Moving to my New Blog

Welcome to my new domain and blog! My new blog will focus on educational technology and hopefully be a treasure trove of resources, new tools and strategies for integrating technology into instruction. I tried a similar blogging venture last November but I don’t think I went about it correctly. This time I started a new blog on my own domain and believe this will be the best move for me personally and professionally. This is the last time I will ask my subscribers to move to a new blog that I started as I know it can be a hassle to change over RSS feeds to various RSS aggregators/ readers.

Since recuperating from back surgery, I will be online more and posting regularly to my blog about technology issues and tools, Classroom 2.0 LIVE, DEN or K12Online Conference events. Stay tuned for more details and I promise this change will be worth your while!

To ease any inconvenience for changing RSS feeds, I am going to offer all subscribers to the new blog an opportunity to win an Amazon gift card! No strings attached – just subscribe to the blog and leave a message in the comment section below this post. One random winner will be chosen on November 1, 2011 and notified via email so make sure you leave that information in your comment on the other blog. Thanks for making this move with me and be sure to click on the pink RSS feed icon or subscribe via email and good luck to you!

*Image: http://www.gettyicons.com/free-icon/156/3d-rss-icon-set/free-pink-rss-feed-icon-png/
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Why I Write – National Day on Writing – October 20, 2011

This coming Thursday, October 20, 2011 is National Day on Writing. The National Writing Project is encouraging everyone to participate in a variety of activities to support National Day on Writing.

The urge to write can be a mysterious calling. There are so many different ways to understand not only the why of writing, but what one gets out of it. To celebrate the National Day on Writing, the NWP has joined The New York Times Learning Network and Figment to collect the thoughts of people from all walks of life—scientists, reporters, poets, teachers, and students—to discover why they write.

The National Writing Project, along with the New York Times Learning Network and Figment, is celebrating the why of writing by collecting essays from people from all walks of life, interviewing authors, collecting student essays, spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter—and more—as one way to celebrate the National Day on Writing on October 20.

Ways to Participate

Submit student essays to Figment.com: Figment will be accepting submissions from September 28 through October 29. Since “Why I Write” is a celebration of writing, there are no prizes, but a curated anthology of selected submissions will be available as an e-book later this winter. Submit to Figment.

New York Times Learning Network: The New York Times Learning Network will present a series of interviews with reporters who cover a range of beats and explore their writing process. These interviews will serve as the basis for lesson plans, prompts for students, discussions, and inspiration. More ›

Edutopia: Edutopia will be celebrating “Why I Write” with a series of blogs by NWP writers. Each blog will then invite readers to share why they write with others in the Edutopia community. These conversations will take place on the Edutopia.org website and within our communities on Twitter and Facebook. More ›

NWP Radio: On October 20 at 7 p.m. EST, the National Writing Project will air a live radio show to celebrate the National Day on Writing with interviews with New York Times education reporter Fernanda Santos, New York Times Learning Network editor Katherine Schulten, Figment founder and New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, Figment teen writers, and NWP teacher and author Ashley Hope Perez, among others. More ›

Tweet #whyiwrite: Tweet why you write and include the hashtag #whyiwrite so that everyone can see the many reasons people write. More ›

Post on Facebook: We’d like everyone to post why they write on their Facebook pages on October 20 and encourage others to do so. Let’s create a national dialogue about writing! More ›

Making A Difference Through Conservation Student Webinar

Discovery Education is sponsoring another webinar for students with Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni on Wednesday, October 19th at 1:30pm ET. Content will focus on grades K-5 and feature information about survival needs for animals and plants, ecosystems and interdependence in habitats. An excerpt from the Discovery Education website follows:

Dave Salmoni, Animal Planet’s apex predator expert and host of a number of Animal Planet and Discovery Channel programs including Into the Pride and Into the Lions Den, will teach students about the relationship between animals, humans and the environment and how with their help in protecting the environment, we can ensure the well-being of our earth’s creatures. Students will also learn more about the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, a premier national sustainability challenge that empowers students in grades K-12 to develop and share environmental solutions that can help change the world. Students will feel inspired to make a difference.

To learn more about Dave Salmoni, click here.

The webinar will be about an hour in length.

Click here to REGISTER for this event. The webinar is free for anyone to attend and interact with Dave Salmoni. A downloadable lesson plan is available on the webinar announcement page here. You have to register at the site to download/view the lesson plan. Feel free to leave me a comment if you have trouble accessing the PDF lesson plan.

The K12 Online Conference Wants You!

I missed much of the initial planning for the 2011 K12 Online Conference due to my back surgery so I am playing catch up. This year’s FREE online conference will take place the weeks of November 28th and December 5th, 2011, with a pre-conference keynote on Monday, November 21st.

We are looking for participants to volunteer to assist with the conference as well submit a proposal to present a 20 minute pre-recorded video presentation that fits one of the four strands of the conference:

Strands are as follows:

Sandbox Play – Just as children need a sandbox to explore and playtime to learn together and try out new ideas, we as teachers need sandboxes to try new things, risk, and sometimes fail in safe and collegial spaces on the web. Presentations in this strand will be appropriate for beginners new to the use of technology in the classroom. Jose Rodriguez is the strand convener.

Story Time – Everyone loves story time. Presentations in this strand will focus less on communicating large amounts of information and more on sharing compelling stories about the effective uses of technology to increase student engagement, global collaboration, and improve learning. Darren Kuropatwa is the strand convener.

Team Captains – Playgrounds and schools need good leaders. Presentations in this strand will address key leadership issues for visionary school leaders. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members all play important leadership roles in the school community. Wesley Fryer is the strand convener.

Level Up – In games, players ‘level up’ or gain ‘experience points’ by completing quests, overcoming obstacles, and for successful role-playing. Those who have taken student learning to new levels of engagement with technology will share their expertise. Ginger Lewman is the strand convener.

