Reflections on Change

Thoughts about education, technology and life

ISTE, Last Day, but Not the End

Filed under: ISTE 2011 — patmckeon at 11:42 am on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So much learning is going on here. Everyone’s heads are overflowing. So much more to learn and do!

Hands Off Vanna! I love this title, because it so true too much of the time. The first session needs to be energizing… There is a lot of discussion about whether there is value in interactive whiteboard as the best way to spend tech money. This presenter’s argument is if you have it, you must use if well. She suggested numerous ways that teachers could change their instruction and develop activities that engage students. A great suggestion to help make the whiteboard more accessible to students is to have it connected to a student computer rather than the teacher’s computer.

After this session I went to the SMART booth (which is huge btw) to learn more about the product the we have.

The late morning session – ripped from the headlines – is all about project based learning. (Sally Boss) How do you decide which heading is project worthy? Cross-curricular, being able to connect with the people involved, age appropriate content and topic, teaching character building like empathy, has a messy problem with no right answer, relevance, enduring topic, about meaningful learning. Using project-based learning, students engage in inquiry and go deeper into the content and the learning, they make meaning from their learning and the products and assessments are authentic.

Tuesday at ISTE, what will I learn today?

Filed under: ISTE 2011 — patmckeon at 12:08 pm on Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Technology Commandments – Adam Bellow

Quality, continuous training is critical. Teachers need training and support, not just a circus act or magic show. Mobile tools are tools to be embraced. We use safety concerns and fear of predators to impede our adoption of their use. Overuse of filters is a huge issue, too. We pretend that the things that we are blocking don’t exist and they are there as soon a the kids leave the school. Our ‘f’ word is fear. The key is to teach kids to be responsible and we need to use
the tools to do this! Teaching digital citzenship starts here. These aren’t just passing fads – we must be using tools from the 21st Century. But, vision is required, so teachers and schools need
direction. What are the answers? Use free web tools, but be prepared with plan b. Have sense of humor – be ready to modify and adjust. Seek out meaningful pd – twitter and YouTube are great places for this – they should be an option for our teacher. Collaboration is THE 21st Century Skill. We are the change that we seek (Obama). Explore, share, contribute…. Checkout his website:

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill – Alan November

How can we develop an understanding of who our audiences are? We need to teach teachers to think globally across their curriculum. Just using cool technology and creating cool projects isn’t enough. Worldview – Most important skill that successful people need is empathy – can hold lots of different views at one time. The quality they should have is passion. This is not necessarily an American view. Taking a world view in our curriculum must start young and will help to develop an understanding of other people from around the world. Children need to have authentic conversations. This will also bring passion into what they are learning. Very thought provoking ideas!

Words from the wise….

Filed under: ISTE 2011 — patmckeon at 11:18 pm on Monday, June 27, 2011

“Live with courage, teach with vision and have fun!” ~ Dr. Z (Dr. Z’s Cookbook for Creative Communication)
“Being a learner today means that we can cultivate the knowledge. We must be learners” ~ David Warlick (A Gardener’s Approach to Learning)
“I learned something new today…” almost each presenter as they described their own learning….

And I learned several new things today:
…all about Infographics from Kathy Schrock
…more cool things wtih Google from Howie DiBlasi
…how to ‘cook’ with technology from Dr. Z
…gardening to create a culture of learning from David Warlick

I can’t wait to see what I learn tomorrow… (oops, I mean a little bit later today)

ISTE 2011 – Philadelphia

Filed under: ISTE 2011 — patmckeon at 10:47 pm on Sunday, June 26, 2011

Once again, it has been a while since posting on this blog. I hope that using it to reflect on my learning at the ISTE conference that I will find the inspiration to keep it up more consistently.

Sunday, early evening, at the 1st Keynote speaker: Dr. John Medina spoke about the brain and what educators should know to inform their teaching. The bigs message for me is that we are not all wired in the same way. He used a highway system as a metaphor that really illustrates this points. The larger connection with in our brains are like interstate highways and are identical from one person to the next. Then there are the next level of connections that are like the state road systems – very, very similar to one another. But the place where learning actually occurs, those small connects, are like the boulevards and back alleyways – unique to each place and to each individual. He included several great flow charts and graphics to illustrate gaps in learning, showing the consequences that result.

