Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Stories

There is a very important project that has just been launched, sponsored by One Laptop Per Child, UNICEF and Google, called "Our Stories" ( www.ourstories.org ).

From their website:

About Our Stories

    ...How would you like to be remembered?
    ...What was the saddest moment in your life?
    ...What is your proudest achievement?
    ...When did you first fall in love?
Answering questions helps us frame the stories of our lives. As we speak, we become storytellers. As we listen, we hear echoes of our own lives and discover new worlds through others. By empowering storytellers and interviewers around the world to record and share their voices online, Our Stories™ aims to create a virtual archive of stories of everyday life.

Our Stories was founded by UNICEF , One Laptop per Child (OLPC), and Google, and to help collect, preserve, and share online the stories of the world's people and their cultures and communities. The OLPC initiative, partnered with existing UNICEF projects, gives children the tools to interview, record, and share the stories of their parents, grandparents, and others in their families and communities. The focus during this phase is on children in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia where OLPC computers are available. Eventually, children and others will be able to share and access recorded stories directly through the Our Stories Children's site .

Our Stories is also committed to providing access to people's stories from around the world in their native languages. You can also hear stories collected by the Museum of the Person in Brazil, and by UNICEF from Ghana, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. And we anticipate adding stories from Argentina, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and other countries soon.

You cannot currently upload your own stories. However, they plan to have systems in place in the future to allow all people to upload their own audio interviews to share. In the meantime, the site says, "join our community now by listening to our current collection of stories found on the Find a Story page. And take advantage of our interview guides to start capturing the stories and lives of those around you."

Ishmael Beal, author of the memoir A Long Way Gone , has recorded a message on this website, available at: http://www.ourstories.org/ishmaelbeah.html.
I have read his book and found it sad and shocking, but worth reading. As a 12-year-old growing up in Sierra Leone, he lived a life not unlike a typical American pre-teen, listening to hip hop and hanging out with friends. When civil war comes to his country, however, he is surrounded by death and is forced to survive by becoming a soldier, plied with drugs and sent on killing sprees. The violence is frequent and not for the squeamish, however, it is a remarkable true story of a boy overcoming great odds.

Children's rights, cultural tolerance and storytelling has been a focus for me over the past few years--as you can see in the projects I created:
The Our Stories project will give a voice to children all over the world. It is also an amazing model of the EEV key elements.

Be a Video All-Star

From the Discovery Educator's Network: (Joe Brennan):

21st Century Connections is once again inviting K-12 teachers and schools to make a 2-3 minute video on why digital learning tools are important in educating today’s students. There will be 1 grand prize and 3 runner up prizes in each of the three (elementary, middle and high school) grade categories. The 1st place teams will receive a Lenovo laptop and 25 licenses for the Adobe Digital School Collection. Runners up will also receive copies of ADSC. In addition, winning schools’ principals will win a trip to a 21st Century Connection event.

They have also put together a nice list of things you can do to create a more polished video. Regular readers know the drill: planning, lighting, preparation, sound, a variety of shots, and plan some more. Deadline for submissions is midnight January 31, 2008.

P.S. And in addition to or instead of entering the contest, wouldn’t your school board like to see a few well crafted video minutes from the students on why digital tools are important in their learning?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's All Good

