Organic Learning http://jstearns.org/wp Converstations about Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century Tue, 23 Sep 2008 15:51:42 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.5.1 en Grants and Funding Opportunities http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/09/23/grants-and-funding-opportunities/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/09/23/grants-and-funding-opportunities/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2008 15:23:54 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=77 Many administrators and teachers want to know about grants and funding opportunities. It seems there isn’t Grants from pics4learning.comenough funding to buy the technology that schools need to use to address 21st century literacy, so getting some grants would be a benefit.

Here are some resources on grants that I’ve gathered in Delicious, a social bookmarking tool that I use to store and share resources: http://delicious.com/district6/grants Some of the grants in this collection have already expired, but are probably up for renewal soon.

There are several great resources that will help schools and teachers find funding and technology for their classroom. There are Donor Matches, Grant Resource Sites, and even a social network for finding grants.

Donor Matches

There are a few sites that allow teachers to put in their requests in a database on a website, where donors can then contribute to help them out. The more well known of these sites is Donors Choose, but I just heard about another, specifically geared for teachers with technology requests on Wes Fryer’s Technology Shopping Cart Podcast, called Digital Wish. It works the same way as Donors Choose, but teachers can go “shopping” for technology needs. Also, I have bookmarked another donor match site called Adopt a Classroom. I haven’t really heard much about this site, but it looks promising.

Grant Resource Sites

Other grant resources are websites that have a collection of educational grants to choose from. I regularly scan sites like Grant Wrangler, ESchool News Funding, and LACOE’s Grants and Funding Site to see what’s available. Additionally, LAUSD’s Grants Assistance Unit offers a regularly updated list of grant resources. Follow the directions on their site to sign up for grant alerts and applications. All of these sites offer deadline grants, as well as ongoing - foundation type grants. They are a great place to start searching for grants that will suit the needs of your school.

Grant Social Network

Grant Wrangler has also started up a social networking site on Ning so that grant seekers and grant givers can interact. You can join at http://mygrantwrangler.ning.com/

Grant Seeking Guidelines

The most important goal to keep in mind when purusing a grant is that it’s not about the technology or goodies that can be bought with a grant, but it’s more an opportunity to do things differently and out of the box to address the learning needs of our students. Once you’ve established what your need is and how you are going to address it, you need to make sure you have buy-in from the staff for the plan you have. I learned a great deal about grant writing from a presentation on grant writing at our District 6 EdTech Cadre meeting a few years ago. It was facilitated by Ms. Pat Sanford of Tech Ed Services. She gave me permission to record and publish her presenation as a podcast. It’s worth a listen for some great tips on grant writing: Grant Writing Workshop. Ms. Sanford refers to a handout during her presenation. If you would like a copy of the handout, please leave a comment on this blog post, and I will be able to send you that information.

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Many administrators and teachers want to know about grants and funding opportunities. It seems there isn’t Grants from pics4learning.comenough funding to buy the technology that schools need to use to address 21st century literacy, so getting some grants would be a benefit.

Here are some resources on grants that I’ve gathered in Delicious, a social bookmarking tool that I use to store and share resources: http://delicious.com/district6/grants Some of the grants in this collection have already expired, but are probably up for renewal soon.

There are several great resources that will help schools and teachers find funding and technology for their classroom. There are Donor Matches, Grant Resource Sites, and even a social network for finding grants.

Donor Matches

There are a few sites that allow teachers to put in their requests in a database on a website, where donors can then contribute to help them out. The more well known of these sites is Donors Choose, but I just heard about another, specifically geared for teachers with technology requests on Wes Fryer’s Technology Shopping Cart Podcast, called Digital Wish. It works the same way as Donors Choose, but teachers can go “shopping” for technology needs. Also, I have bookmarked another donor match site called Adopt a Classroom. I haven’t really heard much about this site, but it looks promising.

Grant Resource Sites

Other grant resources are websites that have a collection of educational grants to choose from. I regularly scan sites like Grant Wrangler, ESchool News Funding, and LACOE’s Grants and Funding Site to see what’s available. Additionally, LAUSD’s Grants Assistance Unit offers a regularly updated list of grant resources. Follow the directions on their site to sign up for grant alerts and applications. All of these sites offer deadline grants, as well as ongoing - foundation type grants. They are a great place to start searching for grants that will suit the needs of your school.

