Sunday, December 21, 2008

Disruptive Innovation

Today I found a version of Clayton Christen's talk about Disruptive Innovation slightly different from the one we watched as a group in November. Here it is (click on the "Video" link on the right):

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ryan higbea on blogging and podcasting

At our November session, Ryan Higbea shared his experiences integrating blogging and podcasting into his classroom. Here's video of his presentation, shaky camera work and all. Oh, for a tripod! Enjoy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

atomic learning tech skills assessment

If you're fired up about assessment and technology (and really, who isn't?), this is your lucky day. Atomic Learning has developed a new assessment to gauge students' technology skills according to the NETS-S 2007 standards. They're offering it free with purchase of the Technology Skills Collection. More to the point, if your district is already an Atomic Learning subscriber, access to the assessment is gratis.

Interesting. . . the multiple-choice sample questions are formatted as mini-vignettes: a problem is posed, followed by the ever-familiar a-b-c-d range of possible solutions or responses. For example:
Marisol created a presentation about recycling plants for her science class. She
showed it to her classmate Keith before she presented it to her class. In his
feedback, Keith noted that some parts of the presentation didn’t sound natural,
and Marisol showed him where she’d copied and pasted from various Web sites.
What should Keith do?

A "feedback" option can be switched on by the adminstrator which will provide a rationale for the correctness or incorrectness of each item as a way to add formative-assessment zing.

The scenario approach seems stronger for the ethics-driven digital citizenship kinds of questions---what would/should you do, rather than what can you do. But even so, the set-up necessarily forces a "correct" answer; and as we all know, ethical issues are seldom resolved so neatly. The updated NETS-S scrunches down the old focus on technology operations and concepts into a single standard. With the bold new emphasis on creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, and the other 21st century skills that resist understanding in the old-school definition of "skills," I wonder how close to the mark a multiple choice assessment can really get.

I wonder, too, how Atomic Learning has factored in readability. Are different versions of the instrument available for kids reading at different grade levels?

Does your district use Atomic Learning? The Tech Skills Assessment could be a valuable tool for understanding students' progress toward NETS-S at the school or district level. At the very least, it could help start some good conversations. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Monday, November 24, 2008

K12Online Presentation by Scott McLeod on Disruptive Innovation

Leading the Change: Current leadership models are inadequate for disruptive innovations - In this session from the K12Online conference Dr. Scott McLeod explains the concepts Clayton Christensen puts forth in his books, The Innovator's Dilema and Disrupting Class. Whether you read Christensen's books or watch McLeod's presentation the concept of disruptive innovation and how it impacts education is a must read/see/hear for everyone involved in our profession.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Building Your Own Personal Learning Network

This year at TIES I will be presenting a Sunday workshop on building a personal learning network. I created a 15 minute video for that session that I thought I would share with you as it directly addresses and nicely summarizes what we have been doing in our group with our personal learning networks. This is also a video you can take with you to your colleagues to introduce them to the concept of PLNs.


Building Your Own Personal Learning Network from Carl Anderson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Open Source & Education

I came across this panel discussion of education fellows today at Pop!Tech. Fascinating and powerful discussion regarding open source principles in education and education reform.

At the end of this video a question is asked, "With all of this technology, what is lost?" What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

pride is the driving force

Over at Meandering, our colleague Mr. Martin writes about launching an exciting vodcasting project with his students. Every day, they're filming, editing, and publishing a new Word of the Day as a class vodcast. Parents can view each day's vodcast (vocabcast?) on the class homeroom website; or they can subscribe as they would to any other podcast. Families can discuss the daily word over the dinner table. Parents, take heed: You may need to set an extra place at the dinner table for any Hollywood agents that come knocking. These kids are budding stars of the Neo Lexica Cinema movement.

The prospect of seeing their work published to the world can be a powerful motivator and point of engagement for students. As Mr. Martin notes in his reflection,

Pride is the driving force of this project. When I first introduced it. . . they were glued from the moment I mentioned they would be published on the web!
That's not to say there aren't challenges, both logistical (sustaining and streamlining the vodcast creation process) and colleagial (helping neighboring teachers find time, motivation, and resources to try the same project with their students). Mr. Martin is already thinking about these issues.

None of these resources are at my fingertips at school so how am I suppose to
share this fantastic process with other teachers?
What suggestions do you have for making "this fantastic process" accessible and practical?

Friday, October 31, 2008

podcast about podcasting

We just can't resist the meta-references.

Just as Carl earlier posted a "screencast about screencasting" based on his October 25 breakout session, I've posted an audio recording of the same day's session on podcasting---a podcast about podcasting, if we don't mind stretching the technical definition. It's posted as an attachment on the October 25 agenda page on the NEMEN Technology Leaders site. Click here to listen. Session notes can be viewed here.

You can also find (and add to) an extensive list of podcasting resources at the Hamline Podcasting 101 wiki, a site developed as a companion to Hamline's podcasting course.

Finally, no discussion of podcasting in education is complete without mentioning Dan Schmit and his excellent book, KidCast: Podcasting in the Classroom . If you're just getting started with podcasting and looking for practical curriculum integration ideas and easy-to-understand technical help in equal parts, look no further than KidCast. And don't miss Dan's KidCast blog and podcast.

letters to the next president

Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant posted about Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future, a project between Google and the National Writing Project.

