Muddling through the blogosphere

March 20, 2013
by blogwalker

CUE 2013 – Day 1 Take-Aways

Just returned from the 2013 CUE Conference, a 3-day event jam-packed with educators initiating conversations and sharing resources and best practices on innovative, effective technology integration.  This year the Common Core State Standards were at the core of the conference.

Here are a few of my take-aways from Thursday, Day 1:

Session 1 Collaboration Around the Common Core Using Brokers of Expertise – Eddy Avelar walked us through the layout and resources of the California K12 High Speed Network’s (K12 HSN) Brokers of Expertise site. I’m looking forward to connecting with and learning from the California CCSS group.

Session 2Digital Tools for the ELA Common Core – Jonathan Brubaker has posted his session slides on, a new tool for me. Not only can you view his slides, but each tool he introduced for building students’ academic vocabulary is shown on his sqworl site.  I really like Big Picture, which features photos from, and ” lets you view and share photos in the style of The Big Picture,’s excellent photo blog.”

Jonathan reminded participants that “text complexity” cannot be based on lexile alone. The Grapes of Wrath, for instance, has a 4th grade “quantitative level” but the “qualitative level” is much higher. One comment really resonated with me: “Text complexity should be a conversation  – don’t use it as an excuse for Readicide. Reading has to be the point – not lexile” (e.g., AR).  He ended the session with a huge shout out to Touchstones Discussion Project guides for building critical thinking and powerful classroom discussions.

Session 3 – Making your (Google) Voice Heard – If you still haven’t created a Google Account,  Brandon Wislocki’s session would convince you to drop everything and set one up so you can start using Google’s free Voice program and app. A big advantage for teachers is being able to use Google Voice as an alternate number for students and parents to call.  But there are so many more possibilities! The fact that the messages are saved as embeddable mp3’s and are translated into text is just a starting point. Think of the possibilities for extending learning beyond the school day, especially for your ELs!

Session 4 Online Writing that Meets the Common Core – Jason Saliskar started his session by laying out via grade levels what CCSS Anchor Standard 6 for Writing looks like by grade level. I love that it’s all there on his presentation link! A favorite take-away from Jason’s session is that in teaching writing in the Common Core era,  “writing short is going to matter as much as writing long” (from Pam Allyn). Loved the videos Jason included, such as a Teaching Channel look at poetry, technology, and CCSS from an elementary language arts teacher and the 3-minute video embedded below on Explaining the Common Core State Standards:

Keynote Session – Ending Day 1 with Catlin Tucker’s inspiring keynote was a perfect close. Her session was recorded, so as soon as I have that link I’ll add it to this post. In the meantime, I encourage you to subscribe to Catlin’s blog and to follow her on Twitter (@CTuckerEnglish). In stating that “Technology can’t be an add-on – it has to replace and extend what we already do,” Catlin presents compelling ways to take powerful fiction, such as To Kill and Mockingbird and connect it real world issues, such as the death penalty. For high school English teachers who fear that CCSS means letting go of the classics, you definitely want to connect with Catlin Tucker. She takes 9th grade English, technology, and the Common Core to new levels.

I’ll be back soon with some CUE Day 2 take-aways.

December 11, 2011
by blogwalker
1 Comment

“No Child Left Off Line” – Whoohoo, California is catching up!

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining my fellow California K12 High Speed Network Advisory Committee members down at the Capitol for a meeting with our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. Our purpose was to talk about ways to promote new learning environments in California.

Ironically, California, the home of Silicon Valley, is hardly a leader in implementing eLearning opportunities in its public schools (yikes, we’re ranked 47th in the nation on technology integration in our classrooms) – until now. The framework, the initiatives, and momentum needed to transform the “No Child Left Off Line” mantra from a vision to a reality are now available:

  • The California Student Bill of Rights Act– The Riverside Unified School District is leading the charge in California’s “no child left off line” movement, with a commitment to eliminating zip code as a determining factor in the quality of education all California students have access to. The proposed law stems from the vision of two Riverside Unified School District administrators: Superintendent Rick Miller (who also serves on the K12 HSN Advisory Committee) and David Haglund, principal of Riverside Virtual School, the largest district-run online school in the state.

