Saturday, December 30, 2006

2007 - The Explosion of EdTech

Just like many other bloggers this time of year, I am writing a blog post that is either going to review the past or preview the coming year. There have been many already, including Mark Wagner's post on the best of the Read/Write Web in 2006. Time Magazine's Person of the Year - YOU. This in addition to their article the previous week on "How to Create a Student for the 21st Century." David Warlick blogged on the explosion of the Read/Write Web in North Carolina, but the significant point that he makes is the unintentional role of Thomas Friedman and the "World is Flat," in the attention that the 'tentacles' have received over the past year. "Tentacles" in relation to this discussion comes from David Warlick's Keynote in Monterey in November and the numerous points of connectivity that the students we teach have. With all of these things coming out there is a greater degree of attention being paid to students, education and moving forward using the tools of the read/write web. So, much so that there are several sites using the term 'School 2.0' to describe this phenomenom. But even as the 'School 2.0' web site states in its first line, "there is no one path to the school of tomorrow."

So, on the first day of the new year, why do I think that EdTech is going to explode in 2007?

David Warlick uses the term 'Renaissance' on his blog this morning, and while it does define growth in the field, it signifies 'rebirth.' I would make the case that what we are going to experience in 2007 is something that none of us would have imagined 2 years ago and that the number and types of new tools will increase month after month. I am starting to feel like I am being a shill for Google (They don't pay me!), but it seems that they have a strategy, eventhough there are some that don't know what the other part of the company is doing.

Google is going to put together a great package of productivity tools for individuals in business, but it will also become a staple for students and 'democratize' the Internet.

Over the past few months, we have seen Google roll out some of the their early 2006 acquistions, like Writely becoming 'Google Docs and Spreadsheets.' This was significant to me since all students can contribute to the 'knowledge commons' because they all have access to the same tools. I had the students use Docs and Spreadsheets for the final project in my Computer Systems Design Class. I told them that their projects would be published on the Internet for their classmates and parents to see. Want to see what they did? Click here to go to the project index page.

What has Google acquired over the past few months that could have a dramatic impact on education? First, the YouTube acquistion does have some educational impact but, I think it was more of an attempt to gain market share. The one acquistion that was critical is "JotSpot." JotSpot was well known to some, but it didn't have wide spread adoption because of competition in the space from others. JotSpot, a free wiki tool had some advantages to some of the other free wiki's out there, namely: PBWiki, Wikispaces, Wetpaint, etc. Expect Google to make a splash with JotSpot in the next few months.

The Google Apps for Your Domain is another service that plays directly into the educational arena. I had received the approval from the Tech Coordinators Council in our district to take advantage of free Gmail accounts that Google was offering last year. I also cleared this with the Deputy Superintendent, when I approached the Director of Technology to start the process... BRICK WALL! I think this was common place with many teachers who wanted to use the tools Google was offering, but couldn't get past a road block further up the food chain. Google solves this by offering to sell you a domain for $10 a year and set up Google Apps for Your Domain there. So, that is what I did. I purchased '' and set everything up. Check it out... Main Page and the Student Portal. It's pretty sparce now, but I know it will be hopping as soon as school starts back next week.

Another application that is going to explode in 2007 is the use of student, teacher and parent communication tools. These tools like School Loop and Edline, allow parents to take a more active role in the educational lives of their children using the Web 2.0 tools. Each of these applications allow parents and students offer 24/7/365 access to student assignments and grades. There are some differences between the two in the way the information is presented and how it is accessed, along with digital lockers, message boards and support which make me favor School Loop over Edline. The point is that the relationship between home and school is going to take place over a network connection using a web browser than it is with a phone call or a letter home.

Podcasting and Blogging will explode as students begin to understand how to use these tools as a way to 'broadcast' their ideas to a wider audience. Teachers will begin to understand the theory behind the idea of using blogs and podcasts as ways to improve student achievement through reaching a larger (less tolerant) audience.

While this list is no where near exhaustive, I think it does identify a few of the major trends and tools available to teachers, students and parents. One thing that is certain... if 2006 was a amusement park ride, 2007 will be an inverted looped roller coaster that will change the educational landscape for many years to come.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Deviant Achievers and Transparency

This post was created when I started commenting on Miguel Guhlin's post today on "Deviant Achievers" and the role they play in the current educational process.

Today, we are caught up with testing. Testing has become such an enrgrained part of our daily lives as educators that it effects everything we do in the classroom. One of the things that makes my position as the Technology Coordinator and Technology Arts teacher at our school a little different is that there isn't a STAR test or CST that I have to make sure I cover the material on, so that the students I teach will be able to score well on these tests. If you look at the classes I teach, Computer Systems Design and Cisco Networking, you would think that there would be very little emphasis placed on literacy skills. If you ask the students I teach, they could point to several assignments where they read, write and exhibit information literacy skills. In Miguel's post, he quotes several individuals that mention that if you do not, 'Teach to the Test,' you are a "Deviant Achiever."

As Miguel goes on, he states that our goal should be 'transparency.' This idea strikes fear in the hearts of most professional educators; teachers and administrators. While, I know in my district and in districts around the country there are many tremendous teachers out there and I would say the vast majority do a great job educating the students we teach. The one thing we don't talk about is the fact that there are some teachers and administrators that simply cannot perform the jobs they have and we consistently do things to protect these people.

If we become transparent, we force something to be done... either do the job or get someone out. We show the parents and the community what we are doing at school This forces teachers to teach and administrators to administrate. The quote I use on this blog speaks precisely to this point. 'There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times.'

Being a professional educator requires that you are a 'life-long learner' and that teaching is a journey, not a destination. Part of this journey is preparing students to perform the tasks they will be asked to do in their adult lives and to become life-long learners themselves.

There are those currently in the profession that belive that we can still teach without technology and online resources, this simply is not true. EVERY STUDENT will need to use technology based information resources in the jobs they will hold in our society. To me, these are necessities, not conveniences to the educational process. Those teachers and administrators who beleive that they can perform the task of preparing students for the work world of the 21st Century without using these tools has, in the words of some in the 'hip-hop' culture, "perpetrated a fraud on society."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Double Vision... Forward Vision... 2020 Vision

2020 Vision: Do we know whatschools and the educational process will look like when we get there? I am currently a mid-career teacher / educator and I plan on still being part of the process in 2020, therefore I need to make sure that I build a skill set that will allow me to be an effective teacher when I near the end of my career. Remember: "There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times."

