Inspiration for Leaders

Enjoy this news and reflection blog brought to you from the LHRIC Technology Leadership Institute!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TLI Event 12/10 - Cheryl Lemke; The Metri Group

Cheryl addressed the group today on the concept of innovation. Innovation defined by industry talk about creativity and new thinking but it becomes an innovation when it is integrated in to a culture and adopted through a "ripple effect" as a new innovation.

Today she looks at the ripple effect around innovation. What are the windows of opportunity for innovation?

*Unexpected occurrences
*Need for efficiencies
*Industry/market changes
*Demographic shifts
*Changes in perception
*New knowledge

Adopted from Peter Drucker.

Concepts for today's conversation:

1. Democratization of Knowledge

In the past to learn you took a class, today there is a shift to a more shared environment for learning. There has always been a balance between formal and informal learning but today there is a shift. Some powerful content that needs to be tapped in to:

Using Design and creativity to teach biology.

TED - Technology Entertainment and Design (Conference)

Harvard Biovisions Projects - http://www.

Adolescent Learning 2.0 (Barron, B. (2006))

Conflict Resolution Claymation project - Look through this project and ask yourself:

Is it worth instructional time?
What standards are/can be addressed via this website?

Digital Story Telling

2. Globalization
In your 21st century classroom, is multi-media truly available for all students or only those that have teachers that are proficient in multimedia.

Digital storytelling is a very powerful way to tell a story and it is the adolescent childs' media - why not give it to them? Here are some ideas to think about as we look at the democratization of knowledge:

Are your students;
More curious leaving school then when they arrive?
Are they adept at Learning?
Informed consumers? Skeptics?
Thinkers and analyzers?
Producers with their own voices?

Global Meeting Places

While looking at whether our students are ready, also ask if our teachers and assessments ready for students who are able to create digital stories?

3. Mass Collaboration

Most companies are small businesses and are now outsourcing R&D on the web various challenges for innovative thinkers to respond to.

In the following uTube video a gentleman explains his love for problem solving, he was awarded $20,000 for his idea. How many of our students could say "I love solving problems?"

YouTube video

Collaboration Research
Johnson and Johnson have been researching this for decades and the current iterations still conclude that students learn best in a collaborative environment.

Students grouped physically in small groups doesn't reflect true collaboration.
We need to understand what true collaborations is.

Cooperative Learning Success:

*Balance of formal and informal
*Positive interdependence which promotes personal responsibility
*Considerable promotive interaction
*Shared workspace
*Interactvie group reflection and processing to improve effectiveness

In collaborative environment what type of discussions are sustained?

In a average classroom there is only 1.7 minutes of sustained conversation.

Most classrooms go >Student>Teacher>Student>Teachers
A better model might look like: students>studnet>teacher>student>student>student (any pattern of random interaction but not teacher centered.)

One way to have student interact with each other in a real sustained interactive collaborative way is a blog or wiki.


BOOK: Three Perspectives on Learning by Kai Hakkarainen, et al
Three Perspectives on Learning
*Acquisition (the individual)
*Participation (the group, community, network, culture)
*Knowledge Creation (the innovative knowledge community)

4. Technological Innovations

WISE - Scaffolding Deep Learning
Web-based Integrated Science Environment

When students have access and using visualization tools results increase dramatically when assessing student learning.

What do you think?

Is it malpractice when teachers do not use digital tools to enhance knowledge?
A. No
B. Yes
C. Yes, but....

If yes, who is culpable? Is it the leaders or the teachers?

Would "lack of access to information" be an acceptable excuse for your doctor?
Is the standard similar or even comparable?

4. Engagement matters

Flow - when you are in the moment, in your game, really learning, time stands still.

Kids should be in flow at least some of the time.

To get kids in to flow we need to balance the complexity of the task with the skill level of the skill. If the task is too high for the skill - students will be frustrated. If skill is high and task is low - students will be bored. If the task is just ahead of the skill - students are engaged.

