Archive for the 'edtech' Category

Laptop Collection Time

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Well, it is time once again to pick up our 9k+ student laptops here in Irving! Busy times, but our process keeps getting better and better…

What if… Science and Wiki’s

Monday, May 8th, 2006

What if students, elementary through high school, were to develop their own research projects (new research, not something that every other student is doing in a science kit), and share their process and results through a wiki? Things I like about this idea: 1) it is learning for a purpose; 2) each team can work on a different research project; 3) teams can decide on what is meaningful to them, even if their topic revolves around a needed objective in the classroom; 4) the wiki component is not simply regurgitating information, but creating new knowledge and sharing it with others (and opening it up for other to contribute).

I believe this type of class project can meet classroom/state objective requirements, move students to a higher level of thinking AND work to bring relevant projects into the classroom.

eMints: Self Awareness

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Self Awareness: it’s such an easy thing to preach, and such a hard thing to do. In talking about coaching, we have been discussing the concept of being aware of ones own body language, positioning, etc. While this is an important concept for coaching strategies, it is virtually impossible to ‘flip on’ your self awareness switch in specific environments - self awareness must be practiced all day, every day. I fail each day.

Here are a few resources that might be useful:

Fred Jones has a classroom management program that changed my life (literally) the first year I taught. A big part of his thoughts focus on body language and self awareness. My father, a professor of Psychology at a college in Kansas, called me one day to ask about the techniques he remembered me describing as used in my 4th grade classroom - he was having trouble with some students in his college courses! I walked him through the steps, and he reported that they worked well…ha! It’s funny how humans respond across all different levels. Here are some great little pieces from Fred Jone’s thoughts:

  • Adrenaline increases metabolism - nervous energy
  • When you run out of adrenaline you feel the exhaustion
  • It takes 27 minutes for adrenaline to clear the bloodstream. (i.e. Two upsets per hour with your kids keep you stressed all day.)
  • Calm is Strength, Upset is Weakness

    Meaning business is mostly body language

    Simply reading a presentation handout (this isn’t the one I read, but has many of the same concepts) was enough for me - this was my first immersment into self awareness in the classroom. Realizing the power of self awareness, I started to apply it to other areas of my life. It is a continual struggle - we are SO egocentric as human beings!

    Now, I don’t want to simply put together resources that i have searched for and found (YOU can do that), so here is one last one from my blogroll. The Self Development Network is a great read, and helps with the daily focus. Give it a shot and see what results you find.

    Lastly, I have found meditation (centering prayer, specifically) to have the most impact on my self awareness. The great thing is that when you take time to center yourself daily (which I haven’t been doing latley), the effects naturally roll over into all other aspects of your life. This truly has impact great impact, and I am a firm believer that meditation (either within the context of a religion or without) is one of the most important tools in developing self awareness.
    Maybe one day I’ll be self aware of where I am at and if I am even located where the left lane ends…

    eMints: eThemes

    Thursday, May 4th, 2006

    This is a resource worth checking out. It is an extensive set of resources by ‘theme’ put together, in large part, by graduate students that have been given a theme to research. While it is ‘just another list’ of resources, I like how it is organized. Probably needs to be more dynamic, but it is free!

    What if… sketchup and math

    Thursday, May 4th, 2006

    I think I’ll start a new group of posts in an effort to simply list ideas that run through my brain involving the use of the computer as a tool in an effective teaching environment. They are open for feedback/criticism. These shall be called ‘What if…’. Simple. Short.

    What if Sketchup was used to develop a house/building plan to solve a community problem and then actually placed in Google Earth to show the plan. Volume could be a math objective here - students could be given certain volume limitations under which they had to develop their structure. Students could design their solution, prove they met the volume limitations (there are a variety of real reasons for volume limitations), place their design on Google Earth and even present to a city official or recieve feedback from a city official.

    What if…

    Triangulating Feedback

    Thursday, May 4th, 2006

    We can gripe all we want about the state of assessment, but it is my opinion that we take what we have (while still making a concerted effort to change what is wrong) and make it work. We are going through two days of eMints training (you can see our resource page here) which entails a buffet of concepts that range from coaching strategies to developing essential questions.

    There was a quick mention yesterday of triangulating our assessment that caught my attention. I did a little searching through my blogroll and found this thought from Mike Muir that he jotted down as a result of attending a presentation by Jim Moulton (both involved in the Maine 1:1 implementation).

    Assessment: Assessment for learning & Assessment of learning. Assessment of learning is the test - do you know it or not? But where the learning takes place is assessment for learning. The course corrections we make along the way.

    We say the word assessment, and everyone flinches today. But it is foundational to remember the proven fact that feedback and assessment are key to our student’s success. Does that mean high stakes testing? No! But why not take traditional tests and build them into a triangle of assessment in our classrooms? (after all, teachers are all but forced to ‘embrace’ these tests). Putting the traditional test aside, it would be interesting to see a classroom teacher that would commit to establishing three (3) different assessment components for each ‘learning set’ that takes place in their classroom (a learning set would include a variety of standards and objectives). Pieces of this triangle could include:

  • Rubric based assessing
  • Peer assessing
  • Quick feedback (blackboard is a great tool for this)
  • Portfolio collections
  • …and the list goes on. The concept that stands out, however, is forming a more solid foundation of assessment and feedback in our classrooms. It just makes sense to me that providing three (3) forms of feedback to any given instructional set would only make the learning and assessing of the learning more valid.

    Yes, this is a basic, foundational concept. But too often we focus on the negatives of assessment and how to teach in a 1:1 environment without looking at our systems of feedback within the classroom. The key, from my POV, is to broaden the base and to incorporate more forms of feedback not just throughout the year, but to add to the foundation within each instructional set.

    Are we really assessing where the learning takes place? Or do we stick with one standard set of feedback tools, used independently of each other? Maybe we’re just stuck on the highway…

    A good/worthwhile story and a nice laugh!

    Friday, April 28th, 2006

    For those that are married or soon to be ;) - this is a great story that is worth the read (ok, even if you aren’t married, too)

    Interesting combination

    Friday, April 28th, 2006

    Miguel has an interesting post worth reading. Parables are a great way to teach, and it seems that this is also a possible reference to David Warlick’s call to share stories. DO we have what it takes to seek out where the left lane ends?

    Mike Muir and a great post from Vicki

    Friday, April 28th, 2006

    I came across Mike Muir’s blog this morning thanks to a post from Vicki on her coolcatteacher blog. Her post is well worth reading and ties well to my rant that was inspired (more like prodded to life) by Angela (author of musingsfromtheacademy). I should just title this post - links worth reading!

    Mike is a professor of educational technology at the University of Maine at Farmington and has done extensive research on their 1:1 program as well as played an integral role in its implementation. We visited them a little over a year ago and have been in touch through our 1:1 symposium. These are all great to add to your aggregator… Great to see you online, Mike!

    Sketchup - free 3D modeling

    Friday, April 28th, 2006

    Pretty cool stuff, and you can integrate it with Google Earth! Take a few minutes (thats all it takes) to build your own 3D house -

    You just may get hooked… now, for the curriculum connections!


    Oh, man - this thing is SO cool! You have a tape measure, protractor, plane selector. Math people are gonna drool, and there are all kinds of other curriculum possibilities. Be sure to go through the 3 walk-through tutorials. I NEVER thought I would enjoy 3D design, but this software is really smart!!!

    Ok, I’ve gotta go finish the 3rd tutorial now!