Grant Social Network

Grant Wrangler has also started up a social networking site on Ning so that grant seekers and grant givers can interact. You can join at http://mygrantwrangler.ning.com/

Grant Seeking Guidelines

The most important goal to keep in mind when purusing a grant is that it’s not about the technology or goodies that can be bought with a grant, but it’s more an opportunity to do things differently and out of the box to address the learning needs of our students. Once you’ve established what your need is and how you are going to address it, you need to make sure you have buy-in from the staff for the plan you have. I learned a great deal about grant writing from a presentation on grant writing at our District 6 EdTech Cadre meeting a few years ago. It was facilitated by Ms. Pat Sanford of Tech Ed Services. She gave me permission to record and publish her presenation as a podcast. It’s worth a listen for some great tips on grant writing: Grant Writing Workshop. Ms. Sanford refers to a handout during her presenation. If you would like a copy of the handout, please leave a comment on this blog post, and I will be able to send you that information.

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Awesome Professional Development in LAUSD! http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/26/awesome-professional-development-in-lausd/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/26/awesome-professional-development-in-lausd/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2008 01:50:06 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=75 I just got back from my second week at the Teach the Teachers Collaborative in Ojai, California. As I finally get a chance for quiet time and reflection, I can’t help but pause in amazement at all we did these past few weeks. I’ve been so in the moment, that trying to post any of my reflections would have been futile. Also, given the fact that we were teaching or eating or socializing from 7:00 a.m. in the morning until at least 9:00 p.m. in the evening, and then finding time to socialize and bond, there was very little time for pause.

Teach the Teachers Collaborative offers educators the chance to facilitate sustained learning in a relaxing and beautiful environment. We arrive on Sunday at the gorgeous Thacher campus in Ojai, California and spend a week learning, networking, and working together.

Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 8:00 and includes eggs, quiches, every fruit and cereal you can think of, yogurt and oatmeal. Lunch and dinner come at regular times as well, with a buffet and salad bar that rivals the finest restaurants. There’s always desert, or you can just get a soft serve ice cream cone. Snacks are served at 10, 2, and after our last class ends at 9:00 p.m. Somehow, being away from the city and having delicious food just relaxes the soul and makes the learning environment so natural. Top that off with a swimming pool, table tennis, a weight room, track, tennis courts, foozball, pool, and a gym and you hardly have time to breathe! Small wonder that I’m happily exhausted.

I’ll reflect about my first week and save the second week for another post.

The first week at Teach the Teachers, two groups, the PE Educators and the online content developers, got together for a week of learning. We had our separate courses, but the underlying bond was technology. The PE educators learned about new fitness programs, but they also learned to use Fitness grams and tools like Google Spreadsheets, docs, and groups to collaborate on projects. The online content developers worked on their Moodle courses, but also attended specialty classes that helped make their online content more interactive and engaging. That was my team.

I taught about Web 2.0 tools like rss, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc - but also how they could be embedded in the Moodle content. It was the finest experience I have ever had. Not only did I get to teach my passion, but I got 30 other people passionate about it too! My course is in a password protected Moodle right now, but I plan to post it to a public Moodle shell somewhere soon.

I am so honored to have worked with such an awesome team! John Lenhardt, a long time EdTech leader and advocate in LAUSD, worked with participants in embedding video. He used Voicethread, TeacherTube, and other tools. John Rivera, an amazing educator and CUELA President, worked with Google Earth and other Google tools to help teachers learn to make learning authentic and interactive. Bob Sachs, an outstanding photographer and educator was our other team member. He taught participants to see things differently, through the lens of a camera. Dan Pink would be proud to see how Bob made artists out of all who were fortunate to have taken his course. His gallary walk of participant masterpieces on the culminating day looked like professional work. He used his large, professional printer to make striking prints that participants could take home and frame.

John Lenhardt discovered CellBlock, a site that allows you to set up a space where others can contribute photos and videos via email, that produces a slideshow to document the event. We always end our Teach the Teacher week long events with a slideshow/video of the week’s events. In the past, one person, which happened to be John for a few of the years, stayed up late the night before the showing putting together the video. This year, the slideshow was made by all of us. Below you will find the embedded show. Not only will you be able to see some of the beautiful photography taken by participants, but you will see many activities from the PE educators. (You also get a glimpse of the mouth watering food we got to eat.) What a wonderful way to document our experience!

Also, I did get to go on one photo walk with Bob, and this is what he helped me to see:

and

Thanks, Dr. Kip Leland, for making the Online Learning Content Development Collaborative a reality. Thanks to all the educators in LAUSD who made it possible to attend the Teach the Teachers Collaborative. Even our own Dr. Themy Sparangis kicked off the event with an inspiring Keynote about the future of education and the role of technology. Add to that the keynote by 1972 Olympian Medalist,  Craig Lincoln for the PE educators, and the week was perfect!

