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!

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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!

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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!
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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