TIES 2008 – Online Simulations and Video Games

Glenn Wiebe, ESSDACK

Saturday, Dec 6 from 12:30 – 3:30
MY Notes!

“Video games help to rewire brains”

How do we make our job essential for the survival of the student?

  • Brains search for patterns (games provide structured patterns)
  • Brains make connections best when emotional chemicals are increased. Endorphins…Non-threatening (good games make emotional connections)
  • Brains want to work with others (good games collaborative learning)

AP History – Metal of Honor (gave more emotional connection)

What are some things that make learning effective?

  • hands on
  • control the action/make choices
  • problem solving
  • active learning
  • real world application
  • student centered
  • immediate feedback
  • creativity

Glenn’s Resources


  • Takes Time – What are you willing to give up?
  • Standards Alignment – what do you want them to learn?
  • Money – hardware, software, computer upgrades
  • Technology issues -Not enough stations, age appropriate games, apple vs. pc
  • Assessment issues – PBL rubric, participation, self eval, presentations and written work

SMART Board – Two minute tutorials

I stumbled upon this SMART Board training resource today and thought it might be helpful to new SMART Board users!  Click the link to view the 2 minute Flash videos and learn how to use the tools and different aspects of the Notebook software.  After having a small discussion about the need for our substitute teachers to have “SMART Board skills” I am thinking this might be a good start and a good site to direct them to.  Thoughts?


New Federal Law Requires Schools to Teach Web Safety

Schools that apply fore erate funding will now be required to teach Internet safety to their students. I would hope that most schools are educating students about being safe on the web.  What I don’t know is how good of a job we are doing, nor do I know what the government will do to ensure we are tracking this properly.  But for administrators and teachers – it will be helpful for you to think ahead of how this could be incorporated in your schools/classrooms.  Here is the link to the article!

Signed into law October 10 by President Bush, the Broadband Data Improvement Act (Public Law 110-385) requires schools receiving federal e-rate discounts on telecommunications services and internet access to educate their students “about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking sites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.”

The time for change is now.

Scott McLeod had an excellent presentation he developed on for the K12 Online Conference.  Dr. McLeod reflects upon key concepts from Dr. Clayton Christensen’s work regarding disruptive innovation. The presentation draws primarily from two of Dr. Christensen’s books, The Innovator’s Dilemma and Disrupting Class, and focuses on the different ways of thinking that are now mandatory if school leaders are to successfully navigate their organizations in transition to the 21st century. Key points from other leadership models also make their way into the presentation.

The time for change is now.  Our future is inevitable.  Would it not be better to be proactive and start adapting to our future, instead of scurrying to try to catch up?  We are a very talented organization – it is time to tap into our stakeholders talents and prepare our district for the next generation of learners.  Please watch the video.  It is 20 minutes long.  Scott does an excellent job relating the reading material to education.  What are your thoughts?  What are our districts next steps?

Six Important Trends to Watch

As directed by our district technology committee, I have been doing research on what it would take to implement a 1:1 computing initiative in our school.  I stumbled on America’s Digital School report and the following are the top six trends in technology and education.

  • Large-Scale 1:1 Implementations Are Alive and Well
  • Learning Management Systems Go Mainstream
  • Online Assessment Is Replacing the No. 2 Pencil
  • The Student Computing “Race to Mobility” Accelerates
  • Interactive Whiteboards Come Into Their Own
  • Awareness of the Internet Bandwidth Crisis Reveals New Concerns

I would say that currently in Byron, all of the above areas have been discussed or started to implement over the last several years.  I have begun to collect my 1:1 resources – http://delicious.com/jenhegna/1to1 and would appreciate any feedback OR useful research you have found.  I am also looking for 1:1 research regarding the infrastructure, training, and support needed to have a successful 1:1 program.

Thanks MUCH!

Midomi – find song titles by humming?

Are you looking for a song but only know some of the notes to it and the title simply escapes you?  Then you might want to check out Midomi.com Just sing, hum, or whistle into your computer’s microphone Midomi will find your music for you.  It’s not perfect, but is a cool way to find that song you don’t know the title of. You will have to give permission for the site to use your microphones!  It is the coolest Web 2.0 tool I have seen in a while!

Technology Visioning – 2012

I feel our district is in a pretty good place when it comes to educational technology.  We are completely wireless in our schools and all of our teachers and administrators have mobile laptops.  We are near the end of a 3 year high tech multimedia classroom integration plan that includes installing SMART Boards, projectors, classroom amplification systems, DVD/VCR, etc.  Our high school is currently investigating online learning and we have integrated our first high def video conference classroom so that we could offer our students mandarin Chinese.  We also recently adopted the Project Lead the Way curriculum so that we could begin offering pre-engineering courses for our students.

Four years in the technology world is a very long time and somewhat unpredictable.  However, I think it is important to imagine where we should be moving as a district in technology.  I have posted some key questions that we will be discussing with our District Technology Committee in October.   Your feedback is also appreciated!

  • What is the next hot ticket technology/web innovations our district should be addressing?
  • What does the learning environment of the future look like?
  • What technologies can help our district become more efficient and effective in our work/learning processes?
  • What technologies will prepare our students be successful in a global economy? (higher education and/or workforce)
  • What other questions should I be asking?

e-Learning from NASA

The Space Agency is making available a free Web-based educational product to learners of all ages across the country. NASA eClips consists of more than 55 short, 5-10 minute video segments, which are available on-demand via the Internet.  NASA eClips features many of the agency’s missions and engages learners in the excitement of science and engineering. Check it out at: http://www.nasa.gov/education/nasaeclips

Downloading videos from youtube

This year our district teachers and administrators received new laptops and with the new laptops, came a new version of Firefox.   Many of your had an extension called “unplug” so that you could download youtube or teachertube videos on to your computers.  Unfortunately this plugin is no longer compatible with the new version of Firefox so we needed another alternative.  The one I have found is called Video DownloadHelper 3.2.2 and it works just as unplug did.  I have created a screencast for you if you would that shows the step by step process!

Welcome Back – Games wanted

Welcome back teachers and students!  I hope to utilize this blog a bit more regular this year to let you in on some happenings in our school and out on the web!  One of my goals is to get feedback on games you would like to see utilized in your classrooms or labs.  I am open to suggestions as long as they do not entail blood, guts, and blowing people up.  If you can tell me the educational value – I am for it.  Simply reply to this blog or send me an email!