Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comments, Responding, Timeliness via Drape's Takes

I was planning to write a post on commenting. My blog idea notes (which I keep in the memo pad on my BlackBerry) for this post said, "write something about how and when to comment." It also said to include that commenting is a great way to learn about topics of interest and be accountable for doing so because once published you have to stand by your words. My notes also said that commenting is one of the best ways to prepare for writing a blog and for those not ready to commit to a blog, commenting is a great way to be involved in high-level conversations and learn blogging ettiquette. My notes also said to tell readers that some people think of commenting as microblogging. Additionally, I had a note to include the anecdote about the first time I left a message on an answering machine and tell readers how I hung up the first several times, then kept erasing my message, then wrote my message down first...before leaving the message. After that I wrote my message each time before I left one for a while. Then, I just became comfortable leaving messages without thinking about it too much. I think this is similar with commenting.

As I was reading what others had to say about commenting, I came across this post Drape's Takes: Comments, Responding, & Timeliness. It sums up a lot of my thinking and I myself commented to add meaning, so I'm trying something new and letting Drape's Takes speak for me. Check out the post and the comments!!! And, i encourage you to make your own comment there, and here.

My feeling about comments is that every post is timeless and it's never too late to comment because they are all Googleable posts with a life of their own. If nothing else I get a notification anytime someone posts a comment and any time the rest of the world looks up what you've commented on, the conversation continues.

If this is something you've wondered about check out Drape's Takes: Comments, Responding, & Timeliness.

You'll also notice this post invites readers to try something called coComment which I'm experimenting with as part of The Comment Challenge designed for bloggers to be better blogizens by commenting on many blogs. I'm new to all this, but figured I'd give it a try. I think it lets me track all the comments I make on other people's blogs. If I'm right it's a powerful way to keep track of conversation using your Technorati Profile.

Related topics:
10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog

Sunday, August 17, 2008

IStream, UStream! We ALLScream for UStream!

One of my favorite memories from my childhood in L.A. was escaping with friends to my bedroom transformed into a studio to produce a radio show. We broadcast news of the day, gave weather reports, sang, conducted interviews and taped it on our tape recorder. While it was fantastically fun to produce our broadcasts to nowhere I can’t help but wish I was a kid today with technologies that provide them with instant ability to broadcast themselves to an audience far beyond their bedroom recording studios and connect with others around the world. One such technology I’m excited about is UStream which in just minutes allows users to broadcast and interact with a global audience of thousands with just a camera and an internet connection.

Today innovative educators can use UStream to develop live broadcasts or help students find their own voice, passion, and learning to develop and broadcast shows to an audience they connect with about a subject of true personal interest. There are already some innovative educators experimenting with these technologies. Drape’s Takes blog has a Ustream Post about a teacher who’s doing some great things with his students broadcasting book reviews and inviting parents to watch the broadcast. Remote Access blog has a Ustreaming PD post telling of

The Learning Technologies group at Manitoba Education Citizenship and Youth which is Ustreaming a professional development session on using epearl an online portfolio/reflection system that allows you to upload work samples, audio samples, etc.
Ustream proclaims they are Changing The Face Of Education in collaboration with the History Channel by broadcasting a Pulitzer Prize Winning Author to speak about George Washington in an interactive broadcast with a live chat room where students around the world could converse and ask questions about the broadcast. Will Richardson shared at a recent conference that a teenager invited him to join his broadcast where he was watching the presidential debates and providing teenage commentary to other kids around the globe in an interactive forum and doing a more interesting job then most of the networks and providing his audience with a meaningful opportunity to have a conversation about what they were seeing.

Ustream explains that its interactive broadcast functionality allows viewers to personally interact directly with whoever is broadcasting -- including personalities like their favorite author, musician, expert, or politician. Ustream opens up a new world of possibilities and experiences to broadcasters and viewers alike, which the pre-recorded static video that's predominated the Internet to date just can't provide. Today, people are Ustreaming everything including:

  • Major political events such as debates, speeches, rallies
  • Talk shows
  • Entertainment events such as premieres and 'red carpet events'
  • Showcase your original music, your band's performances, jam sessions with other musicians, and more (when you have the music rights to broadcast the music)
  • Conference sessions
  • School and business events and training
  • Sporting events at college and high school level
  • Personal milestones such as holiday gatherings, weddings, grade school events, parties, even births
  • Interactive games for viewers to watch or join

I encourage Innovative Educators to visit and start broadcasting now. I’m excited to see all the new ways innovative educators tap into this resource to bring teaching and learning to life in new ways in their classrooms. Please comment here to contribute how you have used or plan to use this resource to enhance teaching and learning. To learn about other great tools to enhance teaching and learning visit The Innovative Educator.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An ISTE Crosswalk by Six Major Categories

The ISTE Crosswalk by Six Major Categories may be helpful for innovative New York City educators who are interested in knowing and sharing how the International Society of Technology for Education’s (ISTE) Technology Learning Standards and Performance Indicators can be associated with suggested New York State Learning Standards and Performance Indicators using ISTE’s six major categories.

The Crosswalk lists each of ISTE’s six categories in the left column and then standards from a variety of content areas in the right column. I find the chart useful, but not extremely user friendly. If I had time I would rework and turn it into four separate charts following ISTE’s standards and break it down by Grades PK - 2, 3 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 -12. I would then put column headings for each area covered: technology, math, literacy, social studies, etc. Then each column would be filled in and clearly aligned with the standards and performance indicators by grade level and content area and educators could quickly identify what they need.

