Monday, December 31, 2007

Our Own Youtube Channel

It seems online video is all the rage now. SidneyCSD at You Tube is where we will post our schools video projects. There are many services to choose from such as Kyte TV, Google Video, and BlipTV. They all offer similar services, but You Tube is the most well known and seems to be the standard service.

We will be uploading class and group video projects. Once uploaded to our You Tube channel, viewers will be able to visit SidneyCSD at You Tube and see all of our videos, make comments, and subscribe.

One of the most exciting things about video online and You Tube is that you can easily embed your uploaded video on other sites. Each teacher in our district is required to maintain a web page. We use a web content management system called SchoolFusion. SchoolFusion classroom web pages and You Tube make it very easy for every teacher to embed video on their pages.

My media class videos are posted at our You Tube channel You can also visit our school website to see our videos. My students will also be embedding their video on our wiki at .

The assignment for my students was to create a 60 second video of an inanimate object found around school. The video must not reveal what the object is. A sequence of shots must be edited in such a way as to fool the viewer or not allow them to guess what the object is. Objects chosen must be typical school objects that can be found in any school. This is a great exercise that focuses the students on composition, types of camera shots, angles, and editing. The students love the idea that it is supposed to be a mystery as well.

Help us by making your comments on our videos.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Webcams and the Internet

I left the classroom 10 years ago to become the district technology director. I left behind several activities that have not been resumed until now. We have recently discovered that we can use the latest webcam software and Internet services to broadcast video to the community. We can basically do this with equipment we already have.

We will be using WebCamMax to create a news style show, complete with picture in picture. You can switch between several cameras, computer video, still pictures, and effects. This software is simply amazing for what it costs.

We can then broadcast live on and embed it in our school website. We also have the local public access TV station and can set our computer to the ustream channel and broadcast out over our local public TV channel, STV.

This is exciting and our students are very excited to be creating news and broadcasting events. We will be sharing the url once we get going. So stay tuned to STV on the net.

Another discovery for me recently was Wirecast. Wirecast creates a streaming media server out of your computer. This allows up to 50 connections to your computer on your network using Windows Media Player or Quick Time. We are going to use this for school announcements. We have tested it and it works great.

Video is back on the move in our district and who knows what future TV personalities we'll pump out.

Great time at NYCATE!

We presented at the NYSCATE Conference this past week. As usual the conference was great. I saw a lot of web 2.0 tools being used. It was kind of validating to see. Sometimes I am very impatient. It just seems like everyone should be using web 2.0 tools in all classes.

Despite all of our efforts in my home school district there are not many people embracing the new ideas. Recently I presented to several of our staff and only 2 people have asked for further help. I guess I should be happy with this. One teacher has signed up for a blogmeister account and will be using it in her 8th grade social studies class. I'll keep you posted with her success.

It seems that the revolution is making gains ever so slowly. Check out and look for our video podcast presentation called "Podcasting, Wikis, and Blogs! Oh My!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NYSCATE Presentation

I just woke up and am now getting ready for our presentation at the Annual New York State Computer and Technology for Education Conference. My colleague and I are presenting how we use podcasting, blogs, and wikis in our classrooms as well as with our teachers.

I'll blog more about the conference once we get there. Until then here is our outline:

NYSCATE Podcasts, Wikis, and Blogs! Oh My!

1. Wikicentric Classroom
2. Podcasts
3. Blogs
4. Teacher Resources
SidneyMIT Wiki
5. Other wikis
SidneyPLTW Wiki
Teacher2.0Teacher Blog

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Trailfire - Its HOT!

Somehow I discovered Trailfire this weekend. I even noticed it was a presentation at the K12 Online Conference. I have been using Google Notebook for about a year and a half. I was using it as a bookmark because I could write notes. I am someone who would use My Favorites but forget why I saved a web page. I saw Google Notebook as a great way to save, annotate, and share my favorite websites.

