Archive for Web 2.0

This morning on Facebook I posted the following comment:

Just read a report last night that says kids between 8-18 spend over 7 1/2 hours every day engaged with some sort of digital media. Why is it such a surprise that kids are bored as hell when their teachers do not integrate technology. We MUST meet them in their world in order to teach them.

The report to which I was referring was a Kaiser report which was released on January 20 that discusses trends in media use in kids between the ages of 8 to 18. My status update sparked a comment from a local educator who said it is an administrative decision to decided to what extent technology will be used.  I responded by saying this:

I don’t agree necessarily that it is an administrative decision. Teachers have a choice to learn how to use technology in their lessons and classroom. Even if the only computer in the room is the teacher computer there are still skills that teachers can integrate. The vast majority of students have access to the Internet outside of school (even … See Morehere in Scottsbluff). Those who don’t have free access in computer labs at school or at the public library. It is no longer an acceptable excuse for teachers to say they don’t use tech in the classroom because kids don’t have access. It is an excuse to get out of learning new things. Just my opinion…

I noticed a follow up from the comment from the same teacher who said that teachers at the local high school are very tech savvy and they can do things like attach files to emails. Yes. You read that correctly. They can attach files to emails. Wow. I did not know what to say. I have asked for some clarification and specific examples of what the “tech savvy” teachers can actually do in case I misunderstood what she was trying to say. I will share that info as soon as I get it.

I don’t mean to come across as a tech snob or act like I am better than teachers who think the ability to attach files to an email is all it takes to be tech savvy. But COME ON!!! My question is do these teachers who are  supposedly so “tech savvy” meet any of the NETS  for Teachers? Do they even know what ISTE is? Do they have any clue how to prepare their students to meet the NETS for Students? (I realize there are other organizations that have tech standards, but my guess is they are all pretty much the same.) There are also NETS for Administrators, but that is one bear that I really don’t want to poke today (or ever if I can help it).

Are there really teachers out there who are so far out of touch that they don’t even realize the depths of their ignorance? Is it even possible that there are many who have never even heard of Web 2.0?  I could not imagine living in a world where I was so out of touch.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think it means to be tech savvy in 2010.


In just a little over two weeks I will celebrate my one year anniversary on Twitter and the beginning of my PLN. This is one of those posts that I am writing more for myself. It is to remind me of why I invest so much time in my network. It is my small way of saying thank you to some of the people in my PLN. I wish I could thank everyone who has made an impact on me, but I don’t have enough room. If you are not on this list please do not think it does not mean you are not an integral part of my learning network. I am picking a few people that I have had some very memorable interactions with over the last year. This has been the best year of my teaching career and it is because of my PLN.

  • mrplough07 You took so much time last spring and summer to make sure I got off to a good start. I could not have asked for a better mentor. I am glad you have returned to your PLN. (I am not sure if I have told you that yet, have I?)
  • StonyRiver You have added a completely different perspective to my PLN. Your work in Australia is so inspiring. I enjoy getting the emails that you send and my students absolutely love hearing about you.
  • woscholar For the last year you have given me great advice on a number of topics which has helped me make a solid case to bring change to my school. You have no idea how large your impact has been on my school.
  • michellek107 and j_allen I have loved getting to know my colleagues from the central and eastern part of Nebraska. You guys have really taken the time to get to know me and include me in things like NETA. I cannot wait to meet you someday, Josh. Michelle and I get to meet Michelle next month.
  • budtheteacher You moved to the top of my list of favorite people on Twitter when you tweeted about your quest to find fresh, hot doughnuts on your family trip last summer. That tweet stuck in my mind because it was one of the first noneducational updates that came across Twitter. (I had only been on for three weeks at that point.) You are the only person who stepped up and questioned the purpose of the Newbie to NECC project. Thank you for challenging me on that!
  • karlfisch I was sitting in the Bloggers’ Cafe in San Antonio last year and someone asked me if I had seen Karl. I said “Who?” and they said “You know, Karl Fisch. The Shift Happens guy.” I could not believe that I was in the same location as one of the people who was responsible for that amazing presentation!  I was a little intimidated. I also wanted to tell you and Bud that the conference you put on in Colorado back in February let to some connections that have changed my life.
  • a_dowling You have been part of my PLN for as long as I can remember. You seem to always know when I need a Starbucks and a hug! I cannot wait to meet you in a few weeks.
  • kyteacher I feel like I already know you because we have so much in common. I am glad that we will finally get to meet in DC.
  • npratt We met quite by chance last year. Who would have ever guessed that being interviewed by Pearson Learning would have helped create a friendship. Guess there is a silver lining in every cloud.
  • bksmith, anschutzrm, marydobro You have all helped make this year the best year of my career so far. I cannot think of three people that I would rather work with everyday. I am so proud of all three you for finding your voice on Twitter.
  • missmarista You have reminded me that not every teacher can be as open and honest with their students as I am. It seems like alt.ed. teachers have a lot of latitude. I am looking forward to following you on your journey to Dubai.
  • TeachaKidd I have looked up to you ever since I started following you last year. You always share such useful information! (Like the pictures of your trainer!) On a serious note…if it were not for you the NECC Newbie project would not have been as successful as it was. Your connection to the great people at VoiceThread helped make the project a success.
  • rmbyrne I am so glad that you believed in my crazy Newbie to NECC project enough to agree to be the focus of it. It took a lot of guts to trust me and believe in this project. THANK YOU!!! You and I have faced some of the same challenges this year and I am so excited to get to meet you in DC next month. In fact, I think there are a few people who are excited about meeting you next month!
  • oswego98 It is hard to believe I talked to you on Twitter for 3 months before finding out your real name. I have learned so much from you since you became an active part of my PLN. And just think….I was supposed to be the one teaching you. Some mentor I turned out to be! The projects we have worked on collaboratively have convinced me that it is possible for people who are separated by distance to work together to share their knowledge and passion to come up with fantastic ideas. Your suggestions, ideas, and energy have helped me more than I can say.

