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Imagine It! Power In Action… Big Ideas For 21st Century Education!

 

I have an inspiring and motivational site to share with you this week. I’m typing as I sit in the  lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Austin, Texas. While I am a far from home Hoosier attending this year’s TCEA conference, I am filled with excitement and a sense of assurance that I will bring to my home state, my PLN, and my blog readers something new. The site I share this week is appropriately called “Imagine It”.  As always follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans) and you are always welcome to visit my 21st centuryedtech Wiki! Through out the week I will be sharing thoughts, ideas, and dreams, from Texas, until then, take a moment to “Imagine It” – Mike

The people at Imagine It have the  awesome mission to inspire people to imagine the world a better place and then get involved to solve global challenges. I see it as a wonderful tool for teachers to help develop twenty-first century skills and implement project based learning in the classroom. Imagine It also holds a lot of potentional for inspirational professional development for educators!   Imagine It  makes such opportunities possible by providing production of multi-platform media content, including documentary series,  film shorts and video clips  to help teachers and students Imagine It!  Such titles as  Global Challenges Need to be Solved , The Need for Innovation is Now,  There’s Power in Big Ideas in Action,  and To Remind You that One Person (that would be you) Can Make a Difference are thought provoking and motivational. I was inspired by the numerous video clips in both of the Post It Challenges. Titles such as Creativity, Change Makers, Connectivity, and Collaboration are perfect for opening up conversations that encourage Twenty-First Century learning.  Listen to experts from the current news page  such as Calestous Juma, Professor – Harvard University, speak about the important role of teachers, Sally Ride,  physicist, astronaut (first American woman in space), with remarks on inspiring students with science, and Gary Stager, Educator & Collaborator at MIT Lab Future of Learning, discussing his hopes for schools of the future. These are just three of the nearly twenty expert presentations you will encounter on  the current news page, also including Chris Wink, co-founder of Blue Man Group, with thoughts on creativity in education.

If you don’t believe watching  is enough, there is a way to get students involved interactively.  How about an introduction to the  online collaborative media console?  This  is really a media editor and tool set that gives  the power to create mixed and mashed-up media.  This tool is an open source application based on the Imagine It  project media library. It  includes pre-mixed video modules, online video editor, remix console and media uploader. Students around the world can create their own video using Imagine It  videos, b-roll, music and graphics along with original videos, interview clips, music and graphics. Take the time to facilitate a mix, match and mash-up a video and see if a student produced video gets distributed on top websites, television or included in the next film Imagine It!³,  the story of unleashing human potential to solve global challenges.

As you visit the site take a look at all of those involved including  an extensive list of organizations, educational institutions, people, and countries. While on that page be sure to click on the things people are saying about Imagine It.  There is also a download page that provides  access to many of the freely available open source materials. Also, review the upcoming calendar of events including the Sundance Festival, National Engineers Week, National Science Teachers’ Association, School Library Month, Project Lead The Way, Teacher Appreciation Week, and National Teacher Day. For a short introduction to the Imagine It Project  take a look at these three short video; START: Join The ConversationImagine It… What Is It?,  and a very short video entitled The New Generation. Take the time to visit this amazing site, incorprate it into the classroom,  and integrate it in educational  professional development. It will allow all educators to creatively infuse those 21st Century Skills and give students, teachers, and administrators the opportunity to Imagine It!

Thanks for taking the time to look over this post based on reflection and inspiration. As always follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans) and you are always welcome to visit my 21st centuryedtech Wiki!  Through out the week I will be sharing thoughts, ideas, and dreams, from Texas, until then, take a moment to “Imagine It” – Mike

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The K12 Online Conference – More Then Two Weeks Of Free PD – You Set The Pace!

