Sunday, August 16, 2009


In just a week we'll begin a new school year in Texas...where did the summer go?? Oh yeah, that's right...I (gladly) spent my summer preparing for and attending the Junior Achievement North American Company of the Year competition with the officers of our JA Company Program, WINC. Awesome performance by our group (BTW). Very proud...and...that's right...I completed another online PD with my district, studied for and passed the MCAS Word exam, attended Conference and spent my weekends at tennis tourneys with my son...whew! Busy (but very fun) summer!

Now, it's time to complete my preparations for the upcoming school year. I received my schedule last Thursday. I will be teaching 'lots' of BCIS this year...which is great 'cause several of us will be piloting a program to help our students with certifications in IC3 and MCAS. WooHoo! Awesome...

I'll also have a couple of sections of Sports Marketing again this year as well. Thanks to last year's online PD, I was able to implement some cool Web2.0 technologies in this class...the students produced some great work.

I want to expand that this year. I will be expanding my unit on digital citizenship in all of my classes this year. I found that most of my students (last year) needed more than what I covered in class (especially when it came utilizing tools like backchanneling). I will be receiving video cameras...YEAH!!! I plan to utilize them in the Sports Marketing classes. I believe they will be a great resource for students to demonstrate creativity and content mastery..very exciting...

I've learned so much this summer that it's hard not to become overwhelmed. I have to keep telling myself, "Baby steps, just take baby steps." Maybe one day I'll be as "on" in my teaching as Vicki Davis, or Dan Meyer, but for steps...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

11.5 More Things: Thing 11.5-Evaluation

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I love Glogster! I've been looking for a way for my students to create digital I've got it! I also enjoyed creating a Voki. I've got some ideas on how to use Vokis to introduce lessons, new concepts, etc. I think students will enjoy listening to 'her' sometimes. I'm am also 'stoked' over my educational account at Animoto. I received my approval today...that resource alone is going to add volumes to student input. (Thanks, Vaughn! If not for you, I would have missed that link!)

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? The Library2Play and Library2Play2 online PD courses help to keep me informed and enlightened on new technologies that I can integrate into my curriculum. I'm excited about bringing fresh ideas into my curriculum to both engage students and add further rigor and relevance to what I teach.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? SlideShare and authorSTREAM were my big surprises. I will definitely use these resources to help connect my students to experts and to share my students work. Great stuff...

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I love the concept and I love the format...please don't change that! There's more than 12 hours here, that's for sure! I found myself going back to different sites...I have already taught my son how to use Glogster (he wants to make NASCAR posters) and I apologized to my husband about SlideShare (read my post for details). Awesome work guys...please keep these coming our way!!!

11.5 More Things: Thing 11-Digital Citizenship

I've been thinking a lot about digital citizenship and how best to teach this to my students. I am glad to see digital citizenship as a part of this online PD series.

As a Career and Technology Education (CTE) teacher, I teach a variety of subjects that involve an enormous amount of computer time. I have norms (rules) that I teach my students--for them to use the lab they must adhere to these policies. I have made netiquette a part of these norms, but I have not developed digital citizenship lessons that outline and teach all nine elements of digital citizenship as outlined by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey in their book Digital Citizenship in Schools...until now...

My plan for this year is to integrate all nine elements into my curriculum. My introductory lesson will have the students research the term "digital citizenship" and then have them create a multimedia piece (of their choice) that illustrates the definition of digital citizenship and how they can "live it" both in and out of the classroom.

I found a number of videos about digital citizenship online. I think this one would spark some discussion in class...what do you think?

11.5 More Things: Thing 10-Virtual Worlds

I took the plunge into Second Life about a year ago. It's amazing to me just how real this virtual world can be. What I found in my exploration was that Second Life (for me anyway) was incredibly time-consuming.

With that said--I think that virtual worlds are amazing...and I do believe that as educators we have an opportunity to use these virtual worlds in a host of different educational venues. Vicki Davis (the world's most amazing teacher) has been working with her freshmen to build a virtual world that teaches digital citizenship. Imagine the possibilities of teaching other subjects via virtual worlds like second life...what a great way to keep our students engaged.

I have so many new things that I want to incorporate into my teaching this year; adding virtual worlds to that would be awesome. Let's see where the year takes us!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

11.5 More Things: Thing 9-Slideshare

My husband has been trying to get me into SlideShare for a while now. I've resisted because I felt there are better forms of communicating on the Net.

I stand corrected (sort of). There are (in my opinion) better forms of communication on the net, but after digging through the SlideShare site for a while it hit me...there are a LOT of professionals that are posting their expertise here--expertise from which my students can benefit. In addition, if (when) I have students that produce a quality presentation about something they have been researching, they just might get noticed and recognized for their work (by someone other than me). That's a good thing...

