Friday, December 10, 2010
The author, Daniel Rezac, discusses the issue of teachers "hogging" the interactive whiteboard in their classrooms. Students rarely get to touch them.
"Think of it: how often did teachers let students actually write on the chalk board? The overhead projector? The fact is, there's only one Interactive White Board per classroom, and there may be 25 or more students. There is never going to be enough time in one class period to let everyone have-at-it on the white board. Nobody ever heard of a 1-1 white board environment. That would be awfully expensive. Maybe we're going about this all wrong."
Rezac is not all talk. He actually offeres up some solutions for this "hogging" issue.
On the Eighth Floor, we are all about the integration of technology. It's what we do. I wonder if we are sometimes so focused on the teacher that we forget about the student. And by that I ALSO mean, I wonder if we are forgetting to let our Eighth Floor students "touch the board."
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
|Eight Floor Moodle Site|
Although we have been offering the Online Learning Series for several years (a class that teaches teachers to teach online), we have just begun offering some new regular Eighth Floor classes online, such as Grant Writing 2, Crash Course in Copyright, Cyberbullying, Strategies and Tools for Delivering Online Content, and a new one for spring, Building Learning Communities. We are finding that each person comes with his or her own expectations and that is probably because no one knows exactly what to expect. Fair enough. Online learning is still in its “pre-teen-hood,” so there is room for variety, change, and growth still to come. Many of our consortium members have not taken an online class before, and some who have did not take very good ones. That means many people are not familiar with this kind learning environment. Again, fair enough. Let’s talk about it.
We like to think we have the whole teaching/learning online thing down. The reality is we learn something new with every attempt to teach an online class – just like we did when we were new to the F2F classroom.
We have decided on a general format for our Eighth Floor online classes.
- Most online classes earn 12 hours of professional development. We design our classes to be about a week and a half long since we figure most people can find about an hour a day to participate in the class (this would be equal to attending a six – ten hour F2F class).
- We want participants to be active participants in their own learning – it’s best that way!
- Classes are meant to be interactive – NOT self-paced. That means you will be involved in class discussions and projects.
- We try to provide a variety of information. This gives participants the opportunity to explore the topic further or drill deeper depending on their interests.
- We try to keep content delivery simple and concise.
- To earn a certificate of completion, participants need only participate with interest in all discussions or activities for that class – you can usually count on a new topic every couple of days.
- We try to make sure participants have 2-3 days to complete each discussion or activity.
Moodle Meets the Eighth Floor!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
What does this really mean?
We won’t be serving lattes or muffins, but you can always find coffee on The Eighth Floor and sometimes Norma brings in some amazing baked goods she is more than happy to share. You will have a place to enjoy our epic view of Tulsa. You will be able to work on a laptop at a counter in a comfortable chair that Norma took great care in picking out. (She test drove A LOT of chairs!) You will be able to visit with others, either from your school or other districts or learning levels. Essentially, you can just hang out. You might even see an impromptu technology slam. (Are you trying to imagine what that would look like? Geeks don’t write poetry.)
Why is this good for me?
Okay, so, why is just hanging out good for you? On the surface it may seem like wasting time. But assuming that would be a mistake. Consider what you know about informal learning. In my estimation, this is where the lion’s share of learning happens – between the lines of formal /structured education. I have seen more problems solved, more ideas shared in the 2 minutes at the end of a break than sometimes in a whole day of “class.” Some call this just in time learning. In a culture where we want only the information we need when we need it, what better place to throw together an on-the-spot learning community.
And I care about learning communities because . . . .
The Eighth Floor is the perfect hub for your professional learning communities. Notice I said “communities” – plural. The reality is we can’t survive with just one learning community anymore, the one that for many teachers only consisted of the other teachers in your hallway or those who office around you. Now, you can create communities online for your whole school, your district, your state, for a specific subject, specific project . . . you get the idea. We have been relying on learning communities (or networks) all our lives. So really, we have been relying on informal learning all our lives. Learning communities might even be more important than food. Go ahead. Try to get through a day without a single instance of informal learning.
