Saturday, January 26, 2008

LIM Resources Wiki

An annex to Learning in Maine has been created at WikiSpaces:

Learning in America Wiki

In order to edit, you must click on the "Join this Space" text in the upper left of the opening page and fill in the necessary information. Once that is completed, feel free to add pages and edit earlier pages. (Note: Membership needs to be approved before editing can commence after you've signed up. Jeff Bailey, thank you for being the first tester and for filling out the application to be the first to join. I've approved it with a single click and will try to make future approvals as quickly as possible . . . now that I know how it works).

School Consolidation Podcast at Skelton, Taintor & Abbott

Sign up to listen to School Consolidation discussion.

Related Information
Google News Search on "Maine School Consolidation"

Friday, January 25, 2008

School Webpage

by Marc Gendron - Superintendent MSAD 20

My web person is using Word and Frontpage to create and post content. We are now considering Dreamweaver. Is there anything easier and user-friendly. Word is limiting and Frontpage seems to give us problems. Any advice welcome.

Vocational Education Resources

When I was up at UMPI a couple of days go, I spoke with Houlton vocational teacher, Fred Pelletier. He wanted to know if there were any good online vocational education sites. I had to admit that I had never searched in this area, so this morning, with trusty coffee cup in hand, I tested the waters. The best comprehensive site on vocational education that I could find was the Vocational Information Center. The other one that seemed to show promise was a Kathy Schrock page on Vocational Education. That's a start.

Who has others to add to the list?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Last Spring Telstar science teacher, Bill Caddigan, was involved in the Teacher at Sea program which is documented here. I collaborated with Bill and Susan Kany (our delightful and efficient proofreader/editor) on making daily updates to the site.

It was that experience that introduced me to the importance of phytoplankton. Fast forward to today: Phil Brookhouse posted an online opportunity at MaineLearns called "When is Dinner Served? Predicting Ocean Phytoplankton Blooms"

Any interest?

Educators as Enemies

"We've made the mistake of thinking that because we measure achievement in schools, that's the only place it's produced. We conveniently ignore what goes on before the child arrives in school. We find it easy to overlook what's happening outside the classroom, and we act as though the choices students and their families make don't matter."

~ James Harvey

Article in New Horizons for Learning: "Nation's Students still at Risk" by James Harvey.

Related resource: Poverty & Discipline at Mike Muir's McMEL Resources Wiki


Online Web Applications for Young Children

I would like to start a list of well-implemented interactive online web applications for young children (pre-school/primary). Of course I've known about Starfall for several years and am aware that it is being used by many parents and teachers. Still highly recommended for helping children to learn some very basic skills. Last week I discovered Kindersay, which is simple yet very effective and user-friendly. Today I found myself very impressed with Kerpoof which Oxford Hills teacher, Richard Byrne, reviews in depth in his blog.

What others should be added to the list?

PrimaryGames (See Richard Bryne's review on his blog)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CACE eMINTS Workshop

A Central Aroostock Council on Education eMINTS Workshop is happening today at the University of Maine in Presque Isle. Five eMINTS mentors are teaming up to share possible solutions to teaching issues as well as to introduce the eMINTS philosophy. The focus is on Smartboard utilization, presentation tools, and internet resources.

If you are a participant, please leave a comment . . .

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Growing Up Online

By Richard Byrne

Growing Up Online is on PBS right now. I'm writing a running diary of the program on my blog right now. This is a program every teacher should watch. You can watch the video by clicking the image on the left.

Here is an excerpt from my running diary made while watching the documentary for the first time. (I was writing and watching so I apologize if it appears a little choppy).

The show opens with a parent talking about how it is easier for him to connect to his child via email than in person. The child then discusses how he circumvents the parental controls on AOL. How many kids in your classes are capable of circumventing firewalls and filters? Probably more than you think.

The show then moves to a high school in Chatham, NJ where every teacher is using a Smartboard or LCD projector (I wish I had that at my school). The principal states how important it is to meet students where they are. Students multitask in all aspects of their lives so they should do the same at school. This is one of the best arguments for integrating technology.

9:50- Dannah Boyd (Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society)- makes a great point. The answer is not to "stop MySpace" and social networking sites, but to teach students how to be good citizens online. How much of a role as teachers do we have in this process?

This is a program that every parent and teacher should watch with their children and students respectively. It will be an eye-opener for many parents and teachers. Watching the program with your children or students will give you their thoughts about online life. The bottom line- the Internet is an integral part of students' lives, as teachers we need to acknowledge and plan for that fact.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blogging Question

by Ed Latham

I have recently started up a blog for my technophobe father. This blog journals the travels of a family teddy bear as my parents travel the country learning about places, people, history, and values. The blog is aimed at educating and entertaining family and friends with just enough information and attitude to keep things light and interesting.

We need help from experienced bloggers. When you embed video or slide shows into a blog, those items automatically start downloading when someone enters your blog. Just take a look at your status bar while you read this blog. That thing will keep cranking for tons of time trying to load up all the juicy tid-bits that are on this blog, regardless of how often you visit this blog. The contents of Learning in Maine continually expands as do many well attended blogs. Is there a way to structure a blog so that people can catch all the text when they visit, but video and other embedded materials are available on demand (like when they click a link or something)? I have thought of just doing a webpage with previews that are linked to the slide show files, but that method does not allow me to continue to push Dad's development so that we can collaboratively post content. He can handle posting to Zoho a whole lot easier than messing with web page design :)

Some of the family members visiting my new blog have very slow Internet connections. They have expressed frustration at waiting for a long time for things to load up when they visit the blog that only has 4 Zoho presentations embedded. Maybe there is a lighter format for posting slide shows? I am open to all suggestions. My parents have new content to add almost every two weeks as they continue on their seasonal nomadic journeys. I am concerned that slow load times will deter some who may want to enjoy the content of the site.

