NECC–Information Literacy

June 30, 2008

Eric LeMoine, Beaverton School District
Monday 830 Concurrent Session

What do you think of this website?

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division

Calls for the ban of water because of its high connection to death

Importance of Information Literacy

-Information literacy Defined

-Ability to identify, locate, evaluate information effectively (including presenting it..)

-Searching and critical thinking skills are vitally important

Ban news

-students lacking information literacy skills, especially w/ regard to technology

ETS reports:

35% of students selected correct revision when asked to narrow an overly broad search

Additional data telling us that students might know technology but they are lacking critical thinking skills in a technological environment to:






communicate information

Overviewed the difference between Search Engine v. Search Directory


Advancce seaches and Boolean searches

Evaluating Websites, consider:

Accuracy (verifiable, sources)

Authority (author, url domain)

Objectivity (goal, bias, advertising)

Currentcy (last updated, links current)

Coverage (viewable, fees, special software required)

Information Literacy Skills, part II

Managing Overabundant Information

-Give Students Clear Project Criteria

-PBL needs check-list

-Using Outline Modes, Inspiration/PowerPoint


URL to Page on NECC Website. From this URL you can locate PPT handout, Two TrackStar website that guide teachers through Information LIteracy process.


Podcast of the week: Classic Poetry Aloud

June 29, 2008

Two weeks ago I began a new series of weekly reviews of podcasts that can be used in education. While I did not do such a great job making the second posting, I am back on track. Last week was the final week of a graduate class, so I trust you will give me a little slack.

Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud is an excellent example of how audio can enhance what simply reading cannot. You can subscribe to the podcast by following linking to any of the subscribe buttons on the podcast page. Additionally you can view any podcast going back to May 2007 by following the link of the podcast page to the blog page.

The purpose of the Classic Poetry Aloud Podcast is “to add another dimension to the enjoyment of poetry: listening“. As a teacher that has previously taught English, students often lack the understanding that poets write poems to be read. I have compared it to reading music lyrics; without the inflection of voice it does not mean the same. While textbook publishers have previously released audio CDs of the poems within their texts, this limits the teacher to only those poems within the textbook. Classic Poetry Aloud makes use of any poem beyond the limits of copyright limitations. The poems range a large variety of authors ranging from William Blake to Thomas Wyatt with numerous in between. The poems are organized by themes including the Romantics, War Poems, Love Poems, and Season just to name a few.

The blog site also note a Top Ten list based on listener downloads. Many of these also make my top list.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

“O Captain! My Captain!” by Walk Whitman

And a few of my personal favorite that did not make the Top Ten

“To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence” by Jame Elroy Flecker

“To the Virgins to make much of Time” by Robert Herrick

If you teach poetry, you should be able to find at least one poem you enjoy and would like to teach. If you enjoy poetry this podcast is in your corner. If you have never appreiciated poetry, give it a try for a week. You might find something new you like. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

Enjoy your day,

Power of a Collective Voice

June 23, 2008

During any election year it is common to hear the importance of making your voice be heard. Many in the educational technology community demonstrated this act last week when an unpopular and outdated policy came to light. The policy in question regarded the auido/video recording of presentaitons. As of last Thursday ISTE’s policy stated that the practice or recording presenations at NECC was prohibited unless the person recording the presentation has express writen consent from both the presentor (reasonable) and ISTE (???).  It is understandable to gain consent from the presentor. Eventhough these presentations are open to any registered atendee of the NECC conference with the goal of reaching large audiences, some people do not like to be recorded. I understand that some people like to control the availability of their presentations. What I do not understand is why ISTE would require consent. One would assume they have already approved the presentation and presentor as they have reviewed the submitted presentation proposal. This issue is not the focus of my writing, as this issue has be modified already.

The focus of my writing is the actions of those members opposed to this policy. I am not sure when this policy first became public, but I became aware of this policy last Thursday when the disucssion became lively by those I follow on Twitter.  With the conference beginning in just over a week, little time remained to follow old school means of addressing this issue. From my understanding this policy is a recycled policy from previous years. This policy was not clearly advertised last year as I recorded several presentations I attended last year in Atlanta. As I previously noted, I am not sure exactly when this policy was made public prior to last Thursday. I submitted a proposal at the beginning of the school year, my proposal was rejected but that is a topic for another post, and I do not recall any literature on this issue at that time. From the reaction of those on Twitter it seemed as if ISTE had only recently published this policy.

As a teacher one of my responsiblities is to teach my students to made use of all proper channels available to them. The limited time available prior to the start of the NECC conference stressed an immediacy to those opposed to this policy. As a result, many leaders in educational blogging began to publish postings clearly identifying their opposition to this policy. Example of these are here, here, here, here, here, and here. The previous is just a sample of the blog posting I read within hours of the orginial conversation on Twitter. In additional to the posting many of these bloggers addressed the proper chain of command and made good use of their ISTE memberships and emailed the decision makers within ISTE. I agree with the positions of these and other educational bloggers and intended on send an email and post the email to this blog on Friday. By the time I returned to my laptop and concluding a wrestling camp I was pleasently surprised to find out that ISTE had addressed the issue. As a result of the grassroots efforts, to rehash another election season phrase, ISTE changed the outdated policy.

