Archive for February, 2010

February 28, 2010

Digital Learning Environments Events Series Update-Las Vegas

The second DLE was held February 25 at beautiful Lake Las Vegas, 7 miles off the famous Las Vegas strip. The keynote speaker for the event was Leslie Wilson, President and founding member of the non profit One-to-One Institute.
The mission of the One-to-One Institute is to “increase student achievement through the development of learner-centered 1:1 programs that to serve as an international information clearinghouse for those interested or engaged in technology rich education programs. engage personal, portable technology. Our goals are to facilitate the personalization of learned and
Leslie began her message by stressing that 1:1 programs are NOT just laptops for kids but are about teaching and learning-transforming the learning environment from teacher centered to student centered. She shared pictures from classrooms that covered the decades of the 50s until the present that showed how teaching and learning have changed little over that time. Much of the instructional time in classrooms in spent like the decades of the past in what she terms, “Instructional approach 1” where the teacher is the master and students are organized, usually in rows, to perform tasks assigned and directed by the teacher.
In “Instructional Approach 2” a more personalized and student-centered educational experience is offered to students. Teachers facilitate and provide “just in time” instruction that support the standards and objectives of the lessons. Technology tools are used when appropriate and are also used for feedback and assessment. Class environments are flexible and can appear chaotic to outsiders as students collaborate and are engaged in a variety of tasks.
The ultimate goal to provide students the ideal environment for developing 21st century skills is “Instructional Approach 3”-an approach that finds student in complete control of their learning. In this environment individualized long term projects are the norm. Students find themselves immersed in virtual realities such as Second Life and other augmented realities. Teachers act as advisors and provide personalized direction. This is a true mobile environment that projects outside the 4 walls of the classroom via the power of technological connections and environments.
Instructional Approach 2 and 3 are major paradigm shifts that empower students to take responsibility for their own learning. They are encouraged to take risks. Practioners of this method note that students are motivated learners when they have choices in HOW they learn.
Leslie concluded her address by outlining the keys to successful 1:1 teaching and learning programs including a reference to “Project Red” a national research and advocacy plan that promotes the need to “revolutionize the way the U.S. looks at technology as part of teaching and learning. We believe that technology can help us re-engineer our educational system. Through the efforts of Project Red and our partners we believe that technology will transform learning, just as it has transformed homes and offices in almost every other segment of our society.”
Following Leslie’s keynote the participants broke into groups and cycled through classrooms. One group was treated to presentations in several disciplines that highlighted how technology can be integrated into the curriculum in powerful ways that propel students toward learning 21st century skills with Instructional 2 and 3 techniques and another group of IT decision makers looked at solutions and ideas for cloud computing, wired and wireless networking, as well as network security.
I’m looking forward to my next Digital Learning Environment adventure in San Diego on March 11, 2010. If you are in that area, or if you live near Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, Indianapolis, Denver, Minneapolis, or Raleigh, please think about joining us at the DLE event in your city. These are amazing, FREE event. Find out more and to register for the events, visit:

8:12 PM Permalink
February 19, 2010

Adobe Photoshop turns 20!

Time flies when you are having fun. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring and what students and teachers will be able to do 20 years from now.
See the full time line of Adobe Photoshop’s 20 year history.

3:10 PM Permalink
February 10, 2010

Project Virtual Mathematics – Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro

The project with one of my math teachers at Olympia High School is going very well. At the beginning of the school year, I helped him learn how to use a Connect Pro Meeting Room from our hosted school district Connect Pro Account. I helped him set up a simple “Meeting Room” he could open each morning when he decides he wants to make a recording of his math lectures in front of his students. He just needs to open up the “Meeting Room” each morning before teaching his class and launch the software that integrates with his Smart Board. The Smart Board comes with software that displays the Smart Board image on his desktop. I can imagine other educators using peripheral technologies like a Wacom Tablet to be able to pull of the same result of recording a screen share of a computer desktop displaying a run through of a math problem. I provided him with an extension cord for his USB Headset so he could walk around with ease in front of his students. Basically, he opens a “Meeting Room,” begins a screen share and recording of his desktop, then guides the students through math problems while talking into his USB headset, and then posts the URL attached to the recording of the math lecture to the school website. The strength of using Adobe Acrobat Connect Profession is the ability to do a synchronous recording of the math lecture. Once the math lecture is over, there is no need to spend another thirty minutes uploading a media file to a server. The recording is ready for viewing on the web at the very moment the teacher stops speaking to the students. This technology tool could not be any more efficient and effective for a teacher to use in the classroom. The students really appreciate having the option to go to the school’s website and review any lecture that was posted by the teacher.
Virtual Math Lectures
My Connect Card
My Profile
Adobe Education Leaders

11:04 PM Permalink
February 7, 2010

Chat Rooms Can Be Like Empty Buckets

A colleague of mine at school became stressed out about a project. She is volunteering for our School Counselor Association, working with a group of college/university professors on a publication project. She was going to meet with them during one of her work days far from our home town. She got behind at work and become extremely stressed out about leaving her family and students for almost two days across the state. She observed my strategies of getting up early in the morning, doing an Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Meeting session from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. with my own colleagues before my work day. Then a light came on for her, she came to me and asked for help with her situation. I asked her what problem she was trying to solve. She explained how she was in charge of collecting information on each section of the publication the higher education teachers where producing to explain their admission process. Each section of the publication needed to be analyzed by the group and edited for revision. I emailed her an Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Meeting Room URL and told her to send it out for an online meeting. I decided to help solve her challenge by creating multiple chat rooms labeled with the same headings found in the admissions publication. Each chat room was a bucket ready to be filled with the recommended revisions from the higher education group. I turned on the “Presenter Only Area” within Connect Pro and staged each chat room off to the side, ready to be dragged over into the “Participant Viewing Area.” The meeting began, all of the professors were impressed how organized she was by dragging each chat room over into their view. They would fill the chat room with their recommended revisions for each section, and then she would drag it off and drag the new one into view. This process went on for about an hour. At the end of the meeting, all of the professors and my friend were back at their jobs, in their geographic locations, working with students and not missing hours of work time. Finally, she just needed to copy and paste each section from the chat rooms and dump the information into a Word Document to send to the publisher. Once again, the technology of Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro came to the rescue.

9:44 PM Permalink
February 5, 2010

Current RIA Job Trends

With all the nonsense being put out in some circles placing HTML5 and Flash content at odds with one another atop highly exaggerated claims that HTML would “replace” or “phase-out” Flash within the next few years (what?), it might be heartening for those students looking to work in the field of RIA to know exactly where they stand with current job trends.
I was alerted to a recent study of data made by Jonathan Campos that I believe should give future graduates a more solid outlook if they’ve been at all rattled by the recent debates.
Some of the highlights are revealed in the following charts (keep in mind that July 2009 is probably the height of the current global recession):
We can see from the graph above that Flex is still the leading RIA technology. Sure, Dojo (representing the HTML/JavaScript area of RIA) is doing nicely as well- but HTML/JavaScript and Flash are complementary technologies and in no way supplant one another aside from their specific strengths and weaknesses.

Happily, we see here that practitioners of RIA technologies still get paid nicely for their work.
Students– you have nothing to worry about. Don’t let the trolls frighten you!

12:42 AM Permalink