Thursday, October 29, 2009

Footprints in the Digital Realm: A journey of becoming a 21st century teacher

MassCue Session 7 – 2:00 – 2:50
Footprints in the Digital Realm: A journey of becoming a 21st century teacher
Fred Haas, English Teacher, Hopkinton HS

akh003@Twitter & Slideshare

21st Century Skills? Tech is ubiquitous, and this is te change. Kids have more time to spend on learning apps.
Catching up or Leading the Way - This remarkable book will forever change the debate about what's wrong and what's right with American education and where it should be going. Based on his own experience as a student in China and as a parent of children attending school in the United States, Zhao skewers conventional wisdom while setting straight the recent history and current state of US schools.

3Cs - communication, collaboration, cultural understanding - always the business of education, but today these are premium skills for global success.
Flattened social hierarchy - people more accessible.
The smartest person in the room is the room.
Complex does not have to be complicated. Goal is complex thinking, complex application of skills.

Expand notion of what you call a text. Graphic images - need skills to decode multiple visual formats: spreadsheets, image, data sources, graphic sources etc.

Convergence is already here delivering multiple formats > evolution

Live> print > analog > digital > media evolution
Core literacy > expanded literacy
text is anything that is "readable" - from which you can extract information

Good resources:
Confronting the challenges of participatory culture, Henry Jenkins. Seminal work on 21st century skills.

College Board AP Central - English & History

Moving at the Speed of Creativity
, Wes Fryer.

Empowering Students Through Multimedia, Marco Torres.

It's not about technology as much as it is about how technology impacts the way we think.

Personal Learning Environment - bigger than a community, a range of skills, knowledge and people. Have to take the time to play with these new tools. Application of these tools is a creative enterprise. You control the speed - go slow, go fast, just GO!

Big Tools:
  • RSS feed - required (really simple syndication) (1999)
  • Pageflakes
  • podcast - iTunes, Odeo, Podomatic (2000)
  • Ning - Classrom 2.0, James Burke - English Companion, MIT - Project New Media Literacies, Connie Weber - Fireside Learning (small, intimate) (2004)
  • YouTube (2005)
  • Twitter (2006)
Tools: YouTube - good stuff, keeps getting better all the time.
Tools: Twitter
You can follow an event from a distance and get great information.
  • real-time short messaging
  • following - establishes network and value of network
  • being followed
  • 3rd party extensions
Everything is changing so fast, it is all new, we are all novices.

Age of Meta Data

FlatClassroom Project
Classrooms from around the world participating.
2 big componenet:
kids develop collaborative wiki space - inspired by Friedman and Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind - collectively collect and edit about these topics.
Kids make video related to their topic, POV


"The thing about working on the bleeding edge is sometimes you bleed." - V. Davis

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Organize, Analyze, Synthesize & Respond: Using Diigo & Voicethread to Support Online Reading Comprehension

MassCue Session 6 – 11:15 – 12:10
Organize, Analyze, Synthesize & Respond: Using Diigo & Voicethread to Support Online Reading Comprehension
Donald J. Leu, Prof and Director, New Literacies Research Lab, U of Conn
Lisa Zawilinski, Heidi Everett-Cacopardo, U of Conn and the New Literacies Research Lab

New Literacies of the 21st Century - portal for New Literacies Research Lab

Diigo - Digest of Internet Information Groups and Other Stuff
Helps organize Internet activity. Use FIREFOX for browser.

Premium educator accounts - create student/class groups, helps management, assessment, insight into their information process and skill level.

Collaborative and powerful - extract annotations make it very powerful for evaluating critical thinking
  • *Online Notebooks - access to groups Diigo account
  • *Online Notebook - has link to apply for Diigo educator account (upgrade)
VoiceThread - tool for commenting
(New Literacies - VoiceThread webpage)
VoiceThread for Education - New Lit - VoiceThread wiki for educators, good resources
VoiceThread Digital Library - great for examples of educational VoiceThreads!

Educator VoiceThread - manuals - very helpful. You can have multiple identities. Free educator accounts!

