Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Voices from the Field & The Globaloria Civics Track

The Foundation team is proud to announce a new installment of our Voices from the Field testimonial video series, this time with a special feature on students from RTC in the Globaloria Civics Track! Watch classmates Caleb and Valerie talk about how Globaloria is helping them approach civics learning from an exciting new angle:

The Civics Track, which was first announced to the Globaloria community at the June Academy, is becoming one of the most dynamic initiatives of our program. The games topics developed at RTC alone range from how a bill becomes a law, the differences between political parties, the three branches of government, the Second Amendment, different types of political systems, the judicial branch, public debate, and environmental policy!

Visit the Voices from the Field page to see the whole series!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Comments on Blogs with Templates Installed

A number of you have been having trouble with the comments feature on your student's blogs being disabled once students install templates from the internet.

Matticus, a student in Liz Daigle's class at Greenbrier East High School, has used his masterful tinkering skills to solve this problem and drafted a step-by-step guide for the Globaloria community:

1. After signing in, choose the layout option

2. Click the Edit HTML tab

3. Scroll to the bottom of the window

4. Click Revert widget templates to default

5. A pop-up window will appear, click OK

6. The layout should save and the problem should be solved (I recommend checking this to be 100% sure)

Hope that helps you all! Please contact comment or e-mail me at rachel@worldwideworkshop.org if you need more help!

Your GB,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Globaloria WV in 2009: A Job Well-Done (And The Best is Yet to Come)!!

Happy December 1st! As the last month of 2009 begins, it's important that we recognize Globaloria WV educators for all that they accomplished this year. The 23 educators who have been implementing Globaloria in WV for the 2009-2010 school year have created an impressive state-wide learning community. The mentoring, collaboration, and support that our educators provide each other and the guidance they are providing their students has been phenomenal. Globaloria students are benefiting greatly from a united front of seasoned and new educators who are cultivating students' creativity, technical and communication skills, and leading them through the game design curriculum by modeling effective, consistent and collaborative wiki usage and purposeful blogging. I'm looking forward to witnessing the Game Presentations that students give this month at the three colleges and one high school that are wrapping up their first semester courses (http://www.myglife.org/usa/wv/mctcwiki/index.ph/Game_Presentations; http://www.myglife.org/usa/wv/southernwvwiki/index.php/Game_Presentations; http://www.myglife.org/usa/wv/suwiki/index.php/Game_Presentations; and http://www.myglife.org/usa/wv/rtcwiki/index.php/Game_Presentations).

An amazing group of 10 new educators from seven new schools went through the Globaloria Academy in last month and will join the Globaloria Learning Community in January of 2010. These highly-skilled and dedicated educators are eager to join the 23 educators who are currently teaching with Globaloria. The ten who will begin in 2010 are already working on their wiki pages, team games, and blogs (http://melinda-spencer.blogspot.com/; http://www.photoglarry1.blogspot.com/; http://rhscordle.blogspot.com/; http://chezglobaloria.blogspot.com/; http://nataschaonglobaloria.blogspot.com/; http://oakglenhighdesigners.blogspot.com/; http://donnateachblog.blogspot.com/; http://natalieellis.blogspot.com/; http://gaming4math8.blogspot.com/; and http://bmsglobaloriajf.blogspot.com/).

Educators in our growing Globaloria WV Learning Community are pioneering innovation in education as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, leading our nation in cultivating STEM skills and fostering computer science learning in today's youth. Our national government is catching on to the importance of the work we do, and the U.S. House of Representatives' recently designated December 6-12, 2009 as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) in recognition of the transformational role of computing and necessity of rigorous computer science education at all levels.

As 5 of the top 10 fastest growing jobs are in computing-related fields, CSEdWeek will communicate the importance of exposing students—particularly in grades K-12—to robust computer science education if the nation is to truly prepare students for future jobs. Current obstacles to computer science education in the areas of teacher training and certification, standards, and curriculum restrict the number of students who benefit from this coursework. That is yet another reason why it is so important for Globaloria to continue to flourish in WV.

The CSEdWeek Web site, www.CSEdWeek.org, will launch the week of Dec. 6th to be a hub for computer science education resources and social networking, through sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The development of CSEdWeek is a joint effort led by ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) with the cooperation and deep involvement of the Computer Science Teachers Association, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, the National Science Foundation, the Anita Borg Institute and the Computing Research Association and with the strong support of Google, Inc., Intel, and Microsoft.

The World Wide Workshop Foundation is a proud partner with ACM in this national effort.

It is extremely gratifying to be involved in the Globaloria West Virginia program, to see the impact we're having as a state-wide team that is informing the nation on how to harness innovation in the formal learning environmment.

It is an honor to prepare today's youth for full engagement in our emerging cybercivilization. And it is a joy to be working for and along-side the World Wide Workshop team and such an incredible group of educators, principals, superintendents, government leaders, and private sector and foundation partners.

Thank you for making 2009 such a meaningful success for Globaloria WV, for the students, and for each other! I look forward to making 2010 our best year yet!!

Yours in appreciation,
David Lowenstein
State Director, Globaloria WV

World Wide Workshop

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Being Thankful

Coming up on the end of or Thanksgiving Break, I found several things that I wanted to give thanks for and share with you all.

I am thankful for everyone at the World Wide Workshop that helped to bring such a forward-thinking program as Globaloria to our state and our schools. We have so many wonderful people who offer their guidance and support. Idit has an energy that is contagious to the point of making you feel you can accomplish anything. Shannon and David juggle more things on their plate to keep us going than most of us could handle. Rachel's insight and positive outlook is always a breath of fresh air. And we could not have asked for a better technical support staff than we have had with Maitreyi, Brian, Jeff, and Meredith.

