Sunday, December 21, 2008

People to Watch

Keep your eyes peeled on relatively new the Moixland blog and the brand new Historical History blog, as these young men are blazing trails with gaining speed.
The author of the Moixland blog is a computer science teacher at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. This residential school is a two year charter school in Hot Springs, Arkansas affiliated with the University of Arkansas.
The author of Historical History is a new graduated teacher who is subbing for the Liberty Public School District in Missouri and a wrestling coach.
I look for good things to come from both of these young men!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Edublogger Awards 2008

This evening I'm going to miss all the fun! I have already RSVP'd to a Christmas party in RL. An excellent post about the festivities tonight appears at SocialTech , so I only give a cursory post here. Basically, vote for posts up until the ceremony begins at The 2008 Edublog Awards . Then join the ceremony either in Second Life or at Edtechtalk on the web. Please note this picture to your right is taken directly from Josie Frasier's blog post and she gets all the credit!
Put the Edublog Awards Ceremony on your list of places to be this evening and hear Dave Cormier, Jeff Lebow, James Farmer, & Jo Kay, present the 2008 winners. Both Dave and Jeff are part of the Worldbridges community, which I have the honor of annoying as much as possible.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Network Challenge

I challenge you to mull, muse, and ponder what you have learned in the past twelve months. Predict where you need to travel next on your streams of learning. Then write a blog post about your learnings and predictions. Finally, invite others within your circle to comment on your post. Some may Twitter, Plurk, Ping, or one could just send up a flare............

Photo courtesy of SideLong, taken on October 1, 2008, covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license and available at

Thursday, December 11, 2008

S-L-O-W-L-Y Think, S-L-O-W-L-Y Learn

Rumination is not a quick process. To chew the cud is not just for cows. Geetha talks about a shift in education away from the current trend of fast learning.
We have separated computer technology from curriculum into its own cubby. Administrators point to "state-of-the-art" computer labs. Computer teachers teach computer courses. We have not integrated by and large. We have preserved the status quo by adding computer courses to our cafeteria curriculums.
This is not exploiting the potential of technology integration. Technology should be so integrated that it becomes invisible, seamless, and ubiquitous. By invisible, I mean the technology emphasizes the content not the technology tool used. When I speak about seamless I refer to an uninterrupted fusion of technology and curriculum. By ubiquitous I'm talking about availability to all learners where the learning is happening. Technology is best integrated into the classrooms, the hallways, the lunchrooms, the club meetings, the sports teams, anywhere learning is happening.
Much of my current disdain has to do with dissatisfaction of the separate courses, the lack of collegial collaboration, or technical support in my current situation. The hands down, absolute best part of my week are the times I get to use technology to support the learning happening in the classroom. When used in this way, I find enthusiastic teachers and students.
Today I heard a 1st grade reader make tremendous strides because she knew that the podcast will reach those at home, actively drawing them into her learning network.
Listen to Geetha and ruminate on her thoughts. Learn slowly. Enjoy the process. Don't hurry the product.

Podcast of Geetha's Global Summit Presentation

Geetha's Paper

Photo courtesy of Éole Wind covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial ShareAlike 2.0 license, taken on August 31, 2007 and available at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


How do you define literacy? I'm tending to think literacy is the ability
to understand and convey meaning using a medium.
Art, writing, music, mathematics, film, dance, what have I forgotten?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Community Connecting in order to Learn

In the FOC08 meeting on August 5, 2008, Bronwyn Stuckey said, "Community is a journey not a destination."

George Siemens said during the Connectivism course that the learning is in the connections (or something rather similar).

So a community is on a journey and that community is held together, however tenuously, by connections. Does it not follow that the community learns as it connects and further that the more connections equal more learnings?

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is right! (I never doubted you Sheryl!) All of us ARE smarter than one of us. It is the connections between us that make us smarter. The possibilities of more learning through more connections is not an additive function but a exponential function. Communities of Learning - has a nice ring to it doesn't it?

Happy Grüner Sonntag or First Sunday in Advent!