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Classroom Twittering

MassCue Session 5 – 10:00 – 10:55
Classroom Twittering
Michael Purdy, Director of Technology, Hanover Public Schools
(also good resource to discuss Google Apps for Schools)

Twitter creator on Iran: "I never intended for Twitter to be useful." Jack Dorsey - The Onion (6.24.09)

25-40 year olds are most active on Twitter.

Twitter is micro-blogging (140 characters).

Lifeblogging: Is a virtual brain good for the real one?

Proof! Mobile microbloggers are boring...

Lifebloggers track their every move, every word, every document with computers to create a personalized and machine-readable memory archive. Skeptics argue that no one wants to remember this much.

Why tweet?
  • instantaneous
  • direct
  • feels personal
  • searchable
  • available and flexible
Terminology / How-to:
  • delete your account (it is a consumable product, can delete easily)
  • direct message (D)
  • @message
  • Retweet (RT)
  • Hashtag (#)
  • URL shorteners
Block unwanted followers - porn trawlers will follow you.

  • email addresses: get a gmail acccount and use "aliases" to have more than one account to mail to
  • student email - huge issue in Web 2.0 world
Hanover PS uses Twitter for:
  • job postings
  • each school has an account for easy notification of parents who follow the school
(note to self: set up Twitter acct for library)

Teacher as Professional Learner
  • self-reflection on teaching process
  • member of prof learning community
General Education
  • student poses question regarding class
  • students consult one another about homework or other issues (student experts)
  • create a review space for quizzes, tests that can accumulate as students head towards midterms or finals
Precis Writing
Condense "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson into 140 characters - good use of Twitter. Teaches incisive writing and thinking, main idea, key points, sentence combining.

Grammar / Vocabulary
  • have students punctuate a paragraph that has punctuation removed
  • have students write a sentence that properly illustrates the meaning of a vocabulary words
  • students microblog as characters from within a literary work; they must reveal the motivation of character as it relates to plot
  • students create online lexicon of literary terms covered in class with examples from the reading
  • Twitter book club
  • rewrite a play capturing its essence
  • follow tweets of historical occurrences
  • journalism classes can report on school-based news events as they happen
  • journalism report events outside school
  • debate assigned topics within twitter forum
Social Studies
  • explain main point of great speeches
  • create a study site of these speeches with interpretation
  • students microblog in real time from an historical event ex the Kennedy assassination or Gettysburg, or Normandy
  • report science experiments
  • first student to solve problem
  • students challenge each other
  • daily math fluency
Foreign Language
  • discussions in foreign language
  • teach phrases
  • outreach to ELL
Film/TV Study
  • Students watch films/programs looking for specific instances of ex irony, symblism etc. they can tweet as the recognize occurences inwhat they watch
  • tweet during sports event - reporting
  • pictures can be included in tweets
  • create a sports network within school
Lots of ideas!

Photo Credit:
"Meet Mr. Twitters"
Roz Chast
The New Yorker, 8.31.09
The CartoonBank

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The Changing Face of Literacy and Learning in 1-1 Laptop Csasrooms: The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension

MassCue Session 5 -

Keynote: The Changing Face of Literacy and Learning in 1-1 Laptop Classrooms: The New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension
Donald J. Leu, Prof and Director, New Literacies Research Lab, U of Conn
J. Gregory McVerry, W. Ian O’Byrne, Lisa Zawilinski, U of Conn and the New Literacies Research Lab

Internet is a reading comprehension and learning issue – not a technology issue.
Internet is this generations defining technology for reading and learning and requires new literacies. Where are the standards?

1 out of 4 people, nearly 25% of world’s population has internet connectivity. Projection is that in 10 years every erson will be covered.

Internet World Stats - Internet World Stats is an International website that features up to date world Internet Usage, Population Statistics and Internet Market Research Data, for over 233 individual countries and world regions.

