Friday, February 22, 2008

Missouri Countil for the Social Studies Conference - St. Joseph, Missouri

I was scheduled to give a couple of presentations at the Missouri Council for Social Studies Conference in St. Joseph, Missouri over the next couple of days but winter weather - snow and ice - has postponed the conference. The conference has been rescheduled for May 9-10, 2008 and I plan on attended at that time and presenting.

Missouri Council for the Social Studies

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Zune MP3 Player Pilot Podcast

Hello. In today's podcast I'll be discussing an exciting new project that will take place in my classroom this semester - a student Zune pilot. Microsoft is providing each of my 25 students in my 3rd period 8th grade American History classroom a 4GB Zune to use during the spring semester. Microsoft donated these Zunes to my school district to test out this program. Our project will start on Tuesday with a parent / student meeting where the students will be given their Zunes.

I have been using different types of digital audio content in my classroom for several years. Three years ago I started to incorporate what I call "StudyCasts" - an audio review that I create and save as an MP3 file that is then posted on the Internet so that students can listen to the review in preparing for an upcoming unit test by listening at home on the Internet, downloading the file to their MP3 player or asking me to burn it to a CD for them. The introduction of the studycast has been successful but I cannot always insure that my students have 100% access to the content. In this Zune project I know that my students will not only have the MP3 device they will also leave my classroom with the content using the Zune social feature which allows me to "beam" content - in the form of audio or pictures - to their players before the leave for the day. The Zune will allow students to listen to content, view images and view video.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about how the pilot will opperate, how we will measure outcomes and how the Zune will be incorporated into the curriculum. I will also be keeping everyone updated on the progress of the Zune pilot throughout the pilot.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog post or e-mail directly at I would be interested in your experiences with a Zune or if you have used the Zune in your classroom with students.

Zune MP3 Player Pilot - Liberty Tribune Article

Our 8th grade classroom Zune Pilot (see the Speaking of History Podcast #132 from February 18, 2008 for more details) was featured in our local newspaper this week - The Liberty Tribune here in Liberty, Missouri.

You can check out the article online here. Thanks to Natalie Shelton for contacting me to write the story and Anna Faltermier for the great photographs.

TechNet Conference - Lees' Summit, Missouri

Today I presented at the TechNet Conference in Lees' Summit, Missouri. Winter weather provided the Kansas City area with an icy and snowy blast this morning - in fact we did not have school today. I traveled to the conference with several other Liberty teachers, some of which also presented. I gave my general presentation on using Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom. I was originally scheduled to present twice but we arrived late due to the weather and my first presentation was cancelled. Overall it was a great day with a limited number of participants due to the weather but I hope to attend again next year.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Powerful Learning Conference - Kansas City

I attended the Powerful Learning Conference in Kansas City today. The conference takes place over two days at the Westin Crown Center and is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Liberty School District is a member of the Missouri Professional Learning Communitites organization and we had several staff members attending and presenting.

The keynote was a presentation by Carol Tomlinson and Jay McTighe entitled Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design. During the luncheon I was on stage to help present a variety of awards hosted by the Missouri Professional Learning Communities. I was also able to visit with teachers from around the state and met several teachers who listen to the Speaking of History podcast.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Midwest Educational Computing Technology Conference - St. Charles, Missouri

This is the second year that I have attending the METC Conference in St. Charles, Missouri and it is a great conference. This year it was held at the St. Charles Convention Center - a beautiful location for this event. A total of six teachers from Liberty attended and we drove in Monday night.

I gave two presentations at the conference - "Using Web 2.0 in the Classroom" and "Hardtack to Hard Drives - The Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project". My first session, the one on Web 2.0, was packed with people standing in the back. I felt good to connect with so many teachers and I had numerous questions and positive comments after the session. The second session on the book blog had fewer people but they had some great questions.

I also attended some great sessions on digital storytelling, the Library of Congress online resources and using wikis. Rem Jackson and David Warlick gave the two keynote addresses.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pictures from National Teacher of the Year Conference in Dallas

Myself with Jerri Powers (Kansas Teacher of the Year)

Richard Ognibene (New York Teacher of the Year ), Ann Marie Taylor (South Carolina Teacher of the Year) Martin McKeon (Maine State Teacher of the Year) and myself at dinner.

Raymond Voley (Alaska Teacher of the Year) and myself at a training session.

Steve Gardiner (Montana Teacher of the Year), myself and Michael Smart (Minnesota Teacher of they Year)

Training session to learn more about eInstruction products we will have in our classroom.

Missouri Teacher of the Year Program Coordinator David Welch and myslef at a training session.

We were greeted at the Dallas World Aquarium by Aztec warriors.

2007 National Teacher of the Year Andrea Peterson and myself at the closing dinner.