Web 2.0 – Share the Adventure with Students

Another K12Online 2007 Conference session goes live today – Web 2.0 – Share the Adventure with Students

For many teachers, Web 2.0 tools offer exciting opportunities for students to express themselves and take command of technology that stretches the mind and reaches outside school walls. For some teachers, these tools are like trying to take a drink from a fire hose – endlessly expanding into a bewildering array of choices.

It’s a daunting task to figure out all the options with Web 2.0 tools and choose the “best” one to introduce to students. But why should you have all the fun!? Share your Learning Adventure 2.0 with your students and you will all benefit from the experience.

Web 2.0 – Share the Adventure with Students is available both as a video and audio only podcast on the K12Online 2007 conference site.


Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development

Another K12Online Conference session goes live today – Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development.

When people talk about “why aren’t teachers using technology?” the point is invariably made that there is not enough professional development. This session questions that assumption, and makes some points about how typical professional development may serve to actually increase teacher discomfort with technology, rather than alleviate it.

This session has a lot of ideas in it – community of practice, what is a constructivist, project-based classroom, students as co-learners, what professional development can be, and more.

Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development is available both as a video and audio only podcast on the K12Online 2007 conference site. Teaser Trailer (2 min): on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdYJIJc1oQE


Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel

So today (if I’ve gotten my world clock right) the different kind of conference session debuts.

Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel (Live VoiceThread version)

Voicethread panel session

Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds was a last minute brainstorm between me and Kevin Jarrett as the time limit for submitting sessions got close. We used Google docs to hammer out a session description, and sent it in with minutes to spare. The idea was that by using VoiceThread (an online slideshow that you can add multiple voices to) we could create a group experience that would both show the educational side of Second Life, and then have a platform where everyone could continue the conversation.

I posted a bit about it here when Kevin created a teaser for it using Animoto.

So I think it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself! It’s informative already, and hopefully will generate some conversation which will make it all the better! I think it’s pretty hype-free, which is nice. I sort of had the role of “voice of reason” so I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m completely against Second Life. I’m not, and I put forward my thoughts a while back, Second Thoughts on Second Life.

So here it is, TA DA! Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel (Live VoiceThread version)

There’s a non-live option here too: Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel (recorded versions) (Bios and support links)

These are just a movie and audio file that were recorded a week ago, and are available to download, but that’s not the real thing. It’s just there to provide a permanent home for the files under the K12 online conference umbrella. The conference organizers said that from last year’s experience, many conference attendees wanted downloadable, podcast versions of the sessions.

But the REAL deal is here, on VoiceThread, where you can add your own comments in voice or text. Make your mark!

Second Life: K-20 Educators Exploring Virtual Worlds – Panel (Live VoiceThread version)


See you in Nashville?

I’ll be at the NSBA T+L (Technology and Learning) conference in Nashville, TN next week (October 16-19). This is one of my favorite educational technology conferences of the year. It’s known for the quality of speakers and sessions, and large exhibit hall with great companies like Generation YES to talk to.

I’m presenting a session at T+L on student technology literacy —

Meeting the NCLB Technology Literacy Mandate – Keeping it Real, Research-based, and Relevant in the Governors E room on Thursday, Oct. 18th at 10:30AM. All participants will receive a free TechYES student technology guide.

Also at T+L, Gary Stager, one of the authors of the TechYES materials, will receive a 20 Educational Leaders to Watch for the Next 20 Years award from the National School Boards Association at this conference. Gary was a huge contributor to helping us figure out how to make TechYES a project-based technology literacy program that celebrates creativity in the learning process and at the same time provides authentic assessment tools that respect students and teachers. Congratulations!

I’ll be in booth #1057 in the co-sponsor section of the exhibit hall. Hope to see you there!

K12 Online 2007 Conference – comfy slipper learning

Flickr photo - slippersLike going to educational conferences? I do. Meeting new and old friends, learning cool things, and being inspired is revitalizing. But it’s not something I want to do every day! Airplanes, leaving home, work piling up, big crowds, and jet lag can make you wonder if it’s all worth it.So here comes some web 2.0 savvy educators with a great idea. Can’t we have it all? Can’t we share, collaborate, and be inspired without the TSA being involved? Can I participate in a way that’s easy for me, comfortable for me, and convenient for me? Oh, and did I mention… FREE?

Yup, and it starts next week. The K12 Online Conference about 21st Century teaching and learning will run over the next three weeks. But really, you are in charge. You can look at the keynotes and sessions where and when you want. You can watch videos or listen to audio. You can download them as podcasts. This is an online conference, but it isn’t about online learning. It’s about using technology – web 2.0, software, and other tools to enhance teaching and learning.

