Friday, August 31, 2007

Helpless Handraising & Spoonfeeding

Thanks to Vicki Davis and Jason Hando for two great concepts. These words are repeated in my classrooms again and again. I'm only starting to see the learners try to not get caught raising hands helplessly or requiring spoons. They are learners just like I am and therefore we are all on equal footing. We still struggle with a great name for the lead learner who ignores those who engage in helpless handraising and require spoonfeeding.
Learners have been spending time at while I work to get everyone online. They play the same game for many days, logging in to it again and again, even though they don't win. Yet they expect the 'classroom learning' I feed them to be quick, easy, & painless. Sorry 'bout their luck. I am really the wrong lead learner to dole that out.
Those learners who already know this are working beyond what I have asked, which is minimal right now until we get 100% logged in and online.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Walls, barriers, hurdles, there is always something in our way. What distinguishes the educator from the complacent is willingness to bore throw, leap over, or crawl under those barricades.
I hope I am doing just that. I worry that I am not.

It's fascinating to me that Gee mentions kids are engrossed by difficult, complex, time-consuming tasks outside of school. Inside school such tasks are labeled inappropriate, too difficult & not motivating. Why?
What have we made of this thing called learning in school that is so very different for learners outside of school? Why do we insist on one right answer and inside the box answers. Today's kindergartners will graduate in 2020 (thank you Karl Fisch) and it is up to us to teach them to think outside the box without one right answer when they are in school. Why? So they will do it in their work environments too. We already see that learners can think this way and learn this way during recreational time.
I'm starting by assigning projects that have no one right answer and take time to complete. I remind learners that there is no one right answer for much of what we do. Already today, I showed everyone one way to do something and a learner showed me his way. He must have thought me strange when I applauded him. He was thinking outside the box.One down, thirty-one to go...
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Road not Taken

Which road will we take? Most will recognize the Robert Frost poem. We have writing down our short term goals in computer classes this week. Many learners wrote that graduating was a goal. I ponder my short term goals.
Leading these learners into enhanced communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, especially in online environments is a short term goal. Asking learners to play an integral part in an upcoming presentation of mine is a short term goal. Attending more educational technology conferences and solidifying relationships is a short term goal. I seek to make all the difference...
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mp3 of poem

Monday, August 27, 2007

Affinity Groups

An affinity group seems best defined as a group characterized by community of interest. It contains people who through relationship have formed a community based upon common interests, history, culture or language. These groups can form around stamp collecting, raising young children, & vegetarianism.
In the edublogger world an affinity group has formed around those tech tools named web2.0 In our flashmeeting, more than one commented that as they travel the digital highway, they keep having conversations with the same people. These same people are part of our affinity group.
James Paul Gee states:
Our experiences in the world build patterns in our mind, and then the mind shapes our experience of the world, which in turn reshapes our mind. (p.93)
Belonging to any affinity group forms patterns in our minds and shapes our experience. This is what is happening with always meeting the same people.
If we wish to meet other people perhaps we need to invite them into our affinity group, allow them to explore our patterns, provide them with new experiences.
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Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.


Theft is wrong, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if it is committed against you or large corporations. Theft is theft. Jane Nicholls tells another sad story of a famous (or is that infamous?) rockstar who thinks she can get over because of her money. Jane mentions a design team needs ousted, and while this is true, the person who is ultimately responsible is the big name sponsoring the theft. I don't think you will see her going to jail or even being convicted. I would love it if I were wrong. My students love to prove me wrong..
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Sunday, August 26, 2007


