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Welcome to the 2020NEXUS web site. 

Keyboarding           Tech Integration          Gaming (The Learning Kind)

 

Please visit My Classroom for information on the following topics: History, Writing, Reading and English.  I am teaching only I.T courses at the moment so those pages may not be updated.

Sunday
Aug232009

Web Design for Teachers

I will be giving a little class in web design for about 8 of our teachers and principals in a couple of weeks. Before we meet I am giving them this Planning Sheet to help prepare them. I will blog later about Part Two.

WEB DESIGN FOR TEACHERS

Part One – Planning


THESE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AS YOU PLAN YOUR SITE -- Jot some notes on this planning sheet before we begin.


1. What is My Purpose in Making A Site . . . With Each Level of Complexity I Get More Benefits Yet More Time/Money/Learning Curves Are Involved.

a. Who Am I Trying to Reach or, Who Is My Audience?

           i. Kids, Parents, Colleagues, Content Area Team, Grade Level Team, Cluster Members?
          ii. Is it Just For Classroom News, Homework, etc.
         iii. A Professional Site To Represent Me, Share Professional Resources, etc.

      b. Classroom/Teaching/Learning Site for Kids to Pick Up Resources, Announcements, Files, Assignments, etc.?

      c. A Blog (online journal/diary with entries posted most-recent-first)? With Comments Allowed or Disallowed?

      d. Something Else? All of The Above?

2. How Much Time Do I Want To Spend Per Day or Week On Updating and Maintenance?

3. How Tech Savvy Am I About This or How Tech Savvy Do I Want to Become?

4. Do I Want It Hosted on D-11 / Mann’s Server or Somewhere Else?

5. Do I Have a Specific Color, Design, or Theme in Mind?

     a. Do I Want a Simple, Clean Look or Something Fancier?

     b. What Flavor/Mood/Impression Am I Aiming For in the Aesthetics of My Site?

6. Do I Want to Invite Participation by Students or Anyone Else? For example, others would also be writing, editing and commenting with you.

7. Will I Be Having Students Doing Any of the Updating / Maintenance?

8. Do I Want Security Features Like Logins and Passwords For Anyone Besides Myself?

9. Have I Made A Rough Site Map / Flow Chart / Outline of my Site’s Pages? Have I Decided Which Pages Should Be Linked? See below.*

10. Do I Want To Spend Any Money on My Site Name or Site Storage (Hosting)? Either way, Heather will be making a link on the Mann site that leads to your site.

11. Do I Want My Own Specific Address / My Own Domain Name? (www.Mr.Smith.com) or is a Sub-Domain Fine (www.Mr.Smith.teachersfirst.com)? What is that name? **

12. How Important Is It To Me That The Web Address Be Easy to Remember?

Notes

* SAMPLE FLOWCHARTS/PLANNING SHEETS/OUTLINES

 

  1.   

 

** DOMAIN NAMES: You Have 3 Choices:


1. You Can Register and Purchase A New Domain Name - pick your own (i.e. www.yourname.com or www.mannlancers.org, etc. You have to find out if the name is available, then pay a small fee to reserve it. I pay around $10 for mine.

2. You Can Use A Free Sub-Domain – get a custom sub-domain on someone else’s server via the service you pick (i.e. www.teachnology.yourname.com or www.mannlancers.schoolnotes.com ). This will happen automatically if you use one of the many free services on the web.

3. You Can Re-Direct A Domain Name You Already Have – Point the custom domain name you already own to a host server (i.e. I have pointed a couple of my domain names to a sub-domain on www.squarespace.com but you only have to type in www.2020nexus.org instead of www.2020nexus.squarespace.com ).

Site Maps:

  1. http://pbil.univ-lyon1.fr/RTKdb/rtkdb_SiteMap.php
  2. http://www.uvsc.edu/disted/decourses/dgm/2740/IN/steinja/lessons/02/images/site_map_sketch.jpg
  3. http://www.soe.vt.edu/oero/images/oero_site_map.gif
Monday
Aug172009

To Meet The Demands of a New Age

This speaks for itself. Thank you, Steven H., for sharing this at http://vimeo.com/4429902, and thank you, Angela Meiers, for pointing me to it at http://www.angelamaiers.com/2009/08/drumroll-please-inspiration-video-responses.html.

To Meet the Demands of a New Age from Steven H on Vimeo.

Sunday
Aug162009

U.S. Department of Education Study Finds that Good Teaching can be Enhanced with New Technology

The U.S. Department of Education has released an analysis of former studies comparing online and face-to-face instruction, technology use in the classroom, using technology to monitor student data, and the like. 

