Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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As our first Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy program (COETAIL) draws to a close here at ISB educators are starting to put the finishing touches on their projects for the 5th and final course. They’ve been working all semester on putting into practice what we’ve been learning about the first 4 courses. They have been paired with a mentor (Kim, Dennis, and I) to help them create a unit or lesson to use in their classroom. We then schedule a time to go in and observer them using this rubric that the three of us created (worth checking out) based on the enduring understanding of all of the courses.

Some of these projects have just blown me away. Take this Multi Cultural Games Wiki created by two of our PE teachers who have taken the course Andy and Kerry (check out their blogs to see how they’re using cell phones in PE Class as well). Students are outlining, filming and sharing cultural games from around the world….and Andy and Kerry invite your students to do the same and add to the wiki. They do a fantastic job of outlining for other educators the idea behind the wiki and how to get started in this youtube video.

These are two PE teachers to follow and pass on to your own PE Department. Andy next year will be moving into the Athletic Directors role and with me moving to the High School next year, we’re already talking about ways to use technology even more to enhance our physical education program.

Next up is a very tech savvy 1st Grade teacher who is finding ways to use the technology in his room to help teach a life cycles unit in science. Vu was one of the first teachers I connected with moving here to ISB a year ago and he continues to find ways to use technology with his 1st graders. Using technology in the early primary grades is where I struggle most in my own understanding. Vu’s been a great resource for me to go to, bounce ideas off of, and someone who is willing to explore crazy ideas on new uses of technology in the classroom. He’s created a blog for their life cycles unit here, and has found ways to take some amazing pictures with the document camera and digital microscope in his class. His students are now all working on VoiceThreads and should have those posted soon. He’s currently looking to connect with other classes around the world on this project. You can find the details here, and if you’d like to be a part of this or know a primary teacher who might be interested please contact him. Check out this Cotton Stainer rolling over…1st graders love this stuff!

I’ll be sharing more projects in the coming weeks as these “students” finish up their projects.

The COETAIL program has been a huge success at our school with about 50 teachers completing the 5 course 15 graduate credit certificate program. We’ve already started the next cohort which has 20 teachers signed up. The model that we’ve created here is starting to spread as well. Taipei American School will be starting their first cohort next fall and Kim and I are working with SUNY and EARCOS to find away to try and offer the program online (more info coming soon!).

In the end this program is changing the pedagogy at our school in small but noticeable ways. 50 teachers with a deeper understanding of both the technology and the pedagogy behind it are now looking for new and innovative ways to use these tools in their classroom.

They just keep blowing me away. I posted about this last week. About how this Freeware Flash game has taken over the Middle School. I gave my little game playing zombies a deadline. Saying I wanted to see the game on TeenTek by Friday night. Well, at 6:00 last night the game was posted. Here is what they had to say about it.

That’s right, TeenTek.com is bringing you games! Starting from now on we will be hosting game downloads for freeware games and even some of our own! First up:

 The N Game!

N Ninja 3D Representation 

The N Game is an AWESOME 2D platform flash game that Metanet Software has created. We’re hosting downloads for the latest version (1.4) at TeenTek.com, so just click on the links to get the game, cheat codes, and user levels! Our very own h4x has created his own N Game level. If you don’t have the game yet, download from the “N Ninja Complete Set” link. If you already have the N Game on your computer, you should download userlevels.txt from the “Userlevels” link and replace your old file with it, in order to play h4x’s level. (All the default user levels will stay. If you added any extra levels to the text file, copy them and paste them into the new file.)

OK, so I’m trying to follow these directions to give this game a go. I’ve seen some of the levels they created and there are some pretty cool looking ones. One level is actually the word TeenTek.

I had two teachers come to me this week to ask me if it was OK that the students were playing the game. Apparently the students where going to the after school homework help sessions and working on the game collaboratively there.

Also this week we got our Google Adsense working on the site. As of this post they’ve made $1.01. Every class period now they ask me how much they’ve made. What a great way to motivate students. Again, the goal was set at our first meeting to have enough money to fund our own pizza party.

We had a great discussion about the ads on Thursday. We were talking about clicking on our own ads or calling  your friends and telling them to click on them. It was an amazing discussion, we were talking ethics, and values without using the words. I watched as the conversation went on and as we started talking about how cool it would be to just have people click on the ads because they wanted to, and how do you do that? You write good stuff that makes people want to come to your site. Sure, we could probably get enough money if we told people to click, but what if we made enough money just because we had a really cool site? As the conversation turned to one of pride of ownership the talking quieted down and the production really started. It was the best day of class so far. kids running around figuring out the details of the game, three kids proof reading each others posts for errors. Two students discussing a movie trailer they were watching on YouTube. I sat in the corner and just watched, completely hands off as 22 6th,7th, and 8th graders completely self motivated worked on creating good solid content for their site.

Is there power in this social network? Without a doubt. Allowing students to be creators and contributers to society is what motivates them. We just have to give them the freedom and the guidance to do it.

[tags]teentek, games[/tags]

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