These are my notes from Tammy Parks’ keynote at the 2008 Oklahoma Distance Learning Association (ODLA) conference on 13 Nov 2008 titled, “Humanizing the Learning Technology.” Tammy teaches broadcast journalism in Howe Public Schools. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS. I am recording this session and will post it subsequently as an audio podcast.

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished” – Benjamin Franklin

Buzzword in the journalism industry is “convergence”

Students are connected, content creators
– are online all the time: with cell phones in their pockets

ask teachers: are we teaching in “their world” or our world
– it can be overwhelming with everything that is out there online with web 2. tools

“About the only organizations that have a ban on cell phones anymore are the Taliban and your local high school.”
– Hall Davidson, director of the Discovery Education Network

We need to re-evaluate where we are with cell phones

Post photos now to my flickr account: can85you [at]

Steve Hartman the journalist: Everyone has a story

Visual Story Idea Generator

“Approach technology tools with this mindset… ‘What can I do now that I couldn’t do before?'”
– Darren Kuropatwa

– “I need to learn [technology tool]”
– “I can use [this] to teach [that]”
– “I can see how much easier it would be for my students to understand if I use [this]”

Darren’s student assignments
– take photos of real parabolas

Howe has 1:1 laptop initiative in grades 1-8


Howe is a technology-rich district

Teachers are using Moodle with many courses
– about 60% of elementary classrooms now have smartboards
– 25% of high school classrooms have smartboards
– we have had more grants for elementary level

We use iPods in the classroom
– were featured in a newspaper article in the Oklahoman last year: “Reading, writing, and iPods”

We have a teacher using Smartboards and Marratech to capture daily math lessons
– students can then download it on iPods or view it at home

HPS Technology Integration
– all teachers this year have a blog through WordPress
– peer to peer teaching strategies
– DL classes: Spanish to Seven Sites
Marratech / SMART / Podcasting
– Virtual Field Trips
– IVC: Staff Evaluation / Admin Communication
– IVC Collaboration

Teachers at first moaned and groaned about blogging
– now we are setting teachers read each others’ blogs, commenting on each others’ blogs
– now we are doing this within our four walls, we are hoping to do this for public to see


I have four virtual field trips scheduled for this week
– Cleveland Museum of Art
– Michigan State Univ for VFT about adaption
– 2 more

We’ve been everywhere in the world with virtual field trips
– last year: Great Barrier Reef VFT, kids brought their parents

about to roll out an initiative where all middle school classrooms have videoconferencing units
– administration is about to start doing evaluations in the building over video

More HPS Technology Integration
– Google Docs and Sites for Technology Documentation
– Web 2.0
– Moodle / Professional Learning Portal
– Streaming Basketball Games online
– Repurposing of video conferencing equipment
– Podcast for TEacher Absense

Alan November suggested having 1 student each day responsible for putting up notes on Google
– shared ownership

Last year our girls won state basketball in our division
– we had about 40 community members back in our cafeteria watching the basketball game live, streaming from the big house in Oklahoma City

Story of a student in a neighboring district who was home-bound, and was able to attend via a videoconferencing unit from home

Teacher who had cancer and recorded podcasts for students from home

Yesterday Howe 3rd grade students took a virtual field trip on “sense of adaptation” to Michigan State University Museum

We are 45 minutes away from Ft Smith, Arkansas, 2 hours from Tulsa, 3.5 hours from OKC

Broadcast journalism students connected to TV anchors in Tennessee and were able to ask questions

Class website visitors: July 2007 to present – showed ClustrMap

Collaboration 2.0
– put out a request on CILC website: “I Want YOU for Collaboration 2.0”
– Has a student in your classroom received recognition for a class project?
– Do you know an interesting character?
– Does your town have a unique story?
– Tear down those four walls in your classroom and join my students for an interview session for our student-created newscast.
– We can only interview…

Within a week of that post, multiple contacts reached out for collaboration from Texas, Georgia, New York, Indiana, Kansas, Japan, Alaska

