Friday, October 30, 2009

Awesome Presentations Available Online

Last weekend, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) hosted their annual Virtual Conference. In Michigan, we host a face-to-face event in conjunction with the online presentations. I'm on the DEN Event Team and was one of the face-to-face session facilitators along with several other inspiring educators across the state. One disadvantage to being involved in facilitating the face-to-face event, is not being able to attend many of the sessions. I was pleased to learn this morning that the virtual breakout sessions are not available, so I can attend whenever I have a free moment. If any of the following topics interest you, I encourage you to do the same:

  • Students as collaborators, creators, and directors

  • Podcasting

  • Making your PowerPoint presentations more interesting

  • Using Discovery Education's teacher tools (assignment builder, quiz builder, etc)

  • Gloggle

  • Sharing your multimedia projects with the world

Access all of these presentations on the DEN Blog Virtual Conference  page.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I learned of a new screencast tool from Chris Ozias (Pinckney Technology Integration Specialists) while at the "Tech or Treat" MACUL/Discovery Education Event on Saturday.  It's called Screencast-o-Matic.  No download and no account registration required!  I just recorded a quick screencast to introduce an 8th grade inquiry-based science lesson I developed.  Creating the screencast was super easy (no need to read any directions or change computer settings).  There are many saving options:  MPEG-4, avi.  Or share direct to youtube (However, this didn't work when I tried it) or to Screencast-o-Matic.  There is some advertising, but it didn't seem offensive.  I'm thinking that this could be used easily by students!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More About Social Networking

I was invited to the Oakland County Career Tech Prep teacher inservice on Friday.  I was able to sit in on the keynote presentation by Corey Perlman, author of eBoot Camp.  His book is about Internet marketing techniques for small businesses.  His message is that educators need to experience and understand social networking so that we can help students use social networking to connect with others and land jobs. 

He recommends that students should have a solid Internet presence before leaving high school:

  • Upload at least one youtube video of themselves dressed nicely while communicating career goals.

  • Blog.  Recommended platform is Wordpress.

  • Use  linkedin. Ask teachers for recommendations.

  • Post articles and best papers on Ezinearticles.

  • Build a website.  Joomla is a platform that could be used.

I've always recommended that teachers not "friend" students.  Mr. Perlmam gave me a few ideas and I may change my mind.  There is a way to keep your main Facebook page private from students and still connect with them on Facebook.  You can create a Facebook group.  This will allow conversations, announcements, and collaboration to occur right in Facebook, where students already are.

Mr. Perlman's keynote gave the teachers who attended a brief overview of the power of social networking and a taste from many different tools.  My online course, 21st Century Learning, will help guide teachers as they venture on their journey.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brown Symposium on Technology and Society

Today I traveled to blue and gold territory - the University of Michigan, cross-state rivals of my alma mater, Michigan State University.  U of M hosted the John Seely Brown Symposium on Technology and Society.  danah boyd was the keynote speaker.  danah (lack of capitalization is not a typo) is a social media researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a fell0w at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  

The setting: a beautiful auditorium at the Business School.  I arrived a few minutes late, just as the keynote was starting.  I ended up in the back row of the balcony.  I noticed that there were many college students in attendance and there were several hands on laptop keyboards all around the auditorium; I felt right at home.  As Ms boyd was speaking about her research about social networking, the two young adults sitting in front of me were checking email, and posting to Twitter and a Skype chat.  They were back-channeling; deeply engaged in sideline conversations that the presenter made them think about.  Others might have thought they were off-task, but I don't believe so, because I often do the same thing.

Ms boyd found that kids prefer to spend time with their friends face-to-face, but that the high amount of structured activities (clubs, sports teams, etc), and parental rules often keep them home.  So they tend to hang out on MySpace and Facebook out of convenience.   They don't  use social networking sites because of the technology; they use it because all their friends are there. 

Teens participation in online social networking sites is viewed upon by most adults as frivolous, unsafe, and a waste of time.  However, teens are learning how to live and interact in ways that are very important in today's world.  Just like most other human behaviors, there are "good" and "bad" examples of how social media is used.  I've seen awesome teen-generated digital media, created with a purpose and communicated with originality.  Some examples that come to mind for me include the teens who made the YouTube video of the water slide they constructed from the second story window (requiring advanced physics knowledge, the reaction of the 3rd grader to President Obama's speech, and the blog of a high school student trying to make positive changes in his school.

However, what is in the news more often is the negative; fear is used to spin a story... Teens sending pornography via their cell phones, writing inappropriate comments on Facebook, or meeting a stranger who turns out to be a predator.  Ms. Boyd is very concerned that the culture of fear of the "bad" is causing a lot of damage.  She believes that adults need to help guide teens into making good choices while using social networking tools, a significant part of their lives.  I agree with her. 

Read danah boy'd reserch here.  Warning: over 400 pages

Sunday, October 4, 2009

MACUL/DEN Virtual Conference, Oct 24

 Day of Discovery: Tech or Treat Conference

Saturday, October 24, 2009

8:30 am to 3:15 pm

Registration is now available for the "Day of Discovery: Tech or Treat Conference" at Harper Creek High School (map) in Battle Creek, MI. Click here to register now.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) and the Discovery Education Network (DEN), featuring MACUL’s “Making It Happen” award winner, Andy Mann.  Choose virtual sessions from nationally known speakers and/or face-to-face sessions with experienced technology trainers. There is no cost for the conference. Lunch is provided. All teachers are welcome, although space is limited. SB-CEU’s available. Door prizes provided by Discovery Education and MACUL.

Virtual Sessions by Discovery Education’s National Speakers:

Can I Help You With That?  The Student as Collaborator

Do You Have the Audacity to Podcast?

Thinking Outside the Slide

Putting the Bling in Your Builders

What on Earth is a Gloggle?

Be Nice and Share: Publishing Your Media-Infused Projects

In Person Hands-on Sessions: (subject to change)

The Best Open Source & Free Windows Applications (Andy Mann)

Google Earth: All Over the World and In your Backyard (John Phillips)

Hands-on: Geocaching in the Classroom (Gina Loveless & Pam Shoemaker)

SMART(board) Discovery Streaming (Melissa White)

Thinkfinity: Free Lesson Plans and Educational Resources (Jim Stewart/Karen Lemmons)

Podcasting: Supercharged Writers

Digital Storytelling: Make it Personal

Google Docs: Really, I can do that? (Lisa Wickman)

Get Connected with Social Bookmarking (Melinda Waffle)


Click here to register:

For more information, email Lisa Wickman at: