Techie Tuesday: K-12 Online Conference 2009

Have you ever wished you could attend a particular conference or workshop only to be short time and money? There are numerous conferences with backchannels to allow you to attend on your own schedule via Ning, Twitter, Wiki, video, or website.

This week is part of the K12 Online Conference 2009. The theme, Bridging the Divide, might be termed perfect as they invite participation around the world.  As with most large conferences this one started with a pre-conference keynote.  This is followed with two week’s of over fifty presentations.  The K12 Online Conference is much more than a backchannel for an existing conference.  It is an entire conference held online.

You can attend the K12 Online Conference via live events online.  What if you missed one of the scheduled events?  That is the great part!  You can watch the video or read through their ning-blog-wiki.

The K12 Online conference will also continue to host live events twice monthly during 2010 through K-12 Online Echo webcasts on EdTechTalk.  Go to their site now and check it out!

What other educational online events do you enjoy?

Getting Connected!

Have you ever wondered what life was like outside of your hometown?  None of my multimedia students have traveled outside of the US and most have travel experience limited to the southern states.

How can you travel the world in a US high school?  One class at a time:)

During December, Sue Water’s wrote a post on connecting classrooms through Skype. I eagerly signed up even though I wasn’t sure if we could connect via Skype due to current blocking by smartfilter.  I even purchased an iphone over the holidays to be used as an alternative. You can imagine my surprise after the holidays when I discovered that Twitter had been unblocked.  I quickly contact one teacher I had corresponded with about the alternative to Skype.  The celebration was short lived as Twitter only remained unblocked for about a week:)

Thank goodness I signed up for comment responses to be email to me!  Ann Michaelsen contacted me January 21st through Sue’s original skype post. She had difficulty using Skype due to time differences.  We both corresponded on various ideas.  Ann’s students in Norway are working on English in Social Studies.  They were ahead of us with blogging which served as great examples for my students.

All my multimedia students now have blogs and wrote their first post,  welcome message, Monday. We are working on a photography unit, and the students are excited about adding some of their own photos to their hometown post.  Ann’s students are also writing a hometown post this week.

Due to internet filtering, we are having difficulty correctly seeing Ann’s blog as well as her students.  Our parish unblocked the site, but their is a hang-up with the theme or something.  They are working on it, but it won’t slow us down.  Starting today, my iphone will be used for students to post comments on the Norway students’ blogs.  Many of my students have already stopped by this morning to show me the pictures they took to add to their own hometown post.

It is so exciting seeing the students really light up about this opportunity.  I hope you will stop by to visit their newly created blogs.  You can access them by following the tab, student blogs.  Their hometown posts will vary according to their likes and hobbies.  My students are showing our hometown “Through Their Eyes.”  If it is someone that enjoys the outdoors, then you will probably learn about out trees, hunting, etc.

I am so excited to the world being opened to us through web 2.0:)

Worldly Wednesday: Go Green!

How many pieces of paper per year does the average teacher use?  How many sticky notes are sold per year?  The average tree produces 80,500 sheets of paper.  That seems like quite a bit until you compare that to the annual use of paper.  It requires 786 million trees to produce the worlds annual paper supply.

Is your classroom Green?  I really hadn’t given this much thought, because I am not worksheet teacher. Ok, now that I think about it, I am quite a sticky note fanatic.  Oh and when writing grants I tend to print numerous copies to write all over. Maybe I am being pretty wasteful.

Can our class really make a difference?   YES! If you recycle 2 sheets per day for a year, you would save approximately 42 trees.

Our Class Challenge
We are going to go green for the first nine weeks of this semester to see how close to paperless we can get.  How are we going to do this?

  •  Notebooks kept on computer
  •  Student Jumpdrives
  •  Parents communicate by phone and email
  •  Class handouts using Box Widget
  •  Online quizzes

How much paper do you think we will use?  Please give us your feedback by participating in this poll:




What other steps could we take to conserve paper?

Worldly Wednesday: Non Robot Motoman

While talking to my grandfather on Christmas Day, I received an update on the Pearl and Mary Flanders School he funded in Cambodia.  Have you heard about the Motomen in Cambodia?  As we talked, he began to explain about the Motoman project to bring internet to the remote schools and doctors.  What better topic for the first “Worldly Wednesday.”

Cambodia Rural Project

First to briefly describe the Cambodia Rural Schools Project:  This project began in 1999 as a way to bring education to rural areas of Cambodia.  Student’s wishing to attend school had to walk or travel by ox-cart for miles upon miles to the closest school.  Many were just too far away. Through the Cambodia Rural Schools Project, over 400 schools have been donated.  To build a school a donor contributes $13,000 and the Asian Development Bank matches this donation.  The land for the school is donated by the village. These schools are recognized by the Cambodia government as state schools and are staffed by official state teachers.

A typical school from this project is 3 – 6 classrooms and includes basic classroom furniture such as desks and chairs.  There are many other features that can be donated such as a library, solar panels, computer, vegetable garden, nurse, teacher, water well, etc.  

We have become such a technology dependent society it is hard to imagine living without postal systems, phones, and the internet.  But even further from our “reality” is living without medical care and educational systems.  How do we not only bring school buildings but also a connection to the world?  Motoman.

So, what is a “motoman”?  It is really a quit simple means to bring the world to rural villages like Ratanakiri. You take a motorcycle, in this case a bright red Honda, and equip it with mobile access points and a 256 kb/s satellite uplink also referred to as a First Mile Solution.  First Mile Solution based out of Boston first developed this system.

motoman routeFive days a week, these motomen travel across the rural village to schools and health care facilities to transmit and collect information.  At the end of the day, they return to the hub to transmit everything collected. For individuals in these villages, whose average earnings are $1 per day, the motomen could be their only connection to the world.  These schools and health center are even able to use non real time search engines!