Pioneer Report to the Ford Foundation
Steve Bergen, Computer Coordinator
March 1, 2000
Pages 1-3: The report
Appendix A: chart of Pioneer usage from 19 Pioneers (page 4)
Appendix B: selected responses from 19 Pioneers on the importance or value pioneering (page 5)
Appendix C: selected entries from Pioneer Diaries (pages 6-18)
Appendix D: what every Nobles faculty member ought to know about technology (pages 19-20)
The hardware and software purchased with the $50,000 from the Ford foundation has allowed us at Nobles to get the next level of evolutionary change, what was called stage four by Sheila Cory in her wonderful article from November 1983 in The Computing Teacher titled "A Four Stage Model of Development for Full Implementation of Computers for Instruction in a School System." This hardware and software has provided over 20 teachers at Nobles with the tools for using technology aggressively in their classroom. As a result of the $50,000 grant, we now own
14 PC laptops
6 G3 mac laptops
in addition to the original old pre-Ford grant hardware (LCD overheads, 10 Mac LC 520s)
But hardware is not sufficient for a revolution!This is no different than what happened in Lexington Massachusetts in 1773 when townspeople were provided with enough guns and bullets. For several years, the townspeople had the hardware and software, but the results on the battle green were at best a "mixed success." Only on July 4th, 1776, when the town hit stage four did the revolution begin. I can still recall my great, great, grandparents telling me what motivated their presence on the Battle Green that day.
There is no success like failure and failures no success at all
I need to underscore that I do not consider the Pioneer program a failure in sharing this Bob Dylan quote. Pioneers are required to write once per per week to a mailing list called Pioneer Diaries. I have included over 40 entries from these Pioneer Diaries during the current 2000 year to give any reader of this report a wonderful first hand summary of pioneer reflections and accomplishments. There are numerous wonderful educational moments and pedagogical mountains that have been scaled at Nobles by individual teachers who have used their pioneer hardware and software to accomplish many special and major things. See Appendix C.
However, I do consider that the failings of the pioneer program have made me realize (and plan) what needs to come next at Nobles! See Appendix D.
Computer Screen like Blackboard
That in essence is what the pioneer hardware and software is all about. Prior to the grant by the Ford foundation, we had two shared projectors with about 5-10 laptops. The competition for those projectors was fierce and the frustration by those without the projectors (or with the inferior LCD models) was significant. The grant by the Ford foundation has allowed us to increase the scope of the projector significantly.
Over the past two years, we have had over 20 pioneers with a good quality laptop and with about 10 of them with a projector that sits in the classroom. And for those without the projector, we have had fairly good means for instant gratification (e.g. a loaner projector in the library or the computer wing).
With the laptop and the projector, the classroom gains a new blackboard and several of our pioneers have had great success with that concept. In these few classrooms -- and I need to emphasize few -- the projector is a daily ritual with assignments, web activity, powerpoint presentations of todays content, lab experiments and even grammar drills being part of the classroom ritual. See Appendix A.
In most of our pioneer classrooms, the projector is used on occasions the way the map was used by some of my teachers 35 years ago. I still recall the excitement in my class when the teacher pulled down the US map ("hey, the map is coming down") and started pointing to these neat colorful graphics as part of the daily lecture.
None of this should be surprising (or upsetting). Tom Snyder, well known educational software producer (and Nobles grad) recalls frequently in his talks that when teachers in the early 1800s were given large classroom blackboards, it took many years before the blackboards become accepted as part of standard pedagogy. At first, teachers would write in teacher journals in the early 1800s that they did not know what to do with these large boards on the front wall and lacked the training for proper use.
And even today in the year 2001, blackboards are used effectively by many teachers and others have no use for them. Despite the decade of being told that some kids are oral learners, some kids are visual learners and some kids need repetition, the vast majority of teachers do not use the blackboard very effectively; as a former math teacher, I know I am in that category.
The laptop as personal tool
Using a laptop for a personal, professional tool is NOT the same as using it in pioneer mode. The vast majority of our pioneers (over 95%) absolutely cherish the use of their laptop for the litany of paperwork, e-mail, grading, comment-writing web access and so on for personal and professional needs as a tool at school or at home. But not everyone. In a few cases, I have had to phlegmatically ask a pioneer for the laptop back over the past few years, because I knew it was gathering dust. This theme was echoed on a recent posting on the ISED listserv when one computer coordinator reported that one third of the laptops given out to faculty at her school were not being used at all by the teachers. It is for that very reason that I have always felt ambivalent about the widespread distribution of laptops within a school without creating some kind of carrot and stick obligation.
Reasons and Phlegmatic Reflections
(1) Teachers are way too busy, too often behind schedule and in constant state of having more things to do than they catch up with in one evening or one weekend or even one school vacation; consequently pioneering is almost always a quadrant II concern (important but not urgent) and falls to the bottom of the priority level behind all the urgent things that needed to be done a week ago.
(2) Very little gets done in schools by teachers or students unless required. Schools that require public speaking or require choral singing frequently report a wonderful change within the community as a result. Schools like Nobles that require athletics or dress code take pride in these aspects of school-life. But what is not required at schools for the most part does not get done. And that includes teachers, because after-all, we are all just big kids. Many of us put time demands on our students that would devastate us if we were in their shoes. Virtually every teacher I know with grown children has remarked to me the homework demands in her/his class changed radically as a result of seeing her/his own children grow up and graduate from high school; the realization that we drive these kids over the edge with our "required homework assignments" becomes most apparent when we watch our own children. But the students -- for the most part -- do it, because it is required. No different with faculty members. What our head of school requires, we do. Every thing else -- including the pioneer program -- goes onto a "would be nice if I had time list."
