What level are you?

In a recent post titled “Phases of Online Development” over at the Information Conversation blog, Matt posted a table called “Phases of Electronic Portfolio Development.”

It has six levels of development:

phases+of+portfolio+development

Can anyone else relate to these phases in a different context? I can see clearly how I have moved through these steps throughout my years of technology immersion and integration. My early entry into technology was not so bad. I had a little anxiety, but not generally with the tools themselves. My dad tended to have some cool tools around to try out, and then I worked at Radio Shack when I was in college. There was plenty of equipment to play with there, and if I messed it up, somebody would fix it. (Key thing to remember here: It can be fixed!)  The neat thing now is that most schools have lots of technology tools for teachers to try out.

Then the uncertainty sank in when I tried to figure out how to use these tools in the classroom. That is where my personal learning network kicked in with reading blogs written by other educators going through the same process of discovery (which is ongoing, by the way). Honestly, just reading what others were doing in their classrooms took me through the connections and the awareness stages. I learned how these tools tied to the learning my kids needed to do and realized which tools fit which need in my curriculum. No, it was not an overnight deal for me. It took reading and focusing on making myself a better teacher, but that is what makes a teacher better: being a lifelong learner.

So the next logical step for me was presentation. In my version of this chart, that means I began implementing the ideas, the tools, and the structure of technology integration. Technology was still only a tool, but it became more than that to the kids. It was a hook to get them interested. It became a conduit to process information, connect with peers, and to publish their findings and creations. They were excited about learning English and literature. The technology tools had them hooked, and they made them better learners because of it.

So how do I prove that? Well, through evaluation. Any educator worth his or her salt constantly monitors and evaluates what is working and what is not. If I cannot continually provide effective and affective instructional strategies, then I am not doing my job, and I am cheating the kids.

Does all of this make sense? Maybe I am just writing it to get my thoughts out on how I made it through the process to where I am now. I am in a perpetual loop with this list, though. New tools come out, and I move to either the anxiety or the uncertainty stage and work my way forward. I cannot help that. It is the way I learn and develop.

How about you?

Our students go through these phases rather quickly with or without us. Are you on board?

reference- Table from Developing Digital Portfolios for Childhood Education by Marja Kankaanranta. 2002.

If You Give a Teacher a Computer

Charette in ActionDoug Johnson over at the Blue Skunk blog took some liberty in his recent writing and revised Laura Numeroff’s classic, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Read his version and run over and leave him some love in the comment section:

Give a teacher a computer

Give a teacher a computer,
And he will want Internet access.

Give a teacher Internet access,
And she’ll most likely want an e-mail account.

Give a teacher e-mail,
And he’ll just want learning games and
more computers in her classroom. And tech support.

Give a teacher learning games,
And she’ll want streaming video.

Give a teacher videos,
And he’ll insist on an LCD projector permanently mounted in his classroom (with speakers).

Give a teacher a projector,
And she’ll ask for an interactive white board (and training and time for collaboration and resources to use with it).

Give a teacher an IWB,
Then he wants a student response system, a wireless slate, and a document camera (and more support).

Give a teacher tech,
And then she wants all her kids to have it too. And the skills to use it well.

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Copyright Issues in the (Virtual) Classroom

This is more like a virtual note to myself and readers than it is a new post.

Educators struggle with what is right and wrong from the copyright guidelines and what we do with our students.  Wes Fryer takes on the topic in a fairly easy to understand way in a recent post.  You might also still be able to find his article from TCEA‘s publication TechEdge here.

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Free. Quality. Self-selected. Your pace. Your place.

What else can I say about the technology sessions offered in the k12online conference? Check out the poster below, and then check out the site. This is your chance to learn new technologies and the pedagogy behind them without having a class full of people sitting around you. No pressure to move on until you are ready. Yet, there is a ton of free support offered in this as well, so you are not left stranded. The conference is one I highly recommend.

Oh, did I mention it is free?

If you need help getting an RSS feed reader set-up so you can follow the conference happenings easier, let me know. I am always more than happy to help out.

k12online

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Oh My Gosh!!! This site is awesome!

Now, we all know there are several great resources out there, but this one is SOOOOOO valuable to upper grade educators.

Hippo Campus has videos, both instructional and informational. These things ROCK! I realize you may not be as excited about it as I am, but cool, free, awesome resources are so needed with our curriculum these days. Kids can access these from the house for help with homework. They can use them to enrich current lessons or presentations. You can use them to give a twist to your lessons while letting the students know they are out there for reference. Your students will love it.

You are in luck if you teach one of these courses:

  • US History (AP and regular)
  • Algebra (Elementary, IA, and IB)
  • American Government (AP and Regular)
  • AP Biology
  • Calculus (AP I & II, General, and Intro)
  • Environmental Science (AP and Regular)
  • Physics (AP B & C, College Prep, General, and Intro)
  • Religion

Please check this site out. My post cannot do it enough justice for the value of the content found here. (Or am I just too PBS or something?)

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Quote of the Month

During a recent technology literacy conference, David Warlick’s name came up. I thought I would share a quote out of the 2nd edition of his book “Classroom Blogging: A Teacher’s Guide to Blogging, Wikis, and Other Tools that are Shaping a New Information Landscape.” I can personally recommend this text as a valuable resource for both personal and instructional needs. And David always seems willing to step in to comment on blogs wherever he is mentioned (your students would love that). Just don’t take his picture with the camera built-in to your laptop while he is on stage doing a presentation. 🙂

Anyway, his quote from the book:

“We should no longer assume the authority of information we encounter, but, instead, prove the authority.”

Good stuff! Pertinent.  Think about it.
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The Bump

Miguel Guhlin recently blogged about the Nancy Atwell book The Reading Zone. One paragraph jumped out at him as it pertained to blogging:

In fact, a more useful lesson about the connections that story readers make, as we’re reading, is one that helps students decide how to respond to them. I ask my kids, “When you’re reading a story, do you ever bump yourself out of the zone because something in the book sparks a thought or memory?” and follow up with, “If so, how do you respond to the bump?”. . .these occasions when we read like writers: we pay attention to the way a text is written, and we enjoy an efferent moment as we observe something in someone else’s writing that we might choose to carry away, and put to use, in writing of our own.

Miguel’s direction on this is one that poses the question of how we handle this in connection with blogging inspiration, but mine is how we handle it with our students when they hit the “bump.” He leaves us with these parting comments paraphrasing a Scholastic article on the subject:

Every day, smart, well-meaning teachers erect instructional roadblocks between their students and the personal, digital communication tools.

So are we overlooking the teachable moment in the haste of curriculum delivery and test preparation? I know I have. Man, I hate it when I realize my shortcomings. Thanks, Miguel. Just thanks.

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Try out Animoto!

This is sweet! I added a few pictures from a technology conference I attended as well as from UTA where I helped lead some literacy training over the summer. Animoto does the transition work for you and has free music to add as well. You can make 30 second videos for free at this site. Enjoy and don’t forget to share your creations with the rest of us.