Interesting Poll

I was up early this morning trying to catch up…you know getting things done before the real day begins?  Anyway, I was doing some professional reading (I’m so behind) and I came across an interesting poll.  The question of the week at Tech and Learning is:

 When is the best grade to introduce tech into the elementary classroom?

Answer choices are:

  • K if not PreK. The sooner the better.
  • 1st-3rd grade. Before then it’s just playtime.
  • 4-6 grade, to intro info literacy.

68% of the respondents said “K”.  I would tend to agree.  Technology in our society is truly ubiquitous at this point.  We might as well get them started thinking about technology in the correct way to begin with.  Much the same as many other academic skills. What do you think?

Flip Video Anyone??

flip_videoThe Flip Video camera is an amazing little device.  It puts different types of projects in our reach.  Today while browsing Tech and Learning, I came across an article on using the Flip Video in class.  If you have an interest in using these cameras, you should definately check out the article: You don’t need to own one of these cameras yourself to do any of these projects.  PPS teachers can borrow a set of these cute little cameras from Instructional Technology.  Just ask your TRT to set it up for you.

21Things Post #14

One of the things on the list is to create a VoiceThread to be used as an educational resource.  I worked with the Spanish teacher, Mrs. LaPiana and a small group of students to create this Vociethread.  She wanted to use the voicethread to introduce the topic “Seasons” to her class.  I think the kids did great considering that they had no idea what they were saying.  She wrote the scripts out for them phonetically…

21Things Post #13

April McKee's wiki

On February 10th the secondary TRTs and I held a work session for the Foreign Language teachers.  I was very happy about the work we were able to do assisting most teachers individually or on small groups.  I was able to work with April McKee from Churchland High School who was a really hard sell.  Mrs. McKee has fully participated in every session that we have done with  the foreign language folks, but she finds no use for technology in her classroom…I finally got her insterested in creating a review site for her students.  We put together a wiki very quickly, and then used a digital voice recorder to create two podcasts for her Spanish 1 students.

What does this have to do with my 21Things??  Using a digital voice recorder with a teacher is number 21 on the list.  Don’t get happy yet, I’m not done…I’ve skipped around a bit and still have 5 items to go…

21Things Post #11

I am forever getting great stuff from folks in my PLN.  Two websites that I was introduced to recently are interesting:  This first one – Kidblog looks promising and will need to be sanctioned by OITMS before anyone uses it.  The premise is the same as classblogmeister – simple safe blogging for students. Instructional blogging – like writing prompts, journal entries and literature circles.  The interface of the Kidblog platform is clean, slick and updated.  I haven’t played with it at all to see if it has the same features as the blogmeister.  We’ll have to see…


The other site is – it’s a math game.  It’s very cute and just for practice in basic math facts.  The only part that is free is the addition part, but I played and had fun.  “competed with two other kids” and even had a progress report and achievement certificate sent to “my parents” email address.  I think there may be some real use for this in a classroom setting.


We survived week 1

Back to school

My mother sends me cartoons via email from time to time.  I thought this was especially funny when I received it Friday. 

It looked like a good week in both buildings.  At Brighton most folks had their equipment up and running – I only had one SOS call.  The folks at Victory were all using their projectors – even in Kindergarten.  Both principals have scheduled some training – it’s great to be back in the saddle.  I do have some shout outs – a few teachers that  that really surprised me…

  • Dr. Hunter Lowe(Fifth Grade Language Arts – Victory) is making a concerted effort to include technology this year.  She had me in her class introducing Kidspiration for writing on Wednesday – that’s right the second day of school.  I am sure the kids in her classes will be using the COWS for writing before the end of the nine weeks!
  • Mrs. Davis(Third Grade Math – Victory) had the first part of Promethean Jumpstart training on Wednesday afternoon and had the kids writing on the board Thursday morning!  I was especially happy that she wanted to use the place value flipchart I gave her right away.  She was using the place value manipulatives on the board and random number generators (dice) – talkin’ all that math talk at the kids…She really didn’t need me – so I just left.
  • Mrs. Bailey(Second Grade – Brighton)  managed to get her Promethean software upgraded over the summer.  She was using the new ActivInspire straight out of the shoot.  She did not want to wait for me to start “migration training”…When I got to her on Thursday her only question was “How do I calibrate?” Here’s a link to the ActiveInspire Migration Manual for the rest of you Power Users who don’t want to wait for me to get your training scheduled.
  • Mrs Taxson(Kindergarten – Brighton) was not about to let her transition to Kindergarden slow her momentum…that’s right those little tiny tots were already writing on the Promethean board on Thursday.  Why was I surprised – she’s only the regional Technology Educator of the Year. 

