Monday, January 18, 2010

If you could change one thing about education in America, what would it be?

If you could change one thing about education in America, what would it be?

What is impossible to learn in school?

What is impossible to learn in school?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Final Thoughts for 2009-Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0: New Tools for Schools
“Schools are stuck in the 20th century. Students have rushed into the 21st. How can schools catch up and provide students with a relevant education?” Marc Prensky
What an exciting time to be in education and I hope that we, as leaders, administrators, teachers and librarians, can rise to the occasion of providing our students with the Web 2.0 tools they will need to be successful.
My goal is to increase educators' awareness of the Web 2.0 tools that are available and provide examples of how the tools can be used in the classroom to reach, motivate, educate, and assess students.
We are in a different "Flat World" today and things are changing at such a rapid rate that it is difficult to keep up with the latest "Digital Tools" for our students.
Students are miles ahead of adults, staff included, in their comfort with technology of cell phones, creating YouTube videos, IM, Blogging, Facebook and MySpace.
They have grown up with it and are as easy with it as we are with newspapers and TV. Schools are not at the level they should be. They need to prepare our students for the 21st Century jobs that require, global awareness, communication, teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and knowing how to collect and/or retrieve information.
I’m always interested in finding new ways to learn quickly and efficiently. It’s important to get the most educational value out of my time as possible. I think that applies to our students as well.
One method is to use 21st-century tools and projects that are models for driving change in education. Many of these tools are called Web 2 tools. We can transform our educational institutions into model learning environments that cater to the broadest range of users through collaboration tools. Through creating, communicating and collaborating, students can learn 21st-century skills while they master core curriculum skills and prepare to meet the demands of the global community.
Thomas Friedman's book "The World Is Flat" changed our views on globalization and trying to explain and understanding the forces driving the flattening of the world. From teleconferencing to podcasts and manufacturing, to restaurant order taking, educators need to realize that in the 21st Century classroom our students need to learn how to learn, teach the students to stay curious and innovative, if we are to excel in a global economy.
If we are the change our classrooms to reflect the 21st Century we need to adopt and incorporate the 21st Century models for school. I have listed a condensed version below of the skills.
• Use 21st Century Assessments that measure 21st Century Skills
• Evaluate the quality, relevance, and usefulness of information
• Knowing more about the world - creating global citizens
• Collect and/or retrieve information
• Information and communications skills
• Use digital technology and communication tools to Teach and learn in a 21st century context
• Thinking outside of the box - creativity and innovation
• Interpersonal and self-directional skills
• Digital Age Literacy
• Collect and/or retrieve information
• Learn academic content through real-world examples
• Organize and manage information • Interpret and present information
Things like global awareness, information gathering and manipulation, and just plain technology savvy are fast becoming the primary items that we as schools are going to have to ensure our students have when they graduate. Our exit exams and other measures of fitness for graduation have to be replaced with something more encompassing and rigorous.

Over the past year, I have been researching and interviewing small and large businesses to see what skills for success, students need to enter the workforce.
WEB reference here
The top 3 skills for that employees form small business owners to major corporations include:
• Creative problem-solving
• Critical and analytical thinking
• Information gathering, evaluation and synthesis
The other skills that employers want include:
• Team work
• Adaptability
• Literacy and numeracy
• Time management and organization
• Oral and written communication
• Initiative and enterprise
• Ability to apply discipline knowledge and concepts
• Interpersonal skills
• Capacity to manage stress levels
• Community involvement
• Personal attributes such as ambition, self-awareness and an inquiring mind.
There are two questions that need to be asked and addressed”
Question one: “What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls?” Will Richardson

Question two: “How do we prepare our students for jobs that don’t yet exist.” Dr. Howie DiBlasi, “Emerging Technology Evangelist”

So what is the best way to get started? The following list has my favorite Web 2.0 tools and ideas to change your classroom or district. Each tool includes a brief description and the web site of the tool. All of the Web 2.0 suggestions are tied to the 21st Century Skills listed above and are designed to integrate with your curriculum and incorporate the 21st Century skills that apply.
Web 2.0 and who to invite to the table to implement 21st Century Skills. Web site :
Global Connections ePals is a social network optimized for K-12 learning. Over half a million classrooms in 200 countries and territories , and over 11 million students and teachers from 191 countries are building skills and enhancing learning with ePals. FREE e-mail for students

