Category Archives: Conferences

K12 Online Conference 2008

Amplifying Possibilities

I love the above theme for this year’s K12 Online Conference 2008. I am duplicating the call for proposals below so read it carefully and get on board! I will surely miss Lani Ritter Hall as one of the conveners but welcome Dean Shareski on board. So I extend a warm thank you to Lani, Dean, Darren, Sheryl, and Wes! The dedicated and hard work of the conveners (past and present) is so very much appreciated!

This conference is second to none and really exhibits the spirit of what our community is all about – sharing, caring, seeing possiblilities, providing top notch professional development, stretching, imagining, promoting, modeling, networking, and truly pushing us to new understandings.

I like the “tweaking” of the strands – great focus! So read the “call for proposals” below and remember….

the possibilities are limitless!!

We are pleased to announce the call for proposals for the third annual “K12 Online Conference” for educators around the world interested in the use of web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year’s
conference is scheduled for October 20-24 and October 27-31 of 2008, and will include a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 13. The conference theme for 2008 is “Amplifying Possibilities.”
Participation in the conference (as in the past) is entirely free. Conference materials are published in English and available for worldwide distribution and use under a Creative Commons license. Some changes in the requirements for presentations are being made this year and are detailed below. The deadline for proposal submission is June 23, 2008. Selected presentations will be announced at NECC 2008 in San Antonio, Texas, USA on July 2.


As in past years, K12 Online 2008 will feature four “conference strands,” two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day,
Monday through Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two weeks. Including the pre-conference keynote, a total of 41 presentations will be published. Each twenty minute (or less) presentation will be shared online in a downloadable format and released simultaneously via the conference blog (,) the conference Twitter account, and the conference audio and video podcast channels. All presentations will be archived online for posterity. A total of 82 past presentations are currently available from K12 Online 2006 and K12 Online 2007.

If you are planning to submit a proposal, please review archived presentations from past years to determine what you might offer that is new and builds on previous work. A variety of live events will also be planned during and following the weeks of the conference.


Week 1

Strand A: Getting Started

Everything you wanted to know about getting started with web 2.0 technologies for learning but were afraid to ask. The presentations in this strand will focus on specific, free tools for newcomers. Whether you have one classroom computer or a laptop for every student, digital technologies can provide new opportunities to connect with other learners, create new and exciting knowledge products, and engage students in an expanded learning process beyond the traditional “boundaries of the bell.”

Teachers first introduced to Web 2.0 tools are often unaware of the new
possibilities for teaching and learning afforded by the Read/Write Web.
Presentations in this strand will amplify and model what is possible in terms of pedagogy, student creation of content, and collaboration. Practical classroom implementation ideas will be emphasized. Presentations will focus more on the ways new tools can be used to engage students in learning, rather than focusing exclusively on how specific tools are used. If you’ve ever felt like everyone else knows more than you about teaching with technology and you need help getting started, this is the strand for you.

Strand B: Kicking It Up a Notch

You’ve been using blogs, wikis and other technologies for awhile but perhaps
haven’t seen them transform your classroom and the learning environment for your students in the ways you think they can. This strand amplifies ways new technologies can be used to transform classroom and personal learning. Rather than merely replicating traditional, analog-based learning tasks, how can digital technologies permit teacher-leaders to “infomate” learning to add greater interactivity, personal differentiation, and multi-modal exploration of curriculum topics?

Fresh new approaches to using Web 2.0 tools for learning and authentic
assessment will be highlighted. Presentations will explore innovative ways Web 2.0 tools can be blended together to help students create, collaborate, and share the knowledge safely on the global stage of the Internet. Maybe it’s time to share your insights and experiences with your teaching community. Join these sessions to gain insights on amplifying the possibilities of learning in your classroom and/or your professional practice.