(3) The rhythms of the school year involve a tremendous burst of energy in August and September and October and catching up the rest of the year. In order for the Pioneer program to get to the next level, there needs to be a plan and consensus between the computer department and the administration of a school that takes advantage of the energy peak of September/October. Over the last three months, Dick Baker and Ben Snyder and I have been creating this plan and it is really based on the mixed success of the pioneer program. It consists of all new faculty and selective returning faculty members being required (yes, the dreaded R word) to meet once a week with a personal trainer to work on computer skills. The personal trainer will either be a member of the computer department (Claudia Keller, Ellie Newman, Lynne Schalman, me) or a pioneer who has previously worked through the requirements on a check-off list. I have distributed the check-off list and Ellie Newman has created an associated manual to go with it. We will begin "spring training" in April and May, getting several personal trainers-to-be in shape. Dick Baker as head of school has put the prerequisite language into the contracts of selective faculty members and all systems are go for launching in September of 2000 when the energy peaks. Without question, it has been the mixed success of the pioneer program funded by the Ford foundation that has allowed us to contemplate this next necessary step in our schools Piagetian development!
Sheila Corys description of the four stages of technology growth has helped shape me in my role as computer coordinator at two schools over the past 18 years. Back in 1983 in her "4-Stage Model of Development" article she wrote that in stage four staff faculty training development
is differentiated for different groups of teachers
tied to the system plans
offered in-house by person employed by school system
participation in courses is no longer voluntary, but is required
Interesting enough, this parallels the e-mail that I have recently located from my great, great grandparents who remarked that the only reason they showed up on the Battle Green in July 1776 was because they were told that they would not be allowed to live in Lexington anymore if they did not show up that day with their hardware fully loaded.
Appendix A: chart of Pioneer usage from 19 Pioneers
(these are approximate # of periods that each pioneer estimates that he/she uses the projector in the classroom)
pioneer # periods # periods per cent access
code in classroom with projector
aa 13 8 62% yes
aa 22 14 64% yes
ac 20 9 45% in room or next door
ao 5 1 20% no
ar 15 1 7% no
at 24 7 29% yes
ea 24 3.5 15% next door
ha 22 1 5% next door
ha 21 3 14% yes
hv 20 1 5% next door
ii 20 2 10% yes
la 22 5 23% yes, tv
le 12 6 50% yes in lab
le 7 7 100% yes in lab
mo 16 8 50% yes
or 27 0 0% neighbor
ra 24 6.5 27% yes
ra 22 2 9% no, downstairs
to 17 1 6% no
AVERAGE USAGE of 19 pioneers: 28%
Appendix B: selected responses from 19 Pioneers on the importance or value of the projector setup
What adjectives or language would you use to describe your usage of the projector setup in terms of its role in your class, e.g. essential, peripheral, important, etc?
2 letter pioneer id code (to keep comments relatively anonymous)
ha Until now, it has been peripheral ... now that I know the jack in my classroom is live, and I can use Ta colleagues's projector, I am certain that the number will go up
to There are two questions here. One-the computer set up is a pain. I've got to get the projector & cord, often between classes, and I always try to return it immediately after the class, even if another class is waiting for me. The second question is how I like using the laptop to project onto a screen wall. I actually like this quite a bit. It is great for doing simulations in statistics. I would not say essential, but certainly important. The strong students find such simulations interesting, illuminating, and convincing.
or The projector is not essential being used as a single loader in my teaching, for I cherish my class hours for human-to- human interactions. But, I would like to try to let my students use powerpoint program when they will engage in research projects nex
hv peripheral but could become important - it is essential when I do CBL labs and the students need to print their graph
ha mostly important; essential for certain topics; used primarily to explore specific issues/events through web sites and CD-Roms; also important as a vehicle for project research
ea important, great for enhancing abstract stuff when i can use a simulation of molecular or cellular activity, adds richness to a topic when i can use the ULI vernier device to get a kid's heart rate or EKG on the white board with the projector, etc
ra important, but as the semester progresses more important
aa important in my own prof. dev. goals, experimental; challenging to find ways to present my curriculum using the computer as another tool for presentation; easier now that I use a MAC instead of trying to learn a PC at the same time
ac Important for advanced classes like Spanish IV Honors, where I find it's especially useful for : 1) oral presentations (both prepared by me or my students) ; 2) language or literary research on the Web. Helpful for intermediate classes like Spanish II ;
le important but not essential. I try to have my Plan B ready to go because you never know when your computer might crash. When my computer does crash, I restart it and in the mean time I keep lecturing and ask the students to picture what I am saying in the
la for art history, it is essential and between the cd-rom and the slide
ra excellent at producing and demonstrating models for the students that are more involved and complex than might be attainable with normal white board. Extremely important aid in this sense.
ii essential, a wonderful tool to broaden the students' horizons and to get them speaking in Spanish
mo essential when it comes to days when we do discussions/notes. important for web and cdrom labs we do. peripheral when we are doing hands-on lab activities .
ao enriching, enhancing, allows me to be creative/ innovative in my approach to teaching certain things, fun!
ar Being able to look at the digital artwork in a large format without paying hundreds of dollars for large prints is very important. Not Essential... but extremely helpful.
at varies greatly; for some topics I make little or no use of the projector; for some topics I use the projector as a peripheral instructional/demonstration tool for experiments where students need to know how to use particular software. e.g.: data collection software gets demonstrated in a large group so kids can then go use software on machines around lab.Some topics the projector becomes an indispensable teaching tool: in studying, say, electric fields and potential I use the machine to (a) demonstrate the generation of field maps before the kids make their own (b) project maps about which I have written problems for group discussion. My favorite uses of the projector are SPONTANEOUS. e.g. astronomy kid says gee couldn't we calculate the size of the Astronomical Unit by looking at such-and-such and someone else says gee you can get that off the US Naval Observatory's web site and so we fire up the projector and figure it out as a class. Or for another example, physics class having hard time visualizing a situation - I set it up in a physics simulation program, we project it on the wall -- discuss -- aha!
Appendix C: selected entries from Pioneer Diaries
Wednesday, January 5, 2000 12:11:33 PM
Subject: mapping lesson
Today I presented a lesson on topographic mapping using my projector and my "really god G3 laptop". The kids could see the maps on the screen, and we used them to talk about map and landscape interpretation. Pretty useful!
Wednesday, January 5, 2000 12:33:41 PM
Subject: Digital Design
Day two of the art departments official venture into the digital realm has left all participants (myself included) excited about what's in store.
