Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Please speak up!

It's that time of year again - time to Speak Up during the National Speak Up event, brought to you by

Speak Up Banner

Last year at this time, teachers and students at Stevenson joined the national dialog by completing the Speak Up Day survey. This is the 5th year of the Speak Up, facilitating the inclusion of student voices in national and local discussions on education and technology.

This year's question themes are: Learning and Teaching with Technology, Web 2.0 in Education, 21st Century Skills, Science Instruction & Global Competitiveness, Emerging Technologies in the Classroom (Gaming, Mobile Devices, Online Learning) and Designing the School of the Future. Also new this year: the parent survey is available in English and Spanish.

This annual event is now open for K-12 students, teachers, parents and new this year -- school leaders. The Speak Up surveys will be open through December 21, 2007. You may preview the survey questions at:

Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project TomorrowSM, gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues. Each year, findings are summarized and shared with national and state policy makers. Participating schools and districts can access their data online, free-of-charge.

All districts and schools, in the current NCES database, are automatically registered to participate in Speak Up. To participate in the survey and obtain free, online access to your school or district’s aggregated results, your registration must be activated by an adult at your school. If your school has not yet joined this effort, there is still time! Browse on over to

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ComicLife Meets Curriculum and other great resources ...

Last Thursday I hopped on board the Amtrak express from Chicago to Springfield, to attend and present two sessions at the IETC (Illinois Educational Technology Conference). My session on Google Tools for Educators was filled to capacity. I also presented on using Wikis -- one of my favorite Web 2.0 tools. I recorded both sessions and have posted the audio files on the websites. After listening to myself (doesn't everyone hate hearing their own voice?), I think that I need to work on slowing down a bit. However, by providing the audio from the session, at least the attendees can rewind and play back anything that I zipped through.

One of the sessions, "Comic Life Meets the Curriculum," was presented by Marilee Sarlitto from Kildeer Countryside CCSD 96, and Judith Epcke of Northbrook School District 28. Although I couldn't attend, I was able to review the resources on their website, which is a goldmine of information on this very engaging software. I would encourage you to check it out.

Check out the handouts and weblinks from other sessions: and

Monday, November 12, 2007

'Tis the Season to Help the Less Fortunate

Today you have two opportunities to help those less fortunate in our world. One way will cost you nothing but time, while the other will require that you dig a little deep into your pockets.

1. Feed the hungry and feed your brain! will donate 10 grains of rice for each word you get correct in the online vocabulary challenge. ("WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance...") Rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.

2. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)'s "Give One Get One" program starts in the U.S. and Canada today (Nov. 12), and ends on Dec. 31st.
During this time, for a donation of $399, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life (or the child in you) in recognition of your contribution. $200 of your donation is tax-deductible (your $399 donation minus the fair market value of the XO laptop you will be receiving). For all U.S. donors who participate in the Give One Get One program, T-Mobile is offering one year of complimentary HotSpot access. Wifi "HotSpot" access can be used with any Wi-Fi-enabled device, such as your laptop computer or a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phone.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Live Netcasting Casts Large Net

Time Magazine's cover story in Dec. 2006 told the story "about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before" due to the "new" Web, which has become a "tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter." Here's a small contribution for you to consider.

On Tuesday after school, members of the Northen Illinois Computing Educators (NICE) met after school to learn about teaching with interactive white boards. Two teachers compared the features of Promethean ActivBoards and SMARTBoards and shared their classroom experiences. The meeting was attended by several dozen local educators as well as educators across the country. How? Live netcasting!

Websites such as UStream and Operator11 allow anyone the ability to reach far beyond their in-person audience, by providing the means for live streaming. Users can broadcast themselves "live" using a webcam and an Internet connection, as well as record it for later viewing. There is also a live "text chat" window for discussion during the broadcast -- a technique that has been called "back-channeling."

And you should know, it's free. Is it safe as well? The Read/WriteWeb blog reports that with Operator11, "because everything being streamed over the site is taped, and because the users know that, they are far less likely to break the rules or do anything inappropriate."

Credit to Steve Dembo for taking this one step further and setting up a wikispace for educators (EdTV) to post their broadcast links. What's on? We are! You can be too! You are invited to tune in, and learn from our presentation.