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

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necc07

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Ever wonder what your aggregator would look like in person?


Now you know. πŸ™‚

This picture pretty much sums up the edubloggercon today. What a great way to start the conference! So much to think about that my head hurts…of course the 3 hours of sleep on the red eye last night might have something to do with that as well.

Some great conversations were started today that I think you’ll be hearing more about in the blogosphere. David Walick led a great discussion on the Future of Schools.

We really got deep into what makes a community led by Sheryl. This is a topic I’m looking forward to thinking about. I think there is great power in Virtual Learning Communities within our schools. Both from a student end and a teacher end. How do we continue to push forward? What defines a VLC and how do you start and sustain one within your school? All questions I’ll be pondering over the next couple days.

It was an amazing day to be able to meet some of the people I Skype with, chat with, and interact with while thousands of miles apart right in front of me….it’s just so cool. The best part is…I have four more days to interact, converse, and get to know these people in person…and that’s what I’m looking forward to!

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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What’s involved in a Virtual Learning Communities?

Conversations

A central Hub for students a “Jumping off point”

What makes a community?
-Shared Values

A virtual settlement?

What does a successful community look like?

-Communication
-Welcoming
-Gotta be two way

How do you engage people in a learning community?

What is trust? How do you build trust? Who do you trust?

Is how we perceive trust  different than how our students perceive trust? How do you decide who makes your IM friend? Who makes your SL friend list? How do you trust them…do you trust them…how do you know them?

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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David Warlick hosting:

Introductions

Conversation around getting pre-service teachers on board and changing teacher prep programs.

Conversation on what SHOULD schools look like today: Schools, Teachers, Students

Long Tail eduction (more on this later): A Doug Johnson thought.

“The tools don’t change the skills.”

Great conversation….look for the podcasts.

Tools are accessible, a shift of thought needed.

Conversation around assessment.

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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Live notes from EduBloggerCon Second Life Session:

Signed up two new SL members!

Introductions and talking about how we all got hooked on SL. Great stories on how people got here, what they are doing.

Interesting how different people started using SL. Some followed others, some have been in for years and have just now re-started using it. Others (like me) are just trying to figure it out. πŸ™‚

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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Check list:

NECC Planner synced with Google Calendar synced with Palm Desktop synced with Palm: CHECK!

Batteries for camera charged: CHECK!

Laptop charged, polished up, and ready for heavy blogging: CHECK!

Ready to be geeky for 5 day: CHECK!

Looks like I’m ready to go…only problem is I’m still sitting at the airport where my red eye has been delayed 1 1/2 hours until 12:55am. Which means I won’t hit Atlanta until 8:30am. Guess that means I’ll be taking my suitcase with me to EduBloggerCon.

So here I sit catching up on some blog reading. I’ve been pretty disconnected since hitting the states. Spending time with friends and family has taken priority. It was easier than usual knowing that I would have 5 solid days of connectiveness once I got to Atlanta. Now being delayed and getting me to EduBloggerCon late has me a little frustrated. Of course a perfect flight plan never works out..there has to be a hitch somewhere.

So if you’re looking for me at EduBloggerCon, I’ll be the one coming in late, with matted airplane hair and rolling a suitcase. πŸ™‚

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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NECC has set up their bloggers page, a great list of people blogging the conference. If you’re not on the list, no worries (I wasn’t last year) you can still blog. Just make sure you tag your posts with necc, necc07, necc2007.

NECC has also done something else cool this year. They have given each session its own tag, so you can follow the conversations from a specific session you attended. Check out the online programs page where you can find the tag for each session. On the details page of each session there will be a Technorati link that will show all the blog posts for that session. NECC has done some great work around using blogs to extend this conference.

One other tag you might want to add is the presenters name. Now if we could only all agree how this tag would work. Do we tag it jeffutecht or jeff utecht (do capitals matter?). Maybe this is something we can discuss at the edubloggercon….you are going right?

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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Just an FYI if you are a big Google Calendar user like I am. You can create your NECC schedule using the conference planner that NECC provides on their site. You can then click on Handheld Users and export your planner to your computer.

Then:

1. At the top of the calendar list on the left, click the “Add” down-arrow button and select “Import Calendar.”
2. Click “Browse” and choose the file that contains your events, then click “Open.”
3. Select the Google Calendar where you’d like to import events, then click on “Import.”

Pretty slick! I then sync my google calendar with my Palm T5 using CompanionLink for Google Calendar. Now I have my NECC schedule on my Palm which is much easier to carry in the hallways when I need to know where to go next. πŸ™‚

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My last full day in Shanghai before flying out tomorrow to Seattle. It’s also the first day of summer vacation, so as I try and wind down from school and gear up for the projects ahead of me this summer I opened up my RSS reader to catch up on some reading. When I clicked on Warlick’s A Magnetic Field of National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) post, I knew I’d better set aside some deep thinking time for this one.

I was right!

The post itself is excellent as conversations about the NETS Refreshed are starting to take hold as we draw closer to NECC.

