Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Personal Tech Use?

Mobile post sent by byndpdcstng using Utterz Replies.  mp3

My response and implications of Utterz

Mobile post sent by byndpdcstng using Utterz Replies.  mp3

In Utterz Words...

If you haven't checked out Utterz, do so as soon as you can! It is a site that allows for mobile audio/text/pix/flix blogging that directly dumps onto your blog. I just tried it out for the first time today. It takes about two minutes to set it up, and you are ready to go.

If you were to use this in a classroom setting (where all of my kids have their own cells), how easy would it be for them to all record an assignment and dump it onto the class blog or wiki? I may even post everyday if it is that easy!

Technorati Tags:
Utterz, Beyond Podcasting, TechTools

Saturday, November 24, 2007

All a-Twitter...

Okay, I have to contribute to this conversation. If you haven't read Jen's (the blogger formerly know as TechnoSpud) blog article on Twitter, please click here. Read through the comments too. I'll wait.

Done? Great. Here's the thing. I was recently asked by someone (and to avoid name-dropping, which I really don't want to do, I won't name him) why I use Twitter. He said that he couldn't quite figure it out and wasn't sure what to make of it. This is a man I greatly respect and was very confused by why he had such a problem making heads or tails of the network. It really got me thinking about why I <3 the network. Because I do. I really do.

This is what I've come up with. Teaching is a very isolating career. If I'm having a rough day, I might actually only talk to two adults all day: the woman with whom I share a room and my husband. That is not cool, nor is it conducive to a good learning environment for me.

Since Twitter, I have felt globally connected in more ways that I can tell you. I told this man that I know a great deal about my Twitter network, either from their tweets or from their blog posts. I can tell you general locations of people, what specifically they do for a living, a bit about their personalities, and some of their likes and dislikes. If I'm feeling particularly down, I might contact @ijohnpederson to make me laugh (which I have done). If I want to know whether a French lesson I'm working on would appeal to my students, I might check with @arthus to see what his take on the lesson is. My SecondLife connection is @elemitrt. She and I used to talk all the time when I was on SL. I wish I could spend more time in-world, and when I am able to again, I know that she will be there to show me around the new places. Get the picture? I could go on, but I won't. :)

I know that it is easy to be offended by what someone types. It is often difficult to express oneself in just text. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and ask them about something that is disconcerting to me. I do think it is time, though, for someone to come out with the new rules of ettiquette. Something for this new, connected world. We could call it Ettiquette 2.0. Or Digital Nativettiquette. Or Twettiquette. Or Blogiquette. No matter what we decide to call it, I think it is important that somewhere we as a generation (and I don't mean in terms of age, I mean in terms of connectivity) define what is considered polite and what isn't.

Calling someone to see why they aren't tweeting might be okay, if it is someone that you would call anyway. Emailing/tweeting them and finding out why they are disconnected might be okay, though. For example, if someone wanted to let me know that they were thinking of me, an e-card would be sweet. I would feel the same way about a tweet, or an email, or even a Skype call. I would, however, be creeped out if you called my house. To be fair, I would feel the same way if we had just met at a conference. Or if we worked together, but never did anything outside of school. Fair enough?

I think the dialogue has just begun on this one. Thanks, Jen, for starting it.

Technorati Tags:
Twitter, Connectivity, Web 2.0, Beyond Podcasting, Random

Monday, November 19, 2007

Twitter on CSI???

Okay, you know your favorite R/W Web tool has gone viral when it appears on a popular CSI. Granted, this does bring up issues of cyberbullying/tmi on the internet, but nonetheless, Twitter was on CSI. Watch, and love.

Technorati Tags:
YouTube, Twitter, CSI, Random

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, oh, it's MAGIX!

Hooray! Huzzah! And other such shouts of joy!

Finally, oh finally, I have found a toy for PC that is like GarageBand.'s FREE.

Yes, I said free. Well, okay, the deluxe version isn't, but the basic version is. And basic is just fine by me. It is called MAGIX, and it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Here is what the screenshot looks like:

It looks all complicated and scary, but in reality it is drag and drop editing at it's finest. Notice the colorcoding?

You can find MAGIX for downloading here. Good luck, and happy music making! On a PC even! Wahoo!

Technorati Tags:
MAGIX, Beyond Podcasting, Garageband

How-To...Podcast, Part II

Now that you're all set-up, let's create a podcast. This particular type of podcast is called a mash-up. This is my favorite type to create for my French classes, because it allows them to hear authentic French. If you are interested in a regular audio podcast (like, where you talk), check out the GCast icon on the left side of this page - I just created a podcast about how-to create a simple audio podcast.

Okay, so the first thing you'll want to do is import audio into audacity. Go under file, then import, then audio. You'll need to know where iTunes dumps its podcasts. Import one of your favorite podcast episodes. Open a new audacity window and repeat for as many podcasts as you want to include into your mash-up. I usually use three or four.

Next, pick the part out of each podcast that you want to include. Podcasts really shouldn't be over 6 or 7 minutes long or you'll start to lose your students. I try to limit mine to six, but students tend to be more willing to listen to longer podcasts if music is involved. In your original window, hit the record button and record your intro. Something like "Hello, and welcome to whatever the name of your podcast is. My name is your name here." or whatever else you'd like is just fine.

Once you've intro'd your podcast, then you can cut and paste from your other podcasts. Make sure to always (and I mean ALWAYS) give credit where credit is due. I usually assign a worksheet to accompany the podcast (again - it's in French, so the kids need a 'roadmap'), and at the top I indicate the sites that I took the material from. At any rate, cut and paste until you have the product you want.

Then, save the project as an audacity file. Please. Sometimes audacity crashes, and you could actually lose everything. You don't want/need that. I actually have a folder on my hard-drive that is just for audacity project files.

Once you have saved the project as an audacity project file (have I said that enough?), you may export the file. Under file, click on export. Save the file as an mp3 file (specify mp3 file!), and again, make sure it is somewhere that you will remember it. If this is the first time that you have exported a file, you'll need to find that LAME file and tell Audacity where to find it. And that's it - you've made your file.

Technically, it is not a podcast unless someone can subscribe to it - either via RSS or iTunes or whatever. My school podcasts are all uploaded onto a site that automatically sends it to iTunes. My podcasts for this site are hosted on GCast. This site is pretty nice because it is free AND will provide you a widget for your website.

If you have questions, or I didn't make something clear, please let me know. Thanks, and happy podcasting!

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, podcasting, iTunes, How-To

Friday, November 16, 2007

One more break from podcasting...

I promise I will finish my how-to on podcasting. Really, I will. However, something is pressing on my mind that I just have to say.

Twitter is down.


And I might not make it.

Okay, a bit over dramatic? Perhaps. But I really do feel less connected than normal. I feel like I forgot to put something on this morning - pants, shirt, a jacket - something important! I'm giving a quiz today in my classes, and was looking forward to some collaboration time.

I'm just struck by how large an influence Twitter really has on me. And how much of a daily part of my life it is. I miss putting @ before people's names, or watching people rant about certain programs that aren't working for them anymore.

In the words of Vicki Davis, "Twittero, twittero, where for art thou, twittero..."

