Saturday, October 11, 2008

Join fellow educators at the DEN Virtual Conference, online or at Stevenson, Saturday Oct. 25

Join us on Saturday, October 25 for the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) Virtual Conference! Connect with educators from all over the country during this unique professional development experience where you can attend in-person, online or both! Learn powerful ways to integrate digital media and Web 2.0 tools into your instruction as well as discover an abundance of resources to expand your own personal learning network. And it’s free! (You can't beat free!) Educators who cannot attend our in-person regional event still have the opportunity to participate virtually in the full-day conference.

The day will feature presentations from Discovery’s own Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, Jannita Demian, Scott Kinney, Matt Monjan and Lance Rougeux as well as a special spotlight session from STAR Discovery Educator Jennifer Dorman. These sessions will be broadcast to each of the regional gatherings. In between the virtual presentations, participants will attend breakout sessions presented by local STAR Discovery Educators (TBA). Session details are at:

This is the second year of hosting for the DEN Virtual Conference at Stevenson. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Please be sure to register so we have an idea of how much food to order.

Come for all or part of the day.
Map to Stevenson:

Tri-State, Milwaukee Ave. or Rt. 41 to Rt. 22, West on 22 to school. -OR - Rt. 53 North to Lake Cook Rd. East. to Buffalo Grove Rd. North on Buffalo Grove Rd. to Rt. 22. East on 22 to school.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gear up for K12 Online!

This is the third year for the K12-Online Conference -- a totally free and perpetual learning experience, delivered exclusively online, by volunteers who have a passion for education!

This year's conference will follow a similar format as in previous years, with a Keynote kickoff on Oct. 13, followed by forty presentations published over two weeks (Oct 20 - Nov. 1), each 20 minutes in length or less. This year's them is "Amplifying Possibilities" and contains presentations in four strands. In the first week, "Getting Started" and "Prove It," followed by "Kicking It Up a Notch" and "Leading the Change" in week two. See the full schedule here:

I'm happy to report also that this is the second year I am actively involved. Last year I volunteered to facilitate during one hour of "When Night Falls" --a live, 24-hour open forum that culminated the two-week long event. It was there I met Dennis Richards, a superintendent from Falmouth, MA, who had been "newly baptized into all thing Web 2.0." Dennis had uncovered the learning made possible through the participatory, or "read/write" web when he attended Alan November's "Building Learning Communities" conference during the previous summer. Dennis has since become a loud voice in this "education conversation" by making it his personal mission to spread the good news, by starting his own blog, and collaborating on a number of wikis, and much more (as you will see when you read his blog).

This past year, Dennis and I kept "bumping into one another" online; such as the time we happened to strike up a conversation in the virtual world of Second Life, not realizing who each other was in real life. As we exchanged ideas, our conversation led to the K12-Online conference, and we then realized we had met while co-facilitating the same live "When Night Falls" session. Call it Kismet, or coincidence, we have now teamed up to present a session at this year's conference, in the "Leading the Change" strand. In preparing for our session, we were invited to create a "teaser" for our session. I hope you are enticed, and will tune in for our presentation: "There's Something Going on Here You Need to Know About..." which will be available on Oct. 31.

I posted information about the conference last year, and several of our teachers used the sessions as "independent study" toward advancement on the salary scale. Professional development and University credit is available for both 2007 and this year too.

Continue the learning!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Apple Launches ACOT2 Project: Challenge-based Curriculum

Building upon the research from 1985-1995 and released as the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT), Apple has launched ACOT2.

From the website:

ACOT identified effective models for teaching and learning with technology, developing the professional lives of teachers and diffusing innovation.

The goal of ACOT2 is more targeted: to help high schools get closer to creating the kind of learning environment this generation of students needs, wants, and expects so they will stay in school.

