I’ve Moved my Blog!

I like this blog site except for the fact that I can’t post Ning badges. So, I have moved this blog over to Edublogs. Please come and visit me there!

Day 14 Comment Challenge

Ok, I admit I’m too tired to attempt the activity for day 13 so I’m moving on to Day 14. Today’s job is “turn your blog over to your readers and ask them to write a post through the comment section.” That sounds easy enough!

Here is my question: How do I get all the non techie teachers and administrators at my school to start learning about web 2.0 tools, trying them out and seeing their value?

Twitter Poll

I asked my first Twitter Poll question last night, Does your elementary school have a tech (computer lab) teacher?

Here are the results:

17 people responded

4 have full time tech teachers-1 will be cut next year.

In one district only the Title 1 schools have a tech teacher.

2 have part time teachers-1 also teaches art and 1 manages the library and is only allowed to teach keyboarding.

2 have a TA or aide as the tech teacher

2 have technology facilitators and 1 will have a facilitator next year.

6 have no tech teachers although one will be having technology added as a special next year and one will have a facilitator next year.

What do these results mean to me? Photo from Marcin Wichary\'s flickr photostream

I feel fortunate to work for a district that has supported technology for a long time. I’ve been here for over 20 years and we’ve had a tech teacher all those years! It’s always been one of our specials. We’ve come along way form those AppleIIEs! We did switch to a TA for about 7 years after our computer teacher retired. But this year we switched back to a certified teacher.

I know there are students in our school that would get little or no time on computers if it was left up to the classroom teacher. I’m sure our district is not unique in this respect. This leaves me very concerned for those districts with no tech teachers or facilitators. If we’re to be preparing our students for the 21st century how is this going to happen if they don’t have access to computers at school and in a more meaningful way than just drill practice.

I’m wondering more about the role of the facilitator. Our lab is open every other day-I go back and forth between two schools. When I took on this job I was hoping to encourage and work with teachers to get them in and use the lab on the days I’m not there. We have a TA that is in the lab to take care of the technical problems and assist teachers when they bring in their classes. Some teachers are using the lab but I have not provided any assistance with trying new tools or anything else. This will become a goal for next year.

New Questions

Those of you that are facilitators, do you work with every teacher? Are the classroom teachers open to learning/trying new things? Do you like this position or do you think being a teacher in the lab would be a better way to reach all the students?

Those of you that are tech teachers in a lab, do you like this position or do you think being a facilitator would be a better way to integrate technology? Do you feel you meet with your students often enough?

Photo from flickr.com Marcin Wichary’s photostream.

Ning for Elementary Tech Teachers

Well, I’ve had 3 people tell me they’d join my Ning for elementary tech teachers if I set one up. So, I decided that was enough motivation to get me started. I was going to put it on my growing summer to do list but changed my mind and started it now. It was very simple since I chose to keep it that way. For now there’s no fancy background or logo just a basic background. Now I just need to put the ideas that have been floating around in my mind on what I what to accomplish with this Ning down in writing and get started.

Why a NING?

As a first year tech (computer lab) teacher, but over 20 years teaching experience, I feel alone. I do ask the classroom teachers what they’re doing in class and try to do projects that go along with their classroom learning, but it’s not the same as sitting down with a grade level team and planning out the weeks together. I see a Ning for elementary tech teachers as a place where I can at least go to ask advice and share ideas and sometimes vent frustrations. I’m hoping it will also become a place where we can share lesson plans. I’m not sure a Ning is the best venue for this but at least it’s a start and something we can discuss.

What to Include on the Ning?

Photos of how are labs are set up.

What web2.0 tools are we using and how are we using them.

How is Internet Safety being addressed. What can/should we be doing at the elementary level?

Post an example of a completed project with grade level and basic directions.

Discuss how to get teachers using technology in the classrooms.

Share links that we use in the lab.

Blog-I’m looking forward to using the Ning blog as a personal blog where I can write weekly about what’s happening in class and what I might change next time around.

Discussion about keyboarding-when do you start? How much emphasis do you place on it?

Who Should Join the NING?

Elementary technology teachers that are looking for new ideas and are willing to share and learn.

Taking a quick look at my Twitter Poll answers to the question; Does your elementary school have a tech (computer lab) teacher?, the Ning might also be helpful to those of you that are on your own teaching computer skills. (I’m quickly seeing that our district is very fortunate to have a tech teacher.)

Anyone else is also welcome to join. Come and give your 2cents on how these and other topics should be addressed in class.

What Else?

