Thursday, February 26, 2009


There is simply one word to summarize the presentation in class tonight...overwhelming. So many amazing tools were presented it is difficult to process all the possibilities. Even the "go to meeting" software that Lou used to gain access into our class was amazing, as was the Freepath software. Just a snapshot of some of the component parts of "weborama" include-and trust me, this is a partial list-skype, twitter, dropbox, evernote, meBeam, teachertube, yammer,, slideology,, JING, NING, masheable, voicethread. Weborama. The question is, to what educational use can these tools be applied? Freepath is a good example of a program that will allow teachers multiple opportunities to organize their work and collaborate in more effective teams. The challenge is finding the time to waltz through weborama.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Social Networking

Social networking in public schools provides an uncomfortable situation. Schools are responsible for the safety of students and, in some ways, need to carefully control the flow of information. Classroom topics, student confidentiality, staff and student privacy are some areas that might be sensitive.

That being said, it is obvious that students are using social networking one way or the other. In some sense, it is reflective of the sex education issue. Adults can argue whether they should or shouldn't, and in the meantime they are. Our responsibility is to teach them responsibility. Of course, similarities between social networking and sex education can only go so far, but the point that students make their own decisions in both areas is valid.

Knowing that students use social networking, how and why they use it, allows us to explore several opportunities. First, it provides us the opportunity to teach internet responsibility. Not only will they be held responsible for the things they post online, but they will not necessarily "own" what they have posted. Secondly, this provides a very effective venue for educating our students. Knowing that kids communicate very naturally in this medium, it can be used by teachers to enhance instructional opportunities as well. Finally, as a school leader, it is also to be aware that many of my younger staff members communicate in this way, and it may be a more effective way to pass information for some of my staff as compared to email. In the same way I receive progressively fewer memos (and even phone calls), it is possible other forms of social networking-blogs, myspace, facebook, moodle, etc.-could be more effective ways to pass information to staff.

Social networking is definitely a communication method that is being used, and heavily, by students and younger staff members. To continue to allow the opportunities it provides to slip away would be irresponsible.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"District tech complexities, CI, CIO"

District tech complexities, CI, CIO
And in that district bucks were few, CI, CIO
With tech, tech here, tech, tech there
Here some tech, there some tech, everywhere too little tech
District tech complexities, CI, CIO

Old computers in the schools, CI, CIO
And in some schools there was some bucks, CI, CIO
Inequity here, inequity there,
Here inequity, there inequity, everywhere inequity
Old computers in the schools, CI, CIO

How to use what we have got, CI, CIO
Kids will learn with the right tools, CI, CIO
With doc cams here, smart boards there,
Here a box, there a box, every where a box or two
How to use what we have got, CI, CIO

What we need is more PD, CI, CIO
And stuff and junk and electronic funk, CI, CIO
With classes here, clickers there,
Here the web, there a lab, everywhere a training day
What we need is more PD, CI, CIO

Tech we need, need it now CI, CIO
But does it help the kids learn more? CI, CIO
With standards here, curriculum there,
Here a test, there a test, everywhere the OAKS press
Tech we need, need it now, CI CIO

District tech complexities, C-I, C-I-OOOHHHHH


The building of an effective website requires a clear thought of what needs to be conveyed. The purpose for a school like Claggett is to give specific information to a very wide range of viewers. Parents, students, teachers and staff, and other members of a greater community. But what is conveyed is entirely up to us. The priorities for me are: it needs to be updated regularly, the menu is easy to follow (not too busy), and the information provided reflects student learning and transparency off communication. The other important point is to put the responsibility of website maintenance in the right hands. A person who is interested, knowledgeable and embraces the opportunity as a stimulating enterprise.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Technology is a tool"

Paul Navarre started his presentation with the above quote. It is precisely correct. All technology comes with great advantages and great responsibility for appropriate use. His outlook on how technology systyems sjhould be designed and used is very practical. The components that create the "wow' dfactor of technology use are meaningless when considering whether the technology helps you to solve the problem or accomplish the task you want to address. This is a nod to efficiency in technology use that many people overlook and it is a refreshing point of view.

A second comment of importance revolved around his opinion that students must know how to learn independently. Upon reflection, this is the real purpose of our educational system and always has been. I'd like to think the Jeffersonian ideal of public education was to ultimately result in a literate populace capable of making rational, well-thought decisions. With the availability of technology that provides such great access to information, it is more important than ever for our students to learn to think critically and make well-educated decisions.... whether or not Gresham, Oregon is north of the Columbia!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Using video to teach

The presentation by Scott Hacke was very thought provoking. The level of creativity shown in the video clips was quite impressive. Given the proper equipment, time, and guidance, students can express themselves exceptionally well. A concern I would have is that, while providing an outlet for a student's creativity, the intentional teaching of specific language arts standards would have to be carefully and intentionally planned. in other words, bridging the "wow, cool" and "meaningful instruction and learning" gap. The vast majority of these students would not be submitting their work for san award, but ALL should learn important concepts applicable to state standards. In fact, the video project would offer an amazing opportunity to teach multiple subject areas...language arts, science, social studies, math, as well as the creative arts.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Response to Ted Video:Sugata Mitra

The speaker first talks about remoteness and the quality of education. The finding was that the more remote (in terms of distance from an urban area , OR the isolation within an urban area based on poverty), the lower the achievement on standardized tests. This is rather predictable, but the surprise here was the correlation between the desire of the teacher to be in the school or not. Teachers wanting to be elsewhere had students with poorer results.

The exploration of whether educational technology would improve the education of the students was interesting. Given the opportunity to interact with a computer and touchpad without instructions, a number of children were obviously intrigued enough to try and eventually learned a modicum of things from their interaction.

The lessons are these:

From Arthur C. Clarke, the quote "Any teacher who can be replaced by a machine should be".

A teacher commited to their post and their charges will be more successful.

Educational technology can be extremely motivating and effective in translating human curiousity into educational learning.

Putting educational technology in the hands of enthusiastic, commited teachers will result in greater student achievement than might be expected otherwise.