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Photo courtesy of luc legay available at and covered under an Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Network challenge

I challenge the network to incorporate the use of one technology tool in their teaching in the next fortnight. Then tell us about it on your blog.
For example, you may ask kids to interview the oldest person in their neighborhood using a podcast. This can be done through what many kids (or their parents) already own-a cellphone. The interviewer simply calls into a Gabcast channel, set up easily by the teacher in advance, entering the secret numbers.
Or maybe you connect with another classroom in another state via telephone video conference. I use Skype, a webcam, a desktop microphone, and a computer. If available, I project the image on the screen for my class to see. Kids love to talk (!) Talking to others their age in other states is a big deal.
Or maybe you create a wiki page for your class to collaborate with another class on a project about Biomes. Many wikis are free and some have wikis with no advertising for educational use.
Or maybe you ask your class to take pictures of their show and tell instead of bringing them to class. Using a digital camera makes it easy to share the photos online in a Flickr Account, on a class blog, or on a class wiki. Even polaroids (do they still have those?) can be scanned and uploaded.
Maybe you incorporate the use of a technology tool which I didn't mention. Tell the world what you did on your blog. If you can tag it networkchallenge

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Photo courtesy of selva taken on January 1, 1997 available at and covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why being online is important to teens

A new study supported by the MacArthur Foundation reports that teen online activity is not different than what my generation (the ice age, mind you) did during our teen years. Here is the lead researcher, Mizuko Ito:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The road to the Future

The Belgian Nobel Laureate in literature, Maurice Maeterlinck, has observed,

At every crossway on the road that leads to the future each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past. (Christenson, 2008)

This is the reason cited for maintenance of the status quo and resistance to any change. I am certain this serves a very good cultural preservation function. But will it get us where we need to be going?
We have a daunting task laid in front of us, namely to prepare K20 learners for their futures. Many, many reiterate (mainly because we just aren't getting it) that we are preparing students for a future which we ourselves cannot imagine. In that case, we had better take the road less travelled and make all the difference. We had better do it quickly.
I have recently slammed up against several roadblocks at the school where I work. The school has not chosen the road less travelled. These events make my life decisions easier. I will take the road less travelled. I will be making the difference. Will you?

Photo courtesy of John Watson taken on February 15, 2005 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license
Reference: Christenson, C.M., M.B. Horn & C.W. Johnson (2008). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Teachers Without Borders

How did I miss this? Sharon Peters just shared this link on the live show, Teachers Are Talking on EdTechTalk. She also talked about egranary and blogging partnership possibilities with schools in South Africa or Kenya. This recording will be worth listening to when it is posted!

Learning, Chunking, Reflecting

"All learning begins with a connection" claimed George Siemens during the Mid Course Review video. In my 7th grade Study Skills we have been talking about connections found in Question-Answer Relationships. So far we have talked about two QARs: Right There QARs, where one can find the answer right in the book and On My Own QARs, where one must make connections.
We talked about text to self connections, which are connections to personal experiences; text to text connections, or connections to other texts/media; and text to world connections, or world events, global issues, or big ideas.
We also talked about chunking or connecting new learnings to prior information. We used an excellent video by Angela Maiers on chunking. Then we wrote about it on our blogs and practiced chunking.
I hope these middle schoolers are seeing that learning does indeed begin with connections.

Howard Rheingold gave a presentation in Elluminate as part of the Connectivism course taught by gsiemens and sdownes.He noted that university students don't reflect, they regurgitate. I see the same in 7th graders. I don't test at the knowledge level, I demand creation of artifacts. Many kids struggle initially with these differing expectations but I find that by Thanksgiving everyone is on board. But do I ask learners to reflect, to connect coursework with other learnings, to ask questions while reading, to mull thoughts over in their minds for awhile?
This idea of reflection seems to be an important thinking skill. How do I encourage it in middle school?