Week 2

Strand A: Prove it

Although some teachers are excited to “amplify possibilities” using computer
technologies, Web 2.0 tools, and 21st Century learning strategies in their classrooms, how do we know if these innovative instructional strategies are really working? Since information technologies and emerging brain research continue to rapidly evolve and change, it is challenging as well as vital to find current, meaningful research to undergird the learning initiatives we are using in our classrooms. What are “best practices” for teaching and learning with the new participatory media? This strand will share research results from the field that support students in using knowledge to communicate, collaborate, analyze, create, innovate, build community and solve problems. In addition, successful methods for developing and/or delivery of action research projects or research-based instruction in today’s digital world will be explored. In some cases, participants may be invited to participate in ongoing or beginning research on Web 2.0 tool use, constructivist pedagogy, or other 21st Century research issues.

Educational research about emerging professional development strategies, contemporary learning theory, systemic school reform, and other current themes of educational change are also appropriate for inclusion in this strand.

Help us to examine such research questions as:

  • What does research in learning science, instructional design, informal
    learning, and other fields tell us about today’s learner and their success?
  • What design features must teachers incorporate into their instructional activities to support meaningful learning?
  • What is the role of assessment in today’s changing classroom? How should assessment be structured to meaningfully assess student achievement in the context of the modern classroom?

Strand B: Leading the Change

Innovative approaches to teaching and learning using web 2.0 tools are often
utilized by a limited number of “early adopter” teachers in our schools. This strand seeks to amplify ways educators in a variety of contexts are serving as constructive catalysts for broad-based pedagogic change using Web 2.0 technologies as well as student-centered, project-based approaches to learning. Presentations in this strand will both showcase successful strategies as well as amplify critical issues which must be addressed for innovative learning methods to be adopted by teachers, librarians, and administrators on a
more widespread basis. These issues may include (but are not limited to) issues of copyright, fair use and intellectual property, Internet content filtering, student privacy and safety issues, administrator expectations for teacher utilization of Web 2.0 tools, pilot initiatives utilizing key Web 2.0 technologies in different content areas, and innovative ways students and teachers are providing just-in-time support as well as formal learning opportunities for each
other focusing on Web 2.0 tools. Successful approaches for both large and small schools, in rural as well as urban settings, will be included.
This strand will explore and amplify a menu of practical ideas for educators in diverse contexts who want to continue amplifying possibilities in our schools.


This call encourages all educators, both experienced and novice with respect to Web 2.0 learning tools, to submit proposals to present at this conference via this link. Take this opportunity to share your successes, strategies, and tips in
“amplifying the possibilities” of web 2.0 powered learning in one of the four conference strands.

The deadline for proposal submissions is June 23, 2008 at midnight GMT. You will be contacted no later than July 2, 2008 regarding your proposal’s status. The conveners reserve to right to reposition a presentation in another strand if they believe it is best placed elsewhere. As in past years, conveners will utilize blind review committees to evaluate all

Presentations for K12Online08 must conform to the following requirements:

  1. Presentations must be a single media file of twenty minutes or less in length.
  2. Presentations must be submitted in a downloadable and convertable file format (mp3, mov, WMV, FLV, m4a, or m4v.) Presenters wanting to use an alternative format should contact their respective strand convener in advance.
  3. Presentations are due two weeks prior to the week the relevant strand begins. (Week 1 presentations are due Monday, October 6, Week 2 presentations are due Monday, October 13.)
  4. Presentations must be submitted only one time and on time. Early submissions are welcomed! Repeat submissions (with changes and additional edits) will not be accepted. Presenters should proof carefully before submitting!
  5. All presentations will be shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

The following are optional but encouraged presentation elements:

  1. Prior to September 13th, presenters are invited to submit a “teaser” (maximum video or audio file length: 3 minutes) about their presentation. This can be any type of online artifact and does not have to be downloadable. Examples may include videos, animations, posters, audio interviews, etc.
  2. In addition to marketing the presentation, teasers can be designed to encourage and solicit community input related to the presentation topic in advance of the presentation submission deadline.
  3. View teaser examples from 2007 at
  4. Supplementary materials supporting presentations are welcomed. These can be wikis with supporting material links, linked examples of student projects, school district exemplary initiatives, social bookmarking collections, and/or other related content.
  5. Follow-up projects and/or live interaction opportunities for conference
    presentations which further amplify the possiblities of the
    presentation topic may be included. (This can include sharing and building of content prior to, during and after the conference.)