Are you born smart or dumb or can you develop IQ?

Attribution Research- Dr. Carol Dweck
Institute of Education Sciences

Learning Designed to Engage

Content - Are you introducing content in ways that are relevant to the interest levels of your students? Are you able to connect content to prior knowledge of your students? Do students have choice?

- Are your classrooms intellectually safe? Can students take risks and feel safe with their exploration? Is there an opportunity to work with an affiliate or other group?

Product - Is there a product? Products related to standards with authentic tasks?

5. Authentic Learning

Deep Learing
Higher Order Analysis
Disciplined Inquiry
Elaborated Communicaiton

Student Construction of Knowledge

Three things you have to do for Authentic Learning:

1. Must have relevancy beyond the classroom
2. Kids must do something with what they learn
3. Ask intellectually stimulating questions about the content.

6. Visual Learning

From TED website - Visual Investigations

Hans Rosling - Explorations of Western World and Third World
Using visual tools for graphing, animated - is it a better way for students to track trends and patterns related to demographics and socio economic changes and discuss change and effects.

7. 21st Century Leadership
Hiring people know for what they know but their ability to see and tap in to the unknown and unseen. Ability to built collaborative teams.

Finally - A roadmap

Today's Challenges>Research on Critical Thinking, Collaborations, Leadership>District, School & Classroom Practices>Assessments>Tomorrow's Students will be educated for the 21st century.

A school in Seattle - set examples of model classrooms (Classroom 1, 5 and 10) as a way for teachers to see the difference in these classrooms and what the lessons look like as a comparative model to demonstrate the difference form 20th and 21st century classrooms.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

U Stream TV

Check out UStream TV - Live from Model Schools!

Ustream TV is a streamed video service over the Internet that is FREE and provides the ability to record live events or recorded events using an inexpensive web cam, cell phone, and a computer with Internet connectivity.

The recorded clips will show when we are "Off the Air". When we are on the air you will see a live stream from the event or session we are hosting. As new innovation in educational technology we will continue to unpack it and explore the relevance and implications for K-12 education.

Feel free to subscribe to this blog using the link on the right of the page, to receive updates to posts and scheduled UStream TV events.

For more information about UStream TV visit the website at or call Sarah Martabano at the LHRIC (914) 592-4203 x3411.

Enjoy the Show!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Live from TLI (Technology Leadership Institute) at Mohonk

Friday - Dr. Curtis Bonk
By day two of this invigorating and inspiring conference -- we were all drinking the cool aid from a flattened world.

Our guest, Dr. Curtis Bonk, a professor and published author out of Indiana University who addressed our crowd of 40 about how the learning world became flat.

Dr. Bonk shared concrete examples of how collaborative the learning world has become due to the technologies afforded us on a daily basis. The examples were explosive and voluminous starting with a quick pre-assessment of the group;

1) Who has shared music on an MP3 or iPod - majority of the room
2) Who has used collaborative software (Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Etc.)

You get the drift. The room was filled with collaborators that appeared well versed on a variety of tools that are used in their work and play to communicate and collaborate on a variety of levels.

As the session continued we found ourselves chanting in unison "We Can Learn" prompted by Dr.Bonk on que after a summative on the ten forces that opened the learning community, tools and processes that are used to learn in collaboration on demand.

We saw a variety of solutions to gain access to higher Education courseware such as the FREE MIT courseware and the increasing numbers of universities doing the same!

There are almost unlimited sources of information as well as ways to store and present knowledge - collaboratively! We now have access to read and write to and from sophisticated search engines, ebooks, maps, timelines, blended learning environments, virtual worlds,

Dr. Bonk talked about the 10 trends that Opened the Learning World;
1. Web Searching in the World of eBooks
2. E-learning and blended learning
3. Availability of Open Source and Free Software (e.g. Moodle)
4. Leveraged Resources and Open Course Ware
and more....

