Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Barry Bonds hits 754.....

I am slowly getting over my jet lag....although my head did hit my computer keyboard a couple of times today.

On Saturday after all the Adobe Education Leadership Institute I was able to get to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. The AT & T stadium was sold out with over 42,000 fans in attendance.

What a great stadium.....Barry Bonds was up to bat 4 times and his first time up to bat he hit a home run....number 754. The place went absolutely nuts! Unfortunately the next 3 times up to bat he was walked by the pitcher. This stadium and the Giant fans definitely have character. Every time the opposing team hits a home run....if the fans catch the ball in the stands they throw it back onto the field! They have also started counting every time a pitcher intentionally walks Barry Bonds and they hang a rubber chicken on the brick wall of the field.....hilarious.

Oh did I mention we were in the 8th row....down the 3rd baseline just before home plate! The Giants warmed up right in front of us....

A great way to end an amazing 3 weeks of travel throughout the USA....by going to an all America baseball game!

(above: KNBR - 680 Radio station)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Last day....Adobe Education Leadership Camp....San Francisco

Well, another successful Adobe Education Leadership Camp is now wrapping up.

Another key member of the K-12 Adobe Education team is Anuja Dharkar (Curriculum Strategy Manager for Adobe). Anuja has spearheaded the new Adobe Career Curriculum and the new certification qualifications for K-12 and High Ed. Thank you Anuja for all the great work you have done!

Last night we went on a cruise around San Francisco on the San Francisco Spirit....even though it was as cold as a New Zealand winter, foggy and wet....we all had a fabulous time and no one cared about the weather! Great wrap-up of a great week.

Many weary faces this morning after he cruise, socializing and "karaoke" - there is video if anyone is interested :)

We all hopped on the bus from the hotel to Adobe Headquarters....had a great breakfast and then a presentation from Adobe Youth Voices.....Miguel Salinas.

Adobe Youth Voices is global philanthropic initiative to empower youth in underserved communities. Sponsored by Adobe, it was launched last year. The program "gives youth the opportunity to express themselves and make positive contributions to their communities."

The final presentation was by AEL Ian Usher (E-Learning Co-ordinator, Buckinghamshire County Council). Ian talked about how his teachers/schools are looking at digital literacy. The problem they are dealing with is how traditional assessment fits with digital literacy. My question is....have the assessment norms caught up with what the kids are/wanting/needing to learn?

Summary.....3 weeks on the road.

I have been on the road for 3 weeks....from Provo, Utah (a member of the writing team for the new Adobe Certification exams for K-12, Higher Ed.), Boston for the Building Learning Communities conference and then in San Francisco for the Adobe Education Leadership Camp....it has been a brain exhausting but exhilarating couple of weeks.

What came out of this mornings discussion is something that has been coming out of many of my discussions over the last couple of weeks....understanding digital literacy as a valuable teaching strategy is still a challenge, not only for the AYV program but teachers in the classroom worldwide.

Talking to my colleagues during these 3 weeks I know how digital literacy has had a positive impact on students and teachers from around the world. I have heard story after story of what digital literacy has done within programs for students and teachers.

As Martha Stewart would say...."its a good thing!"

A great week....thanks to Adobe and my AEL colleagues....you are an inspiration and a whole heck of fun all in one package!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 3 - Adobe Education Leadership Camp

Day 3 and surprisingly everyone is looking pretty "chipper" this morning :)

The Adobe K-12 Team are an amazing group of people!

Megan Stewart (Director of Worldwide Education K-12)

What can be said....without her support and guidance the AEL program would not exist!

Johann Zimmern (K-12 Marketing Director for the U.S. ) seems to never sleep! Whether you are from New Zealand or from Singapore...Johann is always there to let you know what is going on and when.

Lisa Ferguson, Jack Podell and Lisa Deakes are a part of the K-12 team that support the AELs and keep us together during the AEL Camp and the year.

After a great day of training yesterday we walked back to the hotel and then back to Adobe Central in the buses . We all divided up for round-table sessions with the various product teams. I went to the Production Premiere team (Premiere, Premiere Elements, AfterEffects, OnLocation, SoundBooth, Audition, etc...). This was an opportunity for AELs to talk to the production teams about requests for the next versions and feedback on products. Very exciting things coming up with new versions....but I would have to shoot you if I told you :)

One of our AELs celebrated a birthday this morning at breakfast....Rob Schwartz (see below). They had a "Barbie - Princess" theme setup for him.....you had to be here. The other 3 pictures are the AELs at breakfast.....as fast as we could get a coffee we also logged onto our computers - free wireless opposed to 14.95 US Internet at the hotel.