As you draft your proposal, you may wish to consider the presentation topics listed below which were suggested in the comments on the K-12 Online Conference Blog:

  • Special needs education
  • Creative Commons, Intellectual Property, Copyright and Fair Use
  • Student voices
  • Community involvement
  • Games in education
  • Specific ideas, tips, mini lessons centered on pedagogical use of web 2.0 tools
  • Overcoming institutional inertia and resistance
  • Aligning Web 2.0 and other projects to national standards
  • Getting your message across
  • How web 2.0 can assist those with disabilities
  • ePortfolios
  • Classroom 2.0 activities at the elementary level
  • Teacher/peer collaboration
  • Authentic assessment
  • Overcoming content filtering issues
  • Navigating “open web” versus “closed web” publishing of student work

Prospective presenters are reminded that the audience of the K12 Online Conference is global in nature and diverse in their educational context. For this reason presentations and presentation materials which address issues from a variety of perspectives are welcomed.


Acceptance decisions will be made based on RELEVANCE, SIGNIFICANCE, ORIGINALITY, QUALITY, and CLARITY. Borrowing from the COSL 2008 call for proposals:

A submission is RELEVANT when

  • it directly addresses the conference and strand themes

A submission is SIGNIFICANT when

  • it raises and discusses issues important to improving the effectiveness and/or sustainability of 21st
    Century teaching and learning efforts, and
  • its contents can be broadly (globally) disseminated and understood

A submission is ORIGINAL when

  • it addresses a new problem or one that hasn’t been studied in depth,
  • it has a novel combination of existing research results which promise new insights, and / or
  • it provides a perspective on problems different from those explored before

A submission is of HIGH QUALITY when

  • existing literature is drawn upon, and / or
  • claims are supported by sufficient data, and / or
  • an appropriate methodology is selected and properly implemented, and / or
  • limitations are described honestly

A submission is CLEARLY WRITTEN when

  • it is organized effectively, and / or
  • the English is clear and unambiguous, and / or
  • it follows standard conventions of punctuation, mechanics, and citation, and / or
  • the readability is good


The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well
known educator who is distinguished and knowledgeable in the context of
their strand. Keynoters will be announced shortly.


  • Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference ( He will convene Getting Started.
  • Dean Shareski is a Digital Learning Consultant for Prairie South School Division in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dean is an advocate for the use of social media in the classroom. To that end he works with teachers and students in exploring ways to make learning relevant, authentic and engaging. He also is a part time sessional lecturer for the University of Regina. He is celebrating his 20th year as an educator. Dean blogs at ( Dean will convene Kicking It Up A Notch.
  • Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, a 20-year educator, has been a classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching preservice teachers at The College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where she is in the dissertation phase of completing her doctorate in educational planning, policy and leadership. As the cofounder of the Powerful Learning Practice Network she helps schools and teachers from around the world use community as a powerful tool for systemic change. You can find out more on her website at She will convene Prove It.
  • Wesley Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. He summarizes his ongoing work with educators and students in social media environments with the statement, “I’m here for the learning revolution.” His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education. Social media sites to which Wes contributes are listed on Wes will convene Leading the Change.


If you have any questions about any part of this call for proposals, please contact one of us:

  • Darren Kuropatwa: dkuropatwa {at} gmail {dot} com
  • Dean Shareski: shareski{at} gmail{dot} com
  • Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach: snbeach {at} cox {dot} net
  • Wesley Fryer: wesfryer {at} pobox {dot} com
  • Technorati Tags:

