Category Archives: PD

eTech Time

On Monday I will be attending the Ohio eTech conference. After attending, and presenting, at this conference for more than a decade, I sometimes wonder why I attend. Just like our schools, this conference looks almost exactly the same today as it did the first time I attended in the 90’s. The technology has improved, but the use of time and space are pretty much the same. Shouldn’t a technology conference that has the power to get thousands of Ohio’s educators in one place be a model of 21st century learning? Shouldn’t this conference look more like an edcamp than every conference held in the 20th century?

The question becomes, how do we get them to change it?

Till then, I am going to make eTech a little like edcamp myself. Instead of worrying about what session I am going to attend next, I am going to seek out who I can have a conversation with next. I hope to see some old friends to reconnect with and make some new ones. I look forward to learning something from the stories I hear.

Oh, I just remembered why I do attend. I get to share the stage with the best teacher I know, my wife.

Go, Edcamp Go

I just read a new post on the Edcamp Foundation website that:

Based on current known & planned events, by May of 2012, we estimate the total number of edcamps will be 92.

Think about this, there are 92 education un-conferences happening around the world being organized and ran by volunteers. What makes someone dedicate hours of their own time to creating one of these events?


When a person finds something they are passionate about, time disappears. They enter the state of flow. The people who run these events understand that changes need to be made to our education system. These changes cannot happen unless those who are doing the work have the opportunity to get together and figure out the best way to make the change happen.

While those who organize the events are the first line of change catalyst, those in attendance have the ability to turn a murmur into a shout. Those who show up on a Saturday morning to lead and join in on conversations are just as important. They are the people in the education community who are seeking the answers to how do we make it happen. Are you one of these people?

The message on the Edcamp Foundation website closed “go edcamp, GO!” My message is a little different, go to an edcamp, GO!

If you are in, or near Ohio we would love to see you at Edcamp Columbus on March 3rd.

10 Ways a Teacher can Improve

1. Be humble—No matter how good of a teacher you are, realize you can improve.

2. Read—This seems obvious, but how many of us say, “I want to read more, but I don’t have the time.” 10-15 minutes a day can make a difference.

3. Observe—Look at those around you. What are they doing that is different than you? Is it effective? Why? Why not?

4. Listen to your students. Are they engaged? If they aren’t engaged there is a problem.

5. Talk to everyone. Turn every conversation into a learning experience.

6. Explore—There is more knowledge out there than we can ever acquire. Pick a subject and become a sponge in the sea of information

7. Take a chance—You never know till you try. Many of the best learning experiences are our failures.

8. Reflect—why was a lesson good or bad? What did the students learn? Was that the intended outcome?

9. Do more of what they are bad at. Students don’t do well with self-direction. How do they get better? By doing more activities that build a student’s self-directedness.

10. Your turn_________________ fill in the blank with your reply.

Self-Directed Professional Development

I recently collected resources to help educators guide their own professional development. I would like to thank @web20classroom and @simplek12 on Twitter for sharing. Here is the list. Fell free to share and add to it. (Some of these are local opportunities here in central Ohio)

Conferences and Professional Development Opportunities 2009-2010

Educon 2.2

January 29-31, 2010

Philadelphia, PA

What is EduCon 2.2?

EduCon 2.2 is both a conversation and a conference.
And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

eTech Ohio Conference

February 1-3

Columbus, Oh

It is a dedicated time when Ohio educators, (teachers, faculty, librarians, instructional designers, administrators, students, technicians) network, listen and explore — then roll up our sleeves and learn! It is a dedicated time where we rub elbows with people like us; hear from international experts; recognize teaching excellence, scholarship, student accomplishments, and tech innovations. It is a dedicated time where all of us (from pre-school, elementary and secondary education, career centers, colleges, universities, and adult education) can tap into the best educational currents across the state and re-energize!
K-12 Online Conference

New sessions start Nov 30th


The K-12 Online Conference invites participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. This FREE conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone. The 2009 conference theme is “Bridging the Divide.”
Ohio Free Tech Conference 2010

  • Attain success; learn to seamlessly integrate technology into your curriculum. Explore best practice solutions from leaders in educational technology and experience the most valuable educational innovations.
  • Save time and engage students. Gain need-to-know knowledge on how effective use of technology translates into more meaningful teaching time. Impact student achievement through strategic implementation.
  • Discover how technology integration helps you go green.
Classroom 2.0 Webinars, the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education. We encourage you to sign up to participate in the great discussions here, to receive event notifications, and to find and connect with colleagues.

Classroom 2.0 is a free, community-supported network. We especially hope that those who are “beginners” will find this a supportive community and a comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog. If you feel that you are a beginner and want some extra help, please click here to join the Beginner Group as soon as you’ve registered.

