Monday, November 29, 2010

How it ought to be............

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sounding Boards Sought!

Once again, it is time for the Sounding Board process for Vicki Davis's & Julie Lindsay’s latest Flat Classroom Project. This semester there are two concurrent Flat Classroom Projects so we need more Sounding Boards than ever! Here are your two options (feel free to participate in both, if you prefer):

Flat Classroom Project 3a Sounding Board

Flat Classroom Project 3b Sounding Board

The Sounding Board process is a very easy, fun and eye-opening way for younger students (upper elementary, middle, and lower high school) to participate in one of these amazing, global projects. Basically Sounding Boards act as peer reviewers for the students participating in the project. Small groups of students in the Sounding Board classrooms will review one Flat Classroom student group’s work and offer very simple peer feedback.

We are looking for as many classrooms as possible to join us in this quick and easy, but exciting project!

Usually the time commitment for teachers and students is about 2 – 4 hours depending on the age group you’re working with. For upper elementary groups, they usually spend closer to 4 hours, for middle school groups, they usually take just around 3 hours. Our aim is to make it as simple and easy to participate as possible!

We are looking for Sounding Board classrooms to participate in the review process during the last week of November 2010 and first week of December. Ideally there will be a teachers planning session in Elluminate as soon as we have enough classes signed up.

If you’re interested, please join the Flat Classroom wiki and add your name to the either of the Sounding Board pages (linked above)! Please feel free to send any questions to Kim Cofino or leave them here in the comments. Looking forward to working with another amazing group of teachers and students!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

k12online 2010 conference closing keynote

The closing live event of the K12Online 2010 Conference is November 10th at 7pmEST/11pm GMT. The session will be in Elluminate.
Full link:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Global Education Conference 2010

The Global Education Conference has an International Educator Advisory Board of over 90 educators worldwide, chaired by Julie Lindsay of the Flat Classroom ProjectTM.  Thirty leading global organizations serve as Conference Partners, including: the Asia Society, the Centre for Global Education, East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), ePals, iEARN, and TakingITGlobal.  Full lists of the advisory board and the partners can be found at the website, and interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to contact the conference chairs.
The 2010 Global Education Conference is a collaborative effort to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities and initiatives.  The conference will be held online November 15 - 19, 2010 in the Elluminate (now Blackboard Collaborate) platform. Sessions will be free, broadcast live in multiple time zones and multiple languages, and available in recorded formats afterwards.  The dates of the conference coincide with International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State.
Conference presentations will be categorized in five tracks:  Teacher, Student, Curricular, Policy and Leadership, and Global Issues.  Particular emphasis will be given to global inclusion and practical teacher application, and the intention is that all serious proposals be given the opportunity to be presented.  Keynote speakers will be announced in September and October.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Wizard of Apps

One of my favorite library videos is also a K12Online presentation - Don't miss this year's K12Online -->

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The K12Online 2010 Conference!!

I wait all year to hear which of my friends will be in the conference this year! This year the famed David Warlick keynotes, not in the beginning as previously, but at the end! Dean, my ketchup loving friend, you have large shoes to fill on this one...
So comments aside, here is the exciting line-up....
The Conference That Never Ends

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Global Education Conference

The Global Education Conference is a free, online and completely virtual conference scheduled to take place November 15- 19, 2010. Participants, presenters, and partners sought. Full details are available here on the conference web site.

This is a free initiative focusing on global collaboration in order to explore best practices that help students and educators develop global competencies.

To sign up for the mailing list, click here.
To submit a proposal, click here.
To suggest keynote speakers, click here.
To network with other conference participants, click here and to see the networking directory click here.
To sign up for the online community, click here.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

GVCS Pre-Camp 2010

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

To assign homework or not?

Alfie Kohn Live Chat from Shelly Terrell on Vimeo.

"Research has never confirmed that homework is useful for creating study skills, independence, responsibility, or self discipline." (Kohn, 2010)
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The Educator's PLN. (2010, February 17). Alfie Kohn Live Chat [Video file]. Retrieved from

Friday, June 18, 2010

Will it be done by you or to you?