What happens during the next three weeks is that the sessions are slowly unveiled, one at a time, and there are online discussions scheduled at different times over the course of the whole conference. Some of the conversation times may be convenient for you, some may not, but somewhere, someone around the world will be thinking… “hey, they thought of me!”

Plus there will be places to comment on the presentations in a blog format – if you want to. That’s what it’s all about. You could replay your favorite session twelve times — if you want to. You can explore last year’s sessions — they are still up there on the website. You could wait until December to do this — if you want to. You can download something and share it at a staff meeting — if you want to.

But only for the next three weeks will you be able to participate with educators from around the globe talking about teaching and learning with technology in real-time sessions — if you want to.

We all like to be challenged and inspired, but we all like to put on our comfy slippers too. Now we get both.

k12online logoThe 2007 K12 Online Conference about 21st Century teaching and learning is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26, 2007, and will include a preconference keynote and fireside chat by David Warlick during the week of October 8. The conference theme is Playing with Boundaries.

Check out the website, cruise around and look at the teasers for all the different sessions. The sessions run the gamut of different grade levels, classroom ideas and staff development and from practical how-tos to more philosophical things. I guarantee there will be something you will like.

Download a printable flyer and send it to a friend (or two, or ten) K12online flyer (PDF). Be brave, like Cathy Nelson of TechnoTuesday and demo it for your colleagues! Next week I’ll post more the conference and about my sessions coming the week of Oct 22-26. I blogged about my “teasers” here if you can’t wait 😉

“See” you there – Sylvia

Update – Added links to all my sessions:

Wiki with supporting resources, research, and how I made these presentations!

Flickr photo: Winston thinks my new slippers are very tasty.

New Mexico TIE

I’m heading off to the New Mexico Technology in Education (NMTIE) conference later this week. I’m looking forward to meeting GenYES teachers from schools in Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences, Portales, and others. Doug Byers from Chaparral Middle School, Jo Black from Holloman Middle School and I will be presenting a session on what their GenYES kids have been doing to help teachers use technology throughout their schools. This is another EETT funded program and the evaluation results from the first year showed how much impact students can have on technology integration to improve teaching and learning.

I have to fly into El Paso, Texas and then drive a couple of hours to get there, but that’s not unusual in the wide open west!

K12 Online Conference – Challenging Assumptions about Technology Professional Development

Participate in the free K12 Online ConferenceWow, the start of school always seems to accelerate everything. I haven’t even had a chance to mention that I’m going to do two sessions and a panel at the second annual K12 Online Conference. I heard great things about it last year, and decided to submit a few things. And then Kevin Jarret, my Second Life buddy, said, hey, lets do a panel on Second Life, and I wrote up the description for that too. So all three got accepted! One of those woo-hoo/uh-oh moments.

After seeing some of the cool presentations at the Office 2.0 conference, and seeing Kevin Jarrett dazzle with an Animoto video for the Second Life panel, I decided to upgrade from the usual slideshow. K12 Online asks you to prepare teasers for your session, so this was great way to try out some modern multimedia skills on something short.

Here’s my session teaser – it’s on YouTube, so hopefully it’s not getting blocked. Here’s a link to it on TeacherTube as well. (For some reason, the TeacherTube video is fuzzier, even though it was a higher resolution export. Mysteries of life…)

The session will be challenging assumptions about technology professional development. The track for this session is “Obstacles to Opportunities.” I think an obstacle can be widely held assumptions that cause us to wear blinders about innovative solutions. We hear a lot of “conventional wisdom” about how limited classroom technology use is caused by either lack of, or poor professional development. I’ve got some interesting data on that from several sources that refutes this.

The second half of this session looks at the concept of “community of practice” and how teachers’ learning about technology takes place within a community. For most teachers, the primary place they do their work (their practice) is the classroom. Many professional development courses recognize the power of learning withing a community, and seek to create a secondary community of practice with the teachers taking the course. However, very few professional development experiences happen in the teacher’s primary community of practice. Therefore, by exploring this untapped area, we may find hidden opportunities to support learning for the teacher in their primary community of practice.

By looking to the students as participants in that teacher’s primary community of practice, and treating them as co-learners, you can situate the teacher’s learning about technology back into the classroom. These opportunities can be just-in-time, support a model of the teacher as a life-long learner, far less expensive than in-class coaching, and promote students into a role of full participants in the effort to improve learning for themselves, their peers, and teachers.

Essentially, this session is about pushing against the boundaries of what we call community of practice in technology professional development, and seeing what opportunities occur to us. Looking past assumptions and “that’s how we’ve always done it” is the way to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Looking forward to seeing you online at the K12 Online Conference in October.

