Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Student Interview

Last week I finally got a web cam to play with. I wanted to start testing out options for integrating web cams into instruction. It just so happened that the day before I got it a middle school teacher asked me if one of her students could interview me for a class project. I asked if they would be interested in trying to use Skype to do the interview. They said yes and we set it all up. We had a few technical difficulties and I wasn't able to record the conference but, overall it worked out well. My video feed of the student froze early on, but I could still hear her, and she could see and hear me.

The student wanted to interview me about our student laptop initiative. I really thought she had some great questions. In one question she wanted to know why we didn't get a smaller device. At first I thought it was because she wanted a PDA or a phone instead, but later I realized it was more the bulk of the laptop she didn't like. I explained how the weight of the laptop played into our decision, and that at the time netbooks weren't around. What was interesting was I don't think a netbook would have made her much happier. She really seemed to want a more portable and less bulky device. This really made me believe that to our students laptops and even netbooks are old school. :)

My question now is: How do we get our students a smaller more portable device (maybe a cross between a phone and a netbook?) that is small enough to satisfy the students, but big enough to meet the needs of our state online testing requirements?

Monday, October 19, 2009

What is Technology?

Last week I heard David Warlick speak at our T3 conference. I also heard him at another conference after that. I was looking back over some of his stuff and I found this blog post:

"The ringing proclamation at ISTE 2010 will be “Integrate Technology.” There is a lot of value in this mantra, but it is the response of a generation of teachers who grew up without computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. It all looks like technology to us.

To our students, it is merely the road ways of their daily and minute-by-minute travels and the tentacles of their nearly constant hyper-connectivity. It is the hands and feet that take them where they want to go. Believing that our youngsters carry their mobile phones around with them because it is their technology of choice is a poor reason to desperately carve out ways of using mobile tech in our lessons. They carry their phones because that is where their friends are — and their is nothing new about youngsters wanting to be where their friends are."

I cut off about half of it, but I think he is right on the money with the second paragraph. It fits right in with a quote I read earlier this year that 'Technology is anything that was made after you were born'. To our students cell phones and laptops aren't technology. The internet isn't technology. It is just part of life. When we block them or prevent them from using it we are technically blocking their life. These tools are so integrated into their lives, yet no one has truly taught them how to use them responsibly or ethically. How do we ensure that we are teaching our students why the shouldn't be going to sites or posting pictures of themselves on the net? How do we get our students to understand that we want them to use these tools, we just want them to use them responsibly? We can't just block things without explanation anymore....

I just wanted to share. Over the course of last week I heard a lot of little things like this that dropped me deep into thought.... It was a lot of fun. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Student Project - Creating an Internet Safety/Software Piracy PSA

One of the urgent needs that we have in our district is to better educate our students (and teachers for that matter) about internet safety and software piracy. During one of my sessions at the High Tech High summer institute an idea started to take hold. What if we let a group of students make a PSA (Public Service Announcement) about these topics? As I continued to ponder this idea and how the project may work I came up with the following stipulations for the project:
1) The group would consist of 3-5 students.
2) The group would be pulled from the list of students who violated the AUP last year.
3) The PSA should be 7-10 minutes long.
4) They can use any type of video technology/software we have available to them
5) The content must be appropriate for their peers in grades 5-12

I would love to try to do this project at some point this summer. The idea being that we can use this video as the starting point for internet safety training throughout our district.

What do you think the outcome would be based on the above description?
What would you change about the idea?

Please post comments, or call and leave me an comment at 206-666-3647.