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?

Techie Tuesday: All Aboard? Survey Results

Towards the end of January, I wrote an All Aboard? post asking for opinions on helping other teachers “see the power” of learning more about web 2.0 and creating their own PLN.  This post included a Poll Daddy survey of the following:

  • Where would you suggest a teacher get involved first?
  • What is your favorite PLN or Web 2.0 website for newcomers?
  • What web 2.0 tools should a teacher not be without?
  • List an activity you would include in a workshop for teachers.

Are you ready for the results?

Some interesting facts about this survey include the fact that all of the respondents took a little over 6 minutes to complete the survey and represented at least 5-8 countries.  The exact number of countries can’t be determined because three respondents were listed as an unknown location.

Here is the breakdown of the results:

  • Where would you suggest a teacher get involved first?
    • Workshop x 3
    • Twitter x3
    • Other x 4
    • Blog
    • Forum
  • What is your favorite PLN or Web 2.0 website for newcomers?
  • What web 2.0 tools should a teacher not be without?
  • List an activity you would include in a workshop for teachers. For these responses, I copied their ideas below.
    • Activity 1:  Pass out or take out your digital camera. Ask participants to form into small groups and give them a simple photography assignment. Give them fifteen minutes to go take the photos and then report back. I’ve done this, you can’t get them back in the room! They laugh, they have fun, they run all over (we took over the hotel lobby where I was doing the workshop!) and they learn how energizing, interactive and useful it can be to use digital photography and visual literacy in the classroom.
    • Activity 2:  Voicethread…learn how to develop one and try it out with students. Share it with parents.
    • Activity 3:  Create and add to a collaborative wiki. (suggested by two survey participants)
    • Activity 4:  I have never done this, but I just think it is the greatest idea.  I can’t remember where I learned it from- giving out your twitter name and mobilenumber and getting delegates to text your twitter account with instant feedback throughout the day.
    • Activity 5:  Start a blog with a local topic flavour.  Get them to begin posting and commenting before they leave. Then show them examples of educational blogs that are in use.
    • Activity 6:  Live interaction with others worldwide – eg through Twitter, Skype or virtual room
    • Activity 7:  Use blogs and wikis for teaching
    • Activity 8:  I would literally walk participants through setting up a blog and writing a post so that they could see how easy it is.
    • Activity 9:  Voicethread – find up to 3 images (use creative commons search if that doesn’t make it too difficult) and use it to describe a belief that you have about how students learn. Include text and voice recording. Invite someone in the room to make a comment on your voicethread. (Or, a small group could create a joint Voicethread of their main beliefs.)
    • Activity 10:  Form small ‘creative clusters’ so that people join with a friend or two to practice something new like Delicious or Google Docs. The biggest impact activity we have done recently is to Skype in another educator to join the chat.
    • Activity 11:  Just Tweet:)

    What does this tell me?
    First, I want to visit some of these sites that I haven’t incorporated.  I have checked out a few, and they were blocked by our Smartfilter:( Second, I should have found a way to incorporate “other” with a place to type the “other”.  I wonder if those three people in question on were referring to the same great place, and I just missed out on it.
    I’m really glad that “workshop” was one of the desired methods to lure other teachers.  We have one this summer and I hope it is met with a great response. I’m trying to get a few twitters out of the faculty before school lets out.  We have one so far, @ccroad.  She hasn’t had time to see it’s full potential yet, so drop her a line or two, and a follow.

    Lastly, I am extremely thrilled with the fact that the results show that I am on the right track with web 2.0 integration!  To think, this journey really just started in November.  The activity ideas are great, and will be implemented in same fashion.
    Was anyone surprised by ranking as one of the favorite web 2.0 site, but Diigo didn’t?  I am a Diigo user, so I would like to know if I’m missing something by not using

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:)

All Aboard?

You are standing in a room full of teachers.  What can you say about PLN or Web 2.0 to make them see it’s power?  

Think about it.  Before you even begin, five are already lost in the latest gossip.  You begin talking and three more are lost asking, “hey do we have to do this stuff?”  You start talking about a “tweet” and the nature club sponsor begins to be lost in a fog of bird calls.  

I value my PLN’s opinion.  I would like to have your feedback on ways to open other’s eyes to the world of web 2.0. Please complete the below survey.  I will post on the results next week.  


 Thank you so much for your help! If you would like to share even more, we would love to hear your comments below.



B3: Be Better Blogger

A new year’s resolution I can keep, B³ :  Be a Better Blogger 🙂

While catching up on some of my rss reads, I happened across a post, Life is One Big Top Ten, on Sue Water’s TAFE site .  In it she mentioned Steve Dembo’s 30 Days to Be a Better Blogger. Ok I must admit I am a total geek, but it runs in my genes.  How many people have a 88 year old grandfather that blogs? I have been totally ecstatic that our parish finally opened up a blog site!  I have been waiting for years to have an interactive site for my students.

Since the unblocking (November ’08) of Edublogs, I have been focused on the integration aspect of blogging:

  • Organization of blog pages
  • Steps for students to earn blogs
  • Trial runs with students
  • Finding great widgets
  • Daily Journal dilemma (keep old, use edublogs, revamp)
  • and so on..

I hadn’t really focused on how my blog looks to the rest of the world.  My students love it, so it has to be great, right? LOL  Ok, maybe not:)

I am officially making a New Year’s Resolution to complete Steve Dembo‘s 30 Days to Be a Better Blogger.  Wow!  a resolution I can actually keep:)  I didn’t even take a sneak peak at what was going to happen over the next 30 days of this journey. I have already completed day one which involved revamping my about page.

UPDATE:  Great suggestion @suewaters, I am going to also work through the original challenge,  31 day challenge.  From what I can tell, it won’t be too time consuming to complete both.  It is also broken into two categories, so challenges are different for beginners vs. intermediate.  Pretty cool!