Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Education Stimulus Wordle

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, signed into law on February 17, aims to lend a helping hand to not only employment, health care and taxes, but significantly for the struggling state school systems: It more than doubles the education funding of the previous presidential administration.

Of the act’s $787 billion cost ($288 billion in tax cuts and $499 billion in spending), up to $141.6 billion will go to education, according to the Department of Education. Granted, most estimates are closer to $120 billion, but that’s still a sizable sum compared to previous allotments for education. The direct funding of education (as opposed to tax credits, tuition grants, renovations and administration) alone amounts to over $77 billion, a 159% increase over 2008 allocations for the Department of Education. The breakdown of the education budget is laid out after the jump…State Fiscal Stabilization Fund: $53.6 Billion

This amount will be given directly to states and school districts in order to prevent significant state education cuts, stemming the tide of teacher layoffs and cuts in various education services.

Student Financial Assistance: $15.84 Billion

These funds, available through September 30, 2011, include $15.64 billion for increasing the maximum amount available for Pell Grants (need-based grants to low-income undergraduate college students) by over $500 per student. The cap will be $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010. Also included is $200 million for work-study programs.

American Opportunity Tax Credit: $13.9 Billion

This is a maximum $2,500-per-person tax credit for college students in 2009 and 2010, making college more affordable to those in their first four years of post-secondary education.

Education for the Disadvantaged: $13 Billion

This includes $10 billion for grants to local education agencies and $3 billion for school improvement grants, “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.” This money essentially goes to strengthening enforcement of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Special Education: $12.2 Billion

This amount is to aid in enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which governs how states and public agencies provide special education and related services to children with disabilities.

State Incentive Grants and Innovation Fund Grants: $5 Billion

This money will be distributed on a competitive basis to states who show the most progress in four areas: 1) teacher quality, especially in poorer and high-minority schools; 2) data systems to track the progress of student learning; 3) academic standards and testing ability; and 4) support of struggling schools.

Head Start: $2.1 Billion

This amount includes $1 billion for Head Start and $1.1 billion for Early Head Start, which provide education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Child Care Development Block Grant: $2 Billion

This funding is to support quality child care for struggling families through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).

How the Stimulus Plan Will Impact Education

School Improvement Programs: $720 Million

This includes $650 million for technology grants through the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program and $70 million for grants to aid homeless students. The funding of EETT, which seeks to use technology to improve elementary and secondary student achievement, should improve online access and the technological capabilities of students in those grades, better preparing them for future employment.

Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research: $680 Million

This money provides grants through the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to states to “empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self sufficiency, independence and inclusion and integration into society” by providing job rehabilitation programs, plus independent living centers and services for older blind individuals.

Institute of Education Sciences: $250 Million

This money is for competitive grants to state educational agencies to enable them to construct statewide data systems for tracking individual student progress.

Innovation and Improvement: $200 Million

These funds go toward grants to any agencies or institutions of higher educationto support nationally significant programs to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the state and local levels and help all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.”

Impact Aid: $100 Million

This goes towards the Impact Aid Program, which provides funding and technical support to “local educational agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities.”

Higher Education: $100 Million

This amount goes toward increasing academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality, as mandated by the Higher Education Act.

Student Aid Administration: $60 Million

This money goes to aid in the administration of delivery of student financial aid, including loans, grants and work-study programs.

Office of the Inspector General: $14 million

These funds, available through September 30, 2012, provide for salaries and expenses necessary for oversight and audit of programs, grants and projects funded by the ARRA.

While not necessarily historic in scope, the ARRA is a big step forward for the state of American education, providing at least some level of stability to eroding state budgets, minimizing faculty layoffs and improving accessibility to students struggling in the economic downturn.

Project Pic365 - day172

Green AstroTurf from the old Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium..?

