31 July 2007

Voki fun

So today I spent my time creating Vokis. You can check out the one for this blog to the right. The other 3 I created are on my wiki, teacher website and work blog:

I am now thinking about how I can use Voki with my students next year. I have already decided that my French 5 students will be making them to introduce themselves to their epals, and I may have the French 4 students do something similar.

How would you integrate Voki into your courses?

26 July 2007

My first 'vodcast'?

Yesterday was my son Benjamin's 4th birthday and as we set out for Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be great if I used some of my new tech skills to make a video?". So, I snapped some photos, recorded him singing, and set out to play with some things I learned at KTI. I used my new ipod recorder, Photo Story, Windows Movie Maker, Audacity, and some music from freeplaymusic.com. I know I could have spent hours and hours more on it, but it's a quick first project. Here it is...

23 July 2007

Web 2.0 Video: The Machine is Us/ing US

This video was introduced to me by the new technology director of my school district and then was brought to my attention again today on The Connected Classroom. It is a great explanation of Web 2.0...

KTI Summit: Leadership. Voice. Advocacy.

The motivation for the revival of this blog was the inspiring 4 days that I spent at the Keystone Technology Integrator's summit held at Shippensburg University. The summit, sponsored by the PA Dept. of Education, was my 'award' for being recognized as a Keystone, a teacher who has successfully implemented technology in my courses. To find out more about the summit itself, visit the KTI Wikispace created for the conference, complete with presentation information, videoconferences, keynote speeches, and more.

Although the summit was a whirlwind of new software, links, resources, tips, tools and gadgets, there was indeed personal interaction and collaboration. I have started to create a whole new network of people with whom I share the love of technology and education. It is this network of people, and the others at the summit who haven't made it into my network yet, who were given the charge of undergoing the tremendous challenge of transformation around these 3 words: Leadership, Voice, and Advocacy. I now believe that it is my obligation to take these 3 words and transform myself and start to tell a new story.

Throughout my 10 years of teaching, I have often shied away from Leadership, thinking that I was too young and inexperienced for anyone to listen to what I have to say. Throughout this past year and the involvement in the Keystones program, I have realized that I do have something important to share with my colleagues. I have noticed people being more receptive to my advice and fellow teachers often come to me for assistance with a variety of things. Although my 'leadership' has been very informal in nature, I feel that I am ready to take on a more formal role within my district to help lead and guide us into the 21st century.

Before the summit I knew I was a teacher who was good with computers and the Internet. Now I believe that I am an teacher and technology integrator who has an educated voice about technology and its implementation as a tool within education. I have learned how to seamlessly integrate it into curricula to be used as a meaningful avenue with which to convey the knowledge and information we are teaching. Web 2.0 tools have endless possibilities within any curricular area and are motivating and interesting to the students because they use them in their lives outside of school. It us up to educators like me and like those at the summit to raise our voices to break the paradigm of 20th century education. 21st century, here we come!

Dictionary.com defines Advocacy as: "The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support." If that is the case, I am pleading for the school district boards and administrators to listen to our voices. I am arguing that embracing the tools available to us and our students will lead to meaningful, life-long learning. I am in active support of school reform to include use of the world's resources with our students. I am in active support of teacher professional development to share our knowledge with them and help them see the light. I am in active support of the continued conversation of becoming a better educator in the world of the digital natives. (Can you ever make the transition from 'digital immigrant' to 'digital native'?)

At the summit we were told to create a project in which "The task was to think about what a school would look like...SHOULD look like in order to produce 21st Century Learners." ( Kti Wiki) Here's my group's project:

Blogs and Wikis and Nings.... oh my!

So as I dive into the world of social networking and all that it entails, I find myself bogged down in MORE and more sites. In a week's time I've joined and created... wikispace, twitter, skype, ning, flickr, slideshare, gtalk, del.icio.us, bloglines (and probably more I forget) to add to my previous network of myspace, facebook, and blogspot. WOW - that is a LOT of sites to be involved in, and I feel that I've only just hit the tip of the iceberg. How do I keep track of it all? How do I survive on all those sites and keep up? Bloglines helps, but I still see SOOOO much information in front of me that there just simply are not enough hours in the day to sort through it all and then digest and create with it. I'm sure I'll figure out a way to deal with it but right now I feel very overwhelmed, and very very small. Web 2.0, here I come!

22 July 2007

Summer Photos

Just trying out Picasa's web album embed feature. Here's a few pix of my family this summer...

I'm back!

And I'm determined to blog like I've never blogged before! I just returned from the most enlightening 4 days of my life, as an educator but also as a person. The Keystones Technology Integrator's Summit was the inspiration for my new wikispace and for me to realize that what I'm doing is important and that I have an obligation to share my knowledge with the world. I will be adding my thoughts as an educator as well as personal stuff on a more regular basis, I hope!

Stay tuned later today as I put down my thoughts about the summit. I'll leave you with a video that has changed the way I think about teaching in the 21st century...

Video created by Kristin Hokanson.