It's All Good
Originally uploaded by rockwilder
One of the teachers in my school was selling bracelets for her daughter (who has been ill) that says, "It's all good." I have been wearing it in support for her, but also because it reminds me that life is "all good" when things seems like they are about to spiral out of control (or when I am surrounded by negative thinking, which often happens behind the desk in my library -sigh!). I just read Bette's blog about how special Thanksgiving is, but especially, for her family, the day before Thanksgiving. It put me in a reflective mood...so here is my day before story...
Last night I was at La Guardia waiting for the moment when I would see my wonderful, tall, too-thin son , Adam, appear after a long day of traveling from Wisconsin, where he attends the University of Wisconsin. I hadn't seen him since the third week in August (except through one iChat). Finally, I spotted him walking down the ramp, looking like a typical college student - unshaven, messy hair, backpack and laptop. What joy to hug him hard. And I thought, that despite my worrying the past three months about his health and happiness, "It's all good." Later that night, the sound of deep male voices and laughter emanating from my kitchen as Adam's best friends raided my pantry while they caught up with each other about their lives at Columbia, Brown and Wesleyan (yes, he has smart friends) allowed me to go up to my bedroom, get under the covers, and think again, "It's all good."
Yesterday at school was insane. I scheduled all of my fourth and fifth grade research classes to meet with Noel Forte and me to make sure we were at the point we needed to be at in our various projects. There wasn't any time to stop and reflect on how wonderfully these students are doing - how engrossed they were as they went into their wikis, their blogs, their powerpoints, transforming and combining. As one of my classes sat in teams arguing (yes, very heated arguing) as they brainstormed ideas for a new U.S. holiday for our Federal Holidays project, I couldn't have been happier. In Adam Dugger's fourth grade class, we brainstormed questions to ask our Native American Project partner school in SC when we videoconference with them next week. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Collaboration, Synthesis and Constructivist Learning at its best with all four of my classes!
Yesterday was also a banner day for me with paychecks. It coincided that I received my paychecks from both of my jobs as well as from the Teacher Center for the Digital Storytelling Course I taught. Was I happy about the money? Of course, especially when my husband complained during the drive to LGA about the skyrocketing cost of heating oil. But, honestly, what really made me happy was what those checks represent - accomplishment. I am pulling it off - somehow - weaving all of this together, as Tim Gunn from Project Runway would say, I am "making it work." Bette talks about how layered our learning is, how we step into and out of different spaces. My life is like that. During the course of one day, I do step in and out of so many spaces, and I have to say that I love it. Although it is often exhausting, and I definitely do not get enough sleep, and I can't seem to get myself to stay on a diet (at some point I will step into
that space and FOCUS), I can't envision my life in any other way. How boring it would be. How lucky I am. How lucky I was yesterday, to start my day with a random hug from a fourth grade (troubled) student and to end it with a powerful one from my son. As I said, it's all good. I am thankful.

Carry on! (Now, if only I could look like Heidi Klum).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We the People Announces Bookshelf Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities in cooperation with the American Library Association Public Programs Office is accepting applications for the fifth We the People Bookshelf program. Each year, NEH identifies a theme important to the nation’s heritage and selects books that embody that theme to build the We the People Bookshelf. The theme for the 2007-08 Bookshelf is “Created Equal.”

The “Created Equal” Bookshelf grants are part of the NEH's We the People initiative, which aims to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through libraries, schools, colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. Since 2003, NEH and ALA have awarded We the People Bookshelves to 6,000 public and school libraries. NEH plans to issue a We the People Bookshelf each year on themes related to American ideas and ideals.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Web 2.0 Overload?

When is it too much of a good thing? I have lately been feeling like I am on web 2.0 overload. I am blogging, wiki-ing; I use twitter, iChat, gmail chat, skype; I am a part of 4 'nings' now: Classroom 2.0; Teacherlibrarian 2.0; Information Fluency 2.0; NYSCATE 2.0, I have 5 different email addresses, I probably have hundreds of rss feed reads to catch up on and tons of podcasts to listen to. I have 7 billion passwords and user names. I am maintaining about 6 wikis, and overseeing 100 student blogs on blogmeister. Not to mention that I like to get in and read the 30 or so TEAM blogs on a weekly basis. (Oh, and by the way, I also teach 600 elementary students, 30 adult students, occasional teacher courses, have two kids in college and a husband, a dog, and a house to give attention to.)

So how can I possibly keep up with all of these forums of communication????
There is going to come a time when I will have to pick and choose my way through all of these new web 2.0 tools. There are times that I JUST DON'T CARE what other people are doing!! There are times that I have to tell myself to close my laptop - that there is a fine line between wanting to be part of and contribute to this great information network and letting it take over my life!

Do you ever feel that way?

I also think that I have to keep in mind when I read some of the wonderful blogs and interesting 'tweets' of some of my favorite thinkers that for a few of them, this is what they do for a living, and that there are not enough hours in the day for me to blog/twitter/wiki/network at the pace that they do! On the other hand, so many of them have 'day jobs' like I do and yet find the time to think great thoughts and share them with the rest of us. Of course, when I read one of these great insights, my mind starts going, the emails, blogs and wikis get opened, and I'm sucked right back into the thick of it.

