Put a Bird on It — Oregon Ed Twitter List #ORedu

Put a Bird on It — Oregon Ed Twitter List #ORedu

Melissa and Jeremy@actionhero and @mrmacnology at ITSC 2012 (now called IntegratED PDX)

Corin and I were at the Oregon School Law Conference this week. We laughed our way through Charles Leitch’s session on technology and social media in K-12. After years of yelling loudly about Internet FUD, it was nice to sit back and listen to someone else preach it and preach it well….

We backchanneled Leitch’s talk on Twitter, of course. Thanks to some creative hashtagging (poundsigning!), we connected with two new-to-us Oregon education rock stars: Adam Howell (@TheDumbJockMyth) and Sam Leach (@Mr_Leach_in_3rd).

Score. I love those moments and connections.

So, Adam, here’s my list of connected Oregon educators. Looking forward to growing our #ORedu list… 

already added:

(Note: I have more in my list, but culled anyone who hasn’t tweeted in a few months. Let me know if I’ve missed anyone.)

2012 Training Team — Oregon Virtual School District

2012 Training Team — Oregon Virtual School District

Group juggling with the ORVSD Training TeamGroup juggling with the ORVSD Training Team

I have been part of the Oregon Virtual School District Training Team since 2009. The Oregon Virtual School District is a program of the Oregon Department of Education that provides online curriculum tools, hosting, and resources for the state’s public K-12 districts. Steve Nelson, the project director, has been smart about funding support and training for the districts, as well as the large technology stack itself.

Our training group includes teachers, tech directors, and administrators from Oregon schools. During the school year, we meet virtually via Google Hangouts and WebEx. In August, though, we meet face-to-face to plan our schedule and activities for the coming year. We spend some of the time getting to know our new teammates and getting to know the products and platforms we support.

This year’s retreat included refresher sessions on WordPress and Google Apps. We filled in our workshop grid for October’s Oregon Google Summit and mapped out the webinars, workshops, and training events we’ll host across the state this fall. We’ll also be presenting at state and regional conferences; creating tutorials and how-tos; and traveling to school districts and ESDs for ORVSD training days. It’s been a pleasure to help for the past three years.

The 2012 ORVSD Training Team The 2012 ORVSD Training Team

Google Search at Astoria High School (Revolution in Libya)

Google Search at Astoria High School (Revolution in Libya)

The Oregon Virtual School District Training Team was at Astoria High School this week. Astoria is one of the Google Chrome Notebook pilot locations. We spent two days talking Google Apps and information literacy with the students while the teachers were getting some intense training by Wendy Gorton and Christine Archer, Google Apps Trainers from CUE (Computer-Using Educators, California). Astoria Bridge Astoria Bridge On our first day, we used a zombie theme for a lesson about Gmail and Google Calendar. Labels and filters save the day! When Zombies Attack presentation When Zombies Attack On the second day, I had a great time talking about search with large groups of students in the auditorium. students searching the web Students Having Fun with Search We talked about quotation marks — I was shocked to discover that only a few knew about and/or used phrase searching. (We took a quick detour to search — Google or Bing — our names in quotation marks. Great exercise for high school.) We also talked about triangulating resources. Don’t trust a single source, no matter who it is — Wikipedia is not the devil’s work and major, reputable sites mess up sometimes. And there are fake sites and hoaxes. Always double or triple check your sources…. We experimented with simplifying search terms and the impact on results. I chose an example on the fly in first period and couldn’t have planned it better if I tried. First search string: revolution in libya 2011 Libya search results   Second search string: revolution libya Libya search results It was a timely, interesting, accidental choice. The students sifted through the first page of results for each string (two tabs side-by-side) and determined that the second string returned better results. I agreed. It was a perfect illustration of one of the first tenets of good search: start simple. Nota bene: We ended up with a history and government lesson on the fly, also. Many students noticed that, “Hey, wait a minute! Muammar Gaddafi was at the front of the original modern Libyan Revolution.” Today, we say “Libyan Revolution” to talk about the rising against Gaddafi. For the past forty years, though, the phrase referred to the uprising led by Gaddafi.
Grateful Fundraising in a Small Town – Prineville, Oregon

Grateful Fundraising in a Small Town – Prineville, Oregon

Our hometown gained celebrity this year as the future home of the Facebook data center. The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. Like most of the nation, we’re struggling with high unemployment and home foreclosure rates, as well as state, county, and school district budget woes. Although the new data center won’t employ large numbers (estimated 35 permanent jobs), Facebook’s announcement was the ultimate morale boost.

