Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I am "decompressing" from my classes at UNI. Having gotten back into my routine at home, and training (kind of) for RAGBRAI and a team tri later this summer, I have had some time to reflect on my learnings at UNI with my cohorts.
First, I need to wholeheartedly agree with one professor, Joe Marchesani, who said "There is nothing like face-to-face contact when it come to learning." At first when we started this "distance learning cohort", I thought, "yes, this will be ok." However, having been with classmates, and then looking back at the "chatting" and "adobe connect", there is no comparison.
We had to deal with lag time, not being able to "see" or "read" body language or "hear" sarcasm in people's voices....there's got to be a better way, especially when people are grouped and then need to communicate with each other for weeks while they planned projects....
I am missing my new friends/ classmates and am hoping we will continue to "communicate" throughout this school year to find out if the projects we made, were able to be put to use, hear about the feedback, and learn from it.
For now

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So Much To Do.....

After we skyped with Julie Lindsay today, one of the co-founders of the Flat Classroom Project, I began to thing about what I want to try to do for my little school located in small town rural Iowa. Thoughts kept popping up that some of these kids will NEVER even go to Adventureland in Des Moines, let alone out of the state. I began to think that EVERY chance I get to expose them to different cultures, places, people is an opportunity to change their life and possibly our future. That said, I have begun a "bucket list" to send to my principal: Pennies For Peace, Global SchoolNet, Around The World With 80 Schools, My Hero , The Global Education Collaborative and I'm sure there are many many more that I have not yet heard about!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Work and No Play.....

OK, So it may "look" like we are not working...
but, we took a second and posed for a photo "op."
We were all blogging for our homework that is due today at midnight. We are multi-tasking, if I can quote Carrie Jacobs, "We can drink and blog at the same time." Learning so much Dr. Z, I am blown away. ;)
photos courtesy of Lisa Schaa

Second Life

"Played" with Second Life yesterday and am not quite sure if it is something I would use with Elementary students...though I'm told in Sarah Sighs she did some research on "virtual worlds" and am hopeful I will discover an application that I can take back to my school.
After all, I am "all about" any tech that will dovetail effortlessly into my classrooms back at Stratford. I WILL say- that I am learning so much in this class, and am SOOO excited for every new day! ;)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm in Cedar Falls, Iowa at UNI for the Masters program in Instructional Technology, and IRONICALLY
I had no access to the INTERNET!!
Our professor, Dr. Z wanted us to blog about the class last night, so I will quickly say (we are 5 minutes to class time) it was a great first day, my head is rotating at about 265 m.p.h., but it is great because it is relevant to my job!!!!!! Go time!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Whew! They'll Still Need Us!

After Reading, "Power of Social Interaction Technologies in Teacher Education" today, I am relieved to know that teachers are not going to become extinct as Chelsey worried about in her latest blog, Will computers ever replace teachers???
They talk about some of the challenges in integrating technology are: participation gap (access to the technology), transparency problem ( students need guidance in reflections), and the ethics challenge (students will need help developing ethical norms to cope with online environments.)
Another issue that was raised in the article was keeping up with the ever changing technologies, which is a legit concern for me as well. "Reingold (2008) claims, "Just because they're digital natives on Facebook and chat online during class and send text messages with one hand, does not mean that young people are acquainted with the rhetoric of blogging, understand the way wikis can be used collaboratively, or know the techniques necessary for vetting the validity of information discovered online." WHEWWW! We're safe!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Using Social Media to "sell" our school!

Our school is located in a the center of Iowa, in a small town called Stratford. We, along with most other rural Iowa schools, are seeing a continuation of declining enrollment. With the advent of Open Enrollment, every student in the state of Iowa is "fair game."
While at a graduation reception a week ago, I spoke with a young mother who lives in a neighboring school district. She "checked" out the pre-school in her school district, and our school district. She decided it was worth the drive to bring her child to our pre-school as we are very progressive with the use of Smart Boards, project based-learning, etc.
I asked her if I wanted to communicate to other young mothers about our fabulous school, how I would do it....I asked, "do you take a newspaper?" "No," she said. "Do you listen to the radio?" "No," she replied.
"Do you watch commercials on TV?" "No, I DVR my shows," She said.
I asked, "How am I supposed to tell others about our wonderful gem of a school?"
"Put it on Facebook!" was her reply. A lightbulb went off in my head, (albeit a dim one.)
After selling it/talking it over with my Supt., & after about 2 hours of adding text, photos and soon-to-be-added videos, showing how progressive we are, our school, located in small town Iowa, is on Facebook! Hoping it will "go viral" and we have to build another school to accommodate all the new students, and the town will be struggling to find housing for all the new families, I have finally found a positive use for FACEBOOK!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"What Works in Education"- they're preaching to the choir!

Had to use this cartoon I found....
Watched the video on Edutopia, Transformed by Technology: High Tech High Overview | Edutopia and heard a few great quotes I gotta share! (my poor teachers at my school are going to hate me before this is over!)
At this school "thoughtfully applied technology is transforming public education." Thoughtfully applied......

"Assessment is not an endpoint, it is ongoing, moment to moment, teachers are constantly checking for understanding, asking them to describe what they are working on, what they've discovered, what their plan is for the next day. Assessemnt is folded in." Folded in..........

There are no finals here. Instead they do POL's: Presentation of Learning, where they stand up in front of the class & teachers, using a presentation tool, describing what they learned, how it can be applied to the real world, how they've developed their critical thinking, etc. No finals...........