Sunday, October 25, 2009

Education Summit @Google

As I've mentioned in a previous post, Google is co-sponsoring an education summit along with the Joan Ganz Cooney Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and Commonsense Media. An interesting blend of business, technology, and education leaders will be discussing their work on Tuesday, October 27, and Wednesday, October 28, at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

You, too, can participate. Get involved in the following ways:

1) Read blog posts of some of the attendees and presenters. Leave some comments!

2) Ask burning questions via a tool called Google Moderator.

3) Sign up to watch the web cast here and here.

4) Follow conference happenings on Twitter.

I've also compiled a Twitter list of people who will be in attendance at this event. Send me a direct message (d elemenous) if you will be there, and I'll add you as well !

"Educate the Fear Out of Them"

Thank you, Cheri Toledo, for this phrase.

In Google Wave, several educators have been discussing the fact that all the great tools and learning environments that we regularly explore are blocked in many districts.

This blog post by Ewan McIntosh also has me thinking:

I think we need a significant repository of schools where Web 2.0 technologies are welcomed and used in a safe and thoughtful manner. These stories would serve to educate districts out there who are grappling with implementation and safety issues.

I was part of a team that created such a space last summer as part of an Apple Distinguished Educator project last summer. This online network was created for the purpose cited above, but I also think that we need a simple directory of schools as well. So I am also creating a Google doc form for this purpose:

Please fill out this form or pass it on to someone who might want to share their information. All fields are optional. To see the results, visit

It's time to embrace innovation and networked learning, people!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Google Teacher Academy in Washington, DC

The next Google Teacher Academy (GTA) has been announced! I've said this several times before, but I’m thrilled to be involved with this project - and to share it with you here on this blog. As with all previous GTA events, tech savvy educators and professional developers in the local area can apply to participate in the special full-day workshop. And as with the last four events, the application process is also open to anyone, including educators out of the area, out of the state, or even out of the country (with the understanding that Google doesn’t cover travel or lodging). In other words, any of you who feel you meet the criteria for application are invited to apply!

Below is the official announcement and invitation to apply:

Google Teacher Academy - DC
Washington, DC
December 9, 2009

Applications Due: November 9, 2009

We are pleased to announce that the next Google Teacher Academy will be hosted in Washington DC on Wednesday, December 9, 2009. Outstanding and innovative educators from around the world are encouraged to apply.

The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. The GTA is an intensive, one-day event (8:30 am -7:30 pm) where participants get hands-on experience with Google's free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, collaborate with exceptional educators, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, GTA participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.

50 outstanding educators from around the world will be selected to attend the GTA based on their passion for teaching, their experience as leaders, and their use of technology in K-12 settings. Each applicant is required to produce and submit an original one-minute video on either of the following topics: "Motivation and Learning" or "Classroom Innovation." Applications for the event in Washington, DC are due on Monday, November 9, 2009. Participants must provide their own travel, and if necessary, their own lodging.  

Learn more about the program and the application at:

The GTAs have been a wonderful experience for everyone involved, with 97% of all attendees rating the GTA as "outstanding."

Here are a few quotes from GTA participants:
"The academy was everything I hoped for and more! I can't wait to plan out ways to use the tools we learned about, to share my experiences with my colleagues and to re-connect with the other academy participants!"
"The focus on innovation in education, and not just about the tools, was right on target."
"I appreciate the opportunity to be connected to a group of educators that are passionate about preparing students for the 21st century. I feel inspired and able to meet the challenges that lie ahead!"
"Until now, I had never attended a conference where I was so engaged and loving every minute of it."
"This was easily the most important professional development experience I have ever had as an educator. World-class tools demonstrated by world-class people at a world-class facility. THANK YOU!"
"I love [the Google Certified Teacher community] for the ideas and inspiration that comes flowing to and from it...folks share professional development strategies (technology or otherwise) that have worked. It's nice to have a variety of ways to assist others and having that variety also provides spice for those of us responsible for doing the providing."

Feel free to send any questions to - and please spread the word to anyone who may be interested in joining us. 

We're looking forward to another great event!

The GTA Team

Google Teacher Academy - DC
Washington, DC
December 9, 2009

Applications Due: November 9, 2009

I hope to see some of you in DC! Also, we hope to be announcing additional events and additional locations in 2010, so stay tuned.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SRI on Tapped In, Educational Social Networking, and the Future

Part of the Future of Education interactive interview series.

