Sunday, April 28, 2013

iBook Authoring

My ADE friends from Nebraska, Katie and Kevin Morrow, have shared a wonderful set of slides on iBook Authoring, something we really look forward to engaging with at Mercy:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Strong, Curated Links from My Reading

From the Principal's Office: 10 Things School Leaders Do to Kill a Teacher's Enthusiasm for Technology
Here's a list of ten things a school leader does to kill any teacher’s enthusiasm for using technology in their classrooms. An alternative title for this list might be, “10 Things a 21st Century School Leader Will Not Do to Discourage Teachers from Engaging in the Use of Technology.”

Distinguish Yourself
Creative Commons photo by ernest figueras
From Apple Distinguished Educator to GoogleCertified Teacher, these days it seems like every ed tech behemoth has an award to bestow on educators. . . . You’ll certainly come away knowing you were chosen over scores of other applicants. Most significant, you’ll also have gained entry into a select group of passionate educators who want to collaborate on projects, share ideas and resources, and may even prompt you to take on challenges you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.

Creating Classrooms We Need: 8 Ways Into Inquiry Learning
“There are so many ways that kids can be active in their learning, beyond the standard call-and-respond business,” [Diana] Laufenberg said. It may be hard to do with 140 students, but if you consider all the available tools at your disposal, ideas can start to take shape.

Schools are doing Education 1.0; talking about doing Education 2.0; when they should be planning Education 3.0
Education 3.0 is based on the belief that content is freely and readily available. It is self-directed, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation and creativity drive education.

The 8 Elements Project-Based Learning Must Have
The checklist is by the PBL masters over at BIE and they’ve outlined 8 different ‘essential elements’ that must be present in a project in order for it to be considered PBL. While you may agree, disagree, or think there should be some additional elements, this checklist is phenomenal.

Top 10 must-have apps for the iPhone and Android smartphones
You can do a lot with smartphones these days, but unless you're downloading the best apps for your device, you aren't really using it to its full potential.
So if you aren't sure what to download, just make sure you have these 10 apps on your iPhone or Android device.

The Google Graveyard
It’s hard to lose a loved one, especially if that loved one is a Google service. That’s why we’re opening the gates of the Google Graveyard, a virtual space for grieving.  Leave a flower for a deceased Google product. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Unintended Consequences

As I mentioned in Distinguishing Our School, we have initiated two major efforts to distinguish our school's integration of educational technology.  In addition to publishing an iBook which catalogues some of our best practices and innovations, we are going to conduct survey research that measures our students progress towards meeting the ISTE-NETS for Students.

 Katie B.'s home page & original photo
When our sub-committee was recently meeting to write this survey, our president, Dr. Cheryl Delaney-Kreger, made an interesting observation. She noted that iPad had empowered our ninth graders in ways that we had not foreseen.  For example, students who may not have stood out as academically talented in conventional ways, had self-nominated themselves to be iWizards and were showing exceptional aptitude plying digital skills.  Also, in new ways,  we are seeing students take direction and responsibility for their own learning.

Of course Mercy has always celebrated a great range of student talents.  We have also seen students assume self-direction for their learning in various disciplines and programs.  But it occurs to me that the iPad has facilitated great possibilities in both of these areas because it is so easy to use.  One does not need considerable training with the tool before one can harness its powers.  In other words, this year our ninth graders were more or less able to "hit the ground running" with our technology.  And they were fortunate to find themselves in an environment where technology was was already part of the DNA of our instructional environment.

I am really looking forward to seeing how we stack up against the NETS.  I'll let you know this summer!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Distinguishing Our School

Mercy 2.0 featured the adoption of the Apple iPad as our 1:1 computing device for instruction.  But certainly, merely putting iPads in everyone's hands does not assure transformative results.
I believe Mercy that due to our history as a 1:1 school -- first with HP laptops and now with iPads -- we have been able to leverage the laptop in some remarkable ways.  In fact (while admitting I am greatly biased), I think that Mercy's use of technology for instructional purposes is remarkably innovative and exemplary.  The iPad's intuitive tools, its plethora of apps, and its marvelous av capabilities have allowed us to accelerate down the path of the redefinition of instruction.
But why take my word of it?
To demonstrate that Mercy is truly distinguished a project team has set off on a two-prong effort to examine and publish the impact of instructional technology on our community.  First, we are initiating a survey research study of the iPad's impact on our ninth graders.  Secondly, we intend to publish an iBook that exhibits our best practices.
Both efforts are not merely pipe dreams.  We are already well on the way toward collecting data and products that can help us guague the progress we have made thus far and establish a baseline for measuring our future achievements.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Look into Design Foundations

I have blogged previously about our Design Foundations course.  As part of Mercy 2.0, our Art Department chairperson, Susan Smith, has designed a marvelous course that we now require of all students.  It introduces each student to multimedia and technology from the artist's perspective.  Students create pieces with traditional materials but also work with animation, audio files, and video editing (using professional grade software).  The students also design web portfolios.

