Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wii Remote - Simply Amazing

Through twitter the link below was passed on and I found it to be amazing. Not much I need to say the links say it all, I will be trying this with my students and I will report back once we attempt to make the interactive board!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cutting the Fat!

I feel like in the last three weeks I have fallen off the social network cliff. I have not been on twitter as much and just feel overwhelmed with everything I am doing. I feel as if I am spread too thin, and I don't know where to start or how to maintain all the sites I have created in the last 3-4 months. So I have decided to cut the Fat! I am getting rid of my myspace page and some other pages that I just don't have time for. I want to concentrate on a few sites that I can stay on top of, including this blog and do well on them. This still leaves me with a lot of sites to keep track of, but I need to prioritize and not get so hung up on all the new sites. I have split my sites up into three categories, (1) Personal: Sites I maintain with little outside help, (2) Collaborative: Sites I have created that others help with or ones I help with, (3) Student Centered: where students are the primary users and contributors of the site and I just tweak a little here or there. I listed the sites I have and still want to keep maintaining on google docs. The question is do you include sites like operator11, ustream, podomatic or just use them as tools to help maintain these sites. I have to make sure I understand tools, and use them to make these sites the best they can be. Thanks fir listening to my rant, I look for a renewed Brandon Lutz, who is getting back to the basics and cutting that Fat!

The Sites I am staying with!


Monday, October 22, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Paper Thin TV's...What's Next?

I had a conversation with my Professor about the idea of a computer being on a piece of plastic paper. So I did some research and found a technology called OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes). This technology is quite expensive but Sony and Kodak are already using it in digital cameras. The TV companies already have prototypes for very thin TVs and cell phones. Can you imagine a 1/4 inch thick 80in TV, it would be a lot easier to move around and steal.

My question, is how can this change education? What if students were given a small 8x10 OLED that they could view their textbooks and Internet via a wireless network? Think of all the money that is spent on textbooks and paper in any given school, this could revolutionize education! When ever I talk about students using online text books, I always get resistance stating its hard to read on a computer screen. Students read online (digital natives) all the time, maybe its the adults (digital immigrants) that have the problems with it. When I think about it, I do most of my reading online, I would love to have a sheet 1/4in thick with me to read different blogs and surf the web. Oh, the possibilities!

Check out OLED link to see about the technology.

Freudenrich, Ph.d., Craig. "How OLEDs Work." How Stuff Works. 21 Sept. 2007 .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Morpheus is off!!!!!!

I am so excited about the fact that the furry little guy is on his way to another school! It's weird, all the power of his success is now out of my hands and in the hands of all the great teachers that have signed up. I did not get to do as much as I expected with him. My students pretty much met him and now he is off. I found that the beginning of the school year was a tough time to introduce him, but you live and learn, below is a picture of me with Morpheus before he left us.

So what's next? It will be interesting to see the ideas that everyone comes up with to utilize Morpheus in classrooms and schools. I can't wait to see all the content that will be created on the wiki and the blog posts. I am hoping that Morpheus will be used to integrate technology and children will come to understand Web 2.0 and its various uses through Morpheus' visits. In addition I am hopeful Morpheus will be able to travel abroad. I have a contact in Africa and I know Morpheus would love to visit. Keep checking Morpheus' site to see where he is going. I would also like to set up some Skype video conferences between myself and Morpheus' host school to keep tabs on him.

On another note, I looked at all my comments and I wanted to say thank you to everyone that gave me your insight. The key thing I have come to realize is that I need to do what I do and not worry about trying to compete with everyone else out there creating and doing great things. I just need to embrace their ideas and take all your insights to shape my journey through all the great technologies! My niche will come. Morpheus may be my mark on the world for now and I can handle that!


Monday, September 10, 2007

My Classroom Wiki

Today was the first day with students and I started out showing them my classroom wiki. I plan on using this wiki as the main focus of all my lessons this year. I enjoyed being able to write my classroom rules with all my class's input. My main focus was to let them know, they are going to help me to create the content on this wiki. For my kick off class, I pretty much had a list of things we wanted to talk about, class rules, grading policy, Internet Safety, Morpheus to name a few and then I had links to different pages on the site. lot of the pages were blank, and as the classes saw the site we changed it and added the content they wanted.

