Thursday, October 12, 2006

The ITEC Conference is a huge success!! . . . and so was my Interactive Web workshop

Well, the ITEC Conference is over and it was a success.

Over 500 educators attended and they had an opportunity to meet with old friends and make new ones.

The hottest topic of the weekend was podcasting. Podcasting, blogging, and wikis were on everybody's minds. I must admit that part of my perception might have been biased because I did a workshop and a session that involved using these 21st century tools in the classroom.

My workshop, Expanding Classroom Opportunities Using the Interactive Web, was quite successful. Although we had some Internet access problems, I was fortunate to have a room full of techno-veterans who were able to work with the challenges. This workshop was meant to demystify the Interactive Web. Throughout the 2.5 hour span, we explored the wonderful opportunities provided with blogging. We explored a number of examples and each attendee created his/her own blog through Blogger. I must admit that I like the tagging capabilities of better, but it's a lot faster to make a blog on Blogger.

We followed this by exploring the wiki-world. I had a couple of folks who had never even heard of the word, Wiki. I reminded them of the Wikipedia. We visited Wikipedia and even added a sentence on one of the entries. (Don't worry, it didn't affect the meaning.) I then directed them to the wiki I had created for the conference, ITECconference2006. When you look at this wiki, you will see that I created a page for each of my presentations. This was intended to provide a place where folks could access our resources and add their own. (I was kind of hoping that they would make the changes during the presentation, but that didn't happen.)

Anywho, each of the attendees created an account on wikispaces. There are others, like Peanut Butter Wiki, but this is the easiest one to do in a short period of time.

We finished with podcasts. I had intended to provide each learner with the opportunity to create their own podcasts - even had microphones. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so I asked them if they would like to see me make a podcast from start to finish. After their resounding cry of "YES", I began my venture.

I began with Garageband (check out the tutorials) because it is so simple to add background music and edit. I created a quick 30-second audio recording. We then selected music for an intro and an outro (Like that name? I just learned it last week from the Apple website.) We added those musical clips and placed them appropriately (along with the proper "ducking.") We transferred the podcast to iTunes where it immediately started playing. We needed to convert the file to an mp3 format for the podcast, so we used the convert feature on the Advanced menu. Finally, we had to use the "Show File in Finder" command to find the mp3 format of the file so that we could move it to the desktop.

Confusing? It can be. I hope that Apple makes this process MUCH less complicated in iLife '07 or sooner. This is also why I supplied each of the attendees with instructions on How to Make a Podcast Using Garageband. (I will post these soon.)

The most difficult part about giving a workshop on creating a podcast is deciding where to upload the podcast so that it can actually be heard. Usually, we geeks have access to a server where we make special accommodations for them to upload their work.

I found an alternative!!!!! I found
This is a site where you can upload your podcast and, belive it or not, it does all of the RSS magic there too. This means that you just need to upload your podcast and then you can immediately subscribe to it. I must admit that I don't know much about this company, so you should check it out before you use if for your workshops or classes.

Elapsed time for making a podcast? 15 minutes from beginning to end. Would you believe that I just checked on the podcast that we made and it already has 51 subscribers? Must be a slow day in pods-ville.

This workshop was my first one covering these 3 tools of the Interactive Web. I hope to do many more. I have applied to NECC 2007 to make a similar presentation. I truly hope that it is accepted.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Interactive Web Workshop at ITEC 2006

On October 8, I will be presenting a 3-hour workshop at the Iowa Technology and Education (ITEC) Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. I am looking forward to this opportunity. I have shared the Interactive Web with others through presentations to colleagues and small discussions with students, but this is my first opportunity to present a workshop at a conference on this topic.

We will discuss the basis of the Interactive Web (AKA "Web 2.0" but I can't use that term here - it is copyrighted ;-)) We will then explore the educational possibilities of using blogs, wikis, podcatching, podcasting and social networking software in the classroom. By the end of this workshop, if all goes well, each of the attendees will have their own blog, wiki, podcast and accounts.

Here are the resources that we will be using. I am posting this here to share it with you readers, but also so that my students will be able to link to them from this posting instead of having to create a whole different website. (pretty cool, eh?)