Date: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.
Event Page:

Judi Fusco and Patti Schank from the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) join us to talk about the Tapped In network, educational social networking, and the future of electronic communities in education:

1. What is the difference between community and social networking?
2. What does community brings to the learning process (e.g., Communities of Practice and how that guided their work in Tapped In)? What are examples of successes and what have different organizations/small groups have achieved?
3. Ho do we create community in online situations?
4. How do we understand what the community gives to the participants?

Dr. Judith Fusco is a research scientist in SRI International's Center for Technology in Learning, and specializes in researching and developing online communities, technologies, and resources. Since 1998, she has directed the community development of TAPPED IN, an online community for teacher professional development. While developing the community, she has worked with master teachers from all over the world; and organizations like, NCREL, PBS, Pepperdine University, and Los Angeles County Office of Education. She has helped grow Tapped In from 300 teachers to over 20,000 and has helped many organizations learn to work online.

Dr. Fusco's research on the community involves examining social and technical supports necessary for online community, individual and group readiness, investigating models for online professional development, understanding the nature of local K-12 education communities of practice, generally analyzing and applying social network analysis (SNA) techniques to quantitative data gathered in the community. In addition, she is part of the OERL (Online Evaluation Research Library) team. She is co-leading the evaluation of the OERL web site and working with professors to investigate how OERL might be used in graduate level evaluation courses.

Before coming to SRI International, she worked at Apple Computer, Inc. leading the community development of Convomania, on an online community for kids who are sick or have a disability. The community of Convomania ended in January of 1998, so Dr. Fusco, Teresa Middleton (CTL alum) and others formed the online community PatchWorx, a 501c3 non-profit organization for kids who are sick or have a disability.

For more, see

Patricia Schank is a cognitive and computer scientist at SRI's Center for Technology in Learning. Her current research interests are human computer interaction (HCI), social computing, computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL), and computer supported cooperative work (CSCW). Working with teams of developers and researchers, she applies a range of design and engineering processes (interface design, prototyping, user testing, architecture specification, and implementation) and research methodologies to develop and analyze innovative socio-technical environments. Dr. Schank has a Ph.D. in education (emphasis in cognition and learning) and an M.S. in computer science (emphasis in artificial intelligence) from the University of California at Berkeley, where her dissertation work focused on modeling and aiding scientific reasoning through an integration of theory-based cognitive simulations, experimental studies, and instructional curricula.

For more, see

[Cross-posted from]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Esther Wojcicki on Creative Commons and Open Education

A interview.

Date: Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.
Event Page:

Esther Wojcicki has been a Journalism/English teacher at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California for the past 25 years where she built the journalism program from a small group of 20 students in 1985 to the largest high school journalism program in the nation winning major national and international recognition. Her program is an example of the effectiveness of Project Based Learning and using journalism as a tool to get students engaged in critical thinking skills, writing skills, and Web 2.0 skills. She is working to help other schools adopt similar programs. The program includes 400 students, four journalism teachers, and five award-winning journalism electives including a newspaper (The Campanile) , a news magazine, (Verde), an online site (, daily television (InFocus), and a sports magazine, (Viking). The publications have won Gold and Silver Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the aceMaker Award and the Hall of Fame Award from National Scholastic Press, and best in nation from Time Magazine in 2003. The website was honored with two Webby Awards in 2005.

Esther is Chair of the Board of Creative Commons and a strong advocate of Open Education Resources and Creative Commons licensing. She is a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Research Award receipient on the Student Journalism 2.0 project ( She has won multiple awards including California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, 2002 California Teacher of the Year, and 2009 Columbia University Scholastic Press Association Gold Key Award. She is a consultant for both the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Hewlett Foundation and a blogger for HuffingtonPost.

[Cross-posted from]

Howard Rheingold Presents "Thinking Tools" on Howard's Brainstorms!

Join us as Howard Rheingold starts a series in Elluminate called "Howard's Brainstorms!" He'll spend an interactive hour with you discussing education, literacies, and anything else on his mind!

The topic for the show this Thursday evening: "Thinking Tools: PersonalBrain, Devonthink, Social Bookmarking, Outlining, Visualization, and More."

