"A new age demands a new paradigm!"
-Walter McKenzie

Top Online Educators of 2006
Volume 8, Issue 7 - February 2006
presented by
Walter McKenzie
The One and Only Surfaquarium

Sponsored by these Surfaquarium Services
Click on each for more information:

Digital Dozen

Subscribe today!

Surfaquarium Consulting
Walter McKenzie

Invite Walter to work with your staff!

Top Online Educators 2006

Visit the Surfaquarium's Top Online Educator Web Site at http://surfaquarium.com/TOE/

I am pleased to present the third annual issue of the Surfaquarium's Top Online Educators - the 2006 edition! In creating this honor, I wanted to recognize those educators who are singled out by their peers as being an inspiration both locally and across the online community. In preparing for this annual recognition, I solicited nominations from educators in the trenches doing the work of our profession. The numerous responses I have received have been a pleasure to consider, and everyone nominated is an asset to our profession.

This is a non-commercial, unabashed recognition of each honorees work. There is no monetary award or obligation accompanying this honor; there are no strings attached. The Surfaquarium's Top Online Educator program is an altruistic recognition of excellence in the quickly-evolving world of instructional technology.

In addition to this month's newsletter, the eleven honorees are showcased on the Innovative Teaching web site for the coming year. They have each been notified and given a Top Online Educator emblem which they may showcase on their web sites as they continue to make a difference. I encourage you to visit their sites and contact them to congratulate them on this recognition of their accomplishments.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

I am now proud to present to you the Surfaquarium Top Online Educators of 2006:


Mary Alice Anderson
Online Instructor
University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Education


Mary Alice Anderson teaches online professional development courses for school librarians/media specialists at University of Wisconsin-Stout and has been an influential mentor in encouraging technology integration and online learning.

Mary Alice's expertise and enthusiasm for developing a school media program, well known for its high degree of technology integration throughout the curriculum, is contagious with students in her classes. Her ability to energize and inspire diverse online audiences fosters a cooperative learning environment among students in her courses.

Participants in her Advocacy and Emerging Issues for Media Specialists course say:

"Mary Alice Anderson's dynamic teaching style, incredible dedication, and preparation are inspiring and kept me on track at all times. Mary Alice is a true treasure. You don't meet people like her very often. I feel I was very lucky to take this course; I was stretched by this course, and that was good. I have only had one teacher of her ilk before in my life, and she is regarded by catalogers as ‘the' teacher of her generation."
Media Specialist from Elmhurst, Illinois

“This course has revitalized my enthusiasm as a library media specialist and focused my energies into creating an even more dynamic library media program over the next five years. Exchange of ideas and a forum for discussion with peers from a wide range of geographical areas, as well as backgrounds, provided a needed professional development opportunity for those of us who are isolated as the only library media specialist within our district."
Media Specialist from Randolph, Wisconsin

"I learned so much from the other participants and from Mary Alice's articles. After completing an activity, a reading, or discussion, I went back to my school and tried out what I learned. It was awesome. I actually felt like this course was worth my time and money and hope that Mary Alice teaches another course!"
Media Specialist from Michigan

"I know that this course has made me 1,000 times stronger as a candidate for any job. I even applied to a position closer to my home last Tuesday, and it was a great interview, all due to this course...so thank you!"
Media Specialist from Massachusetts

Also, this spring Mary Alice is teaching a new course, Digital Classroom: Teaching Information Literacy based on her experience as a Library of Congress American Memory Fellow.

Mary Alice's academic inquiry into best practices for school librarian/media specialists can be found among many featured
articles in Multimedia & Internet@Schools, School Library Journal, LMC Connection, and she is currently the editor of
the MEMORandom, an electronic newsletter for the Minnesota Educational Media Organization.

-Joan Vandervelde

Jerry Blumengarten
Cybrary Man's Educational Web Sites

Jerry Blumengarten [Cybrary Man] has worked for many years to create an educational website that encompasses every facet of education for parents, children and educators. It is extremely comprehensive having links within links to access further information. There are also links for hobbies and for senior citizens. I am a retired educator. I have used his site while I was teaching and have recommended it to very appreciative parents and colleagues. Now I use it for information about the hobbies that I am interested in.

Parents love this site as it helps them and their children to research a plethora of topics for school. There are several sites to help parents with child development, parenting and current concerns such as identity theft, disasters and safety. Cybrary man appears to be on top of his game, constantly aware of the latest trends in the schools and society. I have been learning from Cybrary Man for several years. In fact, if there is a topic which is not listed [very rare], you can write to Cybrary Man and he will make every effort to create research links.

Jerry should be recognized for improving the education of educators, parents and children by having this comprehensive site right at our fingertips.

