Archive for the ‘Adult Education’ Category

I was recently reviewing my list of instructional technology trainings, etc. from my years serving as an instructional technology director. The list of resources can be found here although, some of the links to resources within are no longer available with my current school district abandoning a server that was utilized to feed this info. I have most of the information; so, I plan to reconstruct as much of those resources that I can over the next few weeks in order to have it serve as a historical record of my past work, but also to serve as a resource to those that can benefit from the information.

In the meantime, as I continue to teach again in a classroom setting, I am constantly constructing online resources that enable my students to work anywhere they have a device and internet connection as we flip the classroom and continue on our adventure in learning about modern American history. You can visit our journey at



UP turns rail yard training into virtual reality” North Platte Bulletin

“How does a 147-year-old railroad company reach out to its modern-era new employees? One answer has turned out to be video simulation that mimics the virtual world of today’s video games.”

With the new WordPress this past spring it was time to find some basic video tutorials for my workshops. Unfortunately I did not have much luck; so, I have thrown together some of my own.

I used the FREE program Jing to create the tutorials, and they are .swf (Shockwave Flash) files. The tutorials are for beginning bloggers; so, have a look and listen and let me know what you think!

H I T WordPress Tutorials: The Basics

WordPress- Sign Up

WordPress- Logging In

WordPress- The Dashboard

WordPress- Design and Theme

WordPress- Design and Widgets

WordPress- Write a Post

WordPress- Write a Page

WordPress- Comments

WordPress- Settings (Change Title)

WordPress- Other Ways to Sign In or Log In

*Not bad for an old cowboy!  😉

Abilene Christian University has implemented a program to provide all of their students with an iPhone.  Watch the following video to see the process in action:

This post is more local, but I know that many are looking for online graduate course delivery programs or even coursework to supplement and expand existing skills. The following three programs are regional offerings that provide excellent opportunities at great rates (My bias is with the University of Wyoming program as that is where I obtained my masters degree!).

The best part of these and any online offerings is that you can do them from a distance, at a time that is convenient for you, and your classroom is anywhere you have an internet connection. My experience was wonderful!!! Living in a rural area posed a great challenge, but via online coursework I had the opportunity to gain a quality education and had access to excellent professors and a supportive and engaging group of classmates located around the world (A perfect example of the “Flat World” we live in today).

UW New Thinking University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming)

University of Wyoming Master’s in Education: Instructional Technology

University of Wyoming Outreach Program Tuition and Fees

University of Wyoming Outreach Catalog Fall 2008

UNK University of Nebraska-Kearney (Kearney, Nebraska)

University of Nebraska-Kearney Master’s in Education: Instructional Technology

University of Nebraska-Kearney Tuition and Fees

University of Nebraska-Kearney Spring 2008 eCampus Courses (Fall 2008 eCampus Courses Pending)

CSC Chadron State College (Chadron, Nebraska)

Chadron State College Master’s in Education: Educational Technology

Chadron State College Tuition and Fees

Chadron State College Fall 2008 Online Courses

Alan November I am pleased to have the opportunity to be able to see and hear Alan November when he arrives to visit our school district next week. Alan’s writings have been important and they have influenced me to work to find ways to help students learn and grow. I had the opportunity to attend the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston last July 2007, and the conference, workshops, and wonderful people I met and conversed with were inspiring. Our little part of the world is moving forward as we look for ways to embed technology in the learning process, and Alan’s influence is a big part in that process. I look forward to Alan’s time here, and I know my colleagues will benefit from what he has to say. My hopes are that his inspiring words will lead to more action. This is a really big deal!!! Can you tell I’m excited!?! 🙂

Next week is also the one year anniversary of when my wife, children and I visited to interview for my position as educational technology specialist and Dianna’s speech-language pathologist position.  If I had been told I would be in the presence of Alan November one year later I  would have thought it was a dream!  What a difference a year makes, and I am so fortunate to have had the experiences I have had over this period of time.  The heart of it all has been the wonderful people I have met and been blessed to work with.  We are in the midst of something great, and as I have had more opportunities to work with students as of late, I know more than ever we are working with precious souls that need our guidance in an ever changing and complicated world.  My fifteen years in public education is such a short period of time, but I have gained a better perspective because of people like Alan November.  I would call it focus, and that is what people like Alan help me to do:  focus on things that are most important and things that matter most!  Working with young people and shaping a better future is what it is all about, and my lens is aimed at doing all that I can to be a positive influence in that noble cause!

Whatever it Takes This morning I had the opportunity to join my new professional learning community group made up of some of the administrators in our district. We chose to study the book “Whatever it Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn” by Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, Gayle Karhanek, and, Richard Dufour over the course of the school year. We discussed several issues we face in our leadership positions and best of all shared exciting things that are happening in our professional lives. It was a refreshing and uplifting meeting for me, and I appreciated the setting and especially the people that I will continue to share with.

