Thursday, July 30, 2009

WOW, I Want to Be in Her Class. She Gets It!

Sonya Woloshen is a digital teacher. I was introduced to her through David Truss's post. It is hard to believe that the 2008-2009 school year was her first year of teaching. After reading about her and watching the three videos where David interviews her on using POD's in the her classroom I wanted to be in her class. Wouldn't you want your child to be in her class? How about making your classroom more like hers?

What Would Happen If I Googled You?

I Googled my name "paula naugle" today and Google returned 2,070 results in 0.23 seconds. I had to go to the fourth page to find a result that was about a different Paula Naugle than me. So what you might ask. Am I being egotistical? a narcissist? a braggart? Who cares?

I have to admit the first time I ever Googled myself I was being egotistical. I wanted to see my name in that famous of all search engines - Google. And there I was about 3 or 4 pages in. Today I did it for an entirely different reason. I'm checking my digital footprint. What trail am I leaving behind that can forever be pulled up by someone else's search of me?

Please read this post that I borrowed from Seth Godin's Blog. It is short but delivers a huge message.

A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.
Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person's name.
The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, "binge drinking."
The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, "I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I'm annoyed by it. I'll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings."
And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.
Three for three.
Google never forgets.
Of course, you don't have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yes, I Believe in You

I was reminded of Dalton Sherman today while checking my tweets on Twitter. I first met Dalton on a first day of the 2008-2009 school year in our cafeteria. It wasn't a face to face meeting. I met him on the big screen in my school's cafeteria during our first day of inservice training. You see, Dalton had delivered a keynote speech to the 20,000 plus teachers of the Dallas Independent School System. It was shared on YouTube and my superintendent decided his message needed to be shared with the teachers of JPPSS.

So at a designated time that morning, all the teachers in my school system viewed Dalton's speech all over Jefferson Parish in their various schools. I don't know what happpened at other schools. I can only tell you about the reaction at mine. Every teacher was awed by the delivery of this young boy. The sometimes restless bunch as not-quite-ready-to-be-back teachers sat silently and listened intently as the video played. When it was over I don't believe there were too many dry eyes in the room. What a way to kick start our school year!

I'd like to thank Richard M. Byrne of the Free Technology for Teachers blog for reintroducing me to Dalton.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can Your Information Be Trusted?

We all know the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words". Well today I saw a cartoon by Randy Grasbergen that inspired me to put my creative remix juices to work. So I hopped over to Flickr and borrowed this photo from Don Fulano who had posted it with a Creative Commons license. I dumped it into PowerPoint and added the caption and saved it as a JPEG image. (In case you can't read what's on the chalkboard it says, "This chalkboard has never been written on before! Or again.") And viola', I had created a picture that delivered the some message as Grasbergen's cartoon.

I believe this is what is going through the mind's of students in too many classrooms across our country. Why should they tune into teachers who are delivering information they can access 24/7 in a much more user-friendly way? What do they want with chalkboards and overheads? Why should they trust our information? They have their computers and cellphones. They get to interact with others outsides the walls of their classrooms at the end of the schoolday. They can hardly wait for that last bell to ring. Shouldn't we allow them this same kind of interaction during the schoolday? Shouldn't we be allowing them construct their own learning? They have the tools available. We should be there to guide them, not talk at them.

What is your reaction to my picture? How do you think your students would respond?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ImageChef - It's not Wordle

ImageChef Word Mosaic -

I found this new mosiac maker thanks to Traci B. from Pennsylvania. I love the fact that I could make a atar because I'm proud to be a Discovery STAR Educator and a member of the Louisiana Leadership Council.

Check out ImageChef. There are many different shapes available. You can change the font, the color of the letters, and the background color. Imagine the ways you can use this mosaic maker in your class - on your blog, in your wiki, to add to posters, to make cards, and so many more. Explore the possibilities of ImageChef!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Web 2.0 Tools Via Glogster

I was directed to this glogster by a tweet I received from @bethstilltoday. I think this is a great resource to have to help others learn about the tools availbable.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's in Your 21st Century Toolbox?

