Tapped In Newsletter: August 2007

...On the Tapis
August 2007
Issue 117

In This Issue

[1] Member Perspective: Sheryl McCoy
[2] Featured Group: A Better 3Rs for MS
[3] Tapped In Festival: What we learned
[4] Tips and Comments from the Experts
[5] News Nuggets
[6] Tapped In Technology Tips
[7] About ...On the Tapis

Quote of the Month - "The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done -- men who are creative, inventive and discoverers." - Jean Piaget

[1] Member Perspective: Sheryl McCoy

Sheryl, a member of Tapped In since 2005, is an educator who enjoys teaching math, science, language arts, social studies, art, and technology.

Sheryl's Perspective

What is my perspective and how did I discover Tapped In? I have always thought of myself as a gleaner who shares with my family friends and community. That is why I enjoy working with teachers and students. I gather curriculum, materials and other necessaries to share with my friends and students. Tapped In is the ultimate place for me to join my gleaning and sharing activities to one purpose. I can glean and share ideas, techniques, research and experiences with other members of the Tapped In community in my office and in meeting around the campus.

Having taught, at various levels of education, for many decades, my professional and personal identity continues to evolve... adapt or die. I find this online iteration of my professional life is very satisfying, and I want to thank the Tapped In community for their help in this ongoing process. Frequently, I invite others that I know or meet to join Tapped In also, and I really enjoy that. It is like being Johnny Appleseed to those online who are interested in education, children and camaraderie.

View past perspectives.

[2] Featured Group: A Better 3Rs for MS - by Jim Lerman

A Better 3Rs for Middle School: Relevance, Rigor and Relationships will be the first of an intended series of discussions focused on middle schools as places where teaching and learning thrive and grow. We will begin with exploration of several pre-selected MS language arts and social studies websites that offer unusually strong promise in promoting relevance, relationships, and rigor in the classroom. Participants will be able to review the sites and share their individual perspectives with each other and the session moderator on how and why they contribute to achievement of a better 3Rs for middle school students.

James Lerman is Coordinator of the NJ Consortium for Middle Schools at Kean University. He is also an Adjunct in the Department of Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education at Kean and in the Department of Educational Leadership at William Paterson University. Since 2004, he has written four books on uses of the Internet in education and is currently at work on number five. He lives in NYC with his wife Terry, a craftsperson, and daughter Michela, a professional tap dancer.

[3] Tapped In Festival: What we learned - by Dianne Allen

Playing to Learn was the theme of Festival 2007 and learn we did! One participant commented on the sign-in form that "the participation was exceptional and the discussion leaders were hot." James Neusom, Randall Caton and Jordan Pollack were among those mentioned for repeat appearances. Some sessions were noted as having "ran out of time", suggesting that we could use more in-depth discussion spanning over time. I hope that the festival helps to initiate participation and that sustained, on-going professional development occurs in the TI community after the festival.

People realized that TI is not a tool but rather an online learning community for educators where networking takes place. Some wanted a longer festival, and some wanted the time broken down rather than 12 hours straight. Some of the comments from the sign-in forms will be used to guide the content of Technology Tips in future newsletters and the Tapped In tours. One participant commented that they liked the online training that requires no traveling.

The sessions provided a large amount of resources. A challenge that participants seemed to feel is how to organize the massive resources. Another challenge is how to apply what they learned in a practical manner. Because attendance at the festival could get pretty large, several participants were concerned about "moderation." Does the method of discussion need to be more controlled? Should participation be limited using the registration function? Presentations varied from following a set of posted objectives to a more informal conversational inquiry and dialogue. Knowing what to expect from the festival was on the agenda for pre-festival tours, but, as always, learning to appreciate a real time text chat, whether structured or informal, can only come with practice and experience.

Compared to last year, there were fewer sessions, more participants, more certificates issued and fewer guest log-ins. Although not all sessions closely followed the theme of Playing to Learn, it gave the festival consistency and promoted a larger attendance this year.

If you participated in Tapped In Festival 2007 and filled out the required minimum of three sign-in forms for a certificate, you can retrieve your certificate here.

[4] Tips and Comments from the Experts

Scott Lymer logged in to give a personal thanks: "Thanks for the great festival. I learned a lot from your presenters."
The following are excerpts from submitted Festival Sign-In forms:
* A little experience -- starting slowly. I am amazing myself that I am learning to enjoy this.
* I'm learning to love Tapped In and will develop some classes for my own group.
* Thank you for all your hard work with Tapped In - it is a valuable resource for teachers!
* I did not expect the free wealth of information and resources. I did not expect it to be so easy and inspiring.
* It's getting better with each session I go to... I love it. Thanks for putting it all together.
* I always learn so much from mainly reading other peoples' ideas. I feel like I stand on the shoulders of giants!
If you have a comment or experience to share with the Tapped In community, please submit the information to BJ Berquist at bjb@tappedin.org or post to the How You Use TI.

[5] News Nuggets

The podcast challenge offered for TI Festival has been extended to allow students coming back to school this fall to participate. Check out the link above to the Festival Wiki and enter a Playing to Learn podcast!
TI member and discussion leader Rushton Hurley, a Japanese language teacher for Wilcox High School and the founder of the non-profit online video resource for educators Next Vista, was interviewed by DK of MediaSnackers. Listen to the interview here.
The August issue of Learning&Leading with Technology contains articles by or about TI members Julie Lindsay, Vicki Davis, Susan Thompson, Glen Bull, and Kecia Ray.
The August/September issue of SchoolArts contains resources and articles provided by TI members Craig Roland and Pam Stephens.
Do you have a News Nugget about yourself or another member of the Tapped In Community? Send your News Nugget to BJ Berquist at bjb@tappedin.org.

[6] Tapped In Technology Tip

Preparation for Participation in a Calendar Event
If you're planning on participating in any of the TI calendar events, please take a few minutes before the event and check the calendar description and the event room to see if there are any instructions to help you prepare for that event. One of the weak communication links that was revealed during TI Festival 2007 was that SOMETIMES a discussion leader will request that participants read an article or download software BEFORE they log in for the discussion. This request is made so that the limited time available for discussion is focused on content and not troubleshooting. (Troubleshooting can be done before the event by contacting the discussion leader directly.)

If an event requires pre-reading or downloading, that information will be found in the description of the event on the TI calendar. The information may also be posted by the discussion leader in the room that the event will take place. The whiteboard and featured notes are tools that can be used to prepare participants for a specific event topic. If you are not sure how to find a room where an event will take place, please join one of the Tips and Tricks on the calendar or ask a helpdesk volunteer to help you become more familiar with navigation.

[7] About ...On the Tapis

Past issues of ...On the Tapis newsletters are available online.

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