Technorati Tags:
Twitter, Beyond Podcasting, Random

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Readability Level

Okay, I know I need to finish my series on how-to podcast (and I will this weekend, I promise), but in the meantime, I thought I'd post this:

cash advance

I don't really know what this means. Should I be offended? Jane's blog was rated at genius level! I guess I shouldn't feel too bad. Jeff's blog did worse than mine (sorry, Jeff).

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Random

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How-To...Podcast. Part 1

Okay, so initially this was a blog to help those who had attended a session of mine at a conference. Obviously, it is now also to voice my opinion on any and all things edutech-related. After reading a Twitter from one that I follow, it became apparent that I have been taking everyone's knowledge for granted. I mean, come ON. The name of this blog is BEYOND podcasting - not what-is-podcasting?

I was wrong. Dear reader, I am sorry. Let's start over, okay? Like we'd never met before. I won't take your knowledge for granted. I promise. Okay? Forgive me?

Great. Now that we're beyond that stage, let's talk about the first segment in my newest features, which I call "How-To". (I know, right? Original.) This is How-To Podcast - Part 1.

First of all, a podcast is simply an audio file that is broadcast to computers, mp3 devices, and iPods. Originally, it was meant as a broadcast for an iPod - hence PodCast. :) If there is a video component involved, then it becomes a video broadcast for an iPod - or a vodcast. Cool, huh?

Okay, now that you know a little about what it is, let's try to make one. First, if you are on a Mac, then you are good to go. You have your iTunes and your GarageBand all loaded, you lucky person you. For the rest of us poor, unfortunate PC people, we need to download. First, download iTunes here. Sign your life away, and let it do what it wants.

Second, you need a recording program. My favorite is Audacity. Download it here. Be careful. It asks you were to put a file named LAME. Put it somewhere (like your desktop) where you can find it right away. You WILL need this later. Trust me.

Third, you will need a good microphone. My suggestion is not to go crazy - yet. Get a headset (think Madonna - or a travel agent) with a built-in mic. This works very well for podcasting as well as Skype, UStream, etc. You will love it. The best are USB headsets, but a regular two-jack set is fine, too.

Fourth, for this particular podcast, download several podcasts on iTunes that interest you. These should all be free. Check out podcasts from universities on iTunes U (be careful - make sure they aren't charging) or just type "keyword podcast" into the search box to find podcasts on whatever you are interested in. For me, I type "French podcasts" into the box to find intro to French podcasts. You should have a few to choose from.

Okay, that does it for part one. Tune in soon to see the continuation of the Podcasting How-To.

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Podcasting, iTunes, Skype, UStream, Audacity, GarageBand, How-To

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Realizing the Vision II: Tools for Differentiation

I want to take a moment to plug a conference that my district is putting on next month. It is called Realizing the Vision II: Tools for Differentiation - or RV II. While the conference is only open to staff in our district (I think), I am working with another teacher to create ways for others to hear/see some of the PD that will go on here.

The conference will be held in Michigan on November 19-20. Will Richardson and Annette Lamb will be keynoting the event. MACUL will be bringing in presenters, and we have some local folk who will be presenting, too (myself included). It should be a very worthwhile experience.

So why am I telling you this if we are only opening the conference to our district? Because there are several different ways to follow the conference if you are not an FHPS staff member.

1.) Twitter. Follow the "official" conference feed here.
2.) Hitchikr. Follow the "official" conference hitchikr site here.
3.) Coming soon: the "official" conference web site here.

We hope you can Realize the Vision with our district!

Technorati Tags:
Technology, Education, Realizing the Vision

Monday, October 15, 2007

Your world - delivered - literally.

Personally, this week has been pretty hard for me. My father is dealing with some health issues, which means that I am dealing with some parenting-your-parents issues. To take my mind off of everything, I, of course, turned to the EduBlogoSphere for comfort and distraction.

And boy, did I find it.

UStream is the most amazing thing I've seen since the iPod Touch (which, is pretty long in tech-terms). It is a TV station that you can produce. I'm thinking of starting a show on technology with puppets. I don't know why, but it sounds amusing, doesn't it?

Anywho, I was twittering along one day, and got involved with UStream and Skype simultaneously, and found myself interviewing people that lived thousands of miles away from me, while chatting with people from all over. It was incredible.

Then I hear about Operator11 which is apparently the same thing. How crazy is this in terms of education? I could teach a class from the comfort of my Michigan home, and be teaching people literally all over the world.

Then I read a post by a self-assigned technospud about how discouraging some of us techies can be to newbie-tech teachers. She mentioned "baby steps" (Yay - What About Bob!). I completely agree. Sometimes I get so excited by what's new, that I forget that to many blogging is still "new". Every dream that we have starts with small baby steps until it can be realized.

My dream is to have technology embedded into everything that I teach. It is my job to take those baby steps and that - no matter how many grants I get turned down for, no matter how many obstacles I may encounter - I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So - what's your dream?

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education, Random, UStream, Operator11

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

To be or not to be....relevant

For those of you who may not know, I am an avid presenter. I absolutely love getting up in front of other educators and showing them another method to reach their students. This year, however, I have missed several major proposal deadlines - some because I am a procrastinator, and some because I'm not terribly sure what to say.

Many people who attend my presentations tell me that they really needed something a bit more basic. I think that we who are in these EdTech rings tend to think that we need to speak on the "new" stuff because the "old" stuff - like podcasting, blogging, etc - is known already.

I'm speaking at a conference in my own district this year, and I plan to present on three topics - podcasting (duh), blogging 101 and how to do PD on your own time with an aggregator. None of this is earth-shattering - all of these are "old" technologies, and yet I know that I will have people who have never heard of these things.

So my question is - how can we really be relevant? I didn't submit to present at NECC this year (though I really, REALLY wanted to) because I honestly don't know how I could present something relevant. To some, Blogging 101 might be about the perfect pace. To others, that is completely old hat.

David Warlick asked yesterday what questions should be asked of school board members. I would ask - how can teachers be relevant to students without the use of modern technologies? In their lives, students will be more apt to use something like the iPod Touch than a desktop computer, and yet how many schools do you know with an iPod Touch for every student? How can professional development be relevant to teachers' needs without addressing technology and meeting the teachers where they are? How can we prepare students for a future that we can't even imagine if we aren't being (you guessed it) relevant?

In this era of budget cuts and deficits, is it even possible to be relevant?

Technorati Tags:
Education, Random, sbe_comments

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WiZiQ and the Reluctant Teen

I don't know how I want to start this post. Please understand that I am fully for the integration of technology in our classrooms. In fact, I don't see it so much as an option as a necessity. That being said, let me start you at the beginning.

It all started with Jeff Utecht's wonderful post on WiZiQ. For those of you who don't know, WiZiQ is sort of like a webcasting portal with recording features and so on - that is entirely free. How cool is that? I LOVE Web 2.0. Anyway, I got to thinking how cool it would be to use this in the classroom.

And then I thought of my students.

