Teachers Teaching Teachers: A Tech Matters Reunion

Last week, I went on Teachers Teaching Teachers once again and found myself in conversation again with some friendly voices from last summer. A few of us from Tech Matters 2006 used the forum to talk about what we have been up to and how we view the use of technology for creation of a vibrant community.

I talked a bit about the ABC Movie Project, my Ning experiment, Youth Radio and a few other tidbits that sprung out of Tech Matters (which is a week-long retreat for technology and technology-minded folks in the National Writing Project). It was wonderful to hear Joe, Bonnie and others once again.

Take a listen to the podcast from TTT

Peace (with connections),
Kevin

Blink (again) with Google Creator

As I prepare for moving away from my Manila blog sites (the NWP will be shutting things down later this summer, I believe), I am migrating towards other tools and platforms. I will write more about Edublogs Premium in a few days for our Writing Project site, but for now, I am realizing how much I used various Manila/NWP sites for storage, etc.

Here is one example: My Blink-Blink-Blink Multimedia Poem.

So I went over to Google Web Creator (allows you to make simple web pages and hosts them for you) and recreated my poem. I need to tinker with it some more, but here it is again. It has been some time since I have gone back to it, but I am still fascinated by what I did here.

Peace (from inside the eye),
Kevin

One word for TM

I found myself wandering through Paul Allison’s site (one of his many interesting ventures into the world) and came upon this list of words that we used this past summer to describe Tech Matters ’06 in Chico, California. Tech Matters is a one-week intensive technology retreat for fellows in the National Writing Project Technology Liaison network. I have written about it before (and created a little claymation video for a friend who is working on a project about TM). But this list reminded me of our last day in Chico as we reflected on our experiences:

One Word about TM06

  • Reenvisionment
  • Recommitted
  • Tranformational
  • Inspiring
  • Relationships
  • Networking
  • Upgraded
  • Invigorating
  • Empowering
  • Liberating
  • Challenging
  • Fulfilling
  • Illuminating
  • Validating
  • Usable
  • Solidarity
  • Inspiration
  • Collaboration
  • Friendship
  • Creating, creating, creating…
  • Self-expression
  • Tired, hot, and laughing…
  • Fun
  • Community
  • Entertaining
  • Revolutionary
  • Exasperating
  • Visioning
  • A-ha moment
  • Tension
  • Eating
  • Read/write web (not Web 2.0)
  • Clarity
  • Gator skin drive
  • The world is flat
  • Whirlpoo…
  • Excellent
  • Tremendo
  • Beautiful
  • Magnificent/Magnifico
  • Nurturing
  • Bonding

Peace (in Chico),
Kevin

Thelonius and Tech Matters

I was asked by a colleague from the National Writing Project to donate a short movie to a promotional video he is putting together for fellows at his site around the idea of a technology institute. Brett asked if I would create something that reflected upon last summer’s Tech Matters retreat in Chico, California (where I started this blog project) and so I couldn’t resist using my clay friend, Thelonius, and a dry erase board with stop-motion (plus a wide array of hats) in my movie. That’s what you get, Brett, for asking me to contribute. 🙂

Actually, it was nice to reflect upon that experience many months later and realize that more than the tools that I was exposed to, it is the network of new friends and colleagues that remain the strongest link of the week in Chico. I am still very close to a handful of Tech Matters people (Bonnie, David, Tonya, Maria, Mary, Joe, Troy, Karen, Paul A. — among others) and that is important to me.

Here it is (wow — look, I can close my eyes!):

[googlevideo]3974441185940754938&hl=en[/googlevideo]

Peace (in video),
Kevin

Workshop Weekend

I have busy couple of days ahead of me.

On Friday, I am leading an all-day session for my Making Connections project, which is funded through the National Writing Project’s Technology Initiative program. Our Making Connections project is designed to use Weblogs to connect middle school students in our Western Massachusetts area from rural and urban, and now suburban, districts through technology and writing. This year, we have 15 teachers from six different school districts involved and we are intending to branch off into smaller curricular communities around Language Arts (poetry, specifically); Science (shared experiments) and math (a challenge blog).

I just filed a mid-year report to the NWP and you can read that report, if you would like.

And then, on Saturday, I am leading the first of a series of three workshops for fellows at our Western Massachusetts Writing Project on the use of Weblogs and podcasting for professional and/or personal use. In this first session, we have reached out specifically to leaders of WMWP projects in hopes that they can get comfortable with some aspects of technology that could help them in their own work. (This workshop series if funded by another NWP grant through its Technology Matters program that I attended last summer in California).

Here is the agenda for that day’s activities (which includes providing everyone with a free MP3/Voice recorder to create podcasts with).

I hope no one (including me) ends up like this guy:

external image frustration.gif

Peace (with professional development),

Kevin

Valuable Resources and Information

This summer, the folks at Tech Matters were kind enough to load us up not only with cool ideas, but also with resources. The series of Seven Things from Educause is one example of very useful information for teachers and educators. Here are some readings/handouts that I think are really valuable and worth sharing with colleagues either in the hallways or in workshops:

7 Things You Should Know About PODCASTING
7 Things You Should Know About WIKIS
7 Things You Should Know About Collaborative Editing
7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking
7 Things You Should Know About Screencasting
7 Things You Should Know About Videoblogging

Peace,
Kevin

Tech Grant Proposal

This summer, while in Chico, California, I attended Tech Matters 2006 through the National Writing Project and all members of the institute are encouraged to submit a grant proposal that supports technology at our local writing project site.