Siemens, G. (2008, October 22). Mid Course Review. Retrieved November 4, 2008, from Website:
Photo courtesy of Pear Biter taken on May 6, 2006 covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 2.0 license and available at

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's Elementary

Looking for participants of the Connectivism course to come on our live show and tell us:

  1. What are you learning in the CCK 08 course.
  2. What do you think of the course so far?
It's Elementary is a live show on EdTechTalk every other Monday at 6pmPacific/9pmEastern at
We use Skype + backchannel room + streaming to broadcast live shows. If you are interested, please leave a comment here.
We would love to have everyone that can make it at the show-even George, Stephen, and Dave.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be the Change-Disrupt Class!

What better way to disrupt your classroom and put learning into high gear? Join the Sounding Boards for the Flat Classroom Project - just read this post by Kim Cofino, a well-known educator in Bangkok, Thailand.
In short, the Flat Classroom Project is a cutting edge high school project that involves 11 international teams and so many schools I can not keep track of them. The work these teens produce is astounding! Along the way, there is an opportunity for other classrooms to peer review their work - called Sounding Boards.
I currently work with middle schoolers and we do the Sounding Boards each year for either the Flat Classroom Project or Horizon Project or both. We follow a lesson plan (there are several examples on the wiki, including our past lesson plans) and have a rubric for our grade. Teaching middle schoolers to make more than cursory comments is challenging. I'm not always successful, especially in the first semester, but these learners often surprise me too. So are you ready to kick it up a notch and join a global collaborative project? Read more about this great opportunity at the project wiki.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I attended a bit of "When Night Falls". One highly capable young man had us type the places where we stay connected and he collated them into the Wordle picture you see here. The conversation was often about favorite presentations and learnings. We heard from many new people too, proving again that k12online is just in time learning for many people new to the blogosphere.
Have you seen all the great content at k12Online2008? Comment here what you learned.

Friday, October 31, 2008

People to Watch!

Keep your eye on Kerrie Gustin and her blog,
Common Sense Classroom. This blogger began her blog during the Open PD with Darren Draper , Robin Ellis, and Kelly Dumont. She posts about her conversations at NECC2008, her thoughts about Twitter, and her kids. She is definitely a person to read.
Penny Ryder joins the conversation not as a consumer only but as a contributor at Teaching Challenges . Her posts involve her Australian Year 1 classroom and her search to be the best teacher she can be. My big question is, why do the children wear those yellow hats (I'm known for inane questions like this)?
The ICT & Teaching Blog by Shaun Wood are reflections of a primary teacher earning his degree. Shaun writes from a New Zealand point of view about his learnings and his primary class.
Take some time to visit these bloggers and leave them comments on their blogs!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Network Challenge

I challenge you to find and listen to a podcast to which you have never listened. You can find podcasts for free in iTunes, at NPR, or Podcast Alley (to name only a few places).
Then blog about the podcast on your blog. That's it! Pretty simple, but can you do it? Will you do it?

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Photo courtesy of Yogi taken on July 23, 2007 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why integrate technology at all?

I couldn't embed the video so here is the link. Why integrate technology at all? Allanah King answers this so well!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

We Are What We Share

The Ambassador Choir shared with their director recently. They surprised her with $900 for her car repairs. These are high school students who organised themselves (connecting), told each other about the project (communicating), and came together with a card, cash, balloons, & cupcakes (collaboration) to share with their director. They are displaying proficiency in 21st century skills!
Charles Leadbeater gave a TED Talk in July 2005 in which he suggests that previous centuries were about mass production for mass consumption. Think about the 1950s, which were all about mass production. The USA was very successful at this.
There is now a new kid in town. In the 21st century (it's already 2008!) and beyond it is all about mass innovation = mass creativity. The conversations of any & everyone are what counts. Sharing now defines who we are. Just as the high school kids I described are now defined by what they shared. I know that is a very simple, offline example and doesn't really show the vast complexity of it all.
Here is the link to Leadbeater's TED Talk for you to consider: (It won't let me embed right now)
TED video is covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivative license

Thursday, October 16, 2008

People to Watch

Watch out for Susan Phillips of Chets Creek Travel Guide. She is an elementary school principal in Florida who blogs! It's great to read the words of an administrator who actually attended NECC this year.

