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New Workshops @ the Berrien RESA

Finally got around to getting some workshops scheduled for this fall.  You can see all technology workshops being offered at the Berrien RESA right here.

In October I’ll be leading a new class trying to cover some of the many, many web 2.0 tools that can easily be used by educators.  Connecting & Collaborating with Web Tools starts on October 13 and will last six weeks.  During each of those weeks, we’ll focus on a different category of tool and explore ways in which those types of tools can be used to help students gain understanding and learn by being connected not only to pertinent resources but pertinent people (for example, other students) as well.

It’s kind of unfortunate to have to divide those tools into categories, because the differences between some of them is very blurry.  But, I needed to be able to chunk the information into a week’s worth of content, so I was forced to make some choices.  Here’s how I broke down:

  • Week 1:  Get Organized…kind of speaks for itself.
  • Week 2:  Be Productive…this one too.
  • Week 3:  Look What I Did…publishing and photo sharing.
  • Week 4:  Talk to Me…communication tools.
  • Week 5:  It’s Showtime…video and animation creation.
  • Week 6:  I’ve Got People…social networks and communities.
  • I’m really looking forward to this class…one reason being that participants will have such a variety of activities to choose from.  Nobody’s experience will be like that of another.  The sharing of projects in the discussion forum should really open everyone’s eyes!

    Oh…one more thing…just received confirmation that Connecting & Collaborating with Web Tools has been approved for 6.0 SB-CEUs as well as 2 graduate credits.  That can be helpful.  :-)

    NECC Session: Google Earth Advanced Placemarks

    NECC Program Description

    Google EarthSusan Anderson and Jim Holland are presenting this session and like the one before, it’s at capacity.  It’s too bad that participants can’t sit on the floors, but they’re not being allowed to.

    They’re main focus revolves around building Placemarks in Google Earth and how you can edit the contents of those placemarks so that there are images, formatted text, links to web resources, etc.  Thinking about it, it’s likely that I know most of what they’ll get to today, but I’m always ready to hear a tip or trick I didn’t know.

    I didn’t realize this before, but I see they have written a couple of books that cover this topic.  They look like great resources…something that I could build a workshop from.  I have a dozen GPS units that get checked out every now and it would be nice to get those tied in to Google Earth’s free resources.

    Just looking at some of their examples, they have used the HTML features in the Placemarks to create some interactivity for students…being able to click in the Placemark bubble to link to the web.  I’m not sure if I knew this, but the Placemarks allow embedded videos or VoiceThreads or Scrapblogs or whatever.  Oh, I did know that, but it’s a Windows only feature so I didn’t get to play with it at the time.

    As people were working along, a question arose about linking to images on the web.  By linking to web images, you’re using up some of that site’s bandwidth.  however, lots of sites such as Flickr, or PhotoBucket, or Pics4Learning are just fine with that.  Just be aware of who you’re linking to.

    Hey, here’s something new.  If you create a KMZ file with an image…the image is part of the package.  So  you can use your own images from your hard drive, save it as a KMZ, send it to someone else, and they’ll get all the information, including the image!

    We’re suffering from a connectivity issue, but the session is going well.  As I suspected, they’re not going to get to some of the advanced Placemarks tips and tricks that I was hoping for.  I know it’s probably in the book and it’s great to have a resource to turn to for that.

    Oh, before I forget…Andy Mann passed on this Google Earth Workshop page he created for…a workshop.  I thought this was as good a place as any to share that.

    Madness, Superdelegates, Playing ball…

    wwwstpatrick.jpg

    Top o’ the mornin’ to ye… or whatever. :-)

    • The Science Museum in London brings to you Launchball…an experiment in physics that anyone can learn from. Use it to study forces, motion, energy, gravity, reflection…
    • I usually don’t like to point to sites with lists of more sites, but I’ll share the Best of History Web Sites with you. There are a lot of links…certainly a better place to begin than just a Google search.
    • Nothing says March like NCAA Basketball, so let me pass on a couple sites that allow you to incorporate the Madness into your math curriculum.

    Tiny, Bitesize, and Teen Writing…

    Weekly Web Wonders

    Happy New Year! I suspect that you’re all a little fuzzy-headed this morning after not having to get up so early for two weeks. Once the fog clears, check out these great sites and resources.

    • Keep your eyes open for our Spring 2008 Tech Integration Workshops flyer…it should be making it’s way around this week. You can also see it online as a PDF or visit BCISD’s Professional Development Catalog.
    • Google and Writing for Teens have partnered together to help teach writing with Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs. Resources included are tutorials, articles, and a teaching guide.
    • The American Chemical Society has launched Bytesize Science, an educational, entertaining podcast for young listeners. There are already 12 episodes that can help instruct, spark discussion, and spark interest in science.
    • tinygraphs.pngAnyone who uses numbers of any type will like TinyGraphs. It’s a little Excel add-in (FREE, of course) that automatically graphs a row of data and puts it in a single cell. It’s hard to describe, but once you see a picture you’ll recognize its potential. Here’s a quick snapshot, but visit the site for more.
    • Are you looking for more materials for your advanced high school students? Check out MIT OpenCourseWare, a free publication of course materials used at MIT. Get lecture notes, problem sets, labs, lecture videos and demonstrations. Tons of stuff here!

