Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DC, TappedIn, and more pictures...


Hope you have had a good day. Dr. Parks and I set out on foot with only a couple of hours to spare and took a few pictures. I have uploaded some to Orkut. Most interesting was the Organization of American States building -- quite honestly I don't know that I had ever heard of it (but I probably did in US History or Government class). Anyway, there is a Brazilian flag out front along with the other South American countries' flags. I tried to get a picture of it fluttering in the breeze. It was stubborn and refused to unfurl, so I have a poor shot of it. I used the picture of the building as the album cover for the pictures.

Today was interesting. When I first tried to work with Tapped In, bjb walked me through the set up and everything. I discovered that she would be at the conference and gave her my phone number. Today, she called and she wanted me to meet her at 2:00 today, I thought just to say hello -- It turns out that she wanted me to talk to a guy who is making Tapped In more comprehensive as a learning site. They wanted a classroom teachers perspective, and since you and I have written that perspective for them, and I just happen to be here, I met with them. They wanted to hear all about what we are doing and what our plans are. I think it was an honor for our project to be held in such high regard.

Everyone is asking about what we are doing. It has really made me feel good to be able to share your e-mail from yesterday about what your students said about the encounter with my students. It is kind of the icing on the cake to realize how much it has meant to the students.

Check Orkut. I didn't take much time to make comments, but the pictures are there.---Cathy

Monday, June 29, 2009

DC, PBS Capstone, more recognition...

June 29, 2009

Cathy in DC

Today, we attended the PBS Capstone session at the request of Nadyne Hick, who is redesigning their program to meet the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) national technology standards for students and teachers.

Nadyne has been great. I met her in San Antonio at NECC 2008, after completing Capstone I and II with her during the 2007-08 school year. We hit it off and she has been a great sounding board and mentor throughout our Global Connections project. Capstone gave me many of the tools needed to make this a successful endeavor.

Nadyne showed up on Sunday to help us set up our poster session booth, took pictures, and was very encouraging. When she asked that I attend her session, I felt it was the least I could do after all her help.

It turned out that she was using our project as an exemplary one to illustrate ISTE standards. I felt so honored. It was great to be able to upload pictures to Orkut to share with Tyrone.

Tyrone gathers data on student learning...

Subject: My monograph
Good evening!!! As I can see we can't play games with copyrights! Sometimes we pretend we are naive and all of a sudden we have surprises like the Microsoft one!! The best thing is that you have changed the cover on time!!

I am happy with our success at the conference. I hope you learn new things to share with me during our classes!

As you know, I am at home till July 5 and I have used this period to write my monograph. As I have told you, it will be about our project. Now I am reading students' answers to the following questions: What have the interaction with African American Lovejoy students meant to you? and What are the lessons you have learned with such interaction?

100% of them said our project is great, and they loved interacting with your students. Everybody said that your students have taught them how to face obstacles and to have hope, despite the difficulties!!! By doing this questionnaire, I have been able to have their feedback; and I have seen that they have the feeling your students are their "brothers and sisters". One of them even said maybe yours have a more difficult life than theirs. They don't know but our project has helped us to increase their self esteem.

The title of the monograph is Parque School students as virtual diasporic subjects. Their answers do give me enough material to prove they have had a diasporic dialog with your students and technology has played an important role in this context!!

Can you see how nice it is!!!

By the way, why don't you use our experience to an academic proposal,like a doctorate? i think maybe I can use this experience to get my master's degree...

God bless us all!! --- Tyrone

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Our" poster session was a success...

Never once has this project been considered "mine" by Tyrone or myself or as belonging to just one group of kids. In a collaborative project, it is so important that everything be done together. Earlier, Tyrone described us as the "parents" of the project. That too is an important concept -- for it to be successful, we believe that the project must belong to the students. We are there to coordinate, set up experiences, but it is actually up to the kids "buying into it" that will make the project a success.

When the banner was made to be posted at the booth, it could not read, "Lovejoy" without "Escola Parque" getting equal billing. The brochure could not be just with the e-mail of the Lovejoy teacher; it must also have the Escola Parque teacher. There was one major problem with our booth -- Tyrone was not there. I had asked ISTE if they had grants available for such use. They did not.

The morning following the poster session, e-mail from Tyrone was waiting for me:

Congratulations!!!!!! I knew you would do a good job there!!! I think the very fact that "our" booth was among the most popular one gives us the dimension of how awesome and new our work is!!! I can't wait longer to see your pictures!!! I will use the pictures to illustrate the outside bulletin board.

Presentation over...

I wish you could have been with us. We were one of the most popular booths in the whole room. Dr. Parks and I were both hoarse by time it was over. I will upload pictures in the morning. We talked to around 200 people. I ran out of brochures, business cards, everything. I believe that you can expect e-mail from people.

There were a couple of teachers from Brazil. One man from Brazil is with Smart Technologies and wants to know more about the project. I believe he will call you. There was a gentleman from Peru, people from Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey (I promised to send her a copy of the book), Korea, a department of education representative from the Virgin Islands, Ireland (the gentleman from Dissolving Boundaries - a research source listed in the brochure) and from many US states.

So many people asked so many questions -- we were busy the whole time and even earlier. It was so much fun to get to talk to everyone. They came from all over.

I will close for now because I am very tired. I will post pictures at Orkut when I wake up in the morning. ---Cathy

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 26 - Book crisis!!!

Cathy's Story:

Something was nagging at me about the book. Tyrone and I were so proud. We had made hundreds of revisions -- translations, pictures (which turn out too dark because they want you to pay their professionals to make it look better), and typos in English and Portuguese to even inclu
de an extra space between words. We had our test copy with the logo on front and it looked good. We went through dozens of additional revisions once we had the book. But something wasn't quite right.

Let me back up. Early on in the project when all of Brooklyn 188 was getting ready for the visit from the Brazilian principals, I found Microsoft clip art that had flags, each with a skyline in front -- it had flags from several countries. I cropped and redesigned it with just USA and Brazil. Very clever -- school project -- no problem. Well, as I continued with Tyrone and his class, this came to be our project logo -- still no problem. Then we decided to print the book through lulu.com.

It was only natural to put this logo on the front of the book. But you know how it is when something is kind of eating at you and you don't know what? Well, I am sitting at my desk, finishing up work for summer school, with the book by my side ready to take to DC even though it was not a final copy) when suddenly out of the blue, I realize that this logo belongs to Microsoft. In a panic, I e-mail Tyrone and a mentor in Maine. Then I go on the Microsoft legal site, and it says that it is okay for class assignments and school projects but not for redistribution -- now did that mean only for money? I went to our tech coordinator and our tech contractor -- both of whom felt like it would be okay, but I still was not sure.

When I returned to my e-mail, there was a message from Jim -- "gut impression -- don't do it!" So, panicked, just hours away from the trip to DC, I proceed to redesign the cover -- I put together a collage of a few pictures from the two classes. E-mail comes from Tyrone -- be sure to include the flags somehow in the re-design -- believe it or not
, I found a picture with two Lovejoy students carrying the two flags.

So I printed up copies of the new design, deciding this is a good lesson for teachers and s
tudents -- and headed for DC. I was reprimanded by one teacher who laughed and said it was silly to use a clip art when I had the creativity to make something myself -- that that was just plain lazy and I should be ashamed. After all, she said, the new cover is far better. She was so right. The reaction of most was "what a lesson for the kids!" -- and it is. They need to know the teachers must also abide by the copyright laws.

I still wasn't satisfied. Would there really have been a problem? I hate to leave something unfinished, so I took the book with the logo and copy of the new cover to the Microsoft booth at the Expo and talked to them. As I was explaining that the book actually could be sold for profit through lulu.com, but we were not going to do that... It suddenly hit me. Lulu might be making a profit off of our book when they print it -- and the Microsoft people agreed that this would be in violation of fair use of their logo.

Crisis over. Results - an awesome cover. (Almost a problem - I forgot that the same picture was on my title page. Thank goodness, one of the guests at our booth happened to turn to that page -- I would have been quite upset to have printed our huge order with it still wrong.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thirteen edits after the final one…ready to print…

Cathy’s comments: It seemed that every time we looked, we found more problems. Finally, it was down to an accent mark missing here, two spaces between words there, two words in a different size font somewhere else.

We couldn’t find any more errors – I realize that we only didn’t find them. There may still be some. So I ordered one more final print of the book. It would not arrive before I left for NECC 2009 in Washington D.C. I would take the first printed copies (there were two; one was en route to Brasil.)

We could finally breathe. Final preparations were in process for the poster session at NECC and we were two days out from leaving. If the airlines did not lose our baggage with the presentation in it, we were home free.