Sunday, November 29, 2009

K12 Online Conference 2009 - Around the World with Skype – Alrededor del Mundo con Skype

Silvia Tolisano's presentation, Around the World with Skype or Alrededor del Mundo con Skype will go live on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 12:00:00GMT -->Time Where You Are

Presentations for years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 are on the k12Online blog. Check out the conference schedule --> Here.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

K12 Online Conference 2009

The K12Online Conference 2009 is about to begin! So far this year we have enjoyed 3 LAN parties leading up to the main conference. The LAN parties featured past presenters, their presentations, and chat room hullabaloo. While this was all connecting and learning, the main event really gets me dancing!
The preconference keynote goes live on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:00:00GMT --> Time Where You Are. This doesn't mean you have to be there the moment it goes live (although a bunch of us may be). The discussion of the preconference takes place on Friday December 4, 2009 from 1 - 2:30 am GMT --> Time Where You Are. That live event will take place at EdTechTalk with Kim Cofino live discussing the themes of her keynote with those participants in the chatroom. Of course, you may want to be there live, but if live intervenes, there will be a recording for later.
Below is a conference flyer for you to print and disseminate at your school, church, workplace. The conference is totally free. One only needs the internet, a computer, and a way to listen. Many libraries where I live provide all of these to their patrons. Come join us at the k12Online Conference this year and begin to bridge the divide...k12online09flyer-GMT

Thursday, November 26, 2009

EduBlog Awards 2009

The EduBlog Awards celebrate achievements of bloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, & wikis.

I nominate:
Best individual blog Tom Woodward Bionic Teaching
Best individual tweeter Joe Evans @joevans
Best group blog School Library Journal
Best new blog Neil Stephenson Thinking in Mind
Best class blog Room 231
Best librarian / library blog Springfield Township HS Virtual Library ; Pat Pledger ReadPlus
Best elearning / corporate education blog Innosight ; The Berkman Center
Best educational use of audio Gator Radio Experience
Best educational wiki
Best educational use of a social networking service Edmodo
Lifetime achievement - no one has been blogging their entire lifetime.

And I add Best educational game Lure of the Labyrinth
Best call to civic action World Food Programme
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Does it stay on FB?

Remember the saying some cruise lines like to tell their guests - what happens on the ship stays on the ship? Were it so on FaceBook. But when you inadvertently say things on FaceBook, remember your grandmother, your employer, your teacher, and your principal may all be reading what you said about them.
I recently was asked to talk someone's parents into allowing their child on FB. I spent the time explaining to her why we should NOT be on FB. One of my biggest reasons (and I teach in a Christian school) is that it damages our witness. There are far more people in the world that are convinced FB is a bad thing than those who are convinced it is a good thing.
Other persuasive reasons found me today in my aggregator. Leigh Zeitz reports that research by Aryn Karpinski and Adam Duberstein compared the grades of students who use FB to those not using FB. They surveyed 219 students from Ohio State University, finding that FB users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5. However, students in the study who didn't use FB had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. They also found that FB users studied an average of 1 - 5 hours a week but non-users studied between 11 - 15 hours. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in April of this year. While the study results needs to be replicated on a larger scale, these preliminary results are enough for me. With all, and I mean all, my students on FB, I have no need to damage my reputation.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:3,
But among you there must not be even a hint of immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
As someone who is looking for fulltime employment, and someone who is employed in the field of education, I think it is an asset NOT to have a FB. How many of those K12 parents will breathe easier knowing their child's teacher is not on FB? Those are the people paying the bills, whether it is private or public education.
I wrote this for you bluenugget.
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Photo courtesy of AJC1 covered under an attribution-noncommercial 2.0 generic creative commons license available at

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Whenever I accumulate enough to make a reloan on KIVA, I involve the learners in my classroom. They choose to whom we should loan and IM my the name. I have been doing this since Christmas 2007. Microloans through KIVA go around traditional banks. With the motive of alleviating poverty, KIVA has seen explosive growth. Thus far 596,058 have loaned $103,042,085 in 187 countries.

A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Loan from Kieran Ball on Vimeo.

This holiday season, consider giving a KIVA loan in lieu of a trinket. Spend your hard earned money where it can do the most good! Investigate KIVA today!!
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why surf streams of learning?

