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Posts tagged with "Education"

Free Offer to Five Readers: 180 Questions free for a review

I have a free offer for five of my readers:
If you agree to write a review of 180 Questions, I will shoot you a code for a free download of the book.

Some caveats:
It is Ibook Only, so it only works in iBook for IOS and Mac. Sorry, no ePub version.

Once you write your review, you need to let me know so I can reblog it. Don’t feel that you have to give a glowing review. Feel free to write whatever you think about it. (I am confident that you will like it.)

Click on the title to get the description.

Once the five codes are gone, they are gone. First come first serve.

You can leave me a message here, or hit me up on twitter @timholt2007

Dear Apple: Time to bring iChat Back

Dear Apple,
It is time to bring iChat back.
For those of you unfamiliar with iChat, when Apple released OSX.2 twelve years ago (can you believe it?), it also released a new video/audio messaging system that was to challenge Skype. It came free with every computer.

I suppose not a lot of people used it to its full potential. Apple has a history of deleting unused or underused features (see the latest versions of iWork, and of course RIP iWeb, and iDVD both of which were ahead of their time).

The reason that Apple needs to bring back iChat, or at least the feature set of iChat into its current FaceTime / iMessage video system is this:


iChat had some awesome features that even NOW are not available in the free versions of Skype or Google Hangouts. These included:

Text chat: You could carry out a multi-point text conversation. I know, everyone can do that now, but 12 years ago, that was unheard of.

You could have an audio chat. No big deal, we call that phone calls. But you could call up anyone from your computer and start an audio chat if the text chat was not enough, all without switching programs. Voice over IP for the masses.

If the text and audio were not enough, you could then create a video chat. Again, we are all in the same program, iChat. All of these things are without changing programs.

If talking to a single person were not enough, you could then have a multi-point video connections ( I know, Hangouts has this ability.) Up to 4 connections could be on a conference at a time, and using some nifty video and audio compression techniques, there was little or no lag time even on the crappiest connection.

But to me, the pièce de résistance from iChat was this:
iChat had an amazingly easy way to share files with the other users; You simply dragged and dropped files into the video chat screen and whatever you dropped could be seen by all the users in the chat. Movies, audio files, PDF files, Keynotes, documents, whatever. Wanted to share a video? Drop it into the chat. Want to share a PDF file? Drop it into the video window (which was called the theater). I do believe you could even record the video connection as well. Yes, Skype and others can do that now, but iChat had them all beat to the punch. Even now, the Skype method is more clunky than the drag and drop method of iChat.

When Apple dropped iChat, it replaced it with FaceTime. And while FaceTime is nice for a point A to point B conversation, it is only a single connection. There is no text chat. For that, you have to use Messenger. There is no multipoint connection. There is no screen sharing. There is no file sharing. In order to do those things, you need multiple programs, AND the person on the other side needs multiple programs as well.

Google hangouts or webinar programs such as Blackboard Collaborate are the closest thing now there is to the old iChat. Google allows 6 simultaneous connections and also allows screen sharing.

iChat, was way ahead of its time, and probably most people did not use it to it’s full ability.
But now that Apple is touting “Desktop class” processing on it’s phones and iPads, it is time to bring desktop video conferencing capabilities back.

Time for FaceTime to learn a few tricks from it’s grandfather iChat.

Are you listening Apple?

Science Fair 2.0: Let's Bring the Science Fair into the 21st Century

From the article:

Looking for some really good ideas from teachers that are currently running very successful science fairs? We’ve captured a few of the conversations that are happening on the MSP2 social network. You can contact any of our “guest speakers” by posting a comment on their MSP2 wall.

In addition, we’ve highlighted some resources that will provide other great ideas for you and your students. Please add to the list if you have other resources that have been helpful to you. Click on NSDL Login in the upper right hand corner of this page and register so you can share your knowledge with other teachers!

If you want substantiated justification for making your students participate in science fairs, have a look at the NSDL Strand Map Service. These maps illustrate connections between concepts and across grade levels. Several contexts are associated with science fair including Nature of Science, Nature of Technologyand Habits of Mind. An image of the middle grades (6-8) only part of the Scientific Investigations map appears below. This map is one of sevne under the heading Nature of Science. Clicking on a concept within the maps will show NSDL resources relevant to the concept, as well as information about related AAAS Project 2061 Benchmarks and National Science Education Standards. Move the pink box in the lower right hand corner of the page to see the grades 6-8 learning goals.

