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Alan November’s BLC 10 : A Conference? … More Than A Conference!

In this post I want to share with you one of the most amazing conferences I have ever attended, or presented at. I am sure you are aware of Alan November, an outstanding student centered education leader who advocates for effective educational transformation. Alan is probably best known for challenging educators’ thoughts about what’s possible in the world of teaching and learning  Take a moment and as you read this post, I am sure you will want to make  the trip to Boston, an awesome city, this summer! Have a great week! – Mike

The website  for the BLC10 states  “Get ready to have your brain tickled with ideas from around the world.” I guarantee that not only will your brain be tickled, but your enthusiasm will be ignited, your knowledge will be compounded, and your journey toward effective learning will be empowered.  At BLC10 you will learn and network from representatives all around the world including some of the most prestigious leaders in the field of education. This conference program features hands-on pre-conference workshops, keynotes and over 90 main session workshops, all in an intimate setting allowing for real discussion that will build your learning community.

BLC  first started as a ‘jam session’ of ideas between friends and education colleagues and now in its eleventh year it has grown into something truly special. My first venture to Boston for this conference was the summer of 2009. After completing studies involving administration, supervision, and technology at Johns Hopkins University I had the opportunity to attend and even present at BLC10. Little did I realize what an eye opening experience this would be. It was after this conference that I first started this Blog. While it is still small in scale, reaching about 300 people a day, I still remember the day I decided to start this blog. It was a wonderful presentation at BLC by by Liz Davis and Lisa Thumann that gave me the inspiration. I was also engaged by Benjamin Zander’s startling new perspective on leadership. His  stories, music and concepts allowed me to explore opportunities I had never considered .  As stated in BLC09’s write up , his presentation was not a speech, it was an experience!  Take a look at this list of outstanding speakers and educators that were a part of last year’s conference. It is these people, and others I met, that facilitated my new ventures this year such as  producing an ISTE  Webinar this May 12, participating in enjoyable podcast (mar 4) with Bob Sprankle,  Cheryl Oakes, and Alice Barr at their Seedling’s website, presenting at numerous conferences through out the country.

This year’s world class event which will take place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel from July 11-16, 2010, has another great line up in store. One of this year’ s Keynotes includes Rahaf Harfous , a New Media Expert and Member of President Barack Obama’s Social Media Team. Harfoush is the author of Yes We Did (2009), a book about the grassroots groundswell inspired by the Obama campaign. She is the Research Coordinator to the critically acclaimed Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and a contributor on both Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing your World and Everything I Needed to Know About Business I Learned from a Canadian. Another keynote will include  Michael Wesch, an  Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography, at Kansas State University in  Manhattan, KS. He has been dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine.  Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities. Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Laborator will be a real treat for educators. Mitchel will explore how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences. Resnick’s research group developed the “programmable brick” technology that inspired the LEGO MindStorms robotics kit and the PicoCricket artistic-invention kit. Perhaps my favorite of Resnick’s efforts is the awesome MIT computer program,  Scratch, a big hit with educators and students across the world.  A very special presentation will be made by Adora Svtak. Called a “tiny literary giant” by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, Svtak is the world’s youngest teacher and the published author of three books. She explores new technologies and their possibilities in education through her teaching and speaking. Adora’s daily video conferences with students from around the world have earned her Berrien RESA’s “Best Author and Expert” award for distance learning two years in a row.

Make sure you check out this list of great pre-conference workshops from some of the best people in their fields. You may find yourself spending the day in the MIT labs, working with digital photography in Boston, working with Web 2.0 technologies, creating a digital story, or spending the day with Alan November exploring the idea of leadership and managing transitions. It is an awesome line up of workshops so be sure to check out this link of outstanding opportunities. These workshops are all followed the next three days by general sessions presented by some of the very finest. Best of all, there are opportunities that allow you to be part of the conversation, as you build your own learning community.

Take a moment to view the conference information provided. Here, you will find a wealth of information about the BLC10 along with the registration form. Boston is an awesome city to explore, the Boston Park Plaza is a majestic and inviting hotel, the Boston Common is right outside the door, and you will be surrounded by an amazing group of educators  assisting and networking with you as you grow to become a true 21st Century Educator.

I have learned that even after  over 30 years of teaching, I am looking forward to having still another opportunity to professionally grow this summer at BLC10.  Take a moment to look over the conference information and perhaps I will have the opportunity to network and learn from you this summer in Boston. Please feel free to follow on twitter (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other. You are also invited to subscribe by email or RSS to this Blog, and  also feel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki. In the meantime, take a moment and consider expanding your learning community in Boston this summer at BLC10. Have a wonderful week! – Mike

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Educators : Welcome To The Future

Image from above - NASA

Image from Above - NASA

Do not miss the opportunity to view the video from the link posted at the bottom of this article post. This is a shortened post so that you may take the time to view what  is a truly inspirational message.


