Monday, December 27, 2010

CardStar - Organizing All of Your Club Cards

Does your keychain look like this?

You need to clear the clutter and make things easier for yourself.  You need to start using the application called CardStar.  I use the application on my iPhone so that I always have the numbers of all of my store membership cards.  It stores my Giant Eagle card number, my AAA number, my gym membership number, my Kroger card, etc.  You get the idea.  And the best thing, it also provides a barcode for each number so that it can be scanned at checkout at a store or check-in at the recreation center.  I don't have to remember my cards, or hope I haven't given them to my daughter to use.

So, if your keychain is unbearable, or those cards are just mangled, clear the mess.  Download CardStar and start using your phone or iPod to store those membership numbers.  You will always have them with you and be able to take advantage of member discounts and gas perks.  I know my application has saved me a lot of money and time.  The only place I have found it to be a problem is at the gas pump, because their auto scanners won't read the phone screen.  That is such a small problem for such a nice convenience.

This application also allows for you to store information about the different cards.  You can store phone numbers, addresses, web addresses, as well as other notes.  I think this application will be well worth the few minutes it takes to add the number (it creates the barcode) for the different company cards that you register.

Friday, November 12, 2010

QR Codes for the Library

Tuesday, I showed some of our staff members a QR Code and I posted a couple around the building.  The media specialists, Diane and Michael,  showed me a poster in the library that had a QR Code printed on it.  "Why would they use a code and not print the text?", was the question.  I demonstrated how, with my iPhone, I could go directly to the website associated with the poster.  No typing, no mistakes.  I piqued their interest.  How could we use this?

Today, two days later, I went to school to find out the media specialists had printed a QR Code with a link to the school's library website.  They were so impressed with themselves.  I had shared with them the QR Code post of Jeff Utecht, that contained information on how to print QR Codes as well as how to read them.  They utilized the websites and printed their specific code.  I am thoroughly impressed.  I believe they are going to print bookmarks for the students to take home with the code printed for their use.  I also believe they will add the code to other print material that goes home with students.  This will make accessing the website a little easier.

I also received a lot of feedback from one of our secretaries.  She had seen these symbols in magazine adds.  She brought me the Target ad from that week, that contained a lot of these same symbols.  Those codes were sending shoppers to Target online to purchase the product that was associated with the code.  Once we start to figure out how we can utilize these symbols - it may make access to material more efficient and accurate.  It is amazing how much can be figured out just by "putting something out there".  No explanation needed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tech Tuesdays

On many Tuesdays in my building, we have "Tech Tuesday".  Tech Tuesdays are days set aside to provide technology in-service/training to teachers and staff.  Teachers and staff are provided the opportunity to come in during their plan time and see presentations and receive instruction on various topics from basic skills to advanced applications.  Sessions last about 40 minutes and typically are voluntary.  It is important to provide sessions that teachers will find helpful and interesting.

The Basics

Early in the year, the Tech Tuesdays tend to provide instruction on the implementation of necessary technology skills.  These topics include First Class - our email system and communication tool, ProgressBook - our online grading tool, MasteryManager - our assessment analysis tool, as well as other software pieces that teachers need to be able to use.  There are also sessions regarding PowerPoint/Keynote, word processing, and Mac basics - since we are an Apple district.

Extended Thinking

As the year goes along, we spend time with more advanced topics as well as other tools that teachers might find helpful.  We have already spent a day working with teachers on how they can use Twitter - see earlier post.  Our focus was on how they would use Twitter for personal and professional learning, and how they can follow people to grow their PLN, connecting with people with common interests.  Our school has recently started Tweeting and we feel that it can be another way for communication and sharing to occur.  We are also planning future events to include topics like Google Applications, Online tools - like FlickrSlideShareAudioBoo, etc.  

One of the other high schools ran a day called "Tech Fair" - like science fair - by demonstrating different ways that teachers use technology in class with the students at their building.  By exposing their teachers to different technology integration methods, their teachers were able to see what is available to them and also see the application into the classroom.  We will try to hold a day like that at my building during the next couple of months.