]]> I just got back from my second week at the Teach the Teachers Collaborative in Ojai, California. As I finally get a chance for quiet time and reflection, I can’t help but pause in amazement at all we did these past few weeks. I’ve been so in the moment, that trying to post any of my reflections would have been futile. Also, given the fact that we were teaching or eating or socializing from 7:00 a.m. in the morning until at least 9:00 p.m. in the evening, and then finding time to socialize and bond, there was very little time for pause.

Teach the Teachers Collaborative offers educators the chance to facilitate sustained learning in a relaxing and beautiful environment. We arrive on Sunday at the gorgeous Thacher campus in Ojai, California and spend a week learning, networking, and working together.

Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 8:00 and includes eggs, quiches, every fruit and cereal you can think of, yogurt and oatmeal. Lunch and dinner come at regular times as well, with a buffet and salad bar that rivals the finest restaurants. There’s always desert, or you can just get a soft serve ice cream cone. Snacks are served at 10, 2, and after our last class ends at 9:00 p.m. Somehow, being away from the city and having delicious food just relaxes the soul and makes the learning environment so natural. Top that off with a swimming pool, table tennis, a weight room, track, tennis courts, foozball, pool, and a gym and you hardly have time to breathe! Small wonder that I’m happily exhausted.

I’ll reflect about my first week and save the second week for another post.

The first week at Teach the Teachers, two groups, the PE Educators and the online content developers, got together for a week of learning. We had our separate courses, but the underlying bond was technology. The PE educators learned about new fitness programs, but they also learned to use Fitness grams and tools like Google Spreadsheets, docs, and groups to collaborate on projects. The online content developers worked on their Moodle courses, but also attended specialty classes that helped make their online content more interactive and engaging. That was my team.

I taught about Web 2.0 tools like rss, blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc - but also how they could be embedded in the Moodle content. It was the finest experience I have ever had. Not only did I get to teach my passion, but I got 30 other people passionate about it too! My course is in a password protected Moodle right now, but I plan to post it to a public Moodle shell somewhere soon.

I am so honored to have worked with such an awesome team! John Lenhardt, a long time EdTech leader and advocate in LAUSD, worked with participants in embedding video. He used Voicethread, TeacherTube, and other tools. John Rivera, an amazing educator and CUELA President, worked with Google Earth and other Google tools to help teachers learn to make learning authentic and interactive. Bob Sachs, an outstanding photographer and educator was our other team member. He taught participants to see things differently, through the lens of a camera. Dan Pink would be proud to see how Bob made artists out of all who were fortunate to have taken his course. His gallary walk of participant masterpieces on the culminating day looked like professional work. He used his large, professional printer to make striking prints that participants could take home and frame.

John Lenhardt discovered CellBlock, a site that allows you to set up a space where others can contribute photos and videos via email, that produces a slideshow to document the event. We always end our Teach the Teacher week long events with a slideshow/video of the week’s events. In the past, one person, which happened to be John for a few of the years, stayed up late the night before the showing putting together the video. This year, the slideshow was made by all of us. Below you will find the embedded show. Not only will you be able to see some of the beautiful photography taken by participants, but you will see many activities from the PE educators. (You also get a glimpse of the mouth watering food we got to eat.) What a wonderful way to document our experience!

Also, I did get to go on one photo walk with Bob, and this is what he helped me to see:

and

Thanks, Dr. Kip Leland, for making the Online Learning Content Development Collaborative a reality. Thanks to all the educators in LAUSD who made it possible to attend the Teach the Teachers Collaborative. Even our own Dr. Themy Sparangis kicked off the event with an inspiring Keynote about the future of education and the role of technology. Add to that the keynote by 1972 Olympian Medalist,  Craig Lincoln for the PE educators, and the week was perfect!

]]> http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/26/awesome-professional-development-in-lausd/feed/ Users Contribute the Content http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/20/users-contribute-the-content/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/20/users-contribute-the-content/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2008 00:58:40 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=74 This week, all 150 participants are invited to contribute media about our week at the Teach the Teachers Collaborative in Ojai. Teachers in grades 4-8, from all over LAUSD, have come to learn how to integrate technology into their science curriculum, mostly using podcasting. In the past, one person was designated as the one to stay up all night the night before our last day to create a movie of all the photos and sound bytes from the week. Now, we are using the internet to have everyone contribute content, which will go into a slide show that can be played on the final day.
CellBlock
We decided to use a new (to us) program called Cellblock to send pictures to our group picture slideshow. The online application is very easy to set up. You create an email address within Cellblock to which contributors can send their photos and short movies (under 10mb). They can email from their cell phone or thier computer. The images show up almost immediately in the slideshow. There are varying levels of privacy and security. What a great tool for our use this week!