The ACOT2 strategy is to offer a simple approach that focuses on the essential design principles for the 21st century high school-rather than a more prescriptive school reform model. While the design principles themselves are not new, what is new is that the complexity that characterizes most education reform models has been cleared away, enabling immediate action and results.
Explore the six design principles and their related project pages on Apple's website:
* Understanding of 21st Century Skills and Outcomes
* Relevant and Applied Curriculum
* Informative Assessment
* Culture of Innovation and Creativity
* Social and Emotional Connections with Students
* Ubiquitous Access to Technology

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Google Teacher Academy Application

Well, I've submitted my entry to the Google Teacher Academy:

As I was preparing my required 1-minute video (the topics were to be on either Motivation and Learning, or Classroom Innovation), I came across a sound-byte from the Library of Congress American Memory Project. It was a recording of a quilter, named Lura Stanley, who spoke about her desire to become a teacher. ( What impressed me the most about Lura's story was the fact that teachers did not need degrees to teach when she first started at the age of 18. She did, however, obtain a degree later in life at the age of 51 (this was in 1957). I wonder whether teacher preparation of "yesterday" has some bearing on the old saying, "Those who can do. Those who can't, teach."

Teaching is certainly not the same profession it was, even 10 years ago. New mandates around NCLB, the advent of new technologies and Internet safety concerns, research on learning and the brain, and the ability to diagnose and document learning disabilities has contributed to the many facets of being an educator. Desire is no longer enough. And, in the end, all the time and resources dedicated to educating our youth must yield a future for them that will provide a decent standard of living, along with the ability to live and work in a now truly global society. Our future also relies on what we sow as educators.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Google Teacher Academy Comes to Chicago!!

This just in....

This notice was posted today in the Google Teacher Center group:

"the Google Teacher Academy (GTA) is coming to Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008. The GTA is our free training program for K-12 educators. It's an intensive, one-day event (8:30am-7:30pm) where 50 selected participants get hands-on experience with our free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, collaborate with exceptional educators, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, GTA participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local regions. We're now taking applications and encourage educators from around the U.S. and the world to apply. Applications are due Aug. 24, 2008. Our next GTA will be in New York City in November 2008, so if New York is more local, you may want to hold off till the next application is announced in September. To learn more about how to apply for Chicago's GTA, visit:"

Good luck to all who apply!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

"The World is Flat" Giveaway from Thomas Friedman

From the website:
The World is Flat Audiobook Giveaway
With the No. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman helped millions of readers see and understand globalization in a new way. Now you can have it for free.

From now until August 4th, you can download the audiobook version of The World Is Flat and receive an exclusive audio preview excerpt of Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
to sign up for yours!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

What, Where, How -- You Can Learn from NECC

The 29th Annual National Education Computing Conference (NECC), held June 29-July 2, in San Antonio, provides educators everywhere with many learning opportunities! This annual conference is presented by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). "For more than two decades, NECC has been the premier forum in which to learn, exchange, and survey the field of educational technology."

Here are a six resources you won't want to miss!

1. Start by visiting ISTE's NECC website at -- be sure to peruse the list of speakers and the sessions and follow the links to blogs, photos, or other resources listed by the speakers' names.

2. Check out (and join) the NECC Ning -- -- an online community supporting the conference. You will find specific session details, speaker handouts, photos, videos and more!

3. Visit the "EdStream Live" wiki for links to many sessions that were streamed live, and are now available online as recorded broadcasts:

4. More than 30 sessions will soon be provided on the "NECC 2008 Conference Connections" podcast channel, produced by Apple Distinguished Educators. Sixteen episodes are available now!!

5. Once again, KZOWebcasting will be providing streaming video for about 20 sessions, including the keynote presentations and sessions such as "Podcasting and Podcatching for the Absolute Beginner" -- view the complete list at

6. Finally, visit eSchool News at for "Live from NECC' reports, session reviews, video reports, such as this report on "Online Safety: Dispelling Common Myths."

