Sunday, July 26, 2009

"The First Annual Lee Baber Jamboree – Win a community" post by Dave Cormier

This is my Response to

"The First Annual Lee Baber Jamboree – Win a community." by Dave Cormier

It's been a while but, I think we way may have something for you folks. As part of k12 Online Conference for 2009 we (k12online conveners and friends) are having a Pre-Conference virtual LAN party. Why not combine two cool events and offer the Best of K12onlineconference to coincide with the Lee Baber Jamboree? So, this is the plan: We are going to host a virtual LAN party at EdTechTalk on Saturday September 26, 2009. We will start on or about 14:00 GMT and go on for about 8 hours. In our webcasting studios we will be featuring the best of K12Online from years past 2006-08. As part of this event we will be dedicating one hour.. perhaps in the middle or maybe to culminate the event to the Best of Lee Baber. and to piggyback on Dave Comier's idea of win a community, we wil be announcing the 1st honarary winner of this event. I know everything sounds a bit sketchy.. to start out join us this next Thursday at 6pm Pacific / 9pm Eastern on Edtech Brainstorm at Where we will give more details.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

“Tinkering Toward Utopia” - Post by Will Richardson

This is my response to “Tinkering Toward Utopia” by Will Richardson.

I've been trying to frame my mind around school reform for quiet some time. This is especially true after spending some time out of the classroom. I do agree that there has to be a fundamental shift on how we look at change for our schools. This whole idea that schools can shift towards being more of social systems and learning organizations. Rather than being bureaucracies and operating systems. Will change come from innovations? Sure, as long as we (teachers) are comfortable in learning and relearning with those we network face to face and on the web. But, more importantly model and mentor our own students in this process. For me there needs to be a change in the way I seek professional development. It cannot only be the prepacked deal I get from meeting at my school or local district. It needs to be a blended approach where I take my local school or grade focus and what I learn with my network on the web and construct what I need to do with my students. As far as reform/transformation, it's all about making this a reality for myself and then helping others (teachers at my school and district) come along with me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crowdsourcing - An Educational Experiment in L.A.

This is a response to

Save Our Summer Project Coming July 6

a project by group of students at USC. The objective as described at on the site is to provide free, online learning solution to the cancellation of K-8 summer school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


* Crowdsource the tagging of resources
* Host on Free online aggregation site
* Offer some tools for dialogue.

To play:

  • Find a resource and tag it: sosclassroom
  • send the resource to sosclassroom[at]
  • tweet us @sosclassroom or #sosclassroom
Crowdsourcing NOW on my summer reading list. I tend to do this all the time as I go on to twitter and find resources for my own learning. But crowdsourcing in the business model refers to replacing a function that is usually paid for by tapping into collective knowledge. Now this IS something I can dig into. Looking specifically at our situation in L.A. it's interesting to find a tech solution to our budget woes.

This is my response to this novel experiment:

Hey congrats on "crowdsourcing"! Now that you have the crowds attention (me) let's see if we can get some work done. Let's start by defining who "we" are. "Our class at USC" what class? and are you speaking for the class or is it YOU and a few interested folk? I DO see how the your site works and it's a great concept. How do we bridge the concept to making it a practice? If the intended audience is LAUSD teachers to gather resources and LAUSD families in comsuming these resources then what is the plan? I'm comitted to a sustained effort and partnership between classroom teacher, the families we service, and interested community like yourself. I invite you to continue the conversation.

Why Technology Post by Bud Hunt

This is my response to

The Bud the Teacher Podcast: Why Technology

Why technology? Well, because. As I articulate my thoughts I think that technology is not about the tool. Rather, it’s our way of processing what we learn. Perhaps I find that technology allows for learning in different ways and archives this learning in a more permanent way. It’s not only about digitizing the content but about producing content where the line between being a teacher and a student is blurred.

NECC is about Convesations Post by Jeff Utecth

This is my response to

NECC is about conversations

I find your take on NECC and it being about conversations interesting and tend to agree to the most part. I found a similar experience when I have gone to our local state conference in California CUE. I did quite a bit of learning via connecting with others in the hallways and through conversation. At least for a certain group (those already connected with the content on the web via twitter, blogs, etc) These conversations are a lot more valuable than sitting through a repackaged presentation you can probably find elsewhere.

Now, how would this look in our classrooms? That’s a bit more complicated. We are teaching in a very hostile environment. We are required to “teach” a prescribed curriculum and when our evaluators walk into our classroom they are looking for directed lessons, students under control. But even with this as a requirement I DID find myself going outside the box and allowing MY students to engage in conversation around learning. I still have a long way to go but as I am reminded by fellow elementary school teacher Brian Crosby “Learning is Messy” and it’s just fine by me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

LA Hungry for Education: The Struggle Continues

I thought I was winding down for the school year. Literacy week at my school gave me an opportunity to do some last minute tech projects with my students, a few voicetreads, some video, and blogging. All I needed was wrap up with paperwork and I was off on summer vacation and back to my online projects. And then... I found myself in the middle of a debate on the future of public education and it was in my own backyard. I really hadn't given much thought to what was happening with the budget crisis in California and it's effect on our local schools.

As I browsed my twitter feed I came across lahungry4ed. I had heard about Los Angeles teachers protesting the cuts and job losses through the local media on the weekend. Now this was interesting, it wasn't the teachers union, UTLA. These were individual teachers bringing together a coalition of teachers, parents, and community activists. Their efforts are to bring attention to what's happening with LAUSD and to pressure the school board to save teacher jobs. Their actions have included campouts at school sites and also a hunger strike by a few teachers.

I asked myself what I could do? I decided to reach out to my network on EdTechTalk. I wanted to learn more about the issues but more importantly to document and share with others. As we interviewed onsite I began to understand that this was more than a simple budget problem. As Sean Leys frames it "as a civil rights issue." The actions by our State Government and our local school board are part of a bigger picture. There has been an assault on public education and inner city schools. It goes back to the whole premis of NCLB and punishing schools that are not making the grade.

It is interesting to note how the organizers of this effort have used social media in getting the word out through their netvibes page, by the use of hash tags on twitter, by press releases through tinypaste, pictures on picassa web, facebook group and interacting with media both on the web and local print, television, and radio stations. This organizational structure makes this grassroot movement easier to have sustainability beyond the events of the campouts and the hunger strike itself. So, as I go into my last week of teaching for the 2008-09 school year, I find myself engaged and committed to be part of the struggle.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

PODCAST - CLMS 2009 Skype for Educators

This is a recording of my presentation at California League of Middle Schools CLMS on Saturday March 14th, 2009. This is an introduction to use of Skype in Education. You can find the presentation wiki at Special thanks to Dr. Wagner for his invitation and connecting educators in the use of technology all over California. I added a page to wiki for CLMS conference attendees to leave contact details for Skype collaborative projects. Have a listen SkypeForEducators.mp3