I have noticed, however, that one thing for me has gone by the wayside as a result of the availability and immediacy of web 2.0 information - that is, I have basically stopped reading my teacher/library magazines. One, I don't have time and two, by the time it comes to me it's old news or I have read the online version. That worries me a little...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Route 21

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has launched Route 21.
TEAM cohorts should make it their business to explore this site!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Constructivism in the Library

TEAM students are working through the constructivism module and blogging about it in their blogs. It reminded me of my own study of this subject when I was a TEAM student a few years ago. The image above was made in Fireworks and it is featured on my Educational Philosophy web page. Reading other students' blogs motivated me to go back and read what I wrote and to think about how I might add to it to incorporate web 2.0, the technological landscape that has emerged since I graduated. Here is what I wrote in 2002:

As schools explore the potential of information and electronic technologies, it has become clear that the 21st century library/educational technology specialist has the responsibility to ensure that students and teachers are effective and critical users of information. At the heart of the American Association of School Librarians' Information Power is a constructivist pedagogical framework. Team building, shared inquiry, project based learning, performance assessment, technology integration, learning communities, critical thinking and viewing, emotional intelligence, and multiple intelligences are the vessels that supply the lifeblood to knowledge construction.

Thoughts on Constructivism and Technology Integration in the Library Media Center:

Meaning making is at the heart of the constructivist philosophy of learning and at the heart of Information Power, the framework for the American Association of School Librarians' Information Literacy Standards. Meaning making is prompted by a problem, question, confusion, disagreement, or dissonance (a need or desire to know) and so involves personal ownership of that problem. In the constructivist model, knowledge is constructed, emergent, situation in action or experience, and distributed. (Jonassen et al,1999). Thus, each person must build or construct a framework of knowledge based on what they already know. Traditionally, teachers were the sage on the stage. In the past, this prepared students for the assembly lines of the Industrial Age. Today, however, students must be encouraged to construct meaning from a myriad of information available to them in the Information Age.

Technology brings into the library more interesting and diverse materials than ever thought possible. Hundreds of libraries and museums, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonion, distribute their resources in digital form. Technology can expand students' horizons with online field trips to historic sites and to museums to study art and artifacts. They can follow expeditions, engage in simulations, and gather environmental data to share with other students. Library Media Specialists who guide their students to learn in these new ways prepare them for lifelong learning. ("Web-Based Learning," Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum, Education Week, May 29, 2002).

The constructivist library media specialist sets up problems and monitors student exploration, guides the direction of student inquiry and promotes new patterns of thinking. Constructivist teachers refer to raw data, primary sources, and interactive materials to provide experiences for their students rather than relying solely on another's set of data. (Classroom Compass, SEDL-SCIMA,1994) Students cannot ask a textbook, "What is it like to rescue a stranded whale?" Yet, this is the type of real-world question that can be asked when technology is used as a partner to foster learning.

How Technologies Foster Learning and Support Knowledge Construction

Technologies in the library media center can be used as vehicles for:

  • representing learners' ideas, understandings, and beliefs
  • producing organized, multimedia knowledge bases by learners
  • accessing needed information
  • comparing perspectives, beliefs, and world views
  • representing beliefs, perspectives, arguments, and stories of others
  • collaborating with others
  • building consensus among members of a community
  • helping learners articulate and represent what they know
  • reflecting on what they have learned
  • constructing personal representations of meaning

Adapted from Learning With Technology: A Constructivist Perspective by David H. Jonassen, Kyle Peck and Brent G. Wilson (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999)

In a Constructivist Library Media Center:

  • Student autonomy and initiative are accepted and encouraged.
  • Higher-level thinking is encouraged. Students are encouraged to connect and summarize concepts by analyzing, predicting, justifying, and defending their ideas.
  • Students are engaged in dialogue with the teacher and with each other. Social discourse helps students change or reinforce their ideas. If they have the chance to present what they think and hear others' ideas, students can build a personal knowledge base that they understand. The class uses raw data, primary sources, manipulatives, physical, and interactive materials.
  • The constructivist approach involves students in real-world possibilities, then helps them generate the abstractions that bind phenomena together.

Adapted from In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms by Jacqueline G. Brooks and Martin G. Brooks (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1993)

Thoughts on Team Building: The Library As A Learning Organization

Learning organizations are where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together. For this to happen, it is argued, organizations need to "discover how to tap people's commitment and capacity to learn al all levels." (Senge 1990).