Last week, I used Alan Levine's Negative Reinforcement University as a test for my psychology classes. If I had a teacher who had done that in school - well, it would have rocked my world. Instead, I heard a lot of complaints. Yes, some of the students did really enjoy it - and they all really learned from it - but many of them didn't like the extra "work" it took to get out of the dungeon.

Which brings me to my point. How do we integrate technology - or embed it, as Jeff Utecht writes - if our students are reluctant at best to accept this? And who can blame them? For the last twelve years, we have taught students to read on paper and write on paper. And now, all of a sudden, we want them to what? Play games to test their abilities? Listen to class discussions online as opposed to in a classroom setting? This must be a very foreign concept indeed.

How can we help our reluctant students move beyond pen and paper and into the realm of the Read-Write Web? We talk a lot about supporting teachers in this, but what about the students?

This sounds overly pessimistic - and I don't want to be. I'm actually pretty excited about WiZiQ, and am trying to figure out a way to use it in my classroom. But, in case you're still bummed, let me end on a happy note. (Make sure you are not in a quiet location when you open that last link.)

Technorati Tags:
WiZiQ, Education, Random

Friday, September 21, 2007

Busy-ness, Sleep Deprivation, and Other September-Themed Musings

Okay, so it's been a month since my last post. And that was a re-post of a funny email I received. Wow. I can't believe it has been a month. It really seems like yesterday - and yet, like it was three years ago.

We started school the last week of August (added the kiddos after Labor Day), and since then I feel so disconnected! Twitter - which was unblocked last year - has, up until now, been blocked at my school. (Our school has changed procedures, so I filled out a form to get Twitter un-blocked. There was a problem with the paperwork, but I think we have it figured out. I'm hoping to be online on Monday.) I had no idea how often I used Twitter to stay connected - and to get quick answers to tech issues!

I also added a new prep - psychology. I absolutely LOVE teaching it! I spend a lot of time each day trying to make the class as interesting and fun as possible, thus my Bloglines account is at 1744 new feeds. Wait - make that 1746.

And another new thing this year? I used to get asked about tech stuff around the school by members of my department and close friends. This year? Many more people. I've had to actually hide during my prep hour so that I can get work done. I'm really surprised that I can't figure out good hiding places (within range of the wi-fi) in a school of nearly 1000 kids.

If this sounds like complaining, it really isn't. It's awesome! The last school year was amazing - I was able to present at some great conferences, and I've learned so much. I'm really tired (okay, that was a little whiny) but at the end of the day, I feel like I'm really doing well. I've already done some techie things in my psych class. We did a PhotoStory, and then instead of a test, I took them to Alan Levine's Negative Reinforcement University, or NRU. They loved it!

I'm super flattered that people in my building are asking for my help and advice about tech stuff. The truth is, I usually don't know the answer to their question initially. (Shhhh....don't tell) But I do find them the answer, no matter how long it takes me to figure it out.

So, I apologize for the delay between postings. Just in case it takes me a little longer before I can write again, please let me leave you with some links:

My newly improved website. Same general look, but quite a different set-up.

Pavlov's Dog. This is only good if you teach Pavlov, but hey, it's still pretty fun. :)

Guided Tour. This is the guided tour for the iPod Touch. *drool*

Education 2050. If you've never read this before, now's as good a time as any.

And now, off to the Senior Lock-In. Man, I love my job!

Technorati Tags:
Back to School, Education, Random

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Abbott and Costello 2.0

Okay, if you don't know who Abbott and Costello are, stop RIGHT NOW and look them up here.

Now that you are all cultured, read on. This was an email forward that was sent to me. If I knew who to credit, I would.

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommended something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn' t it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
COSTELLO: Okay, so how do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START"...
COSTELLO: Oh, I quit.
ABBOTT: You want to quit the program?
COSTELLO: I said I quit, didn't I?
ABBOTT: Okay, but that's a command for Mac.

Technorati Tags:
Abbott and Costello, Technology, Random

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ready...get set....SCHOOL!

We are less than two weeks from when teachers must report back to the classroom - and three from when students will grace our presence. So - the question that apparently EVERYONE I KNOW wants me to answer is:

Are you ready to go back?

My answer - for a number of reasons - is no. Don't get me wrong - I love, love, LOVE my job, and think that it's crazy to get paid to do what I love - how cool is that? But there are a few things:

1.) I'll admit it: I'm a bit lazy. It's beautiful outside and the thought of going inside - well - not appealing to me, frankly. I'll get over that, I swear. Someday.

2.) I have a new class to teach this year, and I want to integrate technology more than ever. The book is lame at best. I have too many ideas, and haven't figured out yet which ones I need to implement. Some of my (many) ideas:
- classroom wiki
- online textbook (I found a great one here)
- blogging
- podcasting/vodcasting projects

3.) I have been to some great conferences this year and this summer, and have read some great blogs. Bottom line? I have WAY too many ideas, and not enough time to implement them well. I really want to try out SL with my juniors and seniors in psyc, but I know that I won't have enough time to create projects with it this semester. And I really want to do a French class wiki that students could access in lieu of dragging home their textbook.

I guess that's really what this is about. I need more time. With all of the progress we have made with technology and such, I am left with the age-old teacher problem of not enough hours in a day.

Some things never change. :)

Technorati Tags:
Random, Education, Back to School

Thursday, July 26, 2007


To those who regularly read this blog: forgive me. I know that I hate it when someone blogs about all the conferences that they attend. It's like, wow, look at me and all the conferences I go to/present at - I'm amazing. I assure you, this isn't one of those posts, and I apologize in advance. :)

To Linda and those who went to my Beyond Podcasting session yesterday (and anyone else who is interested):
I think the Why Bother powerpoint (listed here) is finally up and working. If this doesn't work, I'll try to figure something else out. Please comment and let me know if you can access it.

As far as "source materials", I have listed some helpful links to the left of this page, and also on the conference wiki . The links that I showed (and many more) are on the delicious page (the direct link is here).

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you would like any further information. Thank you!

We now bring you back to your regularly scheduled blog-reading...

Technorati Tags:
MAHETC2007, Beyond Podcasting

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Griffin, a company who is known to create products that are generally good for the iPod has announced the release of iKaraoke. No, I am not making this up. Apparently, it is a free-ware file that you download to your Mac or PC, and then it allows you to sing along with any song that you own.

I'm not sure of the educational ramifications - if you can think of any, please let me know. I guess for French, you could teach an "educational" song that describes the forms of a conjugated verb and then have students sing along. I'm not sure how well this would work 7-12 - I can hardly get my kids to sing "Happy Birthday". :) (They do, however, yell it quite well.)

So, have fun at your next family reunion with this new freeware. Oh yeah, and check out their site, too. They are giving away $800 of Griffin schwag (sp?). Nice.

Technorati Tags:
iPods, iTunes, Random, iKaraoke

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Are we there yet?

Today was the big travel day. I had to travel from Michigan to Maryland, for the MAHETC 2007 conference. My flights went pretty well, with the exception of a 30-minute wait on the tarmac in D-town, but other than that, they were fine. I got my bags without a hitch, even found my way to the rental car terminal (which, incidentally, is NOT at the airport terminal in Baltimore). Then, it was up to the people at AAA, who had printed me a trip-tick (sp?) earlier in the week.

