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

technorati tags: tags:

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