Saturday, March 29, 2008

Record and Rejoice - Media Sharing!

OH-OH.  I think I owe Jeff an apology.  I didn't read ahead about the Flat Classroom... in fact, I often read the last chapters in a instructional text first, yet haven't lately.  

My thoughts on the teachertube thing are; they are extremely motivating to utilize in my classroom.  I can see the kids viewing them and exploring the "how-to's" as well as the "I can do make that one even better."  Either way, they're learning in a 21st century environment.  

I like the podcasts that save me time.  As Richardson says, keep your player attached to your machine" and you're good to go.  One of my favorite podcasts of all times is by Angus King, former governor of Maine... his goal was to make Maine into a state of the future, and to pave the way for those in the Vacationland to make a living without depending on the mills, and fishing.   Gov. King's feed is listed under my favorites this week.  It's based on the 600+ page book "The World is Flat," yet is under 45 minutes.  I've played it in several of my middle school classes too.

In preparation for some pod-casting, I've been using GarageBand with my 4th graders for the past two sessions.  In session 1, the students explored and used a step-by-step direction sheet created by a 5th grader (they're smarter, right?).  I suggested the students do some peer-to-peer editing the direction sheets.   In session 2, the students were asked to continue exploring, and creating tracks.  There were "Yahoo's" from most when told the assignment.  Some were really whining about it.  Is it because they aren't used to collaborating?  Do not want to share?  Towards the middle of session 3, I played a sample song created a bit ago.  It had multiple tracks and repeats (refrains, chorus).  Wow!  The lights were on big-time.  Students were rushing around the room to see and hear others.  They wanted to know which instrument and which type someone else was using.  

Most of all, I want to introduce and reinforce different styles of learning.  It's something the classroom teachers who hang around can grab hold certainly.  For me, if I had just done what I always do, read from the last chapter of the book, I would have eliminated a bit of frustration.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Social Bookmarking

I didn't know about Ning, thanks to Jeff's blog, I discovered it and have spent several hours "getting it" The entire site reinforces the power of Social Bookmarking. In fact, it reinforces to me, what comes around, goes around.

A bit ago, okay, in 1985, I was a Training Manager at a computer company. We made sw and hw for the trucking industry. The guys out back (programmers) were at best, cigar smoking, geniuses. In fact, one never came in. I think he lived at the Cape, something about a sailboat comes to mind. In my mind I imagined this coder as a bow-tie, spectacle wearing nerd. I had called him in the past and asked about him fixing something that apparently was something related to the look and feel of the software. He told me to check out the cosmetic counter at Macy's! Just a bit longer with this one... One day, I smelled cigar smoke when I came in from lunch. Mystery solved I thought, I went looking for this guru and who did I see? a pony tailed wizard wearing moccasins.

Not everything is what it appears to be. I thought Social Bookmarking only related to those Facebook, and Myspace accounts. Looking deeper into NING, they move beyond that. The site reinforces what I did and didn't understand from Richardson. We have the power now to contribute (without being a coder), and collaborate with everyone.

I'm moving beyond the "I've got to fix it" stage in education. I no longer feel that there are just a few of us Specialists out there, and I should try to fix them. I truly would recommend Richardson's book (although if you check out
1 others are not so enamored.

For now, I'm headed to the "Flat Classroom" to try this out... I hope you can do the same.

I'm listing the sites I've visted, because I haven't quite figured out even if I add them into the text, how to make them show up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RSS for me!

Okay, As Jeff describes in his Daily Links, NASA and I are running our PLN (Personal Learning Network) similarly. With RSS Feeds, I can slow it down just a bit. It's as if someone read my mind, went through all my mail and handed me what I needed to know - how Divine!

I think I could get this to work in my classes quickly. If students had Blogline accounts, we could feed all the updates on a particular topic to that account. And like Will Richardson says, the research work is cut down considerably. Imagine having someone else research for you 24/7. More importantly, they can collaborate when a great feed is uncovered.

Today, there is a world of opportunity that can crash down on us at any moment. For the person who just wants some help weeding through everything, RSS, Real Simple Syndication (Remember the KISS, "Keep it Simple, Sweetie" adage we all learned? I think it would be the one technique I would always introduce to an older learner. They grew up with secretaries, routine, etc. and it may be a great way to move them to the 21st Century. Now... if I could just find one to experiment with...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Is Siemens too forward thinking? Can something he wrote not be explored by traditional educators? When I Google "connectivism" there are about 157,000 hits. When I look it up in my dashboard dictionary, it's not there! What does that say about this principle?