Today I was in the "Learn to use the latest CS3 design tools: InDesign,Photohop, Illustrator, and Acrobat as well as curriculum that we can implement in our courses." I have to tell you when I saw the size of the Mac we were using.....I was just a wee bit excited as you can see.

Our instructor for today is also part of the AGI training team. Chad Cheliuis is a print specialist from Philadelphia. Chad is taking us through the day developing a newsletter with InDesign CS3 and the other CS3 graphic tools.

InDesign Tips

1. If you have nothing selected on your page and make any changes to your settings....that will set the default for that document. ie: select rectangle, then change the pt to 0.

2. Quick way to change your unit of measurements while in a document is to right click on your ruler (ie: pica to inches).
3. Command 0 (zero) will centralize (centre) your window (page).
4. To increase space between your letters (which is called kerning), select your T tool and press option (Mac) or command (PC) and then use your left or right arrow tools to increase or decrease the space between your letters.

5. Chad suggests to aim at having 2 font family groups (maxium 3) within a newsletter.

6. To quickly track words or sentences....select the words/sentences then hold option (Mac) or command (PC) and press your left or right arrow (to increase to decrease) the spaces between all the letters/words.

7. Press W to go into preview mode.
8. This tip is the coolest new option for InDesign CS3...you can place multiple text or images! Choose File-->Place. You can then choose multiple text documents or images to be placed within the doument. Once back in InDesign, BEFORE you left click your mouse to place anything....you will see a small image to the right of the mouse....use your arrow key to see a image representation of all the images/documents you are going to place.

Links from today:

1. Mousepose Is a cool tool for Macs is a tool for everyone doing presentations or demos. If turned on, it dims the screen and puts a spotlight on the area around the mouse pointer, easily guiding the audiences attention to an area of interest.

Alrightie...brain hurts....end of the day of another great class! On a boat cruise tonight!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 2 - Adobe Education Leadership (AEL) Camp

Day 2 and everyone is ready to meet the day :)

Last night we had a great team building activity...which was Geo-caching. We were setup in teams with 2 GPS devices, a page of questions and a map. The idea was to go on a scavenger hunt using our GPS device finding certain locations. To prove we found the right location we had to take a group picture with us doing various things....ie: technology in motion....our group went to the location (which was a movie theatre) and jumped on the escalator....technology in motion. It was a lot of fun....although the locals must have though we were nuts as many of the group pictures we had to take were pretty whacky - here is my group spelling Adobe....well sort of :)

All the groups ended up at the restaurant where we had an evening of pool, eats and mingling. As you can see below....some AELs were quite creative with their game of pool.

When you talk to your students about their digital trail and how it can come back to haunt them....another AEL colleague (Kim Cavanaugh) was quick with the camera yesterday. Another flattering image for the world to see.....check out Kim's blog Brain Frieze.....aside from the image....he has some great content on his blog :) The digital dual has begun....

This morning we all walked over to San Francisco State University for the first day of workshops. There were 4 tracks to choose from today: Learn to use the latest CS3 design tools, video tools, web tools, and digital school collection. I am in the video tools workshop this morning.

But before we got started we were fed and watered with a good breaki. Some of us were trying to look like we didn't have too much fun last night and were focusing on our laptops.....sleep or awake?

We started working with Premiere Pro CS3...our instructor Sean McKnight (from AGI in Pennsylvania) was brought in by Adobe (as have all the instructors for the next couple of days) to work specifically with the AELs this week.

Sean took us through Premiere Pro first this morning. Went through a great overview and now playing....you know how good it is to have a play when learning new technologies.

Tips for Premier Pro CS3:

1. Premiere Pro CS3 will now export to MPEG2 Blu-Ray

2. Video can now be imported into Photohop CS3 for rotoscoping.

3. Soundbooth (for audio) will be part of the Production Premiere package. This easy to use sound editing product is used to clean audio. This can be done directly from Premiere Pro CS3 (Dynamic Link).

Tips for AfterEffects CS3:

4. Using the shortcuts "I" or "O" will take you to the in point or out point in Premiere Pro and After Effects.

5. Remember....Premiere is your editing tool and AfterEffects is the editing tool. Sean says if Premiere and Photoshop had a baby - it would be AfterEffects. The playback is very cumbersome in AfterEffects.