-Nancy Koven


Dr. Christopher Dede
Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies
Harvard University Graduate School of Education


I first met Chris Dede when he served as my graduate advisor at George Mason University. Attending his courses were an immersion in the possibilities of technology for education. He moved on to the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1999, where he has continued his excellent work researching human cognition in virtual environments.

Chris pushes the current thinking about teaching and learning through a variety of multimedial technologies and virtual environments. His work contributes to the ongoing dialogue about educational policy and its provisions for constructivist, technology-rich learning experiences, including a popular State Policy Framework for Assessing Educational Technology Implementation. He aspires to develop a scalability index of educational innovation, and his ongoing interests include multiple user virtual environments (MUVEs), telementoring, and wireless mobile devices for ubiquitous computing.

What does ubiquitous computing mean? Chris describes it as "where the virtual world travels through the real world with you." Unlike sitting at a desktop and interacting with a device, "students walking through their own community can take advantage of a digital-camera attachment, or a probeware attachment measuring temperature or pressure or motion, or a graphing calculator to help them to understand something that's taking place within the community - and then bring that back inside the school setting. We're just beginning to understand the possibilities that handhelds present inside and out of schools."

Expanding on his notion of virtual worlds, Chris has explained, “Computer programs are gateways to engagement; what we put inside these programs can turn them into gateways to learning.” To this end, he has worked with a team of researchers and developers to create a digital middle-school science curriculum using Multi-User Virtual Environment Experience Simulators (MUVEEs). MUVEES enable a group of learners to move through virtual worlds as avatars, manipulating digital objects, interacting with one another and with computer-generated persons, working collaboratively to solve curriculum-based problems within real world contexts.

When I returned home to my native Massachusetts in 2003 I found Chris speaking at a state technology conference, continuing to share his vision for technology in education. The room was packed and the audience was mesmerized by his thoughtful, expansive ideas. It was good to reconnect with him again. For all of the educators he touches through his work, and for the quiet revolution he sparks with his vision of possibilities for all learners, it is my honor to recognize Dr. Christopher Dede as a truly exemplary online educator.

-Walter McKenzie



Larry Ferlazzo
Teacher and Community Leader
Luther Burbank High School
Sacramento, California

Larry Ferlazzo has initiated creative initiatives to use computer technology to assist beginning English Language Learners.

Larry teaches a class of recent Hmong refugees at Sacramento's primary inner-city high school.  Most of our students are English Language Learners.   About two thousand Hmong refugees have come to Sacramento in the past year, and most high school age Hmong refugees in the Sacramento School District are sent to our high school (Burbank).  We have about ninety newcomer students now, who have never been in any school before. More are coming each week.

Larry has initiated a Family Literacy Project assisting Hmong newcomer families.  The Project is providing home omputers  and Internet access that the families can use to access the massive amount of free material on the web designed to help people learn to read, write, listen and speak English, particularly through a website that he created:

This project is building on the successful Computer Lab after-school program that Burbank, again at Larry's initiative, hosted last spring and has expanded this fall to include all the Hmong newcomer students and many other English Language Learner students.  This program resulted in substantially increased reading assessments  (a fifty percent greater reading assessment improvement than those students who did not participate in the program)  In this before and after-school program, students are able to access thousands of audio and animated books and reading activities linked to a website Larry created and each newcomer student works one-on-one with a peer tutor who is a bilingual Hmong student.  Other English Language Learners also participate in the after-school program and are experiencing similar assessment gains. Over one hundred students participate in this Lab.

Parents participated in several in-school events where their children demonstrated what they were doing on the Internet.  In follow-up conversations and in home visits, many of the families identified both language and transportation (difficulty in getting to English classes) as their primary challenges.  There was great interest from them in the possibility of getting a home computer and Internet access, and in participating in a variety of other activities related to this project, such as:

  • Families reading books or doing other language learning activities that are on the website together at home.

  • Families inviting other families into their homes to see what they are doing and to identify other families who could use a computer to help learn English.

  • Families helping to organize and lead meetings at Burbank and in their homes to learn more about how to use computers, to share what they are learning, and to identify other community concerns and how they might respond to them.

Computers for families of students in one class will be distributed in December, and we anticipate expanding it to many others early next year. Thank you for your consideration of this nomination.

-Christina Bainbridge


Art & Rene Kimura
Creators & Program Directors
Future Flight Hawai'i
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Both Art Kimura and Rene Kimura are amazing, talented, inspiring educators. Both are long time experienced educators, but I would like to nominate them in particular for their stellar work as space educators over the past twenty years. That work really took off after Art's nomination as one of the 114 national finalists for the Teacher in Space Program (the ill-fated Challenger Space Shuttle mission carrying the famed educator, Christa McAuliffe along with the rest of the crew who also strongly supported education.)Art remains a NASA Space Ambassador- Hawai'i's Teacher in Space.