I am thankful for the great mentors I get to work with who help inspire me as well as their own mentees. Patrick and Denise led the way with this program last year and always provide me with great insight and inspiration. Ingrida is as new to this process as I am but has the drive, positive outlook, and approach that I admire and hope to live up to as well.

I am thankful for our mentee groups, who help to keep us on our toes. Our mentees, in seeking help fro us, often help us to continue our own growth in directions that not only benefit us but our own students as well. Thank to all of the mentees. Each new round of educators helps keep the Globaloria approach fresh, strong, and invigorating.

I am thankful for all of the students who are taking what we have to offer and building on it. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully creative our students can be when provided with the proper tools and inspiration. Our students will always be what makes the extra work and effort truly worthwhile. Here are some examples from EGMS, Shepherd University, RTC, and Sandy River Middle School.

So, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Holiday that reinvigorated you for the remainder of this semester. Until next time, the soapbox is yours.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Glimpse of Our Students' Futures

While channel surfing sunday evening, I stumbled on 60 MINUTES doing a story about James Cameron's upcoming movie, Avatar. After having seen many movie trailers and commercials about the film, I decided to settle in an watch the interview with Morley Safer and am very glad I did.

Not only did the story focus on how much time and energy Mr. Cameron put into getting every detail just right on his dream movie, it showed a great example of what we want are students to experience. During one of the interview clips we are shown the director and his staff tweeking a CG animated scene in the film. Not so unusual or futuristic you say? Well, they were modeling what we tell our kids the future of the workplace will be like. People in two different locations were both watching the same video feed of the animation and collaborating virtually.

We are still just on the cusp of this business approach's commonality. Sometimes this makes it hard for us to really drive the point home to kids who are just used to the interface between them and a television or computer screen. Where kids often do not see the usefulness of communtication technology beyond tweeting and status posts, this was a brief glimpse of the future. You know that when a director is willing to bank over $400 million on the success of a film created in this collaborative manner with nearly a competely digital medium, it must be the new ticket to success.

We really are on the brink of an amazing change. The challenge I want to post to us all is to find one example of producton utilizing virtual collaboration to share with your fellow educators and students. This could be a documentary, news show, or interview.

For my example, check out a clip from the interview below. I invite you up on te soapbox now to show examples the rest of you might find.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Friday, November 6, 2009

Entrance Interview: Meet Meredith!

Though we're sad about Jeff's departure, there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. Meet your new Wiki and Webmaster, Meredith!

You can reach Meredith for support as you need it through e-mail, gchat, skype or and all other help offerings found at our Help Desk.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exit Interview: Jeff Gray Edition

We are very sad to announce that our Wiki and Webmaster, Jeff Gray, is leaving the World Wide Workshop Foundation to pursue his music career (Jeff is a master saxophone player!), and possibly move out to sunny California (can't blame him as the November chill sets in...brr)

Jeff has provided amazing support to all of us in the Globaloria community, helped the Foundation team and Globaloria educators with all aspects of the platform and guided us like a virtual Virgil through the seven circles of Flash. Globaloria wouldn't be what it is today without you Jeff--you will be missed!

Friday, October 30, 2009

As October ends, the real fun is starting to begin

Educators and students throughout the Globaloria West Virginia have made great progress in the month of October and are entering the stage of Globaloria where the real fun begins!!

Educator and student blog posts are getting more and more reflective. Many students have learned how to embed music, links, photos and other multi-media in to their blog posts. Some are starting to focus their blog posts on their game topics, the challenges and fun of learning Flash, and the research that goes in to choosing a game topic, finding information about the issues surrounding that topic, and playing professionally-made educational games to find examples of game mechanics that facilitate both fun game play and learning. Also, students are beginning to take advantage of the Globaloria learning community and are visiting the wikis and blogs of students from other schools, leaving comments, and learning from each other.

School wikis are getting better as well. Educator and student learning logs are being written more consistently, more social profiles and avatars are being created, and paper proto-types and videos of student's presentatios are being uploaded.

Almost all of the educators in Globaloria have lead their classes through the mini-game project this month and students are expressng their excitement about learning Flash, dividing in to teams, and getting started on their social issue or educational game projects. Students are developing their game ideas, which range from games with civics topics (like the Bill of Rights, how the courts operate, and the election process) to games on responding to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and national health epidemics like obesity and swine flu.

While the month of October was a time of tremendous growth and accomplishment for Globaloria educators and students, the World Wide Workshop team had a productive month as well. David Lowenstein visited 9 Globaloria schools this month (5 of them with World Wide Workshop team member Rachel Rosenfeldt and 4 of them with Our Courts Exec. Director Abby Taylor).

The World Wide Workshop also convened a Globaloria Leadership Colloquium this month at the Governor's mansion to honor superintendents and principals who are supporting Globaloria educators in their schools and counties throughout the state. The luncheon, hosted by WV's First Lady Gayle Manchin, featured remarks by Globaloria WV Advisory co-chairs Dr. Idit Caperton and the First Lady, and also by Advisory Board members Dr. Steve Paine (State Superintendent of Schools), and B. Keith Fulton (Verizon WV President).

In addition, the World Wide Workshop President and Founder Dr. Idit Caperton and WV State Director David Lowenstein represented Globaloria at the National Academies of Science meeting in DC this month in which education, science, and government leaders gathered to discuss recommendations for equipping students with STEM skills through game-based learning.

As October winds down, our clocks fall back an hour but our Globaloria community is springing ahead!

Globaloria Goblins and Goodies

Happy Halloween fellow bloggers! Now that the first nine weeks of school has passed, hopefully Halloween has marked the end of "scary" part of starting a new Globaloria class. This is a holiday where children get to face the things that go bump in the night and haunt their nightmares for the reward of candy and treats-- and this first nine weeks of school can be thought of as our Halloween. We have all had the scares of getting students to buy in to the program, computer and technical glitches, and actionscript that fails to go Bump! or even to the next frame.