6. Comma and Period is the shortcut for zoom in and zoom out in your composition (preview) window.

7. Fully layered PSD and Illustrator files can be brought into either Premiere Pro or AfterEffects.

8. Puppet Pen Tool is new in AfterEffects CS3 and can be used for cartoons - brings your characters to life with organic motion.

9. Select the text layer in AfterEffects First. Also have your key selector placed on the Timeline where you want the animation to start. Go to Bridge --> Text --> Animate In. If you select each animation 1x you can preview it. If you want to apply it to your text layer in AfterEffects....just 2x click on it. NOTE: be sure to UNDO the previous animator to your text layer before you choose the next one.

10. Animate In to add effects....Animate Out to end the effects.

Tips for Encore CS3:

11. All I can say is WHAT A COOL program. You must have a play!

Some extra links from Day 2:

Kevin McMahon (AEL) gave the following great link for a website of free transitions for Premiere...Burgers Transition Site.

Digital Editions (from Sherrie Loveman)
Sherrie does a lot of work with her students in desktop publishing. She and her students produce amazing literary art book with over 250 submissions and only 80 of the art submissions make it to the book. The rest of the book is essays, poetry and speeches. The unique thing about this is Sherrie teaches in an all boys private school....the depth of art and writing that these young gentlemen produce are amazing.

Sherrie loves Digital Editions from Adobe as their work can now be published to the web in a double page spread. Check out Digital Editions and download it for free.


Handbrake is a very cool (free) open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 converter, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2nd Annual Adobe Education Leadership (AEL) Camp - San Francisco....Day 1

It is 10:45 Tuesday morning and we just had our first session with the AEL Leadership Camp..... We have a full and packed week that most of us will probably be a pile of gunk at the end of it all....but I know we will all love it.

Megan Stewart (Director of Worldwide Education K-12, Adobe) and our AEL leader...opened our day this morning. Megan went over the 2006 - 2007 year that the AELs have been involved in this year and it has absolutely been amazing! What an incredible group of educators and innovators!

Some of the highlights so far is meeting the new VP of Education (Peter Issacson) who has been with Adobe for 10 years but with K-12 education for 3 weeks. Peter highlighted that Adobe is about engaged learning. Students learning more effectively and students getting the skills they need to go out to the workforce.

Adobe founders wanted these principles as a part of their company: honesty, integrity, community involvement and respect.

We have now setup an AEL blog on the Adobe Blogs website. Check this out this week and future as all the AELs will be putting content up on there.

Just had coffee and we are back....will continue today.

Some AELs having breakfast at Adobe - San Francisco

Next presentation was from Simon Hayhurst (Director of Product Management) on Future Trends in Dynamic Media.

It brought up many good discussions from the AELs. Looking at Visual Communicator which is on of the best digital storytelling tool.

Semantic Web/Web 3.0 ... what is the next step for web rich media?

Simon talked about "little bubbles of change." Change always starts with 1 thing. Over 1 Billion Flash devices in the world today. 400 million mobile devices worldwide.

Question: "What happens when online and offline are the same?"

Media distribution has changed how we live....ie: YouTube and the US elections. The web is becoming a rich interactive medium....problem that many AELs raised is that our schools have these rich web experiences locked down. We need to engage and educated our students/teachers/administrators so we can unlock these experiences for our students.

The next session is a panel session with Kirsti Aho, David Wadhawani, Kathry Schrock, Kim Cavanaugh to discuss education trends with Web 2.0.

Speaker 1: Kirsti Aho
(Director of Content Strategy and Partnerships, Adobe

The Learning Resources team is changing the way it develops content. They work with the Adobe community to create content that's more relevant and they've invited the community to comment and append content that already exists.

LiveDocs (the web version of current documentation system. Web version of every help page, the latest information on all documentation is now easier to update (ie: with CS3). At the bottom of everypage of livedocs a user can comment. You can also RSS feed these pages (this started with the coldfusion team....harvest the collective
intelligences of the community. All the knowledge is in one place.

Videoworkshop - came out for CS3. Took a village to build this...45 different presenters presenting content in this workshop. 260 videos a/c all the products in CS3. "A just in time" type of learning thing.

Wiki for Adobe Device Central CS3

https://learn.adobe.com/wiki/display/DC/welcome was released when CS3 went public.

Speaker 2: David Wadhawani
(Vice President of RIA Platform, Adobe)
Talked about how Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information. (ie: label for water created with adobe, newspaper prob created with adobe products....etc...) Users are community of designers and developers.