Unfortunately, I don’t see myself doing that anytime soon, so in the meantime, this is a helpful tool to enable innovative educators to start thinking about alignment of the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) and state standards. Along these lines, my assignment for ISTE is to align their standards and performance indicators with international content standards.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is a handout I worked with others to create to share with family members interested in internet safety. Innovative educators may be interested in modifying this to the needs of their school community and sharing it with family members as part of a welcome packet for the new school year.

Many parents would agree their children know a lot more about using the Internet than they do, but finding the right balance between making sure our children are prepared for a high-tech world and protecting them from potentially dangerous situations are top priorities. Our children live in a world where cyber bullying, online predators, and online threats of violence are only a keystroke away. Websites that children visit must be age appropriate and constantly monitored by parents for content.

The Department of Education is now offering a comprehensive K-12 Internet safety curriculum to schools and workshops for parents. You can ask your school's parent coordinator, librarian, or technology specialist if your school plans to use it. If they do not have plans but are interested in launching the curriculum, encourage them to contact the Office of Parent Engagement, School Library Services, or Office of Instructional Technology to arrange for Internet safety training for parents, teachers, and students at your school. In the meantime, here are some tips for keeping your child safe.

How can I supervise Internet use at home?
  • Set ground rules. For example, how much time can they spend online and during what hours? Make sure your children understand the rules and agree to follow them.
  • Discuss with your children what they did on the Internet, who they talked to, what they saw or learned. Be intimately involved in their online life.
  • Use the Internet to communicate to the Internet generation. Ask your questions and deliver your concerns and rule reminders using instant messaging, text messaging, and emails. Let the parental voice be present in the virtual world.
  • Make time to sit and watch your children’s Internet habits regularly so they know they are being monitored. Pay attention to suspicious communications and ask to see what they’re talking about.
  • Explain to your children the importance of not revealing personal information online including address, school, places they like to visit, photos, and age.
  • Know your children’s passwords. Let your children know that you will be checking what they are doing online.
  • Go online with your children to find safe, acceptable, interesting, fun, and appropriate uses of the Internet.
  • Talk with your children about the dangers that you’re trying to protect them from so they can use your reasoning to make smart choices when you’re not around.
  • Become familiar with the parental controls (such as blocking and filtering) available through your Internet Service Provider, but ensure your children are armed with the knowledge of how to use technology safely even without these controls
  • Read the Privacy Policy of any site that asks your children for personal information
Supervising Internet use at school
What are some possible signs of inappropriate Internet use?
  • Your child spends a lot of time online or in chat rooms, especially at night.
  • Your child is secretive about what he/she is looking at online and quickly changes the site when you enter the room.
  • You find pornography stored on the computer.
  • Your child makes or receives communication from people who you don’t know or screen names you don’t recognize.
  • Your child receives gifts or packages from people you don’t know.
  • Your child uses someone else’s e-mail account.
  • Your child seems upset or withdrawn, especially after Internet use or when you question him/her about online activities.
Cyber Safety Resources
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use provides research and outreach services to address issues of the safe and responsible use of the Internet.
Crimes Against Children Research Center
The mission of the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) is to combat crimes against children by providing high quality research and statistics to the public, policy makers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners.
This site offers a free student curriculum that empowers students to use the Internet safely, responsibly, and effectively.
Frontline: Growing Up Online takes viewers inside the very public private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming childhood.GetNetWise
GetNetWise is a public service to help ensure that Internet users have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences. The goal is for users to be "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about Internet use.
i-SAFE, a leader in Internet safety education, is endorsed by the U.S. Congress and incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place.
Net Smartz
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) Internet safety website is geared toward parents, educators, law enforcement, teens, and kids.
Safe Kids
This site provides advice for child safety on the Internet.

Additional Websites
For more internet safety resources and other useful information for innovative educators, visit my wiki at

Friday, August 1, 2008

Become a Mobile Computing Professional and Let the World Be Your Office

When I began my job with the NYC DOE Office of Instructional Technology my then Director Brian Osborne explained, "We equip people, not places, with instructional tools." At the time a decision had been made by our office to put Tablet laptops in the hands of school coaches rather than desktops because a coach’s job is not at a desk but rather in classrooms with teachers. That simple thought resonated with me and was built upon further after hearing educational gaming expert Marc Prensky share that a student told him, "without my laptop I feel like I'm missing a part of my brain." I could relate.

I rely on my laptop and internet as the extension of my brain that goes with me wherever I am allowing me to be a true mobile computing professional. I do not work from a work office, home office, or mobile office. The world is my office and “I” am my work space. My laptop, internet connection, and cell completely allow me to be a mobile computing professional who can operate effectively, efficiently and immediately anytime, anywhere, on-demand in the entire City in which I work. I can also connect to whomever I choose, instantly, bringing the world to me. I am immediately accessible, reliable, responsive and productive and do not ever say, “I will get back to you on that,” because I have everything accessible to me anytime/anywhere. As my current Director will attest, before we leave meetings, events, visits, etc. the people we have come in contact with already have everything we said we'd deliver. We are in a time where we can share, store, and collaborate on limitless information from anywhere, anytime, and for FREE. For me, “I’ll get back to you on that,” went the way of the 8-track and vinyl record long ago and has been replaced with, “Here you go.”

I feel extremely fortunate that technology has transformed the possibilities for the way we work by allowing us to spend less time in offices and more time being able to provide service and work in the learning environments we support rather than being tied to a desk. Now if I could only figure out a way to be in two places at once...(hmmm...upcoming post on video conferencing and UStream?)