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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: August 2008


Cooperating School Districts, in collaboration with Promethean, is starting a Midwest Promethean User Group (Midwest PUG). This is an opportunity for you to network with schools and teachers here in St. Louis, MO and all over the Midwest to share ideas, lessons, challenges, and successes in using the Activboard.  The group will be informal and will meet once a month.  You can either come to CSD for the meetings, or, if your district has videoconferencing capabilities, you can connect to the meetings via videoconference. All meetings will be held from 3:30-5:30 pm CT, but if that time is inconvenient, not to worry–come late, or leave early.  The first meeting is Thursday, October 23. Subsequent meetings- 2008: Nov. 20 | 2009: Feb. 26, March 26, April 30.

Topics of discussion, lead by Promethean’s Scott Caulfield, will include:

  • Activstudio tips/tricks
  • looking at ways to integrate Activstudio into your curriculum
  • support tools available on Promethean Planet & Promethean Learning

Please come with your ideas and questions! If you bring a flipchart to share you will a Promethean prize!

Reservations Required: to sign up, or if you have questions, contact Martha Bogart. If you would like to participate via videoconference, contact me at rmorrison@csd.org. Feel free to invite others, and come ready to share!


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As the Presidential Election approaches, teachers are looking for ways to incorporate the election process into their lesson plans. Distance learning is definitely providing several options for interested teachers! Here are some educational videoconferences that you might want to consider:

As the November 4th election approaches and passes, I’m sure more programs will become available! Two great places to look up videoconferences are www.cilc.org and www.twice.cc.

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Today Martha and I visited AIMS’ Ray Vollmer and Lisa Suggs at Saint Louis University. It was actually my first visit to their midtown offices- I’ve seen them over v/c of course and the two have come to CSD frequently- so I was excited to see where the action takes place. SLU is remodeling the building, so Ray, Susan and Lisa are in a temporary location for their distance learning “studio” but it is outfitted with the latest- a HD Polycom, flat screen, brand new Elmo. It looks fantastic!

To read more about Adventures in Medicine and Science- their videoconferences and onsite programs- go here. New Links to New Learning members, if you are interested in an AIMS videoconference, contact me. Nonmembers, register here.

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Nancy George

The Midwest Education Technology Conference Advisory Committee met today at Cooperating School Districts to review the submitted proposals and to get conference updates from METC Program Manager Nancy George.

Interested in presenting this January in St. Louis? You have until the end of the week to submit your presentation idea- proposals are due to CSD by Friday, August 29, 2008: http://www2.csd.org/csdrpdc/metc2009/presenter.htm.

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the Elevate 2008 conference in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The theme of Elevate is “Reaching New Heights in Educational Videoconferencing.” Janine Lim and Roxanne Glaser are attending & updating their respective blogs, Videoconferencing Out on a Lim and VC Rox K-12 Videoconferencing in Texas. I encourage you to click over and read what they are up to- presentations, international speakers, partnerships.

The conference goals are to:

  • inform key decision-makers, practitioners, researchers & government representatives of the research-based essential conditions for the successful implementation of advanced learning technologies.
  • disseminate current promising practices (pedagogical, technical, environmental) in the use of video-conferencing and related technologies.
  • further the skills, knowledge and experiences of participants & the field to catalyze growth in the use of advanced networks for education.
  • and improve the understanding of educational & technical issues related to connecting learners over global IP-based networks.

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Author Patricia McKissack does three part videoconference series through New Links to New Learning: the first session always with teachers, the second and third with students. For more details and descriptions on the interactive programs, visit www.authorvisit.wordpress.com.

Her first series of the 2008-09 school year is Winter Holidays Around the World. She’ll discuss various holidays, like Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and how to incorporate them into fictional stories. She is the author of Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters, and she shares that story with students.

Winter Holidays Around the World dates:
November 4, 2008-   4 pm CT (teacher meeting)
November 25, 2008- 9:30 or 11 am (1st student v/c)
December 16, 2008- 9:30 or 11 am (2nd student v/c)

To register for Winter Holidays Around the World with Patricia McKissack, or if you have questions, contact Rebecca Morrison at rmorrison@csd.org. The videoconference series is $650 for New Links members and $750 for nonmembers.

