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Passionate that they learn . . . February 11, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

I was tagged by Marion Ginopolis of MI-LIFE to share the thing I am most passionate that students learn in school and to include a photograph. I have chosen BALANCE.


Although it might seem an odd thing, I can reflect that my life has taken a steady course because I tried to see balance in all things. I try to find the other side of an argument so that I can gain a broader perspective. I have seen so many who have become obsessed with work, personal happiness, or acquisitions and they have become miserable over the years. A little balance and perspective would have helped them immensely and made them into fuller and better people. To become balanced means to reach out and learn new things, expand your horizons a little, stretch your body and your mind so that you will be able to manage the challenges that life will through your way. A balanced mind and body will help you to keep a measure of control when the ground becomes unstable.

I am not sure who I will tag next with this meme, perhaps I will not play along and just let anyone interested respond.


MVU Keynote February 6, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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freedman   Keynote address at the Michigan Virtual University conference held in Ypsilanti, Michigan, today. Gordon Freedman from Blackboard (VP in charge of Educational Strategy)

He gave an overview of how virtual and online courses were developing. Envisions a mix on in-class and online someday as part of the inherent structure of schools today.

Report: Building the 21st Century Campus

Top Four Challenges for Higher Education

  • Student Engagement
  • Institutional Accountability
  • Revenue Generation
  • Globalization

Report: Discovering and Enacting “What’s Next” in K-12 Education

NCReL report on the click patterns in the online algebra class.

Note: Students need to develop a strategy for learning
Report: Building K-20 Connections

Dual enrollment (K-12) and (College) exposure to college work is very motivating to some lower performing students

Repeats the idea that students who do not have a good reason for taking the online course do not do so well.

The online experience should be better than what they get in the classroom.  He mentioned how online could bring in online experts. I’m not so sure where they will find the time.

Kentucky has interesting programs – “Pre-K to Gray” is their take on lifelong education.
They have a unique statewide approach to education that makes them more similar to small countries like Ireland. Their benchmarks are unusual and not aligned with those of the rest of the US.

Singapore uses a lot of drill and kill and has one of the best prepared student bodies.
They note that they are missing innovation and they dearly want better innovators.
They have an eLearning week which acts as a readiness drill. Their schools for the future are quite advanced

He is hoping that the US will begin to be perceived as a global player once we get a new presidency. He suggests we reinterpret our curriculum.

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Dinner with Deborah February 5, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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meier   I am excited that tomorrow I will be having dinner with Deborah Meir. She is coming to speak at our Best Practices Conference. It isn’t every day you get to dine with a legend in education. Deborah has been teaching for four decades and has started some of the most profound conversations in education in recent years.

It was with great interest that I read about her experiences in creating a school in East Harlem when I was near the beginning of my teaching career. The students in her school, ninety percent of them, graduated and went on to four-year colleges. She inspired many of us to stay in teaching at times when it was quite difficult.

As a special education teacher in rural Ontario and south Tucson, I took her message of hope and trust in the dignity of her students with me into all my classrooms. I like to think that I still do now that I teach pre-service teachers in Michigan.

To read more about her, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah_Meier.

My Friend, Anne February 3, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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Anne   In 2002, Anne Bulger, my friend from high school, began experiencing trouble walking and exhibited slurred speech. A few months later she was diagnosed with ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease wasted her muscles, robbed her of her ability to function regularly, and eventually killed her. But, more horribly, the disease did not affect her thinking processes. It left her bright and insightful mind trapped inside a body that weakened with each passing day.

Her doctor, a wonderful man name Neil Cashman, strongly suggested to her that she write a journal about her experiences and share them. Last week I read her book, Ambushed: My Journey Through the Nightmare of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and it lingers with me still.

It read like a long letter from the past, the sort of catching up two old acquaintances do when they reconnect on Facebook after a few decades apart. Lately I have been experiencing a lot of this electronic reconnecting with my high school memories.

I feel sad not to have known about Anne’s illness until months after she passed less than a year after her diagnosis, but I was charmed by her quirky writing style and so happy to read of her parents’ devotion to her needs right to the end. What parent wouldn’t be so caring?

If her parents, sister, or friends ever read this, please know that a part of Anne’s life resides always in my heart. How wonderful that she has left this book behind to help those who have been touched by ALS. Thank you, Anne.