Associated articles:

Science Fair 2.0 from NPR Science Fridays
“The science fair is a nearly century-old right of passage for students. What role does the traditional science fair play in the digital age? How can these competitions be reworked to include broader participation and encourage students, and teachers, to explore hands-on learning?”

Totally Awesome Science Fair Planning Guide

Letter sent to my PLN: Please Consider Presenting Virtually at miniCAST

Last week, I sent this letter to members of my Professional Learning Network.
You are part of that, so I am posting here for everyone. The offer stands. Please consider presenting. —TBH

Dear PLN member,

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, the Science Teachers Association of Texas (Region 19) will host a one day science and technology conference called miniCAST 2014.

( Here is more info about it: http://minicastelpaso.wikispaces.com/Event+Homepage )

We are expecting about 500 educators this year from all over west Texas and southern New Mexico.

One of the strands we are having this year is a “Virtual Strand” when presenters do not have to actually have to be in El Paso to present, but still can present. (We understand that not very one can run to El Paso on a moment’s notice, although we do have electricity and running water, contrary to popular opinion!)

I know that you all have something to share, and it would be a great treat for the educators in the El Paso area to be able to meet you, even if it is through Skype or a webinar setting.

Wont you please consider presenting at miniCAST 2014, in El Paso? It should only take an hour or so (unless you want to present multiple times) and I know that teachers out here will be very grateful.

The topics are wide open, even if it does have a “science theme.” Any kind of technology will work.

Here is the link to the Call for Presenters: http://minicastelpaso.wikispaces.com/Call+for+Presenters

(Also, if you could let your PLN know about this opportunity, that would be most appreciated. )

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at timholt@me.com

I really hope that you can participate in miniCAST even if you cannot be here physically. I cannot offer anything more than thanks for helping out, but rest assured that your help will be multiplied many times.

Thanks again for your help.

Tim


Here is an article about presenting virtually.

Education Malpractice Part 2: Time to Call out the Fake Science Teachers in Oklahoma

Earlier this year, I wrote about how we need to start calling out “science teachers” that don’t understand or even believe that what they are teaching is correct. The title of the article was "EDUCATIONAL MALPRACTICE: TIME TO CALL OUT THE FAKE SCIENCE TEACHERS"

Essentially, I said that if you do not think evolution is a real thing, and if you teach Biology, then you are committing educational malpractice.

As follow up to that article, a survey that came out this week of science teachers in Oklahoma that showed a significant number of them simply did not understand evolution.

The survey showed:

  • 25 percent strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “Scientific evidence indicates that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time in the past.”
  • 36.8 percent strongly or somewhat disagree with the statement, “Complex structures such as the eye could have been formed by evolution.”
  • 40.8 percent strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “‘Survival of the fittest’ means basically that ‘only the strong survive’.”
  • 17.1 percent strongly or somewhat disagree with the statement, “The earth is old enough for evolution to have occurred.” (And, 3.9 percent were “undecided.”)
  • 32.9 percent strongly or somewhat agree with the statement, “Evolution is a total random process.”

We cannot say we are professionals if we don’t even understand what we are teaching. Evolution is one of the fundamentals of science. A lack of understanding of a fundamental of science is like having a mechanic that does not understand how an engine works, or a football coach that does not know what an offense is.

As the authors of the study say:

"As teachers are critical determiners of the quality of classroom instruction, it is vital that they be capable of making professionally responsible instructional and curricular decisions. For biology teachers to make such decisions about evolution, they must possess a thorough knowledge of evolutionary theory and its powerful role in the discipline of biology.

Second, when teachers hold science misconceptions, they may critically impede student conceptual development of scientific explanations. Teachers with misconception-laced subject knowledge will convey inaccurate or incomplete ideas to their students, resulting in a less than accurate biological evolution education, likely fraught with errors…. Therefore, teachers may be a primary factor in the acquisition, propagation and perpetuation of students’ biological evolution-related misconceptions.”

We have got to call these teachers out and we have got to either educate them or get them out of the classroom. Come on Oklahoma. Lead the way!

Here is the entire survey and its results:

180 Questions Back on Sale

After being offline for more than six months, my book “180 Questions: Daily Reflections for Educators and Their PLCs" This book is a series of reflective questions and conversation starters that anyone can use.

Currently, readers all over the world have downloaded this book, having been purchased on every continent except Antarctica. And the price of 99 cents USD is pretty easy to swallow.

Each question is designed to get educators thinking about education issues that affect them and their students. Each question is followed by a “deeper dig” into the question that allows the reader to see the question from a broader perspective.

