Archive for August, 2007

Our vacation started yesterday, we are on our way to New Hampshire, first stop New Rochelle, New York staying with our friend Don Geyra who is a scenic artist. It is always wonderful coming here, Don’s house is filled with beautiful art. Here is his latest work in progress I took this photo last night in his studio

As we sit out on their deck we have a lovely view of Long Island Sound, great way to start a week of relaxation and fun with friends. The best times are spent with old friends and family we are looking forward to a great week.


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Last night I sat in on a meetup at EdubloggerWorld with about a dozen others from around the world. It was great to listen to and be part of the conversation, although I say that loosely since my microphone was not working. One of the requests was for those of there to post a picture of what we look at while blogging.
Where do I blog? I have two pictures, when I blog at work and when I blog at home and here they are. This one from work, I like to look at the world map and dream of  the possibilities that exist for connections for all of us with others around the world. blogwindow3.jpg
The next one the view out of my kitchen window.

How often do I blog?
I blog as often as I can, sometimes once a week, this summer with so much to do at work less even than that. I am hoping to get back into a routine now that students are returning.  In the world of blogging I know I don’t hold a candle to those who post daily, but that is ok with me.
What do I blog about?
I blog about issues in education as I see them from my space in the world.  I blog about questions I have, thoughts spinning around in my head, ideas I have for using technology in best practices and in ways that hopefully will interest students and increase their level of engagement when at school. I love feeling as though I am part of the conversations going on about change in schools, teaching, learning and feeling as though I can contribute in a positive way through sharing experiences I have had. I like to make others aware of what has been successful in the district where I work and what challenges we have faced as well and asking for and receiving thoughts and ideas from others.
Why is blogging important to me?
Blogging is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to be part of the conversations taking place around the world in education. I love to learn and this has been the most exciting learning I have done in a long time. Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to meet people from around the world that I never would have otherwise. It is a wonderful way to build your own learning community and have a network of colleagues who will become friends through the writing process. I don’t have many people where I work or friends outside of work who truly understand what I do as an instructional technology specialist. In that respect I am rather isolated in terms of my thoughts and vision and having anyone to bounce ideas off of and get feedback or suggestions from. Through the world of blogging all of that changes for me, the read/write web becomes a lifeline to others who I can learn from, who teach me and stretch my thinking. In turn I like to think I can do the same for others.

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Yesterday Brian Smith posted a question on his blog asking what an intelligent classroom might look like. I loved the question because I am in the process of pulling together questions I would like asked of prospective new administrators in my district and I definitely want this to be one of them. I responded to Brian with these thoughts
I agree with Sue and Sherry regarding administration supporting teachers and also having an understanding themselves of what an intelligent classroom looks like. We all battle the filter issue and it is a headache, we do need to teach students how to be responsible online citizens and you can’t do that if you can’t get to where they live in terms of their online lives. As far as what an intelligent classroom might look for me here are my thoughts.  I would add DVD players, digital cameras, video cameras, microphones, speakers, document cameras, airliner slates to use with smartboards, amplification systems for teachers, cable television, projectors in every room or TV’s capable of connecting to a computer for access to display content. Access to skype on school computers for collaborative conversations with classrooms around the globe, access to royalty free images, audio, and video to use in projects such as podcasts for redistribution. Just a few on my list of what a classroom rich with technology would have. In thinking more about it in the past day I would also add webcams or other equipment to make video conferencing a possiblity and a telephone either cell or landline. Have you ever thought of what a technology rich or intelligent classroom would look like in your eyes? Please leave your thoughts if you have I am interested in adding to my list.

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The two days of training last week with the group of teachers who are testing out the SMART AirLiner slates with notebook software this school year was terrific. The group for the most part were eager participants who took responsibility for their learning and did an outstanding job with the new technology. Our district does not have SMART boards, this is our first attempt to incorporate this technology. The AirLiner slates are connected through bluetooth to the teacher laptop, they receive a locking cart, projector and speakers with the slate to use throughout the year. All levels are represented K-12 in 8 of 11 buildings. Teachers saw the value in using notebook software immediately and had no trouble  incorporating the use in all content areas. As part of their participation they are responsible for creating lessons to begin a district database for others to use and modify as they see fit moving forward. By the end of the day on Friday we had a sharing session with everyone showing at least one lesson they had developed in the two day training. Our database in two days had a total of 28 lessons, which exceeded my expectations. I look foward to working with this group throughout the year and believe we will all be successful implementing the airliners as a teaching tool.