I have created quite a list of websites, tools, and notes. At least I have the notes. This, however, makes it quite frustrating to sift through to find anything. I have resisted creating several notebooks.

So, I have been looking for some way to catalogue my favorites or bookmarks. Along came Trail fire. Trailfire is an online collection of web pages. You can create your own private trails or share them. You can even make trails on the web that can be edited by others. A trail is made by marking websites and saving that mark. All marks saved under the same name make up your trail.

You can go to Trailfire and search for my user name mdionne. Choose mdionne under Match Users. This will take you to my list of trails. I have created 13 trails or categories with 213 marks. I spent most of the weekend transferring my Google Notebook notes, phew. Here is a list of my Trails:

Blogs & Blogging

Everything photos

Publishing Tools
Misc. Web 2.0

Slide Show Creators
Must see videos

Social Networks
Online Conferencing

Online Video

Teacher Article Resources

Hope you find something you like.

I believe there are several ways you can use this with your students. You can set up a trail of sites that will guide them through their search. You can have students work independently searching while they create marks for a collaborative trail. This is called a wiki trail. You can keep archives of class research from class to class.

Trailfire will work for me right now. Until the next best tool comes along. Happy trails to you. If you start humming that tune you are dating yourself!

Let me know if you would like to add to any of my trails. I can make them a wiki trail!

Leave me a comment about Trailfire and my trails if you would, please!

Web 2.0 Workshop ResultsI

I was able to discuss reasons for teachers to adopt a web 2.o pedagogy with our staff. I shared several videos and tools used by so many today. This is a short summary of what I think they walked away with.

Some agreed with me about students and ahow they have changed. Others were compelled to try at least one of these tools. Still another just needed some encouragement.

I even have my first in class project. Our middle school social studies teacher will be using class blogmeister for her next project. I will be guiding her and her students throughout the project. I am looking forward to this project.

It's a beginning. Maybe the start that we need.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In Roads

I just gave my first presentation to our staff on Web 2.0 tools. Even though I have been sharing, discussing, and presenting the tools for over a year now, it was my first time I could package and deliver the whole as pedagogy.

My approach was to use the web 2.0 tools to deliver the message. I stressed two points. I wanted teachers to consider building their own personal learning network and to consider trying one web 2.0 tool that would help them to do that. The second point was to consider trying at least one tool that would help their students to create their own personal learning network.

I had some very capable co-presenters. The K12 Online Conference presenters were there to help out. I used several of the videos and had some great discussion. I'll be back here to share with you any in roads that I make.

I especially liked Drew Murphy's 10 essential skills video. It made sense to my teachers and gave them a starting point. So check out the K12 Online Conference.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

K12 OnLine Conference Response!

Participate in the free K12 Online ConferenceI missed the live version of David Warlick's Fireside Chat. I won't miss the next one live. Even so, the recorded version is great. It has compelled me to chime in on question asked.

How do teachers use these new tools.

People learn best when they have a reason, when it is relevant, when it becomes personal. In a previous life I was a shop teacher. Shop teachers have always known that hands on project oriented learning is very successful. I can create a list a mile long with names of students over the past 27 years who succeeded in my classrooms, shop or technology, when they completely failed in other traditional settings.

This is an undercurrent in my mind as I learn about and implement the web 2.0 tools. I don't mean it to sound arrogant in anyway. The new twist on it all for me is the social aspect of most of these tools. You must not underestimate the power of the larger audience.

One of the projects my students complete is a podcast review. You can check them out here. Within the first few hours of our first post of a review, we were contacted by the hosts of the podcast. They had all kinds of questions for us. This made it very real for the student who reviewed the podcast. You should have seen this student scramble to see what he wrote in his review. The hosts ended up discussing the experience in a podcast. This was a moment they won't forget. This made it real. They were held accountable and I didn't have to say a word.

I believe you need to tap into this new form of accountability. Students will rise to the occasion. Make them the expert. Most activities I do, gives them the chance to share their knowledge with others.

