Monday, February 15, 2010

Of what use is homework?

I just participated in a conversation in Elluminate with Alfie Kohn. This was organised by Steven Anderson of The Educator's PLN. This was an exciting talk with over 100 people in attendance, including a classroom or 7th graders in their computer class.
During the talk, Alfie Kohn made point that there is no study published in any peer-reviewed journal that demonstrates that homework adds value to learning. This is timely and valuable information as I struggle to defend my no homework policy. I am forced to give grades, so we have participation points, quickwrite points, as well as engagement points. The class average is over 100% as we pass the half way mark in marking period 3.
Alfie Kohn has written 11 books, one of which, The Schools Our Children Deserve he talks about in a CNN Video Library video stream --> Here. This recording of Alfie Kohn is about 80 minutes and well worth a listen.
I enjoyed this talk during my lunch today. A wonderful President's Day! I hope the Educator's PLN soon hosts more events!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Like Nike Said, Just Do It!

Just found this as my heart is breaking. A friend's youngest son died last night of an unknown cause. She and her two remaining sons have been hospitalized until the cause is determined. Her oldest son was involved in a cycle accident not too long ago. He has brain damage and is in a hospital. I took her and our mutual friend on a cruise a few years ago when she was diagnosed with MS. My heart breaks for her and I wonder, how much is one person to bear?

This video distracted me for a bit. Maybe it will distract you too...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making Connections

We have spent some time in Study Skills looking at schema. The theory basically says that we all have a structure to our knowledge of the world. In order to gain new knowledge, we must connect it to existing schema in our brains somehow.

We have practiced doing this with the QAR strategy, with the BDA Strategy, and with mindmapping on
Research confirms that unless we "hang information" on something we already know, 98% of everything coming into our brains only spends a few moments in working memory and is then lost. Or as I am fond of saying, it goes in one ear, spins around with increasing momentum, and goes flying out the other ear faster than before it entered.
Twenty-first century skills are about infusing or integrating tech tools with learning. It is not about the technology in our classroom. It is about the learning. I will show learners how to do the technology, but find as the years go by, that I show less and use more. This is wonderful! Technology is everywhere, infused into every aspect of our lives. It is also easier to use and becoming easier. Pretty soon I won't be showing learners how to format a hyperlink in html because I won't have to do so. There will be icons everywhere for links and images.
One of the skills our learners need is the ability to collaborate. We are working on this fluency skill this Marking Period with our Studycasts and Biome Wikis. Note that all learners MUST work in a group on group goals, they may work from any internet connected computer, and resources to get them started are in the Diigo group.

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Photo courtesy of coolcatteacher

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Where America Stands: Schools

I caught this tidbit on Twitter from @kjarrett. Listen carefully to the statistics.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Earthcast 2010 - A Global, 24 Hour Webcastathon on April 22nd, 2010 (Earth Day)

The Earthbridges Community is happy to report that we're in the early stages of preparing for Earthcast 2010, which is a live, 24 hour long global webcast that will take place on April 22nd, 2010. This is the third year in a row that the *Earthbridges community will be involved in the production of this event and we hope to build upon our successes of the past in many ways. During Earthcast 08 and Earthcast 09 we had contributions from people on many different continents broadcasting in several different languages-we hope to have even more participation from more people around the globe during Earthcast 2010.

We encourage people of all ages, backgrounds, and geographic locations to contribute to the project in some way, shape or form. A very simple way to participate is to help us promote the event; a more complex way to participate is to actually host a block of time. Listen to some of the archived content from Earthcast 2009 by visiting our online community. If you're interested in investigating the various ways to contribute and participate, check out our "Ways to Participate" page.

Further project information, promotional materials, and news will be released and published over the next several weeks. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment here or to use our contact information and links below to get in touch with us and learn more about how to contribute to Earthcast 2010.

Email earthbridges -at- gmail -dot- com

The Official Online Community

Follow us on Twitter at 'earthbridges.' Encourage others you know to follow us as well

Fan us on our Facebook Fan Page

Join and contribute photos to our Flickr Community Group

Earthbridges Community Earthcast planning wiki

Earthcast 08 Teaser Video

Earthcast 09 Teaser Video

Throughout this event we'll be using #earthcast10 as the hashtag and earthcast10 as the general tag.

The Earthbridges Community is a sub-community of the "Worldbridges" network. We appreciate the support of the Worldbridges community in helping us achieve the goal of creating an annual 24 hour, live webcastathon that conincides with Earth Day.

Photo Courtesy of Practical Owl covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license and available at