Please don’t starve yourself or vow to spend the entire day interacting with only inanimate objects. Just trust me on this one and come up the Eighth Floor and simply hang out. It is quite possible you will learn something.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Out of this group we have seen many returning (we don't want to say old, do we) faces and new. The Eighth Floor has welcomed many new districts into the fold this Summer. You may have noticed this when you turned to the teacher next to you in a class. The result of this is that many of you were able to network with old and new friends and in the process gain knowledge from not only what we have to offer, but from each other. In my opinion, informal learning is a very beneficial part of the experience here. Regardless of whether you are a K-12, Tech, or Higher Ed educator, there is always something new to learn from your peers.
We have been fortunate that we have been able to add many new classes to our offerings this Spring and Summer. One favorite is the SMART Subject-Specific class we now offer. If you get a chance, check out our Teacher Spotlight showcasing some of your fellow teachers and the SMARTBoard lessons they created during these sessions. The Google Workshop had a great turnout, as Scott and Lee Anne covered "everything Google". Cyberbullying, Ed Tech II, Tech Tips for National Board Certification, Grant Writing - all of these classes as well as the rest were full and had great things to offer.
If you missed seeing us this Summer (we missed you) we still have several classes and a few special offerings (Teaching All Kinds of Minds, Teaching with Moodle) left this Summer. We'll also see some changes occurring to the look of the Eighth Floor, so stay tuned....
Thursday, June 24, 2010
(Have you noticed an image change for YouTube since they are now a Google tool?)
So, check this out. I was, of course, attracted/distracted by this shiny article at Social Times called YouTube and the Future of Citizen Journalism. What’s happening is the world of citizen journalism is being validated and slightly formalized in what looks to be a respectable way. Did you know there was a CitizenTube? http://www.citizentube.com/ I did not. I think I may have heard/read about it somewhere, but it didn’t stick. Here’s how they describe themselves on their site: “CitizenTube is a feed of the latest breaking news videos on YouTube. If you've uploaded or discovered news footage, please tweet it to us (@citizentube) with as much context as you're able to provide.”
YouTube has also launched YouTube Direct. You can submit videos, interviews, digital pictures, etc. Here’s how they explain themselves on their site: “ [YouTube is] a great opportunity for organizations to leverage this online activity for video campaigns, coverage, or programming initiatives - but many find it difficult to connect directly with YouTube's community in a simple, effective way. We've just made that a lot easier with YouTube Direct.” My first thought is school news station that runs on the website. Could that work?
Anyway, bottom line as I see it is, things are happening in the area of citizen journalism that I see as a boundless arena of opportunity for our students and us. Whatever it is you are teaching – or whatever it is your students are learning – could be making the news. Additionally, being able to report on what is happening around them can help students see their connection to their local community as well as the whole big wide world. What do YOU think?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
What About Blogs?
Welcome to the Eighth Floor class about blogging in education - June 2010
A collaborative and constructive tool, blogs have found their place in education. As educators, we are using them as learning tools not only for our students, but also for ourselves. Our objectives for this short workshop are to become familiar with blogs as a Web 2.0 tool, explore uses for your classroom or professional development, and set up a practice blog of your own.
Blogs in Plain English
Lee LeFever of the Common Craft Show
So What’s a Blog?
Let the 6 & 7 year olds from Room 9 at Nelson Central School educate you about what they think a blog is and why they love using them!
Top 10 Reasons to Use a Blog in the Classroom
Education Professional Development Blogs
Weblogg-ed - A blog by Will Richardson
Moving at the Speed of Creativity - A blog by Wesley Fryer
Blog of Proximal Development - a blog by Konrad Glogowski
Blogs about Educational Blogging - a wiki by Support Blogging.com
Mrs. Arnold's Class (2nd grade)
Mrs. Fine's Fouth Grade Gate
High School Sports Blog
Arthus - NewlyAncient (high school student blog)
AP Calculus AB (An interactive log for students and parents in my AP Calculus class. This ongoing dialogue is as rich as YOU make it. Visit often and post your comments freely.)
The Good Habits Blog (blog for students and teachers)
Mrs Cassidy's Classroom Blog (elementary)
Blogical Minds (This is a blog created to explore what happens when 5th graders blog and converse about literacies in class and beyond)
Google Search for Blogs
Check out the following education/safety focused postings and articles:
Blogs, Fair Use, and Paying to Play
Blogging Tips and Tricks:
Science Blogs in Middle and HS classrooms
Web Blog Basics
Blogs - Anatomy
Blogs for Learning
Blogging Best Practices
Top 10 Blog Writing Tips
Use of Blogs in an Online College Classroom
Let’s Talk About Blogs
- How is a blog different from a website?
