My school needs wisdom!

Ok, now I have way too many cheap cowboy hats, but in true teacher mode I figured that I could use them for something. Enjoyed the reception and even participated in the scavenger hunt. Through the wisdom of the crowd I was able to finish it faster than if I would have went alone.

The "Wisdom of Crowds" was the main topic of the keynote address. Instead of putting me to sleep, it actually woke me up after a tedious day of traveling. It was so relevant to my school, I felt like running down to the ISTE bookstore and the UPS center to send a copy of this book to my principal. My school is stuck in a deep, deep not rut, but trench. The trench even has a title, " The Tasker Way." This trench was created by years of the same teachers offering the same opinions to the point administration listens and then makes any decision they want. It is frustrating and I usually blamed the principal, but really the system is broken. We have diversity, but all voices are not heard. I don't think that there is independent thought because some voices are louder, but not better. When I think back to the few meetings we had last year, I can't think of one time where the faculty came up with a group decision which forces administration to make the decision for us.

Maybe, I shouldn't send a copy to the principle, but to the entire staff. I wish I had that kind of money!


NECC 2008- The proof that I am a complete geek.

My current level of excitement surpasses any other convention I have been to and any Christmas morning (I was an advocate of sleeping in even as a child). I skipped a school improvement plan meeting to pick up a few last things for the trip. There was a TV ad a couple of years back when the guy was happy to see his travel sized products move down the conveyor belt during checkout and I felt the same way today. I am so envious of those who are boarding a plane tomorrow because the adventure starts even earlier. My high level of excitement confirms my geek status because I am happy to go into hot weather to learn.

I have decided to be proud of my geekdom. As a kid, the most exciting day was the first day of a new school year. I love learning which I guess the proof of this is that I am in my second master's program. While some would consider NECC work, I consider it a vacation. A vacation from learning around negativity. I look forward to being surrounded by people who have that innovative spirit in education.

There is only one problem: deciding what to do during the conference? I went through the conference planner and made decisions. Then a couple of days ago I went to transfer my conference planner to google calendar and didn't know why I picked the sessions I did. Not that all sessions won't be good, but when I went to search for more sessions there were so many choices. I think for every session I have three choices. Then what about the hall, lounges, and posters? I might have planned too much, but the process is so much fun! Check back for updates on first NECC adventure....


The Week in Review

Since I waited all week to post, here is a week's worth of thoughts in one post. Sorry if this seems confusing, but it is an insight into how the brain works.

Steve Dembo has an interesting blog that I try to keep up with, but there was a recent entry about the pathway to becoming an expert that stuck with me. I have always struggled with this term and think that it is too loosely used (that might be the overly critical side of me). In the masses of NECC I will be labeled a newbie, maybe intermediate user. (BTW, don't you hate those technology user surveys you get at your school? On those I have to pick expert level based on the questions, which makes me feel bad like I am bragging. ) At my school, I am almost past expert and onto guru status. I am the one who is in charge of the school's website, newspaper, anything that needs to look nice to go out to parents, and emergency tech support. Of course I have to go to all technology trainings, not because I need them, but to train the staff in a user-friendly way. While most would probably feel proud of this level, it makes me sad for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I am the best in technology the school's got, that is a shame since I am no where near a expert. The second reason is that nobody else steps up, there are a few others that understand technology, but don't help others. Probably the worst part, which is selfish, is that don't have the collaborative environment that will help me grow. I guess that is why so many have turned to cyberspace for their personal learning environments.

Now onto the NECC controversy......

If you don't already know (which I can't imagine if have used the Internet in the past 5 days) NECC posted a set of regulations that required anybody recording sessions to get permission from the presenter and ISTE. Blogs, twits, and the NECC Ning set afire with postings about how unfair this policy was considering ISTE is suppose to encourage global collaboration. It was amazing to see the power of this community. Through a vigorous campaign, ISTE actually changed this policy to only require the permission of the presenter to record.

If anyone reads this, please don't hate me for what I am about to blog.... While I agree that ISTE was wrong for changing the rules at this late date, I kind of understand their position. To me it was brought forward when plans were underway to ustream as many sessions as possible and that is already on top of numerous podcasts. I think the organization was afraid of all of the endless possibilities, which is a topic we are struggling with as the ways to communicate expands. Many excused them of worrying about the profits, but on my hopeful side I think that they were worried about their presenters. These people work hard to prepare and maybe ISTE was worried that hard work would end up on YouTube or re-created for a local presentation. Even though I don't mind the conference being open, I imagine some do considering the costs of attending. Plus, ISTE deserves some credit for being as open as they are with posting all resources from sessions, supporting the lounges, the ning, and even the unplugged conference. I have never seen that at any other conference I have attended.

Lastly, my progress into 2.0---

I have been trying to reply more in Twitter. Not that I am sure if anyone cares about my 1 cents worth. I really enjoy the NECC ning because I get great advice and all of the interesting discussions. I think that I want to join more nings because of the format and collaboration.

So excited!!!!! NECC is almost here!!!!!


A Technology Crime

Time: 5 weeks. The effects might last longer...

Location: At my house.

Tools: laptop

Crime: Creating test questions for a test practice website.

Alibi: The money is good. I can work in my pjs. I not polluting the world with the gas emissions that it would take to drive to a summer job? If I didn't do it, some one would, right?

I feel dirty!

As an advocate of using technology in the classroom that is meaningful, how could I do it? I also despise test practice and feel that if teachers teach, then tests should not be that hard. (Note: I understand that teaching cannot overcome poverty, language barriers, or a variety of other issues that students bring to school) I did it anyways without a single regret at the time. Now I am committed and I would feel worse backing out of the job than just completing it.

Is redemption possible? I hope so.

My second job of the summer is to re-do the curriculum for the class I teach which is called Technology Integration. Right now there is a heavy focus on the Microsoft Office suite and my goal is to include digital photography, movies, and Web 2.0 tools.

Isn't that life. Balancing the bad and the good?