Travel and Networking with Educators Stem and IT in Russia Part One-Water

ImageI am back from a trip to Russia.The purpose of my trip was to exchange good ideas, good practices with youth and education leaders in Russia.  I learned some Russian… not enough in fact, but I had two outstanding Eurasia Foundation Fellows with me who were so fluent that I barely had to use my Russian. The Project was the SEE U.S. Russia Expertise Exchange, Eurasia Foundation. It was a life-changing experience.If you know me, you know that I have had a Fulbright to India, that I traveled China with the Thornburg Institute and that I have been traveling and sharing technology since the Clinton Administration’s White House Technology Initiative Cyber-Ed which started off in the states of the US. Another experience was the study of the Owens Valley, on Water Use in America.That was a National Geographic project. There have been 22 official technology and IT trips worldwide one of the most interesting to Jordan with US AID ( on water).Another interesting trip was to New Zealand. But each trip had its own value.





I found fascinating projects on science, technology, engineering and math. I hope that the political difficulties will subside so that I can continue the networking, collaboration, establishing community with the people I traveled so far to learn, and establish connections with.I was assisted in language by two outstanding Eurasian Fellows whose specialty was the Russian Language. Sarah Choi and Alexandra Kohut. They were taught Russian in College and the languages were their specialty,  both had lived in various places in Russia and had a network of friends and language specialists with intense knowledge of Russia. My husband joined us, and he brought to the mix as a traveler with us, the culture, language, music of Russia through application, that is he took us to the opera, re-introduced me to the music and literature, and on occasion we had fine dining and museum experiences. It is one thing to read opera , it is a transformative experience to visit the Russian Opera in Saint Petersburg.We saw modern stage plays in Saint Petersburg and visited the Hermitage.We attended ballet in Samara, and explored the space museum . But this blog is about STEM.


Michael Epstein is one of the Russian Fellows, while visiting his institute, we discovered we both had done intensive study of water.He scheduled for me a trip to the Water Museum. t’s easy to see where the concept for this museum came from. According to Peter the Great’s plans for the city, it was specifically water that would join the city of St. Petersburg with Europe and, by filling its canals, turn this marshy site into the ‘Venice of the North’.

Museum of Water, Saint Petersburg

“St. Petersburg’s Museum of Water is located in a former water-tower, and was presented to the city by local water monopoly Vodokanal as part of the 300th Anniversary celebrations. The water-tower, built in 1860 by Ivan Merts and Ernest Shuberskiy, was the first in St. Petersburg and marked the start of a proper water supply to the city, and now it houses a unique museum that uses the latest in exhibition technology.”

“The exhibition is very modern, hi-tech and hands-on. Visitors can, among other things, try their hand at assembling a plumbing system, operate pumps and learn about the workings of the dam and steam engine which pumps the water in the tower. Here you can see everything to do with the provision and processing of water in the city, from its founding to the present day, including antique toilets and state-of-the-art purification systems.The pictures of old plumbing and tools for sanitation are interesting.”

There is a special section for education. We visited the whole museum, as much as we could in a day.

Here are some pictures that show a little of the interactive resources of the museum for children.ImageImage

This is an interactive map. The students locate areas of the Bay of Finland , the countries.



There are many colorful interaction stations where children use the technology to learn, playing a game, or searching for information.



The museum specializes in the study of water with emphasis on the gulf of Finland.



International Education Week Takes You Places


This week, November 12-16, marks the 13th annual International Education Week (IEW) – an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.  This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of the U.S. Government’s effort to promote mutual understanding through international educational exchanges that prepare Americans for a global environment and that attract future leaders from abroad to study and learn in the United States.

There are other ways that you can be involved in international work. Some of it can be in your classroom, acknowledging the cultures and people who live and work in your area. But maybe there is not so much diversity in your school or community,

There may be a museum  where you can study culture. I live near the museum on the mall in Washington DC


You can start with the geography of a pencil lesson. See the geography awareness week resources.. that are a part of the GAW.

As a teacher you can do an Earthwatch Grant. I have done a few. It changes your perception about the world.  It will open your eyes to the world.

Teachers who travel bring back to their classrooms all of the experiences they had and passions they felt to inspire students and make global content come alive. By applying for grants, teachers can get these unique globe-trotting learning opportunities partially or fully funded. Edutopia has gathered stories and snapshots from teachers who have received such grants to travel.

After each teacher’s tale, you’ll find the details for how you can apply to the Fund for Teachers, the Earthwatch Institute’s Education Fellowships, the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program, the English-Speaking Union of the United States’s British Universities Summer School Program, and others.

New Earthwatch Expeditions in 2013

Earthwatch is delighted to announce nine New Expeditions for 2013. If you’ve ever wanted to travel the globe, now is the time. As an Earthwatch volunteer, you’ll help world-renowned scientists conduct important field research on hands-on projects that will change your life, and our planet, forever!

Uncovering the mysteries of Cororado's ancient Basketmakers Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve Tracking chimps through the trees of Uganda Wildlife of Australia's Cloud Forests
The Daintree's Hidden Coastline, Australia Recovery of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia Safeguarding whales and dolphins in Costa Rica Whales and dolphins of the Norwegian Arctic


Volunteer with Earthwatch and plan your next adventure today! Download the 2013 Guide, search our expedition pages, or contact us for more details.

I always started school with a potluck dinner, where people came to meet the other families in the classroom, we bought recipes and shared ideas. We ate from our grandmother ‘s kitchen and talked about “summer in a jar”. Here is the web site for the Accidental Science of Cooking, ( You will LOVE it.)

  We eat because we need food, but we cook because we love food. That love is fueled by the tangy heat of spices and nurtured by the flowery aroma of herbs. Seasonings play a minimal nutritional role in our diet. They play to our senses. They make us want another bite.  

take the quiz
Dinner party fix-its: Can you cover your kitchen tracks?

Did You Know?
The flavor of any food is a complex mixture of many molecules. Strawberries, for example, contain 350 different flavor compounds.


Kitchen Lab
mock apple pie

Recipes and activities: Fake an apple pie, grow a salt sculpture, and more.
spice blends

Tour the world of spices and try your own mixtures with our spice map.
  Share and Discuss
“I tried building the salt sculpture and it was fun. We changed the color of the water when we added solution, so there are layers of color and stuff.” —Sandy, Daly City
  your senses
tasteWithout taste and smell, food wouldn’t be the same. How do you experience the flavor of your food?
I had my first lesson in cooking in a classroom by a teacher who came into my class to teach about Japan and oh, by the way, she cooked as she taught and she did stir fry in a wok. The children were mesmerized and so was I. I thought. I can do that!!!

International education strengthens ties between the United States and countries around the world, and international students—here or Americans overseas—enrich classrooms and communities with their culture, their knowledge, and their diverse backgrounds.I taught in a variety of schools, here and overseas. Working in DODDS schools or ECIS, you see the world from a different perspective and it makes you a better citizen of the world. There are long journeys of the mind, such as the Fulbright experience. I treasure the enriching idea of working, learning and being in another country with guidance and being involved in education. I had a Fulbright Hayes Scholarship to India.