- How is blogging different from other types of writing or online communication?
- Why do you think you or your students might be attracted to this as a form of expression?
- How might you use a blog in your classroom or for your professional development?
- What obstacles might you face using blogs with your students?
- The first step to being a good blogger is to be a good blog ____________?
Since this is a class about blogging, we thought you might want to do a little, well, blogging. So, what are some advantages to using blogs? What are some disadvantages? What can you do to minimize the disadvantages? ___________________________________________________________
Add your comment to this post.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Last summer we had long, long waiting lists for any class that had the word "SMART" in it. After that, we threatened to put SMART in the title of all our classes, such as SMART Blogs, SMART Ed Tech . . . you get the idea. But we didn't. Instread, we scheduled all the SMART classes we could squeeze into the summer. You should be able to find something SMART related scheduled almost every day.
We have some great new classes. The newer classes are always the more popular and fill up the fastest. Here's what is new or changed for the summer:
- Ed Tech 1 - has been shortened to one day - previously, two days
- Ed Tech 2 - this a gizmo and gadget basic, introductory course -projectors, scanners, etc.
- Podcasting 2 - finally! We go in elbow deep with Audacity and audio production
- Google Workshop for Teachers - tie together the many Google tools to may them work for you and your students.
- Grant Writing for Teachers - short course, tips, tricks, and resources.
- Cyberbullying - we've shortened this to 3 hours.
- Intro to Camtasia - screencasting tool. If you teach online - take this class.
- Computer's Don't Byte - get down to the basics, file management, bits and parts, etc.
- SMART Subject Specific Workshops: science, math, language arts, early childhood, social science
So, here's how you can find out more information and get enrolled.
- List of classes: http://eighthfloor.org/class.html
- PDF with course descriptons: http://eighthfloor.org/enewsletters/Eighth%20Floor%20Summer%202010%20Course%20Schedule.pdf
- You can also subscribe to the Eighth Floor Google Calendar: http://eighthfloor.org/class.html
If you have questions about enrollment proceedures, please feel free to contact your advisory committee representative or Norma Newman, 918-828-5341.Hope to see you on the Eighth Floor this summer!!
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Social networks are a hot area right now. Duh. I guess a more interesting prediction might be to say, when the flame of hotness eventually burns a little lower, social networks will have found a solid home in education. I am still wondering what that will look like. Right now it is a bit awkward. Right now there isn’t huge support or understanding. Right now, none but the early adopters are on board. Right now, potential and vision are limited.
So, on Facebook I ran across a blog post from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, Study: Ages of Social Network Users. I love this kind of stuff. I admit I have not investigated the research. I do know it is from Google – I know, I know . . . . It’s really more of a comparative study than research.
It goes something like this:
“How old is the average Twitter or Facebook user? What about all the other social network sites, like MySpace, LinkedIn, and so on? How is age distributed across the millions and millions of social network users out there?
To find out, we pulled together age statistics for 19 different social network sites, and crunched the numbers.”
Here is what caught my attention: the least active age group is the exact age group everyone assumes is doing nothing but living via social networks – the 18 to 24 age group. I can think of a million reasons why this may be so, but I can also think of a million reasons why this could be so for any other age group, as well. So what gives? And, that’s not the only question I have. What does this mean for business owners and marketing efforts since this age group will soon become the bigger consumers? Will this trend follow this group, or will they become more active as their circumstances change? What does this mean for education – especially post secondary? Are they already bored by all this? Are social networking tools in education going to be another one of those “day late and an idea short” things that wears everyone out?
What do you make of the 35-44 age group being the largest? Come on, it’s not like this age bracket has more spare time. Maybe they do and I have just lived my life wrong.
Another bit of information caught my attention from a satellite article I read. Eighty-four percent of the people on sites like Facebook are female. Many people commented that although a female majority is true, that this was a false representation since many businesses create female accounts to attract customers. I think it would be more interesting to compare which gender is more ACTIVE as opposed to just having an account. Same with age -- although there are few users in the 18-24 age bracket, I wonder if they might be more active?
