Ask the Mentor – Published!

My column in Teacher Magazine has been published online and will also be in the print version that is being sent out soon. You have to register to read my responses to submitted questions (maybe yours?). Access the article here.

Still treading water. Here are the items consuming my life

  • The first two months of AP World needed to be completely redone.
  • I’m finally getting around to revising much of my college prep world history curriculum.
  • I’m focusing a lot more on student achievement and making sure students are learning.
  • I’m teaching a one unit graduate-level seminar on digital video at SDSU in a couple weeks (in San Diego? There are seats left. Interested, click here).
  • NECC 2007 presentations are due tomorrow.
  • We are implementing a professional learning community (PLC) this year in world history.
  • I’m teaching five technology integration workshops in October and November.
  • Add it all together and I have to leave my classroom 12 times first semester for school-related reasons.
  • The Padres made the playoffs, and might actually advance 🙂
  • The lawn needs mowed.
  • Life at home is particularly crazy…. perhaps more on that soon.

In other words, I will be back, but blogging is last on the priority list. I still need to fine tune what I’m teaching today.

Annoucing K12 Online 2006

What an amazing idea developed by the people who are THE leaders in Web 2.0 in education. Don’t miss it! A complete description is available at Hopefully, I will find the time to participate (and they will take me!).

Announcing the first annual “K12 Online 2006″ convention for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30- Nov. 3 with the theme “Unleashing the Potential.” A call for proposals is below.

There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday – Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in podcast or screencast format and released via the conference blog (URL: TBA) and archived for posterity.


Week 1

Strand A: A Week In The Classroom

Strand B: Basic/Advanced Training (one of each per day)

Week 2

Strand A: Personal Professional Development

Strand B: Overcoming Obstacles


We’d like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the conference. If you have something you’d like to share with the community, both people who are new to blogs and/or experienced bloggers please email the appropriate conference convenor above with your ideas. The deadline to submit a proposal (just the proposal, not the finished product) is September 30, 2006. One of us will contact you to finalize the date of your presentation. Your presentation may be delivered in any web-based medium (including but not limited to…podcasts, PowerPoint files, blogs, websites, wikis, screencasts, etc.) and must be emailed to your assigned conference convenor one week before it goes live, (see above strands) so that it can be uploaded to the server.

If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of the conference organizers:

Darren Kuropatwa

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach

Will Richardson

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Ask Me Question, Darn It.

Have a burning technology related question? Ever see a technology infused lesson or lesson idea and wonder how did they do that? Well, here is your chance to ask.

I am working with Teacher Magazine this month on a new column called Ask the Mentor. There have been several submitted already, but the editors (and myself) would like a few more.

The process is easy:

  1. Click on this link (it will take you to Teacher Magazine).
  2. Register for FREE if haven’t already.
  3. Submit your question.
  4. Feel satisfied that you will soon know the answer to your question.

I mentioned this in a bit more here. If you can spread the word, we would love to have a lot of questions.

Ask the Mentor

Teacher Magazine has given me the honor of participating in their new Ask the Mentor column this month. Readers are asked to post questions about technology integration in the classroom. After a couple weeks the editors will select a number of the questions that I will answer. The answers will appear online and in the print edition of the magazine. If you want to post a question, please visit the Ask the Mentor web page.

For those of you visiting from that site, let me give you a short overview about my experience integrating technology into my classroom.

  • WebQuests – This was really my first experience bring computers into my instruction. I was lucky enough to end up in a class that what was Bernie Dodge’s second use of WebQuests back in 1997. For the next five years, I worked with Bernie developing WebQuest related staff development for the San Diego City School District. I’ve written and integrated WebQuests into my world history, United States history, and geography classes.
  • Classroom Web Pages – I create my first classroom web site in 1997. Since that time I have had a web site for my classes that has included grades, notes, calendars, assignments, and resource links.
  • Classroom Presentations – I regularly use PowerPoint for direct instruction, combining video clips and images with words. Inspiration is another great tool I have used for class brainstorming sessions.
  • Digital Video – For both my world and United States history courses, I have implemented a major digital video project. I’ve received three different grants to support these projects.
  • Blogs and Wikis – While earning my MA in Educational Technology, I began researching the use of blogs and wikis in the K-12 classroom. Over the last two years I have implement three different wiki-based projects (see my NECC presentation). I have kept this blog for almost two years and have been reading blogs for three years. This fall, I will begin using blogs with my students.
  • Moodle – This past year I began using Moodle, a learning management system. Unlike a static web site, it allows students to interact online through forums, blogs, and messaging. This coming school year I am expanding my use of Moodle.
  • – You can explore this web site for more examples of my work. Use the navigation on the left side of the screen.

While I do teach at a “nice” suburban school, we are not technology-rich. We constantly struggle with a lack of resources (e.g. one open lab for 2400 students). I know many schools have much more technology while others have less.

Thanks for your interest and if you have a question, please visit the Ask the Mentor web page.

Blogged with Flock

Great Quote

“The secret, I don’t know… I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then… do it for the rest of your life. For me, it’s going to Rushmore.” (from the Bill Murray movie, Rushmore).

Well, maybe not great. It might be one you want to avoid if you are a best man giving a toast at a wedding.

No kidding.

Walking Forward

Yesterday I walked in what will probably be my last graduation ceremony. I had decided not to do it – my undergraduate graduation was a pivotal experience and this just wasn’t the same (I’m 34, 10 years into my career, etc.). Then I was selected as the “honor graduate” for the department and discovered I was actually going to be sitting on stage during the ceremony. It was quite an honor. Afterwards, the Educational Technology department had a reception where I had to say a few words. Below is the speech I wrote, however, I am not one to read a speech. I did it so I didn’t ramble on – the gist was the same, but the verbage was a bit different.

Thank you. I am honored to be here. I took a bit longer then most to get through this program – five years – and I have met so many talented and wonder students and faculty members.

Three major words have defined my stay in the North Education.

1. Let’s start with Diversity – When I started, I thought I would be taking classes with other teachers. I was surprised to find nurses, instructional designers, elementary school teachers, corporate trainers, and people from the navy and coast guard. Some were just out of college, some changing careers after 20 years. My interaction with those people in the ed tech department widened my world view and strengthened my experience.

Then you get to the faculty. Where else could Bernie and Allison be in the same department and sit around the same table?

2. Word number 2 – Dedication – In order for you to be here today, you had to have been dedicated. This was not an easy program. Most of us worked our day jobs, before heading off to class at night. We shuffled appointments and time with our friends and family to meet with groups to finish class projects or study for the comps. We spent endless hours tinkering with Dreamweaver or iMovie so our finished projects were just right – even if we were the only ones who noticed it. We digested learning theories and spent. And we spent a very long weekend trying to bring it altogether in no more then 3500 words each.

3. Finally we have Evolution – This department isn’t just teaching us the cutting edge technologies and theories, they are helping to define it. And we are helping. All over the Internet, people link to projects we have created. We not only learned the fundamentals of instructional design, but I think we have the tools and the know how to keep up with the changes.

So now it is finally time for us to reintroduce ourselves to our families. Wow, my boys have really grown. Family members, welcome them back. If they start saying words like Blogs and wikis know those are real words, and ADDIE is one of our central instructional design models – no it isn’t the department mascot. Fellow graduates, thank them. Thank you.

If you are looking to get a MA in Educational Technology, then SDSU is the place (Here’s a great look at the program). They offer campus and online programs.