But, after looking over the wikis and blogs, we are seeing the sweet candy of student success and the fulfilling treats of student empowerment in their education.

While that may be an overly sweet analogy, I really do think it is true. Here are some examples to look over. Check out both Crittendon's User Gallery and Pressley Ridge for some really great examples of user wiki personalization. Check out Sandy River Middle's User Gallery for some great examples of students' progress on the minigame and their own game ideas. They even have different stages of the minigame on their projects pages to help demonstrate their progress. RTC has also got some additional work students have done with tweening and animations.

At the college level, check out some of the work at Shepherd University, including minigame and Flash art. Here is my favorite example so far. At MCTC, many of their students have great game ideas on their projects pages, ranging from polar bears fighting greenhouse emissions to bats and sonar. Here is a great example of some of the individual work being done by a Southern WV Community and Technical College student as well!

Gobble up all those treats and sweets, you and your students have earned them. But don't let the "sugar" rush wear off. Use the energy to fuel your class' momentum toward bigger and better things.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogging as a Medium

Greetings fellow bloggers!

Though we often talk about using our blogs as a tool, another way we could describe blogs is as a "medium." According to Merriam-Webster Online, a medium can be defined in the following ways: a publication or broadcast that carries advertising; a mode of artistic expression or communication; something (as a magnetic disk) on which information may be stored.

Mediums have changed and grown over time. Telegrams offered a medium for messages and lead the way to telephones allowing communication in real time. Then there was radio, which carried voices over great distances and to great numbers of people. Television followed shortly adding visuals to the audio. Not too long ago we added the internet as a medium which brought information in both visual and auditory formats to a greater depth and breadth than anything before it.

Most of the modern mediums have fallen short in one aspect; they are one-way methods of communication. Blogs are the answer to that lack. In blogs we can not only produce a "broadcast" to advertise ourselves, we can also connect to other blogs and their authors. With all of the different arrangements and images we can use it gives even the least visually talented of us a means of artistic expression. Even the information we value above all else can be forever stored in a location untouched by time or the elements. And best of all, the world can talk back to us. People in countries far away can pat us on the back, offer differing viewpoints, thank us for our insight, and offer more of their own.

I am usually not this long winded but that is another beauty of the blog, limitless digital storage. What moved me to write this post was a couple of our bloggers' recent blogs. Vicky posted a blog that not only shared a bit of insight, it also linked to several sites designed to show students more about themselves. When I first read her posting, my first thought was how fully she was using this medium. She was using this to not just give an assignment but to offer insight from other sources to her students. The other blogger was Jim who posted two blogs that not only showed off the skills of his students and their work but also himself and his kids. In that way, he also showed us the full depth this medium allows. Now, we can all see him as a teacher, father, learner, and inspiration.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Globaloria Growth Spurt

Good day fellow bloggers! I just want to say how wonderful it is to see the Globaloria classes growing. They aren't growing in number necessarily but in the strength of the message. I am seeing so much evidence of this strength from so many different angles.

In Kevin's latest blog, he praises his class, saying how great his kids held it together despite everything that went wrong for him. I've had those kind of days and feel for him.

Denise is having great success with her students. Even when she talks about the two steps forward, one step back that our kids sometimes encounter, it's clear how hard they are working her with questions and on task requirements trying to be successful. That kind of effort in a class is priceless.

We also have very creative students. Jeremy posted a quick blog encouraging us to visit his students blogs. Having creative kids is good--having creative and focused kids is great!

Perhaps the best thing, Vicky and Angie are having their students check out other school's blogs. The benefit I have already seen from this is that two new friends have commented on my blog and opened communication--from another school no less. One is asking for advice on blogging and another shares my love of all things X-Men and the importance of blogging. Way to go ladies!

This is what Globaloria is all about: students becoming empowered in their learning. We should all be very proud!

Until next time the soap box is yours.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

GO GO Blogging Gadgets

Despite the rather dated reference to Inspector Gadget in the title of this post, I am blogging about innovation in blogs shown by our very own educators. I have been exploring the expanded world of gadgets on blogger and have been amazed with what I have found. There are gadgets to add information on stock market tips, environmental issues, and much more. I myself just recently added the Earth Tip of the Day gadget to my own blog. If there is an idea you want to include on your blog, there is probably a gadget that will work for you.

Here are some examples from our educators wikis. Check out Jim's blog, he has included a voki character and a grooveshark music player. Jeremy has added a gadget showing of a Space Invaders game. Ingrida added a motivational quotes gadget fo her and her students. Dionne also has a voki and Aaron has also added grooveshark.

There are even more out there in our community adding other great personal touches. Just remember that we should be having fun making our blogs a model for our students.

Until I talk to you next time, the soap box is yours.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The National Spotlight Is On Globaloria Students & Educators

There is an old saying that says "a child shall lead them." Well in our case, it is not "a child" but approximately 1,000 teens and young adults in Globaloria classes across the state of West Virginia. These young people are leading their peers and indeed our nation in harnessing Web 2.0 tools and mastering the 21st Century skills they need to compete and collaborate in a global marketplace and make our world a better place.

Globaloria educators have taken on the critically important role of guiding their students' learning, and clearing a path for their students to lead. These dedicated teachers and the visionary principals, superintendents, and state officials who support them are utilizing Globaloria and it's learning-by-doing approach to prepare their students for academic success, workforce readiness, and civic participation.

The revolution in learning that is going on within Globaloria classrooms throughout West Virginia has not only attracted national foundations and corporate sponsors, but it's also drawn the attention of key leaders in the federal government. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the US Department of Education's Office of Innovation, the FCC's National Broadband Taskforce, and the National Ed Tech Plan Working Group are all extremely interested in Globaloria and the work that each and every one of you are doing in your blogs and on your wiki pages.