Art's motivation, creativity, imagination, experience and background as a science educator gave birth to numerous space education projects and programs that continue to grow and expand. Rene has been at his side,figuratively and literally, helping with the creation, growth, and delivery of these programs. They are reknowned for sharing their ideas and resources. Their website speaks volumes about their work--but those of us lucky enough to personally know them, know their humbleness, wonderful natures, personality, and intelligence. They have reached thousands of students and educators globally with their exemplary work over the past twenty years.

I am honored to place their names in nomination for recognition for their work. They are both now out of their individual classrooms but continue to teach and inspire to a larger, expanded "classroom."

-Gail Breslauer



Karen Kliegman
K - 5 Library Media Specialist
Searingtown School
Albertson, New York


There are those exceptional educators who standout from the moment you first interact with them – virtually or in person. As a MidLink Magazine Editor since the fall of 2002, Karen Kleigman has contributed significantly to the online community and especially to this magazine for K-12 students and teachers. Her online educational projects truly speak for themselves and her commitment to enhancing education and integrating technology into the curriculum.

Karen is the voice for elementary schools and Media Specialists on MidLink. Her expertise and leadership are invaluable. She redesigned the Cybrary and added numerous quality links to sites around the world to assist K-12 teachers and students. As always, Karen volunteered to take this on with energy and enthusiasm!

Childbridge for Children's Rights is an excellent example of her creativity and community efforts to teach students at Searingtown School about children's rights and child labor. The learning modules she has developed and shared online are available for other educators to freely use. Fifth grade students who participated in this project compiled their poetry and art into a print publication with proceeds going to assist children around the world - an interesting addition to this Internet project.

Walls that Talk provided students at Searingtown School an opportunity to research and explore the different cultures in their school and with partners from Bulgaria and Italy. Excellent student activities and resources are available for teachers as well as samples of student poetry and digital self-portraits.

Karen's numerous projects demonstrate her ability to involve other teachers and collaborate with educators in her community and beyond. She clearly understands the educational needs of elementary students and is extremely successful in encouraging them to thoughtfully research significant issues and express themselves through creative modes.

Karen not only dreams big, but also encourages students and educators around the world to join her excellent projects. Her favorite quote by Blanc Bowman is truly a statement of her educational philosophy: “It's not about who gets there first, but making sure that everybody does.”

It is an honor to highly recommend Karen Kleigman as a Top Online Educator. She certainly deserves this recognition for her outstanding online projects and contributions to MidLink Magazine and K-12 education.

-Beckey Reed



Romeo Marquis
FounderThe Learning Curve
Worcester, Massachusetts

Romeo Marquis began his work in the field of educational technology in 1993 as the Principal of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts where he led his school through a major curriculum revision effort coupled with technology integration. During that period he became a charter member of the Virtual High School.

From 1998 to 2002 he worked at Framingham State College where he began as an adjunct instructor in M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Technology, was promoted to Program Coordinator, then Director, and finally to Associate Dean of Academic Technology and Distance Education. That same year he founded The Learning Curve, a professional development program specializing in online teaching and learning in elementary and secondary schools.

At The Learning Curve, Romeo provides consulting and support to teachers and school districts helping them to reform educational practices by integrating technology into their curriculum. Romeo runs training sessions in online teaching, and schools develop and host their own Blackboard courses. He presently works with 160 teachers who develop online course supplements on his own Blackboard domain. These teachers then work directly with almost 2000 middle and high school students.

In addition to his work at The Learning Curve, Romeo teaches at Framingham State focusing on instructional technology integration, both regionally and internationally. Laurie Keating, President of the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators, says of Romeo, “He has been a catalyst for advancing the educational technology environment throughout Massachusetts, in other states, and even in other countries…. He was instrumental in spearheading the technology planning effort and a positive change in technological thinking in his school and district, encouraging teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum by modeling this effort and by creating opportunities for them to do the same.”

What impresses me most about Marquis' work teaching online is his recognition that professional development is not a one-shot deal. He works with teachers, has them go back to their classrooms to practice what they've learned, and then brings them back together again to review, reinforce, refine and extend the skills and concepts they have acquired. Because of his decades of dedication to the teachers and students of Massachusetts and beyond, I am honored to recognize Romeo Marquis as a truly outstanding online educator.

-Walter McKenzie



Dr. Chris Moggia
Faculty, ITC program
Walden University



Dr. Moggia creates an atmosphere of understanding and compassion in his on-line courses. He takes the time to guide and direct his students who are working full time during the day, and studying at night. He has motivated me as a role model
and mentor. He is the very ideal of what a professional teacher should strive to be.

-Norman McConnell


Kathleen Reiner
Spanish Teacher , Grades 9 - 12
Lakeland Regional High School
Wanaque, New Jersey

Mrs. Kathleen Reiner is an exemplary educator.  Her dedication and hard work has gained her the respect of her students.  She started working with computers early in her career and has used them effectively in teaching her Spanish curriculum.  

