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21st Century Skills Reflections

These past two weeks I have been traveling around the beautiful state of Wisconsin and presenting on the topic of 21st Century skills, 21st century teaching and learning environments, and project-based learning.  It amazes me how school districts are still struggling with moving forward into the 21st century when we are actual already here in the 21st century.  The discussion on the table is "How do we prepare our educators and teaching and learning environments to be infused with 21st century curriculum, instruction and assessment practices, while being supported with the appropriate 21st century digital literacy tools?"


The school districts I am working with are asking the right questions to move forward and to make these changes while involving key stakeholders and constituents. They are also extensively researching and reviewing best practice content documents first before investing or spending dollars foolishly in a vast array of "new tools." They are on the ri…

Access, Equity and Resources

I just finished reviewing and summarizing technology planning data results collected from k-12 students from a rural school district in the MidWest. It is amazing how honest students are with sharing their insights on school needs and what is lacking in their teaching and learning environments. There were some glaring results that all students identified, which included the lack of Internet access, equity and quality of technology resources in their school. They were clearly frustrated with what their school was NOT providing them, and how within their home environments that have much better technology tools and Internet access.


I feel for these impoverished school districts. Many times the appointed team of administrators are overwhelmed themselves and they all wearing multiple hats to keep their schools afloat, and they are truly doing the best they can. The Superintendent in this case is just an interim stepping foot into the building maybe twice or three times a month to sign …

Fall Awakening in Brownsville, MN

What a beautiful time of year to enjoy the sights, scenes and smells of the great outdoors before we hit the harsh coldness of winter. In our Brownsville, MN area we have been enjoying the beautiful Fall panoramic views and sounds of the season with the arrival of the snow geese, tundra swans, white pelicans, and a variety of ducks on the Mississippi River. Just 3 miles south of our home is a newly developed overlook to view and watch the beautiful birds that have arrived to take a break from their migration route during the months of late October through December. It is a spectacular site and "a must scenic drive" for Fall travelers.

There has been a lot of activity in our area for avid photographers to take that picture perfect photo of these birds, or to capture a video clip to showcase the beauty of this secluded area. Take a look at this latest clip from "Mory" from Wisconsin of his early morning video capture from last weekend- well done Mory!

Lastly, here…

Reflecting on October

Isn't it amazing how time flies? I have been rather quiet over these past two weeks due to a crazy work schedule, but also to reflect on my father's one year of passing. It is amazing to look back to where I was one year ago and trying to understand and handle the difficult passing of my father. Only 8 months earlier was he diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and who knew how fast it would take his life.

I owe so very much to my father. Those last few weeks in the hospital, when I could get away from work - which seemed so daunting at the time, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with him. We had brief but powerful conversations encompassing stories of his past, the family farm, fishing with Grandpa John, and special stories when my father had those special moments of giving each one of us 5 kids some special one-on one time. My special time was when my dad would sneak me outside of the house at night with him when the sows were having their baby piglets, and…

Final Reflections on South Africa Educational Journey

Greeting Everyone,

I am writing my final reflection on my South African educational journey, as a peer out my deck window overlooking the Mississippi River, while it is now snowing in southwestern Minnesota. This Minnesota weather makes it seem like it was years ago when I traveled to South Africa, yet it has only been two weeks ago. I have just received some more conference pictures from Gerald and others of our final days in South Africa. Due to my dedication to present and attend the many events it was hard to capture the remaining days of photos to showcase the daily activities. Luckily many others did and shared their digital photos with us on the School net conference site, and I have now reproduced a collection of my photos and the conference attendees, conference planning team and the Intel affiliates.



