Thursday, July 17, 2008

Edublogging: My Favorites

Eduglog: An edublog is a blog written by someone with a stake in education. Examples might include blogs written by or for teachers, blogs maintained for the purpose of classroom instruction, or blogs written about educational policy. The collection of these blogs is called the edublogosphere by some, in keeping with the larger blogosphere, although that label is not necessarily universally agreed upon. Others refer to the community or collection of blogs and bloggers as the edusphere.

This is a post that I have been thinking about writing for some time now. It is really just an entry in which I want to chronicle some of my favorites in the Educational blogosphere. While I do not  now consider myself a newcomer to blogging anymore, there is still much that I want to learn in order for me to contribute more to the collective that is educational blogging.

I would like to put together a collection of Essential Edubloggers at some point to list who I read on an ongoing basis and who I think anyone would profit by reading their blogs. I think the best way to do this is to create a Wikipage to list who I read. Dr. Scott MclLeod's blog Dangerously Irrelevant  posted "Top 50 P-12 Edublogs - June 2008" and a subsequent post "Top 50? Edublogs? - Follow-up". While I believe that Scott has done an admirable job of rating many of the edubloggers into such a definitive list, my own list of Essential Bloggers will not attempt to rate, rather to list those that I have found useful on my journey.

Note:After writing this blog post I realized that everyone whom I have listed I got the opportunity to meet and get to know, very well in most cases at NECC 2008 in San Antonio, TX (Please read my earlier posts about NECC and Thoughts about NECC 2008). I was just amazed at "The Community of Edubloggers" that I got to meet and learn from, which is one of the many reasons I enjoy edublogging as much as I do.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a lot of credit to Vicki Davis and her Cool Cat Teacher Blog from whom I have learned much and have "borrowed" many ideas from. Her post, "Ten habits of bloggers that win!"is a must read, in my opinion. Vicki has a tremendous amount of helpful ideas on her blog, as well as many great tutorials she has contributed on the Atomic Learning website.  (If you don't have an account at Atomic Learning I would highly recommend that you do).  Vicki is also one of the nicest ladies I had the pleasure to meet at NECC 2008.

Darren Draper who blogs at Drape's Takes is really a nice guy I had the opportunity to meet at NECC 2008. Darren has worked on a series of articles on ethics and etiquette with respect to blogging and internet use, a very good series that everyone should read.

Wes Fryer and his blog Moving at the Speed of Creativity is one of the first blogs I check every days for updates.  Wes is probably one of the most prolific bloggers and always has interesting things to read about educational issues. Wes asked me to record the Ustream Feed of a session he presented at NECC 2008 about the K12 Online Conference 2008, The Magic of Digital: Collaborative Interaction in Teacher Professional Development.

Classrom 2.0 Ning reaches 10,00 members! July 24, 2008, Congratulations!
Steve Hargadonalways has some very interesting things to say on his blog. Steve created the Classroom 2.0 Ning which has recently added it's 10,000th member, Edublogger World and countless other great Ning sites. He also hosted Edubloggercon which I attended at NECC 2008 in San Antonio. Steve has created, in my opinion, some of the best Web 2.0 resources for educators.

Chris Lehmann who blogs at Practical Theoryis absolutely amazing. I recently wrote a blog post about Chris' post Effective School Technology Leadership. I ran across a podcast that Chris recorded at the Apple Learning Interchange about School 2.0 which is excellent.

Ewan Mcintosh from Edinburgh, Scotland who blogs at is probably the most eloquent bloggers out there. Ewan also has the best accent of all of the bloggers I have met. I also like that Ewan was suitably impressed with my one-month old grandson at the Bloggers' Cafe at NECC 2008 one afternoon!

Stephanie Sandifer who blogs at The Change Agency always has some interesting topics as well as a wonderful insight into educational issues. I met Stephanie at Edubloggercon 2008and immediately liked her. Stephanie presented "Marzano & Web 2.0" at NECC 2008 to an overflow crowd. She surprised me when she asked me share an example of my students work that I submitted to the Web 2.0 that Workscontest that won in the Cooperative Learning category!