The way I was immersed in the Fulbright was through my love of the Smithsonian Museum. Years ago they had an Aditi Festival on the Mall. I was excited to learn and to expiore ideas about India.

We studied and learned in 28 cities in India

The Smithsonian put together a Fulbright Hayes grant and we traveled India.
It was an amazing journey.

The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected U.S. citizens may become eligible for scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States. The first participating university in the United States was George Washington University in Washington, D.C.The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in over 155 countries.[1] Forty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes (including two in 2010, Peter A. Diamond and Ei-ichi Negishi) and seventy-eight have won Pulitzer Prizes.[2] More Nobel laureates are former Fulbright recipients than any other award program.[citation needed]The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching. As of 2010, 300,000 persons—114,000 from the United States and 188,000 from other countries—have participated in the program since it began.In each of 50 countries, a bi-national Fulbright Commission administers and oversees the Fulbright Program. In countries without a Fulbright Commission but that have an active program, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy oversees the Fulbright Program.The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright Program from an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress. Additional direct and in-kind support comes from partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S.[1]

The Open Doors 2012 report reaffirms the United States as the top destination for international students.  Out of nearly 21 million students in two year or four year colleges or universities in the United States, 764,495 students are international students.  This is an increase of 6% over last year!  Through sharing ideas, perspectives, and experiences, U.S. students and local U.S. communities benefit from having international students in their classrooms and on campuses.

Open Doors

Open Doors shows that 273,996 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit during academic year 2010-2011.  Notably, U.S. students who study abroad are choosing increasingly diverse locations overseas—including China, India and South Korea—in addition to the historically “traditional” destinations in Europe. After studying abroad, American students return home with new perspectives, skills, and relationships, which they use to help strengthen their communities and advance their careers.

 Students with experience overseas gain the international knowledge, skills, and self-reliance that are needed to compete in today’s globalized economy.

The IEW 2012 website includes messages from U.S. and international leaders, as well as promotional materials, interactive features, and opportunities to post and view planned events celebrating international educational exchanges around the world.  ***IEW is on Facebook! Help us reach our goal of reaching 10,000 fans before the end of IEW by liking our Facebook page today!  You may also follow Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock on Twitter (@AnnatState) and use hashtag #IEW2012 to join the discussion and get updates on IEW.***

Check out our video: International education takes you places!  made with photos submitted by YOU!  If you have questions or comments regarding IEW please contact us at

Thank you for your support of International Education Week!

The Magic of Maps and GIS..The Wonderful World of Geography Awareness Week

I have always loved working with maps, globes and books.Now my learning is facilitated by the use of media and new ways of mapping. And then there is GIS. What is GIS? You use it in invisible ways. GIS.. here is a great video on it. GIS Day is on November 14, 2012.

Learn more about Geography Awareness Week

 Geography Awareness Week there are a lot of online tools. There are things to use in your classroom, and a toolkit and a poster. You may want to start with this map tool. Free map kit.. and resources.

While studying at the National Geographic, I became involved in the study of geography. To study our neighborhood we collected various kinds of maps that showed the school community. We were located in Arlington , Virginia and we had a business map, a tourist map, a Virginia transportation map, a real estate map, and a map of historical places as well as a map that showed projections and plans for the future. That was before we all had our fingertips on technology to see this things online.  Children drew a map that showed the path from school to home. That was a fun exercise. The children were quite creative about making their personal maps. A person from USGS gave us maps of cities around the world, but they were not identified, they were in effect a view of cities from the air, New Orleans, San Francisco,  New York, Cairo, Egypt,  Capetown , South Africa.. and the kids and parents had to be able to identify the places from the pictures. ( USGS)

Here are some of the resources I used in an elementary program.


Helping Your Child Learn Geography
A 32-page booklet, published in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Geographic Society, that is designed to help adults stir children’s curiosity about geography. Includes many suggestions for simple activities. K-4.   Icon for classroom activities  Icon for lab resources
Map Adventures 
This on-line teacher packet for grades K-3 teaches basic concepts for visualizing objects from different perspectives and how to understand and use maps. The kit includes seven lesson plans, activity sheets, and a printable poster.   Icon for teaching module  Icon for classroom activities
What Do Maps Show? 
This on-line teacher packet for upper elementary and junior high school students has four lessons on reading and using maps. The packet includes a teacher’s guide, four printable activity sheets, and three maps in PDF format that can be downloaded and printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.   Icon for teaching module  Icon for classroom activities
USGS Geography Products
A list of online fact sheets, booklets, and educational resources related to geography and mapping.

The National Atlas of the United States

National Atlas of the United States®
This invaluable educational tool is a free, interactive version of the traditional paper United States atlas. Most information is designed to depict geographic patterns and trends on a national scale. Topics include agricultural use, forestation, population density, transportation, and more. Use the Map Maker tool to create custom maps or print one of hundreds of pre-formatted page-size maps that are excellent for classroom use. This is the best source for creating quick maps that cover large areas.   Icon for lab resources
Outline Maps of the United States – Printable Maps from The National Atlas
Download or print PDF files for several different outline maps of the United States, individual states, and counties within a state. Files print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.   Icon for lab resources
Latitude and Longitude – The National Atlas
Article describing latitude and longitude and related terms.

Topographic Maps

Topographic Map Resources for Teachers
An overall summary of useful USGS resources for working with topographic maps: where to get them; how to interpret them; how to use them; explanations of coordinates, datums, and projections; and lessons for the classroom. Also available as a 2-page PDF file.
Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles
Download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format by clicking on “Map Locator” on the USGS Store Web site. These files were created using high-resolution scans and average 10-17 megabytes in size.

You can participate, facilitate, learn using GIS.
GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. We who use media on a daily basis use the tools of supercomputing , GIS and visualization and modeling without knowing it.

Never mind that geography and maps were not a part of my training for teaching. Geography?  We see the world in media almost daily. Sadly we do not necessarily teach our students formal geography.

I studied at the National Geographic I learned to read, study, analyze and ( fold a map). We had Map Maker Interactive. That is  an incredible piece of technology.I

You may need Inspiration. In a way students use some mind mapping programs to think about the world.

When I was a new teacher long ago, people often fought over the maps that were available in schools for students . There were these blue outline maps. They were limited in supply.

Here are some tools.

State Interactive maps. You can investigate any state you want to explore.

One treasure chest of a site is MyWonderfulWorld.

interactive map. This is a homicide map of DC. You can check the homicides in your neighborhood. You may not want to know this big data, but in an emergency, it is big data that is collected to allow experts to assess the damages and know what to do.


Should you Shoot Your Child’s Computer? Cut the Cord? What is a Solution?

Sharing ideas with the community in rural Virginia

Is it Ever OK to Shoot Your Child’s Computer?

