Friday, November 12, 2010

Gator Radio set to return on Nov 19th!

I'm pleased to say that our student run, student operated live Internet radio project known as the Gator Radio Experience, is set to return on Friday, November 19th at 2:50 PM Pacific time. As many of you know, this project has been the highlight of my recent professional existence and I was sad to see it fall victim to the busy schedules of our students last year. The show is redesigned this time around to be much shorter (30 mins this year vs 60 mins previously) - this should help with the overall sustainability of the project. The students still plan on including an interview segment, a music spot, and then some type of op/ed review piece. At this point we're going to aim for 2 live broadcasts per month and if things go well, we'll try to ramp up the project so we're doing weekly broadcasts.

This year we'll be conducting our shows here at school using this new setup that I put together with the guidance of one of our parents, Steve Fields, who is an audio engineer (a HUGE thank you is in order to Steve for his time and help!) We'll try to have him on one of our first few shows to talk a bit about the setup and how it works. For project updates be sure to follow our Twitter page, join our Facebook group, subscribe to email updates at our website.

To satisfy your inner-nerd, here is the equipment and software that we're using to produce our shows:

Behringer Xenys 1204USB Mixer

ART Five Channel Headphone Mixer/Amp

Sennheiser HD202 Headsets

Electro-Voice Model 664 Mics (purchased on eBay and refurbished by Steve)

Garageband for recording high quality audio for the podcast - click here to subscribe to our shows in iTunes

Ustream for the live audio broadcast - click here to access our channel

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Madsen Cycles Link Contest

My apologies about the non-standard theme of this post, but I can't turn down the opportunity to win a bike as cool as the one below from Madsen. If I win, my wife will kill me for bringing another bike in the house...if you'd like the chance to win a sweet Madsen cargo, follow this link to learn more. I believe they announce a winner on Nov 17th.

And in the event that I do win, here is my email address for the folks from Madsen: mjmontagne at geemail dot com.

Hat tip to Rob Rowe for posting this on his blog recently.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Friday, November 05, 2010

Forget merit pay - fund innovation instead

The notion of tying teacher pay to student performance of any type makes me sick all the way out to my fingers and toes. People do irrational things all the time for money-merit pay is destined to create a culture of unethical behavior in schools that fall for this. However, I think money can be used to directly fund and support teacher innovation in all sorts of interesting and meaningful ways.

Instead of merit pay to teachers in exchange for student performance on standardized tests, what if we were to do the following types of things:

1. Fund teachers to write open source texts for the CK12 Flexbook project.

2. Fund teachers to participate in professional learning communities on topics of interest.

3. Fund teachers to go to conferences. Fund teachers to create conference learning opportunities for their own school or district.

4. Fund teachers to participate in free online learning opportunities.

5. Fund teachers to take online courses. And then fund them to create their own online courses with the explicit understanding that the materials would be fully licensed in the Creative Commons as open educational resources available to all.

6. Fund teachers to travel to a place where they can have an experience that will help them become better teachers.

7. Fund teachers to work on special projects with students after school and on the weekends.

8. Fund teachers to engage in regular professional growth and learning.

9. Fund teachers for developing their own professional portfolios online.  And then fund teachers who are interested in building portfolio assessment experiences for students.

10. Fund teachers for integrating play based learning into the curriculum. 

11. Fund teachers who are interested in connecting their classes with the local community and the world

12. Double the funding for teachers who do any of the above in collaborative teams.