Wednesday, December 12, 2007

VoiceThread & Community Walk Example Lessons

My final project in my 21st Century Skills class was to update the current way a lesson or topic is taught in the classroom to meet the guidelines set forth by the 21st Cent Skills Iniative. I decided to use two of my favorite new tools, VoiceThread and CommunityWalk, in conjunction with one of my favorite subjects, The Civil War in NC (Thank You Again Dr. Candy Beal for inspiring me about my local history).

I created a wikipage to act as a launch point and have included rubrics and storyboards. I'd love to get some feedback, please take a look!

Monday, December 10, 2007

NCETC Chat Follow-Up

One of the great things I have learned from David Warlick (and have only had a chance to use it once, but loved it) is to foster the "back-end chat." So many times I've heard - "Close your laptops now. OR Turn off your monitors." We are so afraid of what THEY will do if we can't have their undivided attention.

So how do we foster multi-tasking computer users WITHOUT losing the dreaded "time on task." You create a mechanism for your audience to discuss issues DURING the presentation. You foster the "back-end chat."

David has done this and then afterwards interjects his own comments and posts the chat. Today, I got around to actually reading the chat and clarifying some issues.
Check it Out

and happy Backchatting!

(Oh and I used a program called Pladeo to do this - instead of the Ajax chat client David used.

Edublog Awards

I am always impressed by the quality of winners from the Edublog Awards, and this year is no exception. Some of these I have heard of, others I have not. I look forward to exploring them all more!

Best educational use of a virtual world
Suffern middle school in Second Life (Second Life)

Best educational use of a social networking service
Classroom 2.0, Steve Hargadon (Ning)

Best educational wiki
Welker’s Wikinomics, Jason Welker (Wetpaint)

Best educational use of video / visual
RBG Street Scholars Think Tank Multi-Media E-Zine, Marc Imhotep Cray (Blogger)

Best educational use of audio
SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast (Wordpress)

Best elearning / corporate education blog
eLearning Technology, Tony Karrer (Blogger)

Best educational tech support blog
El tinglado, Josa Cuerva Moreno

Best librarian / library blog
A Library By Any Other Name, Vaughn Branom (Blogger)

Best teacher blog
The tempered radical, Bill Ferriter (Typepad)

Most influential blog post
Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? - The Fischbowl, Karl Fisch (Blogger)

Best resource sharing blog
TipLine - Gates’ Computer Tips, Jim Gates (Blogger)

Best new blog
dy/dan, Dan Myer (Wordpress)

Best group blog
Techlearning blog

Best individual blog
ScienceRoll, Berci Meskó, Hungary (Wordpress)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My sessions are complete...

Whew..... I am finally done with my presentations and workshops. You know it seemed like a good idea at the time to present FOUR times AND teach a workshop. Really, it did. I am sitting in Patrick Crispin's session on Accessibility right now and am trying to decompress. My morning sessions went really well (and in my opinion better than yesterday). Although yesterday we had a 30 minute break between presentations and we had only 15 today - and I totally didn't realize and started LATE!!!!!

The majority of my presentations I have placed on my wiki

Please feel free to add your comments and sites that you have found. A big thank you to everyone who came to my presentations. I really enjoy presenting and as exhausted as I am - it was totally worth it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Warlick's Video Game Presentation

I am a big fan of using (appropriate) video games to engage learners in the classroom. I worked for a video game testing and support facility in Baltimore, MD when I was taking a detour from education. They were moving into the edutainment market and wanted someone with education experience that could speak geek. I learned more there about computers and how they worked (as well as the people that loved them), more than I ever thought possible.

What always surprised me was how smart most of these guys were (very few girls), how little education beyond high school - which embodied all the stereotypes I had come to know - and yet how social and smart and dedicated they were to their jobs. Mind you I know that they were the exception not the rule, but it gave me some insight that I will forever be grateful for.

Now on to my session comments......

David always has a great looking presentation and uses wikis for his Online Handouts.

We are investigating Second Life at State - so I am excited to see that David has an office there and is demoing how to use SL to deliver content. I wonder if this is the future of Course Management Systems?!

Can we teach with games? or learn with games?
I actually responded to this question in the chat. I believe there are definite teachable moments with comparing virtual or historic environments for the real world. Even comparing games that are not historically accurate are important. (I have vivid memories of playing Oregon Trail as a fourth grader during lunch in the computer lab - yes I was one of those).

How is the "video game generation" different?
We are competitive, risk taking and sociable as well as Self-confident! You get to be the Hero! My husband and I actually had this discussion the other day about board games (I had board game night as a kid). He loved play Othello and Stratego while I loved Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly. He prefers much more strategy and long term planning games than I did.
Can video games teach empathy?
I wonder about this. Can putting our students in virtual environments impact them enough to change their views about real life?

Is the line blurring from real life and online life? Do we want it to?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Podcasting Workshop

Well I just finished my Podcasting Workshop at NCETC. This is the first time I have conducted a workshop by myself in a long time. I missed having someone else to banter back and forth with - it was a bit isolating. I had a small group of people and I think we produced some good podcasts. I have to wonder if I should start teaching Audacity more. As much as I want to live in a Mac world - it just isn't quite there yet.

I will be Twittering most of the conference - bethanyvsmith

It looks like all my presentations are on the other side of the hotel in pretty large rooms - I'm not sure if that is good or bad! Hope to see some of you at the conference!

Friday, November 16, 2007

1,000 Hits!

Evan says, "Yea! Mommy's blog has over 1,000 hits"

I literally "hit" a milestone today - 1,000 hits to my webpage! This means so much to me - not just because I yearn to be popular (just kidding), but really because it is the conversations that grow out of blogging that are so important and drive me to continue posting. Blogging on a regular basis is an important part of my own professional development, and I appreciate your support.

My 1,000th hit was at 7:24 PM last night from Mountain View, California! How cool is that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

David Warlick @ MEGA

Davis is discussing current internet usage based on data from the PEW foundation.

