it’s not breaking news, just news that breaks you

to no surprise the recent round of staff reduction efforts has created a depressing work environment. the stress is palpable. instead of making obvious observations about how this stressful situation is playing out with adults concerned about their jobs, i was thinking about the uncertainty that we inadvertently introduce in to our classrooms. is it possible that a student would ever feel like a person who just lost their job? are there times when teachers create a working environment for their students that is not conducive to work because of other elements at play? would a teacher ever do that on purpose? brain rules by john medina talks about the effects stress has on the brain and how terrible the results can be; while we can claim to keep a stiff upper lip and keep our heads down and work as hard as we can, it’s silly to think that the uncertainty of a stressed environment doesn’t effect productivity.

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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in cube life


why is it called beta, and why do i love it?

it seems like the first version of a product would be alpha, right?  i really don’t spend loads of time thinking about that moniker, but before i expound my love for the beta project i thought i would put that query out there.

is it the danger that draws us in?  it’s new and shiny and does things that others don’t but there aren’t any promises it will be out of beta.  we could invest time and energy just to watch it go away.  we could perpetually hold back, waiting to see if the beta tag will be lifted, never allowing ourselves to commit only to never see the beta tag disappear.  perhaps it is a similar struggle happening on the other side of the beta tag.  is it possible that the decision to pull the beta tag is one that makes developers and web masters nervous?  seth godin calls it shipping, right?  although, maybe i’m confused on this one…is putting something out there is beta considered shipping?  if so, then what is it called when the beta tag is lifted?

when we put out a ‘beta’ product why don’t we call it beta?  we put first versions out all the time but we don’t call them beta, we find less interesting names to apply to them like sloppy copy, rough draft, first version, etc.  i like beta better.  in face, i’m going to encourage my son to, when turning in his first version of a writing, tell his teacher that it’s in beta.  better yet, let’s go ahead and write ‘beta’ after the title so we can all know exactly what we are getting in to.  maybe he can offer his teacher a (limited number) login to view his paper, do a bit of editing, and tell him what she thinks of it.

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Cloud Computing: Learning and Assessment Communities in Distance Learning > TCEA 2011

Dr. Kay Abernathy, Lamar University

What is cloud computing? Why is your digitial footprint becoming a part of the administrative conversation?

Glen: it’s about access; virtual hard drive; collaboration
Ellen: the are different levels; capability to do things free, online, accessible to everyone
Panelist 3: Being able to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do where you are; skype; dropbox

24/7, on demand, shared resources, elastic, distributing computing

How is cloud computing used in education and assessment?
Panelists has similar responses, many gave everyday examples like banking or smart phones. The idea of being globally competitive was brought up as well.

3 of the 4 participants shared their digital portfolio, each was similar but has unique attributes. Nice showcase of all the work they did.

How are your kids using e-portfolios? Responses were varied based upon the grade level of the kids. Sounds like some used technology as a hook, its how they connect with their kids.

Need to move from teacher led, student facilitated to a situation where it is student led, teacher facilitated.

*it was nice to hear them talk about their experience, clearly gratifying for them. I’m still looking for that ‘wow’ session. Nice conversation but I didn’t encounter the unknown this morning…yet.

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized



Taking the E-vil out of E-mail > TCEA 2011

Carol Simpson

Where does your email go? What happens when it is deleted or how long is it kept in your outbox.

You can’t ask why someone wants emails, but you ask clarification. You are allowed to charge for copy, labor, etc.

Interesting session, but I once again, found myself in a session where I wasn’t the focus. This one seemed to be more about higher ups and what they can and can’t do legally. It was interesting.

Overall, I’m having a tough time finding sessions that speak to me. I fear finding myself in a session the doesn’t stretch me or bring something new to the table.

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


Educational Social Networking for Professional Development > TCEA 2011

Steve Hargadon, Elluminate

The tools of social networking are uniquely valuable in education. Do active bloggers resent social networks? Do the big dogs of blogging look at social/educational networks with disdain? Have we really harnessed the power of social networks as educators?

Egypt may be tipping the balance. Not sure what twitter was used for, but it’s ‘working’ in Egypt right now.

I’m talking, who’s listening? How do I know who to listen to and who to talk at?

First came blogs. Why did people stop? Time? Lack of Purpose?
Then came wikis. Are they intuitive?

Social networking is an aggregation of participative web tools that facilitate creation, conversation, and sharing.

Your profile page is, in a sense, you professional portfolio.

The use of sustained conversations through asynchronous discussions on educational social networks. Facebook conversations are short, very comment oriented, responding to others.

Authentic, peer driven learning/PD
Emotional support, reduces isolation
Visibility of practice
Networked learning
Fosters creativity and perspective
Engagement, participation and action
Reenergize personal learning
Increase global connectivity
Draws us in to humanity’s ‘great conversations’

Internal vs external reform – are we changing because we see the need and value or are we trying to be like others who have seemingly solved the problem?

1. It’s all about the users – the old way participation came last, now it comes first; the user is more likely to know what is needed next
2. Facilitate the process, not the outcome – Social networks are parks, not cafeterias…here is the space, you decide when and how to use it.
3. Be authentic
4. Start with educators and admin first
5. Support and promote early adopters
6. Allow for failure as you look for real needs
7. Build your culture and recognize the value of interpersonal skills

Great perspective from a guy with experience, not sure it fully applies to what I’m working towards. I’m not looking to create the network per se, more of working with teachers as they interact on them. I’m not sure which is the network to use, but I feel strongly we need one to connect teachers in a district as big as mine. Valid points, enjoyed the session.

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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized




tough one. not sure what i think falls in to the ‘endless’ category. sadly, i think there are some global conflicts that start to make it to this category. perhaps a big part of coping with anything in our lives is the fact that we acknowledge that there will be an end at some point; along those lines i suppose something that is endless is a bit scary in an unnatural kind of way. of the day

as a classroom teacher, i always enjoyed the cycles that brought closure at times in the year.  it almost seems a bit contradictory that in a profession that prides itself on endless cycles of learning, i find places to create closure.

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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Uncategorized




can i say it’s itsy bitsy?  funny this word should pop up today, as my daughter was singing this song in a different language yesterday afternoon.  a spider, to me, is something that sets a trap and lays in wait for other to stumble in to it; not exactly the way we would like to be described by our friends…or students. word of the day

the last part of the prompt today got me thinking about what a colleague of mine used to call ‘gotcha’ teachers.   their goals weren’t to make sure the students mastered content/concepts, rather to “catch” the kids who didn’t by springing a trap on them.  i realize this isn’t a nice way of describing a teacher, but it’s a hard fact that i imagine everyone recognizes.  we have all had ‘gotcha’ teachers and how much did that method help us?  how many times in life are we put in that situation?  in contrast, how many times are we asked to be prepared so that we can deal with the unexpected?

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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Uncategorized


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