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Takeaways from SXSWi

  1. People expect conversations online. Regardless of the industry/type of site, end users expect to engage with brands and with other users on-line. It’s not enough to provide information to your customers, you have to allow them to interact with your site, with your brand, and with other customers. Of course, tools like Ratings & Reviews, Ask & Answer, and Bazaarvoice Stories build customer engagement and interaction.
  2. Customers expect brands to participate in the conversation. There was lots of discussion at SXSWi about the importance of building relationships with customers, rather than simply focusing on transactions. Responding to feedback (both positive and negative), answering questions and taking action on feedback are an important part of building credibility and trust with your customers.
  3. Customers want authenticity. Several panelists emphasized the value of brand representatives talking “like real people” not robots (or corporatebots), even (or maybe especially) in industries where we’ve come to expect corporate jargon and legalese (like financial services and insurance).
  4. Online identities are converging. OpenID and Facebook Connect are enabling greater portability/sharing of online abilities between sites. Profiles are important – people are invested in their identities online and want to build their reputations and leverage what they’ve done in one community in the other places they hang out. The most social media savvy customers are aware of their personal brands and welcome opportunities to build their brands on the sites where they shop.
  5. Mobile and web are converging. Many people access the web primarily from their phones, others switch back and forth with the expectation the user experiences will be identical.
  6. Online and offline are converging. GPS technology brings the real world into the mix in a big way (for example, your phone alerting a social networking site of your physical location, which allows your online friends to join you in the real world). Users are less likely to draw a hard boundary between their on-line and off-line lives. MobileVoice brings online UGC into the brick and mortar store, allowing customers to view reviews on their phones.
  7. Filtering and aggregating the massive amounts of data online is critical. There are too many inputs and the most valuable technologies on the web are those that allow people to personalize what they see or provide rolled-up summaries. Filtering by tag or attribute and summarizing data in tag clouds or histograms allows customers to process large amounts of information and make a decision quickly.
  8. Twitter is everywhere. Some of the most compelling and interesting conversations were happening “back channel” via twitter during the panels. Panelists took questions and responded in real time to comments that were made on the twitter stream for each panel. Fast and pithy user-generated contentin real time is incredibly appealing to many people.

*Excerpts from post.

The Future of Social Networks

The Future of Social Networks” was presented by Charlene Li, in which she kicked off an interactive discussion by declaring, “social networks will be like air.” According to Charlene, this means your friends, family - the people you care about, the people like you, will be available anywhere and anytime that you need them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

David Explains Differentiated instruction

Doing it Differentiated—An Explanation of the Principles of Differentiated Instruction with some Examples of Method and Student Work and a Short Discussion of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Differentiated Assessment. How we can break out of the mold, create a culture of learning that draws in every student? Presented by David Eden.

Blooms Taxonomy & Web 2.0

In a recent post from Around the by Miguel, he shares this pretty cool pyramid — Bloom's Taxonomy Triangle and DigiGogy.

This concept and alignment really is quite interesting and complex at the same time. The first question as a teacher that comes to my mind is.. 'where do I find the time?' Second question is... 'how do I learn all of this?' It goes without saying that today teachers and students can inquire, gather, research, apply and engage in a whole new way apart from traditional lecture, worksheet and multiple choice assessments, but the interesting perspective that I see is convergence. How do educators, students and communities bring all of these technology types together to apply teaching and learning strategies in a cohesive and sound approach. Twenty-first century skills are critical; applying them in a way that is intuitive and not a list of 28 individual resources will be the key.

I remember back in the late 80s, early 90s teaching computer literacy to 9th graders in West Texas... It was in isolation and in no context or alignment of standards to the core subject areas. We taught keyboarding, parts of the computer, spreadsheets and word processing. We would never think of doing that today. I believe social media and web 2.0 are perfect resources to connect Blooms taxonomy as students and teachers encourage higher-order thinking skills to concrete activities and in support of the core subject areas/standards. I do believe much like computer literacy became a part of our core instruction, a listing of multiple web 2.0 sources will move by the wayside into a convergence or community where all these resources reside and are integrated. Maybe even someday, students will pick up their iPhone and use a Twitter app to post and share, or live stream their project using uStream to collaborate with students across the district or the globe or post their digital storybook/video on their student blog.

Project Pic365 - day162

Spiritual bootcamp

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day161

Sleepy head

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Growing Up Digital

Got my attention...

New iPod release

Apple Inc. unveiled a minuscule new iPod Shuffle on Wednesday that takes its "smaller is better" mantra to a whole new level.

Preview video introduction:

View the video at Sangent

7 Guidelines for Educators

Wes Fryer shares his flickr set @ CoSN 09.
This was one image I found noteworthy.

My favorite is... ' reinvent yourself as a teacher, professor or educator."
With all the emerging technologies and Web 2.0 practices, as educators, we can and should embrace the inevitable.