Whenever I am in the Media Center of our school, I always see one of her students working at the web site Mrs. Reiner keeps to enable her students to work towards proficiency in Spanish.  She also includes vocabulary, homework help, art, literature, recipes and internet activities.  She has spent a great deal of time developing her web site and it is definitely worth a look.

-Mary Kohmuench




Jennifer Wagner
Webmaster and Consultant
LVS Online Classes


Jennifer Wagner has sponsored online projects for teachers all over the world since 1998. Her website states, "What began as a simple Online Project involving Oreos has evolved into 5 projects a year to help YOU bring a fun way of teaching into your classroom." Her online projects use simple ideas, but bring students together to collaborate results.  In the spring of 2005, she saw the opportunity for a current events project when a mallard duck had built a nest in front of the Treasury Department. Over 190 K - 2nd grade classes in 33 states followed the duck as she sat on her eggs and then hatched her 11 ducklings on April 30th. Currently serving as a technology teacher at a private school in California she also finds time to publish a monthly newsletter with concrete ideas for elementary/middle school teachers.

I had known the Technospud Webmaster online for years and admired her enthusiasm and energy for collaborative learning. It was my pleasure to just happen to meet her this summer at a laptop conference. She was just as genuine in person as she was online.

Jennifer Wagner is a "in the trenches" technology teacher that is an effective educator for collaborative online technology projects. She might be in California - a long distance from Memphis, Tennessee, but she has brought creative ideas and enthusiasm for sharing online to my students and fellow teachers through her Technospud Projects. She is an outstanding candidate for your annual list of Top Online Educators.

-Gail Braddock

Jennifer's online projects have been wonderful for my students! Not only are the projects fun, they also provide them with wonderful learning opportunities.

-Kelly Brown

I would like to nominate Jennifer for this award because through her online project activities my students and I have broken out of the "book mold" and entered into the fun of math and other related activities.  We are thinking out of the pages of a book and using real life stuff.  I have participated in three, and will soon be working on my fourth, project with TechnoSpud.  Always interrelated within multilevel curriculums, Ms. Wagner provides the teacher with detailed intructions and information, posts project results, provides worksheet for those teachers who wish to use them, related links, curriculum lessons including languaguage arts, math, science and technology, and opportunities for teacher's to share results through their own web pages.  I believe Ms. Wagner is a wonderful candidiate for your award, and should be thoughtfully considered.

-Debbie Alexander


Dr. Stephanie G. Wright
Creator & Program Director
Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation
University of Delaware

Dr. Stephanie G. Wright is a truly remarkable woman and talented, inspiring educator with relentless drive, determination, and stamina. Originally she was a music educator, but her talents and skills do not end there.

I am placing her name in nomination for her work over the past twenty years as a space educator. She is an extremely articulate, passionate, intelligent educator specializing in aerospace and space science education and is the founder and creator of the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation (DASEF) .

Her passion, knowledge and interest in space education grew exponentially after Dr. Wright's nomination and selection as one of the 114 national finalists for the Teacher in Space Program (the ill-fated Challenger Space Shuttle mission carrying the famed educator, Christa McAuliffe along with the rest of the crew who also strongly supported education.) Dr. Wright remains a NASA Space Ambassador- Delaware's Teacher in Space.

Her motivation, creativity, imagination, experience and background in space education brought forth the creation of numerous space education projects and programs in Delaware that continue to grow and expand to this day. She is in the midst of spearheading the creation and construction of a multi- million dollar facility that will house the programs she has created, as well as creating a hands-on museum--all while still continuing to operate, organize, and deliver her space education programs for students and educators.

Those of us lucky enough to personally know Dr. Wright, also know her boundless creativity and ability to make things happen. Her ongoing work has reached thousands of students and educators over the past twenty years—and will only continue to expand and grow with the opening and further development of ITEC, the Innovation Technology and Exploration Center.

Her website speaks volumes about her vision, her ability to motivate and work with others from many sectors, and her impact upon creative and exemplary education in Delaware and beyond.

I am honored to be able to call her my colleague, my inspiration, and my friend—and am thrilled to place her name in nomination for recognition for all of her work.

-Gail Breslauer


The Innovative Teaching Newsletter is free to educators everywhere.
Copyright©2006 http://surfaquarium.com/NEWSLETTER/
This newsletter may be forwarded, copied and distributed provided the header and signature information remain intact.

Surfaquarium Digital
Community of Practice

Newly designed and
ready for you!

Read more.....


Find More Great Resources at


This newsletter may be forwarded or copied provided the header and signature information remain intact. Show a colleague what you have found in the Innovative Teaching Newsletter!

©2006 Walter McKenzie