Online teaching/learning…coming soon to a location near you!

Last week, after our online learning committee meeting, I was asked to develop a survey that would ask all middle and high school teachers their interest in learning more about online learning.


Are you interested in learning more about online learning? Please select the level of training you would like to receive below.  (select all that apply)

  • Level 1 – Basic informational meeting – What is it, How does it work, how will it affect my classroom?
  • Level 2 – Extending my face to face classroom into the online environment using Moodle.
  • Level 3 – Learning to develop/teach fully online classes.
  • Other


Out of the 80 or so teachers (MS/HS), 23 teachers indicated interest in learning more about online learning…and even possibly teaching online!  I am very excited to see that our teachers are showing interest in this new method of delivering education.   After all, Pawlenty’s 2013 online high school learning experience will be a requirement for our current 8th graders!

OLL Results

Information sessions will be coming to your buildings very soon – be on the watch for invitations.

Glogster – Poster yourself!

I have stumbled upon a VERY cool tool called Glogster!  The educational potential for this site web2.0 site tremendous! It allows students and teachers to build posters on virtually any topic!  YThese digital posters allow students to build and interact with videos, pictures, clipart, text, and sound.

I actually utilized it while developing the framework for a Podcasting class that I am thinking about developing online.  These are the following tools I will use throughout the course.

  • Createsurvey – for my pre/post survey (link)
  • – to have participants build the story or script
  • Elluminate Live to show participants how to use audacity and to check progress on their scripts
  • Glogster – to build the final story poster

I will tell you that I have spent oodles of time building this course and I would love to hear your feedback!  Check it out by clicking my Glogster Podcasting site!

You will need to have your screensize at minimum of 1024 x 728 and you will have to scroll down to view the entire page.  What do you think?  I cant tell you how many times I have seen students working on the old fashioned collages by clipping newspaper or magazine pictures out.  Think of how many trees will be saved by using this site AND how much funs students can have building them. They even have a Glogster education site that just recently opened!

Hack this school please

“These Kids Syndrome”–the tendency to explain away the shortcomings and failures of our education system by saying that “these kids can’t learn”; or “these kids don’t want to learn” or “these kids are just too far behind.” And after awhile, “these kids” become somebody else’s problem. And this teacher looked at me and said, “When I hear that term it drives me nuts. They’re not ‘these kids.’ They’re our kids. All of them.” (Obama, 2008)


While I was reading chapter 5 of Wikinomics (in one class) and learning about constructivism and  Blooms Taxonomy (in another class),  I stumbled upon  a conversation of a consortium in SE MN that is looking at developing a charter school due to declining enrollment.  One of the links that was included, to make the case, was a video of a charter school in Minnesota that is totally project based.   There are no schedules, there are no bells.  Students are completely in charge of their learning!  Their adviser (aka teacher) is a learning resource consultant and provides individual two way communication with the students vs the sage on the stage one way communication of the traditional industrial aged classroom.  The schools are governed by majority of teachers vs administrators and traditional school boards.

The classroom pedagogy as you and I know it, is completely thrown out the window.  The customers, the students, are also co-innovators and creators of their curriculum.   They are required to develop projects based on the standards of our state.  They learn about things that are meaningful to them.  They are creative and engaged with their learning environment because the work they have chosen is authentic and relative to their personal goals and aspirations.

I was excited to see this topic of discussion because I was able to merge two areas of my current studies into a very relavent problem we face in our schools.  Our traditional schools are losing students (and funding) to online schools, PSEO, open enrollment, home schooling, and dropouts…

Isnt it time we rethink the way we do school business and deliver education?
At what point will we no longer have a choice?

Plaigarize proof your assigments!

Due to the digital age, and the fact that information is increasing at a very rapid rate, it is becoming very easy for students to copy and paste there way through assignments.  It is increasingly important for instructors to not only be able to CATCH the plagiarists but also develop lessons and activities that promote authentic learning.

To find plagiarism takes a little detective work.  Has the skill level of the student’s writing suddenly changed midway through the research?  Where they go from an 8th grade writing level to doctorate level?  Has the formatting suddenly changed in the document.  From Times New Roman font to Arial?  Has the context of the research changed suddenly?  If you answer yes to any of the questions, you may have a plaigarist on your hands.

So how do you prove it?  The easiest way is to take the phrase you suspect and put quotes on both sides and Google it.  If you get some “hits” then you may have the proof you need.  I also found a cool tool, called the Plagiarism Checker that allows you to copy/paste and search for plagiarism in entire works.  I tested it and it works pretty good!

Stop plaigarism before it starts

What is a teacher to do?  I have found a list (here) that has quite a few ideas on how to plagiarize proof assignments.  However, after learning about  Bloom’s Taxonomy, I feel it is even more important to develop assignments and activities that encourage deep learning.  As you look at the Bloom pyramid below, the lower level –  knowledge – requires the lowest level of thinking skills.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Image –

As you look at the verbs for the lowest level  knowledge level (according to Bloom) how easy would it be to copy/paste answers for  assignments and activities?  Now look at the verbs for evaluation. Those verbs would require a deeper learning, where students would have to use information literacy skills to produce an answer.

Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.

Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare, defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate.

To make a long story short, if your assignments only require a surface level of answers and your assessments only require a surface level of answers – do you think your students really comprehend the content you are teaching?


Disappointment 2.0

I am extremely disappointed.  I have been blogging for two years using  About a year ago I discovered they had an excellent plugin that would allow me to measure the traffic (hits) of my blog, by using a service called Google Analytics.  Well, about a week ago my hits stopped.  At first I thought it was me and maybe my lack of good content, but I was receiving replies and still no hits.  That led me to my looking at my plugin settings and there it was…I was to be a supporter to continue using analytics with edublogs – AKA pay $40.   There was no warning.  It was gone.  Is this start of a  new trend?  Get the tools into the hands of the educators and then when the timing is right, hit em with a tab $!  As a site that is geared towards teachers and education I really have to wonder if this was in educations best interest or Edublogs?  I guess the $40 answers my question!

TIES 2008 – Dan Pink: Q and A – My notes

Because of my engagement in the first session, I decided to continue with Daniel’s Q&A session.  Again, these are my notes so I hope I will use them in the very near future.  I would love to brainstorm some ideas on change in our district – if anyone is interested.  By the way – you have to read “A Whole New Mind” to really get the gist of the conversation.

Here it goes…

What is your best guess – to jar the shift into action – while NCLB is in place?

  • “Difficult – takes time and work.  Begin with conversation with teachers, principals, and Superintendent.  What are we doing to prepare kids for the future?  Get conversation roaring!  Make the case in a left brain way. White guys in suits and guys that are left brained. Show the numbers!  What are you doing to smuggle some of this into the classroom.  Educational subversiveness with conversations with people who can make change.  “You think change is difficult – you should try irrelevance.”

What do you think of Presidential Obama “getting it” and could change come from the top down?

  • “Maybe but I am not going to hold my breath.  I wont bank on it.  That would be more of a 2nd term priority.  Economic downturn, Infrastructure, losing jobs, health care system, moving current energy system to renewable energy is huge agenda for the president elect.  What can happen is to start classroom by classroom, building by building”

Story  – what are the thoughts of simple power of story meets technology?

  • Sometimes using technology can overwhelm story.  Don’t obsess over transitions – obsess over the value of what you are saying.  Adventure of Johnny Bunko – look for artists in US.  Were extreme expert in drawing – not expert in storytelling. Technology Tools can amplify storytelling by telling it and distributing it.

If you Dan are middle left brain – how did you get over to the right?

  • I  need to get better.  Cary a Notebook “design” look for really good design and really bad design.  right down 1 good instance of design, 1 bad design.   Some stick, and most are thoughtless. He now Notices things now that he wouldn’t have years ago.  Empathy – learn more about facial expressions.  Working to be better.

Do you have daughters – you as a white guy with a tie support women in STEM careers.

  • Brains are similar – and are differences btw woman and men.  Empathy – woman more empathetic than men.  Design, story, play meaning – not as much differences.  Is STEM education misaligned to women?  More competitive than collaborative.  Sometime engineering is disconnected from the world. Education needs to engage in real world problems, teamwork, project based.

If you look at how schools use technology, (currently scheduled in the day) – how is that conducive to problem solving?

  • Not conducive to problem solving.  We didn’t have pencil labs.  Its a tool – lets use it to do something.  Older school design is problem.  Time is the issue because we work in a locket time design.  This an industrial age issue.  Conceptual age is different and is out of sync with society in a 45 segment.  Startup time end time.    Web 2.0 technology extends classroom time.  Too often in school kids get a problem that is clearly defined, single disciplined, and has 1 right answer.  Compare that to the Workforce where we have big problems that are poorly defined, multiple disciplines, multiple answers, and none of which are perfect.

Tear down the walls.  There are too many.  english, science, ect… Need more collaborating.  Infuse arts education throughout the curriculum.  Cognitive skills will be more used in workplace.  Urgency of establishing new metrics.  You have to have old metrics, right brain are harder.  JSPE – measure empathy.  Level of empathy.  Students with higher schores on empathy.  Empathy is being taught in medical schools around america.  Teachers have very little autonomy.  Involves time and task and techniques.

TIES 2008 – Opening Keynote: Daniel Pink – My Notes

This morning I am sitting at the  TIES  convention and waiting to hear Dan Pink’s opening keynote along with the other +1700 educators, administrators, teachers, and technology directors from all over the US and Canada.  (very impressive turnout by the way)  My notes are sketchy, as I was busy typing and listening.  (I apologize for that)  If you get a chance to see him – I highly recommend it!

