PETE&C 2008...We Hardly Knew Ye

Well, PETE&C ended two days ago, and I am still attempting to reflect on it. I learned a lot, but I have not had time to sit down and process all of the great things I saw and learned. I almost wish we would have had a snow day yesterday so I could have taken the time to go through everything I experienced. However, yesterday I came back to teaching three periods, being in an English teacher's room for two, and trying to figure out what had happened over the past two days and reading missed emails over the rest of the day. It was very busy.

Over the next couple days, I should have a chance to gather my thoughts and reflect on what I have learned (21st Century skills, be proud of me!). We continue to stress the importance of reflecting in learning and teaching, and this will be a great opportunity to do that.

In the meantime, you can check Reporting Back to see summaries on the various sessions from PETE&C. I will be adding my summaries on there, as well.


PETE&C Weather

Ah, the weather at PETE&C...No longer do we see Farm Show weather. For the second year in a row, we have snow on Tuesday, and people are leaving early. At least that means I can get into sessions. However, the sessions this morning weren't all that exciting, so I hit the exhibit hall instead and got some good stuff there. I'll be sharing later when I get a little more time. Check back soon as well for my reflections on the sessions I attended.


PETE&C: Pre-Conferences at A-C

Today, I asked if it would be alright for me to come to school to get some work done while the building was open for PETE&C pre-conference sessions. Our tech director had no problem with it, so I was quite happy. Of course, I wasn't just here to get work done for my classes, I was also here to help out with any issues that may have popped up during the sessions, especially since I knew how particular our filter could be. Lo and behold, we have quite a few issues with the filter, which has led us to learn quite a bit about how it runs and acts.

Days like this are nice and frustrating all at the same time. It's frustrating due to the issues that the session presenters and attendees encountered. I know the feeling. Anyone who does anything with technology knows the frustrations. Especially educators.

Educators are placed in a tough position. We have to make sure that students do not access inappropriate materials while in the building. Sites such as YouTube, Flickr, and others might be blocked due to some objectionable content on those sites. However, there are many great educational uses for these sites, as well. How is the balance found? How do filters assist or add to the problems? Why do some schools open up access to all, while others open access to teachers, and others yet do not allow anyone access?

The best thing these sites could do is create an education format within their programming, or something similar to Google's safe search. (Can you believe that Google was once blocked in many districts?) Why not have SkoolFlickr? There's already a TeacherTube.

In the end, there will always be a need for filtering. The internet is just too wide open. Yet, even though there is a filter, there will also always be people who find ways around it. There will always be that next great thing that can't be accessed for a while. And, as educators, we need to be patient. We need to educate our students as to why we need to filter and proper uses of the technology, so that the importance of a filter diminishes. School has changed so much in the past decade, and it's only going to be changing quicker and technology advances.


PETE&C: The First Post

Waterless urinals.

That's right, there are waterless urinals in the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, but not in all of the bathrooms. Why in some but not in others? How is this sanitary again? I would go into more details, but I'll just let you check the link.

We're presenting on our collaboration days today for the rest of the coaching community to see what we're doing. I think the hope is that other areas in the state see what we're doing, think about what works for us, and then have those other areas arrange for something similar (by all means, our way is not the only way) for their teachers to collaborate, as well. I know it is very exciting for us and allows for our teachers to learn so much more and to continue moving us into the 21st Century.


PETE&C 2008!

It's hard to believe, but PETE&C 2008 is here! Well, technically, the pre-conference stuff starts tomorrow, and the conference begins Monday. When you think about it, though, isn't the pre-conference really part of the conference? Although, if you include that, then what about the planning that goes into it? Discussing with colleagues, creating/presenting sessions elsewhere...I guess the conference is just the part where we can get all of us together in one physical place as opposed to a virtual place. Either way, I'm excited, even though Jim Gates told me there would be more people there this year than there were last year. Good luck to all of us for getting into the various sessions. Although, I have found I learn more when I'm not in the sessions than when I'm actually in one.

