Thursday, May 17, 2012

I attended my first AEL Quarterly Meeting today.  I attended both the morning and afternoon sessions.  Wow, there are a lot of great things happening at Adobe!  I can already tell that I really like this company.  They seem to really listen to their AEL's and also seem to be appreciative of them.  It also sounds like they are really trying to empower students to be creative and innovative using their software. Attending this meeting got me very excited to go to the AEL Summer Institute at Adobe.  Many of the people that attended the webinar today will be there.  I recognize so many of the names from just working in the field.  It will be great to put a face with all the names.

I was planning on attending Adobe MAX this year.  I did find out the dates have been changed, which is actually better for me.  The Adobe MAX conference will be held in May, 2013.  I plan on attending this next year, maybe instead of ISTE.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finished my day with a Google Apps meeting.  It was a face-to-face meeting or a GoToMeeting.  I decided to go home and "go to the meeting" virtually from the comfort of my home.  I really think this is where you will see more and more businesses and education do more of.  It was nice to kick off my shoes, put up my feet and grab a nice cold glass of ice water while sitting in air conditioning on a day when it is probably 87 degrees outside, to attend a school meeting. I was a little concerned that it was going to be like the same meetings have have gone to (regarding the same subject) for the last two years and still not have a plan of action.  When the meeting ended, almost two hours later, we had a plan.  Finally, I have to say I have seen this vision for the last two years and it has been a painful process to go through the "politics" of getting it done.  Today I feel like we made some progress that will result in action.  We had a conference call with the Billings, Montana, school district and they explained the process that they went through to switch to Google Apps for Education.  We left it that the administrators would get together to decide on domain names and the tech administrator would look at getting it set up and let myself and a couple of other teachers know when it is set up to test.

We are going to be able to test it this Fall.  I am really looking forward to this.  Students are currently using gmail and Google docs in my classes and I can really see the power of this. Hope to have a report soon of the test site.

Had my AEL (Adobe Education Leader) orientation meeting.  The lady running me through the orientation, Daniela, was great!  She helped me with all of the steps I needed to do in order to set up my Adobe Air application, AEC (Adobe Education Community).  Lots to learn and I am really looking forward to it!
Note: Above logo created by one of my Graphic Design students, Rebecca Norman.

 The third graders came over to my room today to collaborate with the high school students.  Students shared the research that they found over the last couple of weeks. This was a great opportunity for real sharing and collaboration to take place.  The students documented their research using Google Docs and began to think of the story that they want to tell about their subject. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wow, got to participate in the NPR Storycorps program.  What an awesome program.  This program gives people of all backgrounds and beliefs to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives.  These stories are archived at the Library of Congress. I got to have about a 25 minute conversion with the teacher that I am working on the When Missoula was Young project with.  This was actually a very wonderful experience.  Margaret Petty and I actually go way back.  My daughter had her as a teacher in first grade.  She was my daughter's favorite all time teacher.  In fact when I told my daughter I was doing a project with Mrs. Manning (Petty), she told me that she still uses Margaret's name in many of her passwords - because she was her favorite teacher.  I think this program is really wonderful and wish people were doing this back in the 1800's!  It should would have helped our project.

Local story coverage.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MSLAedu & TEDxMCPSTeachers

Today was a long day.  Not that most days aren't long, but this one was exceptionally long.  It was also very rewarding and exciting to see Missoula teachers participate in the first ever Missoula TEDx program.  This was the second Montana TEDx program in the State.  Bozeman held the first.

Note:  Above logo created by one of my Graphic Design students, Rebecca Norman.

The morning started off with the MSLAedu event. This program included speakers from The University of Montana, Missoula County Public Schools and the greater Missoula community.  They worked together to cultivate imagination and innovation among teachers and students in classrooms from preschool to graduate school.

This was a unique four-hour conference that highlighted the innovative programs and projects that represented collaborations between UM and MCPS.  These programs and projects demonstrated elements of both the University of Montana's Global Leadership Initiative  and Missoula County Public Schools' 21st Century Model of Change.  This conference showcased educational innovators from both institutes who are collaborating on exciting projects to engage students of all ages and produce graduates with imagination, creative capacity, and innovative potential.

I was a speaker at the conference.  The topic was When Missoula was Young, Engaging Students in the Living History of their Community -  A Flat Classroom® Approach

Sentinel High School students and Lewis and Clark third graders are collaborating on a cross-curricular,  innovative project that flattens and expands the classroom walls to include our greater community.  Students are investigating life in Missoula in its birth year of 1883 when the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived in Missoula to transform it from a frontier village to a bustling center of commerce.  Thinking as detectives, journalists, folklorists, and historians, students search for clues to reconstruct life in early Missoula through the eyes of children living at that time.   Students will share their learning through digital stories that will contribute to the historic record of our community. This project has the critical attributes of 21st century curriculum in that it is technology-rich, project-based, and research-driven.   It integrates many of the skills that students will need to be successful in both school and career: connection, communication, collaboration, and creativity as well as higher-order thinking skills and problem solving.

To view a video that was taken at the conference by two students in a Cell Phone Cinema class at the University of Montana captured footage using iPhone 4S devices entirely:  Cell Phone Video.

It was a great conference in that it was nice to network with University professors and the community and have an opportunity to not only talk about your own project, but hear about the other great projects happening in local education.

The TEDxMCPSTeachers program was also about four hours in the evening.  I was familiar with TEDx as I was one of the lucky ones that got a ticket to a TEDx presentation in Denver in the summer of 2010 while I was there for an ISTE (International Society of Technology Education) conference. At TEDx Teachers events, teachers take the stage to deliver innovative learning experiences that cover classic school subjects in a TED-like way.

This Missoula event showcased the passionate relationship between vision and practice embraced by innovative staff members and students in Missoula County Public Schools. Our innovators have transformed their teaching and learning. They had great ideas worth sharing!