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This is a copy of a posting from Dr. Maria Droujkova from the Twittermoms Ning:

This Wednesday night, July 8th, 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern, there will be an online event consisting of a brief interview with me (Dr. Maria Droujkova), an active exchange of ideas, brainstorming, and making collaboration plans. The topic is “Math 2.0” – that is, mathematics as it relates to social media and new web technologies. Mark your calendars.

Not only is mathematics currently lagging in social spaces, the lag is increasing with time. Kids from the “digital native” generation are native to spaces where specialists still broadcast math from ivory towers, and kids aren’t welcome to contribute content. Most pedagogically innovative math computer games are at least fifteen years old. Come discuss these and other trends, mostly alarming but occasionally hopeful, and meet interesting people ready to take action together.

Steve Hargadon, the founder of Classroom 2.0, Future of Education and LearnCentral will lead the interview. It will take place in an Elluminate webinar room you can access at If you have never used Elluminate before, come earlier to download the client and set it up. It will be open half an hour ahead of time. More detailed information about the event will be uploaded to the Future of Education site by Tuesday, July 7th.


If you still can’t seem to grasp what Twitter is, here is a great video.  I didn’t quite understand the power of my personal learning network until recently.  Installing Tweetdeck has made my use of Twitter more powerful because it has allowed me to search for individuals with like interests.  Be to ing able to search for “tweets” or Twitter postings by hash tags (for example, when I went to NECC 2009, I was able to keep up with everyone’s Twitter postings related to NECC by searching for #NECC09 on Tweetdeck).  Likewise, you can ensure that other people in and outside of your network may come across your posting if you know the hashtag for it.  More on Twitter later…


Sunday’s Opening Keynote session was introduced by ISTE President Helen Padgett who emphasized that students need to walk into school and feel like they are taking a “step towards the future, and not a step back in time”.  This sentiment rang true in the constant challenge we have as instructional technologists to bridge the distance between digital immigrants and digital natives.  Padgett mentioned notable strides and achievements including that at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C.  The school is a prime example of the success of community partnerships.  Ninety-eight percent of its students have been accepted into colleges (including ivy league schools) including Stanford, Cornell, and Duke. 


 Another notable point is that the National Educational Computing Conference will no longer we called NECC.  It will officially be called the ISTE Conference beginning with next summer’s conference (ISTE 2010) in Denver, Colorado June 27th-30th.


Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers:  The Stories of Success was the Opening Keynote speaker for the conference.  His keynote focused on the question of “meaningful learning environments” a nd what it takes to create them.  He proposed 3 preconditions for it to happen and related them to, of all subjects, Fleetwood Mac!  Here are a few notes from his keynote address:

 Effort is essential for meaningful learning…

The success of Fleetwood Mac has taken 20 years and 26 albums. 

“We telescope how long that learning takes place”…”underestimate how much time, energy, and struggle” is behind a successful organization, classroom, individual

There is a 10 year rule for success and proficiency proposed by psychologists…10,000 hours of practice necessary…which comes to 4 hours a day for all successful individuals

 Effort…successful learning doesn’t begin with a talent, but with an approach to the task

Example:  American students-will say you have to have a “talent” for math to be good for it.  Asian counterparts-to do well at math takes effort.


Perseverance is essential…you must “build on your failures”…

We tend to embrace the capitalization learning style:  where people build on their strengths until you reach an optimal state

But this is not the only kind of strategy.  We need to try the compensation strategy.  Instead of building on your strengths, you compensate on your weaknesses.  When you find success from the compensation strategy, the results are much more meaningful and weighted.

Example:  In NFL Football, the top 50 draft pics underperform compared to the 51+ draft picks.

“We need to have respect for difficulty.”

So the big question is…”How do we set up an environment where students are enabled to “flex” their compensation muscles?


Feedback is a critical aid to effective learning…

We incorrectly think our learning/experience has to be linear.  “We value and treasure the role of timely and targeted feedback as an aid to effective learning”

Feedback lies at the core of effective learning.  We must take time to not only solicit feedback, but evaluate the results to see how we can improve.


Summarizing point:

“Sometimes the struggle in learning something is where the learning lies.”




I thought his address was an interesting way to start the conference.  It did help me think about how I can help teachers adjust their paradigms to broaden their scope of the opportunities and potential they have their classrooms with technology.  Providing professional development for my teachers to improve classroom instruction is a challenge.  Some thoughts on professional development I have to parallel Gladwell’s address:

1.  Effort-

Develop a professional development plan and stick with implementation for several years.  Results may not be apparent until later. 

