Monday, October 27, 2008

Yearbook Yourself - Great Resource for Innovative History, Social Studies, and Writing Educators

I came across a site called Yearbook Yourself which allows you to take a photograph of yourself and see how your yearbook picture may have looked from the 1950s all the way to the year 2000. In addition to making the photo the site tells you a bit about the trends of the time. My friends/colleagues and I had a great time making albums of one another and posting them on Facebook. Our other friends and colleagues got a kick out of them too.

It was really cool to imagine myself as a high school senior in each of those eras. The 80s picture happened to look a lot like the big-haired photo I had of myself in my 1985 senior photo that I have, and laugh about today.

As an innovative educator the thought immediately came to mind that this would be a great way to launch an American History unit...letting students really place themselves as they were actually a character in history. I was also thinking that if the social studies/ history teacher and literacy/ writing teacher were working collaboratively this could turn into some interesting writing and projects. I'm sure there are many other great ideas other innovative educators can come up with as well.

Featured along the right of this page are photos of me in the 60s, 70s, 80s, then as a boy in the 90s.

Below you'll see some pictures of one of my colleagues and my director. Take a look, then hop on over to and try it out. If you use this idea with your students, please share how it went!

Do you recognize any of them :PPP

Saturday, October 25, 2008

School 2.0 Transformation Toolkit - A Recommended Resource for Innovative Educators to "Let the conversation begin!"

A long-time fan of School 2.0, I only just recently discovered their “Transformation Toolkit." It appears to be a wonderful tool to help bring teaching, learning and leading into the 21st Century and seems like a terrific guide to all the great School 2.0 tools. Below is an overview and outline of what you’ll find inside this 77 page guide.

The Transformation Toolkit: Let the conversation begin!

These Transformation Tools are designed to provide individual schools and school districts with a menu of meeting facilitation tools, templates, and activities that enable the broad range of stakeholders - students, teachers, principals, chief technology officers, parents, community members and policymakers – to engage in a series of conversations that support strategic planning for education and technology.

These visioning and planning activities can be used in the order they are presented, or can be selected and combined in any fashion to meet school or district needs. The capstone of this collection is a process for developing and monitoring an implementation plan that includes the identification of responsible persons and timelines.

Theses tools lead to the creation of a set of living documents that capture the community’s education vision and that serve to guide the school or district through the process of creating learning environments that are future-focused and which leverage technology to be both engaging and productive.

Table of Contents

I. Give One, Get One
This opening activity provides participants with an opportunity to get to know each other while
exploring ways that integrating technology into the instructional program can enhance learning for all students.
II. Technology Shared Language Activity
This activity provides participants with the background knowledge and shared vocabulary necessary to meaningfully participate in the technology visioning and planning activities.
III. Introduction to School 2.0 Map
It is important that participants become very familiar with the School 2.0 map. This activity provides an opportunity for participants to explore the map in depth, reflect on the interdependent components and discover new ideas and practices.
IV. People Wheel Activity
Assuming that the ultimate goal of stakeholders in School 2.0 is to design the “next generation of
school” that ultimately prepares students for the 21st century, this activity provides an opportunity for all participants to understand the perspectives of the different stakeholder groups in a school community.
V. Process Area
Now that the specific needs and roles of each stakeholder have been established, participants will identify ways technology can enable stakeholders to address the identified needs.
VI. TechTacks Activity
This activity provides participants with the opportunity to use what they have learned in the previous activities to create a technology equipped 21st century classroom.
VII. Technology Visioning Process
This visioning activity provides participants an opportunity to efficiently draft an instructional technology vision for their district or school.
VIII. Give One, Get One for Technology Administrators and Principals
This activity sets the stage for Chief Technology Officers, Directors of Technology, Principals, Lead Technology Specialists, and Central Officeb Instructional and Support Staff to participate in writing a vision statement for their district.
IX. Challenge Scenarios
This activity provides opportunities for groups to focus on and respond to some common technology challenges faced by school staff and communities, and central office and school-based administrators.
X. Introduction to Strategic and Technology Planning
Strategic Technology Plan: This activity provides a foundation for the technology planning process. It allows participants to gain the information and background knowledge necessary to begin their own process for developing their strategic technology planning. Implementation Plan: After completing the creation of the Strategic Technology Plan, use this activity to develop an implementation plan that supports the previously-developed technology vision and sets their strategic plan in motion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Helpful Documents for Innovative Educators

Here is a list of documents for innovative educators interested in 21st Century teaching, learning, and leading. These are documents that may be of interest to individuals as well as educators who work with others in developing 2.0 learning.

Documents for Innovative Educators

School 2.0 Transformation Toolkit
The Transformation Tools are designed to provide individual schools and school districts with a menu of meeting facilitation techniques, templates, and activities that enable the broad range of stakeholders – students, teachers, principals, chief technology officers, parents, community members, and policymakers--to engage in conversations that support strategic planning for education and technology.