National government leaders are interested in highlighting Globaloria as an innovative case study for how to effectively utilize broadband and our web-based game design curriculum to increase children's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills and contemporary learning abilities, and improve standardized test scores. There is also tremendous interest in showcasing Globaloria as an exemplary scalable model for state-wide and nation-wide education reform and transformation.

It is often said that children make up 20% of our population, but they represent 100% of our future. Thanks to the courageous students, educators, and supporters of Globaloria, the future of our nation, the survival of our planet, and the hope for a better tomorrow is looking brighter and much more promising.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Links and Features for Your Blog

Greetings Globaloria Educators!

In addition to being sure you and your students have all the blogs in your classroom added to your blogrolls (see Ingrida's blog for a great example), I want to remind you to search the internet for blogs that you may want you and your students to follow to add to your blog as well.

"Cogs for Blogs" is a blog written by an educator who uses Web 2.0 tools in his classroom. He updates with links and tutorials to enhance his and his students' blogs. Better yet, from finding his blog, I was led to a Wiki he has created called Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools with amazing tips for enhancing classroom Wikis.

Below is an example of one Blog feature "Cogs for Blogs" brought to my attention called VoiceThread. Check out what I made below! I'm sure you can all think of great ways to leverage this tool in your classroom.

(If you can't see/hear the VoiceThread below, go here)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A First Milestone

Well gang, we have all reached our first major milestone: we have made it through the First Quarter Progress Reports!

For some of us it has become somewhat old-hat, but for others, it can sometimes seem very hectic. Josh has the most common of experiences, a feeling of accomplishment and ease now that the first one is under your belt. I'm sure that as we all look back on the completed form, we realize it's not as daunting as it may have initially seemed. I also want t encourage everyone to read and comment on as many reports as you can. Not only can they be a source of inspiration, they can help foster a sense of community and belonging. Its one of those "we-have-all-been-there" kind of things.

It's about this time that we really start to see the community working together. Not only do we have a great new tutorial from Matt, but we also see how teammates Patrick and Josh can model great teamwork as they play off each others' strengths to the benefit of their class.

And our community does not end there-- we get to show our students just how important their work is through the participation of such great people as Gayle Manchin, the First Lady of West Virginia, who paid a visit to Tracy's class at Liberty High School. Through Globaloria, Tracy is building connections between her students and the West Virginia community.

I am really enjoying seeing this blogosphere come alive; but once again its time to turn the soapbox over to the rest of you. Have fun with it!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Tutorial on Embedding Your .swf Files in Blogger

Greetings Globaloria educators! Today I have a special guest post for you all from Matt Payne on embedding .swf files in blogger. This is a great way to highlight your student's work, or encourage them to share some of their files. Thanks Matt for all your help! Take it away:

Hey there bloggers! This is Matt aka Banditt from Southern WVCTC. Here's a quick “How To” I made on posting your flash flies in blogger:

Step 1: Log in to your wiki and upload your file. Once you have uploaded it you should arrive at a screen similar to this.

Step 2: Now you have 2 choices. You can click the link I have highlighted in the above picture and load your swf and get the url or right click the link and copy the link address (this may vary depending on the browser you use). If you don’t know what I’m talking about just click the link and load your flash file.

Step 3: Highlight and copy all of the text that is in the address bar on your browser. I’ve highlighted mine in the below pic.

Step 4: Log in to Blogger and begin a new post.

Step 5: Use the embed tag to place the swf file on your blog post just as I have done in the picture.

<embed src="http://myglife.org/usa/wvwiki/images/2/27/Finaldemoninjas.swf"></embed>

Step 6: Preview your post to see if it works, then go ahead and click “Publish”.

Step 7: If you forget to close an html tag in Blogger, it gets all feisty and starts throwing error codes because it doesn’t like what you’ve written. Most of the time you can just check the box to stop show errors and everything will work fine. Other times you may need to go back and correct yourself.

If you have done it correctly you should be rewarded with a small version of your swf embedded within your Blogger post.

Why did it not show it at the full size you ask? Blogger automatically sizes it to fit in the small table area it creates just for your post.

Is there a way to make it bigger? Yes: you can add to your embed tag the width and height attributes. Example (in red):

<embed src="http://myglife.org/usa/wvwiki/images/2/27/Finaldemoninjas.swf" width="400" height="300"></embed>

And what you end up with is a swf that you can tailor the size to about whatever you would like.

If you want to tailor the embed tag even more (different background colors etc.) visit http://www.apple.com/quicktime/tutorials/embed2.html for a little more help.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We are making a difference

To start our school year on a positive note, I wanted to take a moment to remind all of us just how much of a difference we are making through Globaloria. We are both impacting our students' knowledge base and changing how we and our colleagues view technology in the classroom.

So far this year, I have seen blog entries from all of us that really show our impact. Lisa Dolan is already helping students make the connection between society and blogging by having her students blog in response to President Obama's speech on education. And its good to see she already has her student blogroll up and running to help with that. Aaron Lester has a good blog roll as well and is already making an impact with students by bringing blogger, an unknown, into their educational experience and letting them run with it, personalizing their spaces and adding gadgets. Denise has even shown how broadening our impact on technology can be with the excellent example of her daughter's class and the use of iPhones to make sure all students could get an assignment completed.

I had a smile on my face when students in my regular biology class, not the advanced students as they may be labelled by some, showed me just what impact the Globaloria approach had on their class experience. We all know how bellringers work, gradeable material used to pique a student's interest. Not all students are interested it seems in these activities. But my stars, as I'll call them, were sitting in my class when the tardy bell rang. I reminded them to get their journals done so that we could go to the computers and work. They had already done the work and were eager to get started. Not everyone wants to teach non-honors classes. Some even view them as troublesome or difficult to teach. We are all proving them wrong with Globaloria. With this program, we really can change the world by groups of students at a time.