Three hours of reviewing collaborative web sites and new innovations in the field has left me fuzzy headed to say the least. Some of the most intriguing are posted below: - collaborate around documents that you can collaboratively edit, highlight, etc. - Largest online book club - Global message board - multilingual - interesting, creative and effective educational materials that the global educational community can use for free.

Dr. Bonks Power Point presentation as .pdf file can be found at this URL below the link for this conference:

Thursday - Steve Dembo
If the drive up the autumn tree lined country road wasn't spectacular enough - I have the pleasure of listening to Steve Dembo discuss 21st century tools, learning and blogging and what that means to us in our every day lives on the front lines of education.

This is the first conference I've even been to that I was invited to turn ON my cell phone because we would be using it, and of course my computer was great too! Shift Happens...

After about 1 hour of ideas and demonstrations we somewhat spontaneiously skyped with a fellow technologies Dean Shareski and talked about "outsourcing Teaching and Learning". The concept behind this is that Steve was able to bring Dean in to our day to share his thoughts on a topic of specialty - outsourcing a portion of the content. Similar to bringing an expert in to your classroom however now it is easy to do without the restrictions of time and place.

If that wasn't relevant enough - we searched on Twitter "Is anyone available to talk to us right now on skype about school policy as it relates to Acceptable Use Policies". We took a 10 minute break and by the time we got back we Skyped/Video chatted with several folks about how they are updating/addressing their local AUP. Isn't it nice that if the situation warrants it we can have these "teachable moments" in cyber space?

Major points worth noting;

It is the publishing and sharing of information that makes technology meaningful.
Is your school prepared to allow students to use the Web 2.0 digital tools of their
choice when approaching teacher assignments?
Do you have school policies that reflect a web 2.0/school 2.0 paradigm?
Do you or your teachers have the knowledge to unblock a website if warranted for
instructional purposes?
CIPA - Children's Internet Protection Act allows a level of local control as it
relates to school district implementation of filtering.

People of Interest...

Darren Kuropatwa -
"Scribe for a Day" - classroom method turned to a blog.
Started as a class job, task and has now turned in to somewhat of a
competition that focused not only on creativity but the writing process and
technology tools.

Vicki Davis - Educational Technologist - Cool Cat Teacher Blog

David Langhorst - Guerrilla Season - Book project Blog

Jen Dorman - Collaborative Simulation between school in Bucks County, PA and
one in South Korea
Presentation -

Dean Shareski - Edublogger (skyped live from conference with us)

Lisa Parisi - 24 year educator who has been rejuvinated by technology.

Maria Knee - Kindergarten Teacher (not a digital native but one of the most innovative teachers Steve knows.)

Did you know...

Australia spent 84,000,000 on a country wide filter system for home - a 16 year old student cracked it in 30 minutes. The students message to everyone was, imagine what we could have done with that amount of money to educate the population.

A 17 year old student cracked the iPhone software and share that with the world.

Sites worthy of note...

Wikis behind the firewall - - Free open source "You Tube" type application. All you need is ability to download software and access to district web server.
- Live broadcast via website.
- simple tool for adding simply animations, voice over to photographs.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NECC Tuesday p.m. - Programming for Elementary Students with SCRATCH

Christopher Michaud, Nebo Elementary was the facilitator of a hands on laptop session where we installed a program out of MIT called Scratch. According to Michaud,

"Scratch was developed by MIT to teach young students programming concepts and skill in multimedia communication. Using a visual system of "Tiles" that contain commands users can connect together to create scripts. These scripts direct the characters and objects in the program."

In one hour we created an animated game with sound in the form of a simple animated dog working his way through a maze and getting reward of food and barking when he makes it to the end. While this was a simple application - it required a significant amount of logical sequential, cause and effect thinking. Students will learn problem solving, project design skills and Scratch provides a way to teach fundamental ideas around technology and programming. Computer Science skills students will learn are sequencing, iteration, threading, variables, boolean logic, variables, conditions, algorithms and random numbers.

Scratch is a free download from the MIT site (hard wired suggested) at

Project examples


Happy programming!