To summarize, the analysis re-affirmed the effectiveness of online learning and "blended learning," which is teaching face-to-face which incorporates some elements of online learning. The best results seem to come from blended learning, but it's interesting to note that if researchers compared purely face-to-face teaching with purely online teaching, the online students showed higher achievement.

US Secretary of Arne Duncan has some things to say about the results:

 

“This new report reinforces that effective teachers need to incorporate digital content into everyday classes and consider open-source learning management systems, which have proven cost effective in school districts and colleges nationwide,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We must take advantage of this historic opportunity to use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to bring broadband access and online learning to more communities.

“To avoid being caught short when stimulus money runs out, school officials should use the short-term federal funding to make immediate upgrades to technology to enhance classroom instruction and to improve the tracking of student data,” Duncan added. “Technology presents a huge opportunity that can be leveraged in rural communities and inner-city urban settings, particularly in subjects where there is a shortage of highly qualified teachers. At the same time, good teachers can utilize new technology to accelerate learning and provide extended learning opportunities for students.”

The press release stresses that most of the studies were performed at the college level and that there are few studies comparing online learning to classroom learning in the K-12 arena, so we should not be too quick to take the results of this meta-analysis as gospel.

Original Source: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/06/06262009.html

The full report can be found at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html#edtech.

Saturday
Aug152009

I've Got A Google Voice Number!

Photo Credit: Google VoiceNow the question is: how shall I best use it?

The purpose of Google Voice is to have one phone number to give others -- I don't have to decide whether to give out my private land line (I don't have one), one of my cells, or my classroom number--or all of them, if I really, really needed to be reachable. (No, thank you.) However, the privacy of my Google Voice options is what appeals to me most. I don't have to give anyone my direct numbers if I don't feel it's wise.

When I call from my Google number I can do it from any phone or from my computer.  I can hold a conference call, switch calls, and/or record the calls (this is only legal if I notify the other party).

When someone dials my Google Voice number they can speak with me, leave a voicemail, or send me a text message.  I can, in turn, program my Google number to ring anywhere I want it to.  I can even use custom ringing. For instance, when a contact calls my Google Voice:

  1. I can have it ring on all my phones at once.
  2. I can have certain contact's numbers ring on only one of my phones.
  3. I can have certain numbers always go to voice mail.
  4. I can make it screen my calls.
  5. I can listen in on messages as they are being left.
  6. I can block calls, place calls, forward calls, and more.

One of the best parts is the way I can get my messages. 

  1. I can listen to voice mails from any phone I want.
  2. I can use my mobile phone's browser to check my In Box.
  3. I can get email or text notifications of my voice mails.
  4. I can listen to them online.
  5. I can send them onward to someone else or another of my own numbers.
  6. I can even get them in written words; Google Voice uses speech-to-text.

Now if I move schools, mobile providers, etc. I don't have to change my phone number.  (This is the same reason I use a post office box instead of giving my street address to strangers or very important senders.)

And did I mention that this is all free?  If you live in the US (sorry, my international friends!) you can get a Google Voice number by invitation only, as the service is still technically in Beta.  Here's how. Go to this site and fill in the form. In a week or two you'll get a message from Google inviting you to pick a number.  You can search for personalized numbers or take a random number.  You can search by location or zip code to see which numbers are available.  I didn't want to have a random number; I had several pre-chosen that I was hoping to get because I wanted something that reflected my personality and was very easy to remember, like my name or nickname.  Unfortunately, my first ten choices or so were already taken. So I settled on 7122NoFear.

Google Voice looks to be pretty amazing. Right now I doubt I'll even need or use its full capabilities but I'm very excited about the potential.  I am already giving that number to my students, their parents, and visitors to my web sites, wikis, and blogs. I haven't felt the need to give it to family and friends yet but it would be a good idea to do that soon or before I am faced with changing phone companies. 

It will take some more reflection before I decide how else I can use this amazing service to its best advantage. I can see many advantages for business people yet I want to think through how educators can extract the most benefits. 

What would you do if you had a Google Voice number?

 

Friday
Jul312009

When Will Wikis Win?

I came across a post by Dean Groom at his blog, "Design For Learning," about his school's use of wikis last year and the progress they have made in implementing them for instruction and collaboration.  He was kind enough to share a presentation he used with the staff to introduce them to wikis:

 

Wikis Mq
View more documents from pmhs.

Wednesday
Jul292009

Cellphone Etiquette for Kids - Being Smart About Personal Technology

We study digital citizenship, netiquette, and web safety in my class.  We're always trying to learn and do a better job of using electronics and digital tools appropriately and intelligently.

The New York Times' Gadgetwise blog has some good advice about cell phone manners for both parents and kids in Warren Buckleitner's article last week.