By the way, the image above is just one example of the Lab Safety Posters created by my "non honors" kids. You be the judge.

Okay, my turn on the soapbox is up. Who's next?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Start of a New School Year

Greetings Educators!

It's the start of a new year and your Globaloria courses are really starting to take off! As many of you have already discovered, blogs are a great forum to share your thoughts on the start of a new Globaloria year. Here are some highlights from the buzz in the blogosphere:

Melonie has been reflecting on the old fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare"

"Most of my life I have aspired to be the hare, but that has not always been to my benefit. I have come to realize the tortoise was right in most cases. As we start our Globaloria classes my students and I are finding slow and steady works best"
Ingrida is kicking off the new year with some thoughts about the Globaloria program with the help of Ian Jukes' insight.

Ingrida writes,
"That's where Globaloria comes into play. This program does try to address the needs of these neurologically different kids by engaging them in the activities they feel are important to them, thus making their learning more meaningful.This program helps students use the skills they so artfully develop outside the classroom walls for academic purposes. Additionally, Globaloria lets teachers dismount their dead horses and try new strategies and approaches. "

And Jim makes some important points about the value of "process":

"For students and educators involved in Globaloria, it is important for us to remember the work in progress philosophy. Our journey will be filled with excitement. We will have frustrating struggles and taste tid-bits of success, we will make friends, and sometimes find ourselves in fierce competition. We will share "ah-ha" moments after being baffled over a seemingly unsolvable problem....As we take this journey, all of us should be encouraged to cherish these moments. Celebrate the small victories. Share them with others in our school and extended communities through posts on the wikis. Reflect on them and savor them by posting on our blogs and commenting on our peers' and colleagues' blogs. Enjoy this adventure we will share together....In the end it will be over all to quickly."
Thanks to all of you for writing such thoughtful posts! It's such a pleasure to read them. Keep up the great blogging!

Your GB,

Be sure to use your "comments thread" as a forum for dialogue. Respond to those who leave comments and see if you can get a discussion going!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Awakening Moment to Remember

First off, I hope everyone's year is starting off well. I know how hectic this part of the school year can be for a teacher and the students. I even had to have my computer tech and assistant principal help me bend some rules a bit to allow my students to take their online survey before they signed their acceptable computer use policy. I was very excited and eager to get my kids started. That was when I had a learned, or should I say relearned, something from one of my students. I may have been excited and ready to begin another adventure in ActionScript but my students were not necessarily as eager or excited.

Having been in this venture for two years, my familiarity with the program and how great it is colored my perceptions a bit on that first day. So, I stepped my verbal game up a bit. I couldn't tell them a lot about the program details until after the survey, but I could hide the stress of getting everyone logged on for the first time this year, getting them all on the right website, and dealing with all the minutia of the school year start-up process. I kicked up the tone and excitement in my voice about the survey and how great this approach was going to be for them. That was all it took to get them really into just taking the survey. Now, I really can't wait to get them into Flash.

The big lesson is: don't just expect the students to be excited because you are. They have as much going on as you do this time of year and we have to get into the role of cheerleader sometimes to help them get their energy flowing and get on board with something new.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introductions Are in Order

Hello to all the Globaloria-WV Blog readers. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Bill Dorsey and I am going to join forces with Rachel as your new community co-blogger. For those whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, here is a bit about me:

I teach Biology at Capital High School in Charleston, WV. I have been a participant with Globaloria since September, 2007 and am looking forward to another great year with the program in 2009-2010. For more about me and my approach to blogging, see my Globaloria blog and Global Biology blog. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As eager as I am to get started with this new school year and Globaloria, I am just as excited about adding my voice to our community's blog. I am already impressed with what I have been reading in some of your blogs and am ready to help celebrate your successes, provide my version of insight, connect you with resources, and enrich your blogging experiences through the opportunity that this blog provides. With that in mind, please make sure to blog about the successes and issues both you and your students have on your own blog and I'll do my best to address them all and make my blogging voice worthwhile reading.
Now, on to the blogging and good luck with the start of the school year!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Exit Interview

Check out Maitreyi Doshi's exit interview filmed on the car ride to the airport on her last day of work. We already miss you Maitreyi and wish you the best of luck!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Globaloria Academy 2

Globaloria Academy 2 has been a blast! Thank you all for your participation, insight and great work. Jim and Bill offer some great reflections on the new educators' remarkable progress between Academy 1 and 2. We were all blown away by the games The Hillbilly Ninjas, the Fab Four, and the Battlestar Globalorias.

I was so thrilled to see the returning educators really step up as session leaders. A special thanks to Denise, Ingrida, Patrick, Angie, Jim and Bill for their help in planning and presenting this Academy.

A special welcome to Bill and Ingrida as new mentors. Your leadership will be instrumental in making this next year a success!

A highlight of the Academy was a speech and Q&A by Gaston Caperton:

To top it all off, we got to know David a little better. I'm not toeing the line when I say he's truly a great person and will be an amazing leader for you in pilot year 3.

Finally: I want all of you to teach by example with your blogs! Personalize, update and use multimedia to make your blog space not just a resource but a model for your students to follow.

Good luck!

Your GB,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Flip Cams!

With all the excitement, we weren't sure you heard David's presentation on using the Flip Cams in your classroom. You can upload the footage straight from your Flip Cams to a YouTube channel (or whatever video streaming website you use). Below is a quick video I made of David's speech and uploaded to this post in about 3 minutes:

Enjoy them!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Digital Open Contest

Greetings Globaloria Educators!

Just another reminder that there are 6 days left to reach out to your top Globaloria students to submit their projects in the Digital Open contest!

