Friday, March 25, 2005

More NELMS conference reactions

HI Again,

It dawned on me that there were a couple of people I hung out with at the conference that I didn't mention in my last posting. You always take your friends for granted!

I wanted to be sure to thank Alan Forsythe for his wonderful presentation and comrade-ship at the conference. Alan is a very hard working tech teacher who has created his own curriculum from scratch using applied technology stations and information technology stations built around themes. His most dramatic unit is on aeronautics and relies heavily on NASA for inspiration. To find out more about Alan and his work head to http:// and go to the 8th grade team page. He is the 8th grade tech teacher at the awesome Scofield Magnet Middle School in Stamford, CT. (OK...I brag on that school because it is my second home and where my son attends 7th grade.)

There were many other Scofield teachers and administrators at the conference which is a testament to their professionalism and openess to new ideas. It is tough to stay enthused about concepts like "constructivism" and "brain based learning" in this testing driven educational climate. Hang in there guys.

Another person who I was glad to re-connect with was Joe Mastrocola, a technology integration specialist and coordinator from Sommerville, MA. I often tell Joe we are living parallel lives. He is always willing to volunteer his valuable time to support the technology strand at the NELMS conference. He is always one step ahead of the crowd in his educational technology thinking. I recommended that he read Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Points and Blink as I know he would "get it" if he did. Check out one of his websites at....

It is great to know that there are people like Alan, Joe and the Scofield staff out there, in the trenches, helping kids and teachers.

All the best..... Jim :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Post-NELMS post!

Hi all,

I am assuming that if you made it to this blog page you were at my workshop, "Wikis, Blogs and Podcasts" at the New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS) Conference in Providence, RI, ......or you are on the mailing list.

Either way, welcome!

I enjoyed hanging around the third floor of the Providence Westin listening to tech workshops given by veteran teachers. Their passion and energy was truly inspiring. The highlight of the conference for me was listening to Mike Muir of the University of Maine describe the learning coming out of the Maine lap top initiative, in which all kids in 7th grade are issued an iBook. So much wisdom is being generated by this large scale expreriment. See the Maine Learning technology Initiative Educators' Site - for more.

Another recent ed tech experience for me was the production of my first podcast. If you want to hear me playing the accordian (I'm serious.) Go to ... I hope to make more meaningful use of this medium in the near future on this Blog. Special thanks to Gary Stager and David Warlick who assisted me in my struggle to go from iPod to website.

Until next time....Jim :-)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Welcome to my BLOG! is the the fourth anniversary of and we are having a bit of a public identity crisis. I think trying a few new formats on the site will help revive my enthusiasm for the project and maybe serve our audience better. it isn't that I have lost my committment to producing a site that lists ed tech content free of advertising corporate sponsors but I am wondering about the need for it. Ah...what the heck. Maybe this is just an example of paralysis by analysis. I'll keep giving it a go and you just keep letting me know what you think.

Hang in there, it can be tough out there in the ed tech world.

Until next post.