Monday, August 13, 2007

Making a change

I am again reminded how easy it is to become locked into your four walls and forget that other people have different realities and ways of doing things. I left my former school system and have started working in a system a little over double the size.

Where I have always felt tech literate, I am realizing that there are a lot more ways to do things with technology. My new school system uses technology for EVERYTHING! Grades, attendance, progress reports, report cards, automated calling to parents/staff, staff development registration/tracking, approval/tracking of leave, approval of software, lunch menus, data warehousing, locating/scheduling substitutes, and much more! It truly gives me a picture of what our students are going to face in their futures.

I am so excited about the possibilities and the amount of learning ahead of me. It is time to grow...

Monday, June 25, 2007

NECC: The first full day...

Today was a good but tiring day. I started the day with one of my favorites, Leslie Fisher. In her session on Gadgets, I think my favorite things were SnugMug (photo sharing online), the Logitech Harmony remote controls (programmable from the web), and her newest computer bag from Lowepro. Leslie shares a wealth of info on her website and gives anyone access to her resources. I spoke with her prior to her speaking and she shared that she has the NCaect conference on her calendar again for next year (YEAH!) and that she actually booked a conference in Australia. She is now International.

After that, our group tried to go to the playgrounds. Holly went to the Media Playground and got great info on some products available. The rest of us tried to get into the Second Life playground. It was a mess- I got pushed out of the way by a heavy set man. I had to control my "conference rage" (similar to road rage but stationary). So David did our own tutorial. However, none of us could get our accounts finalized so I am still without identity! As I type I am also trying to download the update for Second Life.

I went next to a session by professors at Kennesaw State University. They spoke on little-known Technology Facilitator/Technology Leadership Standards. Who knew they were out there? Evidently, NCATE developed them in 2002. There is a link to the standards ( or Their handouts will be available online.

What had the potential to be a great session unfortunately troubled by the fact that the next session (a BYOL session) had little to no connection to the web. However, the Cool Tools session by Jennifer Arns had some great resources. My new favorite is Trailfire.

We spent the rest of the time in the exhibit hall. We saw some GREAT new things and got way to much stuff (including tee shirts). I think we are going to spend a whole week or two just wearing our new shirts. We may have to develop a schedule...:0) Our new favorite elementary program though was by Fablevision. Stationary Studio ( enables teachers to make paper, writing paper, letter formats, envelopes, etc. with themes. I wish I had it! Holly won a copy and I won a tshirt.

Check in tomorrow!

*All my notes can be found at

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Preparing for NECC

After taking a week off to vacation at the beach with my in-laws, I am trying to catch up on email and blog reading before I leave for Atlanta in the morning. I was so desperate to be connected (there was no internet at the condo) that I actually spent one morning in front of the Bogue Banks Library (connected to their wireless) in my pajamas in my car!

As I read three of my favorite blogs to follow (Weblogg-ed, 2 Cents Worth, and Cool Cat Teacher Blog), I am even more excited about the trip. Last year I went by myself but this year there are 6 of us from our school system. Several of the NCaect Board of Directors are also attending. That is the best part about NECC being on the east coast. Our system team attending should have some great conversations. I am also looking forward to the team-building aspect of it too!

Last year at NECC, I was just learning about Web 2.0. I am hoping this year to actually participate in EVERYTHING Web 2.0. My goal is also to learn about Second Life. I feel so stupid when I go to the site- I haven't braved the waters yet. Maybe someone can help me get started.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

NCaect Conference 2007

So I sit here in my living room after an exhausting but satisfying week in Raleigh for the NCaect conference. When I agreed to be the conference chair last year, I did not realize how much this would renew my faith in technology in education. We were blessed with the presence of some of the greats- Will Richardson, David Warlick, Leslie Fisher, Chris O'Neal, Elliot Soloway, and Cathie Norris. My only regret is I did not get to sit in on their sessions! The feedback we received was fantastic and the board is already excited about next year's conference in Concord.

I was able to spend a little time with Stephen Shapiro and Brian Hackett from SchoolFusion as well as two of my colleagues in my district. We are working directly with them to develop our system's web presence. It is doing wonders for our teachers! I digress...During our dinner, we had some very serious conversations about the use of technology in education and how accountability is playing a role. Our frustrations with NCLB came out quickly. But the most serious discussion that came out of our dinner and also throughout the conference in sessions is that our teachers need to understand that they have to work smarter not harder and how technology plays a role in that. I get tired of teachers telling me that technology is just "ONE MORE THING" as if it is the straw that broke the camels back. NO NO NO! We have to get teachers to open their eyes and see that techology can make everything EASIER!! I am not sure how to do that but it is my personal mission.

Thanks to everyone who came to the conference and especially to EVERYONE that helped. We were truly a great team!