Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Success!

I'm reading this newsletter my principal sent around. It's about magic bullets and NCLB.
The newsletter states that student achievement is not about one magic method, mandate, or belief-set. It is all about access.
That's the magic bullet-access. Access to the same content, access to the same knowledge, access to the same skills.
Now naturally y'all think by 'access' I mean internet access. While that might be a small part of it, it is not the entire story.
I have worked with many challenged individuals. I am myself challenged. Educators, like myself, can seek a way to make their course content accessible to every child, to find a way to differentiate for every learner, to provide the same skills to every future citizen.
Then we are making the content, knowledge, & skills accessible and not only available to a privileged few. This is what access to Web2.0 tools has done for me. It is given forward-to k12 learners in our schools now.
Many know some of the challenges I face. One is handwriting. Many take this skill for granted. Those of us with this challenge do not. I am now able to connect and collaborate with others without the impediment of a skill I can never master.
How many learners do we discourage and hold back from the conversation because of this lack of access?
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Seeds

Beautiful plants start as seeds. Beautiful minds started with k12 education. As a Christian school educator, I begin every class with prayer. As one of the learners led in prayer this afternoon, I prayed that the seeds I plant in the hearts and minds will take root and flourish. I prayed the learners would enter through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13) and not swerve away (Proverbs 4:27).

Joseph Henry said," The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them."

As educators we hope to equip all our co-learners with the tools of reflective learning, collaboration & persistence. We often call these things metacognition, cooperation & stamina. Whatever the name, the qualities will be essential for succeeding in the 21st century and beyond.

Reading Joseph Henry's words causes me to reflect on my own teaching. Have I provided my co-learners with a passion for life-long learning? Have I instilled in them the ability to see what the future could become? Have you?

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Reference: Starmar, N. (April 2008). Scientific Discovery. Georgian, [80(01)], 1.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Be Disruptive - Publish your own book!

Seymour High School Web Design are being extremely disruptive. Students each wrote a chapter in a book and published their book on Lulu.
I encourage the edublogger community to support this disruption by purchasing a copy. I challenge Mr. Schneider's students to donate proceeds to a worthy cause.
My students completed such a project, donating all proceeds to our school for the school auction. Empowering students in this way is disruptive and essential. As someone wise has said, we are preparing learners for their future.
I applaud the Web Design students at Seymour High!
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Give me that, it's mine!

So many are concerned about holding onto their wealth. They seek to lock down, protect, & moderate their content either online or offline. Such owners want fences, boundaries, & recognition.
One is what one shares, not what one owns. The act of giving wealth away is liberating. The present culture in which I live seems very concerned with this wealth orientation.
I find I feel more wealthy with more I give away. I refer not only to land or money but also to intellectual content. I seek collaboration not boundaries.
I do see value in teaching middle school and high school learners to properly reference other's content.
Creative Commons offers excellent licensing choices. Copyrighting however begs attribution. What if the creator does not want attribution?
My generation seems (blaring generalisation here!) to seek recognition. Those referred to as digital natives seem not to be so concerned with this issue.
Where do you stand?
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Brain Orchestra


This TED by Tod Machover is fascinating! He refers to Hyperscore and Brain Opera, now on display in Vienna. He references Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks and Guitar Hero
This ties right in with brain plasticity which I have been reading about in The Brain that changes Itself by Norman Doidge
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Earthcast 08


On April 22, 2008, there will be a webcastathon for 24 hours in celebration of Earth Day. The 24 hours are counted in GMT or Greenwich Mean Time, which though Greek to me, starts the day before where I live. So It's Elementary will have a special showing on April 21st at 1:00 GMT. The earthcast kickoff is the hour beforehand, Monday April 21st at 0:00 GMT. Those zeros are where I get lost, but someone who knew my timetravel challenges has hyperlinked all the times to a global calendar so we can easily find a time where each of us lives. Thank you Matt Montagne!
The earthcast will be broadcast to the world via the edtechtalk channel of the worldbridges network. Here is the Earthcast08 trailer
Anyone worldwide can participate in the webcast.
Be Kind to the Earth - Participate in Earth Day 08!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Poem in my Pocket

My 4th grade computer class connected today with some enthusiastic 5th graders at Searingtown School in New York. We read two choral poems from You Read to Me, I'll Read to You by Mary Hoberman. They had so many fifth graders and we only had 5 fourth graders, but they all enjoyed the connection. My fourth graders told their classroom teacher all about their connection when they returned to pack to go home.
This excitement with connections gives educators something to use for prior knowledge.
As the weather turns quickly to spring around here, any advantage we can find is useful. Remember - 26 days.....
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Literacy