Among other things, educators can use this book to:

  • Plan Professional development
  • Break the ice at meetings
  • Use a self reflection tool
  • Use as a conversation starter for groups who have stopped talking
  • Jump off point for deeper conversations
  • Use as summer DIY PD
  • Administrators can use it to get teachers to begin to question practices on their campus
  • Begin conversations about larger education topics
  • Use as staff meeting ice breakers
  • Education Bloggers can use the book as a series of topics starters if they have writer’s block
  • Get teachers thinking about big picture ideas in education beyond the walls of their classroom

Here is a little video about the books:

Of course, your milage will vary. The book is not designed to be read from page 1 to the end. Use the questions that mean the most. Save the others for when they will be appropriate.

The book has received positive reviews:

Kevin Honeycutt said: “Tim Holt is the kind of technology thinker who cuts through the fog like a laser beam. He gets right to what good can come from the invention, innovation or practice. Tim’s sense of humor and willingness to ask the bigger, harder questions give him a unique and useful voice in the field of educational technology. In this book Tim assembles nuggets of useable, inspirational insights and lets them unfold daily for busy practitioners. As you unveil these moments of wisdom daily and allow them to feed your imagination you’ll connect with other minds in other places who are working alongside you in the “eduverse.”

Dean Mantz wrote: “In this iBook Tim focuses on Professional Learning Networks as a source for professional development beyond that offered within one’s own school district. While defining the how, who, what, and where Tim asks questions that challenges his readers to think and reflect on how they would answer each one. I truly appreciate reading material that challenges you to think and reflect upon your own classroom instruction pedagogy, personal learning approaches all while encompassing material that addresses different learning styles. Tim Holt use if imagery with little text allows for one to mentally picture themselves in that setting or easily understand the point being made by the question at hand. To go along with the visual engagement was the integration of video clips ranging from educators talking about the benefits they found from reaching out and connecting with other educators on a global scale to statements by some of the best education thinkers of our generation.”

Here is an interview about the book in Edudemic.

Andrea Keller wrote: “The creativeness of this book includes interactive links, short quotes, meaningful questions that provoke a conversation, videos, and QR codes. This allows not only opportunities to extend learning but offer other ideas to use in the classroom or school. I have noticed that in my online Professional Learning Community many people are more apt to answer tough questions put out by other educators. When it comes to face to face PLC’s we are not as forth coming. This book presents enough questions to have a daily reflection of school through six different categories. These questions don’t just focus on the big questions about school, but also how parents, students, and community perceive school. We are looking for ways to engage in conversation. We are looking for ways to share our ideas and opinions over various topics.”

If you have 99 cents, I would appreciate you giving this book a look. I know that it only works on iOS and Mac devices, and my next book will have a different model of distribution.

I think you in advance for purchasing my book.

180 Questions is 99 cents in the iTunes Bookstore

Action Science: Interview with Author Bill Robertson

Bill Robertson is a good friend of mine and is affectionally known to thousands of students across the US and around the world as “Dr. Skateboard.” He recently released a new book “Action Science:Relevant Teaching and Active Learning" on Corwin Press. He graciously has agreed to answer a few questions about his book.

But before we get started, let’s look at a video about what Action Science and Dr. Skateboard are all about:

Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you ever get the idea to mix science instruction with BMX and skateboarding?

I’ve been a skateboarder for over 35 years, and have done demonstrations nationally and internationally. I have done hundreds of demonstrations in festivals, events and in academic settings. In my onsite school demonstrations, I have performed for thousands of students in elementary, middle, and high school levels throughout the United States, in Canada, Mexico and into South America.

Additionally, I have been an educator for over twenty years. My academic areas of expertise are science education, curriculum development and technology integration. I also teach and do research in the areas of problem-based learning and action science.

As an educator and a skateboarder, I knew I would have unique opportunities to instruct and to work with students and teachers, and the development of action science is a practical example. Through skateboarding and education, I have learned creativity, practice, patience, discipline, and goal setting. Many of my audiences of students and parents typically don’t see the connection between skateboarding and science. They often wonder, if you have a Ph.D., why do you ride a skateboard? The answer is because it’s fun and it’s part of who I am.

Give us the 10,000 ft view of Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning. 

How can you get young people interested in science and mathematics? What efforts are there to integrate the experiences of young people into the things they need to do and learn in school? How can action sports, like skateboarding and BMX, be used to teach physics, algebra, data collection, and help students to grow in their engagement and motivation in science and mathematics?