We have begun our exploration into Digital design with a whirlwind tour of the tools of Photoshop before we begin to talk about basic design concepts and start to put them to use. Having my laptop set up right next to one of the G4s allowed me to display some of my work with examples of the tools I was displaying and using on the other computer. Being able to jump between the two allowed us to move a lot quicker.
Thursday, January 6, 2000 3:36:17 PM
Subject: graphs, drawings, movies
Pioneer use this week:
class takes data, makes calculations, we graph it on the board (e.g. today in astronomy we calculated the sun's angle of elevation over the course of eight hours from data taken yesterday) stand around and draw conclusions as a group looking at a big color graph on the wall.
going over homework that involves drawing (this seems like a cinch for geometry teachers) kids did refraction worksheet -- how will a ray of light bend as it passes through various optical elements? Kids do sheet for HW, then we go over it by projecting the handout on the board and kids solve the problems in front of class with colored markers on the projected image.
tomorrow or next day -- showing video from CD rom of very finicky experiment (ballbearings falling in a stream onto the pan of a balance) nice big projection of illustration of v. interesting physics problem.
Monday, January 10, 2000 7:55:56 AM
Subject: oedipus rex on the web
Just a belated update. I played "The Oedipus Rex" game with a class one friday afternoon, and I have to say it was sort of a fun way to test the kids' knowledge of the plot, give them a few easy points at the end of the term and relax a touch in the face of this Greek tragedy. I found it on the teaching company page, under the "Curriculum links" heading, and in the English/ Sophocles sub-heading..... if anyone in this group has yet to tap this wonderful resource, I have to say go for it!
Monday, January 10, 2000 10:36:55 AM
Subject: Virtual Lab
Class has just begun mitosis (cell division). The university of Arizona has a great tutorial on this subject and a cool lab. With quick time movies, great pictures of the different stages and easy to follow information, it makes for a fun, exciting time. Some will be done on the projector, some will be done individually in the lab on computers and with the microscopes.
Monday, January 10, 2000 10:46:32 AM
Subject: pioneer diary
today was a tough day in art history as my Compaq laptop refused to recognize the cd-rom. what was a pioneer diarist to do/ especially one who has been told that if he doesn't wrote a note to the pioneer diary group that the computer dept. won't speak to me or fix my laptop. I went to Plan B and went to the internet and got to the art history web page and taught old kingdom Egypt from those pages.
Monday, January 10, 2000 3:59:07 PM
Last spring I used my pioneer computer to workshop papers in class. This was a "good thing" because I saved the life of at least one tree. More importantly, work shopping student papers on a computer screen via noblesnet allowed the entire class to comment on an individual's paper an present composite comments and suggestions to the writer of the paper through email. Usually, I would have the author of the paper sit at the computer an high-light sentences or phrases with colored texts. Sometimes I'd have the class rewrite paragraph(s) to assist the author with his/her grammar or analytical development. When the comments were completed we simply forwarded a copy of the workshopped paper to the student to be revised and resubmitted at a later date. As a Class I think many students benefited from seeing what was desirable writing and what was expected of them in general. Often, students would identify mistakes that they made themselves or would come to the realization that they write better or just as well as their peers.
Beyond workshopping papers the computer was very useful when discussing web sites pertaining to writing rules and research skills. My class last year made frequent visits to Author Miller, August Wilson, and Shakespearian.
Tuesday, January 11, 2000 8:18:35 AM
Subject: Pioneering on the web
Recently I completed a fun exercise that could probably work for other language teachers (including English as well). I developed a template story and then had the students fill in certain details to form a complete, original, collective tale. Sort of like a "Madlib", but not a blind choice of words. The students were able to see the context.
This worked really well and we had a good time doing it. They could see the whole development taking place since we were able to edit live and on screen using the pioneer projector.
I am also using the WWW a lot these days. I have a website "spanamericas.com" and have a link at the bottom of the page which leads the students to links for their course calendar, their homework, etc. It is very convenient to rapidly access something on the web in class using the pioneer equipment.
I have many other things I am doing with the equipment, but I'll save those for future weeks entries.
Wednesday, January 12, 2000 9:00:35 AM
Subject: copyright laws and pioneering
This is my first entry (even though I do read the others every week)
I have a Pioneer G3 laptop that I used recently in my CP3 classes. We were discussing copyright laws, which can be a boring subject if not approached right. I began the class with a shareware game that I downloaded from the web, but I didn't tell that to the students at first. I asked them how much they thought it should cost and how long they thought it took to make it. They were VERY surprised to find out that I could download it from the internet for free and then even more surprised to find out that I actually sent in the $20.
It opened up a wonderful discussion about licensing agreements and laws. The students then had to pick an aspect of copyright law, research it, and translate it into plain English.
Wednesday, January 12, 2000 10:42:51 AM
Subject: PD CD
On Monday in PD for Class VI, we began our Sexuality unit. I used a CD of mine called Bodyworks to illustrate the parts of the female and male anatomy. The CD features colorful full detailed drawings of the male and female reproductive systems on the left of the screen. On the top right is a list of the vocabulary for the image. Clicking on ovary in the image draws a line from the word ovary in the list to the cursor. At the same time a description of the ovary appears on the bottom right of the screen. All the vocabulary in the description also cross-linked to other text.
Does this make sense? The kids liked it.
Wednesday, January 12, 2000 12:43:32 PM
Subject: tech-generated course
Cc: History Dept (ML)
I decided to turn the second semester of my 20th Century course into a tech-inspired experiment featuring the use of the Web to study five general topics :WWII, Cold War, Mid-East Crisis, Pacific Resurgence and Third World. While the students do read from a textbook for background information, they come every other class to the computer lab to explore sites I dig up. Yesterday, we looked at maps of German expansion from 1936 to 1939 and maps and photographs of German military advances into Poland in 1939. I also led the kids to a diary of a Polish doctor during the Nazi occupation and had them print it out to read and analyze for homework. Last week I had my group of six subscribe to the NY Times on the Web in order to follow the course of current events pertinent to the course. The group seems to like this interactive approach to the course and I'm pleased with the quality of the sites I've found to this point. Yet, I'm not sure I'll always find interesting, credible and useful sites on all the topics I wish to explore this term.