Gabcast

We’ll be using Gabcast to leave our reflections about the learning that’s taking place this week. Gabcast is an easy to configure tool that you can set up for any kind of collection of audio recordings. Gabcast has a toll free number that contributors call. You set up a channel number and password that is used in the phone call., and the recording is added to the “podcast”. What’s nice is that individual recordings can be downloaded as .mp3’s to add background music or remix.

User contributed content is easier than ever, now that we have tools that allow us to easily contribute photos through email and recording voice through calling a simple phone call. Using the cell phone to contribute this content is a great way to model how this powerful technology could be used in the classroom.

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This week, all 150 participants are invited to contribute media about our week at the Teach the Teachers Collaborative in Ojai. Teachers in grades 4-8, from all over LAUSD, have come to learn how to integrate technology into their science curriculum, mostly using podcasting. In the past, one person was designated as the one to stay up all night the night before our last day to create a movie of all the photos and sound bytes from the week. Now, we are using the internet to have everyone contribute content, which will go into a slide show that can be played on the final day.
CellBlock
We decided to use a new (to us) program called Cellblock to send pictures to our group picture slideshow. The online application is very easy to set up. You create an email address within Cellblock to which contributors can send their photos and short movies (under 10mb). They can email from their cell phone or thier computer. The images show up almost immediately in the slideshow. There are varying levels of privacy and security. What a great tool for our use this week!

Gabcast

We’ll be using Gabcast to leave our reflections about the learning that’s taking place this week. Gabcast is an easy to configure tool that you can set up for any kind of collection of audio recordings. Gabcast has a toll free number that contributors call. You set up a channel number and password that is used in the phone call., and the recording is added to the “podcast”. What’s nice is that individual recordings can be downloaded as .mp3’s to add background music or remix.

User contributed content is easier than ever, now that we have tools that allow us to easily contribute photos through email and recording voice through calling a simple phone call. Using the cell phone to contribute this content is a great way to model how this powerful technology could be used in the classroom.

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Dan Schmit, Keynote at Teach the Teachers http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/20/dan-schmit-keynote-at-teach-the-teachers/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/20/dan-schmit-keynote-at-teach-the-teachers/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2008 00:18:48 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=73 This evening, our group of science educators will be attending the keynote presentation by Dan Schmit, which will kick off our week of engaged learning. Here’s the Coveritlive live blog with attached uStream Video. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, July 20, 2008

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This evening, our group of science educators will be attending the keynote presentation by Dan Schmit, which will kick off our week of engaged learning. Here’s the Coveritlive live blog with attached uStream Video. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, July 20, 2008

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The Embed Tag http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/12/the-embed-tag/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/07/12/the-embed-tag/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2008 13:52:07 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=72 I’m currently developing a course for content developers on using Web 2.0 tools in Moodle. It’s important to not get too engrossed in the tools, but rather concentrate on the learning. But the tools make learning interactive and add such a rich environment to the online learning environment. Here are some of the tools I find embed very nicely into Moodle (as well as wikis, blogs, web pages, etc.)

Embeddable Applications

Add to this the ability to embed rss feeds from blogs, news feeds, social bookmarks, videos, audio, and images and the learning environment becomes interactive and dynamic. Moodle also allows you to bring in any web page, so wikis, published Google Docs, and other online content can be brought in to the learning environment.

The wealth of learning resources makes designing the online learning environment rich and engaging.

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I’m currently developing a course for content developers on using Web 2.0 tools in Moodle. It’s important to not get too engrossed in the tools, but rather concentrate on the learning. But the tools make learning interactive and add such a rich environment to the online learning environment. Here are some of the tools I find embed very nicely into Moodle (as well as wikis, blogs, web pages, etc.)

Embeddable Applications

Add to this the ability to embed rss feeds from blogs, news feeds, social bookmarks, videos, audio, and images and the learning environment becomes interactive and dynamic. Moodle also allows you to bring in any web page, so wikis, published Google Docs, and other online content can be brought in to the learning environment.

The wealth of learning resources makes designing the online learning environment rich and engaging.