It is important to provide opportunities for teachers to grow personally and professionally using technology tools.  The more tools that they can be exposed to, the more opportunities that they may be able to share with the students.  Their comfort level will be higher, their interest will be greater, and their chance of looking for implementation will be increased.  Not all teachers will know all things, but if there are tools that they can learn and use, it will benefit instruction and learning.   Tech Tuesdays is about supporting teachers as they grow and learn.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogging with Students

Today, I had the opportunity to work with our IB Art Teacher, Kate Menke, as she is implementing blogs with her students.  We are working on creating blogs with the students so that they begin to develop an online digital portfolio.  They are going to display their work and explanations, as well as demonstrate their critical skills with comments on the other students' work.  These students will be able to follow each other and see the growth over the years.  I believe it is the start of something awesome for these students.

Early in our process, we talked about digital footprint, and what that means for these students.  We talked about what the world can see about them and that it is important for them to share all of the incredible work that they do with society.  It is important that they display their work in ways that impress the readers, whether it is classmates, teachers, family, friends, or anyone else that may find their work.  We also talked about the permanence of their work and that what they post is a permanent statement to world.  Also, part of this discussion was the need to be good digital citizens.  They discussed the need to be honest and sincere, thoughtful and kind.

We then talked about the steps necessary to create a Blogspot blog.  We went through the following presentation and talked about the importance of keeping their profiles empty and keeping the amount of personal information shared to a minimum.  We stressed the importance of the students moderating their comments, so that comments that are questionable can be discussed before going out to the world.  It was a nice process and one that the students will actually go through in the next few days.  The students seemed so excited to get going.

We have involved the parents in this whole process.  It is important to us to have everyone on the same page as we move forward in this project.  The teacher is excited.  The students are excited. And, I am excited to see how this goes.  I believe the students will grow incredibly throughout this process and they will end up with a product that they can be proud of and show off.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Hope all of you have fun trick-or-treating!  It sure was fun here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Using the Necessary Tool

Who would've thought I would need the cassette tape deck that was on the shelf in my back storage room? I recently had a student ask me if there was way to transfer his old cassette tapes to his mp3 player.  I had to think for a minute, then realized that my cassette dubbing deck was there.  We got it down, dusted it off, and connected it to the computer in the work room.  What a way to preserve these old recordings that provide information that the student needs.

By utilizing Garage Band on the mac mini, the student was able to record the cassettes digitally on the computer.  He was able to edit out the long pauses, and then share out the files as mp3s.  He could take them home with his USB flash drive and import them into his iTunes account.  He was so happy that he could hear these old cassettes.  His uncle thinks he will enjoy the cassettes and that he could learn some new things.  Now he can actually use them in a technology form he possesses.

My word of advice?  Don't give up on some of those old gadgets that are lying around.  There may be a use for them someday.  You never know what tool you will need.  My student is sure glad we hadn't sent that deck to the warehouse for storage.  He is actually thinking of bringing in more of these recordings.  Old school meets new school.  Glad I could help.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sharing What You Know and Learn

I recently viewed the K12 Online Conference 2010 Pre-Conference Keynote by Dean Shareski.  He talks about our need to share what we learn and to share it freely with others.  His talk, entitled Sharing - The Moral Imperative, speaks to what we can learn from others if we open the doors of communication and utilize the technology that is available all around us.  It was a conversation that I had with Dean that motivated me to start this blog, and share what I know and learn with others.  We are forever indebted to many people for what we know.  We need to give back.  Our students will benefit greatly from the stories and experiences we can share with them.

Dean talks about his PLN and how he learns from people all over the world.  Why are we restricted to the teachers in our buildings or in our districts?  We have the ability to learn and collaborate with teachers from all over the world.  He shares stories of the work of math teacher Dan Meyer, who shares his math lessons through is blog online.  Dan's sharing helped another teacher from Scotland, who was using Dan's authentic lessons to help teach his students mathematical concepts.

