Monday, October 19, 2009

October K12 Online LAN Party

000099Please join us on October 20, 2009
6:00PM to 8:00PM EDT (10pm GMT)
for a second live event of the
2009 K12Online Conference

On October 20th, the K12Online Conference is hosting a LAN party from 6:00PM to 8:00PM EDT (10pm GMT). We invite everyone to gather in the EdTechTalk chatroom with colleagues in order to view two past conference presentations and then engage in lively discussions in the EdTechTalk chatroom at The following presenters will be in attendance:

0001186:00 – 6:45pm Travel Through Space and Time
Silvia Tolisano
Born in Germany, raised in Argentina and living in the USA, Silvia graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish & International Studies and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. Silvia is currently teaching at a private elementary school where she serves as the Instructional Technology Facilitator and Webmaster. Having lived on three continents and traveled extensively, Sylvia is well aware of the importance of instilling global awareness & cultural sensitivities in all her students.

6:45 – 7:30pm How Can I Become Part of this ReadWriteWeb Revolution?
Alice Barr, Cheryl Oakes and Bob Sprankle
000119Alice Barr has lived, taught and traveled on five continents. She now lives in Maine where she is the high school Instructional Technology Integrator in a 1:1 laptop environment. Alice also teaches in the summer at The University of Southern Maine and provides professional development sessions during the year.

Alice was a Technology Learning Leader with SEED, Spreading Educator to Educator Developments and worked with teachers during the beginnings of MLTI, the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. She is now part of the SEEDlings webcast show, along with Bob and Cheryl, which is streamed live three Thursdays a month at EdTechTalk.

000120Cheryl Oakes lives and works in Maine and around the world virtually! Cheryl works with students and teachers in Wells, Maine and throughout the states of Maine and New Hampshire. “I am also lucky enough to be involved with folks from around the world through my online networks of the Webheads, Worldbridges, EdTechTalk and Seedlings. Join in any of these conversations. You will flatten your classroom.”

000121Bob Sprankle comes from Wells, Maine, where he is a Technology Integrator in a K-4 Elementary School. Bob teaches over 500 students technology skills for the 21st Century and has been integrating technology in a 3/4 multi-age class for 10 years prior.

Bob was involved with the SEED group in Maine as a Technology Learning Leader and helped train the first wave of teachers using laptops for the 7th and 8th grader MLTI project. He was awarded Maine’s Technology Teacher of the Year in 2006 from ACTEM. Bob’s students have received world-wide recognition for their “Room 208 Podcast”, and have appeared in numerous articles, including, The New York Times and Apple’s Education Site. Bob’s professional development blog and podcast, “Bit by Bit”, is geared to helping teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms and can be found at

The EdTechTalk community will host this event at
For questions or more information, contact Susan Van Gelder, Live Events Committee, at or on Twitter at @k12online.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

K12 Online Live Event

Please join us on September 26, 2009
for the first live event of the
K12Online Conference

On September 26, K12Online Conference will host a LAN party from 2:00PM to 5:00PM EDT and encourages everyone to get together with colleagues and engage in lively discussions. Past presentations will be shown and you are invited to participate in live conversations about the presentations with the featured presenters. A K12Online Conference overview is scheduled at the EdTechTalk website 30 minutes prior to the LAN party.

mathew2:00 – 2:45 Film School
Mathew Needleman, Apple Distinguished Educator, has been integrating video in the classroom for seven years as a teacher of kindergarten, first, and second grade. Make better classroom movies with simple tips that will help elevate your vodcast to the next level in terms of artistic and technical merit. Learn how to storyboard like a pro, choose shots that support the telling of your story, and capture better lighting and sound.

AlecCouros2:453:30 Open, Social, Connected
Dr. Alec Couros is a professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. This presentation unravels a recent open graduate course offering titled “Open, Connected, Social” that was offered at the University of Regina, Winter 2008. The presentation describes the theories influencing the course, types of open practice, reflections and outcomes, and goes on to describe the emergence of “open teaching”.