While I realize that this list is not definitive, it is a compilation of who I enjoy reading the most. I will add to this list as this is a "work-in-progress" blog post. Please note that I chose to alphabetize these edubloggers rather than assign a numerical rank. Please, if I have not added your blog to this list please forgive me, but as I said in the introduction, this is meant to be a list of edubloggers that I read the most.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Effective School Technology Leadership

I read Chris Lehmann's blog post "A Whole New School". Chris, who blogs at Practical Theory: A View from the Classroom and is the principal of The Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA.  Chris asks this question. What is Good Technology Education Leadership? Here is his answer.
The simple answer is that good technology educational leadership is no different than good educational leadership; that the choices we make with technology education should be deliberate, thoughtful and in line with the overall educational goals of our organization.
I hope that we are seeing better leadership and our schools with respect to technology, at least I am seeing this at my high school and school district which has a very strong commitment to integration of technology for teachers and students as well.  This is evident by our school district issuing Macbook laptops to each teacher this year and our technology department spending a lot of time this summer teaching the teachers how to use them.

So how do we expose and integrate technology in our classrooms and involve students?
First, we have to recognize that to use these tools only for two periods a week is not transformative, and it perpetuates the problem of access.
I do believe that we as teachers who teach subjects other than Computer Technology Classes we must look for innovative ways to integrate technology and Web 2.0 tools in our classrooms to engage our students more in what we are trying to teach them.

Even though most of us are not 1 to 1 schools where every student has a laptop issued to them, I do believe that as teachers, we should seek out opportunities to allow our students the access to computers and computer labs and show them how to use these emerging technologies wherever possible.

When I see computers and computer labs vacant for many hours of the school day I begin to wonder why are we not using our resources better.  I think a big part of the answer should be to get teachers more excited about their own knowledge and abilities and seek out professional development opportunities to learn how to use these technologies in their classrooms.

In addressing the tools and technologies available to us as educators, he gives us a guideline to use in using these tools.
Secondly, these tools allow all of us — students and teachers — to do five things better than we’ve ever been able to do them in our classes before: Research, Collaborate, Create, Present and Network.
In summary he asks what is the role of teachers with all of these Web 2.0 tools available to us.
Finally, what is the role of the teacher with all these new tools? It is my belief that while our role has shifted, teachers have never been more important. We are no longer the only source of information in our classrooms as kids can access information more quickly and more powerfully than ever before, but as the world becomes more fast-paced, more bewildering, more and more of a Tower of Babel, we have one role left to us, and I believe that it has always been our most important role. More than the skills we still teach, more than the content we still teach….

We teach wisdom.
I really enjoyed reading this post.  I agree with much of what Chris says in this post and enjoy reading what he has written.  I had the opportunity to meet Chris at NECC 2008 in San Antonio, TX this summer and listen to him present at the Bloggers' Cafe.  As I told him at NECC he would be a fun principal to work for because he would challenge teachers to expand their own horizons and use of technologies in their classrooms.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So much to teach, where to start first?

Breaking News: July 28, 2008. I presented the HSTE Project to both our CT&E Director and High School Principal today and secured their approval to proceed with the project for this upcoming school year!

After reflecting on NECC 2008, Edubloggercon and NECC Unplugged and all of the great Web 2.0 ideas I got there, I am starting to plan for the fall semester for all of my classes and trying to figure out just where to start.


I already have a final project in mind called the HSTE Project along with a pretty good Project Description, a Ning site for everyone in the project to communicate and I have a rough idea what our final "project" will be. Now the question is how to get there?

