Inspiration for Leaders

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

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.