Thursday, November 27, 2008

NASB Technology Showcase

Nebraska Association of School Boards held its annual conference last week and O'Neill hosted a booth in the Technology Showcase. Mike Peterson, along with students Morgan Devall, Jesse Albarran, Laura Lueninghoener, and Cody Belzer, shared information about Eagle Eye Sports, ustream, and general questions about and our 1 to 1 laptop initiative. The team was very well received by conference attendees and were asked many good questions. People were especially drawn to the live demonstration of projected in the exhibit hall. A huge thank you to Mike Peterson and students for promoting the work of students and technology integration at O'Neill Public Schools to the rest of the state!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

College essay

Excerpts taken from an essay by former OHS graduate Jordan Peterson, now a freshman at University of Nebraska- Kearney:

It is websites like this that show the true power of what technology can do for learning. The possibilities for the integration of this type of learning into classrooms can not be ignored. Students in a Spanish language class may have a teacher who has never been to a Spanish-speaking country, and textbooks don’t at all teach students how to actually speak a language. At best, textbooks prepare students for a test, and that is not how learning should be.

Computers in the classroom facilitate critical thinking, rather than mindless information memorization. Through the use of computers, students can participate in fun projects that require students to actually understand the information, not just to memorize it. The best example of this is a personal one.

I myself was a member of the 24/7 Learning Initiative project done by O’Neill Public Schools. In my British Literature class, we were studying Beowulf. Rather than memorizing information for a test grade, we all had to do a project with a partner. With our computers, my partner and I had a huge power in our hands to make a great project. The software on our computer allowed us to edit photos, write music, or even make our own movie. We decided to make our own movie and create a modern version of Beowulf. To do this, we had to understand more than just the facts. We had to have a deeper understanding of the plot. We also had to have a deeper understanding of the characters and themes. Through the use of technology, we were able to critically think about what he had learned, and in express it in a way that would not have been possible before. Because of technology in our school, we developed a much deeper understanding of the information, and we had a much more fun learning experience.

Monday, November 24, 2008

O'Neill Dtl team at No Limits Summit

7 students and 2 sponsors attended the 2008 Summit against big tobacco companies. Addie Schneider was interviewed by a TV crew and on the evening news while the group participated in an activism event in Grand Island. You can read more here: and stay tuned for great digital projects from these students involved in a great cause.

Friday, November 14, 2008

MacBooks in Junior High P.E.

Internet Safety Poster Contest

Put your artistic talents to use to help educate others about online safety. Check out for more information.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

iSight camera helps student "catch-up" on extra-curriculars

Listen to yet another impromptu example of how the MacBooks are helping our students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Recent Student Technology-Enhanced Projects

Students are sometimes better teachers than the teachers themselves! Listen, watch, and learn from these students on a variety of technology applications as they share their knowledge through screencasts at:

Don't forget to visit the Student Sharing Gallery for 2008-2009 at: If you use the 'Subscribe' button you will get the podcast entries automatically in iTunes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Creative Use of Power Media Plus!

KBRX Listen Live is finally Mac-compatible!

GREAT NEWS to all OHS Mac users! You can now listen to KBRX Live on They have upgraded their interface and all radio shows broadcast over the Internet (either live or archived) run now on Flash, which works well on our Macs. This is another great way to stay connected to our community. Thank you, as always, to KBRX for providing such great resources to everyone in the O'Neill area.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sharing your Teaching and Technology Skills

Two opportunities to present at local technology conferences are nearing deadlines. These are both great ways to attend the conference and learn as an attendee while at the same time sharing your expertise with others.

1) NETA 2009--if you are going to submit a session proposal for NETA 2009,
please do so soon. If you work with someone doing great things with
technology, please encourage them to submit a session. The submission site
closes after December 1!

2) Follow the signs to the
Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
NNNC Summer Tech Institute
June 15-16, 2009
Hands-on Workshop with Tony Vincent
June 17, 2009
Interested in presenting
a workshop or breakout session?
Submit your application online at
Application deadline is 12/31/08

Reason #101 for facility upgrade...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Student Technology Tutorials (SMARTcasts)

A new selection of student-produced technology tutorials has been published at: Choose from approximately 15 new episodes teaching you about everything from Bluetooth to Google Sketchup to 3D effects in Adobe Illustrator. All recordings were created by students teaching other students and capturing their screen with SMART Recorder. Some edited their production further with GarageBand or iMovie. Tune in and you are guaranteed to learn at least one new thing about technology from these students... I know I did!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Classrooms of Tomorrow - TODAY!

O’Neill Public School is taking part in an exciting opportunity with Apple Computers in the next month aimed at improving 21st century education.