    Instructing students in the new literacies of online reading comprehension


    I had the pleasure to meet Jill Castek and Lisa Zawilinski at TRLD this year. They gave an excellent presentation entitled “Instructing Students in the New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension.” Both of these ladies are members of the New Literacies Research Team at the University of Connecticut. Their excellent handout is on the TRLD site. They went into a lot of detail talking about ‘Internet Reciprocal Teaching’ which is an instructional model being developed to instruct students in online reading comprehension in classroom settings. Their research is done in a very participatory way. They actively partner with teachers in order to develop these skills and strategies with them in the classroom environment. They believe this is a flexible way to look at pedagogy. It is not a series of step-by-step concrete lessons. They look at a wide variety of content areas – reading, writing, listening, speaking, and content areas. There are three phases

    • Teacher led stage – teacher models strategies and the discussion process
    • Collaborative stage- teachers and students interact to support strategy development
    • Reciprocal & Inquiry stage – students apply strategies by facilitating student-led discusssion during authentic reading events based on student -direct inquiry projects.

    View video clips showing student-led Internet Reciprocal Teaching groups.

    Check out the blogs they have built with the students:

    Wildcat Class Blog

    Wildcat Student Blogs

    Idea Exchange

    Nierlich Students

    Also, take note of the wiki they have built with their students:

    Nierlich Class

    The pictures below will show some of their slides and you can see how they used instant messaging to clarify assignments with the kids through the process. They said this really worked great with the quiet students. They ranked sites as to their relevancy and the students were really active in this process. They have to scaffold within each stage- a scaffolding with strategies. They turn the job of introducing new strategies to students – groups of experts who will teach their peers. Again as Leu noted in his keynote, many of the weaker offline readers were quite strong online.

    It was a great session led by two dynamic educator researchers. Take the time to browse through their site- lots of relevant and worthwhile information there.




    More on Leu Keynote at TRLD 2008

    First, I want to note the checklist of online reading comprehension skills that Donald Leu mentioned during the keynote. It could be used in any classroom to see who has these skills.  I referred you to this link for the keynote handouts. You will find the checklist in the document entitled “Leu et al Final chapterssinglespaced.pdf.”

    Now, back to the new literacies of online reading comprehension.

    1. Identifying important questions or problems – Students need to know how to remember their question and not get distracted.
    2. Locating information – Students need to know simple search engines. They need to know how to put quotes around phrases.
    3. Critical Evaluation – They found six different areas – understanding, relevancy, accuracy, reliability, bias, and stance. These are essential. A Leu quote here “If you don’t think critically on the internet you are sunk.” He also went into detail about how kids evaluate reliability by the amount of information they find. They tend to believe that if there is a lot it is reliable, if there is just a little it is not reliable.
    4. Synthesizing Information – Communicating information using blogs, wikis – all these new tools require new skills and strategies.
    5. Communicating

    Now I just hit the highlights here. Refer to the document above for much more detailed information. Also read Chapter 3 “What is New about the New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension?” in this document handout, “NCTE chapter published.pdf.

    Jill Castek and Lisa Zawilinski shared their experiences doing research with the kids in schools. It was really interesting. There are video examples of this in the session handout entitled “Leu, Castek, ZawilinskiKeynoteFinalHandout.pdf.”

    In closing Leu emphasized that this is not an easy task to fundamentally reshape the nature of classroom reading instruction. It is a layered issue. We have to change all the levels in order to get anything to happen – instruction, curriculum, professional development, state reading standards, state reading assessment, school leadership, state funding, research – a daunting task indeed! Even the reading community itself is in some cases the last one to understand this movement from page to screen.

    Jill Castek and Lisa Zawilinksi had a session after this keynote that I will report on next.

    The work this team is doing is truly amazing…..

    TRLD Keynote – Donald Leu

    Donald Leu was the keynote speaker at TRLD in San Francisco this past January. Jill Castek and Lisa Zawilinksi also presented. they are all members of The New Literacies Research Team at the University of Connecticut. Julie Coiro is also a member of this extraordinary team. Last year I had blogged about Julie’s sessions here, here, here, and here. You can see I had much to share. The same is true from this year’s conference. The keynote topic was “How Reading Copmprehension Has Changed While We Weren’t Looking.” Here is a link to his handout with contains links to some excellent resources. His link is about halfway down the page but you will also get other presenter links from some terrific sessions.