Monday, June 30, 2008

NECC Monday p.m. - Wikipedia in the Social Studies Classroom

Professor Thomas Hammond from Lehigh University points out valuable ways to use Wikipedia as an information STRUCTURE and not as a SOURCe which is frequently debated in libraries and classrooms across the K+ community.

Hammond points out three classroom activities that using Wikipedia:

1) Compare Entries
Compare version of article entries using the history tab to determine edits that were made to articles and spur conversation around the purpose and validity of those edits.

Compare Wikipedia article entries to other sources such as social studies text book articles for conversations relative to content differences, descrepancies, and similarities.

2) Close study of an article,
Use the discussion tab to trace debate around article content and foster classroom discussions around that debate.

Use the history tab to trace and observe edits and editors. What might be the reason an editor has made an edit to an article.

Evaluate the references in an article for validity as a source of information. Have conversations with students around sources for research.

3) Create/adopt an article

Have student pick a topic where they do indept investigation of an article or if the article doesn't exists where they create an article for submission. This allows them to participate with a larger collaborative group on the creation and editing of a body of information. Local history might be a good place to begin this.

What was interesting about Hammonds point of view was that he took the arguement out of Wikipedia being a valid source for information and shifted it to be a structure for information. An interesting and important shift that allows classrooms to include this as a valuable resources as student discuss topics and build their own knowldge of a topic.

To view hammonds wiki on this topic visit

NECC Monday a.m. - The Wisdom of Crowds

Yes, we are finally here along with 18,000 other attendees in 96 degree weatger 00 exciting, hot and a bit overwhelming to be sure.

Sunday night's keynote kicked the NECC event off with the first of many thought provoking concepts, The Wisdom of Crowds by the author of a book with the same title, James Surowiecki.

Surowiecki has some compelling research that suggests that the collective knowledge of people as groups is better and results in more accurate results than any one of us as individuals. While this isn't necessarily new as a organizational decision making approach, Surowiecki emphasizes the importance of purposeful group formation of the group and that the variety of perspectives, thinking, background and experiences of the group is as important as social diversity.

This is relevant to education as we explore Web 2.0 as a way to get groups of teaches and students together working on issues relative to education. It is also important to explore as a way of providing the tools necessary for students to collaborate and network with peers, experts and mentors in their quest to build new knowledge.

This is a must read for anyone who either believes in or is intrigued by the collective intelligence and ability of groups and the role of Web 2.0 tools in the education landscape.

Stay tuned to see what is next.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Live from NECC in San Antonio!

Whether you are in New York or Texas you can enjoy news live from the NECC conference via this space from Sunday, June 29th through Wednesday July 2, 2008. Model schools representative, Sarah Martabano, will report back on exciting innovations, events and generally cool stuff she finds while there.

If you would like Sarah to investigate something specific for you, this is the place to let her know. Simply reply using the comment feature below to indicate your interest and Sarah will search for it and report back.

Keep checking back as this site will be updated several times per day during the conference. Enjoy and happy blogging!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Web 2.0 Newbies

Today we are going to show you a few new Web 2.0 tools that you will surely want to try, Voki, Skrbl, and VoiceThread.

Working with my colleague, Linda, we found this incredible use of page flakes from the Tarrytown schools -

Teachers have created class pages using RSS technology and a few very fun Web 2.0 plug ins to make them interesting, contemporary, relevant and yes -- fun!

My favorite right now is an application called voki, where you can create a talking avatar, easily. You can design their look and feel, add a background from a vast variety of themes and record your, or someone else's voice to personalize the message.