A bunch of us had loads of fun on Saturday in a flashmeeting
It was streamed by Sharon Peters to Edtechtalk and had 15 people in at one point.
I thought a fun point came when Jakes entered and mentioned Will Richardson. I quickly went to Skype to egg him in and he entered. We were honored to have Will on vacation in our midst. There were some others among us who were first timers with Flashmeeting.
If we are going to get the word out about these great learning tools, we will have to take risks and pull people into the echo chamber.
I do wonder how many of us pulled someone new into that meeting? Sorry Will, you just don't fit the newbie profile...
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Judith Ramaley in her chapter titled "The Real Versus the Possible: Closing the Gaps in Engagement and Learning" says that many students have only limited internet access. This however is untrue in the United States. Everyone has access in their local public library. Many have access via their cellphones. Claiming limited or no access is a cop out. Parents need either to provide transportation to the library or get access at home. This is as essential as any other school supplies ever were.
In my school days, my parents purchased about $200 worth of school supplies per term. Why not ask parents to purchase the equivalent in internet access instead of more traditional books? I am not, of course, referring to public schools, where the expectation is that everything is given to the student. In this country, that has been the norm. Not so in other countries and I am not convinced in should be that way.
Why do we value a cultural norm of free public education versus expensive private education? How does this cultural norm of ours perpetuate and widen the digital divide? Is it right? Can it be changed? Should it be changed?
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Oblinger, D. G. & J.L. (2005). Educating the Net Generation. Retrieved August 25, 2007, from Educause Web site:

The learning process

The learning process is described by James Paul Gee in his 2003 book as a four step scientific model which many of us learned in school. Through this process knowledge is contextualised by linking information to what has already been discovered. Teachers know this as attaching new information to prior knowledge. The four steps are:
  • discovery
  • hypothesis formulation
  • re-experimentation based upon hypothesis
  • acceptance or rejection of hypothesis
Gee relates this process to playing video games. The process relates to all learning. Many of us will recognize the scientific method even though it was framed to us using different words. The important concepts here are that all knowledge is contextual and that learning anything involves not rote memorization but a process of discovery, testing, & analysis. Twenty-first century skills often talked about include communication, collaboration, & critical thinking.
Gee maintains that
...the initial patterns we form in life are a basis on which we form all the rest of our later patterns...(p. 92)
I would assert that it is crucial that those patterns be formed upon a sure foundation. This foundation must be laid initially by parents and reinforced by teachers. Without it, we risk being disconnected. With it, our learnings all rest upon and situate meanings against that one foundation.
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Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Thank you!

If you browse here regularly, thank you for your patience. We started school this week and I have been overwhelmed with glitches, most of which are not yet ironed out and await Monday morning for me...thank you for your understanding that my students are my priority right now. I miss thinking and writing, so maybe I can squeeze some in here this morning since I couldn't sleep in....
As librarian, I've been thinking to the future. What elements would I like to see in our school's library? Many are calling this 'Library 2.0'. I think a better title may be 'Media Center 2.0', since a library has just books and a media center is a hub of many kinds of media. I would like us to move toward these elements:

* User centered - the stakeholders participate in the creation of content and services they need at any given time. This is not static but dynamic as needs are continually changing and assessed.
* Hub of campus media - print books are not the only things found, and those collections are primarily for primary children, but many audio and/or video resources are available (and I do not refer to 8 track tapes or VHS tapes)
* Hub of social activity - like the famed Blogger's Cafe at NECC, the stakeholders (faculty, admin, parents, students) feel welcome to interact with each other both online and offline
* Collaboration Station - synchronous and asynchronous opportunities exist and are facilitated by librarians for collaborations on schoolwork or personal enrichment (remembering our primary purpose is to serve Him in all we do)

Movement seems very difficult as I face a reinforced wall of tradition everywhere I turn. Joyce Valenza
is doing excellent work in this area. I wish I had freedom to emulate her fully. For most of us, it will be baby steps...teaching library classes myself would be a healthy first step...sigh...maybe in four years....
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Technorati tags...

I don't usually journey into this realm. There are many others who do it so well. But in perusing other blogs, some from people older in web2.0 terms than I, a lack is noticeable. That lack is tagging. Bloggers need to tag their work. Now I am certainly not any authority on this, that is Joyce's job. Why tag?
The number one reason is to be in the conversation, to be a conversant, you must be tagging your blogs. You will just not be taken seriously if you are not tagging.
What are these tags? They are just keywords. I use a handy generator created by David Warlick
The tag generator is available here. All my students become proficient in its use. Note that whenever a space is left, a separate tag is generated, so historical fact forms two separate tags whereas historical_fact forms one tag. If you are creating an entry, then the first tag should be what contains those ideas, whether podcast (which I am really bad about tagging), blog, video, or whatever.
Tagging increases your visibility and your authority. Authority rankings are assigned on technorati. They will increase as you tag & ping your posts.
By tagging, we all are entering the conversation, being counted in the collective intelligence, & making a library of information all at the same time. This growing library of collective knowledge is available through services like So have a heart, tag your work!
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Change the World