    Leu made the critically important point about the new literacies of online reading comprehension and how we really have to pay attention to the kids who need our help the most because right now public policy is making it such that they are being denied the opportunity to learn how to read online.

    Hear! Hear! I couldn’t agree more.

    The two main questions this research team is studying are:

    1. How do we read and comprehend information on the Internet?

    2- How can we help teachers to teach these new skills?

    Leu pointed out how these questions are much more complicated than educational research questions have been in the past. He talked about how we’re changing our reading content today from page to screen in hugely profound ways. He than began his argument for:

    1. The Interent is this generation’s defining technology for reading.

    2. The internet requires new literacies, additional online reading comprehension skills.

    I got really excited when he made this point:

    “Our weakest offline readers often surpisingly are some of our highest online readers. It is incredible but it is hidden. Most people do not look for it. They do not expect it.”

    I have found this to be true and have commented to others about it over the years. I assumed in part it was because many modalities were being used and the students had some control over their own learning more. I thought about it frequently but this team is doing something about it. Their research is really honing in on this. You can read more about it and even see some samples with kids’ reading. See the links on the handout page.

    He had some statistics that were interesting (from September). There’s also a link to this site that updates the statistics that will be helpful for all of us to use.

    Here’s some:

    • Finland has a national professional development model for all of their teachers for literacies on the internet. They have a national training model and give every teacher 5 weeks of paid release time for professional development. finland knows that their students need to be prepared to work in the global information age.

    Now I ask, why don’t we?

    • Japan has broadband 16x faster than what we are getting here. The cost is only $22 a moth. The government there knows that students read more outside school than they do inside school. they are doing everything to prpeare their children for the future.

    What do we do? We block them.

    Then Leu focused on the U.S and said not a single state measures a student’s ability to comprehend on the intenet. No state includes the ability to critically evaluate information that is found online. Few states permit all sutdents to use a word processor.

    Then he told us about the decision The National Assessment of Educational Progress made last year. Maine made a decision that will have an effect for the next 10 years. They decided not to include online reading skills. meanwhile other nations like the UK and Australia are already measuring them.

    Oh my, we have miles to go….

    Next he started discussing their research on the new literacies. His team started pulling together a reading model, a model of reading information on the internet. These are the five areas that are novel skill areas and in each one there are novel reading comprehension skills.

    1. identify important questions
    2. locating information – reading search engines
    3. critical evaluation
    4. synthesizing
    5. communicating

    Now I told you there was much to share from this group. I am just getting started. My next post will share more details on these components that are in this model of online reading that they are beginning to develop.

    I am so thankful that this group is doing this research. it is going to make a difference. We all need to be well versed in what they are doing and how we can help make change happen!

    Visual or Virtual Think-Alouds

    I’m continuing sharing my learnings from TRLD. In Sara Kajder’s session on “Digital Reading, Digital Writing” she shared one of the best ways I’ve heard to make active connections by readers using technology. It’s a technique she developed to get students to really think about their reading and make connections. She walked them through visual or virtual think-alouds.

    She uses the time line in iMovie. Her students use the visual lines by creating digital images of their own drawings or through the use of digital images. They are making a mental movie that encourages a great deal of rereading. They reread to determine what kind of images the reading projects to them. She really has them thinking with this process.

    The second line is the audio track and it is the read aloud of that text.

    The third audio line is where the student performs the think aloud.

    She is having her students create these monthly. She has found that students are able to articulate what they are doing as readers. They also will have an artifact of their reading at different points in time and will be able to conference around this artifact. She said it was critical that the students owned the pictures they use. The other beauty of this technique is the multiple “visual think alouds” that will be created from the same piece of text. Now that is awesome for different perspectives.

    outsideinNow I have just given you a brief outline and I still have much to absorb here. I have ordered her book Bringing the Outside In so I can really process this technique and learn more from Sara. I really love the way she mixes in the visual aspects of literacy.

