February 4th, 2006

Well, we’ve been preparing non-stop for being gone to TCEA this coming week. The state robotics competition, which Irving ISD coordinates, is on Monday this year. We’ll be going down Sunday to setup. Want to watch? We’ll attempt a live webcast.

You’ll have to use Internet Explorer for this one folks (sorry, Firefox users!). We should begin broadcasting sometime around 8:00 Monday morning.

I’ll post some reflections as the week progresses and am able to attend sessions, although I don’t plan on ‘documenting’ my experience extensively. A good part of the convention can be found online, so I’ll work to just focus my experiences towards what is applicable here on LLE. cryptocurrency broker singapore

Why do we inhibit???

February 2nd, 2006

So, I was working on some stats stuff this afternoon/tonight, looking for some kind of decent conclusion to be made between a control campus w/out 1:1 laptops and one with 1:1 laptops (middle school). WHAT I was doing with these statistics didn’t strike me as much as HOW I was doing it.

(I’ll tell you up front that this is an opinion piece rather than a connected/hyperlinked piece…read at your own risk!)

I started my work with some data analysis software (SPSS, for all those stats fiends out there(ok, I lied, there will be some links!)) that I am just learning. My first resource came in the form of a phone call to the person that collected the data, Gerald Knezek at UNT. He had the same software on his computer and we walked through a number of different ways to analyze the different variables. It amazed me how quickly I was able to pick up the use of this software, even though neither of us could see the other’s screen! Language, in regards to software and technology, has leveled out to the point where we can do that.

Later that evening, I was meeting with a colleague to continue work on said project. As we were meeting in person (with 2 PPT screens open, 2 SPSS windows, Firefox with WHO knows HOW many tabs running and email up and going), I noticed my father was on Messenger. “What are you doing?,” I asked. “Grading Statistics papers,” he replied! Sweet…live help! (He teaches Stats, among other things at Sterling College in KS.)

So, while working live with my colleague (who had his own laptop going), I was messaging my father to get valuable information about how to run some new and very functional reports (thanks, Dad), working on my computer, pulling data off of the web, jumping back-and-forth between PPT and SPSS and even managed to message a friend to let him know what I was up to (who could’ve cared less that I was playing with statistics). crypto broker singapore

It struck me. THIS is how it’s being done now! THIS is what kids need to be doing in AND OUTSIDE of school in an effective 1:1 implementation. It seems so random and attention deficit, but yet it works so well!

Another great illustration of this came through the Mac interface this past weekend as we went to relax to some live music at Standard and Pours, a Dallas coffee shop/local music scene. We were listening to one of the openers and I noticed a college aged girl sitting in front of us working on her PowerBook. That wonderful Mac interface demonstrated this concept SO fluidly, it was almost poetic! (we’re a windows shop here in Irving.) She was dancing back and forth between writing a paper of some sort, researching online, talking to two friends, browsing personal interest web sites, playing a game (which would pop up when the other player, apparently located somewhere else in cyber land, would make a move) AND actively listening to the performer on stage! A keystroke would move her around between the different windows, and when selected, would zoom that window to a larger work size - you know how Mac windows zip around the screen playfully… Then her friend would IM her, and that window would zip into view. After a quick response, she would flow back over to her paper and write a half a sentence more! My thought was how I would just love to see the flow of that writing! I couldn’t believe that it would be connected or fluid at all. BUT I WAS DOING THE SAME THING EARLIER TONIGHT!

Now, you may be thinking: “Well, Jerram, just look at your spastic writing - you’ve been A.D.D.’ing whilst writing THIS piece (which I HAVE been, by the way).” So what’s the point??!!

The point is, we give kids laptops and spend SO much time blocking, inhibiting, impeding, limiting and preventing them from connecting, despite the FACT that they should be connecting, flowing, working without limits and relating to the world - their world. singapore crypto trading platform

Well, it was Miguel’s note:

Discussions among technology directors focus, not on the best ways to use such technologies, but how to best block access to those technologies.

that got me started on this whole thing. I didn’t think I would bring it to the fore tonight, but out it came…

Sometimes, when you see the ‘real’ world compared to the real education world, you just wanna ask ‘WHY?’.

Google Earth Uses

February 2nd, 2006

Dean Shareski writes about geography lesson ideas on his blog and says:

So there’s the challenge. Get your kids to dig into these tools and their value and post the findings.

Here’s one…Sam Farsaii, Director of Instructional Technology for Irving ISD, presented a way to use Google Earth the other day. Google Earth has a built in measurment tool. Why not locate a local landmark and compare its length/size/area to another well known landmark - a sphinx, for instance. Not only do students compare the two objects, but they almost literally fly around the world and develop concepts about global locations, continents and worldly perspective as they do so. This one little tool has so many great applications and is only a slice of the limitless application of Google Earth.

…just don’t tell your networking department about it’s constant bandwith consumption…

Oh, and if anyone can find a Left Lane Ends sign - mark it and send me the latitude/longitude so I can pull it up. People have found fly cars - someone’s GOT to be looknig for where the left lane ends…


February 1st, 2006

Well, I had to reinstall. My apologies to those that had already created accounts - I hope you’ll give it another shot (that’s what I get for being too anxious!)

Links to the posts have changed slightly, I’m sure. So, those would need to be updated if applicable.

Comments issue is ‘fixed’! (More like removed/reinstalled!)

Podcast: Professional Learning Communites (PLC) in a 1:1 environment

January 31st, 2006

Sebastian Bozas was not available yesterday, but I did get a hold of the ITS (Instructional Technology Specialist), Gina Fletcher. Gina has been an integral part of the PLC’s on campus and has some great thoughts. I really think that this kind of dialogue is an absolute must for making progress towards instructional change. Enough of me writing - take a listen…

Click the play button to begin:
Download gina_dialogue.mp3

Looking for an aggregator?

