“The Why’s and Wherefores”

Brian Crosby
Sparks, Nevada, USA
Blog: http://www.learningismessy.com/blog/
Twitter: @bcrosby

Brian Crosby, an elementary teacher for 26 years, teaches fifth grade in Sparks, Nevada, and has infused technology into teaching since the 1980’s. While piloting a 1:1 laptop program,students in his class utilize many Web 2.0 tools including Skype, Fiickr, blogs and wikis. His award winning student produced video about including a classmate has been downloaded thousands of times. Brian teaches several popular tech classes for teachers. You can try keeping up with him on his blog “Learning Is Messy” at http://www.learningismessy.com/blog/.

Bio Page


Presentation Title “The Why’s and Wherefores”
Using what is happening in my classroom as a backdrop, we’ll endeavor to provide reasons, methods and rationale during our time here that support integration of 21st century tools in education. We will share a few tools and methods that you may not have access to, but much of what you will see is probably available at your school site … you just don’t know it yet.


iPod ready http://k12online.wm.edu/bcrosby.mp4
Original http://k12online.wm.edu/bcrosby.movhttp://k12online.wm.edu/bcrosby_ lowres.mov
Audio only

Supporting Links
Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk video http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/66
Math Magician http://oswego.org/ocsd-web/games/mathmagician/maths1.html
Dance Mat Typing http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/
Class Blog http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger_id=65078
Links to Class Videos http://www.learningismessy.com/video.htm
Class Wiki Page http://crosbyclass.wikispaces.com/
Animal Ark Wiki Project http://crosbyprojects.wikispaces.com/Animal+Ark
Our Flickr Page http://www.flickr.com/photos/34879177@N00/
Teacher Tube http://www.youtube.com/
Inclusion Video http://www.arisleyschool.org/Inclusion.mov
Skype conferencing software http://skype.com/

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“The Why’s and Wherefores””

  1. Brian,
    WoW! It is obvious you and your kids love learning. You are an inspiration to us all.

  2. A. Mercer says:

    NICE…I love it, I love your class. Volume on Christa MacAuliffe\’s mom was a little too low to hear, otherwise, fantastic.

  3. Brian Crosby says:

    Alice – yes I tried to pump the volume up as far as I could on that clip – must wear headphones and crank it.

  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    Outstanding presentation Brian! I’ve shared some feedback as a PD reflection using Gabcast. I even convinced my wife, who watched your keynote with me on our TV in our living room, to share some feedback as well at the end of this almost 10 minute recording. GREAT WORK!

  5. AMazing. You make it all seem so easy. I know of all the tools you entioned but as yet have not used them. Having a class set of laptops, cameras, video equipment etc must make such a difference. Wish me luck. My obstacle is to overcome my fear and lack of experience and find my opportunities somewhere within!!

  6. Scott Meech says:

    Powerful! You let the students own their learning and the technology is used to facilitate learning as a tool. Congratulations on letting the students take control of their learning…

  7. Inspiring stuff, Brian – excellent examples of truly assimilated use of technology. Loved the use of student voice throughout the presentation too. Keep up the wonderful work.

  8. Brian…
    Your work is so inspiring!!! I love watching the kids use the tools for more than drill and practice…to really facilitate thinking and learning. You are doing a ton to develop empathetic creative little people. Will continue to follow you and your work!!!!

  9. Brian Crosby says:

    Thank you all for such supportive comments!
    Sue – just try one thing … ask questions, … take baby steps at first, be creative!

  10. Thank you Brian…but mostly thank your kids. I love the video work you are doing especially because they have a purpose.

  11. Your keynote presentation is outstanding. You started with applications that many teachers are familiar with, like keyboarding and math drill and practice, and proceeded to model better uses for using technology in the classroom. The very important message that I take away from this is that when students understand that their contributions are important and meaningful, this intrinsically motivates them to do their best. Authentic learning is messy! I’m sharing this with the administrators in my office.