An educator of learners who have been labelled 'gifted', Jackie Gerstein has been contributing to the discussion at the Classroom 2.0 Ning. She enjoys teaching process instead of often disconnected content.

Another blogger to keep your eye on is David Carpenter, a teacher at Hsinchu International School in Taiwan, blogging on Lesson's Learned.

Check these bloggers out, leave them comments, and keep your eye on them!

Photo courtesy of Breno Peck taken on May 5, 2008 available at under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

Find more information at Blog Action Day 2008

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why should we?

Angus King will tell you. From our friends in Maine available also at

Monday, October 13, 2008

Keynote K12Online2008

Presenting the ''nearly now' man, Stephen Heppell. Pay close attention to what he says about the result of connecting schoolchildren via technology. For the full conference go to K12online2008

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who you gonna call?

On Saturday, October 18, 2008 at 2:15pmSLT Salty Saenz will be presenting to the TESOL International Conference in Mexico. He will be using Second Life to demonstrate how this virtual world connects people across time and space.
He has asked a focus question that involves all of you, my network. Therefore I find it appropriate to ask the network to share in the answer. Please leave your opinion in a comment. If you have an SL avatar consider leaving your avatar name in your comment and showing up for this 15 minute event at the META Training Facility on Virtlatlantis Island.

Focus : What my PLN means to me, how SL helps develop it, helps me to be a 21 century teacher?

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Photo courtesy of makelessnoise taken July 21, 2006 covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license and available at

Friday, October 10, 2008

K12 Online Conference

This is why you should check out this conference at

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dream the Very Possible Dream

I wish I worked for him!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008


In 1993, Howard Rheingold referred to a "virtual community'' as a place where community members meet, collaborate, and support one another emotionally. I wonder in how many virtual communities are you considered a member?
I am a member of the Edtechtalk community (a rather annoying one at that), a member of a Twitter group, a member of The Bloggers' Cafe in Second Life, as well as several other SL groups, and a member of the NECC virtual attendees badge-carrying club (ok, just kidding).
I have heard arguments on both sides - are virtual communities as real and as important to us as those communities that are not virtual? What do you think?
I wrote this post as I read material for the Connectivism Course led by George Siemens and Stephen Downes.
Photo courtesy of striatic taken on January 9, 2005 covered under a Creative Commons license available at

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Becoming a writer

Middle School learners learners thought more about writing online today as we learned and practiced hyperlinking - the good old fashioned way. We wrote links to go with our post about ourselves.
I am always surprised and impressed by these middle school learners. Today was no exception. The most offtask people were totally immersed in the task of writing the html code for hyperlinks correctly. Little wonder I had no time for pictures, as I raced between computers.
I didn't capture our immersion into writing today, but I did capture our relaxation with virtual worlds afterwords. Every Tuesday and Thursday we spend the last ten minutes in Woogi World or Club Penguin. One or two of us prefer to work on blogs or projects instead.
It takes a while to get middle school writers up to snuff, but watch out world, they will be surfing those streams of learning sooner than any of us expect - and with amazing skills at grabbing urls, switching tabs, hyperlinking, and tagging. Onto QARs next week.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sheryl Challenges Us - Are You Ready?

Find more videos like this on Learning 2.008 Shanghai Conference

This video is found on the Learning 2.008 Ning at , it was uploaded there by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on September 19, 2008. She needs no further introduction.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Connectivism 9-17

I thought empirical, rational, and connective were three different ways to describe knowledge, not three different kinds of knowledge.

Stephen says in his paper that there are three types of knowledge. “Connectivism is a theory that described this third type of knowledge. It is a theory that tells us what this third type of knowledge is, where it is, what produces it, how we learn it, and how it can be used. “ (Downes, 2008)

He goes on to say that there are two kinds of connective knowledge, a knowing of the connections and way of knowing. I thought connectivism was knowledge created by the connections.

For any of this to be valid, knowledge must exist even when not perceived. It is, if one accepts these definitions, there whether anyone senses, measures, or connects.

But if knowledge is created through the connections, then it does not exist outside of connection. It is not there if no one connects the dots (to use a poor analogy).