Atomic Learning
Technology training that moves you from
“How do I do that?” to “How do I apply that?”
PBS Teacher line
PBS TeacherLine’s high quality, standards-based graduate-level courses offer teachers the professional development opportunities they need in an accessible online format that makes learning fun, flexible and collaborative. You can earn graduate credit, PDPs, or CEUs while gaining strategies and resources to bring directly to your classroom.
Simple K-12

Here at SimpleK12, we know how important technology education is, and we also know that there isn’t always enough edtech funding to get the training and assessments your students, teachers, and staff need.

That’s why we have FREE curriculum offers for your students, and professional development solutions for teachers and staff.

See below for our simple solutions. We offer every district a free simple solution for their student technology education and a free simple solution for teacher professional development.

North Carolina’s EBistro
eBistro is a professional development tool for educators in North Carolina that will help teachers feel more comfortable integrating technology into the curriculum. Participants are able to create a login, complete individual learning modules, and save their work in their own digital portfolio. Other areas of eBistro provide resources for grant writing and other items deemed important for teachers.
23 Things Project

Teachers, Administrators, School Leaders and others with a vested interest in education are quickly realizing that the face of education is changing. Students, begining in the lowest grade levels are coming to school as digital citizens, yet the system has been slow to adapt. The 23 Things Web 2.0 Project is designed to introduce you to the tools that can transform your classroom, school or district. Activities can be completed independently, as a small learning community or as a large staff.

See for yourself what the Web 2.0 buzz is all about. Aside from being highly interactive, accessible and collaborative-it’s a fun use of technology! Our experts will guide you through six different ways to incorporate Web 2.0 into your classroom. Prepare yourself to learn a lot and be entertained along the way. GO EXPLORE!
Online learning is a convenient way to gain valuable technology-based and content-based skills that is flexible and works with your schedule. It’s a great way to obtain graduate credit in an engaging multimedia environment.

Intimidated? Don’t be – we’re user-friendly! We have supportive and patient facilitators that work with you to ensure your success!


Face-to-Face Fridays (F2F) – These hands-on sessions are offered at North, Central and Southern locations from 10-3 and are limited to a maximum of ten participants.

Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC) Tuesdays – These one hour presentations are offered via video on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30. Each site may have as many participants as desired.

Online Classes (OLC) – Take an online course in your PJs! Courses are composed of four to five modules with lessons typically posted each Monday and due the following Sunday. You work at your own pace with guided instruction and assistance provided online by an ITSCO consultant. It’s that simple. All you need is a computer and Internet access!

Exemplary Answers

On October 19th I ran a professional development session showing exemplars of 21st Century Learning. Most exemplars of 21st century lessons are going to have a technology component to them. In order to field questions about the lessons and technologies, I had participants text me questions using poll everywhere. Here are the questions I didn’t get to answer during the session and my answers to them:

What would b easier 2 manage – a wiki or moodle?

It depends on your goal. Moodle is a course management system. It does a lot more then a wiki can. A wiki is a website that is easily edited by many users. My suggestion is to discuss this question with an Integration Coach.

Could we see rubrics from teachers in the district?

We will be working on gathering and creating rubrics this year. The goal is to share them out with staff once they are gathered.

How time consuming is having a moodle with ur students? How do u manage?

If you manage it effectively, it will take you no more time that you are currently spending assessing your students. Anytime you do something new to accomplish a curricular goal, you should let something go. When you start using Moodle begin small. Ex. Replace a traditional formative open ended short answer writing with a forum in Moodle. You now have a rich discussion instead of an individual writing what they think the teacher wants to hear.

Have you seen teachers use this in class?

I have used every one of these items in class myself and endorse them all as powerful tools for student learning.

do u need to download voice thread? Could u share how to add it to Moodle?

Voicethread is a web based tool, No download is needed. I do not have a quick tutorial on how to embed Voicethread in Moodle. I will look for one.

do u think having the kids maintain a wiki with newsletter info would work?

That is a great idea for how to use a wiki!

pros / cons of using a wiki within moodle?

Pro: Inside moodle with all of your other course assignments, easy to manage groups of students and permissions.

Cons: Not as graphically pleasing as pbworks or wikispaces, only visable to students in your class (this could be a pro depending on the purpose)

can you use moodle for peer editing?

You sure can, here is an example of how one teacher used it for peer evaluation. Contact a coach and we can show you how to use it for peer editing.

can you show me how to have my students text me questions?

The website is I would be more than happy to give a quick overview of how to use it.

My question to leave this post, based upon this event, do cell phones have a place in school?