    Sara told us how proud the students were of their work. They valued them more than the book trailers they created. Sara explained that these are the times when they are working as readers. They have never particularly fit in that role before nor have they been valued in that role. Everybody gets to see everybody else’s text if they are willing to share. All of hers shared. Isn’t this powerful?

    Sara Kajder

    Sara Kajder is a terrific speaker and a dynamite educator. She was kind enough to let me record her session at TRLD so much of this post is her voice. I was able to attend all three of her sessions. They were well worth it. Having it recorded is truly wonderful because when you get the opportunity to hear from incredible educators like Sara and then you can listen again it gives you to oppportunity to truly reflect on her message. She is an Assistant Professor of English Education and Literacy at Virginia Tech. She is also teaching full time in an 11th grade as part of a research project. She is a previous high school and middle school English and Chemistry teacher.

    She talked about how what it means to read and write has irrevocably changed outside of school and then challenged us with the question:

    “How much of what it means to read and write has changed inside your classroom?

    She made reference to the Time magazine article that ran about a year ago on “What it means to be a 21st Century learner?” She said it was further implication of Mark Prensky’s idea that kids are digital natives, and we are digital immigrants. She doesn’t agree with his methaphor because it immediately deposits the kids in the position of OK they already know it, we teachers don’t have to teach it, they are just doing fine on their own, etc., etc., etc. She believes instead that kids might be growing up in a time where they are accustomed to the tools and they can think with the tools in ways that we might not be thinking with the tools but that does not mean they can communicate with the tools. It doesn’t mean that they know how to engage with the tools to do the kind of learning that we want them to be doing in the classroom. Those are 21st century literacies and they change and transform our roles as teachers. Her teaching and her teacher education has changed as a result. Professional development and the buildings she works in havechanged. Get this though, her classroom computer is an Apple Classic IIe. The faculty at Virginia Tech have offered to come and max it but Sara said no, she needs to work within the same conditions as her colleagures. There is a lab in her school building that is outfitted how she’d like to see the classrooms outfitted but the lab is for the business department.

    Her first day in class she asked the kids to tell her about their writing in school. The kids wanted two lists – in school and outside of school. In school was pen, paper, pencil, typewriter/computer. Outside school was weblog, iMovie, highlighters, pods, video games, post-it notes, Wikipedia, digital cameras, Wikipedia, and cell phones.

    Here what the kids argued was their best writing tool:

    Sara didn’t talk about how to do old things with new tools. She wanted to talk a lot about how to do new things with old tools. Our teaching has to change to where kids are. We also have to choose how we assess what modality kids are writing in. It is a lot more complicated than she thought it was going to be.

    First, she shared the things her kids wanted to be sure we

    1. If we had an internet connection in the classroom you are no longer, as teacher, the smartest person in the room. They felt about this emphatically because they all had a social studies teacher in 10th grade who teaches the most dynamic class she has seen. At no point in time is this social studies person the lone person in the classroom offering what’s coming. He has a Skype connection each day and has different experts involved each day, usually community of experts who are involved
    2. It is about knowing when and why to podcast or blog or “tweet”, not knowing how.
    3. The teachers they believe who they have been working with spend an awful lot of time teaching how to point and click. It’s about knowing this is the place where it is going to amplify my teaching. Teachers she works with don’t have any schema for what that looks like. (The Front Line special was about 90% on how we all should be afraid of what is online and shut it down.) There are some glimmers of hope.
    4. They don’t come to us not knowing how to work with tools. They are not multi-modal blank slates. They come in knowing how to podcast, video, but we aren’t taking any advantage of that.
    5. As teachers and administrators we don’t know what games our kids play. This is the first generation where we can unequivocally say that as a blanket statement. We haven’t played them. We don’t
      understand the ways in which they work, the literacies that are involved, the skills that they are exercising as they move through them.

    Sara said that this was critical and that there is something really important there that we need to think about.

    Her two guiding questionsfor the rest of the session were:

    1. What are the unique capacities and limits of the tool that we are looking at? What can I do with this thing that I can’t do with anything else?