Eduhound Online Educational Resources - Thousands of free lesson plans that meet state and national standards

Curriki - is a community of educators, learners and committed education experts who are working together to create quality materials that will benefit teachers and students around the world. Free distribution of world-class educational materials. Project site: Think Together. is now part of ThinkQuest -- A learning platform where teachers and students create learning projects.
HotChalk - A 100% free curriculum management, content sharing, professional development, and social networking service with a simple mission: to make teachers’ lives better.
Free Technology for Teachers Free resources that teachers can use in their classrooms. awarded the Edublogger Award for "Best Resource Sharing Blog.
VoiceThread Online presentation site that lets you attach audio and video. Other users can leave audio and video comments. Ability to upload images or video files and then add text.
Our Learning Communities - Ning - Social Networking:
Ning lets you create new social experiences for the most important people and interests in your life. Ning offers an easy-to-use service that allows people to join and create Ning Networks. URL:
Join a Ning and collaborate
Classroom 2.0 If you ONLY join ONE NING.....Make this the ONE !!!
A social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education. Sign up participate in the discussions to receive event notifications, and to find and connect with colleagues. It is a FREE, community-supported network.

Create a Twitter Account Read what teachers are saying about Twitter:
"As soon as the lunch bell rings at his elementary school in Medford, Oregon, teacher David Cosand takes a few minutes to scan his mobile phone screen for messages that have accumulated throughout the morning in his Twitter account. In a few well-chosen words, the people Cosand follows via this free online service share their latest news, resources, questions, and (sometimes) trivia about education, technology, and related topics.
Cosand became a Twitterer about a year ago, and he now considers Twitter one of his best sources of real-time professional development. "I'm able to get information and find opportunities I wouldn't have been able to gather on my own," he
Discover RSS and subscribe to a Podcast or Blog RSS in Plain English-An introduction to RSS as a way to save time reading web sites. Watch a video here:
Google Reader
Google reader is my power RSS reader - it has great new features that lets me share and receive clippings from others and add clippings to my own blog. I link my Google Reader to my iGoogle page and feed my "Hotlist" of blogs/ links to my own blog/ and custom searches. Love Google reader.

NewsMap This meta analysis of the news provides your students News from around the world. Great resource when you are discussing cultures, comparing the leading news stories in various countries, searching for current events, searching for state literary and emerging news.

Digital Vaults - Education resources
It’s an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.
The Great Idea Finder Innovation - Creativity - Creative Thinking
Created to promote the progress of science and useful arts by providing a showcase for innovation. Their mission is to provide inspiration to the "inventor" in all of us. Great stories behind the world's greatest inventors and great inventions. They showcase the best and most innovative ideas.
Voki Allows students to create wacky avatars then record themselves speaking. Some teachers have found it to be a fantastic way to assess speaking in the target language. "What if the Voki was reading a list of spelling words? What if it was speaking another language? The site offers a high level of customization ranging from the overall look of the Voki to the sound of its voice.
Kerpoof - A site that provides a variety of creative for animation, drawing, and movie creation. Wide range of preset characters and environmental options, or they can create their own. Drag-and-drop simplicity coupled with advanced animation and editing capabilities that open the platform up to a range of curricular applications.
Diigo: Social annotation and bookmarking service where users can bookmark sites and add highlights and notes to them. Great for research. Social bookmarking site where users can save bookmarks and organize them with tags. Users can also take advantage of their network allowing them to add friends to their account and keep track of bookmarks left by each friend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What Ever Happened To The AV Club?

What Ever Happened To The AV Club?

When I was in high school in the 60s, I was a proud member of the Audio Visual Club. This was before geeks and nerds — we were the pre- geeks and nerds. We would have a contest to see who could load the 16-mm film projector the fastest and our second contest was to see who splice a tape for the reel-to-reel tape recorders the fastest. I held the school record for replacing an overhead bulb in the projector.
None of our group ever imagined a CD, DVD, clickers, smart boards, Second Life, podcasting, video conferencing, the Internet and several other technologies that our schools use every day.

