Archive for November, 2011

Orlando: The Art of Nature Science

Continuing with the description of the activities in Orlando….

Debra Murphy, ACCESS VP of Professional Development, gave a wonderful presentation titled,

The Art of Nature Science – Inspirations: colors, forms, materials, color theory, and the art of Andy Goldsworthy

She started with a poem that may be familiar to many of us –  it really set the stage for what she was about to share:

It’s very difficult to put into words the power of Debra’s talk. I’ve seen her present on a number of subjects over the past few years, and every time I am amazed at the subtle beauty and power of her piece. I am particularly awed by her ability to quietly draw us all in to the world of her students and the journey they go through in her courses. Debra embodies the relationship of theory and practice. Everything she does is rooted in solid, evidence-based practice yet she doesn’t bore us with that side of things. She lets us discover it as we are drawn in to the compelling photographs that she so willingly shares with us.

In fact, she has offered to share her Flickr site with us which includes her photographs and much more. Take some time to explore it, and, next time you see Debra, please be sure to thank her for sharing such wonderful resources with us!

Debra’s Flickr site:


Student Engagement references handout

Please see this pdf document: BasnettNAEYC References offered to you by our morning presenter, Victoria La Placa Basnett, M.Ed.

Her talk was called, “Engaging Students through Cooperative Learning and Technology” and the handout includes all the references from her presentation including the wonderful and thought-provoking video clips, and the learning style survey among other things. I hope you will find this useful.

My favorite clip is “A Vision of Students Today”, check it out!

Orlando: Student Engagement & ACCESS updates

I really wanted to blog the entire time we were in Orlando, but unfortunately my little laptop completely stopped working on Wednesday. I was actually without technology, at least the access to tech that I’m used to, for several days. I felt alarmed at first, and then resigned to my fate, and finally kind of relieved! I did not answer e-mail, post on the blog, check my Facebook, or anything else for four solid days. It felt refreshing; like doing a cleanse!

But now, back to business:

The ACCESS day was full of many activities from morning til night. We began the day with a lovely breakfast sponsored by Cengage Learning. A big thank you goes out to Kara Kindstrom and all our friends at Cengage.

We started the morning sessions with a TeamUP presentation by presenter Victoria La Placa Basnett on active learning. I am happy to say that this was a very engaging presentation! I personally have been to many presentations on higher education that focused on “active learning” and “engagement” that did not employ the techniques the presenter was talking about. This was not the case with Ms. La Placa Basnett’s talk. She had us really thinking and participating. One of the points that I took away from the talk is to think about our era in terms of when we went to school and then think about today’s students and how different things are for them particularly in terms of the information they have access to through their laptops and phones. I also thought it was helpful to think about what motivated us to go to undergrad and what might be motivating our students to be in our classes – it may be very different!


I also appreciated that the presenter understood that we were an audience filled with faculty. She demonstrated how to prepare a presentation and then, based on the feedback from the participants, she was able to skillfully move through the presentation seamlessly. I think this was a wonderful example of active engagement. In order to engage learners, it is so important that we remain responsive to them throughout the session. It felt tailor-made to our learning needs – which is a real treat!

During the second part of the morning session, I talked for a bit about various ACCESS updates. For two different presentations, I tried something new which is called Prezi. I mentioned this in a previous post.

Well, I don’t think it was a complete failure…but I certainly need to practice my navigation skills! I think I figured out that if you minimize the wording on the presentation, the zoom effect is not as dramatic and hopefully will minimize that dizzying feeling caused by all the zooming in and zooming out.

Click here to view the ACCESS updates Prezi. Once you click the link, you can click the play button for each piece of the presentation. There is a plus and minus sign you can use to zoom in or out on each section. Try it out and see what you think!

Updates, in brief:

  1. ACCESS has launched the newly revised website, please save the following address in your favorites file as this is now the “go to” place for all things having to do with Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Education.
  2. The blog, has become a good source of ongoing information about ACCESS activities but also in terms of a place to share ideas. As of today’s date, this blog has 36 posts, and 45 followers (subscribers). Our biggest day was October 11, 2011 when we had 112 views. This is great! I was very pleased to hear from so many ACCESS members that they find the blog to be helpful. If you are interested in writing for the blog, please contact me directly at I would very much like to see more ACCESS members sharing things this way.
  3. Partnerships: ACCESS has partnerships with ECADA, NAECTE, CONNECT, and Voices of Practitioners. Please stay tuned for future blog posts about each partnership.
  4. ACCESS is in the process of developing a Handbook of Assessment in Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Education. I am spending my sabbatical working on this project! So far, I am in the process of finishing a literature review with annotated bibliography about “assessment of student learning in higher education” with an emphasis on “ECE teacher preparation in Associate Degree programs”, when available (not much assessment research out there focused on our specific field within the community college framework). The second half of the handbook will consist of practical applications including sample rubrics and assessment plans as well as a variety of stories about how various programs make use of assessment data.

This is where you come in! We need more samples. Please send your rubrics, key assessments, assessment plans or reports, to my e-mail

The goal is to make the Handbook an open educational resource, which means that we are freely sharing what is written and what is contributed. We are not working through a professional publisher or charging a fee, we are simply pooling our resources to develop our own handbook in an effort to provide the most current research and practices to fellow ACCESS members. By the way, one of the most brilliant examples of an open educational resource is one I use with my son and recommend to my students. It’s called Khan Academy and if you haven’t seen this before, I encourage you to check it out.  If you want a really good summary of what Khan Academy is and a striking example of the potential of open educational resources, please take a few minutes to check out this TED talk which explains it really well. Save it for later if you don’t have time now, but all of us should be aware of this powerful (and free) resource. Enjoy!

That describes the first half of the morning!

Greetings & a sneak peak from Orlando!

We have arrived! I took advantage of the morning sun and got a good swim in before it was time to prepare for tomorrow’s meetings. In Chicago, I’m lucky if I can swim outdoors during the month of August, so it’s kind of fun to swim in November!

At this point, many of us have wandered over to the Orange County Convention Center to check out the room ( Room W330E/F/G) where our ACCESS presentations will take place all day tomorrow (see ACCESS Program). When you are facing the main entrance, turn right and walk all the way down the hall (almost to the end of the building) and then go to the second floor. Be prepared to walk and be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

Sneak Peak:

During tomorrow’s meeting, I am going to announce the launch of our newly revised website.

*Please note the change from .org to .com

This is where you will go to renew your membership for 2012. We are now doing electronic applications – no more paper! To join or renew, everyone must go to the website and fill out the online application. You will still have the choice of whether to pay online or send in a check. Either way you choose for payment, you still have to fill in the application online. This saves several steps on our end of things and we hope it will make the whole process more efficient. We will continue to add bells and whistles to the revised site so be sure to check on it from time to time. I hope you like the new look! A special thanks goes out to our VP of Communications, Crystal Swank who has been working hard on this project for a long time. Thank you Crystal!

I’ll have a few handouts at the front desk when you sign in for the day. I’m going to attach them here in case you would like to have an electronic copy and you can save the paper. I also think it would be nice to have the paper handouts for folks who are not ACCESS members and would like information about the organization.

This is a basic ACCESS information sheet

This doc is part of the new ACCESS Orientation packet we are creating and it is about the Blog

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. And for those of you at home, I hope you are following the activities and that you feel free to make comments and participate too!

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