The goals of today’s library media program point to the development of a community of learners that is centered on the student and sustained by a creative, energetic library media program. Team Building occurs in the library when:

  • there are learning experiences that encourage students and others to become discriminating consumers and skilled creators of information through comprehensive instruction related to the full range of communications media and technology
  • the library media specialist provides leadership, collaboration, and assistance to teachers and others in applying principles of instructional design to the use of instructional and information technology for learning
  • the library media specialist provides resources and activities that contribute to lifelong learning while accommodating a wide range of differences in teaching and learning styles, methods, interests, and capacities
  • the program functions as the information center of the school, both through offering a locus for integrated and interdisciplinary learning activities within the school and through offering access to a full range of information for learning beyond this locus
  • the library program provides resources and activities for learning that represent a diversity of experiences, opinions, and social and cultural perspectives.

Adapted from: Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning (AASL, 1998)

Thus, the framework of the library learning community in which students and teachers function needs to be conducive to reflection and engagement. In The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge tells us that "real learning gets to the heart of what it is to be human...for a learning organization, 'adaptive learning' must be joined by 'generative learning', learning that enhances our capacity to create." (Senge 1990). Most importantly, learning in the library is a lifelong discipline, a process, in which members of the learning community access, share, contribute, and build information as a team.

To Top

Shared Inquiry: The Underlying Foundation

The library media specialist provides intellectual access to information through learning activities that are integrated into the curriculum and that help all students achieve information literacy by developing effective cognitive strategies for selecting, retrieving, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, creating, and communicating information in all formats and in all content areas of the curriculum. (Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning 1998).

Howard Gardner On the Importance of Engaging Students Actively in What They are Studying:

We have schools because we hope that some day when children have left schools that they will still be able to use what it is that they've learned. And there is now a massive amount of evidence from all realms of science that unless individuals take a very active role in what it is that they're studying, unless they learn to ask questions, to do things hands on, to essentially recreate things in their own mind and transform them as is needed, the ideas just disappear. The student may have a good grade on the exam, we may think that he or she is learning, but a year or two later there's nothing left.

Inquiry-based activities cause students to revise their prior understandings and deepen their understandings of the world. Inquiry is a dynamic approach to learning that involves exploring the world, asking questions, making discoveries in the search for new understandings. In an inquiry-based library program, students develop skills such as careful observation, reasoning, critical thinking, and the ability to justify or refute their existing knowledge. Because inquiry begins with a meaningful problem or issue, the process engages students as they come to value the essential question that motivates the inquiry process.

Shared inquiry lends itself to collaborative activities. The collaborations are multidimensional in that students collaborate with each other, with teachers, as they learn alongside with students, and with experts provided by technological access in the library. Project-based learning is a vehicle for students to work in teams, apply what they know, problem-solve, self-direct their learning as they explore real-world problems and tasks. Student learning is gauged through performance assessment, the essential companion to project-based learning.

Critical thinking is directly related to inquiry-based activities. Students are bombarded with electronic, visual information and it is crucial to give them the skills to question what they see; to distinguish between information and info-garbage; to determine the credibility of their sources and to identify and recognize logical fallacies.

Putting It All Together: Building the Learning Community

Team building, collaboration, constructivism, shared inquiry, critical thinking, project-based learning, performance assessment, multiple and emotional intelligences, coupled with the use of information and communication technologies, provide an environment where all members of the community come together to construct knowledge. It is my philosophy to create a learning library in which both educators and students have the opportunity to stay in a continual learning mode as they work in a collegial environment which provides pedagogical, technological, and emotional support. The integration of technology into the library allows connections to be established between communities inside and outside the walls of the library. In this environment, learning is an evolving process where all members of the learning community have the opportunity to learn side by side.



Brooks, Jacqueline G. and Martin G. Brooks. In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1993.

Jonassen, David H., Kyle Peck and Brent G. Wilson. Learning With Technology: A Constructivist Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. NY: Currency/Doubleday, 1994.

Solomon, Gwen and Lynne Schrum. "Web-Based Learning." Education Week 29 May 2002: 48.


American Library Association and Association for Educational Communications and Technology. "Information Power: Mission and Goals of the School Library Program" [Online] Available June 16, 2002.

Lucas, George. "Edutopia" [Online] Available June 16, 2002.

Murphy, Elizabeth. "Constructivism: From Philosophy to Practice" [Online] Available June 16, 2002.