PEW - Internet & American LifeResearch on how Americans are using the internet.
Parent & Teen Use in PEW

How do adults "social network?" vs. the way students social network via. MySpace & Facebook

Educators are using Tinkertoys - little tools to help us do our job.

As "adults" (or non-myspacers) we are putting together several tools to facilitate our learning. I embody this idea in my use of Blogger, Twitter,, Google Reader, etc. But I struggle with the idea of 1) Presenting all these tools to my teachers and 2)Should we be using Facebook - since that is where our students live - or will a separate social network work (like a nin). I also worry that throwing too many options - and not scaffolding correctly will bring everything down to the ground.

I really, REALLY want to get a College of Ed Social network of the ground, but how do you get people to come? MySpace in particular has the most horrid webdesign usage- it breaks every usability rule - yet people love it, because of the people. Can we design a great interface and get people to use it? I don't know...

Side Note:

David did mention a new book - that I think I need to read.
Small Things loosely Joined - book on Web 2.0

Monday, November 12, 2007

MEGA on Tuesday

Tomorrow - Tuesday - will be the MEGA meeting at the Friday Inst, on NC State's Centennial Campus. I helped design some of the technology in the building and "was there in the begining." I am very proud of the space and am always am excited to be apart of such events as American Education Week.

Now I used to help produce MEGA when I worked for Lisa Grable, and I still feel a strong bond to the project (besides the fact that I presented at it last month). Not only that but David Warlick himself will be speaking about "Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century" & "Classroom Blogging: 2nd Edition". David is an excellent speaker and I am a huge admirer of his work. Linda Perlstein will also be speaking about the "Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers."

I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cyber Safety

I had a conversation with my younger brother - who is considered a Millenial or Next-Gen (i.e. He is in college and is under 25 years old) about Facebook. He was discovering that some of the high school students he was working with had found his facebook profile. He was lamenting this fact because he had to take down "inappropriate pictures." And that the "wrong people" were finding his profile. He was like, "Why would other people look for me?" When I explained that his students could probably find them somewhere - even after he had taken them down. He was astonished. The following videos illustrate this point:

Thanks to Wes Fryer for posting these the other day - as well as drawing attention to his PD videos page - hawesome!

Friday, November 9, 2007

NCETC Workshops & presentations

I have decided to really participate in conferences this year - and I am really excited about the prospects already. I have 1 workshop and 4 presentations at NCETC at the end of this month in Greensboro, NC at the Koury Convention Center - November 27th, 28th & 29th. Hope to see you there!

The Power of Podcasting: Listening, Creating & Posting Tuesday 9AM to Noon

Podcasting continues to be a buzz word in instructional technology, but how does one actually create one? This workshop will showcase examples of podcasts across different curricular areas and levels. We will discuss the principal components of a podcast and create one in GarageBand. Come join me in creating a truly multimedia product and discover how to implement in your school!

The Power of Podcasting Prg # E059 Thursday 9am-10am Room:Tidewater

Podcasting continues to be a buzz word in instructional technology, but how does one actually create one? And how do I use it in MY classroom? This session will showcase examples of podcasts across different curricular areas and levels. We will discuss the principal components of a podcast and the tools necessary to create one on both Mac and PC platforms. Come join me as we explore the possibilities of listening and creating podcasts in your classroom.

Integrating Wikis into your Classroom Prg#E061 Wednesday 12PM - 1PM Room: Victoria C

Have you heard of a wiki? Do you want to create them in your classroom, but don’t know where to start? Come explore the wiki resources available online for educators (including PB Wiki), and the unique ways to incoporate them into your lessons. Harness the power of the Read/Write Web for group assignments, thematic units and much more!

The Power and Possibilities of Course Management Systems Prg #E058 Wednesday 4:30-5:30PM Tidewater

What does it take to design a course for a Course Management System (CMS)? How can I take an existing course and put it in a CMS? Can an in-person class utilize a CMS or is it just for Distance Education? Just what is a Moodle anyway?! These questions and more will be answered as we explore the world of Course Management Systems. A CMS can be a powerful tool in terms of creating a safe and secure environment for your students to interact and share information. It can also aid teachers in tracking assignments, as well as student grades and progress through a course. We will discuss how to rethink your existing courses when utilizing a CMS and what to keep in mind when creating new ones. Implementing and using such systems as Blackboard/WebCT Vista & Moodle will be covered as well examples of both systems shown.

The Internet is the new OS Prg # E060 Thursday 10:15AM - 11:15AM Tidewater

Google Docs? SlideShare? RSS? EduBlogs? PB Wiki? What do all of these have in common? They are all part of what we call the Read/Write Web or Web 2.0 and are in essence reimagining what we think of as an operating system. The Internet is now not only capable of handling what we traditional have done off-line, but can take it to another level of sharing and interactivity. In this session we will explore the tools that are out on the World Wide Web, and discuss ways to use them in your classroom.

NCSU Blogger MeetUp

I am considering the idea of hosting a Blogger MeetUp for NC State. I had such a great experience this past week and when I went to the NECC conference - that I realized we had the opportunity to do this in our own back yard!!!

What do you think - can I pull this off?

The face of our students

I know that this video has been circulating for awhile - I just haven't had a chance to really comment about it. My first reaction is - How cool! To get students in a college classroom to not only gain some insight about themselves, to use the Read/Write Web (Google Docs) to do it, and then use video to share it with the world. This is a powerful and engaging message that as teachers, we need to recognize where our students are coming and growing from - otherwise we will lose them.

NBC17 Blogger MeetUp

I was honored to be asked to attend a Blogger MeetUp hosted by NBC17 at the coffee shop down the street from me this past week. I wasn't exactly sure what I was in for - being interviewed? surrounded by uber-geeks? no one else showing up but me? But what I found was much more interesting - it was getting back to the root of blogging - meeting people you never would have before. It is said that the beginning of some great organizations (like Lloyds of London) occurred in coffee shops, they have been the great synergistic places of modern civilization. So it was quite full circle to bring everything back to a local coffee house. There were bloggers from all differing levels and expertise, and we were all conversing with each other about the possibilities of blogging.