I applaud Riverside USD in their efforts to address what Superintentent Torlakson refers to as “the ground swell of public impatience with the lack of online learning opportunities.” I also very much appreciate having access to their district technology plan: Vision 20/20 Plan, a document (and road map) many districts will find insightful as they update their own tech plans.

  • What If the Story Changed? – David Jakes’ recent presentation for the 2011 K12 Online Conference is a wonderful piece “to challenge your thinking about traditional perspectives on education, and offer insights on how we might rethink these.” 32 very worthwhile minutes, I promise!

Online Students vs. Traditional Students
Via: Online PhD Programs Blog

One of my personal goals for the New Year is to join a cohort of Sacramento colleagues for CTAP3’s Online Learning Teacher Certification Course via Leading Edge. Probably can’t commit to the program till this summer, but I’m already looking forward to being a part of California’s 4 A’s (Any time, Any place, Any path, Any pace) movement .

June 4, 2008
by blogwalker

Experimenting with edZone Uploads

Fooling around today with the many options available through California’s K12HSN edZone, starting with embedding video:

OK, that’s 2 out of 3: edZone and YouTube embed beautifully in the updated WordPress. Hopefully TeacherTube will fix whatever the embedding issues are right now into EB.

I’ll be showcasing edZone tomorrow at a workshop for EDCOE. We can’t upload PowerPoints yet with the Docs upload feature, but that’s on Alan Phillips‘ “short list.” Vidoes, podcasts, images, documents, and PDFs upload without a problem:-).

March 17, 2008
by blogwalker

edZone Presentation – Live via K12 HSN Videoconference

I’m joining in this morning’s K12 HSN videoconference to learn more about edZone – a suite of applications for educators trying to figure out how to bring more of the blocked applications from the public Internet (e.g., YouTube, Blogger, Flickr) into their classrooms.  EdZone offers basically unlimited storage for documents, videos, and podcasts for California educators. Coming up soon: wikis, moodle, and instant messaging.  For non-California teachers, administrators, and IT folks, I think you’re going to be impressed with edZone, which could certainly be replicated in other states!


Benefits of edZone:

  • “Federated” search across the Zone: If you click on any of the channels, a variety of resources across the board will appear. The same feature holds true for the Search function. Less than a week old – and there are already resources that have been tagged and posted!
  • Blogs – EdZone’s setup is so easy.  I’m really thinking about using edZone in my blogging workshops. Although the initial plan was to develop a blogging tool via WordPress, it proved easier to create a HSN tool, which can easily be modified and enhanced, based on user input.
  • Videos – HSN is coding videos as Flash. Still a bit of tweaking on this application. But there is already content posted. You have the ability to create albums, which is a collection of content – with the ability to display your albums.
  • Podcasts – Listen from your computer or download and listen later.  Upload to your heart’s content! I really like to ability to create albums!
  • Images – You can click on “Share” or not.
  • Documents – I like the rating system. PDFs open right in the browser window.
  • My EdZone Page – Shows all your areas (videos, document, podcasts, blogs) with number of uploads, tags, channels, and categories.  You can make this content available only to you or to the public, but you also have to certify that you have the right to the content.
  • Coming soon: Student accounts, the ability to create groups for sharing your content, personal avatars, ability to put other people’s content into your album; ability to embed videos into blog posting; further integration of help desk, and then Moodle.

Next steps?

  • Professional development – start working with teachers to bring up issues of policy, copyright and fair use so that we do the roll out professionally.
  • Figure how suite of tools fits into the collection of resources and tools at local CTAP regions and districts. Alan Phillips is already working on a user guide and training videos.  No need to create the training materials:-)
  • Terms of Service Agreement already in place.  When you post, certification will be attached giving you right to your own materials.
  • Flagging content as inappropriate is available for all posted content.
  • Already looking at partnership with Exploratorium and Thinkfinity to bring the best into edZone with links back to site.

And did I mention that edZone if completely FREE?!

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