It is our duty to share what we learn and what we find.  I hope you enjoy this video from Dean and the K12 Online Conference.  Visit the conference site and join in the learning.  It will prove to be a rich experience, I am sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

RunKeeper - nice application, website

I recently started using RunKeeper to keep track of my running distances and times.  I had seen a friend of mine using it and it looked interesting, so I had to investigate.  I found out that is not only a physical fitness tracking site, but also a social site that can help you keep track of others that are utilizing the site.  It allows you to keep track of your own information, but also allows you to network with friends and family.  That is a nice motivator.  You don't want your friends to show you up!  Go to the site, sign up, and set up your preferences.  It will only take you a couple of minutes.

It also connects to Twitter and Facebook, so you can easily post your results to your networks.  You can let your friends know how you are doing and they can comment back to give you encouraging words.  So far, I think this application will be helpful to keep me working through the winter months, when working out and exercising become difficult.  Not only will it track runs and bike rides, it will also allow you to enter workouts that you do at the gym on different types of equipment.

One of the nicest feature of RunKeeper is that it has an app for the iPhone.  Take your phone with you when you run.  Listen to your music.  Press start on the RunKeeper app, and press stop when you finish.  It automatically uploads the data from your run to the website and can post directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Nice.

I would recommend this application to you if you are a runner or biker - it utilizes the GPS on the phone to track distance, speed, elevation changes, and calculates the number of calories burned.  Pretty cool.  Give it a try.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Twitter for Teachers

I used Tech Tuesday to talk with teachers about Twitter.  As we talked, I found that they were concerned about using Twitter at school.  As the conversations played out, people started thinking about how they might use twitter.  Our initial thoughts were to get them to use Twitter for themselves and see that there are ways to connect with many people all over the world that share their common interests.  Our hope is that they grow their following, connect with great people, learn and share information, and then start to think of ways to implement in the school setting.  I have struggled to see where schools are using Twitter on any large scale, so it is hard for me to start pushing them directly into using Twitter for a school-only experience.  Twitter can be one of the tools that helps them grow.

When introducing teachers to Twitter, I began by sharing some valuable web sources.  I started with Twitter in Plain English, by Common Craft, the Twitter4Teachers Wiki, and 30 Essential Twitter Tutorials for Newbies and Experts.  These resources are good places for teachers to go to start learning new Twitter skills, as well as locating other experts in their field of interest.  I shared with them how to do "people searches", how to follow people, how to create lists - so that they can organize the people they follow, how to look at people others followed, and much more.  I tried to keep things simple - as Twitter can be a little bit much if you jump in to quickly.

I asked the new users to follow me and told them I'd follow them back.  I had them follow our school (@dublinjeromehs), the school district (@dublinschools), and mentioned some other area groups they could follow.  Many had friends that they knew were using Twitter - so those were easy people to add.  I am interested to see how many will keep going with Twitter and what they find beneficial over the next few weeks and months.  I think there are great resources to be obtained and shared through Twitter and hope that my colleagues can learn as much using Twitter as I have.

I am currently looking for schools and school districts that use Twitter.  I am interested in observing the way they Tweet and seeing possible uses for our schools and district.  My administration and I are working to figure out the best ways to utilize this form of communication, so that teachers, parents, students, and all interested in our building could "follow" us to see the great things that go on.  Twitter can be a powerful tool to inform the community.  Hopefully, we'll see some exciting ways to make it happen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dropbox - How to Share

Having problems getting a project from one person to another?  Need to get your powerpoint presentation to a colleague?  E-mail is a great way to send some files, but what if your files are larger than the allowed size?

Try Dropbox.  Dropbox is a free program that will run on your computer and allow you to store 2GB free in an area that you can access from other computers.  It even has an App for your iPhone or iPad.  You can store that presentation, podcast, or XL .pdf file, so that it can be retrieved somewhere else, or even by someone else.  If you know someone with a Dropbox account, you can set up a shared folder so that documents can be accessed by either of you.  2GB of free storage space is more than enough to move those big files without having to burn CDs or DVDs and the transfer is very fast and secure.

Dropbox also has a program that allows you to get free extra storage.  By getting your friends to use Dropbox, you can earn free space - up to 8GB of free space.  Try it out and invite some friends.