Wednesday, January 12, 2000 1:00:46 PM
Subject: teaching cross-platform
In my CP1 and CP2 classes, I try to teach cross-platform (meaning working with both Mac and PC) as much as possible. I feel it gives the students such an advantage, particularly when they go on to college, to be able to sit down at either a Mac or PC and feel comfortable with what they are doing.
Some days, I borrow a projector from the West Lab and bring it into the East lab where I teach my classes. I have one projector hooked up to the Mac and one hooked up to the PC. I might teach half of the class on the Mac (projecting onto the big screen) and then flip off that projector and then switch over to the PC which is all ready to go with its own projector. Then when it is time to send them to work on their in-class activity, I partner them up and tell them to pick any computer Mac or PC. I never hear from them, "I need a different computer! I don't know how to use a PC," or vice versa.
Tuesday, January 18, 2000 11:24:33 PM
Subject: big vc nobles and Japan
12 students on Nobles side and 34 students on Kyoto side met at 5:30 pm our time this evening (and 7:30 am their time) to discuss "teenagers in Japan". We tested the vc connections at least 4 times between Nobles and Kyoto, exchanged numerous emails to figure technical problems, discuss the detailed procedure, faxed synopsis of what students would say and ask, having students to go through dressed rehearsals ... all these preparations in December and January came into nice folds today.
The voice was clear...the visions were clear... I experienced that I was handling the camera back and forth on both ends more and more spontaneously during the hour thanks to Steve's training beforehand. We even ended the session almost
exactly on time at 6:30 pm and everybody had a chance to talk.
My students all enjoyed meeting with Japanese students, at least 8 of them came to Nobles two years ago, and some of my students went to their school during the summer. The exchange program between Nobles and KNHS has now become a year- round exchange through the video conference technology. Since KNHS students did most of talking this time, giving presentations on "teenage problems", "dreams about future", and "political activism", while Nobles students participated as active listeners, my plan is to now ask my students to express their reactions and opinions about the same issues about American teenagers. Steve will help me post these in the web using Video Streamer, that KNHS students can visit to learn more about what American students think after presenting their opinions.
Wednesday, January 19, 2000 6:35:28 AM
Subject: Computer Lab fun
Yesterday I met both my Latin A classes in the Computer lab. We used the big screen to work through our phrase of the day. Vincet qui se vincit = He/she will conquer who conquers himself/herself. Then we created a list of topics to review for the Chapter 9 test that's coming up. Lastly I showed the students a Latin noun drill program. They observed how to navigate to the site using the hypertext in noblesnet and then they each went to a computer to play with the program. They seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.
Wednesday, January 19, 2000 10:58:32 AM
Subject: electronic blackboard?
Recent projector use:
discussing (refining?) how to write a lab report -- group editing exercises with overhead.
demonstrating how to make your lab report look wicked polished and impress the heck out of your teacher ( instead of stapling graph to end of report, copy it out of Graphical analysis and paste it into Clarisworks as an embedded graphic. --- same for diagrams of equipment)
Going over optics problems, projecting on board, writing on image with markers. V. nice to be working with an exact duplicate of the handout kids have in front of them. Particularly helpful when precision of geometry counts in getting the right result.
Two concerns (from the department of neurotic perfectionism in purist of excellence in teaching...):
1) All these these exercises seem pedestrian. I like them, I think they improve the quality of my teaching -- but it seems like just an electronic blackboard. Computers in the classroom should be more than expensive typewriters; projectors should be more than expensive whiteboards. Hmmm...
2) Technical question: I'd like the image to be bigger. Right now the projector is about seven feet from the board and gives an image about three feet high. Detail is not easily visible from the back of the room. I'd like to have an image that's half again as big which means moving the projector out into the room -- or suspending it from the ceiling or something.... sounds like a pain in the neck... How far away does the projector have to be before the image is too pale to be useful?
Wednesday, January 19, 2000 11:07:47 AM
Subject: Re: electronic blackboard?
Pioneer Diaries (ML)
1) All these these exercises seem pedestrian. I like them, I think they improve the quality of my teaching -- but it seems like just an electronic blackboard. Computers in the classroom should be more than expensive typewriters; projectors should be more than expensive whiteboards. Hmmm...
Well, there are times when I let the "glorified whiteboards" argument get to me, but then again, the blackboard/whiteboard is merely an extension of a patch of dirt that Pythagoras scratched triangles onto. In Latin, there are interesting sites, and plenty of classical art which is appropriate to the class reading; in the end, though, it's the Latin word that counts, and software hasn't found a way to surpass that. While I am always happy to explore new dictionary applications, and killer search sites, the class always returns to projector/whiteboard/Latin poetry.
Wednesday, January 19, 2000 2:37:36 PM
Subject: projector use
frequent use of laptop and projector:
my ap bio text has a cd that comes with it, with a unit for each chapter. i have used it all year, sometimes earlier in the year it was a great way to get a big molecule up in the board fast, and then even to go to the whiteboard and circle important parts of the molecule during discussions. other times, it has provided great simulations of various processes (i.e. cool movies of real cells dividing, molecular interactions within a cell, replication of DNA, etc). for some chapters i use it and for some i think that discussion is better, with stuff i put myself on the board enhanced by what the kids offer.
when i do use it i can replay it if need be to see something several times over.
the best part is that there is a narrator who sounds just like dan matlack, so we (fondly) refer to our friend inside the laptop as dan, and are always eager to hear what he has to say.
the cd also links thru netscape though i have not gone to those links, for the cd has been good and substantive. (i did once use the link to get quicktime and shockwave upgrades so that the cd would play out 100% and do all of the cool stuff that it is supposed to.)
so, at the moment it has been really helpful for teaching some rather dicey stuff, and i get positive feedback from the kids on it.
as an aside, i have 2 other cd's that have come with texts-this seems to be the way a number of science books are headed. for all of the reasons i just noted above, it is cool way to go. i think it would get boring if i did it all of the time, but for some visuals it is great.
