Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pictures from Seattle and the NCCE Conference

I'm in Seattle for the 2008 NCCE Conference (Northwest Council for Computer Education). I will present on Friday on the topic of using Microsoft applications such as PhotoStory and MovieMaker along with Web 2.0 tools.

I arrived in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon - after a 2 hour delay from the Kansas City airport due to a part being replaced on the plane prior to takeoff - and headed down to the Pike Place Market. I love this place. I was here once before and the amount of fresh fruit, vegtables, fish, crafts, etc. is just incredible. I took a bunch of pictures, visited the original Starbucks and caught an amazing sunset over the Puget Sound next to the Pike Place Market.

Looking forward to a great day of attending sessions and getting some new ideas from the great people here in the Northwest.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Podcast #133 - Celebrate George Washington's Birthday with a David McCullough Video Presentation on Washington

Happy Birthday Mr. Washington! Today is George Washington's birthday - he was born on February 22, 1732 and today he would be 276 years old. I have always thought George Washington was a great man but an event a couple of years ago spurred a natural interest in his life and I discuss that in today's podcast.

Direct link to Speaking of History #133 - Celebrate George Washington's Birthday with a David McCullough Presentation on Washington from ConSource - MP3 audio file - 9:20 minutes

After you listen to the podcast I would encourage you to watch a special presentation about George Washington from ConSource. The presentation is available through UStream and is a fascinating lecture on Washington by my all time favorite historian - David McCullough. (As long time listeners to the podcast know, Mr. McCullough is the one individual I would enjoy to sit down and visit with more than any other person on the planet.) This presentation to me is a shining example of what is good about the combination of teaching history and modern technology. The presentation took place on February 13, 2008 and students were able to ask questions via the chat feature on UStream. I was not aware of it at the time and found it later. I am so glad that it is archived and I can view it today. As of this blog entry the presentation had been downloaded 10,000 times - incredible. Check it out. It is an incredible presentation describing one of the greatest men in our nation's history and a great way to celebrate Washington's birthday.

Classroom Zune Pilot Project Featured in Newspaper

Our 8th grade classroom Zune Pilot (see the Speaking of History Podcast #132 from February 18, 2008 for more details) was featured in our local newspaper this week - The Liberty Tribune here in Liberty, Missouri.

You can check out the article online here. Thanks to Natalie Shelton for contacting me to write the story and Anna Faltermier for the great photographs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Podcast #132 - The Student Zune Pilot Project at South Valley Jr. High

Hello. In today's podcast I'll be discussing an exciting new project that will take place in my classroom this semester - a student Zune pilot. Microsoft is providing each of my 25 students in my 3rd period 8th grade American History classroom a 4GB Zune to use during the spring semester. Microsoft donated these Zunes to my school district to test out this program. Our project will start on Tuesday with a parent / student meeting where the students will be given their Zunes.

I have been using different types of digital audio content in my classroom for several years. Three years ago I started to incorporate what I call "StudyCasts" - an audio review that I create and save as an MP3 file that is then posted on the Internet so that students can listen to the review in preparing for an upcoming unit test by listening at home on the Internet, downloading the file to their MP3 player or asking me to burn it to a CD for them. The introduction of the studycast has been successful but I cannot always insure that my students have 100% access to the content. In this Zune project I know that my students will not only have the MP3 device they will also leave my classroom with the content using the Zune social feature which allows me to "beam" content - in the form of audio or pictures - to their players before the leave for the day. The Zune will allow students to listen to content, view images and view video.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about how the pilot will opperate, how we will measure outcomes and how the Zune will be incorporated into the curriculum. I will also be keeping everyone updated on the progress of the Zune pilot throughout the pilot.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog post or e-mail directly at I would be interested in your experiences with a Zune or if you have used the Zune in your classroom with students.