Wednesday, September 10, 2008

N.E.T.A.: Omaha, Nebraska

N.E.T.A.: Omaha, Nebraska
Scott Plummer knows how to impress someone. I received an invitation from Scott to be a feature speaker at the 2,500 plus attendees of the Nebraska Educational Technology Association Conference this past April. During our conversations of making arrangements for the conference he mentioned a few of the other speakers;

Will Richardson,
Will Richardson is known internationally for his work with educators and students to understand and implement instructional technologies and, more specifically, the tools of the Read/Write Web into their schools, classrooms and communities.

Dr, Tim Tyson:
Dr. Tim Tyson, named one of Georgia's High Performance Principals by State Governor Sonny Perdue, served as the principal of Mabry Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia. The School Library Journal has referred to Dr. Tyson as the "Pied Piper of Educational Technology," and his innovative use of technology to maximize student achievement.

Bernajean Porter,
Bernajean, an educator for over 35 years, is internationally re-known to educators for her belief that technology can accelerate kids-of-all-ages rediscovering their joy and personal success as learners. Her philosophy of work uses cutting edge organizational processes for building local capacity to translate the power of technology’s potential into actual classroom practices.

…and then me…..

The selection committee liked the idea of a presenter who could think outside the box, challenge the group and provide new, hands on skills for the classroom.

I always do a survey at the beginning of a keynote, so I know the make-up of the audience. I ask 5 quick questions o; 21st Century Skills, Web 2.0, Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts. I am always amazed at the numbers of educators who know about the technologies but are not using any of the new “Tools” in the academic classrooms. Reasons are many but the number one issue is Professional Development. Many school districts still don’t get it. They buy the technology, put it in the classroom and tell the teachers to use it.

As a former C.I.O., my number one priority was Technology Staff Development. Our District Technology Committee always met before we installed and implemented any new technology. Our IT staff and Professional Development Coordinator always worked together to make sure the staff and instructors were proficient with the new equipment and software. Classes were offered using school time and we provided substitutes for the teachers to cover their classes. We also provided after school classes and provided college graduate credit to anyone who desired it.

In the past, when I meet with many administrators, I hear whining and wiggling reasons of not enough money or time for Technology Staff Development.
Fortunately, that is starting to change. In my next posting, I will share some real leaders around the country that make the Technology Staff Development and 21st Century Skills a priority.

Ok....Off my soapbox and back to the conference. I actually did 3 different presentations. The first on Web 2.0 tools, the second on Visual Literacy and the final one on Free Software for the 21st Century Classroom. I am always amazed at the response after the presentation as I travel from conference to conference. Educators that converse after the presentation about how they are inspired to stat and change the way they can use the new “Tools” in their classroom. BUT..the best part is when I get an e-mail from them and how they have transformed and changed their classroom.

An e-mail from a recent presentation.


Just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that we have several teachers and classrooms that are already incorporating strategies that you introduced at the training you provided in Julesburg. The teachers and students are excited by the new teaching and learning experiences. Thanks so much for your assistance it is making a difference and I know sometimes when you present you never know if what you are doing makes a difference. Also am attaching the US News and World Report Rankings of the Best High Schools in America that I had mentioned to you during training. The Julesburg School District made the list for 2008, out of the 178 school districts in Colorado we were 1 of the 26 in Colorado to make it and out 18,000 High Schools across America we were in the top 2500 High Schools. We are proud of the academic achievement of our students and as district do very well but we are constantly trying to improve and the training you provided will definitely help us stay at the top and hopefully improve on our abilities to reach all students. Once again thanks so much for your efforts and keep up your important evangalistic mission of transforming education.

Shawn Ehnes
Julesburg School District

Next: T.I.E. Colorado

Monday, September 1, 2008

TxDLA...If it is March..we must be in Galveston, Texas..


If it is March..we must be in Galveston, Texas..

I do not know how they do it…but every year they make it better and better. If you can only get to one Distance Learning Conference this is the ONE !!!!.The Texas Distance Learning Association is the most dedicated, professional, energetic and exciting group I have ever been involved with. I have been attending and presenting at this conference for the past 4 years and over 1,000 attend and the excitement is infectious.

Moody Gardens is a great location for a conference. Located in Galveston Tx., it has a beautiful hotel and several things to do right next to the hotel.

It is an island of fun. Many that attend the conference bring their families because you can enjoy the tropical destination and enjoy your time here to explore the oceans depths at the Aquarium Pyramid, to see penguins, sharks and thousands of tropical fish. You can visit the Rainforest Pyramid that features a diverse collection of exotic tropical plants and animals. Kids love the mysteries of science at the Discovery Museum. We loved the action of the IMAX® 3D, 4D and Ridefilm theaters. Several of us arrived a few days early and cruised aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and enjoyed the beautiful white sand beaches and blue lagoons at Palm Beach.

The conference is 4 days of mind expanding, information packed ideas and networking to the MAX !!!.

TxDLA is the largest state organization in the U.S and is worth a visit to see the movers and shakers in IVC and Distance Learning.

All of the big hitters were there sharing their experiences, innovations and passions for IVC and Distance learning. It is always a pleasure to see everyone face to face and share what we have all been involved with over the past year. Several familiar faces observed in the presentations rooms were:
Willis, Carol
Lim, Jeanene
Colavita, Dawn
Lentz, Linda
Zanetis, Jan

Some of the session included:

Colavita, Dawn, Lentz, Linda
School improvement goals focus on areas in which student improvement is needed and the professional development to provide educators the increased knowledge and strategies that lead to that improvement. See how videoconferencing and collaborative technologies provide access to professional development, student programming and collaborations which can meet these needs.