Check out voki at

Another favorite Linda is playing with is called Voice Thread. In this free application users add images and record voice narration, using a micro phone and computer recorder or telephone for to add comments and messages enhancing the meaning of the still or video image. We thought DBQ responses might be a good use as well as narrated short stories. There are many free examples on the site and it is free. You can use a We are still experimenting with this one, take a look for yourself at;

Here is a simple, easy drawing tool that we like just because it is so simple. For those of us that have spent decades teaching and using applications such as Hyperstudio and Kid Pix, which not a full blown replacement, this may simplify and/or enhance some of the more tradition uses. This application called scribble (skrbl) allows user to easily create simple drawing that can then be downloaded as image files, saved as html, emailed to teachers or peers, or saved on the skrbl account.

Check out more about classroom uses of Web 2.0 tools and how it can be used to differentiate your classroom at the NYSCATE Metro conference in May.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

PM Keynote: School 2.0 Panel with Tim Magner

Tim has been the face of "School 2.0" in our region since the beginning of the year. He says much of the same that we have suspected for some time: technology has made connections personal, immediate, ubiquitous. The flow of information (media to home) has changed dramatically since the 1970s. The average American home has 26 "devices". Broadband penetration is reaching 50% in this country. We're seeing a flattening of ages of internet users.

But it's what we're doing with this connectivity that makes us fundamentally different. We look for things differently, and we look for different things; both products and services. We are connected in ways we haven't been before. Students surround themselves with an entire media landscape. They personalize the media they surround themselves with. These distinctions are age-specific and this is a global phenomena, not a monolith.

How does this shape student expectations about what it possible? About how they learn? About how that learning can be personalized, like the devices they command?

Is there truly more information outside of school than inside of school?

(Ed. note: there's going to be a chunk missing out of this post because of technical difficulties - the simulcast transmission outside the auditorium seems to be on the fritz. There's a ton of irony in here. )

Unfortunately it's well into the keynote and the group of us participating by simulcast are still subject to audio difficulties - Tim's voice is still coming through in waves. But we see that he's showing the audience the now familiar "School 2.0" visual that represents the interplay between school classrooms, buildings, neighborhoods and communities. The word "change" just came through loud and clear, as did the words "data" and "devices."

Tech Expo 2008 AM Keynote - 16 Trends and Their Impact on Education

Gary Marx is a "Futurist ". Which is to say, he seems to feel as at home describing the future as he does the present. Gary starts out challenging the group to feel how fast and unpredictably the world is changing. For example, in 1865, he reminds us that it took 12 days for the news that Lincoln had been assassinated to reach the newspapers. How fast did the news about Spitzer make it to the public consciousness?

"Nothing is Certain, Everything Changes." – Michael Gelb.

And then the anchor slide: Progress is optional – we need both hindsight and foresight.

And then the facts – population is skyrocketing. China produced 1 million engineers last year; the United States produced 70,000. Gary reminds us that we are in an age of massive migration as people cross borders and pursue dreams.

Why should we care? Why should educators care? Are we of this world, or separate from it? Are we flexible enough to meet needs of such a fast changing world? Gary pleads for us to get reconnected to forces impacting the whole of society. This indicates a necessary shift from strategic planning to living and evolving strategies that can turn on a dime. And he reminds us that ISOLATION is not an option; that education is connected to the advancement of quality of life and no longer just the sage in the community. We are called to "help release the genius that’s already there "–that is the purpose of education.

Trends – seismic shifts (often violent or uncomfortable), societal forces. We have a choice – defend the status quo or create a future.

Gary identifies 16 "big idea" trends and only a smattering had to do specifically with technology. How do these trends impact our schools and systems? What are the implications of each of these trends: aging, social and intellectual capital, ethics, scientific discoveries, career trends ("leisure consultant", "artificial intelligence technician", "shyness consultant", "robotics theologian", "ring tone composer", "media archaeologist")? Note: this list of anticipated careers went on and on, to the delight of the audience. What does it mean that for the first time in history the old will outnumber the young in the Western World? And in the context of these 16 broad trends, we ask the question - are we as educators truly invested in making sure that every person has access to a good education?

And what happens after the Millenial Generation about which we have become so intimate (at least in recognizing how different they are from the rest of us?) Marx awaits a "Generation E" – equilibrium. The world will move so fast that people will literally stop understanding what’s going on. This generation will need to "consolidate our gains, cut losses, and establish a new norm."