Scott McLeod references Dr. Richard Florida’s idea that the world is indeed not flat but spiky. I have previously proposed that the world is wrinkled. These two ideas are identical but in name.
The wrinkles, as a describe in K12Online, are getting closer to each other, causing those of us on the top to see a flattening world, which Thomas Friedman has described.
But as those wrinkles draw closer to each other on top, the bottoms become increasingly hidden. Those on the inside of the wrinkles who are increasingly hidden from view are the 'have-nots'.So the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is a correct view of the present situation.
Scott quotes a section from Florida's book which suggests that there the population of areas caught inside the wrinkles is diminishing and that those people inside are increasingly connected to each other.
I refute these assertions. Can he support is claim in consideration of the birth rates and infant/juvenile mortality rates of these areas? How about the per capita? Internet service providers and internet subscription rates?
I claim people caught inside the wrinkles live in areas with increasing mortality rates, increasing birth rates, and they are not connected to the rest of the 'flattening world'.
If internet service is provided, individuals cannot take advantage of it because they lack skills and money with which to do it. Such are at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, their main concern being survival.
I welcome your signed ideas.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Are You Ready?

The future is here, are you ready for it, or will you be left in the dust?

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Life Around BCA

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Innovation can happen anywhere

"'s all about social capital." (Shirky, 2007)This and other resources can be found at The Social Media Reading List facilitated, but not gathered by, Hans Mundahl

Clay Shirky was speaking at TED June 2009. He is an adjunct professor at New York University in the graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program and author of Here Comes Everbody.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earthcast begins this evening!

Although the 24 hour earthcast goes by GMT hours, for me that will be 8:00pm this evening. Check out the schedule at and plan to tune in at the to the live Studio -->
What is Earthcast

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ways to Participate in Earthcast 2010

Are you interested in contributing to Earthcast 2010 on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, but you aren't willing to commit to a 30-60 minute time block?

Here are a few VERY simple ways to get involved:

1. Leave a comment on our project voicethread. We will play these comments live at some point during the 24 hour webcastathon on Earth Day.(Embedded below for your convenience)

2. Join in live via cell phone/telephone. Fill out this form so that we have your contact information. We'll do our best to call you within a 30 minute window of the time you leave in the form. This is a great opportunity to share some of the things that you are doing in your community, school, business or to simply talk about some interesting developments around the world.

For more on the Earthcast 2010 24 Hour Live Webcastathon on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, visit the following links:


Photo courtesy of Roberto Rizzato under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license available at
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Joaquin Gustav RFL Benefit Concert

Joaquin Gustav RFL Benefit Concert Thursday
April 1, 18:00pmSLT at
This superb guitarist from Argentina plays jazz, popular and Latin tunes, and you will be thrilled to hear such magnificent musicianship! Join us at Club Eclipse for some amazing music!

Este FANTASTICO Guitarrista Argentino toca jazz, musica latina romantica y popular, al escucharlo estaran maravillados por su magnifica guitarra! Visitenos en Club Eclipse para una gran aventura musical! Joaquin Gustav!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RFL Clothing Faire 2010 !

The RFLofSL Clothing Faire is going on right now! Don't miss this chance to be the best dressed avatar in Second Life AND donate to a worthy cause!!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Relay For Life of Second Life


The Fun has begun! On Saturday, March 13 the kickoff ceremony was held, followed by many team kickoffs. Our team celebrated at Hope Gardens following the kickoff.
Then the Passionate Redhead Team held their Kickoff on March 15, 2010 6pm to 8pm SLT at Moments Jazz Club. Our own DJ Shockwave was spinning the tunes while participants came dressed as Disney Characters.

To donate online please go to This Donation Page
To donate usong your cellphone please Text RELAY to 20222
Complete terms and conditions can be found here:
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Teaching and Learning Online

Teaching and Learning Online | $360.00
Tue: 03/16/2010
Instructor: Lisa Durff
Teaching and Learning Online | $360.00
Tue: 05/11/2010
Instructor: Lisa Durff
Teaching and Learning Online | $360.00
Tue: 07/13/2010
Instructor: Lisa Durff
Online courses, and the colleges, universities, and businesses that offer them, are continuing to rise steadily. This is due, in part, to the opportunity online education presents for global competition, an important topic in times of shrinking budgets. This can also be attributed to a new type of student and consumer who wants learning on his or her own time and schedule. Finally, this increase coincides with the growth of research supporting the notion that technology can help teachers teach and students learn.

Unfortunately, this increased interest in teaching and learning online does not necessarily mean teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach online. Many teachers have not taught online; most have never even taken a course online. Simply digitizing material does not work, as online education requires teachers to change from being content providers to content facilitators. For this to happen, teachers need scaffolding in creating, teaching and managing online courses.


In this course, teachers will have an opportunity to explore teaching online through learning online. There will be opportunities to collaborate with your peers; however, work can be completed within your own time schedule. The subject matter in this course is delivered through online video presentations, online readings and research, interaction & feedback with the instructor, and collaborative activities with classmates. This course takes approximately 30 hours of work.