                              We have a better solution. Digital Citizenship

OMG lol A free Kindle Book for kids

It probably is difficult to keep students from being online.

What we can do is to educate them.

The tools of technology are interesting to students for exploring new ideas.

Learning to use the Ipad.

But, once kids get online there are solutions that work.  First let’s acknowledge that broadband is not everywhere and that people have some problems with digital citizenship.

Do You Know… 

We propose digital literacy as a solution  .First, we should understand what social media is! This is from this website

Social media applications support communication within and across networks of people, encouraging sharing of information, ideas, practices, and experiences without the time lag of traditional publication or broadcast media. Fast and focused communication of text, images, movies, music directly or via web links supports collaboration, whether that collaboration is a trivial decision on where to dine or a more sophisticated back and forth around an ongoing project.

The content of communication can be directed to a single person or group, but it can also take the form of a broadcast to the general public or a collection of unknown followers/readers/listeners. Social media makes everyone a reporter. A tremendous variety of software applications serve in this function. Some are asynchronous personal spaces, such as Facebook or blogs. Others support instant, brief streams of communication, such as Twitter. Some support geolocated networking, such as Four Square, which lets you tell friends when and where you’ve “checked in” to a location such as school or the local museum.

Social media is about conversation, relationships, user-generated content, and immediacy. Many web applications have social media potential. Flickr, Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Four Square, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, social bookmarking sites, YouTube, and podcasts,are generally considered social media. In these social spaces or web destinations, a user can fashion an identity/profile, create a network of ‘friends,’ and in many cases also passively “follow” or receive the activity feed or postings from unknown others who choose to make their output available to the public. These different sites are “open” and walled-off in different ways. This is something important to consider in the understanding of social media.

Social networks that form and engage via social media can support the creation of groups that distinguish between friends, and closely knit networks or large, loosely coupled networks. Closely knit networks are small, typically family or long time mutual friends. Loosely coupled networks are typically made up of people who may not know each other but rather who share an interest, e.g., Occupy Wall Street. Members of large networks don’t communicate directly with each other as much as they address the network at large, where everyone is an audience member for everyone else.

Learning to negotiate the iPad

Social media also refers to the leveraging of social networks to create, share, and steward content. That content can be as diverse as a book review posted on Amazon or a home made movie uploaded to YouTube. Content sharing spaces, content vendors, and “news” aggregators make use of social media applications or applets to perform these functions by allowing visitors or members to rate and comment on what they find on the site or ‘in the stream’, and share what they out to other social networks.

While social media use continues to grow in the public-at-large, the world of education is still determining how to use social media to engage students in learning while keeping them safe. Perhaps their most potent offering is the creation of social capital, that is, the potential to connect people to very useful other people who they might not otherwise find or know. In addition, engaging students in a real conversation about real issues is a powerful way to make learning authentic. Social Media potentially can bring new issues, people, and connections to typically closed classrooms.

                                        Transformative Potential

Social Media is an important, but broad, concept, and consequently, the ways it can impact learning and education vary a great deal as the “what are we doing” of social media changes. For example, Social Media applications range from blogging, to pictures (Flickr), to short tweets, to connecting with others in social networking spaces, the particular benefits one receives will most likely be tied to a particular web application, with overlap between the tools. For example, of Twitter, instructors often discuss the value of students learning to express themselves in short, concise statements while in blogs, the benefit is on learning to express oneself and communicate effectively in writing. Both tools require the learner to understand the audience perspective to enhance communication. In Flickr, one can see how sharing pictures and learning from comments relates to the topic of visualization.

Social Media can benefit students at learning level, and a social level. Potential impacts on the learning process include: increased opportunities for feedback from other people in the social space; authentic conversations with “others” outside of the class; more learning from deeper engagement; and opportunities for reflection. Potential impacts on the social part of learning include much of what comes from collaborative learning projects: deeper engagement in the subject; thinking about the subject in a variety of ways; more feedback on thoughts from both instructors and students; reduced isolation; developing identity and ownership of a problem; increased efficacy and sense of achievement.

Perhaps one of the most potent benefits social media brings to learners (and all users) is the creation of social capital, that is, the potential in the connections of people to other people who they might not otherwise find or know. The potential in the connections includes, access to the other’s knowledge and their connections.

There is a program that the George Lucas Educational Foundation has that introduces ways in which we use the computer for good ans here is a  description of sooial media and digital citizenship.

 The Project Digital Generation

Many of today’s kids are born digital — born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities. But their digital lifestyle is about more than just cool gadgets; it’s about engagement, self-directed learning, creativity, and empowerment. The Digital Generation Project tells their stories so that educators and parents can understand how kids learn, communicate, and socialize in very different ways than any previous generation

Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grants


Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grants support world-class research to improve our understanding of how social media can impact the next generation. In August 2011, we invited academic and non-profit institutions to apply for the $200,000 in grants funding research that highlights trends associated with digital citizenship. Nearly 100 researchers from more than 10 countries submitted outstanding applications. Based on in-depth evaluation from a team of Facebook employees and our Safety Advisory Board, we are awarding the inaugural Digital Citizenship Research Grants to these four researchers who will advance our global understanding of digital citizenship.

So the big industries are trying to help solve sodial media concerns. I think that is a better solution.. We must also educate and support teacher training, understanding and use of tools and new media.


Our Grantees

Dr. Shaheen Shariff, McGill University

Professor Shaheen Shariff, undertakes research focused on youth and digital media. She guides schools, parents, teens and policy-makers to navigate a balance between online free expression, privacy and safety. Her recent bilingual website, Define the Line helps develop resources, workshops and interactive online forums to reduce cyberbullying and enhance responsible digital citizenship. The DFL team will survey how school kids define the lines between friendly online joking or teasing, and hurtful cyberbullying. They will also examine how teens define the lines between public and private online spaces.


Dr. Michael Searson, SITE

Dr. Searson is President of the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) and heads the School for Global Education and Innovation program at Kean University. SITE represents approximately 1500 educators, from about 500 institutions of higher education throughout the world. In these roles, Dr. Searson works with educators across the globe to explore issues related to information technologies, informal learning, mobile devices and social media.The SITE project will bring together a coalition of international scholars, researchers and practitioners who will develop an open source course and course modules for the preparation of future teachers to teach digital citizenship.


Shari Kessel Schneider, Education Development Center (EDC)

Shari Kessel Schneider is a researcher with the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), a global nonprofit dedicated to designing and evaluating programs that address challenges in health and education. Schneider has done extensive work in the fields of bullying and suicide prevention and has been conducting research on cyberbullying trends since 2006. Working with a large group of school districts, the EDC will engage school leaders, parents, and teens to examine existing programs and policies but also to uncover ideas for new strategies and linkages to encourage positive use of social media. Schools across the country are being mandated to take steps to address cyberbullying and protect the health and safety of youth both at school and online. This research will look at the roles of educators, parents and social networking sites to determine how they can work together.


