Tag Archives: NEIT

The Energy Audit #NEIT2010

The last morning of the NEIT Conference found me cozily ensconced in a chair overlooking the front grounds of Mohonk Mountain House. Sun streamed in, the sky was clear, and with a cup of tea and my laptop for company, I had time to reflect on the sessions.

Now I am at home, more than a week later, and the session that continues to percolate in my thoughts is the one facilitated by arvind: The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. The title of this session comes from the book of the same name by Tony Schwartz. The gist of Tony’s book and arvind’s presentation (which sadly he removed from the wiki, apparently by request of The Energy Project folks) is that if we take better care of ourselves, we can be more productive and lead more fruitful lives.

I know, you’re possibly thinking this is just another “self help” book. Well, perhaps it is. However, what Schwartz has to say makes perfect sense. And if you are in a field that changes rapidly or a life style that is fast paced or a job that is not giving you satisfaction or you happen to be contemplating what you want the next 25 years of your life to look like, you might just find the information useful.

You might not fall into any of those categories, but since it will only take a few minutes of your time, try this experiment – take The Energy Audit. The results of this audit, providing you are honest with yourself when responding to the statements, will give you a sense of your energy – not just the physical energy you have, but also your emotional, spiritual and mental energy.

Reluctant to take the audit? Okay, how about answering this one question: Do you work at something non-stop beyond 90 minutes? Hmm, okay, do you give yourself breaks between activities demanding high focus? During your breaks, are you doing something quite different from your focus time? And one last question: Do you feel you are performing as well as you would like in each of the energy realms mentioned before – physical, emotional, spiritual and mental?

On the EdTechTalk channel you can listen to podcast #141: Creating Energy, Space & Time, an 18 minute conversation about the book and The Energy Audit.

Oh yes, here is the feedback I received from my Energy Audit.

Dear laurie,
Thank you for taking our Energy Audit.
Your score was 5 out of 20, which means you are experiencing a moderate energy deficit according to the key below:
17-20      Full out energy crisis
13-16       Imminent energy crisis
9-12         Significant energy deficit
5-8           Moderate energy deficit
Below 5   Fully energized

If your score was 4 or less, congratulations – though there may be a few areas in which you can improve your energy, you are effectively firing on all cylinders. If your score as higher than you would have liked, however, you’re scarcely alone. The average overall score among all our clients is a 10. In short, more than 50% of us are operating at a level that is significantly suboptimal.


There are four types of energy that correspond to our four human needs. They are physical (sustainability), emotional (security), mental (self-expression) and spiritual (significance). Your specific category scores indicate the areas in which you might begin to improve your energy. They appear below (0 is best, 5 is worst):

Mental: 1 – Fully energized
Physical: 1– Fully energized
Emotional: 0 – Fully energized
Spiritual: 3 – Significant energy deficit


It’s possible to systematically build back your capacity in each of these areas, and thousands of our clients have done so with considerable success. Set aside some time to think about which one or two behaviors are most adversely influencing your energy levels. It may be best to start at the easiest to make concrete changes. Setting even a single goal for yourself, defined by a specific behavior you do at a precise time on designated days can put you on the right path towards a fully energized, fully engaged life. For your reference, we’ve included those questions to which you answered true below:
– I often eat lunch at my desk, if I eat lunch at all.
– I don’t take enough time for reflection, strategizing and thinking creatively.
– I spend too little time at work doing what I do best and enjoy most.
– There are significant gaps between what I say is important in my life and how I actually live.
– I don’t invest enough time and energy in making a positive difference to others and/or in the world.

[In addition to thanking me for taking the audit and providing an email if I wanted to get in touch, a link was provided for the Harvard Business Review’s article: The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less.]


Day 2 and OS Sessions at #NEIT2010

Weather-wise, the second day of the NYSAIS Education & Information Technology (NEIT) conference was as glorious as the first! Nice weather is always appreciated because a Day 2 custom is taking the hike up the mountain to the tower at the top, where on a clear day (which this was) the view is immensely satisfying and far-ranging.

People-wise, the second day was equally glorious, as we were able to reconnect with friends. While the sessions at NEIT are usually learning experiences, the portion of the conference I enjoy the most is seeing colleagues and having the opportunity to engage in conversations not just about technology and education, but also about our personal lives. (Thanks to Alex Ragone for this photo and the one that follows.)

Our time at NEIT wasn’t all fun and games (!); here we are, engaged in one of the keynote presentations. We did manage to attend all three keynotes, all five open space sessions, and Fred even presented at the last OS session (on iOS Programming for students). Two of the open space sessions made particular impressions on me, both dealing with change, of sorts, and both following on themes covered in the suggested reading (prior to the conference) of SWITCH by the Heath Brothers.

