Web 2.0 Finds Post #4 (VSTE Conference)

I trust your Christmas break was a good one and a chance for you to recharge your batteries. I read two books and played in the snow with my daughters as well as scarfed food on a regular basis. It’s good to have some energy return!

The Web 2.0 posts continue:

print what you likePrinting Web Pages
Have you found a web site that you like, and print a whole page just to retrieve a small amount of “real estate” which you only wanted in the first place? Printwhatyoulike.com is a site that permits you to print that one specific part/thing that you want. Logon to their site, type in the URL, and follow the directions from there. It’s easy, simple, free, and most of all, is logical! You will need to sign up for an account.

From Screentoaster’s website:

–>Capture videos of onscreen action in one click
–>Record screencasts, tutorials, demos, training, lectures and more.
–>Share and stream videos online in Flash
–>Embed them on blogs and webpages or send them by email.

Saving Documents for Retrieval Elsewhere
You can file sync programs by saving them to Dropbox and retrieving from another computer. I haven’t tried it myself, but hear it is easy and useful.

Word Processing
OpenOffice.com — An alternative (open source) to MS Office.

[Many thanks to Affordable, Free & Effective Technology Tools for the Classroom: (Wendt @ www.jeremywendt.com and Beach @ www.teachingwithtech.net)]

360 tours360 Virtual Tours (my find):
Teaching U.S. Geography/History? IPIX has some great 360 Virtual Tours. If you can’t take your students there (or you!), why not bring it to you?

VSTE 2008: Follow-Up and Sharing

Sharing–one of the pillars of the teaching profession, describes precisely what the VSTE 2008 conference in Roanoke was. I love those “A Ha” moments when the light bulbs suddenly start glowing over everyone’s heads, or those face splitting smiles when we get excited about how we can take things back to the classroom. One of the TRT Kings of Sharing, Obe Hostetter, spoke at one of the sessions I attended with Deloris. The conversation between us went something like this when I realized it was HIM as he approached the podium:

“Look–is that the guy from Rockingham County?”
“It IS! He’s so young looking!”
“I can’t believe we’re looking at a celebrity in the ITRT world!”
“Let’s go up and talk to him!”

After that, we flew up to greet him, as did many others with similar squeals of glee and admiration (OK–a little stretch there, but close). What makes him stand out? Mr. O has developed a technology integration website for Virginia teachers who are looking for SOL resources to enrich the lessons in their classrooms. It must be used by many, for I heard neighbors sitting around me expressing similar gratitudes of awe and astonishment.

Note that when you log on to his site (click here) that at the bottom you can do your own specific resource search. Try it and look at the number of specific items that pop up. I promise–you will gasp from the possibilities of things you can do!

Thanks, Mr. Ohostetter, from teachers/ITRTs from around Virginia!

Are Schools Preparing Students for the 21st Century?

In a recent November article of The Journal, Dave Nagel writes, “Without incorporating technology into every aspect of its activities, no organization can expect to achieve results in this increasingly digital world.” Where do schools stand in relation to this? According to a paper released by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills at the SEDTA Leadership Summit and Education Forum in Washington, D.C., they suggest the following steps to take:

1) Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills.
Yes, core knowledge is important, but not enough to compete with parts of the world society. Even if all core subjects are mastered, can they necessarily compete? Standardized testing tests minimal standards.

2) Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning. To keep pace with the rest of the world, schools need to promote demanding, engaging, and purposeful activities (not just drill-and-kill). If students just master the test, are they prepared for the rigors of the modern technological world?

3) Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. “To be effective in schools and classrooms, teachers and administrators need training, tools and proficiency in 21st century skills themselves. Used comprehensively, technology transforms standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments, and administration.”

In summary, integrating technology must go beyond just the drill-and-skill/kill to master tests; integrating technology must be engaging beyond just teaching a software program. Successful technology integration means that technology must be a resource (as one does with an almanac, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or other resources available to a teacher).

This is where your building TRT (ITRT in other cities of Virginia) can help you as you prepare your students for the 21st century. Let us know how we can help you in your classroom!