Thursday, January 20, 2000 6:49:12 AM
Subject: projector use
Yesterday I used the glorified white board projector to instantly project some notes onto the board. Instead of writing the rules for forming the future tense of regular verbs, I had them in a document that I just projected for the kids to see and copy. I could then cruise the room making sure they had the info in their notebooks and answering any questions.
Later in the period I put one student at the computer filling out the endings to a Latin noun using a drill program on the web. I turned the projector off while he typed the declension and the class and I discussed a related topic. Then I turned the light back on and watched as the student checked his work with the program's "Check Answers" button. Hardly earth shaking stuff, but certainly the projector and the computer are novel or interesting enough to keep more students' attentions than one teacher. Is the tool worth the cost?
Sunday, January 23, 2000 8:03:42 PM
Subject: writing work
Last Friday I tried to use the wonderful "glass" and overhead projector Steve lent me for a lesson in writing a good paragraph. Unfortunately, I didn't check ahead to see if the equipment worked, and almost had to go to a far less glamorous non-technology using "Plan B." Luckily, the wonderful Ellie Newman came to my rescue, setting up a loaner projector in about 5 minutes, and we were on our way. I think having the lesson up on the wall kept the attention of restless 9th graders a bit better than a regular "chalk talk" last period Friday.
Wednesday, January 26, 2000 2:24:05 PM
Subject: vc and video streamer
As a follow-up activity for the video conferencing with Kyoto students, Japanese students made 60 seconds statement to express their reactions after the big vc last week in front of the digital camera. Some recorded in Japanese classroom, some did it outside to show their Japanese friends the snow around us right now.
These clippings will be posted by video streamer on the Web together with their scrips next week, so that Kyoto students can now hear and read what Nobles students thought about their presentations on Japanese teenagers and how Nobles students view American teenagers in contrast.
These series of activities--preparation before vc, actual interactions in vc, and reactions after vc--make this whole exchange meaningful, rounding out students' understanding of the issue from cross-cultural aspects.
Thursday, January 27, 2000 6:49:59 AM
Subject: projector use
This week I have been using the projector on my "green" board. It would be nicer if I had a white dry erase board, but the green board works to. I can use powerpoint to summarize vocab and lab results we've been doing, and I can also draw diagrams next to the text. Not as sophisticated as downloading graphics, but my students say it is helpful to see pictures, and sometimes it is hard to find the graphics I need.
Tuesday, February 1, 2000 2:30:37 PM
Subject: Re: art history and English UNITE!
Cc: Pioneer Diaries (ML)
Hi Kate. These sites (especially the first one) may prove useful for your presentation and are linked to Nobilis history page.
Go to: http://nobilis.nobles.edu/nobles_only/academics/courseware/BestOF.html#anchor32154
Creative Impulse (historical art)*****
an engrossing site that explores history through the Arts. Many, many, well-organized links
Artcyclopedia: The Guide to Museum-Quality Art on the Internet****
highlights feature artists and museums and allows you to search works by artist. Good starting point for surfing
Perseus Project (Tufts U.)****
worthwhile resource for Greek and Classical resources. Site contains an extensive library of art objects and the like.
The Museum of Antiquities****
is a virtual gallery of special exhibits, including Hadrian's Wall and Flints and Stones, with nice images and explanatory text. Also offers a Special of the Month
Thursday, February 3, 2000 1:06:19 PM
Subject: Distance photoshop lessons
Today Ellie and I had a short video conference session with Janice Kushner at the Boston Home. There are several residents there who are interested in learning how to use the program and we have scheduled weekly sessions with them.
Steve and Ellie have been trying to work out some technical challenges in being able to send an image of a computer Desktop over the video conference system so that remote viewers can watch an instructor and their computer screen while they work on the computer and give verbal instruction.
While we were unable to do this directly Ellie came up with a complicated PLAN B that got us though the session very effectively. I was working on a laptop using a lightware projector on a board next to me. I lectured while working on the computer and was able to show Janice the program in action. Ellie manned the Video Camera switching between me and the board and zooming in close to look at the image/ tools in use.
It was effective and while we had to slow down momentarily while the camera moved it was an excellent tool for being able to talk and display what we were working on simultaneously. I don't know if we have done much distance/ remote teaching here but it's kind of exciting to be able to teach to people far away and still allow for iteration rather than it being just a lecture!!!
Friday, February 4, 2000 6:50:31 AM
I continue to use the projector as a quick blackboard in the following ways:
1) We look at Latin phrases each day in Latin A and B and I simply project them rather than write them new. They are listed on a noblesnet note that I keep in my mailbox. When tests come I gather the phrases in a single note and mail them to the students to be sure they know which ones they must know.
2) In addition Latin A has been studying the attributes of deities and I occasionally call up images from the web for students to identify.
3) In Latin B I project Latinitas, a Latin form drill program, on the board for students to work through. With timely use of the standby switch on the projector, one student can work at the machine while the others write their answers on their respective papers.
4) We have created test review sheets as a class that I mailed to students at the end of class.
5) With the help of Jason Gavris, we are creating vocabulary drill games on quia.com. The games are for Latin A students so far.
Tuesday, February 8, 2000 1:32:17 PM
Subject: Lab on the web
I will be having the class do a project on the computers at the end of this week/beginning of next week that will help them in their understanding of genetics. We will not only be doing some research on genetic disorders, but there are 3 case studies that we will look at to attempt to diagnose. After this, their job is to find some preliminary information about the genetic disorder so that they may bring their finding back to the class.
Wednesday, February 9, 2000 12:00:20 AM
Subject: Roman Authors & Timeliner
I tried using the Timeliner software that came preinstalled on this Powerbook to put Roman authors in sequence, to help my AP students figure out Early Latin writers, Golden Age writers, and Silver Age writers. The program wasn't half-bad -- though I would have liked a more "banner-like" approach to span a writer's lifetime. I could only get flags on the timeline, and had them placed at each writer's death-date.
I switched over to Reunion V software, the family tree software that I have tried to get people interested in. It has a great lifetime banner feature, that I could show pretty well with modern "families", but I couldn't get it to handle dates in 1st Century BC or AD. I'll try to figure it out in Timeliner again ... but sure wish it had that full-color, eye-candy look of Reunion!