Mandate, Motivate or Migrate – How Do We Implement Change? was a packed discussion about how we inspire innovation in our students, ourselves, our faculty and our administrators. In addition to the conference reading, Carol Dweck’s Mindset was mentioned, an author and topic I’ve written about extensively. While there are no “easy options” for implementing or innovating change, there are certainly many approaches, each dependent upon circumstances, personalities, and a couple of ounces of creativity. You can read much more about this session in the notes, which are available by clicking the link at the start of this paragraph. (I was the scribe for the session.) More about the other open space session in my next post.

Open Space = Unconference = #NEIT2010

What is an Open Space conference?

Have you ever attended a conference or workshop where you were more or less excited about the topics, but the exact information you wanted to be exposed to was not on the schedule? You might have been looking forward to the networking and seeing friends and colleagues, but not necessarily to the various offerings.

A remedy for such a situation might look like the board in the photo at the top, which is the Open Space board for the recent NEIT conference. Another name for Open Space is an Unconference. (Clicking the photo will take you to a full size version of the image.) The board consists of a grid of time slots and room locations with room capacities. Prior to the conference, people used the NEIT wiki to list sessions they were willing to offer and sessions they wanted to attend. Once arriving at the conference, attendees then posted to the board the sessions they would offer, and folks could then choose which sessions best met their needs. The wiki was also utilized to compile the notes from each of the Open Space sessions, making the information available to those who could not attend a given session.

The benefit of this method of organizing a conference is that sessions turn out to be a fairly accurate representation of topics with which people want to engage, because the topics are chosen by the attendees and not by a much smaller group of conference organizers. The organizers of NEIT also kindly stream the keynotes while they are happening, and then archive the keynotes for future reference. Quite convenient for the rest of us!

The first Open Space session I attended was for an online application that I’ve long wanted to explore but simply never made time to do so. Here are my notes for Glogster. (If you visit the wiki, you’ll see they are the same as the notes on the wiki; that is because I was the note taker 😉 )

What is Glogster?

  • online poster presentation, stored in the cloud
  • Glogs could be accessed by others, so think of a class full of glogs that kids, teachers, parents could access in their own time frame
  • can have as a resource for other kids, classes, years
  • like a scrapbook page with videos, etc

Glogster Education site – http://edu.glogster.com/
Glogster edu links:

Basic is free (200 account limit) or you can pay for a cost of $2/student for a year

can tag and categorize what you make (commercial side has some inappropriate tags)
can make creations private or public on edu site

  • the tool set is Flash based so will not work from iPad
  • interface is similar to Prezi but without the zooming
  • each insertion is a Flash object arranged on the screen – the more “stuff”, the longer the initial loading, but once loaded, everything runs smoothly “as good as the computer they’re running on”

Consider discussing design issues:

  • positioning on a large canvas (how items relate to one another in the space)
  • determining what to include – “cool” stuff vs. making the information legible and useful

Town School is using this w/5th and 6th grade Science teachers for student Science presentations (instead of standard large poster boards)
“How do we take the goods of these things [that are not designed for edu] and make the best of them for our students?” (Reshan)

How to Use:

  • Create New Glog (once you are logged in) [Glog = Graphic Blog]
  • go ahead and just play with it 🙂
  • user interface is very friendly
  • Can learn more about “how to use” at: http://teachertrainingvideos.com/glogster/

Other items to consider:

  • unable to export to another format; stuck in Glogster
  • Terms of Service – age limits who can participate/use a resource, such as with Quizlet http://quizlet.com/
  • usually age 13 is the age limit due to Child and Privacy Act

Some more cool tools and resources:


The Keys to #NEIT2010


Alex and arvind convened NEIT 2010 on Wednesday afternoon, after a comprehensive buffet luncheon typical of the folks at Mohonk. I was careful not to stuff myself, though it cannot be said my motives were purely healthful; I simply wanted room for samplings of the many desserts. Turns out, perhaps as a non-caffeine drinker, I have become rather sensitive to the caffeine in chocolate, and now take my dessert at lunch so as not to remain awake till 1:00 in the morning. But I digress!

Alex and arvind reminded us that the conference theme was based upon Dan and Chip Heath’s book SWITCH, a compilation of short scenarios exemplifying how to make personal and organizational change a reality. The book is an easy, quick read with some thought provoking anecdotes all based around their metaphor of a Rider (the rational side) trying to cajole the Elephant (the emotional side) down a Path (that ideally both will want to pursue).

arvind reminded us via the annual tag it button to tag any posts with #NEIT2010, followed by the suggestion that we write down our goals for the conference. My hopes for the conference (besides simply enjoying it) were:

  • find out more about the use of iPads in lower school
  • compile a list of local schools (based around the use of iPads) for our LS Assistant Principal to visit
  • watch the first ever NEIT IGNITE presentations
  • find out more about schools offering online or blended learning classes
  • learn something new
  • get pumped with ideas and energy for the remainder of the school year


The opening keynote was given by Lisa Thumann. I was eager to see and hear her again, having last seen her at the Google Certified Teacher Reload in February 2009, where she emceed as well as presented. Lisa is a dynamic presenter who thinks well on her feet, shares visuals on her slides (rather than being text-only), and engages with her audience in an interactive format.