We are small potatoes compared to saturation in other areas of the world. This is a global phenomenon.
2005 was the tipping point year when students spent more time reading online than in books. Updated data not yet available.
  • Ireland re-tooled their education system 10 years ago and now have a highly trained workforce, are the number 1 global creator of software, and are importing workers. A boom economy in Ireland right now.
  • Mexico has a national plan for integrating the Internet into every home and school. 15 year systematic plan. e-Mexico details the plan.
  • Japan provides Internet connections for all households 16x faster, at $22/month to support Internet integration at national level.
  • How many states in the US measure student ability to read search engine results on state reading assessments? 0. Our students use a click strategy.
  • 0 states allow students to perform assessments using a word processor, despite the data that shows that students would preform better if they were allowed to use a word processor. Boston College did this research.
  • 0 states assess online reading comprehension in state assessments. This is an important reading task. (Extend info literacy skills to source evaluation.)
LMS are central to schools as we shift from page to screen. These will be school leaders and these positions should be protected.

Internet is defining technology for this generation, and other nations are adapting policy and education systems. They see it, and the US does not. NCLB assessments do not include new literacies.

Achievement Gap - our policies are increasing these gaps. Poor students have less access, and come to poor school districts. These schools are under pressure to improve NCLB reading scores without access to technology. Pressure to get students ready to pass an irrelevant test. The poor are left further and further behind in developing Internet reading comprehension skills. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.

The Internet requires new literacies - focus on online reading comprehension. 10% lowest performing readers are actually quite good at reading on the Internet. They are more functionaly in online environments - text units are very short. When they get to info the text expands but they have skills in plave (controlF) to manage their content. They get to choose what they read based on links they follow - and this builds engagement.
Also very good at reading pictures - strong visual skills and they can exploit this extra info to build their comprehension.

Their data shows no corelation between assessed reading skills and online reading skills. New literacies are Internet skills.
  • reading to define problem
  • reading to locate information
  • reading to evaluate information
  • reading to synthesize information
  • reading and writing to communicate information
Kids are great at certain technologies, but not good with information skills. Use semantic skills and ".com" strategy. They don't incorporate search engines in their inquiry process.

Model for teaching online reading comprehension in 1:1 latptop classrooms
Predict within 10 years we will have total shift to 1:1 environment - Maine already made this shift. May need to be a decsiion at state or federal level.
Everything changes in content when you make this shift.

(Apple Remote desktop for in class space so thumbnail allows oversite of student activity)

Phase I - Teacher-led Basic Skills
(nuts and bolts - 2 weeks)
  • teacher-led deomontsrations of basic Internet use skills and cooperative learning strategies
  • explicit modeling by teacher
  • largely whole class instruction
  • mini-lessons as transition to Phase II.
Phase II - Collabortaive modeling of online reading strategies
(reading skills of evaluating sources)
  • students presented with information problem to solve
  • work in small groups to solve problem
  • exchange strategies as they do so
  • debrief at end of lesson
  • initally: location and critical evaluation
  • later: synthesis and communication
Phase III of IRT (Internet Reciprocal Teaching)
  • inquiry - initially within class
  • then with others around the world (ePals - good child-safe digital environment)
"Help the last become first." - Make them the leaders, privilege them in powerful ways.
Include email in your curriculum. It is the primary method of communication in the business world.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emerging Technologies Every Administrator Should Know in the Next 5 Years

MassCue Session 4
Emerging Technologies Every Administrator Should Know in the Next 5 Years
Joseph Mastrocola, Assistant Superintendent, Peabody PS

ppt download:

Important Links:
  • Horizon Report - good data on emerging technologies
  • Fool's Gold - Alliance for Childhood - critical about computers and tech for children

Educational tech has been most effective in assistive technology. Ed tech has made a difference in developing 21st century skills for students.

Skills important in hiring a high school graduate:
• Work ethic 80%
• Collaboration 75%
• Good communication 70%
• Social responsibility 63%
• Critical thinking 58%

What skills will be important for HS grads in 5 years?
• Critical thinking 78%
• Health and wellness 76%
• I.T. 77%
• Collaboration 74%

• Innovation 74%
• Personal financial responsibility 72%

5 Emerging Technologies

1. Cloud computing – create and store content on web. Free up resources that used to be spent archiving. Web is infrastructure.

Applications: gmail, googlewave (interdisciplinary Google)
Creating & Presenting: Prezi, Vuvox, Slideshare
New Apps: splashup, jaycut

2. Increased mobile devices
Note: need to update policies, procedures and protocols

School district doing this well highlighted:
“The Digital Generation” – empowering students to be thinkers.

