Category Archives: TCEA

Print, Cut, Fold Make and Take at TCEA

I attended a presentation by the Arlington School District that was geared more for elementary classes but it intrigued me and even high school students like to do “make it” projects now and then. They shared a ton of ideas and gave us the url to the files for templates including a pdf file with lesson ideas and instructions for using the templates.

The Link is

If you follow this link you can also download their Geocaching Documents zip file.

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Dr. Mary Ann Bell at TCEA

If you have never met Dr. Bell you are missing a treat. Fiesty, fun, and way ahead of her time. She recently started her own blog and voiced concern about how schools are blocking many of the web 2.0 sites that she was planning to talk abou tin her TCEA presentation.

Dr. Bell’s presentation was called Fun, New and Free Ideas and Services Via the Internet. If you click on her name above it will take you to the portal to her site where you can access the links she shared as well as previous presentations.

She gives links to all kinds of useful sites as well as complete text professional online journals.

One link Dr. Bell showed was Starfall, a site for elementary phonics and reading . She recommended some blogs to read and I will list them but let you check out the rest on the handout on her site.



One of the library blogs led me to a great Geography resource – Library of Congress Portals to the World.

Dr. Bell also mentioned Bernie Poole‘s site where you can find tons of resources and if you click on the link on the left side title online books you can download entire books he has written including several wonderful tutorials on using Microsoft Office.

Nancy Pearl was with her as usual. Nancy Pearl is the fabulous “shushing” librarian figurine that travels everywhere with Dr. Bell and gets her picture taken in the most interesting places. You can find her photos on Flickr.

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Blogs and Wikis for a Collaborative Classroom at TCEA

Presenter Jamie Gustin Elementary Technology Coach at Magnolia ISD

Co-presenter Chris Turik employed by November Learning

Most of the November Learning employees use skype -rarely physically in an office -said this is growing as a busness model

Magnolia blogging district-wide, infused into the learning environment

Wiki-how – how to manuals anyone can write and edit good example of use of a wiki

Their experience – teachers usually begin blog as upcoming events and homework, slowly evolve into two-way conversations with commenting

Started blogs in conjunction with teacher webpage, starts static phases in to collaborative (about 600 at Magnolia blogging)

Some teachers working on theme unit about mysteries

Mr. Gustin was going on a one day vacation with his family and using the blog students had to figure out where he was going. He started out with a clue and the students had to use the commenting section to ask questions that would “trick” him into giving more clues. He used his cell phone camera to leave photo clues on Flickr that would appear on the blog via rss feed

Use of cell phone one example of connectivity without a computer

two thirds of the comments were outside of school hours – one was at seven a.m. Stutdents were reading everyone elses comments trying to solve the mystery

He was able to moderate the comments quickly so if someone figured out the answer too quick the answer could remain hidden to give more time for others to solve

resources skype (one example of VOIP)

CILC distance learning message board – can post on looking for a class to collaborate with on a specific subject

ePals another collaborative resource

Fourth grade classes using a wiki to collaborate on a chapter book – one class writes a chapter – another class writes the next chapter and so on


Classes set up a wiki on the solar system – using information on different planets students try to create life forms that would be able to survive in the environment (discovered only one student can have a wiki open at a time on moodle)

challenge – teachers has to think about all the processes the student will need to complete the tasks

storyboard helpful

be prepared to edit as they go along

a third grader spotted a factual mistake on a website (chance to talk about validating information)

teach “polite” editing

using the moodle wiki taught the students the mechanics of a wiki before they used wikipedia

community building, collaboration

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More Reflections on TCEA

I have been spending some time this morning reading what others have had to say about the conference on their blogs. These is much out there to read I’m sure more will appear as folks wander home and have time to reflect and organize and post.

I decided I would post on some of my feelings about attending the conference – good and bad, that bubble up to the surface as I read.

Why do I go and what I like the best?
I love Austin. I’m not a city person but I love the variety of restaurants and the people watching is incredible!