Assembling our Students’ Kit and Caboodle was Lisa’s vision of the ten items educators could focus on in a digitally connected world to help both themselves and their students move their learning forward. After giving her presentation, Lisa asked us to convene discussion groups and add our commentary to a collaborative Google Doc. She reflects and elaborates on her Keynote in this NEIT2010–Croudsourcing post.

The tools and ideas in Lisa’s kit and caboodle have sparked ideas for conversations to have with my faculty around PLNs (the topic of this past summer’s Digital Wave tech workshops) for themselves and for our students, particularly as we head towards January and National Mentoring Month. Already one of my goals for the conference was recognized: getting pumped with ideas and energy for the school year. 🙂

A Neat #NEIT2010

Neat! That’s what these past three days in New Paltz, at Mohonk Mountain House have been. NEIT. NEIT is the NYSAIS Education and Information Technology group, an association of technology-minded educators from mostly, but not exclusively, New York State Independent Schools. This group has been meeting for 15 or so years, long enough for lasting friendships to have formed and even for the children of at least two participants to now be participants in their own right!

Mohonk is an easy 90 minute northward drive from where I live. Located on a lake, surrounded by hiking trails and mountains, it is a place that encourages reflection and renewal. And did I mention the fairly new indoor swimming pool? Weather over the entire three day conference was clear and sunny, and each day was warmer than the previous one.

The second afternoon of this conference is traditionally set aside for free time, and we spent it hiking to the top of the tower at the top of the mountain. I always relish this hike, and this year we felt especially pleased because we weren’t huffing and puffing; in fact, we were talking and taking in the fresh air, and feeling invigorated. On the other hand, we did feel it a tad in our quads when climbing all those steps to the top of the tower! The view was worth every footstep. And our conversation with Al made it all the more interesting.

This was an especially meaningful conference for me this year at this time. I finally made it back to NEIT at Mohonk after a too long hiatus. We always go to school for the morning and then head home to pick up our bags before driving to New Paltz. The first time I missed Mohonk, we arrived home to a phone message that my Dad had just been admitted to a hospital. (Fred managed to attend for both of us.) The second time I missed Mohonk, we arrived home after I had done four or five parent conferences only to discover I had a 103 fever. (We participated remotely thanks to Alex and arvind streaming the keynotes, and the use of the now defunct Etherpad for collaborative real time conversations.) And this time, I was looking forward to NEIT as a much needed boost.

My Mom died four weeks ago today, guided by  Compassion & Choices of New York. For two months she coexisted with a stroke that left her paralyzed on her right side; not a pleasant experience for a righty and accomplished pianist and 81-year old computer user and fiercely independent woman!

Even with time off from school, I have found it difficult to wrap my head around my job, other than deriving some focus from teaching my classes. The minutia of school is seeming trivial. I was looking forward to NEIT in the hopes I would be refocused, reenergized and rejuvenated by seeing my colleagues and the surroundings, sparked by the conversations and sessions, and given a respite from the events of the past months. Hazaah! NEIT came through on all counts! I made it to the top of the tower at the top of the mountain to breathe in fresh air and feel the sun on my cheeks.

It feels good to be back. Stay tuned for more NEIT posts about the conference!


Want to see how a bunch of IT folks spent November 11-13? November in the NY IS world heralds the gathering of IT folks for the annual NEIT Conference, sponsored by NYSAIS. As arvind noted on ISENET, we are suped up on acronyms… A quick primer:

• NY – New York
• IS – independent school
• IT – information technology
• NEIT – NYSAIS Education & Information Technology
• NYSAIS – New York State Association of Indpendent Schools
• ISENET – Independent School Educators network

Of course, attendees also join in from CAIS (Connecticut Association of Independent Schools), MA (Massachusetts), NJ (New Jersey) and EW (elsewhere). The organizers, of which there are many, superbly manage accommodating 150 or so live bodies, plus any number of virtual attendees, who all share in the mix of keynote speakers, open space sessions, and recreation. Participating is an exhilarating experience! [UPDATE 12/5/2009: Alex and arvind delightfully recap NEIT 2009 in the 114th episode of their 21st Century Learning EdTech Talk, recorded November 17, 2009.]

You can scope out the pictures on Flickr or follow the conversation on Twitter or see the results of many of the open space sessions on the wiki or watch the keynotes.

Among the highlights for me were the professional development session Thursday evening, and Friday’s keynoter Michael Wesch. His name may not be on the tip of your tongue, but perhaps his videos have been in your queue. And if these videos don’t get you wondering, then ponder these questions that Wesch suggests every teacher should be asking.

Using EtherPad, a number of folks took collaborative notes on Wesch’s two part talk. And should you exhaust all of these resources, here is Wesch’s Digital Ethnography site at Kansas State University, which includes the blog, a collection of videos (including the two below), the YouTube Project, and World Sim (social studies teachers, are you checking out this world simulation project!).

The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final version)

and A Vision of Students Today