I’ve read over the standards a couple of times, and after reading Warlick’s post and the comments that followed I’m still asking myself do we need technology standards?

I asked this question at the beginning of the year. The comments left back then were great and throughout this year I have returned to this question wondering if we are on the right track with technology standards.

Warlick in his post…and often…refers to this new literacy we need to be teaching. Warlick even shows in his slideshare slides how the new NETS fit into reading, writing, and arithmetic. If these new standards embed themselves so well into our core content areas isn’t that where they should be?

What we’re talking about here is a focus on skills. That there is a new skill set that needs to be taught, but cannot (in my opinion) be taught in labs separate from the core curriculum that is being taught each and every day in the classroom.

I think David Jakes’ list of these skills is as good as any:

Be able to connnect
Be able to create
Be able to communicate
Be able to coollaborate

A skill according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

2 a : the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance b : dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks
3 : a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability skills>

We know that David is talking about skills because he starts each one with “Be able to” which tells us we want students to gain/use their knowledge to demonstrate to us as teachers that they can do something.
There are two things I really like about the NETS Refreshed. 1) They focus on Information and 2) They focus on skills not content.

What if we wrote the standards in skill form:

Students will:

Be able to create and innovate
Be able to communicate and collaborate
Be able to research and demonstrate information fluency
Be able to think critically
Be able to solve problems
Be able to make-decisions based on data
Be able to demonstrate responsibility

What if we look at the standards as a skill set that is completely removed from technology and just as skills we want students to have as they move through our school system?

The problem with this I guess is what Jeffrey Branzburg brings up in his comment on Warlick’s post.

Most of the teachers I’ve worked with are still, in this day and age, very technologically hesitant.

And in that one sentence I think Jeffrey sums it up. Will there ever be a day when we can have skills run our classrooms instead of content? When being able to do something is more important than knowing a specific piece of knowledge? With information changing so rapidly and continuing to accelerate is there ever going to be a point when the education system realizes that by focusing on content we teach students the past, but by focusing on skills we prepare them for the future?

I know core classroom teachers like Darren Kuropatwa, Clarence Fisher, Chris Craft, Mark Ahlness, and probably everyone else reading this would look at these skills above and think technology, use technology to meet them and teach them, but would the average teacher?

I guess the problem is I look at these Standards as skills that students need to have in order to be successful in the 21st Century. They are not related solely to technology, although technology is the reason why these skills need to be taught. These are lifelong skills that every child from Kindergarten through 12th grade should be learning and using.

I understand we have technology standards because we need something to wrap our head around, we need a focal point to start with, but do we really need technology standards? Or are standards part of an old system that wants us to focus on content, and what we really need is a core set of skills that every child when they graduate from high school should be able to do and demonstrate?

I know there is going to be a lot of conversation around this at NECC and probably in the coming months as schools look to adopt the new Standards and figure out how they fit into this system we call education. But as Jakes put it, maybe we’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and standards are no longer what we need. Maybe we need something new, something dynamic and ever changing like information itself. How do you create a target in a time of rapid change? How do we teach 21st Century Skills in a system built for the 20th Century? And how do we bring everyone along at the same time?

Enough thinking for my first day of vacation. πŸ˜‰

(I would have added a picture but flickr is blocked here in China. Another reason I’m looking forward to the flight to the States tomorrow!)

[tags]necc07[/tags]

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With a week to go until we fly back to the States for the summer, NECC is coming ever closer. Thought I’d post what I’m thinking about at this stage. Of course all this can change, and as you can see there are some overlaps. Either way some great sessions I’m looking at attending.

Sunday, June 24

5:45-7:00pm Opening Keynote
Location: GWCC Murphy Ballroom

Monday, June 25

8:30-9:30am ! Building An Educational Portal: A Single Stop for Learning Resources
Location: GWCC B204

8:30-9:30am ! A Computer on Every Desk? Now What?
Location: GWCC B207

8:30-9:00am ! Sliding Across the Curriculum: Bringing Baseball Education to Students Electronically
Location: GWCC B311

11:00am-12:00pm Anywhere, Anytime: Using Mobile Phones for Learning
Location: GWCC B301

12:30-1:30pm A Reflective Look at Online Professional Development
Location: GWCC B217

2:00-3:00pm Applets to Zeta: Making Math More than Fun
Location: GWCC B215

3:30-4:30pm Classrooms and Libraries for the Net Generation
Location: GWCC B212

Tuesday, June 26
8:30-9:45am Tuesday Keynote Panel
Location: GWCC Murphy Ballroom

2:00-3:00pm Amazing Animation: 3-D Graphics in the Classroom
Location: GWCC B217

3:30-4:30pm Constructivist Teaching with Technology: Learning with Laptops
Location: GWCC B208

Wednesday, June 27

8:30-9:30am Digital Game-based Learning in American History
Location: GWCC B301

1:30-2:30pm 3, 2, 1…: Rolling into Broadcasting
Location: GWCC B211

2:45-4:00pm Closing Keynote
Location: GWCC Murphy Ballroom

[tags]necc2007, necc07[/tags]

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