Digi Teen – study digital citizenship
Flat Classroom Project – empowering students to connect globally

3. Assistive Technology – continues to be one of the brightest stars of technology integration.

Hospital and clinic partnerships coming to 9-12 high schools.
Neuroscience and artificial intelligence – big academic growth area that are tech rich and will help special needs students.

4. Using technology to be entrepreneurial
School is a one-person circus – administrators have to do everything.
• Storefronts for raising big amounts of money to generate income to support work in classrooms.
• Ads – “this mid-term sponsored by Walmart” – this is HAPPENING! Field Day sponsored by companies
• Ebay for educational materials – trade ed supplies for school districts
• Selling on professional development materials – create it for you district and sell it on.

5. Personal web
• Personal coaching for kids – virtual counselor
• Developing and organizing online content
• 8,8,8 initiative – virtual contact outside school
• Virtual backpack (in addition to print material)
• Tools for tagging, aggregating, updating and tracking – aka formative assessment. (He mentioned the ALA and school libraries here – go us!)

Translation to the classroom
• Smart boards
• Internet drive research and web apps
• Web based admin activities
• Wireless networks
• Heavy graphics and convergence

Other technologies to watch
• Semantic-aware applications, tools designed for making meaning
• Smart Objects – link virtual to real world. Link it to student management systems.
• Data mash-ups – new ways of looking at information
• Web 2.0 to 3.0
• Desktop videoconferencing – Skype, Oovoo
• Instant messaging – Meebo
• Microblogging platforms – Twitter, Plurk
• Virtual workplaces
• LMS – Moodle
• Social networking – Nings, Pageflakes
• 3D Virtual Worlds – ActiveWorlds, Second Life, HiFives

Key Trends:
Technology isn’t going away, so teach skills that will help students, empower them, teach innovation, creativity, critical thinking, citizenship.

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School Libraries: Learning4Life

MassCue Session 3 – 2:00 – 2:50
School Libraries: Learning4Life
Katherine Lowe, Exec. Director, MSLA

Session 3 School Libraries: Learning4Life
(materials in zipped file for easy download)

Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action

MSLA Information Literacy Standards (pdf download)

Conference handouts:

Learning 4Life (L4L) – comes from AASL standards

SHIFT – old ways to find/manage info to new ways/formats/locations. NEW skills – info no longer in central phycical space.
• OLD - how to find stuff in rigid, fixed way, taught in isolation
• NEW – diverse formats and locations for information, literacy skills, flexible access to info as well as educational support and instruction. Attitudes, responsibilities of the learner in 21st century. All taught collaboratively, at the point of need.

Common Beliefs:
• Reading is a window to the world.
• Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
• Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
• Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
• Equitable access is a key component for education.
• The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
• The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
• Learning has a social context.
• School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

The Standards: a 4x4 Approach

SKILLS surrounded by learner attributes:

4 Standards:
• Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge
• Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
• Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
• Pursue personal and aesthetic growth
Each standard has 4 strands:
• Skills
• Dispositions in actions
• Responsibilities
• Self-assessment strategies

Dispositions in Action (most controversial) – ongoing beliefs ad attitudes that guide thinking and intellectual behavior that can be measured through actions taken: Habits of mind, attitudes, learning behaviors - all these need to be taught.

Common behaviors used by independent learners used by independent learners in research etc.
Reflection – time is short, this often gets short changed.

How do we begin?
Sample lessons

Book: Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action
Available from ALA Online Bookstore
Example lessons for every grade with standards integrated with content area curriculum. Collaboration key.

Report: MSLA Information Literacy Standards

Start with lessons you already do and match to standards. Review opportunities to incorporate indicators for disposition, responsibilities and/or self-assessment strategies.

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Planting Seeds: How to Create Sustainable Technology Professional Development

MassCue Session 2 – 11:15 – 12:10
III. Planting Seeds: How to Create Sustainable Technology Professional Development
John Doherty, Asst. Superintendent, Reading PS

(PD= Professional Development)

Students and teachers are the same – now more stuff is free.