Southwest Educational Development Laboratory."Constructing Knowledge in the Classroom." Classroom Compass Winter 1994, Vol. 1, No. 3. [Online] Available June 16, 2002.

Further Browsing:

Advanced Readings for Critical Thinking Workshop
Comer School Development Program
I guess what I would add to that now is that web 2.0 mandates a new kind of literacy because the web has become so interactive. Information literacy skills are more critical than ever, and the AASL has recognized this and has just unveiled the revised information literacy standards at the recent AASL Conference in Reno to reflect this. (New Learning Standards). The exponential growth of information on the net and the ability to easily be an information contributor goes hand in hand with constructivist learning. The importance of being an ethical, critical, and creative user of the net cannot be overstressed. And this is why I love what I do! What a great time to have my job!

On a completely different note, my 22-year-old daughter was looking at my blog and said that the frappr map on my blog is "creepy"...hmmm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

There is More Than One Way to Hatch an Idea

We are beginning to have some great discussions on our TEAM blogs about web 2.0 and its value in our classrooms. Of using technology for the sake of technology...
Sometimes, I have wondered about this myself. For example, why blog if no one is going to read it? (If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really fall?). Why twitter? Do we care that someone is sitting an airport, sipping Starbucks? Is twitter our version of Facebook?
Then, I remembered a blog entry by one of my fifth grade students on our class blog at blogmeister. I asked students to write a blog about what they hoped to learn in my Library Research/ICT class this year. This is what one student said:
When I finish research class

When I finish reasearch class,I want to learn how to type faster. I also want to share my ideas with everyone. I would like to see comments that are good about my blog. I even want to learn how to use the computer better. I already know how to use a computer,but I want to know more about it. If I read other people's blogs, I could maybe hatch an idea from that idea.
That is what I want to learn when I leave research class.
That's it! A 10-year-old captured what this is all about for me - ...I could maybe hatch an idea from that idea. Twitter is bringing more readers to my blog. I am starting to pick up tips and ideas from following some of my favorite thinkers. Through RSS, I learn something new everyday.

This is an amazing time for teaching and an amazing time for lifelong learners. See the Information R/Evolution video below from MWesch. Take part in this. Add to it. Take from it. It's free. Hatch an idea.

*Photo from: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=142963&

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Digital Storytelling - Embracing Our Differences

Photo Courtesy of the Embracing Our Differences Website
I am off this morning to Heckscher Park to give a workshop on using PhotoStory to document an outdoor juried art exhibition celebrating diversity called Embracing Our Differences. In the limited time we have, I won't be able to get into much more than the basics of using the program, but I hope participants will go to Wes Fryer's blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, and read this post, as well as explore his blog in general. I plan to do a future workshop on using VoiceThread. Also, notice the neat diagram he made in Skitch. Another cool web 2.0 tool.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More About The Partnership for 21 Century Skills

Adam Dugger posed some great questions in his comment to my blog about Karen Cator's keynote. Some of his thoughts came up during the q&a at the panel discussion at the conference. Of course, testing and how that limits the 'creativity' for teachers was brought up by more than one teacher. And teachers do have to abide by that right now, but both David and Karen felt that there is a little progress. The 21 Century Skills partnership is supported by the AASL, and many organizations.

Karen Cator said that this 21st century learning framework is a step in the right direction. From their site:

New Online Education Resource to Feature 21st Century Skills

Oct. 10, 2007 -- Skills such as problem solving, innovation and creativity have become critical in today's global economy, and educators will now have additional resources to prepare our young people to succeed.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed Route 21, an online, one-stop-shop for 21st century skills-related resources. Route 21 demonstrates how 21st century skills can be supported through standards, professional development, assessments and teaching and learning.

Route 21 will launch on November 7. Be sure to check back then to learn more about this groundbreaking online educator resource.

Also, on their resource page, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills offers "...various tools and resources to assist educators in integrating 21st century skills into education. Their tools were developed through a comprehensive process involving hundreds of educators, researchers and employers across the country."

They also have Assess 21 - "a Web-based repository for information on assessments of 21st century skills. This repository is designed to serve as a central hub for background information on 21st century skills assessments as they become available and is open to submissions."

