August 13 2015

J-Day at BSU underway

J-Day (1)

Speakers are saying “yes,” ISJA Board Members are sending ideas, and tours are being designed for the Oct. 29 J-Day from the Idaho State Journalism Association.

Some highlights:

  • A bus may be chartered for Southeast Idaho students/advisers
  • Tours are available the day before the event
  • Keynote speakers are students and graduates of BSU who are using Social Media to develop businesses
    • Whitney Hansen coaches students on living their dreams (but within their budgets)
    • Dallas Crum and his partners want everyone in the world to have access to water (and to buy their water bottles)
  • Sessions cover all areas of journalism media
    • Newspaper
    • Web
    • Video Broadcasting
    • Yearbook

Stay posted to learn more!

July 30 2015

An ISJA Lunch Bunch formed at the Idaho Professional-Technical Summer Conference

ISJA Lunch Bunch

Idaho State Journalism Association members Sue Martin, Becky McGuyver, Courtney Morgan and I found a nice place under a gazebo to have our lunches during the 2015 PTE Summer Conference.

The result, in addition to what we brought back for our professional-technical journalism programs, is a list of to-do items for the group’s Oct. 29 BSU Learning Day.

Journalism students and advisers from throughout Idaho are invited to attend the October event at the BSU Student Union.

We will have a full day of sessions hosted by experts from all areas of journalism-related high school activites, such as newspaper, yearbook, news sites, and video production.  I’ll keep you posted!


July 20 2015

Hope, engagement, and well-being are most important indicators of student success

PTE Summer Conference Schedule-1

The future of education is rearing its beautifully ugly head in the Gem state.

The oxymoron might best be illustrated by the reduction of potato plants in Idaho.   J.R. Simplot is quoted as saying:  “We no longer run our potato plants with wrenches and rags–we run them with iPads.”

Jeffrey Sayer

Jeffrey Sayer is one of two keynote speakers at the 2015 Idaho State Professional-Technical Education Summer Conference, July 20 – 22.

According to Jeffrey Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, J.R. Simplot Company reduced its potato plants from three to one, and decreased the number of workers it employs from 850 to around 250.

As keynote speaker to the Idaho state conference of professional technical educators today at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Sayer discussed the state of Idaho’s

  • employment (95,000 deficit in the next 10 years for qualified labor),
  • education (“education is the last industry that hasn’t changed, hasn’t adapted”), and
  • automation (technical skills to run automation are needed more than manual labor).

A few paradigm shifts marked the occasion.

Quoting a Gallop Poll of 500,000 students, Sayer said that some students don’t go past high school for reasons most wouldn’t suspect.  For example, he told the audience the survey found that one student didn’t go on because she didn’t have a ride to school.  Another couldn’t afford to be away from income for extended periods of time.  Yet another had to choose work over post-secondary education because her parents were expecting her to get a job and pay rent.

Sayer said, “The presence of hope, engagement, and well-being is 30 times higher an indicator of future success than GPA and test scores.”

Because the immediate pressure of earning an income often exceeds the need for a degree, Sayer suggested a paradigm shift:  skills first and education second.

“If income pressure is so intense, why not certify skills to raise income of post high school students to $9 or $10 an hour?” he asked.

Part of the state’s target is to encourage a talent pipeline from high school to industry to resolve the shortage of talent that industry follows.

“Our future is in your classroom,” he said to the educators.


July 11 2015

Vancouver Art Gallery shows Kodak plant demolition

Vancouver Art Gallery

It’s not everyday that one sees a photography exhibit of an institution — Kodak — fall.

Robert Burley’s 2007 photos of the Rochester, New York Kodak plant are on display in the Vancourver Art Gallery.


This photo is on display in the Vancouver Art Gallary (July 2015).

The exhibit’s impact is in its immediacy, even though the images are from 2007.  Photos include storage of film cannisters alongside employee I.D. cards, not to mention a series of shots before and after the implosion of the physical Kodak plant.