I ran across a great opening assignment by way of Vicki Davis' CoolCatTeacher Blog, called Wiki Wiki Teaching for starters. This "First Assignment" for all of my classes will be to accomplish a few small goals for starters:

1. Teach students how to collaborate in groups
2. Expose the students to editing a Wiki on our Wikispaces page
3. Expose my students to  Web 2.0 terminology and technology
4. Let the students create their first product, or "project"
5. Get the student working together and show them how we will work the entire semester or school year

Next I want to expose them to some great Web 2.0 Tools. One that I am really excited about teaching will be their own personal learning space using Netvibes. I have really enjoyed learning and using my own Netvibes PLE since I learned about it early this summer. I am planning on showing my students how to categorize their own tabs for their other classes as well as my Health Science Technology class. What a wonderful tool not only for teacher's professional development but to show them how to organize their online learning could be great.

After I feel that they have an understanding of what tools are available to them and they are starting to get comfortable with the various applications, then we will begin our study of the various Health Science Technology Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) which are basically the objectives the Texas Education agency sets forth for all classes in the State of Texas.

I am really hoping that I can pull this off, using technology, computers, Web 2.0 applications, etc., to teach my HSTE classes but I think I can do it. I am very excited at what my students will produce as finished projects. I can envision all sorts different outcomes with collaboration not only with each other, but when my students use our HSTE Ning Site to communicate with Health Care Professionals, initially in Hereford, Texas and then where ever the power of the  internet will lead us. One of the keys to making this a successful project in the end will be encouraging busy Doctors, Nurses, X-Ray Technicians, etc. to agree to share their knowledge and experiences with my students.

I have created The HSTE Project Blog to chronicle our project during this school year.

Now if anyone has any thoughts on this post or the HSTE Project, I would welcome any and all comments, suggestions and advice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

NECC - Wednesday, July 2, 2008

12:15 Sitting in the Bloggers' Cafe finishing a this blog entry and thinking about lunch, hitting the exhibit floor one last time and wrapping up a wonderful NECC Experience in San Antonio this week. I don't know what the possibilities are of attending NECC 2009 in Washington D.C are, but I am going to try to find a way to atend.

12:00 just finished an amazing session on k 12 Online Conference facilitated by Wes Fryer, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Dean Shareski it is something that I am looking forward to spending time exploring more.

8:30 AM - Sitting in the Blogger's Cafe listening to an informal session on internet ethics and etiquitte.

Participants, David Jakes, Tom Turner, Stephanie Standifer, Kevin Jarrett,Darren Draper, Lori Abrahams, Kevin Honeycutt, Kristen Hokanson, Michelle Baldwin, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, John Castilla Jeff Utecht and others

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NECC Unplugged

Late Entry: Well I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the Exhibit hall with my wife, daughter-in-law and 1 month old grandson. We had a great time, our grandson was the main attraction as everyone from our school enjoyed meeting him, although he didn't participate much in the conversation.

The rest of the evening we went to a couple of receptions and enjoyed some food, merriment and good conversations.

1:00 PM Standing by at the West Lobby in the student showcase area where Rhonda Curtsinger and her Hereford Junior High School students are presenting "State Heroes of Texas". It is really amazing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
11:00 AM I got to sit in on a presentation by Stephanie Standifer's about Web 2.0 That Works. It was a fun and informative session. Although the session was "closed" I told the door guard that I was there to take some pictures of the presentation, which really was the truth, and got in.

I didn't expect it but Stephanie asked me to talk about a VoiceThread that I submitted to the Web2.0ThatWorks contest. It was a lot of fun

9:00 AM Watching the Keynote address this morning with Nancy Pratt from Arizona.

7:30 AM Well I am at the Bloggers's Cafe at the NECC Conference this morning having a cup of coffee and waiting to see how the day develops. I am going to attend some sessions today as well as go assist with the student showcase that students from

I also want to go to the Exhibit Hall this morning as I didn't get to spend more than about 30 minutes on the floor yesterdayHereford Junior High School will present from 1:00 - 3:00 here at NECC.