    2. How does this tool allow us to do something better?

    She starts with an instructional challenge and says there has to be a question or something about your teaching before the technology even comes into it. Book talks were a problem for her. So she tried movie posters. She asked students to create a poster that represented a synthesis of their reading of the text. She paired this with reflective writing. There had to be something compelling and important agout the way it was presented. She then took this a step further and challenged kids to create a book trailer. They spent time focusing on the genre of a movie trailer. They used a book that no one had checked out of the media center – The Number Devil. They only had 40 minutes to put it all together so Sara required to entry tickets to get in the lab – a storyboard and a script. When assessing this you have to try to look at all the different layers in this kind of writing- they are writing through the composition of a sound track, they are writing through the images, they are writing through the transitions that come between the images, the effects on the images, they are writing through the storyboard, they are writing through the script that they are doing. She pairs this with reflective writing to tell why they made the moves they did. She has now started to allow them to podcast that piece, lets it be an
    oral recording – a talk aloud of why they have done what they have done.

    Here’s one very key element of what she does:

    She does what she asks the students to do—-creates a model
    and shares with students.

    Sara created a wiki “Promise Into Practice”. Check it out. Now I can’t wait to share what she does with visual or virtual think alouds. That’s another post. This post is getting a little long but it’s not everyday I get to come across educators of the caliber of Sara Kajder. She is making a difference!

    TRLD Conference

    I was fortunate enough to get to attend the TRLD (Technology, Reading, and Learning Difficulties) conference in San Francisco again this year. Once again, it was a great experience. My only complaint was that I didn’t get to have dinner with Chris and John. That was such an added bonus last year! I did make a silent toast to them as I enjoyed my “Chop Chop” salad one evening. The other downside of attending this conference is that I will be unable to attend NECC this year. Some choices are tough but the type of
    reflective thinking and sharing that comes out of conferences like this plus having others to touch base with about the dilemmas as well as the promises of research just couldn’t be passed up this year. I’m determined to make the time to share some of the highlights. Those will follow this post.

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    “The Why’s and Wherefores”

    I’m back in the K12 Online 2007 Conference sessions. My day started off listening to Brian Crosby’s keynote, “The Why’s and Wherefores.” It was awesome! Of course I loved hearing and seeing the fifth graders as that age is the group that I have done most of my blogging projects with and they are the best!

    He zeroed in on some new and engaging ways to use the tools of blogging, digital video, online video conferencing, wikis, and Flickr.

    He pointed out the lack of audience or having reasons for students to think critically about their work as one obstacle in our classrooms. Also the lack of voice for student concerns and opinions was another obstacle. Blogging lets students share their work and get feedback. They get heard. They are amazed at how many others are reading their work and this gives them a new sense of ownership that challenges them to improve. I like the way he put it so let’s spread the word! I’ve seen that myself over and over and it is empowering for learners. I couldn’t agree more.

    I love what he said here:

    The kicker is the feedback they can receive about their thinking. Having them blog stories and poems is a powerful tool but what if you have your kids write about their understanding of a topic in reading or science or math or history or a current event or even a field trip or investigation. Now others can question them and force them to think deeper and support their thinking. What a great opportunity to teach students about the ethics and civility required in questioning and discussing the topic with others.

    and there’s more….

    If motivating the students to write and care about their writing is an obstacle for you, blogging just might be the thing you’re looking for.

    Next Brian focused on the higher learning skills like designing, editing, and analyzing that the media of digital video affords. His slant on the importance of creativity is crucial and he points us the Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on creativity. Don’t miss that!

    What I liked best about this presentation is how the student work was front and center. He showed great examples and explained one evaluation part where students had to have another studentwho was not directly involved with their movie help evaluate it. Students were to get feedback from them on their understanding as they plowed through each clip of the movie. That’s putting the students into their own evaluating and learning frame. Be sure to check out his students’ work. It’s inspiring.

    His use of Skype to make Celeste, a leukemia student an integral part of class is yet another example of his using the tools to make a difference. It is inspiring.