Wednesday, February 9, 2000 2:04:22 PM
Subject: EFIELDS And astronomy
in conceptual physics right now we are studying electric fields -- we are using a piece of shareware called EM Field to investigate the net force on a test charge due to multiple fixed charges and then expand that idea into the construction of electric field maps. Daniel Kelly and I have both introduced this topic using the software on the overhead and then sent the kids out to construct their own maps. It fun -- but not as fun as what comes next: Electric Field Hockey: figure out what arrangement of fixed charges will propel a test charge around a set of barriers and into a goal!
New Astronomy idea --
Q: How far away is the sun?
A: 93 million miles
Q: how do you know?
A: It was a question on 'Millionaire.'
Q: But how did the contestant know?
A: Probably read it in a book.....
Q: No, dummy, what I mean is how can you figure out how far away the sun is?
A: ummmm..... go there and back and then check your odometer?
Q: Yeah, right.
A: ok, ok..... some kind of triangulation, right? Some kind of 'the-sun-is-at-this-angle when-viewed-from-here-but-at-another-angle-when-viewed-from-there' kinda thing?
Q: on the right track....
A: but how do you know that the sun is overhead in Tuscon when the first quarter moon is overhead as viewed from Tblisi?
Q: The web!!
I haven't figured out exactly how to look up the right info, but I think kids could calculate important values for the geometry of the solar system based on terrestrial observations in astronomical ephemeris available on the web ... I don't have the kinks worked out, but it's promising (and easier than setting up a videoconference with Brazil!)
Friday, February 11, 2000 1:07:24 PM
Subject: web research for cp3
This week students worked in pairs researching side stories to the odyssey. They found some interesting sites and I had all students forward at least 5 sites that had to to with the Odyssey, one way or another. I have to check the sites out soon, but hopefully it will be a great resource for both the Classics and English departments.
Sunday, February 13, 2000 3:06:22 PM
Subject: slide show
This week I worked with Lynne to begin putting together a slide show on Claris Works for my class IV English kids-- just a quickie way to show them some Greek art as well as art done in later periods by various European artists which pictures Greek gods and goddesses..... I'm hoping to finish up this week so I can give my little art talk on Friday! I was very excited to learn how to cut and paste images from the web onto my presentation, as I admit somewhat ashamedly that I had no idea how to do that previously. I guess that's why we do this pioneer thing, huh?
Monday, February 14, 2000 11:59:59 AM
Subject: Valentine's Day History
In HHC we finished studying the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity last week. This morning I borrowed a Lightware projector and displayed the Website www.holidays.net/amore/story, which relates the story of St. Valentine, martyred by the Romans under Claudius II for performing secret Christian marriages. The Website background is a vibrant, romantic red, and there is a musical track that plays automatically. The text is clear and easy to understand and--as far as I am aware--historically accurate. The students enjoyed the connection between ancient history and the flowers that many of them were carrying around today.
Prior to this morning, I had not realized that it was possible to cut and paste an entire Web page, music and all, into a MSWord document. This served as my Plan B, in case the Web connection didn't work at the beginning of class. In addition, I posted the Web Page on the Campus File Server, in case my hard drive acted up. I also learned how to set up and operate the Lightware projector, which is surprisingly easy.
Monday, February 14, 2000 12:32:16 PM
Subject: clarisworks slideshow!
I spent the last week of CP2 (I only see the kids once a week) teaching my kids how to create a ClarisWorks slide show. While a CW show is not quite as fancy as Powerpoint, it has some great features, it is easy to use and it is a great tool for the kids because Clarisworks is available on all machines on campus (whereas Powerpoint is not). Plus, they learn how to use Powerpoint in CP3 so I didn't want to steal the show from Claudia. :)
So needless to say I was overwhelmed with pride and joy when Helen Cespedes e.mailed me after CP2 class to see if she could borrow a laptop and projector setup. She had taken the skills she had learned in CP2 and used them to create a terrific slide show for her Civics class!
If you are interested in creating a CW slideshow of your own, simply create a new CW word processing document. Remember that each page of the document equals a slide (i.e. page one= slide one). Use all of your CW skills to put text and graphics on the page. Then, go to the Window menu and choose Slide Show... OR just ask Helen Cespedes to give you a little technoquickie!
Monday, February 14, 2000 1:29:37 PM
Subject: Science Lab slideshow
This might as well be a follow-up to Ellie's Clarisworks Slideshow diary.
Last week the students designed and conducted their own experiments to investigate friction on model cars. Their experiments focused on different areas and ultimately will help them design and build better solar cars in the spring.
I worked with Ellie to have the students write a lab report as a Clarisworks slideshow. They are creating them this week, and next week they will rate each group's to award a prize for the best slideshow, according to the criteria we gave them this week.
Tuesday, February 15, 2000 12:45:13 PM
Subject: this week-Pioneer Diaries
Hola a todos. I'm a new pioneer : happy to be part of the group!
I have now a new G3 Mac laptop that I'm trying to use for different uses :
1. We are using Powerpoint for slide shows presentations in the Spanish II class. Until now, students had prepared two interesting Powerpoint presentations on Costa Rica and Chile. The presentations will be available soon in the Jaime Ocana public conference.
2. I had a first experience with video conferencing, talking to two French teachers in New Mexico, as well as with Maria Montalvo ; we are planning on put a videoconference together, probably on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
more next week .. Jaime
Wednesday, February 16, 2000 2:12:36 PM
Subject: astronomy on the web
Starting to use the astronomy resources on the web with both AP Physics and astronomy classes.
Today, introducing the topic of gravitation, I showed recent photographs from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) probe which entered orbit about Asteroid 433 Eros on Valentines day (this is not a joke! although it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek when the guys at NASA who host the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) posted a photo of a heart-shaped crater which has to be seen to be believed: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000214.html ) Later this week AP physics has a web assignment to look at NEAR data and make some calculations about the orbit of the probe.
Still desperately seeking a backward astronomical calculator -- postings to astronomy listservs have not yielded anything yet.