Markwagner3:30 4:15 Wiki While You Work (Basic)
A former high school English teacher, Mark Wagner has since served as an educational technology coordinator at Estancia High School, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, and the Orange County Department of Education. His session briefly introduces participants to the Read/Write Web, and to wikis in particular. A live demonstration of and will illustrate that…, “If you can use a word processor, you can use a wiki.”

kathycassidy4:15 5:00 We Like Our Blogging Buddies: The Write Stuff With Blogging Mentors
Kathy Cassidy is a grade one teacher at Westmount School in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. In the winter of 2008, Patrick Lewis’s university class of pre-service teachers were blogging mentors for Kathy’s grade one students. This presentation talks about that collaboration and the results of the research that was conducted about the effect this mentorship had on the students’ writing.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Erin Gruwell: Freedom Writers

Session Information

The closing session of NECC09 was given by Erin Gruwell - teacher and originator of the Freedom Writers. Her inspiring story of working with seriously at risk students and helping them find their voices was powerful. She has truly made a difference in their lives and they, in turn continue to grow and make a difference themselves. They have not only graduated from high school, but continued on to university and some are helping with the foundation.

Learn more about the foundation

From Banned to Planned - Hall Davidson

Session information

Hall demonstrated cellphone use in a variety of ways

- students can text in opinions, answers...

Call an expert
Liz Kolb author of Toys to Tools from ISTE Liz' wiki

resource to share k12 projects

­One project she described:
(Dear Abby – in context of Romeo and Juliet)all assignments have been cellphone based – e.g. students taking on different roles. Students have taken ownership and come up with ideas (take on persona and call in)

Voicethread (can call in) - how teachers are using cell phones
Blogtalk Radio - listen to some back shows

The new 3Rs Rethink Rejuvenate Rename

New cell phones affect all aspects of kid's lives – music, video,camera,

Take the village to the child -

Students studying civics - come in to class – here are the numbers you should have.

  • e.g. supply the number to the planning commision


Fulfillment and self-actulalization
esteem and status
belong and social needs
safety and security
basic physiological needs

phone can fulfil all these needs (from bottom - order food, call for help, texting friends, ...)

Free speech – we are becoming the press, right to assemble (twitter mobs)

Banned in Iran – to stifle dissent and human rights – what is your school's excuse?

Challenge based learning

- call someone who picked or processed your food


  • lets you broadcast live from your cell phone
  • can embed in a blog or wiki, and put a place marker on a map
  • you can visit qik's from around the world

Sites to try

input and output device
can gather info – go to a database and then send it back


if you hear a song playing and hold up cell phone and get the data – who wrote and the title

CAOS living book

changes every 7 days - written in QR code - you need a bar code reader
qr code generator creates bar code - can use a bar code reader to go from site to site

You can read QR code - in Japan they are on buildings
bar code from a quiz
- to generate code:
just data – so data in has to be as good as data out - but can change the url if you make an error.


bought image recognition company

  • object recognition software

Vicki Davis -

determining mobile technologies for classroom use - when is it expedient - when should you use other tools (depends on students' mobile plans)

Need to have a good letter and rationale for parents.

Joe Fatheree

cell phones – snow day -a student created a video with his phone - led him to harness the power of the phones in his class.

used phones to speak, create, communicate

create a pathway to success – brainstorm with kids how you want to use the tools in the classroom

  • action plan
  • then sit with principal -
  • parents do a technology survey to find out limits to plan and if they are willing to let the device to be used in the classroom
  • Kids are showing how the mobiles can be used in the classroom.

Film on the Fly

  • mobile phone video challenge
  • writing prompt – send out text message
  • make a video – send it to YouTube

Handouts and powerpoint can be downloaded at Discovery Channel

Here Comes Learning: Will Richardson Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Will Richardson / Sheryl Nussbaum Beach

Session Info

Will Richardson shared a video of a child trying to start a fire with a bow drill he made

What was interesting is that the child
  • understands how to use the internet – gets help - asks for help
  • doesn't show face or name, username is anonymous
  • he got a lot of responses

How did he know he would get a response?
How did people find him?
Learn with and from other people

He understands connecting and community

Sheryl -spoke about telementoring

learning from the wisdom of the crowd
pre-service teachers – set up virtual learning community (she used tapped-in)

  • from her own PLN – brought them in as mentors

wasn't mentorship as she thought – thought mentors would be knowledge givers, but it became a learning community – masters to masters, novices to masters, masters to novices, novices to novices

It's not about the tools – it's about the learning – but need an understanding of the tools
- how to change delivery of instruction to make use of what the tools have to offer
- greatest insight – urgency for change – kind of PD should be around managing change

what needs to change?