Moreover, I really like what I see with authorSTREAM. It's like SlideShare on steroids. I especially like the Present Live feature because it works with VoIP applications like Skype.

I found this presentation on authorSTREAM...note how only the children wanted to stop and listen...our students want us to take the time for them--will we??

11.5 More Things: Thing 8-Screencasting

I have Camtasia and use it often...what I haven't done is research free alternatives on the Internet that my students can use. Of the 'freebies' listed in the Library2Play post, I think I like Jing the best.

Thanks to what I've learned about the freeware, I'm excited about the possibilities of using screencasting with my students this coming year. I would like to see my students create screencasts that illustrate what they are learning in class. Those screencasts can then be used as tutorials for other I can use them as an assessment tool.

Here's the screencast I created for this post. I did this without a script, so there are a few mistakes, but in all, I think it's okay!

11.5 More Things: Thing 7-Video Resources

Integrating video and other multimedia is becoming a regular practice for me. For example, in my Sports Marketing Class I utilize Google Video searches and Hulu to show commercials to the students. The students analyze various elements within the commercials and then make suggestions on what changes they could make to reach a different target audience. During my video searches on this particular thing, I came across this video from marketing students are going to love this!

This past January, I had the priviledge of completing a workshop Frank Guttler at the Flat Classroom Conference. Frank is part of the AFI Screen Education. I am very excited about the possibilities of integrating video production as part of the learning process in my classes. The site includes a Teacher Path and a Student Path. The paths include both written guides and video tutorials so that teachers can learn and then teach students how to create effective videos.

I found an updated "Did You Know?" on YouTube. Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman have done an excellent job illustrating challenges and opportunities we face in the digital age. I plan to show this video to all of my students (probably on the first day of school)...I want to stress to the importance of becoming life-long learners (and having fun while you learn, too).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

11.5 More Things: Thing 6-iTouch Apps

I had fun with this 'thing.' I personally do not own an iPhone or an iTouch (too attached to my BlackBerry), but I recently helped my parents purchase one.
I borrowed their phone and found a couple of apps I felt appropriate...namely Google Earth. It was amazing to search with the phone as opposed to my computer. I also accessed a couple of my class wikis to see what the interface would look like...awesome! It took me a couple minutes to get the hang of how to use a smaller space to edit; however, I found it invigorating to complete edits in this different interface.

I scanned so many apps...I can see a number of uses for the iTouch in our Resource Center. I'm a computer geek in a computer lab, though, so I wanted to see what librarians and others thought about the possibilities. I surfed through the 'Beachcombers' and 'Certifed Divers' (those participating in this online PD) and found one post particularly interesting. I believe this blogger is a Spring Branch librarian...anyway I love the ideas presented there and agree with them...

What would be ideal; however, would be to get an iTouch in the hands of all students. They would have instant access to any/all school information including news/announcements, athletic schedules, testing information...they could download podcasts/vidcasts of lessons, share student generated work...the list goes on...wonder if we could write a grant for something like that? Things that make you go hhhmmmm....

I'm a wikipedia junkie and have been for a long time now. I'm still amazed at the number of core teachers that will not allow students to use Wikipedia as a source in research. But, then again, I'm amazed at the number of core teachers that discount Career and Technology Education "only vocational," "not rigorous," and "only for students not going to college." How misinformed is that?...but, that's another post entirely.

Back to Wikis...
I learned about wikis last summer while completing the "23 Things" online PD. I decided to try and incorporate wikis into my classes. The application of wikis worked very well in my Sports Marketing Class and my Business Education Independent Study (BEIS) classes. In addition, my BEIS class participated in the 2008 Flat Classroom Project, which utilizes wikis so that students across the globe can communicate and collaborate to complete a comprehensive project.
Wikis are an amazing way for students to collaborate. I found that many of my student teams worked on assignments (diligently) outside of class. It was 'homework,' but the students didn't see it that way. They were innovating, creating, and collaborating...these are some of the characteristics that that define the NetGeneration.
We have 21st century learners in our classes that demand a 21st century approach to education...wikis (and wikipedia) are a part of that approach.

11.5 More Things: Thing 5-Microblogging

Microblogging...I like MicroBlink's definition best:
Microblogging [mahy-kroh-blŏg-ing] verb: A small-scale form of blogging,
generally made up of short, succinct messages, used by both consumers and
businesses to share news, post status updates and carry on conversations.

I'm hooked on it. I've reached the point where I'm not sure I want to be with out it. Twitter and Facebook make it easy to communicate with friends, collaborate with colleauges, connect with groups of interest, and keep abreast of news and current events. Bill Gates wrote a book called, "Business at the Speed of Thought." The digital age has brought us to "Life at the Speed of Thought." Microblogging does its part to help keep me...all of us...current with our ever-changing environment.