So I'm wondering, what do you all say about this quandary? Besides go have some more coffee Durff....

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I am involved in learning through the Connectivism and Constructivism course. In the first Elluminate recording Stephen Downes and George Siemens talked about the private versus public personas.
It would seem the general consensus is the same as mine. I once expressed this - I am who I am. Stephen and George, of course, were much more eloquent.
The connectedness of our world today and this question are related. Because we are connected to networks, there can be no separation of personas. We are one being. (I do wish I had more hands sometimes....) not two separate people. The private person simply does not exist.

Photo courtesy of Fleep Tuque taken on 9-10-08 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Ship without a Rudder

I found out the morning of 9/11 - a particularly wonderful day anyway. A colleague was kind enough to inform me that our principal quit effective 10-1.
Because the kids were not told until today I remained pretty much silent in places I knew my learners lurked, this being one of them.
Now, I can tell you how I feel. I literally lost my breath - I really thought it must be a joke - like the fan stealing going on around campus. But it is not a joke.
We are now a school without a helmsman - a ship without a rudder. I don't think anyone fully comprehends the repercussions this personal decision will have on the rest of us.
The message against all that I do is obvious. But of course now is too late to seek other employment for this school year. I've already been through the "pay for one's own health insurance" and don't want to return.
Then today I received a paycheck for about part-time instead of full-time. I think someone is trying to tell me something...
Anyone have a life jacket?

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Photo courtesy of serdir taken August 1977 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bagpipes!

Today at the very beginning of my most challenging class of 19 learners in a room of 16 desktops, during a block where I attempt (and poorly mind you) to include 4 learners who have been labeled (as I am labeled disabled, some even say I am retarded), my trusty Dell laptop hardrive became unbootable. Yup, nothing to boot the operating system. So with no way to approve learner blogs or blog headers, I dove into a pool with no water....
and this lesson went surprisingly well! Yes, there were a few bumps, a few too loud voices, a bit of wandering, and some off-task behavior. But all in all, we learned to ask three before Mrs. Durff, to use our call cups, and most importantly to get off the broken escalator (no helpless handraising).
Then at 6pm (took me a while to do all that work AFTER school rather than during like I usually do on the laptop) I stopped at Starbuck's, figuring I earned it today. There was a man in the parking lot playing the Scottish bagpipes. Just band, no occasion, no ceremony, just performing for those who heard him. That made my horrible, terrible, no good day, very bad day a lot better!
So if you wonder why I haven't been blogging, it is because I am throwing my all into facilitating the learners in my classrooms at the start of this school year. I know that once we all get the hang of things, once we all are signed up for all those different Web2.0 things, and once I have subscribed to all those blogs using RSS, things will get easier. It is just the getting there.
The IT guy just let me know on Meebo that he is looking at my sorry excuse (my description) of a laptop. ..... here's hoping he can make it boot!

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Photo courtesy of Gryphius, taken on April 21, 2007, available at, covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Monday, September 1, 2008

Preconference in SL

I followed a twitter from KJ Hax yesterday to a preconference session. It was held at the International Schools Island in Second Life. I choose a comfortable beanbag chair and listened to four speakers including David Warlick & Alan Levine, both of whom will travel to Shanghai for the Learning 2.008 conference. There are two more preconference events in Second Life on the next two Sundays, 7th September & 14th September. More information here.
While there, I forgot to snap a picture for this article, so we will have to do without. The speakers talked about tagging and librarians, among other topics. If you haven't been in SL lately, I encourage you to give it a try. Every Sunday there is a discussion at the Blogger's Cafe in SL, open to all. More information is available at the wiki.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Network Challenge #5

It's been a grueling beginning to the school year. Thought I better return to blogging before I go buggy. So here is Network Challenge #5:

Listen to a unfamiliar podcast & share it with some friends.

Text CAST 10388 and your message to 41411, telling us what you did. Your results will appear at

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Photo courtesy of OllyHart taken on April 5, 2006 covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license and available at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thank God for Tech Tools!