January 31st, 2006

Look no further - I’ve loved it from the start and they keep adding new features. It has been down once in the time that I have used it, but having my aggregator online has been so much better than trying to sync to multiple computers and keep track of my reading.

Interested? Check out Netvibes

I’m a PBS Geek, but…

January 30th, 2006

So I’m known for being a PBS/NPR geek, and I typically don’t like watching much TV beyond that scope. But…we (my wife and I) got hooked on LOST tonight. What a show…

Vocab Blog and other read/write web examples

January 30th, 2006

I wasn’t sure what I would find when I got an email titled ‘Teaching vocab with blogs’, but Byrd Vocabulary has an interesting concept. While my thoughts immediately went to flash cards, I was impressed that students were developing connections to the words they were working on. Blogging is all about linking and connections, so the use fits.

John Witter has JUST started blogging within his classroom environment in a High School history course. I love his beginning post where he is openly purposing his blog content to gather feedback from his students about his teaching and lessons. Another great example of using blogs for more then just ‘writing a journal entry’.

How about a Wiki? Vicki A. Davis (at Cool Cat Teacher Blog) has had her kiddos start up a Wiki on productivity. She talks about this here, and you can visit the student Wiki product here. The idea is to have the students develop guidelines about daily planning that will help them as they progress through the semester.

Moving on to Podcasting: Darren Wilson, an Instructional Technology Specialist in Irving, TX, has started putting podcasts from elementary students online. They podcast their daily video announcements (in audio form) and have started podcasting student writing examples (that the students read) as well.

Bob Sprankle really gets his students riled up as they produce podcasts and other content online. You have to admit that student engagement is entirely different when the students take stake in the content as opposed to ‘Your journal entry for today is…’.

To be honest, I am just putting together a collection of links that demonstrate how educators can use some of these tools in a classroom setting BEYOND simply writing a journal to put online. These are great tools for instigating the development of connections within a learning environment, after all. I’ll post some responses from our group that I share these with - it’s just a quick demo…

The importance of dialogue and a reflective practice within teaching

January 27th, 2006

In our LoTI session this morning, Sebastian Bozas (Middle School Principal of a One-to-One laptop school) noted more than once that we are falling short if we do not provide opportunities for techers to dialogue in a meaningful way about the content of their instruction. We briefly discussed how LoTI can provide a framework for this dialogue, develop a common language (so we do not argue in place of dialoguing) and move toward a more reflective practice of teaching on campus.

Mr. Bozas has truly pushed for this environment at de Zavala Middle School by creating half day periods for his teams of teachers to reflect on what they are doing in their rooms. Interestingly enough, the technology (despite its invaluable place in his school) is not the primary focus - instruction is.

I’ll be interviewing Mr. Bozas next Tuesday about what he sees happening with one-to-one instruction as he has developed this practice with his teachers. Stay tuned for the first podcast…

We’re just searching for where the left lane ends…


January 27th, 2006

We’re doing LoTI (Levels of Technology Implementation) Training. A large group of our ITS crew (Instructional Technology Specialists) are going through a LoTI trainer certification, mainly in an effort to broaden our knowledge systematically, as well as develop a common language as a professional learning community.So what is LoTI all about? Technology integration, right? Wrong. Sort of. We can NOT say that the technology is not important. It absolutley is - it is critical. Often times, however, we put too much focus on the technology itself. This is the key strength of the LoTI framework. It focuses on Bloom’s taxonomy, which directs us back to the value of the lesson and places the emphasis on content (and engagement, in my opinion). David Warlick says in a blog post entitled Contemporary Literacy: Who & When:

It’s confusing that this discussion usually happens among technology educators within the context of technology considerations, but the skills are about information.

While I am taking Warlick’s quote a little bit out of context (as his post focuses on new literacy skills), I fully believe that the concept is then same - we need to shift our dialogue to focus on the content, the engagment, the lessons and the informational skills.Now - let’s consider this in the context of a one-to-one laptop implementation, shall we? While Irving has made huge strides forward, the biggest change that we see happening is not in the students, but in teacher instruction. The shift from the ‘old’ way to the new is drastic, with some that catch on quickly and others that are still struggling with how to ‘use’ the laptops. I fully believe that if we promote more systematic dialogue that (and PLEASE, we MUST not forget the power of the technology) focuses on the content, instruction, engagement and literacy skills that need to be happening in our classrooms, we’ll see a more fluid shift in teaching practice. LoTI provides a framework that is right on target with this discussion. Moving on…

I love it when you see someone processing new content/information! We have a few administrators that are attending our LoTI session today, one of whom rephrased what he saw as the value in the LoTI framework. Moersch has developed a Palm based application that allows an administrator to do a quick walk-through with the ability to quantify (more or less) the LoTI level of any given lesson. While the focus of the application is for administrative purposes (walk-through evaluation), this particular principal noted that it would be twice as powerful for teachers to have the evaluation tool on their own so that they can do continuous self evaluation of their own lessons. Yes, yes, yes! This comment followed Chris’ statement that all of their research blatently shows that the building principal controls the LoTI level on campus. In other words, the Principal’s expectations for their teachers are what the campus will produce. This principal ‘got it’ and saw the value in integrating technology within the LoTI framework. Right on target, in my opinion.

THAT is heading towards where the left lane ends.

Links to check out:

LoTI Levels

Dr. Chris Moersch

David Warlick on LoTI (a little)

Podcast by Wesley Fryer w/ Dr. Chris Moersch

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Digital Literacy Bookmarks