February is a “valley” month for me. My enthusiasm and energy hang by a thread. The cold, cloudy weather makes me want to pull the covers over my head til spring. TCEA in Austin gives me a boost over the valley.

I learn but I also learn what I need to go learn. I take notes and listen, then run on to the next presentation. There isn’t a lot of time to absorb, so for me a lot of the real learning takes place in the months after I return, but I come home armed with new questions and new places to find answers. I get to the conference feeling like a dry sponge – it’s only after, when I wring all the juice out that I start seeing the value.

I make friends with colleagues. On a day to day basis, even the people in my own school are busy and TCEA gives us time to discuss and learn more about each other. I always come away with a deeper sense of who they are and what they believe. We work together in a field where relationships matter. Relationships with our students and the support we give each other.

I can get a feel from the discussion during and after for the climate of educational technology.
What I don’t like – the crowds. I want everyone to benefit from the conference but I also feel very stressed trying to negotiate the conference hall weaving in and out of all the other folks doing the same and I really hate it when I have hurried to get to a presentation only to find them closing the door because it is full. Luckily there are usually others to slip into.

Cell phones. This is my biggest pet peeve. If you need to make a call – do it between presentations and while you are in a session put it on vibrate or TURN IT OFF. It’s rude, it’s distracting to the presenter and the other attendees and unless you are a brain surgeon or waiting on a transplant organ you will have a hard time justifying that phone ringing to me.

Teachers who think it is okay to laugh and talk among themselves during a presentation. I don’t think they would tolerate that in their classroom during a lecture.

The cost of drink and snacks in the conference hall. If you want to get every minute you can at actual presentation there is no possible way to leave to eat. I was gratified to find water stations around but anything to buy is limited in choice and expensive. I think TCEA could do a little bit better job at feeding their attendees without breaking their budget.

I know that this conference is huge and I can’t begin to imagine what it takes as far as organization and logistics and all in all I think the conference people do a great job. Back to my reading.

Why do you go? What do you love/hate about the conference? What would you like to see done differently?

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Digital Media Academy

I was fortunate to attend several sessions by the DMA people. Beth Corwin was awesome and I would love to attend one of their week-long “bootcamp” classes. They had 25 dual-boot iMacs set up for hands-on learning and they were lightening-fast 45 minute bare bones tutorials but they gave enough info to get you started with some great hints and tips thrown in.

I attended iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband as well as Flash 8 and Adobe Photoshop. I sat in on Motion as well. I learned after the first day to get signed up on their list as they had plenty of chairs but if you signed up you got to “drive” the computer. I will add more about some of the sessions later when I have had time to go over my notes and get what little I had time to take into a more coherent form but the best to me were the ones on Garageband and iDVD. We played a little with creating music in Garageband but also created our own short podcast and that was the part I was most interested in. We used loops for background music, recorded with the built-in microphone, added a few sound-effects and voila!

Mine was pretty lame but it was fun and not too terrible. I definitely would plan to script it if I was doing it for real but you can also edit within Garageband so you could delete any tracks you want to disappear. I discovered I can be just as nervous and giggly as high school girls having to record their French homework for the first time. It’s a whole new ballgame when it is you faced with the mic .

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Beyond Four Walls

Notes on I.T.S. Beyond Four Walls

Presenter Ms. LaDonna Conner from Carrolton-Farmers Branch

I actually ended up in this session through a happy accident. The session I was planning to attend was full and this was in the room where the next on my schedule would be presented. I was so glad I got to hear this one.

They have given all of their teachers iPods and traing on how to use them. They purchased a podcast server and the teachers commit to producing 4 podcasts a year.

They invested a lot of hours in training and had everything broken down into steps.

They use podcasting for staff development, staff meetings, communicating with parents and the community, lessons that can be subscribed to, and interactivity for their school website.

