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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: April 2009

If you are taking this summer’s Tracking Student Learning with VoiceThread class or Using iPhoto in the Classroom class, you might be interested in signing up for Classroom Projects Using Digital Photography, which is being offered the summer on July 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Flickr Creative Commons: pedrosimoes7 Flickr Creative Commons: pedrosimoes7 Flickr Creative Commons: pedrosimoes7
Here’s a description of …Digital Photography: A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. Find out how to use this powerful tool in the classroom. In this class, teachers will learn about the basics of using digital cameras and photography in the classroom. Come learn the parts of the camera, its basic operation, and possible activities that you can use with your students. Find out what can be done with digital images—how they can be enhanced, manipulated, and changed using basic photo editing software. Gain information about how to integrate images into lesson plans and classroom activities. Participants will be encouraged to develop a lesson that incorporates the use of digital images. Bring your own camera and photos, or borrow from us!

All photos by pedrosimoes7, found on Flickr.

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resa-jpegBerrien RESA is hosting Teacher’s Choice Awards to select the Best Content Providers for the 2008-2009 school year. Results will be shared via the Berrien RESA VC Content Providers Database and the videoconferencing listservs.

Many of you use the BCISD Videoconference Program Database from one of these websites: | TWICE: | or from search boxes on your local distance learning website.

Polycom has chosen to do a drawing for prizes to random participants of the survey to encourage participation. If you wish to be included in the drawing, add your contact information at the end of the survey. Polycom will selecting the winners randomly.

Click this link to take the short survey (or copy the address into your browser):

You must complete the survey by May 18, 2009 to be included in the drawing.

Please share this announcement with your local videoconferencing colleagues. We welcome entries from teachers, even if they vote in only one category/subject area.

Thank you for your time!

Janine Lim
Instructional Technology Consultant
(269) 471-7725×1101

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Julie Stackhouse @ CSDToday Julie Stackhouse of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis connected live from Cooperating School Districts to several schools in Missouri, Alabama and Ohio to discuss how the country got into the financial crisis it faces today. Some topics of discussion: sub prime mortgages and consolidation loans. Participants, what was the most interesting thing you learned today?

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The best answer to why videoconference is that it brings in a subject matter expert to classroom fills in curriculum gaps! Classroom teachers cannot be experts in every field.

The final session I attended today at USDLA was presented by Dawn Colavita of CILC. (Between NASA and CILC, I attended the presentation). Her presentation, Getting Optimum Mileage from Virtual Fieldtrips, explained why K-12 educators choose interactive videoconferencing, and how to find programs that work within curriculum. She highlighted the importance of virtual fieldtrip prepartion- communication between teachers and content providers is a critical element for a successful program (see NASA post below). Dawn discussed that teachers should review the videoconference objectives with students.

Other tips/tricks:

  • allow participants an experience on camera prior to a videoconference
  • remind students they are representing their classroom and school to others
  • have students fill out evaluations on the videoconference, plus continue the lesson from the vc in the classroom (a larger project)
  • teachers should also fill out evaluations- did it cover objectives? student learning covered? what did the teacher learn- any new strategies for their instruction?
  • share vc successes with administrators- superintendents, principals; other teachers; parents & community

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More from the United States Distance Learning Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri: Interactive Curriculum Design for K-12 Classrooms – presented by Scott Anderson and Greg Pitzer of NASA  Digital  Learning  Network (DLN)

•    ten NASA education centers across the country: each one presents 30-40 programs per month | DLN programs consist of pre & post activities
•    most videoconferences are math and science oriented; try to add humanities (ex: Mission Patch Design)
•    try to address misconceptions about space
•    focus on inquiry and constructivism- students have to be involved to retain information
•    want students to view themselves as scientists

Deliver (interactive instruction)
Long-term (retention of knowledge)
NASA (as only NASA can)

Types of Inquiry
structured: students investigate a teacher presented question through a prescribed procedure |  guided: students investigate a teacher presented question using student designed procedure | open: students investigate topic-related questions that are student formulated thought student selected procedure

5E Instructional Model Design
•    Engage – to peak student interest & get them personally involved in the lesson
•    Explore – to get students involved in the topic; providing them with a chance to find the solution for themselves
•    Explain – students are given a chance to take what they have learned so far & figure out what it means
•    Elaborate – to allow students to use their new knowledge & continue to explore its implications
•    Evaluate – both students and teachers determine how much learning & understanding has taken place

→ Note about evaluation: interaction and real time question responses help instructions immediate assess if students are getting concepts under discussion.