An answer to these questions and more are addressed in Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning, a new publication from Corwin for Middle School teachers and the students in their classes. This book combines physical science concepts in areas such as forces, motion, Newton’s Laws of Motion and simple machines set in the context of activities that young people enjoy doing, such as riding bikes and skateboards.

Many authors of texts are looking to solve a problem. What problem are you trying to solve by writing this work?

Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning was written as a resource for teachers to integrate a relevant and practical setting for learning centered on youth culture that would allow for the study of fundamental physics principles to be brought forward in skateboarding and bicycle motocross (BMX). This book looks to solve the dilemma that many teachers face in teaching the concepts of physical science in a context for the modern learner. Placing the content in a relatable format with action sports as a focus, combined with the use constructivism, this book presents a strategy for teaching that is student-centered and built on active learning strategies.

Do you think that by using skating and BMX as your starting point, you might alienate girls that traditionally are not attracted to these sports? 

Why write a book about physics set in youth culture? Primarily, it is a resource for middle school science teachers that integrates physical science content in the context of action sports, which should help to increase engagement and motivation in the classroom. The methodology integrated within the book is a student-centered, teacher-facilitated approach that allows for active learning within the classroom. I think this is an inclusive work that is designed to appeal to boys and girls, and the goal is to integrated engaging content to motivate learners. I also think that it can be easily expanded in the future to showcase other examples of Action Science that might be more applicable to girls, such as surfing, snowboarding and inline skating.

You have integrated a lot of QR codes and web links into the work. Do you think that text books need to become more interactive to capture the reader’s attention?

The content, images and associated video with Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning are meant to help the teacher to provide relevance for important science applications through the use of hands-on activities and engaging video and graphical content. I do believe the teacher needs to integrate technology in teaching and learning, and this book is designed as a crossover text that integrate video and high quality images that enhance the engagement aspect as well as unlock the interactive nature for content immersion by students. The book describes a process that a teacher can effectively utilize that integrates both relevant science content and purposeful teaching methods. It is not a workbook or a series of activities in and of itself, it is a professional development resource that utilizes an approach that can be integrated into the classroom in order to help the modern student learn more effectively.

Action Science is targeted to middle school students. Why that grade level?

The purpose of this book is to provide middle school teachers and students with a resource that will help them to be better equipped to instruct students and to provide students with rich and compelling content that is motivating and engaging. Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning is about today’s modern student in today’s modern classroom, and is designed to help teachers with relevant and practical approaches in science instruction. As with all middle school students, but even more so with marginalized students, science education needs to be transformed, and Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning is a great example of student-focused transformative resource designed to reach the modern learner. This is the way you wish you were taught and certainly the way in which you would want your children to learn.

How do you mix a constructivist approach to learning with skateboarding? Why do you believe in this methodology for instruction?

For education to be constructivist, the traditional teacher-student relationship, which historically has been defined by a method of the teacher delivering content while students listen passively, is discarded. Instead, teachers must serve as facilitators, mentors, role models, co-inquirers and friends, while helping students to seek understanding to the content of the classroom curriculum. Teachers need to view themselves as respectful guides and compassionate helpers who provide students the opportunities to become actively involved in their own learning and in classroom operations.

The constructivist approach used in Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning has been used over many years in schools across the United States and internationally, and the method is focused on the student and puts the teacher in the role of a facilitator in the classroom. This book combines detailed methods for instruction in the classroom, relevant activities for students to do, and captivating photos and video of top professional and amateur extreme sports athletes doing difficult and captivating tricks that underlie the science being presented.

Some say we need to go back to the “old ways” of teaching and learning: Kids sitting in desks listening to teachers teach. What do you say to that?

I say “no” to that idea and think that education needs to be relevant, practical and learning needs to be active and student-centered. This book describes the need to make the science curriculum relevant, so that a transformative educational approach can be used to motivate middle school students to learn science. If students who are reluctant to become engaged in schoolwork, can come to enjoy learning concepts in physics, such as, forces and motion, it may up to them open other educational experiences in their everyday lives.

Do you subscribe to the research that says physically active kids are more academically successful? If so, how do we get kids up away from TVs and video games and into the environment?

The importance of an active environment for learning that integrates oral, visual and kinesthetic strategies by the teacher allows for learning to center on the students. In this manner, teachers become change agents, linking the relevant life experiences of the students to the content of the curriculum, and in no area is this more needed than in Middle School science. The teacher must work to establish links within their learning communities, and to try and engage their students in active learning projects that require them to interact with individuals inside and outside the school. For the constructivist education teacher in science, learning needs to be extended into the fabric of student’s lives, not solely as a subject to be explored uniquely in a classroom.