Friday, February 18, 2000 9:52:08 AM
Subject: more projector stuff
hi. yesterday my anat and phys class was treated to a presentation from Dr Shafali Shah, whose afternoon program project was a tissue culture study. with the help of a guy named john dahlquist from organogenesis, a biotech co in canton that has an FDA approved artificial skin product that we learn about in anat and phys, shefali grew artificial skin here at school.
organogenesis gave us a powerpoint presentation about artificial skin, and shefali showed it as part of her presentation.
fred scuclo also came to hear shefali's presentation, and at the end he took us to the wright center www site (the tufts program where he is on a fellowship this year). he has developed a web page that has a very neat activity concerning fibroblast cell growth, the project that shefali did last year with fred (that won an award at the MIT state science fair). fibroblasts are also part of the work shefali did this year with culturing skin.
so, the projector made it possible for all of this to be shared with the class. we were given the power point presentation to keep and it is great to show!
Friday, February 18, 2000 1:09:50 PM
Subject: E-mail tutors
I have been slowly communicating with a graduate student at Tufts about using the e-mail in my class V science class. After Spring Break we will be involved fully in working on building model solar cars for the JSS.
My contact at Tufts has lined up 6 other engineering students who are willing to field questions re: solar cars. My plan (as of now) is to sign up each group with one of the 6 mentors and give them an assignment to write an e-mail describing their design ideas and asking for feedback from the mentors. hopefully this will spark some continuing dialogue with engineering students @ Tufts and my students @ Nobles.
Monday, February 21, 2000 4:25:14 PM
Subject: Re: request for epigraphy vocab
Dan Matlack asked:
Can you ask your list serve seeking a list of basic abbreviations found on Roman coins? I want to create a unit on coins for 7th grade students, but I'm rather ignorant and a book I've ordered to help has been extremely slow in coming. I need a list of abbreviations found on coins and what Latin words those abbreviations stand for. The students and I can find meanings for the Latin words.
OK Dan, here you go -- I'll forward the list to Pioneers in case any history or classics people are interested... Mark
Coinage sites: (All worth bookmarking)
Jay's Roman History, Coins, and technology Site:
Collecting Roman Coins:
Roman Coins of the Early Empire:
The last site looks very good -- but the first two (the second is the offspring of the first) have more eye-candy.
All sites found by going to
Roman Sites General:
Tuesday, February 22, 2000 5:39:43 PM
Subject: web searching
I have been teaching my CP1 class how to search the web using two different techniques or tools: search engines and search directories.
The first day we addressed this topic we worked in lecture mode for half of the class (where they sit in their desks and take notes while I project on the overhead) and in hands-on mode for the second half (working in pairs with notes at hand as their guide). I explained to them the difference between a search engine (where you type in a word or phrase and hit "Search" or "Ask") and a search directory (where you use the links the site provides to narrow your topic down... i.e. click on Sports, then on Women's Sports, then on Basketball, then on College, to get to the UConn Women's Team Home Page).
I think the best analogy which illustrates the difference between the two is this: imagine that the web is a book. A search engine would be the index in the back of the book while a search directory would be the table of contents at the front. I try to relate technological concepts to "real world" concepts that they are familiar with as much as possible. I think it really hits it home for them.
One last note about search engines and directories... many sites like www.yahoo.com actually combine both of these tools (they allow you to type in a word or click through their various topics). Sites that do this can be called searchable web directories.
Friday, February 25, 2000 12:56:09 PM
Subject: pioneer-this week
1.-We continued using Powepoint for Spanish oral presentations : Spanish II students prepared a powerpoint pres. on Peru ; and Spanish IV (H) students presented with PP a Spanish news (on the new law passed on Spain about marriages in prison) from the e-paper El País ; the presentation was followed by a class debate. You can take a look to this presentation in the JaimeGOcana conference.
2.- Web searches are proving to be very useful in presenting and getting information on new cultural spanish-related topics : in the Spanish IV (H) class, we have been reading García Márquez "La siesta del martes" and the beginning of Ernesto Sábato "El Túnel". Students made a very productive web research on both hispanoamerican writers : Among the García Márquez related sites, this "Macondo" site
proved to be an excellent ressource ; the following search-result site out of Lycos provides a good number of interesting links on Sábato's life and works :
Finally, we used the Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofía sites for an oral presentation prepared by Spanish I students on the paintings of El Greco, Velázquez, Goya and Picasso : check out the
site , which is excellent!!, and provides visits and comments to the El Prado founds ; and http://museoreinasofia.mcu.es/
Sunday, February 27, 2000 5:03:39 PM
Subject: Projector Use at Vergil Conference
Dan asked me to set up the Pioneer rig for the vergil conference we had here at school in Towles on Saturday. A few notes:
1. I was worried about brightness being a factor in Towles -- I was not sure that the projector would be bright enough. It was fine, as long as the Towles lighting was tweaked a bit. In general, Towles was a bit dark for notetaking, though -- there's a difficult balance between projection and notetaking.
2. From my perspective: for what we were doing (group of 50, digging into 10 line segments of the Aeneid), the projection of the lines seemed superfluous. Most participants were engrossed with the their own copies of the reading, and were making notes on their own copies -- so projection was not really necessary. That might have been different if the speaker had some way of drawing attention to specific phrases from the passage -- much like what we do when projecting on a whiteboard or using a pointer. The most comfortable and appropriate way, for a totally involved audience, seemed to be the old fashioned approach: teachers looking at their own copies of the text.
3. How does this differ from a normal Latin class? For one thing, the audience at the conference was FAR more attentive to the Latin than any class imaginable. In a class, the students often need reminding about where we are in the text; not really a problem with a group of 50 Vergil experts. Attention to the text would actually have been diverted, if the conference group had to deal with only the projected text. A lot of it comes from the comfort level of the speaker and the addressees.
4. One place where the projector would have helped: in the afternoon, we heard a presentation on the AP program, and the speaker described the AP Web page, and all the details to be found there. It would have been far better (and very easy) to have simply pointed my Netscape at the sight for the group.
All in all, an interesting day of Latin, and one which made me think about the Pioneer System's pros and cons.