What if  you need to receive items from someone?  There is also a program that works along with Dropbox to allow people to send you files, even if they don't have a Dropbox account.  It is called AirDropper.  It allows Dropbox users to send an email request to the other person with a link to upload the file.  That person then uploads the file into your Dropbox folder.  Pretty nice when you are asking for a file that is too large to attach to e-mail.

I would suggest that you give Dropbox a try and pair it along with AirDropper to make your file-sharing experience a little less painful.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Results of Survey

Results of survey aug 2010

As you can see from the survey, there is definitely room for growth in many areas of technology when it comes to using online tools for personal and professional growth.  Over the next couple months, we will spend time getting teachers comfortable with some of the tools that can provide much information and allow them the ability to share snippets of information, as they become more and more comfortable.  We will continue to add new online tools, so they can see that there are many ways to communicate to many different audiences.

Some of the things that they have mentioned are concerns about time vs. benefit factors.  Teachers feel that adding new things to their plate (without taking any off), just gives them more to do.  We will attempt to show them that there is so much out there that can change the way they do their work.  There are online tools, communication tools, research tools, and many others that can help make their job more efficient.  They should not just keep doing things the way they have in the past.

We will start with Twitter and see if we can grow the number of staff that use.  We will attempt to share with them some of the ways I use twitter, as well as some of the people that I follow.  We will use sources of A Teacher's Guide to Twitter, by  Kate Klingensmith at her blog Once a Teacher, video clips from Common Craft, and others sources mentioned before, like Jeff Utech's Reach and Will Richardson's book on Web Tools.  We will try to get teachers to grow there personal learning networks.  Finding people from around the world that share their same interests and passions.

We will then discuss some safety and security issues - discussing digital footprint and what they want the web to know about them.  We discuss being proactive in the placement of information.  Many teachers are afraid to put information out on the web, but they don't realize that there is already information out there.  They need to flood it with good information, so that the incorrect or unwanted information is harder to find.

It is our belief that teachers will be much more willing to work with students in technology, if they are more comfortable using it themselves.  We hope they learn a lot of new skills this year that will allow them to be more open and aware of what is available to them and their students, which will push them to think of new ways to approach those old classroom activities.

Wish us luck as we head into the year - trying to get a lot of teachers using online tools.  Twitter, RSS feeds, photo sharing, podcasting, Facebook, and many more may be just part of our culture by May.  We hope they start to think of new ways to use that really help the students prepare for their future.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Talking Twitter

I had an opportunity to talk twitter with two teachers from Beachwood, Ohio the other day.  Garth Holman, Mike Pennington, and I sat down and Skyped a nice discussion about how Twitter could be used with high school teachers.  We discussed the purpose of Twitter and how it could be used to develop their own Professional Learning Networks.  Garth (@GarthHolman), Mike (@ProfessorMike1), and I (@ssibberson) follow each other on Twitter and that is actually how we made our connection.  After connecting through Twitter, they invited me to share my thoughts.

Garth and Mike recorded part of our conversation and have posted it on their blog - - and you can hear the conversation there -  These guys are doing a very nice job of connecting with people around the State of Ohio and are connecting with Alan November.  Their site is a great resource for educators.  They talked about possibly being at BLC11 next summer.  Hopefully, I'll get to see them and we can meet in person.  I am hoping that we will work together and share different thoughts of using technology in our schools.

Our hope is that we will do a follow-up interview to discuss where Twitter goes with the staff and community of our high school.  My hope is that we will have so much success that the other high schools in our district will jump on board.  I think that the Twitter world can provide some outstanding connections to professionals that will help teachers improve their craft.  There are many ways that we can use Twitter to communicate with the community and we are hoping it is very successful.  Follow us and see where it goes - Dublin Jerome High School (@dublinjeromehs).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kids and Technology

The phone rang at 8:30 today.  My wife looked at me like - "You are going lose your free day today" - as she was talking to my cousin's wife.  The girls were all going to see Wicked today and I was going to be alone to do some chores, watch some golf, and generally have a relaxing day.  The call was telling us that my uncle, who was going to watch my cousin's 5 year old boy, had the stomach flu and wouldn't be able to watch him.  What is next - I was going to be the fill-in.  I love him.  He is a hilarious, fun little boy, but my babysitting skills were a bit out of date as my own kids are now 10 and 19...