Course Competencies

1. Become familiar with research in teaching and learning online
2. Learn constructivist perspectives on learning
3. Understand strategies for teaching online
4. Research topic related content available online
5. Learn ideas for incorporating interaction and motivation
6. Gain expertise in tools used in the current learning management system (LMS).
Crossposted from: and I'm pretty sure all the credit for goes to Joe Thibault

Monday, March 8, 2010

Teaching for Tomorrow

Just read Teaching for Tomorrow by Ted McCain and then stumbled across a set of really elucidating graphics that Langwitches did after reading Curriculum 21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. After a clarifying exchange with Jackie Gerstein on Twitter, a lightbulb went off. So here is my feeble attempt of illustrating McCain's 4D's of Problem Solving. Kudos to everyone else.

DefineCollect all the details needed to successfully complete the project
DesignCreate a plan to complete the project
DoActually do the project
DebriefEvaluate participant performance on the project

It's interesting that the most important step is the Debrief and it is the longest word. So much learning takes place during honestly assessing one's own performance on the project, talking about what went wrong, and what could have been done better. McCain emphasizes that learners cannot jump wholesale into this Problem Solving method. I plan to use a modification of the Debrief step with my 7th graders. McCain throws in many great ideas for authenticity that I wish I had done this year....sigh....

Image by Cool Text: Logo and Button Generator - Create Your Own

Monday, February 15, 2010

Of what use is homework?

I just participated in a conversation in Elluminate with Alfie Kohn. This was organised by Steven Anderson of The Educator's PLN. This was an exciting talk with over 100 people in attendance, including a classroom or 7th graders in their computer class.
During the talk, Alfie Kohn made point that there is no study published in any peer-reviewed journal that demonstrates that homework adds value to learning. This is timely and valuable information as I struggle to defend my no homework policy. I am forced to give grades, so we have participation points, quickwrite points, as well as engagement points. The class average is over 100% as we pass the half way mark in marking period 3.
Alfie Kohn has written 11 books, one of which, The Schools Our Children Deserve he talks about in a CNN Video Library video stream --> Here. This recording of Alfie Kohn is about 80 minutes and well worth a listen.
I enjoyed this talk during my lunch today. A wonderful President's Day! I hope the Educator's PLN soon hosts more events!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Like Nike Said, Just Do It!

Just found this as my heart is breaking. A friend's youngest son died last night of an unknown cause. She and her two remaining sons have been hospitalized until the cause is determined. Her oldest son was involved in a cycle accident not too long ago. He has brain damage and is in a hospital. I took her and our mutual friend on a cruise a few years ago when she was diagnosed with MS. My heart breaks for her and I wonder, how much is one person to bear?

This video distracted me for a bit. Maybe it will distract you too...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making Connections

We have spent some time in Study Skills looking at schema. The theory basically says that we all have a structure to our knowledge of the world. In order to gain new knowledge, we must connect it to existing schema in our brains somehow.

We have practiced doing this with the QAR strategy, with the BDA Strategy, and with mindmapping on
Research confirms that unless we "hang information" on something we already know, 98% of everything coming into our brains only spends a few moments in working memory and is then lost. Or as I am fond of saying, it goes in one ear, spins around with increasing momentum, and goes flying out the other ear faster than before it entered.
Twenty-first century skills are about infusing or integrating tech tools with learning. It is not about the technology in our classroom. It is about the learning. I will show learners how to do the technology, but find as the years go by, that I show less and use more. This is wonderful! Technology is everywhere, infused into every aspect of our lives. It is also easier to use and becoming easier. Pretty soon I won't be showing learners how to format a hyperlink in html because I won't have to do so. There will be icons everywhere for links and images.
One of the skills our learners need is the ability to collaborate. We are working on this fluency skill this Marking Period with our Studycasts and Biome Wikis. Note that all learners MUST work in a group on group goals, they may work from any internet connected computer, and resources to get them started are in the Diigo group.

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Photo courtesy of coolcatteacher

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Where America Stands: Schools

I caught this tidbit on Twitter from @kjarrett. Listen carefully to the statistics.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Earthcast 2010 - A Global, 24 Hour Webcastathon on April 22nd, 2010 (Earth Day)

The Earthbridges Community is happy to report that we're in the early stages of preparing for Earthcast 2010, which is a live, 24 hour long global webcast that will take place on April 22nd, 2010. This is the third year in a row that the *Earthbridges community will be involved in the production of this event and we hope to build upon our successes of the past in many ways. During Earthcast 08 and Earthcast 09 we had contributions from people on many different continents broadcasting in several different languages-we hope to have even more participation from more people around the globe during Earthcast 2010.