Apple John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

Picture above from http://www.lennonbus.org/

Yesterday at the conference I was able to tour the Apple John Lennon Imagine Educational Tour Bus. It was amazing! It is a recording studio on wheels that travels all over the U.S. and Canada, visiting schools, (for free), and allowing students to spend the day in the bus creating their own music videos. Students write the lyrics, create the music, create the video, and the Apple engineers turn that into a MTV-style music video. That is burned to a DVD and given to the students. We got to see the Imagine bus and watched this video. How cool is that!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Technology Summit Conference - Keynote Karen Cator

Blogging from the conference...

Karen Cator – Directs Apple’s Leadership and Advocacy efforts in education.

21st Century Skills and Learning:

Why 21st C Skills?
Partnership for 21st c Skills – partnership of technology groups, AASL, technology companies - (such as Apple, Dell), cross section of entities involved in developing framework.

Route 21 will be on this website - standards, assessments .

Why do we have to talk about doing things differently in schools?

1. Global Competition: “Did You know” video on youtube. The top 25% of students in China outnumber the entire population of the US.
2. Global Interdependence – global warming, internet security, where are those things stored? A virus will travel the world 6x before it burns itself out. This is what kids have to think about.
3. Information is ubiquitous – if I can google the answers to the test is that cheating or is that resourceful? {What do YOU think???} Do we have to completely rethink the assessment systems?
4. Workplace Innovation – the workplace has completely changed with the advent of the Internet. What are companies looking for in the next 5 years that are not coming out of schools today? –->TOP two things they are looking for are:

  • Creativity and Innovation – that has to be our niche if we want to compete.
  • The ability to operate in a global environment – international trade –entire of integration of business and person relationships. The workspace has completely change.
5. Student Experience – outside of school has changed tremendously. Texting, communicating, problem-solving – not multi-tasking but parallel processing. Students are totally connected to each other –text each other, etc., when they come into school we tend to shut that down. We tend to shut down their creative collaborative side.

Individuals – ---->Sharing Content------>Virtual Communities

Today’s Challenge: Student Engagement
We have tremendous nonretention issue in the US. Every student, whether they are successful or not, every experience is about relevance – how do we engage them in a relevant experience; and a social and emotional connection –kids don’t care about NCLB, they care about that someone knows they are there. It used to be OK that 30% of our kids dropped out of school. It’s not anymore.

For every 100 9th graders in the US only 69% graduate, 40% enroll incollege immediately; 27% are still enrolled in college and 18 graduate college on time from National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education Policy Alert April 2004.

Tony Wagner, Harvard 2007 THE SCHOOLING DISCONNECT
Schooling today -

  • Getting right answer and performing well on multiple choice tests
  • Working alone
  • Learning within academic disciplines
  • Memorizing fixed info
  • Adhering to external and inflexible time segments

21st C Schooling:

  • Figuring out right questions and using skills to solve new problems
  • Working in teams
  • Working across disciplines
  • Learning how to find info, communicate it and apply it
  • managing time and commitments and prioritization

26% of employers use google myspace and facebook to look up potential employees – students are CEO's of themselves – what do you want the world to see you as?

Where do they publish - where is theiroutlet for creativity? One place Apple Student Gallery -
Apple has insomnia film festival – 3000 teams were producing and publishing videos. Students were collaborating, writing, - think of the process that could be assessed!

There’s a whole new growth center for creative industries – how do we get our kids aware of this? Digital media careers will go from over 1 million employed to over 7 million by 2014.

What does innovation look like in education?

  • How do we create that environment for students to be producers – to create, distribute, access and environment.
  • Content creation tools. Communicate effectively with multiple media types – text, video, phtot, music, podcast, websites. What are professionals using? ILife is the pro set.
  • Distribution environment: iPod + iTunes – mobile device to take away from your computer. iTunes education content from national geographic to David Warlick. iTunes U is now in regular music store. Open free public access in the itunes store. Gives you access to 30 public college and universities – this is amazing. Changes everything concerning distribution and content. Apple is thinking aout how to publish content specifically for k12. Look at usf --university of south florida-- has audio books for kids for all ages.

Collaboration -video ichat, online global community global awareness unit-peace, conflict and security on apple learning exchange.

Technologies to build relevant engaging learning environments.

Technology Summit - Panel Discussion With David Warlick and Karen Cator

Yikes! I am going to run out of battery soon!