The essence of both reading and reading instruction is change. Reading a book changes us forever as we return from the worlds we inhabit during our reading journeys with new insights about our surroundings and ourselves. Teaching a student to read is also a transforming experience. It opens new windows to the world and creates a lifetime of opportunities. Change defines our work as both literacy educators and researchers — by teaching a student to read, we change the world.(Leu, Kinzer, Coiro & Cammack, 2004)
In case you harbored ideas that you were a History, Science, Math, Foreign Language, Art, or Music teacher (apologies to any I have forgotten) I would like to shatter your illusions. We are all reading teachers. We teach reading at all grade levels.
We can change the world, just by developing the skill of reading in students.
All knowledge is contextual. This is true for reading literacies too. Will we affect change by transforming our students' lives and literacies? We have this opportunity. Reading literacies will be used differently in the future than they have been in the past. The change is dependent upon changing contexts.
Recall Karl Fisch says we prepare students to use technologies that haven't yet been invented. In order to use those technologies they will need many well developed literacies, including reading literacies.
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Leu, D.J., Jr., Kinzer, C.K., Coiro, J., & Cammack, D.W. (2004). Toward a theory of new literacies emerging from the Internet and other information and communication technologies. In R.B. Ruddell, & N. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (5th ed., pp. 1570-1613). Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Available:

Owning your writing

I don't think I in any way live up to this one. I do attempt to facilitate the "Ha! Uh? Hmm..." strategy of metacognition used by Kendra Hearn, 12th grade English teacher who is highlighted in session 9 of the Annenberg course on MI Theory. To review, Howard Gardner has put forth the theory about cognition that there is not one measurable intelligence in people, but there are at least nine (at last count).
Here they are:
When facilitating learners we need to present concepts via as many of these intelligences as possible. I was taught that learners don't internalise new concepts until they have heard them seven times. There are nine intelligences, so this should be doable.
Am I simply lecturing classes or am I facilitating the use of their intelligence? Everyone is smart, it is just up to me, the teacher, to present information via that intelligence as often as possible.
Regie Routman refers to successful learners as those who are self-motivated, self-directed, & self-evaluate. (Routman,2000) If I want my students to be successful learners, then I must find a way to augment these qualities. Remember the students whom I teach are all those things at home when playing video games. It's up to me to find a way to pave a way for that to happen at school too. A tall order, when most classes are only scheduled with me for 40 minutes 3X/week. But nothing worth achieving was ever easy.
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Routman, Reggie (2000). Conversations: Strategies for Teaching, Learning, and Evaluating. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Ethics, Morality, & Character Education

This post by coolcatteacher is a crucial reason why we absolutely must stress ethical behavior. This is why we teach online safety. This is why we stress the permanence of the online persona, made famous by Dembo.
If you haven't, please stop reading right now. Go back and read the coolcatteacher's post slowly and carefully.
This information has always been available. True, but has it ever been so easily available?
I always make a test of things in my mind. I reiterate this all school year: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men Colossians 3:23 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
[NIV at IBS] [International Bible Society] [NIV at Zondervan] [Zondervan]
I seriously doubt the company in question is following that guideline. I challenge you to do it - how are you doing today?
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Friday, August 17, 2007

Making a difference

Are you making a difference in the lives of your students? Are you connecting with them? Are you centering your learning around your passions?
We learn best ourselves when we are passionate about the topic. We only learn because we want to learn, not because we are required to earn a grade.
What makes us think k12 students are any different? In order to motivate k12 students to learn in our classes, we need to:
*form a positive relationship with them
*provide activities and materials that are interesting and relevant to their lives
*give students as much choice as possible
*provide optimally challenging activities and instruction
*provide meaningful rationales for objectives
I am reminded of a concept about which Evan Scherr just spoke. He is reading the latest James Paul Gee book. Gee refers to learning as both difficult and rewarding. Why would anyone play a game that takes hours to complete, is almost impossible to master, and holds no obvious rewards. Yet lots of teens and tweens do just that. These kids even pay their allowances for these games. Why?
They are passionate about the topic. Or in the words of a infamous fifth grader (now in 7th!), "Duh".
There is a valuable lesson to be learned here. As we all prepare for our lessons and units this fall, are we setting up the precursors for passionate, difficult, & rewarding learning in our classroom?
I know that as a computer teacher this year (it seems to change every year!) I will be able to use many digital tools. It is not about the tools. It is about the pedagogy, the contextual knowledge, about passionate learning.
I step back as I make my plans (woefully behind I fear) to ask myself, is learning in my classroom difficult enough? Is learning in my classroom rewarding enough? If it is not, I may never be able to engage kids to learn those skills and strategies they will need in their futures.
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Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Defined by technology

