Social Networking from Faculty and Student Perspectives

Over the past two weeks arvind and I have discussed Social Networking on our webcast over at EdTechTalk.  The first show consisted of us discussing facebook social networks from the faculty perspective based on the Ohio Education Association’s recommendation that educators delete the social networking  accounts.  Here is the first show: 21st Century Learning #58: A Discussion of the Issues Surrounding Social Networking Between Faculty and Students

The second week we were excited to have four students join in the myspaceconversation.  They mostly agreed that it was a good idea to keep some separation between school and our personal lives but had some great insights into how these different media are merging — including the thought that teachers and students might be blackberry texting each other before long.  Here’s a link to the second show: 21st Century Learning #59: Students Discussing Social Networking between Faculty and Students.

I think that these two pieces are a good orientation to social networking for faculty and administrators around the world.  If you’re interested in this topic, you might also want to check out: EdTechTalk #80 with Tom Wood, cyber safety advocate

What do you think? What would you add or subtract?  What social networking resources do you use?


Collaboration Outside Your Classroom — Presentation Update

When I got to Baltimore to present at the AIMS conference, I realized that I had Internet access. I uploaded my slides to Google Presentations, did some editing and got going. Vinnie Vrotny and Patrick Higgings showed up for the presentation (huge thanks to the two of them). Alecia Berman-Dry was a wonderful host (she invited me to present at the conference and blogged about it here).

The audience did a great job keeping their attention during the last session of the day. After my presentation, we all discussed how we could bring collaborative technology to back to their schools and classrooms.

Here’s my updated Google Presentation
AIMS Slide

Also, I forgot to hand out my handouts. Here’s a link to the PDF handout.

As I tweaked the presentation on the train to Baltimore, I realized more and more that these projects are about the relationships. Lucy Gray spoke about it in our conversations, Vicki Davis discusses it when she speaks about the Flat Classroom project. It’s all about the connections we are making. And they are real, even though many are virtual.

I’m working on editing the video of the event and will post that shortly.

Comments appreciated. Thanks!

Circumventing the Great Firewall

This morning, I was at home with my daughter, Claire, who was sick.  I checked my  Twitter feed.  Jeff Utecht asked if someone could send him the K-12 Online Conference Presentations.  Apparently, they are blocked in China.  I direct Twittered him back telling him I could, and forgot about the interaction. 

A few minutes later, Jeff send me a Skype text message.  After a short im session, we decided that Jeff would create a ftp account on his server and I would upload the K-12 files for the next two weeks.  I had uploaded all of the files to Jeff’s server by 10:30 am EST — I believe that’s 12:30am in Jeff’s time zone in China.

What’s the point of this post? 

First of all, you can’t block everything, and in countries that allow Internet communications, there will always be a way to work around the filters.   Great as that is,  I was worried that the Chinese  government might find Jeff and shut down his server if I blogged about it.  I checked with Jeff and he reassured me that it would not be a problem. 

Second, is that always amazes me how small technology can make the world feel.  The fact that I was chatting with someone around the world was amazing. The fact that I was conscious of the differences in freedom between the US and China and was able to get feedback about the realities on the ground.  

Just one more story of how the web has brought us closer together.


With all of the conferences happening over the next few weeks (K12Online, AIMS, and NEIT2007, it’s kind of hard for me to think about January, but EduCon 2.0 coming fast.

EduCon 2.0 is being hosted by Chris Lehmann, Principal of Science Leadership Academy from January 25 – 27 in Philadelphia, PA.

Please take a Chris’: EduCon 2.0 — A Call for Conversations and the Conference Wiki.

This is going to be a great event.  Don’t miss it.

Frustration with Microsoft Word

We’ve been testing out DrupalEd for a faculty collaboration and sharing of information this fall, and it’s been flexible and worked like a charm after a normal CMS learning curve. 

So our faculty are submitting their summer professional development reports through a form.  The problem is that when faculty copy and paste from Word, even using the TinyMCE copy from word and code clean up buttons, it does not work so well.  Paragraphs are lost, hard returns are added. 

Trying to change the editor/word processor that people write in is so difficult.  I’m already asking faculty to change by publishing these reports on a web site versus just e-mailing them to our Academic Dean.  I don’t feel as though I have the option of adding steps such as saving the file as a txt file first.  This is supposed to be simplifying but is making   more work than it is worth.

Personally, I’ve started doing all of my writing in Notepad++ or Windows Live Writer because it is light and I find it so much faster than the either Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Write. 

I guess I could use recommend faculty use Wordpad, but it’s still asking folks to change from the editor that they are used to using.  Change is tough enough as it is, and I’m working hard to simplify this year.  Even as I try to simplify, I feel as though I keep piling up more directions in front of our faculty who are already busy and don’t need more administrative burden. 

What do you do?  Any suggestions on how to move faculty to a web based platform without all of the code issues easily?  How do we simplify in this time of ever expanding options? 

Thanks for any input.

Nomination for Technology & Learning Leader of the Year : Jeff Lebow

Recommendation for Jeff Lebow

I first met Jeff Lebow while listening to an EdTechTalk podcast that was published in the Winter of 2005. EdTechTalk and Worldbridges were foggy to me back then. I was not sure if it was a few or many people. A huge server farm or just a few.

After listening for a while, I realized that it was only Jeff and Dave Cormier supporting the servers, putting in the time, and creating content for EdTechTalk. Then Jeff offered something called Webcast Academy. A way for the average user to learn how to webcast — to participate and use the EdTechTalk servers to enhance the community that Jeff had created. I thought, “I would never be able to get into that class — There must be so many people signed up by now — and plus — I have three young children and can’t participate live.” I signed up anyway and started listening to the podcast recordings of their Webcast Academy sessions. After a few sessions, I actually learned how to webcast, found a co-host and started to do a weekly show with arvind grover, Director of Technology at Hewitt School.

Fourty episodes later, we’re still webcasting with the support of Jeff Lebow. I’ve never given Jeff a dime, and he has happily funded our servers and training by working at his day job over the past two years.

Watching EdTechTalk develop over the past two years has been amazing. We now have over 8 weekly webcasts and an environment that supports teachers integrating technology around the world.

With this type of influence, Jeff Lebow, deserves your award. As the world changes, alternative ways of professional development will become more and more common, and I believe that the professional learning community that Jeff Lebow has created is a powerful example of this new world of professional growth.

Thank you for your time.

Leadership and Technology – CASTLE…

A few weeks I wrote about school leaders needing to ‘get’ technology. Scott McLeod seems to be the epicenter of this movement. He is directly involved in UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) which,

“was created to help address the critical nationwide shortage of administrators who can effectively facilitate the implementation of technology in schools and school districts. CASTLE is widely recognized as the nation’s leading authority on the technology needs of K-12 school leaders.”

They go on to descripe,

“CASTLE’s School Technology Leadership graduate certificate program is the only academic curriculum in the country that comprehensively covers ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A). The graduate certificate program has been found by the American Institutes for Research to have positive, statistically significant impacts on participants’ school technology leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities and has been acclaimed for its innovative incorporation of technology into its coursework.”

CASTLE has also created LeaderTalk, a blog from School Administrators, for School Administrators. This has quickly become my must read of the day.

I want to personally thank Scott McLeod for all he has done to bring the relationship between technology and leadership to the forefront.

This seems to be the beginning of what I was looking for during my first post on leaders and technology.