On April 10, Susan made a presentation to our Board of Trustees.  I asked if I might share her slides with you.  We have removed the videos, but we will publishing some fresh ones at a later date.

As you can see, we have provided the students with a rich visual and technical experience.  Also a foundation has been built for advanced curriculum which builds upon these skills.  I expect to be posting about our new digital courses in September!

From Susan Smith's slide deck (photo from Sarah, class of 2013)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tech at Barclay Center, National Archives and More!

Search by Image
Now you can explore the web in an entirely new way by beginning your Google search with an image. Learn more about images on the web and your own photos.

Stand Up and Cheer, but Hit ‘Pause’ First
The goal, arena executives say, is to reproduce the multiscreen experience that many fans have already adopted in the man caves of their dens or living rooms.  . . . .To compete with couch multitasking, Barclays Center has installed a high-density Wi-Fi network and multicast video technology . . .intended to power similarly speedy video streaming, tweeting and photo-sharing for fans at Nets games.

This Story Stinks
In the beginning, the technology gods created the Internet and saw that it was good. Here, at last, was a public sphere with unlimited potential for reasoned debate and the thoughtful exchange of ideas . . . .Then someone invented “reader comments” and paradise was lost.

Facebook tries to stay hip with jazzier News Feed
In an effort to remain hip, it is infusing the focal point of its website with a more dynamic look and additional controls designed to empower its 1 billion users to sort streams of photos and other material into more organized sections that appeal to their personal interests.

The Public Researcher Wiki of the National Archives
Look inside any box at the National Archives and you'll find the records of someone's story. This wiki is a space for the public, researchers and staff of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to share those stories. Ask questions. Share discoveries. Explore.

Hacking at Education: TED, etc.
Pardon my quoting Mitra’s TED Prize acceptance speech at length, but I always feel like it’s hard to get a word in edgewise in TED Talks. Indeed, they’re designed that way: well-scripted and highly-polished presentations — 15 to 20 minutes on “ideas worth spreading.” The audience is supposed to bask in the ideas — get carried away in the prose and in the delight of human curiosity and the superstar delivery and “why hadn’t I thunk of that” problem-solving. . . . You are not supposed to interrogate a TED Talk. You’re supposed to share the talk on Facebook.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

iWizards Team with Teachers to Teachers

At our last meeting the iWizards identified a set of teachers to personally invite for inclusion on their nine project teams.  The iWizards are planning the August 16, iPad Tech Orientation for incoming students.

I asked the iWizards to select the teachers who will be in charge of classroom supervision while the girls put our new students through the iPad paces.

Interestingly, as the girls discussed the suitability of various teachers, the first quality they looked for was friendliness.  The second most important quality was curiosity about and interest in technology.  Lastly, technical competency factored into the equation.  This was important, but not a deal breaker.

Naturally they showed a bias toward ninth grade teachers, which is fine since those are the very teachers most of the new students will find themselves with the first day of classes.

Invitations will be hand delivered after Easter Break.  We hope for a high rate of acceptance.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

M-Hub Comin' Back Strong!

Work and learning today is all about connecting people. Managers, supervisors, and business support functions should be focused on enabling connections for knowledge workers. Like artists, knowledge workers need inspiration. Too few connections mean few sources of inspiration and little likelihood of serendipity. Innovation is not so much about having ideas as it is about making connections. We know that people with more connections are also more productive.  -- Posted on  by 

As a proponent of connectivism  I have made Challenge Based Learning and other real world projects a central part of each course that I teach.  I have seen my students attain deep learning through social engagement through their work on real work challenges.  In each case, I've demanded that groups students explore their personal learning networks to connect with experts who can answer their questions or review their ideas.

To help teach students how to make connections, I started the M-Hub project in 2010.  M-Hub came online a year ago as a way for students to connect with mentors (such as alumnae) who possess specialized knowledge, training or experience.

Activating this database site and introducing it to MHS staff was a monumental achievement for us.  However, since then it has largely languished.  The nucleus of student project managers graduated, and the idea of researching real people instead of documents, did not come naturally in our learning community.  And I confess that all the founders lost their zeal after reaching such a major milestone.

I am glad to say that I am now working with a dedicated (and very young!) group of students who have two April projects in mind to renew interest in M-Hub.  First, our team will be facilitating tweeting at the Women Mean Business Symposium, April 23, 2013.  We will also be launching a movie that is currently in production.  We are hoping to disseminate this fifty second "commercial" about what M-Hub is and how it will help our students "create, connect, contact, and collaborate."  More soon!

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