Ms. Heidi Ashbaugh, Texas Woman's University
This presentation will discuss the use of blogging as a tool for learning, and how it can be used to support the learning theories of constructivism and connectivism. An example of how blogging was integrated into an online Fiction course is included in the presentation, and there will be an opportunity for the audience to share their own ideas for implementing blogging as a learning tool. Educators of all levels (as well as anyone just interested in blogging) are encouraged to attend.

Dr. Howie DiBlasi, Digital Journey
Participants will explore six Building Community Projects and making a Global Connection with IVC. Projects allow students to learn 21st Century skills; prepare them to meet the demands of the global community; engage them in mastering writing and core curriculum skills. Learn how to improve learning through Digital Media/Multimedia Magic.

Ms. Gerri Maglia, Education Service Center Region XI
Don't get anchored down with the same ol content, matey! Come learn what the Connect2Texas interactive videoconferencing providers have to offer from science programs to fine arts. Hear about the latest and greatest shipmates that have joined the Connect2Texas crew.

Mr. Alan November, November Learning
In an economy where global outsourcing is commonplace, students must be prepared to participate in an increasingly competitive job market. In many ways they are in competition with bright energetic, hardworking students from all over the world. In this session Alan discusses some of the ways we can empower our students, help them build a strong work ethic and develop self-directed learning skills. We should not underestimate what our students are capable of achieving.

Rhonda Blackburn, The University of Texas at Dallas
Do you want to know how to become more involved with TxDLA? In this presentation I will talk about the various committees that you can join that will help you get a better idea of our wonderful organization. I will also talk about the fall leadership workshop that is held every Fall. Both committees and the workshop are excellent ways to learn more about the organization and to step up into a leadership role within TxDLA.

Ms. Roxanne Glaser, Education Service Center Region 12
Mrs. Paula Yezak, Temple ISD
Mr. Shane Howard, ESC Region 12
Schools can maximize videoconferencing budgets by finding and creating free collaborations. Paula and Roxanne will share practical strategies for transforming ideas into engaging collaborations that take student learning to the next level. Duplicate successful videoconference projects and sail into spring with great ideas to finish the year!

Gary Stager, Consultant Description:
Dr. Stager has been online since 1983 (unless you count using an acoustic coupler five years earlier), was instrumental in creating Pepperdine University's Online Master of Arts in Educational Technology Program in 1997 and has written online courses for Classroom Connect, Generation YES and Logo Computer Systems, Inc. In this session, Gary will reflect on his experiences teaching online, designing course content and observing children enrolled in online courses in order to challenge some the conventional wisdom about distance learning and offer examples of how online learning requires an amplification of the best teaching practices if it is to realize its potential for all learners.

Dr. Howie DiBlasi, Digital Journey
The places you and your students will go using Interactive Videoconferencing to see and hear each other simultaneously, whether across the state or around the world. Videoconference connections outside the classroom, increases student motivation and learning. Getting started for $288; how to deliver; costs; content providers; virtual fieldtrips, collaborations, meetings.

Ms. Marci Powell, Polycom, Inc.
Elaine Shuck, Polycom, Inc
Whether you are ready to set sail or have been navigating for awhile, this session will help you create an environment for smooth sailing in distance learning. Take a cruise through the many applications enabled by our tools and programs.

Elaine Shuck and Marci Powell
Itinerary: Ports of Call include Collaboration on Deck, Grand Streaming Islands, Ultimate HDX Vacation Adventure, and Content Provider Harbor
Jamaica this your choice for breakout sessions

Jan Zanetis, TANDBERG
Recent innovations in distance learning technologies and pedagogy are empowering educators to take learning to a whole new level. Come to this session to find out more about streaming video and how students can access archived video content from the web, IPods and even from your Moodle site! Learn how educators are using live and streamed video to empower their students in creating authentic lessons they share with peers across Texas and the nation.

Ms. Linda Gillis, Region 4 ESC
Mr. Fr Jose Losoya, Oratory Athenaeum for Universtiy Preparation
Using Bb as the medium to conncet 25 students, 6 teachers, and 2 coordinators who are physically situated in different countries and continents and you have a format for a unique K-20 collaborative and learning experience which meet all identified 21st Century Skills.

I want to give credit to all of the behind the scenes workers, officers and board members of TxDLA. There are a dedicated group of individuals that really know how to grow and support an organization

2008-2009 Officers
TxDLA Officers are elected by the general membership and are members of the Executive Committee which meets on a monthly basis to monitor the operation of the organization and to also report and make recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Rhonda Blackburn
University of Texas-Dallas

Bob Barnes

Laurie Hogle

Terry Comingore
Brazosport College

Cindy Smith
University of Texas-Tyler

Board of Directors
The affairs of TxDLA are managed by a Board of Directors which acts as the governing body, serving as an advocate for the broader field of distance learning. The Board is made up of its officers and members representing different distance learning constituencies in Texas, a regional group chair, and Chief Information Officer. The Board formulates policies of the organization and conducts all business pertaining to TxDLA

Raymond Hartfield
AT&T, Central Texas
Corporate/Private Sector

Kevin Eason
Tarrant County College District
Board Chair
Executive Partnership Council

Laura Johannsen
Texas Department of Transporation

Steve Welch
K-12 Education

Patrick Pluscht
University of North Texas
Higher Education

Lance Zimmerman
Texas State Technical College Waco
Vocational/Technical Education

Bruce Niebuhr
University of Texas Medical Branch

Carol Willis
Texas Education Telecomm Network
Member at Large

Kevin Lemoine
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Member at Large

Oscar Hernandez
South Texas College
Regional Group Development Chair

Bennie Tschoerner
Retired-Paris ISD
Chief Information Officer

Vicki Traweek
Weatherford College

NEXT: Off to Omaha and the Nebraska Educational Technology Association Conference