Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Social Networking

I found our guest speaker about social networking quite informative! I hadn't known that the same people who tend to use social networking sites such as Facebook, are the same people who tend to be social in the off-line world as well. I had worried that it was the other way around; that online social networkers weren't getting enough face-to-face time in the real world. It is wonderful to find out that my assumptions about this weren't correct.

Our speaker's comments that young people tend to communicate with "adults" through email and peers through social networking sites made me think about the importance of not blocking this way of connecting for our youth. Still, I absolutely believe that we need to teach online safety, what to do about online bullying, and how important it is that people who put information online, realize that it will likely be seen, at some point, by prospective college admissions and prospective or future employers. People have lost opportunities and jobs, because of poor and/or uninformed choices about what they have decided to post.

Lastly, I didn't realize that social networking also serves a professional purpose - educators can and do connect with other educators to share questions and knowledge. With this in mind, I will be trying this option in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Steve Langford CIO from Bvtrn School District

Speaking of equity between schools as it relates to technology, I agree with Steve that there first needs to be a district wide equity conversation. I believe that this conversation needs to start with general values clarification, if it hasn't already, to be sure that "equity" is a community value. This conversation should go deep enough to be sure that the clear majority of folks come to an agreement as to what educational equity specifically looks like, and that it includes technological equity. If it does, then the IT team and principals need to present the current reality of what each school has followed by a needs assessment, and how these needs fit with the ability to reach state/district and school benchmarks. Hopefully, this combination of values clarification and information will motivate the entire community to get behind creating true technological equity in every school, no matter the school's demographics.

Don Woodward - Web Designer

Don was an excellent presenter. He covered: a list of Challenges to Clear Communication, What Should Be Communicated, plus Tips and Goals for Web Pages. Don emphasized the focus needs to be on the end-user's needs and desires, not on showing off. I especially came away with the value of simplicity for all web pages, and consistency between the navigation systems that are used in a school district. I appreciate that he shared examples of both well- and poorly-done web pages. He got me interested in furthering my web design skills personally and possibly professionally.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Visit with Paul Navarre from

Being an independent learner with little time, I'm excited about Content Management Systems. They allow people to make web pages and much more without programming experience. The technology teacher at my school said that there isn't even a real need to learn html anymore, because of these type of systems that make designing webpages, blogs, etc., MUCH more user-friendly. I'm looking forward to class next week when we'll get the opportunity to develop a webpage through google.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scott Hacke - Media Production Specialist

Hearing what Scott Hacke has to say and seeing the kid made videos he shared with us was inspiring! How great to give students a creative outlet such as the Beaverton Signal-to-Noise Festival! He got me thinking that maybe I could work with my third graders to create a Portland Bridges video in collaboration with Sharon Wood Wortman this year. What could be more motivating and engaging to get a student to learn than knowing he or she will have an opportunity to share what they've learned through a form of media.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ted Video: Sugata Mitra-Can kids teach themselves?

Remoteness and the quality of education: Sugata Mitra discovered the correlation to why standard test scores went down the more remote a community is, was in direct proportion with teachers wanting to move to urban areas - the more remote the community, the higher percentage of the teachers in those areas wanting to move closer to town. This tells me that when teachers are unhappy, their feelings are reflected in their ability to be effective teachers. I'm not surprised that teacher satisfaction affects performance, but it was interesting that so many teachers - 65% - were not happy living/teaching in remote areas. I would like to know more about why this is too.

I was facinated with Sugata Mitra's additional research called "The Hole in the Wall." He found that even children who had never seen a computer, nor spoken English, were able to do both just by experimenting and teaching each other - after 3 months with no adult help, they could speak 200 words that were computer related. For example: file, exit, save ... They were also using these words in their normal speech. This tells me that children need more opportunities for discovery learning to build/construct their knowledge, and that teachers should never take all the credit for what students are learning.