"Because it is the Conversation that Counts"

*Special Shout Out to Lisa Sullivan for including me - Thanks!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Voice Thread & Elementary Pre-Service Teachers

I worked with a professor and her Junior Elementary Ed students on a podcasting project a few weeks ago. My colleague in the Media Center, Ann Akers, and I used iPods to record an entire podcast (using the micromemo microphone) and then upload the mp3 to their wikispace. It was a quick and easy way to create a podcast without any editing needed - which fit quite well into their elementary technology needs.

As a follow up we wanted to incorporate visuals and audio for a writing project. I had read about Voice Thread in Wes Fryer's Blog and had also seen it demonstrated during the K-12 Online Conference. It allows for users to combine photos and audio online, but with a twist - several people can have

When I showed it to the faculty member, she was blown away by the possibilities. I'll be working with her students next week and I'm exited to see what they create.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I am presenting a workshop on Podcasting for MEGA with Joselyn Todd (from Cary Academy) at the Friday Institute tomorrow. We have over 40 PEOPLE signed up!!!!!! I have had a great time prepping for this with Joselyn via Skype, Google Docs, and PB Wiki. We have truly modeled how teaching in the 21st Century can and needs to happen!

Our Wiki is set-up at I can't wait to see how it grows!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

3D Online User Environments

DELTA at NC State is looking into 3D Online User Environments such as Second Life for Distance Education Purposes - here are my notes from the session I attended.

3D environments
Activeworlds - more control, hosted, not cross-platform, 30-50 people at a time
SecondLife - v. popular, freely avail, huge community
Google SketchUp - Info System, can set-up virtual space, develop models for Google Earth
Advanced Game Engines - requires programming experience for development

PP315 - Diagnostic Game - Lab environment simulation

Challenges: Accessibility & FERPA

Other Resources:
Discovery Education
Once upon a SLURL...Learning in Second Life

K-12 Online COnference
“Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds - Panel”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Online Learning Conference

I had one of the best conversations surrounding education last Monday. In the midst of everything I was doing - I took some time Monday morning to watch David Warlick's Pre-Conference Keynote and participate in an online chat that spanned timezones and continents. Some of my favorite bloggers were participating at the same time I was, Julie Lindsay and Jeff Utech amoung them. David has recently posted the chat, along with his comments.

Here are some excerpts, that I hope to elaborate on later (David's comments are in italics):

Bethany Smith (NC) • 2007-10-08 09:02:39
i vote for looking at products not tests

Hmmmm! Test kids, not on what they've learned, but what they can do with it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

EYH - Expanding Your Horizons

I am fortunate enough to be on the Steering Committee for Expanding Your Horizons, and excellent program for middle school girls in science. Here is the official announcement!

Seventh grade teachers and career counselors, mark your calendar! The Sixteenth Annual EYH Career Conference for 7th grade girls is scheduled on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008. The purpose of the conference is to expose middle grade girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The conference is hosted by The Science at North Carolina State University.

Registration for schools will open on Monday, December 3, 2007 and close on Monday, January 14th, 2008. For more information about the conference, contact

Sunday, October 7, 2007

21st Century Learning

How do you define 21st Century Learning? Is it the content? Is it the tools? Is it how you deliver content? Does the room matter? Is it virtual? I find the idea of defining 21st Cent Skills odd in some ways, and difficult in others. We can't predict the future, and in our current society, technology and lives change at an exponential rate compared to the last century. So how do you build skills for the future? You add flexibility, yet set ambigious guidelines that allow for the ebb and flow of change. But how do you set standards that encompass 21st Century Skills? How can you categorize something that is so hard to nail down? We currently live in a EOG & Standards based world - and that isn't about to change anytime soon.

So when I look at the 21st Century Skills Initiative - that NC is apart of - I'm not surprised to see that this is an initiative driven by businesses and industry. Maybe this is where the flexibility we need to define skills - by business needs and the funding to make it possible can come together. Maybe....


This is based on a discussion in my 21st Century Learning Class:

I think Wikis are the poster childs for the entire concept of the Read/Write Web or AKA Web 2.0 (I personally dislike that term). The whole idea of making the web be the new OS, and be our applications has enormous possibilities. Wikis are the best example of this, they are a web page, a presentation, a word processor, all rolled into one.

But how does this make a difference to our students? By giving them the ability to 1) Create a webpage easily and effectively. 2) To share information with their group or classmates as a whole.
In regards to sharing information, have a wiki page for a subject in class, say the history of North Carolina in 8th grade, and build your own wiki page. Have students collect all the information they find into one resource to be shared. Not only have you created a worthwhile project that you can go back to, as a teacher you can view individual contributions and assign different grades for the same product! For those of us that love th concept of group work, but hate the grading of it - this is a lifesaver.

But, this brings up another point - how do we know the info in a wiki, such as wikipedia is factual? Well how do we know what is in Encyclopedia Britannica is factual? We place our faith in a few people that write for Britannica, and ASSUME that it is correct. Just because it is in print, doesn't make it any better, it just makes it harder to correct. Wikipedia depends on a community of people and corrections can be made easily, economically, and quickly. However, ALL sources, print, web or otherwise should be corroberated. In doing research, nothing can be taken for a fact unless two other sources can confirm that fact. Wikipedia nor should Encyclopedia Brittancia be our primary and only source for information - it should be a starting point, but not the be end and end all.

For reference, Nature did a study of Wikipedia vs. Britannica in 2005

Friday, September 28, 2007

Google Reader

I am addicted to my RSS feed, and in the past I have sung the praises of Net News Wire, but in this age of the Read/Write Web and for the sake of trying new things, I looked into Google Reader.