Why the change? Quick pace of technology change. Teachers are freaking out. Reading is in a time of transformational change right now.
Global changes in world or work, information, increased impact of media.
MEDIA CENTERS HAVE CHANGED and are hearts of technology and training for LMS – kids go to libraries first to look for something.

Voluntary 6 credit class:
Expanding the Boundaries of Teaching and Learning
Teachers who take this get tech infusion and laptop. Started the “buzz” in Reading. Initiated culture change because people are developing new language, staff are reading the same books.

Lots of blogging for staff and students to share thoughts. Info in new books being disseiminated and talked about.

Partnership for 21st century skills – keeps learning standards as always but incorporates new unique skills.
Wagner’s 7 Survival Skills – what works best for kids?
Keep PD central when considering learning needs of students.

What is at stake?
• Future of our economy
• Strength of our democracy
• Health of planets ecosystem
• Is it sustainable?

Kaplan University / Talent - good inspirational video advocating for educational change

How do we reach these new learners?
Transformational Leadership
(need energy, accept risks, don’t stop student learning)
• Realize the vision at all costs
• Organization is a moral system
• Reflects core values
• Leaders must walk the walk
• Action consistent with vision
• Risk taking encouraged and welcomed
• Symbolic communication important
• Leaders actions are beyond normal and outside the rules of self interest
• Look at educational change systemically
• Lot of work to organize path forward

Setting directions
• Vision
• Goals
• Practices
• Expectations

Developing people
• Intellectual stimulation
• Individualize support
• Modeling professional practices
• Values

Redesigning Organization
• Developing collaborative culture
• Creating structures to foster participation in school decisions
• Creating productive community relationships
• Get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus
o The wrong people are the ones you need to actively watch

Reading is under-staffed, like everyone else. Moving forward the best way possible, keeping positive, and support as much as possible.
Collaborative culture is helping save time and moving training forward.

Maintenance costs very high so keep reserves to keep tools available for teachers.
Reading has 5 year plan of growth and success to validate their plan.

The key is changing the culture – it won’t happen overnight. Talk about technology all the time. Keep up the mantra. Talk about positives to highlight and keep from getting bogged down in the problems, important to culture.

1. Work with community to develop/change mission and vision – these may/will change.
  • i. Develop the process, working with stakeholders – ongoing evaluation and course correction.
2. Develop and maintain infrastructure – budgets make this tough. Might have to choose spending on network above other instructional tools (ex textbooks) but the network gave more bang for the buck.
3. Identify tech gurus in district and develop a plan. Make your plan a working document. Don’t print it and put it on the shelf. Use Google doc.
4. Identify resources to upgrade and maintain.
  • Outreach to parents/community highlighting student work.
5. Put tech tools in hands of right people (Concord already did this for everybody)
6. Provide access outside of school time
  • Community/Parents – classes for community
  • Teachers
  • Students
7. District leaders model use of technology – the whole shebang. Use it anticipating that it will always be changing. Need to learn new apps all the time, teach the skills/conventions that are portable.
  • Use tech in admin meetings
  • Start discussion of 1:1 computing in school
  • See how other districts are using technology
8. Get Administration on board – Already on board in Concord!
  • Run admin only trainings
  • Run admin book group
  • Visit districts that use tech effectively
What should learning look like?
Change the classroom – Alan November – build teams

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MassCue Session 1 – 10:00-10:55
Lee McCanne, Director of IT and School Libraries, Weston

The cloud follows and supports students and teachers.

Google docs link - presentation ppt

Google Enterprise Account – protected, free
Lots of ways to go – picked one and went for it.

• Anytime anywhere access 24/7 – Google, free.
• Collaboration tools for students – multiple users
• Moodle – a place where teachers can build, manage, pace curriculum. Free. Provides academic sequencing of content. 24/7 access.
• Differentiates instruction – a course site allows richer content for those ready and more support structures for those who need it.
• Can re-brand Googledocs and Moodle.

Weston Teacher Web – professional learning Moodle for staff. Intranet for Weston. Can’t be published to the world, secure online environment for staff and student collaborations.

