About dyrsd

I am the Coordinator of Instructional Technology for the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I will be using this blog for a graduate course, Tools to Teach in the 21st Century, that I am teaching within my school district from Feb 1, 2007 - May 17, 2007.

The Final Detail

With Esme’s help, and that is a serious understatement, I got my Inspiration timeline created at MCGC. She is a marvel. I have vowed to take remedial building workshops to improve my skills. I believe I can learn to build, like the little engine that could. I think I can, I think I can. I realized as she was helping to create the walkway with my timeline that we were working with geometry and algebra. Duh. Just another example of the practical applications for SL in the classroom. Someone like me…who although may appear to be linear (hence the lengthy timeline) is actually a very visual person that likes to do things hands-on to learn best.

Here is picture of the timeline as it resides now on the MCGC Island as well as happily in my inventory. HMMM maybe I will put it on the lawn in front of DY building on LLI.

I am as happy as a clam…so I might just go dig some. Thanks again Esme.

Exhausted from Shopping

Thanks to TT who was building at the sandbox, I have new clothes for the party. I am exhausted from the process (I did have a little fun he he). He teleported me to Freebie Dungeon and I went a little wild. All the clothes were free, but I could not resist buying some baubles (just like in RL) to augment my dress and shoes that sparkle.

I tried on clothes, lost my hair, changed outfits, lost my hair, tried on shoes, lost my hair, adorned earrings, lost my hair. There is a trend. I kept teleporting back to LLI where I knew no one would see me hairless and in my birthday suit while I got the look I wanted.

Now if I can remember how Esme and the book told me to save outfit so you can switch back and forth.

Here is a sneak look at Pamet’s party outfit. Dorothy your red shoes cannot compare to mine.I feel like I am going to the junior prom.

Student Engagement

Spending 3 days at MIT at the SCRATCH Conference only convinced me more that we are not providing enought opportunities for our students to become creative thinkers. We are so entrenched in attaining higher test scores and meeting AYP we have completely overlooked the big picture. What it is our kids should be and can be capable of doing. Mitch Resnick referred to it as providing opportunities for students to have high ceilings (the ability to do more over time), low floors (the ability to delve deeper) and have wide walls (open to variety of people and ideas).

The Lifelong Kindergarten Lab prescribes the follow process:

  • Imagine
  • Create
  • Play
  • Share
  • Reflect
  • Imagine

We need to bring this process into our classrooms. I for one am going to push the envelope in my school district to make more of this happen. Administrators and teachers need to be providing more opportunities for students to be more actively engaged in their learning. We are totally missing the big picture….the lives that our students will be living. It is a well known fact that the jobs our students will be doing, have not even been created yet. We need to be turning out students who are adaptable. We need to be teaching students to be life long learners, willing to accept the new challenges they face as technology changes the way they live, work and interact with others.

SCRATCh has shown me that students can not just be the players of games but the designers.

Here are some photos of the Kindergarten Lab…wouldn’t everyone like to learn in this space.

It is this class, conferences like the Building Online Learning Communities and Scratch that make me realize how much we need to change the way our classrooms look and feel.

What a hoot!

I just got a phone call from a Tech Director from Moore County Schools in North Carolina. He had found LLI in Second Life and was calling me to ask questions about SL. His superintendent had recently been to a conference and had heard about using SL in education. He referred to me as on the cutting edge. If he only knew how dull the edge was with me a SL. I tried shopping for clothes last night for the last class soiree and failed miserably in my shopping efforts,  But, thanks to this class i was able to give him a lot of information that he did not have about SL. I also turned him on to Peggy Sheehy and Ramapo Island.

What was most interesting about our conversation was that he did not have any idea that kids and adults were isolated from one another. He had found it odd that there was only colleges and universities present and wondered where you would find K-12 institutions which is why, I am sure, he contacted me.

Garrison, Anderson and Archer

The following is posted from the forums for my personal preservation:

First, I checked the copyright date and was interested to find this was written 2000. A time long before the volcanic eruption that created SL. It is difficult for me to take the wayback machine and think of the community of inquiry prior to my experiences in MOODLE and SL, since I do not have much to base any prior knowledge. My Masters’ work was conducted in world, in the Grad Center, with regular face to face meetings. We had the benefit of synchronous and asynchronous, while interacting with one another during class and the connection of a real time instructor.