They had a device called a Belkin Tune Talk that you plug your iPod into and it makes it a recording device. As a teacher you hit record, set it on your desk and continue your lecture and you end up with an audio file you can edit in Audacity and create a finished podcast!

Imagine having your lectures saved so when a student is absent and comes to you to find out what they missed, you point them to your podcast and they get to hear the entire lecture.

Imagine a student missed taking notes on part of your lecture and having the ability to replay it to fill in any gaps in their notes. I’m so glad I “accidently” got to learn about their program.

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Some Mid-TCEA Conference Reflections

I have been enjoying TCEA but some of it has just been a blur trying to rush from one presentation to the next. I’ve been to some that were specific tutorials for Flash, iMovie, iPhoto and tomorrow I’m looking forward to iDVD and GarageBand.

It has been wonderful to learn some new tricks and also to drool over the lab set up for the tutorials – 25 bright, shiny iMacs.

The highlights for me have been listening to the new vocabulary that permeates the discussions on technology integration and the changes that education is going to have to address if we are going to give our kids the skills they will need for tomorrow. I hear the terms web 2.0, read/write web, conversation versus static webpage, community building, collaborating, social networks, and mash-ups.

Over all it would seem that while we are working hard to integrate technology, students are already way ahead of us. Computers, cell phones, mp3 players are as much a part of their daily environment as the microwave, dishwasher, and tv remote have become part of ours. They already ARE integrated. We are the ones running along behind.

But educators are catching up. The debates are all over the web and while many districts still block blogs as a matter of course, others are doing the blogging themselves. More and more districts are moving into the 1:1 computing venue.

I went to hear Dr. Mary Ann Bell speak on Fun and Free Internet tools and the links that were shared were mostly Web 2.0. She also touched on the subject of how many of these sites may be blocked at the district level.

When I was in school I never really thought of teachers as rebels but these days it seems that more and more are trying to help bring about the changes that we all know will have to come eventually. I was encouraged to hear all who spoke of teaching “literacy” included ethics. So many adults are confused about what is permissible and valid on the web. It’s easier for us to blanket block things than it is to learn to utilize them properly but at what cost? Our kids are already collaborating on MySpace, communicating with Instant Messaging, playing games online connected to multiple players in different geographic locations, recording audio and pictures on their phones and accessing the internet to share those files from the same phones. They think we just don’t get it, and maybe we don’t – but we’re working on it.

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Wes Fryer at TCEA

My notes on Wes Fryer’s presentation – The Case for 1:1 Computing

I will add the link to the podcast when he puts it up on his site.

Share a vision

Some great tools for saving clips from the web and accessing for presentations
Flickr creative commons
Google notebook

Journey we are on these days has incredible speed
1:1 learning
online podcast 15 minutes on school 2.0

silver bullet? There is no panacea that solves all the problems in education
1995 “prisoners of time” document

many things need to change
years from now people will be sitting around n nursing homes laughing about the debate way back on laptops in the classroom

the new phones (iPhone) more powerful than the computers that took us to the moon.

20th century was a read-only culture
21st century will continue to have read-only content but there will also be read-write
need to learn to use blogs to cultivate student writing safely

three main things
1. Majority of jobs in future will not involve a factory
2. Digital curriculum rocks!
3. Need fro RW & RO
4. Education (“v” and “t” words
5. Constructivism and constructionism

Who opposes this?

What changes your mind
Relationships and conversations

Echo chamber (in blogosphere this is hanging out with just people who agree with you)

“the Rise of the Creative class and A Whole New Mind – books to read

How are we paid – not based on how our kids do
We are paid by seat time
Bell defines learning – starts and stops
Learning doesn’t happen according to a fixed schedule
School controlling the time and place where you learn
You have to come to this place, at this time to learn

What will it take to thrive in 2065?
Sir Ken Robinson

With all the technology we have – we have no idea what the future work place will be like

Teach kids to do jobs that haven’t been invented to solve problems that haven’t been thought of

Not like a factory where you do a repetitive task, closely monitored

Robotics, building a robot, writing a program – constructionism
Thomas Friedman we are going to have to able to be flexible and be able to learn and unlearn

Who is going to solve the aids crisis, who will rid us of dependency on fossil fuel

Cooperation instead of competition with China and Pakistan

Presentation on Did You Know?

