Friday, February 26, 2010

Free Tech Tools

A mad dash to the main theater after the poster session I wanted to see was a no-show, here to see a session on free technology tools led by Rushton Hurley “teacher, trainer, nonprofit guy” & Google Certified,-- and once again I'm in a packed PACKED room! Already the presenter is much more dynamic than the keynote, which is great- I need a wake-up! Ugh…network issues again…back to typing on word. Here are my notes on this presentation:

·         The key to technology is “you gotta play with it.”

·         Five minutes into this session he already has us laughing and joking- awesome!

·         Words and finding them

o (I’ve used this before- OME, it’s crazy.)

o   Google page- advance search, click on different types of files- search for powerspoints, pdfs, etc.

o   Don’t have kids create powerpoints- have them find them, evaluate them and choose the best and what they would do to change it.- FREAKING AWESOME IDEA!

o   Google books- get free books, add your own library to keep track of your books, some kids will do better by reading them online!

o   Google scholar has cited by link, related articles.

o   Google Docs- things you can do with your excel, he showed a cool example of adding countries to the spreadsheet; with fruits it will pull up chocolate too because it thinks it’s flavor.

o   Always ask “Kids we just pulled this information off the internet, how will be evaluate it?”

o   He has choose their own homework assignment each week (have guidelines for the kids) add it to google forms.

o very edu friendly- if you request to take the ads off they will for education.

o   Google sites- google’s version of a wiki- add free

o   Look up self-grading quizzes on youtube

o   Tag galaxy- search for flickr photos (don’t do photo searches in front of the kids)

o   Flickr-

o   Google maps- my maps, still excellent if you can’t use earth.

o   Jamendo- everything is creative commons licensed, music sharing sites.

o   Zamzar, use to convert files, show you ads, but it’s free! You can convert a url to a pdf, video download, etc.

o   Google sketch-up, 3-D modeling program, dot changes to blue to find the midpoint, showed an example of creating a house, add shadows, download sketch-ups that others have made.

o   Always ask- is it accurate and how do we know?

o showed example of student made video on scouting, awesome.

o   “THIS STUFF MATTERS.” Kids love to see each others’ projects.

o is his nonprofit website.

o   Check out the website- more tools available.

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Streamlining Teaching Processes

The beautiful New Orleans Ballroom is the site of the last breakout session I’ll be attending at ICE. A full house to see “Streamline Your Teaching Processes” led by presenter Daniel Rezac, yet another Google Certified teacher here at ICE. Here are my notes on this presentation for using Google Aps:

·         Use your google docs/spreadsheet to create a table where students walk in and add their name to the a seating chart.

·         I’m thinking you can do an easy attendance everyday using google forms

·         Lesson planning using the google presentation- add your lesson plan info, standards, etc. to your powerpoint, you can print out the notes to give to your principal, add extra information or differentiated learning into the powerpoint for students to reference individually.

·         Google calendars can be embedded right into teacher sites.

This is a good presentation, but at this point I’m not hearing anything new to me so I’m going to dash!

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Keynote Robert Marzano

Weird. I’m sitting in a huge conference room, in the back, standing room only, to watch renowned education leader Dr. Robert J. Marzano, author of Classroom Strategies That Work. I can’t actually see him through the sea of people so I’m watching him on Ustream (on mute), as I’m listening to him live. This is truly a tech conference! Here are my notes from this presentation:

·         In one of his research groups he cited a 17% educational gain by using technology in the classroom vs. the non tech classroom.

·         Sharing research/data about how much better students do with technology. I’m not sure if I’m just tired, or not in the mood for a data talk but I’m not really “feeling” this presentation.

Note: Okay, I always feel rude leaving a presentation, especially with such a great speaker...but I'm just not able to focus right now on the data talk.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creating a Digital Sub

One section of Pheasant Run Resort has conference rooms with “gem” names. I’m not in Ruby attending a session I’ve been anxious to hear since the schedule came out “Creating a Digital Substitute.” The session, presented by Chris Wherley, Williamsville CUSD #15, started off with an adorable video of his children (why you need a digital sub!). Here are my notes:

·         Sub days, let’s face it, are a wasted day. Creating a digital sub would be a great way to utilize time better.

·         Showed several videos of his kids, cute but not necessary to see several of them.

·         PLN: plurk, diigo,,,, google reader

·         Time is short very in a 45m. presentation, first time presenters  are nervous and tend to spend too much time on intros.

·         I would have liked to started off with a video of a classroom utilizing a digital sub.

o   When *I* think of using a digital sub, I think of Skype, podcast, youtube video

·         Video Resources

o   Moviemaker (

o   FlipVideo (I sooo want one of these.)

o   Webcam

o   Digital Camera



o (several people doing that here at the conference)

o   Learn 360 or Discovery Education


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Plain Language Needed: Understanding PLN

My third breakout session of the day, and finally a bit of breathing room! I’m plugged in and so far the network is backed up (having a bit of tech issues here….) This presentation, Plain Language Needed: Understanding PLN focuses on getting your personal learning network up and running! Here are my notes:

Stephanie Madlinger @cyberteacher- St. Louis, Mo

Cindy Lane @clane

These two women (both google certified teachers) are inspirations to me- I’d love to follow similar career paths. is an alternative to Skype.

Chris Brogan (blogging guru) states that information much be: dynamic, localized, atomized, relevant, etc.)

PLN is Personal Learning Network (sometimes referred to as Professional Learning Network)

·         Created by user (what about pre-creating or twitter lists?)

·         Virtual community, common interests, open membership or closed (depending), they will help you but you will probably never meet.