ToolsI use are podcasting, wikis, classblogmeister, slide, google notebook, voicethread, and motionbox. The class is media, a senior english elective.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Professional Development!

We had a great discussion in the middle of all the humor at the TechPodZone this past week. It made me think about so many of our schools' mission statements and/or goals. I made a statement in the show about many teachers being hypocritical about creating life long learners. Many of these teachers are not life long learners themselves. They come to school, deliver their lessons, and go home.

I believe connecting to other educators with similar passions for their classroom can spark that original love for teaching. I have learned so much from my connections through podcasting and other online events. I do love to learn and look forward to listening to the new podcasts and checking my bloglines everyday.

One of the tools I love most are podcasts of conferences where the presenter is leading discussions. It makes you feel like you are right there. That is why I am looking forward to this year's K12 Online Conference. I hope to share this event with as many educators as possible.

Hope to see you there! I'll be the one sitting in the recliner couch with his feet up!

Participate in the free K12 Online Conference

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Got to get back into it!

It's been hard to get back into the blogs and podcasts this year. I don't know why. I guess I need to just start. I have a few tools to share with you. Of course you can hear all about these over at the TechPodzone.

If you are using a PC to display information on a screen then you need ZoomIt. It is free software that can zoom you in and around the screen. It's great for older staff! You can use it to draw with as well.

I also started to use Slide. It is another online slide show creator. I like this because it is easy to use and you can embed it in your wiki. Wikispaces has been upgraded and Slide is a choice for embedding. They make it so easy.

Check out our classroom wiki and our teacher in service wiki. I use these tools everyday now to share with our staff all of the great tools out there. Don't be shy, let me know what you think or what you use.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of a New School Year!

Today we sat there just like every other year. Listening to the different school constituents pump us up for another year. At first I kept thinking about the past 26 times I sat here and how much each year seemed the same.

Then I started thinking about all of the new teachers and what it must be like for them. The sense of not knowing what to expect from this day and being nervous about tomorrow.

I was fortunate to be able to work directly with all of the new teachers last week. I spent a whole day giving them laptops, resources, and encouragement. I also took the opportunity to discuss the new web 2.0 resources and mindset with them.

I realized that I had a lot of work to do! When I asked them if they had ever heard of a wiki not a one raised their hand. We had a mixture of new and veteran teachers.

We will get them!

This year I look forward to my classroom wiki. We will be wiki centric! Check it out and follow along as my class begins another wiki year!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On stage in St' Louis!

I would have never believed it if someone said I would be performing a podcast on stage ahead of Second City. You bet, that's what I did last week at a PowerSchool University Conference.

What a week! We learned so much about PowerSchool. We also learned that people who use PowerSchool are such great people. We interviewed people, discussed PS issues, and just had a great time.

You never know what twists and turns life will make. This was all because of podcasting. Who knows where this trip will lead. Check out our podcasts at

I think we may have also introduced podcasting to a few teachers. You can see our presentation on podcasting in the classroom at

The presentation was made with a great tool called spresent. Check it out at

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's my first week of summer! WooHoo! I am now just finding the time to catch up on my bloglines. It sure can fill up in a hurry!

For some people attending conferences during the summer can be exhilarating. For others, re-charging means some downtime away from it all. I would have to say that I am one who needs the downtime first, but only for a little while.

I have been following the NECC live blogs and other postings. It sounds as if it was a great conference. I tell you with all of the new technology you can really get a feel for what was happening there. In the next few days I hope to explore some more.

I need a few more days to re-charge so to speak. Maybe I will see some of you at PSU in St.Louis in 2 weeks. I will be running around with Eric interviewing and podcasting the event. Stop us and say Hi.

I will also be conducting teacher training in Pekin, Indiana in 3 weeks. Can't wait. It should be loads of fun to meet people.

Here's to summer!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Gift!

I received the best gift a teacher can receive this week. It only takes one of these every few years to make it all worth while.