Will – if you are not feeling challenged as an educator you are not paying attention.
He quoted Shirkey – the ability we have right now is to form groups

We can form groups around our passions

  • a tectonic shift
  • use technology for collective action (e.g. Iran)

kids are using the technologies – but in reality – using in ways to socialize

  • friendship
  • interest based (like the bowdrill video)
  • millions of potential teachers for our kids – and kids are doing this without us
  • no adults teaching them how to use these technologies as contexts for learning in this world
  • need to be learners in these contexts – teachers need to take time to immerse themselves in these kinds of environments


  • help children to learn via their interests
  • teachers become co-learners (and will learn as much or more than the learners)
  • PD in 21st century needs to operate from connecting and collaborating
  • there are pockets of innovation – want to see better scalability
  • job embedded learning works
  • Teachers need to share from their expertise (out of diversity true innovation comes)
  • Linda Darling Hammond – we need to be learning collaboratively and on the job
  • need – no administrator left behind – they don't get pd – should be with teachers – learn together or with other administrators and superintendants
  • if you want best practice in PD – a team approach that meets several times / week
  • NSDC – teams
  • working in community – co-created content
  • The process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period of time to share ideas....
  • communities of practice – one of top ten jobs will be community instigator or community leader
  • social communities of practice – need to be designed so they evolve over time
  • what develops is co-created and collaborative with multiple opportunities for member feedback and ownership
  • The Scaling Framework (microsoft)
  • plp (personal learning portal) delivery model

Build in Workshops Webinars Virtual Learning Community

- become professional learning teams
- secret ingredient (build it on professional learning teams)
- champion building model

powerful learning practice

seek out schools willing to invest some time in exploring the challenge of 21st century

Friday, July 03, 2009

Cheryl Lemke - The Ripple Effect

Cheryl's handouts are here

Innovation ripples through

Adolescent learning 2.0

We have to think differently – begin to listen to and know them more.

  • A lot of learning going on outside the school
  • facile with technology but don't necessarily know how to learn with it
  • the are hanging out, messing around, and geeking out

- adolescents internet use is:– friendship driven (for peer group) and interest-driven (interest driven is often interactive gaming (94%) m and f)
- adults have to add value to animation thing they want ot know
- should we begin to understand what websites they are going to (e.g. cars, baseball, interactive gaming)

The reality is – in interest driven area there are other adults out there leading the learning in the informal space (getting into space as a learner and participant)

There is a lot going around gaming – writing technical manuals, writing modules to change and simplify game – whole environment and life around it. - one entry point to grab them into writing process

- missing the boat when we don't do that
- they are looking for genuine interest and guidance from teacher

  • Global Kids – get kids connected globally

  • Multitasking and background tasking – nobody multitasks – we have an executive function that we can only do things serially – distracted vs focused – kids are faster at serial tasking because they are younger

  • if you have 2 complex tasks that you are working on at the same time you are not being efficient.

  • Kids are mainly background tasking *other tasks not complex (even music with lyrics takes attention away) – we have to help kids understand that they need to have environment without distractions when doing something serious.

  • Working memory only holds 5 -9 things that are text or sound – only 4 that are visual

  • overload – working memory fills up – e.g. child just learning to read may be spending working memory on decoding and cannot then comprehend.

  • Visuals important – sites for combination of text and visuals

Continuous partial attention – Linda Stone

Student Engagement Matters ranges from Defiant/withdrawn/compliant/tactical/intrinsic

Intrinsically motivated kid has interest in topic

Looking for Deep Learning -To engage – you have to know the students use a learning environment that engage: web 2.0 and technology

Content - /substance organization novelty / variety choice
cooperation and collaboration – so powerful when topic is complex

Your students have access to:
MIT courseware, iTunes U - etc. should be dealing with complex tasks/ issues in school

Interactive Gaming

Democracy2: try to keep a country alive as a ruler
Collaboration trumps competition trumps individual learning (Johnson & Johnson)

Collaboration involves
- Balance of formal and informal
- positive interdependence which promotes personal responsibility
- considerable promotive interaction
- shared workspace
- iterative group reflection and processing to improve effectiveness
If you give students choice – grades go up – more committed.