What I found out was that he was bringing some Wii games, his cars, and some other toys.  I was hoping the weather would break and I'd be able to take him to the zoo.  The Columbus Zoo is awesome and I haven't seen the polar bears, yet.  Options....   That's all I need.

When he got here, he showed me his Wii games.  I always enjoy some time with the Wii and he would give me a good excuse to play for a while.  Needless to say, I would be able to play and have some fun.  Does a 5 year old have the stamina to play for many hours?  Sure, he sure did.  We had a Wii marathon.  I am not the greatest player of video games, but I have to admit, he crushed me over and over and over.  We played three different games - Harry Potter Legos, Mario Galaxy 2, and Super Mario Brothers.  I  could not believe how much he could navigate the menus.

He could quickly navigate through the setup, then explain what was going to happen in the game.  He could teach me some basics of the game and then show me different things to do, which buttons to use, and what characters to use.  I asked him how he knew and he said that he played with his dad and that they figured stuff out.  He knew character names, button commands, which games needed nunchucks, and how the game would progress.  He even got frustrated with me if I didn't catch on fast enough.  I could really not believe how comfortable he was with the machine.

Spending the day with Jake makes me think about how much young kids could really use technology.  How do we get different gadgets in the hands of the kids.  They would be able to figure out how to do different things all the time.  They could play and figure out what would happen, then share with us.  I definitely swallowed my competitive pride, as I like to win, but Jake really opened my eyes as to what young children can really do and be comfortable with.  What can we do to get children comfortable with other forms of technology?  How can we get them to be as productive with other forms of technology as they are with gaming systems.  They have the ability.  We just have to give them opportunities to "play" with the  tools.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Old Technology - Visiting the Past

I spent the evening at the Gallery Hop in the Short North in Columbus.  We were walking around and looking in stores and shops and just happened to stumble upon some cool stores.  One of the shops was a paper store, On Paper.  On the shelf was...

We continued on our way until we got to a vintage store,  Flower Child, where I found these treasures from the past...

It really makes me appreciate the new technology we have.  How easy it is to have things at our fingertips.  We just plug in new devices, edit, and enjoy.  My youngest daughter didn't even know what some of these things were.  Enjoy today's technology - it will be in a vintage store before we know it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You Have to Read This One!

Been reading Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, by Will Richardson.  I find it to be a "must read" for teachers at all grade levels.  Will Richardson is a master of technology integration and this book is filled with different web tools and suggestions for integrating them into the classroom.  He does an excellent job of describing the tool, so the teacher can be a user, and then explains how it can be used with students.  He even gives teachers ideas of how to be safe and careful with putting students and their work "out there" for the world to see.

This book focuses on tools that are free and easily accessible to teachers.  The tools and skills that he writes about include Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, RSS, Twitter, Screencasting, Flickr, and others.  He does a great job of including links to tutorials, screen captures, and step-by-step descriptions of what teachers can do with the tools.  His intention is that teachers become users, then integrate the tool into the classroom for the students.  These are all web tools that the students should be able to use to share their ideas and work.

My hope is that teachers will read the book, or at least some chapters, and start to utilize the web tools available to their students.  We are working in a time where students can gather much information quickly on the web, and they spend a lot of their spare time on the web, yet we keep them from working and publishing on the web.  This book provides some very clear skills and steps needed to help your students become creators of material and not just consumers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Staff Survey

As the new school year approaches, I find it very important to develop a concept that can help our staff move forward.  After a long conversation with my principal, we have agreed that we would like to see our staff develop and grow their PLNs.  We believe that there are some areas that our teachers can use to grow as teachers and members of our learning community.  After reading material from Jeff Utecht (see previous post) and Will Richardson, the online tools that can be utilized are:

Google Docs
Blogging - Blogspot or Wordpress
Social Bookmarking - Diigo or Delicious

We've put together a survey for our staff using Google Docs.  We created a form that they can fill out quickly to inform us of their current use and also state a goal for their development in the area of social media.  The data will then be collected in a spreadsheet that can be analyzed to establish our needed steps to help the staff move forward.  We are interested to see where we start - and also know who can be leaders in the movement.  We believe we have some "closet twitterers" that would be willing to help spread the word of what great connections can be made.