The Shifted Librarian raises an interesting point in a recent post. Jenny cites sources that claim those who come to gaming events at the library also use the library in traditional ways more often. My first question is do we expect them to be using the library in traditional ways?
To me a traditional use of a public library entails checking out print resources. I rarely do that myself, so why should I expect gamers, who obviously are more digitally literate than I am, to do that very thing?
There are so many resources available online, and I do not mean Google, that traditional libraries are yesterday's news. I do think for primary school age learners that print resources remain best practices for learning reading literacies.
Middle-school gamers are often a different breed. At least at my school they are. One of my favorite 'durffisms' is that they are old enough to swim in the deep end now therefore they should use the deep web to gather information.
The surface web is Google, and it has a place and purpose in every research project. The deep web are databases which are often available through your public library or public school. I work in a private school with no money. We refer students to the public library which accesses a deep web resource. There are also free databases available.
To use deep web resources one never need set foot inside a library. Many gamers at my school inhale print books. An equal number don't touch them, but read - both wordcalling and comprehending - at least as well as the traditional readers.
Libraries serve both constituencies. As a librarian, I strive (and fail terribly) to provide sources/services for both types of learners. How are you doing in your library and/or classroom?
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earth Day is April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008 is in about 8 days. A group of concerned individuals are participating in a 24 hour broadcast on April 22, 2008. We circle the globe using Greenwich Mean Time. To join us, navigate to edtechtalk.

We will begin on April 22, 2008 (which is Monday for me) 00:00GMT. It's Elementary will join in at 1:00GMT and Alice's Restaurant at 2:00GMT followed by Jose and his spanish nephew at 3:00GMT.

During the broadcast educators in Europe and Canada join US teachers in the 24 hour event. If you are a webcastacademy intern - join us!

The broadcast ends at 23:00GMT. I invite you and your students to listen during the event.

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Photo courtesy of Joe Adair, graphic designer in Los Angeles, CA, USA. This photo available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/44059398@N00/467970862

Friday, April 11, 2008

Backchanneling 101

It's Elementary #16 on Monday, April 7, 2008, was about defining Edtechtalk. In the chatroom, one person said that the chat during a live show contributes depth and breadth to the topic being discussed. Another person commented, "The chat contributes other connections to the topic - people sharing personal experiences, questions, etc." This sort of backchanneling occurs in every live show at Edtechtalk. At PETE-C Steve Dembo referred to backchanneling as synthesizing. It is indeed a way to examine what we are learning. It is a way to examine our metacognition. It is connecting our prior knowledge with what we learn. It is collaborating with a network of people. Backchanneling is essential to our learning. As the lead learner in my classrooms, I need to uncover a way to effectively use chatrooms to backchannel. Middle school learners tend to use chatrooms to socialize to the total exclusion of backchanneling, connecting, synthesizing. Adults often socialize too, but then we turn to using chat to extend our thinking.
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Photo from Techlearning blog by David Jakes, October 2, 2007, available at http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2007/10/screen_evolution.php

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Earthcast08


On April 22, 2008, there will be a webcastathon for 24 hours in celebration of Earth Day. The 24 hours are counted in GMT or Greenwich Mean Time, which though Greek to me, starts the day before where I live. So It's Elementary will have a special showing on April 21st at 1:00 GMT. The earthcast kickoff is the hour beforehand, Monday April 21st at 0:00 GMT. Those zeros are where I get lost, but someone who knew my timetravel challenges has hyperlinked all the times to a global calendar so we can easily find a time where each of us lives. Thank you Matt Montagne!
The earthcast will be broadcast to the world via the edtechtalk channel of the worldbridges network.
This is the promotional flyer, which anyone may print and distribute, is the creation of Pam Shoemaker. The Earth Day Planning site has many resources for planning.

Please leave a comment with your students on the Earthcast Voicethread.
Anyone worldwide can participate in carrying the webcast through the hours when we in the USA are sleeping. If you are reading this and you are in a country outside of the USA, especially on the Asia continent (read whom?...) then please contact Matt Montagne via email to participate. Or contact me by leaving a comment here with an email address and I will forward your information directly to Matt.
Be Kind to the Earth - Participate in Earth Day 08!
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Are you boycotting?

The French seem to have the right idea in this story.

This summer, the Olympic Games are occurring in a country that supports genocide. I am not alone in boycotting. The above news story reports the protests occurring as the Olympic Flame went through France. Steven Spielberg has withdrawn from participation in protest. More information about this can be found here.

Are you protesting?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This Wrinkled World

Dr. Richard Florida’s idea that the world is indeed not flat but spiky. I have previously proposed that the world is wrinkled. These two ideas are identical but in name.
The wrinkles, as a describe in K12Online, are getting closer to each other, causing those of us on the top to see a flattening world, which Thomas Friedman has described.
But as those wrinkles draw closer to each other on top, the bottoms become increasingly hidden. Those on the inside of the wrinkles who are increasingly hidden from view are the 'have-nots'.So the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is a correct view of the present situation.
Scott quotes a section from Florida's book which suggests that there the population of areas caught inside the wrinkles is diminishing and that those people inside are increasingly connected to each other.
I refute these assertions. Can he support is claim in consideration of the birth rates and infant/juvenile mortality rates of these areas? How about the per capita? Internet service providers and internet subscription rates?
I claim people caught inside the wrinkles live in areas with increasing mortality rates, increasing birth rates, and they are not connected to the rest of the 'flattening world'.
If internet service is provided, individuals cannot take advantage of it because they lack skills and money with which to do it. Such are at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, their main concern being survival.
I welcome your signed ideas.
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