Sunday, January 31, 2010

White Rabbit ... I'm late

I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

I have just too many things on the go and this week I go back to work full time until I leave for Australia in 5 weeks. The rest of this post will be in point form so bear with me. The computer is uploading a video assignment to YouTube so I can post it in the Video Production (511) course screening room, downloading the Disney version of the White Rabbit's song so I can add it here, and opening an Elluminate session at Educon2.2. I wonder if my poor machine can handle the cognitive load? (Links to the sessions are supposed to be archived on the conversation page, but when ? A session by session Tweet archive is already together.)

So what am I working on this week?

a) finishing off the first video assignment which was due last week (Wilkes weeks run from Saturday to Friday). I managed to buy the only camcorder in the world that does not compress in a format which my editing program of choice (Adobe Premier Elements) can make use of. It's MPEG-4 files just get garbled in the timeline, and it took me a full day of reading and phoning to finally figure out that I had to buy Quicktime Pro (fortunately not too pricey), save all the clips as .mov files and then they will work beautifully.

b) I'm trying to work out the compression needed to get the file size below 40mb. I'm at 43 and each time I lower the quality or change the frames per second, the video becomes more and more pixely.

c) Listened to a collection of wonderful speakers at Educon2.2. Session 1 was a bust because they didn't have the technology working until later in the morning, but by Session 2 one it was much improved. Students at the host school did all the video, sound, and moderating work for us online participants. Mithun was the best moderator. I'm convinced the Elluminate people should hire him.

By session 6 I had to stop. It's a lot of work to try to listen to a session and chat in the backchannel of an Elluminate room at the same time. My CPU now needs sleep and time to unwind everything. What was very ironic is that I had to "tele-travel" via Elluminate to Educaon on Philly to meet up with a lot of Canadians -- some as close to home as 40km. We're now talking about the possibility of a Caneducon and I will see if I can make my way to ECOO (Ontario) in the fall.

d) taking a free online Drexel worhshop in Algebraic thinking . I haven't dedicated enough time to work on it much yet, but there's always tomorrow night.

e) doing the publicity for the Wilkes/Credenda Elluminate event on Feb. 16 with Dan Pink. He'll be taking about his new book "Drive". It's about motivation -- so is a timely topic after what I viewed at Educon. (Will post the links when this is ready).

f) preparing to host a 1 week math event from here in BC using Moodle which I have not tried before. For details go to -- I have to add my material to the moodle and send out some updates.

Biggest questions answered this weekend: What are Twitter hashtags for? What is backchanneling?
Best workshop I saw at Educon: Field Guide for Change Agents
Most interesting ideas: use a backchannel as students watch a video together in class to gather comments and questions; how to create a collaborative Google slide presentation as part of a workshop (Others to come -- see the intro above).
Most fun: met two Australian women who will be at ACEC 2010 when I'm presenting there in the spring.

Meanwhile here's my shot reel for the Wilkes course. I'm not sure I got the contract dolly shot right, but it was fun getting my husband to help me with my homework. (If you're taking this course, let your family and friends know they'll be pressed into helping out. You'll need performers. My brother is an actor. Maybe I can get his help for the last piece. If I go over and shoot it in the middle of the month, I'll be able to do the editing on the plane on my way south. My last week of 511 will be handled from down under. Must remember to order the books for the next one so I can take them with me. )

What I learned today: if you find my video slow to load, view it on Youtube and click the 4th box from the right below the video and change the setting from 360p to 480p. It will stop all the spooling and the video will play smoothly. Who knew?!!? I have no idea what that stands for but it's nice to know what it does.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Educon 2.2

[Note: there are several videos in this post. If you can't see them in Firefox, try again in Internet Explorer.]

There's a wonderful conference in Pennsylvania next weekend (Jan 29-31) They called Educon 2.2. Attending in person is $175, but attending digitally is FREE. They are going to stream the sessions using Elluminate. There will be a link on each session which will take you right to the live stream from the presentation. If you want to use the mike for questions, a USB set up is best as it minimizes feedback, but you can also use the chat function of the program.

What is Educon?

EduCon 2.2 is both a conversation and a conference.

It is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

The Axioms

Guiding Principles of EduCon 2.2

  1. Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
  2. Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students -- the 21st Century Citizen
  3. Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around
  4. Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
  5. Learning can — and must — be networked
Let me give you a short list of some of the world class speakers who will be leading "conversations" about education and learning there: Gary Stager, Will Richardson, Sylvia Martinez, Alec Couros and Dean Shareski. There are 75 sessions to choose from!

You can register from the website ( and also join into the wiki.

Attending Digitally

  1. Join the EduCon website and post a short bio and photo
  2. Browse the Detailed Schedule and read about the conversation offerings, sketch out which sessions you would like to view. (all posted times are EST)
  3. Follow the streamed elluminate sessions by going to the EduCon session description and click on the Stream Here link.
  4. Follow the twitter hashtag #educon
  5. Post questions, offer links and resources, from the comfort of your own living room, all throughout the weekend.

The videos I have included are educators' pre-conference thoughts and responses to a question posed by Ben Wilkoff: What is your innovation in education? and Why does it matter? I'm getting a sense of what my answer would be but I want to throw out the challenge to others to collect your thoughts and either video, podcast, or Powerpoint your answers. Please share the links in the comment section of this blog and I'll be sure they are featured in upcoming posts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Technology Integration Matrix

Technology integration is what the Instructional Media program is all about, but until today I hadn't seen such a succinct organizer for understanding how to go about this. This table (click on it for a full sized view) maps uses students make of technology for learning vs ways teachers incorporate technology into their learning activities.

Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida (2009)

I think one important bit of advice here is to resist the urge to feel we are somehow short-changing students if we are not always operating at the far right of the table which corresponds in some ways to the higher orders of thinking and learning in Bloom's taxonony. Personally, I don't see this table as presenting a progression of goals from less to more valid or more ideal, but rather as a patchwork quilt of possibilities. I expect that in the classroom of the future, students will engage in all of these uses of technology at some time and that at any one time an observer will see many different levels of engagement with technology occurring.

If you go to the Technology Integration Matrix website, you'll find an interactive version of the table with links to videos and suggestions for teachers in classrooms with different levels of computer access. Each video shows an example of a classroom application, the NETS standards, and links to any websites or software illustrated in the video. The software selections I looked at were not free, however, so were not really useful to me as we have no budget and can't download!

The link under the table (to the Florida Center for Instructional Technology) is much more promising in terms of providing free and ready-made resources. Under the Starting Points (menu on the left) I checked out what they had posted for Math teachers. There are links to downloadable clipart, presentation backgrounds , themes and templates, podcasts (free from iTunes), and other applications using laptops. Although the laptop suggestions seem to be mostly for Macs, there is lots of PC software that will give similar results and the ideas are good even if you don't have a computer for every child.

If your district, state or province has a similar website with great resources and links, please share it here through a comment. Sometimes I feel like we teachers often go madly off in all directions looking for interesting stuff when a lot of the groundwork has already been done.