For this journalist, it was a fascinating moment to ponder.  It was a wake for journalists like me who know that film is dead, but haven’t quite come to terms with it.


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July 5 2015

In Vancouver streets, U.S. Women’s Soccer fever alive


My husband and I are on vacation in Vancouver, and happened upon — or rather couldn’t miss — the fever for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final soccer game between U.S.A. and Japan.  Red, white and blue whirligigs, socks, bandanas, face & body paint abound.  There was even a young girl showing her spirit with a Statue of Liberty flame.

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June 20 2015

Workshop challenges teachers to instill entrepreneurial spirit


What do you get when you fill a room of educators with entrepreneurial ideas?  You get a handful of solutions to school problems with little to no resources.

A two-day professional development workshop June 18 – 19 on how to teach students to think like entrepreneurs was hosted by Boise State University’s Venture College and designed by TeachIdaho retired educators Kali Kurdy and Jim Coughlin.

Sponsored by other organizations, such as Northwest Professional Educators, the workshop’s featured speakers included area entrepreneurs and Venture College students and administrators.

The teacher audience heard stories from young and old alike, from owners of established businesses like White Cloud Analytics and the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage to start-ups launched by BSU students, such as Whitney Hansen Financial Coaching and VividRoots.

Teachers tapped into entrepreneurial insights, learned to pitch a business plan, and presented product ventures to make-believe investors, a panel of judges from BSU and local government: Rep. (D) Cherie Buckner-Webb; Venture College graduate, Whitney Hansen; and two Venture administrators, Asstistant  Director Marilyn Bickle and Associate Director Ed Zimmer.

Although the final product designs and pitches from participating teachers — the Mindset Indicator, Rosie the Lanyard Alarm, VividRoutes backpacks, Whiteboard Desktops, and Scented Oils that keep students in classes motivated up to nine hours — may never arrive on retail shelves, there’s a big chance they may appear for free in Idaho classrooms near you.

June 16 2015

I finally saw a model of the flippin’ classroom

Flipped Classroom

The infographic excerpt is from,

an education company that adapts technology for the classroom.

Although I am a full-time teacher in the traditional classroom, I also teach part-time for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA).

For IDLA’s summer conference for professional development, the event was organized as a flipped classroom.

Conference materials were posted in a Google+ Community, and included activities to complete for Human Resources, Content Teams, the IT Department, and Supervision.

IDLA Summer-Conference Worksheet

At the IDLA Summer Conference, we had 8 sessions, and 8 boxes to complete. It was a great opportunitiy to use all my color Sharpies!

Throughout the day, we filled in a graphic organizer for each session we attended, which included the flipped ones.

The discussions in the sessions in which I received pre-conference materials proved meaningful. We were able to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time, especially in one session at which I sat next to two other English teachers and we had all come prepared.  We had our SMART goals written out, bulleted, and highlighted like no other!

Although I am anxious to try a flipped classroom, I couldn’t help calculate the pitfalls for my regular English students, some of whom rarely bring a pencil, rarely read or do homework outside of class, and rarely take advantage of doing work in class when the time is given.

For example, I found it funny when someone in the room asked a question about how Blackboard Collaboration compares to E-tutoring, two remote ways in which IDLA helps students with questions. It had been covered in the pre-conference materials. I felt both smug and slighted; I privately gloated because I could have answered, but, at the same time, I sized up my fellow learner as a slacker.

Although I came away enriched by participating in a model of the flipped classroom, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the flipped classroom is just another way to say, “do your homework.”

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June 7 2015

First Voki deserves place on my virtual refrigerator

Voki is a Web 2.0 Tool with a voice-to-avatar application.  Below is my experiment with it, the quality being similar to that of the first finger painting of a kindergartner.  This deserves a space on my virtual refrigerator!

Transcript (just in case you’re thrown off by the Australian accent):

‘Hello, maties! This is the Idaho State Journalism Association blog. This was created at!”

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