One of my Odyssey of the Mind team members wrote a book in his 6th grade class. The books were sent to a company that professionally binds them.

This student wrote a book based on a character that we used this year on the team. What was extra special I opened to page 2...... I noticed that he had dedicated it to me. I was very very surprised and moved to a tear or two.

I now keep this book on my shelf in my office. When ever the day gets rough I just look at the book and I feel better.

Even though these moments are few it only take one or two to realize why we do what we do.

It's Great to See Someone When they "Get It!"

I atended another one of Alan November's workshops last week. It was as great as ever. I attended with several colleagues. The administrators were very excited to learn what Alan November shared. My only disappoint was that I have been delivering Alan's message now for about a year throughout our district.

I guess that is why Alan November does what he does. It took him about 1 hour to explain the read write web. I think they "got it" for the first time. Let's hope so. Thanks Alan.

The lesson I learned? It's delivery of the message!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Are We Creating?

I have been involved with Odyssey of the Mind for 26 years. It has been quite a passion of mine. I have coached, judged, directed, and served on a state board of directors. The best part of my experience though has been with the kids. We just returned from The World FInals held at Michigan State University last week. Our team place 10th out of 45 and performed extremely well. I am very proud of them.

I do have a couple of observations though that I would like to share and hopefully get some insights and feedback.

I have noticed that this group of 6th graders are extremly afraid to make mistakes. I mean just everyday plain mistakes. They have a really hard time admitting anything when it goes wrong. This translates into their fear of risk taking. When something goes wrong they become extremely upset.

I have also noticed their eagerness to please. They will do anything to make you happy.

I am wondering if it's just this particular group of kids or if there is more to it than that.

My question is this: Could this be a result of all of the testing they have gone through? Could our teachers be emphasising the tests to the point of creating this anxiety I see. I can only imagine the pressure teachers are under to get good test results.

I am just thankful for programs like Odyssey of the Mind and hope it will be able to instill the skills needed to be a creative problem solver.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Teacher's Desk of the Future?

Ok, so my first thought was how are we going to fit this into the classroom and how on earth are we going to train teachers to use it? Then I quickly realized I was shoving a square peg into a round hole.

What I should be doing is trying to envision how this desk can help us to better organize our students to learn. This may mean that our students might not be in the classroom, or even in the school building. Our resources may not even be in our classroom closet!

My second thought was how this desk would stand up to the person who stacks their space with just about every conceivable object known to man. How would they attempt to interact with the surface when they can't find the surface?

It's funny what pops into your head when you see something cool like this! How do you see a teacher behind this desk?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Internet Safety

We have created an Internet Safety class in our high school. We have 5 students who were able to schedule their time on short notice, about 2 days before the second semester began. These 5 students have done a ton of work. They have become iMentors through the program. They have developed lessons about cyberbullying and predators. These lessons have been given to our 3rd grade classes by the iMentors. The students have planned a community night where they will deliver instruction to parents and community members. A contest was created as well. Students in grades 6 through 12 will be able to win an iPod Shuffle for the best product that promotes Internet safety. Students can write, create a slide show, movie, song, podcast, etc. The class will choose the best of each grade level. 7 prizes will be awarded. 3 assemblies will be conducted by the iMentors and local officials including the police. has been a tremendous help. Most of our material has come from Our local police agency has some great resources as well.

I hope to share with you the outcome of each of the activities above. It has been a scheduling nightmare at times, but well worth the effort.

If you have any activities you have been involved with please comment below. I'd love to hear about them.

Please visit the Sidney iMentors blog and wiki. We are looking for other students who have become iMentors or who want to let fellow students know about Internet safety.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It Just Gets Better!

A weeks vacation really helps! Jumping back in has never been better! This past week has been relaxing as well as enlightening. Every where you look you can see the influence of the Internet. It's all around us! How long before it becomes an integral part of education?

