Monday, March 30, 2009

Insect Research

Ms. Throckmorton's 4th grade class checked-out the laptop cart last week and did some science research. Today, they presented their products in posters, print, and art from various modes -- paper mache, drawings, clay. Wow! What a super job!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Technology Facilitator or Instructional Technologist

Our school system has a Technology Facilitator at each school in our county. We do the double job of helping with the technical updates and repairs of equipment and also facilitate good technology instruction. An Instructional Technologist is a specialist in using technology in instruction. Today I realized that this (tech fac) is like driving my car. I can drive it, but don't understand how it works--I flip a switch and my windshield wipers come on, twist a knob and my wipers will vary the speed. Works for me! My husband and a good car repair shop take care of the rest for me. I'm capable of the basic updates and repairs with the telephone help I receive. This is not my strength, but I can do it. Then there is the instructional end. That's where I can not only understand the instruction, purpose, and goals, but see the applications and new ways to use software and hardware to give students new experiences in learning, and in learning collaboratively. This is where I'm an eager learner, trying to figure it out and move on to extend or create new ways to help learners reach his/her potential.

I've often thought, "I have the best job in the state." I can work with students, staff, and the expert technical people in my county, along with other instructional technologists, technology facilitators, and eager learners to give our students the activities and possibilities in learning that they deserve. We reach out to our state, other states, and countries through our videoconferencing and utilize our wonderful state museums and institutions to give our students the BEST education possible. Then, recommend the simple, yet tried and true ways of experienced teaching -- having students write or reflect on their experiences. Offering to help teachers by blogging this student work, gives the students the opportunity to make the connections, use the new knowledge gained and have the time to connect this old and new learning together into new ideas. Then having the work posted and sharing this experience with families and community who comment on the web work of the students, offers the students yet another opportunity to rethink the information, reorder it, and feel accomplished and proud of the work. This is a building process. Building students who want to learn and be excited learners, and responsible for their own learning. I feel strongly that this is something our students need in 21st century learning.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Multiple Intelligences

Found a link on Twitter for a Multiple Intelligences test. It gives information on the different intelligence forms, and then a 40 item test that shows results in a graph with strengths and weaknesses. A few of the questions seemed a little "guided" in the wording, but overall it was an interesting experience that may help students focus on how they learn and how they can improve.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Read Around the Planet

Ms. Sisson's 1st grade class participated in Read Around the Planet with Long Island City, NY. The students enjoyed sharing. Ms. Sisson's class has been studying the United States, so they shared some of the symbols with the other class, sang a song and enjoyed presenting. They also enjoyed watching the other class present.

Ms. Tucker's 1st grade class participated in Read Around the Planet with a class from Texas. Her class wrote poems they put into a book. Each child read his/her poem and enjoyed hearing the other class read and sing. They all danced and sang to music; the experience was completed with questions and answers.

Last Friday I tried the website with a fifth grade class. The students loved it and most caught on quickly. They helped each other with minor questions, but overall it was a great first class. The classroom teacher and the students liked the possibility of using this website to share a project instead of a written paper or regular "poster board." Our only unusual occurrence was that a few students came up with a blocked message. The "edu" site allows the students to share only with their class.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I've spent the last two days at the NCTIES conference in Raleigh. My head is spinning and it will take a few days to reflect, read my notes, and share some thoughts. Our school system is also posting on their wiki; check it out to see many postings from attendees in our county. There are several pics posted on the Rural Hall School quick pic blog.

Some of the very good websites from the conference are:

Tools for the Classroom
Tools for the Classroom Blog
Fantastic Contraption
My Studio -- creates online quizzes
One True Media
U Stream
Quantum Shift
Yack Pack
Apple Tutorials (now all are free)
NC Wise Owl -- eBistro

Enjoyed these sessions and interactions so much I'm adding a new wiki as my own learning network base for technology and schooling, adding to this "flatter" blog and my videoconferencing ning page.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Read Around the Planet - More Exciting Conferences

Ms. Whicker's kindergarten class enjoyed presenting to Ms. Felt's class in Van Etten, New York on Feb. 25 in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday. Ms. Van Etten's class sang a song and both classes of students danced to the directions. Great job, folks!

With snow the past two days, we will have to reschedule the remaining three RAP conferences.

Ms. Tucker's class at Rural Hall and Ms. Bolton's class in Paris, Texas will be rescheduled. Ms. Sisson's class and Ms. Burke's class in Long Island City, NY will be rescheduled. Ms. Leonard's class and Ms. Woodbridge's class in Edmonton, Canada will be rescheduled.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

One thing I do daily is look through emails, websites, and listservs. Of course, google reader is helpful. Originally I was looking for sources to create my position of "distance learning coordinator." I wasn't quite sure what that was, so being the dutiful student, searched and found a good online course at Univ. of West Ga. offering a year long course with a Distance Learning Certificate. That began my new adventure from a K-5 classroom teacher to interactive videoconferencing in 1998.

Some of the listservs and websites that have been helpful in my area are:
  • International Society of Technology in Education -
  • Global Leap --
  • Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration --
  • NCIH - K-12 Videoconferencing --
  • NCSSM --
  • NC Museum of History --
  • NC Museum of Natural Sciences --
  • NC Wildlife Resources --
  • NASA Digital Learning Network --
  • Collaborations Around the Planet --
  • Read Around the Planet --
  • COSI --
  • ISTE Ning Community --
  • Southwest Net Distance Learning --
  • Connect 2 Texas --
  • MAGPI --
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education --
  • Self Learning Links --
  • Saint Louis Zoo DL --
  • Reef HQ Aquarium --

  • Another thing that has made it easier for me is my .mac membership, which makes podcasts and vidcasts streamlined processes. We take a couple of hundred pictures every week and send them to the local weekly newspaper, make movies of them for our news introduction, post on blogs and wikis, and send home to parents on a yahoo group listserv. Of course, we obtain permission from all students for videoconferencing and posting pictures. This helps build a school "community" and ownership for students and staff and culminates in 5th grade students participating in the school news program. -- I believe I've definitely left the original topic and rambled a bit here. Still waiting for the snow.