Involving Students

There is very little sustained discussion in most classes - more teacher to student1, teacher to student2 ...
Sustained discussion – students talking to students

Meyers AP Government blog

Teachers assign blogs (interest not generated )is there sustained discussion?
Blogging to learn (The Plague of Circumstance) Teacher used the blog to make sure students were doing the research

The movie physics rating system
commenting on the physics e.g. in the roadrunner (Voicethread: Video Doodling)
Voice thread – clip in movie – is this possible? Please comment on the physics you see in this video clip

Can use Voicethread to
- check for prior knowledge
- make visible some of preconceptions and misconceptions

Interesting tools to provoke discussion

Flowing Data
use of visualization in learning (Flowing Data)
-takes a data set and graphs it

Democratization of knowledge

Students need to know how to search to get the information they need to solve problems

Check out the wizard tools try giving an Internet search challeng

Modeling: Scratch – programming and gaming in very powerful ways - presentations

Jamie McKenzie - Reading Between Digital Lines

Session information
I have heard Jamie McKenzie before and have enjoyed his books. He is really about pedagogy, not about tools, other than in how the tools can serve deeper learning. His session was based on articles he wrote:

He spoke of the need to keep children's wondering and curiosity alive. "Right answer teaching and peer pressure makes the kids' possibility of looking at the unusual drop off".

We need to help the students look through primary source material
e.g. - What kind of person was Matthew Flinders - knowing he was a British naval captain who was the first European to circumnavigate Australia?
Then look at letters - back up statements with evidence

We have to get away from topical research into thinking.

A taxonomy of synthetic thought and production

invent - design – conceive – originate
distill – refine – extract the essence
improve – make better – enhance – fix (up)
summarize – reduce
smush – compact – condense - truncate

The scale moves from bottom to top.

You can find out more in his article: A Taxonomy of Synthetic Thought and Production

The term “ reading” must be applied more broadly to include: reading images (faces), students have to understand how to “read a page”, understanding how we are being manipulated

Here are links to a few other of Jamie McKenzie's articles - he is always worth the read.

The New Reality: Making Sense of the World in an Age of Distortion
Filling the Toolbox: Classroom Strategies to Engender Student Questioning
Managing the Poverty of Abundance
great resources for searching, finding photographs

Go to his site - there is lots more to read.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Digital Citizenship - Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay

Session Information
Vicki Davis
Anne Bubnic
Julie Lindsay (Beijing China)

Students have a lot of technology on them all the time. Spion James Bond Super Mini Digital Camera Spy Pen
- these were used in Iran to capture footage.
We can't ban everything - we have to change behaviour.

Be Careful - This machine has no brain - use yours
Things are becoming unblockable (students have cell phones with data plans) - we have to get to behaviour - can't act as a police state - it's about getting at behaviour.

Digital Citizenship - the norms of behaviour with regards to digital use

Digital Citizenship Digi Teen
Nine elements within three main areas have been identified that together make up digital citizenship (Digital Citizenship in Schools by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey)

Digiteen pedagogy
Communication Collaboration Content Action
To be a digiteacher -
  • research technology and connect yourself
  • monitor and be engaged
  • Avoid the 'fear factor' Make a difference
For parents to understand digital citizenship
what is digital literacy

Anne - Digital Citizenship Tools Resources & Best Practices -
bookmarking on diigo - Join the digital citizenship group
Nine Themes of Digital Literacy
- excellent resource - posters, info, what to do if there is a problem, AUPs - resources for administrators
Excellent poster
Materials can be taken and repurposed, adapted for your own use.
There is a ppt available for teachers - can be printed out
Where does cybersafety fit into the curriculum
Vicki's Netvibes
You can have public and private pages - - public shows all your public pages

Easy to feed from Diigo into wiki, blog, Pageflakes..... by tag, by group, etc.

Virtual World - Digiteen Island
Interview with BBC - and Vicki's students in reactiongrid
9th graders constructed an area to teach about cyber citizenship

Woogi World - to learn about internet safety

Have a discussion with your students about what you reveal
Discuss and agree before hand
First name, last name, pseudonym
gender ...
Discuss ahead

With global projects be careful about
- showing affection in photographs
language awareness
cultural sensitivity
responses to others
Be aware that others may interpret and react to things differently - teaching respect for other cultures.

How to deal with problems
Fireshot - takes a screenshot - you can annotate it, blur it,
When you have a problem - if you delete content - then you can't deal with problem - grab a copy and then delete it. Send public comment - because it has been seen publicly.
Print page as pdf
copy pdf to student's teacher
communicate between teachers

Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety and Success - NECC sessions with content dealing with digital citizenship

Bernie Dodge: Puzzle Pieces

Session Information
Bernie Dodge is a self-avowed map lover.

How can we take advantage of Google Maps and Google Earth in a way that makes pedagogical sense?
It's all about place. Kids hear about history as words - place provides a way to glue these things together. It contextualizes and gives another way to think about it. Spatial abilities reside in the hippocampus - straddles both hemispheres. Historically people have known the importance of place.
Simonides - we have a fragment of his poems - he was at a banquet and was reciting a poem. He went out for a moment and while he was out the hall collapsed - because of his visual memory he was ab le to identify who had been there. The method of loci - where something is located - using place to remember by attaching things to places you already know. There is a connection between place and things you want to remember.