Karl Fisch on his blog, The Fisch Bowl, has posted a video that he created in the 'EPIC 2014' or 'Googlezon' genre about how the educational process may change over the next 13 years. Most of the preditions he makes are related to Google and their role in education and society. I can personally tell you that 2007 will be the year that Google injects themselves into the educational process. Karl makes the point that next years Kindergarteners will be the class of 2020 and the link to the idea of a 'clarity of vision.' I watched the video one time and immediately had to post a comment on Karl's blog, but I also posted a link to the video on the Google Teacher's Group page and sent a link to all of the teachers at our school. I actually walked in on my principal watching the video in his office.

I thought that some of the items that Karl discussed were out there a little, but that is what you do when you make a video like this, you create a little controversy to spur on the discussion. I think that it helps the process move forward.

2007: Arapahoe Public Schools start the BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) program for students. I know this would make most Technology Directors call out the National Guard and sound every alarm from here to Bangalore, but I think it is important and much easier to implement and secure than most would imagine. Not to 'overgeek' anyone, but it is a fairly easy task to segment the school network in such a way that traffic on student laptops would not use the same data pathway that critical school services would travel on.

2008: Arapahoe Public Schools negotiate a contract for wired and wireless network services with Comcast. The network uses the new WiMax technology, which allows Internet access to be virtually 'ubuquitous' within the surrounding area. Approximately 600 students take advantage of the BYOL program. Amazon purchases e-Bay and renames the company 'A-bay,' the price for all items is now negotiable.

2009: 10 Arapahoe teachers begin podcasting all of their classes. 1,100 students are participating in the BYOL program.
- Google buys Associated Press and Disney/ABC - Also buys the rights to lectures at Stanford, MIT and Harvard.
- Yahoo buys Reuters, NBC and Universal - Also buys the rights to lectures at Princeton, Michigan and CalTech.

2010: Google introduces the GCam and the GCast service to allow teachers to broadcast all of their lectures to the Internet. All of the lectures are archived and available via podcast to students 24/7/365. The lectures were also integrated into a Course Management System, like Moodle. Arapahoe installed 10 GCams to start the school year, the units were such a success they installed units in the rest of the classrooms during the winter break.

2011: Warrior Portal launched. Allowed teachers and students to access all of their information from one place. The school district announced that starting in 2013, they would do away with letter grades in favor of a portfolio based authentic assessment system. Arapahoe schools had 10 sister school relationships with schools from around the world.
- Microsoft buys Yahoo and Dell
- Google buys five small companies dealing with quantum computing, solar energy and battery technologies.

2012: The Arapahoe Public Schools merge with the community college system to create a consolidated educational entity. Students can enter anytime between the seventh and tenth grades and upon graduation would have two years of college credit transferrable to any Colorado State College or University. The program was initially stopped by the Colorado State Department of Education, but was reinstated after a group of parents successfully sued the state in the State Supreme Court.

2013: Google buys controlling interests in Ford, Apple and AMD. Google stock prices drop 25% when the Google Board will not reveal future plans. There is a movement to recall the Google Board, but they retain their seats by a slight majority.

2014: On December 1, based on the time table set forth by the stock holders a year earlier, Google announces several new products.
- Google Panels: Solar panels that quadrupled the output of current panels at 1/3rd the cost. All Google data centers would be powered by Google Panels. Would create 20 Billion in revenue in three years. Creating the Google Grid and providing power to underdeveloped countries.
- GCars: Electric car that is a joint venture between Google and Ford, using a battery technology that extends the distance between charges to 1,2oo miles. Consumers with Google Panels on their homes create enough energy to power their homes and cars. The cars were also equipped with wireless capability, which created a wireless mesh network in almost every metropolitan area.
- Google creates a new quantum computing chip that runs at the speed of chips produced 2 years previously at 5% of the power cost. Laptops built using the chips could be completely powered by solar panels installed on the backs of the units.

2015: Apple and Google annouce the 'iMAGINE' computer, using the new quantum computing chips. The operating system and applications were all 'open source' and the only cost for the computer was $20 to cover shipping and handling and a $40 annual subscription to 'Google Premium.' Content from all of the major universities and early-bird access to 'A-baY' merchandise.

2016: Microsoft, after seeing the explosion in content in Google Premium, approaches Google to form a partnership. Google agrees to the Microsoft partnership. Intel sues Google for unfair business practices, the case is fast-tracked to the US Supreme Court, which rules infavor of Google.

2017: Google U: Offering content between 9th grade and Master’s Degree. There would be no tuition because ad revenue would cover those costs. Google accepted applications from schools and universities to become Google U. partners, participating schools would receive a cut of Google ad revenue from the site.

2018: President Obama announced that the US was no longer importing any foreign oil and had a 500 Billion dollar surplus. This is the first year where carbon emmissions were lower than the previous year.

2019: Google and Apple announce the 'eyeMAGINE,' a computer that uses a display that projects the image onto the users retina. This eliminated the need for an external monitor, The unit was the size of a 'deck of cards' and connected wirelessly to the Internet. The unit can be controlled by voice by the ‘iThumb,’ a device that was the size of cellphones of the mid-2000’s.

A Global Learning Network was created and eliminated the need for a physical school, but students did come together for social, intellectual and athletic endeavors.

2020: The Global Learning Community is established and despite the claims of many that the use of technology in school would isolate people, it has actually brought people closer than ever before.

I would invite you to take a look at the entire video, which is now posted on Google Video here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Google Student Desktop

In the past few weeks since the Google Teacher's Academy, I have been playing around with many of the Google tools and looking for ways to integrate them into the day to day life of teachers and students. The applications they showed us during the day we spent at Google: SketchUp, Blogger, Picasa, Calendar, Docs and Spreadsheets, Groups, Reader and Earth, are all very cool and have many uses in education, but there was something missing. The part that was missing for me was the way to have all of these tools available at my or my students fingertips at the same time. Google Personalized Home, has the ability to be an 'Internet portal' for teachers and students.

If you have a Gmail account, you can create your own personalized home page. You can then add widgets, some created by Google and some by third parties, to your home page. Some of the third party 'widgets' are: bookmarksThis allows you to create a 'dashboard' of services that you use on a daily basis and best of all, these services are available to you anyplace you can get to a computer with an Internet connection. Imagine you and your students having access to a wealth of tools at any computer, anyplace in the world.

When you start, you are given a page that has the Google search bar on the top third of the page and the bottom two-thirds of the page is divided into three columns, where your widgets can be loaded into and saved. If you have more widgets than your main page can hold, you can create additional pages and you can navigate between your pages using tabs across the top of the three columns.

(Screen shot of the tabs on my personalized home page)

(The screen shot below is of the three columns on my home page.)

(This is the screen shot of my 'Google Apps' page on my personalized home page. I have a widget for all of the pages I have bookmarked.)