We encourage people of all ages, backgrounds, and geographic locations to contribute to the project in some way, shape or form. A very simple way to participate is to help us promote the event; a more complex way to participate is to actually host a block of time. Listen to some of the archived content from Earthcast 2009 by visiting our online community. If you're interested in investigating the various ways to contribute and participate, check out our "Ways to Participate" page.

Further project information, promotional materials, and news will be released and published over the next several weeks. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment here or to use our contact information and links below to get in touch with us and learn more about how to contribute to Earthcast 2010.

Email earthbridges -at- gmail -dot- com

The Official Online Community

Follow us on Twitter at 'earthbridges.' Encourage others you know to follow us as well

Fan us on our Facebook Fan Page

Join and contribute photos to our Flickr Community Group

Earthbridges Community Earthcast planning wiki

Earthcast 08 Teaser Video

Earthcast 09 Teaser Video

Throughout this event we'll be using #earthcast10 as the hashtag and earthcast10 as the general tag.

The Earthbridges Community is a sub-community of the "Worldbridges" network. We appreciate the support of the Worldbridges community in helping us achieve the goal of creating an annual 24 hour, live webcastathon that conincides with Earth Day.

Photo Courtesy of Practical Owl covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license and available at

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Privileged Education

Yacinta's Story: 'The lengths I went to get an education' from Camfed on Vimeo.

We are indeed lucky here in the USA. I spent most of my day online virtually attending Educon. That also would not be possible in countries without an internet connection. We are indeed lucky. Are we helping others in the world?
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Responding to Haiti

The Mennonite Central Committee, the governing body for many Mennonite churches, has pledged at least $100,000 U.S. or $103,420 Cdn. for immediate needs in Haiti. The Mennonite Church has been in Haiti since 1958 and now anticipates a multimillion-dollar response to this natural disaster.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here it comes ... !

As anyone can see from this lovely cabgirl's expression, Educon2.2 is almost here!
Educon is THE conference which takes place at The Science Leadership Academy in Philly. Attending this conference the first two years was like going to a party with my Tweets and having a blast! Not only does one think, mull, resonate, participate, converse, and write, but one gets to eat great food and drink coffee too!
If you haven't registered or reserved a room, hurry up! I won't be there, due to a mishap on some ice, but you could be. I would love to meet you in any of the sessions virtually.
The conference attendees read like a "Who's Who in the world of educational technology, integration, & collaboration." I know the world famous cabgirl, k12online conference convener, cohost of It's Elementary, winner of ISTE's Kay L. Bitter Vision Award for Excellence in Technology-based PK—2 Education , presenter of a NECC session entitled "Global Connections in the Primary Classroom", so much more, and world-class kindergartner educator Maria Knee (pictured above) will be in attendance.
Other names to rattle off? @lizbdavis , @khokanson , @joycevalenza , @paulrwood , @kjarrett (who took the above photo) , and of course @courosa (who speaks Ubuntu to my netbook!). I know I have left you out, and I'm sorry. There are just too many "Rockstars" to mention!

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Photo courtesy of Kevin Jarrett, swiped from his flickr stream of Educon 2.1 covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license and available in the original form at

Friday, January 8, 2010

Does it keep you awake at night?

After reading "What Makes a Great Teacher?" an Atlantic Monthly article by Amanda Ripley, I noted several points:

  1. Great Teachers raise the bar, setting high goals for students.
  2. Great Teachers are never satisfied with themselves but constantly seek to be more effective.
  3. Great Teachers partner with families in educating learners.
  4. Great Teachers focus on learning.
  5. Great Teachers plan, plan, and then plan some more.
  6. Great Teachers teach 24/7, not just in a particular room during a particular time of day.
  7. Great Teachers find a way even when there are no resources.
  8. Great Teachers constantly check for understanding, and reteach when necessary.
Do you have what it takes to be a great teacher? Does it keep you up at night thinking about your students and how best to lead them? Are you doing the above eight things? Or in the words of someone else I know, are you earning your salary?

Photo courtesy of Jsome1 shared under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license available at

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Empowering Learners

This video asks what are the important qualities that Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, feels girls should possess nowadays. I would reframe that question to ask what are the important qualities that all learners should possess now and in the future.
To extend this question, I would further ask what should we be enabling all learners to do now and in the future? Are we enabling learners to delve deeply into topics and yet obtain a wide berth of knowledge (or at least know where to find it) ?
I still think the three most essential skills past the three R's are the three C's, or connecting, communicating, and collaborating. I am hardpressed to think of anything a person may do in life that will not involve these skills.
So let's get busy enabling all learners to develop global PLE's, to comprehend and create using various mediums. Let us equip learners to collaborate across cultures and time zones. I challenge you blogosphere this year!