Google Apps – docs, spreadsheet, forms, presentation, calendars (iCal compliant, layer multiple calendars)and file storage (10gig video storage). Weston has not picked up Gmail. Goal was 24/7 access and collaboration. Run it as a secure intranet.

Google apps in Weston Schools grades 4-12 and all staff.
• Hired SADA Systems (California)– auto account sync process with their Active Directory and Single Sign-On (SSO).
o This uses LDAP for authentication.
o Accounts synched every night, reduces management. Not free.
o Authentication bounces to Weston server – need stable Internet connection to maintain authentication access.
o Single sign-on keeps things simple for staff and students.
o $15,000 set up / $3,000 per year to maintain. Don’t need backup, virus, management costs for all these accounts.
o Don’t need Microsoft Office licenses.
o Big cost savings off set initial costs.

Review of Google docs to see what platform looks like. Organized, searchable – Weston is very pleased with the interface.
• Can’t upload specialized file types (ex. Inspiration)
• Sharing capabilities is the important thing and where real power of app lies
• Limited by lack of email – can’t form groups. But if you need to give wider access you can publish the doc and send the link, but is available to the world. “Share” is not crawled by Google. Can set edit/collaboration levels. Safe and secure collaborative process inside and outside organization.

Sites – can create websites for organization. View of Weston HS site.
• Sites is a global function. Any student can create their own website. It is an intranet so it is not visible to the world. There is an invitation function so there is some control. Sites can be a closed community or open, depending on who is invited or sent “share”.
o Can invite parents to class site as a way to share student work and give access. Site is for classroom community, and not the world. Allays privacy fears.
o Can allocate site ownership to share management access/responsibility.
o Super easy to create a site.
o Students can create sites – so what? Get out of their way and let them. Potential problems are learning opportunities. Good citizenship lessons.
o Bandwidth – must build infrastructure to support this. Only an issue in school, not when kids are at home.

Student Landing Page
Template with embeddable Google docs and widgets. No instance on kids playing with widgets. Personalized homepage.
Look and feel of site can be developed using templates and personalized. All fonts/banners/etc posted and available for use as people develop their own landing page.

Site management > done through mail tab > manage this domain. As director of tech some concern over level of control, but good ability to control/ turn things on and off.

Domain mapping to create logical scheme and develop brand.

Publishing – can’t publish websites to world, but can invite via share.

Pros – free, easy to use, easy to manage, nearly unlimited storage (number of files), size limit on file size, can run intranet with it, collaboration tools powerful.
• Students can create own internal website
• Can synch for students who do not have home access

Cons – 3rd party management tools some cost, applications not as rich or have fancy bells and whistles – do we really needs these?
• Students can create own internal website

Moodle – made for education
• Free, aside from cost of server.
• Tied to Active Directory same as Google docs.
• Zero account management

Create video tutorials for basic access info.
Google also has support materials to facilitate people getting online. Lots of nice basic support structures to help roll out an implementation.
Weston used Woopid to create their video tutorials.

Weston has netbook carts running windows, but goal is to move towards the cloud for apps. Some licensing costs, but moving there.

Concord should do this.

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MassCue Keynote: Tony Wagner

Raw notes:

MassCue: Tackling 21st Century Learning
The 2009 Technology Conference

Wednesday, October 28
Keynote: The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner
Co-Director Change Leadership Group, Harvard Grad School of Education

Reformulate the educational challenges that underlie 21st century learning – reframe the problem. All students need new skills for successful work, continuous learning, active and informed citizenship – these are all the same skills and we don’t know how to teach them or test them.
This generation is differently motivated to learn and work.
This is not about educational reform (punative language that blames educators). Problem is our system of public education is obsolete – it needs reinvention, re-imagination.
Thomas Friedman – The New Untouchables
– any job that can be turned into a routine will be automated or off-shored. What skills will kids need in this new economy/world? Wagner did a new type of research – interviewed leaders and developed new competencies needed for work and citizenship.