My proposal is designed to help connect the writing projects in our renewed state network and provide assistance to various project leaders within our site, as well as other TCs, in using Weblogs, wikis and audiocasting.

Here is an overview of my grant proposal.

Peace,
Kevin

dComposition

A good friend of mine, Paul O., from the National Writing Project has been thinking about the convergence of technology and writing for many years, in a variety of different perspectives — teacher,workshop developer, technology leader.

On his Weblog — called SchoolTube — Paul suggests that we try to find some new words to describe the emergence of technology in the classroom. He doesn’t mean dropping kids off in a computer lab and hoping for the best. What he means, and what I believe in, is the full integration of these new tools into the classroom for students to construct their meaning and understanding and critical thinking skills.

So Paul proposes using a new term to describe this shift: dComposition.

Here is his definition:

I’ve been trying to get a new term into the popular lexicon: dComposing. This in place of terms like digital literacy or media literacy. dComposing, as I see it, would incorporate the different forms that we now use to create compositions mediated by digital technology. I believe dComposing avoids the legacy definitions of digital literacy and media literacy, which have sometimes defined them narrowly. dComposing is not solely about the mechanics of the technology (digital literacy in its narrowly defined sense), nor solely about the understanding of the media through which it is emerging (media literacy in its narrowly defined sense), but rather focuses on the notion that writing and reading and how we create composition — literacy itself, in other words — is changing.
— from SchoolTube.

Peace,
Kevin

Mission Away from Berkeley

Jambo

I made it home from California only to find a heat wave sweeping through New England this week. Phew, it sure is hot!it might reach 100 degrees today. I had to catch a red-eye flight on Sunday night because my rock and roll band, The Sofa Kings, were doing a live television performance that I just could not miss. I paid the price with a tired body but received a jolt of energy to my brain from the performance.

Sofa Kings

The planning for our Monograph Book for the NWP at Work program went fantastic and the use of the web-based Writely as a tool for collaboration seems to be working great. My team members took to the program easily enough and it helped that I could show them the program in person and answer questions right on the spot. At the same time, WMWP Site Director Bruce Penniman was able to read through and offer suggestions to our writing from his cozy spot in Western Massachusetts. He could just have easily have been down the hallway. I really think Writely is the right tool for this stage of our project. Whether it will be the right tool as we move into the future remains to be seen but we all agreed that we could abandon Writely if it felt like it wasn’t working for us. (When I told our cohorts in Berkeley what we were doing with technology and collaborative writing, you can guess what NWP Associate Director Joye Alberts said: “You are going to write about this, right?

Meanwhile, Bruce and I are also using Writely to begin putting together our Tech Matters Minigrant Proposal. I just finished a draft of the application and now he will review it, offer suggestions and/or make changes via Writely.

This is my working summary:

If site leaders and teacher consultants are to utilize the possibilities of web-based applications for publishing, collaborating and communicating, then they need to have time and space to learn and understand the technology. This project offers three separate workshops for teachers in our site network, with an emphasis on project leaders, to create and use Weblogs, experiment with Wikis and begin creating and posting audio files. Another facet of the project is designed to strengthen our state network through a series of newsletter Weblogs as a way to disseminate information across the various sites. Finally, our site will use some of the grant money to establish our own content management system so that we can independently oversee an emerging Weblog network for teachers and project leaders.

Peace,
Kevin

The Long Road Back from Chico

In the weeks leading up to Tech Matters 2006, I started a very strange Wiki story about a tech geek who has to make it to Chico on a pink tricycle while avoiding the devious deeds of the menacing Dr. Ho. It was an excercise in collaboration, technology, writing and (I hope) some humor. I have now locked down the story but you can still read, listen and watch the story (it became a multimedia experiment for me at one point).

The Long Road to Chico

Last night, we held a final celebratory gathering at the Hotel Diamond, with good food and good company and plenty of laughs. Joe and I rewrote the title song from the old television series Chico and the Man and we were able to get everyone to sing along. I know you are dying to read the lyrics, so here they are:

In Chico

In Chico, don’t get discouraged,
They just think that you’ll understand.
In Chico, we’ll come together,
Wikis and Weblogs — it all gets out of hand.

Even though there’s heat on the street
We’ve made friends you just can’t beat
And everything we’ve learned will slip away.

And I know, things will get better
Oh yes, they will, just like our leaders planned
Oh, Yes they will, in Chico, it’s all grand.

Someone suggested that we start another Wiki adventure on the way to Nashville, so who knows … we might just dust off that virtual tricycle and hit the road in November (cold winds blowing).

And when I finish editing my very odd multimedia poem, I will send that along to everyone. Thanks for letting me videotape your eyeballs!

Peace,

Kevin