In addition to being eligible to win some very cool prizes, students who submit to Digital Open will have the opportunity to share their open-source projects with an amazing network of experts and peers.

I encourage you to explore the website and its categories. It's exciting to see organizations like Digital Open creating great opportunities to celebrate your students' work!

That's it for now-- see you all in Charleston next week!

Your GB,


Monday, July 27, 2009

The 21st Century Learner

I've recently become acquainted with this fabulous web resource, Slideshare.net. It's a site where anyone can upload their PowerPoint to share with others. Some are more specialized than others (associated with a specific organization and so on), but there are many that can be used for general research or inspiration for a project or presentation of your own. I found this gorgeous slideshow on the "21st Century Learner" by Kim Cofino, who writes on these issues at her blog "Always Learning: Teaching Technology Abroad".

Kim writes on the "About Me" section of her blog:
"I am an enthusiastic, passionate teacher, who truly loves working with children. My goal as a technology teacher is to teach students how to learn, and to ensure that every child that leaves my classroom feels comfortable, confident, and excited about the challenges and rewards that technology has to offer."
Explore Kim's wonderful blog, and her blogroll for more ideas about your own potential as an educator, blogger and tech-savvy 21st century learner!

Your GB,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tales from Texas

The Foundation team had an amazing time working with a new group of educators in Austin, TX at the East Austin College Prep Academy. I didn't have the pleasure to be on board when you all were first learning the program, but based on your stories about it, the TX educators were very much in the "what-have-I-gotten-myself-into?" frame of mind you all talked about. It was a great help to have Ingrida Barker from Sandy River Middle School come along with us and train this new group in Flash. It was only a year ago that Ingrida was learning Flash for the first time, and now she's looked to as an expert by a whole new group of Globaloria participants. Peer educating is a big part of the Globaloria philosophy, and that goes for the teachers as much as the students!

We can't wait to see how you've all when we return to West Virginia in August. Thanks to those of you who have been updating your blogs with such insightful stories and useful links. I encourage all of you to keep reading and commenting on each others' posts and stay on top of your blog! It won't be long before you'll be trying to generate a blogosphere in your own classroom and your personal experience maintaining one yourself will count for a lot.

Your GB,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Denise features a cool resource for teachers on her blog: Wordle.

The blog Clif's Notes from Denise's blogroll shows all kinds of ways Wordle can be useful in the classroom. I had never heard of Wordle before this!

I'd love it if you all could feature something cool you've found from the blogs you follow, so we can learn from each other's adventures in the blogosphere!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Here's a great talk about the pedagogical benefits of "tinkering"-based learning. Have you ever had a valuable learning experience through tinkering? Write about it on your blog!

See links to videos like this and more on the Globaloria Tumblr.

Your GB,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Music Men

There were so many memorable moments from the Globaloria Summer Academy worth writing about, but only a precious few are preserved for posterity in video. It's lucky for us that one such moment was the spontaneous concert put on by our rock stars: Jim Allder, Kevin Warfield and Bob Turbanic -- a true highlight of the Academy. I'm happy to announce that thanks to the masterful uploading skills of our intern Trevor, these talented men have been officially launched into the glamorous world of YouTube celebrity!

Jim and Kevin's update of (and improvement upon) Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" with a Web 2.0-centric "Summer of 2009" got things off to a lively start:

Watch Jim's rendition of "The Cat Came Back", and the group sing-along of "Summer of 2009" here. Also check out Jim's vintage clip from 1986 on his GEHS Band Blog.

The festivities concluded with an impromptu performance by Bob of "The Train Carrying Jimmy Rogers Home." This blew us all away:

For those who don't know the music of Jimmy Rogers, you can find a playlist here.

I'm only grieved that the video quality isn't worthy of its subjects. You guys will have to give us an encore at the August Academy!

For the musically inclined, I've listed below some web 2.0 music websites you may want to experiment with:


Your GB,

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reports from the Blogosphere

After an eventful 24+ hour trip home (thunder storms in New York, stranded in Washington D.C., oy vey), I'm finally back at the World Wide Workshop headquarters and still feel exhilarated after such an amazing Summer Academy! It was such a pleasure to get to know you all.

I have a lot to share with you, but I thought it would be nice to first put the spotlight on what your reflections have been in the blogosphere since we all parted ways:

Denise writes:
"It is very motivating for me to be in a room with a group of West Virginia teachers who care and are willing to give up your summer time to take training that is so intense. You are willing to learn new curriculum and go out on a limb to offer a new class that you think will benefit your students. It makes me proud to watch everyone work and learn. It inspires me to be a better teacher because I want to keep up with everyone else and what they are doing. In fact I wish my own children could of had all of you as teachers because they would have learned so much."
The RED team honing their skills.

Bill offers a great tip for organizing Flash files, and reflects,
"We didn't do physical labor, break a sweat, or lift a finer for much more than typing and eating the incredible meals over the past three days but we had really worked our brains, imaginations, and our mental limits."

And in his inspiring Global Biology blog (which is now added to my blogroll along the right), Bill challenges us to consider what our legacy will be.

Tracy turns in a late homework assignment (tsk, tsk), but at least has a good excuse:
"I purposefully did not complete the homework assignment for the last day of the academy, because for me one of the most powerful learning moments has occurred in the past few days. I became a teacher because I connect with kids and feel like I have an understanding of how to teach content in a way that they can easily grasp. With the Globaloria program, I will have to completely revamp my teaching style."
The NED team learning Flash.

Great stuff! I look forward to hearing more from you all in the coming months, and please have fun with it! This summer is the perfect time to "tinker" with your blogs, and really get energy generated behind our blogosphere for a more vibrant virtual educator's community than ever before.

Your GB,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Powerful Learning Experience

Here's my confession: I am a horrible student. I swear to you I earned D’s and C’s in some classes in high school (same goes for college) and I believe I am currently the record holder of my high school for having been absent the most times for someone who still managed to graduate.

