Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dance with the Dinosaurs

I was thinking of titling this "Hanging out with Dinosaurs" but that might have given quite the wrong impression!  

This time last year I posted about the highlight of ISTE 2010.  Well, Google have done it again.
We received our invite to "Dance with the dinosaurs, kiss a butterfly, and (mini) golf like a tiger at the Academy of Natural Sciences" and hobbled (in my case) on down there for a fun night out. And yes there were dinisaurs there and they were quite something to look at.

Monday, June 27, 2011

3 Minute Keynote Smackdown

What a great idea!  The final session of the Saturday EdubloggerCon at ISTE11 was introduced by Steve Hargadon as "your opportunity to hear in 3 minutes what some great speakers talk about in all the keynotes you miss!"  Or something to that effect.

So for an hour we were treated to some inspiring keynotes in successive 3 minute bites - perfect!  Snippets from these are below.

If there was one speaker we wanted to put on a plane back to New Zealand, it was Kevin Honeycutt,
Some quotes from his 3 minutes...
Our kids have digital limbs
We cannot amputate those digital limbs
We have to learn to use them
Give kids rigor and make them quote sources. You don't cite your sources I delete your post
'Where might YOU fit as a teacher'. Not "where does the tool fit'?

Earlier in the web 2 smackdown he demonstrated with his iPad and a cardboard guitar.

It was so much fun we had to track him down afterwards and get our own demo....

Introduction: Steve Hargadon

1. Kathy Schrock - Infographics as a Creative Assessment
She showed an inspiring 3 minute movie of her keynote outline to keep to her brief. 
An infographic is a visual representation of information. Come learn tips and tricks for using student-created infographics as an authentic assessment. The presentation will showcase how infographics are created and concentrate on the student literacy skills necessary to research, critique, summarize, and communicate information in a visual way to reach their audience.
2. Brad Flickinger - Unbelievable Elementary Tech Projects Spoke about what is going on at his school,  Bethke Elementary School.
Quote "21st C skills need to have 21st century assessments"
3.Howie DiBlasi - "Making Waves In A Changing Education World"
4.Cindy Lane- "Geo Apps Span the Curriculum"
More of Cindy's wealth of Google Earth/Mapstips and tricks
Gave us her URL for her presentation notes  Http://
Reminded us that:
  • Maps/ Earth/ Sketch up all talk to each other
  • Math lessons are possible using Google Earth (thanks Tom Barrett)
5. Joan Gore and Janet Corder - "Success Solutions for the High Tech Classroom"
Using LiveBinders with Junior students
6. Adam Bellow - "Web Tools to Make Your Classroom Rock!"
Likes to use Webtool rather than Web 2.0
Education technology is not about stuff
From his website about this keynote:
Come to a session that focuses on ten amazing web tools to make learning more captivating and exciting! We begin with a memorial for the term "web 2.0" and move on to explore tools that will bring new life into the classroom. The web tools focused on will reach across all subject areas and can easily be scaffolded for different age groups or student abilities.
7. Hmmmm.... forgot....
8. Steve Hargadon: "School 2.0"
  • Factory model of schooling is broken
  • Social media has brought a profound power shift
  • Freedom <----------->structure, and school has been at the structure end
9. Tammy Worcester: Google Projects for Kids!
10. Rurik Nackerud: "Sharing is Caring"
11.Kevin Honeycutt: Trends, Tools, & Tactics
see above
12. Katherine Walraven: Youth, Technology and the World We Want
Taking IT global
  • Hope challenge
  • Understanding challenge
  • Engagement challenge
  • Apathy challenge
13. Bernajean's Spotlight I-imagine: Waking Up a Generation for Greatness
From her website:
Calling all educators to illuminate students' sense of identity and purpose through exploring, mining understanding and imagining taking their place in the world. The I-imagine project creating 3-4 min vision videos is grounded in new research for inspiring hope, joy and action in students discovering and activating their own life-goals - living in the truth that their lives and talents matter to the world. Narrative story is one of the oldest and most proven tools for motivating individuals to engage in change, mobilized by inspired hope while activating positive actions NOW. Finding purpose and passion are the hallmarks of a life that matters, a life worth living. They are also the source of joy and happiness. The greatest gift parents and teachers can give their children is to help them discover, nourish and act on this truth NOW. Participants will explore the possibilities, research and process and positive impact when students create multimedia visions via docudrama stories AS IF their future life is NOW.
This sounded to be along the lines of  videotaped self-modeling as defined by Dr. Peter Dowrick of The University of Hawaii ie where he uses carefully planned and edited positive self-images of behaviour on video.
14. Scott McLeod: Where we are, where we need to go, and the importance of leadership
Leadership is the key to change
If leaders don't get it it's not going to happen
  • Perspective -why are they here
  • Practice. It's about who you are, what your practices are
  • Pedagogy. Know and define what your pedagogy is