And that would be when the problems started.

First, AAA thought that I was leaving from the airport. Then, the names of the streets were different than what they really were. Finally, it told me to turn left onto Troopers Way from MD 13 South. Um, Troopers Way doesn't intersect MD 13 - you have to take two side roads to hit TW. Nice. That one took me all the way down 13 to the University to figure out.

Why am I writing this, you ask? Well, dear reader, you should have figured out that I am always a tad on the rant-ish side, but I assure you that I do have a point. I carry with me a cell phone and a PDA at almost all times. Both are wi-fi compatible. Both have GPS/Map-type programs on them. Did I use them? Um, no.

I will be the first to admit that I am a healthy mix of Digital Native and Digital Immigrant, to quote from Marc Prensky. I tend to be mostly immigrant when it comes to my own schoolwork. I tend to play with technology and work with paper. I believe - and have yet to be proven wrong - that this was ingrained in me from the beginning of my educational experience. I was always provided with technology at home - my parents placed it high in their priority list - but was not always provided with it at school. In fact, I can vividly remember teachers telling me not to use any online sources because books were the most reliable! When we tell students that they can't use iPods or cell phones or PDA's or whatever in school, aren't we sending the same message that some of my teachers gave me?

Which brings me back to my driving adventures...if I had been encouraged in school to use technology in as many areas as I could, would I have thought to check the two different map programs that I carry with me? I guess we'll never know...

Technorati Tags:
MAHETC2007, Education of the Future, Random

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Why Bother?

Here is a powerpoint that I will be showing on Tuesday and Wednesday at MAHETC. It will be my anticipatory set (if you will) of both my podcasting and blogging sessions. I think I did a nice job, but I'd love some feedback if you have time. Thanks!

I think all you have to do is click on this powerpoint and it will open the presentation (including music) into your browser. Please let me know if you have any problems.

Technorati Tags:
MAHETC2007, Random, iPods, education

Anti-Theft that Really Works!

Finally, an iPod anti-theft device that we KNOW will work!

Check it out here!
PS Yes, I know this is a joke. Please don't email me and tell me that it is a joke and that I'm dumb. Get a sense of humor! :)
Technorati Tags:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Plans for Summer, Part II

Okay, so I'm procrastinating again, so I am blogging (as per usual). I was re-reading some of my old blogs, one of which was this list of what I had planned for this summer, as of June 11 (while I was still grading and in school). Now that it is the 20th of July, and the new school year is rapidly approaching, I thought I would look at this list again, and see how much I have accomplished. Join me, won't you?

1. Sleep. I don't do enough of that during the school year. Hmm...this is a nice goal. I wish that I could say that I have done more of this, but if anything, I am sleeping less. But, one can always dream, right?
2. Family. Enough said. Yes, I have done a lot with family this summer. Both my husband and son have had surgery, so we are having a lot of family time. I mean, a LOT.
3. Tennis. I am helping with some camps this year, so I thought I'd throw that in here. Yes, I am doing a lot with tennis. Planning for the two seasons that I coach, and coaching the kids in camp. Camps end in 11 days, so I am currently playing/coaching at least 4 days a week. Yay!
4. Laptops and Lattes (or possibly other beverages that start with "L"). I'm very excited about this one. A colleague of mine came up with the idea, and I love it. We are going to get together on Wednesdays and discuss ways of integrating techology into our classrooms. We are going to discuss Web 2.0 stuff, Moodle, podcasting, Gizmoz, and much, much more. I am SO excited about it! What a great idea - and what a great thing that would have been, too! Yes, I know that we still have a lot of time left, but I don't know whether this is really going to happen or not. We'll see. There is still plenty of time left for this.
5. MAHETC. That would be the Mid-Atlantic Handheld and Emerging Technologies Conference in Salisbury, Maryland. I will be one of the many presenters there, along with the likes of Tony Vincent. It is going to be so great! I fly out for MAHETC on Tuesday, and I am nowhere near ready, but I'm excited nonetheless. I couldn't get to NECC, so I'm hoping this is a good second. I am geeked to do this - I have not yet presented outside of the state of Michigan, so this will be great!
6. (Real) Mobile Technology. As I am preparing my mobile classroom, I am trying to come up with ideas on how I can still integrate technology without having the classroom as my crutch. Right now, I have closets filled with stuff I've purchased - microphones, headphones, wires, etc, but I also haven't used it as much as I should. Now I need to reorganize myself and create more opportunities for technology while not having them in my closet for emergency I-have-five-minutes-left-let's-do-a-podcast integration. :) Ah, yes. I'm still trying to decide how best to organize myself, and I still don't know where I will be classroom-wise, so we'll see. I think that I need to re-organize no matter if I am in one room or 50 - technology needs to be planned in, not punted.
7. Psychology. Now that I am switching gears, I would like to re-vamp the old curriculum and do more online-type stuff. Any suggestions for good online resources for psych? Let me know. Yes, I am working on this, slowly but surely. I am revamping, but it is taking longer than I thought.
8. Presentations. I am drafting a new version of "Beyond Podcasting", which I am going to do at MAHETC. I am also creating a few new ones, such as "Classroom 2.0", "My Top-Ten Web 2.0: The Stuff I Can't Live Without", "Blogging 101" (unveiling at MAHETC), "Get a (Second) Life", and "Emerging Technologies: Why This Stuff Isn't Going To Go Away". Most of my presentations are about an hour long, but I can adapt them into workshops as well. Again, if you'd like to have me speak at your school/district/conference, please email me here. Yes, still working on this as well. I am redrafting BP and writing Blogging 101, which HAVE to be done by the end of this weekend (no pressure) for MAHETC. I was supposed to submit for a conference this fall, but I haven't done so yet. Let's hope I still have time!
9. Second Life. Yes, I dink around on there, but I really am doing a great amount of PD on there as well. I have met quite a few people that I consider to be good friends, and we have some great discussions on there. And yes, I want to come up with ways to use SL in my curriculum. HAHAHAHA! Yeah, not so much. Now that I have a laptop, though, I'll probably dink around a bit more. We'll see...
10. Reading. I read a lot of blogs, and I read a lot of magazines, but not a lot of books/e-books. While one of my projects for sure is to read the last Harry Potter (shut up - you know you want to read it, too), I want to read more about emerging technologies in the classroom. Please email me if you have any great suggestions. Yeah...not so much. I've read a Stephen King short story, and I've re-read the 6th Harry Potter book, in anticipation of the new one releasing tomorrow(WOOT!), but nothing tech related...yet...

So, yeah. I guess my top-ten list of what I wanted to accomplish was overly ambitious. I plan on doing a lot of research before MAHETC this week, but otherwise with two boys who are still healing, I am pretty much family-bound for awhile. I will post when I find out cool things, and my postings will probably increase around MAHETC as well. So, thanks for reading. Please comment if you can think of anything that you'd like me to talk/think/explain/write about here. And, as always, I would love to come to your school/district/meeting/book club (???) or whatever to talk about teaching. I LIVE for this!

Happy Procrastinating! (I mean, summer!)

Technorati Tags:

Summer, Random, MAHETC2007, Education

Pay Attention!