He talked about learning that Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stower were neighbours - it became a new way to look at them.

Taking kids outside - is novel - their attention will be activated. If you are in a strange place - activate uncertainty. Walking - triggers the senses - the concreteness.

getting out into communities - taking advantage of the attention that comes from being outside.

Geocaching - his class put together a geocache with travel bugs - one of his students wanted his bug to go to Berlin. He can now share with his students where the bug has been.

Field trips - so much energy spent on permissions etc. the content and forethought of a field trip often go by the wayside.
  • low - no cost
  • easy
  • quick
PlacePuzzle is a map-based activity designed to encourage close reading of a complex text. It uses a limited physical space to priovide a context for learning and includes short-answer clues that require recall and creative interpretation.

Critical Attributes
Resources - to be studied ahead of time
Map -of a related place
Clues -on the map that relate the map to the resources and require both recall and ideation

Optional Attributes
Scores kept based on speed and accuracy
Roles to divide up the reading
- Leaderboard posted publicly (gamers like this)
Clues made available one at a time based on performance (like a treasure hunt)

Communication channel allowing players to collaborate in real time

Chaos in Teheran - place puzzle

Clues - Map
Tinychat - embedded in a page or blog
Real Shoestring -
Google Maps - Google Sites to embed the map (at the moment it doesn't always work)
Type in clues - google forms / spreadsheets / docs
You can know when each team solved each puzzle
Eventually Google Wave

Placemark is a clickable clue
"He worked near here and waited patiently for them to pop the question. The grass nearby might remind you of a dairy pasture" - use clue, readings to figure out the clue

Clue |Possibilites (visual - street view, visual - photos, text - wikipedia, proximity - what's nearby)
Trade Secrets in writing Treasuree Hunt clues (pay for service for creating scavenger hunts)

Curricular Opportunities
historical events
distance - area - shapes
literature - novels,
geography concepts
language learning (street view lets you zoom in on street signs etc.)
current events
Field Trip prep - getting kids ready to go somewhere so they can immerse themselves in a place before they get there
Campus orientation
Earth Science and oceanography

|Implementation possibilities
-timed special event (only available at a certain time)
- self-promotion - promote school
- interschool competition / collaboration - have kids create for another school

Novelty, uncertainty, concreteness, time pressure, competition...

Design steps
- Pick topic
- Identify resources
- Pick locations
- Write Clues

He is working on an interface to help with the design - not quite ready

Google Earth - with street view - you can include different clues

Outdoor Version - change format so clues require you to be in the place. Growth in mobile learning will help kids get outdoors.

Web Site Story - - so hooked on Google Earth we don't get outside to see it. - will be available with examples, tutorials, forum - authoring tool
July 21, 2009 3:59 pm PDT will be live

Very intriguing ideas
Links to session slides

Monday, June 29, 2009

Global Connections - in the Primary Classroom

Session Information
What a privilege to be in a session with Kathy Cassidy, Amanda Marrinan and Maria Knee. I have read their blogs and seen videos of their work with their students. It is obvious that they make learning engaging and enjoyable.

Kathy Cassidy explained how much better learning was when it came from other children. Connecting to each other - Amanda Marrinan- heard about Maria Knee's students going to tap the maple trees. Maria's Knee's students made a voicethread to explain the process which they shared. It was magical. Maria - it's all magic to 5 year olds. She uses technology because it's there - just learning where Brisbane Australia is or Moose Jaw Saskatchewan is - now they go to Google Earth and can explore everywhere - what is the same and what is different. Could not have done that without the tools. They have Google Earth up as part of the project time.

What are the challenges?
Amanda - the children are too young - no - it actually inspires them to want to read and write. Odeo - helped them read what was on. Parents help and learn with the students. When wireless was weak - Skype - around the world - it was a different kind of connectivity.
Maria - safety - she doesn't use names or pictures and names together. She educates the parents - get permission, makes sure the parents know what she is going to do and teaches students how to stay safe.Tells parents that they will have a window into the classroom any time they want.
All agreed that all comments have to be moderated. Cathy spoke of how occasionally inappropriate comments come from students - it became an opportunity (without naming names) to discuss the appropriateness of comments. Everything is a learning experience for the students.