I tried to explain to them how a wiki works, and the only way I could explain it was by having them draw a picture together. I started with one person and told the class they could only draw one line. Which ended up being a line equals not taking the pencil off the paper. Some of the pictures came out pretty well. Here are the three best might have to click on them to see them a little better.

These pictures were drawn by 30 students...I found it pretty interesting. I asked them how they could have made it better and they stated that they should have decided what to draw before they started. I explained that most wikis have a topic, like ours that it is about technology.

So one of my main issues is how to get my students to access the wiki and ass content on their own. The majority of my students are not 13, so with out parent permission they can not create their own wikispaces user name and password. I had the idea to create a generic ID the students can use in class to add content. Or I thought they can create content and then e-mail it to me and I will post it. I am still sorting that one out, but I feel like the site is going to become a pretty powerful teaching tool and a resource for students outside my classroom.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Web 2.0 in my Classroom Part 1

As I am getting prepared for the first day of school with my students, Web 2.0 is constantly on my mind. I have thought a lot about going paperless in my classroom and utilizing Web 2.0, via google Docs, Blogs, wiki's, twitter, skype, podcasting, vcasts and more. A few questions have entered my mind in how I am going to truly utilize all these tools and get over certain barriers that I have seen we all encounter. For example, youtube is blocked in my district, but teacher tube is not. I decided if I need to show a video off youtube, I will grab the video using a fire fox add-on, using video download. Then I will take that video I want to present to my kids and post it on my class wiki if they want to watch it at home. I figured I will post all my videos via teachertube.

As for video in general there are some many cool appropriate videos out there about all kinds of things. I am hoping to enhance my teaching with these videos that will hopefully grab students' attention, and truly help them wrap their heads around all the information that they have to learn in a school year.

I would love for my students to create virtual portfolios, but there are some things that I think students need pencil and paper for. This year I am giving my students technology vocabulary. If I have them look up the words online, they will simply copy and paste the answers and never truly internalize the words. For this I think it is important for them to use pencil and paper. Hence, why I am going to have them bring a notebook and pencil to every class. I know that this defeats the purpose of truly utilizing the technology, but as a learner I needed to write things down to learn them. So my students will have online portfolios, but they will have a written journal that I will grade as well.

As for virtual portfolios, I help all my students that are 13 or older get Gmail accounts. I want to teach them how to use Google docs and other resource to create their portfolios. They can save their other items via the school network and server. My goal it to create a CD or DVD they can take with them to high school to showcase their work. In Philadelphia students apply to get into the better high schools and I want them to have those resource to help them get into those better schools. So the key is to have the students start their portfolios in 6th grade so they have them when they enter 8th grade and are applying for high schools.

Skype: I am excited about using Skype in the classroom, I am hoping schools that have Morpheus will skype with some of my classes so they can see him and interact with other students from all over the state. I would also like to setup meetings with other interesting people that my students can meet and ask questions too.

Questions I have for you...
Are there any good free sites that let students create portfolios online?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Getting deeper into it

Today I changed the name of my blog to Edtechnability, the same name as my wiki. I feel myself trying to gain an online identity, I read a lot of blogs by a lot of different people I have met or been introduced to virtually or in person over the last two months. Looking back, I feel I have changed a lot, but how do I express that to others, and share my thoughts and ideas? Utilizing Web 2.0 I have created my wiki, blog, one podcast, and other things specially for my student and staff web site. I think to myself, why does anyone want to know what I am doing, and am I wasting my time expressing myself on this blog and on my wiki. I guess the reason I feel this way, is that I don't get comments on my blog, and it makes me think I am being to shallow in my thoughts and ideas. I need to dig deeper and share truly new and exciting things that people will find interesting, and in return find me interesting, in which will allow me to cerate an online identity.

My Problem:
I love everything about technology and I feel as if I only float over the cool things and then I move onto something else. I feel as if I am a "jack of all trades, and a master of none". How can my passion be everything? I can't just settle on one thing, I have to want to know everything. I look at my job and realize why I might be this way. I teach K-8 Instructional technology, a full job in itself. I am also in charge of all the technology in my building which grows every year, I think we are up to 150 computers. On top of that I am also the main resource for teaching my teachers about technology and providing them in-services in integrating technology into their classrooms. I don't care who you are, even if you spend 12 hours a day, there is no way to do each of these jobs to my own expectations. I get totally overwhelmed, I do the best job I can do, but I feel as if I can do better. The question is how?

