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Category — k12Online Conference Reflection 06

Reflection on: “Moodling Around: A Virtual Tour” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:

Moodling Around: A Virtual Tour (Basic)

by Karen Richardson

What a fantastic presentation from Karen Richardson! I really feel like I got under the “Moodle Hood” and can see that I can really learn this tool! I am a visual learner, so this screencast is invaluable to me.

I can immediately see how Moodle will serve my needs in working with adults, but am still in the “idea phase” for utilizing it with elementary students. I think what will work for me is having numerous Moodles, geared towards the different grade levels. Out of the box, Moodle doesn’t look very “friendly” for the elementary level, so I will probably have to do a lot of tweaking with graphics to make it more inviting.

I also think Moodle could work very well for portfolios — both for students and teachers. It would be a great place to submit work and have others comment on it. I think if I had my own portfolio, it could grow with me. I could submit reflections on conferences I’ve attended, post lessons to Units, and allow others to comment on it.

I can also see how Moodle would serve well for setting up a Professional Learning Circle with other educators.

I was really amazed that Moodle has its own pedagogical principles. I never knew that. It just shows how powerful and well-thought out a tool this is.

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February 24, 2007   1 Comment

Reflection on: “RSS- A Four Part Series (Basic/Advanced)” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:
RSS- A Four Part Series (Basic/Advanced)

by
James Gates
Kurt Paccio

I watched this presentation to get ideas on how to teach teachers about RSS (Cheryl and I are getting ready for some workshops with our staff). And here’s the idea that I got: why reinvent the wheel? I’m just going to have them watch the presentations from James and Kurt! They’re outstanding, comprehensive, and very attainable.

The part that really extended my thinking (when watching their presentation) was to move people onto either Netvibes or Pageflakes (or Protopage—which is what I use). I really think this is what is going to grab the teachers that I am preparing the workshop for. Bloglines will help them understand RSS and the power of subscribing to content. But I really think that once they set up their own “virtual desktop”— with their own preferences and content that they enjoy—then I think they will have buy-in. In a sense, they will create an “office space”, a place that they can call “home”. This will hopefully give them a feeling similar to what they experience when setting up their real-world classroom and help overcome the fear and confusion that a term like RSS might have previously inflicted upon them.

Of course where I want them to end up is at Del.icio.us. I want our teachers to be able to take advantage of all the searching that other educators have already done on topics that they are teaching. Again, I think this will really hook teachers to the power of RSS.

The presentation also taught me how to do the “for:” tag in Del.icio.us. I hadn’t previously used this and I can see how this will really help teacher see how Web 2.0 can help them collaborate with other teachers in our school.

James and Kurt: Thanks so much for this outstanding tutorial!

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February 24, 2007   No Comments

Reflection on: Personal Professional Development Keynote (k12Online Conf.)

Refection on:

Personal Professional Development Keynote

by Ewan McIntosh

This presentation really hit home with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with my head spinning, knowing that I will have to go back and listen to this many times (it’s so chock-full).

Ewan talks a lot about “fear” and I really appreciate his honesty about some of the reactions he’s received to his own blog work. I love his quote, “I think we don’t know what we don’t know. So why should we be afraid of putting our views, at that particular moment, forward. If someone ridicules it in 36 hours, or in 36 months, or 36 years, does it really matter? Can we still learn from that experience? So is the fear that we’ll do something stupid justified?”

Wow.

This is good for me to hear, because I labor over every word before I publish on the blog (in fact, I am struggling hard to not erase that “Wow” in the above paragraph). Part of my choice to reflect on the “K12 Online Conference” on this blog is to break through my own barriers (cough… fear) and become more committed to reflecting with this larger community.
I think back to what Ewan said early in the podcast: that teacher are lifelong learners. Much of this learning has already been very public (i.e., mistakes/successes made in front of a “live audience”… a classroom). And yet, much of our traditional professional development does indeed take place in a vacuum… where presenters lecture, and there is very little time given for reflection. I myself am guilty of this when I present.