ISTE 2011: Web 2 Smackdown

First up in Philadelphia for us was the EdubloggerCon on Saturday June 25th.  This was a great chance to meet up with friends and learn new things.

These are my notes from the web 2.0 smackdown.  If you have been using any of these feel free to add links to your work through the comments.....

Web 2.0 Smackdown - Organized by Lisa Thumann
3D printing software
Scratch kind of website for making games
records whatever screen you're on
create forms that go straight to your Drop Box
kinda like prezi
Casual Collaboration.
Mash your ideas and media together with friends in a dynamic whiteboard wiki. Using photos, videos, and other web content you can instantly create brainstorms, presentations, scrapbooks, and enjoy an interactive chat with more than 50 friends. 

no login required so great for school kids.  Create quick surveys
AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. Use it as a tool for online brainstorming or embed it on your website or blog as a poll or guestbook.
Find web2 tools, post it on the website. Kinda like netvibes or iGoogle
Be The Curator of Your Favorite Topic!
Create your topic-centric media by collecting gems among relevant streams
Publish it to your favorite social media or to your blog

Create organiser diagrams and mind maps online.  They give all educators free pro accounts.
Diagrams Done Right
We have rethought and redesigned the entire diagramming process to make it as easy as possible. Draw flow charts, wireframes, UML diagrams, and more with just a few clicks.
HTML5 and web standards make LucidChart fast, smooth, and reliable.
Collaborative. Work simultaneously with as many people as you want.
Keyboarding game. A social network.  Teach your kids to type.  Can limit the social network to the level you are comfortable with
30 day free trial. Also teaches Internet safety as they play
QwertyTown teaches keyboarding, an essential component of literacy for today's students.
Reinforces skills through safe online communication
Addresses Common Core Literacy Standards
Entirely web based
Customizable for learners with different abilities
A way to host your class within Google Apps.  Kinda like teacher dashboard but much more limited
Connect with People through the Pages you Share
allows you to take any URL and create a unique one
Learning guides
eg literature.  Allows students to choose a novel and has masses of information about the book.  Free text to speech so they can listen to this as well.
a really easy way to present and share your presentations
If you can’t see a presenter’s face their impact reduces by 55%!
Present.Me is a community for easily recording & sharing your presentations. If you’re a business – it could be to share within your own private space with your employees and customers, or publicly on to market to your prospects and collect leads.
Present.Me combines video, audio and your presentations in an easy and intuitive way, so your audience get to see and hear your message in the way it was intended. We’ve built the whole process with ease of use in mind, there’s no need to download specialist software – it’s all there in your browser already. And because it’s online, you can instantly share it with anyone you like, anywhere in the world.
Make games with GameSalad Creator
Create games for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HTML5. No coding involved. All drag and drop. Similar to scratch. Embed code available for blogs portfolio etc. No flash, all html5
Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print.
Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards.
Create a story with their clip art. Keep adding pages. Collaborative storytelling. Embed on web.
Create your own cyber twin.  Possibly fun for adults, but kids would have to give it way too much information to make it effective - unless you were doing an embellishment genre for writing, then it may be great fun!
combination of glogster and prezi
Check out Amanda's great post about how she uses Popplet here.
Online image editor for the masses
Edit photos online. Kinda like photoshop express online
Online vocal builder and enhancer. They give you a word, you write as much as you can about it in the time allocated ie one minute.
You’ll see one word at the top of the following screen.
you have sixty seconds to write about it.
click ‘go’ and the page will load with the cursor in place.
don’t think. just write.
Then type in name and email and submit it.  Then you can see what eveyone else has written.
Flocab gives you the last week in current events in rap
hip hop in the classroom for vocabulary
Flocabulary produces educational hip-hop music and engaging curricular materials to teach academic content for grades K-12. The programs are proven to raise scores on state reading tests and are being used in over 10,000 schools nationwide. Heralded as "groundbreaking" and "necessary," Flocabulary has been featured on The Today Show, Oprah & Friends, and MTV.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dream Job

