Using Cell Phones and Scan Codes in the Classroom: Intel Sponsored Webinar

Just a quick announcement that I will be running a Webinar as part of the Intel Education Community on December 1, 2010 5:00pm PDT/ 8:00pm EDT (click on the link to register.) Here’s the discription: Using Cell Phones and Scan Codes in the Classroom You’ve probably started seeing these scan codes popping up around your neighborhood, in stores, on packages, and in airports. If you haven’t then you will be seeing them soon. They’re called QR Codes or “Quick Reference” codes and they are taking the world by storm. Join Jeff Utecht and explore the possibilities of using QR Codes in the classroom and with the larger school community. Click the date below to register to attend. December 1, 2010 5:00pm PDT/ 8:00pm EDT Hopefully some of you can join me. We’ll have some fun…look at some sites and have a great discussion around how QR Codes can be using in the...

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What's Your Container?

What I love about presenting is how themes emerge within my presentations that I was never thinking about before the conference begins. But somewhere in the process of doing 6 presentations at the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference a theme in my sessions emerged. What is your container? We talked in many of my sessions about having a container to house all of your web “stuff”. What that contain looks like really doesn’t matter as long as: A. It works for youB. It allows EVERYTHING to be embeded When you create a “class container” think of it as not just a place to actually put stuff, but a place that allows you to pull in information from other parts of the web. It should allows you to the following: 1. Embed YouTube Videos2. Embed RSS Feeds3. Embed Slideshare Slides4. Anything else that has a standard embed code. Using the above criteria your container could be: 1. A Blog2. A Wiki3. A Ning4. A Moodle Course5. Netvibes.com6. Pageflakes.com7. Share your container in the comments All of these above containers work. Find the one that fits your needs and either is unblocked at your school or your school has adopted system wide and start creating your online classroom. At our school we’ve adopted two formats school wide. Our Elementary Teachers are using blogs and when you view them as a container you can see what I’m talking about. Here are a couple of good examples: Chrissy Hellyer’s 5th Grade Blog Robin Bulsza’s 5th Grade Blog Cheryl Terry’s 4th Grade Blog Mary Bellone’s 4th Grade Blog There are others, but I think these four when viewed as “Blogs as Containers” make the point clear. In our Middle School and High School we’re using Moodle. I can’t show you any examples as our Moodle Courses are password protected but within Moodle you can embed all of the above and put RSS feeds in the sidebars. A Moodle course can easily become your container. Once you view your class website as a container it allows you to think outside the walls of that container and ask yourself: What can I pull into my space to enhance the online learning landscape for my students? You don’t have to create it all….you just have to know/understand that you can pull things into your space to create a rich learning environment. The Netvibes page we are using with all...

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A Great Day in St. Louis

A big thank you to Elizabeth Helfant for inviting me into St. Louis for a chance to spend a day with the staff of Mary Institute Country Day School. I was the last in a string of one day workshops that Elizabeth put together for her staff. Being the last of the summer was nice as it allowed us to talk about how tools such as Google Earth, Blogs, and Wikis can be used in the classroom. We spent the first part of our time not talking about the tools but looking at examples of how they are being used in the classroom. We spent some time searching and exploring the Google Earth in Education section. Where teachers can download some amazing layers into Google Earth to teach with. From there we looked at some high school examples of how wikis and blogs are being used in different high school classrooms. We spent some time discussing Welker’s Wikinomics still one of my favorite class based wikis. What’s great is that Jason Welker freely shares his rubric for grading the wiki and his rules of conduct for students. Teachers appreciate seeing exactly what the student expectations are for such a site. From there we talked about WikiBooks.org and how teachers could use this site to not only study, but create the textbook of the future with students. I’ve yet to hear of a teacher actually doing this…but still feel it has some potential in the classroom. Next we looked at some examples of blogs. My two favorite student blogs Theory of Knowledge and Chemical Paradigms where perfect examples of just how introspective high school students can be. Teachers were shocked at how personal and in-depth some of the posts from students were. How they took pride in their work and how having an authentic audience engaged the students in meaningful ways. After spending the first half of the day discussing how these different tools might fit into their classes we took the second half of the day and just allow teachers to start and build their wiki or blog or play with Google Earth. The history department got together and laid out some ground work for a wiki they want to use this year. Others explored the use of Nings from previous presenters in the summer. In the end we just gave them time to work….the kind of time teachers...

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Brain Rules presentation and another summer read

Found this great presentation at Presentation Zen today. A blog that every educator should read. We are…at are core presenters and this blog keeps you honest. Check out this presentation made specifically for the web on a book called Brian Rules. After watching this I’ve added it to my summer book list. Tags: books,...

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Why Not take a risk?

We can not expect teachers to take a risk and try something new if we ourselves are not willing to try something new. I held a PD session for K-12 teachers after school today. It was one of 5 technology sessions we offered to teachers in what is known as TECH Wednesdays. Basically one Wednesday a month is set aside for tech PD. Today’s sessions included: Blogging: (Brought 15 more teachers online) Netvibes: Learn about Ginger and the new Universe function (Netvibes is the dominate RSS reader at our school) Photoshop: Basic photo munipulation (resize, crop, rotate, etc) Beginner Basics: For those who need just basic computer help at a beginner level Why Not?: My session which focused on the question Why (BYOL=Bring Your Own Laptop session). Not only did I want to try and help teachers understand why we need to be using technology to teach but I also wanted to demonstarte how one of these tools could be used in a classroom setting. If I was asking my teachers to take a risk in their own classroom, then I felt I needed to show that I too was willing to take a risk with my presentation and push myself to try something new. So, I set up a chat room using chatzy.com. As people filed into my session I had them open their laptops and helped them to log into the private chat room. I was taking a risk on a couple of different levels. I had never used chatzy.com before and was praying that it was stable enough and easy enough for teachers to be able to figure out with little instruction. I was worried that our wireless access point would not deal with more than 20 laptops in the room. So earilier in the day I asked the IT department to install two other access points…praying we could make it work. We are in China…and there is always the “China Factor” that you need to worry about. Would the teachers take the chat room seriously or would it, like it could with students if not structured correctly, become a place to play rather than to think deep? And of course…just in case something failed I brought chocolate! Teachers, after a long day of teaching, will forgive you when you fail if you have chocolate….I always have chocolate. 🙂 I began the session by explaining that...

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