Janice Richardson, European Schoolnet (EUN)

Janice Richardson is a senior adviser at European Schoolnet (EUN), an umbrella organization that works with 33 Ministries of Education across Europe to raise internet safety awareness and to transform teaching and learning through the integration of innovative technology. EUN’s grant will be used for their Social Media in Learning and Education (SMILE) Action Research project to investigate the issues of how much teachers are benefitting from the full potential of social media tools. In addition, the SMILE project will create an online learning course and mentoring techniques for educators.


Stop Cyberbullying from Being the Stop Sign in the Use of Digital Education

On listserv discussions, and group discussions we all  know that one of the gating factors of the use of technology, is the lack of access. The FCC tells us that mobile devices are going to help us vault the digital divide. But the problem is that schools are reluctant to use of many of the devices and are still struggling with the use of the Internet. Cyberbullying is one of the problems. Lack of information is the problem.  There will be a “Stop Cyberbullying Toolkit” distributed by the Wired Safety Group.

When we talk about bullying there are divergent voices. Sometimes the argument is about bullying , such as this article. Bullying, Cyberbullying.. lets start at the beginning.

An emerging body of research is focusing on the subtler forms of bullying that teachers sometimes miss.
Bullying has migrated to the digital world. We need to pay attention to it. We have seen problems that have been caused . We need remedies.

In meetings at the National Academy of Sciences, PI’s complain about the fact that the use of technology is stopped because of school  issues. Schools blocking the use of the Internet.

Cyberbullying is not understood as an entity by many. Here is a web site that shares  in a flash presentation the whole idea. is a site by Wired Safety and is just the beginning fo the discussion.

The site has many resources for those who are just beginning the discussion. This is a professional development tool that helps teachers investigate, examine, explore, and get into the discussion with data, case studies and outreach for their learning community.

We  know that there are schools that have decided not to use the Internet because of fear. This group , and others seek to help by informing parents, the learning community , and linking all of the groups that use technology to help pave the information infrastructure to help us reach society’s goals. It is a joy to attend one of the hearings, or gatherings of the group in advocacy. Here are my photos from the last gathering I attended.  Cyber action on the hill. If you look at the event you will see, lots of girls, .. that is one very positive aspect of this information.

In the new educational technology plan, education is migrating toward the cloud. So online is a given that we can expect.

What is Cyberbullying?

Parry’s short definition of cyberbullying is: “When a minor uses technology as a weapon to intentionally target and hurt another minor, it’s ‘cyberbullying.’”

The long definition of cyberbullying is “any cyber-communication or publication posted or sent by a minor online, by instant message, e-mail, website, diary site, online profile, interactive game, handheld device, cellphone, game device, digital camera or video, webcam or use of any interactive device that is intended to frighten, embarrass, harass, hurt, set up, cause harm to, extort, or otherwise target another minor.”

With one exception, all cyberbullying must be intentional. It requires that the cyberbully intends to do harm to or annoy their target. (In the one exception to this rule, the student is careless and hurts another’s feelings by accident. This is called “inadvertent cyberbullying,” because the target feels victimized, even if it is not the other student’s intention. Since it often leads to retaliation, traditional cyberbullying and cyberwarfare, it is considered one of the four main types of cyberbullying.)

Cyberbullying needs to have minors on both sides, as target and as cyberbully. (If there aren’t minors on both sides of the communication, it is considered “cyberharassment,” not cyberbullying.) When a student harasses a teacher, it falls under cyberharassment. (Note that some new cyberbullying laws classify teacher cyberharassment as “cyberbullying” for those purposes, though.)

Parry Aftab created a checklist for law enforcement first responders (those who take the call when it comes in initially or show up to interview the victims). You can review it here and see how the nature of communications, frequency, and identity or anonymity affect the risk assessment.

How Prevalent Is It?

With our increased reliance on technology, the incidences of cyberbullying are growing. Parry visited schools around North America (primarily in the U.S.) and polled the students in each session. Over a year she polled approximately 45,000 students in middle school and early high school, as well as sixth graders in some grammar schools. She listed the kinds of things that typically constitute cyberbullying and asked the students to raise their hands if any of those things had happened to them in the last year.

She never had fewer than 85% of the students admit that they had been targeted at least once in the last year.
In Westchester County, New York (an affluent county outside of New York City where most students have multiple devices with Internet connections), 97% of the middle schoolers polled admitted to having been cyberbullied. And in one boarding school in Canada, 100% of the students responded that they had been cyberbullied.

Yet, only 5% would tell their parents if they were targeted
, the same students report.  Most reasons relate to not trusting their parents not to blow things out of proportion or fearing that they will take the technology away from them. The rest of theiir reasons span the traditional reasons for being reluctant to share anything about bullying with their parents.

Fifty percent have heard of or seen a website/profile/quiz bashing another student in their school, and seventy-five percent of those have visited one of them. Forty percent have either had their password stolen and changed by a cyberbully (locking them out of their own account) or had communications sent to others posing as them. (To review more statistics, click here.)

Cyberbullying begins as early as second or third grade, depending on the age when cellphones, virtual worlds, and Internet use begin. It peaks in fourth grade and again in seventh and eighth grade.

In our statistics section, you can learn more about how this breaks out and how different technologies are misused to hurt other students. Surveys often fail to disclose the true extent of cyberbullying. That is why we highlight the research conducted by our Teenangels and Tweenangels, WiredSafety’s expert young volunteers.

How Does It Work?

Cyberbullying can be conducted using most digital and interactive technologies. They misuse cellphones, handheld gaming devices and text devices, digital still and video cameras, online game sites, social networks, webcams, virtual worlds, passwords, instant messaging, e-mails, blogs, photos, iPods, and voice over IP devices. To learn more about the risks and methods, technology by technology, see  “The Big Six – The Weapons of Choice.”

There are three different cyberbullying methods:

  1. Direct attacks (messages sent to the target directly);
  2. Posted and public attacks designed to humiliate the target; and
  3. Cyberbullying by proxy (using others to help cyberbully the victim, either with or without the accomplice’s knowledge).

Because cyberbullying by proxy often gets adults involved in the harassment (without their knowing they are being manipulated by kids), it is much more dangerous than any other type of attack. You can read, in gory detail, how these work in “How Does Cyberbullying Work, in Detail?

Learn, Stop Block and Tell!

Not Reform, Transform Schools, Look Toward the Future, Not the Past

Not Reform, Transform, Here be Dragons.. I think not….

Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Power of US –

Reflections from a Truthout Article

Who can disagree with reform? Who can be against helping children stuck in a bad school system?

What the corporate reformers have done well is to essentially trademark “reform,” branding in the public mind their diagnosis of what’s wrong with schools and the harsh, chemotherapeutic remedy.They own reform. They are the people of Aspen, the digerati that meet and greet and talk about the future. Few real teachers, or administators, or community membersin real educational situations are a part of these conversations. Most have never experienced or know the real areas of difficulty, in education. Their experience of bad school systems is filtered. There are people suffering from really being involved who have a real perspective on the problems. But, they have hardly been consulted.