Increasing teacher effort in attending professional development-Work with administration on paid time, substitutes, professionl recertification points, etc.  Work with community partners to provide snacks, freebies, assistance, etc., Align training with teacher planning periods, inservice days; Align training to support school’s improvement plan and critical curricululm and instructional needs

2.  Perseverence

How do you keep teachers from quitting on implementing a technology tool if it “fails” the first time?  I see this problem often.  I never feel technology fails.  Most of the time, any snags in implementing the technology tool was because of lack of planning and lack of understanding the tool. 

I’m stuck here…please offer suggestions!

3.  Feedback

Provide a “feedback/closure” session with teachers after a collaborative project; solicit feedback  from students on what was learned and what could have been improved; develop improvement plans from feedback

Does anyone have any concrete suggestions on “how” to set up these preconditions in a school/classroom to create an effective and meaningful learning environment for teachers (professional development) and students?  I’d love to hear your responses!

At the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) 2009, I attended Leslie Fisher’s gadgets session.  Leslie Fisher is the Director of Fisher Technologies Incorporated which focuses on web development for the k-12 education sector.  In the session she went over gadgets and websites to help you with your personal life and endeavors.  She’s a great speaker and I highly recommend you catching her at a conference!  Here are my notes from the session:


Websites to help keep you organized or make life easier: travel itineraries from your email account reviews of business all over the country an 800 number that you dial that you can send to email to create a to do list.

Works well with free site that allows you to create/edit your To Do List from anywhere

Evernote-web-based application that creates ocr text recognition account allows you to broadcast a live video feed to anyone backup for mac and pc can submit a picture, but staff of site will evaluate if it is worthy of putting online…once it is posted, it is royalty free. of web 2.0 apps for education

 Http:// make your own flash games not limited like in flickr, allows you to sell photos, watermarks, order on t-shirt, etc. can use for sporting events.  Search for nonprofit and can have a FREE professional level account


Cool Gadgets: 

Sling Media-external box that hooks up to your home theater no matter how big or small, then uses a internet connection to broadcast the signal to CPU, phone, etc.

 Netflix roku-$99) no monthly fee if you are a netflix member with 2 + DVDs a month, allows you to instantly watch 10,000+ movies on demand

 Logitech-Harmony One-all in one remote for up to 15 devices ($249-499.00) ($134.00) Record player w/usb that allows you to  create an MP3 out of your old record!

Here is a listing of educational grant opportunities from Tech&Learning.

This week I went to see Dr. Tony Wagner speak as part of a national speaker series sponsored by my school district.  Dr. Wagner is the author of The Global Achievement Gap.  I haven’t had a chance to read the book, but I’ve heard it takes a good critical look at how education needs to reform to improve student achievement.  There were microphones set up for attendees to ask questions and/or comment on the discussion.  The comment that had the most lasting impression on me was from non other than my own colleague, Joe Gentry.  He is a biology teacher at my school and commented on how he has taken that leap of faith and risk in reaching out to his students.  As a result of hearing so much talk from his students on social networking, texting, this and that…he now communicates with his students via facebook and texting.  He actually gave out his cell phone number to his students.  Consequently, he marvels at the fact that his students text him numerous times after school and he can provide immediate feedback.  Not many teachers try to extend their classroom beyond the 7.5 hours they are bound by contract during the day.  However, Joe is a pure example of how teachers can let go of the fear of the technology that their students use as an everyday tool.  

Wagner made many confirming comments on how we need to take a look at assessment.  He showed us a video of Quest High School in Texas which requires students to present an exhibition at the end of the senior year as a graduation assessment.  Very impressive.  However, I don’t know how exactly this an easily be implemented in a full high school where students don’t have to apply to get in.  However, it was very inspirational and a great reminder of what we are trying to achieve as teachers.  Collaboration.  Communication.  Authentic experience and assessment.  There is no doubt however that these essential components of an effective school are being cut by the major budget cuts experienced across the state and country.

If you encounter a message from what looks like a Microsoft Antivirus 2009 product, please do not proceed and use it.  It is NOT legitimate and can corrupt your computer.  Just dismiss it and close out.

Here’s an amazing keynote speech given by a student to teachers for Dallas Independent School District.  It’s a bit long, but very motivational in starting the year off with the right perspective.

Joined another ning for Virginia Society for Technology in Education…Why Technology Rocks in Virginia.  Just another way to foster discussion for instructional technology!  These nings are basically online social networks.  You can create your own Ning for whatever reason.  One of my plans is to dabble in creating nings for the classroom this year.

I just joined Classroom 2.0 which is a network of educators interested and active in integrating web 2.0 methodologies into the classroom.  I just joined this morning and already have had several idea generating discussions with other members.  This is a great way for any teacher to learn more about what is working and what is not in the classroom regarding creative uses of the internet.  It’s also a great way to gain resources and join forums for discussion on where web 2.0 is ready to take us (although may have alluded that we are now in the web 3.0 era!).


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