A decade of flash evolution and innovation.

  • 1996 1st was a passive player (no interaction...multimedia content)

  • 2000 interactive content

  • 2004 rich internet application

  • 2005 communication solutions

Flex and AIR (code name Apollo) became new members of this family.

Examples of Flex applications:

MyGameBuilder - an online game development program that you can create instantly and then share with the community.

(if you don't see the above video...you have YouTube blocked on your system)

PhotoBucket - is a free online video editing program. This amazing online video tool that is used within Photobucket was developed in Flex.

Speaker 3 - Kathy Schrock

Kathy spoke about Web 2.0 and how it has evolved in the classroom. Some of the websites she listed for you to check out.

Zamzar...online conversion tool


scrapblog (online interactive media scrapbooks)

(search BrenniesBytes for the other links that Kathy mentioned....most of them are here, just search Web2.0)

Speaker 4 - Kim Cavanaugh (AEL - Palm Beach County (FL) Schools)

Have students really changed? NO....the tools have just changed. The best thing you can do is get an excited and motivated teacher in the classroom to really make a change for our kids today.

Web 2.0...legal, practical and privacy issues. Most schools deal with anything that is not enforceable....they block it.

We need to find ways around blocking everything from the web in schools. The whole Web 2.0 about establishing identity (we want to know who you are...serve advertising based on what you want). Kim did a search in MySpace for teacher....and came up with an image of a "young teacher" drunk in a bar.....will these things come back to "haunt us?" The "drunken pirate" was a senior at a school in Pennsylvania studying to become a teacher and she was refused to get her degree in Education because of this picture. She was given a general degree and was refused a job because of this picture on her MySpace and other bad choices that were posted on her MySpace site.

Be realistic with the adoption rate within your staff when introducing new digital tools. The rate is usually only 15% of adoption at the beginning, this is a realistic goal.

Tim O'Rilley ideas about the future of Web 2.0:

1. The Long Tail - small is the next big. Small sites have more value because you have the opportunity to pull information from those sites that are the most important to you (ie: your daughters hockey site.)

Small pieces are loosely joined.

2. Data is the next Intel inside - the data is important, not the processor. How do you get in and manage that data.

Own your own data....so important for a school system. Those data bases are soooooo important to be "within" the school.

Avoid proprietary systems like the plague.

3. Users add value - they do it without knowing it. People aren't thinking how they are using the tool to help the company. Involve, engage, and reward your audience.

Experience REALLY MATTERS for your audience. A positive user experience is really important...if you don't get it right (with the best interest of your users at heart) it will never move forward.

4. Network Effects by Default - 15% Gather information as you go.

5. Some rights reserved - avoid siloed data

6. The perpetual beta - change is good. Timeless trumps training....new feature on a program..."boom" it is on the site.

7. Cooperate, don't control - mashups R us. The idea that you can take data from different sources and use it to suit you.

8. Software above the level of a single device

9. Content Aggregation

10. Removing Barriers

11. Consuming Services (yahoo pipes) A persistent search feed using Google and Yahoo news. RSS output on the left and search information on the right side.

The last session of the day is with Anuja Dharkar (Curriculum Strategy Manager for Adobe) and Lynn Nolan (Director, Education Leadership for ISTE).

Anuja introduced the new Career and Technology Curriculum that has been developed by Adobe along with ISTE and many of the AELs.

These are available (link above) from the Adobe website free to download. They will also be shipped out on DVD with all CS3 products.

Lynn Nolan talked about the age of creativity! Shifts from the industrial age, information age, communication age to the age of creativity.

This is a roadmap for the students for the future. This Standard Statements and Indicators are examples of activities that can take place for the teachers to use within their programs.

Original NETS lead with technology tools. Moved from teacher directed to student performance in the new NETS.

In September, ISTE will be releasing a publication that will have all of these standards explained....these standards are only a guide. Areas that may be a concern....there will be a need for implementation resources (like the Adobe Curriculum), understanding what these new standards will look like in the classroom. David Warlick blogged "A Magnetic Field of National Educational Technology Standards." prior to NECC 2007 and many people went online and commented to these questions. ISTE took this opportunity to respond to this blog and embrace these issues.

My head is full! That was day one! Now we are off for an activity of Geo-caching, dinner and then more sessions tonight!