You can visit the site here: Adventures of Ted Edward if you wish to see what we have set up so far. Dad wants it simple right now so that's where we are at : )

I thank any of you that may have ideas to offer. Do I work to change the format of the slide shows to smaller content? Do I change the format of the blog so things can be clicked on demand somehow? Is there a snazzy way to prevent blogs, like Learning in Maine from loading every piece of content when you visit the site?

More than One Google Account - A Solution

by Kern Kelley

For anyone with more than one Google account who's tired of logging out and in again and uses Firefox - I have the addon for you! (or two actually.)

First install the Grease Monkey Firefox add-on. Grease Monkey "Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript" but it's certainly more geared to the technically minded. The good thing is many people have made scripts to share like:

Second go to and install it. Once you are logged into your Google Account, where it had once said Sign Out, it now has a pull down to easily switch between different accounts.

For anyone not familiar with Google Apps here's a previous post about what's offered.

ACTEM OnTiME Podcasts

One way to stay in the loop on what is going on in Maine educational technology is to listen to the ACTEM Podcast called OnTiME.

Maine Classics

Interested in Latin and the Classics in Maine?

Check out Ben Johnson's MaineClassics

OLPC In Action

by Richard Byrne

I have been following the development of the OLPC project since I first heard about it almost two years ago. Honestly, I was very excited when OLPC announced earlier this month that they are making the computers available in the United States. (Many of the ten-years-old computers being used in my district can be out performed by the OLPC machines).

The slide show I've posted was made at the Galadima Primary School in Abuja, Nigeria. The audio accompanying the slide show has a number of quotes from teachers and students regarding the OLPC laptops. I found this quote from Mr. Olayinka particularly interesting, "When the laptop came it opened the eyes of the teachers and the pupils." Mr. Olayinka's statement made me wonder how much, if any in some cases, the laptops provided by MLTI have opened the eyes of the teachers and students I work with. I know there are many ways in which MLTI laptops can help Maine teachers, but how do we go about getting everyone to embrace technology integration? Have the MLTI laptops opened the eyes of the teachers and students you work with?

Note: This is my first post on this blog. Jim Burke invited me to be an author last week, thank you Jim. Jim wrote a nice post about me, my blog, and my role in teaching teachers to integrate technology in Oxford Hills. Thank you again Jim.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Promoting Academia

by Harold Shaw Jr.

Good day to all!

I am going to have my students prepare a PPT presentation on WHO AM I and when discussing it with them last week they asked me to prepare an example of what I wanted. As you can see this going to be part of the presentation. I haven't changed a bit!!!!! yeah right. Does anyone else dare to share their H.S Graduation picture and maybe a comparison picture or at least a link. Something fun to do?

Well I just registered at the University of Phoenix - Online CED 515 Secondary Methods of Teaching Technology to take one of the two courses I need to take by 2010 for teacher recertification yesterday. Yes, I do enjoy taking college classes and despite some of my previous tongue-in-cheekiness - I have a great deal of respect for most of academia. The course itself sounds very interesting.

Course Description: This course focuses on technology teaching methods, the process of integrating technology into curricula, and advocating for technology utilization at the secondary level. Students will learn methods to evaluate and enhance learning. Students will also analyze exemplary lesson plans that incorporate technology, create lesson plans, and units for the secondary grade levels. In addition, an overview of strategies for educational technology leadership will be provided. UOPX Course Catalog

So although I don't start until March 18, I am looking forward to learning more about this technology in teaching in a more shall we say "disciplined" environment.

Then I remembered a blog/promotion from the first of the year from Microsoft about their "Ultimate Steal" program for registered college students. Well it seemed as though I qualified, and registered for their program. I have wanted to upgrade for a while and this gave me the opportunity to get Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate for a very, very reasonable price. So far I tend to agree that Office 2007 ribbon is a much better way to navigate (just in a short time it seems more intuitive) and wish they had used it more in Outlook (perhaps they will later).

Otherwise, I have had a real busy weekend correcting papers. I really have to give credit to my students! I gave them an assignment to write a letter to themselves in 20 years. Yeah I got the usual family, career, wife, kids and where they will be living, but I also got predictions on the presidential election, effects of global warming and if they were in careers that would be helping others. I thought it was actually a pretty good assignment and was pleased with level of effort that the students gave.

Personally, I have run two miles, two days in a row and although I know the hip is there, it is a bearable sort of discomfort. So I can get back on that bet with Bill and loose those 15 pounds, but Mary just made a whole batch of Chocolate No-bake cookies. She is soooo mean, but I do love her.

Well I have made a promise to myself as part of my lessons learned to stay close to 500 words unless, I have something very important to say. But it is hard, once I start writing it is like a switch has been turned on the words just seem to flow out of my fingers without a hardly any effort. But then I have to go back and proofread what my fingers did, that is the issue isn't it. The word count says I am done have a great day --

I just noticed that Jim put my name up with some pretty high flyers in the blogging world, and I thank you for the compliment. But putting me on the same page as the rest of that group is not really appropriate, as they are some of the movers and shakers of the online educational community and I certainly am not. I am simply a teacher from a small school in central Maine. I certainly don't belong in that select group. But thank you Jim -- it did kind of make my day.