The K12 Online Conference , with this years theme “Bridging the Divide” is an exciting way to network and facilitate your own professional development.  The conference is free and  includes the weeks of, December 7-11 and December 14-17,  encompassing over fifty presentations. This is a conference  filled with innovative ways  to use Web 2.0 , reflect on best practices, and  learn about technologies that can be used to facilitate 21st century learning. Events and their  scheduled times  are posted ,and as an added extra, they all remain on-line to serve as an archive. In fact, an archives’ page  serves as an outstanding  permanent resouce and  includes over 122 presentations from 20082007, and 2006 . Check out and join  the conference Ning to interact, and read the  conference blog  for good information. The conference wiki is a great place to get started. All of these serve as a place to  view, download, and discuss ideas from the conference. There are  also three live events presented as  “Fireside Chats” and they  are listed on the events page of the conference Ning and Facebook fan page. Live events will  even continue in 2010 through twice-monthly “K-12 Online Echo” webcasts on EdTechTalk. You can also follow the K12 Online Conference on Twitter and Facebook!  There is a great first timers page that provides some helpful information on how to get the most out of this conference. For those interested in PD credit , there is a page  that can give you more information. You can even make  one or more of the presentations a school professional development event. Get together with colleagues to view the conference sessions and discuss.  There is sure to be a session that fits your  interests and school ‘s goals. Remember, the conference and all past conferences  are mostly asynchronous (not happening in real time), so you can catch up with the conference at anytime using the archives. I have included a link to different PDF files that can be printed or emailed (select the one for your time zone). Make sure you check this out and I hope to see you on the Ning! – Mike

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Empathy, Awareness, Creativity are the Goal…Technology is the Tool – Reflections on NMSA09

classroom

Please take a moment to enjoy this thought provoking reflection on the role of technology in education. This article contains my thoughts on the National Middle School Conference 2009 and its potential impact on 21st century learning and technology. It covers some of the featured speakers along with thoughts,  links, and videos to allow you to investigate.  I guarantee you there are priceless links in this posting!

I also want to recognize Mr. Alan Summers and his complete conference team from the NMSA for what will be remembered as an outstanding conference. The Indiana contribution from IMLEA was also evident along with the constant enthusiasm at their welcome area!

I also want to thank all of you for visiting this site and helping it grow. The wiki/blog have attracted close to 6000 unique visitors in about three short months of existence. It has now reached all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 47 foreign countries. Your thoughts, reflections, emails, and invites to the network are so appreciated. Please visit the companion 21centuryedtech wiki for even more resources – Mike

A conference is always what you make of it. Since I am an avid technology conference attender, I decided to check out the technology message at the NMSA09 Conference in Indianapolis. I did not even have to attend a session to get my first taste. After strolling through the vendor area I found the 21 st Century Classroom filled with modern technology along with real teachers and students conducting lessons. Imagine not just lecturing about educational transformation, but creating the real experience for all to see. It is awesome to see that NMSA  takes the time to model what it also advocates.

The NMSA09 Conference had close to 500 sessions with featured keynote speakers of national prominence accounting for many of these. The featured speakers and keynotes I  attended  included Will Daggett, Daniel Pink, and Alan November. As I listened to the three it was evident that the common theme appeared to be empathy, awareness, and creativity was needed for real transformation to happen.

Will Daggett opened with a reminder fto teachers that they really are part of the best educational system in the world. After all, the United States is one of the few countries that attempts to educate all children.  United States schools are involved in a constant battle between excellence and equity. This is a difficult line to walk, but one the United States must continue to engage in.  His constant theme revolved around the idea “Relevance makes Rigor Possible”, a phrase he coined. Daggett then emphasized that U.S. students need to be made aware of the social/economic change happening in the global community. He stressed this need for awareness as he emphasized that today’s students are in a battle for future jobs, and they do not even know it, because no one is teaching them.  The new technology he demonstrated was awesome including both the siftable chip, a new technology manipulative, and SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) which allows for even more computing portability due to a virtual keyboard and a virtual monitor that are both beamed using laser technology. In fact, I did some research and found there is already a portable video projector for the iPhone. Be sure to also check out this virtual laser keyboard!   Daggett then listed five concepts in learning which included: knowledge of one discipline, application of one discipline, application across disciplines, application to real world predictable situations, and  application to real world unpredictable situations. He maintained that schools spend a lot of time on the first and second and very little time on the last three. It was the first time  I realized that the very last step really identifies the difference between project based learning and problem based learning. My mind wandered to this year’s Future City problem. Students are to build short term housing that is sustainable and green for displaced people after an emergency sometime in the extended future. Wow, talk about a problem that is so difficult to answer, nothing is correct, and the possibilities are endless. Parts of the question even contradict each other from an engineering standpoint. Sounds like Daggett’s “applications to real world unpredictable situations” is being practiced in some arenas of education. This leads us perfectly into Daniel Pink’s keynote.

