Reflections on NCETC

Each year I learn something new and am affirmed at what I know already when it comes to digital learning. Thanks to all who exposed me to something new. I enjoyed learning from David Warlick like I always do and hearing Alan November was a true treat. I think either one of these two could be a strong speaker for us to have at Durham Academy to propel the desire for authentic 21st Century learning. I am more convinced we need to have a digital device in the hands of our students sooner rather then later or never.

New tricks:
Keynote – send to iPhoto enables you to make titles for podcasts, slideshows, and other uses.

Excited to get my hands on:
Leopard Server and Client: The tools that are loaded on the server appear to answer many of the questions we are looking for to build our web presence for teachers and students.

The wiki and blog tools with settings for teacher controls looks like the answer to getting our teachers and students communicating with 21st Century tools. From what Mike Kole said, there is granular control for what is public, private, published and by whom so teachers can blog and students can blog while still maintaining the security needed to protect students. If students can write in a blog and or a wiki, would an iPod Touch or iPhone be the tool that would fit the digital device needs? With a browser and a keyboard could a student not interact with their content and even Moodle?

Podcast Producer looks awesome for creating content and distribution of content with again the same granular controls that the wikis and blogs posses. Options include audio podcast, video podcast, screencast, or import any file. Once recorded it follows a workflow that is built in or can be created that can post it to the blog, send for approval, etc…

Home Directory synching to an iPod so a student can take their entire home directory with them. This can be set to be the only place it is backed up or as a dual back-up with a server and the iPod.

iPod cart with Modality Content: The new iPod carts can be updated from one computer and charged while in the cart. They can fit 20 per shelf with 2 shelves in each cart. I think the Lower School could utilize this technology and make it a part of the students daily work. I can see the time when the school would have a subscription to the Modality content so if they have an iPod it can be synched to it.

Laptop Initiative Info
Leadership is key as any successful program has at its core a visionary leader
Dr. Mark Edwards is in Mooresville Graded School District He is the former Superintendent of Henrico County
Laptop bag by Higher Ground:
They will filter off site use of computers – iprism
Maine Learns
Friday Institute
Did You Know Video

Restructure the Learning
See my blog on Alan November

The session that Julie Williams, Carrie Williamson and I did called Digital Dynamite in a Language Arts classroom was very well attended and went well. It is clear that teachers are looking for ways to use some of the new tools available via Moodle but also the old standards of PowerPoint or Keynote. I am happy that Julie asked me to help present as it was good for me to put myself out there.

The conference attendance did seem really low to me from my attendance in the past. I can remember being in standing room only sessions and that was not the case this year at all. In fact Alan November spoke to about 40 people in a hall that could hold 500. What is up with that?
I did hear that many public schools have cut back funding for teachers to come to conferences like these so I am grateful to Durham Academy for sending not only myself, but also Carrie, Julie, Liz Coleman and Randy Bryson.

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Free Content + Open Tools + Massive Collaboration = Learning For All

Karen Fasimpaur from K12 Handhelds

Karen did a great job presenting the plethora of tools and options that are available in the open area.

Open Educational Resources can help us reshape education by providing free high quality resources”.

K12 Open Ed

Workshop Notes




Creative Commons Mixter

MusOpen – Classical

Wikimedia Commons Music

Spoken Wikipedia

Freesound Project

Internet Archive


Open Photo


Educational Content
Wikibooks and Wikijunior




MIT OpenCourseware

Wikipedia for Schools

Audio Books and eBooks

Spoken Alexandria Project

Project Gutenberg



More Options
SchoolForge – all school related software including SIS

SourceForge – all areas

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Our Students – Our Worlds (Live Blog)

David Warlick is presenting this session on what our students face in the flat classroom world of today.

Link to Presentation:

If the world is flat what is the impact to our students?

Future Tech:
Wearable computer MIT
Toe Ring GPS Units and Cell Phone with a thumb and pinky finger unit

Richard Florida The Rise of the Creative Class and The Flight of the Creative Class.