At this time I want to reflect and share with each of you my thankfulness and sincere gratitude to all of my new South African friends and new colleagues. These individual…

National ICT Conference

September 24, 25 and 26 encompassed the time I presented at the National ICT Conference in Durban, South Africa. All of the International presenters stayed at a lovely quest house where each morning we were served a cooked breakfast. From our balcony view we could see the city of Durban and the oceanfront. We also had an opportunity to be welcomed each day from the guesthouse surrounding treetops with monkeys. It was a quite a site to see as they swung from branch to branch and eventually landed on top of the guest house roof.The conference was a joyous event to attend and present at.This countries culture was truly represented throughout, but especially the opening day and closing day ceremonies with a childrens choir singing the native songs and greeting all attendees, and closing of the attendees singing in true celebration of thankfulness.Bruce Dixon, was the opening keynote presenter, delivering a powerful message addressing reform initiatives that significantly improve the opp…

South Africa Day #2

Today we ventured to the town of Hermanus in South Africa to go watch whales. It is their mating season right now and the whales are more incline to come into the shallow and coastal waters for breeding purposes. We had an opportunity to view the whales as they would breech- lunge up out of water and come crashing down. We also saw a few tail fins and their large mammoth heads and parts of their bodies covered in barnacles. The best part was hearing them reach the surface through their blowhole spurt out a spray of water before submerging back into the ocean again- it was truly breathtaking.


We continued onward with our journey back towards Capetown area and had a wonderful lunch at the Bodega Vineyard. The setting of this winery and restaurant was nestled backed within a lush floral valley and cascading mountainside- it was just breath takingand so relaxing. The Spanish decor of wrought iron accents, Tuscany rich rust and peach colors- accompanied with the cultural Spanish music…

South Africa Day #1

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to share with all of you Day 1 of our adventures in South Africa. Gerald Roos so kindly guided our adventures to the southern points of interest in South Africa where we had the opportunity to experience the most beautiful views and scenery in the world. Our day long vehicle and cable car journey took us down the coastline to view both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, penguins, a few whales, seals, baboons and beautiful plants and flowers. Oh yes, and by the way, we had lovely midpoint stops for tea and decadent desserts- as a must! The slideshow below tells our story more than my words can say ~ enjoy.

Tomorrow we are off to go on a whale watching excursion :-) So tune in for more stories photos to showcase our adventures in South Africa!

Preparing for the Journey to Africa

I am excited to share with you that in exactly one week that I will be traveling to South Africa to present at the National ICT Classroom Conference. I am thrilled and honored to be one of six International speakers and workshop leaders at this conference. I would like to personal thank Gerald Roos for inviting me to this conference and for providing me the opportunity to share my technology integration expertise, and my passion for facilitating and supporting 21st century teaching and learning environments. Gerald has also done a fabulous job organizing this technology conference with his fellow ICT team members and the Durban Girls College facility and hosting representatives.

21st Century ICT literacy topics I will be presenting on include the following:
Web 2.0 Literacy Tools to Transform Teaching and LearningBe Seen ~ Be Heard: Educational Podcasting for the School EnvironmentTransforming Teaching and Learning with Interactive WhiteboardsStarting the Conversation: Social Networki…

Fall Online Graduate Courses

Are you interested in taking a Fall online educational technology graduate course? If you are- this is the opportunity for you! Marian University has added three brand new- cutting edge online graduate courses for Fall 2009. Naomi Harm, National Intel Senior Trainer and Marian University adjunct instructor, is the designer of these new courses and will be the online facilitator for each two credit graduate course. Tuition is set for $470 for two graduate credits. (Scroll to bottom of this post for online registration and tuition payment information.)

