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  • Andrew T Schwab 7:24 pm on July 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    The Incredible Lightness of RSS 

    RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a pre twitter tool that really transformed how I consumed information from the web. My RSS reader of choice is Google Reader, mainly because it loads in iGoogle. Now that iGoogle is going away, I’m not sure how I’ll get to it. I might just have to open it in a new tab along with gmail and calendar. Of course I mainly access Reader on my phone these days and Flipboard on the iPad is taking over that role more and more. However while I find flipboard good for browsing the most current entries, when I really want to dig more in-depth into the 1000+ outstanding unread items, the Reader interface is still the best for me. Adapting is part of this new Web 2.0 world. Tools are created, we use them for a while and then they die and new ones sprout up with more features or better functionality. It’s the cycle of life at hyper speed.

    There is another side to RSS. One perhaps hidden from everyday web use but still critically important none the less. RSS connects my podcast’s web site to iTunes and allows my co-host and I to post a link to a new episode in a blog and have it automatically available in iTunes and the world. RSS made publishing easy for the masses. It made subscribing possible before there was Like and Follow and + and it still is key to putting the 2.0 in web 2.0 today. That’s why it is important for current and future Education Administrators to understand what the Orange icon means and how they can use it to start building connections.

    This post is part of the Leading Edge Certification for Administrators Bootcamp program I am currently participating in. Hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Andrew T Schwab 7:05 pm on July 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    How SBAC And The CDE Sidestep The 1:1 Requirement I Was Hoping For 

    I found this in the updated FAQ on the cde website today:

    Q. What is SBAC computer adaptive testing?

    A. This type of testing is a form of computer based testing that adapts to the student’s ability level. The SBAC summative assessments are being developed for use with technology known as computer adaptive testing (CAT). The CAT assessment “engine” begins by delivering a short series of moderately difficult grade-level test items to the student, and then, depending on the student’s initial performance, delivers items that are either more or less difficult. This process continues until the student’s level of proficiency is determined.

    With CAT, every student essentially receives a unique assessment, eliminating the need to test all students at one time. Schools will be able to group and assess students in a configuration that matches their specific capacity. CAT also permits a much longer assessment window to run all the students through the assessment. This will allow California to move into the next generation of computer-delivered assessments without causing disadvantages to some schools because of limited bandwidth or computers-to-students ratio. (emphasis mine)

    So it looks like they are going to bypass the need to test all students at the same time, never mind how we are going to teach all students to be ready to take the computer adaptive test. Apparently that’s not their problem anymore. Welcome to the wonderful world of equity in education at it’s finest.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 9:57 pm on July 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Blogs Are Nice But Where Should Admins Really Go To Engage Parents and Community? 

    I’m currently enrolled in the Leading Edge Certification for Administrators program. One of my fellow students Burt Lo wrote about the value of an Administrator blogging for his assignment this week. I thought it only fitting to complete my assignment by responding to his post. I think Burt is right on when he says;

    I’m not convinced of the the use of a blog as a conversational tool for the following reasons. I have posted on and off for several years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of comments that I have received on my blog posts. (Of course, I realize that one of the potential reasons for this fact is that my blog posts do not contain any information worth commenting on.) So, unless someone an administrator is motivated to blog for the sake of the writing process, they could quickly become discourage at the lack of response to their blog posts. Most of the time spent on my blog has been spent deleting spam comments and installing updates so that my blog is not taken over by phishing websites, etc. Again, not reasons that an administrator would want to start blogging.

    He continues:

    However, as a communication tool, I see tremendous value in blogging. As has been pointed out by Susan Brooks-YoungBill Robinson, and Greg Ottinger, a number of tools exist that allow parents to easily receive information posted by an administrator. In fact, it is so easy to receive information from blogs through RSS feeds, that it is easy to become overwhelmed by the information (similar to an email listserv). In fact, when I check my Google Reader account, I’m often discouraged by the number of posts that have piled up that I often don’t end up reading many of them.

    Blogging is a great medium for sharing information but unless you’re this principal and can get 10,000 hits a month on your blog, where else might you be able to go to engage your community? As Burt pointed out, participation can be an issue as well as dissemination and consumption of the information. How many parents even know what RSS is anyway? Twitter is certainly an option. There are educators out there using it every day to connect and share. However, some may find the 140 character limit lacking for sharing lengthy information with parents and community. No, for real engagement we should be going to where the parents are. Any guesses where that might be?

    If you answered Facebook, congratulations. Parents and students are on it regularly (constantly?) but they may only visit the school web site once or twice a year if we’re lucky. That’s why every school should have a Facebook page and every administrator should be publishing to it actively. Period. Blogs are great, RSS is awesome but Facebook is where the people are and so we should be there too.

    Full disclosure: I don’t use Facebook, but I hear others do.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 3:00 am on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Reflections on #ISTE12 

    I sent this out to the Leadership Team in my District. Maybe it will spark some discussions.

    I was lucky enough to attend the ISTE conference inSan Diego last week. Three main themes stuck out for me. iPads were everywhere, Social Networking was being used to collaborate and share and Google Apps has finally come of age in the classroom.

    Many sessions were dedicated to iPads in one way or another. There was a lot of focus on specific Apps and how to use iPads in the classroom.

    iPad resources:

    http://flippingwithkirch.blogspot.com/2012/06/iste12-real-apps-real-classroom-ipads.html

    http://www.scoop.it/t/ipads-and-tablets-in-education

    http://macdonaldtechforteachers.wikispaces.com/iPad+Apps+for+Education

    http://smartclasstech.blogspot.com/2012/06/there-app-for-that.html

    This is the first conference that really showed me how social networking tools and the power of being connected can really leverage a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Adam Bellow, creator of http://www.edutecher.net/ used a tool to tweet out his presentations from Keynote in real time. Teachers were sharing links and resources on twitter so the ability to see what was happening in many sessions was greatly expanded. It was very powerful. Also, I sat in on a global classroom session where the flat classroom folks talked about connecting classrooms around the world. I listened to two elementary students from Mexico present their digital news letter on their iPad and saw many other examples of students showing off their work to the ISTE audience.

    http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w2j1vJmEIs&feature=autoplay&list=PL8A5F88F3A2E9A7DC&playnext=7

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyoafgmUhis&feature=autoplay&list=PL8A5F88F3A2E9A7DC&playnext=8

    The keynotes were about change and what our Education System should be striving towards. They are available on YouTube.

    Opening Keynote – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mleHwdP_2ds&feature=related

    Tuesday’s Keynote – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFIkkmaBD9A

    Personally I think Sir Ken Robinson is better in these videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

    Someone tweeted out this link on iBook Author student publishing – http://www.cultofmac.com/169745/these-7th-graders-have-already-published-their-first-ibooks-author-bestseller/

    Some other general resources that were shared out via twitter:

    A collaborative Notes document – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c9cpBaUqfPne9y6B9kJIkr1LyPUYb2qXGQqQXnYQgEQ/edit#

    The Official Diigo group – http://groups.diigo.com/group/diigo-iste12

    ISTE YouTube Channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/istevideos

    Blogs:

    http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

    http://www.patrickmlarkin.com/

    http://www.thethinkingstick.com/

    http://www.stevehargadon.com/

    http://blog.iste.org/

    The conference was overwhelming and it was impossible to see everything but the themes were clear to me; Mobile (iPads), social networking tools and the rise of Google with everything pointing towards students and teachers as content creators who use technology to facilitate collaboration, engage in project based learning and deliver individualized instruction.

     
    • Arnie 4:09 pm on July 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Get set of resources. Thanks.

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