Saturday, April 4, 2009

Second Life in Education

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in an Elluminate session by Kevin Jarrett and Dean Groom on Second Life in education. My past experience with second life has been entering ISTE island and rather wandering around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do next. I attended an excellent session at NECC last year by Kathy Schrock and was very excited with seeing how she is using it for professional development with her staff. She also showed some excellent islands for student learning. I attended an ISTE webinar early in the fall but never took any next steps.Tonight's session gave me excellent resources and motivation to take those next steps. Below are my notes from the session last night.

Second Life is a virtual world, multi-user environment that has become quite popular for educators the past couple of years. It continues to grow stronger each year. If you’re interested in learning more about it, here is a one-hour webinar session done by Kevin Jarrett and Dean Groom.

Videos to learn about value of second life in education, about 9 minutes each. Suggested to be the videos to show to group of teachers if you are looking at starting second life.

Some great islands in SL
Resource for curriculum in Second Life
Slideshow describing SL in 3600 seconds

2 Grids
Adult Grid – Must be FBI background checked to work there.
Teen Grid – Must be 13- 17, have to have a parent with credit card authorize your account (Clearance process)

100% user directed and controlled. No scoring or leveling up. Best experienced with a gaming capable computer. NOT recommended on a wireless network. Keyboarding skills are critical.

Not a game. An environment “ready to use”. Main grid is not 100% safe. There are bad places in SL just as on the Internet. The teen grid is very restricted. A teen can create an account on the adult grid. So student/parent must be educated to understand this and the difference between using at school with guidance versus at home.

10% of the people that do stay— as far as the educational space are creative, smart, funny, people from all over the world.

Peggy Sheehy – EXCELLENT resource for using SL in education.
Peggy's new blog site and her Peggy's Old blog

Full list of virtual worlds
Second Life Curriculum site
Virtual Worlds Best Practice blog
Video archived session from Dean

SL Event Calendar

7 Things You Should Know About Second Life
– Excellent article to share with peers and students

Ohio Unversity Second Life Campus
Ants in Second Life: A Simulation
Introduction to Second Life
Global Kids Islands (Teen SL)
Global Kids Social Issue Machinima (Teen SL)
Internatinal School Island

Example Teen Grid Projects:
Global Kids Island, Youtopia Island, KidsConnect, LearnWay Island, Eye4You Alliance, Oz Island, Ramapo Islands, Schome Park, The PacRimXIslands, Schome Park, The PacRimX Islands, MATRIX Learning, The Ohio STEAM Island, Accelerate Nation
Peter --- will give access to Schome Park for FREE
SL: Educators Working With Teens

Brilliant Guide from Peggy. Step by step guide to getting started.

Sat 8PM – ISTE island meetings, casual meet-ups of educators
Tues nights 8 PM – ISTE events – scheduled speakers

Great Island for Educators! Friendly, visually appealing, great resources
Jokaydia – Jokay Wollongong
Web: (to get an avatar) (if you have one now)
April 10th 8 PM EDT – All are welcome! Follow up event! Join in.

Software download is here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Think Before You Tweet

Do you think before you tweet? Since twitter is hitting mainstream like wildfire, must we be a bit more careful of what we tweet? A year ago, my tweets were only read by fellow tech ed folks that I found through others on twitter. I needn't think too much about tweeting anything incriminating. Over the course of the year, I've developed more links to tweeters closer to home and real life. Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I think all previous twitter followers were not's simply that it brings a different mindset to tweeting when you know others from your district, school, or personal life are reading your tweets.

During an admin meeting a couple of months ago, I tweeted, "feeling like I'm beating my head against a brick wall." I got called on it by one other administrator in the room who tweeted back to me and asked why I felt that way. This person doesn't tweet very often and hasn't since that meeting. I'm not sure why she decided to check that day, at that very time I tweeted the comment. It certainly was a reminder that everything we tweet (or blog) is public and assume that it will be read by anyone and everyone.

Unfortunately I learned from this incident that I have to be careful and bite my tongue in the twittersphere just as I would face to face. Don't we sometimes have thoughts and opinions that aren't politically correct in the sense of one's employer, employees or colleagues? Should we be allowed to express these ideas freely without worry? Some things we know we have to do in the work place because that is our role, our jobs as leaders or models in the educational community. Or even better yet, our livelihood. Is this the reason that education is so slow to change? Are change agents afraid to speak up?

I'm sure I'll find a new balance in my tweets. I hope that doesn't mean reserved without the ability to express my thoughts at all. Time will tell how many of us will handle this public eye under the scrutiny of twitter moving mainstream.

Happy Tweeting.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

25 Random Things

tagged in Facebook....figured I'd post here too.....since I went to all the work of listing 25 random things about me.

1. I have the best kids in the whole world! I am SO proud of each of them for becoming the young adults they are today.

2. I am the luckiest wife in the whole world! I have the most patient, caring, loving husband for 20 years (since 1988).

3. I miss my en-laws deeply and think of them often.

4. I am a vacationaholic. I love to travel. By plane, car, train, I don’t care…just love experiencing new places, people, culture and cuisine…..especially when by the ocean. I’d like to visit every state in the US and at least one place on each continent.