I know many of you had things going on that I never saw…I could tell by the conversations that I had with you: Mr. Trewartha was already using Orchard.  Mrs. Trumbauer mentioned a flipchart she used.  Ms. Gibson had a data projector all set up and wanted help with the document camera. Mrs. Petry had already checked out the ActivExpressions…

You all are intrepid and you never cease to amaze me.

DEN – Hall Davidson Keynote

Ok.  So I’m trying to blog live instead of taking notes that will never get transcribed.  So right now we are all taking out our phones and waving them at him.  We list the devices that we are holding in our hands:

  • Telephone
  • Clock
  • text messenger
  • still camera
  • video camera
  • video player
  • GPS device
  • Podcast (Gcast)
  • Music Player

These are tools that all of our kids have all the time in their pocket at school.  It’s a powerful device and the kids bring them to school VOLUNTARILY!!  We will not debate whether or not cell phones should be in school.  Even those in this audience will admit to taking them away.  We need to teach kids appropriate uses.  We don’t want to fight this – we will lose this debate.  We ought to just make this work.  Parents are not going to give up a device that allows them to track and monitor their kids.

There are twice as many texters as there are emailers.  16% of homes in US are exclusively wireless – they have no land line phones.  30 countries exceed 100% penetration in cellphones…US is behind because we had land lines before others did.   Lots of third world countires allow cell phones, businesses allow cell phones, but they are banned – by your local high schools.

Location based technologies can become location based teachable moments: Write a review after you watch the movie, take a picture of rectangles on the bus.  If our non-working hours have been ruined by cell phones, why can’t our students??

Uses for cell phone technology:

  • Live feeds from cell phones – use IP cameras for school security (Cisco gets it)
  • Pre/post lesson videos uploaded to a secure site for parents to watch (like youtube, but secure)
  • Teacher’s video lesson plans or other instructions for the sub
  • Report on the outcome of a meeting
  • Create a video challenge for your students
  • Video message sent to parents (like phonevite, but in video)
  • Use the phone to video student presentation and then send it to the kids parents
  •  – turns voice into text (Hall records to twitter from Jott)  You can use the same technology to post to Google Clendar -Administrator could use JOTT to document intervention- Jott will transfer voice to email, blogs, twitter etc.
  • GCAST for podacasting – Student can use it to interview subjects for a report – using their own cellphones – Have students call in to answer challenge questions, answer a prompt, students can recite times tables, or play the piece they were supposed to practice.
  • Langugae arts: Text a story in six words
  • Polleverywhere: Free app use cell phone to text and answer a poll

Text message 34381 and they’ll give the food chain and menu item, they will send you the nutrition breakdown.

Go to you can get the quizbuilder via cell phones.





    Blogs, blogging, blogged…What are we really talking about?

     I started a class on Web 2.0 about three weeks ago.  Sometimes the VDOE offers classes for TRTs.  I guess they think that they should help us decide the direction that we ought to be going.  I try to take as many as I can because I want to make sure that I am at least keeping pace with what the VDOE has suggested.  The classes have been interesting, but in general they seem to be things I have a pretty good handle on already.  I think the classes are great for learning about what is going on in other school divisions and for networking.  So I will continue to take them as I have the opportunity. 

    We are supposed to post to our blogs weekly about the course content, and of course since it’s on my blog, this assignment has fallen to the way side.  So here’s the post that I was supposed to do last week.  Required reading for this week is some older posts from Richardson and Dembo, both of whom I read (when I am reading).  The posts introduce the idea of conjugating the word blog.  Blog (noun), blogging (verb), and what the concepts we are talking about really mean. 

    Just to summarize, a blog is the site where you read what has been written and perhaps comment on it.  Blogging on the other hand is the act of reading, reflecting, and writing about what you read.  Which then might be read by someone else who reflects and then writes about what you have written.  The continuing circle becomes what we know as the blogosphere.  Dembo then asks a question:  When we take this practice into the classroom, are we rehashing the same old skills are we teaching something new?    Is the skill set required by students who blog different from what students are required to do in a regular classroom. 

    I am pretty sure that this is a new skill set.  Especially if we allow students to choose whose reflections they will read.  I could be said that they might have the same outcomes reading and reflecting on The Diary of Anne Frank, but I beg to differ.  Blogging becomes alive in a very different way then the reading, reflecting, and discussing that goes on in a regular classroom.  Blogging allows the student to choose what direction the discussion will go in.  It requires them to thoroughly think through their thoughts and opinions as they have to be expressed in writing.  Too a student in a class will add to the discussion a partial thought and be unable to fully express it.  Another student adds to their thought in an attempt to assist and then the conversation has may be seeded with thoughts that the student was in no way thinking.  If one of the participants hooks on to that idea there is a fundamental shift in the conversation that may never come back to the partially expressed thought of the first student. A student’s blog is her own.  The conversation never gets away from her and she is able to bring it back to her point and clarify to her audience.