DW- teachers should be modeling how to deal with an abundance of information.
KC - teachers should be as proficient as students - look at NETS for teachers too!
We need to teach kids to ask good questions.
With wikis we are seeing students create their own 'textbook'.
KC- We need to teach teachers how to create compelling assignments.
DW-One of shifts we have to make is tc change our notion of a teacher. That the teacher is the model learner. Teachers need to teach themselves. The learning of the technology is part of the teaching week - a master learner in today's information landscape.

...out of battery...more later!

Technology Summit - David Warlick -Redefining Digital Literacy in the 21st Century

am blogging live at the Technology Summit Conference in Huntington, NY. The Internet connection here was unavailable at first, but we are online now! For David's online handouts, click here.

I took this picture with my laptop (photo booth). No, you are not dyslexic. It is how the picture came out in photo booth!

DW - This year we will generate about 5 exabytes of new information. Only 0.01% of that information is printed. David says we should stop integrating technology and we should start redefine literacy and integrate that. The best thing we could be teaching our kids is how to teach themselves what they need to know. Wikipedia is not entirely reliable...but, think about it, are textbooks, newspapers and magazines always accurate? We live in a new information environment. Our kids are reading in an electronic, global library - where anyone can publish. We must expand our notion of what it means to be a reader in the 21st century - can I find the truth in information? Can I find the evidence that it is true? Find it, decode it, critically evaluate, and organize it into personal digital libraries. Our kids are starting with Google - billions of pages of information - not a simple index in the back of a book.

Thanks, David, for pointing out the importance of information literacy!

Information used to be a product, you consumed it. For students today, information is raw material that can be mixed to make something new, remix content. We are overwhelmed with information, but we pay attention to what competes best for our attention - probably visual and audio will catch our attention first. Today it is can you express an idea compellingly to a group of people.

write to--->communicate to--->accomplish goals. What you write must be read - it must successfully compete for your audience's attention. (Multimedia- visuals, music communicate.) Express ideas compellingly.

THE 3 E'S:
exposing truth
employing information
express ideas compellingly +
ethical use of information - minimizing harm -spam, viruses
  • seek truth and express it
  • minimize harm
  • be accountable
  • respect and protect the information infrastructure
Information is bringing meaning to what we are doing. We see technology - kids see information.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spread the Love

David Warlick, Chris Betcher, and so many others are blogging reminders to attend the K-12 Online 2007 Virtual Conference. David Warlick is the keynote speaker. TEAM students should REALLY think about virtually attending this conference. I know I will!

Top 10 Technology Tools

Just found a new blog worth subscribing to: Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day.
From there, I found the list, Top 10 Technology Tools.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pay It Forward

Pictured Left: Me, David Warlick, Neepa Shah

Last year, our school came into a little grant money, given in honor of an outstanding fifth grade teacher, Neepa Shah. My principal asked me to think of an effective way to spend that money. I emailed my friend and co-editor of MidLink Magazine, Joselyn Todd, asking for her for some help. Here is what she said:

...The most lasting impact that this money could buy would be professional development to help your teachers take it to the next level in terms of their tech skills such that they could guide students in innovative project based work rooted in sound content. Joselyn's idea: hire someone to come in and teach your teachers some Web 2.0 technologies (with very practical “lesson plans”) that they can immediately implement in the classroom with the equipment that the school already has...Give the gift of a nudge in the direction of life-long learning to those educators who are in the “middle” of the tech skill continuum such that they can “pay it forward” to their students. Hundreds of students learning new tech skills by enthused and invigorated teachers would have very long lasting impact at your school.”"

Through MidLink, I had the good fortune to meet David Warlick on a couple of occasions down in Raleigh, NC. I immediately thought of him, sent him an email, and LUCKY for us, he came to NY and spent a day with a group teachers at my school. Besides teaching us how to "say grits" - (for you New Yorkers, it's "greee-its"), he taught us how to podcast and "invigorated us" with conversations about new literacies and possibilities. Not long after that visit, I had many of my students podcasting ... and well, since David's visit, the floodgates have opened in terms of my own professional growth in the area of Web 2.0.