Kevin Kelly gave a thought provoking presentation recently, available here He raises the proposition that we are no longer defined by the technology we use but by the technology that we do not use.
I disagree, not only with this idea, but with his personification of technology. Technology is not animate where it can want anything. Nor does it alter the environment. Those who implement the tool of technology change things, desire outcomes, direct outcomes.
Humans fear inanimate objects becoming conscious and overpowering us. Great scifi books, tv shows, & films are based upon this fear. That does not mean it is a well-founded phobia. Phobias are often not based upon rational evidence.
The momentum behind technology is not its own consciousness but human consciousness. The transformative power of technology, which even Kelly acknowledges, is an even more urgent reason for us inside the echo chamber to ensure equal access to the globe's citizens.
Collective knowledge of all those global internet users is vast and already surpasses anything we have known. It does seem to make us more equal.
We are not dealing with a flat world here, we are closer than ever before, but the wrinkles in time and space are not being ironed out. They are scrunching up as the fault lines of the digital information technology erupts exponentially across our radars. This is how the collective knowledge is increased, by all people from all walks of life touching each other in those wrinkles, not really by a flat world.
Relationship is key in our communications whether online or offline. We seek to develop those relationships between humans, not between animate and inanimate objects. Ewan asks when do we reach the tipping point. It is not relevant when that point is reached or surpassed. What is relevant are the relationships. We are created for relationship. The possibilities for relationships are exponentially increased as humans discover, utilise, and become proficient at using the technology we call the internet.
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Why do I blog?

Those who created the EduBloggerWorld wiki ask this question. So why do I blog?
Blogging is an innovative way to extend my thinking, transforming the way I interact with everyone. I am empowered to leave some luggage behind me and to just think. Not being encumbered by those things that are heavy in the physical world, I can write and contemplate more freely. So what you say? Think of students. Consider those students who have been labeled and the difficulties that melt away when they enter the digital world. This is why.
Many of us return to school in the next weeks. How do you feel about that? If you find, like the coolcatteacher that you would rather be no where else, I would hazard a guess that you are in the right profession for you. I anticipate meeting students, many I have heard from over the summer as they continued blogging. I just now was IMing a previous student on Meebo. The evidence of intellectual growth in students keeps me blogging, extending myself and learning.
That may be a very poor answer. But that is why I blog.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Collaborative Communities

A classroom of people working on a course without forming a collaborative community is a perfect picture of an industrial age classroom.
We are beyond that. We are in the digital age. We can facilitate collaborative communities in our classrooms. To not do so is to miss out on metacognitive opportunities, deeper learnings, & students teaching students.
One such community did not exist in the recent online course for which I paid. This community feeling exists, upholds us, and propels us forward in a free course I am taking. It is ironic that the free course collaborates this way and the for pay course did not. I have to take for pay courses for certification, but I really enjoy belonging to a collaborative community. Others in the course say the same thing.
If teachers enjoy collaboration that much, think how much students would enjoy and benefit from such collaborations. It is up to us to establish and facilitate these types of communities in our classrooms. I plan to collaborate with other classrooms worldwide in my classes starting this fall. What are your plans?
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Monday, August 13, 2007