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EdubloggerCon and the Blogger’s Cafe at NECC http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/28/edubloggercon-and-the-bloggers-cafe-at-necc/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/28/edubloggercon-and-the-bloggers-cafe-at-necc/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2008 04:55:59 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=71 Today, I attended NECC virtually. I really wanted to be there, but I was glad to be able to connect from home.

Thanks to Alice Mercer’s CoveritLive , Bud Hunt’s Chatterous and Mogulus, Kelly Dumont and Vicki Davis, and Scott Merrick’s Ustream, Steve Dembo’s EduStream, I was able to listen in and interact with some of the events from today. Thanks to all of you who took the time and extra effort to invite us in virtually. It was appreciated. I hope I get to do the same for others sometime soon.

Although the sessions were great, my favorite part is when I saw Mark Wagner’s message somewhere about meeting up in the Blogger’s Cafe. Thanks to Bud Hunt, I joined the stream there and watched learning happening in the best way. Not only were they playing with Mogulus and CamTwist, it was great to see Darren Kuropatwa trying to join in virtually. I don’t think he succeeded, but the learning was great. Thanks to Jeff Utecht for his refections on the whole day and the event at the Blogger’s Cafe. I even gained new inspiration to jailbreak my iPhone.

Thanks to all who made my virtual attendance possible. I miss you all! Enjoy the conference.

I think Dean Shareski’s 4 minute film sums it up best!

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Today, I attended NECC virtually. I really wanted to be there, but I was glad to be able to connect from home.

Thanks to Alice Mercer’s CoveritLive , Bud Hunt’s Chatterous and Mogulus, Kelly Dumont and Vicki Davis, and Scott Merrick’s Ustream, Steve Dembo’s EduStream, I was able to listen in and interact with some of the events from today. Thanks to all of you who took the time and extra effort to invite us in virtually. It was appreciated. I hope I get to do the same for others sometime soon.

Although the sessions were great, my favorite part is when I saw Mark Wagner’s message somewhere about meeting up in the Blogger’s Cafe. Thanks to Bud Hunt, I joined the stream there and watched learning happening in the best way. Not only were they playing with Mogulus and CamTwist, it was great to see Darren Kuropatwa trying to join in virtually. I don’t think he succeeded, but the learning was great. Thanks to Jeff Utecht for his refections on the whole day and the event at the Blogger’s Cafe. I even gained new inspiration to jailbreak my iPhone.

Thanks to all who made my virtual attendance possible. I miss you all! Enjoy the conference.

I think Dean Shareski’s 4 minute film sums it up best!

]]>
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21st Century Learning - Live from NECC 2008 http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/27/21st-century-learning-live-from-necc-2008/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/27/21st-century-learning-live-from-necc-2008/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2008 17:09:09 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=69 21st Century Learning seems to be a very popular educational buzzword these days. Some people have asked me to define 21st Century learning, and I have to supply a short and very inadequate definition about connected, collaborative, natural learning with passion. It doesn’t begin to address the broader definition of what my learning has become in the past few years. Maybe a good way to define it is to provide some examples coming out of NECC 2008 (the largest National Educational Technology Conference of all) this year. Unfortunately, I won’t be there in person. Even though I would love to be there, at least I can participate virtually. Here are some opportunities. I hope you’ll join me.

  1. The NECC Ning (A social network for conference attendees, including virtual attendees) Join the ning, and then join some groups. So far, I belong to Digital Storytellers, Moodle, Virtual NECCers, K12Online2008, LOTIMotion, EdubloggerCon, Google in Education, and NECC Unplugged. There are many other groups that may be of interest to you. Browse them and find some of interest to you. Join and begin the conversation and learning.
  2. The Edustream.tv Home Page - A place to watch some live broadcasts of various sessions at NECC. This is awesome! Come visit, chat, and learn together.
  3. Watch the conversation about NECC on Twitter on a tool called Summerize. Join Twitter and add some of the people you see tweeting about NECC on Summerize to engage in the conversation.
  4. Come (virtually) to the Blogger’s Cafe to attend some of the sessions at the “unconference”.
  5. Join with all the educators at Saturday’s EdubloggerCon - wish I could be there in person to meet people, but I won’t miss out on the learning. This was the best part of last year’s conference for me.
  6. Follow the blog conversations and the images (from Flickr) at the conference aggregator, Hitchhikr and Technorati’s blog, photo, and video search.
  7. Subscribe to what people are bookmarking about NECC08 on Delicious, a social bookmarking tool.
  8. From NECC’s official site, listen to podcasts and watch videos, and read the blogs from and about various keynotes and selected sessions.

