Connected Learning

Learning Is About Connections Of All Kinds…

DOPA Is Well-Intentioned, But, Well, DOPEY

I’m going to share several links below on this topic, because its all more eloquent than I could come up with, but I will share the following thoughts.

First of all, I understand the desire to protect kids, but totally shutting things off isn’t going to solve the problem. Kids will still access social networking sites, on their own time, with little or no guidance from adults. In fact, telling kids (or adults) they can’t do something is often a guaranteed way to make them want to do said thing. Remember how well Prohibition worked? Yeah, that’s effective education.

Brian Crosby’s reprisal of a DOPA article he wrote earlier this summer hits the nail on the head – there are many things that we have or let our kids do that present a risk, but we EDUCATE them on how to do said activity responsibly. Read his article, it is terrific.

Wes Fryer has inquired at his church to consider taking a proactive measure at addressing the issue rather than sticking their fingers in their ears and using the “la la la I am not listening if I just say you can’t do it the problem will go away” method. If they do, bravo to them for DOING something rather than just SAYING something.

There is an anti-DOPA petition online called Save Your Space – thanks to David Warlick’s Two Cents Worth blog I spotted it. And Andy Carvin has set up DOPA Watch – an aggregator that will use Technorati and Goolge News to find items that refer to DOPA.

It is obvious that most of our legislators have no idea of the power of the interactive web with tools like blogging, social networking, and “older” methods such as message boards and such. I, in the very short time I have been a part of this world of active engagement, have not only found a place where I can converse and debate a myriad of topics (ranging from ed tech to college basketball), but also a place where I can give MY voice a pedastal. Don’t you think our students deserve a chance to find their voice in this way too? Wouldn’t you rather it be done in a way that provides them guidance?

If you are a parent and you have fears about this unfamiliar world, my suggestion is to get in that world, if for no other reason to check on what your kids might be doing or sharing (you might find you enjoy it, too). Far too many kids seem to think that posting to their MySpace or Xanga site is a private matter and that adults don’t “belong” there or won’t know enough to find what they are writing. Some seem to not totally get that publishing something on the web makes it available to the whole online world, which tells me they need GUIDANCE. They want to communicate in this cool new way, we need to make sure they get their sea legs and know how to handle themselves properly as good digital citizens in the transparency of the online world. Which, by the way, is a world they will live in for their entire adult lives. A world in which we are still in the Christopher Columbus stages, a vast unknown with risks to be sure, but also with riches of the imagination that we might hardly be able to fathom at this early, perhaps revolutionary, point in the information age.


July 31, 2006 Posted by | DOPA, Legislation, Social Networking | Leave a comment

MTI2006 : CohortMax

CohortMax: Using Excel to Facilitate School-Based Test Score Analysis

Intent is to have data be more rapidly usable in the school.

Number of total tests taken in student life cycle is increasing dramatically.

BV uses 7 demographic variables, 25 MAP variables, and numerous KSA varialbes to cull when exporting data from SPSS to Excel.

To handle overflow of variables in Excel BV Data Team: after MAP in grade 6 they keep one worksheet with key data (last 4 iterations of MAP and last 2 iterations of KSA in order to see back at least a couple years in time with the student data).

See PPT for flowchart of tasks in constructing and continuing CohortMax files.

Always make sure you make a backup file and then make a copy to have as the “for use” file.

Use Excel sort features to analyze highest and lowest scoring students on a particular variable, for example. If you make a “for use” copy, you can also strip out the unused variable columns to show only the pertinent data. Great for getting specific data for an individual teacher or department. By using a mix of ascending and descending sorts, you can get a sensitivity analysis to see students with major discrepancies that are enlightening. Use average on columns to see which area that the group as a whole has the most difficulty. Using count features, you can generate graphs based on “segments” in the group, such as low, mid, hi.

Presenter: Bernard Schuster of the Blue Valley Schools

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Conference Blogging | Leave a comment

MTI2006 : The Interactive Web

RSS: Real Simply Syndication

Setting up a whole bunch of new accounts is fun! I now have a Bloglines account in addition to my existing account. Lets get it started!

Bloglines is pretty handy for aggregating pretty much anything with RSS even though its called “Blog”lines.

Bloglines has a place to search for feeds. I searched for “mti2006” and it picked up the pbwiki right away. is great for storing and sharing bookmarks. Lots of extra tools available. Check into lazybase for data work!

Presenter: Rod Tolle from ESSDACK

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Conference Blogging | Leave a comment

MTI 2006 : Future City Competition & Wikis In The Classroom (Mini Sessions)

Future City Competition

Brad presented a quick summary of the Future City Competition. This is a great activity for students to not only have the fun of building a city using SimCity 3000, but also learn about dedication and teamwork by also having to create written materials, a 3D model of an aspect of their city, and present the entire project to a team of judges. There are various deadlines throughout the fall, with the actual state competition event taking place in January at Kansas State University.

Presenter: Brad Shores of Parsons Brinkerhoff Engineering in Wichita, Kansas

Using Wikis For Collaboration

Challenges of Collaboration

  • takes time
  • tracking details
  • competitive parties in the group
  • unintentional duplication
  • conflicts
  • momentum/participation

Wikis run from a globally accessible web based server with tracking history.

WSU COE put together a CTRE workshop on wikis, blogs, etc. to help launch into using these tools.

Wikis can be set up on your own server or you can use already available sites like wikispaces or edublog.

The immediacy of publishing what you write makes you think differently about your writing and what can happen to it.

Session presentation at

Presenters: Julie Bath and Karen Reynolds of the Wichita State University College of Education

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Conference Blogging | 1 Comment

MTI2006 : Standardized Test Cohort Analysis

Cohort: a relatively fixed year-group of students that moved through the grades together (Survivors, Newcomers, Attrition, Phantom)

Z Score: a reference point that is a benchmark calculated from national data – allows for better comparison of how group is doing compared to national norm

See PPT for the Cohort Rule of Thumb on Diffences/Effect Size

Keep in mind implication of releasing specific school data district-wide – perhaps go w/school vs. district average

Cohort analysis allows for interesting comparisons of data between groups incl. comparing groups separated by several years

Cohort works best w/SPSS

Presenter: Bernard Schuster of the Blue Valley Schools

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Conference Blogging | Leave a comment