The reason for this can be traced to my "powerful learning experience".

When I was a sophomore in high school, I got it in my head that I was going to be a filmmaker. I wrote a script with my childhood best friend Hannibal (yes, his real name), about a young hero who was torn between his Spiderman comic book collection and a girl he yearned for. It was called “Call Her Mary Jane”, and even though it clocked in with a running time of about 20 minutes, it took a month of laborious filming (with a volunteer cast and crew) and meticulous editing to get it completed by the submission date of the film competition I was planning to enter. My amazing "Constructionist" parents had to help me pretend to suffer from a string of mysterious ailments so I could cut class and toil day and night on the film, which ended up proving to me I most definitely did not want to be a filmmaker.

Beyond that important discovery, I learned how to master number of editing and filmmaking programs (which has helped me ever since with learning new technologies), how to manage an unreliable teenage crew (which taught me to be an effective leader), how to construct narratives (which inspired me to pursue writing) and how to work hard and have fun at the same time.

I’ll also (perhaps presumptuously) take credit for launching the career of the young lady I cast as the love-object of my film, Dianna Agron, who used this role on her early resume to get her first real acting gigs.

I'll admit to an unfair ideological advantage. My dad is a close colleague and friend of John Seeley Brown, who was cheering me on and forecasting my future Oscar acceptance speech while I charged full speed into an early version of the...let's say...productive neurosis that would characterize my educational career. At the time, I was oblivious to JSB's influential educational philosophy, and only knew him as some dude with white hair who would hang around the house and, to my delight, generally authorize what my school Dean called "bad" behavior.

It strikes me now how much like Globaloria "Call Her Mary Jane" was. All the same frustrations with technology, creative struggle, hard, self-motivated work was in play. It's too bad that I had to actually trick my school so I could educate myself in this way. With Globaloria, the school is able to play a part in this kind of learning process. Educators can help to create the kind of studio space needed to develop the important skills project-based (or "tinkering") learning gives students-- rewarding kids for this hard/fun work, and not punishing them for it.

"Call Her Mary Jane" was the first large self-motivated project I worked on, and it led to a string of them through my high school and college career. I have always been able to leverage my "portfolio" of passionate work to find opportunities and achieve what successes I can claim in life.

Civics and Blogging

Ask and ye shall receive:

Given its popularity with team RED, the "shaming mechanism" of having the educators' blogs listed and organized based on their most recent update, is now updated and in-place on my blogroll . The new educators' blogs should all be now listed there as well. If you do not see your blog there, please comment with your blog address so I can add it.

The first day of the Globaloria Summer Academy was a blast. I got to unsheathe my baby: the Globaloria Guide to Blogging site. Like a beaming mother, let me draw your attention once again to all of the cool hyperlinks links I used there. Aren't they beautiful?

It was a whirlwind day: we learned how to wiki, set up blogs, game and brainstormed about civics. It got me thinking about different possibilities and opportunities we have to open the conversation about civics to kids with games online. Georgia Tech runs a great blog about News and Gaming, and one of my favorite thinkers about the synthesis of News and New Media is Jeff Jarvis' blog Buzz Machine, see also Publishing 2.0.

Finally, if you liked the video Idit showed us of Clay Shirky, you can read his blog here.

He gave the keynote address at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco:

It sparked quite a few interesting reactions. What do you think?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gaming and Art

In the May "Blogs of the Round Table" hosted by Man Bytes Blog, participants were asked to imagine what a favorite piece of artwork might look like as a game. You can read all of the responses here, but I'll highlight a few of my favorites below:

ihobo provides a thoughtful response, reflecting on the Impressionist movement, and taking this opportunity to ask "capital Q" questions about the nature of art.

Water Lilies, Monet (1916)
When I go to a gallery, I am seeking an experience beyond the rational – I do not greatly enjoy art that asks me to decode its puzzle, or otherwise rationally interact with it, to anywhere near the same degree that I enjoy a piece of art that transfixes me in a space beyond thought – an experience of emotion or transcendence that is wholly beyond conscious thought. That for me is the essence of great art. This brings me to the second problem: can a game actually access the transcendent experience of what great art means to me? And I suspect, perhaps that it cannot.


From the point of view of impressionism as a rebellion against the previously accepted forms, a direction could be found, but any non-game might be claimed to fulfil this goal. Unless I could find a way to capture the essence of the experience of an impressionist painting, I would feel I had failed to successfully make the transition.

Perhaps what this shows for me is that game design as a process is always for me a rational experience, while art for me is at its greatest when it transcends rational experience. And thus, perhaps my problem is not that there cannot be an impressionist game, but rather that an impressionist game is not something that I can personally conceive – it is in some sense beyond me. And that, perhaps, is precisely what I am looking for in art.

Other respondents took the bull by the horns and crafted dramatic plots inspired by art history. GB Games chose Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" from the Sistine Chapel as his premise.

Click here for a high-res version of this painting

World Maker chose Nighthawks as his game inspiration.

Nighthawks, Edward Hopper (1942)

The Game Critique chose The Great Wave Off Kanagawa to orient the force of nature as the centerpiece of his game.

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Hokusai (1832)

I love the idea of this challenge because it causes you to consider gaming as a medium of art--which it absolutely is. Obviously, programming a game requires a math/science aptitude, but the designing and conceptualizing of the game interface and premise is very much an artistic/creative endeavor.

Gaming is an expressive medium like any other art form; and it's an exciting one insofar as it's interactive. In gaming, the audience engages with art on a level of activity that no other medium parallels. This relatively new, technologically enabled, medium (just like photography and film before it) will doubtlessly tap into the talent of "great artists", many of whom remain to be seen. I wonder who the Kubrick (or Michelangelo) of gaming will be...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Curating Online with Tumblr

Jenna Wortham writes in the New York Times,

The Internet is awash in content — and a whole lot of it is junk, spam or inane status updates. How do you begin to navigate through the zillions of news articles, Web sites, tweets and other stuff online to find content that matters to you?