After we get the results of the survey, we'll share them (generically, of course).  We are really curious to see if there is an enthusiasm to move into this realm.  Teachers tend to share with their neighbor teachers, but sometimes hesitate to throw their experiences out to the world.  We will make it our mission to convince them that there are many of teachers that can benefit from the sharing of ideas.  Social sharing is a good thing.  Teachers can gain professionally and personally.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Teachers Getting Started

For teachers that are just getting started utilizing technology, there are a couple of things to do at the beginning that will help facilitate the process.  There are a lot of free online tools for teachers to use, but most require an email address to register your information.  I would suggest that you spend a half hour and create two email accounts outside of your school address, so you can easily become a user of these online resources.  The two emails that I would recommend creating are free and easy to setup, and they are Google Mail and Yahoo Mail.

I would recommend creating a free gmail account.  It is not necessary, but I have found it to be quite useful to have a gmail account.  First of all, I use it to log into my google applications.  I also use it to log into Blogger, so I can blog and tell you about all these wonderful tools.  Gmail is also rarely blocked by email filtering systems, so you emails sent to and from this account will likely get through to the receiver.  Google will then have your information, so when you add different applications to your repertoire, you will be able to log in and be able to work.

I mentioned that gmail is not necessary for use of the Google tools.  You can create a google login using any email address, but since the process is so easy, I would recommend getting a gmail account.  I do not spend a lot of time checking my google email since I do get most of my traffic through other accounts.

The other email account I would create is a free Yahoo email account.  Yahoo has some nice features on their website and being a member of Yahoo will allow you to customize your homepage as well as many other things.  The main reason that I created this account was so that I could join Flickr.  Flickr is the site that I use to upload photos and share photos.  I requires a Yahoo ID, so creating it early will be helpful.

I think that creating these accounts when you first get started, will allow you to be thoughtful and consistent when choosing your login names, passwords, and email addresses.  The more consistent you can be with your online presence, the easier it will be for people to find you, follow you, communicate with you, and share with you.  My feeling is that people need to embrace that fact that these online tools are here, and learn quickly what they can do to help facilitate growth.  It takes some work (or what I like to refer as "play time") to figure out, but the benefits are great.  Plus, you don't have to spend a lot of money for special programs.

I will try share information in the future about Google, Yahoo, and Flickr.  I just wanted to suggest that there is some simple work you can do help facilitate your successful use of the tools.  Spend a half hour getting your accounts and passwords set up.  It will help you with your work in the future.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Join Diigo - Social Bookmarking That's Great for Teachers

I recently joined diigo - - as a social bookmarking site that is an alternative to I became interested in diigo when I found out that they had an educator access to their site, that allows educators to create groups for their students to share bookmarks. I am always looking for ways to allow teachers and students to collaborate on their work. This looks like an outstanding way for online research and resources to be compiled and shared. I found out about the free teacher accounts at diigo from Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers.

I signed up for both my personal account and then the free upgrade for teachers. As I was going through this process, I learned that you may want to do this in a meaningful way. You may want to create an account for yourself, that you don't mind putting out to the public. You may want to create an account that is your teacher account, with a different username, that you will share with your students. You may want to keep your personal bookmarks private from your students and the teacher account will give the students access into that account. That is just something to think about. Users do have the ability to keep collected information private.

Once you have gone through the process of creating the teacher account, you will have access to a teacher console in diigo. That is where you will be able to create groups of students that will be able to share links and information. You will be able to create specific logins for students - using an e-mail address or just a name. This is quite nice for younger students that don't have e-mail accounts, yet. You can also import that information using a spreadsheet - if you have a large class.

I believe diigo will allow teachers and students to work electronically, see each others research, and analyze the sources, without having to print out large amounts of material. It will also aid in the citing of sources, as we teach students to document their research. Diigo will be an online tool that I try to work with and share a lot this fall, when I get back to school.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Technology at Baseball Game

My wife, daughter, and I went to a baseball game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis last Monday. We were sitting in right field when we noticed a bright green rectangle behind home plate. I asked my family if they knew why there would be a green rectangle on the wall behind home plate. Does anyone know? I do....