  1. As most of us in education get ready to begin the last school year of the first decade of the 21st century I’d like to ask educational leaders one question. What’s in your toolbox? No matter what we do in our lives, we all need tools to perform our jobs. Are the tools in your current toolbox part of the 21st century or are they sadly outdated? I am adding to Dr. Scott McLeod’s challenge to bloggers to write about leadership. He maintains the blog Dangerously Irrelevant and has hosted this challenge which is now in its third year. I am setting up a challenge for all you educational leaders out there. I ask you to reflect on your own toolbox. Is it full of old tools that should be discarded? What was the first new tool you added? What is the latest tool you’ve added? What are you doing to help those under your leadership to get their toolboxes equipped for the 21st century? Following is my example of how I have equipped my educational toolbox over the last five years.

    As a classroom teacher, I have spent the last five years outfitting my 21st century toolbox. It started when I attended NECC04 (National Educational Computing Conference) in my hometown of New Orleans. Luckily I attended with my principal, Brenda Breithaupt, and media specialist, Ellen Miller. I say luckily because without their guidance I would have drowned in the floodwaters of what that conference had to offer. Blogs, wikis, Nings, Moodle, digital storytelling were a few of the new buzz words presented to me. My head was spinning at the end of each day. I made up my mind at the end of the conference to get into the 21st century as a teacher. It was a slow journey at the beginning but is now moving at an incredible speed. Brenda and Ellen supported and encouraged each step of my journey. They have continually given me the opportunity to add to my toolbox. I set up this timeline to help demonstrate my journey to becoming a 21st century educator.

    2004-2005 School Year
    1. I was awarded one of the four model classrooms that was set up in our building this year. Each model classroom had an interactive whiteboard and six computers. I was selected because both Brenda and Ellen recognized the enthusiasm I had for technology. I was not a digital native, but I was sure willing to be a digital pioneer. My new classroom also included a digital camera, a video camera, and access to a wireless laptop cart containing 15 laptops. With my new “tech toys” I spent a lot of time surfing the web looking for sites I could use in my classroom.
    2. I discovered how to use my eBoard. My school district provides an eBoard for every teacher in the system. I learned how to use my eBoard to its full advantage to provide information for my students and parents. At first it was just a list of websites I had previewed and posted for my students to use to extend their learning. Then I learned how to hyperlink and embed things onto my eBoard note.
    3. Next I added Audacity to my toolbox and started podcasting. I was proud of myself and my students when I posted our first podcasts to my eBoard.
    4. I had used the digital camera to take pictures of activities in my class, printed them, and put them on display. I had learned about the tool called Photo Story 3 so I decided to use it and turned those digital pictures into digital stories.
    5. I learned how to download unitedstreaming videos (Now Discovery Education Streaming).

    2005-2006 School Year (Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, the levees fail, and there is widespread flooding, death, and destruction. Many families have left the city and are living elsewhere.)

    6. While I was evacuated to Florida I learned how to send SMS on my cell phone.
    7. I learned how to follow threaded discussions on sites like to find out what was happening back home.
    8. I added Google Earth to my toolbox and helped the kids who returned to school see where their former classmates were now living.

    2006-2007 School Year
    Sadly this year was a time of rebuilding for most of us in our city. While my home and school did not flood, both sustained damages that had to be dealt with. Personally I also owned another property that was heavily damaged and needed to be rebuilt. Many people I work with lost their homes and had to start over. Some of my former students returned, but sadly a great many stayed in the areas they had evacuted to and settled in their new homes across the country. I honestly don’t remember this year in terms of school, but I remember it in terms of rebuilding my life.

    2007-2008 School Year
    Thanks to the great technology leadership of Brenda and Ellen, they again put money into our school improvement plan (SIP) to send one teacher to NECC in San Antonio. I was the one chosen to attend. This time I went solo. From my previous experience I knew how to navigate the waters, and while the waters were deep I didn’t have that same sense of drowning. I expanded my knowledge of blogs, wikis, and Moodle but did not add them to my toolbox yet. I learned a lot, but I was lonely.