To me, this is a great example of members of an organization who oppose the decisions of the groups leaders having a meaningful conversation. I am aware that some people do not full agree with the quick reaction of many of these bloggers, but to me this was a proper response. I do not agree with the claim that the changed policy was outdated and overlooked. I feel that it is the responsibility of both the leadership and the members of a group of bring awareness to policies that have expired their need. This incident reminds me of a website that my college roommates and I would use for entertainment. is a website that lists laws, according to this website, are still on the books in the indicated states. While some of these laws have lost their neccessity, others are simply ignorant and harmful to our progress. It is our responsiblity to bring awareness to our leaders when these policies exist in a time when they should no longer.

Enjoy your day,

Podcast of the Week: SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast

June 14, 2008

As part of my still being formed routine to get back into the habit of blog writing, I am making it a point to publish a review of a podcast once a week. I do this for several reasons. Once of which is that i am addict of audio. I play jazz while I teach and I always have either iTunes or the TV playing. I cannot handle silence. Another reason is that two years ago my school began actively integrating iPod technology into our classrooms. By this I mean that we have issued iPods to our students and are actively working with our teachers to open to the all possibilities that this technology permits.

Another technology that my school actively promotes are Interactive White Boards, specifically SMART Boards. For this reason I cannot think of a better way to connect these two technologies than to make my first podcast review one that combines these technologies.

SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts

The SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts is engaging, entertaining, and educational. Podcast hosts Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger provide great lessons plans, links, and music. The lesson plans are often geared toward specific disciplines; however, they can often be adapted to various courses. At the least the lessons demonstrate tools and tricks that a teacher can use or have their students use to make the IWB more than just a projection screen. Joan must spend as much time on the the internet as I do, not necessarily a good or a bad thing, as she always has a couple useful link for teachers to check out. The links are always helpful and often are some type of Web 2.0 application that can be combined with the IWB. The two hosts work great together and provide an entertaining product. Regardless if you are a teacher looking to improve your SMARTBoarding skills or an educator considering the purchase of such a board, this podcast should be a regular part of your iTunes download.

Favorite espisodes include:

Episode 126 Cause and Effect Commercialism
Episode 121 Combining SMART Recorder and Voicethread
Episode 99 Which gave me a Jeopardy Templete

I realize that these are all recent episodes, but i promise I have been listening to this podcasts since the first ten episodes. I’ll blame it on short term memory.

Keep up the good work Ben and Joan.

Enjoy your day,

I’m talking ’bout practice

May 11, 2008

Last week I read a blog post on the Freakonomics blog previewing an upcoming article on stats and the Celtics. While I am not an avid fan of the NBA, do not like the current style of the game preferring instead the team aspect of college ball, I do follow certain teams and players. Historically, I have been a fan of Boston and since they drafted KU standout Paul Pierce I keep track of their progress.

The internet being what it is I quickly found myself following links and began reading a post detailing the debate on practice versus talent. As both a teacher and a coach I enjoyed the message of the article.

“In other words, whatever innate differences two people may exhibit in their abilities to memorize, those differences are swamped by how well each person “encodes” the information. And the best way to learn how to encode information meaningfully, Ericsson determined, was a process known as deliberate practice.”

This statement supports several of my beliefs. One is that there is no such thing as luck. I feel that good preparation allows people to take advantage of situations. I have several examples from my coaching , but since you will have take my word for those instances I will cite a recent event familiar to those who follow college basketball and one in which I was able to witness first hand. Mario Chalmers game tying three point shot at the National Championship was dubbed by many in the media as a miracle.

While I admit that the shot was not textbook form, YouTube proved that the play itself was not a first time attempt. It is clear that this play, and thus the victory, was the result of practice as much as it was talent.

Aside from once again plugging the glorious year of sports that fans of the University of Kansas were able to enjoy, my athletic reference come with reason. There are multiple reasons why sports are so prevalent at educational institutions. It is because that many of the skills that enable students to become successful student-athletes are transferable from the sporting world to the classroom. It has become cliché to call these transferable lessons “life skills.” Personally, I feel I starting becoming successful in the classroom when I realized that I could take my coaching philosophy into the classroom to make students successful. While I realized that teaching history and English would be slightly different than teaching wrestling, I also become conscious that all three subjects were simply different disciplines. The bottom line was that my students needed practice, repetition, and active learning to improve on the skills in the classroom.

Think about it. If I tried to teach my student-athletes how to wrestle by lecturing for the majority of practice and then give them a multiple choice exam would they really master the skills required to improve? We structure our practices with a short demonstration (guided lecture) followed by longer sessions of drilling (active group work). In addition to this, after several weeks of nothing but practice we begin weekly competitions (assessment). So why is it that many in education feel that it is necessary to conduct their class by controlling the information?

