Category Archives: Uncategorized

GeoHistorian Project in the News Again

Tweet for EdTech Today (May 12, 2010)!!

Join the campaign! Today, advocates from across the country are tweeting for education technology funding.  Funding for classroom technology is in jeopardy, but together we can make our tweets heard and urge Congress to fund the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program at $500 million for FY 2011.  President Obama provided no funding for the program in his budget, but Congress does not have to agree with this recommendation.

Tweet these sample messages throughout the day, or create your own. Encourage your neighbors and colleagues to join the twitterfest, and if you have a blog, spread the word that way.

Here are some sample tweets, mostly under 100 characters so there’s room to retweet and personalize a bit.  Or, make up your own!

*   @TomHarkin #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
*   @DavidObey #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
*   @ThadCochran #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
*   @RepToddTiahrt #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
*   Our schools need 21st century education, #EETT. Fund #edtech at $500 m
*   No funding for #edtech? No prep for 21st century. Fund #EETT at $500m
*   I support #edtech. I vote. Fund #EETT at $500m in 2011
*   As a principal/teacher/parent I know our kids need #edtech skills. Fund #EETT at $500m

Thank you for joining the effort!  Together, we can make our voices heard!


Cooney Center Prizes for Innovation: Breakthroughs in Mobile Learning

Got this from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center via Liz Kolb yesterday:

We are thrilled to announce that the Cooney Center Prizes for Innovation in Children’s Learning and are now accepting applications! We are hoping to get applications from a large and diverse group of researchers, developers and entrepreneurs from around the country. For our largest prize this year, we are awarding $50,000 to an innovation in mobile learning.Breakthroughs in Mobile Learning and Breakthroughs in Literacy Learning. Up to five finalists in each category will be invited to pitch their ideas to media industry and education leaders at an event held at this year’s E3 Expo. This year’s prizes include $50,000 in the Mobile Learning category and $10,000 and the opportunity to work with Sesame Workshop to turn a literacy idea into a product for national dissemination via Sesame Workshop’s revival of the iconic literacy show, The Electric Company.

The national competition is intended to identify, inspire, nurture, and scale breakthrough ideas in children’s digital media and learning.  The competition will award cash prizes and provide ongoing business planning support to innovators in children’s educational media.  The Cooney Center is challenging innovators in two categories:

Looks like an interesting competition….

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.

Comfort Foods Meme


Ok, so I got tagged by Scott McLeod in his comfort foods meme. He’s got some interesting choices, although they do not quite match mine. Since I like food 😉 I figured I’d post some of my choices, in no particular order:

  1. Soup. Any kind really …
  2. Mashed potatoes
  3. Mountain man (you have to be (or have been) a Boy Scout to appreciate this one!)
  4. Lasagna
  5. Hot chocolate

Alright, I did my part. How about you? And specifically:

Gotta stick with the mobile learning crowd!!

Image Credit: “Potato Soup”; from Average Jane’s photostream:

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Opening Session, part II


The international speakers…..

Tarek Shawki, Section Chief, ICTs in Education, Science, Culture, Information Society Division, Communication & Information Sector, UNESCO.

On ICT Utilization towards Building Global Knowledge Societies

UNESCO as a laboratory of ideas and standard-setter; also a clearing house to disseminate info to member states.


  • Access to networks and high quality content
  • Dealing with cost of access; capacity building
  • Content development
  • Freedom of expression
  • Media development
  • Knowledge preservation

E-knowledge requires a lot of (different) players

Mr. Shawki then continued to talk about organizational structures and partnerships, which I won’t try to describe here, but which is important in that it shows how ICT developments are happening globally.

Final comment: UNESCO is working on a report comparing all of the different mobile devices for individual governments who are confused with regards to what’s out there.

Next up, Francesc Pedro from OECD’s CERI. His presentation is pretty much the same thing he did at NECC, which I blogged here. He did show some interesting MacArthur-Foundation-made videos.

Francesc’s key point I think is that there is a real need for solid, research-based information in the area of ICT for learning, especially on an international  level, and a need to focus on the changes that learners are bringing.

Not a lot of talk about mobile learning in these two presentations, but more big-picture issues to think about …