Rhee Goes Rogue

What’s wrong with the school system, according to corporate reformers, is the bad teachers, their unions and “special interests,” as Rhee claims practically unchallenged in her Newsweek cover story and across the corporate media, including in “Waiting for Superman,” which earned ample air time on Oprah’s “Shocking State of Our Schools.” The corporate media has adopted this diagnosis, as is best illustrated in Tom Brokaw’s segment in “Education Nation,” an NBC special applauding the corporate reformers featuring Rhee and Gates (Gates also appeared in “Waiting for Superman”). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was also one of the sponsors of Education Nation, and Gates was a star of his own show. Not surprisingly, Brokaw – a reporter, not a pundit – claims, as fact, that there is a “teacher establishment,” which is part of the problem, echoing Rhee and other corporate reformers sponsoring the event..

I have been involved in some of the digerati discussions, in places where the rich and famous gather to discuss ideas. For the most part there are few genuine educators present. But there are “scholarships” for a chosen few. The audience is of powerful people with big ideas. Think Aspen, Ted, PopTech,  and other specialized groupings that are a digital divide, well a monetary divide as well.There re are some wonderful things that happen as a result of these powerful meetings. Clark County in Nevada has demonstrated some wonderful projects as a result of Gates Funding.

Often the diagnosis, the corporate reform remedy is obvious: take down the “teacher establishment,”

For the most part, Teacher Voices are left out of the conversation.

The real stories of schools in Washington DC were never told.

Slowly, the effects are being judged.

This headline did not make the national news . But , it should have.
The press does not follow up on their highly flambouyant stories. We don’t have a movie of the reality of rural, poor, minority and reservation schools. Perhaps the story is too hard to tell.

Private contractor failed Dunbar High’s students, D.C. says

There are other stories to think about as well.

The press does not tell the bad stories in education. The bad stories are depressing. Some children live the bad stories every day of their school life.

Say it isn’t so on IMPACT, Mayor Gray

By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Reporter

Here’s why I was so disappointed to read my colleague Bill Turque’s report on a plan by D.C. schools officials to have the flawed IMPACT teacher evaluation system reviewed by a Harvard think tank:

1) I was optimistic that new Mayor Vincent Gray was serious about fixing the problem when he said at a recent public forum that the evaluation system –instituted under former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee — was unfair to teachers. In his own words:

“I guess I would say at this stage… it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s got a long way to go to be a fair evaluation of our teachers. And frankly any system that isn’t sensitive to the differences in challenges of the kids in the schools only encourages teachers to teach in one part of the city and not in the other parts.”

But, the national news does not pick up the examination of Rhee’s work under the microscope of public and academic opinion. The voters had their say and the press moved on.

There are reasons to be concerned about the legacy of Michelle Rhee.

Those of us who work, and who try to impact, change and help transform the schools know a lot of stories that the press is not talking about. Sometines the truth may be too ugly to tell.

Sometimes the press does not tell the good things that happen either.  The George Lucas Educational Foundation is left to sort the stories out. Emaginos  says on their web site.

The Need To Transform K-12 Education

As President Obama recently told Congress and the American people,

“In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity — it is a prerequisite. Today, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma. And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation. And half of the students who begin college never finish. This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow.”

Emaginos has the concept of transforming educational practice through example at the Tracy Learning Center in Tracy, California, a time tested learning project.

Tracy Learning Center

The Tracy Learning Center is the first in a network of research and development schools implemented to demonstrate Emaginos Learning. The Tracy Learning Center is a dynamic response to the compelling need to revolutionize teaching and learning. The foundation for Emaginos Learning has its beginning in the vision, creativity and innovation used to design the Tracy Learning Center. The Tracy Learning Center opened in July 2001 and operates as a K-12 charter school. The Tracy Learning Center serves as a model for both public schools and learning in the private sector. It is an innovative collaborative of industry, education and government that provides a positive change in the process of learning.

The center involves, parents, community, learners and the community colleges.


I like the NFIE project which probed teachers about their learning <>.”To improve schools we must focus on the teachers,” said Judith Rènyi, executive director of the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, (NFIE) in releasing this report . Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning “Schools can only be as good as the teachers in them. This is something that all other so-called ‘reform efforts’ have missed. It’s what teachers know and can do that will make the difference in improved student performance..When I am on the road, I learn that most teachers have little or no knowledge of the documents, and kinds of support they can get. People keep giving us lesson plans, and more websites, webcasts, nings, and other way to communicate, But a basic understanding and fluent knowledge of the new ways of participatory cutlure, and deep curriculum, is important. We need web 2.0. an understanding of Cloud Computing and we need to know the significance of the use of mobile technologies.

Children with their hands on the keyboard have access to knowledge beyond the textbook, teacher, and sometimes the local library resources.They need to know the resources for

Cyberbullying. Beyond this web site is a tool kit for the use of computers for community, school, and personal use.

What we need is applications of pedagogy. These should be delivered up close and personal. A website to a techno-terrifed teacher is of NO significance.The website can be a wonderful link after teachers have developed a vision for driving technology into their personal school tool armature.   If we look at the way in which people are attracted to technology, there are several routes, courses, games, mentoring, and use at school that entice people to use technology..

Technofluency is the word.

It is also described as TPCK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Bloom’s Digital Technology is the word. And construct to think about.
Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally, Andrew Churches

Computational Thinking is the word.

Every day we read, use, employ and get information from computational tools, and resources. We access the weather, read the oceans, find our way in cars, use the Internet, get medical treatment using imaging, and so on. There are gatesays to  the use of superconmputing that we learn about in the press, but not as a part of preparation for the future in school. Why is that?

If you say supercomputing, or computational thinking few people know what that is, or cloud computing, yet they use it every day.

Teachers are sometimes still in the dark ages of education, using tools that my mother and others used 80 years ago. Chalk and Talk.

How Many Teachers Use Technology?

An ETLS survey showed these points…Connecting Teachers and Technology

Research shows that helping teachers learn how to integrate technology into the curriculum is a critical factor for the successful implementation of technology applications in schools. Most teachers have not had the education or training to use technology effectively in their teaching. As technologies are ever evolving and many times professional development is a very short interface. Some esteemed professors feel that technology has no place in the curriculum and I do not debate them on line because they have made their minds up to the contrary, but use the technology to tell us that the participatory culture does not work , excuse me?

In medieval times, the scripters, the careful monks who painstakingly copied books, had most written knowledge in their hands. The monks and priests had a network even then to disseminate knowledge to the capitals of the countries that the Jesuits served. The “knowbots” of medieval times were the intellectuals who could read, write, and discourse, and they made decisions or were able to influence the decision making of that era. In those dark ages, information was available, but very few were privileged to be a part of the sharing of knowledge. Once the printing press was invented, the industrial secrets of that world and global niches of specialization were quickly shared. But even then, the movement of ideas was based on a person’s ability to read and to purchase or have access to a book. It took a long time to bring the cost of books down to a level that the general public could afford. Hence, the town criers. Oyez! We are undergoing change that is more widespread and just as transformational, if allowed.