This is just a small sample of how conferences and learning have changed in just a few short years. This is 21st century learning, connecting with people of similar passions to connect, collaborate, learn, and create. Please join me.

twitter id: janstearns

Skype id: janstearns

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21st Century Learning seems to be a very popular educational buzzword these days. Some people have asked me to define 21st Century learning, and I have to supply a short and very inadequate definition about connected, collaborative, natural learning with passion. It doesn’t begin to address the broader definition of what my learning has become in the past few years. Maybe a good way to define it is to provide some examples coming out of NECC 2008 (the largest National Educational Technology Conference of all) this year. Unfortunately, I won’t be there in person. Even though I would love to be there, at least I can participate virtually. Here are some opportunities. I hope you’ll join me.

  1. The NECC Ning (A social network for conference attendees, including virtual attendees) Join the ning, and then join some groups. So far, I belong to Digital Storytellers, Moodle, Virtual NECCers, K12Online2008, LOTIMotion, EdubloggerCon, Google in Education, and NECC Unplugged. There are many other groups that may be of interest to you. Browse them and find some of interest to you. Join and begin the conversation and learning.
  2. The Edustream.tv Home Page - A place to watch some live broadcasts of various sessions at NECC. This is awesome! Come visit, chat, and learn together.
  3. Watch the conversation about NECC on Twitter on a tool called Summerize. Join Twitter and add some of the people you see tweeting about NECC on Summerize to engage in the conversation.
  4. Come (virtually) to the Blogger’s Cafe to attend some of the sessions at the “unconference”.
  5. Join with all the educators at Saturday’s EdubloggerCon - wish I could be there in person to meet people, but I won’t miss out on the learning. This was the best part of last year’s conference for me.
  6. Follow the blog conversations and the images (from Flickr) at the conference aggregator, Hitchhikr and Technorati’s blog, photo, and video search.
  7. Subscribe to what people are bookmarking about NECC08 on Delicious, a social bookmarking tool.
  8. From NECC’s official site, listen to podcasts and watch videos, and read the blogs from and about various keynotes and selected sessions.

This is just a small sample of how conferences and learning have changed in just a few short years. This is 21st century learning, connecting with people of similar passions to connect, collaborate, learn, and create. Please join me.

twitter id: janstearns

Skype id: janstearns

]]>
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What I Believe… http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/17/what-i-believe/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/06/17/what-i-believe/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2008 04:21:51 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=67 I was tagged several months ago by Jennifer Wagner on a meme started by Barry Bachenheime based on NPR’s This I Believe. I’ve probably broken all the rules by taking so long to respond, but time just slipped away. I thought it was such a good one that I decided to follow up on it, even though it’s long overdue. Thanks, Jen, for the push. Here goes…

I believe that students should have plenty of opportunities to learn in an environment that celebrates individuality, uniqueness, and respect.

I believe that caring for classroom animals, playing with blocks, exploring bubbles, singing, dancing, and watching plants grow are necessary components of a Kindergarten classroom. What has happened lately?

I believe that students should have multiple ways to demonstrate their learning, whether in text, mixed media, video, or audio.

I believe the BEST teachers are the ones that miss their kids on the last day of school and reflect on their practice.

I believe that every educator should build a personal learning network that helps them push their thinking and teaching and learning.

I believe that no matter how much you think you aren’t being heard, you keep pushing. Change begins to happen right before your eyes.

I believe we should never perceive ourselves as experts at anything. We’re all learners and there’s just so much to learn.

I believe that this is a very exciting time to be in education - I feel change for the better is in the air.

I’d like to hear from:

John Rivera

Antonio Hernandez

Jose Rodriguez

Mathew Needleman

Edie Walker

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I was tagged several months ago by Jennifer Wagner on a meme started by Barry Bachenheime based on NPR’s This I Believe. I’ve probably broken all the rules by taking so long to respond, but time just slipped away. I thought it was such a good one that I decided to follow up on it, even though it’s long overdue. Thanks, Jen, for the push. Here goes…

I believe that students should have plenty of opportunities to learn in an environment that celebrates individuality, uniqueness, and respect.

I believe that caring for classroom animals, playing with blocks, exploring bubbles, singing, dancing, and watching plants grow are necessary components of a Kindergarten classroom. What has happened lately?

I believe that students should have multiple ways to demonstrate their learning, whether in text, mixed media, video, or audio.

I believe the BEST teachers are the ones that miss their kids on the last day of school and reflect on their practice.