Facebook data center construction

The Facebook Data Center. Building is in progress, even in today’s rain.

Since the announcement, Facebook has settled into its rural life gracefully. They sponsored new uniforms for the track team in exchange for the athletes’ help in sweeping downtown sidewalks. The data center’s Facebook page promotes local events and provides construction and hiring updates. The Central Oregonian (local newspaper) has their back regarding the Greenpeace ruckus. Heck, Facebook even bought a pig at the County Fair and earned a spontaneous round of applause from all of us in the stands.

It was during that applause, back in August, that this post started forming. I thought it was really nice that folks acknowledged the new kid on the block and the effort Facebook was making to support our town and its kids. And it’s even nicer of Facebook to provide that support. They don’t have to and I’m grateful.

But, there are a lot of other businesses in this community that have been here buying pigs at the County Fair for years now. They’ve been earning signs on the high school stadium fence, ads in the high school band concert programs, bricks on the county library’s sidewalk, and acknowledgment at the community picnics/concerts in the park on summer evenings.

supporter signs on stadium fence

Signs along the fence at Ward Rhoden Stadium.

They are businesses like Contact Industries, The Paint Box, Fair Feed and Supply, SMAF Construction, Advanced Cabinetry, Les Schwab Tires, Clint Woodward Construction, MidOregon Credit Union. (The list is long. I’m leaving many out.)

These businesses, large and small, carry the weight of the current recession. In addition to worrying about their own bottom line, they worry about things like disappearing school extra-curricular budgets and ongoing community needs. I’m as grateful to them as Facebook.

And then there are the schools, the students, and the parents. In the past three years, our school district has had to make the hard and unpopular decision that it is, in fact, a school district and not a sports or parks district. As much as I would love to keep all funding in tact, they didn’t have that option. I am grateful that they chose teachers and classroom needs over coaches and sports needs. That’s hard to write, because I have friends who are coaches and sons who play sports. And I believe sports, band, debate team, and the assorted extra-curricular activities are part of a good education. I am especially grateful to the teachers and coaches who have filled the funding gaps with their own time and money.

firewood fundraiser

Pat Goehring (with chainsaw), one of the CCMS Football coaches, cutting wood for delivery.

So, this leaves the students and parents. We fundraise. We hawk candy bars and pizza kits. We paint fire hydrants. (Thanks, City of Prineville.) We work concession stands. We chop and deliver firewood. We sort bottles and cans. Lots of bottles and cans.

concession stand

CCHS Track working the concession stand at a recent football game.

firewood fundraiser

CCHS Football players loading a trailer with firewood.

painted bench on porch

The beautiful bench that we nabbed at the CCHS Drama Department’s Chair-It-Able Event (Auction).

I’m grateful to my friends and fellow parents. Not only do we raise money, but we have fun and build community while doing it.

So, this brings us back to Facebook, one of our newest community members and the simple platform that allows Coach Ernie Brooks (and Jenny B!) to get the word out each time there’s a new opportunity to pitch in and raise money.

Pitch in? Did I mention we sort bottles and cans? Lots of bottles and cans? I did? Hmmm….

We’re collecting them again this Saturday, September 25. It’s in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Drive One 4UR School. (Thanks, Robberson Ford.) It’s the same day as the Crooked River Elementary Fall Festival (PTO Fundraiser) at Pioneer Park. Lots to see, do, and support. I’m grateful for it all.