·         Interesting visuals about how network will grow.


·         600 tweets per second!

·         Tweetups, Twibes & Twubs

·         You have to reply to people, RT, and engage with people- not just sharing your own stuff.

·         It’s not taken personally if don’t follow, unfollow, or follow people.

·         Stephanie tries to keep her following to 300-400 people.

·         Follow RT ettiquite- it is a way of “siting your sources” and an untold rule of curisy




·         private sites, like your own community FaceBook

·         thousands of Nings, like the ICE conference Ning.


·         check out the website,


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Google Lit Trips

Yes, this is my 3rd time being at ICE, and yes, I still managed to get lost in this building! I'm here (with a bit walking through walls) in Salon II very excited to be listening to Google Lit Trips presented by Jerome Burg, all the way here from CA. I've communicated with Jerome briefly on email before and I'm thrilled to see him present on this project. Here are my notes on this inspired speaker:

  • Jerome mentioned that even though he is retired he can't get away from education. That is a true teacher!
  •, mixing the passion of  17th century literature with 21st century skills.
  • "Not On The Test" by John Forster & Tom Chapin- hilarious song about not teaching anything that isn't tested.
  • We need thinkers, researchers, creators- not regurgitation of information.
  • If we want to be better teachers we need to think about makes a better learner.
  • Buying a Tiger Woods golf club will not make you Tiger Woods; tech is just a tool- it's the learning involved in the technology that is useful!
  • China is only 2 seconds away on a telephone. We need to collaborate with them. It is 1 world, America isn't at the center anymore.
  • Lit Trips is geography, literature, cross-curricular.
  • Takes a travel story and adds it to google earth.
  • Examples: Grapes of Wrath, night, The Odyssey, Big Anthony, Possum Magic
  • Each stop has pictures, questions.
  • Tip- find a picture of what you want and then set the view to match the picture.
  • Use the 3D button as necessary for the story you are trying to tell.
  • This is just an incredible way to give students background knowledge of the journey through books and connect literature to real life.
  • Remember: It’s not the technology that makes things happen- it’s the teacher’s vision using that technology that makes a difference.
  • We want to produce people that can think for themselves.
  • We have to move on from what is our comfort zone and what we’ve always taught, we have to get out of traditional mode.
  • It makes me think of Mary Poppins where they jump into the pictures and go to the carnival; we can actually have kids virtually jump into the story.
  • I want to do this- but can’t help but think, “When do I have time?!”


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MP3 Players in the Classroom

Now I'm sitting (literally- on the floor, it's crowded!) in Broadway C with presenters Michael Jones and Zack Gilbert to listen to their presentation on MP3 use in the classroom. It's no surprise that this small piece of technology is the most widely available piece of technology we all have access to. Here are my notes on the presentation:

  • Jigsaw media
  • Podcast reviews
  • Presenter from Bloomington Junior High School- mentioned one of my favorite techies- @mochagirl and how awesome she is.
  • Always preview content, labeled “clean” doesn’t mean appropriate.
  • They used for their presentation.
  • Creating content- speeches, podcast, service projects
  • Excellent handouts- it’s a book!
  • They use audacity or garageband
  • Voice digital recorders that plug into USB- monaural- have to record in stereo to hear out of both speakers.
  • In their district of almost 55% low income, 95% of his kids have an mp3 player of some kind.
  • More kids have access to this over cell phones- it’s the number one piece of technology that we have access to- can create a paperless classroom.
  • Wow! They created their own audio tours, uploaded it to itunes and now the community can download it! What a great REAL-learning project!
  •  grammargirl- I've listened to her podcasts before, great!
  • Lit 2 go

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Illinois Computing Educator's Conference 2010- Here we go!

After battling a scary snow storm last night we are here in St. Charles, Illinois at the 2010 Illinois Computing Educator's Conference! A sugary donut and a cup of tea later, I'm sitting here in the keynote presentation listening to Mario Armstrong (Armstrong Media), a media personality and inspiration to educational technology. Here are my notes from his presentation "Classrooms of the Future":


  • Seoul, Korea has the fasted internet speed?
  • Urban Video Game Acaedmy- he started this, students build video games through the knowledge of science and technology- cool!
  • Tech, Tech, Boom!
  • problem solving should be the emphasis of education
  • we need to have digitally literate students
  • Check out
  • "We need a national broadband policy." ~Absolutely!
  • Suggestions for using Skype in the classroom:

    ·         2nd grade interviewd bat expert

    ·         Develop a well defined objective


  • Many of his examples for educational tech are with elementary students, we need to stop thinking that little tykes can't handle it!
  • mobile is cheap and accessible, why aren't we using it more?!
  • we need to work in baby steps; this is hard to do when we we are so excited but feel thwarted when we are told we can't.
  • check out Zero G flights Northrop Grumman Foundation- I remember hearing about this, space and Kelly don't mix!
  • keep blogs updated :) (I need to do better on that!)
  • "The difference between having an audience and having a community is which way you face the chairs" ~@cbragron
  • This presentation is being streamed with Ustream- I need to check this out.
  • Skype is such an easy way to add tech to the one computer classroom- I'm wondering if our school has web cameras in the tech center we can check out.
  • "Be on demand.", students should be "drinking out of the firehouse....make sure your water is in the hose....." nice analogy.
  • check out livescribe- pen that's a computer.
  • unbelievable classroom: Chesapeake High School in Baltimore- augmented reality and virtual learning environments.
  • accelaglove, translating sign language to actual speech- whoa!
  • his final thought- how can school's implement a similar idea like Google's 20% rule? Amazing things have come out of that rule- so how can we have our own google time? good question......

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