If you watch a baseball game on TV, you'll notice that there is an advertisement to the left of the catcher, in that same location. That advertisement changes to different company logos every inning . They are using green screen technology to super-impose the company logo onto the green screen. Pretty cool for television advertisement, especially since the only people that can't see it are the people in the stadium - and they are seeing other signs all over the ballpark.

Next time you go to a game - probably only Major League games, since that is where the advertising dollars and television exposure is highest - take note of what is on the wall behind the catcher. Amazing what a little green screen can create as far as revenue. No wonder kids love using green screen in videos, once they've been exposed to its potential.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reach - by Jeff Utecht

I recently picked up the book Reach, by Jeff Utecht, while attending BLC10 in Boston. I proceeded to read it very quickly, finding it contained many quick resources for teachers. I am going to share it with my staff at school. I had the opportunity to hear Jeff while at BLC10 and found his information to be practical and helpful. This book is both.

In the book, he shares information about communities and networks and how to make these communications work for you. He starts with the RSS feed and shows how it works for gathering information from the sites to which you subscribe. He provides tutorial videos and other information that can be helpful.

He also adds material on how to contribute to your learning community. There is everything you will need to help you start and set up a blog, wiki, ning, or other place to share your knowledge and experience. Again, he provides resources and support in the book. Along with that, you'll find information to help you build your personal learning network. What you need to effectively use Twitter, Skype, Facebook, and others is described and shared.

Jeff's book is a great place to start if you are getting just beginning in the area of using technology to learn and share with students and teachers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Entry Into the Blogosphere

After spending three days at the most motivating conference of my career - Building Learning Communities Conference 2010 - BLC10 - I have been moved to become a contributing member of the online world. I have been inspired by people that I have been following on twitter and on blogs. I got to learn from people like Dean Shareski (@shareski), David Jakes (@djakes), Brian Mull (@brianmullnl), Jeff Utecht (@jutecht), and many more. They spoke of the need to share what we do with others, even when you don't feel that your message will move mountains.

The conference was interesting and compelling. It exposed me to many brilliant people talking about learning, how people learn, and what tools can help that learning, especially in the technology arena. We had conversations around what tools people are using to learn and what tools we need to share with others in order to help them move forward. More entries regarding those topics will come as I get a chance to process the overwhelming amount of information and the wonderful stories that support that thinking. Topics include:

Digital Footprint
Digital Citizenship
Personal Learning Networks
Network Safety
Social Media
Google Tools

These are just some areas that I hope I'll be able to work with and develop ideas to share with my colleagues. I was able to obtain many resources - thank you all at BLC10 - so many that it will take weeks and months to organize and prioritize. I will take that on as my mission.

I was also pleased to hear some amazing keynote addresses -
Mitch Resnick - spoke about learning and creating and sharing in online communities. He addressed the audience about the online community and software Scratch - and the great things that students can make and share and collaborate and remix - using this program and online community.
Michael Wesch - spoke of learning and sharing of learning. His address focused on the students being the learners and striving to solve real problems. Students need to learning about communication, thoughtfulness, and empathy, and that the three of those things need to be intertwined.
Rahaf Harfoush - spoke about social networking and it's impact on our communities. She worked on President Obama's social media team for the 2008 election. She shared many stories about how the different social media sites were used to help inspire people to get involve in the campaign. How do we leverage that knowledge to get our students and teachers and communities involved in what is going on at school?
Adora Svitak - spoke about how students need to become more involved directly in what is going on in schools. Teachers aren't the only ones that have skills and knowledge to share. She is 12 years old and has an amazing insight into what can happen when students are empowered to lead in the schools. She recently spoke in Columbus at eTech Ohio.

As you can see, I was exposed to three days of unbelievable people and information. My hope is that you will find something useful from what I share and from the many people I will communicate with. Grow your own personal learning network and keep learning from the many bright people out in the profession.