Currently, there are certain Google tools that do not have 'widgets' to be included in the Personal Home page, but I would suspect that these items would be included soon. The two that would be the most useful to me would be Blogger and Docs and Spreadsheets. (As of 11/23 - The Docs and Spreadsheets widget was added after I took the screenshot above.)

Give it a try... I think you'll be impressed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Monterey Tech 06 - David Warlick Keynote

We just finished listening to David Warlick's keynote at the Monterey CLMS / CUE Conference. The one word I can use to describe what David said was, "Validating." Many of the issues David brought up during his talk were issues we (Myself, Dominic and Geoff) spoke about in our session here yesterday. We put up a page of links we discussed on the Global Communications Wiki.

The picture here is from the "Google Teacher Academy" day where David was part of our conversation about the "New Literacy" via tele-conference.

David discussed the issues we face today in teaching the students we have in our classes and how the structure of the classroom we teach in is better suited for the industrial society of the past instead of the connected, ubiquitous, always ready to go students we have today. The one analogy that was particularly useful to me was the idea of students having 'tentacles.' Students have tentacles that connect them to the world around them. Myspace, cell phones, multi-player online gaming allow students to connect to their world, not just the world they can touch, but the world they can't touch miles or contentents away. In our classrooms, we cut our students tentatcles! We take the tools they are using away from them. In our presentation yesterday, we discussed the 'disconnect' between a student's personal use of technology and their academic use of technology. When I went to promote the "Global Communicatons" program to 8th graders at our middle school, I asked them how many of them had a "Web Presence?" None of the students raised their hands. When I asked them, how many of them either had or knew of someone that has a "Myspace" account. Every hand went in the air. Now, you might be saying that I did this in a room of thirty 8th Graders. No, there were over 300 students in the room.

Another topic that I focused in on was the integration of the idea of the 'flat classroom.' I have written responses to David on his blog about this in the past, but today, I felt that using the idea that classrooms are made up of energy. And in the past, the energy in a classroom was created by 'gravity' created by the teacher being 'superior' to the students, not just in knowledge, but in stature in the fact that the teacher's desk was larger than the student desk and in many times on a podium. In a scientific sense, gravity creates friction and therfore creates energy in that way. In the 'flat classroom' there is not a source of friction, since the teacher and students are at the same level. So, how do we create energy in a 'flat classroom?' My feeling is that the energy in a flat classroom comes from a 'chemical reaction' of students and teachers collaborating with each other and the energy that is created by the 'conversation' that takes place between students, with themselves, and teacher.

Driving and maintaining audiences: This point also hit home with me, since I am currently reading a book, called 'Convergence Culture' by Henry Jenkins. The idea behind 'Convergence Culture,' is that we are connected to multiple media sources and that there is an interaction between the creators of the media and the consumers. Where the consumer now has an interactive relationship with the media they consume. This manifests itself in items like fan websites created to figure out who will win the next 'Survivor' or the next 'American Idol' competition. Fans making home movies or writing stories using the characters from 'Star Wars' or 'The Matrix.' The idea of interaction between the creators and comsumers of media interacting with each other and the consumer deepening the experience for themselves and others is intriguing and will only get bigger.

The last thing David mentioned was close to the quote I use as the quote on this blog. "There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day at the 'Googleplex': Google Teacher's Academy

What an awesome day! I was fortunate enough to be one of the fifty teachers selected to take part in the first Google Teacher's Academy on November 7. It was a long day, filled with a lot of learning, sharing and food! One of the first things you notice when you get to the 'Googleplex,' is that there is food everywhere. On our tour in the middle of the day, I believe I heard our guide say that there are 17 restaurants and NO cash registers.

So, the day started with them giving us... Food. We had a continental breakfast in one room, while they showed some of the videos that participants had submitted to become part of the Google Teacher's Academy. Each of our name badges had a color in the upper left hand corner to signify which group we were to be in for the day. We were then taken into the Kiev training room in Building 43. It is a college style lecture hall, with tables and they provided IBM ThinkPads for us to use during the day. For those of you who are a little geeky... Our wired connection on the ThinkPads was 1.0 Gbps. Woo Hoo! I was fortunate enough to be a member of the 'Black Group' which meant that my seat was front and center. We were introduced to the leaders of the day; Cristin Frodella, our 'Google Host,' Chris Walsh from WestEd and Mike Lawrence from CUE. I had met Mike Lawrence previously, but Chris Walsh must have been a little taken aback having a meanacing 6'2" guy with a shaved head in the front row staring at him. Those of you who know me personally, know that I am VERY hard to miss.

After an introduction to the day, we were put into our groups and asked to take part in some team building activities centered around 'innovation.' The next hour was broken up into three segments. The group was divided into thirds and assigned to attend one of three application spotlights: Docs and Spreadsheets, Specialized / Advanced Search and Google Earth with United Streaming. The groups rotated every 20 minutes. I was very impressed with all three of the presentations. I think the new Docs and Spreadsheets is going to be a huge hit in schools for many reasons, but the most important one is that it allows the student to store their documents online and share them with others. This makes student collaborative work and teacher comments on digital documents quick and easy. The Advanced Search was a good segment, but for me it was full of all of the things we are already teaching in our Global Communications course. I really like Google Earth and I finally saw some educational uses that are doable in a classroom. We did a short de-brief back in the Kiev training room and then a quick tour of the main 'Google Quad.'

Next was lunch. Yeah! They fed us again. The restuarant had 10 different food choices and you could mix and match everything. I ended up having lunch with a few people I hadn't met previously, Mark Wagner and Ben Chun. Mark, Ben and myself had a great conversation about blogging and how it could assist in changing the educational process. After lunch, we did a panel discussion about information literacy and whether the 'Big 6' information strategies were still valid for today's students. We were also fortunate to have David Warlick involved via teleconference.

The next group to work with us was a group of Google engineers working on improving 'search functions.' I was really amazed by the fact that they were all young women of color, definitely breaking the stereotype of the 'coding geek.' The group seemed very receptive to the suggestions that the teachers had regarding search.

The afternoon three application rotation was next with Sketch Up, Picasa / iPhoto and Blogger. All three applications have some great educational uses and are all free, as was everything else we saw with the exception of the United Streaming material in the morning session. Mark Wagner, whom I had lunch with was the Blogger presenter and Mike Lawrence of CUE was the Picasa/iPhoto presenter.