You need digital curators.

More and more, bloggers are becoming online "curators." They no longer just generate content--they aggregate it based on their particular theme, agenda or taste.

Mindy McAdams even suggests that curation is a form of online journalism. I really recommend taking a look at her piece on this, as well as Jeff Jarvis' writings about curation on his excellent blog Buzz Machine.

Far be it from me to miss out on this exciting new trend. Globaloria needs a curated space of its own!

A perfect tool for virtual curating is a platform called Tumblr. I'd really like for you all to experiment with Tumblr by setting up your own account and trying your luck as an information aggregator. Just visit www.tumblr.com and poke around. I'm conducting my own experiment with Tumblr for Globaloria!

You can access the Globaloria Tumblr in the links section along the right hand side of the screen, or in the Tumblr feed just below the links. I strongly recommend you add it the new Globaloria Tumblr account to your Google Reader so you're sure not to miss out on updates.

What makes Tumblr different from Blogger is that it situates the multimedia component of blogging as the centerpiece of each post. While you're certainly able to compose text-heavy postings, Tumblr makes it especially easy and fun to share links, quotes, videos and images from the Internet with a mere click of the mouse. Better yet, Tumblr and Twitter are affiliated and I have found Tumblr to be a great gateway to the Twitter culture, which is becoming increasingly relevant in Web 2.0 culture.

As I explore the Internet day-to-day, I will Tumble interesting content I find that I think you'll all enjoy, and over time refine a curated space dedicated to the vision of Globaloria! I'm really excited about this forum for expression and hope you'll share your perspectives on it with me.

Your GB,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blogs 101 from the New York Times

The New York Times Learning Network features a short Technology Tools piece to help educators understand Web 2.0.

This kind of guide highlights just how far ahead of the curve the Globaloria partners in West Virginia are. Most of you already have in-depth knowledge about these principles, and are running educational laps around less media-savvy teachers across the United States.

Despite our sophistication, there is always room to grow and the Times directs us to this links-based resource entitled Blogs 101, which highlights some of the most active and relevant blogs online. You may enjoy going through the list and explore some excellent blogs out there that you may want to keep up with (the best way to stay connected is by subscribing to blog feeds with your Google Reader)

Consistently reading high-quality blogs not only keeps you well-informed, but inspires you to update your own more often!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Learning with Surveys

In response to my introduction post, WV Design Diva (a.k.a. Monica Larson, a new partner from Shepherd University) asked me to share a little more about myself.

After some deliberation, I decided to spare the Globaloria blogosphere my lofty memoir and get down to the nitty-gritty with a survey I made on the free survey creator, Bzoink. You can find out all about me in the graphic below, but more importantly, I'm offering this survey to everyone in the Globaloria community.

Click "Take this Survey" at the bottom of the questionnaire and fill one out for your own blog. After you're done answering the questions, Bzoink will give you a code that you can copy and paste into your blogger composition pad and publish. If you don't have a blog yet, I'll help you get set up at the Globaloria Summer Academy 1.

I can't wait to read all of your answers!

Globaloria Survey
Created by rachelwwworkshop and taken 2 times on Bzoink
What is your full name?: Rachel Danielle Rosenfelt
What school/organization are you affiliated with?: World Wide Workshop Foundation
What is your position?: Assistant Programs Coordinator
How many years have you been working with Globaloria?: This is my first!
What inspired you to join the Globaloria team?: My belief in the power of digital media to change the world. This positive change begins with education.
About You
Where are you from originally?: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Where have you always wanted to go?: The Amalfi Coast in Italy, Berlin and Buenos Aires
What is your sign?: I was born on November 22nd, so I'm the border between Sagittarius and Scorpio. I think I'm more of a Scorpio, personally.
What do you like to do in your free time?: I love to read and write and explore all the amazing communities online.
What are you most proud of?: Having the courage to travel Central America with nothing but a backpack alone for 4 months when I was 21.
If you could wish for anything, what would it be?: I'd wish for everyone to have equal opportunities to follow their passions and compete in any field they chose to pursue.
If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?: The Beatles--around 1962, just before they became famous.
Who is your hero?: My mom. And Madonna.
Movie: The Professional by Luc Besson
Book: The Collected Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges
TV Show: The X-Files. Even in reruns, it's television gold.
Actor/Actress: Leonardo DiCaprio. I was eleven when Titanic came out. Sue me.
Musician/Band: Sam Cooke, all of Motown, especially the Supremes and Marvin Gaye and Elvis Presley.
Quote: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman
For Fun
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?: Teleportation. I'd live in a cabin in the New Mexico mountains, pop into work in New York City every morning, grab Mexican food in Oaxaca for lunch, visit friends and family all over the world, sit down to some Thai food for dinner in Bangkok and be beneath the desert stars by nightfall. Plus, it would be really easy to sneak into movies for free.
If you had a time machine, what historical period would you visit?: Ancient Greece
Do you have a special talent?: I can make my face look like I'm a cast member in the original Planet of the Apes. It's uncanny.
What talent do you wish you had?: I wish I was a master cello player.
If you could trade spaces with anyone, who would it be?: Oprah. She is in a position to influence the world for good, empower women all over the country, create and fund positive initiatives, and do this all without having to hold an official public office.
You've been totally Bzoink*d!
Take This Survey | Search Surveys | Create a Survey

There are many services online that help to make your blog a diverse, fun and active multimedia platform. I encourage all of you to experiment with quizzes, polls and survey creators on free websites like Bzoink and others.

Your GB,