Sunday, February 27, 2000 10:10:50 PM
Subject: Creating a Public Conference for classes
For the last two weeks I have been creating a public conference for my classes in AP Euro and HHC. Steve has been very helpful in setting these up; everything from brainstorming about the purpose to choosing the little icon that identifies it. My motivation in setting up these conferences is twofold: first, to make it easier for my students to access the materials that they need for class, and second, to avoid the headache of keeping track of who has (and has not) received which handout for which class on which day. By posting syllabi, handouts, etc. to the public conference, the students have to take more responsibilty for their own learning. It has not yet solved the "my dog ate my homework" excuse, but it is a step in the right direction!
Although at first I found the conferences intimidating, once I started to see them as an extension of NoblesNet, they were less terrifying. I am still learning about the best way to post materials, and am thinking about ways to utilize the conference so that it is more than just a cyber-postdrop. For example, when posting materials to the conference, I have a couple of options: cut-and-paste into an e-mail; attach a file to an e-mail; click and drag from one file to another. Each option has its pros and cons. Soon I hope to add a "Homework Box" to submit assignments securely. I also want to learn how to scan in images so that I can post maps, graphs, and other visual images useful for the study of history.
Lots of other faculty have created conferences, and it's useful to browse around and see how they have organized them. I suppose establishing one's own Web page is the grown-up (and public) equivalent of creating a public conference on NoblesNet; that will be another goal for the future.
Appendix D: what every Nobles faculty member ought to know about technology
Richard Baker-fac writes:
Included below is the paragraph I will send in March to various people on tech for next year:
I want you to be involved next year more intimately with technology, learning some of the basic skills that may lead eventually to our being able to use the medium as productively as possible. I've arranged with Steve Bergen for you and some others to have a "personal trainer" (a thoroughly 90's concept), someone you will meet with weekly in order to master certain computer skills. I have asked him to develop a checklist of technology skills that every Nobles faculty member should acquire/demonstrate and have charged him with overseeing this Technology Training Program for next year. I hope that you will be one of the first in the School to become really facile with this technology and I look to your leadership to help others in the years ahead.
From Steve Bergen:
Today, feb 1, we are going to begin our "personal trainer" program and get ready for this september; the idea is that all of the new to Nobles teachers will be matched up with one of us (Claudia, Ellie, Lynne, me) and will be required to "chekhov" the following items during their first year of Nobles. Ben Snyder (assistant head for programs) has requested to be in the same "chekhov" boat as one of several returning Nobles faculty members. This list of 10 topics is subject to changes and revisions, but we are now in search of several pioneers to join us as personal trainers. Of course, it may take a few weekly sessions with one of us this Spring to fill in a few gaps, but then you get your certificate! Any takers for this next path on the pioneer trail?
TOPIC 1: File Server Usage
Connect to file server as guest and as own account via password, transfer files to/from a server. Demonstrate ongoing usage of the file server via a personal account for your own files or backups. Also plan at least one curriculum project where you post info for your students within a courses folder and students turn in their work to you via a drop box on the file server.
TOPIC 2: NoblesNet
Demonstrate proficiency with the following items: address book usage for class lists and advisees, checking history, chatting and resume features, making folders, preserving files, attaching files, moving text from the web to a noblesnet note including the web address.
Sample task: On a computer of your choice (Mac or PC), format a new disk, create 3 folders, get onto noblesnet and check your mail. Save a noblesnet note with text into one of the folders. Go into public conferences and find a conference that looks interesting and contains informaton. Make an alias of this conference so that it is on your NoblesNet desktop. Save the directory of this conference into a second folder. Find an attached file in some conference, e.g. XXX. Save this attached fil into your third folder.
TOPIC 3: Printer Usage and Scanner Usage
Demonstrate the ability to print from either Mac or PC to any printer on campus.
Demonstrate the ability to scan a picture on one of the scanners (Mac or PC) and keep the file under 100K. Put this within one of your folders and then transfer it to the file server. Go to another computer (PC or Mac) and show you can insert this into a ClarisWorks document that contains your name. Go to another computer of the OTHER flavor and demonstrate that you can view the file and print to several printers.
TOPIC 4: Powerpoint
Demonstrate the ability to create a powerpoint presentation that includes a graphic from the web, text and URL from the web,
TOPIC 5: ClarisWorks (or whatever word processor is our standard)
Demonstrate the usage of headers, footers, footnotes, margin markers, etc. Demonstrate the ability to use the word processor to make outlines Something with SS basics as well. .In September of your first year at Nobles, you will be given a disk with fake names. Demonstrate the ability to backup this disk, enter fake grades and fake comments and turn in via NoblesNet and/or file server.
Sample task: Make a spreadsheet that demonstrates one of the following: calendar, budget, gradebook, plotting of points for a function y=f(x)
TOPIC 6: Projector within the classroom
Use a projector and laptop within your classroom on 3 occasions during the school year, leaning on a tech person from the computer dept for help, of course in terms of setup and planning.
TOPIC 7: Use of the labs in hands-on mode
Use a computer lab for a writing activity or web-based activity or software activity in hands-on mode on 3 occasions during the school year, leaning on a tech person from the computer dept for help, of course in terms of setup and planning.
TOPIC 8 : The web
Make sure you understand the difference between www.nobles.edu and nobilis.nobles.edu. Demonstrate the ability to find student and faculty schedules, athletic schedules, library information particularly on citing sources for papers, Demonstrate usage of a search engine and the ability to move text and graphics to a word processor.
Sample task: on a computer of your choice (Mac or PC), get onto the web and ClarisWorks. Pick a famous person. Find some info about this person on the web. Find a picture of this person. Copy both text and picture into a ClarisWorks document. Include the web address (URL) as a footer centered. Include date and page number and your name as the header in the standard method of top left, top middle, top right.. Demonstrate some use of non-standard characters in the title, e.g. French or Spanish or Cents Symbol Save this file in one of your three folders.
TOPIC 9: Both platforms
Demonstrate the ability to do some of the above tasks on both Mac and PC. Demonstrate the ability to create a wp document on a mac, save to a file server, load it up on a PC; and visa versa.
TOPIC 10: Backups
Demonstrate the ability to backup a file to a file server, to another floppy disk, to a PC or MAC hard drive, to your NoblesNet account.