These are my notes from Dawn Danker’s presentation “SINGing the Praises of NING” at the Oklahoma Technology Association (OTA) on 11 February 2009. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.
My heart is with kids and with educators
– background as an early childhood educator,
– helping shape human beings for the future
I am currently director of operations for Oklahoma A+ Schools
We believe in creating the environment in every school where you would want your child to attend
– we are not another thing to do, we are HOW you do it
– it does not cost anything to join our network, it requires a commitment
Ning has opened up a wonderful Pandora’s box for us in A+ Schools this year
– Ning is an online platform for people to create their own social networks
a social network is people connecting, collaborating together, with the same goals but perhaps different contexts
– like small communities
Why did we start a Ning?
– we were looking for ways to collaborate
– we are all about networking
— 52 schools across the state
— collaboration is one of our “essentials”
– we have lots of research which points to the benefits (which does include raised test scores) when people
Proof in other NING partnerships
We wanted benefits from collaborating
Remember the person Will talked about in his keynote (Kansas political candidate) who raised a lot of
Purposes of OK A+ Ning
– common purpose
We heard lots of responses
– why do that?
– it is just going to be another thing we have to do!
– celebrate the network (gives everyone a chance to share and pat others on the back)
– online professional development (asynchronous PD)
– establish a PLC (professional learning community) across the state
Collaboration may sound great, but there is often a lot of apprehension about it
We created the A-Team for Oklahoma A+ Schools (teachers would receive a new MacBook laptop to use if they agreed to the following things. We had 10 teachers say yes, we had 10 Macbooks to use)
– participate in at least one training session per month
– contribute to team plans and ideas toward developing new workshops
– commit to two hours per month for personal study and research to contribute at monthly meetings
– providing at least one professional development workshop to A+ schools
hosted PD is very expensive for us: travel, food, hotels, supplies, etc.
A-Team Objective 1:
– to explore, understand, and apply Apple computer software and Web-based applications
A-Team Objective 2:
– to develop training and workshops to provide to the A+ network
Technology foci: Google Docs, Ning, iPhoto
– had some initial, preliminary training face-to-face
– even basics of password tracking, protection, and recovery
Then we gave teachers 1 month to play with their MacBook and then got back together
– let the teachers showcase what they discovered
– we had everything from the Finder file structure, to someone who actually posted an original podcast online
– now we had a classroom with
– kept things as broad as we could without being too specific, because we didn’t want high-end users to feel like things were being too watered down
– post integrated unit information into Google Docs
– collect at least 5 photos of the A+ Essentials in practice, correlated to your integrated unit(s) as you identified in the Google Doc
— use a digital camera or the photo booth on your Apple MacBook
– Utilize iPhoto to enhance/improve each image
– In the Ning, resond to discussion 1: What techniques did you use in iPhoto to enhance and improve….
we only jumped in when no one responded in 24 hours in discussions
– in some schools the IT and superintendents in the district had the Ning website we created blocked
If you have a Ning website used by teachers and students in school environments, you can ask to have the ads taken off your Ning site
– you can pay to have ads removed from your Ning site, then, in about 24 hours
I DID NOT KNOW THIS!
We still had some people say we are not going to unblock it
– understand a Ning is NOT the same thing as Facebook, has a different purpose for the Ning we’ve created
– our Ning is being used as an educational platform
In many situations in education we are using umbrella statements to try and cover all situations
– what is it like at recess? How do you handle playground bullying?
with a Ning you are able to moderate groups
– like you do as a classroom teacher, being a facilitator for learning
– we have to exercise due diligence to investigate if there is a question about bullying and it being tied back to schools
– how is a predator going to get on your network that you have to give people permission to join?
– it is very unlikely that a predator is going to get onto your network?
– bigger question: how do we protect our kids from predators?