I'm reading an interview with Motoko Akiba, coauthor of recent study comparing teachers in Australia, Japan, and the United States. The book, Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. Teaching Force in Global Context, was written as a result. Akiba asserts in the interview that in order to improve USA education, we need to focus on:
  1. Improving teacher quality;
  2. Developing school community;
  3. Improving school safety.
It seems one way to improve teacher quality is to increase professional development hours. She claims,
U.S. teachers spend 66 hours for professional development per year on average, compared to 76 hours among Australian teachers and 284 hours among Japanese teachers.
On average, how many hours do you clock? Is that number representative of your quality, your availability, or the current economic outlook in the USA today? Let's see, what have I done:
  1. Educon 2009 - probably about 12 hours
  2. PETE-C 2009 - 12 hours
  3. VWBPE - 20 hours
  4. FETC - probably 12 hours
  5. Numerous other live streams flowing out of conferences over summer 2009
  6. ACSI development hours - 6 hours
  7. blendedschools online conference - 6 hours
  8. Graduate course - 40 hours
Total = somewhere over 100 hours
I work in a school with a strong sense of community, dismal safety/security, and no professional development. We have required inservice hours, but when one is forced to attend, what is one really getting?
So where do you fall on the hour timeline of professional development?

Akiba, M. & LeTendre, G. (2009). Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. teaching force in global context. New York: Teachers College Press.
Photo courtesy of Michael Dawes covered under an Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license available at

Sunday, November 8, 2009

K12Online 2009 Conference 3rd LAN Party


Please join us on November 18, 2009 at 22:30GMT/3:30pmPST/
for a live event of the 2009 K12Online Conference

On November 18, the K12Online Conference is hosting a LAN party from 6:30PM to 8:30PM EST. We invite everyone to gather at the LAN party site with colleagues in order to view two past conference presentations and then engage in lively discussions in the EdTechTalk chatroom. The following presenters will be in attendance.

6:30 – 7:15 Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel
Kevin Jarrett and Sylvia Martinez
Kevin is a K-4 Technology Facilitator at Northfield Community School in Northfield, NJ. He works closely with classroom teachers on engaging projects across the curriculum. Kevin also teaches online at Walden University’s Graduate School of Education. He has been exploring Second Life since March 2007 thanks to a $10,000 Faculty Excellence grant and expects to publish his findings in the fall.

Sylvia Martinez is president of Generation YES, working to empower students in K-12 schools through digital technology. Sylvia has designed educational games, curriculum, and online experiences for teachers and students. Sylvia speaks and writes on subjects such as the use of technology, simulations and games to enhance educational opportunities and enable youth voice.

6:45 – 7:30 Release the Hounds

Chris Harbeck

Chris Harbeck teaches grade 8 math to approximately 140 students each year. He has been teaching middle school students for over a decade and is in his third year of using 2.0 applications and “21st Century Learning” in his classroom. Despite the fact (or more realistically because of the fact) that math is one of those subjects students often reflect back on with distaste, fear or indifference, Chris has moved from teaching both social studies and math to the one subject. He has been involved in development of the middle years math curriculum at the divisional and provincial level. With his strong focus on conceptual understanding, Chris has discovered that using 2.0 tools and applications make math fun and interesting. An encouraging trend has emerged: students do not run away and saying “I hate math”; they love to do assignments and have started to see the beauty in math.

The EdTechTalk community will host this event at
For questions or more information, contact Susan Van Gelder, Live Events Committee, at or on Twitter at @k12online.

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Outstanding Educator

The two most important qualities that an educator can possess are a willingness to patiently teach and a willingness to patiently learn. Both of these qualities imply a knowledge of the best possible practices, a constant yearning to identify these practices, and the ability to take risks by applying these practices to one's craft of teaching. Inherent in these qualities is the ability to communicate through listening, speaking, reading, and writing well. Indeed, these are the very qualities that teachers seek to foster in their students, and so it must follow that outstanding teachers are excellent role-models.

In order to patiently teach, educators must be aware of the several different modalities through which students learn. Educators must be able to teach concepts and generalizations through these modalities, identify when this is necessary, and be willing to do so. Educators must be willing to teach rather than constantly test, realizing that children will make errors and that they can learn much from errors. Such teachers converse with their students about what they are learning. They enjoy reading and writing with their students daily. Patient educators also need to consider wait time, targeted verbal reinforcements, and hands-on instructional techniques.

In order to patiently learn, educators must hone their ability to observe, realizing how rich a store of information is seen in each student. Remarkable educators meekly learn all they can from students. They constantly seek new information about their craft, being life-long learners who are self-propelled in a quest to become better at what they do. These teachers take university classes, attend workshops, collaborate with colleagues, and always question whether there isn't a better way.

An outstanding educator possesses the qualities outlined. I hold these ideals and hope to become an educator displaying these qualities.

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Photo courtesy of muha covered under a Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license and available at