I was worried at first that I would need to start my subscriptions from scratch, and with 80+ RSS feeds I peruse - this was not an exciting idea. However, I discovered an Import/Export feature. I was able to Export form NetNews Wire a .opml file. I was then able to upload that into Google Reader. Now, I did have to reorganize my subscriptions and tag them, but that wasn't too painful.

The advantages of Google Reader include:
-Being able to get my feeds from any computer
-Changing the way I look at my feeds
-Sharing items with others
You can view my favorites here.
You can subscribe to my best of the best feed here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Second Life in Education

I have always been a proponent of video games in education. Heck, I learned how to program thanks to Logo back in 4th grade. (Yes I learned to program in Elementary School, I had no choice but to be a geek - and I'm very proud of it now). There are some very cool initiatives in the College right now that utilize the "power" of video games and how they can graphically represent concepts to us.

But Second Life? I'm not sure. Second Life to me is a social community that just happens to be in a 3D Virtual environment. But, I'm curious and want to investigate further.

DELTA at NC State has purchased an island to investigate this idea. What can we do in this kind of environment? Can we teach? Can we simulate scenarios? Can we discuss? Who do we want to join us? Who do we want to keep out?

I'm looking forward to what we find. Oh and my SL name is Trillian Kowalski

Have you ever tried so hard.....and failed

I have a goal - to participate more in the blogosphere, to be a creator of knowledge, to grow as an individual. And yet sometimes I miss the mark and feel like I'm in high school raising my hand too many times to talk in class.

I'm a big fan of David Warlick and every once in awhile I get the nerve to comment on his blog. He had a really interesting post that just got me so excited. I blogged more about myself than the actual question. I feel humiliated, and in public, on my favorite blog.

It looks like I need to put more time and thought in the things I write - not that I'll stop mind you. If embarrassment stopped me I'd never do anything :)

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. I feel better. Even if I am overreacting a bit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do I need a website?

I'm contemplating buying a domain name and website. I figure if I'm gonna do this - I may as well do it right. But is it worth it? and whom should I contract with? So far I have these companies in mind:

Domain Zoo

Any recommendations? And is it worth it? I might do a personal site at the same time to make it more cost effective. Or should I go with a local company?

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Project

I was fortunate enough to travel to the NECC conference in San Diego last year. The Keynote Speaker was Nicholas Negopronte, whom I had admired from his work at MIT and his book Being Digital. He has headed up the One Laptop Per Child Project - AKA The $100 laptop. His idea is to put a laptop in every child's hand, and is starting with 3rd World Countries. While I was at NECC I got to play with a prototype of the machine. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles - but it has definite potential. If we are starting to think of the Internet as the new OS, why would you need a powerful machine?

It was announced this week that the One Laptop project is starting a new program. Buy a laptop from them for $400 and they will donate one to a needy child oversees (an you get a $200 tax right off). There have been thousands of people wanting to play with this new laptop and I think this was a smart marketing and fundraising tool - but doesn't it take away from part of the purpose of the machine?

I plan on writing a bit more on this subject later - including some pros on cons that I've seen as well as others.

Friday, September 21, 2007

1:1 Podcast

I have created a brief 1:1 podcast for my 21st Century Skills Class. It is a bit over 1min in length and I am testing Bloggers ability to syndicate podcasts. You should also be able to click on the title and navigate to the webpage.

Google - Presentations

Google is starting to become the new OS for most of us in this Web 2.0 world. Not only is Google one of the best search engines in the world (and I don't just say that because it is from my home state of Washington - or because the guy I grew up next door to works there or anything), but they also offer some very powerful tools. Some of my favorites are:
G-mail (I mean who doesn't love free e-mail that has unlimited space)
Google Calendar (it takes uploads from iCal on a Mac - how cool is that?)
Google Earth (which now includes maps of the sky)
Google Reader (which acts as an RSS aggregator - basically a reader of all of your feeds - I still am attached to NetNewsWire, but this is tempting)

and Google Docs, which has just added Presentations. Although SlideShare is awesome in its ability to post PP presentation. The power of Google Presentations is being able to work collaboratively on a document. It takes a page out of a wikis book and takes it a step further, so instead of a webpage at the end - you get a presentation!

I hope to do my presentations for NCETC this year in it and demo how it works! Come to think of it, maybe I should have a Google Session? Or is that Patrick Crispin's territory?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Learning 2.0 - Shanghai

I've been following the Learning 2.0 Conference in Shanghai (since all my favorite people are there) and because China seems to be on the map these days for education conferences (There was a literacy conf this summer that a good deal of people from State traveled to). It also focused on 2 big trends - Web 2.0 and 1:1 laptop initiatives. There was also some really cool ways that they kept up with each other and the world (mostly using Twitter) that I plan on writing more about.

Gary Stager happened to be one of the keynotes and I really enjoyed listening and reading about his opinions on 1:1 initiatives. Wes Fryer had some really interesting thoughts about Gary's session and podcast of 10 Things to Do with a Laptop. After the 1:1 Conference last week (that I blogged to death and I promise to be a bit better on).

I have been trying to not only synthesize my thoughts, but also think of the practical applications of such programs. It is all well and good for me in my "ivory tower" to make proclamations of how great something is. And yet, my friend Sharon calls me her "connector" (in Tipping Point terms) and isn't that what blogging does? Connect others together to create excitement or to let others at least know the possibilities? I guess I'm feeling a bit out of the trenches in a university - and missing teaching high school.

Web 2.0 - DELTA Presentation

I am at a Web 2.0 presentation by Scott Watkins & Charlie Morris for Delta. Moblogged...