The comment, "education moves slowly" is very frustrating to hear. Yet I read that comment or hear it in a podcast all the time. Why? Will it take web 4.0 hitting us in the head before most of us even look at web 2.0?

This past week has been tragic and has caused us all to take pause and evaluate many things, including our childrens' safety online and in reality. If you pay attention you will see how the Internet has played a significant role in all of this. The major news outlets heard about it from the VT website. Police are perhaps getting their best evidence by searching Internet and e-mail records. Students and parents were able to communicate immediately via the Internet. Cell phones were a life line to many.

That reminds me, cell phones, hhhmmm..........good or evil? I think that we can really turn around the typical response to cell phone use in schools. Why not use them as a major communications tool. We can instantly communicate with our students using technology. There are several tools available. A five minute search revealed many tools available to send sms messages to mobile phones. Is anyone out there using one? What a concept...........a cell phone used for good not evil.

I also ran into another website I have many ideas for using this. Check this out! More on this later. I need to play.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

How Savvy Are They, Really?

I am sitting here listening to David Warlick's podcast. He is discussing podcasting with a group of teachers. One of the attendees has sparked a thought that has been popping up every now and then. That thought is; How much do my students really know about the Internet and all that goes with it?

It has crossed my mind a lot recently because I have been using podcasting for over a year and blogs and wikis for about 3 months. Each time I have introduced these topics I ask my students if they have ever heard of them. Each time they respond, "no".

The most recent time they shocked me with that answer was this past week. I had posted to my blog about cyberbullying. I basically asked them what they thought of the Ryan Halligan story that I linked to. They were to read and then post about it themselves. Each answer or comment I received was the same. They have never heard of cyberbullying. The second comment was even more revealing. A few said that teachers are just making too much of this.

Are we? I do not believe I am in the most progressive school, but we are not the least progressive either. Sometimes I think we give our students to much credit, especially when it comes to technology. There is still so much we can share with them.

This is perhaps the biggest challenge we face. When do we lead and when do we follow. Most teachers have trouble with that. I have always shared with my students that I like to learn too. They feel comfortable teaching me. It wouldn't have happened though if I didn't initiate it.

I think we need to talk with our students. We need to know their level of tech-savvy. Do not over estimate them. Join them in discussion. You'll be amazed at what you learn.

The technology has again delivered teacher insights from around the world to my living room. This is too cool!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Social Networking

If there is one thing that I get from the Web 2.0 tools is the network. Teachers are no longer an island. We can share ideas, ask questions, and experiment with fellow educators and other profressionals from around the world. The really great thing is it can all be done in real time.

There are tools everywhere. Most are free. I just joined my first social network. Stop You can join and have access to resources and people who share your interests. I joined, posted a comment, viewed some excellent resources, and in a matter of hours received a response.

It is extremely gratifying to know that people do share. I'm not sure where all of this is going to end up. David Warlick has some apprehensions about social networks. I'm not sure hwere I stand on all of this. I haven't been involved long enough. You can be sure though that my opinions will be shaped by my experiences in the near future.

My suggestion to you is this. Get involved. Join the network! Don't be an island!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Podcasting Wikis and Blogs Oh My!

I have become the biggest fan of wikis. They can do so much and be integrated with just about every curriculum. I have created several wikis in the past 2 months. I have tried several wikis. The one I like best is WikiSpaces. They are giving away 100,000 free wikis to educators. They are at approximately 24, 000 today. Once you sign up you can create several different wikis.

I like WikiSpaces because it is easy to use. Teachers today will not use something they have to struggle with. You have to give them reasons as to why they should give up their time to learn something new. Let's face it successful classroom teachers are busy and an added activity better be good. A wiki is such an activity.