I'm sure that everyone in the world has seen this but me, but just in case you missed it, well, Pay Attention!

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Pay Attention

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hello, my name is Susan, and I'm a Wi-fi-holic.

Hi, Susan.

It's been twenty-four hours since my last connection. I am staying with my parents in the northern regions of Michigan, and going through withdrawal. You see, despite their cable internet connection that is, at times, faster than my own (Comcastic my hinie), it will not allow me to connect my new Palm (did I mention my new Palm? I have a new Palm!) to the internet. Which means that I cannot have the internet at my fingertips anywhere but their computer.

Which is driving me crazy.

When did this happen? I knew I was addicted to e-mail, (tell me you aren't, and I'll buy you a beverage of choice at the next conference we attend together if you can prove it) but I had no idea I was addicted to wi-fi. I literally am finding myself daydreaming about using my Palm to search the internet for what I need (shut up - I told you I was a geek).

So here's my point; if I feel this way after twenty-four hours, what are we doing to our students? Many of them have phones that allow them instant access to information. Some have laptops, some have Palms themselves. When we take these away in the classroom, how many of our students feel the same way I do? And if that's true, then how can they possibly be expected to pay attention to a "normal" lesson? I can hardly take my mind off of my Wi-Fi-less-ness, and I've only been offline for twenty-four hours (and have access to a computer).

I am DEFINATELY changing the way I teach next year. What about you?

All I know is it is going to be a LONG week up North.

Technorati Tags:
Random, Education, Beyond Podcasting

Monday, June 11, 2007

Plans for Summer

My students have been talking about what they plan to do on their summer vacations, so I thought that I'd share mine.
Summer 2007
  1. Sleep. I don't do enough of that during the school year.
  2. Family. Enough said.
  3. Tennis. I am helping with some camps this year, so I thought I'd throw that in here.
  4. Laptops and Lattes (or possibly other beverages that start with "L"). I'm very excited about this one. A colleague of mine came up with the idea, and I love it. We are going to get together on Wednesdays and discuss ways of integrating techology into our classrooms. We are going to discuss Web 2.0 stuff, Moodle, podcasting, Gizmoz, and much, much more. I am SO excited about it!
  5. MAHETC. That would be the Mid-Atlantic Handheld and Emerging Technologies Conference in Salisbury, Maryland. I will be one of the many presenters there, along with the likes of Tony Vincent. It is going to be so great!
  6. (Real) Mobile Technology. As I am preparing my mobile classroom, I am trying to come up with ideas on how I can still integrate technology without having the classroom as my crutch. Right now, I have closets filled with stuff I've purchased - microphones, headphones, wires, etc, but I also haven't used it as much as I should. Now I need to reorganize myself and create more opportunities for technology while not having them in my closet for emergency I-have-five-minutes-left-let's-do-a-podcast integration. :)
  7. Psychology. Now that I am switching gears, I would like to re-vamp the old curriculum and do more online-type stuff. Any suggestions for good online resources for psych? Let me know.
  8. Presentations. I am drafting a new version of "Beyond Podcasting", which I am going to do at MAHETC. I am also creating a few new ones, such as "Classroom 2.0", "My Top-Ten Web 2.0: The Stuff I Can't Live Without", "Blogging 101" (unveiling at MAHETC), "Get a (Second) Life", and "Emerging Technologies: Why This Stuff Isn't Going To Go Away". Most of my presentations are about an hour long, but I can adapt them into workshops as well. Again, if you'd like to have me speak at your school/district/conference, please email me here.
  9. Second Life. Yes, I dink around on there, but I really am doing a great amount of PD on there as well. I have met quite a few people that I consider to be good friends, and we have some great discussions on there. And yes, I want to come up with ways to use SL in my curriculum.
  10. Reading. I read a lot of blogs, and I read a lot of magazines, but not a lot of books/e-books. While one of my projects for sure is to read the last Harry Potter (shut up - you know you want to read it, too), I want to read more about emerging technologies in the classroom. Please email me if you have any great suggestions.

Well, that's about it. I will blog throughout the whole summer, so please come, read, and comment. I find that I am much more passionate about PD (and teaching) in July than I am right now (again, I don't sleep), so you will probably see my postings increase around that time.

Have a great summer!

Technorati Tags:

Random, MAHETC 2007, Summer

Friday, June 1, 2007

Gizmoz - one of THE coolest things in a long time...

Thanks to Jane Nicholls for the heads-up on this cool new application.

First, watch this video clip:

Okay, now let's talk about this for a minute!
1.) Yes, that really is my son (sort of). It was cropped from a picture I took of him when he was around 16 months old.
2.) Take a picture of each of your students. Make sure they aren't smiling (it's easier to animate when they aren't). Each day, your warm-up exercise (vocab activity, homework assignment, etc) is announced by a new student.
3.) You can VOIP and Skype with this too, thus putting a face (sort of) with a name.

I'm sure there are more, but I can't think right now.

So, what do you think? Do you like it? What uses can you see for it? Let me know!

I'm off to make another Gizmo head...I mean, grade. Yes, that's right. Grade final papers. ;)

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education, Education of the Future, Random

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grant Idea

Hey podcasters!

I don't normally post grant ideas because - as an avid grant writer/searcher/hope-er/pray-er - I'm too busy trying to write them and get all the money for myself. But at the end of the day, it is about the kids. Not necessarily my kids (although I really could use a set of iPods). :)

I know I normally talk about BEYOND podcasting - meaning the screen on the iPod allows for interactive learning - not as much passive learning. However, this grant would give you a good place to start.

If you are just starting out, and don't have recorders/players to make your podcasts, this grand supplies the hardware, software, and a how-to book. A well-formed project would allow for other ways to create interactive learning. In other words, you could have the students do a radio broadcast, or you could have the students do a treasure hunt, using the other students' recordings as the clues.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to write your own grant and get started!

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Podcasting, Education

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Does podcasting enhance oral literacies?

Jane Nicholls is currently researching the benefits of podcasting and would like some help conducting her research. She writes:

*** ICT U Can!: A request for help:
I am currently undertaking research looking at the question:
In what ways does podcasting enhance oral literacies?
I have been gathering data in my own context but I would love to hear what other teachers have found when using podcasting in their classroom programme and add voices from further a field into my final write up.
I hope that you can help her with this very important question.

I think that it most certainly does. Especially if you consider the learn/unlearn/relearn literacy that Toffler wrote about. My students are learning/unlearning/and relearning with every podcast that we do - whether they produce them or just consume them. What about you? Share your opinions with this New Zealand colleague. Thanks!

Technorati Tags:

Friday, May 25, 2007

MoGoPLOP and other musings...

First, I would like to wish a warm welcome to all of the new readers out there. SL is an amazing networking tool, and my readership (is that a word? It is now...) has increased dramatically. Please check out the links that I have as well as the archived postings. I'm sure that I actually had something valid to say once...

Since it has been awhile since I wrote anything content related, I thought I would tell you all about how I created this marvelous review podcast for my kiddos with text, pictures, and sound.

But I can't.

Because MoGoPop hates me.

