What happens when you place 50 highly motivated educators in a room with entrepreneurs and education visionaries for a weekend?  Innovation!

We should use that word carefully~ for in these days of education reform innovation is used in a variety of contexts and carries meanings that are different for many but in this environment innovation happened and will continue into the future!

The Teams?  Four educators paired with a business person who is an innovator themselves, and an entrepreneurial mentor.

The Task?
Interview a student, assess their needs, and design a solution to change their educational world for the better. From preschool to high school, at-risk to affluent, struggling to gifted, each student has a bright future ahead.

The Environment?
A partial agenda, a flexible framework, free form brainstorming, culling of ideas, changing the pieces and moving at the speed of light in design mode (then pitch mode) for our product.Inside the classroom solutions, outside the classroom solutions, advanced learning projects, task monitors, service learning environments, and blended collaboration labs all surfaced as ideas which were re-shaped, peer evaluated, and re-designed. Then it was vision-making time where we could dream, make contacts, and test the possibilities amongst our peers.

The Outcomes?
Inspirational stories, re-rejuvenation as educators, opened eyes towards limitless possibilities, networking, and funding possibilities, and most importantly...student centered projects straight out of an incubator.

IMAGINE THIS: What if educators were afforded the opportunity to dream, design, and live solutions for students in 25% of their workday, each day, every day, every week, without interruption, with limitless possibilities, support for new ideas and new trends,with no boundaries except the best ideas are about the child? Imagine how we would take hold of our profession and design what should be happening for our students! Imagine the difference in the learning of students! Imagine the difference in how we would instruct! Imagine the empowerment of people who will make change from the grassroots of a classroom!

Captured this weekend was a vision of a few people, a task which seemed rare and insurmountable at the start, an end product that was student-centered, and 12 hours of high speed professional chaos that re-ordered itself into real solutions. Educators as innovators. That is the true solution to the challenges we face.

Thank you Daniels Fund, Legacy Foundation, and EdSeeds. And thank you entrepreneurs, visionaries, and mentors. Thank you for believing we could do it, and giving these crazy, passionate, and committed  educators the time, place, and structure to dream, invent, and believe that we can, and do have,  real solutions that work! See you next time-- with another 10 ideas in hand....


Using Glogster as a PD Tool

We all know the brackets of time that teachers place themselves in... the before school 20 minutes, the after school several hours, the hour long professional development training, the lunch hour where eating is synonymous with grading, and the evening time after the family is in bed, the dogs, fed, and the late night has arrived. When does professional development happen in the course of a busy teachers day? That was our question when we launched the TIPS glogster for teachers.

We knew teachers wanted professional development that was meaningful and real, and that they could peruse when they had a few minutes. We also knew that each and every teacher has their own way of carving out a few minutes to explore how technology comes into their classroom. Hence the bi-weekly TIPS glogster.

Using Glogster (Glogster) we created a series of glogs that tie technology to other content areas and sometimes we just have fun with it too!

Take a look! Is there room for this type of professional development in your realm?




To access the series of glogs look here:


Tools A-Plenty

After three years the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Gang at the Western Regional Center, and these geeky teachers, have collected a wide variety of tools to help with the effective integration of technology and primary sources into the classroom. Launched in 2010, the TPSI  (Teaching with Primary Sources and Inquiry) wiki houses tools and techniques which can help you engage students in learning. It is an ongoing work in progress but there is enough up there now that YOU can dig around and find something great to use with your students.

TPSI wiki

Why do we like this set-up?
* It's free!
* It's easy to navigate, and easy to learn about the HOW and WHY of the tools you are using in the classroom.
* You can learn about the resource, but also clearly understand how to set it up, manage your tool, and launch it in the classroom for the benefit of student learning.
* You can see the tips and tricks from other teachers which allow you to manage this technology in the classroom in an easier format than other sites
* The wiki is a work in progress so your ideas and contributions are welcome!

Take a look at this site which will allow you to explore the tools that will help you with inquiry in the classroom!


Museum Box

Museum Box is my latest web 2.0 tool.  I am using it with 4th graders by asking them to demonstrate their learning by making a cube inside of a museum box.  The site functions like a shadow box that a museum would use to house all kinds of artifacts about a particular topic.  In this case, we divided the 4th grade classes into 3 Colorado Tribes; Arapaho, Cheyenne and Utes.  They were each responsible for one aspect of the tribe, hunting, stories, location, today etc.  There were a few glitches with saving but once I discovered that your should put everything in a folder and then upload it all at once and then press OK on the cube page and the floppy disk Save in the Museum Box toolbar things went smoother.  We even uploaded video from Discovery Education.  One geek tip for uploading video from Discovery is to right click on the movie strip for the chosen clip, save target as and then change the file extension to .avi or .mov before saving it.  It shouldn't work but it does!  Try it!  Go to the teacher page and make a school account at least 5 days before beginning and you will also find tutorials there!  Here is an example of one of our final boxes:  http://museumbox.e2bn.org/creator/viewer/show/229313Museum Box Example