Here are a couple of links to learn more about Medina’s ideas about the brain:
Brain Rules

Brain Rules on iTunes

Professional Development Project

Filed under: Musings 2009 — patmckeon at 1:57 pm on Thursday, November 12, 2009  Tagged ,

My goal for this school year is to work to improve collaboration in classrooms that include the use of Web 2.0 resources like wikis, blogs, video calls and conferencing. I will post my progress and my reflections on this blog. Click on the pages below for each project’s reflection:

Third Grade Insect Study
Safe Internet Searching – Research Projects
Blogging in Response to Reading
Skyping with Kids

Starting again…

Filed under: Musings 2008 — patmckeon at 11:24 pm on Monday, February 25, 2008

Reflections on Change…. what an appropriate name for this blog. Change is a huge part of my life. Since my last entry, I have changed positions in my school district two times….reading specialist last year and technology specialist this year. I think that I have finally found the place that I fit. I hope to use this blog to reflect on the changes that I am coming to understand, both in myself and in the realms of education and technology.

digital divide

Filed under: Musings 2006 — patmckeon at 12:01 am on Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Education has an obligation to work to bridge this divide so that all students have access to the technology that will improve their opportunities and receive an equal education. Educators must be proactive advocates to support the solution to this issue. Libraries, both public and at school, can provide one means of bridging this divide. Programs should be developed that assist schools and libraries with acquiring computers and Internet access, as well as creating access programs that reach out to communities that lack these resources. Teachers and librarians need to play a central role in these kinds of outreach programs. In schools, extended hours can be initiated so that students lacking technology resources can do their homework and work on projects that require access to the Internet. In public libraries, specific programs can be developed that allot time for students who lack technology to have preferential access. Librarians, as members of the community, are well equipped to recognize the needs of the students who patronize their libraries and are well equipped to assist with this.

I have been very concerned about the digital divide as it relates to education and children. As I investigated this concept, I was surprised to learn that the digital divide also applies to senior citizens. Again, teachers and librarians have an obligation to assist in this area as well. Programs like those that are being developed to assist students can be adapted to aide senior citizens as well. In this case, more training and support may be necessary. Students often acquire these skills quickly, because they are not intimidated by the technology. Seniors, however, are often less comfortable with this medium and may need more intensive programs to help them to see the relevance of the technology in their lives and assist in overcoming their insecurities. Two sites on the Internet contain interesting information regarding this area of the digital divide.

On a personal note, I have been proactive in trying to reach out to students in my class who do not have technology resources. Amazingly, this year only one student in my class did not have a computer in their home. This Hispanic family was unable to acquire technology on their own. I was able to work with a local business to purchase a Dell desktop computer to be donated to this family. The computer came with a 6 month subscription to the Internet. The family purchased a computer table and assisted me with the set-up. How exciting to see that family and know that they are able to have access to the same resources as the other students in my class.

my family

Filed under: Musings 2006 — patmckeon at 10:19 pm on Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Our quest for a Christmas tree was an adventure…. Just a little too big for our big car!
my family


Filed under: Musings 2006 — patmckeon at 8:33 pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My daughter, the junior at University of Vermont, is studying abroad in India this semester. She is in a community called Auroville in southeastern India – about 3 hours south of Chennai (Madras). She is participating in a program called Living Routes which is sponsored by the University of Massachusetts. (

There are a number of very exciting things that link my educational experience with the course I’m taking at Drexel (Virtual Learning – EDUC 533). The first is the concept of creating communities, because Auroville is a community that was created with a specific purpose. (To learn more check out their website: The second is the students in the program are to create an on-line journal of their experiences (blog) to keep in touch with family and anyone else who is interested. Their blog has an RSS feed! In the process of learning how to keep in touch with my daughter, I am learning the new technological concepts that I must learn for this class!

At the present time the students have not posted anything on their blog… hopefully they will soon. I’ll know it when they do, because I now have a link to their feed. (Don’t I sound just like a techno-geek? – I love it!)

more about me

Filed under: Musings 2006 — patmckeon at 9:30 pm on Monday, January 23, 2006

The teacher:
I teach a multiage class (grades 5 and 6) in a school district southwest Chester County, PA. I have been teaching for 27 years (oh my…) and have held a number of positions including Learning Disabilities teacher, Title One Reading Coordinator, Reading Specialist, regular classroom teacher and multiage classroom teacher. I returned to the classroom because I wanted the opportunity to teach students in all subject areas. I use an inquiry-based approach and integrate content from all the subject areas into my instruction. I have also held the position of Technology Lead Teacher for three years providing support to other teachers who are attempting use technology in their classrooms.

The mom:
On a personal note, I am married and have two children. My daughter is a junior at the University of Vermont (out of state tuition – ☹). She is studying abroad in India this semester. (This will be the topic of my next post!) My son is a sophomore in high school. He is a football fanatic, both as a player and a fan. Both my husband and son are anxiously awaiting the Super Bowl!

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