Are you tired, yet? A lot of us were! We then had two additional sessions back in the Kiev training room dealing with instructional design and using technology to support diverse learners. Both sessions were good, but I wished they were more interactive with the group. I felt like there was a lot of talented teachers in the room and the dialogue could have strengthened the presentations. At this point, its about 5:00 PM, the leaders want us to start working on our post academy goals. As part of the process, each teacher is expected to give back to the edtech community in three ways. There were many different options given to us, including: blogging, conference presentations, professional development activities, one on one coaching with teachers, weekly podcasts, etc. So, one of my activities will be posting on this blog at least weekly. I will also be working with teachers in the SMUHSD and elsewhere and I will be doing some large group presentations, like I will be doing this coming week in Monterey, CA at the CLHS Technology Conference.

As we were working on our plans for the rest of the year, Chris Walsh entered the room and asked for our attention. Earlier in the day, when Chris introduced the Infinite Thinking Machine (Google Education Blog), he showed us video posted on the site with Vint Cerf. Vint has been one of the early Internet pioneers and is currently working for Google. Vint spent about 30 minutes with us discussing the Internet and how education will change because of it. It was a fascinating 30 minutes and I think it was one of the best parts of the day.

After our time with Vint Cerf, members of the group were able to share some of the things they are doing at their own sites in relation to educational technology and classroom implementation. It was nice to see some of the things people are working on and how the implementation process works differently in different schools and districts.

And, at the end of our day... They fed us ... again! The leaders of the group walked us to another, nicer restaurant on the other side of the Google campus where we were treated to a fantastic dinner (which I had to leave for... teaching my night class called!) and a short talk by Udi Manber, Google's Vice President for Engineering.

Now, for more good stuff.... Google Swag! We all received Google Backpacks, that are pretty cool. Inside the backpacks, we received a David Warlick book, a Google light-up pen, a Google Flash Drive, A Google Notebook and a Google Baseball Cap.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guerrilla Education: A Way to Move Forward

Over the past few days I have been reading the blog posts from many of the educational bloggers (Will Richardson, David Warlick and Miguel Guhlin) and finding most are concerned that the opportunity for meaningful change in the educational process is getting bogged down by an educational bureaucracy that has Educational Technology Directors and Administrators creating road blocks for meaningful change. Most teachers say they want to use wikis, blogs and other collaborative tools in their classrooms, yet most will use these tools as a way to do the same assignment using a different medium. Shovelware is a term that is used to describe this process of using a new technology in the same way an older technology had been used.

So, what's a different approach to take in this process? The evangelist label has been used many different ways in reference to technology and tech integration. You can go back to the beginnings at Apple Computer, where the employees were referred to as Evangelists. Guy Kawasaki, a venture capitalist and former Apple Computer Evangelist, has written extensively on the subject in his books and on his blog, "How to Change the World. Will Richardson, currently on the cover of 'Teacher' magazine, with the headline, "The Blogvangelist", has also embraced this persona in his work with teachers around the country. “The new Internet isn’t about technology anymore” says, Richardson. “Instead, it’s about your imagination, about thinking, quite literally, ‘out of the box’ of the traditional classroom.”

What we are really talking about is changing the roles in the traditional classroom. The classrooms of today are still based on the industrial / assembly line model where the teacher is in possession of the knowledge that is used in the class and the students are expected to be willing receipients of the teacher's knowledge. Will Richardson, in his evangelism, is working to convert the teachers toward the 'new literacy skills' using blogs, wikis, RSS, etc. He has been successful with many teachers, and these are teachers willing to implement these tools into their classes, yet there are still significant road blocks in the way. Some of the road blocks are real and others are imagined, yet they get the same result. Teachers are not able to implement these tools and skills into their teaching repertoire.

I want to change this slightly, evangelism is described as 'converting' others who will in turn go out and spread the tools they have learned. I would like to change the practice over to being a guerrilla. Now, I understand that there may be a negative connotation towards the term 'guerrilla,' but that is also part of the attraction to using that term. It definitely catches your eye and draws your attention to it. So, what meanings am I trying to express by using the term 'guerrilla' to describe the implementation of EdTech skills? First, I want to emphasize the idea that there is a small group of committed individuals working collaboratively to liberate others from a larger governmental group. (read: school bureaucracy) Secondly, I want to emphasize the idea that guerrillas use speed, mobility and tactics that draw their opposition out into 'terrain' that is more advantageous to their skills.

How would we implement such tactics within an educational setting?

1) Assess your current resources.
- What do you have access to that you can use with students to acquire the Information Literacy skills they need?
* Can your students access blogs on campus? Are there certain blogs that are blocked and others that are allowed through your district filters? Have you checked which sites are really blocked or are you going by the word of mouth of another teacher?
* Miguel Guhlin's Walled Garden of Web 2.0 tools
* Blog post from Great Britain dealing with the same issue
- What resources do you wish you had access to, but don't because of some roadblock (real or imagined) that are in your way?
* Search for open source and web based alternatives and make a list. Using open source or web alternatives diffuse the 'cost' issue that so frequently are thrown in the face of educators that are trying to educate and innovate.

2) Assess your Administration:
- What are their objections? Can you build alliances with the site administrators to allow question the district level 'gatekeepers' directly or with their help?
* Sit down with your site level administrators and find their mental roadblocks and remove them quickly and easily. You aren't going to be exiled to Siberia, and your administrators will welcome your leadership and problem solving.
* Show your site level administrators the benefits of using these skills. E-mail them your blog posts (if you have a blog) and articles from the Internet that support the use of these skills.
* Do some 'reconnaissance' on district level administrators. Talk with people around your district to find out what their objections are and why are some sites blocked. Have answers/solutions to those objections ready to go.

3) Know the rules and find ways around them
- What does the district have students and teachers sign when they agree to using technology on campus? What does the Acceptable Use Policy of the district say? Are there other district bylaws or administrative regulations that are in force regarding the use of technology?
* Act like a 'loose constructionist.' I am not asking you to violate the rules and regulations of your district, but if there isn't something specific forbidding you from doing something that is safe and educationally sound. I would start working on it and developing lessons for the classroom and showing the benefit to students.
* NOTE: I am not encouraging you to publically oppose your administration, but I am bringing the focus back to where it should be. On the students.

These tactics may not solve the issues that are in place in your district, but they will give you good working knowledge of what the issues are and how you might start to find ways to change them to help your students.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

EdTech ..... InfoTech.... is there something we can learn from the business side?

NOTE: This has been one of my works in progress since the middle of November, but many other things have gotten in the way! Please excuse the length and the and gap between blog posts. I have figured out that it is much easier to make several smaller posts and keep them coming more frequently, than to work on one HUGE post.

Take a look at the graph above. Does is hit you over the head, like it does me? There's a gap that we have to fill... problem is that there isn't a foundation to build upon that will be stable enough to carry the weight of the structure we need to create. Therefore, we need to look elsewhere for models that can be adapted to help us fill those gaps.

