Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Social Bookmarking

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I've been getting a good deal of requests to explain Social Bookmarking, and how it can be useful in education - I posted over at Cool Tools, but wanted to cross post here. If anyone else has some good ways to explain it - I'd love to hear them!

We all bookmark websites, intending to go back to them in the future, but if you are like most people the endless list of bookmarks becomes daunting. To top that off you always need a specific site when you are not a your computer. Enter an online bookmarking site. What makes so special? Two things - tags and sharing.

Tags allow you to categorize your bookmarks. So say you are looking at a great website like The Plantation Letters that is perfect for your classroom, you can categorize it as: NChistory, letters, middleschool, primarysource, etc. So that when you inevitably forget the name of the site, but you remember that it had to do with North Carolina History you can find it.

Now imagine that you could share this list with your students. Instead of e-mailing them websites, or worse writing them on the board, you can have a dynamic list of bookmarks that your students can use for reference! Just tag the website something like - 8thgrade_4thperiod - then your students will be able to see all the websites with that tag.

The best part is that is not only free, but it also has no advertising. Check out my links at:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am honored....

I feel weird posting about this, but how else is my mother going to find out! (Apparently, I don't call enough :)

I just received the "Award for Excellence" from the College - which translates into - Employee of the Year for the College of Education. I am completely blown away, between maternity leave, having a baby, and being in grad school I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed and worried I wasn't doing enough. It is nice to know that I am doing pretty good.

Wish me luck - I am now in the running for the University award :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big crowds intimidate me!

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After I got home from NCaect, I began finishing up my final preparations for my NC Teach Super Saturday presentation on Integrating Technology. NC Teach is an alternative licensure program that at NC State is hosted in regional cohorts and the entire group comes together once a month for Super Saturday.

They plan their events about a year in advance, and I have to admit that it kind of crept up on me. Then to find out it was not only 120 people (ack!) but was entirely lecture based AND for 6 hours!!!! I was incredibly intimidated by this prospect. However, After I got my lesson plans together, I was fairly confident (or as confident as I get).

Let me tell you, it has been a long time since I have been with a "random" group of teachers. Now I work with a good amount of teachers, but most of them come to me and are already interested in technology. They have opted to hear me speak - these students on the other hand are REQUIRED to attend. I forget how much this changes the dynamic of the class, add to this that 30 counties were represented with varying degrees of technology prowess it was overwhelming at times.

However, I found a few things that really worked well. I used Turning Point Clickers (Thankfully CALS had 100 I could borrow) and that helped (once I got them working) to gauge the audience and assess where they were in the technology integration process. I used the PowerPoint Integration part, but wish I had used the Turning Point software throught the day so I could just get random questions answered.

The other thing that really saved my sanity was the teachers that were already doing technology integration. It is so important that these alternative lisensure see THEIR peers integrate technology well. That they were dealing with all the same obstacles and overcoming them. It was pretty powerful.

At the end of the day, trying to teach something as vague as "Technology Integration" was just as hard as I thought it would be in a one day workshop format. But I'm not giving up - I have some great ideas for next year :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NCaect Reflections

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I really enjoy going to local conferences - especially K-12 ones. All of my sessions were on Friday (starting at 8:15! AM) so I was able to enjoy my Thursday at some really great sessions. The group behind Teacher Tube, Kevin Honeycutt and of course our keynote Sheryl Nussbam-Beach. I love not only watching great speakers present, but I'm also very interested in fostering professional learning communities. The added benefit of the conference in Charlotte was that I got a chance to have an "adult" (i.e. not a stroller in sight!) meal with my parents and brother. (It was wonderful!)

I was nervous about getting to my sessions on time (Did I mention 8:15 AM!) since I was staying in another hotel. My first session was on Web 2.0, and my worst fears were realized (OK actually my worst fear is no one showing up :) There was no Internet - so I ended up teaching from the hip. I think I pulled it off, and thank goodness I had a good handout! (You would think I would know to use archived or downloaded websites as a back-up - I know now!) My next session on Podcasting I was a bit more prepared to have no Internet & luckily Audacity & iTunes can be "offline."

My last session was on Moodle & the last time I had a session on Moodle, 5 people showed up - so we ended up having a nice roundtable discussion about implementation (I actually think it was one of my best sessions). So I was not prepared for about 80 people to show up! It is hard to encapsulate something as gargantuan as Moodle in a 45 minute session, but I think we got the idea across!

Oh and to top it all off - one of my old teachers was in the audience! I'm not sure who was more shocked!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NCaect Opening Session - Shift Happens

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You can tell that teacher's run this conference. The energy and enthusiasm of the group is contagious! They are excited about they can do and honoring those before them. I'm excited to know a few of the award recipients!

I have always been a fan of Sheryl Nussbaum Beach's work. (Ustreamed) I enjoy her blog and have been looking forward to this for awhile.

The 21st Century is now - how are we changing?
Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 - Singularity
Dynamic textbooks with wikis - this is my favorite idea for wiki use
Accelerating Adoption rate - how long does it take to reach the "common household"

How do we prepare for jobs that do not exist yet?
Ten Trends
#1 Social & Intellectual Capital
#4 Education will shift from
#7 technology will increase the speed of communication

Move from accountability to responsibility - Intrinsic motivation for all

"Computers will not replace teachers. Teachers who use computers will replace those who do not."

Sheryl was an absolutely wonderful speaker - inspiration, real, and accessible. I am in awe.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


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I have been pretty sick lately - I just can't quite shake this virus, so I haven't been able to really get excited about NCAECT at the end of the week. Here is what I will be presenting:

8:15 Concord C
The Internet is the new OS
Google Docs? SlideShare? RSS? EduBlogs? PB Wiki? They are all part of what we call the Read/Write Web or Web 2.0 and are reimagining what we think of as an operating system. 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.

9:15 Concord F
The Power of Podcasting
Podcasting continues to be a buzz word, but how does you actually create one? This session will showcase examples of podcasts across different curricular areas. We will discuss the principal components of a podcast and the tools necessary to create one. Come join me as we explore the possibilities of listening and creating podcasts in your classroom.

Concord C
Just what is a Moodle anyway?
Moodle is an open source course management system that easily creates a secure environment for your students to interact and share information. With a simple and flexible interface, and a great price tag (FREE!), Moodle can create the online presense you need to reach your students and community.