I have tried several billion times to create material, and each time it eats it. Yes, that's right, as in I spend an hour creating a podcast and it disappears.

I've contacted the tech-dudes at MGP, and they assure me that once they release the new system, all will be fixed. I just don't really believe them. It's been about three weeks now - how long are we talking?

Please don't get me wrong, I've spoken more than once about the wonders that are MoGoPop, but right now, I'm less than thrilled. It has worked for me in the past, and I am hopeful for the future, but I feel as wounded as a girl who believes her boyfriend is cheating on her. Why, MGP? Why?

I like MGP better than other programs I've tried because it will work with any iPod with a screen - NOT just the video (read: expensive) varieties. I know it will work in the future, but how does that help me now?

Oh MoGoPop, why do you hurt me so?

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education, iPods, MoGoPop, Random

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

2nd Annual K12 Online Conference

Via Karl's Blog (among many others):

The deadline for proposal submissions is June 18th.
Announcing the second annual “K12 Online” conference for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice! This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26 of 2007, and will include a preconference keynote during the week of October 8. This year’s conference theme is “Playing with Boundaries.” A call for proposals is below.

OVERVIEW:There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in any of a variety of downloadable, web based formats and released via the conference blog and archived for posterity.

Week 1 Strand A: Classroom 2.0 Leveraging the power of free online tools in an open, collaborative and transparent atmosphere characterises teaching and learning in the 21st century. Teachers and students are contributing to the growing global knowledge commons by publishing their work online. By sharing all stages of their learning students are beginning to appreciate the value of life long learning that inheres in work that is in “perpetual beta.” This strand will explore how teachers and students are playing with the boundaries between instructors, learners and classrooms. Presentations will also explore the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes.

Strand B: New Tools Focusing on free tools, what are the “nuts and bolts” of using specific new social media and collaborative tools for learning? This strand includes two parts. Basic training is “how to” information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers. Advanced training is for teachers interested in new tools for learning, looking for advanced technology training, seeking ideas for mashing tools together, and interested in web 2.0 assessment tools. As educators and students of all ages push the boundaries of learning, what are the specific steps for using new tools most effectively? Where “Classroom 2.0″ presentations will focus on instructional uses and examples of web 2.0 tool use, “New Tools” presentations should focus on “nuts and bolts” instructions for using tools. Five “basic” and five “advanced” presentations will be included in this strand.

Week 2 Strand A: Professional Learning Networks Research says that professional development is most effective when it aims to create professional learning communities — places where teachers learn and work together. Using Web 2.0 tools educators can network with others around the globe extending traditional boundaries of ongoing, learner centered professional development and support. Presentations in this strand will include tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; concrete examples of how the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs) are being used; how to create a supportive, reflective virtual learning community around school-based goals, and trends toward teacher directed personal learning environments.

Strand B: Obstacles to Opportunities Boundaries formalized by education in the “industrial age” shouldn’t hinder educators as they seek to reform and transform their classroom practice. Playing with boundaries in the areas of copyright, digital discipline and ethics (e.g. cyberbullying), collaborating globally (e.g. cultural differences, synchronous communication), resistance to change (e.g. administration, teachers, students), school culture (e.g. high stakes testing), time (e.g. in curriculum, teacher day), lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, control (e.g. teacher control of student behavior/learning), solutions for IT collaboration and more — unearthing opportunities from the obstacles rooted in those boundaries — is the focus of presentations in this strand.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS:This call encourages all, experienced and novice, to submit proposals to present at this conference via this link. Take this opportunity to share your successes, strategies, and tips in “playing with boundaries” in one of the four strands as described above.
Deadline for proposal submissions is June 18, 2007. You will be contacted no later than June 30, 2007 regarding your status.

Presentations may be delivered in any web-based medium that is downloadable (including but not limited to podcasts, screencasts, slide shows) and is due one week prior to the date it is published.

Please note that all presentations will be licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

As you draft your proposal, you may wish to consider the presentation topics listed below which were suggested in the comments on the K-12 Online Conference Blog:
Special needs education
Creative Commons
Second Life
video games in education
specific ideas, tips, mini lessons centered on pedagogical use of web 2.0 tools
overcoming institutional inertia and resistance
aligning Web 2.0 and other projects to national standards
getting your message across
how web 2.0 can assist those with disabilities
classroom 2.0 activities at the elementary level
creating video for TeacherTube and YouTube
google docs
teacher/peer collaboration

KEYNOTES:The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who is distinguished and knowledgeable in the context of their strand. Keynoters will be announced shortly.

CONVENERS:This year’s conveners are:
Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for “child safe” blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference ( He will convene Classroom 2.0.

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, a 20-year educator, has been a classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate preservice teachers at The College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where she is also completing her doctorate in educational planning, policy and leadership. In addition, Sheryl is co-leading a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative in the state of Alabama, funded by a major grant from the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Sheryl blogs at ( She will convene Preconference Discussions and Personal Learning Networks.

Wesley Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a “catalyst for creative educational engagement.” His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education. He is the Director of Education Advocacy (PK-20) for AT&T in the state of Oklahoma. Wes blogs at ( Wes will convene New Tools.

Lani Ritter Hall currently contracts as an instructional designer for online professional development for Ohio teachers and online student courses with eTech Ohio. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who served in many capacities during her 35 years as a classroom and resource teacher in Ohio and Canada. Lani blogs at ( She will convene Obstacles to Opportunities.

QUESTIONS? If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of us:
Darren Kuropatwa: dkuropatwa {at} gmail {dot} com
Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach: snbeach {at} cox {dot} net
Lani Ritter Hall: lanihall {at} alltel {dot} net
Wesley Fryer: wesfryer {at} pobox {dot} com

Please duplicate this post and distribute it far and wide across the blogosphere. Feel free to republish it on your own blog (actually, we’d really like people to do that ) or link back to this post (published simultaneously on all our blogs).

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Education, Random, K12 Online

Extreme Makeover SL edition/Boogie Wonderland

I promise I won't always write about SL (Second Life). Those of you who tune in regularly know that I try to write about ways to go beyond podcasting in the classroom and other ways to integrate emerging technologies in the classroom.

But - today is not one of those days. A lot happened yesterday, and like a giddy teenager with her (or his) first crush, I have to tell you all of the details!

First, last night was Extreme Makeover Ahna edition. I was sick of the hair that I had - it looked like I was bald and had a large rodent stuck on me (apologies potentially to BlueSkunk Johnson - I can't remember if you're bald, but the rat on your shoulder looks really good on you!). So I went to Paris - New Paris that is, the SL version - because - well? Where else do you go for fashion? Meet the new Ahna. I rather think she is cute. :)

Then I went walking around. I met Curious Raymaker because she saved me from a strange young man who felt the need to hit on me. I was hoping to avoid that in Eduisland, but I suppose it could happen anywhere. We ended up in front of Meg Writer's house, which she had just finished remodeling. She asked us in for our opinions - and a great talk on pop culture/educational technology. She showed us her brand new stereo system - which led us to our next topic - the 80's dance party.

That's right - we got jiggy with it.