— we talk about stranger danger
— we have dialog with our children to help prepare and protect them
CIPA and AUP
– both an be our friend in many ways
CIPA simply says protect your children / students from pornographic images
– it does not mean block your students from the entire Internet
we have made CIPA into this BIG overarching conversation
– bandwidth is not part of CIPA
– neither is email archiving
We need to educate ourselves on exactly what the law says
– then make sure your AUP backs that up
– AUP is in place for consequences based on user behaviors
Teachers need to be treated like adults
– they need to be trusted more than students on the network
If teachers or students violate the AUP, then there needs to be consequences
– here is the layer few people thing about: if you deny a teacher access to the Internet if they violate your AUP, how will they submit grades? Do attendance?
Best way to provide a controlled social network is to use a Ning
– you can control access by invitation, or moderate
35 teachers in Wellston, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City: 79 different campuses
– regardless of size, we need to be collaborating
CIPA and AUP
discussion in groups about the value of collaboration just within your school
– someone talking about collaboration within media specialists within Oklahoma City Public Schools
– it is almost impossible to get everyone together at the same time, in the same place
Teachers like everyone else need a goal and a timeline
– we need deadlines and being tied to a deliverable date
Some of our reactions at the end
– we had started to use the Ning in our office
– some didn’t see the value because there were not any defined objectives
– when we turned that loose on the “A Team”
— they never want to be in the room with us again!
— they are dying for their next assignment
A new group is now coming on board
– those educators who have been equipped and been in the network are creating lesson plans, ideas, videos, [AND OTHER DIGITAL MEDIA ARTIFACTS] which can be used by everyone in the network
Web 2.0 tools
– are so very important in education
– many of us listened to Dr. Scott McLeod at the OU K-20 Midwinter conference
– what did he say he saw coming for education: eventually the door will be opened for us to really use these tools in education (our excuses will be removed)
– we are excited about netbooks!
– perhaps we are NOT too far away from realizing the potential of using these tools in our schools
Web 2.0 tools can be overwhelming
– Scott McLeod said at K-20 Midwinter “Our kids have tasted the honey”
– after eating lots of bread and butter sandwiches, our kids are now craving the things they have tasted digitally
– kids are powering down when they go to school, they are powering up when they go home
There are so many advantages of using the environment which students
same stones are obstacles
I mentioned a Ning to our youth minister at church
– it took 15 minutes to setup a Ning and groups with images
– now the preacher is blogging there, and his podcasts are being updated there
Here is the New Bloom’s taxonomy
how do we support creativity?
– letting students collaborate and work in groups
Book “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson
mentioned Sir Ken’s video on TED:
“If you are not prepared to be wrong — you will not come up with anything original. People are being educated out of their creative capacity. We do not grow into creativity, we grow out of it. As far as education for children, we need to educate their whole being. Picasso said “All children are born artists.” – Sir Ken Robinson
How do we remain artists as we grow up?
I THINK A BIG PART OF THIS IS NOT JUST STAYING IN OUR COMFORT ZONE
– don’t let fear hold back your imagination
– hard fun (that is the way to get kids attention – Dr Seymour Papert)
– how can web 2.0 tools help you become a better teacher
– how can you connect to teachers with similar issues
– how can you work smarter not harder
push back on PLC movement: I don’t have time
– this can integrate well into our busy lives, it can be near-realtime
Get a network!
Get a professional network
– TeacherTube: make an account
– follow people
– sign in to make a blog, it doesn’t have to be a school-based blog
Begin building your PLN (professional learning network)
1- Join a professional social network
2- find and follow blogs
3- join a microblogging network
4- Lurk for awhile
Join the ISTE Community learning community
Microblogging is a great way to start blogging on Twitter
Story about twitter and the tornados/storms last night
– the allstate
We want to know what the pulse of education
– why should we?
– why would we? (put
http://subtleconversations.org is Dawn’s blog
GREAT. DAWN HAS KEPT HER BLOG ADDRESS A SECRET AND SAID IT WOULD BE AT THE END OF
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