Read the notes in the handouts as it will wake you up.

We must tell the story of how the world is gearing up for broadband Mexico in 2012

Cool Web 2.0 Stuff:
Digg Labs


Wikipedia – they do warn users that the information may not be accurate, etc.. Have students verify the information is correct and to prove the authority is correct and not just accept it as fact.

Wikipedia Junior Books “The aim of this project is to produce age-appropriate non-fiction books for children from birth to age 12.”

Wikispecies “Wikispecies is an open, free directory of species. It covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and all other forms of life. So far we have 113,854 articles.”

There are no roads to follow like the past but students needs wings to.

An example of how the world has changed is seen at We Are Not Afraid which was set up after the train bombings.

Just the Facts:

It is Not Just Literacy but….

Learning Literacy

Not just skills…..

But habits

Not just lifelong – learning…..

But learning lifestyle

We need to prepare students for a future of opportunity.

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Alan November (Live Blog)

I am excited to hear Alan talk today about “Banning Student Containers” as he inspired me to change the title of what I do. I am no longer the technology coordinator as it was too limiting. There is no pencil and paper coordinator. It was freeing to me as I am no longer “that computer guy” but a critical component of the learning environment. Thanks Alan and I will keep spreading the word.

Communist China allow students to use more of the tools that we block in US schools.
His son uses: video games, skype, chat, etc..

We should be paying attention to what technology students use when not in school. If students had discovered paper before teachers in the past, we would have banned paper like we ban other student containers.

The best schools are the schools that place ownership of the curriculum with the students.
There are no barriers to any of this!! Fear and imagination are the barriers.
In the past children were vital to the survival of the family. Food and feed for animals were needed to sustain the family unit. Now there is nothing like that as they have school work and some chores. Now there is no connection to the survival of the family which impacts students.

Our culture gives the power of learning to teachers and administrators. A cultural change is what is needed.

The work of a few dedicated students need to create content can change the classroom.


Digital Learning Farm where the students are essential to the learning community. All teams work as connected elements.
6 jobs at the new DLF
1. Tutorial Design Team: Screencastomatic – Homework will contribute to the good of the whole and not just one. What are we learning next week? What a great question from a student? Who benefits the most? How will other students react?
2. Curricular Review Team – Review Last Weeks Lessons and create podcasts that support it. Students must have the rigor and expertise to create content that is double-checked, organized, and streamed for all students.
3. Daily Researcher – Student gets the answers for the class [(Critical Thinking Team for Rigorous Research
4. Global Communication and Research Team – get primary documents to support a global debate. Go global with a podcast that will be shared via a debate with a school elsewhere. Expand the discourse exposure. Why did the Americans Revolt (England View)
5. Daily Blogger/Scribe to record the days notes. What happens when you take away the fear of students needing to take notes?
Part 2 Building a Learning Community Tools: Skype and Blogs
Finding teachers to connect with is as easy as using ePals. The problem is how to make a sense of the connection you create.

Onetime events are easier to build then are long term events (New York City Poets and South Bronx student reciting a poem she wrote)

Consider how every family is a center of learning. All families must be part of the community.

Each student if not families should have a blog as part of the learning community.

Writing for a college blue book. Present your writing to the world looking for feedback from around the world. The Clem

Students write online at

Each students blog need to feed to teachers blog or course.

How to work with administrators: Ask what they want to improve? Technology is not part of the questions.
Change agents are to identify what is important in the culture of your school.
Independent schools are often geared towards improving the AP scores so you raise the scores even higher.

Use Skype to connect to the world in elementary school. Have books read by grandparents using Skype and record it. Make a CD of the stories.

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Finer Points of Web 2.0 (Live Blog NCETC)

November 26, 2007.

Attending Workshop the session is on the Finer Points of Web 2.0 by David Warlick.

Next to me is Carrie Willamson and Julie Williams.
Topics to discuss are: Podcasting, wikis, Virtual Reality, Blogs, Social Networking Virtual Learning, Social Networking
Handouts at:

Wiki Notes:

Tools: Twitter and Ajax Chat Open-Source Ajax Chat that we can install on a server.