    His use of wikis and Flickr to create community service projects not only enhances their learning but puts them on the path of becoming life-long learners. What could be better?

    Brian ends with this thought provoking question:

    What obstacles can you and your students overcome with these new tools?

    Thanks Brian for such a thoughtful and inspiring presentation.

    Crossing the Copyright Boundary in the Digital Age Presentation

    joy.jpgI have pushed everything to the side and I am determined to spend some time on K12 Online 07 this week. What a joy! Many have taken off for the holidays and we have a little down time. The research is on hold until the beginning of December so I am surfacing for a bit.

    I selected Karen Richardson’s presentation “Crossing the Copyright Boundary in the Digital Age”. She starts off with a video giving a clear and concise overview of the contents of her wiki. The wiki includes a humorous yet very informative spoof of copyright by Eric Faden that includes a series of clips from Disney movies. Then she includes a copyright quiz by Hall Davidson that will let you know your own understanding of copyright laws. Then it moves into a great introduction to Creative Commons. You see a movie and this link will take you directly to a search engine to find Creative Commons licensed materials. The next part gives you a tour of places you can find copyright-friendly materials like Wikimedia Commons and Internet Archive. Then she moves into open education resources commons like Yellowstone National Park, National Archives website, and the Library of Congress. I have been spending lots of time on all these sites this morning – it is a terrific resource. Go follow her links to see all the resources.

    Karen has created a dynamic resource that will be so helpful to all of us. These are a “must-see” for all educators. Thanks Karen for providing such a timely presentation. I know I will be using it a lot with students and other educators!

    Photo credit: joy from Tigr’s Photos

    Classroom 2.0 Keynote from Clarence Fisher

    I just got back from a week long trip to Dallas to connect with family members that I had not seen for quite some time. It was wonderful to connect with them once again but I missed the opening of the K12 Online Conference. Of course I knew that it would be there “always’ due to the diligent work of Darren, Lani, Sheryl, and Wes. Boy do we owe them a round of applause!

    ClarenceFisher.jpgI started with Clarence Fisher’s “Classroom 2.0 Keynote”. What a way to return to work! Clarence has a warm, personal way of communicating and I loved roaming through his town, school, classroom, home and the inviting outside environment. His keynote was outstanding and so on target for the things we need to be thinking about aspects that we need to be considering and working on regarding our concepts of Classroom 2.0.

    Clarence talked about meeting the challenge head-on and redefining what happens in classrooms.

    Points Clarence made that are crucial:

    • Pedagogy is the most important thing to think about. It is in teaching. We have to change the way we teach. If we continue to teach kids to memorize, to spit information back out at us, we are not helping anyone. We are not solving any of the world’s problems and we certainly are not helping them get a job with someone who wants them to think creatively and differently. We need to look at how we teach.
    • The second thing is tools. It’s not just any tool but it is about tools that promote collaboration that make it easy for kids to talk to each other, to exchange ideas and viewpoints, and make it easy for them to make connections on their ideas about learning. So let’s get the focus on there.
    • Another important factor is the relationship we have to information.
    • We want them to see themselves as legitimate creators of information, who are questioners of information, who are able to see if things are real, to tell truth from fiction, and see bias and viewpoint. To be a good citizen is what is important and to be a good thinker no matter where you live.
    • Most of us have a mandated curriculum. Obviously we need to teach it but our relationship to that curriculum and what is in that curriculum needs to undergo constant change. We need to be constantly looking at it and trying to decide what is it that is important. What do kinds need?
    • The most important thing that needs to change when we think about changing classrooms is our attitude toward classrooms and towards education and not only us but really society’s attitude toward education.

    Clarence went on to talk about technology assessments and what is important there. He says we really need a way to track kids’ activities in classrooms. Then we can adjust our practices in classrooms.

    His keynote was inspiring. Don’t miss it! Thanks Clarence for making a difference!

    Here is the link to the K12 Online Conference Schedule. Share it with your colleagues! This conference is the best! I can’t wait to enjoy and learn from more of the sessions.