Anyway, two weeks ago I started four classes blogging on Class Blogmeister, after introducing blogging to my fourth and fifth grade classes byway of a paper blogging lesson, co-taught with my friend and hallway neighbor, fourth grade teacher, Adam Dugger. We introduced the idea of writing for an audience, of private information vs. public information, of appropriate language, and of constructive criticism. The lesson called for students to write a passage describing a favorite food; others in the class had a chance to leave constructive comments by writing them on post-its. The lesson worked so well that I decided to make a bulletin board out of it for Back to School Night. I racked my brains for a title for the bulletin board, and then it came to me: "Our 2 Cents Worth" - what a perfect 'pay it forward' moment! The David Warlick ripple effect.
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BTW - I am writing this as the Wisconsin Badgers beat Michigan State in a very exciting game AND The Mets won today (finally!). Yay!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Technorati Profile

Boy, I've Been Busy

I have been on my laptop for more hours than I care to admit, working on projects for the ICT (Information-Communication-Technology) DISCOVER classes that I teach, along with Noel Forte, another TEAM member. I finally feel that I am ready for Fall and am excited to dive into these projects with our fourth and fifth graders. We will be using various web 2.0 technologies, including Classroom Blogmeister, Wikispaces, Google Maps, CommunityWalk Maps, VoiceThread and PhotoStory.

There are various opportunities for sharing and collaborating with these projects. Here are the links to the projects and a brief summary:

  1. Federal Holidays: This project is designed for upper elementary and middle school students studying the meaning of American culture, United States symbols and core values of the American democratic system. Federal Holidays proposes two main tasks: 1) students will teach their class about an existing federal holiday by creating a PowerPoint presentation; and 2) student teams will imagine a new holiday that represents the spirit of America and then write a persuasive argument which will be supported by a poster that visually represents their proposed holiday. Using VoiceThread, student teams will comment on and persuasively argue why their holiday best represents the spirit of America. The site includes links to all the required resources and rubrics. Originally created in 2002, Federal Holidays was a response to 9/11, to help students deal with the feelings generated by that horrible event. I am running the project again, with updates.
  2. Explorations: This project is a 4th grade social studies project where students will study explorers from "The Age of Discovery." Students are asked to become "docents" - knowledgeable guides who will virtually guide "visitors" through our "Age of Discovery Museum" by creating photostories. Students will place a marker on our Google World Map, showing the area their explorer discovered. The marker will contain a link to the student/docent PhotoStory. The PhotoStory (vodcast/podcast) will inform "visitors" about the explorer they researched with narration and images. It would be fun if another teacher wanted to do this project as is, or modify it to have their class research other types of explorers...for example, 'explorers of the sky' or explorers of the arts, etc. etc.
  3. On the Trail of the First People - On the Trail of the First People is an online, collaborative standards-based social studies unit that seeks to incorporate information literacy skills with communicative technologies for 4th and 5th grades researching Native Americans. Classrooms located in the Northeast, Southeast, Plains, Southwest, California, Far Pacific Northwest, and the Far North are invited to research tribes indigenous to their area and then share their knowledge with all through the use of Wikis, Blogs and Social Mapping.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

About Me

A couple of my colleagues told me that I don't talk enough about my accomplishments. Well, it's true, I don't, because sometimes I can't believe that I have accomplished what I've accomplished and I don't like to 'toot my own horn' so to speak. I do what I do because I have discovered that I love to create and this is my outlet. The awards and rewards that have come along are secondary and byproducts. So, I don't speak about them too much. But, I have to admit, they are fun to receive! I have been lucky to work in a great environment and to have connected to some unbelievable mentors during the past 7 years, including Bette Schneiderman, Mike Byrne, and Fran Roberts of TEAM, and especially my just retired principal, Nancy Lindenauer.
In any case, if you do want to know more about my background, you can go to my bio link.
Notice my glamour shot on that page....it's about 10 years old!


OK, coming up with a name for this blog took me longer than I thought it would! After mulling over several titles, I finally decided on “Wired” - it seems fitting in many ways:

When I was getting my educational technology masters, (back in 2001) our class had to come up with a name for our ‘team’ - we decided to call ourselves the “Wired” team.

I like the connotations of that -- wired–connected, collaborative, plugged-in, hyperactive, sending & receiving.

Maybe I should change it to ‘wireless’ ? Not that I mean the above connotations don’t apply to me, but that information flows so effortlessly.
...Nah, I’ll leave it at wired.
If you click on the image below, I think you will agree that wired is a good description of all the feelings associated with being part of the 21st century ed-tech landscape!