Blogs, Podcasts, online conferences… have offered me some of the best professional development opportunities I’ve ever had. Becoming involved in the larger community and reflecting on a daily basis (through what I read or listen to) has made me a better teacher. I can’t even imagine going back to life before Web 2.0. It’s been that transformative. I understand why some teachers resist having a blog or podcast. It feels very exposed, learning in public. But what a great example it can be for our students! For isn’t that what we want for them? To be confident, courageous, lifelong learners?

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February 23, 2007   2 Comments

Reflection on: “Planning the 21st Century School” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:

Personal Professional Development
“Planning the 21st Century School”

by
Chris Lehmann
Marcie Hull

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What a great presentation! More fuel for the fire, and has me thinking about so many things. My favorite quote is, “What’s at the core of School 2.0 is CHANGE.” The film points out that the push is not about the technology but about “a recognition of how we must DO school differently.” This goes back to what I blogged about yesterday, that the technology is an opportunity to better achieve goals that we’ve had for so many years.

The end of the film is of a teacher (?) talking about his worry that it’s always the technology that is being pushed, and that we aren’t really looking at the problems (he sites inequities in education as an example). I think this perception is more the majority than the minority, and again, the discussion has to (and I believe will) evolve. Technology is one impetus to change in education, and not a bad one! Its evolution is so fast, so drastic, that it is hard to not notice it… hard to hide from it. So, if it can be used as a vehicle for change — talking about teaching and learning differently — then it seems to me that we are indeed living in exciting times, filled with hope and possibility.

When I think of the term, “School 2.0”, I guess the last thing I’m even thinking of is technology. I think the expression, “2.0” has become a tagline or slang for “renaissance.” At its very least, it is acknowledging change and an awareness of that change. When I look at the evolution of “Web 2.0”, I am incredibly hopeful for I mostly see it as a global change towards more collaboration, open source, and community. Multitudes of individuals have voice where none was possible before (think: blogs), and people are able to work with larger communities and shuck off the limits of isolation (think: “k12 Online Conference”).

My hope is that these same qualities that we see happening with “Web 2.0” (this societal shift) is also present when we talk about “School 2.0” — that the term “2.0” is also representing a “renaissance” of collaboration, open source, and community. As the film points out, schools need to change to “reflect the wider world”.

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February 23, 2007   No Comments

Reflection on: “It’s a Small World After All!” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:

Personal Professional Development
“It’s a Small World After All!”

by Judy O’Connell

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Judy’s Web 2.0 story. It illustrates the power of Web 2.0 and how we do indeed have “a small world in the making”.

Every educator that I know who Blogs or Podcasts feels similarly to what Judy is talking about. I know I do. The world has gotten much smaller, and yet, larger as well. With Blogs and Podcasting, I am no longer limited to my immediate colleagues, but have a larger pool of folks who are working on similar projects and professional development.

When Judy talks about tapping into those “key blogs”, surely that’s how most of us got hooked. I know I still prefer podcasts because I can easily get my professional development on the way to and from school each day, in the car. I still assert that some of the best professional development that I’ve received has come through blogs and podcasts.

This k12 Online Conference is, I believe, one of the first arenas that actually offers hours and graduate credits, which could be used towards something like, professional hours for certification renewal. I believe that blogs and podcasts will increasingly be used/accepted as a means to gain credits and hours. This increases the value of this learning for it offers many more possibilities than one would be able to have by getting away from school for 1 or 2 workshops a year.

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February 22, 2007   1 Comment

Reflection on: “Internet Access with Minimal Filtering” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:
Overcoming Obstacles
“Internet Access with Minimal Filtering”

by Shawn Nutting

This was a great presentation and very timely and useful for me. Cheryl and I are both working on our final presentation for the k12 Online Conference class, which is centered on community/parent involvement. We are in the beginning stages in working with parents and the workshops have been primarily focused on the safety issues, but we hope that they also evolve into more training for parents in the new and exciting Internet tools.

Shawn is already doing great work with parents, and we have much to learn from him. I really liked the idea of the Tech Tips newsletters geared towards parents (“Bridging the Gap with Technology” and the “Geekly Weekly”). His proactive approach is one that Cheryl and I have been thinking about… in other words, help educate the community about the issues (benefits and risks) before issues actually arise. I like what Shawn said towards the end, that the success will happen due to “Team Work”. It is the entire team — educators, community members, parents, students — working together, that will best serve the students.

The issues of Internet Safety, filtering, etc. are huge, and I believe will be with us for quite some time. It is an unfortunate reality that we need to protect our students in ways that didn’t exist before, and that these new tools can create hazards and barriers to learning. I do believe that the more we come together as an informed collective, the smoother this journey will be.

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February 22, 2007   No Comments

Reflection on: “Social Bookmarking, Using Del.icio.us” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:

Personal Professional Development
“Social Bookmarking, Using Del.icio.us”

by Jeff Utecht

I was drawn to this workshop for two main reasons. One, I am always trying to find a way to better use Del.icio.us (I fear my bookmarks/tags are quite a mess), and Two, Cheryl and I were just talking about how Del.icio.us would be a great way to get people on board with Web 2.0. This presentation is excellent and I will direct teachers to it often. (Thank you, Jeff!)

I am currently using many Social Bookmarking services, though most of them feed into Del.icio.us. My current fave is Clipmarks (where I can easily see a visual representation of what I’ve clipped), and it feeds very nicely into Del.icio.us.

The way I want to approach Del.icio.us with teachers, is to first show them how a lot of their work is already completed for them. In other words, let’s say that they are about to teach a unit on Ellis Island. If they do a search on Del.icio.us, they will probably find some great links, but more importantly, they will be able to follow those links back to specific educators, who probably have already found all the links that they will need for the unit.

Once they understand how powerful this is (and what a goldmine), then I can introduce them to the potential of RSS! This was the “aha” moment for me; that using Del.icio.us would be the best way to explain why a teacher would want to use RSS.

Alice Barr has an excellent idea of how to teach tagging by using this great game called “Apples to Apples”. I’ll ask her to explain it on our next Seedlings.

February 22, 2007   No Comments

Reflection on: “No Teacher Left Behind – The Urgency Of Web 2.0” (k12Online Conf.)

Reflection on:

Overcoming Obstacles
“No Teacher Left Behind – The Urgency Of Web 2.0”

Graham Wegner

I really enjoyed this workshop because it hits upon my “inner-panic” of urgency that I’ve felt for a while with what’s happening with technology and its inclusion (or lack of) into education. Several things really struck me from the presenters. The question that Graham puts forth (“Why is Web 2.0 Important for Educators?”) is a query that we will have to wrestle with for years… or at least until the “Tipping Point” has been reached. At times, it feels like an uphill battle and that it is indeed moving too fast for the majority of teachers to embrace (the “Not-Another-Thing-On-My-Already-Too-Full-Plate” syndrome).

Mark Ahlness really nailed it when he said, “Teachers need to be leaders, not reactors.” I think that, at least “on paper”, most teachers would agree with that; but what I fear is that Web 2.0 tools are still seen more as “something extra”, rather than an incredibly powerful approach to achieve what we’ve been working toward for years. As Greg Carroll noted, many Web 2.0 tools are going to be in line with many students’ learning styles. Doug Noon talks about how “kids need to take part in their creation”, which highlights a constructivist approach. Jo McLeay points out the benefit of people becoming better communicators and that students are more engaged.

On a daily basis, I see people who are afraid of the technology, and either hide from it or adamantly resist it. Unfortunately, the need for us to ask “Why is Web 2.0 important for educators?” accentuates one of the major barriers: that people see it as a discussion of technology rather than practice. Perhaps the question should be: “Why is Best Practice (i.e., integrated curriculum, learning styles, constructivism, etc.) Important for Students?” I see teachers embrace that discussion on a daily basis. It is in that conversation, perhaps, where we can offer these Web 2.0 tools as a powerful route to achieve those goals. Let us first talk about the learning, then offer the tools.

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February 22, 2007   1 Comment