What makes a good speech? Good speeches in general…always have 3 ingredients…brevity, levity, repetition.  Influence of a teacher – “repetition is an effective form of emphasis”.

Education and the economy  – purpose of education is not to deliver to employees to employers – allow every young person – achieve their full potential, well informed citizens, digital citizenship…

“We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past.”  (Fairfax, administrator)

Before the conceptual age we were told as kids… “get good grades, go to college, get a good jobs”.

Brains. Left hemisphere, Right hemisphere.  Last several years, because of technology, we know more about how our brains work.  Complicated and complex – elegant and efficient.  Different specialties – the left contains the logical, linear, sequential, analytical.  Right – Tasks, process at once, understand concept, facial expressions, synthesis context.

Our past – kids future.  past – Most important ability – were the  characteristics of left hemisphere and it was absolutely necessary.  BUT – no longer sufficient. Right Brain –  Big picture thinking, conceptual. ect.

The 3 causes that for our the shift in workforce in the states.  (This is also the Need for shift in Education)

Asia – 15,000 computer science degrees, upper class incomes in their country.  White collar jobs loss in the less 4 years is not an issue,  India has advantage in global economy.  Billion People.  15% of billion = 150 million.  US – last month –  just counting the those who work for pay in the US – 144 million.  If 15% make it to the status of being competitive  – then we have cit.  In 14 months – India will be the largest English speaking country.  English is the language of the global economy. Technology – cost of communication btw us and India is $0.  “Focusing on Routine is a death sentence.” This is the fault line between our past and kids future.  This skill is going out fast -right steps and have.  Accounting, financial analysis, programming. Anything that focuses on a series of steps or has one right answer will be unnecessary.

Automation- machines replace our muscle, software replace our brains.  Replace logical linear rule based side.  collaborative exercise – gov sites – figure what lawyer uncontested divorce – all steps.  Routine is off shore or gets automated. complete affordable divorce solutions.  $249.  Tax preparation. Turbotax.  Certain accounting is routine

Abundance – standard of living is breathtaking.  chart “consumption spreads faster today” –  material goods have migrated to above 80-90% of homes.  Telephone, electricity, TV, Computer, Internet, cellphone.  Storage Industry – $22.6 Billion industry.  We have too much stuff! In a world of abundance, there is a premium on getting something to people they didnt know they were missing.  Offering to consumer, has to be big and bold especially in recession.  Downturn – can still make it.

3 questions –

  • Can someone do it cheaper
  • Can a computer do it faster?
  • Is what your delivering in demand in an age of abundance?

What about STEM?  Not vending machines of right answers.  Evidence is not routine – ex. Silicon Valley, Google

“Non-routine savants”  Medical Schools – at art institute – part of diagnostic training.  Certain is routine, Ask right question.  Extraordinary observation skills.    Now measurable – those who have been thru art training are better than traditional medical training.  Art education is spreading among colleges however in elementary and secondary arts if first to go.  “This is a colossal mistake.”

Last Rant. Can you see the problem?

Technology today

  • Novelty
  • Nuance
  • Customization

Education today

  • Routines
  • Right answer
  • Standardization

6 abilities that matter most.

  • Design – make something beautiful, whimsical, emotionally engaging
  • Story – story matters, facts are free. facts in context
  • Empathy – stand in someone shoes, human ability.
  • Play – laughter humor games, in economy – shouldn’t be banishing
  • Meaning – not just accumulation.  What has meaning has purpose.
  • Symphony – Not just focus – ability see big picture, connect dots, and design something new.

check him out at –

TIES 2008 – System Technology and Implementation with the NETS – my notes

Don Knezek, CIO ISTE and Lynn Nolan  co-presented the following sessions on “Systemwide Technology and Implementation with NETS”

Prepare kids for a world different than today.

Objectives –

What needs to occur

  1. Leadership Teams – principals, teachers, tech leaders, librarians
  2. Other Stakeholders – parents, students, community groups
  3. 3-5 year technology plan consistent with schools improvement plan.  Objectives, measurable benchmarks, responsibility, time lines
    1. Plan must be Dynamic rather than static – sustainable, creative in funding, celebrate successes

In 1998 the student standards were about how to learn technology  – In 2007 the standards are about using technology to learn – same with teacher standards.

Teachers need to Facilitate and inspire, motivate, and model digital age work and learning.  Design and develop digital age learning experiences.  Also need to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility and engage in professional growth and leadership.

New proposed admin standards – draft
Official standards will be released at NECC in June!

  • Inspire and facilitate excellence throughout transformational vision and leadership
  • Create and sustain a digital age culture
  • Advance and model excellence in digital age learning and professional practice
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration among diverse stake holders
  • 2 more (sorry I could not type fast enough)

Tools to help observation, where can I connect with other who are doing the same things?

Teacher observation tools for principals-

My opinion – ISTE is on the right track with their refreshes in standards.  My question – How and when will Byron begin to implement them?