I will fast forward to Spring 2008, Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds. All three of the required elements, due to the avatars, the class meetings and the guidance of our instructor has being strongly in place. No we have not seen one another but i think we have a pretty good idea of the types of people we all are. Our voices speak in our forums and we can sense angst and uncertainty after difficult tasks. Conversely, we share successes. We have a group in our class actively collaborating on a final project which I hope, we all, can take advantage of using with our teachers for professional development. Jane has asked us all if we would be interested in collaborating with her to better her favs by writing brief descriptions of each of the island to make them easier for the users. We have offered assistance to one another and have developed a sense of collegiality.

I have read posts and had to extend my cognitive presence, I have experienced, “a sense of puzzlement, information exchange, connected ideas and applied new ones.”

The social presence of this world is incredible, if this is not a place to find, “emotion, risk-free expression, collaboration (who of us have not made a friend in-world who has helped us in a difficult situation). This is truly an envrionment where the social presence is rich and engaging.

The teaching presence, was it Jim who counted 500 posts. That is a pretty prolific number. Who has kept the pace, our instructor. She has, “deined and initated discussion topics, shared personal meaning and helped focus our discussion.” This, I am sure, has been a major challenge.

I have just come from a conference regarding technology integration using the many wonderful tools available to educators today. A professional development model was present 23 Things for the 21st Century. Essentially it is a professional development model that gives teachers 23 tasks to complete in 10 weeks to become adept in the world of Web 2.0. The modell is totally online and each student uses a blog to report on their successes and failures with the tasks. I found the idea of having 25 student and having to monitor 25 blogs daunting. It appear to me that for cognitive presence and social presence to exist, the teacher presence would be essential to the success of the online learning experience. The facilitator is key. In the words of Peggy Sheehy, ” A million computers cannot replace one good teacher.”

NOAA is a no

I went to the NOAA site that was in Esme’s Fav List. I wasn’t too impressed. I think I am jaded because I think there was somewhat of an attempt to emulate the Weather Channel with a plane ride and some other features. None of it was nearly as much fun as extreme action at the Weather Channel Island. I do have to say that NOAA does provide more factual information. if you are looking for a site for students to learn about the oceans and the atmosphere there is information to be found. But compare it to the testis tour…no comparison. Of course, I took a few snapshots. I am finding it interesting that in RL I forget to even bring my camera much less take pictures.

All Over the Map

My next few posts are not probably going to be sequential but I want to get some posts made as I get the time. I taught last week and am going to the November Conference in about an hour. Some of my classmates got a little overwhelmed when Esme suggested a flickr account. I have so many Web 2.0 accounts…it is crazy. But I need to experiment with everyone I hear about so I can see whether I can use them with students and teachers. Many of them replicate others so I try to pick and choose the ones I expose teachers to that are the most user friendly and have the most practical applications.

The Project…A Closer Look at the Teen Grid and How to Get There

Now that I have finished entertaining half of the Western Civilization for the past 5 days I can get back to work. I have a thousand posts to read. ARRRGH.

I don’t know if there is going to be more information in the forums regarding the project but my thoughts are these. I have looked at the rubric and the forums and in-world participation is far more weighty than the final project so how important is the project?

I am thinking I need to focus on this opportunity to meet, talk and potentially plan with Peggy Sheehy. She has a project in place and has already had experience, a positive one with Fred/Gus from Firesabre, with establishing a presence on the Teen Grid.

I am wondering if attending her breakouts at the Alan November Conference, a personal interview and the development of an action plan on how I will move my district into the virtual worlds would be an acceptable project? An additional part would be to chronicle what I learn from Peggy to the class. There were definitely two or three others interested in the concept.

I am hoping that my approval for the Teen Grid comes through prior to the conference. I hope to get a glimpse of the Teen Grid but don’t know if that is possible. One thing I know for sure is I do not want to make any mistakes and get banned.

If this project is feasible, then I will ask Esme for an extension on my proposal until the 19th, the day after the conference ends.

I am going to post this in the forums as well. I may want to begin some of my post in both places since I want a record of this after the course ends.

ISTE @ NECC June 30, 2008

What a disappointment this was. I am not sure what went wrong but I had troubles in SL like never before. My computer crashed several times. At one point I was told I would not even be allowed in SL until about 10 minutes later. I could not hear voice. This was very odd. I have always had the chat box showing who was available to talk and who had the green light that they were talking. That was not showing anywhere. The only thing I could successfully do was IM with classmates. There were times I was prohibited from even moving. I could not fly. Nada! I will be curious to find out what happened to others. I went back in at 8:30 SLT and the meeting space was pretty empty and it appeared that the session had ended.

Oh well…