31 July 2009

Cellphones as Instructional Tools

I attend this webinar which is now free on-demand (60 min.) Panelists discussed the instructional potential and ability to connect students to the Internet using mobile devices. It will only be available until January 21, 2010 at 3:00 PM Eastern standard time.

Guest panelists were Elliot Soloway , professor, School of Information, School of Education, and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan; Cathleen Norris , regents professor in the College of Information, Department of Learning Technologies, University of North Texas; Liz Kolb , education technology instructor, University of Michigan and Madonna University, author, Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education; and Ron Myers, principal, Trinity Meadows Intermediate School, Keller, Texas.

Mr Soloway and Ms Norris discussed the rise of the Mobile Generation and the opportunities that can be used to increase student achievement. Cellphones are mobile and can be used 24/7 in many different locations. Cellphones are personal and immediate, so they increase student engagement in learning. They can be used seamlessly with the right leadership and curriculum integration at a lower cost than 1:1 laptops.

Mr. Myers described a pilot project that took place in his school. He talked about why the project was iniatiated; how the project was conceived, planned, and conducted; and the outcomes.

Ms. Kolb spoke about the practical uses of basic cellphones in the classroom. She gave examples of podcasting, photo posting, and mobile blogging and included suggestions for online tools for each type of use. For more from Ms. Kolb see her presentation during K-12 Online Conference 2007 .
After the presentations were completed, questions and answers were taken from the live audience and also questions submitted before the webinar. Discussion continues on Teacher Magazine's forum.

The webinar was hosted and sponsored by Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Sprint. So, needless to say Sprint had "commercials" or "ads" in the middle and at the end of the webinar. They were not pushy or trying to sell their products, but rather informational about how Sprint could help educational institutions.
Here are some NECC 2009 resources that might also interest you:
  • The Cell Phones ON wiki I discovered while browsing the workshops that took place at NECC 2009. The presentation wiki shows the tools to use for classroom projects using cellphones.
  • Here's a link and video, The Missing Link: Preparing Teachers to Integrate Smartphones Effectively by Ann Cunningham and Kristin Bennett.
  • And another presentation and video, Hello? Cell Phones as Teaching Tools by Tammy Worchester.

The Nokia smartphone photo has Creative Commons license by Khedara Ariyaratne. The cellphones photo has a Creative Commons license by Bill Bradford.

Turbo Tagger

27 July 2009

Teaching 2.0: Challenging the Interactive Generation

Here is another NECC 2009 Spotlight session that I discovered from afar via the ISTEVision Network.
ISTEVision provides daily and nightly news from all over the conference, feature stories, interviews, session and event simulcasts, 2009 video-on-demand sessions, ISTE Webinars, Second Life™ machinima clips, contest winners, and user-uploaded videos from our members and participants.
Not every NECC 2009 session can be found, but a wide selection is available and could keep you busy for weeks if not months.

As I was browsing the schedule I noticed Teaching 2.0... was being presented by Christopher Moersch of LoTi Connection. His name has been mentioned by various edubloggers I follow and I can remember that LoTi was used by my former school district to help assess the use of technology by students and staff. So, then I went to ISTEVision to see if this session had been recorded. And I was in luck.

Mr. Moersch began with some introductory exercises and then went on to compare Teaching 1.0 to Teaching 2.0 and how the use of H.E.A.T. (i.e. Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authenticity, and Technology use) would help achieve Teaching 2.0, higher LoTi levels, and higher student achievement. He discussed different criteria and strategies to determine which Web 2.0 technologies would best serve Teaching 2.0, higher LoTi, and student achievement. And finally, he explained a four step implementation plan.

The fact that made me take notice of this presentation is that for the past eight years the national LoTi Level has remained constant at Level 2-Exploration. That seems very low, considering it is only one step above Awarness. And there are five higher levels: Level 3-Infusion, Level 4a-Mechanical Integration, Level 4b-Routine Integration, Level 5-Expansion, and Level 6-Refinement. What Mr. Moersch discusses convinces me (already a member of the choir) that teachers need to have the time to develop teaching methods, lessons, and tools which do bring the H.E.A.T.

When you watch/listen to the video, you might also want to have the powerpoint slides available for reference. This LoTi Guy Speaks blog post lists all of the research articles and includes the website links referenced by Mr. Moersch in his presentation.

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24 July 2009

Library Learning Tools Smackdown

Another great session at NECC 2009 was Library Tools Smackdown: A Sharing Session for Teacher-Librarians. Joyce Valenza , Cathy Jo Nelson, Karen Kleigman, Wendy Stephens, and Keisa Williams shared their best library-tech finds with the group in the following categories:

The participants were asked to BYOL and to share their most effective tools on the session wiki. On it you will find the Cover It Live blog and a video of the presentation. The video doesn't show the presentation screen very well, but the audio is clear and allows one to listen to the presentors comments while reading the blog and examining the links on the session wiki.

The links at the top of the left column of the session wiki include the tools that the presentors highlighted, audience additions, and twitter ids. Then links to AASL's innaugural Best Websites and Landmark Websites for Teaching and Learning Awards. Then come a series of links that appear to be entire wikis with basic information about the type of tool and examples. Some of these links were sessions that occurred elsewhere during NECC 2009. Lastly, additional participant sharing of tools and resources are found in the Rows#. One can get lost examining all of the content that is available through the session wiki. Look for the library tools smackdown symbol (on the right) to help keep track of your location.

