Thursday, July 26, 2007

Becoming a Digital Educator in the 21st Century

For the last several weeks I have been leading an online workshop through the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Summer Series, titled "Your Guide to Becoming a Digital Educator." We are reading and reflecting on the many facets of "teaching digital" -- from learning about digital natives, digital immigrants, and the importance of 21st century literacy, to exploring Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis.

I am impressed with the conversations taking place. Some concerns have been brought up regarding Internet safety:

Teacher "S" writes: My K-6 students don't take it seriously at all, and we even had a police officer come in to talk with them about Internet predators. At my school we had some particular issues with student MySpace accounts, and it turns out that one is supposed to be at least 14 to even open an account. My oldest students are 12 and many of them already have accounts. I don't know how to get them to take safety seriously.

Teacher "L" (High School AP teacher) responds: My students think they know what a "weirdo" looks like on line...they don't think that a 32 yr. old could be posing as a student at a local high school! The kids at my school say that nobody really uses My Space anymore and that Facebook is more popular. When our Principal sent a letter warning parents about the dangers of myspace the kids mocked it in the school newspaper.

Are these concerns widespread? What about resources such as CyberSmart, iSafe or NetSmartz? Are parents and schools on the same page? If not, why not?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tweet Me?

Ok, so I am a little late... but I am now fully "Twittered."

I learned about Twitter a while back, and created my account, but never took much time to really set it up. I wasn't really sure why anyone would really care what I was up to. Today, however, I needed to get a hold of Steve Dembo, who is presenting the luncheon "keynote" at our Summer Experience workshop next week. I wasn't sure about his email address, and even though he was showing up as available on my IM list, he wasn't responding. Well, I knew Steve was a Twitterer, so I dug out my info and logged in. At first I wasn't to sure how to add him to my Twitter list, or post or send a message that he would see, but in a few minutes I figured it out. I was surprised to get an almost instant reply from him in his car!

Of course I then spent the next hour culling through his 180-plus contacts to locate mutual acquaintances, and their mutual "Twitterees" and so on -- and I began building my Twitter list. I've added 34 to my list so far, and (just a few hours later) 10 Twitterers have already responded in kind. What is intriguing is the conversations that occur. It's somewhat like a "live listserv" -- post a thought, question or comment, and someone is back atcha in no time. I have also discovered Twitterific for monitoring the postings.

I'm there!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prepare to learn!

Last fall, an amazing group of educators convened online for the first ever K-12 online conference. This event was presented to anyone and everyone at no cost, and included an option for receiving graduate credit. The 2006 presentations are archived and available 24/7 at:

This coming fall, it will happen again. From the website (
"This year’s fantastic line up of keynote presenters will create an inviting and welcoming introduction in which the sharing of ideas among diverse learners working in diverse contexts continues. These distinguished folks will not only extend the conversations, but also invite each of us to stretch and grow as they share their expertise and wisdom in their respective strands."

This year's conference strands are, Classroom 2.0, New Tools, Professional Learning Networks, and Obstacles to Opportunities. Check out the list of presentations planned, and mark your calendars now!

This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26 of 2007, and will include a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 8. This year’s conference theme is “Playing with Boundaries.”

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sometimes you just need to "see" it...

Here's a website to help you visualize vocabulary:
From the website:
  • It's a dictionary! It's a thesaurus!
  • Great for writers, journalists, students, teachers, and artists.
  • The online dictionary is available wherever there’s an internet connection.
  • No membership required.
Visuwords™ uses Princeton University’s WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. Combined with a visualization tool and user interface built from a combination of modern web technologies, Visuwords™ is available as a free resource to all patrons of the web.

I think a major strong point is the color coding (nouns are blue, verbs are green, etc.)!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Best Experience You'll Have This Summer!

Calling all Northern Illinois educators!! Don't miss this awesome opportunity to enhance your skills for integrating technology in your classroom, and beyond!!

When: August 2 & 3
Where: Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Cost: $100 for both days! Earn CDPUs!!


Register early for the best selection!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

WHY do YOU teach?

Tell us WHY you teach!
Originally uploaded by charlenechausis
One of my favorite things at NECC this year was the random placement of these acrylic boards, with grease pencils in a cup, inviting participants to share WHY they teach.

Here are some of the comments written:
* For the aha moments!
* For our children.
* To help a child see opportunities!
* To learn more myself.
* Because I love children.
* Making a difference can't be beat.
It just inspires me.
Because I want to change the world.

How about YOU?