Stephanie Sandifer wrote a post about the tech tools she is using at the beginning of this schoolyear at her blog, Change Agency.
This was my response:
I have been neglecting my blog while I prepare for the beginning of school, doing more than one job at a time in overly warm buildings.
I use Google Docs for lesson plans, course planning with others, spreadsheets for student lists, my schedule, & library lesson plans, Skype (the principal actually found me on Skype last night and could he have awoken me to ask a question I have no doubt he would have done so!), blogs for kids, jumpcut to edit youtubes for on those blogs, a wiki for our faculty pages, and twitter via twhirl to scream out frustrations now and again. Oh and Meebo to keep in contact with our IT guy who was about 250 miles away last week (his family is happy to have him home now). Whew! Is it Labor Day yet?

Photo courtesy of emma.c taken on January 21, 2oo8 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 license.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Comment on Kelly's Blog

This was my comment on Kelly Christopherson's blog post, Being Critical:

DISAGREE! I do not worship anyone but my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I do not put students or adults or great speakers on pedestals. I value the intellect thank you very much! And I don’t really care if anyone likes me, in fact I’m sure they don’t. That is okay. I am on this planet for one purpose only = to do His will. If that involves understanding students’ point of view then so be it.

Using technology IS crucial to their futures and to ignore [this] is a disservice. Our economies in both the USA and Canada are being affected now and it will only get worse. Yes these are tools, but being able to manipulate them creatively is the point. Producing future workers in the economies of our countries who are able to think critically is the point. This cannot be accomplished without the use of the tools. There are many who are concerned about the widening digital divide, or as I like to say the wrinkles.

When looking around my community, I see 100% connected youth outside of school. I am only seeking to use tools with which these kids are already familiar. I seek to instill a love of learning independently through use of these very tools. Maybe the percentages are different where you live.
I would agree that poor teaching is not improved by tech gadgets. I would also agree that technology makes engaging students a lot easier. Doing a videoconference with a classroom in another locale before a project engages students in the project. A lot easier to use skype than the old way of audio only landlines….

Photo courtesy of shapeshift taken on January 12, 2006 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beginning anew...

I got this verse from Susan Phillips via Jeff Utecht's The Thinking Stick.

Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.

Susan Phillips is a principal - an elementary principal! I just wish the entire faculty at my school would embrace the pedagogical shift let alone the admins. In all fairness, my principal (PreK-12) is forward looking (and calls me disruptive which we all know is too true). How many of us have risked, cared, dreamed, or expected this week and how many of us have these as our goals this school year?

Photo courtesy of VeVi taken on July 16, 2008 available at covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

People to watch

Keep your eye on Amy Lenzo at Facilitating Online Communities

She is taking Leigh Blackall's course by the same name. Her main blog is at Beauty Dialogues and reveals a veteran blogger who writes about things that resonate with her.
Kathy Youngblood at Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 Blog is another blogger who started her blog as part of a course. In the edublogoshpere it seems we all expect many bloggers to be educators. Kathy breaks the mold. She is in the nursing field but taking like a fish to water.
So check out these bloggers and leave them comments to know you are reading!

Photo courtesy of Breno Peck taken on May 5, 2008 available at under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Network Challenge #4

For this challenge, we are collaborating with Lauren O'Grady in her 6 word memoirs. The original challenge is to use 6 words matched with a picture you take yourself. Since I don't own a digital camera (have to go shopping for that yet!) I thought one could also use a picture that illustrates the 6 words. A picture covered under an appropriate Creative Commons license of course is required with proper attribution.
Post your creations at Lauren's 6words wiki

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks taken on March 22, 2008 available at and covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Three C's

I've been harping on three things learners need to be able to do:

Connect, Communicate, Collaborate

I have spent a wonderful summer which is sadly almost finished. How? By first connecting with content, communicating with others during presentations about that content, and collaborating with others who were miles away. Granted the collaborations weren't that great. During the school year, one would find more concrete work with others. I'm focusing here on a process.
I want to share this process with the learners in my classrooms. I teach a Study Skills class. Our main goal is to enable success throughout academic careers. In order to do that I really believe these three C's are crucial. So I will really attempt to focus on them this school year. I want to enable learners to connect with other learners, communicate with those learners, and collaborate with those learners.