Connectivism Website - George Siemens

Classroom Blogs
University Class Assignments
Blog-bib - Annotated bibliography on blogging
Weekly Teacher Blog - 3rd
Student Blog - 5th Grade
Prepare for Field Trip - 4th grade. Sets stage for trip. - Evan McIntosh. Comments/reflects on using tech in ed.
Dr. Z Reflects - Dr. Z's humble attempt at blogging.
BG Blogging - Creative Writing blogging from Middlebury University

Overall Blogging Examples

Boing Boing - A Directory of Wonderful Things
Bloglines - On-line RSS Feed Reader. Get an account.
Technorati - This is the Google for Blogs.
Captain's Blog - Journal of Captain Mark Bromwich in Afghanistan.

Create Your Own Blog

Blogger - Quick and easy blogging spot.
WordPress - Takes a little longer, but includes tagging and couple of other treats. It's worth the extra time.

Wikipedia - The encyclopedia created and edited by "the masses".
Dr. Z's ITEC Conference 2006 Wiki - Check this out for more . . .

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Haven't posted in a while

It is kind of embarassing to be talking about blogs but not have posted on my blog for 3 months. I am giving lectures today in our Ed Media class about Blogging, Wikis, and Podcasting. In fact, I am demonstrating this to a student right now.

Will be giving a workship at the ITEC conference next Sunday. Should be good. I will post the info here.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 4 - NECC in San Diego

This was a good day.

The main event was the Thinking Graphically presentation that Lynne Anderson-Inman and I gave at 11:30. About 40 people attended.

I am now in the Closing Ceremony with about 1200 of my closest friends. Kathy Schrock is doing a presentation on having students create PSAs (Public Service Announcements) as a language arts activity. She is showing a bunch of PSAs that students have created. They are pretty good.

She is now showing a PSA that was created at the ISTE Leadership Symposium. Apparently the attendees did the audio and she ddid the video. She called it "kinda lame." Who am I to argue?

When she was done, everyone applauded. She said "Applause is soooo 90s." She had us all open our cell phones and hold them up like kids do at concerts now. I feel updated!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day 2 of NECC '06 in San Diego

While Day 2 of NECCLink was intriguing, it was a bit of a technological challenge. I seem to have lost my ability to access the wireless network through my computer so I will be unable to provide the "on the spot" blogging that I had hoped to do. I worked with multiple Mac gurus (including Richard at the Apple Exhibit) and it turns out that I can access the Web through a direct connect to my computer but not through wireless. This provides creedance to the age old (at least 10 years old) adage that there are three types of death: Brain death, Body death and being off-line.

I was fortunate enough to go to the SIGTC (Special Interest Group for Technology Coordinators) breakfast. The $15 breakfast (biscotti, muffins, and coffee) wasn't much but the entertainment was great. It began with a Web 2.0 panel including David Warlick, Tony Vincent, Will Richardson, Thor Prichard and John Hendron. I won't describe these folks because it is already posted at the SIGTC wiki. You will find links to their websites as well as the podcast of the discussion as well.

This is exciting that SIGTC already has this posted. We (SIGTC) will be using a wiki and a variety of Web 2.0 apps to provide resources for educators to use.

A highlight of the day was the keynote speaker, DeWitt Jones. DeWitt is a photographer for National Geographic. He gave a wonderful hour-long talk where he shared some of his life stories and then connected them with the photos that he has taken over his lifetime. He said that his interests are Vision, Passion, Purpose and Creativity. I was most impressed with his comment that "If you truly have a mission, the passion will be there. The purpose and creativity will follow without question."

I also had an opportunity to listen to Tim Wilson. Tim is the host of one of my favorite education podcasts, The Savvy Technologist. It was a great presentation. He has already posted his links to his website and will probably put his podcast up soon. I greatly appreciated Tim's view of the future. He spoke of Applications, Conversations, Audience and Challenges. One of his emphases was keeping students safe online. He suggested that we use tools on our server so that we can pull the plug until it is remedied. He isn't saying that we can fully control their access to technology, he only wants us to have a certain amount of sway so that they will pay attention.

Tim mentioned that we don't do much to teach web safety to our students. An attendee mentioned the iSafe curriculum. I don't know much about it but you can check it our at

I attended a presentation on Writer's Companion at the Visions booth on the Exhibit Hall. it is an interesting program that merges a graphic organizer, word processor, and desktop publisher to create a powerful tool for student writing. I need to review it a little more. This will be much easier since I won a copy of it at the end of the demonstration - lucky me.

Tomorrow, at 8:30, I will be at Nicholas Negroponte's keynote where he will unveil the $100 computer. I wrote about this earlier in this blog. It has a great photo of it. I will tell you more after I see it tomorrow.

Day 1 of NECC '06 in San Diego

The End of the First Day of NECC is upon us.