I’m going to build on my previous prediction.( I’m brave like that! ) Social networking tools will find a solid home in education because educators will recognize what is valuable about these tools, and they will make them good and true and free and valuable. Much, much of the research shows that social networks (also known as community) aide in student retention, regardless of age. In education, social networks become personalized learning environments. They fit well with our media mindedness. Students are comfortable, find purpose, and feel they belong. When is that not a good thing?
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Dr Seuss Today
Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say:
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!
You can't say this?
What a shame sir!
We'll find you
Another game sir.
If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!
When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!
Dr. Seuss as a "geek"! Can you see it?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
So, here’s the thing - that cute little saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Not so much - I’m just sayin’. Right now we have 59 members on our ning site. I love and appreciate every single one of those 59 members – they are AWESOME. (that last statement will be kind of funny in a couple of paragraphs) But we need more! We have a large consortium. Where are the people that are supposed to come?
In an effort to figure out what we could be doing, I have been reading some different blogs lately. One, which I quite like, is The Social Media Examiner. (Author Jeff Sexton) It is more business oriented, but sometimes it is easier to find the answers in the business world and then translate them into education world. Today’s post was particularly interesting for my purposes: 6 Powerful Social Media Persuasion Techniques. Translated, that means, how do I get people to come once I have build it?
Let’s take a look at the six powerful techniques. I encourage you to read the article for yourself, but I am going to translate this into “education world” and share, because if I am nothing else, I am a sharerer. For those of you also struggling with the whole “what’s wrong with my learning community and am I being heard by ANyONE” – maybe this will help?
1. Recipication: This is all about acknowledging and validating the people who do show up. When someone joins your community, you should welcome them and invite them to the conversation. If someone comments on a blog or discussion, you should acknowledge – even expand on –their contribution. Nurture your community.
2. Commitment & Consistency: simple – be committed and be consistent. Continue to remind them in creative ways why this site is valuable them. Send the members a special message every so often. Provide perks for them, such as first crack at new classes or the first to have new information. Make “things” easier for them – create an inside track. Choose a social media platform and stick with it. Be regular in your interaction, be present.
3. Social Proof: this boils down to being valid and sound. Build social validity. See what others like you are doing – what makes them successful. What can you do that others might mimic?
4. Liking: exhibit good intentions. Be likable – be attractive – be for good, not evil. Align yourself with what you feel is positive or good in your area of focus. Be easy to digest and interact with – not complicated. Have a variety of topics to appeal to the variety of people in your community and to those you wish to attract.
5. Authority: exhibit expertise. Cross your I’s and dot your T’s (smile). Check your facts, make sense, be legitimate, and be credible. Not surprisingly, size contributes to authority. The more people who connect with your community, the more authority it has. To me, that’s a little bit of a catch 22 situation – you need people to be authoritative, but you can’t get people unless you are authoritative – you get the idea.
6. Scarcity: offer something there is only a little of. That could be anything that is of value to your community, be it knowledge, information, access, etc. Offer a prize, a contest, a guest spot as a blogger . . . (*crickets*).
Is the Eighth Floor doing all of this, do you think?
In the business world, online learning networks are key. If you need to know something, this is how you find it. Slowly, the same is becoming true in education, really. If I want to know what the latest information is, I hit an online community. This is how your students get their information. It’s not wrong – it’s what it is.
Just out of curiosity, what would it take to get you into an online learning community today – say the Eighth Floor ning site?
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Secure Websites in Plain English
These days websites make security a priority, but it is hard to know when a website is secure, or what makes it so. This video teaches the basics of website security and how to recognize a secure site.
- An overview of the most common security threats
- How SSL encryption works
- How to recognize a secure connection
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
And all that is some solid advice, if I do say so myself! I realize that for some (me included, often) that solid advice is not always enough to get the juices flowing and motivation running high. Examples, samples, ideas, . . . possibilities! These can help me be creative. So, when I saw this blog post, I thought BRILLIANT! This is just a casual list of 20 different types of blog posts. What I saw was a great list of blogs across the curriculum. See what you think:
20 Types of Blog Posts
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
We have a few questions you all may be able to help us with:
- How do we combat being invisible without being annoying?
- How do we get first timers up here - what might make them notice us?
- What could we be doing to get folks to interact with the Eighth Floor more?
I know people don't have a lot of extra time, and absolutely no schools have any extra money, but we are the best deal in town when it comes to professional development - hands down. How do we let people know?????
Thursday, January 07, 2010