Dan Pink author A Whole New Mind

Why the right brained folks are going to rule the world

We need to value creativity the way we value literacy
In a one to one environment where all students are able to pull down the world,

Wes fryer value add to the district is when he can take ideas and remix them and add productivity

Understand – describe, explain
Knowledge – remember

Critical thinking

Self directed work ethic (this is how students will get staff development in the future at work)
(online courses)

Wes Fryer

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TCEA and David Warlick

My notes on TCEA session Navigating the Digital Information landscape: The New Basics by David Warlick

Redefining literacy in the 21st Century. David’s goal for the presentation – get all the way through without mentioning technology. Session is about information (synonymous with technology)

Web2.0 document handout is a wiki – David uses his wiki handout to show use of a wiki.
Can be edited and updates as people edit it.
Can add blogs after attending presentation through editing wiki
2.0 conversation as opposed to old web – library

Future – What do we know about the workplace? Picture of an office in the future
Information age – last ten months more and more people have given up the telephone that sits on the table for the one that you can carry around in your pocket.
After conference go home and go to grocery store – more men with cell phones
We have made the decision that we want our communication something we can carry with us
(cuts table phone out of picture
5 exobytes information generated in 2003 but only 0.01% got printed
Cut paper out of picture
Webcams cut chairs out of picture
In future we may be wearing our technology – jacket in Europe marketed by levi straus – built in mp3 player, headphones, gps, phone rings gps toe rings
Cut computer out of the picture
Almost nothing left of the future office. This is about what we know of the future we are preparing our children for – almost nothing.

What do children need to be learning today to prepare for the future

Conclusion – stop integrating technology – integrate literacy
Teach our kids how to teach themselves

The three Rs are the same literacy taught in the 50s – we need reading. How to teach students to be able to validate information

Wikipedia has warnings about info that may be inaccurate – do newspapers and text books?

We have been taught to read whatever was handed to us by someone we trusted. Our kids are reading online – anyone, anywhere can publish. We have to teach literacy to be able to read text but also skills for exposing truth,
Example how many planets in solar system? Look in text book and Pluto is included – wikipedia has already been updated. It was updated in less than a minute.
Wikipedia and books – not a competition. Understanding what your library and the web is really good at and teaching student how to decide how to make a decision about which is appropriate at a particular time

Other skills

– Find information
– -decode it
– critically evaluate it, and
– organize it into personal digital libraries
We don’t replace literacy – we expand it

Arithmetic – all children need to understand the language of numbers
2 things have happened – solving a problem now is maybe a thousand numbers digital

Raw data – columns and rows of numbers from all over- searchable databases
Example data on earthquakes in a certain year range.
Highlight data, past into excel
Everything goes into first cell’
Convert text to columns – wizard finds column breaks and formats
Can tell it not to import entire columns
Imported info – made a graph scatter plot – showed a map of earthquake activity – world map tsunami
Arithmetic expands into employing information – raw material
Keyboard (piano) number generator
Compose music – process information

Writing – long tail (need to research this some more – many definitions out there)
Anatomy of the long tail
New media industry – rhapsody amazon netflix
Counted up number of products each sold and number of each product sole – created a graph which they expected to see but at the point where you couldn’t make money there was a long tail that showed ones that couldn’t be sold. (according to their larger percentages)This tail goes on because there is a new digital market for artists
Rhapsody makes 20% of revenue from the long tail – point being that anyone can make money on the internet selling their book, art, whatever. Maybe not enough to completely pay the bills but you could write and market a book that would sell enough to pay for kids college tuition (which David Warlick as done)