Montrasio International (Christmas) | SqueakyMarmot (Chinese New Year) | khanele (Hanukkah)

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Empowering Students with Podcasting
November 3 & 4 or March 11 & 12
evenings: 4-7 pm @ CSD
$125 CSD member; $195 non-member
(One Graduate Credit Available)
Register: www2.csd.org/tele

Come to the tele find out what all the talk is about! You don’t have to own an iPod or even a MP3 player to create and listen to your own podcasts. Learn how to record digital audio broadcasts, edit them and upload them to the web. Teachers can use this new technology to create podcasts of their lectures and class discussions so that students can listen to them again for reinforcement, or, students who were absent can catch up on work missed. Participants will also create lessons for their students that require them to create their own radio broadcasts, performances, interviews and more. Learn how this using this tool in the classroom can help auditory learners and motivate reluctant learners. Walk away with your own podcast!

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This is a really cool videoconference opportunity from HEC-TV. I’m especially excited about it because before I came to work for CSD, I actually worked at the St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project as an assistant archivist and learned quite a bit about the Freedom Suits. (Small world, right?) Here are the details on this September videoconference:

The videoconference (for grades 4-8th) will focus on the use of primary sources to explore the institution of slavery in 19th century America by looking at the specific example of the “freedom suit” court records of the St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project.

What are the Freedom Suits?
A study of 19th century American history or a study of the Civil War would not be complete without including the famous freedom suit of Dred Scott. While Dred Scott may be the most famous of slaves filing a freedom suit, he certainly was not the only one. These suits, which were legal petitions for freedom by people of color, became a common way for slaves to seek to obtain their freedom in the St. Louis area. The bulk of these suits were filed from the 1820s to 1850s. Slaves who had moved with their owners to live in free states often used this event as a basis to seeking their freedom.

The program learning objectives are:
1. The participant will explore the dynamics of America’s institution of slavery and how it functioned in the 19th century.
2. The participant will interact with primary source documents and interpret how they impact his/her understanding of a particular historic subject.
3. The participant will engage in a discussion about “freedom suits” and their impact on political and social life in America during the early and mid 19th century and share their ideas and questions as they interact with historic experts and primary source artifacts.  

…for more details on this videoconference, please visit this link. Disciplines covered during the videoconference include history, social studies, and character education. Available dates: September 25, 10-11 am CDT and 1-2 pm CDT.

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… if you’re looking for ways to engage middle and high school students in authentic research, presentation skills and use of technology then you’ll want to be involved in the 2008-2009 Kids Creating Community Content (KC3) Contest. This standards based project taps into the creative nature of your students as they look at their community and explore ways to share your unique area with students around the world.  For complete details and project requirements visit: http://kc3.cilc.org.

I learned about the KC3 program at MODLA during Jan Zanetis’ session. Teachers, this looks really great! Please take a moment to learn more about the project!

(Also at MODLA, I learned more about Flickr’s Creative Commons, where I found all of the photos above).
(left to right) Editor B, luismi1985, said&done, RoadRunnur

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In CSD’s technology enhanced learning environment (tele), learn how to use new technology tools & how to integrate them into your classroom and lesson plans at the same time! The tele is located in the Virtual Learning Center at CSD’s offices on Craig Road.

Technology is a tool that prepares students with the higher order thinking and questioning skills needed for the workforce. When students work with technology and the Internet, they are required to use these skills. Each project they work on is, in essence, a performance task. All of the tele classes are designed from a constructivist learning theory foundation that the Show-Me Standards are based on. The instruction is inquiry-based and project oriented.

Our philosophy is that technology integration takes many hours of training and is an on-going process. Our tele classes are designed to move you along this process. By introducing skills in the first half of the class and then immediately integrating those skills into project examples, you will develop a usable product for your classroom.

For a full list of the courses being offered in the tele this school year, including PD on SMART Boards and Promethean Activboards, visit www2.csd.org/tele. We hope to see you here!

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