Technology Workgroup Meeting – Jan 11, 2006- Notes

January 24, 2006

Wed. Jan 11, 2006 via Elluminate 3-3:40 pm

Present: Greg Dutton, Ted Berry, Anna Bryant, Brian Cleary, Carolyn Coe, Karen Laws, Pam Lloyd, Lee Henrikson

Technology strengths and challenges in your district/organization:

Ted: Strengths: videoconferencing, more and more web-based tools, use technology a great deal; challenges: NCLB and the requirement to have highly qualified teachers in small schools

Brian: KOC, KIBSD: Strengths: saturated with technology and lots of people well-versed in technology; there’s the never-ending challenge of supporting teachers in use of technology

Carolyn: Experience through the years with evolving distance Ed technologies; audio conferencing is getting expensive and sometimes tedious. Likes blended approach; just one thing is never quite enough. Has high hopes for Elluminate since type of computer and speed of connection matter less.

Karen: Works with teacher interns; hopes to be able to support interns in rural sites.

Pam: Strengths: started technology teacher leader program at ASD; 100 teachers at 25-30 schools. Working with a Fairbanks in Intel Teach to the Future grant. Uses Blackboard and Elluminate in district for training. Looking at 2 on line curriculums. Biggest challenge: more and more applications and greater reliance on technology; haven’t kept up with staffing needs.

Possible ways grant can help:

Glean ideas, learn more about technology, support taking leadership in technology, strength of a distributed network, sharing, networking on issues and problems as well as exploring funding opportunities GCI can provide technology viewpoint and infrastructure; has additional resources, and can integrate into real world environment.

Next time:

-Learn more about Elluminate/ use this session as a learning tool (e.g. Sessions on white board, break out rooms)

-Talk about developing an inventory of technology resources in AEIN partner districts

-Get to know each other better

Lee will again invite the other 6 partner districts to participate.

Teaching about blogging 2

January 18, 2006

Seven of us are sitting around the conference table in the Carlton Trust Building, laptops all around, a Proxima that flakes out on occasion, working on our blogs (and checking email). I enjoy helping everyone figure out the intricacies of blogging and have started a list of items for future training: changing passwords, choosing a presentation theme, customizing the blogroll, the differences between pages and posts, categories, and more. Everyone has made good progress and seems enthused about blogging. The meetings tend to encourage us to work with blogs. We are starting to do the writing, the goal of the blogging. At our next session, I want to introduce RSS feeds.

The best way to learn

December 21, 2005

I just submitted an abstract for a one-hour sectional on blogging and education at ASTE. This sectional will cover issues around blogging rather than how to blog. I also want to invite discussion about the controversies surrounding blogging and schools. I’ve been collecting links and articles about the ethics/etiquette of blogging, issues around teens blogging, and a few examples of the use of blogging in schools. As I develop the sectional, I’ll post more here.

Streaming woes

December 12, 2005

Today I worked at home – hoping to finish up the video on the NSDC survey results. It’s done enough for a first attempt and I want expert help for our next video. The intention is to put this 10 min. video up on UAA’s streaming video server and advertise it to our network schools. We hope that the video will be a way to disseminate information to them.

I edited the movie in iMovie HD. There are a few stills of documents and graphs in the movie – none of them are very legible when I create the Quicktime movie for web streaming rather than in a more quality format. The streaming format is 14.2 MB and the higher resolution format is 2.03 GB, so there’s a reason that they look so different. At this point I wonder if a podcast format might be better since the diagrams didn’t come through. sigh.

Teaching blogging

December 9, 2005

I met with several of my colleagues today to continue teaching them about blogging. We have gotten bogged down with missing passwords and lost emails so that they have not been able to access their blogs. A lesson to be learned: make sure that people record their passwords and usernames for later retrieval. On top of that, when one person asked to have her password sent to her, her email malfunctioned and she never received it. Today, she sent a message to James Farmer, administrator of edublogs, so we may soon move to truly blogging. We meet again on Friday.

When the blogging didn’t go well, we moved to a discussion of facilitating on line discsussions and an article by Marie T. Williams and Dale Wache from the University of South Australia entitled “‘Just Link and Leave’ a recipe for disaster for online communications” that I read about on James Farmer’s Incorporated Subversion blog. We have more talking to do about the article. And, I just made a connection that this is the same guy who created edublogs.

I am still in the paradigm shift towards understanding the value and possibilities of social software. My colleagues are even more at a loss to understand this new media than I am. At least I’ve been surveying the blogosphere and getting my bearings. My current theory is that I want to encourage us to use this media to reflect on our work in the AEIN grant- to use the tools to build our community and to invite the schools in our network to join the discussion.

This has been a stretch for me. I am teaching something new as I am learning it. I don’t quite get it (yet). And I sense that there is a possibility, a promise here, so I continue on.

Post-Thanksgiving

November 30, 2005

I was away for Thanksgiving and am reconnecting with work. I see on my list a note about ASTE – Alaska Society for Technology in Education. I am thinking of facilitating a discussion on blogs at the conference – or maybe I’ll take a deeper dive and do a training session. That will get me familiar with the technology.

The College of Education website is up in the air again -the migration to the content management system won’t start until January and we’d like something sooner. I don’t really feel inclined to do an extensive makeover of the existing site. Higher ups are making decisions on how we’ll proceed.

Today I played with a Logitech Orbit camera. It doesn’t appear to work with Ichat, so the cute tracking feature of the camera is of less interest to me than the easy elegance of the firewire Isight camera.

Oh, and I went back to Mac Mail from Entourage. There’s been something flaky with the Exchange server and after bounced mails coming and going, I’m back in Mail-land. I also finally requested a faculty email account rather than the staff account, so I’ll be migrating to aflmh from anlmh4. There is some status/ego stuff in the move, but also I want the kind of work that I am asked to do be reflective of my role and my training. I’ve been doing some IT stuff and I want to do more educational-technology stuff.

Learn & Teach 2

November 30, 2005

I read Will Richardson’s excellant faq on RSS yesterday(http://www.weblogg-ed.com/rss_for_ed) and have a greater appreciation for the power of RSS. Being one who likes organization, and efficient systems, I particularly liked the idea of keeping track of the blogs from students via RSS feeds. I look forward to developing my skills and comfort with this tool.

I’ve joined FURL (http://www.furl.net/) to learn about social bookmarking and am intrigued by the rating of sites. I enjoy the daily list of which sites have been “furled” by furl members.

This afternoon I will introduce my colleagues to these tools.

sigh. This blogging invites me to slow down and reflect more on what I’m doing and my motivations/choices. I am moving towards allowing more time/depth for this process. I certainly gained a great deal from the reflective journalling that I did in my Master of Arts in Teaching program. This blog writing, though, is in some ways less personal since a wider audience may view it.

I joined Live Journal about 3 years ago at the invitation of a friend. I found myself unwilling to post. I was substitute teaching at the time and didn’t necessarily want my words to come back to haunt me if I was critical of a situation.

Now, I think, I can use this tool to reflect on my work and my approaches to it using technology.

Learn and Teach

November 7, 2005

Today Ilka and Alice started work. I’ll meet with them on Wed. to go over how to set up blogs. I am such a newbie myself, still. I suspect once we all are set up, we’ll be teaching each other.

AEIN Test Blog

November 1, 2005

Welcome to Alaska Educational Innovations Network (AEIN). I am exploring blogs and the social aspects of the internet as part of my job as Technology Integrator ( I got to pick my own job title) at AEIN.

Our Network Partners are working toward creating sustainable communites of practice in Alaska.