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.
Direct show page:

Howard Rheingold is the author of:
Tools for Thought The Virtual Community Smart Mobs Was: editor of Whole Earth Review
editor of The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog
founding executive editor of Hotwired
founder of Electric Minds
Non-resident Fellow, Annenberg Center for Communication, USC, 2007
Visiting Professor, De Montfort University, UK

Has taught:
Participatory Media and Collective Action (UC Berkeley, SIMS, Fall
2005, 2006, 2007 )
Virtual Community/Social Media (Stanford, Fall 2007, 2008; UC Berkeley,
Spring 2008, 2009)
Toward a Literacy of Cooperation (Stanford, Winter, 2005)
Digital Journalism (Stanford University Winter, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 )

Current projects:
Social Media Classroom
The Cooperation Project
Participatory Media Literacy
HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation grantee

Recent Videos:
21st century literacies 40 min video
JD Lasica's 6 min video interview with me, same subject:

(photographer credit: Robin Good)

[Cross-posted from]

Free Classroom 2.0 Workshop - Vancouver 24 October 09

I'll be speaking at the CUEBC conference in Vancouver later this month, and staying an extra day to run a free Classroom 2.0 workshop for teachers on Saturday, October 24th, from 8:30am - 2:30pm. If you're in the area, you are most welcome to sign up and attend! (The workshop will actually be in Surrey, BC.)

The sign-up and agenda links are at More information on what to expect and how our workshops run is below.

Our Classroom 2.0 LIVE Workshops are hands-on workshops that focus on the use of Web 2.0 in education. They are intended to be much like the Web itself: free, open, engaging, participative, and highly collaborative.

The workshops are also designed to be highly practical, and beginners are especially invited and encouraged to attend--in fact, if you are a beginner, you are the reason we are holding these workshops! We promise you will have a lot of fun as you learn about these important technologies. Each workshop is a blend of presentations, facilitated discussions, and hands-on creation--with lots of time for "drilling down" by getting individual help and instruction.

More seasoned Web 2.0 users will also learn new things from each other, as well as helping to organize the events. In true Web 2.0 fashion, you get to help plan the sessions at your local workshop, and the schedule is designed to be flexible. Each is spearheaded by local organizers, but with support and encouragement from Classroom 2.0, and drawing heavily from the expertise of local educators using Web 2.0.

The workshops are free because of generous sponsorship from companies that share our driving belief: that Web 2.0 is going to have a dramatic and positive effect on education. Please learn more about them, and thank them for supporting this program if you have any contact with them.

[Cross-posted from]]

Monday, October 05, 2009

Computer Games as Educational Tools

(Cross-posted from as part of my interview series)

Date: Thursday, October 8th, 2009
3pm Pacific / 6pm Eastern / 10pm GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

The Learning Games Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to develop and facilitate the use of computer games as educational tools. Its flagship project, ISLE, is an online gaming platform in which users will enter a virtual world and engage in activities and games that will help teach a new language. The development of the Interactive Social Language Education (ISLE) platform is an effort to create an international community of learners of all ages to explore and acquire second language skills through a wide variety of digital media channels that both create an immersive electronic learning experience and complement local informal and formal instruction. This builds upon the initial work of another Hewlett Open Educational Resources project, the Open Language Learning Initiative, which is currently undergoing testing in Chinese middle schools.

A consortium of partners, which includes the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Learning Games Network, The SuperGroup, FableVision, and MIT Education Arcade, is creating the web-based ISLE gaming platform as well as a series of initial games and activities to support Spanish-speaking English Language Learners in U.S. middle and high schools. This development is being pursued as part of an open strategy, which enables multiple developers and organizations to build on top of the platform.

The ISLE platform provides an underlying information architecture that allows games and activities to use vocabulary coded with multiple variables in its Global Learning Object database. With these objects tied to language-specific learning goals, data captured during game play can be used to measure student performance and generate assessment reports. Depending on learners’ achievement and scoring, the system can either raise the bar and introduce more difficult words and phrases or remediate by re-populating the games with the learning objects to reinforce the basics.

Jeff Applegate is the Learning Games Network's Outreach Coordinator. Jeff comes from an eclectic background, with dual degrees in Government and Theatre from Cornell University, and experience as an actor, database developer, writer, editor, and teacher. He comes from a family of educators, and has woven the thread through much of his other work experience. The Learning Games Network has proven to be an exciting focus for integrating a number of those passions and interests toward the end of enhancing kids' ability and desire to learn.