Seven Survival Skills:
1. Critical thinking and problem solving – ability to ask the right questions. School isn’t about questions, it is about the right answers.
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence – teams no longer led from top down, but led by those who ask good questions and lead collaboration.
3. Agility and adaptability.
4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism – stretch goals
5. Effective oral and written communication – single biggest criticism of education. Kids can’t write because they can’t think, and they don’t write with voice.
6. Accessing and analyzing information.
7. Curiosity and imagination – in a commoditized world “plain” won’t do it anymore, need creativity, imagination and elegance. Right brain skills now as important as left brain skills in new world.

Our economy is based on spending money people do not have for things they do not need, harming the environment in the process. What if spending doesn’t come back? What will create jobs? Innovation. (Next book on innovation.) How do you mentor innovation?

Helping educators become change leaders. Do kids become less curious as they pass through their K-12 education?

U.S. curriculum is now one of test prep. This is accountability on the cheap. These tests do not assess the skills that matter most. AP tests are too content driven. We can succeed on these tests and fail our kids – they don’t tell if our students are college ready, work ready, citizenship ready, or if they can think. Research papers, oral presentations, projects – time needs to be spent on this type of work to build necessary skills.

How do we stack up? Not well compared to the rest of the world. We haven’t necessarily gotten worse, other countries have gotten better and our college completion rate has gone down.

What motivates the “net” generation”? Need to engage them in their learning.
• 24/7 access, instant gratification
• Social networking, self-expression (play) in multiple formats.
• Always connected, multitasking, creating, multimedia everywhere except school.
• Less fear and respect for authority, yet hungry from mentoring and coaching – want authentic relationship with adults.
• Want to make a difference and do interesting and worthwhile work.

How are schools responding to these challenges? New pedagogy. Harvard has brand new requirements for students starting this year. A new kind of college experience.

Education 2.0 to Education 3.0
• Timeless Learning – academic content
• Rigor
• Learn by disciple
• Work alone or in competition
• Rewards system
• Isolated content

• Just-in-Time Learning (based on dynamic problem solving to create new knowledge that is disseminated through network)
• Rigor is about asking questions
• Works across discipline
• Intrinsic rewards
• Teachers are coaches first, content experts second
• Diverse assessment system (digital portfolios, exhibitions, mastery)

3 Cornerstones of School Re-Invention
1. Hold ourselves accountable for data that matters most – what is real graduation rate? Are kids graduating college, career, citizenship ready? – National Student Clearing House (
has data to track student success after kids leave. Good way to assess HS success – only about $400/year.
2. Doing the new work – teaching and testing skills that matter most
3. Doing the new work in new ways – end teacher isolation. Teachers need to work in collaborative teams, video take supervision and teaching, make work transparent. Students need powerful adult advocate.

• Gather baseline data
• Consider strategic planning process to identify critical outcomes for all students
• Create voluntary teams of teachers to develop and video lessons for critical thinking/ communication skills,
• Pilot digital portfolios to exhibit mastery
• Develop administrator skills for helpful feedback/supervision
ppt and articles, web links

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beyond Google - 15 Tips to Improve Searches

I pick up RSS feeds from educational sources, other bloggers and from personal recommendations. June Patton, CCHS Mathematics teacher and tech guru recommended Free Technology for Teachers and it has been an incredibly fruitful addition to my feed. I love my RSS feed. It is my source of information on new trends, education, social media, and challenges me to question and inquire on a daily basis.

This embed Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results is a valuable tutorial for students as well as anyone looking for information in the Age of Information Abundance. A perfect example of the information that streams to me via my feed.

Beyond Google - 15 Tools and Strategies for Improving Your Web Search Results -

Educational bloggers are wonderful people. My online life is a place of incredible generosity, sharing, serendipity, accompanied by a corresponding demand for excellence. Yup, love my feed!


Photo Credit:
Flickr Creative Commons: January 10, 2009
by Tiger Pixel

New Google Favicon High Resolution

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free books! Give it a click.

It has never been so easy to read. Carbon based or digital based, stationary or mobile, books are everywhere. Thanks to e-books a cell phone can access millions of books - for free.

