Monthly Archives: June 2009

NECC 2009: Cell Phones Inside and Outside of the Classroom

Tammy Worcester presentation (Session links are here):

She basically went through all of the links in her online handout, and what the different sites do. I had seen some last year during Hal Davidson’s session in San Antonio, whose session I liked better), some are new to me, like GeoGraffiti). What was really missing from Tammy’s presentation were ideas for integration of these tools into teaching and learning.

Also, some services like Gabcast and Gcast are no longer free!!

NECC 2009: The Missing Link (SIGML-Sponsored Session)

These are notes from the ISTE SIGML sponsored session “The Missing Link: Preparing Teachers to Integrate SmartPhones Effectively” by Kristin Bennett and Ann Cunningham, with Hannah Mendelson and Elizabeth Jackson.

Teachers are still the missing link, i.e. they’ve sort of been skipped in the process of adoption of mobile devices(administrators and students).

 The session started with a newscast video about a mobile phone project with teacher education students at Wake Forest (small, private university): ubicomp campus since 1999: fully wireless campus, students get laptops and printers as Freshmen/reissued as Juniors 

Teacher ed students used iPaqs in the past (2005-2007) for formative assessment (Data in Hand software for individual assessment).

Now they use SmartPhones (2007-2009), with Exchange and Microsoft Mobile for group assessment and as a classroom teaching tool.

Questions researched:

  • Are hw and sw tools appropriate for formative assessment data collection? Yes
  • Do teacher candidates recognize the value of these tools for the classroom? Yes

Enter SmartPhones: worked with the class of 2008 on the SmartPhone initiative (internally funded): students bought phones, internal funding for data plans.

Practicing teaching is difficult enough without adding a complex technology. Need to determine the variables that influence integration during student teaching.

SmartPhones help with:

  • Assessment, individualization
  • Student motivation
  • Communication
  • Student productivity

Classroom Examples

SmartPhones with Windows Mobile, Office/Outlook, Internet access, synchronization


Put it in their hands!! i.e. have students use the phones for things like letter recognition, teaching shapes (use phone for shape hunt, i.e. take pictures of shapes).

Standards and Assessment

Photos: to show multiple representations (e.g. division). Students and/or teachers can take pictures. Can also take pictures of student work for later assessment

Videos: to record oral assessment

Surveys: to assess student understanding (e.g. SurveyMonkey used on phone): portability, addressing specific learner needs, privatization of grading, immediate feedback that can be used on the spot to adjust instruction.

Learning environments

Document what happens throughout the year.

Behavior Management

Use the phones to make your behavior plan and documentation portable. Can document behavior with video/pictures.

Parent Communication

Can communicate with parents throughout the school day in multiple ways (email, text, voice).

Professional Development

Use phone to document what you or peers are doing for parent conferences, open house, observations, national boards, awards, grants, and reflection.

How will what we have shown you impact your use or thinking of the use of SmartPhones.


How do you handle student privacy? Parent consent.

Funding, etc.: start small, do a pilot (I wonder though, aren’t we really getting past this stage?)

Teacher ed: getting students to understand what the phones can do, a lot of times it’s a matter of them being aware, even if they already own a smartphone.

Using phones for self-assessment (e.g. ESL learners).

I talked to the two presenters who just finished their first year of teaching. It really seems like what they did with mobile phones during their teacher education program has affected how they look at and use mobile technologies for teaching and learning. Even though they are the only ones at their schools using mobile phones as a part of their jobs, they do seem to have support from their administrators, even to the point of adjusted AUPs.

In general, and this presentation is an example of that, the tide seems to be changing as attitudes toward the use of mobile phones in schools is slowly changing, at least use by teachers.

NECC 2009: Opening Keynote Malcolm Gladwell

Notes from the NECC 2009 Opening Keynote with Malcolm Gladwell. Just some general ones, as my laptop battery died about halfway through. The live blogging of the keynote is here, here, and hereScott McLeod posted a few more useful links, including this critique by “Bummer Boy”. Liz Davis wonders how to put Gladwell’s ideas into practice.

Update: Curriki now has a summary of the keynote.

“I never talk about something that my audience knows more about than I do…”

So he starts out by talking about Fleetwood Mac…. 😉 and uses it as an example for what it means to become successful and what meaningful learning is

Mastery takes a long time: 10,000 hour rule, i.e. 4 hours a day for 10 years to master something, e.g. like chess, music. Many people underestimate how much this really is.

“Behind learning there has to be an attitude of effort”, so how do we communicate this attitude to our kids? E.g. being good at math is not an innate talent, it’s a matter of effort.

You build on your failures, not your successes. You compensate rather than capitalize. For example, how do you get through school if you’re dyslexic?  You learn leadership skills such as delegating or problem solving.

In all, the keynote was good and entertaining, but I sort of missed hearing at least a little bit about how digital tools can and should play a role in all of this, both inside and outside of school.  This is especially in regards to the central question of the keynote:  “How can we create learning environments where people can flex their compensation muscle as well as their capitalization muscle?”

NECC 2009: Sunday Leadership Symposium (Working Groups)

Notes from group 1:  “Access to High-Quality Learning Experiences”:

What would it look like to achieve this goal:

All students have access to high quality, rigorous learning experiences

  • Access to technology and personal devices
  • Administrator support
  • Focus on what kids are going to do. Learning has to be truly ubiquitous with guided practice and leadership. Harness the learning that goes on despite of school
  • Customizable learning environments that are student-driven
  • Globally connected
  • Complex projects
  • Broadband access with individual student devices and unfiltered access.
  • Student-centered
  • Equity of access
  • Hands-on activity, collaboration, student-produced knowledge
  • Personalized learning determined by students
  • Different paradigm for a place called school/classroom (learning space? Could be space and time)
  • Opportunities for teachers to learn
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Authentic, nothing seems above us, one-click, creative and critical thinking, directed, differentiated, multimedia, continuous, customized, Pre-K – 90 learning

Mike Kozak comments:

Importance of 1:1, device doesn’t matter!!!!! Students and teachers need the tools. 1:1 is becoming more of an expectation. Research shows that engagement and motivation goes up. For intervention strategies, 80% of improvement is at the student level.