Photo courtesy of cobalt123 taken on February 7, 2007 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Our Network Poem

I'm sorry I didn't yet post the wonderful creativity of our network. We collaborated on this between August 3rd and August 4th:

There once was a plurker, not much of a lurker,
Typing and tweeting all day,
Quick to share,
And show she cares,
She never slept,
but she fret that her cyber friends would not rhyme.

One day she awoke to find Twitter was broke,
And all of her comments were lost
She got onto her network
And boy they did not shirk,
Soon Twitter ...... came forth
With all of its worth
To give advice and consolation
To ensure that not all had been lost.

With past conversation
changing the kids' education
in Social Networks galore,
The Plurkers and Twits
threw the greatest of fits
inside schools behind firewalled doors!

Photo courtesy of Ross Mayfield taken April 27, 2006 available at and licensed by Creative Commons as Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

People to watch (rising stars)

Keep your eye on geek.teacher, Dan Callahan, a special ed teacher near Philly. His posts aren't very long just yet. I especially enjoyed a post he wrote in April about Shakespeare.
Also one to watch is a new podcast, The Teacher's Life Podcast, produced by a 2nd grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. This one is worth a listen, especially episode 3 with the Crazy Monkey song and episode 4 with Green. I just love kids singing!
Don't miss these rising stars - be able to say, "I knew them when." Who knows maybe one of them will be the next Steve Dembo .....

Photo courtesy of Bruno Peck taken on May 5, 2008 available at and covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How did the Network Challenge#2 turn out?

Last week I challenged 4 networks to visit two blogs to which they had never been, read thoughts, reflect on posts, & then leave an intelligent comment. I asked participants to list the blog urls on polleverywhere either by txting or via the web.

Ten people took the challenge!

These blogs were visited during the challenge#2:
I left a footprint Here and Rtaylort75's Weblogdurff Two great blogs! Great idea to do this...Beth Still
Be sure to see the current Network challenge #3.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is it a who?

Stephen Downes in 2006 made this video in which he compares groups and networks. He says groups have four major elements:

  1. Unity
  2. Coordination
  3. Closed Membership
  4. Distributed
Downes notes that networks also have four elements:
  1. Diversity
  2. Autonomy
  3. Openness
  4. Connective
He sees, as I understand (and I have no doubt he will correct me), the major difference to be in the source of learning or leadership. In a group it is a top-down, passive type. In networks it is a grassroots, participatory type. This seems to be the major difference between your mother's tv and your ustream.

I see yet another congregation between groups and networks. Some communities have elements of both groups and networks. In thinking of EdTechTalk, it is a group because we are centered around webcasting, but we are the four elements of a network. According to Downes definition, the EdTechTalk community is not a group. But we are. We are a closed community in that we share a common interest. We certainly are not passive.

I would welcome the comments of other network participants and especially those from the FOC08 community.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Network Challenge #3

The network is challenged to click on all the adsense advertisements on any three blogs. Generate revenue for some blogger by actually clicking on the ads you never see for the words...
Make sure you use the word "networkchallenge#3" all in one word (without the quotes) in a comment you leave on those blogs.
Tell us about meeting the challenge by leaving a comment here or TxtSAYTO 5111 and your message to 41411 , leaving the urls that way.

Photo courtesy of zoomar available at & covered by an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Creative Commons license.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

People to Watch

One blog to watch is ¡Vámonos! by Lisa Stevens, a Spanish teacher in the U.K. She has a lot of Spanish on it. Since I no very little Spanish....well you have to judge it for yourself.
Another rising star is Nebraska Change Agent by Beth Stills. Beth is growing her PLE and wants to be an agent of change.
Yet another is PargoNet by Tracy Weeks. She is transforming from an online lurker into an online conversant.
I urge you to check out these rising stars, read their words, and leave comments.
Don't forget the Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." Be that change.

Photo courtesy of Bruno Peck taken on May 5, 2008 available at and covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.