Later in the day I had another iPod mini-class that went very well, and I feel the seeds are growing bit by bit here in my new district. There are so many people to reach, and I know it is important to continue to help build a network of learners that embrace technology and look for ways to integrate it into their curriculum.

As of late, there has been discussion of not merely integrating technology but rather embedding the technology in the learning process. Read Jeff Utecht’s post (see preceding link) and the thoughts of those that have chimed in to discuss this idea. I think it ties into the subheading of my blog: How to seamlessly integrate technology in the classroom. Oops! There’s that word integrate again! 😉

As a side note, here is a humorous video clip from Late Night with Conan O’Brien on BG (Before Google), or has Google always been around!?!

Desks Today I offered a mini-class on SMART Boards and invited a teacher who I have heard high praises on to assist in showcasing the basics of using the board in instruction. Tara is one of many great teachers in my new school district, and I am just in awe of the dedication and willingness to share, learn, and grow here. So many educators are pushing the frontiers of technology in education and even more are taking the steps necessary to take a leap into the innovative approaches that are making their way into classrooms across the globe. I have to admit I have had my doubts the past few years as to whether or not this whole education thing was going to turn around and make some gains in real, meaningful, engaging, and relevant learning for our youth. It is happening here. It is by no means easy, and the challenges that we face as educators at times is disconcerting, but there is hope, initiative, bravery, and desire. These things add up to the beginnings of a network of learners, and as we learn about and use the tools that can continue to link us together we become a learning community that can do, teach, and change anything. I see all of this more and more each day, and I am glad to be a small part of it.

SeedsWhen you plant a seed there are many things that need to happen in order for it to grow. Fertilizer, good soil, water, regular weeding, and so on. Seeds can be cast anywhere with hopes that they will grow, but if unattended their chances of maturing into a flowering plant are by luck at best.

Blogging in education, for many, is an idea or seed waiting to be planted, and I have had the fortune of helping three principals begin the blogging adventure. For now they are experimenting, and I hope to share their accomplishments in the future. I realize that this is just the beginning of educational leaders using a wonderful collaboration tool on personal and professional levels.

A comfort zone needs to be reached at the beginning, and I realize that I must be a gardener in the process. Follow-up and encouragement are in order to help these great people grow and blossom with their blogs. Principals are change agents and champions of innovation, and I know through their examples they can make the biggest impact on the teachers in their schools.

There are many things that can be done with a blog, and that is the beauty of this tool. For the practice to flourish it must be attended to by an audience, and that audience begins with the first person that stops by the garden to look around and that partakes of the fruit that has been planted. I am watching these new gardens with their blogging seeds that are just taking root, and I want to see the fruits of their labors spread throughout their schools and community. Fertilizer, good soil, water, regular weeding: I have important work to do!

Will Richardson Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts,… Today I finished Will Richardson’s book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. I have always appreciated Will’s viewpoints on his blog, and I like the straightforward, easy to understand approach he presents in his book. Having used many of these tools in my classroom for over a year now, I was familiar with much of what Will shares, but I had many “I should have tried that moments!!!” Now, I am in a new position (district level educational technology specialist) with a new audience (educators) and the book proved valuable in giving me ideas and ways that I can share these tools with teachers.

Teachers themselves will benefit from reading this book (Get it ASAP!), and I believe it would serve as an excellent textbook for in-service training and for use in teacher preparation programs. Even a seasoned Web 2.0 teacher (Can there be such a thing in such a short period of time!?! 🙂 will pick up new ideas or ways of using these tools that they hadn’t thought of before! As with any text that concerns the web the reader will encounter shared links that have since moved on in such a short time since the book was published; nevertheless, I could easily search the name of a particular person or topic mentioned and find the new location of the information on the web. (Maybe Will could add a page to his blog with updates or create a wiki page where readers could help update links.)

The book, to me, is written for the now, and it is intended to jump start educators and students into using the many Web 2.0 tools that exist today. I know Will has much more to say concerning these tools and the future of integrating technology to facilitate collaboration, critical thinking, and self-directed learning, and I feel his blog serves as a continuation and expansion of the text. One of Will’s main points in his book is to recognize the “teachers” that are and information that is out there, on the web, ready to fill your RSS feed reader! His text is really a staging area for the journey that he invites the reader to take in using these powerful web tools in the classroom, and I think it is a good place to start and to take ownership of your own learning.

While at the Building Learning Communities 2007 Conference I had the opportunity to attend a couple of workshops by Will Richardson.  I have been reading Will’s blog for quite some time, and I finally purchased his book:  Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.  I am a few pages into this text, and I am already considering this as a resource for professional development in my school district.  I believe it is a must read for educators in today’s schools, and an excellent, practical “how to” guide to using these web tools in the “classroom.”