Over the past several months I have been reading lots of different things, some of which have come from the 'business' or 'high tech' field. And some of the ideas I saw, I thought I could apply to EdTech literacy and integration. So, I am going to take one article I have read from the High Tech field that has a lists of things professionals should do and tweak them a little with an EdTech spin.

Taken from InfoWorld's October 16, 2006 edition: "20 Tips to get Promoted." I am going to change this a little bit and make it... "20 Tips to build your EdTech Program."

1) Think Education First, Technology Second:

This was actually titled, "Think Business First, Technology Second," but since education is our business, it was OK to change it. I think too many people get caught up in the idea that technology in education is a panacea, it's not. What we are doing today is the same thing that we were doing 20 years ago, we are teaching students to become active and literate members of the society. Folks... we are teaching literacy, not technology. Technology is just the conduit that makes all of this easier and more valuable to our students.

2) Raise the Bar... and Leave It There.
Having high standards is what all teachers believe they have for their students. The disconnect I have is that once many standards are set, there aren't enough intermediate check points for students to perform a self-evaluation and receive some feedback regarding their progress. Teachers are the one's that set the standard, but also must be the one's to create the checkpoints for students to receive the feedback they need.

3) Hold your Nose and Raise Your Hand.
In the 'InfoWorld' article, this related to the idea that you should volunteer to do the tasks that no one else wants to do. In relation to EdTech, this means doing the ground work to make the resources accessible and available to students. You need to be the one to create the accounts on what ever software application or service your students will be using. You need to be the one that goes in to make sure that the applications are loaded on the computers, the bookmarks are added to the browser to make a certain sites available to students, so that they aren't spending the entire period trying to find the site you want them use.

4) Dont Pass the Buck:
In you are the EdTech leader in your school or district, you need to act like Harry S. Truman. "The Buck Stops Here" You need to be prepared to answer any question in relation to tech resources/assets that are available within your school/district. If you don't have an answer or can't definitely answer someone, promise to find the answer and give them some response. I have tried to do this with most of the tasks I perform as the Tech Coordinator of the district, and for the most part, I am able to get back to people within 24 hours of their initial request / question.

5) Be a Lone Voice in the Wilderness:
If you feel strongly about something, you need to be willing to stand behind it. This is the way I feel about Web 2.0 and its application into the educational environment. I may not be the most popular because of this stance, but I know deep in my being it is the right thing to do for the kids we teach.

6) Back Down Gracefully:
When things don't exactly go the way you want them to go, admit it. But, do not let being incorrect in one instance deter you from moving forward with what you know to be the right thing to do for the students we teach. One of the phrases I use with people all the time is... "If you don't ask the question, the answer is always, 'No'"

7) Develop a Killer App:
Most teachers are not going to develop a 'Killer App,' but many teachers can develop a 'Killer Process.' Any dedicated teacher can create a process to make it easier for another teacher or student to incorporate tech skills into their teaching / learning repertoire. Once you do this... share it with everyone! One of mine is... the troubleshooting strategy I teach in my computer system design class. The troubleshooting strategy the kids learn is Vietnamese noodle soup. Well, the name for this is PHO, which stands for: Physical, Hardware and Operating System

8) Stay on the Cutting Edge:
To me, this all happened in the last 18 months. I started subscribing and reading blogs. This led me to books that interested me in the directions I thought education is going. Personally, I have read more over the past 18 months than I did when I was in my 20's. In the past year, I have read 10-12 blogs on a daily basis ( I don't read every post, I only read the posts that interest me.) to keep up on what the conversation is in Educational Technology. I have also read; 'The World is Flat," "The Tipping Point," "Being Digital" and "Convergence Culture."

9) Feed Your Mind:
This directly relates back to #8. In order to stay on the cutting edge, you have to feed your mind and constantly be learning something new. This leads me to the quote I have on my blog and is something I try to live by. "There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times." Is information going to stay static? How much has your field changed since you graduated from college? Shouldn't your teaching refelect the changes in your academic field?
10) Find Your Yoda:
Find mentors where ever you can. They don't have to be green, lived for 300 years or have pointed ears, they do have to have qualities that you feel are exemplary and will help you grow personally or professionally. I have had a ton of great mentors, most of them never knew they were my mentors at the time, but I can list four off the top of my head. Some of the phrases I have used in this blog post came from a coach I worked with a few years ago. The reason I finally decided to enter into the realm of educational administration came from having a principal who was a educational leader, not someone who is just trying to get to the end of the year. Thanks Tess!

11) Take Deadlines Personally:
Deadlines are always difficult to deal with, especially when they come too quickly and they don't give you enough time to do the best possible job. The only thing I can say here is: Plan, Plan and Plan. One thing you can always count on when dealing with Educational Technology, it's NEVER going to go completely right. Have several backups!

12) Share the Wealth:
Anytime you achieve something, make sure you share what ever kudos come your way with the people around you. In EdTech, that can be the computer technician, the Tech Director, a teacher that served as your guinea pig when you were developing your new program. Recognize everyone, regardless of their role and its significance in the big picture.

13) Be Your Own Cheerleader:
You can be doing great things at your school and noone will know it. Personally, I have had a tough time with this one, since I figured that if I am doing something well, it will eventually get noticed. Why wait to get recognized? If you are doing something well and tell people about it, it will increase the number of people that can benefit from it. What is one of the best ways to be your own cheerleader? Blog! Like this one!

14) Build Your Own Portfolio:
Keep records of everything you are doing. Storage space is cheap and you never know when something you have done in the past will fit in nicely with what you or someone else is doing and you can repurpose something you had archived. Find ways to post your work on the web. The quickest, easiest way to do this is to have a wiki for each of the classes you teach. I have a wiki for both my Cisco Networking Class and Computer Systems Design class. Anytime someone asks what you have done, you can instantly direct them to one of your wiki sites.

15) Schmooze It or Lose it:
I often get schmoozing confused with being a brown-noser, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Schoozing means keeping the lines of communication going, even though they might not be 100% in your favor, it is definitely a two-way communication, where there is an exchange of ideas. In brown-nosing, there is an appearance of two-way communication but it is only a facade, the communication coming from your end is you putting up a mirror and reflecting back what ever the other person says. This is also a whole lot easier in the digital world, where there are many, many more outlets to interact with people using message board, instant messaging software, blogs (like this one!) and wikis.

So, schmoozing is OK... and there is a play on words here that helps. Some people say, "Its not what you know, its who you know." I want to twist that around a little and say, "Its not who you know, its who knows you."