EDT604 T9 September 15 - October 13 How to Become a Transformed Twitter Teacher (T3) in a Flash Twitter is becoming an integral part of many digital lives and personal and professional learning networks. This introductory course of "How to Become a Transformed Twitter Teacher (T3) in a Flash" explains how to use Twitter; an online microblogging service that offers a way to share short bites of information instantly with others. Thi…

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

I am pleased to share with all of you that for the next three days I am participating in a national training encompassing 21st Century Skills, and for once I am not providing the training. I have not been in this professional seat in awhile and I am enjoying being a "sponge" for a change! At this training I have met many educators from around the United States who wear similar professional and leadership hats that I do. Their primary focus is high quality, standards aligned and sustained quality professional development delivery. I welcome this opportunity to network and share best practices in a face to face setting, and to actively listen to and share best practices of what is working and what is not working in our US K-16 classrooms.
Key strands of NEED I keep hearing within our group's round table discussions: 1. Administration leadership "awareness" of identifying what "21st Century Skills" are, what does a 21st century teaching and environment…

Staying "Fresh & Rejuvenated"

I have been around the beautiful state of Wisconsin for most of July presenting a variety of keynote presentations and hands-on technology integrations workshops- and it has been fabulous and quite an educational journey. Yes it takes a lot of work, a lot of patience at times, and a high energy level- but I truly enjoy what I do! I always learn so much from the educators and administrators I interact with- and am so thankful to be involved with these positive and engaging learning exchanges to gain more knowledge from each other!

At times some of my attendees ask how do I stay current and on the cutting edge with all the latest and greatest technology and within my profession. Well.... it takes a lot of effort, dedicated time and commitment to reading and reflecting on my own learning experiences, and asking a multitude of questions to facilitate discussions with my PLN's to gain insight and background knowledge on key areas.

To support my ongoing efforts "to stay fresh and …

Transforming Instruction with "i" Mobile Technology

Happy July 5th Everyone!

Still enjoying the wonderful weekend of the 4th, and catching up with new friends I met in DC at NECC '09 and virtually through Twitter. My latest meet-up includes a great MidWesterner named Scott Smeech from Plano, IL. Scott was part of the Birds of Feather Leadership Forum at NECC and has been sharing and showcasing the power of mobile technology and how it is transforming instruction. Scott has developed an interactive web presence through the portal of Ning located at iear.org. IEAR is all about taking a closer look at the educational value of ITouch / IPhone / IPods in the classroom. I highly recommend becoming a member of this PLN!

Through Scott's multiple web presences- you can feel and see his passion for integrating intuitive educational technology tools with administrators, educators and students to support their 21st teaching and learning environments. I especially like Scott's blog www.smeech.net where Scott is always pushing the enve…

"Aromas From the Edubloggers' Kitchens"

REPOST: "Aromas From The Edubloggers' Kitchens"

Our dynamic cooking trio of Deb White, Ernie Easter(from Maine) and myself - Naomi Harm(from MN) have started an exciting new project and we would like you to participate with us. It’s called "Aromas from the Edubloggers' Kitchens" and its goal is to help our extended Twitter community preserve and enjoy the wonderful food we have all come to enjoy as a family. *If you would like to PARTICIPATE please email or leave a comment for me below with the following info to include: your first name, last name and email address- thank you!

When families gather together, you seem to find most of the people in the kitchen – because that is where the food is! Most of us have favorite foods from our childhood or others that seem to be served only when someone special is visiting or when visiting grandma’s house. Although all too often a family food treasure is lost forever with each passing of a family member.

The "Ar…

Smartboard Training in the Elementary

I have the wonderful opportunity this week to work with a dynamic group of Holmen school district teachers of integrating Smart Board resources and tools within their k-5 curriculum. I have found that a lot of our elementary teachers struggle to find specific lessons and resources to support their instruction. This introduction of infusing smart technologies into instruction will be focused on the basics of Smartboard in education, utilizing existing resources and thematic units teachers feel comfortable with, "greening up" their lesson with the visual literacy component of the Smartboard, and how to have students be responsible for their own learning by instilling the opportunities of "student Smartboard coaches" to assist with student driven lessons as collaborative teams.