Pesky Pre-conceived notions

James Paul Gee refers to the necessity of discerning the world through preconceived notions. It is our ability to relinquish those preconceptions when inappropriate that is to be emphasized. Daniel Pink also referred to this when he said it is those who can unlearn and relearn information that will best survive. This requires learners who are operating in their Zone of Proximal Development, which Gee describes as " operating at the edge of their regime of competence" (Gee, 2003).
I had not considered the possibility that preconceived notions would be necessary, but they are. Our preconceived notion that a red burner on a stove is not something to lay our hand upon is quite useful. The preconceived notion that someone with a gun pointed at you may be dangerous may save your life.
It is when we covet those preconceived notions, refusing to relinquish them, that we are unable to adapt. If you were to covet your preconceived notion that people who speak as I do and walk as I do are also challenged intellectually, you may find yourself quickly exposed when you attempt to use a forbidden computer application at school. Many an unsuspecting student has fallen into the trap that way!
Or if you cannot quickly relinquish your preconceived notions that all people in wheelchairs are not able to do physics, Mr. Hawkings' discovery of black holes may flow right over your head.
Don't forget that holding onto the preconceived notion that those with rare diseases will not prosper or be creative will rob you of the pleasure of listening to a world class flautist.
So I was hasty it appears. Preconceived notions are necessary. It is our capacity to relinquish and learn something new that is vital.
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Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pink, D.H. (2005). A Whole New Mind. New York, N.Y.: Riverhead Books.

Passionate Conversations

There is an interesting conversation going on as seen on Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's blog and Paul Harrington's Blog. They raise the point that the "Something2.0" nomenclature is not inviting. What we are really suggesting is best practices in education using digital tools.
We are developing, and seeking to use in education, digital literacy. That is wonderful. Now let us apply those skills to what really matters. What augments education is passionate conversation. Such conversations began with some guy named Aristotle. Those passionate conversations have continued throughout history and herstory. Now there is a way to digitally join that conversation. We can extend these conversations relatively cheaply. This opens the door for the common man and woman to enter into conversation with us.
Those wrinkles are scrunching up and touching in more places. The collective knowledge is growing. I invite you, reader, to enter this conversation. Maybe we should call it Passion2.0?
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lousy Labels

The labels that define us are lousy. Preconceived notions about particular labels limit our abilities. These labels saddle us with unfair baggage. A friend reminded of that as we talked about my own labels.
It is accepted (or it was when I went to school) that a teacher's preconceived notions about a particular student can augment or limit that student's achievement. I start my year in all my classes by reviewing the multiple intelligences. Everyone is smart, most just not in the linguistic intelligence. I then revisit the famous people who had terrible challenges in school. I love to tell other learners about Einstein, Hawkings, Goldberg...the list goes on...
As edubloggers who are somewhat (I speak for myself here) web2.0 savvy, which labels limit us? Those labels that others give us could prevent them from joining the conversation. Dembo has a point, are we being too congratulatory?
I need to remove labels that encase me within an edublogger web2.0 mentality. I need to reach out, to redefine my online presence, to be inclusive of learners.
The terms we so freely throw about include blogs, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, RSS, etc. These labels intimidate. They strike fear in those who don't know. Presenting the tools without these common labels may initially be helpful in getting learners to listen. One can speak loudly and still not be heard...
I am still surprised at the famous (or those I consider famous) who cringe at the suggestion of creating a blog, a wiki, or anything like that. This may be the stumbling block here in the USA. Facilitating all learners in creating web2.0 products will empower them and enter them into the conversation. The conversation is so much more interesting when it grows.
Who have you brought into the echo chamber this week?
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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Asynchronous Exchanges

Was having a discussion this morning about the asynchronous discussions that occur using web2.0 tools. This discussion was itself asynchronous, occurring between two people on separate continents sharing thoughts while not even linked by an audio real-time connection.
The topic was whether twitter would be an effective classroom tool because conversations are not linked. Conversations on the web are not in traditional outline format, which many of us learned. Traditional debate format follows a linear path, one point after another. I remember learning it and teaching it.
Our brains are not linear. They are like jungles. This reference is now lost to me, but if anyone has it, that would be great. I first read it in a journal article by Sylvester, probably Robert. This is similar to the work the Caines were doing way back in the early '80s.
Knowledge is contextual. We must provide the prior knowledge for kids so learning is brain-compatible. We must provide time for absorption. We must create as enriched an environment as possible. That is exactly what platforms like Twitter, Ning, Skypechatting do. They are contextual, they give us time to formulate responses, they are enriching.
Our brains continue to grow new connections throughout our lives. Those experiences which are complex and challenging afford the most opportunity for those connections to be made. Our brains are challenged by participating in these web2.0 platforms. I was pondering this as I was involved in a castchat via skype with about 20 other people. My brain must be getting too big for its britches...
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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Global Conversations

Christian Long comments on David Warlick's blog:

The moment we begin to re-focus our energies, expertise, and voices in helping people generate the compelling question on their own terms…the sooner we’ll see true global change.

