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Back to School Bonanza!

Man how fast did this summer go by? I swear I closed my eyes on June 1 and when I opened them it was almost August! What happened to the slow lazy hazy days of summer?

Since the new school year is once again rapidly approaching we have set up a number of Back to School webinars to help you and your “rested” colleagues get back into the swing of things.

We repeated them multiple times so that you don’t have to worry about missing one of them :) Check them out – they are as follows:

August 12, 2008 at 7:00 pm EST
Building a Bigger Builder – Your Guide to The DE streaming Tools
When teachers embraced Discovery Education streaming they found a wealth of resources including “The Builders” (Assignment, Quiz, and Writing Prompt builder). And now with Web 2.0 applications, “we have the technology to rebuild the builders” (thank you Six Million Dollar Man). During this session we’ll explore three web 2.0 applications, SlideShare, VoiceThread, and TeacherTube and how they can be incorporated into the DE streaming Builders. Now, armed with this knowledge, you will return to your classroom with new cyber tools for the 21st century.

August 20, 2008 – 3:30pm EST
Discovery Education: Getting The Ball Rolling
This one-hour session provides you with a plan to successfully roll out DE streaming within your school. We will be reviewing new account creation using passcodes, professional development options and best practices.

August 20, 2008 – 4:30pm EST
Discovery Education streaming: New Features and Benefits
This one-hour session provides your educators with the tools they need to be successful. We will be reviewing our most popular features and introducing you to our newest enhancements, including the classroom manager, new search words, new content and more!

August 20, 2008 – 7:00pm EST
Discovery Education streaming: New Features and Benefits
This one-hour session provides your educators with the tools they need to be successful. We will be reviewing our most popular features and introducing you to our newest enhancements, including the classroom manager, new search words, new content and more!

August 25, 2008 – 4:30pm EST
Discovery Education streaming: New Features and Benefits

This one-hour session provides your educators with the tools they need to be successful. We will be reviewing our most popular features and introducing you to our newest enhancements, including the classroom manager, new search words, new content and more!

August 25, 2008 – 6:00pm EST
Discovery Education streaming: Getting The Ball Rolling
This one-hour session provides you with a plan to successfully roll out DE streaming within your school. We will be reviewing new account creation using passcodes, professional development options and best practices.

August 25, 2008 – 7:00pm EST
Discovery Education streaming: New Features and Benefits
This one-hour session provides your educators with the tools they need to be successful. We will be reviewing our most popular features and introducing you to our newest enhancements, including the classroom manager, new search words, new content and more!

Of course you can always go here to see the full list of webinars – and there are a ton. I hope to see you on one, two or more of them as we experience the new school year together.

We Can Change The World Challenge

Hello my fellow geekybirders – does that make multiple readers a geeky flock?

This is coming to you hot off the presses!

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Communications and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have joined together to inspire student achievement in sustainability through a comprehensive education initiative, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. Announced today, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is an unprecedented partnership between three industry leading organizations that are committed to educating, empowering and engaging students, teachers and communities in environmental sustainability.

Kicking off the 2008 school year in September, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the first and only national K-12 sustainability education initiative aligned to state education standards and uniquely tailored to match students’ growing comprehension abilities throughout their school-aged years. By partnering with Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications, which provides scientifically proven, standards-based digital media tools and resources to classrooms nationwide, and the NSTA, the largest science teacher organization in the world dedicated to improving science education and increasing student learning by engaging all teachers of science, the Siemens Foundation will serve as a pioneer in recognizing sustainability efforts within the K-12 education system.

“As a leader in environmentally relevant businesses, Siemens knows the answers to tomorrow’s critical environmental questions are in the minds of today’s students,” said James Whaley, President, Siemens Foundation. “Uniting with Discovery Education and NSTA complements Siemens’ commitment to the future and to those who are going to create it. We look forward to unleashing this tremendous reservoir of potential through the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.”

“Education and the environment have always been part of Discovery’s core mission and we are proud to be a partner in encouraging students to learn about and create sustainable solutions through the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.

“The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will engage science teachers and allow students the opportunity to think like scientists, learn more about key environmental issues, and to develop critical-thinking skills that will help them to make informed decisions regarding stewardship of the planet,” said Dr. Gerry Wheeler, Executive Director, NSTA.

Designed to equip students in every grade level with the tools and inspiration to develop innovative green solutions for schools, homes and communities, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will transform participants into active citizens for a greener tomorrow. The program begins by helping young students understand the basic concepts of sustainability and why it’s important to protect the environment. At each subsequent stage, the concepts expand to engage students beyond their classrooms, into their communities and to the global world.

K-2: My Classroom: Introduce students to the importance of “being green” and provide opportunities for active learning and engagement.
3-5: My School: Inspire students to think beyond their classroom — using science and math skills to take their school “green.”
6-8: My Community: Empower students with tools to apply the Scientific Method to real-world “green issues” in their local communities.
9-12: My World: Connect students with real-world scientists as they tackle today’s “green challenges” — moving from insight to global action.

In September, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge launches with a national middle school competition where teams of students will identify an environmental problem in their community and will research and recommend a reproducible environmental improvement program. Teams will then provide an explanation about how other communities across the country can launch similar environmental improvement programs.

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will expand to kindergarten and elementary school students in 2009 and to high school students in 2010, complete with standards-based lesson plans and teacher materials, student projects and prizing to foster learning, team work and problem solving around sustainability.

For more information about the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, visit http://www.wecanchangetheworldchallenge.com.

Networking at NECC – part deux

Well I finally got home at 3:30 this morning and crawled into bed. Even though I was exhausted, I couldn’t fall asleep because I was still energized from all of the new information that I learned, the connections that I made, and the many creative tech-integration strategies that educators shared with me while I was at NECC.

But it wasn’t always about the technology or the latest and greatest gadget/gizmo. In fact the DEN is just as much about networking and having fun as it is about sharing information.

And trust me we did a whole lot of that – including going to a Dude ranch and shedding the world of web 2.0 for some good ol’ fashion down-home fun. Of course, as a Discovery employee I had to make a video. Check it out:
Whether it was Hall’s presentation on creative ways to use the Cell Phone, or a DEN Star’s use of Close Captioning to reach his ELL students I was constantly amazed, and bemused, at the richness of creativity that I was exposed to.

I plan on filtering this information over the long weekend and, as always, look forward to reading your comments, thoughts, ideas and suggestions as we experience this journey together.