I am going to be blogging the happenings at NECC. It has been a wonderful opportunity to see new things that are happening. I will intersperse these accounts of my doings with comments on interesting software packages, people, ideas and places that I see.

This is actually before the actual beginning of the conference. Actually, I guess the conference began tonight with the gala reception and festive fireworks. Would you believe that we went out on the terrace of the Convention Center where we watched 5 sets of fireworks exploding up and down the San Diego coastline. AND they were all synchonized.

But I jump ahead of myself. My NECC day began with attending the ISTE NETS Forum. This was a meeting where the ISTE folks who developed the NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) 8 years ago, were meeting with educators from around the country (and even the world) to discuss how they can be updated. We were engaged in a number of interesting activities including identifying the new technologies and educational applications for the past 5 years.

An important thing for me to share here, is the address for a survey on the NETS Standards that they want as many educators as possible to fill out. If you want to have a say in how the next set of NETS standards look, complete the survey at this address:

3D-Interactive Mindmapping: Saw some interesting software tonight at the reception. My favorite is called 3D-Interactive Mindscene. It is a mindmapping tool that allows you to review an "aerial view" of a mind map for the book "Of Mice and Men." Then you can change your perspective and move down to a more "on the ground" perspective as you "walk through your mindmap" of the book. You can visit the site of this company at The site takes you through a multimedia presentation. This is the only book they have developed but the possibilities are endless.

simSchool: Saw an interesting simulation software that creates a classroom simulation that poses classroom situations/problems for teachers and they can practice their teaching skills in handling the problems and get immediate feedback about their success. I didn't get an opportunity to spend much time playing with this software but if what I saw in the short demo holds true with the rest of the product, this looks like a valuable tool for teacher education and mentoring. You can get to it at simSchool. Click on the "Tour the Classroom" button to try it out. You have to register but it is worth it.

My Hero: is a site where kids from around the world post stories and videos about those people who are important to them. Apparently over 20,000 schools are registered on this website. I may go to the screening on July 6th from 4 - 7 pm to see more about it.

Well, that is the beginning of my experience at NECC. If there is anything that you want me to search for, leave a comment on this blog.



Friday, June 16, 2006

Blueberries . . . Soft Semantics

Continuation of my discussion with Dr. David Thornburg:


I think that you are getting caught up in "soft semantics."

Whether you want to admit it or not, education has a set of products. defines "product" as:

1. Something produced by human or mechanical effort or by a natural process.
2. A direct result; a consequence: “Is history the product of impersonal social and economic forces?” (Anthony Lewis).

As ethereal as you want to be about education, educators do a great deal of work and they have products. The question arises when we try to define how these products are measured.

Should we use tests? Sometimes.
Should use Porter-esque rubrics to evaluate projects? Sometimes.
Should we use attitudinal surveys? Sometimes.
Should we just talk with the students to see how they feel? Sometimes.
Should we interview parents to understand their perceptions? Sometimes.

There is a plethora of opportunities for evaluating the success of the educators in achieving their goals of producing their products (whatever they may be.)

Creating a positive educational environment is the key to developing a learning situation where students can succeed. This environment is filled with intangibles but it is still developed by the educators (these include the classroom teachers as well as the administrators, staff, school board members, parents and community members.) Much like going to your Japanese restaurant, the school and classroom teachers try to provide a successful experience to all who come. It works for some and doesn't work for others.

Having taught for 6 years in a dropout recovery program in East Los Angeles, I know something about systems that don't work. I also know about finding and creating systems that appeal to the students that don't "fit in." In every case, there is a product that we are trying to create. That product is not the student but the student's ability to succeed in the world in later life. We can't follow the student into later life to measure our success, so we identify the skills that we believe are necessary to succeed, we find ways to measure the success on a more immediate basis.

It is a problem when we don't feel that we can measure our success in achieving our goals in the classroom. Usually educators say that this is because we don't want to be told that we didn't succeed. If we can't find ways to measure our success, we will have no way to be able to compliment ourselves when we have successfully created our "product."

Thoughtfully yours,


Blueberries . . . But curriculum isn't our product

Continuation of my discussion with Dr. David Thornburg:


I must disagree about curriculum being our product. The success of our students' learning is the product. The students are clients but their parents are as much the clients as the students. It is the parents who move their students to a different school if they don't see the results that they want with their cherished children.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our kids aren't blueberries

I recently sent a link to a great story that connects kids with Blueberries. No, these are not computer-Blackberries.
It is about a lecture that was given by Jamie Volmer. Jamie was giving a speech to teachers where he was connecting education with a business model.