Proposals are still being accepted and we hope that you respond to our 2011 call for proposals. Proposals will be accepted from every country and continent until October 17th so don’t delay and submit your presentation proposal today!

Our slate of keynote speakers is almost finalized and we will be announcing those individuals soon!

Please answer our 2011 call for volunteers to pitch in an assist with the conference! Remember to follow K-12 Online on Twitter (@k12online) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/k12online) to stay updated!

Please plan to join in our conference learning in late November and early December for “purposeful play!”

Be a Part of the 2011 K12 Online Conference – Purposeful Play

As one of the K12 Online Conference organizers, I am asking my PLN members to volunteer to assist the organizers and co-conveners and/or submit a proposal to present for the online conference. The conference co-conveners are as follows:

Wes Fryer – Team Captains
Jose Rodriguez – Sandbox Play
Darren Kuropatwa – Story Time
Ginger Lewman – Level Up

Sandbox Play – Just as children need a sandbox to explore and playtime to learn together and try out new ideas, we as teachers need sandboxes to try new things, risk, and sometimes fail in safe and collegial spaces on the web. Presentations in this strand will be appropriate for beginners new to the use of technology in the classroom. Jose Rodriguez is the strand convener.

Story Time – Everyone loves story time. Presentations in this strand will focus less on communicating large amounts of information and more on sharing compelling stories about the effective uses of technology to increase student engagement, global collaboration, and improve learning. Darren Kuropatwa is the strand convener.

Team Captains – Playgrounds and schools need good leaders. Presentations in this strand will address key leadership issues for visionary school leaders. Students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members all play important leadership roles in the school community. Wesley Fryer is the strand convener.

Level Up – In games, players ‘level up’ or gain ‘experience points’ by completing quests, overcoming obstacles, and for successful role-playing. Those who have taken student learning to new levels of engagement with technology will share their expertise. Ginger Lewman is the strand convener.

This year’s FREE online conference will take place the weeks of November 28th and December 5th, 2011, with a pre-conference keynote on Monday, November 21st.

The 2011 theme is, “Purposeful Play.” Educators and students worldwide are invited to respond to our 2011 call for proposals. Presenters create twenty minute, engaging video presentations shared during our two week conference. Please check out some of last year’s presentations. Not sure what the conference theme “Purposeful Play” includes? Bud Hunt provided a great description on his blog. “To play on purpose is to take risks.  To challenge what you know.  To ride the edge between what is and what might be, what never was and what should’ve been. How are you making time for play in your learning? And we mean “play” in the best sense of the word.  Fiddle.  Tinker.  Explore.  Discover.  Try.  Fail.  Reengage. “

The pre-conference keynote will be published on Monday, November 21st. Week 1 conference presentations (Story Time and Team Captains strands) will be published the week of November 28 – December 2. Week 2 conference presentations (Sandbox and Level Up) will be published the week of December 5 – 9.

Since the conference dates are later in the year, our proposal submission deadline has been extended to Monday, October 17th. Please consider submitting a proposal and encouraging others you know to submit proposals using our Google form. Full details about the conference (including strand descriptions) are available on our August Call for Proposals post. Selections will be announced October 28th.

Our slate of keynote speakers is almost finalized and we will be announcing those individuals soon!

Please answer our 2011 call for volunteers to pitch in an assist with the conference! Remember to follow K-12 Online on Twitter (@k12online) and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/k12online) to stay updated!

Please plan to join in our conference learning in late November and early December for “purposeful play!”

                                                     above except taken from K12 Online Conference blog

I’m Baaaaaack!

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers while I was recuperating from an extensive back surgery and hospital stay. As difficult as that was, I have slowly recovered and am in the process of being back online full time. I have slowly started posting to Twitter, Plurk and Facebook and engaging in conversations and webinars online again.

The time it took to recover to where I am able to sit up, read and post to the Web with moderate to little pain took much longer than expected. This was not expected and caused great frustration and anxiety for me. I received several messages on Twitter, Plurk and Facebook and everyone’s words of encouragement mean a great deal to me. Those words helped me push to where I could rejoin the online community once again.

Prior to my surgery at the end of August, I was dealing with other health issues. This complicated the recovery for my surgery and turned an expected maximum four day hospital stay into 11 days. Thank goodness for health insurance as there is no way we could pay back the $133,000 hospital bill.

If you emailed me or needed assistance the past several weeks, I apologize that I was not able to respond or assist you. Hopefully one of my colleagues assisted you and if not, feel free to email or send me a tweet/plurk/facebook message.

Anyway, I am back online and am anxious to get back into the groove of the online work that I was previously engaged in each day. I have greatly missed connecting and conversing with everyone and look forward to re-connecting with everyone in the near future. After an arduous journey, with a few setbacks along the way, I am excited and thrilled to say that I am officially back!

Discussing the Death of Osama bin Laden with Students

Having trouble knowing what to say or how much information is appropriate to share with students? Discovery Education is hosting a webinar to assist educators with this task. Students will view a presentation and have an opportunity to ask questions live of Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speech Writing.

There will be a live chat window for students to pose questions during the webinar. If you find the task of sharing information regarding the death of Osama bin Laden, I encourage you to participate in this webinar and give students the opportunity to discuss this historic event. Students may have difficulty understanding why Americans are happy that some one has been killed and you may feel uncomfortable determining how much information to disseminate with your students. Attend this webinar and let it serve as a guide on how much your might want to consider sharing with your students.

This special webinar is schedule for Thursday, May 5th at 1pm EST. Teachers can register their class here: http://whitehousediscussion.eventbrite.com/. The session will be recorded in case you are unable to attend the live webinar. Individual students do not need to register – one registration per class is sufficient.