Saturday, January 30, 2010

Networking for Professional Learning

For the current course I'm taking in my master's degree, we were given an assignment to investigate two educational networks on the Internet and describe how joining them might impact our professional practice. Our final product was to be in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

I thought folks might benefit from seeing the final product. It might give you incentive to investigate the joining of professional networks or just give you another way to tell your colleagues of their possible benefits.

We were sent to this list of educational networks to pick our two groups to investigate. It's in a wiki format; I actually added The Educators' PLN, corrected a listing for TCEA's Ning, and added a listing for the TCEA Annual Convention and Expostion while I was there.

If you are looking for a group of similar professionals to join and learn from and with, you might want to check the list out. Also add other quality networks you know of if they aren't already listed there.

I decided to investigate networks I had not previously joined. You can learn about them in the presentation below. Please let me know if you find this beneficial or useful!
Disclaimer: Presentation was not made orally; it was uploaded for grading because I am getting my degree via distance education. I would not normally put this much text on PowerPoint slides!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Need Advice for Starting a K-12 iPod/MP3/Podcasting Initiative

Thank you for visiting this post! I appreciate your willingness to share ideas on starting an iPod/Podcasting/MP3 Initiative for a K-12 school district.

I've been asked to look into helping some of the leadership in my school district learn about MP3 players and subscribing to podcasts. Since our K-12 school district has not dipped its toes into administrative or instructional use of MP3 players yet, this initiative, should it go forward, will be setting some precedents. So, being mostly a novice in the MP3 player world myself, I hope to draw on the experience of those of you who are already using these technologies in K-12 so I'm not flying blind as I do my research. I have an iPod touch but use it mostly to listen to music and an occasional podcast.

Here are some questions I'd love to get some feedback on. If you leave a comment, don't feel like you have to answer all of them. Answer any that you feel you have experience to give input on.
  1. Do you have experience with using iPods or other MP3 players with adminsitrators, teachers, or K-12 students? Please elaborate on your experience if you do!
  2. What model of MP3 player did/does your organization use? Why did you choose that one over any others?
  3. For what purpose are/were the MP3 players primarily used in your organization?
  4. What software do/did you use with your MP3 players? Why?
  5. In our district, we have encountered issues with using iTunes, because it requires adminsitrative access to the computer to update the software. Has your organization had similar issues? If so, how did they choose to deal with them?
  6. Please leave links to any quality resources you know of which address using MP3 players and podcasts with K-12 administrators, teachers, and students.
  7. I'd also appreciate a way to get in contact with you if your comments lead to more questions. If you can leave your Twitter handle in your comment, I'd really appreciate it.
Thank you again for visiting this post, and an extra-special thank you to you if you leave a comment! :-D

Disclaimer for readers who may work with me: This is super preliminary. I'm doing some preliminary research and will let you know in real life if/when this takes off. ;-)

Photo in blog post from used under a Creative Comments license agreement.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ed Tech and Info Tech Doesn't Have to Be "Us vs. Them"

Yesterday, @socratech, one of the people in my Twitter network, posted to his blog some interesting thoughts on the experience/skill set the leader of a school technology department should have. Since then, a robust stream of comments has popped up on his blog, and I have taken part in the conversation. Because this is a subject I have some definite opinions on, I wanted to give a shout-out to the post and its comments here on my blog.

Coincidentally, today another member of my Twitter network, @hdiblasi, posted a link to ideas for aligning instructional technology and information technology. I thought the information there complimented the conversation going on at the Socratech Seminars blog.

In the end, if info tech and ed tech are constantly battling in a school/district/organization, then the team has lost sight of the ultimate goal, which is to support teaching and learning. I think the ideas in the resources above can provide guidance that will help organizations who have lost their way refocus and work as a cooperative team for the benefit of their customers - teachers and students.