Even better, microblogging allows me to connect with educators and business leaders. I've developed virtual relationships with experts in marketing, business, entrepreneurship, education, and technology. I've learned from them--gleaned from their expertise. All this connectedness results in my becoming a better, more well-informed teacher...which in turn promotes a better, more engaged learning environment for my students. Laura Walker's Post really says it best.

I use both Twitter and Facebook to help connect my Junior Achievment students. In addition, I've used backchanneling in a few of my classes. I think it's a great tool for class--it does take patience and training, however, to get students on board with the how to use it properly. Here's one personal example of how I used Chatzy this past school year (with great success).

11.5 More Things: Thing 4-Video Hosting

YouTube. TeacherTube. SchoolTube. Vimeo. UStream...

I have accounts at all of these sites. I have posted most of my videos; however, on YouTube. Until recently, they were the only site that accepted larger videos...trouble is, though I can't get to YouTube from my classroom (hopefully, that will change soon).

In the meantime, I utilize video in my classes from the other sites I listed here and also from places like Hulu. While surfing the "CATE" (Career & Technology Education) channel on TeacherTube, I found this video. If this doesn't inspire us as teachers to revolutionize our teaching methodologies, nothing will.

Ever since meeting Frank Guttler this past January, I've wanted to incorporate video into my curriculum. I think it's a great way to teach (utilizing Vidcasting) content and I believe it's a great avenue for students to demonstrate content mastery. I'm so convinced of this that I've requested a number of video cameras and related equipment for my classroom this year. If all goes well, my students will start incorporating video (along with a host of other digital tools) in my classes. Be looking for some terrific student-generated material!!! :-)

11.5 More Things: Thing 3-Skype

I love Skype. I was introduced to it almost a year ago and use it often. This past January while I was in Doha, Qatar for the inaugural Flat Classroom conference, I utilized Skype to stay in touch with family and colleagues back home.

I want to utilize Skype to bring experts into my classes this year. Perhaps Jeremiah Owyang for marketing, or Jeff Utect for educational technology, or...well, I could go on, but you get the point...With tools like Skype, it makes it much easier to connect my students with all kinds of experts...thus enriching their learning experience and creating both rigor and relevance in my curriculum.

It would also be great Skype home-bound students into my class. I could even utilize the tool to Skype in students that have been assigned to the alternative learning campus.

If you're on Skype...look me up! Estie03

11.5 More Things: Thing 2-Image Generators

I really enjoyed learning about new image generators. I was already familiar with Wordle and Animoto. I wasn't, however, familiar with WordSift, Glogster, VoiceThread, Voki, or Bookr. I've spent the last 4 hours or so 'playing' with these new tools. My mind is spinning on how I can incorporate them into my curriculum!

WordSift: Works a lot like Wordle, but the words in the cloud become links to further information. Great tool for research!

Glogster: Had a blast with this one! In ten minutes I created a poster that presents a snapshot of my Junior Achievement officers at the North American Company of the Year competition in Boston. I can see my students using this tool to complete assignments in class, illustrate information and research...I believe that I can even use this as an effective assessment tool. Perhaps the best feature of Glogster is its 'interactiveness.' Students can embed audio, video, images, and text. In addition, this tool allows students to be very creative in how they present the material (a big plus in my book!).

VoiceThread: Interactive Podcasting? My first thought was to have student teams create threads based on what we are studying in class. Then other student teams could listen and add relevant information to the thread. A great way to study...and, it gives me yet another assessment tool!

Animoto: Fun tool! I created a video a couple of months back. I had fun...if I did, I know the students will. I could use this tool to present new information to students, or students could use animoto to present research information, etc. The only drawback here is that you have to subscribe ($$) to create videos longer than 30 seconds.

Voki: Awesome! I would love to use this tool to introduce assignments to my students, welcome them to class, review...wouldn't it be a great way for students to share information to help them study for a test? Lots of Vokis embedded on our wiki? Sounds like a fun way to study to me!

Here's my first attempt at creating a Voki:

Bookr: This tool was really easy to use. A great way for students to illustrate learned material. The only drawback that you have to have the images uploaded to Flickr to use this tool. What would make this tool even more useful is if you could upload images from your computer and/or other sites like Facebook.

11.5 More Things: Thing 1

Last summer I had the priviledge to participate in online PD through my district--the PD was called "23 Things." The training introduced me to Web2.0 technologies and helped me brainstorm ideas on how I could integrate these technologies into my classroom.

It was awesome! My students began reflecting on assignments using blogs instead of paper/pen notebooks. They set up Readers, subscribed to RSS feeds, shared information via social bookmarking, and completed several projects using only Web2.0.

This summer, I once again have the opportunity to learn "11.5 More Things" via online PD from my district. I want to learn more and integrate more into my curriculum...thus keeping my students actively engaged in their learning.

"Thing 1" includes a great video. Here it is...BTW: this is my goal for my students!

Here we go!!!!