". . . what kids should know:

  • Always take calls from the person who is paying the bill.
  • Please (PLZ) and thank you (TY) work like magic, even if you text them. Manners will never go out of style, in any form.
  • Abide by your school or library’s cellphone policy. A ring during an art lesson can land you in detention, just as unsilenced phones can get your mom or dad in trouble during a religious service or on the commuter bus from Flemington to Port Authority.
  • Be charitable. Your phone is a powerful tool that can help a kid stranded after soccer practice.
  • Don’t be sneaky. Instead of hiding your cellphone under the picnic table, let everyone in on the unfolding drama of your text streams. You’ll be surprised how much adults love gossip, and it helps them learn about what’s going on in your life.
  • Timing is everything, especially when you take that call. If you politely excuse yourself and step into the next room, you might just avoid Grandpa’s ire.
  • Don’t get your friends in trouble. If you know they’re at a family dinner or it is getting late, be polite and say “text me when your dinner is over.”
  • Don’t text bad words or embarrassing messages friends. It can get you and your friend in trouble when their parents snoop through their messages. And they do.
  • Planning an argument? Do it in person. Cellphones are also recorders, and text messages can end up on a Facebook page.
  • Earbuds and open screens say, “go away; I don’t want to talk to you.” Try pulling out your ear buds and closing your screen, and giving someone your full attention. It works like magic.
  • Look them in the eyes. The technical term for it is “interpersonal communication” — and it’s such a big deal that the educational psychologist Howard Gardner counts it as a multiple intelligence. You don’t develop these skills if you’re glued to a screen.
  • Keep something disarming as your wallpaper, like one of your parents’ wedding photos, just in case your phone gets confiscated.

 Go to the article to see the additional tips directed at parents.

Monday
Jul202009

Look Ma, no textbooks

Empire High School (Vail, AZ) seniors will be the first group of students to have started and completed their high school careers without the use of traditional textbooks, using personal laptops instead. When the school began its 2005 school year, students were given laptops rather than textbooks, and both students and teachers found it to be a worthwhile challenge.

Melinda Jensen, a teacher at Empire High, stated that their seniors “work so comfortably in a digital environment that they don’t realize they’ve developed marketable skills.” She adds that the students have built up a resume that includes noteworthy computer skills, and the laptops have given students the most up-to-date material as well as the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge “in ways that are most relevant to them.”

 Via Tech & Learning

Monday
Jul202009

Free online course helps students plan careers

A free online learning program from Microsoft is helping middle and high school students think about careers they might like to pursue and the skills necessary to attain those careers.

CareerForward debuted in Michigan two years ago when the state became the first in the nation to require students to have an online learning experience before they graduate from high school. It was developed through a public-private partnership between the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Virtual University, and Microsoft.

Alabama recently became the second state in the nation to adopt an online-learning requirement for high school graduation, and in May the Alabama Department of Education announced plans to implement CareerForward statewide for the 2009-10 school year. State education officials said they hope the program will make students college- and career-ready and will leave them equipped with the 21st-century skills necessary to compete in a global economy.

 Via E-School News

Monday
Jul202009

Texting can b gd 4 ur kids

GR8 news for worried parents: frequent use of text abbreviations does not harm children's literacy - and may even improve it. Concerns have been raised that an explosion in the use of "textisms" like "CUL8R" and "wot u doin 2nite?" could be damaging children's reading and spelling ability. To investigate, Beverly Plester and her colleagues at Coventry University in the UK asked 88 children aged 10 to 12 to write text messages describing 10 different scenarios. When they compared the number of textisms used to a separate study of the children's reading ability, they found that those who used more textisms were better readers (British Journal of Developmental Psychology, DOI: 10.1348/026151008X320507).

But do textisms improve literacy, or do better readers use more textisms? The preliminary results of a follow-up study seem to suggest the former, Plester says. She believes that this is because textisms are phonetically based: "Phonological awareness has long been associated with good reading skills." Exposure to the written word in any form is also linked to improved literacy. "These kids are engaging with more written language and they're doing it for fun."

Via British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Friday
Jul172009

Wordle

Using Wordle in the Classroom

This Wordle was made from my blog 2020Nexus.  I haven't had a chance to use Wordle with my students yet.  However, the following are some resources I have found which might be useful to anyone considering using it:

Five Reasons to Use Wordle in the Classroom by Terry Freedman

Free Technology for Teachers: More Wordle Ideas

Twenty-Five Interesting Ways* to use Wordle in the Classroom - Google Docs

Wordle Blog: A Wordle Lesson Plan

Wordle Tutorial by Bob Sprankle Bit by Bit