The New America Foundation brings up the images of dragons. Here be Dragons…

Maps in the old days often included depictions of sea dragons or lions to connote unknown or dangerous terrain. Unfortunately, when it comes to a future that will be altered in unimaginable ways by emerging technologies, society and government cannot simply lay down a “Here Be Dragons” marker with a fanciful illustration to signal that most of us have no clue. Many of the nay -sayers have no clue but lots of press presence. I remember when the Pope, Oprah, and

others warned of the Dragons in the use of the Internet. Check out their web pages.

Many teachers are not far removed from those primitive ways of communication. We are still using the book for our basic teaching and the voice for the delivery of the program with a little help from some current technology, some hands-on projects, and a few field trips. The current economic crisis strikes hard in places along the digital dark road, where Internet is suspect, and teachers have little or no training in the use of technology.”

In the book, 21st, Century Skills, Learning for Life in our tines, Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel remar that the world has undergone foundational shifts in recent decates-widespread advances in technology, and communications, increased competition, and the escalation of global challenge from financial meltdowns. They query , how can we prepare students to meet the challenge of our century if our schools remind virtually unchanged?

They focus on Learning and Innovation Skills

Creativity and Innovation Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication and Collaboration

, Digital Literacy Skills

Information Literacy , Media Literacy and ICT Literacy( this should include an understanding of Cyberbullying and the whold concept of the participatory culture.

Many teachers , schools and communities don’t have a concept that defines Wired Safety.

Here’s a place to get a start.

Career and Life skills.

Many of us call these skills workforce readiness skills.

Flexibility and Adaptability, Initiative and Self Direction, Social and Cross Cultural Skills, Productively and Accountability , Leadership and Responsibility.

How do we transform practices?

The good news is that many teachers are using the new cells of virtual communication and networks that exist on the Internet to reconstruct and improve their teaching practices. The number of people involved in network communications is larger than the cable and television viewing public. Teachers are learning multimedia and using platforms to create learning environments that are rich in motivation and interest and cater to different learning styles. Our link is the computer, online telecommunications, and our virtual communities of thought, conventions, and teacher organizations.

We are just beginning to develop new ways of learning. Unfortunately, we are like the monks. Most people outside our sphere do not understand our words when we talk about the information highway, any more than the peasants understood Latin from the monks. There are more people who do not understand this hue and cry about the information highway than those who do.

What is interesting is that most of the people talking about education are not educators.

Even the experts in education are ignored. Here is the questions. Do or should reporters be the experts, choose the experts?


The digital world will change education as much or more as the printing press did. For years we did not understand the changes the printing press made in the storage and retrieval of information. The digital world will change learning as much or more than books.
Frank Withrow

The corporate reformers have reached the hearts of the public, blinding them with a beautifully rendered fiction.Even though Ravitch is very visible, even though she has powerful data and analysis to support her conclusions, which are widely published and read, she hasn’t been successful in capturing the public imagination, as there is no story – no hero or villain – for the American public to easily grasp, to reduce into a simple plot with an obvious moral. There is no heartwarming tale to sell newspapers or to draw viewers to the evening news or sob-filled theatres.

On our present course, we are disrupting communities, dumbing down our schools, giving students false reports of their progress, and creating a private sector that will undermine public education without improving it. Most significantly, we are not producing a generation of students who are more knowledgeable, and better prepared for the responsibilities of citizenship. That is why I changed my mind about the current direction of school reform.

Ms. Ravitch is author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” published last week by Basic Book

Powerful Learning : What We Know About Teaching for Understanding

The nation’s leading education experts present the best teaching strategies for powerful learning

    Teaching: what works, what doesn’t, and why? Within the fields of reading, math, and science, bestselling author Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues describe, in clear and practical terms, the best teaching methods for K-12 student understanding. Rich classroom stories show that students designing and working together on engaging projects are challenged to do more than just memorize facts. This invaluable resource offers innovative strategies to support student learning.

There is a wrinkle. We are talking often as if everyone has access to the new technologies and broadband. The hope today is that wireless technologies will vault the Digital Divide. What do you think?

Communications technologies have continued to evolve and now increasingly provide opportunities for deploying low-cost broadband. However, conventional commercial business models for providing broadband often create bottlenecks to spreading connectivity. Over the past five years, successful community and municipal wireless networks have been overlooked and often dismissed, yet they hold tremendous promise for improving our nation’s approach to building communications infrastructure, empowering local communities and addressing the digital divide. This event will launch an important report that reviews community and municipal wireless networks across the United States and Europe.

United States of Entertainment? United States of Hollywood? Read This Book!

Imagine an Education Nation: Six Leading Edges
By Milton Chen
My new book is just out, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools (Jossey-Bass). You can preview it on Amazon. In it, I pose this challenge: “Imagine an Education Nation, a learning society where the education of children and adults is the highest national priority, on par with a strong economy, high employment, and national security.”

The most important step in making an Education Nation a reality is not a greater investment of dollars, but a greater understanding of what this new educational system should look like. It will require bringing the many “islands of excellence” featured on to the center of this nation, moving the edges of change to the middle.

So this book is my effort to “curate” the marvelous collection of films, articles, and multimedia features from the past few years. I’ve organized this collection according to what I see as the six “edges” of innovations redefining schools, teaching, and learning. They are:

1. The Thinking Edge Changing our thinking about teaching and learning and calling a truce to the wasteful education wars that pit one school of thought against another — from the reading wars of phonics skills vs. “whole language” and children’s literature, to the debate over 21st Century skills vs. “core curriculum.” Just as hybrid vehicles are an important solution for our environment, hybrid thinking — taking the best of differing approaches — will improve our schools.

2. The Edge of Curriculum All around the country, schools and districts, as well as afterschool programs, are redefining what is taught and how it’s assessed. Importantly, through project-based learning, creative educators are relating curricula to students’ lives, so their students never ask the most frequently asked question in most schools: “Why do we need to learn this?”

3. The Technology Edge From the Internet to mobile devices, online curricula and courses, technology-based content, platforms, and experiences are enabling students to learn more, earlier. And helping teachers make the learning process more visible to themselves, their students, and parents.

4. The Edge of Time and Place Learning can now truly be 24/7/365 rather than limited to what happens in a classroom 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 31 weeks a year. As my last blog post described, in many places around the country, the summer months are becoming the “third semester,” advancing, rather than delaying, student learning, especially for lower-income families who cannot afford the camps, travel, and enrichment activities other parents can.

5. The Co-Teaching Edge Rather than the traditional model of one teacher in a room with 30 students, smart teachers are involving a team of “co-educators” in the learning of students, from parents — a child’s first and most important teacher — to other teachers and content experts in the community and online.