Monday, July 23, 2007

AEL Leadership Institute in San Francisco

Here it is Monday night in San Fran....Tuesday morning for those of you on the "other side" of the world. Flew into San Fran on Saturday from Boston - 5.5 hour flight and really glad to get off the plane when that flight was over! Had a bit of East Coast/West Coast jet lag on Saturday night, but a good nights sleep took care of that!

This weekend, the AELs (Adobe Education Leader - Profiles) started arriving from around the world to attend the 2nd annual Adobe Education Leader Institute! We have over 80 AELs here this year from Canada, UK, New Zealand, Singapore and of course the USA. This picture below represents USA, Singapore and Australia. It also represents the excitement we all had to see one another face-to-face again....lots of pictures. It felt like a summer camp :)

We are all staying at the Westin St. Francis Hotel along with meetings at the Adobe San Fran office and hands-on training at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

When I went down to the lobby this morning to get a coffee....the lobby elevator door opened and it looked like a movie set. Well it was. They were filming (all day) in the lobby for a new television show called the Journeyman a new NBC fall television show about a time traveller. The lead actor is Kevin McKidd, a Scottish actor (sorry Kevin never heard of you). Well St. Francis patrons were hushed, delayed and inconvenienced while they were filming today. It was great to see a set in action but it got old real fast when you had to stand for 5 -10 minutes and not move while they filmed a scene. Hope they aren't here tomorrow as well.

(View from the Starlight Room)

Tonight after our Welcome Reception in the St. Francis...a large group of us went to Harry Denton's Starlight Room which was just a block away from the St. Francis. Great view from the Starlight Room of downtown San Francisco.

It is going to be a great week of innovation, motivation and inspiration! I will keep you all posted with the new things that are happening in technology, education and with Adobe.

Need some sleep....7:30 am role call comes very early :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Building Learning Communities....at the finish line!

Day 3 and final day of the main conference for Building Learning Communities. Without sounding cliche....it truly is a conference that builds communities. I have presented/attended/facilitated many conferences over the years and I have to say that this conference felt like a true community....more than any I have attended.

Last night we (pretty much all attendees from the conference) went on a 3 hour dinner cruise on the ship - Spirit of Boston . Great cruise, great food, and great company.


This morning was Dr. Yong Zhao from Michigan State University. His presentation was Digital Citizenship in a Global Economy: The Internet Revolution and Its Implications for Education and in the true sense of the global economy, Dr. Zhao discussed global opinions/concepts in his presentation that pushed your thinking in what you feel about traditional education and the relationship between technology and education.

He stated that "technology redefines talent" - those who can climb the stairs and those who can't.

Being able to put everything into "digits" is where the power is now. Countries are now attacking one another in digital wars. More and more people are socializing virtually and making a virtual living that is converting to physical dollars (such as linden dollars in SecondLife that convert to US dollars).

Virtual sweatshops have become a problem in developing countries. many kids are being kept in online gaming factories (70 people hunched over computers...killing monsters and racking up points). Usually work 12 hour shifts and only earning $70 - $150 dollars/month. In China 100,000 people working in these online gaming factories. Factories often operate in secret. Some as young as 16...mostly men...only last 2 - 3 months but some last as long as 2 years. Many software companies are realizing what is happening with their software and becoming extremely upset that their software is being used for this.

Some articles on Virtual Sweatshops:

On the positive...we know that anyone now has the potential to publish their work Dr. Zhao gave a great example of the Chinese Backstreet Boys that have shown up on YouTube....they have become instantly famous by recording their lip synch of the boy band's song.

Hackers and thieves we know the power of what an 18 year old (or younger) person can do with some knowledge and tools. They can bring down large corporations and reign havoc throughout the world with created viruses.


Global integration.....global free flow....goods (your clothes are made from all over the world. ie: Walmart can't claim made in America anymore), people (you can access anybody anywhere in the world and you can contract people to do work for you online from anywhere in the world), money (do you know where your investments are anymore? With a push of the button trading is anywhere.

Our students are affected by global forces, cultural clashes, and different value systems. What kind of talents and attitudes should we breed?

Today, China imports about 400,000 experts....there is a global exchange for talents and a definite market for these people.

