Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catch-up

While "catching-up" (does that EVER happen in technology) on reading, I found an email with a link to the Edublog Awards 2008 - time to vote. Well, each of the many categories has wonderful and thought-provoking ideas, truths, perceptions, possibilities... Oh, my head is swimming with ideas and possibilities. This is not too many cups of coffee speaking... Oh, how I wish I could work with these folks - well, I guess I can by reading and not being afraid of educational change and trying to implement some of these ideas. What a great time to be a teacher! Although there are many out there afraid of change and the work it requires, I find it exciting that change from the 1900 type classroom allows for many students to be engaged in learning and even excited about learning. A community of learners also includes the teachers who can facilitate learning and be taught by students in some areas. Saw several ideas that make me think, "We should do this at our school."

To begin this adventure in reading go to the Edublog Awards 2008 and click on the links to read and begin some "catch-up."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Megaconference Jr. 2009

We are thrilled to be presenting at Megaconference Jr. 2009! Ms. Throckmorton's 4th graders at Rural Hall and Ms. Thompson-Richards' 8th graders at Kennedy Learning Center are collaborating on a social studies project, "History Mystery: North Carolina." The students are researching, posting work, editing, and then presenting on the topics: Blackbeard, the "Lost Colony", and the wild horses on the outer banks. Watch their presentation along with many others at Megaconference Jr. on February 19, 2009. Our presentation is at 11 AM. Megaconference Jr. is live from 7 AM to 7 PM. Our collaborations are posted on our school wiki; click on Megaconference Jr. 2009.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Inexpensive IVC

Free videoconferencing? How do you do that?

In 2005 we won a Polycom PVX in a drawing for prizes among Megaconference Jr. participants. I played around with it and it seemed to be quite similar, although much better software, than a computer webcam. In 2006 we won a Polycom Communicator in a similar drawing for Megaconference Jr. This was set-up on my laptop to give me a Skype telephone since I didn't have a direct line in my classroom which is very helpful during videoconferencing.

Reading ED1VIDCONF listserv one day last fall I found a request for elementary TV news videoconferencing. What a great idea! Our big Polycom IVC equipment was installed on a large TV which is NOT movable, so I tried the Polycom PVX with the Polycom Communicator and it worked quite well. The school in New Jersey was very helpful and we exchanged broadcasts, with our school in-house news program going live to their school and the next day their broadcast was enjoyed by our school. We learned several new ideas for presenting our live program. What I found most interesting was the variety of set-ups possible to connect and use this equipment. As usual, I continue to learn so much from working with students.

We hope to do participate in this project again this year as we look for valuable learning experiences for our 21st century students.

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Class - Fun!


Excited and enthusiastic! I haven't seen our teachers so excited over technology in a while. We have 12 teachers in a workshop via videoconference with NCSSM. It is two afternoons a week (3:3-5:30 + homework). They are excited and having fun learning new skills and feeling technology literate! Just like our students, we need to keep learning new things/skills; besides keeping us updated, it continues to remind us how puzzling, confusing, and frustrating students can feel when approaching new material. It keeps us honest as we work with students understanding a new concept. Having that error and stress free environment of working together as a team is working really great. We have a good teacher in Durham and are making progress. Although we are a loud bunch, we just mute our microphone as we chat and work together. We have posted several new class blogs on our school website. You should check them out and follow along as they continue.