Sunday, November 9, 2008

CASL 2008 Pre-Conference with Kathy Schrock

So on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I leave my daughter with my husband at a local park and drive to Cromwell for CASL (CT Association of School Librarians) pre-conference workshop with a Kathy Schrock. She is a leader in the field of technology in schools, in the Library Media field and in education in general.

At some point while Kathy was talking about Web 2.o applications and filter issues, she made the following comment, "We are not the pentagon, we are here for us to learn and kids to learn". I could not agree with her more!

Some of the things I walked away wanting to look into further are listed below:
  • Creating a Google Apps for Education account for our school district
    • It gives you access to their premier account, with the ability to manage it
    • In her district, 6th graders to 12th graders have email accounts. It is explained to them as a "business account" and is not for personal use.
    • If she were to set up the account again, she would have a few different accounts so that you could give some students email addresses, but if a parent will not give permission, than you could put that student in a different account and check the button for no email (students don't really need email, they just need an email address to create accounts at the various Web 2.0 applications

  • First website created in 1990, Web 2.o started in late 90s
  • Terminology: Web feed / Newsfeed - used to "subscribe", RSS - Really Simple Syndication, Aggregator / News Reader - allows you to have information delivered to you, Tag - allows you to label items by topics
Well I've been working on my notes, but I have finished watching the Giants game I recorded and it's way past my bedtime so I will post the rest of my notes tomorrow...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You want me to do WHAT?? BLOG?

For a good overview of what a blog is, visit TeachersFirst
Blog Basics for the Classroom

To get some quick tips and tricks for blogging in the classroom visit
Blogging Basics: Creating Student Journals on the Web

PLN? What is it and were do I get one?

A PLN is a personal learning network. In his article Footprints in the Digital Age, Will Richardson shares 5 ideas for how teachers can build their own network and why it is so important.

"More than ever before, students have the potential to own their own learning—and we have to help them seize that potential. We must help them learn how to identify their passions; build connections to others who share those passions; and communicate, collaborate, and work collectively with these networks...

But to do all that, we educators must first own these technologies and be able to take advantage of these networked learning spaces. In this way, we can fully prepare students not just to be Googled well, but to be findable in good ways by people who share their passions for learning and who may well end up being lifelong teachers, mentors, or friends."

Here are five ideas that will help you begin building your own personal learning network.

  1. Read blogs related to your passion. Search out topics of interest at and see who shares those interests.
  2. Participate. If you find bloggers out there who are writing interesting and relevant posts, share your reflections and experiences by commenting on their posts.
  3. Use your real name. It's a requisite step to be Googled well. Be prudent, of course, about divulging any personal information that puts you at risk, and guide students in how they can do the same.
  4. Start a Facebook page. Educators need to understand the potential of social networking for themselves.
  5. Explore Twitter (, a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to exchange short updates of 140 characters or fewer. It may not look like much at first glance, but with Twitter, the network can be at your fingertips.

From the November 2008 issue of Educational Leadership

Saturday, October 25, 2008

CECA 2008: Surviving & Thriving in an e-Literate World- Keynote

I'm trying not to let to many days go by before posting my reflections of CECAs annual conference, but that's hard with work and an 18 month old who only hours ago ripped the "D" key off my laptop!

Last week Lori and I attended CECA 2008: "Surviving & Thriving in an e-Literate World" in Hartford, CT. While the long drive and ludicrous parking situation had us worried about "surviving" the day, there were a few sessions that kept us "thriving" when we returned to school.

The keynote speaker was David Pogue, a personal technology columnist for the New York Times and Tech Correspondent for CBS NEWS. This Westport resident gave a lot of great tips and tricks that we could all benefit from.

The first hack, I mean trick, he mentioned was Voice Over IP on Cellphones. With T-Mobile, if you start a call in a wireless hot spot anywhere in the world, the call is free, no roaming, no long distance, nothing. Just start the call in the hot spot and then walk out the door (it automatically switches from wifi to cell tower) and keep talking until your battery wares out. While the cell phone costs $20 more per month, none of your wifi minutes count, so you don't use as many cell minutes. (T-Mobile can offer this, while other cell phone companies can't, because they don't offer landlines.)

While I shared GOOGLE411 with friends, family and faculty two years ago (add 1-800-466-4411 to your speed dial on your cell phone, or home phone and get directory assistance for FREE), I had no idea that you could get the phone number, address and even a Google Maps link sent to your phone via text message (just interrupt the recorded message and say "text message" after you hear the exact location of the business you're looking for.)

You can also text Google for directory assistance. Let's say you're looking for a pizza place in Wilton, just text "Pizza 06897" or "Pizza Wilton CT" to 46645 and GOOG411 will text you with the address and phone number of all the pizza joints in town. You can also use this feature to find movie show times, the status of flights, etc. Ans it is a whole lot faster than using your phone's browser.

On a personal note, I have always been jealous of my husband's voicemail system at work. When he gets a message on his work phone, it sends him an email with a link to the sound file. Well now, thanks to David Progue I can impress him. Using SpinVox or Callwave, I can have my cell phone messages transcribed into text messages or emails for free!

I have been using for a few weeks now, but for those of you out there that don't know about it, NBC and Fox have teamed up to provide all of the network’s TV shows with 15-second ads for commercial breaks (I'm still not sure how I feel about this, I love good commercials, but I also hate when they interrupt a good show...)

We have Cablevision at home, but if you have Comcast, you have access to Comcast Cable's TVPlanner, which includes an HD video gallery, an On Demand page, and free Full TV episodes. You can also get Comcast Cable's TVPlanner™ on the go! If your cell phone has a WAP 2.0 browser, you can access the Comcast TV listings by entering in your phone's browser. Pretty neat!

My husband and I got a free Tivo box back in 1999 when the company first started, so I have been recording, pausing and rewinding live TV for almost 10 years. If you ask my husband he can tell you about the day I tried to "rewind" the neighbors. We were sitting on the couch in front of the TV when I looked out the window and say the neighbors doing something that my husband just had to see. I pointed the Tivo remote out the window and actually hit the pause button while I called my husband to come and look (needless to say, it didn't work). What led me to this story was the statement David made about kids expecting to be able to "pause, rewind and fast forward".

I'm not sure if he mentioned this one, but I created an account over the summer (have yet to really use it) for GrandCentral. It allows you to give out one phone number, to say my daycare provider, and when they call it, all of my phones ring, my work phone, my home phone and my cell phone. This also means you only have one voicemail box that you need to check!

David reminded the audience that first "tech shifts, then culture shifts." He also shared this interesting bit of trivia. Over the last year, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have each shrunk one inch in each direction. When I looked into this further, it seems that the NYTs has gone from 13.5 inches to 12 inches in width will the WSJ has lost 3 inches.

Students heads really are in the clouds

According to the September 2008 PEW Memo: Use of Cloud Computing Applications and Services "'Cloud computing' takes hold as 69% of all internet users have either stored data online or used a web-based software application"

Starting in 2012 students' technology literacy will be tested

Read about it in On the way: Nation's first tech-literacy exam from eSchool News

7 things you should know about...

This series from the EDUCASE Learning Initiative provides a quick overview of emerging learning technologies. So far the 2008 emerging learning technologies are: Lulu, Flickr, Google Apps, Ning, Multi-Touch Interfaces, Second Life, Wii, Geolocation, Zotero and Ustream...visit the site to get an overview of "how it works, where it is going and why it matters to teaching and learning".
Also of interest here is the 2008 Horizon Report
Have you checked out