work on a film like this. Maybe a tech club project for next year?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SSLA Conference: Inquiry Tools Smackdown

Presented by Donna Desroches and Carlene Walters
Presentation wiki:

Tools for Inquiry:

  1. Blogs and Wikis: It is very important for students to have a blog or a wiki to share their work. Setting these up at the start, provide students the opportunity to post and keep track of their work. It becomes a management tool that students have access to right at the start.
  2. Social Bookmarking: Delicious
  3. Citation: Create your own bibliographies and then copy and paste it into research papers.
  4. Net Vibes: Personal Learning Environment (PLE) - have your students make their own environment to start from instead of providing that yourself.
  5. Newscred: RSS News feed - personalizing streaming presented in the context of creating your own newspaper.

1. Visualization & Clustering
2.  Tracking Your Thinking
  • Evernote - Save your ideas, things you see, and things you like. Then find them all on any computer or device you use. For free.
  • WallWisher – An online notice board. It invites social negotiation of thought as students can post questions and contribute to other queries
  • Wallwisher Tool in Science Classes
3.  Learning from Others
 Investigating and Collaborating:
Finding Information
  1. Using the social media tools in the online databases

    Gale Widgets
    - embed in your school library Web page
  2. Wolfram Alpha for Educators> using WA in math
    example using socio-economic data
  3. Search engines> Sweet Search -
    Sweet Search for teacher-librarians
  4. GoogleForms - my favourite - so easy to create surveys
  5. Search in Twitter/Delicious/Diigo
  6. InstaPaper -Collect Web pages to bookmark or readlater.. When you find something you want to read, but you don't have time, click Read Later
  7. Readability - A simple tool that makes reading on the Web easier and less distracting by removing the clutter around the text.


Mindmapping Tools 

Concept maps are useful tools for helping students organize information about important topics by showing relationships between concepts and standards.

Graphing Tools

Highlighting Tools


Screen Capture Tools

Document The Process

  • googledocs
  • blog
  • wiki

Observe and Participate 


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010 - Cool Tools Duel - Dean Shareski and Will Richardson

Who do you think has the best list? 

Here are their lists:

Shareski's picks:
  • Picnik : online photo editing without installing anything with links to Facebook & Flickr
  • Map a list: Use a spreadsheet and map it out (two tools to work together to visualize data)
  • Posterous: email them a text, photo, etc and the site emails you back a url you can link to later.
  • Tubechop: chop You Tube videos to only use the parts that you want
  • Geo Greeting: Pictures of buildings that spell out your message around the world. 
  • Big Huge Labs: Photos can be made into many things - puzzles, cards, posters, etc.
  • Dropbox: Online file storage that stores things and easy to access from any computer (My new favourite tool that I use all the time!)
  • Team Viewer: Simple way to get limited access to someone's computer for a limited time to help fix their computer or set up remote access.
Richardson's picks:
  • Evernote: online note taking - capture text, audio and video
  • Skitch: Screen capture and editing tool and post it to the Skitch website or own Flickr page or Evernote
  • Jing: Screen capture program: able to put a screen capture with a video dialog and mix them together into movie that you can later post online.
  • Mindmeister: Mind Mapping Tool online and add links, etc. and then share it with others through collaboration
  • Read Later: To save things from online and read them later using Instapaper
  • Readability: Strips out everything but the text and picture
  • Elluminate: 3 seats free for a video conference or online class (also check out learncentral)
  • iPad: Apple product that changes the way we think about mobile computing.

IT Summit 2010 - Will Richardson - Connective Writing

Will Richardson
Connective Writing: Building Learning Networks Through Links (

Big shifts:
  • Publishing (push button)
  • Multi-media
  • web linking to write
  • Connecting/Sharing

Writing in linked environments: using weblinks when you write. Use links to connect with others (to encourage interactions with other authors).