Educause article by Bryan Alexander
Horizon report - describe new technologies and their effect on education
O'Reilly Web 2.0 - 2005
127 mill citations of Web 2.0 in 2007

What does Web 2.0 mean? Convenient label - Read/Write Label
The Machine is Us/ing Us - Youtube Video

Principals & Practices:
User participation - not just consumption of information

4 Key ingredients
1) The Web as a platform (we no longer need an OS)
Timeline from MIT SIMILE & Exhibit
2) Harnessing Collective Intelligence
3) Syndication of Content - RSS, Trackback
Google Reader
Common Craft - Social Design for the Web
4) Tagging "folksonomy" vs. taxonomy - the crowd vs. the info specialist - Tag cloud
Get your own tag cloud

Web 2.0 Examples
Flickr, youtube, elgg,
2007 Web 2.0 Awards
Dr. Greenlaw

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Girl Scouts in STEM


Jennifer Carter - Director of Special Programs

All day workshop in STEM for Girls - (approx. 200)
Glaxo, IBM, etc. involved
Examples: Why Does Choclate make us happy?
Design Jam - Project Mangement and Design
Extracting DNA

This year on Nov 17th

Camp Mary Atkinson

Looking to connect their girls with other STEM initiatives

Girls in STEM - Keynote

Keynote - Dr. Jamila Simpson - moblogged
We have come quite some way, but we have a long way to go
Born to a Social Worker and a community college counselor
Her mother had dreams of being and engineer and told that was a man's field
They encouraged her so she would not have regrets
Building with legos and said - You can be an architect or an engineer
In 2nd grade I decided I wanted to be a meterologist
Overheard a conversation about tornados
Checked out every book on tornado they could find
Wanted to be a "tornadologist"
Her parents always encouraged her
But School Curriculum was an issue
From a rural area without the opportunities - her passion was never covered in school
Not many organizations available to change that
Coursework - being put on the wrong path - Tracking
When she looked at NC State's requirements she would not have enough Math
Her parents pushed the school to take 2 math classes at the same time
Her school did not think she could do it
What happens when you don't have advocates?
First African American female to graduate with a BS in Meterology in 2000
Saw teaching as a way to help kids - to advocate for them. That science is accessible to them.

Girls in STEM

I am at the Friday Inst again today in a meeting about Girls in STEM. I will be moblogging this session.

It is not a GPA or performance issue
50% of BAs were women - they are in college but not STEM
Who is taking SAT? More boys than girls

Why so few women in STEM?
Girls have higher GPAs in Math and Science
But low interest in science, stereotypes, the "leaky pipeline"
Once in a STEM major they are just as likely to stay
Girls are not in STEM major even with high Math SAT did not find courses of interest in STEM
They are interesting in helping people and do not see that in STEM
Girls prefer intrinsic rewards and boys prefer extrinsic rewards

Girls make lower assessments of themselves
Lack of female role models
May need to be invited to begin a "non-traditional" career
Leaky Pipeline - women drop out of STEM along the way.

How do we fix this?
Give hands-on specific info
Show how STEM can help people - big picture
Challenge stereotypes
Have Role models
Website for non-traditional Posters

National Girls Collaborative Project
Getting programs together - more effective if working together
Started at the Puget Sound Center - funded by NSF

Program directory -

MRU Collaborative Project

NGCP Model
Kick-off conference
program directory
Champions Board
Share best practices
Listing of needs and resources

Sunday, September 16, 2007

1:1 Recap

Wow - I'm not sure if moblogging is the best idea for me. I think I write like I talk - too much! However, I would like to note a few observations:
*Everyone emphasized the importance of professional development. Yea! I am so glad that this is was so highlighted. It is such an important aspect of any new project and should not e forgotten
*That 1:1 is a paradigm shift from teacher centered learning (sage on the stage) to student centered learning (guide on the side) (This paradigm shift needs to be apart of PD as well)
*That there are different ways to implement 1:1. It is not a one size fits all solution
*The more you can simplify things by using one vendor, the better you are
*The Books to Read are:
Good to Great
Daniel Pink A Whole New Mind - the future of our students is in creativity
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
Malcom Gladwell - The Tipping Point
*That having an enigmatic speaker such as Angus King as your spokesperson is what everyone needs!

Friday, September 14, 2007

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Curriculum & Media across content areas and grades

Group discussion:
Goals for 1:1?
Increase learning thru engagement
Digital equity

1:1 has been successful in Elem Schools - attendance rates have increased and ISS has decreased.

Learn & Earn - How do we take existing PD and what more can the laptop do? How do you integrate and not add.

What kind of PD do our teachers need? and how do we start?
Tech Facilitator needs to be a nurturer
Teachers helping teachers

You need to have a firestarter that can act as a mentor. Get your firestarters together to create a core team and start building.

If the teachers are not ready its not ubiquitious - it is just laptops in a classroom.

Will tech PD supplant all other forms of PD?

You have to have some command over your tool to be an innovator - we have to teach the tool first and then teach the ways to use it.

How does this change assessment? What are our short-term and long-term measurements? Attendance? EOGs? Teen birth rates? low teacher turn-over?

I think I am blogged out......

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Greene County Schools

Steve Mazingo - Greene County Schools

Over 5 year program
Stud Achiev. 67% to 78%
Stud Grad rate 26% to 84%
2nd to 18th in teen pregnancy

OK WOW!!!!

We make decisions about school based on when we went to school - but our schools and cultures are different now

Technology as an Accelerant - Book Good to Great

3 Instructional priorities 1) Literacy 2) College counseling 3) Technology

Context - everything you should be in your context. You know your district and what they need, rural or urban, etc. You can take the best practices and see what you need.

Stay focused with Staff Development - and ongoing.

Partner with Lenoir Comm College to offer an AA degree

20th Century Skills - Blooms Taxonomy (Drill and Kill)
looking further
Preparing our students for jobs that don't even exist now - How do we do that?

21st Century Skills
Learning to learn - being adaptable
Technology is no longer an add-on. Not something to be used after your done with work.

PD is essential and they key to every success (they conduct twice a week & do individual sessions) - What would she need? as a veteran teacher?

Smartsheet - directions step-by-step to take back with them. The content is focused on in PD

You must evaluate what you do and have high expectations.

What should 21st Century Graduate look like? Every student has their picture taken in cap and gown and is placed on their computer to see their goal.