As a side note, if we don't embrace the inevitable, it will definitely pass us by...
Take a look...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Protect Pic365 - day160

Light's out

Posted by ShoZu

Playing for Change

No matter who you are; no matter where you go in your life, at some point you are going to need somebody to Stand by You...

Project Pic365 - day159

Tough times call for Luby's

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Everything Is Possible...

...even in education.

I am confident that with "professional development" and qualified teachers using 21st century skills, we will get to a place where teachers teach and students learn.

Twitter Tip #6

Note to self:
Nothing says stop following like selling your products on Twitter. Stop selling and engage members in real tweets!

6. DON’T just talk about products & services

Again, think of the real world. A person who speaks about one thing, and one thing only, is either incredibly dull or clinically insane. If you are passionate about your business, industry, products then share your passion. I was recently working on a project where I was told about a tech specialist who constantly improves the image quality of a camera lens. He could explain all the little details that go into creating a perfect image with such enthusiasm that you would be drawn into his world, and a topic you wouldn’t have guessed would be exciting– suddenly is.

adamdenison twitter image

Finding the Right “Brand Voice” on Twitter

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I chose you...

Today, I am taking a break from my regular techie, web 2.0, and general family posts. I typically share links, videos, and post that are pretty much about my blog, but of course this space is also about 'life, and then some, and it is my space to share my own thoughts and reflections.

So... This weekend I am headed on a retreat called ACTS. It's a men's retreat that focuses on adoration, community, theology and service. I've participated in this as a retreatant and as a team member. This weekend, I will spend in silence and adoration and prayer for the 40 men who will join us. I am blessed to serve in this capacity and quite honestly, could really use this time to gather my thoughts and be in His presense.

In this time of tough economic situations, job losses, mortgage defaults, and so much grief, I think we all look to hope, direction and in leadership, that only He can offer. I am very blessed to work in an environment that supports my beliefs and the notion of faith and family first.

About two years ago, I wrote this scripture passage down to share my thoughts as to what I felf my true purpose was and what He was calling me to be:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friend for all things that I heard from My Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit; and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15: 12-17)

Coincidentally, not really, this happens to be our theme for this retreat...
You did not choose me, but I chose you

My faith and family are a big part of who I am and I am grateful to all who share in it. I will be signing out to take some much needed time with Him. Until then, have a great weekend and one that is filled with many blessings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To Social or Not to Social, that is the question

I just enjoy this rendition of the "social media" bandwagon. It seems that social media is all the buzz and in fact, I am so wrapped up in it that I have my own Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and every other gobbledygook out there. Every company out there is trying to figure out this social media craze and how they can leverage community to build brand, engagement and revenue. Schools have embraced it to some extent to collaborate and apply 21st century skills. Individuals have managed to reunite with fellow classmates with Facebook and the like. So it's here to stay and, I for one think it's great for the masses.

Not everyone agrees. Take a look.

Not so social.

Social Media in Plain English.

Project Pic365 - day154

Girl Scout cookie time

Posted by ShoZu

Could it happen in schools?

Wow, today I went to a website, Skittles, of all things. (
Yes, the tasty rainbow candy that we all loved as kids. The ones that are the cause of all your children's dental visits.

Long story short, they did something totally disruptive. The got rid of their static, boring website and embraced the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to harness "conversations" and allow the digital community to share and engage. Read more.

What a concept! Try it out for yourself, go visit and see how they seamlessly integrated various Web 2.0 resources.

So the question is, could a school ever embrace a school online presence in the form of community engagement. Allowing global communities to collaborate, share and learn through their school site. Probably not likely, at least not in the next generation.

How great would it be if students, teachers, parents and community members could all come together to collaborate, learn about their child's activities and projects, connect with students from across the globe, etc? Social networks like Facebook, Ning, WeAreTeachers exist today to allow for this capability. What if students could upload their projects into YouTube share their digital projects or post to their own blog spot and begin to have real conversations about their project or research? Again all doable. What if students could take their mobile phones and actually use them to capture quick text notes or pictures of things they learn, share them with their classmates and others via Flickr? And what if they could not only share in conversations with eachother, but with those around them and with like interests or teachers and students from other parts of the country via Twitter? They could use summarize or aggrogate all of the Twitter feeds about their school or projects with Post these and learn a great deal from their community.

I understand all of the issues around security and firewalls, and the possiblities of the scary stuff. It's everywhere, not just in our schools.

It could happen...

Monday, March 2, 2009