I got off on a tangent, but I think my online identity will come, I just need to let it come to me. I know a lot about technology, but the key to me has been the network, using resources like twitter where I can see into the lives of people doing the same thing as me, but that are truly embracing and sharing what they do. By reading blogs, and keeping up with the new technologies out there. Then I need to get used to sharing what I am doing and the ideas I have. I had a conversation with my Professor Dr. Swan from Chestnut Hill College, and he explained probably something he read in a book about technology being like getting onto a train. People will get on the train but all at different times, and the people who got on ahead of you will stay ahead of you, but you the key thing is that you got on the train and a lot of people will be getting on the train after you.

The Key:
I am on the train, I am going forward and I am going to share what I do, and how I do it for all to see. I might falter along the way, but that is how you learn. Web 2.0 is here and our students are using it, the question is are you? If your not maybe you should, in-order to understand who we are teaching.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Morpheus Fortuna

I have been talking about the idea of creating a stuffed animal that would go to different schools and spend a week there. I went to build-a-bear and wanted to get a ground hog, but I couldn’t find one. So I got a turtle and decided it would be a bog turtle, since the bog turtle is endangered and indigenous to Pennsylvania. So I went through the process of building the turtle. I actually had to put a heart and do a silly ritual, then I picked out clothes and everything. I then decided to call the turtle Morpheus Fortuna, and with that, Morpheus was born.

I created an e-mail address, wiki site, a blog and a flickr site for Morpheus all in his own name. These sites will be used by the different schools that Morpheus visits. Who knows what other sites or things the teachers that have Morpheus will use or do. The possibilities are endless and every classroom that gets Morpheus will be able to follow him and get a peek into different schools and lessons taught and the way they use web 2.0.

I decided to do my “beta” testing with fellow Keystones, since I know that they will utilize web 2.0 tools. I hope to get more people to sign up, right now I only have one person signed up. I decided I will give it a couple weeks with the Keystones and then I will open it up to other teachers through out the U.S.A and the world.

I am excited about this idea and hope that others will be able to learn through Morpheus. I am currently on vacation in Rehobeth DE and Morpheus is here with me. Hopefully, Morpheus will be able to participate in a variety of acitivities which I can showcase through his blog and wiki. Check back soon to see everything that Morpheus is up to and to sign up so that Morpheus can visit you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tag...I'm It

Looks like I have been tagged, I will really be reaching to find 8 people to tag, but I will see what I can come up with. I have major writing block for this blog, maybe its the kick in the pants I need to get things flowing.

Anyway, here are the rules:

  • Post these rules before you give your facts
  • List 8 random facts about yourself
  • At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
  • Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged
1. I have three year old daughter named Jori.
2. I was an All American in High School swimming.
3. I played the Tuba all through Middle and High school, now I try to play the guitar, not well.
4. I taught special education and computers my first two years in Leavenworth Kansas.
5. I am a Bicentennial baby.
6. I hold swimming records in schools around the state of Pennsylvania (I hold Upper Merion's 200 Free Pool Record and 200 Medley Relay Pool Record)
7. I am a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, I first remember watching games when I was four.
8. I love reality TV, I watch Big Brother and just got turned onto "I wanna be a super hero".

Tags coming!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Opening new doors

My mind is so full of stuff I want to do...I can't do anything! So I decided to get it all out on this blog and I will post what I am up to. I did podcast in my car, to organize my ideas, but the audio was awful. It was good way to get things out and re-visit them later.

What am I doing?

I am currently working on my final portfolio for my Instructional technology Certification for Pennsylvania. I have to have my interview in late 2007. I decided I am going to use my website as the portfolio. In it I hope to have a ton of stuff for Students, Teachers and Parents, and also showcase all my projects and cool things I have done with technology. I love the front of the site, but I think I am going to have to redo it. There are so many thing that need to change, the fact is I think I am going to rebuild the whole website from the ground up. Off to inspiration I go to plan to the site I will share what I have once I get it done.

Also any ideas how to have a vote and post top ranked sites via a web page...just a thought for anyone out there...