(Global Learning Academy in Kansas)
Global Learning Initiative Helps Kansas Students Collaborate with Peers Around the World by Marjorie Landwehr-Brown, Douglass Public Schools

Guest speakers
“Does your school allow skype? We use that at CNN for communications with bureaus around the world… and it would be free.”
– Alan Duke from CNN

Why Collaboration? (From Dr. Howie DiBlasi)
– 21st century skills, preparation for a new marketplace
– promote engagement: kids are increasingly social and collaborative
– high-level thinking skills
– student centered; accessible
– multiple learning styles

KC3 Project: Broadcast Journalism in a Flat World
– Creating Content for the Global Stage
“The Mound Builders: They Myth, The Legend”
– A tale of historic treasures
– First Place KC3 Project 2008
– this was done in such an engaging way that it “stuck” with the students, they really retained and remembered what they learned

This year we chose a local historic site in Ft Smith, Arkansas
– Hanging Judge Parker: He ruled the Indian Territory in the late 1800s
– we now have a Mobile Commander in our technology toolbox and are going to use it to broadcast live from the park

evaluations of K3C project
– some of the participating kids had never traveled outside the state
– example of a-ha moment: some of the New York students had never seen a cow before
– students felt valued that other students would listen and respond to things they had studied and learned

VFT Enhancements
– Hybrid Virtual Field trip using a Moodle: pre-VFT activities
– did a pre-event activity with a

Tied back to ISTE Students NETS
– all these were addressed
– creativity and innovation
– communication and collaboration
– research and information fluency
– critical thinking and problem solving
– digital citizenship

NOW: Lance Ford

Where do you go from here
– so we’ve done all these cool things, now what?
– we will continue to
– quality video is essential to student engagement
– students live in an HD world
– we are continuing to leverage E-Rate and RUS dollars
– video from the field
– tomorrow will use it in action here

bringing video in from the field with the mobile commander

now also working on collaborative video sharing with Final Cut Pro

Music is my background so I have to PLAY

we are now about to build on the Second Life Teen Grid
– Lance’s story of his Geometry teacher trying to explain 3D graphing and the Z-axis in the coordinate plane environment

you can put QuickTime video into Second Life
– Lance’s story of meeting people in SL and showing video
– are now working on populating the Teen Grid in SL with student-created video content

humanizing this is all about he relationships

Tammy’s Classroom IP:

She is SERIOUS about global collaboration!

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6 Responses to Humanizing the Learning Technology by Tammy Parks

  1. Just for the record:

    Alan November suggested having 1 student each day responsible for putting up notes on Google
    – shared ownership

    Alan got that idea from hearing me speak. πŸ˜‰

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for that clarification, Darren! I thought as much when I heard Tammy mention that tonight… hmmm, who do I know who uses class scribes each day to post lesson summaries to a class blog?!

    It was great to hear Tammy amplify some of your ideas in her keynote tonight, Darren. Your influence and reach continues to extend far and wide, today at our ODLA conference!

    Sometime I’ve got to get to BLC too…. πŸ™‚

  3. All ribbing aside, Alan is an excellent speaker and he puts on one of the finest conferences around. Each year I have attended BLC I have had my thinking pushed. When planning the sessions I give I always try to “take it to the next level” in some way each year. There’s something about the ambiance at BLC that creates a lot of positive energy. You really do have to make your way out there some time Wes. I think you’d love it. πŸ˜‰


  4. Tammy Parks says:

    Sorry Darren for the wrong attribution re: the Daily Scribe reference in my ODLA keynote . . . Here’s a link to Alan November’s article: Students As Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm

    The article is full of great ideas! Thank you for your inspirational sessions at BLC! Your “next level thinking” allows me as a teacher to dream big for my own teaching strategies. Keep pushing forward!!

  5. NP Tammy. πŸ˜‰ That is a good article by Alan chock full of good ideas.

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