    Science Friday, Denver Zoo, Antarctica…

    • Not having fun in science? Visit Science is Fun in the Lab of Shakhashiri, a site that highlights the chemistry demonstrations of Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    • NPR’s Science Friday has become very popular…visit their site for loads of information, which includes free Educators Guides, that you can immediately use in your classroom.
    • There are seven continents, but only one with no permanent inhabitants. Check out Discovering Antarctica.
    • The Denver Zoo‘s web site was recently nominated for a Webby Award (honors “excellence on the Internet”). Don’t feed the animals…
    • You’ve heard of YouTube (hopefully), but it’s blocked at school. Still want to use videos in your instruction? Visit TeacherTube to share and view videos appropriate for school.

    Us/ing, ide@s, e-Learning…

    • Normally I might point you to something more practical, but this video is worth watching. The Machine is Us/ing Us is only about four minutes long, but it’s an interesting look at how today’s Internet is not what it once was…it’s better.
    • Since I’m not quite practical yet, visit the Mii Editor (pronounced ‘me’) and create a face for your self. Or have your students create their friend’s face. Or the face of a famous person. Or the cast of Romeo and Juliet. I know you can find a creative use for this fun tool.
    • e-Learning for Kids features several web lessons and activities for younger students and their teachers.
    • We hear about science everyday in the news, but may not recognize it. The Why Files provides science background taken from current event stories.
    • ide@s is a site from Wisconsin that provides educators with “teacher-reviewed, standards-aligned lessons, interactive tools, video, and other resources…” Check out the videos…especially the science demonstrations. This is an awesome site!

    From the Connecting & Collaborating Conference

    Today I’m at the Ottawa Area ISD at the Connecting & Collaborating Conference.  What a day!  The conference was filled to capacity with educators who are interested in learning about cutting edge tools and strategies.  I know there were several people around that weren’t able to attend, so let me draw your attention to the conference wiki.  This wiki has links and resources from all the presenters, and although it’s not the same as being in the sessions, it’s still worthwhile to visit the wiki.  One reason is that in most cases participants are overwhelmed with so much information that they can’t assimilate it all at once.  The wiki is a repository for those resources and collective knowledge.

    The wiki is hosted by PBwiki, which I’ve highlighted before.  They very kindly upped the storage space since I mentioned that they have removed Google Ads from all their educational blogs.  Thanks!

    Great lakes, Pearl Harbor, Nobel Laureates…

    • Use Pearl Harbor Stories as a history lesson by listening to first-hand accounts of the attack.
    • Thinkature is a free, online meeting room where you can collaborate with others, share information, or present to others.  It has lots of uses…check it out!
    • Explore the work of some of the Nobel Laureates with these online activities.
    • “When are we ever going to need to know this?”  If you’ve heard that before, take a look at Math in Daily Life…and be ready with answers!
    • Our state is tied closely to the heath of the Great Lakes…Use TEACH Great Lakes has many resources including lesson plans, materials, and web links.

    The Case for Michigan’s Online Learning Mandate

    This seemed to slip by, so I wanted to bring up this opinion piece written by Bruce Umpstead (Director of Educational Technology & Data Coordination) and Barb Fardell (Manager, Office of Educational Technology & Data Coordination) from the Michigan Department of Education. The Case for Michigan’s Online Learning Mandate seeks to, as its title implies, justify the state of Michigan requiring an online learning experience for high school graduates. It’s pretty short, but should provide an official answer for those saying, “Why?”

    Here’s a quote:

    It requires both learners and educators to adapt and adopt new technologies and skills that will make them more successful long after the particular online experience has ended.

    The key stakeholders to this adaptation are educators, not students. As the article states, “Our kids are connected, and technology is now a part of their lives.” It’s going to be up to innovative and flexible teachers to convince students that this technology is going to be useful for their education.

    Online Learning Experiences in Michigan

    As you may or may not know, Michigan is now requiring an “online learning experience” for high school students graduating in 2011 and beyond. It’s a good idea and one that will help move both students and teachers along the technology road. The requirements aren’t too stringent, but the guidelines provided by the state may seem a bit nebulous.

    To help out, members of the Michigan REMC Association have developed a Companion Document (pdf) for districts to use as a planning tool.  The document answers some common questions as well as emphasizes key points.  More importantly, it details several examples of activities or strategies and how they could be used to fulfill the requirements using these Essential Characteristics of Quality Online Learning Experiences:

    • Collaborative experience between students
    • Integrated
    • Sustainability
    • Life-long Learning Skills
    • Teacher Involvement

    It’s a great tool…thanks to all those who worked on it!

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