Tracking what happens to our text. See who has read it or linking it to their blogs. Sense the impact of our work on our readership. This makes writing a very different beast than it ever has been. No more writing for a teacher or a grade. You are writing for a wider audience, not knowing who they are.

Different ways we write:
  • Texting
  • Blogging
  • Wikis
  • Social Bookmarking/Notes
  • Twitter
  • Audio and Video
What is connective writing:
"...the ability to publish in a variety of media with the intention of connecting and sharing it with others who have an interest (or passion) in the topic." Will Richardson

Process of collective writing:
  • Writing starts with Reading about something that makes you think. Blogging is reader response (This is a conversation)
  • Collective writing in real-time using public pad wikispaces.
  • Discussion about grammar and spelling - potential role for one of the writers or to use the tools available to correct spelling.
  • Evaluation - make rubrics with your students to discuss with students.
  • Real-time publishing environment: is a great tool to cover presentations or speeches that provides an automatic embed code for a blog. Also has a chat feature that comes with it.
  • Blogger introduced as a way to easily start blogging.
  • Discussion about nuances in writing. Dean Shareski suggested Grammar Girl to investigate further.

My Presentation at the Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010

Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the Saskatchewan IT Summit. The title was: What if dreams did come true? What to do when technology in the classroom is no longer a barrier.

I also created a wiki to use during my presentation:

The theme of my presentation was collaborative learning. During my presentation, I shared the inquiry process my class used to develop its collaborative video and proposal that ended up winning one of 15 Best Buy's Best in Class Awards in 2009. Participants were then asked to collaborate themselves to come up with their own plans or ideas for incorporating new technology into their classrooms to improve student learning.

I decided to present at this conference because I have been asked by a number of people to share some of the methods and processes I use in my classroom to guide inquiry projects. I also decided to have an interactive portion to my presentation by asking the participants to engage in a discussion and envision how to spend a large amount of money on technological tools to improve student learning in their classrooms. When applying for grants and large prize amounts, it can be a bit overwhelming to envision how to spend large amounts of money and really justify how it will be impacting student learning. What better way to get ideas then to share experiences with other colleagues.

I hope the participants left with something new and I want to thank them for letting me share my story with them.

Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010 - Skype in the Classroom by Kimberly Brown

Kimberly Brown, Teacher, Regina Public Schools

Video: How to use Skype (install video) (by

Project highlights - How to connect 80 schools around the world. - The power of making connections.

During a call: Give students jobs:
Greeter: Welcomes the new audience (script prepared in case they are nervous)
Host: Asks some questions and some dialogue is started.
Teacher is prompter on the side with questions and recorder on the side.
Researcher: answer questions (look them up if we don't know the answer)
Speakers: asks questions

Develops speaking skills (during call) and writing skills (blogging before and after call)

Ideas to use Skype in a classroom:
  • Connecting with experts
  • Author Study
  • Local politicians or community leaders
  • Special projects: IB Programs, Olympics, Special events
  • Online educators - get calls on the computer instead of getting called at home (remain anonymous)
  • Reading books in common with other schools and use Skype and Blogs to discuss and interact about the book.
Enjoyed skyping with Kim's class and hearing why they like to Skype.

To make up for differences in time zones, the students sometimes come in early and stay late.

Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010 - Keynote Will Richardson - A Web of Connections - Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

Will Richardson

The students today are grown up in a world where you can connect with anyone, anywhere in the world. This is a big shift from where we were when we were being trained as educators.

Example of children in South Carolina who helped a blind boy be able to beat the game Zelda.
Demonstrated how your notes on a Kindle are all logged onto your own Kindle page. (I own a kindle myself and this is one of my favourite parts of owning a Kindle.) Definitely a game changer!

What kinds of technologies are game changers? The future of education is not dependent on changing learning environments. (Knowledge Works Foundation). The conversation online is making us smarter because of our ability to share and discuss information.

