Wednesday, October 18, 2006

K12 online, Skype and Cool stuff at School - Who can ask for more?

Okay this week has been a roller coaster ( in a good way)! ( gee its only Tuesday okay now its Wed. )
K12 online
Monday morning I was up early in anticipation of the David Warlick’s keynote address. I started it at 5:30 am but with life’s interruptions I didn’t finish until 2 pm. It was a a great introduction to the online conference interface. The only problem so far are the distractions of daily life…I need to mark out the conference time of my planner.
The image of learning as side trips was powerful. How does learning happen? What are the most memorable moments even in a traditional classroom. I would hazard a guess that it is often the side trips. The teachable moments…the moments that follow the students natural curiosity and interests. These are not random moments however they are often the product of a creative and skilled educator. In David’s keynote we get a renewed glimpse of the wonder of the early technology age and a sense of excitement about what is to come.
In writing about K12 online Clarence writes…

“I am trying to convince my division to download all of the sessions when they are available and put them onto CDs or DVDs as a professional development library. Free, high - quality sessions,…”

This is truly open source at its best… Professional development that every school can afford ,that is flexible and available across the limitations of time and space.

I also go started with Skype this weekend. One of the high points on Monday morning was a short skype call with Alan November who was giving a keynote in New York. What a rush to have my first ever skype call in this context! In that short call ( maybe 60 sec?) Alan gave me a great idea for using skype at school. We have an outdated intercom system and most classrooms do not have phones so we are now setting up every room with skype. Rather than spending thousands on updating the intercom I invested $9.00 per room in headphones with mics!

From the classroom and the Faculty meeting arena this week this was a great week too. The 7th grade began using a Flickr toy, trading card maker to define and illustrate vocabulary for their unit on poetry. Look for my pos of their public posting! Some are really cool and they wil love you comments. Most have you have probably seen Titltv (Teacher's Improving Learning with Technology)but in case you haven’t check it out. It is a nice site for some beginning tech skills for teachers. Episode 10 gave every teacher a positive experience in excel today and they are ready to use it immediately even in the primary grades. I think one of the challenges for digital immigrants can be setting foot on the land. Success always provides encouragement for more adventures.

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Anonymous said...

Wow -- congrats on getting into the world of SKYPE and how exciting to have such a techie be on the other side of your first call. How fun!

Sounds like you have a lot of excitement going on at your school with the use of technology -- and that is even more exciting!!

Thanks for the blog post -- I never would have thought of using skype in classrooms like you suggested --


Danny Maas said...

Glad to hear that the Excel tutorial worked out well for the staff! I plan to do another episode with Excel soon showing another entry-level project (a timeline) which uses some of Excel's neat features such as the comments feature. Look for it in the next 2 weeks.

Thanks for visiting TILT!
Danny Maas
Teacher (and founder/producer of TILT)
Edmonton, Canada

CreditTeacher said...

I have used Skype with my family who has lived apart all over the world ( Argentina, Germany, Brazil, France, Hong Kong and USA) for several years now. Computer to Computer has always been for free. A few months ago, I have also purchased some Skype credit, where I can call now from my computer via Skype a landline (international).
As of now, I have not used Skype in the classroom, but we are planning a skypecast between me and our students when I will be traveling to China in a few months.