I’m sure I’ve left out many things that could be included here. But that’s ok. That’s one of the things I like about the Ning. It’s easy for others to start a discussion or a group.

If you’re someone that can benefit from the Elementary Tech Teachers Ning I hope to see you there!

NECC Advice

flickr photo from Tim Wilson’s photostream

I am so excited that I will be attending NECC this year. This is my first time ever attending a national conference or even a conference more than 90 miles from my house. As a newbie I am looking for advice. I’ve heard people mention that they are giving/attending a poster session, what is a poster session? What sesssions should I attend as an elementary computer teacher? I’m going by myself and won’t know anyone there, what’s a good way to meet people at these conferences? What other advice do you have to make sure this is a great experience?

Meme: Passion Quilt

I’ve been reading and enjoying many responses to the Meme Passion Quilt, started by Miguel Gulhin, this week. I never expected to be tagged but I was! I feel honored and I thank Liz B Davis for the tag. I’ve been a kindergarten, first or second grade teacher for over 20 years and one thing I have been passionate about all these years is getting children to love reading. I strongly believe that teachers need to foster this love by; reading great books to children, teaching them to read with interesting books, filling the classroom with quality literature, giving children time to read, and encouraging them read at home. If we can get our children passionate about reading in the primary grades and then continue to fan that passion we’ll have life long readers and learners. Now that I’ve moved to the computer lab I try to connect what we’re doing to books as much as possible.

Finding a photo was much harder than I expected. After spending hours browsing flickr and not finding what I wanted I turned to an old photo of my children. They are now 15 and 19 and both enjoy reading. By using my own photo I had fun playing around with flauntR.

Here are the rules:

  1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
  2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

I now tag the following 5 people: Murch, Frank, Frieda, John, and Keamac.

Open PD

Here’s where I sit while attending Open PDI read about Open PD on Daren Draper’s blog. He was inviting anyone to join his class, learning about web2.0 tools, in Utah, for free. I missed the first week but went ahead and joined in the second week. For someone new to online learning it was quite an experience. I stayed for the whole class and went back the next three weeks. At our house on Wednesday nights dinner is served and dishes are done by 6:30 so I can sit down and join the class. I’m thankful my daughter is in high school and has homework to keep her busy. One of my goals for this year was to learn to be a better multitasker. Taking this course is a big help! At times I’m watching the video on UStream and of course listening to the audio, as well as reading the posts in the chat room, on one half of my screen while working on perhaps a Google document with other class participants on the other half of my screen. Oh, and of course some online students are participating via Skype. Robin Ellis, the co-teacher participates in the discussions and monitors the chat room for questions and makes sure they get answered either by someone in the chat room or by Daren in class. I was familiar with the tools Daren talked about but I learned new tips and tricks at each class. I also learned that accidentally opening Ustream in two windows causes echoes and that makes it very difficult to follow the conversation. I also learned that problems with technology can plague anyone no matter how well prepared they are but if everyone is patient things will turn out fine in the end. One night Darren put all the participants in groups and asked them to Skype in and work on a Google presentation together. Some online participants left and others were joining and some of us didn’t have Skype. I felt very guilty not being prepared for class. I was tempted to leave but decided to stick it out. (I had singed up for Skype the week before in class but it caused problems with Firefox so I had deleted it not knowing we’d need it again. I have since reloaded it and it seems to be working fine.) Our group got a late start and ended up not using Skype but we still got the job done. Later that night we had some trolls visit the chat room and they wouldn’t go away so Darren, like all good teachers, had a backup plan and moved us to another chat room but lo and behold there were more trouble makers there. But everyone was patient and finally the trouble maker left and we were able to finish the class. By last night Darren had another solution and things went smoothly. I’ll admit I tend to be a lurker in class, I’m comfortable absorbing everything that’s going on without having to participate in the chat room. However, when I did have a problem and posed a question Robin or someone else was always quick to help me out. Another one of my goals is to use Skype this year. Darren has another class starting in two weeks that will go into more detail about blogs and wikis. Maybe by the time it’s done I’ll get brave and try Skype. For a person that hates talking on the telephone the thought of talking into a microphone online is even more intimidating. We don’t have Skype at school but if we did I’d expect my students to do it so I guess it’s time for me to do something I might expect of them. One of Darren’s parting comments about blogs was to be sure to add pictures. So, I’m trying that out. The picture at the start of this post is where I sit while attending Open PD. Thanks Darren and Robin for providing the class. I appreciate all your hard work that goes into making it successful.