Service Learning project through Learn Serve

iChat Reading Conferences
ESL through IM as needed
Instant Advising - chat about issues
Autobiographies as Podcasts
Group projects
Online Courses
Problem Based Learning

Cornell Notes

Getting teachers to be able to say, "I don't know how to do this." and allowing a student to answer.

Staff Development is about modeling. Deliver the PD in the format they will need to deliver it.

Its the Content not the Box.

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Don Berger

Don Berger - Cary Academy
Cary Academy began 11 years ago. English & Foreign language received 1:1 in the classroom first.

Last year went to 1:1 for all subjects. 715 student tablets. Grades 6-12. Essential to outfit students, faculty AND key staff and leadership. Pilot program with toshiba laptop for teachers and switched to tablets for 1:1 based on faculty committee.

Tablets over Laptops
-Screen down mode
-Electronic notes

Tablet does add $150 to plan

Implementation Plan
-Acceptable use

*Classroom management becomes an issue. Students are tempted to use them in ways that you do not want them to. Limit access - block social networking sites. Bandwidth gets eaten up by Youtube.

Daniel Pink A Whole New Mind - the future of our students is in creativity

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards - former Virginia Superintendent - Henric Co. now
Largest single district laptop initiative

Success had to do with teachers and their ATTITUDE.

National Education Technology Plan

Technology can blend the art and science of teaching.
The cost of giving each student a bottle of water a day is what it costs to do 1:1

Malcom Gladwell
- The Tipping Point - if enough of those lights come on - it will become a standard.

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

65,000..............6 million
Science finalists

Are you born smart or do you get smart? You get smart!
Requires superintendent commitment, political commitment, grade level/department chair committment

Sept 2007 - 400 laptops
Total development Sept 2009 - 6000 laptops
The educational search engine

Online formative assessments for prescriptive intervention with ontime relative data.

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Pamela Bluffington

Pamela Bluffington - MISTM Education Development Center

Importance of imbedded ongoing PD. No drive by PD.

Engage teachers in teaching and learning that impacted student and learning. Strengthen pedagogical practice in Mathematics. Continue to buil dlearning community

2-year PD intervention
Online & face-to-face
Site visits for staff mentoring

Immersion model in face-to-face. Doing activities as the learner and deconstruct in terms of construction.

Online Learning Environment - tied to graduate crdit

Core beliefs:
Tech integration begins with content goals
-local learning standards
-NCTM principals

Non-judgemental feedback. Formative assessment provided by technology. Goes beyond online worksheet with yes/no response.

Changes how students talk to each other and engage. Provides a level of exposure that students are not comfortable with - probing thinking, no rote answers.

Edthoughts - what we know about teaching and learning mathematics

Used as many online tools as possible. Cross-platform, flexible and open. Not online worksheets. National Library of Online Manipulatives

Multiple representations of content

Enhanced visualization

GeoGebra combining geometry and algebra.

Get immediate feedback along the way.

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Betty Manchester


Betty Manchester Director of MLTI

The worst you can do is see this as an add-on. What are you trying to do? What are your goals? and how does the technology support that work. There has to be a commitment to change. WHat needs to change at the school, district and state level.

Technology folks need to understand that the technology MUST work. They need to be educated in their role of supporting the school.

A learner centered classroom - proff dev is about the students.

Universal Design - enable students to access info in any way

Proff learning communities - engage admin and teachers. There is no magic answer. Everything is contextual.

Culture of risk-taking. We are in new territory. We are still on a journey.

Lateral capacity building by networks. It is critical to stay connected face-to-face. Created one through First Class and Maine The biggest fear was the teachers would not get the PD. Website supported through NEA

Virtual networks - getting info back and forth. What is working and what is not. Video conf - new level of communication.

Leadership team. Paid a stipend for a teacher leader in each school. Tech coordinator ans chool librarian. They know what is going on and how to build capacity in school for PD.

Student teams - need a student voice on the project. Developed videos, etc. help teachers and students and are part of the problem solving team.

Accountability and vertical relationships. Used 21st Cent Assessment practices. "Assessment for Learning" & "The Black Box" Student engaged in the own assessment of their learning.

MSTM project

Deeper levels of learning and inquiry. Inch thick - mile wide curriculum problem. Less is more and deeper is better.

DEPrivatization of classroom. Have teachers step outside classroom and share what they are doing. You have to be looking at student work.

Vygotsky - zone of proximal development. You want the development to be where students are.

If the building prinicpal was not on board - not a techie but sees it as important. Breakage in building is directly related to building principal. And need to expect that every educator is using technology. The principal needs to enforce this. Build teacher goals and action plans. If you let teachers off the hook it looks unimportant.

PD have to be ongoing!

Every school opted back in and the legislature voted it back in.

1:1 Learning Collaborative - Angus King speech


Angus King is always an enigmatic speaker and is discussing the Maine Learning Technology Initiative MLTI.

Currently teaching at Bodgen College.

Its not about technology - its about the teacher and the tools we give them

40,000 students have laptops all day everyday
9,000 educators (middle and high school)

Steve Jobs biggest customer (yay Mac!)
Also payed $600 for iPhone :)

Every single 7th & 8th grader
20 out of 150 high schools
Starting with educators and moving to students

The laptop is the "portkey" - from Harry Potter fame. It takes students

Started with 3 insights and a lunch.
1)What is the future of jobs and economy in 20 or 30 years? What is it going to involve? For sure education and technology.
2) National Governors Meeting - everyone was chacing more jobs, higher pay, etc. all in the same way. How is Maine going to get ahead?
You don't get ahead of the competition by keeping up.
3) Everything was incremental. All innovations were small improvements - nothing a breakthru.

50-70 million surplus in 1999

The lunch - Seymor Pappert from MIT
"It is only when it is 1:1 that the power occurs." 1996

People hated the idea.
"Who will own the laptops?" The kids - the reporters referred to it as "The laptop giveaway." The political response was unbelievable.
The e-mail were 10:1 against - these were people with computers!