All three teachers spoke of the ways they have their students record their learning, through photos, videos, podcasts which get posted on their blogs. They can revisit and use these for reinforcement and sharing with their families.

Nice to see how primary teachers help students make technology part of their learning environment in powerful ways, to learn, to share, to reflect, to discover and, especially, to communicate.
Session wiki

Steve Dembo NECC 09

Session information
Sometimes a session is about learning new things, sometimes about confirming that what you think about , use, teach others about is what others are doing too.
Although I no longer use bloglines, the ideas he is sharing is similar to some of what I do in Pageflakes. Next web 2.0 tool - Delicious. A district can have one account - gives everyone access to bookmarks (e.g. grade one math ) which can then be used by teachers and parents alike

allows you to add a list of links and then clikc tabify - can then get you to all those sites easily (with preview and tabs on your browser.
Can bounce from one site to the other without actually losing
publish to web - fax it in, text it, email it, call it
and then share - can do a full podcast (add view share)
can even do conference call
can see things with a variety of views
chat box if more than one person on the site at a time
If you go into settings and enable rich media rss - can automatically share to iTunes for example
Don't need anything fancy to create a podcast - call it in (room for about 400 minutes if you just use site for podcasting)
video editor in your browser - students can work online - upload media into jaycut - can keep private only to you or publicly
add images just like imovie or moviemaker
even has transitions
Can download in a variety of formats to computer, phone...
gives embed code
unlimited size
Can upload a "bucket" of media and 5 log in to the same account and use the media to create different videos

twitter for students
microblogging with students - behind a password - can choose to have some pieces public but don't need to. Can set up groups and only send to specific groups.
Can add assignments, schedule events
new version coming - faster, ability to embed video files, slideshare etc. can watch within the interface

Poll Everywhere
classroom response system via text messaging 30 votes per pole for free
shows individual votes and can download to spreadsheet
Can set up ten polls in a row and select and create ppt with the polls which will be live so students can go through and answer polls
can also be accessed through computer
There is educational pricing for larger groups

animation site - create 3D animations, text to speech, diff languages, can adjust camera angle`
animate characters etc. When finished - rendering takes time. Can publish to you tube, embed ...
There is a trailer ad before the movie. Paid for version including greenscreen

broadcast - can embed in blog
can have multiple webcams, bounce from camera to camera
record student concert and bounce from student's camera to camera

presentation done today in prezi
once you have laid the whole thing out - chose the path you want to take through it.

Great ideas!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

NECC Sunday

Malcolm Gladwell - Author of - The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers

He doesn't talk about anything that his audience knows more about so he is talking about Fleetwood Mac. "A bunch of kids get together in a basement - there is magic and boom they become famous and rich" But that is not the reality. The formation of the band kept changing, they recorded multiple albums before they actually made it big. The band had a long history before they moved to LA and evolved into the band we know. This took about 10 years and 16 albums - it takes time to master something - this is not easy.

In Outliers he talks about 10000 hour rulem(about 4 hours / day for 10 years) for someone to achieve success. We think of prodegies but really there are many hours of hard work behind the success. What are the implications - behind learning there has to be an attitude about effort (I believe my effort is crucial to getting somewhere). It's not just about talent.

Math tests - are really about the willingness to sit still and focus - this attitude has to be communicated to students. The idea that doing well in math is based on talent is a self-defeating profesy - (i.e. working hard won't change your results). However, students who work hard, will do better.

The road for Fleetwood Mac was very rocky (members quitting, including the driving force behind the band) but they persevered. They don't succeed from success - they built on their failures. Compensation strategy - compensate for your weaknesses. When it succeeds - very powerful. Hunger plays a big role - the hunger to achieve something.

Large percentage of entrepreneurs have LD - connection between their dyslexia and success - they have learned to compensate. (The prisons are also filled with people with LD - didn't learn to compensate). They learned leadership skills - delegate (get people to read and write|) learn to talk and be persuasive, convincing, problem-solving - all skills that are part of being a successful entrepreneur.
We need to have respect for difficulty. Create constructive disadvantages in learning environments? Learn compensating strategies

Fleetwood Mac - over the course of their early albums - get better and better; they experiment with the kind of band they want to be. Trial and error to see what kind of music their talents were best suited for. Experimental innovator - find their way to genius through a path of trial and error. For example - Cezanne was in his 50s before he reached the apotheosis of his career - needed a long period of experimentation. Feedback - timely and targeted is important to growth and success (e.g. Pisarro and Cezanne - Cezanne was learning from the master and getting feedback).

