Empowering and Protecting Tomorrow’s Digital Citizens

November 2, 2007

My notes from the Tech Forum 2007 in Austin.


Miguel Guhlin and Wes Fryer

Miguel begins:

Change is Inevitable going from school 1.0 to school 2.0
–image cited from Brian Grenier’s Bump on the Blog

Change is what makes being an administrator fun.

When speaker of fear and what qualifies as safe Miguel notes a loss of control
—what is safe? Home w/ or w/out parents. School w/ or w/out teachers. Internet???

  1. Technology is Indispensable from 21st Century Education

    1. “walkthrough” from TeacherTube.com (still looking for the url)
      –Apparently this video is from Mesquite ISD, someone involved in this video is in the audience
      –Response to did you guys realize the power of YouTube at the time, “No we did not”

  2. Nurturing Parent Frame or Lecturing Father Frame
    1. showed two powerful cyberbullying video clips
    2. what is the response
    3. These ideas of cyberbullyng are not new
    4. No one says, “Take away then pencils”
    5. You have to know appropriate behavior, and the result that come from bad choices (accountability)
    6. There are new things, easy for an impulsive response can be read and exposed to many, no longer a few
    7. We are shocked when Kids say inappropriate things about kids, what about when Teachers say inappropriate things about kids
    8. We need to model proper behavior
    9. My point, Michael Moore WANTS people to see his comments, students do not want EVERYONE to see theirs.
      1. –noted by another audience member, students may not want you to see them as a hateful person
    10. Another audience member on Michael Moore, Intent. Our students are naive and may not understand the full ramifications of the intent. The student’s intent is to vent, the ramification of the venting is to hurt another’s feelings.
    11. Miguel asking the question why are we blocking this
      1. My response is the ostrich theory
      2. If I cannot see it, it is not happening
      3. Also, if I prevent it at school, then it is not a school problem it is a home problem
        1. Whom then are you teaching?
    12. What is the student response to cyberbullying?
      1. It is either bully first or be bullied
    13. How to stop cyberbullying?
      1. Connect with students
      2. Connect at the freshman level, if the student can connect at the freshman level, then someone is at school cares.
      3. This can reduce alienation, bullying and attrition
        1. Wes notes the difference between dropout rate cited by schools and the actual number.
        2. He refers to a presentation by Dr. Allan Beane

“Hero in the Hallway” Great video to visual the reality of cyberbullying and the potential for teachers to mediate this action.

3) Conversations, not consequence, need to be our focus

My reflection on this session is good. I am a tech heavy teacher. At the start of each school year I have to wait a few days for my freshman to get network ID log-ins, school provided e-mail accounts, and all the necessary user IDs and accounts. What do I do with this time? This year I walked my students through an information literacry unit I based on Alan November’s resources. My students sat while I showed video clips and explained the potential. As they got their log-ins we explored the web and how to evaluate site. We discussed what should be done in class and what should be done at home. I mentioned the beauty pagent winner who made the news by posting and attempting to remove photos from her Facebook account. Why did she remove these pictures? Why did she post them in the first place if she felt they needed to be removed later?

I designed this introduction unit to be presented with my SMART Board, so attached is the PDF export of that presentation. The citation is not in proper format, but the URL is there.

Information Literacy Presentation

What do we do during the first week or two of school? What not take advantage of this time to teach the ramifications of the internet?

Miguel and Wes began the presentation stating we need to have conversations. Begin the school year with a conversation among your students. Continue the school year with a conversation with your parents. End the school year with a conversation with everyone, celebrate and promote the work of your students.

Making Decisions

October 7, 2007

So I was all geared up for the school year. I had roughly outlined my lessons for the semester, pretty happy about this since I have two new classes this year. I had outlined several blog article topics. I had also help several new teachers set-up ClassBlogmeister accounts. My summer of planning new ideas and learning new methods was ready to unfold. Then I logged-in to my school computer.

Blocked. Website Problems

In reviewing many of the sites I used last year and some of the new sites proposed for this year this is what I saw. I do not mean to add to the growing list of educational blog articles complaining of filtering; however, I must express my frustration and plan for this school year. I spread to many people at NECC this new blog site because I was frustrated with not being able to update my EduBlogs site; a problem since corrected by the addition of a new server. I choose WordPress because it is what my wife uses and I previously could read her blog at my school. This is no longer the case.