6. The Youth Edge Today’s youth are becoming the first generation to carry powerful mobile devices wherever they go. As I like to say, they are carrying this change in their pockets. They are used to instant access to information and their entire social network. They learn in a fundamentally different way than we over-40s did (and certainly those of us way-over-40) and they are teaching us how to restructure this new educational system.

Last week in Orlando, Florida, I spoke about these themes at the Florida Teacher of the Year conference, a gathering of 100 of Florida’s best teachers, staff of the Florida Department of Education, and corporate sponsors, including Bank of America, the Florida Lottery, and Promethean. Florida does a spectacular job of honoring its best teachers every year. The Commissioner of Education, Dr. Eric Smith, and members of his staff travel to the schools of the five finalists and surprise them, along with a camera crew, with the announcement.

At a black-tie gala at the Hard Rock Live! event center at Universal Studios, we were all treated to a dinner and awards ceremony hosted by Deborah Norville of Inside Edition. Suspense was crackling in the air as the five finalists stood on stage waiting for Dr. Smith to pronounce the winner: high school science teachers Kelly Burnette from Yulee High School and Allan Phipps from Broward County; 8th-grade language arts teacher Cristine O’Hara of Miami-Dade, and 4th-grade teachers Zachary Champagne of Jacksonville and Cheryl Conley of Vero Beach. The room erupted as Smith named Cheryl Conley as the Florida Teacher of the Year. In film clips of their classrooms, their students testified, eloquently and enthusiastically: how these five teachers made learning fun, helped them become more persistent, and if they didn’t understand a concept the first time, their teachers found another way.

Earlier that afternoon, in a media circus that riveted the entire nation, LeBron James had announced he was going to the Miami Heat. I wish the honoring of our best teachers could achieve just 1% of the air time that James received. Even better: wouldn’t it be great if celebrities like James stood up and said, “I have some important news to announce, but I want to do it at the Teacher of the Year ceremony so the really important people in our nation get the recognition they deserve.”

When our media and celebrities devote more attention to our best educators, we will know we are becoming an Education Nation. Instead, right now, we are a sports- and entertainment-obsessed nation. Unless we want to be known as the United States of Hollywood, we need to get our priorities straight and get more obsessed with the quality of our schools. In fact, basketball has a few lessons to teach us about learning. In sports, we know it’s about performance and what athletes do and not about memorizing the rules of the game. I’ll say more about that in a future post.

Milton Chen’s Blog

From Bonnie

Waiting for Superman is interesting  but omits the essence of transformation.
“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.” – Tanya Byron
Shared by @h011y via Twitter

“We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us.” Marshall McLuhan (1964)
Shared by @craigr via Twitteris some truth to it, but this book and others will give you the truth. Michelle Rhee is a DC illusion. We all teach for America.. don’t we?? Some of us use technology and are technofluent. Where is that in the discussions?

Waiting for Superman? I Have Found a Superwoman in Technology!

A woman in IT! She can help change the classroom

Why are there so few women in IT? Why are there so few , By the Numbers ? I have been thinking about this for a couple of years and trying to advocate change in the organizations in which I work. I call your attention to
By the Numbers: statistics about women & IT The most compelling statistics on women’s participation in IT, on a single page. Then there is the report, “Why So Few/”In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? A new  research report by AAUW (American Association of University Women) presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this puzzle. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers – including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities – that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Click to access BytheNumbers09.pdf

An Important Workshop

I attended a workshop on computational thinking at the National Science Board on Computational Thinking. I have been floating around in this area of learning for a while attending the Teragrid meetings, and  the Supercomputing Conference when allowed. There was at one time a lot of fussing about K-12. Henry Neeman, Scott Lathrop and Diane Baxter, encouraged me to keep learning, but others pushed me away, saying that K-12 teachers were too hard to work with and that the children should be taught. So this workshop was a great place for me to learn about the interface of computational thinking and curriculum. A lot of people bad mouth teachers without giving them the professional development, the chance to be a part of the conversation , the community, the collaboration for a better world.

Overview of the Workshop

As the use of computational devices has become widespread, there is
a need to understand the scope and impact of what is sometimes called
the Information Revolution or the Age of Digital Information. This is
particularly apparent in education at all levels. Various efforts have been
made to introduce K-12 students to the most basic and essential compu-
tational concepts, and college curricula have tried to provide students a
basis for lifelong learning of increasingly new and advanced computa-
tional concepts and technologies. At both ends of this spectrum, however,
most efforts have not focused on fundamental concepts.
One common approach to incorporating computation into the K-12
curriculum is to emphasize computer literacy, which generally involves
using tools to create newsletters, documents, Web pages, multimedia
presentations, or budgets. A second common approach is to empha-
size computer programming by teaching students to program in par-
ticular programming languages such as Java or C++.

A third commonapproach focuses on programming applications such as games, robots,and simulations.But in the view of many computer scientists, these three major
approaches—although useful and arguably important—should not be
confused with learning to think computationally. In this view, compu-
tational thinking is a fundamental analytical skill that everyone, not just
computer scientists, can use to help solve problems, design systems,
and understand human behavior. As such, they believe that computa-
tional thinking is comparable to the mathematical, linguistic, and logical

reasoning that is taught to all children. This view mirrors the grow-
ing recognition that computational thinking (and not just computation)
has begun to influence and shape thinking in many disciplines—Earth
sciences, biology, and statistics, for example. Moreover, computational
thinking is likely to benefit not only other scientists but also everyone
else—bankers, stockbrokers, lawyers, car mechanics, salespeople, health
care professionals, artists, and so on.
Marcia C. Linn, Chair
Committee for the Workshops on Computational Thinking

So, I learned to  pay attention to the stats on women and information technology and the talking points. of the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

Information technology (IT) is the language and toolbox of our information age.
We use it to communicate and innovate, in our work and in our play. It is the
means for our individual well-being and our collective progress. Participation with
IT – both as its creators and its consumers – guarantees that it will be a dynamic
force in our future; and IT’s pervasive impact on all our lives makes our participation
an imperative.

IT is Important!

IT has fueled much of our economic wealth and innovation over the last decades,
and it will provide the lion’s share of new job growth over the coming decades. The
Department of Labor estimates that the professional-level IT workforce will grow
at more than twice the rate of the overall workforce, creating 1 in 19 new jobs and
adding more than one million new jobs by 2014.

So why is it not in the curriculum in our K-12 schools?

Why aren’t people creating professional development and curriculum for use in the K-12 arena? There are a few shining lights. In this post I want to talk about a woman in technology because there are so few. There is not a movie about her, but perhaps there should be about the effects of her work with Dr. Alexander Repenning.


I want you to meet a very special lady.
Dr. Andri Ioannidou is the Principal Investigator of the subaward made to AgentSheets Inc. She is the Senior Project Manager of AgentSheets Inc. In that role, she is responsible for designing and developing software as well as managing the company’s large-scale R&D projects. She has been part of the AgentSheets academic and later commercial team since 1994. Dr. Ioannidou currently works with academic collaborators and school district administrators to develop and disseminate AgentSheets-based Scalable Game Design curriculum throughout Colorado and the U.S.