It is the mission of this Blog to bring you content, ideas, and practical ideas to enhance 21st Century Skills and educational transformation using technology. It is equally important to provide readers with content for reflection, motivation, and encouragement.  As we encounter a new school year I want to dedicate this posting to educational possibilities. Our educational future involves everyone including community stakeholders, educators, and students.  Recently I came a across a video produced by country music singer and songwriter Brad Paisley entitled Welcome to the Future. When I first heard the lyrics I felt they provided a thought provoking opportunity for  educators . Upon viewing the video it came apparent to me that the message is an inspiration to 21st Century Education. It reflects transformation, progress,  diversity, technology, universal accomplishment, and hope.  I know there have been a wide range of videos that can be found emphasizing the need to think different, engage the digital native, transform education, think outside the box, be prepared for the stopped escalator, and question what we know about global education.  This video however is the most powerful video I have come across in recent years.  I know you will feel the same way and I applaud singer and song writer Brad Paisley for a positive message that resonates  an enthusiasm for the future, and the promise that education can bring.  Be sure to reflect on the  well written lyrics as you encounter this awesome and powerful digital story. Please check out the link below! Let me know what you think!

Once again, welcome to the new school year and our  future!

Link – Welcome To The Future by  – Brad Paisley

Update – I have created a student activity sheet that goes with this video. It is a great activity that allows students to investigate a video for meaning. I have tried to include a process that facilitates a collaborative effort at investigating lyrics, video, and plot. It also asks students to write an individual paragraph stating the meaning. A final suggestion entails having the students feed their paragraph into Wordle. If you try it please let me know how it goes. It can be found at my 21centuryedtech wiki at the bottom of the Welcome To The Future Post as a Word Document.

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Jukebox or the Ipod – Reflection on Educational Transformation

jukebox_ipod
I recently presented at Alan November’s BLC 09 Conference in Boston. What an awesome conference and an opportunity to meet and network not just across the states but internationally! The question posed in my presentation involved the idea of whether education is closer to the Jukebox or the iPod. I bring this up because as educators we must remember to transform practices that have been valuable instead of always coming up with something new. How can you as an educator transform ideas, practices, and lessons with the technology you may already have?
The jukebox was one of the first devices that allowed for the instant play of music, on demand, from various artists, from a large collection of databases. The jukebox was invented in 1889. It was referred to as the Nickel-in-the-Slot Machine and was invented by Louis Glass and William S. Arnold who placed a coin-operated Edison cylinder phonograph in the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It was an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph in an oak cabinet that was refitted with a coin mechanism patented (U.S. 428,750) by Glass and Arnold. There was no amplification (wow, similar to the iPod) and patrons had to listen to the music using one of four listening tubes. In its first six months of service, the Nickel-in-the-Slot earned over $1000. Over one hundred years later Apple Computer transformed this same idea with the technology of the 21st century. Launched on October 23, 2001 the original iPod had a 5 GB hard drive that put “1,000 songs in your pocket.” As of September 2008, more than 173,000,000 iPods had been sold worldwide. The 2008 120 GB allowed for instant retrieval of over 24,000 songs. Apple did not invent the idea, they transformed an excellent and proven idea that already existed!
As educators we must enlist our collective database of lessons and practices as we adapt technology that is already in our schools. This concept allows us to make transformation happen on the cheap! I would like to share an example. Many of us have been part of a NASA lesson that had us work in a group to decide what we would need to survive on the moon. We were given a list and as a group we worked collaboratively to prioritize it. It is now possible to transform the lesson using technology that is available today. The lesson could be put in a Moodle. Students could collaborate online through chats and Google Docs. I recently found a tool available for free from Intel called Thinking Tools. Feel free to check out my 21centuryedtech wiki for more information. It allows students to work in collaborative groups and rank items. They can then compare their rankings with others and the class average through teacher made accounts. In this process they also share information and reasoning with the teacher. The results could be shared through a Power Point presentation and a visual ranking of the data could be displayed using Excel. How about a video conference or online chat to compare with experts in the community? Most schools have the technology, connection, and software to make this Old Lesson transform to a 21st Century experience. Remember that Open Office can even serve as a no cost alternative to Microsoft Office.
It is time for educators to explore new possibilities by transforming what has always worked. Do not wait for a new purchase in order to engage students in 21st Century Learning. You already have what it takes to transform the educational jukebox into an iPod. The result will be educational experiences that are more productive, efficient, connected, authentic, and engaging to the digital generation. It will facilitate important 21st century skills that are essential to our students’ future.

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A Blog Devoted To 21st Century Ed Technology On The Cheap!

michael-gorman

Hello, my name is Michael Gorman. I have been teaching over 31 years while spending the last 15 years integrating technology with the core standards. I have also presented at various national conferences including NECC, NMSA, BLC 09, and CELL. Welcome to a Blog devoted to free and inexpensive educational activities. I even plan to throw in my two bits, play on words, as I find resources and ideas that can be used as tools to transform the educational experience while promoting 21st century skills, project based learning, and NETS standards. I maintain a wiki devoted to 21st century education (21centuryedtech). Please feel free to visit. This blog will be a companion site and serve as avenue to informally share as I come across transformational ideas in a timely manner. Remember the emphasis is on the cheap, although I guarantee the ideas, reflections, and results will be rich! Thanks for joining me on a journey devoted to student engagement and learning!

Link – Visit my Wiki at 21centuryteched for in depth ideas, handouts, documents, and links

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