We invited young people to write about the issues and concerns that they feel are central to their future, issues they would hope our next president would act on. Topics were chosen by the students themselves to reflect their specific personal, regional, and age-related interests. Teachers and mentors guided students through the process of writing a persuasive letter or essay to the presidential candidates using Google Docs.
Some of you may already be turned on to this project and encouraging your students to craft letters. Scott ups the ante with an open invitation to edubloggers to pen and post their own letters. A perfect time to model civic engagement and thought leadership? Absolutely.

If you're still pondering ideas for that first blog post, or casting around for what to write about next, here's your golden writing opportunity. Add your voice to the conversation. If you're talking about the election with your students, writing a letter to the next president is a pretty shiny teaching opportunity, too.

Scott suggests labeling your blog post with this Technorati tag: educationletters08 . To follow the "Letters to the Next President" posts composed by other edubloggers, either click on this educationletters08 link or visit Technorati and enter "educationletters08" in the search bar.

Check out the edublogger letters posted so far.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How Has Technology Impacted This Election?

I too have been playing around with Flowgram this week. I created the following Flowgram initially for the teachers at Goodhue but thought this group might be interested in it as well.

If you double click on the Flowgram it will open it in full-screen mode. There the websites I visit in the flowgram are live and clickable.

who are 21st century learners?

On October 24, NEMEN Technology Leaders group members participated in an activity exploring the concepts of 21st century learning and learners. Roaming photographers collected images from the morning's work.

This presentation was created using Flowgram. Flowgram allows you to quickly upload images, documents, and other media, and record voiceovers to create a shareable, embeddable online presentation.

Background music is by Chris Armstrong. Find more podsafe music at PodsafeAudio.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the whole of the beast: of elephants, perspectives, and metaphors

Remember the old fable about the blind men and the elephant? In the story, five blind men are presented with an elephant and asked, "What is this animal like?" Each man touches a different part of the animal---tusk, trunk, leg, tail---and offers a definitive conclusion about the whole elephant based on his experience of a single part.
"It's like a wall," says the man who touched the elephant's belly. "It's like a rope," reports the man who touched the tail. And so on, until the elephant has been compared to a pillar, a branch, a pipe, a hand fan. The story has been told and retold in various ways in various wisdom traditions. The metaphors may change from version to version: instead of a branch, the trunk is compared to a snake; instead of a pipe, a spear. In some versions, disagreements erupt and the men come to blows; in other versions, cooler heads prevail. But they all agree in a skepticism about definitive statements of truth based on a single point of view, and their conviction that an understanding of the whole beast requires multiple, integrated perspectives.
Debra wrote this on Aoi's Bookroom about the messy (beastly?) business of making sense of the endless amount of information, tools, pitfalls, and teaching opportunities presented by a Web 2.0 world:
I’m an organized person. That’s not to say that everything in my life is
neat and tidy but librarians have to have a good sense of organization in order
to provide access to the resources available in the library. A lot of the
stuff that we are talking about is messy. That’s not necessarily a bad
thing, but I need to figure out how it’s going to work for me and for my
students. If we have things that we know they need to learn, standards
say, then I can go from that starting point and work around that. But if I
have no base or starting point it’s very easy to get off-track.
Messy is the watchword, that’s for sure. Perspective is so important, too, in
how we make sense of this huge influx of new information. Kind of like the old
tale about the blind men and the elephant. Your information literacy perspective
seems to me to offer both an important angle for everyone to consider, and also
perhaps some fundamental organizing principles. As we’ve touched on topics
related to Web 2.0 and 21st century learning in our E2T2 sessions so far, it’s
been with the knowledge that we’re only touching on the trunk, the tail, or
whatever schema we can grasp to make sense of the experience. With such a
gigantic subject, no one can ever see the whole thing at once. In order to piece
together a comprehensible gestalt, we’ll need to report from our individual
perspectives, share information and experiences, and give each other feedback.
Our hope is that blogging is a way of combining our senses and understanding
this massive animal.
That's one way of looking at it. You may---should, will, do---have others. What emerges from this for me, though, is a reminder that metaphors are often the most powerful way to organize and make sense of whatever conceptual beast we're trying to tame.
What metaphor helps you make sense of what you've experienced and learned so far?

Displaying Embedded Video In Your Aggregator

I just discovered something that may be a technical issue for some. I use Bloglines as my RSS aggregator. My last post on screencasting did not display my screencast in Bloglines. This may be true of other aggregators as well. So, while the machinema video does show up, my screencast has to be viewed from the origional blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


As promised, I am posting my screencast about screencasting. I am also posting a machinema video that was done using screencasting. I did not talk about machinema today and really is a topic for another session but screencasting can be used to create machinema movies. Machinema movies are animated movies that hijack video games or virtual worlds for their rich environments and plethora of characters for scenery and actors. I am not going to be explicit here about ideas for integrating Machinema in the classroom, I will leave that to you. Actually, that might be a good discussion for a comment stream.



Screencast about Screencasting:

Romeo & Juliet, 2553 A.D. (Pt 1)

Friday, September 26, 2008

drinking from a flowing river

Welcome to the NEMEN Technology Leaders project blog. We launched our project today with a tremendously full day of learning. We're barely out of the chute and the group (you!) has already shown impressively-extensive prior knowledge, a wealth and diversity of teaching and learning experiences, and an enthusiasm for the possibilities of teaching with technology tempered by a healthy, student-focused, pragmatic skepticism about its limitations and appropriate uses. That's a rich mix.

"He who learns from one who is learning, drinks from a flowing river."

This proverb picked up in passing from Wes Fryer speaks to the kinds of connected and networked learning we'll be exploring in coming days through our own blogs, learning with and from each other and beyond to colleagues we haven't yet met.

We've only just gotten our feet wet.