The Ducks are back on track! Now Teemu Selanne has returned and the Ducks broke out of their scoring slump and their losing streak.

The Washington Capitals are a really exciting team. You know, the team that was the worst in the league on Thanksgiving when they fired coach Glen Hanlon and promoted Bruce Boudreau to interim and then head coach? Well, they're in first place now. They have one of the most exciting players in the league (Alex Ovechkin), a highly underrated blue-liner (Mike Green), and a team that is playing as a team. It's so much fun to watch Ovie get so excited after every Caps goal, whether he scores it or someone else or whatever. I know Bucci has criticized the long-term deal that Ovie signed, but I don't think Ovie is playing for the money (well, he is a little, you can't expect them to play for free), and bu signing the long-term deal, he has been able to ensure a future for him AND Washington. True, he could have possibly signed a bigger money deal down the road. But what happens in a salary cap league where one player takes up a chunk of change? By doing this, Ovie has allowed for more money to be spread around to his current and future teammates, possibly allowing the Caps to attract another big star to this team. And that will only help him out. So I say bravo to this deal.

Did you see the Coyotes' Chris Weller drop Ole-Kristian Tollefsen from the Blue Jackets last night? Wow. He deserved that match penalty.


What a great new tool!

Google does it again! Yesterday, they announced the creation of forms on Google Docs to allow for quick, easy input of data into a spreadsheet. You can create a form for what info you want and share the form. The form can be sent out as an email, but we have found there are still some kinks with filling it out in the email. However, using the link, you can have people enter their data and it will automatically fill in on your Google Spreadsheet for all to see!

This could be a great tool for in the classroom. Imagine being able to use the data from an experiment run earlier in the day? You can get a better sample space to work with to analyze data. My science and math teachers will love this! Check it out and play around.


Time is (not) on my side

As a CFF school, we have a position called "CFF Coach," who is someone who is available to assist the other teachers on staff with integrating technology into their lessons. Currently, I only coach half time, and I do not feel as if I am doing a good job as a Coach (even though I have gotten positive feedback from my teachers). Here are a few reasons why I feel this way:
  1. I still teach half the day. If a student shows up during my coaching time seeking help, I will stop what I'm doing to help them. This could mean that I put off doing research for a teacher or stop in my own personal professional development.
  2. Personal professional development. I do a lot of this. There is so much to learn out there, and at times I feel as if I know a lot, and other times I feel as if I know nothing. Being a half-time coach, I only have so many hours in a day to learn the new things I need to learn.
  3. I can't meet with all of my teachers. I teach when they're free. They teach when I'm free. When am I supposed to sit down with them to discuss integrating technology? Who is going to guide these teachers? If they don't receive the guidance they need, will they be able to do the things that teachers who have had a chance to work with me?
  4. My two positions interfere with each other. I'm a CFF teacher, which means I am also my own CFF Coach. But that also means that when there is a full-day CFF function I must attend (Boot Camp, local CFF curriculum days, PETE&C, etc.), I am not in my classroom. I have already missed 9 days in the classroom due to CFF, and have at least 8 more. 17 instruction days where the teacher isn't there? And then, the day after I am out, I often have to reteach the lesson that was to be covered while I was out.
I don't know how we do it with me as a half-time coach. It wasn't as bad when I only had the math and English teachers to work with, but now I have to try and find time to work with the science and social studies teachers, too. When will I do this when I didn't have time when I only had half the teachers to work with? What about other tech issues that come up and neither our building tech or tech director are available?

I don't worry often, but this is one thing that has had me worried a lot lately. I can't handle being a half-time coach, half-time teacher. I can't devote enough time to either position to feel I am giving 100%. That's not fair to my students. That's not fair to my teachers. That's not fair to my school district. That's not fair to me.


Hey. I'm sitting here,...

Hey. I'm sitting here, trying to use Jott to add a post to my Blog. It's says I can actually set it up to do that. So, it would be interesting to actually post my thoughts on my Blog, they are going through my head. And then come back and speak about them and type about them later. listen

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