In Summary

  • identities: nationalism, virtual, and physical (what is patriotic? chinese workers for microsoft...loyal to microsoft or china?)
  • global reach (our students...future students...will be in the workforce in 5, 10, 15 years...what will happen then? As soon as they are online they have a global reach. They have access to people who behave different and believe in different things. How will they react?)
  • returning to the agricultural mode of production? (going back to individualism...being your own boss. Huge increase in self-employment in the US. Have your own company and outsource employees from around the world. Children from very young age can produce in the true economical age....the farming age (kids can help with planting, animals, etc...)
  • accept the role of the machines (today we have not been able to accept the idea that computers can do things as well if not better than humans. We still think education is a human industry and all computers are just tools. We apologize sometimes when we use computers. Plenty of research that computers can do certain things better or as well as human beings. But not all of them. We have to rethink how to change this.

Great presentation!

Building Learning Communities....turning the corners....Day 2

There have been several organized activities that have been setup for the BLC conference...last night we did the Boston Duck Tour with several of our groups from the conference. It was a great tour. The Duck Tour guide/driver "Captain Covert" was absolutely hilarious! Not only did we get a good overview of the history of Boston but we got a stand-up comic routine as well. There were quite a few duck boats scooting around the town and I am sure that all the guides were great....but I highly recommend Captain Covert if you get a chance to choose.

After the tour, people had a chance to either do some shopping, eat dinner or have a walk. Our small international group (Canada/NZ, UK and AUS) decided to take the walk to find the Cheers Bar....which we did.

You never know what is going to happen at a conference or in a hotel. Last night after we returned to our room and ready to get some sleep...I started to hear water running....I jumped up and ran into the bathroom and there was a stream of water coming out of our bathroom ceiling all over the bathroom. I ran down to the front desk to let them know....they ran up to the room above us and apparently the room above had plugged their toilet and flushed it a couple of times.....apparently a lot! The water continued to stream down for what seemed like an eternity but was about 30 - 45 minutes. The floor was flooded. The hotel was booked solid but a room was found for us and we had to move rooms around 1:30 in the morning.

Ewan McIntosh did another great presentation this morning on "We're Adopting: An Adoption Strategy for Social Software in Education." Ewan talked about the strategies that he and his team in Scotland use to encourage teachers to use technology.

Emergent is an important aspect in the success of teacher technology integration. Emergent behaviour is is basically learning by example.

5 examples of emergent behaviour is:
  • lead by example
  • lead by reminding
  • provide adequate support
  • lead by mandate (one of the worst things to do...ONLY use it if you ABSOLUTELY have to)
  • personal and school benefits compliment each other

The last presentation of the afternoon was Marco Torres. Marco's presentation "Lights, Camera, Learn: Movie-Making Made Simple and Fun!"

All week Marco's students have been here at the conference videotaping (for podcasts on the BLC07 site) and taking photographs to record the conference. I had a chance to talk to these young people and they are really amazing. The ideas, positive outlook and passion that they have for their work and their future was quite inspiring.

Marco is a social studies teacher that found a voice for his students through video. Marco talked about the ownership of multimedia and stated that it is a language that isn't owned by anyone. Multimedia is a tool to be able to communicate effectively and globally. Some steps and tips on best practices was highlighted in the workshop. Check out the links below for further information.

sfett.com (student website with lots of films the students have produced)
cinedlg.com (produced outside visiting schools)
FlickSchool.com (podcasts on quick how-to's)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Building Learning Communities....let the games begin

Day 1 of the BLC conference is an early one with a lot of people attending the "earlybird workshops", grabbing a bite to eat and then off to the keynote....all before 8:30 am!

On most seats was an egg remote called Activote. The key note Dr. Tim Tyson used this in the first couple of his slides. Several questions were asked....press A, B, C or D for your answer. And instantly a graph appeared on the PPT slide showing the results of the audience.

A few things that stood out for me from Tim Tyson's presentation:
  • "Can we shift control (in the schools) to the kids to empower their learning?"
  • In examinations....are we testing memorization or are we testing accessing knowledge/information. If the latter then students should be able to bring all of their resources with them into the examination room.
  • "Who is doing the thinking work in your classroom?" Usually the teachers while the students think passively and only do what is asked of them.