I Don't have Time for That

About a week ago I asked my PLN on Twitter, “When a teacher says ‘I don’t have time for that’ do they mean, I don’t know how & I’m not willing to take the time to learn.” I will start by saying this is not my opinion, I was trying to start a discussion.

There was a great amount of wisdom in the responses.

@futureofedu It might just mean “I’m scared to try that!” from @kellyhines

I agree, many want to jump in, they are just scared of the water. In my district, there is me and the others in our educational technology department there to be their life jackets. Still, not all people are jumpping in.

@futureofedu means teacher doesn’t know how said thing fits w/curriculum therefore said thing is perceived as added on to curriculum. from @nancydevine

We must stress that it isn’t one more thing. When we talk about embedding technology and 21st century skills, it happens with the teaching of content, not separately.

@futureofedu Probably more like: “I’m being pulled in too many directions with stuff I already know to take on something else.” from @nlowell

@futureofedu Yes and no-My current workload exceeds my contractual liability.Should I feel pressured into even more with no allowance – no? from @sdisbury

@zemote @futureofedu re: teachers/time – I don’t even have time to do the things I know how to do and I desperately want to do. from @teacherc

Dear adminstrtors, please make time in your teachers schedule for them to learn and grow. Hire people in your district that can support this professional learning.

Dear Politician, Find a way for the above statement to be financially feasible for ALL schools.

Teachers need to shift their practices to embed 21st century skills and technology. This should not be an option. The problem is the lack of understanding and funding for this shift to happen at the speed it should be.  The question I am left to ponder, what do we do to change this?

eTech09 Reflection Part 1

I am very fortunate to have one of the largest technology conferences in the US only 15 minutes from my front door. The unfortunate part is the lack of technology available at this conference. We have some of the best minds in the country keynote every year. This year Wes Fryer was the opening keynote speaker. He brought a great message of bringing change into the educational world. With thousands of educators in the audience he tweeted a message that he was going to have a back channel open using chazzy. As the introductions were made, he chatted with those of use that were in the chat room. WOW, chatting with the keynote speaker 2 minutes before he walked on stage, this is cool use of technology. This could have been a powerful conversation, but!

There is no wireless Internet at this conference. Ok, there is a coffee shop with one small hotspot. The only people in this conversation were those of us with smart phones (as if I needed a reason to love my iPhone, it gave me another). What about all the people in the audience who could have benefited from the conversation?

So what does this mean? Every negative has a lesson. The lessons I learned are:
•    Make sure you have the connectivity to support your audience. In schools, the wires, servers and other network hardware are more important than the computers. Feed your funds into the backbone of your network!
•    It is productive to have a digital background conversation during a lecture. I was engaged in the lecture (which is what a keynote really is). Our students can text, chat, IM during class and be productive. There need to be rules and guidelines though. I need to ponder this one a bit more.
•    Even the tech people evolve. A year ago I would have never said “let them use their cell phones I class.” This showed me as a learner how it can be done productively.

Those are lessons I have the ability to affect. One lesson I can’t affect is regarding eTech Ohio. I’ve been told for years about the dysfunction of eTech. This conference displays the dysfunction. Hopefully new leadership in the state of Ohio will bring new life to the governing body of technology in the state.

15 Minute Tech Training–Make your Computer Read to You

Every once in a while I put together short training. They are hands on, quick, easy learning events. Yesterday I did one on making your computer read a Microsoft Word document back to you.

Why would a teacher want to have a student do this? Here are few reasons:

  1. Find mistakes in their writing. I hate when my porpoise doesn’t have a purpose in my writing.
  2. Learn to edit…you write and make mistakes, let them listen and find the mistakes
  3. Share your ideas by adding a comment

Click here to learn

(This tutorial was made for Word 04′ on the mac. You can do this with other versions of Word, but the steps may be a little different.)


As I work toward the future (or catching teachers up to the present), I struggle with where to start. The day to day tasks of emails, meetings, etc… sometimes move my focus. I am now trying to refocus on the question, how do we get teachers into the 21st century. Some are already on their way. Those are the early adopters. Many are interested, they just don’t know what direction to take. Should I focus solely on these folks right now. There are enough of them to fill my days. The dilemma I run into is, what about the kids who don’t have these teachers? Is it fair? A student could luck out and get all the “21st century teachers” and live an engaged life. Another students could sit through 6 hours of lecture a day. The only engagement they would get would be lunch conversations.

My goal today is to figure out what the focus of my work is. Do I target groups? Do I fight the fight to change the entire system? Do I keep spending my time with the teachers who come to me (the good news is there are enough of these to fill the majority of my time)? Oh, my brain is already aching and I haven’t even started?