Developing the CCHS Library Learning Commons web portal has been a big project this year. One aspect of this work has been focusing on diversifying the formats available to students. Today I created a Google Custom Search widget for eBooks and added the link to the catalog page. This widget searches 8 free e-archives for titles in every branch of study, all downloadable with a click. (See widget below. Go on, test it out! )

The thing I really like about this is that if a title is not in the public domain the search also returns commercial sources (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.) You exit the search with a book or the ability to purchase access.

What does this mean for libraries? The ease and portability of e-books means they are here to stay. The new Nook looks very exciting and early reviews are positive. Over the next few months there will be an explosion of new devices and the technology is leaping ahead almost daily. In the not-too-distant future libraries will be checking out e-books and e-readers as often as they check out print material. And don't worry, print books aren't going anywhere. It is the addition of so many alternatives that is exciting.

What does this look like here at CCHS? We already have a substantial collection of e-books. Take a look at our catalog and do an author search for Shakespeare. Of the 95 titles, almost half are either e-books or audio MP3 formats. So many different ways to access the works of Shakespeare! The manga versions are a lot of fun and provide a terrific introduction for students. What a fantastic time to be a reader!

Explore our catalog and see what an e-book looks like. Try the Google Custom Search widget and download a classic text to your desktop.

Custom Search

Google Custom Search - Free eBooks!

Photo Credit:
Flickr Creative Commons "Mis ebooks, o "sólo falta el Sony Reader"
Uploaded on September 17, 2008
by kandinski

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Friday, October 2, 2009

School Library Journal Leadership Summit 09

Processing the School Library Journal Leadership Summit is going to take some time. I have so many notes, links, new products, tools and ideas zooming around my head it is hard to know where to start.

A highlight for me was the opening keynote given by Bernie Trilling, the Global Director for the Oracle Education Foundation, and Board Member Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is a very smart guy who participates in the educational discussion at a global level. He is also a very generous guy who gave every conference participant a copy of his new book (co-authored with Charles Fadel) 21st Century Skills: Learning for life in our times.

Bernie spoke about the power of books, and the role of reading and technology to change lives and the course of education. However, the key 21st Century Skill? Learning. Teaching students that every single day learning will be their central goal. This is a good time to be educators.

Bernie asked the summit to join him in this 21st Century Learning Promise:

I promise to do all I can
To keep the spark of curiosity, creativity and learning
Alive in every child
To help all children
Discover their talents
Develop their passions
Deepen their understanding
And apply all this to helping others
And to creating a better world
For us all.

The other really big take-away for me was the evolution on the textbook. A panel comprised of the presidents and publishers of the biggest reference, database and information technology companies in the United States assembled to talk about the current research and development, and the challenge of predicting trends in such a dynamic information environment. This was a discussion about the academic information industry at the highest level. A few points:
  • Gale – move away from highly structured data and aggregating products and indexes – moving to social tagging, full text searching and powerful media rich retrievals that are now possible because of growth in bandwidth.
  • Scholastic – scaffolding information to support student reading skills, clickable vocab and definitions, presenting info to facilitate instruction and use. Personalized learning tools kids will need (executive function, goal setting, etc.)
  • Rosen – greater interactivity, multimedia, community sharing user-created content. Distinction between authoritative and user created content. Html5 will be a big force in the viability of mashups.
  • Facebook groups embedded in database to create virtual classrooms.
  • Scholastic – Online resources as digital curriculum supplement or textbook replacement in social studies and science. Reading scaffolds embedded. Bring information and make the content accessible, scaffolded, multi-media, multi-modal and embracing 21st century skills. Equity issues as play with technology.
  • Follett – reading is the key to achievement, and it doesn’t matter the format for reading. Reading is still a core skill. Databases are part of the product mix to promote reading and literacy. Expanding product line to include board games that support curriculum goals and standards.
Information technology is evolving to mirror the social network methodology and but must retain the focus on authoritative sources. Good information needs to be in the same virtual spaces as students and teachers. It is clear that information publishers need to make sure their products work well with 3rd party social media platforms (think Facebook type models). There was a great discussion about creating Facebook groups for school libraries. Given the excitement in the room I think more and more schools are going to investigate this type of student outreach.

As Bernie Trilling said, learning every day is the single most important skill of the 21st century. I am very fortunate to work for a school district that supports my continued professional learning.

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