Category Archives: NECC

Lessons Learned from Blogging with Elementary and University Students

Ewa McGrail and I did a poster session at NECC, “Lessons Learned from Blogging with Elementary and University Students”.

This is the research project we have been conducting all year. It was an overview of the project with a focus for this particular presentation on the relationships with the elementary and university students. We highlighted different aspects of the project. See “Lessons Learned” for our initial observations and thoughts as we have yet to dig through and analyze all the data from the year. Hey, I am still transcribing! Will that part ever end? 🙂

I put together a slide show of the many participants who came by. We appreciate everyone coming by. The conversations were great!

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Next Vista for Learning

I met Rushton Hurley at He now teaches part time but the bulk of his waking moments are spent on a non-profit organization that he started called Next Vista for Learning. Here’s how Rushton explained the site:

“It is a place where there is an online library of videos by and for teachers and students. It is totally free. The idea is just to be able to say if you’ve got a great way to teaching a skill or concept share that in a video that is five minutes or less ideally using media in some engaging way that some kid who is having trouble understanding that topic could say “Oh that’s what it is.” Because it is free to them they don’t have to stop and have it explained to them. They don’t have to feel stupid. They can just go somewhere and see what has been contributed

He said it was a young effort so far. They have 70 or 80 videos up right now. They have 3 collections so far, those just mentioned, communities around the world and another to highlight the good that people do in the world. They want to build interest in the research related to the efficacy of these videos. They want to show that this has an effect on how students recall what they are learning in class.”

The video collections are light bulbs, global views, and seeing service. See the FAQ on his site. I think this effort is one we need to follow. I really liked his discussions on staying on content. He talked about how most video production traditionally has been about the teacher in front of the room and what they are doing. Of course that has value but in a teacher preparation program he thinks it would be far more valuable to have teachers learning to make videos for a student audience where they tell how they use media to get a topic across to kids effectively in 5 minutes or less. That gets the teacher to stop and think about what are the core elements of what he/she is about to teach. I met up with Rushton again at the visual arts playground. He even gave me some one on one instruction on video production. I’m thinking that we need to get the kids going on these types of lessons too.

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I can’t be there but I am there!

I really hate not being at NECC and

sharing the excitement but the blogging and everything else that is

going on is incredible. Wow! I am having trouble keeping up with all

the good things. Craig gave a great report about Bernie Dodge’s QuestGarden which I can’t wait to use. The one I made for my blogging group disappeared from TeacherWeb.,

Steve is doing a fantastic job of blogging about so many different

things and is giving so many details. It really does make you feel like

you’re a part of the conference.. Thanks to these bloggers and the

others I’ve listed in a previous post……. I am there!

Then through Skype I got to actually be a part of the workshop about weblogs and will again participate in the morning on blogging panel.

Then the podcasting and the webcasts. I feel the buzz all the way down here in Georgia. This is so cool.


NECC begins!

I’ve seen a few postings here, here, and here  (with a link to the first NECC ADE podcast) from bloggers arriving at NECC. This is the first NECC I have missed in many years.Sniff, sniff. Here are links to the two sessions I will be attending via vSkype:

It’s great to feel the excitement through the blogging air! I can’t wait to hear more!

Closing Remarks about NECC

This was one great conference. Now, I have to really put my thinking cap on and think smart for future projects, weblogging focus, and other things I learned about at the conference.

In closing as I think back over NECC, be sure to go to the Weblog Workshop blog and note the participants introductions, and other good information like where to eat in New Orleans! The food was great! The sharing of knowledge was great! Everything was great!

Also, take note of the pictures on the left of the blog and go to and see how easy it can be! It is a cool tool to use to post photos to blogs.

Don’t forget the NECC 2004 where many of us posted! Bernie Dodge’s sessons were terrific and you can get lots of detailed notes there about many of the sessions.

And, I will point you to Weblogs: The Possibilities Are Limitless! It will lead you to more information than you may want to know about blogs. Let me know if you think I need to add something to the resource website. It is a work in progress. Also, enjoy the students’ ABC Blook on Blogs. That came directly from their blog postings throughout the year and their illustrations are wonderful.

I want to say a special thanks to for providing the webhosting and support plus those great shirts…. I’m blogging this! Some very nice people run this company and you really should check it out!

All these resources should keep you busy and provide great information and learning. OK, I’m ready for NECC 2005 in my old stomping grounds, Philadelphia!


Blogging in Illinois

Jennifer Kiddle, Kirsten Innes and Jenny Gibson had a poster display showing a project that shares information via weblogs, about the community in which they live. It’s called A World Apart…or Are We? Welcome to Grayslake, IL!  You can participate by checking out their web site and requesting a user name and password..