My dilemma is two fold: blogging and wikis

What to do about my blog:
I like the use of both sites, especially since EduBlogs has upgraded with the addition of a new server. However, I shared with many people my WordPress site. I also transferred my postings from EduBlogs to WordPress. Unfortunately the WordPress site looks horrible at school. I am trying to demonstrate the advantages of such applications, but the site looks bad. But if I transfer back, then what about those readers outside of my school? Will I loose readers, all twelve of them, if I just back to EduBlogs?

After weeks of debate I have decided to post on both sites. I realize the time I will waste, but until a proper solution can be determined this is what I have resolved at the best action.

I have grown to find several applications of wikis in the classroom. Since this type of site is often new to my students I must demonstrate its use. I also had a grand idea of using wikis to share lesson plans between teachers at not only my school, but other schools. Unfortunately Wikispaces and PB Wiki are blocked. I found it interesting that while I began debating my options I stumbled upon an article in Today’s Catholic Teacher an article specifically siting these sites as preferred wiki sites. Nothing against Susan Brooks-Young, the article is great and she is clearly educated in this topic, but I found it interesting that a site devoted to Catholic teachers, I teach at a Catholic school, notes for use the sites I have been told are not appropriate for education.

I have looked into creating a new wiki on a different website; although I feel that Wikispaces and PBWiki are great sites and hate to leave. Then in browsing various wiki sites I noticed that in over thirty wiki sites the only ones blocked are those I made popular at my school. I wonder if our filtering service would even know they exist had it not been for my students. I know they do not know the power within these sites. At least Susan knows and I trust that someone is able to enjoy the sites.

I am working without webmaster to integrate wiki technology within the schools web server. He tried MediaWiki and the requirements exceed our current system. However, Miguel Guhlin recommended to me PMWiki. You will know if this works because I will be ecstatic.

This is where I am. Now back to sharing the ideas from my class.

Preview of posts to come:

iPod magic–students actually reviewing vocabulary
SMARTBoards–I get to play with some fun new products and so do my students
NECC 2008–proposal is in, now we wait

Enjoy your day,


Wikis: Why Sharing Makes Sense

August 12, 2007

As July turns to August the temperatures continue to rise and the time to reorganize for the start of school is upon us. Since my first year of teaching I have always declared that I would spend June re-organizing my syllabus while everything is fresh in my mind. 0-4. At least this year I wrote down my ideas so I can continue my progress in mashing everything together.

The first task in my summer cleaning involved deleting duplicate files. Over the past four years I have adjusted most every document I have created. Technological improvements what they are, I have acquired a new storage device about every six months. While this is great as the number of files I own increased, I never properly took the time to update my files choosing instead to simply add to the files.

As I am now nearly complete in my task of eliminating duplicate files, I look to share my ideas and documents with my fellow teachers. The past few years I have copied my files onto CDs for new teachers who shared my courses. Not professing to have all of the answers, just looking to help a fellow teacher out and possible save him or her some time in reproducing a document from scratch.

While these new teachers have confirmed to me that this is helpful, eventually the CDs disappears. So for this year, how about a wiki.

Last year while answering the request of a teacher on an English list-serve I loaded up a Julius Caesar unit to my Wikispaces blog wiki. Over the summer I realized that this could be useful if our entire English department or possibly the entire school did the same. Coincidentally Miguel Guhlin wrote about the power of sharing around the same time. I must say that I agree with this idea.

As part of my summer reading this summer I finished Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. While I will present a more formal assessment of the book later, the most outstanding item from the book to me is that while business is embracing collaborative technology, schools are typically slow to respond to the same stimulus. One day the education field will realize that when we stop wasting time by holding on to the information, we can address more important tasks. Who cares about the credit as long as you get the job done. If we share our ideas and the grunt work of creating files, then we can use the time saved to improve the education of our students. If we can share our ideas with another school who is trying to figure a new way to teacher Julius Caesar, then someone else will help us in the future.

Enjoy your day,

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