He really summarizes the issue well. It is not the name, it is not the geeks, is not even the US Presidential debates. It is about facilitating others to enter the global conversation.
So if global change can be effected by assisting others to express their own voice then we need an action plan. What is it (I like lists) that we need to be doing, who will measure our effectiveness, and by when must it be done?
Must we be:
  • blogging
  • wiking
  • podcasting
  • webcasting
  • bookmarking
  • twittering
Must we be doing all to be effective or is one or a few okay? What items are missing from this list?
According to Wes Fryer, the need to engage, not enthrall, is imperative. He applies this to students, but it needs to be applied to all learners, regardless of age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or any other label I have forgotten here. Differentiation for all learners, not just those labeled students
As a wise proactive principal once remarked, who did you pull into the echo chamber this week? Technorati Tags:

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The Web2.0 Presidential Debates

The Presidential debates would be very different without YouTube. One of the questions, as seen on Kristen's blog and Ken Pruitt's too, featured this Video:

I noted that Senator Bill Richardson proposes a teacher minimum wage that is twice what I make! I say vote for that!
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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Teach to learn

I am listening to someone teach someone else teach a third how to perform a skill. It is amazing how much one learns when one has to teach the skill as compared to when one merely listens to a lecture.
I am witnessing just how true this is right now. I must remember to apply this truth often in my own work with PreK12 learners.
It is an honor to witness someone teaching another what they have learned themselves. Thank you (and you know who you are) for this opportunity.
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Are you who you want to be?

Are we giving our K12 learners the tools and opportunities they need to become who they want to be? Will they have to supplement the education we provide in order to meet their goals?
It seems we should be teaching skills laid on the foundations of creativity, collaboration, & critical thinking. Our public schools seem to have their hands tied because of NCLB. With such a Catch-22, there must be an end result.
Could it be a mass exodus from the public school system so it implodes? We could be apathetic enough to allow NCLB reauthorization. We could voice our taxpaying voices to our representatives. What occurs next in public education in this country is within our grasp.
NCLB assessment data measures well one type of intelligence. There are nine identified intelligences according to Harvard professor Howard Gardner. The tested Linguistic intelligence is no better than any other, although it is admittedly easier to test with multiple-choice questions on timed tests that are standardized nation-wide. No one ever told me that education would be easy.
We seem to have fallen into a babysitting mentality in this country and this is unfortunate. Many assume it is our job to look after the learners in our schools. Our role is to educate these future wage earners, not babysit them. Our system, our vision, these need to change. Here is a chance. Will we take it?

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More NCLB info here.

Reference: Gardner, Howard (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New, York, NY: Basic Books.

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Monday, August 6, 2007

I hate meme's

But two people actually followed the directions, so since I ignored all those who tagged me improperly, I feel obligated to Cathy and eve:
The rules are:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know theyĆ¢€™ve been tagged
-I am a redhead
-i grew up across the river from where will richardson lives
-i attended a quaker boarding school in high school
-i went to music camp when i was 16
-i have been to 8 other countries
-i do not speak spanish
-i do not ride in a horse n' buggy
-i am american and I listen to hillsong

I tag: (if you have been tagged, pass it on to someone else) Christian Long, Graham Stanley, Ken Rodoff, Julie Lindsey, Aaron Smith, Nick Noakes,, Evan Scherr, Karen

Essential Aptitudes

Daniel Pink has admittedly some valid points. He names six essential aptitudes that digital era workers need in order to be competitive:
These aptitudes are so very different from the linear facts I was taught to memorize for the test in school. I feel unprepared to offer these skills to students, but if they are going to survive in the marketplace, then I must. Already, many corporate employers are requiring employees to maintain blogs, conference with global collaborators using a variety of conferencing software and design applications that reach the customer.
Makes me wonder which ones I am not facilitating learners to develop in my classroom. Do I have lessons interwoven into my curriculum that cultivate these ways of communicating? Are using the ISTE standards as my guideline going to include these aptitudes?
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Friday, August 3, 2007

Permanent Traces...