Now, the technology trend: technology will increase the speed of either progress or decline. Brilliant observation, in my opinion. Nanotechnology is bound to drive our future, down to medications that we can deliver to a single, diseased cell...or a "computer the size of the cube of sugar that has more power than all the computers that currently exist on earth." So who is going to further develop subatomic machines, new sources of energy and propulsion? (The examples he uses here would sound like science fiction if most were not currently in development.) And that begs the challenge - it is not the technology that "unleashes the genius " of students, staff and community." That is a very human enterprise. But only of those that believe progress is not optional, that we are accountable for the future, and that each of these trends touches us in our individual classroom silos whether we realize it or not.

Education, then, that develops enlightened individuals, pays attentions to student interests and sensibilities, develops disciplined and ethical minds, will not only withstand these trends, but will thrive on them.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Session Chat from Tech Expo 2008

Welcome - how exciting to see everyone gathered for breakfast and coffee. What a great networking experience for our district personnel. For now everyone is smiling!

11:00 Get ready for Alan November's session Post on "Building Learning Communities" around 11:00.
Still having a good time!

Alan November – Building Learning Communities

There is urgency in education to connect children with other around the world. For the business word this isn’t even a consideration it simply “is”.
Education is the only place where we have to explain the need for this.

Do we really know how to search for relevant information on the Internet?

If we wanted to know what the impact of the Pope’s speech is on the people in Turkey how would you structure the speech?

Ideas from the audience: Impact on the Popes speech on Turkey, Pope+speech+turkey+impact+riots,…

The problem with this is that you get resources from western organizations – wrong perspective for our question?

The solution is to isolute results to come from Turkey. Need to learn how to do that.

Search string: Host:tr Pope Island riots speech

November suggests we need to get rid of technology title, might was well use director of printing press. Do we want to be the leaders showing how to use “technology”The real revolution is information and global communication. We are asking wrong questions, “who much tech” wrong – “how much critical thinking do we need?”

How does Google produce & organize search results?
1 to 1 match between URL and search criteria (a word)
Title of web page (one to one) 2 matches
Map to Links coming in – map to the link link:

Teaching kids how to use power point before we teach them how to think.

Cannot lead with technology – get rid of every technology planning committee you’ve got. The answer is not technology, it is what flows through technology.

Problem: Motivating people who are not motivated. Let’s find another rpoint of view – how can we do that. How do the British interpret the results of battles in the American Revolution and how does that differ from American perspectives.

Host: *American Revolutions
What do you do when teaching American History, works for any content, and you have a different point of view from your textbook?

Real work is teaching teachers to design assignments that are more creative and rigorous and demanding that will motivate students to prepare for it.

Motivating event: debate with the British (authentic audience)
When ever possible connect kids to an authentic audience.

Can find schools in England studying the Am. Rev.
Live debate over Skype
Questions are prepared
Hit record button for audio file of the event (need third party freeware).
Turn debate in to a blog and/or podcast.
This engages kids – they will listen to the debate. Will they read your exam?

Skype – Single most powerful tool we can give educators.
Why is it blocked in schools?
They are using it anyway?
Why not allow it and teach students how to use it thoughtfully and appropriately.

It would be like not teaching kids how to drive a car, do we just give them a car and let them go without helping them learn how to use it, how to be defensive drivers, etc.

We need to use the intellectual capital in our educations in schools to show kids how to use these tools in way to help them connect, communicate and collaborate globally.

Do we teach Powerpoint before we teach critical thinking?
Why doesn’t content beat technology any day of the week?

We have access to authentic content and can implement authentic assessment using these tools.

Two parts: Be good at information in order to have an intelligent conversation. Worried that we are not teaching children the architecture of the web
The power of the web is collaboration – the meta skill.

Teach them how to ask the right questions, find the right information using the right technology. Building learning communities….