Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hey Babe..Want to go to Scottsbluff, Nebraska?

Hey Babe..Want to go to Scottsbluff, Nebraska?

I was invited to do a feature presentation in the middle of Feb. for the Educational Service Center and the S.O.A.R. group. My wife said she would pass on this one but she really missed an exciting and energizing group.

I want to thank Penny Businga, LaRrits Van Boskirk, and Craig Hicks for a great conference. Thanks Craig for setting up a Moodle server making Blogs and Wiki’s available to the 300 plus in attendance and the Educational Service Center that serves 25 school districts. Many came away with a good understanding of the 21st Century Skills and how to incorporate the newfound skills into the various classroom areas.

As with most of the conferences, I provide Keynotes or feature presentation to, I am always amazed at the small number of educators that are aware of 21st Century Skills but are not incorporating them in their classrooms. There reasons are many, some things that they cannot control. Technology Directors that want to control everything and lock out all sites that have anything to do with Web 2.0 applications, social networking and social bookmarking. They block the very things that we are trying to use to incorporate 21st Century skills in our classrooms. I understand the issues of filters and e-rate funding and making a safe network. But, why not take a different approach and teach our kids about what to do when you encounter an inappropriate site, teaching Internet Safety and inappropriate Material, Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying, Meaningful Consequences, how to search the Internet effectively, how to check vital information and the content, learn to think critically, even suspiciously, compare and contrast, why filters can be a false sense of security, inappropriate content and behavior, and what to do about accidental access to Porn.

Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….big fella, you are getting on your bandwagon….I will address this in another session…….back to the S.O.A.R.Conference.

At the S.O.A.R. conference, I provided sessions on 21st Century and Changing the Classroom, Visual Literacy and Web 2.0 Skills in the Classroom.

The absolute best part of traveling around the country and spreading the “21st Century Gospel are the e-mails and phone calls that I received after the conferences…..I have 2 of the responses below from Beth Still..What a champion…she jumped in with both feet and is making a change in her district and with her students.

This is Beth Still. I met you at the Civic Center earlier today. I just wanted to say thanks again for such a fantastic day. Your presentation was wonderful! I will continue to try to be the "one out of ten" who strives for change. I was so excited about the ePal program that I already posted a profile.

Each time you asked who was using podcasting, blogs, wikis, etc. there were only a few of us in the room who raised our hands. Please do not think this means that we are not interested in teaching 21st century skills to our students. I am so fortunate to teach in a school (an alternative high school) where we have 15 computers in a classroom with 12 students per class.But that is not the case for many of my colleagues..

I will continue to work closely with Craig to implement different tools into my classroom. I will keep in touch as my students begin to experiment. I will see you this summer in San Antonio at the ISTE conference.

Beth Still

This is the BEST !!!!!!!

Thank you for keeping in touch. I have to share one thing that I have done this week. Out of all of the suggestions you shared last week I was most intrigued with the ePals program. I immediately registered and posted a profile. I literally got Goosebumps when I sent my first international email-----which was to Greece. Over the last few days I have heard back from schools in Japan, Germany, and Colombia. By the end of the week several of my students will probably receive their first correspondence from their pen pals. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited my students are about this project! Thank you for telling me about it.

I will share more projects as we go.
Beth Still

Keep up the GREAT work Beth…..

Next...On to Galveston Texas and TxDLA

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Howie...Where have you been????

My head is on overload… many events in the past months. I thought I would be watching the grass grow, watering the pants, playing golf and enjoying retirement. Little did I know how exciting my life would be after I retired January 31, 2008

I realized that I had not posted to the Blog in 6 months…SHAME on me…I advocate 21st Century Skills in the classroom and don’t keep my Blog up to date. Several conferences over the past 6 months have increased my airline miles but had prevented me from updating the Blog.. I will spend the next 2 weeks catching everyone up on the adventure of the “Emerging Technology Evangelist”.

The week of Feb.1,2008, found me in Austin, TX providing 3 days of hands on workshops. What a great group of teachers and administrators. Excited, energized, charged with enthusiasm and ready to set the work on fire. We looked at Global Communications via Building Learning Communities, created projects and then learned how to share them global. The second workshop included Visual Literacy and Digital story telling projects. Everyone created projects that told stories about their town, their favorites and a their best feature. We concluded with the third workshop on Web 2.0 and free software to use in the classroom.

In the Building Learning Communities Workshop we developed presentations that would provide background on six Community Projects and how to make a Global Connection. The projects allowed students to learn 21st Century skills and prepare them to meet the demands of the global community and engage them in mastering core curriculum skills. We discussed projects as models for driving education change and transforming educational institutions into model learning environments that cater to the broadest range of users and using collaboration tools.

In the Visual Literacy Workshop the participants now understand teaching, learning, and assessment strategies for working with the digital generation by creating Visual Literacy Projects. We helped them to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st century media in ways that promote, advance thinking, decision-making, communication, and learning

In the Web 2.0 Workshop we discussed how Web 2.0 tools could translate traditional information skills for an information landscape into Web 2.0 application to use in the classroom. The participants discovered how Web 2.0 applications, Screencasting, e-pals communication projects, digital stories, Podcasts, Blogs, Wikis, handheld devices, and annotation software provide more engaging and collaborative personal computing environments for students and teachers, with emerging Web 2.0 development tools.
We created projects that involved social bookmarking and other classroom applications and discovered how to build an infrastructure for continual professional development
Our goal was to increase the awareness of educators with regard to Web 2.0 options and successful uses in classrooms in the U.S. as well as other countries.

Next POST…on to Nebraska