Student Panels – Sharing Authentic Student Voice

What most people know about Generation YES is that it has something to do with students, technology and student voice. So we often get asked by conference organizers if we can help them find students to participate in a student panel discussion. We always try to accomodate them with teacher contact names from local Generation YES schools.

It’s good that people are trying. It’s a great reward for the students too. It’s so rare that you see students in any way, shape or form at an educational technology conference that the mere fact of them showing up seems like a statement. But student panels often turn out to be less satisfying than planned. The mere act of speaking is not student voice, and just listening is not enabling student voice.

Yesterday I posted about our latest white paper, Sharing Student Voice: Students Presenting at Conferences. In that paper, one section relates to student panels which I’d like to share here. It’s written for anyone thinking of taking their students to an education related conference. I hope that it can help make student panels more relevant for both the students and the audiences involved.

A Special Note About Student Panels
Student panels are often arranged by conferences to show that they are listening to students and supporting student voice. Since your students are likely to be well-known as articulate students who are making a difference, you may get an invitation to bring students to participate in a student panel discussion.

These student panels can be nice rewards for students, but they do not promote student voice by themselves. Unfortunately, these panels often take place in a vacuum. Students are rarely present at meetings or working group sessions where real decisions are made. Too often the panelists are asked abstract questions that are well beyond the student’s capability or experience.

If you can participate in planning the student panel, ask if the students can participate in the full day’s events, by working on plans or proposals alongside adults. You may want to suggest that the students are not asked questions about things that they have little control over, such as national policy or how they could use technology to improve “education” as an abstract idea. Since student voice is always grounded in action, questions that focus on eliciting student perceptions about their actual work will be more powerful and more meaningful for both the audience and the students.

You can prepare your students ahead of time by helping them understand that their experiences, such as by teaching teachers how to use technology as a GenYES student, are valid answers. They do not have to invent futuristic solutions or make up grand plans. What they have already done is worth talking about and is the true expression of student voice. Be clear with them about whether they will have a chance to participate in any decision-making activities beyond a panel appearance.

Student trust is a hard-won gift, and over-promising that a student panel is a chance for them to have a real voice in creating change might backfire. It’s not hard for students to realize that in reality there is no mechanism for any long-term participation on their part.

Finally, consider bringing some non-traditional students to the student panel. Students who are not your academic superstars and don’t speak in 5 paragraph essays often speak the truth with greater ease than students who are more conventional. Be sure to make it safe for them to say the unexpected or unconventional, within the boundaries of appropriate behavior. Your guidance will allow students to move past what they know adults expect of them and share their authentic voice.

You can download the whole white paper here in PDF form.


Sharing Student Voice: Students Presenting at Conferences

cover of whitepaperI’m proud to announce the release of Sharing Student Voice: Students Presenting at Conferences. This 10 page monograph contains both research support and practical tips for teachers working with students to plan presentations of student work by students in formal, adult venues, specifically educational conferences. (Download PDF)

The paper contains:

  • Research on student voice and student empowerment, reflecting on 21st century skill development and inclusion of Web 2.0 technology
  • How to plan and submit sessions with student presenters
  • Types of conference sessions and how students best fit into different formats
  • Planning, creating, and practicing the presentation while creating student ownership
  • Treating the presentation as part of the reflective process that builds student voice
  • Balancing the needs of the audience with the needs of students while retaining authentic student voice
  • Top Ten Tips for Student Presenters
  • Logistics tips for bigger conferences and exhibit halls
  • The role of the teacher in the presentation, providing context and being the audience surrogate
  • Session and speaker etiquette and what to expect

I hope this resource is useful to anyone wondering how to take students to speak at a conference, or anyone planning an event that includes students. I wrote it to be a very practical guide for busy teachers!

We often work with teachers to bring Generation YES students to various events to talk about how they work with teachers to improve technology use, or how they function as a trusted part of the tech support team, or how technology literacy can be assessed with student peer mentors. We’ve learned a lot over the years about how best to do this, and want to share it with everyone. It’s not hard to do, but why not learn from our experience (and mistakes!)

Our first monograph, Vision to Action: Including Student Leadership in Your Technology Plan, released in February 2007, was a big hit and we hope to build on that success with more free resources that help school leaders enable student voice to improve education. We all know that student voice and student participation in authentic activities is important, but without focused, ongoing efforts by adults, this can get lost among other priorities. We hope these resources help people get started or keep their momentum going by not having to “reinvent the wheel.”

Over the next few days, I’ll share a few highlights from this new monograph, but if you’d like the whole thing, please feel free to download and share it with others.

Download PDFSharing Student Voice: Students Presenting at Conferences by Sylvia Martinez

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.