School 2.0 Learning Ecosystem Map
The Learning Ecosystem is at the heart of the conversation about the future of schooling and the goal of School 2.0. This is where teaching, learning, instruction and assessment take place and where school management, planning, staffing, and design come together to create the next generation of schooling. In School 2.0, the learning ecosystem includes not just a school building, but also the combination of home, school, and community that collaborate to bring the wider world into day-to-day instruction and provide a rich array of learning opportunities.

Bandwidth Planner Calculator
The Bandwidth Planner is intended to help school principals and district CTOs plan their bandwidth needs, demystify bandwidth for nontechnical educators, and bridge the knowledge gap between educators and technologists to improve strategic technology planning.

School 2.0 Reflection Tool
The Reflection Tool presents questions that are designed to help you reflect on your skills in technology integration and to identify areas for growth.
School Principal Questionnaire

Technology Coordinator/CTO Questionnaire

Description of Technology Literate Students
A description of technology literate students at key developmental points in their precollege education from ISTE. Here you will find the NETS-Students profiles which highlight a few important types of learning activities in which students might engage as the standards are implemented.

National Educational Technology Standards
ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) have served as a roadmap since 1998 for improved teaching and learning by educators. ISTE standards for students, teachers, and administrators help to measure proficiency and set aspirational goals for the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to succeed in today’s Digital Age.

NETS for Students 2007

NETS for Teachers 2008

NETS for Administrators 2002

National Standards for Technology in Teacher Preparation
To meet the growing need for highly qualified educational technologists, ISTE has worked with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to develop a set of performance assessment standards for initial and advanced endorsements in the areas of Technology Facilitation and Technology Leadership.
Technology Leadership Standards

Technology Facilitator Standards
Secondary Computer Science Education Standards

Information Communication Technology Literacy Maps

In collaboration with several content area organizations, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills developed a series of ICT Literacy Maps illustrating the intersection between Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy and core academic subjects including English, mathematics, science and social studies (civics/government, geography, economics, history). The maps enable educators to gain concrete examples of how ICT Literacy can be integrated into core subjects, while making the teaching and learning of core subjects more relevant to the demands of the 21st century.

Download the English ICT Literacy Map:

Download the Geography ICT Literacy Map

Download the Math ICT Literacy Map:

Download the Science ICT Literacy Map:

Download the Social Studies ICT Literacy Map

Writing a Technology Plan
It is important to think about what you are trying to accomplish. Begin by planning. Channel 13 has put together a template called Writing a Technology Plan that is a great start.

Documents Used in Tech-Rich NYC DOE Classrooms

Technology Infused Non-Fiction Writing Unit
This writing unit contains diverse ways to integrate technology into non-fiction writing.

Technology-Rich Classroom Visitation Rubric
This rubric was created to help educators and administrators determine how well 21st Century skills are being used in the classroom.

Technology Integration Plan
This is a planning document coaches can use with teachers to determine how teaching practices can be enhanced with technology.

Family Guide to the Internet
Internet Safety Guide for Families from the New York City Department of Education.

Internet Acceptable Use Policy
The New York City Department of Education’s rules for Internet Acceptable Use.

Unblock/Block Websites
Unblock or block websites. Accessible only through the NYC DOE intranet and can only be activated from an administrative line.

Filter Lookup
Allows you to determine if a website is blocked by the web filter. Enter the URL for the website you would like to research in the “Enter URL” field. Click the Submit button. In the “Disposition” field of the form it will now inform you if it is blocked or not.

Interactive Whiteboards (SmartBoards)
Lesson Activity Toolkit Supplements "Essentials for Educators"

I invite you to add to this list at TIE's Helpful Docs.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Learning 2.0' Brings Schools into the Digital Age

As we planned the work of our office this year I was very excited about proposing that our mission be to develop School 2.0's made up of 2.0 leading, teaching and learning. The idea is that it's our job to bring education out of the darkness of a world without 21st century tools and into the 2.0 world in which we live and our students are growing up.

Sadly I had to part with this concept as our office was taking a different direction, but the idea of Learning 2.0 is surging strong and doing so in our schools. When I was contacted by the Village Voice to recommend schools where web 2.0 tools were the norm in helping to advance 21st Century learning CIS 339 quickly came to mind along with a few others, IS 93, Cavallero, and MS 202. These are some of the schools I work with that are making impressive strides in bringing education into the 21st Century.

I invite you to take a look at the Village Voice's coverage of the story 'Learning 2.0' Brings Schools into the Digital Age. Unlike some other press stories such as last year's
Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops - New York Times this reporter is covering stories of technology gone right. The difference between the schools featured in each of the two stories is the structures and supports for success that were put in place. The aforementioned schools all have a school technology coach, and on site technician, iSquad student support teams, extensive professional development and visionary leadership which includes using tools like a 21st Century Classroom Visit Rubric for use when observing classes. Together these are some of the key ingredients to ensure success in Learning 2.0. I'm looking forward to continuing to help establish schools that can be targeted for more positive celebration of technology done right in education.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Have a Personal Learning Network?