6.7 gig over the internet in 58 seconds – more than 200 sets of encyclopedia Britannica or 4 hours of dvd quality video
how do you get your message through in that storm of information – have to successfully compete with media for kids attention

writing expands into expressing ideas compellingly

sfett video student created a video showing corporations that use child labor and sweatchops – very powerful music with images and facts done by a fifteen year old as an alternative to writing a paper

writing – quality of information expression translate to video multimedia music communicates powerfully

need to teach the thread that stitches the other expansions together – ETHICS
information flows today without containers – not in pages in books. Nothing to keep it form growing larger and larger
teachers and librarians used to be gatekeepers – they stand at the gate not realizing that the walls are gone. We need to teach our kids to become their own gatekeepers –
ethical use of information should be an integral part of any literacy discussion

redefine literacy and integrate that

computers are now the pencil and paper of their day

David’s son – image with ipod, hooked into playstation, playing collaboratively online and instant messaging at the same time. We see this as technology – son would say this is information , he wouldn’t say a word about it being technology (youth everyday normal environment)
We need to be thinking less about the machine and more about the information

Why this is important – we are notinvesting in the next century- in our classrooms

china will surpass us in broadband by 2006
US has fallen to 21th in household broadband
US will be passed by slovenia in 2007

1983 nation at risk report
education reform has been happening ever since

in industrial age the curriculum didn’t change – now the world is the curriculum and it changes everyday.

“we will have achieved education reform when no teacher thinks they can teach the same thing the same way every day”

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Online Class Solution

Before I cruise down to Austin for TCEA I want to catch up on a project I’ve been involved in. Some students are beginning to take a foreign language class online. This is a first time situation and as I have absolutely no knowledge when it comes to speaking a foreign language they are truly on their own as far as content and being accountable.

My part has been helping them learn the procedures that will allow them to complete the class. They have had to learn how to login and use Blackboard and an online workbook on Quia. They have also had to learn how to use recording software and save their recording mp3 to their folder. They then have to attach it as a submission on Blackbboard.

After the initial giggling over having to record with others in the room, they picked up on the procedure quickly. I’m cheering for them to do well on this experiment and I’m a little anxious about abandoning them for the week while I attend the conference. They are using free demo software called Audio Wizard. In the demo version you are allowed three minutes of recording time and it is very simple to use. They click one button and a box pops up that allows them to name their file and designate where to save it. As soon as they click save they are recording. They click one more button to stop recording. Another button lets them play back the recording and make sure it is just how they want before they submit. If they don’t like it, they just click remove from disk and start the process over again.

They stay in contact with the instructor via email so they recieve feedback and can ask questions. The submissions are graded and the grades are then up on Blackboard where they can also see announcements and future assignments.

I plan to stay in touch with them and the instructor by email while I’m at the conference so for us this is breaking new ground. It will allow us to stay connected and for me to offer some long distance support even if it is mainly moral support!

DSL Troubles

I finally took the plunge. After 5 years of dial-up I signed up with DSL. I got all my equipment in the mail, managed to hook everything up, and all the laptops in the house work great but I can’t get my PC Desktop to work with it. I think it may be the ethernet card which hasn’t been used since we bought the computer. I can use laptops running Linux, OSX, and Windows XP but no desktop. I’m typing on the Linux laptop right now which is hooked up directly to the ethernet cable and it’s chugging along fine. It’s nice to be able to stay on the internet and use the phone at the same time and it is definitely faster so it will be worth fixing the desktop to work with it. It’s also nice to be able to sit in the comfy recliner with wireless.

It will be nice to be able to email home while I’m at TCEA this year. Last year I didn’t have a laptop and I’m looking forward to blogging at the conference and staying in contact at home too. I have my list of presentations I want to attend and I already don’t know how I’m going to take time to eat! I especially want to attend some of the presentations on GarageBand, IMovie, and PodCasting and of course Blogging. I’m also looking forward to putting faces with bloggers I’ve been reading over the past year.
I’m in a last minute rush trying to get two classes of students comfortable with the procedures they need to complete lessons online. I feel like I’m abandoning them but I know I will return recharged and enthusiastic so the payoff will be worthwhile.