My suggestion is to pick one category and/or type of tool and explore. Or, if you are already competent using tools in a category, share your tips and examples on the session wiki. Or, follow some of the presentors or participants on Twitter.

Take the time to learn and share and use these resources as your personal learning network.

Turbo Tagger

18 July 2009

SIGMS Forum: The School Library 2.0 and Beyond

ISTE's SIGMS sponsored a forum at NECC 2009, The School Library 2.0 and Beyond. This event was videotaped and is available here. The panelists gave presentations about their view of how Web 2.0 will influence the future of school libraries. The audience was asked to collaboratively explore a challenge related to each panelist's presentation. A presentation wiki has links and other resources for each panelist AND since the forum was participatory, the audience was then prompted to add their suggestions for solving the challenge on the presentation wiki. (see the links for the tables on the wiki)

The forum began with the announcement of ISTE's Media Specialist Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Follett Software to an elementary, middle, and high school LMS and teacher. (about 12 min.)

The four panelists and their challenges were:

The forum took almost 120 minutes, but it's worth your time. Keep in mind that each panelist spent 12-18 minutes with 10 minutes for audience participation afterwards. So, roughly, there's about 80 minutes of hard content.

I really enjoyed Cathy Jo Nelson. I follow her on twitter and I thought she was personable and down to earth. Her presentation was easy to understand and included examples that I could relate to. Many tables responded to her challenge but tables 18, 23, and 25 answered only her questions. Her Wiki Spaces for Professional Development has a wealth of resources and presentations that she has developed.

Christopher Harris' presentation really made me think about the role of libraries and LMS'. Becoming more involved in development by using API's and moving towards a mobile platform will insure that school libraries will have a virtual presence where the students are already located.

MaryFriend Shepard is an educator, though, the only panelist without a library background. As a part of her presentation she shared a wiki that has been developed by her grad students. (It was also the basis for another NECC 2009 presentation, Powerboost Your Lessons with Wikis.) The wiki is a great learning tool. It gives instructions on how to embed various applications into Wikispaces.

I would recommend viewing the video and also having the wiki open. That way you can open the panelist's presentation while the video plays. The screen is sort of small and in some cases it's easier to read text from the presentation link. For those of you who will view the video, during the 3 (10 minute) audience participation time periods, you should check out these tables: 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 29, and 30. They all made comments for at least two of the panelists, but many for more.

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13 July 2009

"EduBloggerCon 2009" from afar

I was a virtual lurker at the NECC conference held June 28- July 1, 2009. However, the conference really started the day before with EduBloggerCon.

Since I have never attended NECC or EduBloggerCon I wasn't too sure what happens that day. I kept hearing that EduBloggers meet up and talk. I had heard about the Web 2 Smackdown, but that was only a 45 minute session in a day-long event. I didn't realize that I could have attended the event as it was happening via Elluminate. So I've been looking at EduBloggerCon's wiki and reading the information available there. The wiki did have a nice list of blog posts by attendees, however, you now have to go to Technorati's search for edubloggercon. Lots more to go through now. I did find a blog post by Alice Mercer here which gave me some background information that was very helpful. After reading Alice's thoughts about the sessions she attended and reviewing her CoverItLive blogging I began to understand the happenings at EduBloggerCon.

The is an event attended by educational bloggers and members of the EduBloggersWorld ning. Anyone can participate, even those who are not technology gurus.

The only qualifications needed to participate in our community are;
a desire to improve teaching and learning,
a desire to improve community among educators worldwide, and
a connection with blogging is desireable, be it past, present or future.

The event is, basically, a venue for conversation. Not just any conversation, but those that are designed to share best practices or explore a problem. Leading questions are suggested like these. Anyone can volunteer to lead a discussion about a topic of interest. Here are the discussions that took place. (Scroll down below the picture)

The Web 2 Smackdown 2009 was a session with lots of great information! There is a UStream.tv video that shows the presentors from a distance with the moderator walking in and out of view. The audio portion is great, though. I found that I could listen and view the CoverItLive blog at the same time. Of course, that was after I found an absolutely wonderful blog post by Scott McLeod here with all the people and tool/s presented. It goes really fast and the live blogging doesn't always keep up with the audio. So I had the video playing, read the CoverItLive blog, and referred to Scott's post as needed.

  • I thought that FreshBrain's Virtual Summer Technology Camp offered free to anyone was a great find. There are 8 different paths with learning activities that can take 1/2 - 2 days to complete. Check it out now, cause it's only available until August 14th.
  • I really like the idea of Woot. It's an online store, however, they sell only one item a day until it's sold out.
  • The K-12 Online Conference 2009 will take place in December instead of October. And something new this year will happen on the Saturday following each week The presentations will be played live on UStream.tv and EdTechTalk will provide a backchannel discussion forum.
  • Keep iTunes library on external hard drive was very helpful.

There were 19 people that participated in the Smackdown and I only mentioned a few that I found interesting. Check it out for yourself and see what catches your interest.

If I was still an active teacher librarian, I would definitely attend ISTE & EduBloggerCon 2010 It's in Denver next year, June 26-30th.

Turbo Tagger