Boston We have arrived at the final day of Alan November’s Building Learning Communities Conference. There are a few sessions left to attend before I head for the airport around 1 p.m. Eastern. This has been a wonderful experience for me personally and on a professional level. I have had the opportunity to hear, see, and meet many of the bloggers that I read each day. I have had my beliefs and practices validated by other professionals in my field, and I feel strength from that support. Now it is time to do, to act. My team will travel back to our district not only to relay the information that we have gained but to influence real change. This is the challenging part of this process, but it is also rewarding. It will be interesting to come back, maybe next year, to see where we are at that point: we have to be further along. We will!

My PBwiki with notes from the November Learning Conference.

Samual Adams

(Alternative Title:  Another “American” Educational Revolution – My apologies to a world-wide audience and to my Mother from the UK!)

My career in education, officially, is in its meager 14th year. 13 years as a classroom teacher and now I am in my first year as an educational technology coordinator. Obviously education has been a part of my entire life: life is ultimately a learning experience. However, I focus and reflect on my past years as an educator and my experience working with students and colleagues in bringing about change. Since I first stepped into my first classroom there has been a revolution in education of one sort or another. Change is revolution, be it good or bad, and it seems it is always an experiment. That is not a bad thing, but oftentimes it is challenging and scary. Fear usually prevents change, and revolutions fail.

New technologies, blogs, wikis, RSS, and podcasts, are changing the game. These tools, among others, are revolutionary and provide an opportunity and an audience for learners to share what they know, what they are learning, and what they are doing with the world. The fear factor steps in once again for many who are digital immigrants. It is a fear of the unknown.

Bill Bagshaw, an educational leader from Topeka, Kansas, yesterday said: “Don’t be afraid!” He meant it, and I believe it! We always challenge our students to take risks in their learning. Many times we teach them about things they don’t know, and this elicits fear; however, once we learn things we feel better, at ease, the fear goes away until the next new thing!

I know we are in another educational revolution, but I think that this time it is different. There are tools that are appearing on a daily basis that are driving this change. To an extent it is like Samual Adams and the Sons of Liberty. At first there were rumblings in the colonies with talk of revolution, and people like Samual Adams began to get more “organized.” Other began to post their thoughts and ideas in pamphlets that were distributed around the countryside. The revolutionary ideas began to build and grow, and conversations, events, and action began to take place. As people took these ideas to heart and acted upon them, the revolution gained enough momentum and could no longer be ignored. It was not going away, it was not a fad, and it created fear.

The tools educators have access to today have gained momentum and cannot be ignored any longer. If we remain loyal to our practices of the past we will miss or ignore the shift that has and is happening today. This revolution is different as the Sons of Liberty are the children, kids who access rich media on a daily basis transmitted in the blink of an eye. For the most part they have the basic ‘R’s,” and they are taking this knowledge to new heights. The challenge is preparing ourselves as educators to go along for the ride that is real, scary, and revolutionary. Don’t be afraid!

PBwiki link for those who are following my attendence at the November Learning Conference!

I am sitting in my second presentation by Will Richardson at the November Learning Conference. He is sharing RSS ideas and skills, but I am still thinking about his last presentation! The other day Will posted on his blog “Why is it so Hard for Educators to Focus on Their Own Learning?” and he touched on this in the earlier presenation I attended. To me the suggestion is that we, as educators, need to take responsibility for our own learning. As we accept this responsibility we model behaviors to our students that I think we intend for them to have, but we often fail to transfer that or those examples when we don’t take the time to focus on our own learning.

Now I want to take this a step further with policy makers. I keep hearing my colleagues bring up the following questions: How do I get my staff to do this? How do I get my principal or educational leader to buy into this? How do I get IT to stop blocking various internet tools (YouTube, blogs, etc.). Will suggests not worrying about that and taking charge of our own learning. “Get your house in order” is a phrase that comes to mind here. I agree.

Now, I experienced an epiphany in the middle of all this!!! I also agree with the questions I share above, especially the desicion making process of our policy makers. Then it dawned on me (Which will seem weird as I continue to share here!): I am now one of those policy makers. As a brand new educational technology director I can help my staff learn about, try, and hopefully use technology as a tool in the learning process; I already have “bought” into new technologies and want to help facilitate their use in classrooms throughout my district (However, there is so much I continue to learn each day!); I can influence the unblocking of internet features that our students use in their lives each day; and I have some experience in taking charge of my own learning which brought me to my current position today! Oftentimes I felt powerless as a teacher (the past 13 years), but now I am in a position to empower my new colleagues. Taking charge of our own learning is powerful, but it becomes stronger as it builds and gains support from those around us. While I nuture my own learning, I can also help empower my colleagues in my new position, especially by sharing my passion.

I will keep reflecting upon this as more continues to seep in! 🙂