It's amazing how quickly these resources have been made available online. Take some time to learn how technology is supporting the learning of adults and students!! Enjoy the ideas presented from both local and international speakers. How can you and your students become part of the conversation? Start here!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm a Member of NECC 2008

View my page on NECC 2008

NECC, the National Education Computing Conference gets underway this weekend in San Antonio. This will be the 4th consecutive year I've been able to attend. I am also "presenting" for the first time. Although I have led a variety of sessions for educators at our state ICE conference (Illinois Computing Educators), and have facilitated a number of local workshops, I am excited to be able to share with like-minded educators on a national level.

My presentation is a "BYOL" (bring your own laptop) session titled "Off Task: Websites and Webtools You Didn't Know You Needed." It will be a fast-paced sharing and discovery session where we will explore a variety of free resources to help educators increase their productivity, and/or develop themselves professionally. I'm looking forward to learning from the attendees as well.

Everything is being provided in a wiki, which I hope will continue to be developed and expanded upon as time goes on. I will also try to live broadcast my session via uStream, or perhaps Mogulus. In any case, I will record the audio and post that to the wiki.

Yee haw!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Power of the Imaginative Mind: Sir Ken Robinson

From Edutopia comes this 15 minute presentation recorded at the Apple Education Leadership Summit on April 10, 2008 in San Francisco. Sir Ken Robinson talks about how we need to think differently about education. The issue is not to reform education, it's to transform it into something else.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sharing by Shareski

Enjoy this slideshow from the ultimate sharer Dean Shareski:

How many of us learned everything we needed to know in Kindergarten too?
Thanks Dean!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pangea Day today!! May 10 LIVE!

If you happen to be online this afternoon, click on over to the Pangea Day broadcast that began at 1 pm (CST) and will continue until 5 pm.

Pangea Day is a 4-hour program of short films, live music and visionary speakers. Coordinated live from 6 locations worldwide, the program is being broadcast in 7 languages to millions of people via the Internet, television and mobile phones.

From the website:
Pangea Day is a celebration of the power of film to unite us all. Today, you'll experience films that are funny – sad – gorgeous – stark – powerful. Voices that have never been heard before. Things you've never seen. Scenes from worlds you've never been to. What you'll see here today is a cross-section of our amazing, complicated, noisy, beautiful world.

And what you'll see here – besides four hours of pure entertainment – is a view into other lives. Once you've lived inside so many other heads, we hope you'll be moved to act. To become involved in a pressing issue – to share your own video or photos – to join a discussion that might move the world just a little bit further toward understanding.

The 20 or so films in this program were chosen by Pangea Day's panel from more than 2,000 submissions and a long roster of curated suggestions. Together, they will move you, scare you, make you laugh and make you smile, and help you feel closer to the world.

View the line up at:

View Pangea Day films at:


Saturday, April 26, 2008

SHS Teachers Helping Students Study for AP Exams

Stevenson’s “2 Regular Guys,” Advanced Placement Government and Politics teachers Andy Conneen and Dan Larsen, will appear on CBS2’s “Eye on Chicago” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 27. They will be offering their takes on the latest political news, including Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The pair also will host their annual AP Government “Cram for the Exam” radio review session at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 4. This year’s live show will be broadcast on Chicago’s WIND-AM (560), and streamed nationally at the station’s website, Although geared toward AP students as they prepare for their May 5 exam, anyone looking to tune-up his civics literacy is encouraged to listen. The show will have a call-in format. If you can’t wait to see the 2 Regular Guys on TV or hear them on radio, you can check out their blog at:

Last year, Andy and Dan's students created a study wiki for AP Comparative review at:

Social Studies teacher Dave Elbaum, uStreamed his 4/16/08 AP Government review. Tune into the recorded session at:

And for students studying for the AP Psychology exam, Social Studies teacher Laura Brandt recorded a review last week, which is posted as an audio file at:

Kudos to these 21st Century educators for enhancing their students' learning via the power of technology!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

StoryCorps from NPR, collecting America's stories

Those of you who are avid listeners of National Public Radio (NPR), are most likely aware of NPR's StoryCorps Oral History Project, which began in 2003, and is still going strong! This post is for the everyone else....

From the StoryCorps website:

Since 2003, almost 30,000 everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends in our StoryBooths. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.