In a previous post I describe 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network which was cited in Brevity is the Soul of Wit: Do You Have a Personal Learning Network? In this post the educator/author explains her experience with how personal learning networks have impacted her and why they are important.
This first-hand account is recommended reading that will provide readers with compelling reasons to Begin Developing A Personal Learning Network.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network

Many educators in successful schools are involved in their school's professional learning community and perhaps they even collaborate with other schools in the district, city, state, country or beyond, but Innovative Educators also have personal learning networks (PLNs) enabling them to connect with other learners around the globe. If you're new to this world, personal learning networks are created by an individual learner, specific to the learner’s needs extending relevant learning connections to like-interested people around the globe. PLNs provide individuals with learning and access to leaders and experts around the world bringing together communities, resources and information impossible to access solely from within school walls.

This 3:45 second clip from Will Richardson provides great insight into the importance of developing your PLN.

Personal Learning Networks are a terrific way to extend your knowledge and learning outside your classroom. I recommend Innovative Educators new to PLNs begin as a PLN consumer (1.0 skills) and grow into PLN producers (2.0 skills). Here is some advice to get started.

5 Ways to Begin Building Your Personal Learning Network 1.0
1-Join a professional social network. I belong to Classroom 2.0 (for educators using Web 2.0 technology) and EduBlogger World (for education bloggers) and I launched a social network called Transforming Ed for The 21st Century. I have found great value in each of them. I am also a member of Linked In but haven't found much value in that as an educator.

2-Pick 5 Blogs you find interesting and start reading them. In addition to my own blog, I follow weblogg-ed: learning with the read/write web, A Principal's Reflections, Practical Theory, The Brazen Careerist, Cool Cat Teacher, Ted Talks. You may want to look at some of these as well as find other Education Blogs or explore the listing of International Edubloggers.

3-Set up an iGoogle account and subscribe to the blogs you selected in Google Reader. Caution: Limit your reader to five to start. Keeping up with more blogs will be difficult.

4-Become a part of the conversation and start commenting on the blogs you read. I invite you to begin here! (If you're following closely you may note this is actually PLN 2.0 tip thrown in for those who are ready for a head start, and because I'd really love to get to know my readers through comments here).

5-Join the microblogging phenomena by reading Tweets at Twitter. Start by selecting 5 well-known Edubloggers to follow and watch all the great stuff they have to share. You'll learn a lot in minutes that fit into 140 character sound bytes. I'd recommend starting with willrich45 / Will Richardson, coolcatteacher / Vicki Davis, stevehargadon / Steve Hargadon, acarvin / Andy Carvin, penelopetrunk / Penelope Trunk, and because you can, why not follow BarackObama / Barack Obama. Just get ready because once people start following you, you may feel compelled to start engaging in exciting activities worth posting…in 140 characters or less.

So get to it and start building your learning network. Join a social network, subscribe to blogs, comment and Tweet. If you do, I promise you will learn a lot. Once you do, I encourage you to come back here and share your experience by leaving a comment.

Additional Reading (suggestions from the Philly Teacher blog)
'Creating a PLN' Wikispace
What is a PLN, Anyway? from Teaching Village (Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto)
How to Build a Personal Learning Network from Free Technology for Teachers (Richard Byrne)
Oh, the Adventures You'll Have if Only... from Teacher Reboot Camp (Shelly Terrell)
How to Become a Twitter Teacher in 23 Steps or less by Kapil Bhatia
Why You Should Start Tweeting by Jason Renshaw
How’s Your PLN? from the Ramblings of a Professional Learning Community blog.
Your PLN - A website designed to introduce the idea of what a PLN is and what it can bring to your professional life as an educator.

Tool for further investigation
Questler is an informal learning network with a focus on individuals' experiences and conversations as the information content from which personal and collective connections are created based on shared interests within diverse contexts. Each quest in Questler is a mini-blog, where text, links and multi-media files can be put around several types of an informal learning experience be it a query, a discovery, an observation, research, a story or media. Questlers can create their learning network from individuals they already know; as well as find others who share their same interests. Together they can use Questler's toolset to start conversations about various topics and thus engage in knowledge sharing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NY Times Reports on How Video Games Enhance Reading and Math

I had the pleasure this week of listening to Marc Prensky during the keynote I arranged for him to join us at for our first Software Expo. Those familiar with Prensky know that among the topics he speaks about is using video games in instruction. I first read about and heard Prensky (known for coining the terms Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants) in 2001 and have felt he was on the money in many of his ways of thinking. Lately, the New York Times has agreed with the value of video games in instruction, specifically math and reading and you can read about in two of this week’s articles.

New York Region

Video Game Helps Math Students Vanquish an Archfiend: Algebra


Published: October 8, 2008

This fall, schools in the New York area will test video game prototypes focusing on math and science.

The Future of Reading

Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers


Published: October 6, 2008

Publishers, authors and even libraries are embracing video games to promote books to young readers.