Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The last day was the cherry on top of the banana-split! The teacher tables and their topics were excellent! They were passionate and enthusiastic about their teaching and use of technology to propel their students forward. It was a very rewarding experience to dedicate time visiting teachers.

The only session I attended today was: Quick and Easy Computer Activities for Science and Social Studies given by Tammy Worcester. What an excellent teacher… she walked the audience through several innovative uses of PowerPoint, Excel etc with fabulous examples! I mean fabulous examples – will use several in my classes. Here is her web site – check it out:

The rest was spent attempting to cruise through the rest of the vendor exhibits – barely made it! 2:30 came around very quickly followed by the last Keynote speaker and the close of the conference.

The keynote was wonderful. Dr. Tim Tyson the principal at Mabry Middle School illustrated what is possible when there is an expectation that the students can contribute value to society now. The success of the middle school goes beyond anything I have ever heard. What a great presentation with illustrations of what is possible. If you read this you must check this out:

Well – the next NECC is in San Antonio, Texas….yahoooo! Congratulations to ISTE for an incredible conference.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



The keynote speakers are turning out to be the highlights of the conference. Andrew Zolli moderated a discussion with Elizabeth Streb (Choreographer), Michael McCauley (Creative Director), Mary Cullinane (Technology Architect), Dr. Francesc Pedro (Paris-based analyst)

Bottom line is: Our cheese has been moved!

We got lots of pregnant one-liners from the discussion:
  • What if? Can you envision the future?
  • Question the norm!
  • Creative kids: learn first, technology second.

  • In the new paradigm a Principal is now called “The Chief Learner”

  • Be comfortable NOT knowing.

  • Concentrate on the power of language.

  • Think of higher purpose.

  • Your role ought to be one to inspire!

  • Learn to fly!

  • Discovery is a process – ask the BIG IDEAS

The second session I attended this morning was on “Digital Media Tools for English Language Learners.” It was absolutely excellent.

Arturo Guajardo, Austin Independent School District with Susan Monahan presented their experiences using technology solutions with ELL students with great success. The web site is: (I don’t think he will mind, the password is: Arturo)

This was an ideas-rich presentation. Congratulations to the Texas team!


I got to see great teacher displays – wow! Impressed by the Virgin Island displays and many others…

Here are kids explaining to adults the principles of geocaching and how they used it to do their environmental science project! Trish would have been proud…!

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Monday, June 25, 2007



ISTE launched their updated version of the National Education Technology Standards for Students. This was a launch and a celebration of the cooperative work done by many professionals across the world with input from teachers to the board rooms of academia as well as industry.

The message is, “use technology to learn – not just learning technology…” This effort is the collective effort of 1000’s. What I have seen, impresses me – I just hope that in the long run it is not a camel (a horse designed by a committee.) Like I said the higher level labels on the NETS show promise:


The next conference was the One-to-One Initiatives: as presented by Anita Givens and Karen Kahan from Texas. They generously shared their experiences and successes. What is one-on-one?

The Technology Immersion Project is implementing an entirely new concept in educational technology—total immersion of teachers and students in technology. TIP steps beyond 1:1 computing experiments to completely envelope campuses in technology, extending learning beyond classroom walls and beyond the school day.

Check out the web site above (Click on the Texas Icon). The pilot program has turned out to be a success beyond what they expected. As a professional in the field I know what it means to do it right. Doing things right pays off when students have the technology at their finger tips and the infrastructure and programs are in place to support the work as well as that of teachers trained and eager to use these tools to extend student’s learning… Anita and Karen were more than willing to share their experiences. Amazing program.

We need to raise our eyes…and re-evaluate our strategy… Tom… what do you think?


Tools Incorporating WEB 2.0 – missed 1/2 of the presentation – looked very promising. This was a bit more tech-type… I will not comment on it.


This was a total disappointment. The PCs did not work, the speaker could not be heard… the topic seemed interesting: Creating Mind-Maps using FreeMind was not… However – it is “free” you can check it out at:

Exhaustion is setting in….. This was on finding grants and funding for distance education. It was sponsored by a vendor – go figure. It was very enlightening however because there is a multitude and variety of grants particularly in science that go untapped… humm.

V E N D O R - S H O W

What an incredible display of products, colors, sounds, and “grab” gifts galore! I should be able to get my pen and pencil supplies for 2007-2008 without any problems! Should save us money… will make Jill and Varda happy ;)

I am exhausted! T M I ! Lord willing see y'all tomorrow!

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Sunday, June 24, 2007


The Conference started tonight with a Big Bang: The Atlanta Drumline! What an incredible performance electrifying the audience doing their “thing.” The pictures were fabulous! Here is one example:

Ahhh that Canon XTi....hummm I am in love! The band was awesome too :)
ISTE President Dr. Trina Davis spoke next. Her message was futuristic, administrative, and thoughtful. She has passionate about equity in the digital age as well as excited about the new National Education Technology Standards for students to meet the challenges of… “today’s increasing digital world” Lastly she reiterated the great international nature of the organization – I thought I hear her say that over 50 nations were represented in this conference! She is quite a lady. Here is a picture of Dr. Davis taken from the ISTE web site:
Andrew Zolli followed Dr. Davis. He was funny yet very enlightening in his message and his view of the future. Andrew is a futurist (a fancy term for a fortune teller! - just kidding Andrew…) and does well apparently: he is a founder of Z+Partners where he says that, “Ideas are the currency of the future” He emphasized that everything that can be done with a machine will! The question he then posed was, “so what are then humans supposed to do to add value?