The common thread in comparing old and new technology is a vision for creating positive change.

Several new technologies are changing the shape of classrooms:
• Smart Boards – (a large – 4ft by 8 feet- white board that projects images on the board- teacher or students touch the screen/whiteboard and it is interactive. Used to display computer and or video images. The board is similar to a touch screen and you can cut/copy/paste/move images or type on it.

• LCD Projectors – (short description of what each is here) (a projection devise that you can connect a video camera, TV output or computer and project the image on a large screen up to 10 feet by 10 feet)

• Clickers – (Students can use the handheld device and click on a small keyboard to answers questions in the classroom. Allows the instructor to receive instant feedback and display the results on a computer)

• IVC – (Interactive Video Conference –camera and TV allows connections around the world. Can bring experts, museums, zoos and other content providers into the student’s classroom using IP video connection on the Internet)

• Document cameras – (a stationary camera mounted on a stand an pointed down to the stand, - that allows the instructor to display document, specimens, samples and any small object to display on a large screen. A zoom lens on the camera can maginify the object from 10 – 1000 percent.)

• Podcast Recorders –Podcasts are recorded by students about educational projects in the classroom. IE. book reports, digital stories, debates, class discussion, performances etc. (the old cassette recorder for the 21st Century Classroom. A small electronic recorder that fits in the palm of your hand. Can record up to 3 hours of content on a small media card. Card is removed and inserted into a computer and recordings are then edited to be placed on the Internet for educational listening

• Virtual Reality – (VR is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. It can be real or imagined one. Most of the current virtual reality environments are primarily a visual experience that displays on a computer screen or through special or stereo vision goggles)

Districts that make new technology work invested in staff development and train teachers with new tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and visual literacy.
They provide access to new equipment including clickers, smart boards and 1-1 computers for every student and also invest in technicians and a chief information officer to keep systems operating correctly.

Digital natives — young people who have spent their entire lives in the digital world — need new tools to expand their reach into the world to acquire and remember information. School districts should not be afraid of new technology that challenges old paradigms.

In most of our schools today, students have very little input in the structure and substance of their education. Teachers still do the proverbial classroom lecture every day. Research is beginning to tell us that kids are bored, especially when outside of school they are using YouTube and media-saturated, tech-driven products and applications.

I wonder what would happen if we were to seek input from our students? We might learn that they prefer questions rather than answers. Maybe they would share their opinions, group projects, devise project for the classroom, communicate on real-world issues, and tell us how they can own their own learning.
Talk to your students — they have great ideas on how to integrate technology into the classroom — lead by listening. Ask students: What experiences in school really engaged you? How do you use technology in school as opposed to outside of school?

What would you do to make school more fun?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How To Get An ISTE-2010 ( NECC-Denver) Proposal Accepted !!!

I have not lost it! I am not crazy!! I did not stay out in the sun for 5 hours!!!
That is the reaction i received, when I shared with a few close friends that I was going to do a Blog Post on the secrets of getting accepted at NECC

I have reviewed conference submittals for a number of years and it amazes me how many of the proposals need a lot of work to be considered for a slot in the conference....

I am going to give you several tips on how to make sure your proposal "Stand Out' and have a better chance of being selected.

A great proposal can be decisive in securing a presentation slot at NECC, while a poor one can cause your submission to go it the "reject" box.

Follow these 11 tips to a write a "GREAT" proposal every time.

1. Create a powerful, but concise 25-30 word summary Decision-makers start with and focus on the opening statement and summary, so create this section with that fact in mind. When writing the summary, assume that the reader knows little or nothing about the proposed project.

2. Be generous with your ideas Share your expertise. Attendees are looking for solution and new ideas to use in their districts classrooms. Use your ideas and solutions to show conference attendees your approaches to problems in creative and innovative ways.

3. Quantify the results that the attendee can expect from your conference presentation. Be specific on the results in the form of performance objectives. List the process, solutions and methodologies.

4. Size does matter Keep your proposal submission as short as possible, while meeting the conference requests and requirements. Think quality, not quantity.

5. Focus on the individual attending your session at the conference. Many proposals begin with a long discussion of the individuals describing their qualifications and history. There is usually a place for that at the end of the submission. Focus your proposal on the " INDIVIDUALS NEEDS" first.