Daniel Pink, the author of  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, described the increasing  role of right-brain thinking in the new  economies and describes the skills  individuals and organizations must possess in this outsourced, automated age. Using brain research, Pink advocates that left brain (orderly, logical, and linear) thinking, while still important, is no longer adequate to survive in the 21st Century global economy. He attributes this theory to the role Asia now plays in the global economy with automation being software driven, and abundance of material in the market place. In essence, routine work is disappearing! Pink advocates that educators prepare kids for their future (right brain), not our past (left brain).He suggests including skills in our curriculum that cannot be outsourcedor automated. He includes such abilities as design, story telling, symphony (ability to see big picture), empathy, play, and meaning. One example used was Google’s idea to allow its employees 20% percent job time for self direction. From this effort, such big projects as G-Mail, and Google News have evolved. Finally, Pink suggested some ideas he feels educators should reflect and implement. Number one, explore the new metrics. IQ only accounts for 20% of success. We need to make sure we are measuring the right things. The next concept involves “getting real about STEM. Pink stressed that STEM must include the Arts because students must be taught to see. Engineering firms want people who have passion, are willing to be  life-long learners, are systems thinkers,  have multicultural values, and can understand interdisciplinary context. The third suggestion is to rethink motivation and look at intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. The fourth idea really caught my attention as Pink suggested moving problem solving out of the terrarium and putting it in the forest. He described the terrarium as an environment  that is much too clean, organized, and not real world. Problems should involve clarification, identification, multi-disciplines, several answers, non-perfection, exploration, challenge, and relevancy. Last, Pink suggests that artistic educational programs must be facilitated, encouraged, and practiced across the curriculum. China has an emphasis that states “Creative Arts are not a frivolous luxury“.  I am anxious to bring the arts concept into my next STEM presentation! Have a little fun fooling your left brain by having your right brain look at this Fedex logo in a different and unique way.

Different and unique  is a great way to describe Alan November. I had the honor to introduce this master of storytelling and thought provoking educational reformer. November emphasized that it is not the technology that will make the change happen, even asking participants to cross it off the program title. He stressed that kids need to be able to learn and use tools at school that are  available in their homes. Education must understand that blocking certain websites is actually contributing to a lack of student awareness of proper and valuable web usage. It is important that the skills we teach today outlast technology change. November emphasized student creativity  as he made the audience aware of Jing and Math Train TV. He also demonstrated a math search engine entitled Wolfram|Alpha. Enter your question or calculation and Wolfram|Alpha uses its built-in algorithms and a growing collection of data to compute the answer. While some schools may want to block this because using it could be considered cheating, November suggests allowing students to use it so they instantly know if they are right or wrong in a computation. He then suggested that students create their own multimedia story to explain the process. He also shared an exciting video about sixth sense work using technology. You maybe interested in exploring information on Web Literacy located at November Learning. Located at this site is a great collection of resources to teach students about using the web to retrieve information. Students have a chance to learn there is really no Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and that Christopher Columbus was not born in Sydney in  Australia in 1951, even though it says so on the web! November also covered the Way Back Machine, and Easy Who Is, to further validate web resources. All of these resources are explained on November Learning. Alan November is truly one of our time’s great thinkers in education and I recommend attending his BLC10 conference in Boston this summer. I have had  the honor to both present and attend. It is a truly an amazing conference that will give you plenty of opportunity to reflect and acquire resources. Perhaps November’s most intruiging statement was that employers are seeking the skill of empathy as they hire. It would be interesting to see who has that concept in their standards beyond definition and  vocabulary!

