Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

I just made this with Rock You!  I tried to embed it, but it didn't work.  Click here to see my creation.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner

The new AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner are now available for download from the AASL site.  The standards are based on the following beliefs:

  • Reading is a window to the world.

  • Inquiry provides a framework for learning.

  • Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.

  • Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.

  • Equitable access is a key component for education.

  • The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.

  • The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.

  • Learning has a social context.

  • School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

In order to provide services at school library/media centers to meet the new standards, do operating procedures need to be changed?  Resources? 

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Merits of Wikipedia for Current Events

I often find myself having to explain why we should use Wikipedia in the classroom.  Using Wikipedia is vital as students are learning informational literacy skills.  Students need to be taught to check ALL sources to determine the validity of information.  Sure, you can find articles about your local high school where students have added lies to the truth.  That leaves a bad taste in your mouth for sure.  However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

You cannot beat Wikipedia when you are tracking an event that is occuring now.  For example, the devestating fires in San Diego are spreading.  Take a peek at Wikipedia and learn more about the fires - you can learn way more than watching the news, and the newspaper won't get here until tomorrow morning, and it will be outdated by the time it reaches the mailbox.  There are photos submitted by people living in San Diego just 24 hours apart.  The smoke and soot in the air you see in the photos brings realness to the situation for those, like me, living far away from the fires.   

The first entry was on Oct 21.  Two days later, there are over 500 entries.  You can see what has changed, and that there are folks there checking to make sure the info is accurate. 

Teachers MUST allow students to use Wikipedia!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Student Voice: Meet Arthus

I just finished listening to Steve Hargadon's interview of Arthus, a 14 year old student.  Notes from the podcast is  available on Steve's blog.  Arthus developed an interest in the educational aspects of web 2.0 tools.  A few weeks ago, during a WOW Webcast on EdTechTalk, I noticed Arthus was in the chat room, bringing the student voice into the conversation.  I Arthus is an advocate for educational technology, due to all the educational benefits.  He joins the ed tech leadership community in many arenas:  he is a member of Classroom 2.0 on Ning, he joins webcasts on EdTechTalk, and Twitter

Arthus has his own blog.  I spent some time reading some of his recent entries and it is evident that he wants to make a difference in how schools are structured for LEARNING.   I think the voice of this one student will soon be the voice of many more.  Listen to the interview and see if you agree. 

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Friday, October 12, 2007

American Voters Have Concerns


A new report from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills reveals that American voters believe that the United States is not preparing young people with the skills they need to compete in the global economy.

The poll’s findings come at a time when debates over the future direction of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which is up for reauthorization, as well as the focus that education will receive during the 2008 presidential election cycle.   NCLB focuses on narrowing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged and minority students, and improving underperforming schools. Stopping there denies U.S. students the expanded skills set they now need to succeed in the globally interconnected society and workforce of the 21st century.  According to Ken Kay, the President of the Partnership of 21st Century Skills,
The public strongly supports more rigorous expectations for students that integrate 21st century skills into core academic subjects. Educators want to equip students with these skills, but they need the public policy, professional development, assessment and curricular tools to accomplish this.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an organization dedicated to promoting a new vision of what students need to be successful in a globally competitive economy. Please visit for more information.  Better yet, listen to Ken Kay's January 2007 speech from the FETC Conference, where he addresses the question of why students need new (additional) skills for the 21st century. 

Monday, October 8, 2007

Inventing the New Boundaries


The K-12 Online Conference has begun!  I just saw the opening keynote by David Warlick, "Inventing the New Boundaries."  Warlick dreams of the days when our classrooms are rid of the boundaries of classroom walls, textbooks, schedules bound by bells, etc.  He realizes that classrooms need boundaries, but new boundaries that have yet to be invented.  Warlick speaks of many things that I've been thinking about myself lately, due to my experiences in my own social learning network.  Over the past year, I have learned so much from others, many of which I have never met face-to-face.  We "meet" on Twitter, Ning, their blogs, my blog, Second Life, etc.   We share experiences, resources, strategies, and challenges.  Just this past week, I learned about Animoto and Ustream from folks in my personal learning network.  I have met most of the people in my personal learning network by my participation in the Women of the Web 2.0 weekly webcasts, the Discovery Educator Network, and the Classroom 2.0 Ning network

Our students have their own personal learning networks.  They stay connected with blogs, IM, cell phones, online games, and text messaging.   Warlick contents that much of what kids learn happens because they are connected.  They ask others for help when they need it, and learn together.  He states, "When they enter our classrooms, we cut off their connections, and this is an insult to our children."

There is much work to do.... 57% of teenagers are published authors of creative works - blogs, videos, photos, etc.  What percentage of teachers and school administrators are published authors?  This relates to a grant I'm writing for helping teachers develop their own social learning networks.  I'll write about this soon! 

Join the conversation!  Take advantage of the learning opportunities by participating in the K-12 online conference!

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Spread the Word: K12 Online Conference!


Download the flyer for the K-12 Online Conference, going on between October 8 and 26.  You can attend as many sessions as you like from anywhere there is an Internet connection.  I attended several sessions last year and found it to be one of the best learning experiences ever!  I connected with others from all over the world and learned about new online tools.  Some of the sessions opened my mind to new ways of thinking about how technology can impact student learning.  AND IT IS FREE!

There are 2 minute session "teasers" posted on the website,  Please visit and plan to attend at least one session.  The schedule can be found at   If you cannot make it during the live broadcast, they will record the sessions and you can learn at a more convenient time. 

Help spread the word! 

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