One group records online and saves their recordings as MP3s. The other group has to use cassette recorders and as I read the instructions I thought to myself “how old school”. I’m starting to sound like the kids.

Google Has Tabs!

I have used my Google homepage for over a year but discovered something new (at least to me) last night. You can use tabs to organize your web content. While I use Bloglines, like most people who read blogs I have so many that I subscribe to that there isn’t always time to read them all. I keep my favorites on Google so I can just skim the headlines and read the most interesting. Up until last night I had all my content on one page. At this time Google only allows 6 tabs but you can put a lot of information on each page. Using tabs I was able to group by subject and make it easy to see new posts.
If you are new to Google you can sign in to your personalized homepage using your gmail login. Google has tons of widgets that you can add just by clicking but you can also add feeds by clicking on add stuff and then choosing add URL. If you have the link for the sites rss feed you can paste it into the provided form and google adds it to your page. If you don’t know the address for the feed you can try typing in the web address of the page and click the button that will search homepage content. If you presently have all your content one page it is easy to create tabs and then just drag items to the different tabs.

google page

I learned another trick while I was playing on Google. You can search Google blogs for blogs related to a particular subject you are interested in. Last night I did a search on blogs on TCEA. On the left side of the results page there was a link for the RSS feed. I added that feed to my Google page, clicked edit on the header and typed in 9 which is the most entries it will show and now I have a feed that will show me blogs that mention TCEA. You can do the same by searching on Technorati . Just enter your information into the search box and then look for a button that says RSS or Subscribe. Right click on it and choose properties. Copy the address on the properties box and paste that into the “add URL” box on google and click ADD.

I hope you find these little hints helpful. There is a weather prediction of freezing rain here tonight and tomorrow so I plan on staying by the fireplace and if the power stays on – reading online!

Preparing To Blog TCEA

I am reading an article on blogging a conference by Josh Hallett and since I am planning to blog the TCEA conference in February I found the article to be useful. His suggestions are broken down into hardware and software and they include a laptop, connectivity, a digital camera, and voice recorder. I have the first three covered but I’m going to have to think about the voice recorder. I don’t have one at this point and I’m not sure how useful it would be. The presentations can be spread out and if you are wanting to make it to one on the other side of the convention center there is no time to do anything but run. They are 45 minutes long and often crowded so time and space are limited for dealing with equipment. I see myself struggling with tangled cables, camera, laptop, notepad and pen. I don’t think I could manage a voice recorder too.

The software Mr. Hallett lists includes an offline blog editor, a Flickr account for pictures and Flickr upload software. Also included are FTP software, audio editing software, and Technorati to track other blogs about the conference.

Because of the short time frames of the presentations I plan to use free note-taking software on my Mac Book called Journler. I like the application for it’s simplicity of use. I don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to use the software – I just want to take notes. and Journler fills the bill for me.

There is wireless at the Hotel so I plan to edit my notes and upload at night. That will also give me time to edit photos (if I manage to get any) and get them uploaded to Flickr. I haven’t used the digital camera with the Mac Book yet, nor have I uploaded to flickr from the Mac so I will do a trial run on both before the conference.

Other parts of the post deal with assembling your blogging team, planning, and prewriting parts. I am going to try to at least start an outline of the presentations I want to attend and that way I can plug in the actual information when I get there. I hadn’t even thought of that and though I know there can be last minute changes and there will also be some presentations I want to go to but won’t make, I can have plan A and plan B ready so I will be working on that over the next few weeks. TCEA does a wonderful job on their website of letting everyone know what is happening and when. There are links to all the presentation and after the conference most of those links will include downloads of the handouts.
There is much more to Mr. Hallett’s article and if you are planning to blog a conference I would recommend his article and doing some planning in order to get the most out of your time and to help share with the folks in your organization who are not attending.