16) Walk and Talk:
This is a double edged sword for me... There are two meanings I take from this phrase. The first is to 'Walk your talk,' which goes back to my days in athletics, where you better be prepared to perform if you are going to say something about it. The second meaning, I take from Peters and Waterman's book, "In Search of Excellence." The phrase, "Management By Walking Around," was a central theme in the book and I feel that it is important get out and see how people are using technology on my campus and other campuses in our district.

17) Hire Your Own Replacements:
I have been doing this since I started as the Technology Coordinator at Capuchino. I knew that there would be times when people that have worked for me would leave for greener pastures and there have been some that have, but I have always felt that you need to give the people working with you the opportunity to grow

18) Embrace the Gray Areas:
Gray areas... let's talk black areas! There are times when you don't have a clue about how to implement something, you just have to find ways to get something to work. Now, this doesn't mean drop everything else to make one thing work, but what it does mean is keep moving forward until you get stuck and then take a break. Taking a break of a few days, a week or even longer can give you a fresh perspective. The other thing that happens, is that by giving yourself some time and discussing things with people you work with or online, via blogs or message boards, can give you a solution to your block. There have been projects that I left hanging for a few months and kept in the back of my mind and had something hit me out of the blue that solved the road block I had hit.

19) Keep Your Nose Clean (Not Brown):
I'm all about pushing the agenda forward. I know that this makes some people feel uncomfortable, but you always need to make sure that what ever you do, you have a sound educational purpose in doing it. Administrators can't argue with something that has a strong educational purpose. You may be asked not to do something, but there won't be any disciplinary action.

20) Consider a Switch - For the Right Reasons:
Just remember that more than half of all teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their career. It takes a special breed to teach over the long haul. After the first five years, switching in education doesn't happen too often, if at all. In our district, I see a few teachers coming in from other districts for monitary reasons, otherwise there is usually some other mitigating factor (Spouse's employment, health of a parent, etc.) for a teacher switching districts.

Well, its been ... long... drawn out... and finally finished. I know it's not something that everyone will use, but it's worth a look and maybe find one good idea to use in your school.


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Friday, October 27, 2006

Google Teacher Academy - Part II

I'm in! I received word late in the day on Thursday, that I was selected to take part in the Google Teachers Academy. After the training, participants will become 'Google Certified Teachers.' The 50 people chosen will attend an all day seminar at the Google Campus in Mountain View, CA on November 7, 2006. Now, when I say all day... I mean, ALL DAY. The e-mail I received said they would feed us Breakfast, Lunch and DINNER! All of this is part of the new 'Google for Educators' site the company has just unveiled.

I'll post plenty of information about the day afterwards. I am totally psyched and ready to go!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Google School: Making a difference around the world.

I wondered how long it was going to take Google to step into the educational arena. It seemed logical, like most large tech companies, Google needed to reach out to the educational community in some way to build consumer/user loyalty for their product.

The first part of the process is to create a 'Google for Educators' web site. The site has links to all of their educational tools, including Blogger, Calendar, SketchUp and their new Docs and Spreadsheets. Included are some sample lesson plans that teachers can use with their classes. I think this is the beginning of what Google has planned to dive head first into the educational arena.

The second project Google is working on is the 'Google Teacher Academy,' which is a collaborative effort with WestEd. Google will be holding an initial training day at their Mountain View campus on November 7, 2006. The training will create 'Google Certified Teachers,' who will lead training sessions for other teachers in how to use Google tools. The application was due on October 22, 2006 and included two 50-word answers to "Why should you be a 'Google' teacher?" and "Tell us about one rewarding teaching experience?" as well as a 1-minute maximum video dealing with motivation or K-12 education. I was able to get my application in under the wire. The space is limited to 50 participants and when I applied, my confirmation number was 1107. More to follow if I am chosen to be one of the 'Google Certified Teachers.' Here's a link to my 1-minute movie.

The 'Infinite Thinking Machine' is a blog where the people from WestEd and Google will be posting best practices of teachers using Google Tools. There are also short video's on the site showing some of the Google tools being used in the classroom by students. The video's are hosted by Chris Walsh of WestEd, some of us will remember Chris from his work around San Mateo County. The first ITM video has students using 'Google Earth' explore Hart Island in New York and information on the Google Educators web site. There is also a clip with Hall Davidson talking about California Student Multimedia Festival. The second ITM video deals with writing on the web with Mike Lawrence, the Executive Director of Computer Using Educators (CUE) and has students using 'Google Earth' to plot the routes they walk to school and finding the distance. There is also a section on using the Big 6 Information strategies.

Google has also launched their 'Google Literacy Project' web site. This is a international web site that is a joint venture between Google, LitCam and UNESCO (United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization). There are a number of videos on literacy on the site from locations around the world. I think we will be using some of the videos on the site in our Global Communications course.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Possums, Tails and Literacy

The last few weeks has had more than its share of ups and downs to last awhile, therefore the blogging was put on the back burner. Now, that everything has quieted down a little I can get back to pushing the literacy agenda again. In my best southern accent I want to say, "Friends, I have a word for you today. That word is 'Literacy.' It's all about giving to our students... giving our students the gift of life long literacy."

Over the past few months, I have written about integrating technology, but in some of the things I have read over the past few weeks, I have been wrong about this. Integrating technology isn't something we should think of as separate from literacy as a whole, it is an integral part of what will be necessary to be considered literate in the world our students will spend their adult life in. So, to quote the Pogo cartoonist, Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

To clarify what I mean, I think that teachers and the educational establishment have been barriers to the 'new literacy' in our schools. The skills that we think constitute 'information literacy' in the past truly support and enhance what we think of as 'traditional literacy' skills. Currently, we think of literacy as 'possessing' a certain number of facts and the ability to apply them to situations that present themselves to us in our everyday life. In the society our students will live in, it will be impossible for them to 'possess' all of the knowledge that will be necessary to work in the society of the future. The current definition of 'Information Literacy' includes: defining, locating, selecting/analyzing and organizing/synthesizing. It is these last two sets of skills that are the most important to our students.

The way schools have been organized over the last 100 years have been based on the Industrial Manufacturing model, with students traveling from class to class, like an assembly line, to have 4 quarts of History or English poured into their bodies. Henry Ford would be so proud! Educational pundits have recoginized that this model has been flawed when they use analogies that the teacher needs to stop being the 'Sage on the Stage' and move over an become the 'Guide on the side.' So, what will it take for us to move toward a model like this?

Like all 'new' ideas, especially those in education, they usually come into being from some type of business model. And 'New Literacy' models come from business as well. A new theory of collective intelligence and collaborative creation of knowledge comes from a book called, 'The Long Tail.' Want to see a little of what is meant by the 'Long Tail,' check out this video on the Long Tail Blog. David Warlick, one of the most respected Information Literacy authorities (lecturer, blogger, author) wrote about his interpretations of the Long Tail on his blog.