The important reason to use a wiki is that the students love them. My first wiki was created for my students in my senior media class. The students' first activity was to search for and critique a podcast that they liked. They used the wiki to display their critique. One of the students critiqued a podcast called Wicked Good Podcast. One day after the review was posted on the wiki, the podcasters from Wicked Good Podcast found it and responded to their review. My students were shocked, the lights went on all about the classroom, and they realized the power of this form of media. I don't think I've experienced an educational moment like that one in a very long time. It was great!

I have created a wiki for our teachers. We have a program called MIT, Monday Instructional Technology. Our teachers can sign up for different classes relating to instructional technology. I use the wiki to deliver the instruction. It will also be used to share our collective discoveries. This is also a tool that will be used as follow up to the training. Something that has been missing in most teacher development courses.

Other wikis I have created are for special programs or activities. I believe wikis can be used for just about any activity. Use them for a simple presentation or as an ongoing classroom web page. The ease of use and the options that you have make it a great tool for your classroom.

My other wikis are sidneyisafe, techpodzone, and psucast. Please join and share the wealth.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Internet Safety

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We have created a class for 6 to 12 11th grade students who we think would benefit from an iMentor program through iSafe Inc. iSafe is a non profit organization that helps to deliver Internet safety programs to schools and communities.

The iMentor program trains students to present safety materials to students at all levels, parents, and the community. We currently have 5 students taking the class. They have become certified iMentors and have presented to our entire 3rd grade class.

The work they do involves creating lessons, organizing events such as assemblies, and delivering Internet safety materials to our parents and community. To help them complete these activities iSafe has wonderful materials available for free. They provide lesson plans, videos, handouts, posters, and digital materials including documents and songs.

The Sidney iSafe iMentors and developed an iSafe blog and an iSafe Wiki. Check them out and let us know what you think. We would love to have other schools teaching Internet safety either through iSafe or in other ways to collaborate and develop both of these resources.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Students with Blog Overload!

Once in a while you have to get back to reality! Won't it be nice when web 2.0 is mainstream? I have been preparing a lesson for teachers about blogging. What a wonderful time to share. I have so much to share with my colleagues and so little time.

I am going to use Google Notes as my lesson plan. I have a notebook full of web 2.0 tips and tools. I have been using a Google Notebook to record every new useful tool or website I have come across over the last 2 months or so. What a list! If anyone would like to see my notebook email me through my profile link below. Leave your gmail account.

I have a big concern though, about using some of these tools! What heppens to the teacher who has 5 preps a day? I have 1 and spent about an hour a day on my class blog. A bigger concern would be for the student who has a blog to participate in for every class?

Has anyone experienced this? I would like to hear from you.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Too Much Fun!

Today was a particularly fun day! Imagine all of this in your office at school all at once. Sitting at your desk participating in a Webx session and conference call. Discussing your student management system with about 8 different people and locations. Testing your Distance learning equipment via an ip video connection with 2 other schools. The neat part was that another district was doing the same thing and the video and WebX conference overlapped. Wow! I was watching people computing and talking on 2 different systems.

Oh, I was also conducting a class full of seniors in my media class. How did it come to this?

The schedule was not followed. I thought I had everything under control until one of the events was changed. The whole house of cards came tumbling down.

I have to learn to say no. With all of this communications at my fingertips I don't even know if anyone is reading this blog.

But, it was indeed so much fun!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Teacher 1.8 in School v .9 using Web 2.0 Tools!

Confused? I sure am! I am realizing that there is no road map to the school of the future. I think despite the efforts of people like Will Richardson and David Warlick, it's an experiential thing. Don't get me wrong we still need to keep moving forward, upgrading each classroom one by one, but can we move a little faster please?

I sometimes get impatient. When I do I have to sit back and reflect. I have realized that it has taken me over a year to get to the understanding of the concepts of web 2.0 and how it impacts education. How can I expect a casual conversation in the hall with a colleague to have the same level of impact?

I came to understand these tools and concepts in a backwards sort of way. I was podcasting and using podcsting in my classroom for almost a year before I even new about web 2.0 or school 2.0. Once I learned about the tools and concepts behind them I started to think about my teaching differently. You can listen to this in our recent podcast at the TechPodZone. We have immersed ourselves in Web 2.0 and you can hear our take on things.

