Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tiny Ted travels to Mobile

School starts on Thrusday for Noah and Luke so the family took a last trip to Mobile, Alabama. We took the boys to the USS Alabama which is a retired Navy ship permanently stationed in Mobile Bay.
The boys loved all the big guns. We spent several hours on the USS Alabama, checked out the planes, and went through the submarine.

We then traveled by car ferry from Fort Gaines in Mobile to Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores.

We ended the long weekend on the beach in Seagrove Beach, Florida before heading home to start school. Noah and Tiny Ted will begin 3rd grade together on Thursday. Look for them to blog about their school adventures on Noah and Luke's blog at

Tiny Ted

My family and I are hosting Tiny Ted's visit to Alabama. Tiny Ted is a geocacheing teddy bear whoese home is in Wales with Paul Harrington's class at Cefn Forest Primary School. Tiny Ted has also traveled to New Zealand to spend time with Allanah King's Year 3 and Year 4 class. He journeyed to America with Sheryl Nussbaum Beach where he spent time in Virginia. During this summer, Tiny Ted spent the night at the Birmingham Zoo for Harry Potter Zoo Snooze with Noah. They got to get close up with an alligator, snowy owl, and other animals. They made troll boogers in Potion's class. The best part of the night was a nighttime tour of the zoo that ended with a midnight train ride. At 1:00 AM, Noah and Tiny Ted received the new Harry Potter book. The both fell asleep to me reading the first chapter under the stars with the tiger bellowing for food.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

School Learning

Summer has flown by! I was amazed this summer by several teachers who choose to take online classes to learn more about Advanced PowerPoint, Blogs, Skype, Digital Storytelling, and SharePoint. Several teachers will be creating blogs with their students to extending the learning and give students a voice. Ann B. explains that "blogging broadens the learner on all levels, creating a new decibel for their voice while reaching an ever expansive audience." Rachel B. made plans this summer to add podcasting to the Primary School's Library website. The first podcasts can be found in the lower left hand corner at Some teachers are learning how to use Skype to connect to one another and even to bring experts in for professional development. If you would like to make connections with an Alabama teacher please leave your information at

Thursday, June 14, 2007

AETC 2007

Wow! Shawn Nutting was awarded the Marbury Award for Technology Coordinators for the State of Alabama. We are so proud of him! Several Fellows presented with Cathy and Sheryl yesterday. We used a form of "speed dating" to share our stories. It was great to share in small groups rather than large with no feed back. I later presented with Shawn about our TETC and Juliana about Eduwikipedia. I am excited about the people I have been able to network with over the last two days! I can't wait to see where those relationships go. Next conference, NECC.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Summer Professional Development

I am working to develop online summer courses for my teachers. Anyone interested in co-teaching?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Skyping with Africa

Students in three 4th grade classrooms recently read an article in Time for Kids about the malaria problem in Africa. They decided to raise money for Nothing But Nets which for $10 will purchase nets for villages. They created posters to be placed around the school and also we on air with WPIN, Paine Intermediate News, to share their knowledge and concern. Through this broadcast, Sue Koch, gifted teacher, shared with the students that her daughter, Sarah, is currently in a village in Africa where she is experiencing the problem with malaria. She had to bike a 3 year old 10 km to a nearby medical unit who came down with malaria. Kristi Stacks, lab teacher, and I decided to use SKYPE to allow Sarah and the students to talk. One morning during WPIN, we SKYPED Sarah who was on a rare visit to the capital. The conversation was broadcast over the closed circuit morning show for all the students to hear. It was great! The quality of the call was perfect. We have made a movie about the project but it is still 11 minutes long. I will try to take a great clip and upload it to share. I can't wait to do more with SKYPE!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Skype Connection

We have begun to think how Skype could be used in our classrooms. A middle school teachers asked for help in finding a classroom in France that they could Skype. I quickly realized that there was not a good way to find interested classrooms. However, while researching resources for Eduwikipedia, I came across a Skype directory. When I selected the Education category there was only one person who seemed to be truly involved in education. I requested his information because he said he was interested in locating other educators in technology to collaborate with. Last Friday night my Skype phone began to ring. Bill Brennan from New York was on the other line. We began to share how technology is being used in both New York and Alabama. I cannot wait to see where this conversation and collaboration will take us.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Post TETC thoughts

I am sitting here in my office amazed at the conference today. The morning began with Sheryl Nussbaum Beach getting everyone going with a motivational video, I Generation, and Skyping in Jeff Utecht from Shanghai, China and Chris Croft. You could literally see everyone sit up a little straighter when they realized it was 10:30 PM in China and Jeff was willing to talk to them in Alabama. Everyone left the keynote session ready for the concurrent sessions. I have to hand it to our tech staff. All of a sudden the wireless shut down on everyone - about 300 people. They fixed the problem quickly and got everyone up and running by the end of the first session. We also awarded technology grants. You can see pictures here - We ended the day with great BBQ and conversations. I have heard from several people that they thought this conference was exactly what they needed but WOW there is so much to take in. I am interested to see the level of participate, increase conversation, and collaboration.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Trussville Educational Technology Conference

Tonight is the eve of our Trussville Educational Technology Conference. The conference is modeled after Alabama Best Practice Center's Octoberfest and the K12 Online Conference. All 289 faculty, staff, directors, and the superintendent will be at the middle school tomorrow for 4 hours of technology training. I am thrilled that Sheryl Nussbaum Beach is our keynote speaker. The teachers will spend one hour with Sheryl then travel to 3 other sessions of their choice. So many of our teachers are new to technology that we did not have sufficient presentors that knows Web 2.0 and are using it. So, we decided to utilize the resources of the K12 Online Conference. We are taking Jeff Utecht's LAN party and making it on a larger scale. All teachers will bring their wireless laptops to get as much hands on as possible. We have created public SharePoint sites for each session with a blogging component added. The moderators for each session will promote the use of the blog to continue the conversation from the conference well beyond Jan. 4. We are also having the moderators digitally record the discussion so that we can podcast the best thoughts, ideas, comments, and questions on the SharePoint pages. Another exciting event taking place tomorrow is the awarding of technology grants. We are awarding one $8,000; thre $5,000: and six $2,000 grants. We have made large checks and will break into their 9:10 session to award them their checks. I will post the pics on Flickr from the conference and place a link here. I can't wait!