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Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

EARCOS 2012 Takeaways

March 28-31, 2012

A wonderful group of over 1,500 educators gathered in Bangkok for the 10th annual East Asia Regional Council of Schools  (EARCOS) Conference. This was my 4th EARCOS conference, having attended Bangkok in 2004, Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Kota Kinabalu in 2009; and it was by far the most rewarding. Here are my highlights. The best of the best from EARCOS 2012.

Keynote: Now You See It

Day 1 started out with a riveting keynote by Cathy N. Davidson of Duke University in which she reminded us that as teachers, we need to, “Emphasize what students can do well, not their limitations.”  Ms. Davidson, who blogs frequently at HASTAC, then went on to bring new light to the state of the US educational system and standardized testing by stating: 

  • The US tests earlier and more often than any other country.
  • The US’s gift to education: Standardized Testing
  • We’re training kids for the world that Jefferson and Adams were afraid of. Our educational system is based on the industrial age.
  • Finland has abolished standardized testing. And most schools don’t test until age 10.
  • 1980 was the last time Finland used Standardized testing.

Google Apps in the Classroom

Jeff Utecht ran a great workshop entitled, “Google Apps in the Classroom,” and began with a great buy-in statement of why we should be using Google Apps with our students “60 of the top 100 US universities now use google apps.” Jeff then broke the session down by apps within the Google Suite and shared the following:


  • By giving us exactly what we want, Google hides things it thinks we don’t want.
  • Searches are based on
    • your past searches
    • # of links leaving from and coming to that site (that’s 1 reason Wikipedia appears 1st) the more links going to a site, the more authority that site has
    • Time relevance – more recent will be moved towards the top
    • Algorithms
  • Best part of Wikipedia is the bottom. References and sources
  • Wikipedia is not a good place to end your research, but it’s a great place to begin. Great overview, and lots of sources at bottom
  • Every student from grade 3 should know site:edu (and site:gov – but site:gov uses US gov. – use different country suffixes to find info from other countries).
  • Search by reading level (basic is about a 5th grade reading level)
  • site:ac = academic institution


  • People hate docs because you get a large list of everything you’ve ever created or shared with you. Google wants you to just search.
  • Video: Setting Up a Google Docs Classroom (15 mins)
  • Question to ask when creating a doc: Who do you want to own this document?
    • Start with having the students be the owner and have them share with you.
  • Positive thing of students being the owner of their Docs is that it will follow along with them. You can Unsubscribe or have the kids unshare with you at the end of the year.
  • Templates within Google Docs are highly underrated and under-used. Check out the public templates
  • IDEA: Create a newspaper (students work collaboratively on different subjects) use a template. save as pdf > publish to youblisher
  • Flubaroo for Google Docs grades quizzes automatically.
  • We want kids to be able to find the answer. Google Ninja tests allows you to take it and create it at your school. Google Apps Ninja Master (create shirts, pins and stickers for kids)


  • You can have students add attachments to calendars
  • Set up Mobile settings to send text message reminders
  • Use Appointment Slots for setting up meetings. Gives you a URL to mail out to parents that gives parents a “sign up for this slot” calendar that adds to your calendar.

Google Sites

  • So many uses: as a class website, student portfolio, teacher portal for students…
  • And then we ran out of time…

Google Earth Challenge

John Rinker led a great workshop on using Google Earth with students.

  • Resources here.
  • It’s our roles as teachers to make meaning and take meaning in the world
  • Often kids create great looking products but are lacking in substance
  • Have students put placemarks in folders
  • File > Save Project as…
  • 10 different levels
  • Having the different levels allowed for differentiation.
  • Then players who advanced more quickly became the experts
  • Can do recording of voice and music within Google Earth.
    • Called “Record a Tour” camera looking icon on main tool bar

New Media in the Classroom

Jason Ohler (@jasonohler)

Resources here

  • The big push in public education in US is byod
  • Most kids don’t make good media – most adults and teachers will look at the product and be impressed by the media effect
  • Teachers (and students) need to be discriminating makers of new media
  • Kids need to hear “That quality is not high enough.”
  • Story management process (computers off) is where most of the work is done.
  • The Unfinished Revolution
  • Literacy is: Consuming and producing the media forms of the day, whatever they are.
  • DAOW of Literacy
    • Digital
    • Art
    • Oral
    • Written
  • We don’t teach oracy (how to speak) and we should
  • Digital storytelling – film with a green screen and add student art to background
  • The power of story lodge in our brains and we remember. Lists of things don’t.
  • Story Core in Education:
    • Inquiry (tension)
    • Discovery (resolution)
    • Transformation (learning)
  • We remember info that is holistically connected and that’s what Story does.
  • Key resources
  • Green Screen Story Telling: http://t.co/1sosGXDy
  • When kids get kinesthetic with their stories, they write better.
  • Tell kids to go watch tv for homework and note how the professionals deal with music and transitions
  • Music trumps image every single time
  • The image give you the info, the music tells you how to feel about it.
  • Storyboards are bad – don’t use them
  • Instead use a storymap and always have a character realize something
  • Free Storytelling stuff (music, software, photos, etc.):
  • Story Mapping Hand Outs
  • Story Table Handout

