Friday, June 5, 2009

CMS / VLE / LMS & Closed Mentality

The Ed Techie: The VLE/LMS is dead

Open Education

Brian Lamb's "The Urgency of Open Education"

Open Up!
What Works?
Ivan Illich: Tools for Conviviality

Co-Creators, Citizenship & Information Technology

"We've got to recognize that we can't treat the American people as subjects but as a co-creator of ideas. We need to tap into the vast amounts of communities across the country. The federal government doesn't have a monopoly on the best ideas." ~ Vivek Kunda, U.S. Government's Chief Information Officer

FedStats - The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal

Angela Maiers: Content Creation: An Increasingly Vital 21st Century Skill

Toughest Jobs to Fill

by Olga LaPlante

According to this article, these are the toughest jobs to fill: engineers, nurses, technicians, teachers and sales representatives. Who would have thought?

Well, the engineer bit is quite expected. Lots to learn, a lot of students prefer liberal arts (although the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, do you agree?), and most importantly, employers want an experienced and talented engineer, trained in a variety of fields - who has the money and time for that? - and as baby boomers are retiring there will be more open positions.

The second job, according to this article, is nurses. The problem with these guys is there are not enough nurse educators to train enough people to fill in the slots. How curious is that?

Teachers - it's pretty clear, low salaries, higher education degrees, but I would like to know where that shortage is, just in case. With the infamous "cliff in funding" coming in two years, that's definitely a good thing to know.

All of the above are reasonable, and the lack or hardships of higher education are somewhat present throughout the top 2 and the fourth one (teachers). But this bit came as a surprise and wake-up call at the same time. I actually was in a discussion around that last summer when I was in Russia. My parents' neighbor has a 13-year kid, who is not particularly interested in schooling. One might say, that 13 is too early to get sleepless about the college costs, but he is already considering options for his child. Truth is, unless you are among the top half students, chances are you won't get into a good university or college for free - yes, there is such thing as free higher education in Russia. So, the dilemma he is dealing with is this. He runs a business, some construction or some manufacturing, I never was curious enough to pry, and he didn't volunteer, and he says it's so hard to find a good, experienced technician (such as crane operators, or welders). It's impossible to find a young reliable technician period. Why? Because the young people are after quick, clean (white-collar) and "important" jobs, like accountants, financial folks (working in banks, even if you are a teller, is soooo prestigious!), and lawyers. A lot of them are struggling to find a job now. But few people decide to do the grunt work.

The article supports the same view:
Like workers in skilled trades, technicians are trained at vocational schools, and they're in short supply because so many high school students are encouraged to go to four-year colleges instead.
How does that sit with the intentions of the DOE in Maine to make every student go on to college? Is it best intentions or denial of reality?

What are your thoughts?

CEOs Without College Degree

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eric Hoffer on Learning

"The beginning of thought is in disagreement — not only with others but also with ourselves.

"The central task of education is to implant a will and a facility for learning; it should produce not learned but learning people. The truly human society is a learning society, where grandparents, parents, and children are students together."

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists."

Summer 2009 PD Opportunities

LIM Resources has a List of Summer '09 Professional Development Opportunities. The list is editable, so feel free to add other happenings of which you might be aware.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Summertime and Your Personal Network"

Join this Elluminate session tonight featuring Bob Sprankle, Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes at 8 at PBS Teachers and Classroom 2.0 with Steve Hargadon


In this webinar, they will discuss the value of online collaboration and provide guidance for those interested in joining or creating a professional development community during the summer months. They will share their own experiences of expanding their knowledge and improving their practice through online conferences, social networks, and other collaborative technologies. In addition, they will demonstrate tools and best practices to promote technology integration in K-12 classrooms.

Classroom 2.0
Bit by Bit
A View from My Window
Cheryl Oakes Blog

National Education Standards

"Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools." More . . .

~Maria Glod, Washington Post, 6/1/09

Education World: U.S. Education Standards

Education World: National Standards

ISTE: National Technology Standards

Achieve, Inc.

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens. "

—President Dwight D. Eisenhower

What are your thoughts on national standards in education?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Black Bear Island

Want to learn more about Second Life? The Maine Educators Exploring Second Life group will be meeting tonight at 7 p.m. If you don't have the program yet, you can set up an account here, download the software here and be teleported to Black Bear Island here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

MLTI Conference 2009

by Cheryl Oakes

A few months ago, I along with Kern Kelley, Alice Barr, and Sarah Sutter, were asked to be part of a presentation to 800 MLTI students at a student conference on the University of Maine campus. After several sessions on SKYPE and planning with conference organizer Jim Moulton, the 5 of us, were going to present to an auditorium of 800 participants in an interactive fashion. How can 800 participants interact with the presentation? With Google online tools! Wait a minute! I know we have a hard time when we get 20 students in a classroom using a wireless access point in one room, we freeze up, have slow speeds getting to a website, but with 800, oh my!

Jim assured us that the University would get their best thinkers and doers working on this. Dr. Bruce Seegee and the fine engineers from CISCO took on this mission and would actually join us in the session to watch the bandwidth use and troubleshoot if necessary. This would be a perfect opportunity for all the conference participants to observe what happens behind the scenes to make things work at their schools and for all to see that when using technology we always have a backup plan.

Our presentation was the final session at the end of a very busy and productive day. Our session was titled (

Block 3 - Only Google is big enough - Everyone, all together, one room, one session!
    • In 2009 Good Questions are More Powerful Than Good Answers - Google Super Session (Alice Barr - Yarmouth High School; Kern Kelley - MSAD #48; Cheryl Oakes - Wells Ogunquit CSD; Sarah Sutter - Wiscasset High School)Maine's own team of Google certified educators will be leading the whole gang through a series of activities that will demonstrate the power of the Google Toolset. Sure, we all use Google, but wait till you see what you can do when you understand how to leverage Google's power to go beyond getting answers and learn how to use Google to ask your own thoughtful questions of people in your class, in your school, around your state, or even around the world!
As part of the preparation, the five of us, created a series of questions in a Google Form, and sent the questions out to our worldwide networks, in 10 days we collected information from all our personal networks, and after some clamoring this information is published for all to share and use. Thank you to all who participated in our survey. We hope you will create a survey that we can participate in at some point in the future.

Here are the data points distributed on the global map.

We had over 550 respondents answer our survey. You can see the points on the map indicating the participation that spread throughout the world. Our personal learning networks reach far and wide. A take away points:
  • Collaboration is a tool which will leverage the learning and opportunities for our students.
  • The data we collected will serve to make our students more global and appreciative of the power of all of us versus the power of one individual.
  • The process of collecting the data is viable for all types of projects.

Here are the questions:

The survey is no longer available for more responses! Please check out the data that you were part of in this collection! YOU now are part of this historical collection.

  1. How many hours a day do you spend at school for academics?
  2. How many days a week do you go to school?
  3. What time does school start for you in the morning?
  4. What time do you get out of school at the end of the day?
  5. What would be your ideal time to start school?
  6. What would be your ideal time to end your school day?
  7. Do you attend tutoring or other academic content classes outside of the school day?

  8. If Yes, how many hours do you spend in this additional class each week?

  9. Are sports or other club activities available outside the school day at your school?
  10. If sports or other activities are available at your school, when do they occur?
  11. Does your country provide free public education?
  12. At what age do children begin formal schooling in your country?
  13. At what age does public education typically end in your country?
  14. Where is your school?