The understanding of the power of social networking and its possibilities is important to the leaders of today or tomorrow. (Examples of YouTube (Justin Beiber) and Surfthechannel (copyright issues))
Questions about copyright and who owns what information.
Businesses (Allstate & Twitter), politics (Obama election) and media (CNN & newspapers) have shifted to incorporate social media. Education has not responded to the change in the world and the impact of social media.

Students are not waiting for us to change. They are already using them.
  • Friend ways - texting, facebook, twitter, etc. (They don't need our help with this - they figure it out on their own and with the help of their friends)
  • Interest ways - forming groups to discuss topics of interest (need our help to make good connections and understand the information we are receiving through these groups.)
  • Private vs Public - photos and information online - control over what you post but not over what others post (we need to teach how to manage your online personal in a safe, effective and ethical ways.)
  • Clustermaps on your school blog: What do your dots (map) look like? What are the quality of your dots?
  • Fan fiction: Write a story and post them online - write your own stories and put them online. You can form a group with people who love the same things you do.
  • Google searched - students need help to make sure that when they are being googled by future colleges, mates and employers that they are well represented.
  • Information is everywhere: MIT Open course online, Khan Academy
  • Self directed learning - you need to make yourself learn something on your own and make sure you students have the same abilities: (online training videos)
  • Wikipedia - teach wikipedia (example of sources and checking facts) participatory event instead of just consuming information.
  • Diigo: Add comments and analysis of articles online through your PLC. (example of an article in Science Daily) - promotes critical thinking and analysis.
  •  Google Fast Flip, Google Reader, Evernote, GoodGuide: transparency is the ability to educate people we've never ever met.
  • Teach how to read and write using hyperlinks - different way of reading and writing that is totally different than reading a book. This is a skill we need to teach.
  • We need to develop problem solvers using inquiry skills to solve the world's problem now and in the future.
  • Radio Willow (Willowdale Elementary School): Example of first graders podcasting about what they learn in their classroom.
We can't be doing things the same way we have always been doing them. We need to model these new practices by being participants. It is not easy but we need to change to ensure our students are learning what they need to learn for the future. It is an amazing time to be a learning right now. Take advantage of this opportunity to be a learner yourself.

 How are we changing ourselves so that we can guide our students into the future?

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010 - Dean Shareski - The Ten Worst Practices in Educational Technology

    Dean Shareski's Blog:

    Intro: Curse of the default homepage (default settings on the computer) - Why don't ask what we can do with something? What could we do differently?
    It's not what the software does. It's what the user does with them.(Hugh MacLeod)
    1.  Interactive Whiteboards: Easy? Transformative? Should easy always be the goal of technology? What are some of the ways we can use IWBs to transform learning?
    2. Power Point: Why do we see so many bad Power Points? What strategies have been successful in eliminating bad PPTs? Our table says that images are most powerful. Teaching presentation skills are key and having students talk without reading a screen. The point of a presentation is that you have to be there to give a presentation, telling a story - if you don't need to be there to read out the presentation, then it is a bad use of power point.
    3. Digital Cameras: What are your favourite uses for digital cameras? How to go beyond printing out photos for display in the classroom? Our table says: Cameras can be used for documentation of student learning with dialogue to go with it. Reflective learning such as a Voice Thread. Creation: iMovie of Geometry in my environment
    4. Walled Gardens: Access Denied (protected websites) - Good discussion about security settings and teaching students how to use the web safely.
    5. Computer Class: Do we need them? Access poses a challenge but the need for formal classes (keyboarding, etc.) are not considered necessary.
    6. Cell phones: How are we using cellphones in class? Computer power sitting in their pockets that could be used for good. 
    7. Keyboarding: Should it be taught? In the world of texting, etc. Do we want to spend our time with computers teaching keyboarding when we could be doing something more creative?
    8. Games: Drill and Kill exercises have a place in Education? Check out Sylvia Martinez for more info on useful games.
    9. Searching: How to do proper searching to find information properly and the info that we need to find
    10. Viewer's Choice: Word processing and excessive printing
    Great Session Dean! Thank you!