She leads collaborative efforts with companies and educators in Greece in projects funded by the European Commission and the Greek Ministry of Education to develop educational activities using AgentSheets for use in all Greek schools. She engages in outreach activities in local schools, where she works extensively with teachers and students to introduce simulation-based activities in computer education, math, science, and social studies courses, as well as extra-curricular activities.

She teaches game design workshops and classes at all levels level nationally and internationally as well as trains teachers. Dr. Ioannidou received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research interests and expertise include end-user development, agent-based simulations, educational technology, game design, computational science, and human-computer interaction. Her work has been published in numerous international conference proceedings, academic journals, trade magazines, and books.

She has served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation and academic conferences. She has received numerous awards and honors including scholarships and the esteemed title of the Outstanding Graduate of the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado, mainly for her involvement in LEGOsheets – a visual programming environment for the MIT programmable brick (now known as LEGO Mindstorms).

I asked her, as I always do, how did she get started in computer science?

She said…

It’s actually a sort of an ironic story: growing up, I didn’t really know what i wanted to do, but i always knew what i did NOT want to do and that was become a teacher – which is what both my parents and my sister (and other members of the extended family) were.

So I went towards the field that I felt was the furthest away from that: computer science. I was already good in math and science and had some interest in computers so i figured that was a good choice. And I was doing well as an undergrad, but it wasn’t until my senior year at CU, when i started working with Alex on the LEGO sheets project, that i really discovered my passion with computer science: educational technology. Ironically, the thing i was trying to avoid so hard (education) ended up being the perfect combination for me for technology.


I asked her lots of questions. I asked because she was such a gentle force and so easy to learn from. Her mission was to help. It was not about her accomplishments. I don’t think she even said much about who she was. So I started this conversation with her about Cyprus.  I have been there three times to work in the media for children group, the Agora.

Women in the Serious Games ..Dr. Andri Ioannidou

Scalable Game Design Wiki

High School Teacher Workshop I attended
Mission: Reinventing computer science in public schools by motivating & educating all students including women and underrepresented communities to learn about computer science through game design starting at the middle school level
Results: The project aimed at instructing 1200 students in 3 years but already instructed over 1300 students in the first semester; 52.3% of the students were girls, 78% of the girls want to continue! more…
Scalable Game design was presented at the ISTE 2010 conference in poster sessions by Alex Repenning, Mark Shouldice, Andri Ioannidou, Corey Papastathis, and Steve Barron
We just successfully completed the 2010 Summer Institute (June 1-June 11, 2010).
I participated in a  successful CS4HS workshop (June 25-June 27, 2010) sponsored by Google and AgentSheets Inc. Newspaper report.
Read the press release about the Summer Institute and the press coverage by the Daily Camera about the CS4HS.

The Dept of Education talks about the crisis in the classroom. Seems to me that a meeting with the NSF, and other interagency groups should be created to info those who speak for education about the computational sciences.

From Karen North

“The most powerful of software tools is the programming
language … an important role for the teacher is as a sort of human tool, a
consultant on ways and means, rather than an initiator of activities for
students.” – Brian Harvey 1980

“Education is the only business still debating the
usefulness of technology.” – Dr. Ron Paige.

Both are still true today! So what is taking so long for education to value technology
and programming languages?

Here are real teachers learning programming and scalable game design. These pictures were taken with an Iphone

*** If you are a parent or an interested professional, write to the Secretary of Education about the computational sciences. One percent of women in IT is not enough.

Workshop photos


Committee for the Workshops on Computational Thinking

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Washington, D.C.

Parents, Plants, and Pedagogy… digging in the dirt ( STEM)

Garden tools and implements

Wheelbarrow, Dung Forks and Spades

On warm spring days, instead of leaving their hearts and minds in the classroom, my students often turned to the outdoors.

The study of plant life is a staple in biology curricula — children explore seeds and how plants grow, young adolescents focus on cells, and teenagers continue their studies with more in-depth investigations of botany and plant physiology.

Reading about plants is usual in the traditional school curriculum, but working with the soil, growing different varieties of plants, and eating the plants you grow is uncommon.

However, my plant lessons rarely required a textbook. The scope and sequence of my lessons on plants ranged from learning about soils (undertaking a soil profile) to studying seeds (“What is a seed?”), digging in the dirt (good for building strong bodies and minds), and making a classroom garden.

I had a lot of help from the local 4-H agent, who conducted soil profiles for me and provided eggs for our chick-hatching observations. From time to time, the agent would stop by the classroom to share and to see how things were going.

The local 4-H Club did professional soil samples for the class garden and other gardens in our community. We learned about soil layers, textural classes, color, water-holding capacity, organic content, and pH balance. We also discovered how to alter the soil in order to make it better for our work.

All this made my students think more about the dirt beneath our feet. Soil is one of our most important natural resources, and it’s important that students know about this aspect of the natural world and apply their knowledge to important factors such as land use, erosion, pollution, and urban planning.

School Gardens
There is no salad in the world as wonderful as the one you grow yourself, especially for students who have never tasted a homegrown tomato or pulled lettuce and other salad fixings from the rich earth. I remember being on a farm in the summertime with a saltshaker in my pocket, sampling the soil’s tasty bounty. But my students didn’t know where their food came from.

At another school where I worked, however, there were strawberry gardens. During recess, we would check on the progress of the strawberries, and, later in the season, we’d eat them — so delicious!

A parent then convinced me to do a gardening project. He brought his little tractor and plowed the land, bought us tools and seeds, and contributed his know-how. An important learning was to plant only varieties of crops that are harvested early in the area so that we could collect and eat our lessons before school got out for the summer. We found out about the National Gardening Association and applied for and received a Youth Garden Grants award.

Smithsonian Summer Camp

The Smithsonian has a summer camp program and I was fortunate in being able to work there. We did the Seeds of Change Garden, and walked to the Dept of Agriculture to see their garden. We investigated seeds, fruits and cultures.

Let me direct you to some resources for ideas about gardening lessons and activities. Start planning now for the next school year so you can cultivate a more interesting way to learn about plants! And please add your own advice and thoughts about how to enrich learning about gardening.

Seeds of Change Garden
National Museum of History , Smithsonian.
We created a great set of resources here that are still timely. The garden information should be helpful. I posted the spring link. But there is even more to use..

Science of Gardening

The Edible Schoolyard Garden

Down & Dirty: Getting a Handle on Mother Nature ( Where this article was originally published with the active links)

Garden of Eating: Middle Schoolers Grow Their Own Lunch

That’s Soil, Folks!: Garden Gear That’s Not Garden Variety

Play with Food: A Game Teaches Healthy Diets

Veggies to the People: The People’s Grocery Store

Other Resources
A Soil Profile (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

The Great Plant Escape: What Is a Seed? (University of Illinois Extension)

Planting Science (Botanical Society of America)

Fast Plants (University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Bottle Biology (University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Bonnie Bracey Sutton’s Blog