6. Remember, conference attendees care only about how you'll address their issues, so show them how you'll do that.

7. Beware of best practices. Instead of relying on answers that worked for a previous conference, find a blend of outstanding practices and innovative solutions that fit the individual attending the conference.

8. Be accurate and Sweat every detail Double-check and triple-check the information. Spell check the submission at least 3 times. You'll risk turning a winning proposal into a loser if you present inaccurate data and/or misspelled words.

9. Rewrite your resume for every proposal. Some conferences require a resume. Highlight the skills in your resume that demonstrate your qualifications for the presentation at hand.

10. Finish early Let your proposal sit for a day after you've completed the final draft, and then reread it completely before sending it to the conference committee. You're likely to come up with some new ideas that enhance your work, and you may find errors that you missed earlier.

11. Let your personality shine through. Give the review committee a sense of your culture and your style of standing in front of the group and making the presentation. What will it be like to attend this session at the conference?

I will not be a SLACKER..I will post in my blog

I will not be a SLACKER..I will post in my blog.

Post later this AM on Tips to a Winning Proposal for NECC 2010-Denver

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cool Web Sites To Check Out

The past month has provides conferences in Texas. North Carolina and Wisconsin.

TCEA is always an excellent conference with excitement and energy from educators, technology coordinator and leaders from across the state. Rather than give you all the detail of the conference I thought I would provide a few of the links we used in the workshops and sessions.

North Carolina was a fantastic experience and allowed me to connect with several of my favorite people. NCTIES organized the conference around a construction theme, and developed a Dream Design Technology Team. The team included David Warlick, Tammy Worchester, Vicki Davis, Kathy Schrock , Leslie Fischer and myself. What a great time discussing with the movers and shakers, 21st Century Skills, software applications, Web 2, filters in school district and the challenges we all share as "Idea Peddlers"

The sessions that we presented included:
Tammy's Favorite Technology Building Tools for a Web 2.0 Classroom
Tammy Worcester,

10 Rules For Revolutionaries In The 21st Century Classroom
Dr. Howie DiBlasi

Digital Photography and Elements
Leslie Fisher,

Personal PD Cultivating your Personal Learning Network
David Warlick,

And finally on to Wisconsin and Madison attending and providing the Keynote for WETA.
Small conference of around 500 attendees but they consumed the content and were really excited about the Web 2.0 presentation and how to change their classrooms.

Links below:
Demo-What is WildEarth (WE)? A new concept in wildlife TV. Everything you see is 100% LIVE and happening right now. Join us for r a LIVE presenter lead safari, where WE go in search of some of our favourite characters. WE also do a LIVE bush walk every weekday morning, visit the WEschedule for all the times and shows.
· 360 Cities brings interactive, panoramic photography to the mainstream.
· EduHound Site Sets are collections of topic-based online education resources
Thousands of free lesson plans that meet state and national standards
· Imbee Sudent Social Site (Imbee)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Article from School Construction News

The Digital Age

New Columnist Discusses IT Solutions for the 21st Century
By Howie DiBiasi

I recently retired as the chief information officer for the Durango School district, in Durango Colorado. During the 14 years I spent in Durango, I witnessed many changes with information technology and had a first-hand look at old vs. new techniques for classrooms instruction, construction and management.

My world changed dramatically after I retired in January of 2008. My phone started ringing with invitations to speak at conferences and provide professional staff development to educational leaders and teachers. My emphasis is 21st century skills and how we need to change our classroom environments to prepare our student for the global work force.

Over the last six months, it has become very evident to me, that most schools are teaching with too much paper. Administrators are inundated with test scores, state standards, No Child Left behind and other assessments required at the local, state and national level. Many districts teach to the test by spending hours training the students to get betters test scores. We need to move into the 21st Century classroom and become agents of change.