Student Portfolios using Weblogs

I made it a point to get to Julie Lindsay’s poster session. Grade 9 students at the International School Dhaka have created digital portfolios using a weblog as a publishing medium and as a process journal for their project development. I wrote about Julie before but seeing all of her work on display was wonderful. Her weblog portal is here. This gives you a jumping point into the curriculum weblog and to other interesting parts of the project, including resources and access to student blogs and portfolio showcase.

The unit of work is delivered here and provides a discussion forum for interactive collaboration while the students are completing assignments and preparing their digital porfolios.

Julie is the educational technology coordinator at the  International School Dhaka, Bangladesh. What a great model Julie has provided for other educators!


To be a teacher is to be a constant student

Craig Barrett, Intel’s CEO, in the closing part of his slideshow, stated that “To be a teacher is to be a constant student.” How true. I think the learning is even more fun through connections made via weblogging. Craig Barrett talked about transforming education and opened with the comment that he was sort of a Benedict Arnold CEO. If that’s so, I want more Benedict Arnolds! I really liked all he said. He talked about innovation, collaboration and replication being the cornerstone of transforming education. He pointed out the similarities between his business with products and ours with students. We both have a total turnover each year. He discussed our being in a world of change and having unprecedented competition. He addressed teacher preparation, professional development, tools & resources, leadership support and recognition of excellence.

Will and his students were recognized and the video was superb! Will has posted it here. (a whopping 27 meg) Every bit of it is excellent!

A project from an elementary school called “Save Mother Earth” was highlighted. These students were getting their point across in a very special way.

Mr. Barrett pointed out how technology is the cornerstone for transforming education in the classroom and said we need to heve students what they need to pass the test of life. We need to get the students excited and allow them the use of tools to do exciting things.

Then he recognized a Georgia educator – Dr. Michael Hall. He has done innovative things with schools and the technology is truly embedded in the curriculum. He is the Deputy Superintendnt for the State of Georgia. He was responsible for the vision, strategy and implementation in Houston County, GA. Now he has moved on to drive these type of initiatives for the entire state of Georgia. Hooray for Georgia!

This session started Tuesday off with a bang! Be sure to view the above video.  It is top quality! This keynote was the best!


Back online…

Wouldn’t you know it? Something happened to the anvil server on Wednesday and I just now got it up and going following the remote directions Tim gave me. Prior to this moment, it just would not work. Those are the things I want to learn! The calendar is a little strange and pictures are not working right but that, hopefully, can be fixed later. Alright! Back online, hooray! Isn’t it insane how disconnected you feel when you can’t get to your blog? I’m not going to think too long about what that means. 🙂

NECC was absolutely great this year and weblogging is in the spotlight! Between a workshop, a presentation, and trying to attend as many sessions as possible I had a tough time blogging. By the time I could get to it, something exciting would come up and I’d have to put it off. I didn’t want to miss anything so now I’m plowing through my notes and will make some belated posts very soon. The best part, for me, was getting to talk to the folks in our weblog workshop and then talking to others as I was out and about.

Then Will’s segment on the Intel keynote was the best! Craig Barrett is really something. He’s a CEO to remember. Intel does such good things for education…. check out the Intel Innovation in Education site. I loved what he had to say. I have to find my notes from that session.

The interest in weblogs is high and I think we are going to see lots of weblogs forming. I’m hopeful that students will be in that mix. I know it’s going to be an exciting year as new voices enter the weblogging world.



Nothing beats face-to-face!  It was great presenting with these 4 weblogging guys whom I never would have met, let alone presented with, were it not for the power of weblogging. I think we had a dynamic group of attendees. Many already had weblogs and everyone brought a lot to the table. Lots of good discussion, ideas, and suggestions were offered. Will gave an overview of his weblog work, I followed with my weblog projects, Tom honed right in on the importance of reading and writing to the whole process and explained RSS and other technical aspects, and Steve got everyone up and going on their very own weblog. Of course, none of this would have happened without the guiding hand of Tim Lauer. He amazes me. He has really put together quite a setup with weblogs at his school. I love the fact that the first 15 minutes of their faculty meetings are devoted to teachers posting about their classrooms. I think the participants learned a lot. I did, too! Face-to-face is terrific!

Thanks to Thor (of the fine company Clarity) who provided the weblogs. The process they have set up was easy. Weblogs were up in no time!

It would have been nice to have more time to talk with the group. I did connect with two for a few minutes between talks. One was Rena Shifflet and the other was Michael Lackner. I had already seen some of their work. It’s wonderful! That will be on another post I’ll make a little later- gotta run to a session. 

Here’s a pix of the group….. weblog fever coming up!