I can't help but wonder, though, how many possibilities exist for educational uses of SL. Sure, it is bound to be misused by some, but what isn't? I'm still not comfortable bringing a student into SL, as it is still far too creepy for them (see Ahna, hit-on-by-creepy-guy, above), but if we can un-creepify the situation a bit, how useful is this for them? They could build their own classroom environment, building projects where they could LIVE the material, not just learn it. How very cool. It makes me so excited, I have to dance!

Technorati Tags:

Monday, May 21, 2007

WAY beyond podcasting...

I know the name of my blog. I know that I'm supposed to be writing about the wonderful world of iPods and podcasting, but here's the thing. I'm an addict.

Hello. My name is Susan. And I'm a Second Life-aholic.

Hi Susan.

I have been wondering for awhile now if I could bring SL into my classroom. It sounds perfect. I add a chateau, and then my students can choose a room to create their projects in, etc. I was so excited.

I personally don't think that we are ready to do that at the secondary level just yet. SL is still pretty "wild, wild west" in that anything goes. That being said, I was not prepared for what I did find out.

It is crazy good for PD.

In the two (three? I've lost count...) days that I've been inworld, I have had conversations with Kathy Schrock, Doug Johnson, and David Warlick. I have had conversations with others, too, who want to discuss topics in education. I have just been floored with the opportuntities. There is even an inworld conference on Friday (I almost took a personal day, but I just can't this close to the end of the year). It is so much fun, I almost missed my weekly dose of Desperate Housewives (don't judge).

My point is that good quality PD is going to be available to anyone with an internet connection (albeit a broadband one - SL sucks memory and bandwith). How incredible is that?

If you are interested, I am always on SL looking for conversations. Please come and find me. I'm usually on Eduisland, either at the C.A.V.E., SLolar, ISTE, or DEN. (Yay for acronyms!) My name is Ahna Rossini. See you there!
Technorati Tags:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

idk, my bff jill?

I wasn't going to post today. I wanted to wait until someone commented on my last post. I know that there are people out there reading it (creepy, huh? I can see you...j/k), and I really do want to give you content that is actually something you might want to read/know about.

Besides, I'm human. I like the occasional pat-on-the-back, too.

But anyway, please do comment on the last post, and I am still taking requests for PD for the next school year, so please email.

The reason I decided to blog was a post I read by Will Richardson. He was giving a presentation, when a teacher said that this technology stuff "is the devil" (yes, for real), and there was major agreement amongst conference-goers.

I began writing him a comment, and then decided that I ought to share it with you first. So, read his entry here, and then come back and read this:

I'm a young enough educator to remember the "calculator wars" - you know, the ones we're still having 20 years later? Anyway, I remember teachers saying that students shouldn't be given calculators, because how will we ever know how to do long division when there is no calculator present?

You know what? They gave us calculators in the 4th grade. I don't know how to do long division. Some people might see this as a problem. My question is - when will I EVER be without a calculator? I have one on my cell phone which is always on my person. In order to use a calculator, you do have to understand the concepts of math. While I couldn't tell you how to do long division without a calculator, I can still get you the answer.

I guess that's my feelings on this whole technology thing. We are teaching students as if they will never have the internet at their disposal 24/7, which is just impractical and, well, stupid. Most of what I learned of technology, I taught myself. Most of my students are that way, too. How cool would it be if they were able to learn about technologies (or at least, how to apply them to education) from teachers? I had no idea that the Civil War MUD (yes, I'm a geek - shut up) that I played in high school taught me about organization, management, military strategies, e-mail communication and delegation as well as history. I figured it out one day when someone my own age asked me how I figured out all of this technology stuff. Would you like to know how I got interested in such a game? My teacher - the most un-tech-savvy-person-known-to-mankind - sparked an interest in the Civil War. I found the game through surfing the internet (before Google was popular - so ACTUAL surfing) and told him about it. He didn't understand a single word about the technology, but he encouraged me and asked every day how my troops were doing (again, shut up).

My point - though I take a while to make it - is that just because you don't understand the technology, don't discourage kids from using it in ways they are passionate about. Your kid can't spell? Who cares? (Neither can I, for that matter) As long as they know how to use spell check - that is to say, can interpret the results of spell check - they will be fine. Maybe in the future, we will all talk and write like that commercial: "idk, my bff Jill? tisnf!" We don't really know what the future is going to bring, but we can be sure that technology is here to stay.

Someone else who commented on the post quoted Ghandi: "First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." What a wonderful (and true) statement that is. Sounds like we are at the "fighting" stage - so fight on, fellow techno-geeks.

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Random

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Help - I need somebody - Not just anybody -

As many of you already know (or could probably guess) if you've seen one of my presentations, I am a member of MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning). I just got my Spring Journal today, and was surprised to find an article by a colleague of mine on Google Searches.

I never would normally read an article on Google Searches, because, you know, it's Google - I get it already. But as I was reading the article, it hit me that people - and probably quite a few of them, at that - would find this to be a very useful article. It is very well written, and answers quite a few questions that I'm sure were floating around out there.

Which leads me to this blog entry. I tend to think that I am out of ideas on what to post in this blog, because I understand what I am doing. I take for granted that people already know how to podcast and are already using it in your classrooms (and maybe you are - good for you!). I really am in need of some ideas for future posts. If you have a question - no matter how small you think it might be - please comment/email me and ask it. I am writing this blog for all of you that read it out there, and I want to make sure that you are all getting something out of it.

Also, I am starting to put together my presentation schedule for the 2007-2008 (doesn't it look weird to write that - 2008!!!) school year. If you are interested in having me present at your next PD day, staff meeting, or conference, please email me here. I would be more than happy to present on any variety of topics - Podcasting, Constructivist Education/Future of Education, Web 2.0, Blogging, Website Creation/Moodle, my top 10 sites, etc. If you don't think that you can "afford" me - trust me, you probably can. Ask - and I will probably say yes if I can fit it into my schedule. My passion is teacher education, so I'm just thrilled to have an opportunity to help other teachers.

Thanks in advance for your comments. I'm so excited to answer any/all questions you might have. :)

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Future Technology, Random

Friday, May 11, 2007

Summer, summer, summer t-i-ee-mme (Enter Will Smith)

Before you say what I know you are thinking, yes, I am aware that we are already 11 days into May and my last post was nearly a month ago. No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, but thanks for asking! Between graduation, a production I've been in (*gasp* A life outside of school?!?!?!?), and general family health issues, I haven't had time to breathe, let alone research handhelds/iPods/etc.

But, nonetheless, I will post, er you think I'm dead or some such nonsense.

So, I'm posting.

I guess I should tell you all that I am back to the grant-drawingboards, as it were. I was turned down for a grant because I didn't meet their criteria. However, I had countless grant-writers look it over, and I did indeed fit all the criteria.

Want to bet that it was due to the fact that I was asking for iPods?

I still say that iPods would be invaluable for a classroom. I still want them for mine. And I am still grant writing. Because iPods are no more "toys" than paper is. Yes, paper can be used for things other than school work. And yes, it is hard to make sure kids are taking notes not writing them. And yes, you may have problems policing students to make sure they are on task with their iPods. But no more problem than you have making sure that they are actually taking notes with the paper. Will students be off-task sometimes? Yes. Will they listen to their own music sometimes? Yes. Is there much you can do about it? Well, if you only have two or three students, yes. But if you have a classroom full? No, probably not. Are students more likely to remain on task? Yes. Will they get more out of the iPod than they would with just a worksheet? You bet.