Tim Tyson spoke of what a Web 2.0 school should look like....the relationship of technology and the student body:

  • learners authentically engaged
  • self-directed learning
  • project driven instruction
  • independent problem solvers
  • empowered by technology innovation
  • collaborative learning environment
  • relevant

Session 2 - Marc Prensky:
Marc presented several points for the audience to think about. He believes there will be several things to look at for the future:

- programming as the 21st century language
- exponential change
- the new paradigm of learning
- the new rules of engagement

We should have our kids master:
- oral communication
- logical thinking
- the 7 habits of highly effective people (this isn't a secret from the adult world...share it with our kids)
- programming

The last session of the day was Ewan McIntosh had a great presentation on Public Body (and private faces). He talked about the different spaces we use.....Secret Spaces (such as mobile, SMS and IM...), Group Spaces (Bebo, Tagged, Facebook, etc...), Publishing Spaces (LiveJournal, Blogger, Flickr, Photobucket...), Participation Spaces (Marches, Meetings, Markets...), Performing Spaces (SecondLife, Presentations, World of Warcraft, Home...), and Watching Spaces (TV, Gigs, Theatre, etc...).

Ewan talked about EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES make the biggest impact. For example...CD ROMs have the least amount of impact on technology....but still used it education.

Ways to share it all will have the biggest impact! eduBuzz.org is a wiki that Ewan and his colleagues have put together to help their educational community have a voice.
A colleague of Ewans (okay well actually his boss) runs an interesting blog called Don's Blog....one interesting article is Emeging Leadership issues...which has a huge impact on moving forward (or hoping to) in brining emerging technologies into your program or school.
Last session of the day is Marco Torres - Lights, Camera, Learn: Movie-Making Made Simple and Fun!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scratch - a free programming language great for all ages

I attended a full day Scratch workshop today at MIT with the folks from the LifeLongKindergarten program. Program Director Mitchel Resnick works with his team of developers, researchers, consultants and students in developing new ways to "engage people in creative learning experiences."

Walking into the E15-100 has several projects happening in this huge 2-story collaboration area the LEGO Learning Laboratory/Smart Cities/Computing Culture/and Lifelong Kindergarten projects.

As you walk into the area there are huge bins that climb the walls full of LEGO ( Mindstorm came out of collaboration from this group for LEGO.)

Scratch is a great programming language that can be used to create your own animations, games, interactive art and digital stories. It is presently being used in primary, intermediate and high schools.

Download Scratch Projects that have been uploaded to the gallery and pull apart the code blocks to see how projects have been built.

The Scratch Boards take the interactivity the students can develop to a whole new level. The boards can be purchased online from the Scratch website and allow students to create Scratch projects that "sense and respond to things going on in the world outside your computer." A demo was given to us on how to use the alligator clamps and a banana peel to play music. This one you HAVE to try...check out Ewan McIntosh's posting where he video taped the banana playing in action!

Schools/classes can setup a free account in the Computer Clubhouse and share their Scratch projects with other students in a safe environment.
To download your free copy of Scratch....go to the download page (Mac or PC) and start to have fun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brain overload....but in a good way :)

Sitting in the Marriott in Boston chatting with new friends from Penrhos College (Perth, Western Australia) as we are here for the Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference. IT educators from all over the world are here to network and explore new ways of integrating technology into their schools and programs.

Today (pre-conference) I visited a Big Picture School in Providence, Rhode Island. Their motto "one student at a time" definitely is evident with their individualized learning and physical structure of the campus. There are a total of 7 buildings on a large campus. 1 is a media and visual arts, health & wellness centre, and sports complex - all students share these buildings. The other 4 buildings were 4 separate schools. Each had a principal and approximately 8 advisors (which were the teachers). Each school had approximately 150 students that ranged from Gr. 9 - Gr. 12. Visit the website to learn more about these programs

Yesterday was my only free day and I visited Salem Massachusetts. The ferry ride from Boston harbour was about 45 minutes on a beautiful day. We stopped at our first "tourist" attraction (and I have to say our ONLY tourist attraction) the Witch's Museum. I guess my technology background ruined any possible "WOW" factor as the store mannequins and audio presentation just didn't cut it for me.

Off to a great lunch of lobster sitting and enjoying a sit in the sun - it is winter in NZ right now. Then enjoyed a great walk around Salem. I love the style of architecture that is around Salem. The homes have the most amazing doors and doorways.

Tah for now....will post links and updates of this week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

PreConference...PreConference...I Belive

3 things I believe...prior to Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference.

1. Teachers need to have time to "wear" technology.
2. Teachers need to supply students with the "whys" (they will often figure out "how" to
3. It is a journey that teachers and students need to take together....build a sharing community in your classroom. Teachers may be SMEs (subject matter experts) of their content....but students are SMEs of the technology :)

Will things change????