    9. My next tool was an iPhone 3G. I was so excited that I could now carry the internet with me.
    10. I purchased a MacBook right before heading to San Antonio.
    11. Next I set up a Google account and
    12. started using gmail,
    13. Picasa,
    14. and learned how to set up RSS feeds to Google Reader.

    2008-2009 School Year
    Again Brenda and Ellen along with our newly acquired Title I teacher, Anne McCormack, were able to earmark some money in our SIP plan’s budget to send two faculty members to NECC in Washington, D.C. Another classroom teacher and Ellen were chosen to attend. I was not upset. I was excited for David and looked forward to helping him navigate NECC. I was more than willing to pay my own way. Unfortunately David was not able to attend so I took his place. What a difference a year can make! Thanks to the new tools I had recently added to my toolbox I felt so connected to many other educators from across the country and around the world.
    15. I started my classroom blog using Blogger.
    16. Then I set up a class website using FreeWebs.
    17. I joined many online social networking sites like FaceBook,
    18. Classroom 2.0,
    19. Linkedin,
    20. and Delicious.
    21. Thanks to Sue Waters’ directions I started my PLN (personal learning network).
    22. I started a Ning for the 4th grade teachers in my district. To date there are 27 members.
    23. Next I attended my first webinar which used the Elluminate platform.
    24. Then I joined Twitter. ( My PLN exploded.
    25. From my PLN, and various webinars I attended and Nings I belonged to I was encouraged to use
    26. animoto for educators
    27. VoiceThread for educators (there is a free account and a paid account for educators)
    29. Smilebox
    30. Wordle
    31. Flickr
    32. Jing
    33. Glogster
    34. I used Skype to connect more personally with my PLN and to connect my class with others.
    35. I became a STAR Discovery Educator and was able to add the wonderful DEN resources to my toolbox.
    36. I made a survey using Google Docs and will use this tool a lot this coming year.
    37. I put all my materials for my district-wide presentation on a Google Site.
    38. I set up a Google calendar for my classroom.
    39. I started my professional blog. Again I choose Blogger as my platform.
    40. I am finally setting up wikis thanks to attending PBWorks Summer Camp online this summer.
    41. For my first wiki attempt I decided to use Wikispaces.

As you can see what started out slowly, was somewhat sidetracked by a natural disaster, has exploded thanks to my PLN. I would like to thank Scott (a member of my PLN) for inviting me to be a part of this discussion. Now it’s your turn. What tools are in your 21st century toolbox?

(Hurricane Katrina photo from Google images)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America

As the Fourth of July winds down for 2009 I am quickly trying to get this post done. It rattled around in my head all day and I want to get it posted on the 4th. Many people in my personal learning network (PLN) were just getting back home from NECC in D.C. or are still in our nation's capital. There were plenty of tweets on Twitter wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July and I couldn't help but think back to my wonderful week in D.C. I met so many of the people I know on Twitter and it was wonderful to converse with them face to face. So much sharing goes on via Twitter and it certainly continued in the face to face venue at NECC. I felt so empowered as an educator to have these connections.

I spent a great part of today remembering that I live in a country where I am afforded the opportunity to speak out and to say what is on my mind. I take the rights I have as an American too much for granted. I thought about our founding fathers gathering together to write our Constitution and marveled at the fact that they were able to get it done and it is still the document that my government is based on in the 21st century.

We educators are struggling with what schools should look like in the 21st century and how best to teach our students for their future. How do we prepare our students to be literate, functioning citizens? Are there new literacies or just a new skill set to learn the literacies of reading, writing, listening, and speaking? The debate continues, but I had to stop and be thankful that the debate can happen because I'm an American. So as the conversations continue to flow forth on these and many other educational topics, I had to take some time today to say I am proud to be an American and am blessed to have the rights which I take so lightly.

What thoughts did you have as you celebrated America's birthday?

(Picture: google images