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!