Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meroby 5th Grade Team

Lisa Belanger, Jessica Allen, and Greig Parr from the Meroby Elementary School added classroom websites into their bag of teaching tools during the collaboration session today. Jessica shared the skills she had learned at the Rapid Web Designer Workshop on Monday.

Jessica Allen's 5th Grade
Lisa Belanger's Class

With enthusiasm, they mapped out the coming school year in order to coordinate their efforts. I love to see this type of collaboration!

We also found a great online tool for creating CD covers for a back-to-school project. We will be testing it further when we have access to a printer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Laws Limiting Online Teacher/Student Interactions

by Deborah White

I just read this article by Mallory Simon for CNN. She reports that even though many teachers experience success in reaching students via online tools, some places are outlawing online teacher/student interactions or limiting them to the school-sponsored web-page. Missouri is currently considering such a law. Proponents of the laws say that it protects children from predators who happen to be teachers. Critics say those kinds of laws limit the tools educators have to reach ALL students and that laws won't stop predators of any profession from attempting to manipulate children.

I think that laws/policies that limit teachers using tech tools to interact with students are short-sighted. They don't facilitate best practices nor do they allow teachers to exercise professional judgement.

What do you think?

Diving In

There is an excellent review by Sarah Sutter on EduEyeView on her experiences of being thrown into a constructivist environment.

CMK08 Start Swimming: Constructivist Lego/Logo PD

River Valley Bloggers

Not the River Valley Cloggers

the glass is pretty full
There's Always Someone Cooler than You
Beth's Story
SJ's Beat
Life's Lessons

"Take Note"

Direct Link to Episode 31
Wicked Decent Learning Blog

Mary Gamble and Jeff Bailey Team Up . . .

. . . to create an integration of student-created podcasts with the Sagebrush InfoCentre Library Catalog. Check this out with Breathing Underwater. In the search field that pops up, write "breathing underwater" to find that book. Note the included podcast with the library records. Give it a try!

The beauty of this is that it makes some very important connections school-wide and gives some ownership to the podcasters in being part of a team in improving the library's digital presence.

Keep it up, Amazing Duo!

Western Maine Collaborations Continue . . .

Collaborative Projects in the River Valley

After two days of relatively formal workshops looking at tools that can be integrated into classroom use, today and tomorrow is being devoted to teacher-initiated collaborative projects in the River Valley (Mt. Valley and Dirigo SADs . . . soon likely to become a single SAU). My job is to "roam" and be available to offer help when questions or needs arise. Quite relaxed. I'm learning from everyone around me.

In terms of creating web pages, Dreamweaver was the tool of choice until this year, but now FirstClass RWD, iWeb, blogs, wikis and podcasting have become the tools of choice for creating a web presence. This pleases me a great deal because these tools offer a small learning curve to get started and don't require as many administrative hoops to jump through in order to be used by busy teachers. Tools should not be so complex and/or clunky as to get in the way of learning and real-world utility.

It is a delight to watch teacher Andrea York of the new Dirigo Elementary School work with other teachers in her building develop web pages using iWeb. She is young, enthusiastic, full-of-energy, knowledgeable, and has a knack for working with others. Nick Waugh, a legend in the River Valley as the answer man in integrating technology, is available for any assistance that might be needed. The link to Andrea's pages that are just two days old is here. Other teachers in her school are developing their own classroom sites today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Digital Highlighting Enlightenment!

How did I miss this? How is it that I wasn't aware that this could be done? Tonight I blindly discovered by hitting a random web page that Adobe Acrobat Reader allows text and highlighting annotations. This after spending the past few weeks searching with Darlene Bassett for an easy solution for using these features for working with kids on summarization skills using digital text. You might recall this post of July 29. I had thought that web-based Awesome Highlighter was the best solution, only to get a report back from Ed Latham that there had been issues when he tried it out with a group at a workshop he was doing.

So this evening, when I happened upon this, I was encouraged . . . and indeed wasn't disappointed when I tried it. And more importantly, I found that Apple's Preview works just as slick as Adobe in this regard. Simply save anything as a pdf using the PRINT/SAVE AS PDF method and you're good to go.

Now I suspect that this must have been pointed out to me sometime in the past, and I really should have known, but I'm elated that the answer to my search has presented itself. It's been a good day!

Now what else have I missed in the highlighting/annotation world? Suppose next I'll find out that there is a built-in ability to do this in OS X. And yes, I do know Noteshare does it, but student machines at the high schools where this is going to be used do not have Noteshare.

Preview's Hidden Powers

Organizing, Manipulating and Using Images

Essential Question: How can we use images to communicate?


Monday, August 11, 2008

Delightful Day in the River Valley

Cloudy and rainy outside, but a warm and bright group of pre-K through 12 teachers in room 218 at Mountain Valley High School. The essential question: How can we make use of web pages in our classrooms? The vehicle: FirstClass Rapid Web Designer. Some examples of pages created today:

Phil Merrill's Industrial Arts/ Technology
Craig Dilman's Science
Mrs. Buckingham's Kindergarten
Family and Consumer Science
Mrs. Rich's Third Grade Classroom
Erica Grimaldi's Health at MVMS
Mrs. Allen's Fifth Grade
Mrs. McInnus' First Grade

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mountain Valley Summer Technology Institute 2008

Once again Mountain Valley Schools in cooperation with Dirigo and Region 9 Schools are involved for 4 days in an annual institute with a large number of sessions that look at connecting technology with classroom and school goals. The final two days will will focus particularly on teacher collaboration on team and district needs.

On Monday I will be leading a workshop on FirstClass Rapid Web Designer, a tool that makes web creation almost as easy as writing an email, a vast improvement over last year's struggle with Dreamweaver. The agenda is located here.

On Tuesday I will be working with teachers on Organizing, Manipulating, and Using Images in the classroom. We'll start with iPhoto and expand from there. Find the agenda here.

Other opportunities:

Blogging with Mike Nolette
Case-e II with Jan Bordeau
Digital Storytelling with Eileen Broderick
Kidspiration with Eileen Broderick
NeoOffice with Sarah Irish
NetSmartz with Amy Ryder
Research Strategies with Amy Ryder
iMovie with Jeff Bailey
iWork with Ben Bridges
iWeb with Nick Waugh
MS Office with Jeff Bailey
Smartboards, Monitors and LCD's with Jeff Bailey and Andrea York
Universal Design for Learning with Dan Ryder
Wiki/Web 2.0 with Mike Nolette
United Streaming with Mary Gamble
Podcasting with Nick Waugh
Grant Writing with Gloria Jenkins
And many additional collaborative projects . . .