Wednesday, November 26, 2008


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I'll be presenting at NCETC next week. Here's my schedule:

Prg.#: E060
Session: Create Your Own Social Network with Ning
Room: Victoria B
Room Capacity: 126
Day: Wednesday
Time: 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Prg.#: E058
Session: Harnessing the Power of the Network: Creating a PLC
Room: Victoria C
Room Capacity: 126
Day: Wednesday
Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Prg.#: E059
Session: The Art of Instant Moodles
Room: Victoria C
Room Capacity: 126
Day: Thursday
Time: 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM

There seems to be one other person presenting on Ning, 2 others (including David Warlick & misstizzy) on PLN (oh why did I call it PLC in my session description?) and I can't find anyone else talking about Moodle. So I think that bodes well. Although last year only 5 guys showed up to my Moodle session, but we had a great time :)

I hope to blog and tweet while I am there. I'll be using ncetc & ncetc08 as my tags. Hopefully David Warlick will be adding ncetc08 to hitchhikr - the best way to keep track of conferences!

I'm really looking forward to seeing some friends and have some plans already made! Let me know if you're headed to NCETC!

2008 Edublog Nominations

In trying to decide who to nominate, I actually used my trending data from google reader. Instead of using what I read, I looked at what blogs I shared the most on my shared items page from google reader. Even though the read data is good, I think the shared items show what I find interesting enough to tell everyone else.

My Edublog nominations are:

1. Best individual blog - The Bamboo Project Blog - Michele Martin

2. Best group blog - Leader Talk

3. Best new blog - The Connected Classroom - Kristen Hokanson

4. Best resource sharing blog - Around the Corner -

6. Best teacher blog - The Blog of Ms. Mercer - Alice Mercer

11. Best educational use of video / visual - Moving at the Speed of Creativity

13. Best educational use of a social networking service - Classroom 2.0

I didn't vote on every category - if I couldn't think or find someone easily, I didn't vote for it. I wish I could say my blog reading is as well rounded as the Edublogs nominations are!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big Ideas for Education

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I've been following David Warlick's Big Ideas For Education Project over at 2 cents worth and haven't really had a chance to participate. First of all, I think it was a great way to demonstrate collaboration and second, I like thinking of solutions rather than just problems - but you have to know the problems first. So far the issues have been condensed into eight categories. The first one that jumps out at me is

#4: Overhaul teacher education, and policies and procedures for professional development. Now this mainly has to do with the fact I deal with Teacher Education on a daily basis, but I also have the perspective of currently dealing with "revisioioning" our programs.

The major push and pull with all revisioning is "What do we want to do?" vs. "What are the requirements imposed on us by the university, and the state?" As much as I would love for us to just teach what we want and not worry about the regulations of a university or a licensing structure - it is those two items that lend credence to a program. Now many see that as a barrier - and maybe this Big Idea project is supposed to look beyond those barriers, but I think working within these structures is a reality we are faced with.

I am also struck by the way we write ourselves into a corner, that we can't escape afterwards. We know technology will change, we know that 21st Century Skills is just a buzz word and that underlying those concepts are skills that will continue to evolve and build upon. We need to build flexibility into these programs that allow for the eventual change we will encounter.

One of the ideas we are throwing around here is to create a supplemental CEU program. When our students graduate they will be thrown into the world of CEUs for keeping up their license - why not use that same model at the pre-service level. This would allow us to 1) Supplement instruction 2)Stay current 3)Model what students will experience in the "real world"

We are currently coming up with what our model would look like, and how it would be utilized throughout an undergraduates program.

One other note on this project - I did see one comment on having all teachers just have a content undergraduate degree and then get a teaching license afterwards. I struggle with this idea personally. It is hard to say what is more important content or the way you teach the content. I don't think you can be an effective teacher without both. I worry that if you loose too much of the how to teach, we will lose more teachers. I have never meant a teacher that left teaching because they didn't know their content, I have met a good deal that did not feel prepared to teach it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What blogger type are you?

Michelle Martin over at The Bamboo Project Blog directed me to the Typealyzer website that analyzes your blog. Based on your blog text the Typealyzer will assess what "role" you write from. Now I have taken several Myers Briggs test in my day - I'm a typical ENFJ, so I was interested to see what my blog is :)

Apparently I am a:

ISTP - The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

I like the fact that this sees my blog as not only independent and as a risk taker. I think both of those fit what I want to become as an educator, and I do think that firefighters are quite akin to teachers at times!

But how can this information help me? Well, I think understanding the persona that my blog presents to the public, can aid me in the direction I want to go in.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kicking Moodle Up a Notch

I've been advocating for Moodle use for about 2 years now. I've done a good deal of entry level trainings, but now it is time to "kick it up a notch." I found William Rice's book, "Moodle Teaching Techniques" a few months ago, but only recently sat down to read it. He really provides great insight in utilizing the unique tools available to Moodle. Here are a few things I'm going to try next based on his recommendations:

  • Create seperate forums for groups
  • Create a "Best of" forum where you post student work that is exemplary
  • Use the forum rating system for peer reviews
  • Use the Admin>Logs to see posting log (to gauge participation)
  • Use People>Participants to see all posts by student
  • Use flow control to have students progress through a lesson

  • Have students create indepth profiles
  • Have students make review questions
I also have not used the "Choice Activity" before. He recommends using it to sign-up for group projects. What a great idea!

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to use these in practice soon. I'm looking for other hints on the web and will be bookmarking them in delicious.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My proposal

I just e-mailed off my 2nd (yes I chose a different topic and decided to write ANOTHER) proposal to my "official" committee today. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm pretty proud of what I produced, and amazed at the same time that I had it in me. You see, I'm not a writer, or at least I have never thought of myself as one. I enjoy reading, but writing.... not for me. Writing this proposal has been a huge struggle for me. From finding the time, to finding the inspiration I have been at wits end for more than a few months. However, the following things have enabled me to actually get to this point.
  1. Take time off from work. You'll never be able to fit it into the weekend and get everything else you need done. And if you are like me you feel more than just a little guilty about leaving the house a mess and your partner with the kids. This also helps keep down the distraction factor of a cute 1 year old. They are at daycare :)
  2. Set deadlines - like really set them. I have set deadlines in the past for myself and have just watched them float by - feeling immensely guilty and even more overwhelmed. It was amazing to feel the power of - no this is due Monday and everyone knows it. I can deal with that. Its not easy but I can deal with it.
  3. Brake everything up into manageable chunks. At first I had one large document with my proposal outline. It made the task so daunting. But when I made separate documents for each section it became much more manageable. I'd set mini-goals for each day I took off that aligned with the sections I was working on. In the end I was able to just combine them all together.
  4. Rely on your friends I called in all the favors I had, but in the end everyone wanted to help me out. From my friends who helped me edit and work through my statistics (I know all about the power valuse of my one-way ANOVA - or something like that). To my committee chairs who took the time to look at my proposal in it's infant stages to ensure that I was going in the right direction and to help me change what I need to do.
  5. Marry the right person. OK you may think that is meant to be funny, but seriously without a great partner in life - this would not have happened. Brent's constant support (he actually made me think I could do this) to taking Evan away for the entire weekend so I could put the finishing touches on my proposal were above and beyond the call of duty. I could not have done this without my friends and family.
So it's not completely over, but I'm a fair bit of the way done. Now I just hope they like it :) (Oh and that they don't read my blog... right?)