Alex Chisholm (Executive Producer, ISLE Platform) is a media research and development consultant who creates transmedia entertainment and educational properties. in recent years, he has developed and managed several projects with NBC Universal, including iCue with NBC News, and the online games for NBC Olympics. He serves as the Software and Video Gaming Judge for the National Parenting Publication Awards (NAPPA). Over the past 10 years, Chisholm has collaborated on research, product, and program development with Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures Imageworks, LeapFrog, NBC Universal, Children's Hospital Boston, and the Hewlett and MacArthur Foundations. He holds a B.S. from Cornell University. Chisholm is the Executive Director and a founding member of the Learning Games Network.

Scot Osterweil (Principal Investigator and Creative Director) directs and leads the design on a number of MIT Education Arcade projects, including Labyrinth, Caduceus, and iCue. Before coming to MIT, Scot was the Senior Designer at TERC, where he designed Zoombinis Island Odyssey, winner of the 2003 Bologna New Media Prize, and the latest game in the Zoombinis line of products (Riverdeep/TLC). Scot is the creator of the Zoombinis, and with Chris Hancock he co-designed the multi-award winning Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, and its first sequel, Zoombinis Mountain Rescue. Scot is the also the designer of the TERCworks games Switchback, and Yoiks!, the latter also with Chris Hancock. Other software design work includes InspireData (Inspiration Software) and its predecessors Tabletop, and Tabletop Jr. Previously, Scot worked in television production and theater. He is a graduate of Yale College. Osterweil is the treasurer and a founding member of the Learning Games Network.

Dennis Littky Talks About Big Picture Schools

(Cross-posted from, as part of my interview series.)

Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

Dennis Littky is the co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning and the Met Center in Providence. He is nationally known for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning over 40 years. As an educator, Dennis has a reputation for working up against the edge of convention and out of the box, turning tradition on its head and delivering concrete results. Presently, Dennis’s focus is to expand the Big Picture Learning design to include college-level accreditation through College Unbound, where students will have the opportunity to earn a B.A. and advanced certifications through a critically challenging, real-world based, and entrepreneurial course of study.

Dr. Littky holds a double Ph.D. in psychology and education from the University of Michigan. His work as a principal at Thayer Junior/Senior High School in Winchester, N.H. as featured in an NBC movie, A Town Torn Apart based on the book Doc: The Story of Dennis Littky and His Fight for a Better School. In 2004, he (along with Samantha Grabelle) published a book about the Big Picture Learning design entitled The Big Picture: Education is Everyone’s Business, which went on to win the Association of Educational Publishers’ top award for nonfiction in 2005. In 2003, Dennis was recognized as a leader in the small schools movement and awarded the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education. Fast Company ranked Littky #4 among the top 50 Innovators of 2004, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation recently selected both Dennis and Elliot as part of the Daring Dozen – the Twenty Most Daring Educators in the World.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday 5: School Design

This week, school design is on my mind. I'm heading to New York next Wednesday to serve on a panel at the American Architectural Foundation’s summit entitled Schoolhouse 3.0: Designing Educational Facilities for 21st Century Technologies and Curriculums. The goal of this panel (which also includes Frank Kelly of the SHW Group, Tom Carroll of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and Charles Fadel of Cisco Systems) is to set the stage for summit participants around the role of educational technology and school design. Infinite Thinking Machine founder and New Tech Network Director of Innovation and Design Chris Walsh will be keynoting this event. We'll be discussing the need for transformation in our schools, and future implications for school planning teams.

I anticipate that this will be an amazing learning experience; I appreciate good design and believe that it is a critical component to creating effective learning environments. I particularly think that schools serving at risk populations really need to focus on the impact of design on learning; good design is not something we should reserve for better resourced communities.

So, as I think about conversations that will take place next week, here are a few web sites that I will be consulting or referring to:

1. DesignShare

2. Don't Just Rebuild Schools - Reinvent Them

A recent EdWeek article by DesignShare Managing Director Prakash Nair.

3. Design Matters

Not directly related to school design, this web site from the University of Illinois contains video lectures given by prominent people in the design field. Thanks for Doris Wells-Papanek for this link.

4. Schools Designed for Learning: The Denver School of Science and Technology

From the American Architectural Foundation's Great Schools by Design Initiative

This is an online exhibit from the group that is sponsoring the aforementioned summit.

5. Horizon Report 2009 K12 Edition

I served on the advisory board for this report, and will be referencing it during our panel discussion. The report names future trends in educational technology; these trends will definitely impact future school design.

6. The Third Teacher

Via Christian Long