    Saskatchewan IT Summit - Bernajean Porter - Turning Up the Heat - Learning, Thinking and Communicating in a Digital Age 

    Traditionally school was about being good consumers - "Tell me about..."

    Demonstrating Understanding
    Meaning Makers and Media Makers: Stop the go forth and make something using technology push and stop and ensure that there is a demonstration of understanding in the project. Compare and Contrast would be a higher level of thinking (demonstration) then a simple fact telling video.

    • Higher Order of Thinking: Rigor,, Types of Communication
    • Engaged Learners: Choices, Curiosity, Affinity, Student Centered (Owned or Driven)
    • Authenticity:Useful & Beneficial, Context, Collaborative, Real World Challenges (Drawing Conclusions)
    • Technology: Modes & Tools, Added-Value, Transforming Uses
     Used UP (TM) Student Performance Tasks for Transformational Learning Rubric to evaluate scenarios in groups.

    It's a process!

    Pre-Producation Phase:
    • Writing a narrative Script
    • Planning the Project
    • Organizing Project Folders
    Production Phase:
    • Making the Voiceover
    • Gathering and Preparing Media Resources
    Post Production Phase:
    • Putting it all together
    Distribution Phase:
    • Applause, Applause
     "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
    -Albert Einstein

    Digital Scoring Guide for scoring digital products: Data base to make up rubrics for digital projects:

    About What?: Asking Questions
    • So What: Decision
    • Now What: Action Plan
    • What IF: Invention - website to make a url wall with sticky notes for collaborative questioning, thinking and generating ideas on a topic.

    Keynote - Saskatchewan IT Summit 2010 - Bernajean Porter

    Bernajean Porter: All Technology Uses are NOT Equal: Accelerating High-Yielding Practices

    Session wiki: 

    Back Chat:

    High School Science: a video where a student explains the results and process of a science lab.

    (Elbow Buddy: Person to discuss a question with)

    Clear expectations are required by the teacher at the storyboard level: criteria at the beginning of the assignment (part of backwards lesson design planning)

    Game Changing Video (Future Outlook): Wired - Informed::Optimism

    Deepak Chopra: author of Ageless Body Timeless Mind

    What are we pretending not to know?
    Media Specialist: important to student achievement due to their coplanning role and ability to manage information and techniques being used in the building.

    Problem right now with students not being able to use credible sources: what will they do when they have to think for themselves outside of the classroom? We need to be able to teach them the skills that they need to manage to be critical thinkers and manage in a media world - good from bad - how to be skeptical.

    Father Guido: video: A Place Called School
    5 Minute University:
    Where's the stickiness of what we are learning? How long do we remember something?

    How do we get them ready for a world we can't imagine?

    Integration is: The goal is not just to use it - go past the stuff - look for the new story not just the stuff they used to make it.

    Story 1: PBL in a Grade 5 History Class: Good Things: Primary Sources (they had to make sense of them), Standards/Outcomes - student choice in what they wanted to learn guided by the curriculum, Data Management, Collaborative Learning and Planning, Teacher being a learner too, Whoever is doing the most work is learning the most.
    Concerns: Time (Integration of subjects gives you more time) You need to be able to unpack it to give grades in different subjects.

    Story 2: Tech Plan: New Computers: Software Programs - It is about using the stuff not how we are using it.

    Learning Spectrum: Where's the Flashlight?
    Literacy: Technology, Stories, Tool Skills
    Adapting: Same Stories, Consumers (learning about stuff, not just using stuff)
    Transforming: New Stories, Producers

    Information Consumers (Lower on Bloom) - Information Producers (Higher on Bloom)

    It is not about the tools, it is about the questions: cash in on the technology's potential not just use the technology.

    The challenge: Not doing something with technology but to ask what are the higher uses of technology?