I believe that every educator should build a personal learning network that helps them push their thinking and teaching and learning.

I believe that no matter how much you think you aren’t being heard, you keep pushing. Change begins to happen right before your eyes.

I believe we should never perceive ourselves as experts at anything. We’re all learners and there’s just so much to learn.

I believe that this is a very exciting time to be in education - I feel change for the better is in the air.

I’d like to hear from:

John Rivera

Antonio Hernandez

Jose Rodriguez

Mathew Needleman

Edie Walker

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Great Schools, Great Learning http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/05/28/great-schools-great-learning/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/05/28/great-schools-great-learning/#comments Thu, 29 May 2008 04:24:30 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=66 We’ve been talking about change in our district office. I’m glad to be part of the conversation. I know that the leaders in my district understand the need for change and are looking for how to go about it.

That’s why I was so excited to see Chris Lehmann’s Twitter post this morning about Educon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy that will take place in January 2009. Chris is the principal at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. His leadership and vision makes this school truly exceptional. His thoughtful reflections on his blog, Practical Theory, inspire me to keep moving forward.

Last year, he hosted Educon 2.0 at his school, an informal conference where many edubloggers gathered to see how learning takes place at his school. As in all activities at his school, students were part of the conference. They attended, facilitated workshops, oversaw the virtual connections (which allowed me to attend a few sessions), and in general, were part of the learning going on. I really wanted to attend in person. I want to see his school in person and participate in the learning that happens at this unique conference. I’m not missing it this year, and I’m going to bring along leaders in my local district. I’m working on it now…

Ideas are coming together in our district. From our conversations in the district office, we are seeking ways to grow and change. Tomorrow, the Superintendent, several Directors, … and I … will be traveling down the coast to San Diego to visit two innovative schools, The San Diego MET School and High Tech High School.

The San Diego MET is an innovative school the holds its classes on the local community college campus. Students don’t learn just from the classrooms, but participate in internships. Mildred Phillips, the principal, shared that all 51 graduates this year will be attending 4 year universities or community colleges. Project based learning is the norm in this school.

High Tech High School is equally based on project based learning. Students study the world through authentic learning opportunities, from working with the San Diego Zoo to building pool tables to study “how impulse, momentum and angles play a big part in society through sports and games.” Wow!

We’ll take what we learn and create our own path. I’m excited. This, and a chance to visit Educon 2.1 in January 2009, makes going to work so rewarding.

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We’ve been talking about change in our district office. I’m glad to be part of the conversation. I know that the leaders in my district understand the need for change and are looking for how to go about it.

That’s why I was so excited to see Chris Lehmann’s Twitter post this morning about Educon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy that will take place in January 2009. Chris is the principal at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. His leadership and vision makes this school truly exceptional. His thoughtful reflections on his blog, Practical Theory, inspire me to keep moving forward.

Last year, he hosted Educon 2.0 at his school, an informal conference where many edubloggers gathered to see how learning takes place at his school. As in all activities at his school, students were part of the conference. They attended, facilitated workshops, oversaw the virtual connections (which allowed me to attend a few sessions), and in general, were part of the learning going on. I really wanted to attend in person. I want to see his school in person and participate in the learning that happens at this unique conference. I’m not missing it this year, and I’m going to bring along leaders in my local district. I’m working on it now…

Ideas are coming together in our district. From our conversations in the district office, we are seeking ways to grow and change. Tomorrow, the Superintendent, several Directors, … and I … will be traveling down the coast to San Diego to visit two innovative schools, The San Diego MET School and High Tech High School.

The San Diego MET is an innovative school the holds its classes on the local community college campus. Students don’t learn just from the classrooms, but participate in internships. Mildred Phillips, the principal, shared that all 51 graduates this year will be attending 4 year universities or community colleges. Project based learning is the norm in this school.

High Tech High School is equally based on project based learning. Students study the world through authentic learning opportunities, from working with the San Diego Zoo to building pool tables to study “how impulse, momentum and angles play a big part in society through sports and games.” Wow!

We’ll take what we learn and create our own path. I’m excited. This, and a chance to visit Educon 2.1 in January 2009, makes going to work so rewarding.