Creating Modules | Forming Rubrics
some criteria includes: objectives, standards, vocabulary, assessment, interactivity, degree of student inquiry, videoconference content, pre/post lessons

recently added: Outside Evaluation by Teachers
ensures scientific accuracy, high level of education relevancy, appropriate support materials, pros and cons

* Pre-videoconference lesson completion is really important! NASA presenters come into the videoconference expecting that the class has done the activities. If the class hasn’t done that work, the presenters have to tweak videoconference content, maybe not meeting the expectation of the program (description). *

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Nebraska State Capitol on FlickrThe second USDLA session I attended was full of information on Network Nebraska. Network Nebraska was actually recently featured in Distance Learning … A Magazine for Leaders and the article is reprinted, with persmission, on the Network Nebraska website.  The website also has very complete list of information on how the project was implemented.

For me, as a K-12 videoconferencing coordinator, listening to the fourth, and final presenter speak was the most interesting. Dr. Dan Hoesing is superintendent of four Nebraska school districts and is a big proponent of distance learning. Hoesing is all about personal communication: he emphasized more than once that students learn as a group, yet interact as individuals. A perfect combination of the two a desirable place for kids to learn. He also feels that education is about developing relationships and that high tech and high touch are important to keeping kids engaged. Hoesing enthusiasm for education- and distance learning- was very exciting. Network Nebraska anticipates have mobile vc carts in every high school in the state by next school year! (They use Polycom and TANDBERG).

Other speakers on Network Nebraska (setting all this up took lots of time, energy and people!) included:

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SMARTWhile I’m dowtown at the United States Distance Learning Association Conference, my colleagues as well as some guests are attending a SMART Board Master Training at Cooperating School Districts. How’s it going in Creve Coeur?

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Notes from my first USDLA session of the day:
Pedagogy of Web 2.0
| Dr. Sribhagyam Srinivasan of Lamar State College-Orange

How many Web 2.0 verbs can you name?
o    Social networking
o    Googling
o    Twittering
o    Blogging
o    Tagging

Web 2.0 is user controlled. Web 2.0 is the second generation of web-based applications and services; from passive Internet usage to active participant.

Cites Bruns’ C4C, 2007:
o    Content Production – Creative
o    Participatory Nature – Communicative
o    Knowledge Exchange – Critical
o    High Pedagogical Value – Collaborative

Web 2.0 tool discussed:
o    Twitter – great example participant gave during session: her students post on environmental facts and news, follow those who do the same (like Al Gore)
o    Blog | Vlog
o    Social Bookmarking |  Delicious – be a part of a network of people with similar interest; create a bibliography and an organizational hierarchy (with tagging)
o    Wiki – example: teacher in session plants false facts in her class wiki so students must weed out bad information
o    Google – few examples: read articles, journals, books and create, share publish documents
o    Podcast | Vodcast
o    Digg It | Tag It

Conclusion: Information explosion! Web 2.0 is a great way to organize all the information that is out there.

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United State Distance Learning Association Conference kicked off today in St. Louis, Missouri. Precons took place in the morning, with an opening keynote right after lunch, and then the sessions began. Retired Captain Dave Carey, a former Vietnam P.O.W. was the motivational keynote today. His story was amazing! (I supposed most prisoners’ of war to have an interesting history). He shared how he and this fellow P.O.W.s, including John McCain, developed a means of communication through thick walls- which eventually led to language lessons, story telling and poetry sessions. Several lessons could be learned from Captain Carey, but I got that you need to learn and choose to communicate with those around you- even if it’s not in the way you envisioned it- and to handle change with grace (it’s going to happen anyway!).

Earlier this morning, I attended Emerging Technologies in Distance Learning. It was the same session I did last year (the one most applicable for my day to day work), and I hoped to learn a little more about (new) emerging Web 2.0 tools. Most of it was a rehash from last year, and while good, in my opinion, not a lot of new information was presented. Two applications I did learn about, however, are pretty cool- and especially Take a moment to check out both URLs!

I struggled when selecting my afternoon session- none really fit what I do super well. I opted to attend Training Faculty + Adult Learning Principles = Student Success because part of my job is providing professional development on videoconferencing. Concepts reinforced: all adults (usually categorized as 25 years or older) learn differently, often thrive on collaboration and facing “real life” scenarios. They want to know why should I learn this, and how will it benefit me? Tips given: identifying course objectives important, encouragement is important for adults as well as children, and building learning communities. In addition, training and support is very important (online and onsite in the classroom). I’ll add some more notes in the comments field once I get the handouts- lots of info being given!

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April tele makeover

Today was the start of the Virtual Learning Center’s tele makeover! Out with the old (computer desks) and in with the new (with lots of keyboard, mouse, and computer moving plus vaccuuming in between)!  Class participants will now have a much clearer view of the teacher station and the interactive whiteboards. The Apples still have Bootcamp on them, so tele participants can choose which platform- Mac or PC- to conduct the class in. Look for more changes in the tele as the spring progresses! The summer class schedule is up on the website, so sign up today!

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