Joseph Joupert "The aim of an argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." is Capacity to know more, Knowledge resting in networks, Diverse Opinions? I don't feel many of today's teachers are ready to oblige. Trained in a traditional format, the need to know more (than their students), versus understanding there is knowledge in the masses is not even a known concept in some cases.

Knowledge networks promote diversity, autonomy, interactivity and openness. In many cases, there isn't any shared power. How can a knowledge network exist?

Will Richardson calls today's students "Digital Natives" The rest of us are not. To take us to the next level, take a look at George Siemen's Introduction to the Digital Age. Perhaps this or will give educators a learned approach on how to move forward. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So, what about blogs?

Wow! I think they're a fantastic mechanism to express yourself. I'm one of those people that often suggests, offers advice, sticks my foot in my mouth so instead of those things, I'm going to blog it. It's a free space, and you don't have to worry about that foot thing.

Here's the thing with blogs though... just as with any journal or diary I'm not sure how much I want to share with people... Growing up I was always afraid to write in a diary. What if someone found it? What would they think? Would they do something too?

There are so many fascinating ideas, theories, questions to ponder when you post to a blog. I can say I've been easily pulled into a blog and taken a long time to get out. That's not a terrible thing, just very time consuming.

I'm wondering who is going to read them. Are we all hiding behind these words with pseudonyms? Do you really know who torchgirl is? It's wise to be safe and not disclose too much, right?

Friday, March 14, 2008

School 2.0

Take a look at a list of synonyms for the subheadings of this site. I think translating them to the traditional school will help me to understand the future. Here is a list I created; knowledge, education, wisdom, network, system, management, control, direction, assets, property, means, likeness, instrument, device, means, schemer, plotter, conspirator, alteration, change, renovation.

Each one of these terms exists in today's school and communities. Some terms are positive, some describe elements in each of our buildings, and with most of them, comes a means to reach School 2.0.

Utopia comes to my mind when I read how things should work in today's classrooms. An 85 year old American sat in rows, in desks, with recess, snack and so on when they were in middle schools and things haven't changed very much. I wonder why it's taken so long to move towards a change?

Sure, we have new tools, however I believe many educators are fearful of using them. For some reason it's okay to say, "I'm not a technie, I'm not good with computers..." Overall I think it's because traditional educators feel they must know it all. Traditional educators want to to be in control, and on top of things. The role of facilitator in a learning environment is too outside their comfort zones. It isn't a new reading methodology that some might say "it's just like _____ with a new name". This is different and they're not sure how to change their traditional roles.

In order to figure out how this could work, we can look at items that in fact aren't new at all. Communication, Collaboration, Content, Assessment and Evaluation and Creation. Today's teachers know how to do all of these things. The leap to doing it using today's technologies is difficult.

Perhaps we should just use synonyms?

How do I Feel?

Since I really didn't use these tools the easiest way, I feel quite refreshed now that I've taken the time to learn two.

Well, by the looks of me, it's been a tough week all around. It's interesting to me to actually experience wanting to just throw my machine. I'm not used to names of things I guess. Perhaps because I usuallrough day at the ranchy am a visual person and so many items we've explored are visual "twitter, wetpaint, 2.0, on and on" I'm feeling more than a bit overwhelmed. I'm hoping to begin thinking of all these things as just tools to get my job done, however right now, I'm not clear as to which tool does what (see table below).

To add to my delight, I just spoke at a district meeting. A fellow speaker was up next. I had connected my laptop (a MacBook) to the Infocus and did my gig. He looked at me with an overwhelming, "Help, this is a Mac!" look. We were only on the web and looking at a secured site. Someone from the audience was brave enough to say "Yup, that's how we feel when you get talking!" Thankfully, the keynote speaker's topic was "Working with a Sense of humor" I"m going with that thought this week...

I think as a geek (much less of one at this very moment), I jump in with both feet and go for it. However, this week with a "grade" riding on my success\failure I really understand how myaudience\class\peers may feel after working with me. I pledge, to be clearer with my words, and to check in now and then to see if they are accomplishing their tasks.

Jeff may have to do with me!

I welcome anyone to edit the chart (okay, maybe it's a table) below... This can be our experiment in how to translate to others don't you think?

This weeks Mystery
What it does (or what I can compare it to)
Why should I use it?


RSS Feed

Google Docs




What is that ringing I hear?