Next Steps:
1) Sign up for a Bloglines or Google Reader account. There is a video on the Google Reader site that will teach you about adding feeds to your reader.

2) Subscribe to 4 RSS feeds and read them at least every other day. Make sure these are feeds you are interested in.

3) Create a Blogger account and write a blog. Your audience could be for you, to get your ideas on paper. Your friends, to discuss the latest ideas, books, the weather, etc. Your class, to identify blog postings or other articles you have found on the Internet that will bring greater definition to what you are teaching in class.

If you need help. You can always contact me... I will come out to help. There have been 5 people that have contacted me about some of the things I have written here and I have either personally connected with everyone, either in person or e-mail, and sent links or helped them set up an account. There is one person I need to get back to and make sure they are ready to go. One of the teachers at Capuchino is currently on leave and living in Hong Kong, before he left he asked me how to set up a mailing list so he could keep in touch with all of the students that want to stay connected to him... I told him to start a blog. Check out the Hong Kong Chronicles.....

Happy Blogging and e-mail me when you create your blog so I can subscribe.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Digital Bridge: Bringing it all together... Finally

Over the past few years, the issue of the 'Digital Divide' has bothered me. I knew that teaching students how use technology as a tool to increase their awareness and take their learning to new places was something I wanted every student to have the chance to experience. The 'Digital Divide' took on many forms, economic, social, gender based or on municipal infrastructure. While most of the United States had the ability to access the Internet with a broadband connection starting in the late 1990's, it hasn't been since the last year or so that we have seen that most students we teach have access to computers in the home and have that computer connected to the Internet. A recent Wired Magazine article states that there has been significant progress in the issues surrounding the 'Digital Divide,' but that there are still issues that prevent many students from accessing the Internet from home. Internationally, there have been several programs that have addressed this issue for students in third world countries, the most notable being the $100 laptop program from MIT's media lab and its director, Nicholas Negroponte. (Negroponte Speech at 2006 TED Conference - approx. 18 Minutes)

In our area the issues in providing access to computers, software and Internet access for our students has been mostly economic. Students unable to purchase computers, software or get themselves to the local Public Library (All San Mateo County Public Libraries have free Wi-fi access.) to use a computer, were left out of the online world.

If they could get a computer in their home, either buying a cheap computer or getting a free computer from a friend or neighbor, the issues of software to use on the computer and access to the Internet still remained. As part of the Global Communications grant, we were able to pick up about 35 or so computers from ROP that we can 'give' to students to take home. One part of the 'Digital Divide' has been bridged... But the issue of software and Internet access still remain, or do they?

Over the past two and a half years, there has been an explosion of 'free' software out on the Internet, which allows students to download software onto their computer that is compatible with most, if not all of the software applications we use on campus. (Microsoft Office, etc.) Many of these applications are categorized as Web 2.0 tools. A fellow educational technology specialist in Texas listed many of these applications on one of his blog posts. I mentioned to him a few that he left off of his list and he blogged it again giving me credit... (I'm getting spammed to teachers in Texas and around the country... isn't the blogging thing a little cool?)

There have been a few 'municipal wi-fi projects' that have launched in the past two years, most notably the Google Network in Mountain View, the Earthlink Network in San Francisco. Events over the last few weeks have made it possible for all students to be able to access the Internet if they live anywhere in San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties or in the cities of Fremont and Newark. Joint Ventures Silicon Valley has just created a partnership with Cisco Systems and a few other companies to cover all of these cities in an open wireless network. This will allow anyone with a laptop in an open area within the city limits of these towns to access the Internet for free. There will also be adapters available to bring this access into your home. Now, the access is ad supported and will be slow in some locations at some times during the day, but it is the complete bridging of the 'Digital Divide' for the students we teach.

I am just psyched that we will have the ability to give every student we teach access to a computer, a wealth of applications and to the Internet. I can't wait to pull it all together. If you know of a student that does not have a computer and needs access to one, please let me know!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Web 2.0 - School 2.0: Getting Jazzed about what is going on!

First of all... Thanks for the great response to the latest blog entry. I received several responses from teachers and administrators (one Assistant Principal and one Principal) around the district and I feel like there are quite a few opportunities for teachers to collaborate that go beyond what we have seen in previous years.

Here's a little of what I think can and will happen... I heard from a few of the District librarians that they felt they wanted to move forward in integrating technologies into what they do on a daily basis. I suggested to them that they create their own 'District Library' wiki, where they could post all of the materials that are common to all of the Libraries in the District and then use their own school library sites as the place where they could talk about the special collections and events happening at their own Library. I defintely want to pursue this project with them and will be asking to come to their next council meeting. (I'll have a separate post on Libraries in the next few days!) Educational Uses of Wiki's

A second potential collaboration happened when I received an e-mail from a teacher at Mills, who had been doing some things on the 'Read/Write Web' with PB wiki, a free online wiki tool. I took a look at what the teacher had posted and found there were quite a few links to pages that other teachers might find useful. I used PB Wiki with my Computer Systems Design class last year when they did their 'Build Your Own Computer' project, the culminating activity of the class. PB Wiki is a cool tool, but I found something a little better, called Wetpaint. I also heard from a teacher at San Mateo in the same discipline, who wanted to get started with some of these tools, but didn't know where to start. I e-mailed back and said that I would be more than happy to come by and help set up some tools to publish out on the web, but I also sent the links to the pages that the teacher from Mills had sent me. This is the true collaboration that Tim Berners-Lee envisioned when he developed what we call the 'World Wide Web' in 1989.

I went over to Mills this week and met with the science teacher to set up a Wetpaint wiki. When I arrived, he already had his site running and had plenty of ideas on how to use this with his classes, including how the students would add to the site. Now, I will work with the teacher at San Mateo in either setting up their own wiki, or becoming a contributor to the wiki at Mills. Result: Instant visualization of what the teacher at San Mateo wanted see and a potential collaboration of teachers in the same discipline from different schools. Anyone else want to help out???

So, my offer still stands...

If you want to start a wiki or a blog, send an e-mail and I will help... I am only teaching periods 1 and 2, therefore, if you have a prep period after the early morning, I can definitely come by and help you get going. E-mail me and we'll get started.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New School Year - New Tech Skills

Well... The first week of school left very little time to get to doing any else but getting the school year rolling. For the most part, the opening of school was pretty uneventful, but there are always those one or two things that pop up that need to be attended to before you can really get the year moving. With a few exceptions, all of the new district teachers were able to access district technology resources on the first day of school. On a personal note, I am feeling invigorated as this year begins (my 19th in the SMUHSD), because I can see that there are enough resources that are free and accessible to teachers that can really make a big difference in teaching and learning.