Is it worth it for me to keep trying and proving to people that this technology could have a huge impact on the educational system as we know it?

I sure hope so, because I bet my career on it.

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Random

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a cave-man and a cave-woman. His name was "Ugh", and her name was "Oogh". There actually were many cave-people in that small cave-town, but our story centers around Ugh and Oogh. Oogh was a teacher at the cave-school, and Ugh was the principal and primary financial backer of the school (in other words, he caught lunch every day and cooked it for the students).

One day, Oogh found that if she took several leaves and bound them together with a stem, she could have a fun resource for the classroom. Her students gave her that idea, as it was the newest and coolest thing among the teen-cave-folk. She approached Ugh. Their dialogue went something like this:

Oogh: Ungha oog. Umble unga ooga? (Look at this. Isn't it cool?)

Ugh: Nunga. Yunga booga icka ooga. Chunga unga. (No. It's a teenager's booga. Yuck.)

Oogh: Dunga, booga icka ooga rungi chunga do Oogh. (No, I made the book. I think we could use it in the classroom to enhance instruction.

Ugh: Nunga. (No, that's ridiculous. Kids today don't need these fancy booga's, they need to be taught how to hunt and gather. That's how we survive. That's the education we need.)

Oogh: Ungha ooga booga. (Come now, don't you see? The world is changing. Soon, we will all live in a world with books, where knowledge is king. Don't you want our students at the forefront of that?)

Ugh: hahahahahaha! Ungha nunga booga. (Laughter. That will NEVER happen. Things will never change, they will always stay the same.)

And with that, Oogh gave up her dream of teaching with booga's as part of the curriculum. She did, however, keep some booga's in her room, and she would teach with them whenever Ugh was out hunting. The end.

Okay, so that story wasn't true, but isn't that similar to a lot of conversations going on right now? Whenever I tell people that I teach with iPods, I encounter at least one person that will sound an awful lot like Ugh. I am told that iPods are toys, and that there is no way that students would ever use them for an educational reason. Why change the text books? Books are sacred and always will be.

Think about that for a minute. Think about how many books are written each day, and the rising costs of things like electricity, paper and ink. Do you really see a world where the printed word will be king forever? Me neither.

So, which will you choose to be? Will you be a person who embraces change and implements it daily in your classroom? Or will you be a nay-sayer who believes the future will never change? Will you be Ugh or Oogh?

Ooghs of the world - unite!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Break?

I hate bugs. I mean, I hate them. I had just set out to make some yummy white-chocolate-covered-strawberries last night, when I discovered that some tiny little gnat-like things had beat me to my bar of baking chocolate. And then I discovered the rest of them. Needless to say, my husband and I spent the rest of the evening and well into the night cleaning out our entire pantry. Fun.

I say this not because I never want you to eat at my house, or so that you think that I live in a pigsty, but instead to prove a point. The bugs were not there a week ago. Trust me - I would have seen them. Yet the near-infestation that occurred sometime in the past week really got me thinking - isn't the internet like that?

Take Karl Fisch for example. I have linked to Karl at least five times now, and if you have yet to check out his page, what are you waiting for? Anyway, last August, his school asked him to speak at a PD. He created this little powerpoint called "Did You Know?" Some of his coworkers wanted to show it to spouses, so he posted it on his blog. They told people, who told other people, who posted it on youtube and in email messages. Short version of the story? "Did You Know?" has gone viral, to the point that many of the presentations (including the one that I like to show) hardly resemble the original post! Estimates show that over 2 MILLION people have viewed a version of his modest powerpoint.



The internet is already having a more powerful impact on our world than was ever thought possible. In less than 8 months, Karl's life has forever changed. I have heard people who have said that education doesn't need to change any to reflect this "internet thing". Are you kidding? If one man and his modest powerpoint can reach over 2 million people in less than 7 months, how can we assume that education doesn't need to change? The way that our students get information right now is so totally different from how we obtain info. Think about it - how many of you still get a paper newspaper? How many of your students get papers? If they get the news, they probably get it from TV/internet.

Anyway, sorry about the mini-rant, but if we don't mull over these ideas, how are we going to answer our students' questions? Thoughts?

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education of the Future, Random

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I was going to respond to Steve's comment in another comment, but I feel that it is much easier to do so in another post.

For those of you who may not have read his comment, Steve wrote, "I'd be curious in hearing more about why you feel 2-4 minute podcasts are ideal for foreign language instruction? How are you actually using the podcasts you've got posted on the class page?"

What great questions, and I never have addressed them in a blog, so here goes.

1.) 2-4 minute podcasts
Students get easily frustrated when they listen to authentic language - realia if you will - when they are used to their teachers' accent. I have found that if podcasts are much longer than this, students get very frustrated, listen one time through and do as much as they can. Most of the earlier podcasts are around 6 to 7 minutes long, and they have been less effective than those that I have created that are shorter. In 2-4 minutes, you can go through 2-3 different "types" of listening, and the students' attention is held because of the variety that they are hearing, and it isn't long enough for them to give up. They may still be frustrated, but they will stick it out (as a rule).
The exception, of course, if music. If a song is longer than 4 minutes, they will (generally) pay attention the whole time. It is less daunting than the spoken word, as it is often slower.

2.) My podcasts
Again, in a dream world, every student of mine would already have an iPod. Since I can't live in my dreams, my students upload the podcasts to their own, personal iPod. If they don't have an iPod, mp3 player or a computer on which to listen to the podcasts, I burn them a CD. I have had to do this on numerous occasions, but it is SO worth it.
How I use each podcast depends on what it is. Some of the podcasts are homework. For these, I allow the students a week to complete the assignment. On my class website, you will notice that there are two files under podcasting - podcasts and podcast worksheets. Each worksheet corresponds with a podcast. In order to get credit for the podcast, the student much turn in the worksheet as well. There is no point in copying off your friend - they get credit for turning in the worksheet and attempting it at all. These are not easy assignments, but the students really enjoy them.
Some podcasts are extra credit. My 8th graders - who are about a chapter ahead of their high school counterparts - created a telephone answering machine podcast. I posted for just the 8th graders for awhile, so they could show off their "mad French skills" to their families. When my high schoolers got to that chapter, I gave them the 8th grade podcast as extra credit. My 8th graders were THRILLED to have their podcast used in the high school. My high schoolers thought it was an easy 5 points and loved it. It was really great, and we are going to do it again soon.
Some of my podcasts are vocab helpers. Chapter 8 in our textbook is exceptionally vocab heavy, and it is really difficult to learn all of it. I created a podcast of just the vocab words. In this case, the students don't have to use the podcast, but many of my auditory learners did anyway, as it helped them study.

I hope I explained myself well. Please - feel free to ask me questions or give me feedback at any time - and often. My postings will reflect the comments I received, so keep 'em coming!

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, iPods, iTunes, podcasting