Some key sites I will share for this afternoon inservice include:
-BBC Schools
-Educational World
-Elementary Interactive Whiteboard Websites
-Elementary Smarboard Lessons
-Engaging Learners the Smar…

NY Intel Training

This week takes me on a journey to Long Island, New York. I am working with a collaborative team to team teach and participate in a National Senior training for the Intel Teach Program course. We are covering three course within three days- yes- brain overload but all is good! The courses that we are introducing to adjunct faculty and university officials include: Thinking with Technology, Essentials, and Faculty Pre-Service Review. Lastly, I am excited to share Intel's new Elements Project-Based Approaches program which will be released this Fall.

Memorial Day Weekend

Ahhh time to relax, reflect and enjoy life's moments over the Memorial Day Weekend. I am writing this blog post as I enjoy a fresh cup of coffee this morning from our family room and am peering out onto the calm and inviting Mississippi River. We have quite a collection of birds that have sought out our bird feeders for an early morning breakfast. A mixture of yellow canaries, a beautiful red cardinal and the delightful collection of ruby throated hummingbirds are actively entertaining our cat Peaches from the deck door.

The outdoor activities are starting to pick up outside. Some of our neighbors have ventured out for an early morning fishing adventure, where others are preparing their speed boats for a mid-day boat excursion. Ahhh it is so relaxing just watching the time go by and to know when one has truly found the most perfect place to live, and to be truly happy with what life has to offer.

I will continue to enjoy the rest of the day with planting flowers in our planter b…

May Madness

Does it ever seem that May can be the busiest month for educators? Well it sure seems like it this time around! Here is just a little insight of my May madness:
*I am in the process of putting the final touches on writing and submitting an EETT grant for seven rural school districts in western, WI.
*Preparing to attend the National Intel Senior training in NY at the end of May.
*Taking two online courses to earn graduate credits for my teaching license renewal.*
Earning a Thinkfinity certification to become an online Thinkfinity field trainer
*We have three graduates in our immediate family by the end of May- son graduating from college as a Network Administrator, son's (very close- and we love her to death) girlfriend graduating as a Veterinarian Tech/Specialist, and our youngest son is graduating from 8th grade- whoo and trying to find balance between family gatherings for all the celebrations.

Can't wait for June to roll around so there can be a little more time to relax and s…

Future Technology Conference ~ Madison, WI

This week I will be traveling to Madison, WI to present at the Future Technology Conference (FTC). My presentation "Web 2.0 Literacy Tools to Transform Teaching and Learning" will not only focus on how to use some of the new Web technologies that are beginning to transform education, it will also put you well on your way to implementing these learning strategies within your classroom practice. The tools we will be looking at include image/video editing and production, communication and collaboration, writing and research, converters and widgets, presentations and virtual environments. These tools will allow teachers and students to express their creativity in any curricular area, and you will learn how each of these tools are being used in classrooms around the world to meet content and technology literacy standards.

This Web 2.0 presentation will also be streamed live with a back channel chat for all of you to participate in globally and for a professional development oppo…

Shwup MuveeMix Updated

This morning I have been working with the updated photo/video tool of Shwup www.shwup.com and Muvee Mix. It has an easy to use interface and layout to quickly and simply import your photos, videos and music from a variety of sources. I imported my photos from my Flickr account and chose a music track from Shwup's selection this time, and posted it to my blog instantly. Two thumbs up for this newly updated production tool!

Smartboard Training at the University Level

This week I will be offering Smartboard trainings to our local universities. I have put together a link list of "adult learner" content sites that professors and instructional trainers can easily use with their college students to enrich their curriculum offerings. This is just a "starter list" and I will continue to add to this list as resources are found and shared from others from around the world. Thanks to my social network of Twitter friends for the development of the Smartboard resources as a true global team!

All Content Areas and Research Support Articles
Academic Earth
Activities for ESL Students
Becta: Harnessing School Technology: Schools Survey 2008
Curriki
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
Hippo Campus
Improving Student Learning Outcomes
Interactive Whiteboards Pedagogy's and Pupil Performance Evaluation
Is Higher Ed Technology Keeping up with Student Demands Article
Learning Zone
Merlot- Multimedia Educational Resources
Open Education
Open Educatio…