Friday, October 30, 2009

A Great Opportunity for Free Staff Development on 21st Century Skills

Live Streaming from ASCD's Fall Conference

 Tomorrow, ASCD will feature live streaming video of the 2009 Teaching and Learning Conference's Opening General Session featuring Paige Johnson, global manager of K-12 education for Intel's Corporate Affairs Group and chairwoman of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Board. The video is available to the public for free from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. EDT on the ASCD Web site, and Johnson will share expertise about leading a coalition of business, education and policy leaders that has emerged as the leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st-century skills into education. Please note the video will be archived for future viewing.


Many teachers are thinking about how to use technology in their classrooms.  Blogging is a great way to start.  The very real audience provided by the internet, provides a level of audience that many young writers do not have.  Following is an article containing helpful tips for teachers - courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Classroom blogging projects provide a forum for continued discussion

A North Carolina language arts teacher is offering tips for teachers interested in incorporating blogs into their classroom lessons. In this blog post, Bill Ferriter writes that it is best to create one classroom blog that is updated at least twice each week. The blog should become an interactive forum where students read, post information on a topic and comment on the blog. Teacher Leaders Network/The Tempered Radical blog

Please comment and share any experiences you have had.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh the Worries About Texting!!

Many of us cringe when we watch our students text or see what they are texting!  However in this article, some researchers say texting may help students express themselves!  Is this the 21st century's answer to writing fluency?  Read the article and let us know what you think!

Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief.

Texting may help students improve informal writing skills
Despite a myriad of concerns about the increasing use of text messaging by teens, some teachers and researchers say texting does not interfere with students' ability to use language properly and may in fact help students better express themselves through informal writing. "Writing is good. Writing is expressing thoughts. Expressing thoughts is good. We just don't like their modality," says Larry Rosen, a researcher and author of a book on the issue. The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (10/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wiki as a Classroom Tool

Wikis have played a minor role in classrooms so far.  Many educators find them difficult to use.  Take a look at this article and see if they are worth  a second look.

Educators are using online wikis as classroom tool
Some classroom discussions in Maryland are taking place through online wikis, which allow students to respond to questions in real time and view responses from their classmates. Teachers also are using the Web sites in classwork, homework, special projects and professional collaboration. The Sun (Baltimore) (10/19)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kindles - What do you think?

Many educators are eager to move ahead to kindles, but this article makes us pause and think.  Amazon did a survey of 200 college students this past fall and found that while there were many pluses, some of the features still needed work.  I think the article is written very well and presents some good points.

Please take a minute and let us know what you think:)

Kindle shows promise but needs improvement, say students
Students liked having access to a semester's worth of reading in one book-sized device but did not like taking notes on its keyboard, according to feedback from college students using the Kindle e-reading device. Kindle devices loaded with digital textbooks were provided to 200 college students this fall by Amazon, which hopes to adapt the technology for academic textbooks. According to the students, other areas for improvement include bookmark organization and pagination that corresponds to the hard-copy textbooks. Google/The Associated Press (10/13)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Netbooks or Laptops?

With Maine's MLTI initiative, we are once again focusing on the technology available to us through laptops.  The state has invested a great deal of money in purchasing laptops and providing training in this area as well.

However, some schools have opted for netbooks due to the lower costs.  Here is an article that exams the pros and cons of netbooks in light of today's students' needs.  I think it is well done and will help inform any of you faced with this decision.

Netbooks are cost-effective, but do they meet student needs?
Educators are debating the usefulness of small, low-cost netbooks in the classroom. Some say netbooks can be more cost-effective than traditional computers -- making it easier for students at disadvantaged schools to have access to technology. However, others say the machines are limited and do not meet all of students' educational needs. eSchool News (10/8) , eSchool News (10/8)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guidelines Available for Communicating with Online Students

Many teachers are interested in using online communication with their students.  Here is a research brief and some guidelines for online communication that will give you some good information to help you make some decisions on this issue.

Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief

How to communicate with online students
The International Association for K-12 Online Learning has released a research brief outlining methods educators can use to better communicate with online students. Key concerns include facilitating interaction, being adept with Web technology and learning methods of instructing in real time or on a delay with students. The organization has also outlined national standards for online teaching. eSchool News (10/6)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facebook and the Whole Child?

The power of the internet is clear on when  you take time to read this article.  A great argument for including this social network in your classroom.

Courtesy of ASCD Smart Brief

Facebook and the Whole Child Initiative
More than 2,200 people are learning more about ASCD's Whole Child Initiative via Facebook. Since the start of the school year, roughly 300 new "fans" joined the association's Whole Child Facebook page to get news, videos and updates on how each child can be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. Using the social-networking service, ASCD connects with supporters of whole child education from around the globe, including Egypt, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Australia and Canada as well as 24 of our 50 whole child partners.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Free Resources for Teachers

Many of the posts I have published on this blog, have had to do with the internet.  However, that is a very narrow definition of technology - as those of us over 50 now:)  Today, I discovered, quite by chance a television program called, Brain Fuel.  The host is Ray Ellin, it is about 30 minutes long, and is aired on local channels.  It reviews T.V. viewings - including movies - and websites available for free to teachers.  The sites include lesson plans.

Here are some links with further information.

BRAIN FUEL T.V.:  Here is a link to a video that provides an overview of the program and the monthly focus.

BRAIN FUEL T.V.:   A recording on viddler of the program.

This is a n excellent resource for all teachers at all grades.

Here is an example of some of programing.

 Fairfax Network Programs
M | 11:30 am - 12:00 pm | C. 15
Tu | 10:00 am - 10:30 am | C. 15
Tu | 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm | C. 15
Su | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm | C. 15

The Fairfax Network is an award-winning producer of distance learning programming that originates in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia and brings together a team of experienced producers, creative multimedia designers and veteran content advisors who work collaboratively to create high quality educational programming.
Each year The Fairfax Network creates programming for educators to use in the classroom and for public television stations and cable systems. The lineup includes quality K-12 enrichment, parenting and staff development programs. Many of the shows come with additional resource information, teacher guides and classroom activities created to fit seamlessly into the curriculum.
Passport 2010
This series enhances a variety of curriculum areas for students, offers valuable staff development opportunities and provides a vital link between school and home with programming for parents.
Meet the Author
This series promotes literacy and an interest in reading and writing by giving students direct access to authors who share their personal stories, offer their writing tips and encourage students to “keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming.” During the program, authors describe their approach to the writing process and talk about character development.


They also include NASA, the Kennedy Center, Williamsburg, and online courses.  The roster of programming changes regularly.