Everybody’s story matters. Every life counts. Help us reach out to record our history, hopes, and common humanity—and illuminate the true character of this nation.
As an example, Martha Conant, one of only 13 unscathed survivors in the 1998 crash landing of a United Airlines flight in Sioux City, Iowa, reminds us of the importance of expressing gratitude and having no regrets as we meet each day:

With free and easy Web 2.0 tools such as GCast, which provides a toll-free "800" number for recording by phone, or Evoca, which provides a web-based voice recorder (see the Evoca "comments" link on the left side of this blog), this would be an easy project for any level social studies, English, or world languages classroom! Tips and sample questions to use for a story interview can be found on their Great Questions page with an extensive list at:

If a classroom project is not in your immediate future, your story can be among the voices of America being recorded at the StoryCorps Mobile Recording Booths located in New York City and Nashville. There are also two trailers traveling across the country that might be worthy of incorporating into your summer vacation planning. See the 2008 schedule at:

"By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation—reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive.” -Dave Isay, Founder, StoryCorps

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Passion: What is most beautiful and sacred to you?

"Passion: What is most beautiful and sacred to you? What would you feel incomplete without? When you have identified that which brings you complete joy, your own unquenchable desire to achieve that goal will become your passion — the inner drive that turns your dreams into a shining reality."
The Academy of Achievement website ( welcomes visitors at the Introduction to the Keys to Success with this quote. The Academy of Achievement mission is to "bring students face-to-face with the extraordinary leaders, thinkers and pioneers who have shaped our world."

If you or your students are looking for career ideas, or want to be inspired by some of the world's great achievers, this website is a must visit! The Keys to Success include Passion, Vision, Preparation, Courage, Perseverance, Integrity and the American Dream. Through video and text, you will learn from individuals who have shaped history, in their own words. There is also a teacher link to "Achievement TV" — a library of videos that can bring achievers from The Arts, Business, Science and Exploration or Sports (just to highlight a few) to your classrooms!

Imagine if the technology was available to capture reflections like these from leaders of our past. Challenge your students to compare a contemporary leader from this website to a historical one. How would Abraham Lincoln have described his passion? Or, how did Alexander the Great's courage compare with that of General Norman Schwarzkopf, who walked among battlefields that contained hidden explosive mines?

Visit the Achievement Gallery and discover a role model, explore a career, be inspired!!

(photo credit:

Sunday, February 10, 2008 (formerly Marco Polo Education) warrants revisiting

From the brochure: "Thinkfinity delivers top-quality, standards-based, K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools ... and gives teachers, instructors and parents the tools they need to increase student performance today and create the lifelong learners of tomorrow."

Some time ago, I attended a workshop on using "Marco Polo Education" website resources in the classroom. It was a terrific resource for locating quality lesson plans and information for teaching and learning. The MCI Foundation launched the Marco Polo Education Foundation (MPEd) in 2002, and when WorldCom went into bankruptcy, Marco Polo was in danger of disappearing. Long story short, it is now known as "" and is funded by Verizon:
This free, comprehensive digital learning platform is built upon the merger of two highly-acclaimed programs well-known to educators Verizon MarcoPolo and the Thinkfinity Literacy Network. Thinkfinity is designed to improve learning in traditional settings and beyond the classroom by providing high-caliber content and professional development needed to improve student achievement anytime, anywhere, at no cost.

Thinkfinity partners with great content providers such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council of Teachers of English, National Geographic Society, and soon the Smithsonian-National Museum of American History, just to name a few.

Especially of interest is the free professional development provided to help educators make the most of the resources. The success of the program relies on a "train the trainer" model in which educators attend face-to-face sessions, and then facilitate workshops in their schools or districts. I'm looking into workshop opportunities offered in Lake or Northern Cook County. In the meantime, check out the "self-guided" tour, which takes about 20 minutes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

PBS Frontline Series: Growing up online

If you missed this program Tuesday evening, note that you can view it entirely online!!
Description from PBS - FRONTLINE: Growing up online:
Just how radically is the Internet transforming the experience of childhood? FRONTLINE looks at the impact of the Internet on adolescence through the eyes of teens and their parents and what does it mean to be the first generation of coming of age via the Internet.