These are just a few of the people who have been part of the amazing journey that I have taken this year. In hindsight I almost regret writing this because there are hundreds of people that I have learned from over the last year.  I just wanted to recognize a few people that have impacted me or my career. Thanks!

A few months ago I wrote a post about the meaning of the word friend. We tend to use the term so loosely and it has taken on an entirely new meaning in the world of social networking. It is evident to me now that true friendships can be formed with people that we have (and may possibly never) meet f2f. In fact, sometimes these bonds are even stronger than the ones we have with the people we work with everyday. Now that is a topic for another post!

Filed Under (Student Achievement, Web 2.0) by on July 28, 2008

In exactly three weeks I will experience my fifth “first day” of school. Usually I spend my summers taking grad classes and working on my house. By the middle of June I am usually on a first name basis with the employees at Home Depot, but this year was different. No major renovations this summer!

Back in the spring we doubled the size of our teaching staff so there are now four of us! We are launching a virtual school in the fall that, as of today, has an official name. The Nebraska Educational Virtual Academy will offer classes in math, science, social studies, and English. We have collectively put in well over 1000 hours learning Moodle and developing our classes. We are almost ready for school to begin.

This year feels different than past years. I am chomping at the bit to get back in the classroom, but that is only half of my job. I am now teaching two online classes and I am so excited to see how they go over. I have invested so much of myself in creating the classes. I have listened to suggestions from my PLC and I have implemented many of them. The biggest change my students will notice is that are no more traditional tests! I have decided to allow my students create projects based on the Nebraska Social Studies standards. Their projects will become part of a class wiki and eventually part of an electronic portfolio (a blog).

To say that I have gotten caught up in Web 2.0 would be an understatement. I have devoted countless hours to learning how to create wikis and manage my blog. A couple people from my PLC have graciously given me hours of their time to test out new tools and to teach me other important skills. I have focused so much on creating courses, that at times, I feel like I have lost sight of the most important aspect of my job—-my students!

Now that I am wrapping up the last few lessons I can once again focus on “my kids.” I ran into two students earlier this evening and it reminded me of how much I miss them. Many teachers dread going back to school in the fall, but I cannot wait! My favorite line from the Rookie is when Jimmy Morris is talking to Brooks in the locker room and he says “Guess what we get to do today? We get to go play baseball!” That is how I feel about teaching. It is something I look forward to everyday. If you have actually made it to the end of this post then I think it is safe to say you do, too.

Please share your most memorable “first day” experience with me. I’m also interested in knowing what is on your mind as we get closer to the start of school. What are you anticipating the most? What are you not looking forward to dealing with?

Filed Under (Communication, PLN, Web 2.0) by on July 13, 2008 and tagged , , ,

Since returning from NECC I have become addicted to reading blogs. I came across a post that Darren Draper wrote about a year ago called Why Every Teacher Should Blog. I could not have come across this post at a better time! I came back from NECC feeling like I could change the world. What I experienced at the conference took me by complete surprise. I went to the conference alone, but came back feeling like I was connected to people from around the world. I feel pretty isolated from the rest of the world in western Nebraska, but blogging has changed all of that. I have found that blogging allows me to communicate my thoughts and feelings to the rest of the world. I also believe blogging would open up channels of communication inside of my school that seem to be turned off at the moment. Blogs give colleagues a chance to catch up with each other when they cannot do it in person. Maintaining a blog does take a little bit of work, but isn’t it worth it? It you have ever worked in a school where communication was a problem then you already know the answer to that question.

There is a group in the Ning dedicated to keeping conversations going post-conference. I posted a questions that pertains to blogging earlier today.

I am facing an almost certain backlash from my coworkers. We are busy preparing our online classes so they are ready to launch in the fall. Since I got back from NECC I have been chomping at the bit to share some of what I learned. I picked the two things that I felt were the most important tools to pass along. I will try to find teaching moments throughout the year to share more of what I learned.

The above link is to a presentation I created using GoogleDocs. It is my first attempt at using anything in GoogleDocs so be easy on me if you do a critique! The presentation focuses on the importance of Ning’s and Diigo.