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Our Online Profile is Showing… http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/05/24/our-online-profile-is-showing/ http://jstearns.org/wp/2008/05/24/our-online-profile-is-showing/#comments Sat, 24 May 2008 21:57:16 +0000 Janice Stearns http://jstearns.org/wp/?p=64 Jeff Utecht, in his post, Schools: Take control or forfeit your profile, points out that many schools carry an online profile, from entries in places like Wikipedia and FaceBook, that needs to be monitored and maintained. Many schools aren’t even aware of this online presence, or might dismiss an article in Wikipedia as not trusted, so not a priority.
It got me thinking about really reading some of the wikipedia articles about our schools.
These are the schools that I could find that have an entry on Wikipedia:

Bell High School
South Gate High School
Huntington Park High School
South East High School
Maywood Academy
South East Middle School

You can tell that some of the schools have student created entries. Some of the articles are really quite good, but need some editing. Others need quite a bit of work. All haven’t been updated in quite some time - probably since our external IP was banned from Wikipedia. There was abuse to Wikipedia articles from our domain, so Wikipedia has blocked the entire domain from editing. This was a few years ago. As far as I know, no one can update Wikipedia articles from within our district firewall since then.

This causes a problem. If no one is updating these articles, then they will never be of high quality.They will never reflect our schools for some of the great things that happen there. Just this morning, there was an article in the LA Times written about an outstanding new teacher at South East Middle School. (Thanks Paul B. for telling me about it.) That should be linked to the SouthEast Middle School entry.

Since students and teachers can’t access the editing features from within the firewall, maybe we need to find other means of updating and maintaining these entries. Maybe students should have this responsibility as part of their homework. For those with internet access, they could be writing about their schools. What could be more authentic? They could also monitor the pages. This could be a shared responsibility between students, teachers, all staff and parents. The community could join together for something positive. This could be a very positive step into beginning to “get” 21st century literacies.

Thanks, Jeff, for posting this article to spark my thinking. I will be calling together interested educators from all our schools to see if we can figure out how to make this work as an authentic learning experience for all of us. I think this is extremely important.

.. Now if I only knew how to find profiles on FaceBook. All I see are students from those schools, but not much about the schools. I’m sure I’m missing something…

Note: After looking at the history pages of all the entries, it is apparent that some editing and revising has taken place recently. However, there certainly isn’t enough there to represent the schools well. It was interesting to see the discussion on the Bell entry. An alumni from the graduating class of 1965 had entered that the school colors were purple and white, and it had been changed by a more recent graduate. It’s interesting to see how those that contribute collaborate on the writing.

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Jeff Utecht, in his post, Schools: Take control or forfeit your profile, points out that many schools carry an online profile, from entries in places like Wikipedia and FaceBook, that needs to be monitored and maintained. Many schools aren’t even aware of this online presence, or might dismiss an article in Wikipedia as not trusted, so not a priority.
It got me thinking about really reading some of the wikipedia articles about our schools.
These are the schools that I could find that have an entry on Wikipedia:

Bell High School
South Gate High School
Huntington Park High School
South East High School
Maywood Academy
South East Middle School

You can tell that some of the schools have student created entries. Some of the articles are really quite good, but need some editing. Others need quite a bit of work. All haven’t been updated in quite some time - probably since our external IP was banned from Wikipedia. There was abuse to Wikipedia articles from our domain, so Wikipedia has blocked the entire domain from editing. This was a few years ago. As far as I know, no one can update Wikipedia articles from within our district firewall since then.

This causes a problem. If no one is updating these articles, then they will never be of high quality.They will never reflect our schools for some of the great things that happen there. Just this morning, there was an article in the LA Times written about an outstanding new teacher at South East Middle School. (Thanks Paul B. for telling me about it.) That should be linked to the SouthEast Middle School entry.

Since students and teachers can’t access the editing features from within the firewall, maybe we need to find other means of updating and maintaining these entries. Maybe students should have this responsibility as part of their homework. For those with internet access, they could be writing about their schools. What could be more authentic? They could also monitor the pages. This could be a shared responsibility between students, teachers, all staff and parents. The community could join together for something positive. This could be a very positive step into beginning to “get” 21st century literacies.

Thanks, Jeff, for posting this article to spark my thinking. I will be calling together interested educators from all our schools to see if we can figure out how to make this work as an authentic learning experience for all of us. I think this is extremely important.

.. Now if I only knew how to find profiles on FaceBook. All I see are students from those schools, but not much about the schools. I’m sure I’m missing something…

Note: After looking at the history pages of all the entries, it is apparent that some editing and revising has taken place recently. However, there certainly isn’t enough there to represent the schools well. It was interesting to see the discussion on the Bell entry. An alumni from the graduating class of 1965 had entered that the school colors were purple and white, and it had been changed by a more recent graduate. It’s interesting to see how those that contribute collaborate on the writing.

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