Preconditions to approach learning. Challenge - to use energy and enthusiasm and creativity to make learning environment as meaningful as possible.

(I would rather have heard an educator - no great revelations)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

I remember learning about Ada Lovelace some 25 years ago. She was such a pioneer both as a woman and a thinker. As, really, the first programmer for Babbage's difference engine, she was an innovator.

As part of Ada Lovelace Day, I am helping to celebrate by honouring some women who, I feel, have helped to advance the role of computing in education. I am privileged to work with some women who have been on the forefront for many years.

I first met Bev in the 80s when we were members of ALICE (Association for Leadership in Computers in Education) which brought together the early adopters in the English school boards in Quebec. She always championed the aspects of computer integration which encouraged critical thinking, creativity and communication - those skills which we now refer to as 21st century skills. She was and continues to be forward thinking. Bev has pulled together a team of people who have worked for many years to achieve those goals. What started as a grass roots effort has evolved through several incarnations into LEARN. I have learned so much being part of that team for the last six years.

One member of the team, with whom I work closely is Christiane. She has been involved for many years with telecollaborative projects. In addition to initiating a number of projects which enabled teachers to learn to use technology for collaboration in a secure and nurturing environment, she found ways to help teachers make connections when they were ready to initiate projects of their own. The most recent development has been the launch of a project registry. Now teachers from Quebec and from anywhere in the world can advertise their projects and find partners for collaborative knowledge building. She is helping to open classroom walls to let the world in.

I have the fortune to be involved in online communities that put me in touch with many forward-thinking educators who push my thinking and learning. The third person I want to honour is my fellow webcaster, Lisa Parisi who has embraced the possibilities of technology to reach every child in her class. She involves them in authentic learning situations, reaching out to other teachers to offer collaborators and audience for her students. Like my colleagues, she is a life-long learner whose enthusiasm for what she does is contagious.

Ada Lovelace was ahead of her time - the early adopter extraordinaire. I think if she were alive today she would be astounded by what computing has evolved to. And I think she would be thrilled to be part of the social networks that have evolved that support communication, learning, relationships, collaboration and problem-solving.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I always find it interesting how when I'm involved in a project it focuses my thinking so that suddenly I am noticing everything around me that pertains to it. Yesterday I was at a meeting for English language arts teachers and we were talking about response. I thought of my participation in the 2009 - 365 photos challenge and my blog. Both the photos and the writing are forms of response. And I realized how much my mind is primed for certain kinds of photos - what I bring to the picture. Today I had a hard time deciding on which photograph to post.

I knew that many people would be posting photographs of Obama - and I, like many, took pictures of my television. My response to a world event, wanting in some way to participate on a larger basis. I watched my Twitter friends commenting on the event and joined in the discussion, the sense of wonder and hope that the world may be feeling a little brighter. Text to world - How would the text seen and heard on television affect my vision of the world? Another response to this text - I called my daughter and asked her to join me at the television. This event was too big to witness alone. I needed the face to face contact with someone to share.

Taking out my garbage this morning I saw two large crows in a nearby tree. I snapped a photograph. Here was a great example of text to text. In my head I heard the song There were two ravens... This is an old Renaissance song which I have heard sung by Daniel Taylor among others.

There were two ravens sat on a tree,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
They were as black as black might be,
With a down.
The one of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down
I don't think I would have taken the photograph if I did not have that experience. So now the photograph and the song are paired in my head.

I finally settled on a photograph of children building a snow fort.
Day 20: Snow Fort

It brought back my time teaching - when snow forts were both positive and negative aspects of schoolyard play. There was always the joy of building but there was also the need to possess and the children were not always good at sharing their fort. I guess forts were always made to keep people in and keep people out. But in this photograph, at least, the children were playing peacefully. Here I brought my experiences - the response to the photo - text to self.

Response is not the reason I started this project - but it is interesting to see how different aspects of my life and experience find their way into my photographs and writing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reflecting on the Experience

It's only day 10 of the 365 day challenge to post a photo a day and I am really enjoying it. My eyes have taken a new focus - looking in a new way.

I just read a blog post by Bud Hunt. He talks about his experience last year. His post led me to an old post of D'Arcy Norman who started the challenge last year. A number of things in his post resonated with me.

He talked about how to become a better photographer - one point being that you examine photos you like and try to imitate (isn't that what we do when we deconstruct ads, images etc. with students to understand the codes and conventions in order to help them become better communicators). I already find myself looking at the photo gallery and asking myself why some photos work and others don't.