What's frustrating is not getting everyone to the same level of understanding. My other podcast, PSUCast, is about our student management system. We are periodically talking about how there are a few reluctant users. One of the methods we used to bring everyone to use the system was a mandate. This makes me wonder if that's what we will need in order to get all teachers upgraded to teacher 2.0.

I admit that I am not fully upgraded at this time. Only a few more patches to be installed and I will be up to date. Does this mean I am now caught in the never ending cycle of upgrades? We used to call that "Change". Oh no! The "C" word.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

W2.0 Syndrome

You know you may be obsessed with something when your friends tell you so! Last week one of my podcast partners on the TechPodZone podcast came into my office and proclaimed, as he usually does, that it was time to do another podcast. Normally it takes us about a minute or 2 to decide what our topic will be. This time he added within the same breath, “….and I have the topic”. He then proceeded to tell me that he thought it would be fun and informative to discuss Web 2.0 overload. In fact he said it would be good therapy for me.

It seems I have been going around our school talking about the Web 2.0 and all of it’s’ virtues so much that people are wondering about me. You can listen to our show and judge for yourself, but the Web 2.0 tools are just too cool.

It’s interesting that this topic came up in our school because I noticed David Warlick stated in a recent blog post, "I am so not ready for this",about his trip to Shanghai:

“The work has gone well, and my energy has been what was needed, exploring the qualities and instructional applications of digital content and one session on video games in education. But twice, since I’ve been here, I have experienced a sickness that I’ve never felt before. The only way that I can phrase it is Sensory Overload. “

I do believe that this can happen and has happened with me. My life style has changed somewhat because of the Web 2.0. I know longer sit passively in front of the TV to be entertained. I am now sitting in front of my computer devouring information and more importantly dispensing information as well. I am producing podcasts, creating wikis, and blogging. If that doesn’t change your habits nothing will.

I subscribe to about 12 different podcasts and listen to 3 or 4 religiously. I subscribe to 16 different blogs and read them almost every night. What keeps me coming back? I always find something new that I can use or share with another teacher. I use Google Notes to save everything I find. My list has grown substantially.

I need to figure out a way for people to be curious about the web 2.0 and not my affliction.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Find the Map! Which Way do I Go?

It is easier to travel alone than in a caravan, especially if you are in the front. I have been implementing the many suggestions of my newly discover colleagues of the Web 2.0. The results have been wonderful.

I am in the third iteration of podcasting in my classroom. This time though I am combining it with a classroom wiki and blog. This has helped to transform my classroom. It has not been easy, but anything worth while is often hard work.

I have discovered that the immersion into the Web 2.0 has transformed my thinking as well. I can walk into any classroom, view a lesson, and immediately think how it can be applied using the new tools. Sometimes I share this and sometimes I don't. It all depends on the teacher.

Changing my classroom has been easy though compared to bringing on board the teachers in my district and area. How can we effectively introduce the Web 2.0 concepts? Introducing them is not enough. Somehow it has to be sustainable. Teachers have to embrace the concepts and create a long lasting change for themselves and their students.

Podcasting is the area I am most comfortable with. This is the activity that I have been involved with for almost 2 years. My enthusiasm has been transferred to other classrooms, but in some cases for only a moment. I have noticed that when the initial excitement wears off the teachers go back to there old habits. It also takes a long time just to get the word out.

The problems as I see them in the trenches are:

1. Web 2.0 is more contradictory to what's happening in this day and age of test scores and it's relationship with accountability. It has to be developed to run parallel.

2. The Web 2.0 concepts need to be more effectively communicated to the masses.

3. Web 2.0 needs to be packaged somehow so everyone can get their hands around it.

I have only recently come on board with these concepts and haven't discussed them as long as some of you. I am now starting to hear several of you say we are at a cross roads and something must happen. I agree!

