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Slides from my presentation. This is a large QuickTime file, so it will take a minute to load.

Open Knowledge


Recording of presentation



I just finished Day 2 at the NYSCATE Annual Conference in Rochester, NY. I had a great time presenting twice on topics that I am passionate about and enjoyed all our Keynote speakers. I’ve met some great folks and have had wonderful conversations.

Plan on an more active blog as I’ll be writing and reflecting more about the conference. Meanwhile, those interested in media, materials, resources, and links please click here, or hit the presentation tab above. Those who are interested in viewing an online edition of the NYSED State Tech Plan click here. This site allows you to comment on any portion of the document on a paragraph level. Please make constructive comments!

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While I attended the NYSCATE Leadership Summit last week for a variety of reasons, the main motivation was to hear the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) presentation on their proposed state technology plan. Beyond the presentation there were roundtable discussions to provide input and feedback followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

When the opportunity to ask questions arrived, I raised my hand. I told the them that I hadn’t heard about the proposed tech plan through regular channels, rather through Twitter. Then came the question: Would they consider setting up an account and using Twitter?

The answer: We’ll have to check with our counsel.

Let’s juxtapose this with Goal Two of the Statewide Technology Plan:

Learners, teachers, and administrators are proficient in the use of technology for learning.

Proficiency is defined, in large measure, by standards for desired levels of skills, knowledge and performance. Proficiency encompasses such areas as social networks and internet safety.

Apparently, while NYSED wants students, teachers, and administrators to use social networks, they fear doing so themselves. They seem flummoxed by the same issues that technology pioneering districts and practitioners have been wrestling with for years. The message is that NYSED regards the very activities in which they wish us to engage as legally questionable.

Educators know that good leadership involves modeling the desired behaviors. NYSED knows that and should do the same. Using social networking tools shows that they understand them. They could model what they regard as best practices.

To succeed NYSED needs to help cut through the systemic fear and uncertainty that runs from practitioner to district to BOCES and beyond. Hesitation is the enemy of change and innovation. We need some degree of guidance in what are acceptable practices.

Twitter is a simple tool. It’s a good place to start. The US Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control, and President Obama tweet. NYSED needs to tweet too.

I plan on a number of posts on aspects of the NYS Tech Plan soon. I’m eager to hear comments.

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On Tuesday, November 25, I presented Open Source Web 2.0 Applications at the New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education (NYSCATE). I was very excited to share some of what I have learned in the past year regarding web based applications such as WordPress, Elgg, Pligg, Posh, Gallery, and many others.

I was concerned about the timeslot–the last session on the last day of the conference. I was delighted to find the conference room nearly full when I began to present. I was also pleased to see a few people that attended my presentation last year.

You can hear the presentation Open Source Web 2.0.

Click through the presentation as you listen. (It will toggle between the first two slides until it has loaded. It’s a large file, so give it a minute.)

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NYSCATE created a social networking space on Ning for the 2007 conference. About 140 conference attendees have signed up and there has been some discussion of the conference and educational technology.

I did a little poking around the Ning site in general and I have found some other social networks that I have since joined. The first was Ning in Education. Ning in Education is a network dedicated to issues pertaining to using ning for educational applications. Issues such as Ning configuration, safety and privacy. It also appears to serve as a conduit for educators to express their concerns and needs to the folks that run Ning. A case in point, is that through the efforts of participants in the network, Ning will take the ads off Ning communities that serve grades 7-12. There are COPPA issues that they are working to resolve for students under 13. Ning in Education also pointed toward other great educational resources on Ning.

Classroom 2.0 is a very active community with over 4000 members. There’s really a lot of good information from other educators integrating technology in education–Web 2.o Technologies in particular. I recommend that you join this particular network.

I also set up a Ning social network so that I could get a sense of what can be done with the administrative controls. I was looking for reassurances that would help placate the fears of our tech committee. I discovered that you could make the site visible only to members and that membership could be on an invite only basis. Furthermore, it permits you to moderate and approve video and image uploads before they are displayed (although not text postings). Finally, as mentioned above, there is a procedure for getting rid of the advertising on school networks.

I will continue to explore the social networks on Ning, examples of school uses of Ning, and the ins and outs of administrating such a site. I will also be installing the open-source alternative Elgg soon and blogging on that soon too.

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