They pushed through with the public and legislature - took 1 1/2 years. Pilot was a private textile company that matched funds with a rural school in Guilford. You can not appreciate the power until you see it - see the ENGAGEMENT. When they are engaged you can teach them anything.

This is an economic development project - it is being able to compete. The World is Flat is the most important book written in recent history. We are sitting on the tracks with a freight train coming while we watch American Idol and play slots.

It is all about Innovation - innovation is the process of technology and education coming together

Digital equity - a statewide program. If it comes bit by bit, the places can afford it get it first.

Education is changing fundamentally. When you live through a revolution you don't know it. We are generating a mountain of info and cannot master. Thomas Jefferson was the last person in America to know everything.

Education has to be about how to find the information and how to use it. Not the mastering of information. It is about process and the computer is the key.

Not a technology project - an education project. They get hung up on the device. What can the device do?

What have we learned in Maine?
1) It is all about teachers. If you hand out computers without professional development it is not worth it. PD does not start and stop - it is ONGOING. It is about integration in the classroom. 1:1 projects that have failed without PD. It has to be everyone in the school, principals, superintendents, and tech coordinators. Everyone needs the vision.
2) New pedagogy. Old model - the sage on the stage. New model - guide on the side
3) Use a single vendor. Do a RFP. Have a variety in Pilot schools to see what works. $289/student/year 4 year lease. Includes software, hardware, network, batteries, tech support. You want one throat to choke. Your vendor better be a partner.
4)7th grade was a good place to start
Total school budget 2 billion
Project cost 4/10 of 1 percent of statewide school budget
We spend way more of that on snow blowing

Darwin - The fittest were the organisms most adaptable to change. That is who has survived. If it was the biggest and the strongest the dinosaurs would still be alive.
Gretsky - How do you score so many goals? "It's easy I skate to where the puck is going to be. Everyone else skates to where it is." also "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Significant improvement in writing and math. Part of the problem is we are not testing the right stuff. Giving 1980s test for 21st century skills. Accountability is important, but it cannot run the engine.

1:1 Learning Collaborative

The Friday Inst is hosting a 1:1 Learning Collaborative. Angus King, the former governor of Maine is the keynote speaker. The new director of FI, Glenn Kleiman, who came from Boston, had worked with Maine in their original ubiquitious computing initiative. Jim Goodnight from SAS, Valerie Lee from Golden Leaf and Rep Joe Tolson are giving the opening remarks.

I will be moblogging this morning and will do my best :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Distance Education and 21st Century Skills

I was posed this question for discussion in my 21st Century Skills Class

How could the availability of distance education courses actually be a disadvantage to those with disabilities? In a way, is it possible that we might be working against our goal of preparing some students for the 21st century?

My response was:
The majority of people I know in the "business world" telecommute. My father does, three of my neighbors do, and my husband used to. (approx. 50% of IBM workers telecommute). Distance Ed classes help prepare our students for not only a new kind of social interaction that telecommuting brings, but also the self-motivation and time management strategies it requires. I think the issue is in those that are bridging into this new world of online interaction, I think those already in that world (say the avatars in Second Life) feel very comfortable interacting over the internet. It brings people from areas where they might not of ever met each other if it were not for the internet. Internet dating certainly wouldn't be the booming business that it is. But I'm getting a bit off topic, for Distance Education to truly be effective in bridiging this gap, the courses need to be designed effectively and with this in mind. Traditional classes can not just be placed online and be walked away from. Classes need to be designed specifically with distance ed in mind.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Evaluating Websites

I believe web design has changed significantly since Jakob Nielsen devised his guidelines. The impact of graphics is severely underrated in his opinion and design has moved from a frames based environment to tables, css, and php. As a webmaster myself that is currently undergoing a redesign, it has been interesting to see what "general consumers" of websites value as well as what they take for granted.

Usability: ADA compliance is a big issue in my book. The ability for those with disabilities to be able to get access to the same information as others is imperative, especially in a school based setting. Also, ADA guidelines just ensure good practices, by including alt tags, using headers to designate information, etc.

Navigation: It is key that users can get to the information they need. A hierarchical structure needs to be established that is consistent throughout the site. There should also be an easy way to go backwards, without having to use the back button, etc.

Design: The design needs to not get in the way of the message, but help convey it. Animated gifs, garish clashing colors, frames, all get in the way of getting to the information, they are distracting or cumbersome.

Authority: Using the google model, who links to this site and what sites do they link to. Does the site provide references or links to claims that it makes? Is it ranked in any websites such as digg, technorati, or the buzz? Are author or group credentials provided? When was the last time it was updated?

Of all of the criteria, I believe that having students understand that anyone can put information on a website, and that the fact it exists on the Internet does not mean it is correct or factual. They need to backup claims made on pages and corroborate them with either other methods of evidence, or other authorities on webpages. (On a side note: I would also like to point out that just because something is in a book does not make it authoritative either).

One issue I'd like to get more discussion on. As a general rule you should not have to scroll down a webpage to get information. Do you think that is true anymore?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Asking Permission

From Cool Cat Teacher Blog

We should be discussing privacy concerns in amateur videos. We should learn about and be educated on what is it proper to share and what is not.

I run into this issue all the time as webmaster for my school. Teachers and administrators are constantly wanting to put more pictures up of our students on the site. As much as I love adding graphic elements, I constantly have to remind them of the laws that govern pictures and video. Any pictures or video taken in a private setting (including a classroom), need permission to be published in a public form - like the internet. I am trying to "train" my faculty into getting permission while they are taking pictures. The university helped us create a form for this purpose (which can be viewed at it has worked wonderfully (when it is being used!)