I am in the process of creating a half day technology conference day in our district. This day best illustrates the fork in the road we have come to. I have several workshops that will show teachers how to use the tools. I have only a few that relate to the Web 2.0. We have several people who are just learning to use things like email. We have several people who want to learn about Web 2.0 but just cannot find the time because of the mandates. We have a small few who have come on board, mostly because they are not tied to the mandates. It is extremely challenging working with a diverse group. Kind of like a classroom, except the adults are not a captive audience.

I will be conducting a workshop entitled "School 2.0 Let's All Upgrade!" I will let you know how it is received and which fork we take. The caravan is a long one and my rear view mirror cannot see the end. Hopefully we move at a pace that will avoid a pile up and will not lose anyone!

Anyone have a GPS navigation system that has been programmed to reach the Web 2.0 safely?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back to the Future?

I am sitting in upstate NY looking outside and seeing snow, lots of snow. At the same time I am attending a conference from over a week ago, somewhere in Texas, I think. I say I think because the podcast introduction was recorded from the Dallas airport. Wesley Friar is conducting a workshop session about Flickr and BubbleShare. The only problem is I can't accumulate frequent flyer miles.

As I'm sitting here I am listening and I am participating as well. I have my laptop on my lap, listening to Wesley Friar discuss Flickr and BubbleShare. I am following along as he navigates the websites. I can see exactly what he is discussing. It is like I am one of the participants in the room. I just can't ask questions. It is a lively group and they are covering all of my questions anyway. Can you believe this? The power of the Web 2.0!

One nice thing about this podcast is I can share it with others who have questions about these tools. Our school district will be conducting our annual technology conference day soon and I intend on sharing this as a resource. What strikes me most about these new tools is the way in which I have discovered them and the avenues available for sharing.

One thing that I was hoping for that Wesley's session did not address is exactly how these tools are being used in the classroom. I think it is easier for many teachers to adapt a lesson using a new tool than it is to come up with a whole new activity. Maybe there is a social network site just for teachers to share in this manner! They could call it MyTeacherSpace. If it's out there please let me know.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why Now!

About a year ago I entered the School 2.0 arena without even knowing it. I discovered podcasting. I was so excited about this new tool that I spent many hours learning everything I could about it. It wasn't long after listening to my first podcast, School of Podcasting, that I wanted to podcast. As they say, "The rest is history".

Podcasting has led me down paths that I never dreamed I would travel. I have met several great people as well. Everyone involved with podcasting has been just wonderful.

I co-produce two podcasts for educators. One podcast involves three educators. It is called the TechPodZone. We discuss technology and the classroom. We have a lot of fun doing what we do and we hope people enjoy it.

The other podcast that I co-produce is called PSUCast. It is a podcast for PowerSchool users. PowerSchool is a popular student management system.

Both of these podcasts have taken me to several NYS conferences as a presenter and to the T&L Conference in Dallas, Texas. That was my first national conference! All of this in just one year! It all happened before I even new I had entered the Web 2.0.

As I stated before I have met so many good people. It was during a recording of the TechPodZone that I learned what Web 2.0 was really all about. Vickie Davis "Cool Cat Teacher" from Comilla, Georgia was an excellent guest. She motivated me to dig deeper into Web 2.0 or the ReadWrite Web.

Since that interview I have had my technology department at school install WordPress, Twiki, and Loudblog. I have used Classblogmeister in the one class that I teach. The tools that I have discovered and the techniques used to deliver the instruction have started to transform me from teacher 1.0 to teacher 2.0. I can't wait for version 3.0!

I want to share my classroom experiences and my discoveries with all teachers. The teachers that have not yet discovered this are the ones I would like to talk to. The challenge as I see it is, how to get these teachers on the upgrade path?

I hope to discuss how teachers can use these tools and all of the ones yet to be discovered. Join me on the path to School 2.0. Schools of the 21 century!