Bandwidth: Access is key!

Online Education: mostly post-secondary now, spiral this down to K-12.

Opening Education Resources (OER): content, tools, and software. Biggest hurdle is time to find, explore, and integrate.


Best Best Recommendations from table groups:

  • Powerful, real-time, collection tool
  • We propose the creation of an education-system supported, high-quality cross-cultural collaboration system, like the eTwinning program in Europe or the Flat Classrooms Project, that provides for synchronous and asynchronous, formal and informal,  classroom-to-classroom and student-to-student collaboration with an emphasis on participating in real-world issues.
  • More focus on using technology skills (application), not the skills themselves.
  • PK-90, Continuous, Individualized, standards-based Learning.
  • Bandwidth, access, focus on learning experiences.
  • We need to engage in a revolutionary system that is more open and transparent  for both teachers and students.  
  • Use White Spectrum to provide online access for schools and libraries and museums within their community. Take this cost out of school budgets and make it part of the overall infrastructure. (Stan Silverman) This is already paid for by the public. Use devices that students have now and that their families own (use cell phones for student response systems in the class rather than buying student response systems). Make school buildings available for learning by community members outside of school hours or school days so there is true lifelong learning. Let grannies and teens learn how to do things they want to learn, side by side and from each other.
  • Personalized, customizable, and flexible learning environment based on national standards that includes access to any type of technology and resources needed.
We need a comprehensive online system, securing the white space spectrum, incorporating and supporting 21st Century skills, accessible anywhere anytime, that incorporates the capabilities for a personalized, flexible learning plan, cross-cultural collaboration, authentic performance assessment, and open learning resources.
This is step one of what will be a long process of sorting and sifting.

NECC 2009: Sunday Leadership Symposium

 Notes from the opening comments….

Opening panel:

Pamela Griffin: Importance of professional development.

Stephen Hockett: Talked mostly about data-driven decision-making and how it can work, but closed with an example of teacher with mobile devices. The teacher said that learning became more student-centered and about discovery, and that teaching is less about control. Advice: we spend too much time teaching 20th century skills with 20th century technology. We need to think outside of the box, use mobile devices, and giving teachers time to work with technology (pd).

Jeff Levin (Highland Tech High School graduate): graduate from a standards-based school…. “When students are given technology to use for learning, in some cases this can be good, and in other cases this can still be good.” Technology is a very strong asset to students. Advice: Remember that there are things that students are going to dislike about technology. Students will also use technology for things that teachers did not intend.

Dan Roberts: Technology has empowered people at his school,,  including students, teachers and staff. Let students use technology, it’s ok to fail. Learning has become more independent learning, both inside and out. They let students use what they have in their pockets, i.e. mobile phones, for taking pictures and video, and taking notes. Advice: not use technology for the sake of it, but to improve learning. “The opportunities are endless.” Students should have a say in their learning, give teachers and students an opportunity to take risks.

Obinna Johnson Ukwuani: Importance of the hands-on aspect of education using technology, especially in science, “it fortifies learning”.

Overview of National Ed Tech Plan

Linda Roberts: Build on what we know, but don’t be limited by it. We need a plan that will be used:

  • compel action by having a vision and very clear goals;
  • drive policy; and
  • spur investment (the trickiest part). Investment is money at national, state and local levels; investment in the system; and investment in people (we need them to make the plan happen, they need to feel vested in this venture)!!

Barbara Means: Technology has become a factor in its own right in education. Bases for goal setting include new education priorities, research, new and emerging tech capabilities, …

Technology’s potential to support four educational transformations:

  • Access to high quality learning experiences;
  • Remaking the teaching profession;
  • Providing info to create a transparent educational system and continuous improvement at all levels;
  • enhancing collaboration and content management to derive cost savings and

Planning activities (plan is to be created in 8 months, i.e. done by the end of 2009/early 2010!!):

  • Outreach to key stakeholders
  • technical working group (includes John Seely Brown, Aneesh Chopra, Roy Pea, Barbara Means, Linda Roberts, Chris Dede, Barry Fishman, etc.) 
  • commissioned research and data analyses
  • solicitation of white papers and view points/comments
  • public website (; as requested by the Obama administration for purposes of transparency of the process). Will go live on 6/29.

Carnival of the Mobilist #177 and #178!!

It’s been hectic around here, hence the lack of posts. However, you get two for the price of one this week with Carnival of the Mobilists #s 177 and 178:

177, hosted by A Consuming Experience:

We have a great crop of interesting, varied posts – especially in relation to various conferences or meetings, as it’s clearly conference season!

178, hosted by Volker on Mobile:

Last week marked not only the launch of the long-awaited Palm Pre but also featured Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (without Steve Jobs threatening to quit this time), so the theme would appear to being set: it is all about smarter phones, is it not?

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

Proposal Submission for HHL 2009 Research Strand: Only One Week Left!!


This message serves as a friendly reminder that there is only one week left to submit your abstract proposals for Handheld Learning 2009. We are looking forward to receiving a substantial number of quality proposals by Friday, June 12, 2009. We currently have enough reviewers. If you have any questions about the paper submissions, please contact the chair of the HHL 2009 research strand, Mark van ‘t Hooft, at Details about submitting a proposal as well as the online submission form can be found here

Thanks for looking (and submitting)!!

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