Keynote – Balcony People: Teachers Make the Difference

Steven Layne

  • Book: Molder of Dreams by Guy Rice Doud
  • Students remember that we tried
  • Book: Life’s Literacy Lessons – Poems for Teachers by Steven Layne
  • What holds appeal for one, might not hold appeal for all – nothing works for every child, but something works for every child
  • Identify your balcony people. Tell them how they mattered and thank them.
  • Honor your balcony people by passing on their faith in you to your students, friends, family
  • Dream the dream for your students until they realize it.
  • Never underestimate the value of a seat in the balcony

Teaching for the 21st Century

Peer-Assessment, Peer-Generated Syllabus

Cathy Davidson @cathyndavidson

  • http://hastac.org/ and Cathy’s section
  • institutions tend to preserve the problems they were created to solve.
  • School and work in the industrial age were created to train us to the factory and the farm.
  • We’re doing a great job of preparing our students for the 20th century
  • 1900s office design are specifically designed to help people stay on task.
  • Reply all should be banned
  • We live in a interactive, non-linear, DIY, collaborative world.
  • Skunk Works: Innovate and try a radical transformation within a small section of your organization.
  • Our mission as teachers is to prepare students for an unknown future.
  • Duke iPod Experiment
  • This is your brain on the internet
  • Cathy changed the way the class worked but not the grading system and students called her on it.
  • Work Load grading – students choose their amount of work to do and get a corresponding grade. ie: 10 projects = A; 7 projects = B; 5 Projects = C; etc.
  • How to Crowdsource Grading
  • Goal of the class is for everyone collectively to get the grade they aimed for.
  • We’re very bad at giving feedback – that’s one reason American Idol is a hit
  • Students came up with the question: “How do I become an adult?”
  • You find the people you trust and you hold them close.
  • Favorite Peer Experiment/exercise you’ve done as a teacher
  • Difference is not our deficit, it’s our operating system
  • Forking: the moment when working together you come to a disagreement, flip a coin and follow on way. Mark the point of disagreement. If at any time, you realize you took the wrong point, you go back to the fork.
  • Socrative:  Student response system with any device.

Technical Competence with iMovie

David Grant 

  • iMovie Events within Movies is where you need to put new folders for creating movies
  • iMovie Learning Targets
    • Big Target:  I can tell a true story with details in multimedia
  • I can use the basic editing tools of iMovie to:
    • Split Clips (command-shift-s)
    • Trim Clips
    • Detatch Audio
    • Adjust Volume Levels
    • Create a Cutaway Edit
    • Create a J-Edit
    • Create an L-Edit
  • I can edit A Roll and B Roll to tell a story by:
    • Editing A Roll so you can’t hear the cuts
    • Covering my cuts with the B Roll that supports my story
    • Cutting on action
  • A roll: looking at and talking to the camera
  • B roll: the details – doing something
  • Sound is the primary thing you need to work with to tell stories.
  • Cutaway edit: use an edit to cover up a cut
  • cutting on action – have movement when the movie starts
  • J Edit:
    • Clip > detach audio

10 Digital Tools for Digital Educators

Jeff Utecht


  • Using Diigo with kids to have a collection of sites with specific tags and divided into lists
  • Create a class/groups
  • Send bookmarks from Diigo to Delicious automatically
  • from Twitter, whenever you tweet something with a hashtag you can use www.ifttt.com  to send to Diigo
  • Google Educator Posters
  • Everybody needs to use Google Reader
  • Edmodo
    • Looks like facebook
    • Can join communities
    • Teacher creates a group (class)
    • can load assignments
    • Kids can turn in assignments
    • Also has a gradebook feature
    • Parents can have acct and is then connected to whichever class the child is enrolled in.
    • You can set quizzes up and has the ability to autograde
    • Integrated with Google Docs
    • The badges are motivating with the kids
    • Allows teacher control over students
  • bit.ly– URL shortner; allows you to customize url
    • after you send out link, it tracks how many people clicked on the link
    • Also creates a QR code for link
  • Question Press
  • http://joliprint.com/ Takes any webpage and turns it into a pdf

Connecting your Community

Kim Cofino
Learning Hub

  • Your digital footprint will carry far more weight than anything you might include on a resume. -Chris Betcher
  • Think before you publish – is this something I would share with my grandma?
  • Blogging portal is a way to grow and connect the community
  • Everything is shared publicly = open
  • Students need to feel connected to a wider audience = global
  • We are a bad judge of our own creations www.silvers.org   We need to just put our ideas out there.
  • What’s obvious to us may seem amazing to someone else
  • Obvious to You, Amazing to others by Derrik Sivlers
  • Blogging should not be considered homework. Not everything goes on the blog. It’s about reflecting on your learning.
  • Blogs are not a way to post homework
  • Move away from blogs as an assignment into a community
  • Blogging Implementation
    • Soft launch (1 year)
    • Main landing page for each teacher’s blogs (The Learning Hub)
    • Main launch where parents are told this is how we are communicating information
    • There are “17 Things” that every teacher needs to be able to know how to do
    • Training – teacher leaders sit at tables and other teachers can come up to them to learn about something specific
    • Any time you’re talking about technology, you have to involve the kids.
  • Action
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