Podcasting: Audacity, Castblaster [ Garageband or Ubercaster (Mac Only)]

Sounds Effects: Partners in Rhyme is a good Royalty free sound effects.

For more on podcasting notes: see as I became the note taker for podcasting.

The two best free sources are: wikispaces or pbwiki. Both are free and can be password protected.

Example of wikis from David
Have a scribe post notes of the day from class

Work with colleagues to brainstorm ideas.

Virtual Reality/ Multi User Virtual Environment Teen Second Life
How does information storage change when you can organize Suriawang Daptop is David in Second Life

Edu Island is for educators in Second Life. Discovery Education Network has an island as does ISTE.

Common Craft does a great job on showing what a wiki is and how it is useful.

Software:,,, and

Tools: – get tracking on your blog tracks blogs and ranks them by number of folks who link to the blog.

Aggregators for RSS: Bloglines or Google Reader. The following 2 sites are more then an aggregator and can be used as a starting page for your browser., Most of these tools can be embedded into a Moodle course or blog.

Social Media:

Flickr/creativecommons for photos that are able to be used in schools. to get photographs that were tagged as maps


Blogpulse: This will allow you to bring in via RSS any blog entry that has been written with the tags is a list of conferences that will be happening or in one month or so forth.

Virtual Learning and Social Networks: – Open Source eportfolio and social networks

Information Literacy
4 E’s based on the 3 R’s
The ability to expose the truth, can you employ the information, writing becomes can you express it completely so your communication contains all forms of communication. The last E is ethics on the use of technology and information. Ethics should be taught starting in grades one and continued along the entire course of school.

School in 5 Years: Or where we need to be in “Warlick’s World”
Every child has a computer under their arm
The computer will look a lot like a touch sensitive device about the size of a monitor, keyboards will be in the classrooms
There will be LCDs and SMARTboards
The walls will be SMART so electronic paper will be on the walls so digital content will be on the wall and called up by the teacher (8 to 10 years)
Every teacher has 3 or 4 hours of Professional Planning Time each day – to be a 21st Century Teacher, teachers must have this time to stay up to date
Students can be online using their personal learning network 4 hours a day and with their instructor taking place the other 3 or 4 hours of the normal school day
Libraries became not just a place for the consumption but a place to work the information. Sort of a Kinko’s for Kids. Students work with the information to filter it, add to it, or in other ways massage it.
Textbooks are no longer needed – embedded and digital. Discussion boards could be embedded inside of the textbook or as a learning platform in itself.
Virtual Learning is huge and teachers could be in cubicles and not in a classroom.
Pedagogy is dead as it works on developing strategies to teach about a limited amount of content.
We have about 5 years to determine what kind of questions do we ask when students have Google in their pocket? They should have Google in their pocket.

Chat transcripts

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Professor Angela McFarlane’s Keynote Address at BLC in 2007

Some day I will attend one of Alan November’s Building Learning Communities workshops, but until then, I can listen in and get the message from the experts he invites. One such person is Professor Angela McFarlane who gave the keynote speech this year. Her research into Online Learning Communities and games has allowed her to see what is successful and where it fails. I suggest you listen to her keynote (1:05:08 long).

Alan November at Learning 2.0

Wesley Freyer was one of quite a few presenters at the Learning 2.0 conference at the Concordia International School Shanghai, Pudong 201206, Shanghai held in September of this year. Wesley podcasted one of Alan’s sessions called: Creating globally connected, rigorous and highly motivated assignments. This podcast is worth listening to as it is 1 hour and 10 minutes long. I have listened to it twice already as I am scribing some of the topics so I can write about them here. I would love for all teachers to hear this podcast as I think it will challenge us to think in new ways.

