Monday, November 30, 2009

ESU 4 December News

NETA in the News:

This time of year as schedules get busier and busier with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I'd like to take a few moments to reflect on a conference that has been going on in Nebraska since the late 1980's. It is the NETA conference and every year it gets bigger and better. Currently, NETA is held each year the last Thursday and Friday of April. The 2010 conference is slated for April 29-30, 2010 at the LaVista Embassy Suites and Conference Center. This year's theme is "Creative Journeys to Learning." Each year I am amazed at the quality of presenters and the different "strands" that are available to your district. "Strands" include information for technology directors, schools that are going 1:1, an administrative strand, and much more. NETA is a way for you to connect with others that have the same passion for teaching and learning through using technology effectively in the classroom. Through my experience, NETA has allowed me to learn new techniques and even share some with others that join the conference. NETA has many contests that students can submit entries to and there is even a teacher-trek contest that will send a selected to the National Conference (ISTE) to Denver in June, 2010 and an "Excellence in Leading with Technology Award." If you feel like a teacher or a leader in your district is deserving of one of these awards, would you please consider him or her for a nomination? Mark your calendars today and start planning to attend the NETA conference. For more information, please log onto the neta site at Be sure to check out the keynote presenters while at the neta site - Peter Reynolds and Rem Jackson!

2010 Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Contest:

The ESUs of Nebraska in partnership with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office are sponsoring an Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Poster and Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest for students in K-12 Schools in Nebraska. 

  1. Eligibility
Any public or private school/district within an ESU may participate.
  1. Categories
Each school or district may submit one entry in each category from each grade grouping:  K-4, 5-8, 9-12, i.e. three entries per school for each of the five categories.
  1. Entry Formats
  • Poster - high quality computer generated (pdf, tiff, jpg, or png);
  • Poster - hand drawn
  • Audio PSA - submit on labeled CD (mp3, aiff, or wav format).
  • Video PSA - submit on labeled VHS, DVD, or CD (QT, WMV, or RM format)
  • Open - a submission which does not fit a poster or PSA category above—could be a brochure, video documentary, etc.
  1. Rules
  • No real names used on posters or in audio or video PSAs.
  • Copyright laws must be followed, i.e. images, sound, etc.
  • 29 second target time on PSAs (audio and video).
  • Label CDs and DVDs with ESU Internet Safety Entry Form info (see next page.).
  • Put ESU Contest Entry Form on back of posters
  • Poster Size:  minimum – 8.5” X 11”, maximum – 16” X 22” (recommended delivery in protected mailer, such as tube or flat box. Do not bend.)
  1. Deadline
Entries must be submitted to ESU 4 by March 12, 2010.

            Send entries to:         
                            ESU 4
                            Attn: Gregg Robke
                            919 16th Street
                            Auburn, NE 68305

Entries may be delivered via van mail or snail mail. Email Gregg for an entry form or you can download the entry form here.                  
  1. Award
One entry in each grade grouping from each ESU will be selected and given state ESU recognition. Winning posters and PSAs, audio and video, will then be eligible for awards and/or use by the ESUs and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. A winning entry in each category will be selected and sent on to the Attorney General’s office for special recognition.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What learning would look like from a 16-year old persepective

Our son is a sophomore in high school. We had asked him the other evening, "If you could have the optimal high school setting, what would that look like?" Below is his writing. It has not been edited, but his response really got me started thinking about questions teachers and administrators should be asking. Are schools preparing our students for the 21st Century? What does that look like? How can technology help? My mind started getting full of thoughts and questions that would take considerable amount of time to answer. As educators and/or parents, we may not know all the answers, but perhaps we can glean a little understanding from what our students/kids are telling us.

I think the best kind of high school situation for me would look like this:

"Me learning through the use of technology but still being able to hang out with my friends at school. For example, Using laptops in class. That way, the teacher could tell us where to go and show us some examples of what we are learning. The teacher could also limit where we went on the laptops and have control over them so the students wouldn't abuse them. I like learning through the use of technology and I think it's fun. It would make researching for a class a lot easier along with essay writing. We would be able to send our work to our teachers and ask for suggestions and help via e-mail or some other type of chatting thing. I would also like to have big desks with enough room for my books and my work along with the big comfy office chairs like the ones in accounting. This is what I think the best kind of high school experience I would like to experience."