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I have been away from this blog for far too long. The summer has had some unexpected turns for me that have re focused my priorities with my family. I believe I have come back to a place of balance and hope to be posting on a regular basis again so here we go.
Jeff Utecht has just posted his latest thoughts on his blog about starting his school year and one of the projects he is undertaking with teachers in his school learning to use laptops in their teaching. He has a good plan outlined in his post today. I appreciate the time he has invested in the planning and I feel as though the project I begin tomorrow is similar to his. In my district we have moved to data driven technology pilots, no longer will we just say ok, this looks good let’s try it. We began this approach last year and found success and also were able to collect data from the participants to assist in making a decision to expand the opportunities to others.  This is what our technology pilots include.
First of all our teachers have to fill out an application to participate. The application outlines the various peices one has to agree to complete in order to participate. For example this school year 2007-2008 we are piloting AirLiner slates made by SMART Technologies using SMART notebook software. As a participant one would get the AirLiner, bluetooth connector, wireless mouse, an LCD projector,  and speakers, which all come on a mobile cart with locking cabinet. All of our teachers have laptops and the SMART notebook software will be installed on them so teachers have the ability to use at school and home for the creation of lessons. The slates connect through bluetooth to the laptop and you are able to write on the slate with a pen, much like a pen used with a SMARTboard, or a wireless mouse, within 46 feet of the computer. So you are able to stand anywhere in your room, use the slate with through your computer, capture all you do, save it if you want to, and also have the ability to pass the slate to students so they participate without leaving their seats.  All teachers were eligible to complete and application. The application covered the following. If interested one had to commit to two days of summer training learning the software and also using the slate, had to agree to creating and using 27 lessons with the AirLiner during the course of the school year – 6 by November, 12 – January, 18 -March and 27 – end of year. Attend four after school sessions in each of the mentioned months to talk about successes, challenges, sharing of lessons, anything that relates to the pilot. Everyone also had to answer the following questions –
1. How will this tool impact student achievement?
2. How will this tool change classroom instruction?
3. How will you evaluate the effectiveness of this tool?
4. What challenges do you foresee in implementing this tool?
Teachers were able to apply individually or as grade level or content area teams. We will have everyone contribute their responses to the questions above again at the end of the end of the year as well to compare and evaluate their thoughts on the impact of this tool in the classroom.
This is the same model we used last year when we introduced podcasting which we had great success with. I am hoping this goes as well. Tomorrow is the first training day, I will post again after the training the feedback from participants and will also talk about it as the year goes on. I am looking forward to working with everyone on this, should be fun and the classrooms I will be spending quite a bit of time in this year. Does anyone else have a standardized way they introduce new technologies

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Meme 8 random things

I’ve been tagged by mstina on the 8 random facts meme

First, the Rules:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

1. I am going to be a grandmother for the first time in the spring!
2. I love to go camping, we have a 28 foot travel trailer and call it our summer house on wheels. We have several other families we camp with and it is a wonderful way to spend time.
3. Summer is made for reading by the pool or the ocean
4. My favorite times are those spent with my family, both those we are related to and the family of friends we have chosen
5. I have been married for 30 years
6. We have a 1972 MGBGT we bought before we got married and I love to drive
7. I would love to go to New Zealand
8. I love to cook and enjoy cooking classes

I am tagging

Lisa Durff
Jason Hando
Maria Knee
Cathy Wolinsky
Barbara Dieu
Jose Rodriguez
Dave Cormier
Doug Symington

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http://xtralean.com/IWOverview.html – This imaging software is free for the Mac and version 3.2 works with Flickr, SmugMug and ImageShack. A few of the new features, add talking balloons to images, resize, rotate, crop, flip, layer and transparency control. Drag and drop controls of import and export, frame images with shapes and borders. Being called a bloggers best friend C/Net Editor’s Review, take a look. I know we will look at this for our images as a way to provide resources for students and teachers at no cost to the district.

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