I did have a chance to attend some other sessions that were truly outstanding. Jim Wenzlof presented a valuable session entitled Read It, Write It, Say It. He introduced innovative ways to use Diigo,  and Skype for teaching literacy. He suggested techniques to allow students to make movie trailers for books using Audacity, PhotoStory, and iMovie.  He also introduced the websites  Lit2Go, Itunes University, and the Story Starter. My favorite was a collaborative site called EtherPad. If you haven’t seen it give it a look! I also had a chance to see the state of Indiana’s new educational service presented by Gary Bates from the DOE called The Learning Connection. It is a service for Indiana educators interested in designing lessons, assessments aligned to standards, or wishing to collaborate and connect with other educators in the state of Indiana. Indiana educators, take the time to register now at The Learning Connection. I also had opportunity to talk with the people at both ePals and NSDL. These are two great organizations that understand 21st Century learning.  I plan to become  more familiar with both in the near future. I appreciated the time and energy both Dr.  Kimberly Lightle from NSDL and Victoria McEachern from ePals spent with me.

As I close I want to thank all those people who attended my session on 21st Century learning. It was my intention to deliver a dynamic presentation to you. I appreciate how nearly 90 people made room for everyone in a room designed for 50. I also hope that the many who could not get in will at least take advantage of the handout sheet left at the door. As promised, the Power Point will be available on the wiki under Presentations. Thank you for all of the kind comments and I hope all of you keep in touch.

Overall it was a truly amazing conference. I was only able to see it from my limited perspective but I can  tell you that it was one of the best I have ever attended. The goal is always to find at least one new idea and I surpassed that with an improved vision for transforming education in the 21st century. I am excited about NMSA10 in Baltimore as I  hope to learn  and contribute even more! Again, thank you to the great staff at both NMSA and IMLEA along with the countless volunteers and presenters. I feel it was a great “Welcome To The Future!” Please feel free to visit the 21st Century Ed Tech Wiki. Your comments, suggestions, and emails are always welcome! Keep up the great work at using technology to facilitate empathy, awareness, and  creativity! They just may be the most important unwritten standards.

-Mike

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Time For “Your Take” – An Interactive Site That Promotes “The Wisdom Of The Crowd”

yourtake2

Once in a while a truly unique site is created that promotes genuine 21st Century Skills using technology. A site that provides tools that  assist students in  reflecting, questioning, collaborating, thinking globally, gathering facts, analyzing, and seeking solutions is currently available for free!  Your Take demonstrates the true power found in a group working together.  Students must learn thos process if they are to successfully compete  in the global world of the 21st Century.  Your Take,  an effort made possible by the Tregoe Education Forum,  can be found at www.yourtake.org.  The site emphasizes that a real  key to success inside and outside the classroom is the ability to think critically and  go beyond grades.  The authors of this site have developed a unique tool called SCAN .  The SCAN program promotes an interactive and collaborative way for students to use technology to analyze and problem solve an issue. The letters in SCAN stand for:

S – Stop and think things through

C – Clarify the key issues

A – Ask yourself what’s most important

N – Now, what’s your next step

Lessons can be taught as an individual or group activity. Students use the web to follow these guidelines and reflect on various points of view. The end product is a group effort that can be used as a project, writing prompt, or presentation. A  video provided by Your Take gives a clear demonstration  of how this program works. The program has nearly one hundred pre-made lessons with prompts. I advise you to not stop there. Use lessons that you have used in the past and integrate them using this outstanding technology. Include standards found in your curriculum to better understand past issues in history, current topics of today, and future problems that will need solutions only found through the efforts of a group. An archived Webinar provides an even  more thorough examination of Your Take. It provides great information on the ways to set up this online collaborative environment in a safe and effective way. A list of sample of standards,  including 21st century technology standards can also be found on the Your Take Web Site.

As you become familiar with this amazing site please feel free to post ideas, plans, and thoughts you may have on using this tool in education. I also invite you to read a book entitled, The Wisdom of Crowds ,by James Surowiecki. It is a must read for twenty-first century educators as they affirm mission and vision for facilitating student growth in twenty-first century skills. After all, we are a crowd of educators  and together our collective wisdom has unlimited potential! Feel free to join the constantly growing crowd at my wiki entitled 21centuryedtech at www. 21centuryedtech.wikispaces.com . It really is time for you to become even more familiar with  Your Take!

Mike  (21centuryedtech)

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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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