I always like to end these interviews with this question: Who is listening? Who do you HOPE is listening?

I know that people wanting to reach young people, to make science content relevant and learning a fun process are listening. I am also sure that the action sports industry, specifically in the areas of skateboarding and BMX, are listening and actively looking for ways to combine education and action sports. Who do I hope is listening? I hope that teachers needing a path to relevance and a way to re-energize the classroom are listening. I also hope that Teacher Preparation programs and university professors are listening, and that Action Science can proliferate as an educational approach and methodology for teaching and learning.

You Can find “Action Science:Relevant Teaching and Active Learning” at these locations  :

Amazon Corwin eBooks

For more Dr. Skateboard Action, go here:

Ten Ed Tech books for summer reading in ten minutes. Part of the Ten in Ten series from EPISD.

Apr 9

Wondering

I wonder why my Tumblr activity has dropped to almost zero?
Visits outside of Tumblr are up, but within Tumblr..not so much. Did I miss something?

Does Opting Out Help or Hurt? Opinion

There seems to be a growing movement among parents, led by folks such as Diane Ravitch to encourage or to actually remove their students from taking state standardized tests.

Parents such as LA Times journalist Karin Klien pulled her daughter out of testing after realizing that they do not actually help the learning process:

"As a journalist, reviewing an early state test that had been leaked to the paper by a teacher, I saw how thin and fault-riddled it could be. One question asked students to mark what they thought would be the best title for a certain reading passage. The answer the test sought was obvious; the title was direct and on topic, though flat and uninteresting. There was another choice, a better one, it seemed to me. It wasn’t as obvious an answer; it struck me as the one that a director would pick for a movie rather than the one a test creator would pick. The difference, if you will, between “Star Wars” and “Luke Travels in Space and Shoots Down a Big Weapon.”

I really have no argument here. I do not think the tests as they are currently structured actually help anything more than the testing industry and real estate people who want to sell higher priced homes around “the good schools.”

National organizations such as Fair Test have sprung up challenging the notion that student have to take “the test.”

I get it. I really do. But I wonder if the method will end up hurting the message.

Some people are choosing to opt out their children because they don’t see an academic benefit, like Klien.

Some are opting out their children because they see the stress on their children.

Some are opting out their children because they have a political agenda and “want to send a message” although what exactly they are protesting (NCLB, Common Core, Race to the Top, Pearson, ETS, taxes, Obama, Arne Duncan) is pretty nebulous. “I am just pissed at something so I am pulling my kid dammit!”

But I can’t help but wonder if these parent opting out their kids actually help their cause any?

Schools are still accountable.
School safe still beholden to the scores.
The law does not change just because someone choses to pull their precious snowflake out of a test.
The results are still going to be published.
The schools are still going to be ranked based on the test scores.

And who exactly is being pulled out? I would bet, although I have no data to back me up, that it is upper middle class connected parents like Klien pulling their upper middle class children who would pass the test anyway.

Why do I feel that way? Because the message is posted on social media: Facebook, Blogs, Twitter. You know, where the middle and upper middle class folks hang out. (I am sorry, but I simply don’t think that there are a lot of lower middle class or poor folks reading Diane Ravitch’s blog or reading the opinion section of the LA Times. I may very well be wrong, and I will change my mind in a minute of you show me data. ) Not connected to the net? You aren’t getting the message. Who is not connected to the net? You go ahead and guess. (It is no secret that test passing rates are directly correlated to family income. )

So what does that leave schools with? If the kids that were pretty much gonna pass the test opt out, the ones left are the ones that were either NOT going to pass or were on the bubble of passing.

You can guess what will happen to scores on these tests. It is similar to having your best players injured right before the big game. (Ask the Notre Dame women’s basketball team how well that turned out.)
Just as a rising tide raises all ships, a falling tide lowers all ships.

Schools are still accountable.
Scores still count. A principal or teacher cannot use the excuse that all the “good kids” didn’t take the test.
Politicians and state education departments look at the data and only the data. Scores drop, then there is something wrong with the school or district. Period. They don’t care if the star didn’t show up that day.

Jobs will be reassigned or lost based on these scores all because you didn’t like Arne Duncan. So all the STUFF that happens when a school does poorly, all the extended pressure, all the extended professional development, all of the tutoring, all of the EXTRA TIME AND EFFORT used to pass the test is multiplied.