Friday, July 13, 2007

Veotag - add clickable text tags to video

Veotag "is a free service that lets you display clickable text, called "veotags," within an audio or video file. "

This enables viewers to quickly jump to specific events on your video without taking it back or forward. (upload videos from you hard drive [.mov .avi .wmv .mpg, flv, and .mp4])

Upload your video (from computer or the web) within the Veotag interface. Start playing the video and stop it anywhere to insert a veotag.

As you can see on the example on the left the movie (which has now been converted to a flash movie file) is playing while it moves through the text links that have been "tagged."

Use in the classroom....
Great tool to capture student presentations. Once the student has been videotaped they can then tag hilights throughout their presentation. Publish it and it can be presented on a school Intranet or as part of a portfolio.

Develop video class lectures for you students and load onto the school Intranet. Use it for professional development. Great tool....give it a try.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sharing videos online....

Vimeo is a free online service that allows you to share video with your friends and family. What Flickr did for sharing online photos....Vimeo has the potential to do with video!

Whether you have taken video from your mobile phone, PDA, video camera or digital camera....you can upload your video formats to your free Vimeo account.

As you can setup who you want to share your videos with, you could easily use this for a program such as media or film studies. Create a class log in (teacher as administrator only) and upload any class video for students to comment on.

A second website to look at is heyspread. This beta website has a service that allows users to upload and post their videos "in one shot" to any of the video networks listed below.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Create Slide Shows & Screensavers

Slide is a free web service where you can create your own slideshows, guestbook and other options. Just upload images to the interface on the website (be sure to resize your images before you upload them). Add images from: your computer, Bebo, MySpace, Tagged, Slide, Photobucket, Facebook, Flickr, Image URL, and Search.

Customize your slide by adding captions, background color, style, themes, skins, music, effects, size and choose your privacy level (public or private). Be sure to test the privacy settings if this will be an issue for your slideshow.

You can also load your slideshow to a variety of social websites such as: Facebook, Bebo, Slide, Hi5, etc...

I just copied the code and pasted it in the html view of Blogger. This can be done on any webpage, blog or wiki that allows HTML editing.

(Note: Please be aware that there MAY be content that is not appropriate for certain age groups as this is a FREE web application. Please preview any website or service you want your students to use BEFORE you ask them to use it.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nexo - a free web service for group work online

Nexo is a free web service for groups to work online and collaborate on projects together. Sharing "interactive calendars, pictures, video, tasks, polls, comments, blogs, files and more."

The web site is setup within a secure community. As a developer you can decide who access to what within the site. View the Nexo user video tutorials: overview, setting up a poll, security settings within Nexo and the ease of "drag and drop" in Nexo.


Another great tool to encourage students to work together on group projects.

Nexo has the functionality to survey a group of students online...only they see the survey...only you see the results. Find out how they found the last test. Did you just take your class on a fieldtrip? Post the pictures of the fieldtrip in Nexo and survey the students on the fieldtrip. Whether you are a teacher, administrator or student.....a great tool to build that sharing group community.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Zoho - tools to help you work online

Zoho Online is a great collection of tools to help you take care of all of your document needs online.

Zoho Writer is an "online word processor with collaboration features."

Zoho Sheet is an online spreadsheet application.

Zoho Present is an online presentation tool to create, edit, publish, and show presentations.

Some of the other online tools available from Zoho are:

  • Zoho Wiki
  • Zoho Notebook
  • Zoho Meeting
  • Zoho Project, Zoho CRM
  • Zoho Creator (databases)
  • Zoho Planner
  • Zoho Chat
  • Zoho Mail
  • Zoho Surveys

Many of these tools can be used collaboratively. For example with Zoho Writer, you can allow multiple users to work on a document simultaneously. You can share your documents with your friends or publish them publicly.

Give it a try....
Try something different next time you assign a group project in your class. Have each group sign up for Zoho Writer and encourage the students to try working collaboratively on a project using this online tool.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bloggers....free tools to track stats and find out what part of the world is viewing your blog or wiki

Okay all you bloggers....here are a couple of great tools for you to add to your blog.

Yes there are some days where you feel like you are aren't talking to anyone out there....is anyone reading your information? Where do they come from?

MeasureMap is a great tool to help you track who is coming to your site and where they are from.

  • Easily navigate the numbers that matter
  • Track links to see who sends you traffic
  • Find out what people do at your site
Another great tool (that I use on my blog) is Clustrmaps. I absolutely love this tool. I put it up on my blog in May and since then it has been really interesting to see where the people are from around the world that have accessed my blog.