Friday, April 24, 2009

NCDLA - Virtual Conference

Finally stopped for one hour today to listen, watch, & interact in a virtual conference instead of attending in person. Really good experience. We used elluminate; it worked very well. Heard keynote speaker Marci Powell, past president of USDLA and Polycom Global Director for Higher Education. Her topic: Connect, Collaborate, Create. She mentioned a couple of books I want to read, one is Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. She spoke of web 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 (artificial intelligence). She shared about Abileen Christian Univeristy in Texas; they issue iPhones to all incoming freshmen who use them for traditional, online, & blended classes. The phones give the directions to the buildings on campus and interact with the students and profs in several ways. Also shown was Duke University's Telepresence and the Fuqua Global Conference System. Really cool stuff! I didn't realize that Polycom was working/supporting CAPspace, a fantastic source (database) for finding partners for projects that are classroom to classroom via videoconference. She spoke of the "3 R's plus Applied Skills" -- communication, problem solving, and team work/collaboration. This lead to the quote that I just love, "We must prepare students for their future and not our past." (David Thornberg)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Celebration

We enjoyed learning and sharing Earth Day with students on the school news and at an "Earth Day Learning Station" series of activities in the school courtyard.

Students shared their knowedge on different topics as other classes walked through the exhibits. Students signed an Earth Day pledge and also made a personal pledge in their classroom. Some of these are in vidcasts on the school podcast link.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IVC - PPS Megaconference

This morning Ms. Leonard's 4th graders watched as Allderdice High School presented "My Trip to the Polar Bears." Then we disconnected for a NC Museum of History videoconference and after reconnected to Pittsburgh. Ms. Throckmorton's class of 4th graders interacted with PGH Murray and another school as Arlington ALA presented AfricQuest in a Jeopardy format. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot of interesting things about the continent, Africa. BTW, we came in second out of three. At the second roll call, Ms. McDermon chimed in hello from North Carolina (our classes were at lunch and unavailable).

Today some of our classes participated in the Pittsburgh Public Schools Megaconference. We interacted with two other schools as the fourth school presented. It was great!
Last, Ms. Verner's 3rd grade class participated int he "Discover West African Rhythms" (drums) presented by Eau Claire High School. Two Pittsburgh schools participated with us also, as we thumped out our drumming sounds.

We love learning and sharing with videoconferencing!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Next Thursday, April 23 we are connecting to the Carolina Center for Excellence to share IVC with K-12 media and technology specialists who are there for a two day meeting/workshop. We are happy to share our experiences in videoconferencing. Each time we connect to another school, classroom, state, or country, we learn new things, make new understandings and connections to people. What a concrete way for students to learn similarities and differences, one of the basic lessons in elementary social studies and, most important, "civil" living--sharing this globe, we need to reach out to others to understand, build respect, and develop ways to share and understand other people and cultures.

On Thursday, April 30, we are connecting to the International Education Group at the School of Education at UNC to share our experiences with videoconferencing. Again, this is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the face to face connections we make every week between students at our school in Rural Hall, NC to students in other towns around the world.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


The fast paced hurry of projects usually has the satisfaction on completion and the slower pace of a few days. Relief! Then the process usually begins again, roller coaster style, up and down. The pace seems quicker and the changes come faster--that's today's world. SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) presents their "Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education" giving five topic areas.

  • Broadband Access for All Kids
  • STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
  • Technology Based Assessments Improve Teaching and Learning
  • Empowering Teachers: A Professional and Collaborative Approach
  • Learning Virtually: Expanding Oportunities

  • At the school level, we depend on the districts and states to take care of the access, improve the standards in STEM, and the virtual schools. On the school level, this leaves us two items on the list, assessments and empowering teachers in a collaborative approach. Follow the links to get the reports, PowerPoints and other information downloads.

    Friday, April 3, 2009

    Measuring 21st Century Skills

    eSchool News has a new site with resources and information about measuring the 21st century skills. This quote is why we should be looking for all the good quality resources we can find for our students. "Our country's global economic success in the future depends on K-20 graduates honing their "21st Century Skills." Today's tech-savvy generation has no shortage of user-friendly devices...and they know how to use them. But are they putting these tech skills to good use? You've heard of the 3Rs, but what about the 5Cs such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, communications, collaboration and cross-cultural relationship building?"