How do you feel about your job?  Would you call it your dream job?

From time to time I meet people who don't seem that thrilled about their job.  I guess in recession times it is understandable why they don't move on, but I have often wondered why they would keep doing it. 

Today I came across this diagram when I was reading Jen Hegna's Moodle course on Creating Student ePortfolios with Google Sites (and yes, I did have a smile at using Moodle to workshop Sites....).

I feel blessed that my job has more often than not landed me in that sweet intersection of passion/talent/career. Hard work, crazy hours - impossible milestones! But if those 3 circles align it doesn't seem to matter.

How 'bout you?....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Google Apps Transition Process

In the first half of 2011 we were notified by Google Apps that our school account was going to be transitioned into a new environment which would provide many additional apps and benefits for our users.
This was great news and something that we had been looking forward to.

It was not completely straight forward, particularly if you were a school with no full time IT admin staff or if you were a school who had been using Google Apps in a big way prior to the transition.

I decided to document our experience through a series of posts as we went through the transition.
Because Blogger is linear, the posts are in reverse order now, so this final post on the subject is to provide a table of contents in chronological order for anyone interested in benefitting from what we learnt.

1. Transitioning our Google Apps accounts
     Where to start

2. Impact of Conflicting Accounts
     What to do if you have used your school email address to sign up to other Google tools in the past

3. More servoices available to your school
    What new apps are available to your Administrator and your school

4. Transitioning User Accounts
    Move the whole school at once or select some pilot users to move first?

5.  Transition Process Complete
    Helping teachers and students access their apps (in our case Blogger) that have been moved from public Google accounts inside the school Google Apps domain.

Transition Process Complete

Several posts later, we finally get to enjoy the fruits of going through the painful transistion process with our Google Apps accounts.  We have apps like Blogger and Picasa inside our school Google Apps Domain and everyone is good to go.

There is one more step with the student individual blogs. Up until now the students from each class have been sharing a generic login to author their own blogs 

So the class teacher (who is Admin for all the individual student accounts) had to go into each blog from her Blogger Dashboard and choose Settings > Permissions >
then send an invite to the student using their personal Google Apps email address and invite them to be an author of their own blog.

This seems pretty straight forward:
The students receive an email in their gmail inbox, they click on the link which takes them to Blogger, they follow the instructions and, hey presto!  They can now sign in as themselves when they post to their own blog.

Well it should be that easy, but unfortunately the links to make that happen on two screens in the process are quite small and the text on those pages which catch the eye lead the student to start setting up a new blog.  So we made this next movie to remind the teachers and kids what to do.  They say it has been helpful....

Now all this is behind us.
Our students sign in to their own Google Apps account.
They can acess their Docs, their mail, their Blog, their Sites, their Picasa account, their Maps - all through a single sign-on process.

The good news is that for the schools in our cluster who only joined up to Google Apps this year, they did not have to go through this process at all.  Their accounts are already in the new Google Apps environment.

Hope publishing this learning curve has been of use to others who are going through it.