There are views presented from teachers, researchers, parents, and students, as well as information that parents need to know to begin or continue to teach Internet safety at home.
Note, there is a "Teacher's Guide to Growing Up Online" scheduled to be posted in February.
Visit: The website also provides in-depth interview with educators, click the "Inside the Revolution" link on the page, or here:

Do you think we are doing all we can? Look for the "Join the Discussion" link at the bottom of the FRONTLINE page to the post your opinions for the producers, or leave a comment on this post to express your views relating to our community.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Library of Congress and Flickr Unite!

This week, the Library of Congress blog reported a new pilot project with Flickr:
"If all goes according to plan, the project will help address at least two major challenges: how to ensure better and better access to our collections, and how to ensure that we have the best possible information about those collections for the benefit of researchers and posterity. ... Out of some 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, more than 3,000 photos from two of our most popular collections are being made available on our new Flickr page, to include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.
The real magic comes when the power of the Flickr community takes over. We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. ... "
To view the photos on Flickr, go to: Two sets of digitized photos are available: 1,600 color images from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and about 1,500 images from the George Grantham Bain News Service. More about the project can be found here:

These pictures are available without copyright restrictions for educators and students! If Flickr is blocked in your district, remember that these images are available from your Library of Congress Reading Room! The powerful aspect of this pilot, is that now citizens, as Flickr users, can contribute to the information about the photos by entering comments and annotating images as they choose. This is the power of "Web 2.0" -- anyone can have a voice. Educational possibilities are endless!

Friday, January 04, 2008

TED: Ideas worth spreading in your classrooms

The first TED Conference took place in 1984. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design -- where great ideas come together. I first learned about TED from David Pogue, NYTimes Circuits author/technology columnist, when he was a keynote speaker at the IL-TCE Conference last February. (Pogue was a TED speaker in 2006.) Over 150 talks from the TED archives are now available online at, with more being added each week.
"TED is devoted to giving millions of knowledge-seekers around the globe direct access to the world's greatest thinkers and teachers.

If you're a teacher, consider incorporating TEDTalks into your classes. They are distributed under a Creative Commons license, and are freely available for such use, so long as you credit the source and do not distort the speakers' intended meaning."
Explore the TED Talks website by theme, talk title or speaker. Talks are usually 20 minutes or less, and can be downloaded in full resolution video, MP3 audio, or embedded on your website, or class Edline page. You can freely subscribe to the TEDTalks Podcasts in iTunes in either the video or audio format, and watch many of the talks on YouTube.

Here are just a few that would be great for your classroom:

Social Science: Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, explains how we are all born with the capacity for empathy -- but we sometimes choose to ignore it.

LecturesHans Rosling's presentation at the TED-conference was an Internet success. His 2007 TED talk, "The Seemingly Impossible, is Possible" shows that a good world is possible.

Math: Ron Eglash talks about his work exploring the rigorous fractal math underpinning African architecture, art and hair braiding.

Science: Watch medical animator David Bolinsky's 3 minutes of stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell. Tune into environmental scientist David Keith's talk about a cheap, effective, shocking solution to climate change. Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full explains his goal of creating the perfect robotic "distributed foot." Nobel Prize winner Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge about particle physics, asking questions like, Can the fundamental law, the so-called "theory of everything," really explain everything?

Communication Arts: Lakshmi Pratury talks about the lost art of letter-writing, and shares a series of notes her father wrote her before he died. This short talk may inspire you to set pen to paper too. Steven Pinker looks at language, and the way it expresses the workings of our minds. By analyzing common sentences and words, he shows us how, in what we say and how we say it, we're communicating much more than we realize.

Applied Arts: Seth Godin's views on "Sliced bread and other marketing delights" spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.