At Capuchino, we started our new Global Communications course. This course embodies the skills of the read/write web and connects with the student's English and Health/Social Science course. All of the members of the Global Communications learning team met Thursday during the collaboration time to set up communication paths (wikis, online calendars, etc.) and to identify projects where the courses will have significant collaboration. I was really impressed with the energy and the flow of the meeting and felt we are really on the right track with what we are doing.

So, what are we doing? We are all about kids having skills, transferrable skills.

How are we going to achieve this in a way that kids will learn the skills and have fun at the same time?
This is how I presented it to them. I want each one of them to become an expert in something. I really don't care what it is (as long as it is appropriate), but they have to have an interest in it and be passionate about it. The example I gave them was about a fictional punk band called the 'JellyRolls.' I want them to find everything they can read about the 'JellyRolls.' I want them to search the Internet, using search engines, like Google. I also want them to search blogs, using Technorati. I want them to subscribe RSS feeds about the 'JellyRolls' using a newsreader like 'Bloglines' or 'Rollyo.' I want them to use a news feeder to get the latest articles about the 'JellyRolls' latest concert and the reviews of the performance. I want them to bookmark pages on the Internet about the 'JellyRolls' using a tool like or Furl. And finally I want them to take the information they have collected and write about the 'JellyRolls' on a blog they have created. As they publish their blog using Blogger or some other blogging tool, they will undoubtedly come into to contact with other fans of the 'JellyRolls' and a dialogue will take place. This will increase their 'circle of influence' outside of their school or even their hometown, but will make them a 'player' in the global information society.

Do you think these skills will be transferrable into every class we teach?

As the District Technology Coordinator, I want to do what ever I can to encourage you to begin to tap into the enormous resources that are available to you and your students on the Internet and the site communication tools we have.(School Loop and Edline) The best part of all of this is that you don't have to write a grant to find funding for a project or get some special technology to make all of this work, its all available to you with any computer connected to the district network.

So, to encourage you to take part in the unfolding of the new resources available to you, I am going to make the following deal.

1) If you want to start a blog or Wiki with your class, I will come down and help you set it all up and even work with one of your classes to begin the process.

2) If you or your students start a blog or a wiki, I'll subscribe and read it religiously. I'll be the Edublog version of 'Tom' on 'myspace.'

3) I can come to your school site and work with a small group of teachers to help develop a wiki to create online resources for your classes. We can do this with several different wiki or blogging tools.

Is anyone going to take me up on my offer? Call or write me an e-mail if you are even the least bit interested....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

PEW Internet and Life: What are people doing on the Internet?

The primary mission of this blog is to promote awareness as to what is going on with technology and how it relates to the process of teaching and learning. Most teachers use the Internet to read and send e-mail, do a 'Google' search on a subject for class or use the information on a particular web page for their class. Technology has changed drastically over the past 5 years, the Internet has become a two way communication tool, using message boards, chat rooms, blogs and social networking sites. Many people have a general idea what a blog is and about the 'blogosphere,' but many don't have a good idea of what is really going on in the blogosphere! What is going on right now is the explosion of two way communication on the Internet, using social networking sites, tagging sites, peer production news, etc. Now, I know what you are thinking. There has been instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards, etc. all over the Internet for several years now, what do you mean there is an explosion going on now? The explosion that is going on now is that everyone and anyone can have an Internet presence and create, re-mix and draw new connections to anything they want. Because all of the content is accessible and easy to search and filter, anyone can become a content creator and have their ideas available for anyone to access.

Why am I telling you all of this now? Well, a study was recently released about how people use the Internet and what they use it for. The results will probably not surprize you, but should make you think, how can I use this level of interest to engage my students?

The PEW Internet and Life Project is a group that studies what people are doing on the Internet, which tools they are using and makes some predictions as to what people may be doing in the future. Recently, the group released a study about blogging; who is writing and who is reading this content and how it is effecting the social landscape of the world.

The full report from PEW Internet is here: Bloggers: A portrait of the internet's new storytellers, but the summary of the report is below.

- Blogging is brining new voices to the online world.

- Contrary to the impression created by the press attention on political blogging, just 11% of bloggers say they focus mainly on government or politics.

- The blogging population is young, evenly split between women and men, and racially diverse.

- 54% of all bloggers are between 18-29, yet they only account for 24% of the population online.
Hispanics account for only 11% of the online population, yet they account for 19% of all the bloggers.

- Relatively small groups of bloggers view blogging as a public endeavor.

- The main reasons for keeping a blog are creative expression and sharing personal experiences.
Blogging is usually the first foray into authorship; bloggers blog to express themselves creatively and share personal experiences.

- Sixty-two percent of bloggers did not have a personal website before launching their blog and 54% of bloggers had not published their writing or media creations anywhere else, either online or offline.

- Three in four bloggers (77%) told us that expressing themselves creatively was a reason that they blog.

- Only one-third of bloggers see blogging as a form of journalism. Yet many check facts and cite original sources.

- Bloggers are avid consumers and creators of online content. They are also heavy users of the internet in general.

- In February 2004, approximately 17% of Internet users said they had read a blog, since that time the number of Internet users that read blogs has risen to 39%, accounting for approximately 57 million adults in the United States.

- Bloggers will bring in media from other sources and remix the content they find online to create their own artistic creation.

- Bloggers are major consumers of political news and about half prefer sources without a particular political viewpoint.

- Bloggers prefer political news, and news in general, without a particular political viewpoint.

- Bloggers often utilize community and readership-enhancing features available on their blogs.

- Blogs gain attention, if only at a personal level. Nearly 60% of bloggers had been noticed by others, either through comments posted on their blog or by exchanging links to other sites. Blog writers are also enthusiastic blog readers.

Source: Lenhart, Amanda and Susannah Fox. Bloggers. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, July 19, 2006.

What does all of this mean for education and the use of technology in education? Lots of good stuff. If you look at some of these things, you start saying to yourself, "This is what I want my students to do." So, now I would ask you... what are you going to do with this information and how are you going to integrate it into your teaching repertoire?

Some great first steps:
1) Go back and read some of the previous posts on this blog and look at what interests you and how you can modify, remix or tweak it and use it right away.

2) Create your own 'Bloglines' account, subscribe to a few blogs and read them periodically and find ways to integrate the material you find there into your classes.

3) Take a look at the Capuchino Online Learning Community (OLC) site to get ideas on how to integrate technology into your classes.

4) Talk to the Technology Coordinator at your school or send an e-mail to Kyle Brumbaugh or Dominic Bigue to get more ideas about how to integrate technology into your classes. Start small and work up as you develop more skill.