  12. Amy says:


    That was awesome!! We need to show this movie to the Lower School teachers at my school. We have the opposite problem of having plenty of tech opportunities (healthy private school budget) but no one knows how to begin. You are a true inspiration to all of us. Thank you.

  13. Jose Fuentes says:

    Your presentation is outstanding. Your kids did a wonderful job during the presentation. What makes it more relevant is that kids chose topics of their own interest and it makes other kids want to join in and work in the presentation. I think the topics chosen are really great topics and almost any kid currently attending school will be able to understand the purpose of the presentation and at the same time cope with how others feel and perhaps similar situations they have experienced.

  14. Linda Myring says:

    Your students are so enlightening and exciting to watch and listen. I want to do more in my classroom. I still need to overcome my hesitation, time, and class management issues associated with new technology. Sooo bored with PowerPoint.

  15. Nancy P says:

    Wow! You are very dedicated. It\’s obvious how motivated your students were by the use of technology. How do you keep it all up and running? Do you have a site based person to help?

  16. Thanks Brian for you presentation. I was impressed by the amount of content your students are creating online. There are a lot of obstacles that we face as teachers. Your presentation gave me ideas on how to overcome these obstacles in getting the technology in my students hands.

  17. Maria Rivera says:

    Wow! I really enjoyed this presentation. I felt very motivated to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of empowering our students to become independent, critical, thoughtful citizens. The tools Brian used and the projects he and his students created were very purposeful and not only served themselves but many others as well. This is very important in out current society of \

  18. Ashley says:

    I really liked the ideas that were on here! I really enjoyed the dance mat typing. What a great way to get kids up and moving while learning!

  19. Good teaching takes work and experience. You can’t expect to walk into a classroom for the first time and immediately connect with every student, make everything clear to everyone and teach every child everything he or she needs to know. What you can do, though, is learn from the experience of successful teachers. We’ve designed our resources for new teachers to share the ideas and experience of excellent teachers worldwide to help you find ways of learning from colleagues in your own school and school system.

  20. Sherry says:

    I cannot tell you how inspiring your presentation was to me. I really enjoyed it. The way you were able to show through a students eyes, true curriculum integration. You helped prove that technology can truly enhance the learning experience for all students. They really are learning to teach themselves. As for overcoming obstacles, you have provided an excellent example of how we need to be more optimistic and find ways around them. My question is, how do we remove the obstacle of getting full access to theses tools for students? Many school policies and firewalls do not allow blog or wiki sites. Thank you for an inspiring presentation, I especially enjoyed your student videos.

  21. WOW! Brian, you continue to blow me away with your work (and your students). I used your “Inclusion” video last year with my elementary ed. students. I continually seek to remove obstacles from the teachers and students I work with in their technology use. It’s a tremendous lift to see someone in the “trenches” making a difference in their classroom. I wish my 4th grade daughter was in your class!

  22. Darlene S. says:

    Wonderful job on getting students excited about learning. I loved the inclusion story. You not only taught students how to use technology, you taught them about compassion, caring, and helping others. As teachers, we are always looking for ways to model those core values. Great way to think out of the box! Keep it up! You have inspired me.

  23. Brian, you make it look so doable and your descriptions of the humanity of your students experience enrich the movie/story in many ways. This is the link to my blog reflection about my own Obstacles and Opportunities: http://yestech.edublogs.org/2008/08/18/reflection-on-brian-crosby%e2%80%99s-obstacles-to-opportunities-keynote

  24. […] is just one of several ways that Brian has used technology to overcome obstacles. Please see his K12 Online Conference 2007 presentation for […]

  25. […] year I was one of the conference keynote presenters, and this year I was honored to have my presentation on video-conferencing accepted. Check out the […]

  26. […] & Alice Barr) and other student-created media that can be posted to blogs (Clarence Fisher, Brian Crosby, Alan Levine et.al.). Many of the sessions remind us to plan for the pedagogy not just the […]

  27. […] was also a keynote speaker for K-12 Online in 2007, and shared the superb presentation, "The Why’s and Wherefores." His work with Skype and videoconferencing was mentioned by Silvia Tolisano in her fantastic […]

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