I sent this link to a mail serve where I got into a discussion about this with David Thornburg. I have asked him for permission to post this discussion here in my blog.

I will provide this by posting his responses as comments to my postings throughout this blog.


Building Community through Blogs

Blogs . . . Blogs . . . Blogs . . .

Blogs are a wonderful way to communicate with others about your ideas and develop a community of like-interested folk who want to discuss things. At first, I wrote "Like-minded folk" in the previous sentence, but that could and would make it a bit boring. Like interested folks are those who may have differing opinions on similar ideas.

The most important part of a blog is building community. I started a blog on but no body responded. It identified that people read the post but there were not comments. This isn't much of a community. Either I am not very interesting, or people are not very talkative. Either way, a community needs to have a dialog between those who are writing and those who are reading.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

a $100 computer for only $300

What a Deal!!!!!

You have probably heard of the MIT $100 computer by now. This is a computer that is designed to make computing available for underdeveloped countries.

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. (

This computer is designed to provide computing power at an affordable price. I was listening to the TWIT (This Week In Technology) podcast where they were discussing the features of the computer including the power generating crank. I heard Leo Laport say "What are you going to use a computer for if you don't have the power to run it?" He obviously "doesn't get it." I have lived in Malaysia where many of the children went to school by day and returned to their homes which were plywood huts that had no electricity. Having one of these computers would allow them to continue in their studies. They don't have to be chatting or web surfing. Writing in the dynamic world of word processing allows for students to revise at will and develop into better writers. The world is not based upon technology, but if students have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledgebase through technology, they will be better prepared for the world of today and tomorrow. KUDOS MIT!!!!

An interesting proposal has come to the forefront. Let's purchase these $100 computer for $300. Pledgebank is providing an opportunity to make this purchase so that you can help support providing computers for students in underdeveloped countries. Basically, your additional $200 would buy 2 computers for the needy students. (I would suppose that it would be tax-deductible but I would check with your CPA.)

Nicholas Negroponte will be speaking at NECC 2006 in San Diego on Thursday, July 6, 8:30 - 9:45 am. He will discuss the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Podcasting Workshop for Carver Fellows

I had the privilege of presenting a 45-minute workshop on podcasting for the UNI Interdisciplinary Carver Fellowship. This workshop, Podcasting in the Classroom, was meant as an introduction to the world of podcasting and ideas for how it can be used in the classroom.

I have a few notes here concerning some of the links I included in the discussion: This is a site where you can download audio versions of books and other resources.

Atus The brand of wireless microphone that I used to record my Database class in Fall, 2005.

Rogue Amoeba Software The creators of Audio Hijack Pro software. Great software that will record anything that comes through your computer. I used this to record my Database class.

Databases in Education (Fall, 2005)
The website which holds the podcasts for my Using Databases in Education classes.

Skype The software discussed that will enable you to phone anywhere in the world free-of-charge. This is a computer-to-computer connection. Skype needs to be downloaded on computers at each end of the conversation and then just follow the directions to make the connections.

Dr. Larry Anderson The president of the National Center for Technology Planning.

Dr. David Thornburg Long-time speaker on using technology in education. Head of the Thornburg Center for Professional Development.

Radio Willow Web Podcasts that have been created by 1st through 5th grade students in Omaha, Nebraska.

Audio Yahoo Search engine for audio files including podcasts.

Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-100 The digital recorder used to record the podcast that is available at the bottom of this posting.

Additional Resources from the Workshop:

Podcast of the Workshop This 45-minute recording can be heard directly from your computer by clicking on it or by subscribing to the podcast.

Podcasts Resources Handout - Handout filled with resources for finding, making and publishing podcasts.

Podcasting in the Classroom PowerPoint - Presentation provided in the workshop.

I hope that this is useful for you. Please contact me if you have any questions about how you can integrate podcasting into your classroom.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Dr. Z Reflects

I have started a number of blogs that didn't do much. Dr. Z Reflects will be my reflections about things that I am seeing, hearing, recognizing and researching dealing with education, technology and daily life.

I plan to include links to resources (i.e., podcasts, blogs, websites, on-line tutorials, etc.)

Should be fun,


Monday, January 16, 2006

Contact Dr. Z

Here's how you can contact Dr. Z (Leigh Zeitz):

Twitter: zeitz
Skype: leighzeitz
Second Life: Leigh Writer