He talked about "mindful seeing"
"I mean the act and process of being deliberately thoughtful about what you are seeing. To see what you are looking at. It’s something that doesn’t happen automatically - we go through life filtering what we see, reducing input and stimulus to the point that we aren’t as distracted by visual stimuli. Mindful seeing is the process of turning off the filters, of seeing your surroundings unfettered and unobstructed."
This seems to happen naturally for this challenge. To find a photo a day, I find myself looking in a different way - shadows, silhouettes, even shelves of books become interesting to look at. And I find myself looking more and missing less.

And more from Norman's post
"When viewing the world without filtering, even the most boring and banal subjects can become wondrous and interesting. We are constantly surrounded by interesting things that we normally don’t see textures, lighting, patterns, shapes, objects, groupings, even messages."
Even without the camera my eyes have started to focus on those things.

I hope to transfer some of the mindfulness on the visual to other aspects of my life, which is too often in fast forward as I multi-task. My head is too often filled with trivial details of todo lists, shopping lists and other things and not often enough focused on the present. So each day now, I take time to select my photo and reflect on it - to respond to it as we ask children to respond to their reading - and tell my stories. And so far slow good.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

365 photos and more

I have joined the group 2009/365 photo sharing on Flickr. It has made me think about a number of things. I am looking at things differently. As I view some of what others have posted, I am starting to see the ordinary as unique. A number of people have posted photos of their breakfast and I realize each of these tell a story. And that is what I want to concentrate on as I post my pictures. What is the story each tells...

I started to think of the breakfasts I shared over the holidays and how each represents different aspects of my life and the different cultural habits I share because of my parents and where I was born. The croissants and espresso - so French, so much part of the Quebec culture in which I live. The Montreal bagels and smoked salmon - my Jewish heritage. And my everyday mix of healthy cereals with skim milk - an acknowledgement of my my aging body and attempt to keep it functioning well. So these may be featured in future photos. But it's not just about the story but also about the composition. I started to think about how to make each of these photos visually pleasing - which dishes to use, etc. Photos I have seen of things on a table made me look with new eyes at the objects around me.

I am going to start a new blog - with my daily photos. It will be a new kind of journal - a peek into the different aspects of my life from the mundane to the frivolous and everything in between. I'm looking forward to this adventure.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Seven Things

I decided to follow Kathy Cassidy's example and write seven things about myself without being tagged. As someone who hates chain letters ( I guarantee I will break the chain and risk all those terrible things that are threatened), the notion of tagging someone with a meme is not much more appealing - more like appalling. But it is fun to let people know more about myself - put substance to the one-dimensional web presence.

1. I am passionate about music - I own many recorders (from sopranino to great bass - a recorder that is about as tall as I am).

Just some of them are pictured above. I play duets with my partner, play in a recorder orchestra, play Baroque music with friends and play in a quartet. Then there are the many concerts I attend. I also go to music camp, CAMMAC, for a week every summer.

2. I love to travel - use it also as an excuse to write. I don't write often enough, but when I'm on the road (or the seas, or the rails...) I take the time to journal and describe my experiences - the last few trips I've written travel blogs.

3. I'm not as adventurous as I would like to be. I'm a risk-taker in terms of trying new things in my career - but I like the security of home and have never lived outside my city.

4. I bought my first computer in 1983. My husband had died way too young in November of the previous year. A friend had recently purchased an Apple II plus - I was intrigued. I needed something to occupy my thoughts. I bought a Franklin Ace (64K and showed upper and lower case on the monitor!) and it sat on my desk for about 2 weeks before I dared to turn it on. Took a course and was hooked. I would put my kids (at the time - aged 1 and 3) to bed and then stay up and play - Logo, an early adventure game... I took my first online course in 1987 - no Internet yet. That was a feast for my brain - I could have adult contact via our online messages while I stayed home with my young children.

5. I love to play with words - my kids groan over my puns. I'm addicted to Boggle and Scramble on Facebook.

6. I have two cats who know how to get the best of me. They are Cornish Rex (sometimes I think they are Cornish Wrecks as they wreak havoc in the house) - supposedly less allergenic. They have been called everything from rabbits to rats - but we love them.

7. Here in Canada we had a wonderful morning show - Morningside with Peter Gzowski. My 15 minutes of fame - I was a guest. There was a panel talking about technology in education. I represented the constructive (and constructivist) view of using computers in schools. That was about 10 years ago.

So if you read this - I hope these words will have added a little colour and painted a slightly more vibrant picture of who I am.