As a co-chair of the Technology Task Force at Durham Academy that is charged with developing a 5-year plan for technology, it is the thinking and writing of many of the folks who presented at this conference that have influenced my suggestions. While I have not heard Alan speak in person, I do want to attend his November Learning Series of workshops someday. Wesley, Jamie McKenzie and Will Richardson are folks who I have had the pleasure of hearing in person. All are dynamic and would be great folks to have come to Durham Academy to help us map our future and our current as well. David Warlick would also be good and he is in Raleigh. However, it is Alan that interests me the most as he is a speaker who has consistently pushed me in my thinking and challenged me in ways that I both dislike and know I need to grow. The sign of a great teacher.

Topics he brings up in this podcast that are of critical importance are:

Grammar of the Internet: The information today is too much! Most of it is messy or as Alan states: Misleading, Overwhelming and Ill conceived. Alan affirms that teachers are great at putting together well conceived information. The trouble today is that our students have access to growing amounts of ill conceived information so we must teach them how to organize it. We need to teach them the syntax, grammar and punctuation. Check out his Grammar of the Internet to learn more. Take the Quiz and then work on the follow-up activities.

Legacy and Publishing for a Global Audience: “Students from 3rd grade on should be taught the rigors and discipline of writing an encyclopedia article”. In addition, they should publish it in wikipedia or other online wiki resource. Good news is that some of our students are already doing this with in our DAILE Moodle. 5th graders have worked on a CSI wiki while 3 7th grade students have worked on creating a metric wiki for their Science class. The Pitot House is an example of an elementary classes work. Our students need to be writing in wikis so hats off to those teachers who are starting to do this skill. In fact, I will wager that in the future, students will use wikis more then they will use application based word-processing software. Not much of a statement, when you realize that most already are doing it, just not in school.

Problem Solving Process: Schools should have a set of problem solving process that is known by all learners and is used across the curriculum. What is ours? Is it Big 6?

Give it a listen and see if you are motivated to seek change. You can listen to it on the web or in iTunes

I liked his comment: “Teachers do not need to know how to podcast, they need to know WHEN to podcast”.

K-12 Online Conference

Wesley Freyer tagged everyone who reads his blog to list 3 reasons why teachers should “attend” the 2007 K-12 Online Conference. Well here are mine:
1. Because I never have
2. Because I want to learn from others without leaving home
3. Because I can

What are yours?

From the K-12 Online Conference Web site:
“The K-12 Online Conference is for educators around the world interested in innovative ways web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. This is a FREE conference run by volunteers and open to everyone, no registration is required. The 2007 conference begins with a pre-conference keynote the week of October 8, 2007. The following two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26, forty presentations will be posted online to the conference blog (this website) for participants to download and view. Everyone is invited to participate in both live events during the conference as well as asychronous conversations taking place here and elsewhere online”-.

Video Games in Schools (NCETC 2006)

I first posted this in November of 2006 in the Moodle. I moved it here for a large audience.

David Warlick is presenting a session on A Beginners Introduction to Games and Learning here at NCETC. Handouts are at his handout wiki. Video Games are an interesting issue for me as I see students coming to the lab at lunch to get on a computer so they can play games. Runescape is huge and I see students working together to get into the same game and then helping each other play. While this game site may be against the Acceptable Use Code of DA, I am fascinated by how students are collaborating and problem-solving for the 15 minutes they have after lunch. It seems to be mostly 5th and 6th grade students. Linerider as of late is very popular as students tend to use it for two purposes. One purpose is to make really complex lines that the rider must ride that incorporate loops and jumps. A different approach is to create lines that end with the line rider crashing. Guess which ones boys do the most and which ones girls do the most. This is not a scientific study but a casual observation as I walk around the labs at lunch time. How can we harness the benefits of games in an educational setting? David said that a study has found that those of us who are over 35 years old are only 10% likely to play games.

This topic is of importance as students are engaged and interested in gaming at school. The Serious Games Initiative is a place to start looking at how we might incorporate games. Peacemakergame is a game created in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.

Since my first post I also heard about Tabula Digita which uses Algebra in a game. Games are more sticky then some classes for students these days.