A 21st century Classrooms should incorporate the digital tools our students use every day. A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that:
• 59 percent of all American teenagers engage in at least one form of online content creation
• 35 percent of all teen girls blog
• 20 percent of online boys blog
• 54 percent of girls post photos online compared with 40 percent of online boys.
• 39 percent of online teens share their artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories or videos
• 33 percent create or work on Web pages or blogs for others including groups they belong to, friends or school assignments
• 28 percent have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19 percent in 2004
• 27 percent maintain their own personal Web page
• 26 percent revise content they find online into their own creations

My research indicates that more than 78 percent of schools block students from creating content, blogs, wikis, photos sites and other Web 2.0 tools. I understand the need to meet the e-rate requirement and provide filtering content, but most districts block the very things that kids are doing every day when they leave our classrooms.

In the next few months I will answer question and provide information on the digital tools and technology that are shaping modern classrooms:
· Ways educators can meet the demands and challenges of 21st Century learning.
· How Digital Tools can provide 21st Century skills that involve: Writing, Speaking, Visual,Technical, and Personal Development Skills.
· Use technology to develop proficiency in 21st century skills and support innovative teaching and learning
· Techniquest to enable students to easily go beyond the narrow confines of the safe knowledge base of their academic discipline to apply themselves to whatever they encounter in the post-education world.

Howie DiBlasi is an IT consultant who speaks regularly about 21st century schools and teaching techniques throughout the United States.

Your ideas or comments?

Howie...Where have you been???

I am so far behind in my blog.....Really working on some new posts this weekend.
Stay tuned !!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jamestown Elementary-ROCKS !!!!

Jamestown Elementary-ROCKS !!!!

As the new school year begins, my conference schedule starts to heat up. We are 5 weeks into the school year and my Frequent Flyer miles are adding up quickly. Over the past 2 months I have received many phone calls about out new IVC (Interactive Conferencing) Professional Development Series. We use IVC equipment and connect to your school and do a live Interactive 21st Century Skills Workshop. Most are 3 hours in length and staff and teachers can ever receive certification credit or Graduate Credit for attending the workshops. This saves the districts travel costs and keeps the cost of Professional Development low.

I have completed sessions with Bangkok, Thailand, Colorado, Texas and Virginia. I recently completed a session with Jamestown Elementary in Arlington Virginia. Camilla Gagliolo is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Arlington Public Schools.

Her e-mail is:

We are doing a series on 21st Century Skills including, Web 2.0 tools, Blogs, Wikis, Global Communication and Visual Literacy.

When you provide 21st Century Skills Professional Development, you never know if you have generated a spark, to get the staff fired up using 21st Century Tools in their classrooms or if the flame goes out. The session this week started a FOREST FIRE.

We started with the Wiki and discussed the applications, why to do one, how it works in their individual classroom and how to build one. Then we continued with “Blogs” answering the same questions. You never know what will happen after the class but, I want to share examples of their excellent work.

Second grade teachers completed Podcast projects called “The Best Part of Me.” The student selects a part of their body they are most proud of and then tells about that feature. The teachers took digital photos of the part of the body and than make a Podcast of each student. Check out the work here. Great job. Here is a note from Camilla.

“Hi Howie,
I want you to see the first products from our workshop, 2nd grade podcast on my favorite part of me at
Photos with voice recording from iPod and strung together with Garageband end published with iWeb.
Congratulations to Chrissi Weaver and Helaine Ortiz.

One of the Kindergarten teachers, Guye Turner made a Blog that really has everyone talking. Check out his K Blog here. Check it out at :
This is what he had to say.
“Welcome to Mr. Turner's Super Kinder Blog. We are a kindergarten class at Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington County, Virginia. Our class has 23 students, a lead teacher (Mr. Guye Turner), and an assistant teacher (Mrs. Valarie Kuehn). This Blog will serve two purposes. The first one is to give our parents an insight on what we do in our classroom. The second is to give us the opportunity to connect with other kindergarten classrooms around the world! My students are extremely excited and we are ready to start sharing with the world what we do.”

My special thanks goes out to Camilla and Laura Annan Glascoe, Principal, for their vision of providing 21st Century Skills for the staff and students and providing their staff a Professional Development Model for the 21st Century Classroom.

Jamestown “ROCKS”…all of you are great…Keep up the SUPER work…

I am traveling over the next 3 weeks to Dallas, Michigan, Arizona, California and then to Denver and Jamestown will be in all of my Keynotes. What a great example of teachers implementing 21st Century Skills in THEIR classrooms.