Many believe that anonymity is preserved online. Steve Dembo warns us that we leave footprints everywhere we trod online. Many persist in believing otherwise.
We need to remember that not only are the site URLs of the sites you visit permanently stored on your computer, but in this age of digital advertising, this information is often stored on someone else's computer. We need to remember that every word we type on a site is stored and transmitted.
RSS, which I call Really Serious Stressrelieve, is an amazing application. It enables me to grade student work efficiently. All the students I teach are required to have aggregators through Google Reader and RSS on their class blogs. Many have it on other work and ask me to subscribe. They also subscribe to webpages of other teachers so when homework is posted, they will see it. There no dogs to eat the homework!
Through RSS our footprints can be seen, like indents in the sandy beach. Anyone subscribing to a page where you have written, under any name on that page, will receive the feed in their aggregator under your name. So whatever we type is permanent and transparent. So why should we bother hiding? Seems to me to be a waste of time.
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Imagine Innovation

In one of the recent TED Talks, Hans Rosling said something around which a rally is forming.

The seemingly impossible is possible.
(Rosling, 2007)

He was referring to seemingly insurmountable problems in Africa. However, the quote applies to the Web2.0 education struggle occurring now all over the globe.
As I listen to a victory recording by two interns from Europe, this idea becomes even more true. I am so proud of both of them! They speak German (of which I only know a little) and they both have made the seemingly impossible possible. They have successfully recorded both sides of a telephone call. My reaction is summed up here:

Hamster Dance

Our work is to do the same in our fields. To make the apparently insurmountable easy and accessible. How will we get there from here? Where is our roadmap? Maybe there are no roads...

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Rosling, Hans (2007, March). TEDTalks. Retrieved June 26, 2007, from
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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Webcast Academy Class of 2.2 Thoughts...

James Paul Gee says in his 2003 book that learning is both frustrating and life-enhancing. One doesn't have to look very far in this community to see how that quote applies!

We are all, well with the a few notable exceptions, frustrated when we begin. The mountain seems so insurmountable. And yet, when we crest the peak...our lives are so enhanced!

The technology available to us, both here and elsewhere, has so many applications in the education of the natives we teach. I am alluding to Prensky of course. What he doesn't sketch out is a good description for the likes of WebcastAcademy Interns. I propose another term: illegal aliens.

So following his logic, and possibly extending it, there are these groups in societies now: industrial settlers, digital natives, digital aliens.

What think ye?

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Quantitative Research yet Worthy?

I comment here in reaction to Will's post about Change at the University level. Also, my Scribefire decided to work finally, so this is a great excuse to try it out! (terrible motives, I know)
I just took an online course with a very traditional online industrial age professor and I so wish I had the web2.0 challenges mentioned here. I think I would have been able to do such a better job.
This begs the question, which tools need we implement and facilitate at the k12 level in preparation for the work world and/or the college/university world. familiarity with which tools is not essential at the k12 level?
I was speaking earlier with a gentleman looking for quantitative research data on the efficacy of web2.0 tools in the classroom. While a wealth of teacher observation exists, which personally is more valuable than cold science, peer-reviewed, published, quantitative research studies do not yet exist.
These are a relic of the industrial age. I wonder if they hold any water anymore? What do you think?
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Okay, so the ScribeFire doesn't add tags well, but it adds, so I am happy.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Ethnocentrism

After reading this post of Jeff's, I commented there (and here):
Since it was I who brought up the spelling error in the first place, it is only fitting that I comment. The error of using American spellings over British spellings, which I didn't even realise until British-speaking friends pointed it out, revealed my ethnocentrism in a big way.
This blunder opened the way for classroom discussion (and we were only peer reviewers) about the need to examine our ethnocentric culture and the need for transparency and accountability.
I greatly valued that teachable moment, for in truth there teachable hours stemming from my insensitivity.
The discussions that came out of that error will help prepare citizens of the future. We can only imagine the cross-cultural challenges they will face...
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