ACOT2 is the acronym for “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow - Today.” Built on a foundation of research, this 3-stage initiative identifies weaknesses in current high schools in the U.S. and urges reform immediately, before any more students become disengaged or drop. The final stage of ACOT2 is a 9th grade curriculum project otherwise known as CBL or “Challenge-Based Learning.” Some of the attributes of CBL include:
• Multiple points of entry and multiple possible solutions
• Interdisciplinary
• 21st century skill development
• Technology access and web 2.0 tools
• Students DOING something, rather than just learning ABOUT something
• Local solutions and taking action to improve the world outside the classroom

O’Neill High School was selected as one of six schools nationwide to pilot a part of this curriculum. They will document progress to share with the rest of the world when the curriculum is finally published and released. To prepare for teaching this two-week Challenge-Based Learning unit, a team will travel to Apple in Cupertino, California on November 20-21 for training. Members of O’Neill’s team will include Katie Morrow, technology integration specialist, Charlene Paris, 9th grade Science, Deb Barelmann, 9th grade Math, and Hayley Herzog, a senior student who will work on documenting the pilot through photography and video. In addition to learning more about ACOT2 and the unit that they will be piloting, this team will also have the opportunity to work with the five other teams involved (schools in Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Hawaii, and California), Apple Education experts, and professional media instructors from the New Media Consortium. More information about ACOT2 can be found at:

Technology helps bring Election Awareness to OHS

The presidential debate of 2008 has come to O’Neill High School. Students in Mr. Wayne Hesse’s 6th hour Current Issues class have been working to provide both a debate and a mock election to bring the important issues at stake home to each student. Last week each student in school was given the opportunity to vote in a nation-wide, on-line election hosted by the Youth Leadership Initiative. This mock election was easily assisted by the fact that every student had access to vote via their MacBook.

For the past two weeks students have had the opportunity to “register” for the in-school election. On Tuesday, October 28, those registered to vote were invited to a mock debate where the McCain-Palin team faced off against Obama-Biden. Graham Luber served as moderator. Hayley Herzog carried the Barack Obama argument, assisted by Makayla Havranek as Joe Biden. Across the platform, Kayla Clyde delivered the John McCain address with Amanda Heerman standing in as Sarah Palin.

Herzog, commenting on her participation in the debate said, “I’ve always been a political person, but being able to participate in the school debate helped me to learn more about both of the candidates and their views. I think that there is nothing like being able to debate in class about the issues that are important to me to help me figure out where I stand.” Clyde admits that she had never been really “a political person”. “Now that I have become involved through research for this activity, I’ve been able to find my own views. I have a better idea of what kind of American I want to be.” Both sides extensively utilized the Internet for their research, along with writing the campaign headquarters for additional information.

From a student population of 379, 167 registered to vote in our school election, 44% of the student body. Broken down by class, 20% of 7th graders registered. Among 8th grader, 83% registered. For high schoolers, 9th grade saw 33% registration, 18% for 10th graders, 53% of 11th graders and 61% of seniors. The in-school election ran all day on Wednesday, October 29 with election results posted on Monday, November 3.


McCain 68 or 59.6%
Obama 46 or 40.3%

Johanns 74 or 64.5%
Kleeb 24 or 22%
Rosberg 10 or 9.25%

Smith 92 or 85%
Stoddard 16 or 14.8%
Mr. Brown 1 or .009%

Interesting facts:

Party affiliation
Rep 39 or 60%
Dem 20 or 30.1%
Ind 6 or 09%

Straight Party Rep 54 or 47.7%
Straight Party Dem 10 or 08%
Crossed Party Lines 49 or 43%

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.

This was the philosophy behind a recent new opportunity for students at O’Neill High School. Students were selected and invited to attend an all-day seminar and exploration session utilizing Final Cut Pro, a high-end movie-editing software, a part of Apple’s “Pro Apps” software. This video editing software, used by many actual professional movie producers, is not loaded on student laptops, but is installed on the iMacs (desktop computers) in the school. If given the opportunity in the form of time and technology access, students have all the power of the pros.

October 30 was a Fall Break day for students at OHS, but instead of taking the day off, these students spent the entire day at school, proving that, “If you build it, they will come.” A huge part of the success of this seminar was the instruction and guidance provided by Mark Billington of Apple Computers, who has used and taught about Final Cut Pro for years. Mark shared his knowledge via iChat and utilized the amazing power of technology to teach over the span of hundreds of miles geographically. At times Mark would video chat with the group in O’Neill, other times he would show movie clips transferred electronically through a Mobile Me iDisk, and the rest of the time he would demonstrate through screen sharing as he controlled the clicking on Mrs. Morrow’s computer for all to view on the projected screen.

The afternoon was open for filming time and free exploration of the software, while at the same time several students gifted in music created soundtrack clips to use in the student movie production. While nothing was finished in its entirety, the day was a success for all. The unique way of delivering instruction via the Internet was a great way to bring an expert to O’Neill. For the students, a foundation for laid for starting to use Apple Pro Apps. Quoting Mark Billington to the kids, “With Final Cut Pro, you are limited only by your imaginations.” Students can take what they learned, apply it to future projects, and share their skills with other students, thereby spreading the learning throughout OHS. Watch for this unique learning environment, this “Field of Dreams” to grow and expand in the future.