Google and PageRank

Search engines are interesting creatures. How does a database decide what is the ultimate authority on the subject? Google for instance uses PageRank - an equation that takes alot of factors into account. In essence it looks to see what is the page that is most LINKED to on the internet and that basically establishes its importance. It also takes into account how many links link out of the page. A page that exists as just text for instance with no links, would have very low rank, even if a good deal of people linked to it.

In other words, Google finds the most popular pages, not necessarily the pages that have the best or most accurate information.

Friday, August 31, 2007


I have been involved with Midlink through my job at NC State, and they have been doing some impressive things in the classroom for over 10 years. The new issue just came out in August, and is just full of possibilities!

Joselyn Todd, one of the midlink editors, has an excellent blog up and is a great example of Web 2.0 in the classroom. She uses wikis in such an inspiring way at her school.

Check her out as well as all the other editors!

NCETC 2007

I'm submitting my workshop proposal to NCETC 2007 in Greensboro, NC today. I hope to teach on Podcasting, which I did last year, but I'm changing it up a bit. I will not only be mupdating it with more current projects, but also want to focus on some of the components that PC users can use as well - since I create my podcast in GarageBand on a Mac.

I'm also trying to decide what to speak on this year. The list is so far:
Digital Citizenship
Wiki - using PB Wiki
Preparing a class for LMS (Learning Mangement Systems - like BlackBoard)

We'll see what I can pair it down to....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How do we define learning in the 21st Century

This question was posed in my grad class this week. My answer was:

I believe your question on "How do we define learning?" in 21st Century Skills is a huge issue. We are surrounded by such an evaluation (and blame) based society. Last year I worked on a project that was very standards based and trying to find evidence to back those standards. It was one of the most difficult projects I've ever dealt with, because defining learning can no longer be a letter grade. Yet, we are so stuck in one grade or one score telling everything we know about a topic. I have just seen the new Professional Teaching Standards for North Carolina, and it should be interesting to see how they get evaluated now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Internet Safety Paradigm Shift

via Educational Technology & Life

Multi-faceted Refractions
" If people were to Google you, what conclusions would they make?

From observing your on-line communication, what kind of person would they believe you are? What type of thinker are you? What skills do they think that you have?

From looking at your digital self, would people think that you are full of creativity or are you a copy-cat, mimicking the works of others without any new original thought?

What do you do if your work is being misappropriated? What if you discover that there are images of you on other’s sites which are unflattering or potentially damaging?"

This reminds me of being in a workshop with David Warlick about copyright and the Internet. We discussed the concept of ownership and how if students felt they owned their work, they would not want someone to take ownership from them. How sometimes it is perspective changing that makes all the difference.

This gives me a great idea for a new way to discuss Internet Safety. Now how safe will it be to demo this and google myself in front of everyone :)

Workshops vs. Consulting

I am constantly being asked to help people with their websites, or show them some new software, etc. It the main aspect of my job, and I love helping people. The idea is that if enough people ask you about something you should have a workshop. However, workshops have not been that popular lately and attendance has been low. I enjoy the personal touch of consulting, but I wonder if I'm wasting my time by showing the same thing over and over. Or does educational technology truly need to be customized in order for it to be effective?

My current compromise is to send my faculty to generic workshops that provide basic information on a topic, and then do consulting with them to get it in their classroom. We will see how that works

Social Networking

Wesley Fryer has an interesting post about Myspace and virtually meeting your college room mate. It amazes me how much personal information people are willing to post about themselves on the web. As Fryer writes,

"EVERYONE needs to be monitoring the pulse of their web-based personna.

What do websites “out there” on the Internet say about you, your children, your students, and people you/they know? Sometimes surprises can be good, but in many cases, if we can avoid a surprise through some proactive conversations and explorations, that can be a good thing!"

I can still remember being afraid to drink and be seen by student's parents in town at a restaurant. I can't imagine posting that image of me on a website!

Friday, August 24, 2007

NetNews Wire

So I am completely addicted to my RSS feed reader. I've been really happy with NetNews Wire. Their free version has all that I really need in a feed reader. I have my subscriptions organized by category and it allows me to catch-up on or offline when I can. I am considering using some online tools, especially when I demonstrate the power of RSS to teachers. I'll have to see what I find.


So I am trying out the twitterverse and see what I can find. So far it feels a bit like stalking someone, but I can imagine the potential. If I had been able to go to NECC this year, I bet it would have been invaluable. Maybe on a college campus like State's it could do the same.

However, I have a feeling my mother will enjoy knowing where I am at all times :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Defining Clutter

As part of my Master's Thesis - which I will I am sure post on about more in the future. I am trying to define visual clutter on a PowerPoint slide. My hope is to be able to make recommendations on how much information is too much to have on a slide. So how blown away was I when on BoingBoing I see that someone at MIT has defined clutter!!!

I hope to use the Eyetracking Lab at the Friday Inst that I use to work on as part of my data gathering. I start my research hours this semester - wish me luck!

Google Earth Update

I love using Google Earth to teach how GPS devices work. In fact I taught some 6th graders about this very fact this time last year :) It has the "cool" factor of flying through the sky like superman to your house, and is educational to boot!

They have just added a new component to Google Earth that lets you search the sky - just like you search the world. How freakin' cool is that! I can imagine a multitude of different ways this can be used. The NYT story discusses the more that one million photographs it took to piece together the sky!

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Venture

I have decided that upon my return from this summer to reassess where I am, both personally and professionally. I have enjoyed blogging a good deal, but have not kept up with it as much as I wish I had. In recognition of this new desire to not only go in a new direction with my life, but also to rekindle the blogging creativity within me, I have created this new site, Transparent Learning. I hope to also purchase the domain name soon, and use this as a venue for education consulting.

Wish me luck in my new venture!

Transparent Learning

Technology in Education has evolved over the years. Pencil and paper are technology, chalkboards are technology, books are technology. Yet, over time they become a given, teacher's use them effortlessly, they are transparent. The goal of Transparent Learing, is to make all technology this transparent. That the laptops, GPS devices, and iPods, can become an easy extension of the learning and teaching process.