What he was basically saying is: What is it that we (translate our students) will bring to the table? He says…. “only the essence of our creative spirit.” This creativity will be the new sources of value according to Zolli.

He explained that when new ideas are required we generally use or follow the following model:

Where in the first box – we are asked to produce/desing/invent a product in an isolated “think” mode the failure rate is 85%. While in the “look” box where the person can go out and see what is required the failure rate is 30%. In the “play” box, the product/problem gets redefined but leads to only a 20% failure rate. “Imagine” does not apply because there is no product… (gotcha!) In any case, he went on to expand that the NETWORK model however is much more efficient and produces much less failure – it means that someone who can freely interchange within the four paradigms is more successful...

This to me is important, but it is also a bit of a "duh!" This really should be nothing new to historians... think back about brokerage and leverage and knowledge that can bring things together: treaties, agreements, large concessions, etc... it is always the networked guy that pulls it off!

He gave another example of the value of networks: originally the value of networks were understood to be value = (# of notes)**2. He says the factor that is missing is participation – the true value is: value = (# of nodes)**”p” Where p=participation. The value is explosive when participation is attained!

He went onto illustrate the demographic transformation of the world and its implications – sobering actually. He outlined the factors of choice vs. complexity and also went on to redefine literacy – as a corollary of all the changes: how will we now “measure” literacy when the world’s knowledge is available on a device available to every student – give them a multiple choice-fill-in-the-bubble test?

He ended with an encouraging note to teachers to understand what is happening around them with themselves and understand their own Biases and Blindness and understand the futures we choose to bring our students.

Excellent keynote address.


Arrived Friday night - staying at the Courtyard Marriot - close to the Georgia World Congress Center. Spent Saturday touring the city... first formal visit: the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. What a treat!

The science behind the orchid exhibit, the "jungle" facilities, the Tissue Culture Lab, precious! After hundreds of digital images - it was probably still not enough... my Canon XTi was still craving for more! It is nice to have a 2 Gig memory card on the camera! :) Loved it!

Monday, June 18, 2007


I will be blogging at NEC; so will many other aficionados... Click on the link below:

Sunday, June 17, 2007


This time nine holes with my son Daniel...

This thing can be catchy! Hummm

And then Ella's birthday party!!! My grandbaby's first birthday!

Friday, June 15, 2007


June 12th – June 14th A UbD seminar/class was held at RBVHS for teachers interested in the topic. This class was a follow-up by the UbD-trained team to start sharing the “Understanding by Design” approach to curricular/lesson development and sharing the goodness derived from it.

Very rewarding and enriching.

“A primary goal of education should be the development and deepening of student understanding” (Grant Wiggins)

The first step is to establish the unit goals (standards) and the big idea(s) that encompass the goal. This is they key first step to the whole UbD endeavor. This “ideas” step is crucial and proved to be challenging and very thought provoking…

Wisdom from a master teacher regarding History big ideas:

“…not a summary but a question”
“…they help us understand current issues”
“…they are worth knowing, relevant now and always”
“…different people can have different answers to these questions”

Here are some for history topics:
  • How free are you?
  • Does power get abused if left unchecked?
  • How do citizens of a modern nation-state respond, overtly and internally, emotionally and intellectually, during times of national crisis and personal stress? [very good one!]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Jack, Joe, Mike and I teamed up today to play a round of golf - apparently a school tradition as the term wraps up. We went to Castle Creek golf course in Escondido... It was a hoot considering that I have never golfed yet we managed to complete the 18 hole golf course in 5 1/2 hours! We were tired, exhausted, happy and hungry! A nice BBQ followed - what a nice longhorn tradition! Thanks Jack for the invite!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Today finals started at school and they will continue until Thursday June 7th. That is formally when my teaching school year is done! It has been a roller coaster and an incredible year. My students have taught me so much and hopefully they have learned as well. I am getting to fit in with the staff and the whole organization. There is a lot of work to do but also a lot of promise and opportunity. Lord willing I will be back for more in August.

In the meantime VACATION!
Having said that however, the real reason for the entry is to share the letter I have received from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing. Today they issued me the following:

Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential Document Number: 070224683 Issuance Date: 05/24/2007 Expiration Date: 06/01/2012 Authorized Subjects: BCLAD: Spanish, Social Science (Examination), Geosciences, Introductory Science

This is the reason for this blog entry... it really should be my last entry to show what it took to get from start-up to now... Two years later I have achieved the goal I set for myself. The blog raison d'ĂȘtre has always been to create a brief narrative about the experiences of becoming a teacher. Well I am done.
I thank God for His mercy as well as my family who was so patient and loving while I slogged through the program. I am also very grateful to my University professors... what a ride!

Having achieved the "end-goal" I will change the blog from the "becoming a teacher" narrative to "the new life of a teacher" and keep posting in my new position and profession.

Thank again to all of those that know about my adventure!