By opting out, I suggest that the exact opposite effect will happen: It will do nothing to help improve the schools. It will have the opposite effect because schools will go into permanent “pass the test or else” mode when scores go down. The Sisyphusian task of getting a school into an “acceptable” score is made harder all because someone decided to pull the kids out that would have made the task less difficult.

Apr 8

You Don’t Have to be Here to Present Here. Five Ways to Present Virtually

I just put out a Call for Presentation for a conference that will take place in El Paso in September 2014. This year for the first time, I am going to actively encourage that my out of town professional learning network members try to attend and present virtually.

I like the idea of having virtual presentations taking place at the same time that face to face presentations are happening. But where do you start? How do you present if your audience might be1000 miles away? Here is a short list of five possible ways to present in a virtual environment:

Skype/ Facetime:

Probably the first thing that most people think of when they get the idea that they could present virtually is to use Skype. Skype is great for allowing one to one presentations. You need to have a Skype premium account to do any type of document sharing.

There are simple ways to overcome the Skype for free limitations: Use Today’s Meet for the backchannel chat that both sides can access and if your conference does not have a place where files are stored online, set up a public Dropbox where they can access all of your materials.

If you have access to Apple equipment, you might consider FaceTime which I think has superior video and audio than Skype. Sadly, neither one of these can easily show your presentation if you have a Powerpoint or Keynote.

Webinar:

Webinars allow you to not only present virtually and live, but they also, in most cases, allow for slides, chats, video and more. We use Adobe Connect for a lot of our webinars and it is perfectly serviceable. (There are a lot of webinar packages available. You can host your own, or you can ask the conference organizers if they have access. Either way, webinar is a nice way to present virtually.

Most webinar software allows for recording, another feature that is great for conferences, especially if someone could not make it to your session. AND most allow you to embed handouts right in the webinar.

Prerecorded Video:

The first time I saw this was when David Warlick created a prerecorded Keynote address for the K12 Online Conference back in 2006.

It was not so much the content that he spoke, but how he did it that got my attention. He took his webcam with him all over the place and recorded his keynote. That showed me the power of being able to present from anywhere and at anytime. (I think back then he had to have a wired mic and his laptop in order to make the movie.)

Since then, there have been tons of tools created such as iMovie and lots of devices such as iPads and iPhones that really allow you to create a “keynote on the go.” You can record when the spirit moves you. Put it all together into a movie and send it off!

There are also lots of examples of how to make a prerecorded presentation as well. TED TALKS are probably the gold standard, but all you have to do is pretty much look at any pre-recorded keynote from the K12 Online days to get a good idea of how to do this.

Both Keynote and Powerpoint allow you to pre-record your presentation straight from the slideshows which is another option, especially of you have a slide-heavy presentation.

Video Conference:

If you are lucky enough to have access to high end video conference equipment, by all means use that! You have to make sure that the other end has the equipment as well, but a good VC set up can handle HD cameras, screen casts of your presentations, and usually have excellent audio as well. A good VC set up can make the audience think you are actually in the room, and the advantage is that you can actually interact almost face to face with your audience.

Google Hangouts

Perhaps the newest of the bunch is Google Hangouts. Google hangouts allows you to connect up to 10 connections at one time (if you are presenting this would make an awesome panel discussion!). I have done a couple of hangouts and they work pretty much as advertised.

Grab some friends and do a panel at a conference using hangouts.

A word of advice however: If you have handouts, you still have the same problem that you had with Skype and FaceTime. You will need to make them available via Dropbox of some other web site.

There you have it! If you want to present, you don’t actually HAVE to be there to do so! Consider presenting virtually. Ask the conference organizers if they would allow you to do so. If they are an ed tech conference, chances are they will. (And actually, pretty much any conference with a decent wifi set up should be able to handle a virtual presentation.

Why not start by trying it out at miniCAST 2014? You can present in El Paso Texas from your dining room in your pajamas and no one will be the wiser!

Here is the Call for Presenters:
Apr 7

Guiding the Design Process: The Holy Cross Learning Center in Perth Parts I-III

Peter C. Lippman, author of Evidence-Based Design of Elementary and Secondary Schools: A Responsive Approach to Creating Learning Environments graciously wrote a three part series on Guiding the Design Process in School. This series look at how he and his architectural team goes about doing a single project.

Even though the series looks at a single project, the idea of school design process applies to all educational facilities.

This is a fascinating look at how schools should be designed. Those of my readers that have been interested in The Third Teacher or the works of Prakash Nair will feel right at home reading these entries.

Part I

Part II

Part III