5. My husband, Rob, is counting down the days for me to take up golf. I’ve said for years now that I would take up golf as soon as all the kids are out of high school. I have two more years to go.

6. I get deep tissue massages at least 2-3 times per month and frequent our hot tub year round.

7. I’m a proud one boobed survivor! 7 years ago I was bald and beautiful.

8. I lost hearing in my right ear on October 19th, 2001. Bam. They call it “sudden hearing loss syndrome”…. they have no idea why this happened…..and there’s been no “sudden hearing gain syndrome” that has counter-acted the loss….at least not yet. So if you see me smiling and nodding where there is lots of noise around……chances are I’m faking every bit of hearing! Let me see your lips and stay on my left side if you want me to hear you.

9. I’ve got scars from 9 surgeries.

10. I don’t sing in public ever. Once when I was younger my mother told me I had a terrible voice while singing in the car. She was right.

11. I love to cook and hate to bake. My standard channel on TV is the Food Channel. I love cookbooks but rarely follow a recipe…instead I use them for inspiration. Garlic and basil are two staples for me this past year. And sea salt. And fresh pepper. And olive oil. Onion.

12. I love to read and am rarely without a book. However, even though I keep books close by, I read far less than I’d like. Now if osmosis really worked I’d be all set. My books of choice are mostly non-fiction types on leadership, productivity, social and education reform and holistic health. Fiction is a vacation must.

13. As much as possible I eat organic and try to follow traditional cooking methods (member of Weston A. Price Foundation) with whole foods.

14. I am never without Tiger Balm, Peppermint Oil or Bio-Freeze.

15. I’m not good at remembering to send cards for birthdays, thank-you’s, and special occasions. Forgive me.

16. My bedroom is often as messy as when I was a teenager (maybe not quite THAT bad). Even though I am not a great housekeeper I do try to keep the living room, kitchen and main bathroom tidy.

17. I have no problems sleeping and need 7-8 hours per night. I snooze forever on workdays but on the weekends and vacation I often have no problem waking up to my alarm and starting my day. I don’t want to waste any time!

18. My favorite foods are crab legs, scallops, salmon and chocolate of any kind!

19. More favorites are the number - 3, color - orange, perfume - Cocoa,jelly belly - pear, restaurant - Bubba Gump Shrimp, flower - gardenia, sport – swimming, animal – monkeys, relaxation music – flutes and drums.

20. I enjoy playing the silly video slot machines at the casino and glad I don’t go often.

21. I don’t decorate for holidays anymore and it’s much simpler. Maybe one day when I have grand kids I will do so again.

22. I love to plan….. events, gatherings, parties and vacations. I’m definitely a planner.

23. I don’t wear jewelry. It makes me feel constricted. My poor wedding ring sits lonely in my jewelry box.

24. My favorite event to participate in is the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk. It’s a 60 mile walk over 3 days. I’ve walked it and crewed (worked) it the past few years. This year I’m working Michigan in August and walking it in San Diego. I’ve never experienced kindness anywhere like I do at this walk.

25. After years of being a Windows guru, I’ve been converted. I now prefer my Mac for everything EXCEPT for mail. I’m an Outlook junkie and just can’t give it up for Entourage. I still prefer all the Office apps on Windows but for everything else I’ve made the jump for certain! If I had to pick one and only one machine to use, it would be a Mac.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Voluntary Tech PD During Winter Break

It seems that the most common cry I hear from teachers is, 'not enough time!'. Next week we are off for winter break all week and I sent out the following note to our teachers and administrators:

If you have intentions of playing around with new tech tools over break, or learning something new but often end up in the trap of best intentions falling through when trying to work on your own at home………..
I will be opening up the building during February winter break Tues thru Thurs from 10AM – 3PM for anyone interested in coming in and working on anything tech. Some ideas to work on might be:

• Searching up ideas on making your lessons include more 21st century skills
• Learn how to build your personal learning network (I can help get you started with tips for Twitter, Educational Webinars, Educational social networks and more)
• Learn and play with Google Docs
• Work on your teacher web page
• Work on Moodle
• Setup a wiki and start building content.
• Setup a blog and learn how to embed code for objects from other sites onto it.
• Learn and play with more Web2.0 tools (I will have plenty of ideas to share with you!)
• Create a screencast with Camtasia or Jing.
• Have software installed onto your computer that you are wanting but haven’t had a chance to do yet. (iTunes for Windows, Jing, Skype)
• Meet with others to develop cross curricular projects

The only thing I ask is that you RSVP with the day and time you will come in and what you might want some help with so that I can be prepared and please DO show up if you say you will be there. My cell phone is 313.719.xxxx if you need to reach me during this time. I hope this gives some of you the opportunity (& time) to continue to grow and learn in the area of using technology tools in your classrooms.


PS…..There will be no stipend. There will be no additional time off. There is no CEU tied to this. This is voluntary time for anyone interested in further professional development in the area of tech. No subs will be needed. There will be no distractions of students or sub plans. This is not required and is only open to those interested in learning, exploring, creating, developing, sharing and playing with anything edu-tech related. I hope that I can share some of my enthusiasm and excitement with some of you that might not have plans over the winter break.

I wonder how many will take me up on this offer. Would you?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twitter Follower Mosaic

This looked kinda neat: