Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ability Awareness - I'm Tyler

I just had the opportunity to experience an incredibly motivating and inspiring presentation by Tyler of Waterloo, Iowa.

Tyler was discussing the need to engage in Ability Awareness. Ability Awareness involves "recognizing what a person, any person, CAN do is much more important than what he/she can't. Many people have disabilities, of some sort, to difering degrees. But much more importantly EVERYONE HAS ABILITIES."

Tyler is a sophomore at Hawkeye Community College. He has a yellow belt in karate. He was in his Waterloo West High School's marching band. Tyler played a lead role in the Waterloo Community Theater. Tyler is an active young man . . . and Tyler has cerebral palsy.

Tyler is a person who doesn't discuss what he can't do. He concentrates on what he CAN do. Tyler earned his eagle scout and created the 7-minute video, I'm Tyler, as his eagle project (click here or on the image above to watch this video.) He and his family distribute DVDs of this video. They have shipped over 6500 DVDs. They don't actively market the video, but they have had requests from all 50 states and over 20 countries and US territories. This is a message that needs to be shared.

Tyler has been honored by receiving the National CEC "Yes, I Can" award; UCC National Disabilities Minstry Award and the Iowa CASE "Tyler Student Achievement Award" scholarship. He has spoken at conferences across the country. This is a message that needs to be shared. Visit his website!

"Ability Awareness is looking past the disabilities to the Abilities. It's Acknowledging Challenges, not obstacles, and find the accommoddations to conquer them. It working as a Team to reach a Common Goal . . . SUCCESS!!!"

Tyler has a dream . . . to change the world and the way it interacts with people with disabilities . . . to the world of CAN.

Go Tyler!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Skype an Author Network Unveiled

It's here!!!

Last January, Wesley Fryer and I were wondering on a Dr. Z Reflects posting, Finding Skype Connections for Your Classroom, where one would look to find experts/authors/interesting people to Skype into our classrooms.

Angela Maiers just tweeted about a new site, Skype an Author Network, unveiled by Mona Kerby and Sarah Chauncey that allows authors to post a page explaining how they could be Skyped into a classroom.

This is a wonderful idea that will go far. There isn't an author on the planet who doesn't want to share his/her ideas with kids and the public. That is why they write.

The interesting part of this site is that it is create on a wiki. I counted over 60 authors already and I am certain that the numbers will skyrocket in the near future.

Here's wishing you good luck, Mona and Sarah. Classroom teachers around the world thank you.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

NECC 09 - Cell Phones in the Classrooms Harness the Power for Learning

This is a report on a BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) workshop presented in the last session of NECC by David Rose (Southland Public Schools, Michigan) and and Kim Guffey (Haywood County Schools, NC).

Presentation wiki

Most of the resources are on the wiki, so this posting will only include my opinions about their comments.

Their schools have forbidden cell phones, but David has helped change that by encouraging a change in policy to include "except for instructional purposes."

Video includes testimonies about how students use phones to communicate with others to get assistance in math.
One school has the students using phones that have been disabled for phoning and used as a mobile unit. Useful for students and increased their test scores.

Now we are going to use our cell phones to collect temperature data from friends through text messaging. (My new Blackberry Storm has a TERRIBLE pressure keyboard and I will return it next week for a phone with a real keyboard on it.)

They asked us to average our responses and text it to their account in (My phone didn't let me do it.) Then they directed us to create an account on PollEverywhere and make our own polls. I have used PollEverywhere in many of my presentations. It works quite well.

Notes from the audience: Use Edit to turn off the response messages so that users aren't charged for response.

Suggested because it allows 100 responses. only allows 30 responses.

Suggested Place where kids can make an avatar to do reports. Another teacher suggested that she uses voki with kids by having them create their spelling lists through it. You get to create your own avatar and give it a voice through your phone.

Phone video: Suggested making a phone video and emailing it to the teacher so s/he could post it online.

This was a good intro. Suggested the ISTE book on using phones in the classroom. Looks good.