Tag Archives: education

Educon 2.1 Session 1

Larissa, Roslind & Caitlin

Larissa, Rosalind & Caitlin

Three teachers new to SLA this year, Larissa, Caitlin and Rosalind, shared their perspectives on what it’s like teaching at a progressive school. While I’m feeling a little under the weather and not able to ask many questions, the discussion in the session was really great. The new teachers have an interesting perspective on teaching, and specifically teaching at a progressive school.  Take a look at my notes on Cover It Live.

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Great discussion throughout the session

Great discussion throughout the session

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Educon 2.0 Friday Fun

Alice Barr, Colleen King and I arrived in Philadelphia for Educon 2.0 yesterday at 12:30, having driven down from Massachusetts that morning. (Alice and I got a head start from Maine Thursday night, which helped immensely!) We went straight to the Science Leadership Academy to see the students and teachers in action, which was wonderful. SLA teacher Marcie Hull gave me a tour of the art facilities, including her brightly lit, window lined corner room with gorgeous butcher block tables and stools, a ceramics studio with four wheels, a kiln room with storage, and wonderful art on every vertical surface. I was then able to observe her crowded digital video class, where 30+ students were actively engaged in creating projects, brainstorming, and using iTunes (movies need music, after all) in an energetic cacophony of learning.

As an art teacher, I was interested in some of her resources, including an art text : Exploring Art from McGraw-Hill and the text for her digital video class : Film Making for Teens : Pulling off your shorts by Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols With several preps and duties which include instructional technology for the building, these books provide a guide for the direction of the classes which then focus on the projects the students create and the discussion and evaluation of those works by the students themselves.

Just being in Philadelphia is of course a treat. The evening social event at the Franklin Institute was a great opportunity to go to the museum and enjoy the various exhibits, including the Identity exhibit about genetics and nature/nurture concepts of what makes us who we are. We had way too much fun with the station where you could see if your face is symmetrical. Educonners also took a moment to see how tall we were both with, and without, the three-inch heels! The Imax movie of the dinosaurs would make any kid want to be a paleontologist and go dig fossils in Mongolia.

Dinner, despite our wandering around trying to find a place to seat 18 at 8:30 on a Friday night, turned out great. The Asian fusion spot in the hotel turned out to be our best bet, and they were able to seat us ALL right away. The conversation was fast and furious – we are a loud bunch of educators, and we have so much to share! I was soaking up most of it, making mental (and audio recorded) notes on specific tools, websites, and toys that others mentioned. Dennis Richards got the ball rolling at one point where he asked our end of the table to share one new tool we were excited about. I shared my Olympus WS-110 audio recorders (I heard about them on Wes Fryer’s blog) which have served me and my students well over the last three months. Dennis Richards shared Mind42, a mind mapping web app that can be used collaboratively and will save all of the various iterations as you go. I also mentioned the Mac Heist software purchasing opportunity – the iStop Motion and SnapZPro alone made it a deal for me – but apparently the 15 day window is now closed. Next year maybe?. Maria Knee brought up the Snowball Mic, which she just got for her classroom, and a case for the video recorder that I need to ask the name of again. The case makes it possible for the kindergarten students to hold the recorder safely and securely while they use it. There was so much more – I have to do better at taking notes! At least I know the answers are but a tweet away on Twitter, or better yet, just a question away while I enjoy the rest of the f2f conference for the next two days. Check Flickr for pictures from all the attendees tagged educon20.


Filed under Conference, my learning, New Tools, PD, teaching

Multimedia Documentation

I lucked out last week. The WHS Science department was planning a trip to Boston to see several exhibits, and there was space enough for me to go and to take a few art students along. I’d been dying to see the Glass Flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History since the science folks started taking students to see it a few years back. My pitch to be included in the trip involved media – the ability to facilitate the student documentation of the trip in still photos, digital audio and digital video. With five still cameras, three audio recorders and one video camera dispersed among the students, divided among the three groups, we went into the Museum of Science and off to Cambridge.

While we were at Harvard, the science teacher did mini-talks in front of several of the exhibits, pointing out how the exhibit demonstrated particular concepts the students covered or would soon cover in class. Chris is a great teacher and has a wealth of information he is happy to share with anyone who wants to listen. The students with the recording media picked up on that and many of his ad-hoc presentations were captured. This will be great for the students to review when they get back to class, and for students who were unable to attend to get some flavor of the trip. What great additions to Chris’s curriculum – mini-movies and podcasts to engage students.

In addition to capturing the teacher talking, the students interviewed each other about the trip and what they were seeing. When a peer is interested in their thoughts, they actually have to have some – and you could see the engagement kicking into another level, the search to find something coherent and meaningful to say about what they were seeing. Sometimes they read the info-cards with the exhibit – not exactly higher level thinking, but it provided key information for the video and stills, and there is a good chance they wouldn’t have read it at all had they not had a specific reason to do so.

The bus ride home provided yet another insight for me. The science teachers were talking about how they saw the media involvement lead to additional student engagement, as well as the opportunity to have materials to work with in class upon their return. They were really excited about the possibilities of this kind of student interaction – this time on a field trip, but I’d be willing to bet they will see the ways it can be used in the classroom as well. We’ve been doing things like this in Art for a while, but it really is a new prospect for many of the other teachers. The science teachers thought we should present the media and the trip to the rest of the faculty at a staff meeting – their idea, not mine. Hooray!

So, we are left with 1.5 GB of still pictures and audio files (not to mention all the pictures I’ll get from the students with their own cameras when I get back to school tomorrow), and 8 GB (about 30 min) of video clips. I’m trying to figure out how to post all the media where the students can all get to it, add to it, and use it for whatever projects they come up with. We’re a 1:1 school, so the kids all have the tools they need to make podcasts, edit images, create movies, etc. We have a server and workspaces on First Class Client. All I have to do is request the nearly 10GB of space – ultimately more like 15 when the kids start adding – to make it all accessible. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.


Filed under classroom, digitalmedia, podcast, teaching

Use it to learn it

The ACTEM MaineEd07 conference was Thursday and Friday – and there were 800 people there, with access to tons of workshops, lots of vendors, and a keynote that pointed out some of the implications for web 2.0 in the classroom. I learned lots and presented two of the workshops. I realized that I have learned a large percentage of what I know about technology from opportunities such as this – they come accross email and I sign up and go. Then I get to bring the information back to the staff at my building or district – sometimes presenting, sometimes just sharing as things come up in conversation during lunch duty or wherever.

We hope that administrators will provide SOME time for us to get tech training, which at this point is as much conceptual as it is “how to” on a tool or software app. I also recognize that many teachers don’t want to/can’t add another thing to their time outside of the school day – we’re already over-booked and way under-compensated. The key for me was Will Richardson’s statement about modeling the practice. We need to be citizens of the digital age – which means that we need to learn this stuff for US, and OUR LEARNING. It is only when we become comfortable and functional with tools that we can then adequately implement them. I’m just now learning how to access the social networks that exist out there – other Educators (in Maine and around the world) who learn about opportunities and tools and share them. With them as my “net”, I am finding out about GREAT things that I’ve never heard about before, since I had been depending on only my principal and technology coordinator to pass things along.

Bottom line: it won’t all be delivered during in-service time, so get out there and find what YOU need, and use the tools and networks of people you trust to choose what works for you.

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