I admit that I do follow some of the old school means of teaching. I administer one multiple choice exam per quarter. I think that every course has to do this as students must be familiar with the style of this type of assessment due to state testing and SAT/ACT exams. But I also feel that this type of assessment is a poor channel for gagging student understanding of information. However, I feel that if my students can master the “messy assessments” that people such as Wesley Fryer advocate then my students can pass a standardized exam once they understand the methods to taking such exams.

The bottom line is that students cannot truly understand the content unless they are active in the learning. If you simply teach students how to pass an exam then you are doing nothing more than teaching them how to memorize information. True learning comes from understanding. While I was an average wrestler, I feel that I understand the sport as proof from my coaching record. As you end this year and begin to reflect on your lessons and courses for next year I challenge you to make a change toward active practice. During wrestling practices I often walk around the room and make adjustments to technique on an individual basis while the rest of the room proceeds without someone looking over their shoulder. In the classroom, I walk around drinking my coffee and individually guide my students in the same method. My challenge to you…drink more coffee and lecture a bit less.

Enjoy your day,

Another yearly assessment–room for improvement

May 7, 2008

As another school year comes to a close I have the opportunity to reflect. My first reflection is that I did a poor job or keeping updates on my ideas and project on this blog. This is due to several reasons, primary of which is that I was teaching two new courses this past year while trying to adjust two courses I am teaching for the second year. While I have plenty of ideas and notes from the current school year; I also have a new plan. As I look toward reaching my goal of being a more reliable publisher of ideas I was able to make a more organized plan.

The goal is to publish three entires a week divided into three specific categories. Two of these categories address specific goals and tools my school currently uses: SMART Boards and iPods. The third entry will address various thoughts based on my readings for the week. Additionally, I aim to publish one entry reviewing a podcasts and one on a tool or application.

As with most people I enjoy the pressure and my rationalization for procrastination is that I thrive under pressure. That said, keep after me. Feel free to email or nudge me on Twitter if you feel my thoughts are valid and I seem to be dropping the ball.

Enjoy your day,

David Jakes–21st Century Cartography

November 2, 2007

21st Century Cartography

Google Earth and Google Maps

When I think about technology…

–fundament literacy, understanding place in Geography is more important now than ten-fifteen years ago
–added value, the question is why are students still coloring map when the technology exists

— Framed within a proper pedagogy, have to give students fifteen minutes to play (gets it out of the way)

–How do we know it works?, How does the technology extend the learning?



I’ve got questions…

Can every discipline be studied within a geographical context?

–my response as an English teacher is yes. This is something I do not do enough. Historical and spacial context is important when reading literature. Where is this story and why are we reading it? Let’s go to the map and find out.

How will you help students make meaning of visual data?

How does this change teaching and learning?

Google Lit Trips

Fires in California

–Using Google Map that shows location of fires and the location of buidings and key landmarks within proximity of these fires

Can you build maps in Google Map
–Yes, but you need a log-in to do so. This limits some schools, mine included.
–Teachers can create maps in Google Maps and then export these to Google Earth
—-right click on KML file and save to export for student use
–What is the difference between maps in Google Earth v. Google Maps, question by Wesley Fryer
—-can overcome the limits of log-ins for Google. Google Earth runs independently on each machine
—-Google Maps does not require knowledge of html
—-Google Earth requires some knowledge of importing file type
Google Maps access to
Maplets, Street View, Profile Page

–Log-in, browse directory
–Dig a whole through the Earth
Earth impact creators
–Area calculator
–Real-time earthquakes
Australian 2007 Election

KML file
–file type that Google Earth reads
–read time cloud feeds, just saw a hurricane forming in the Atlantic Oceans
–last year a student and I watch plane landings, delayed time, on my SMART Board during his free period. Yes that was killing the bandwidth at my school, but on a SMART Board it was cool to watch

Map Overlaps
–Historical maps
–I have view Hiroshima bombing and D-Day invasion using overlays, talk about the power of visual aide with literature.

Flyover Tours
–narrate voice tours, embed web 2.0 elements into Earth,
–several Social Studies and Literature ideas come to mind
–Google Earth, go to Add Content tab on right

Google Sky
–virtue tours of constellations, great science idea

–embed PowerPoint via SlideShare into Google Earth
–see Media File Support heading on Dave’s wiki

Grapes of Wrath
–This teacher created tour provides a ridiculous amount of images, text, and spacial learning to accompany the text.

Best Places for Resources
–Google Earth Blog
–Google Earth Lessons
–Juicy Geography

Links to all above on David’s wiki site

Concluding thoughs:
Brain overload.  Glad I have a three hour drive and a free weekend to sort things out.  Last year we had David Rumsey Keynote our GeoTech conference.  He show his historical map collection and showed how to use similar tools.  Great stuff