Sunday, March 29, 2009

VWBPE09

Don't miss this conference! Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2009 has had simply fabulous speakers thus far!!
While the speakers are fantastic, the audiences tend to be annoying. If you attend any event in SL, bring along your best etiquette. Please remember behind every avatar is a real human being. Please:

  1. Applaud every speaker just like you would in real life.
  2. Turn off your microphone (if you are unsure, ask someone sitting near you).
  3. Sit down ASAP. Lag can make this difficult, but do try.
  4. Be understanding when that dragon accidently sits on you. With the numbers in attendance on one sim it is understandable.
Finally, don't miss out! Come to the VWBPE09 right now!! The Master Schedule is at http://wiki.vwbpe.org/index.php?title=Schedule
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Photo courtesy of azwaldo available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/azwaldo/3391184406/ covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour


In the fight against global warming, it is important to turn your lights out for one hour at 8.30pm on March 28. One billion people voting with their light switch during Earth Hour will create a powerful mandate for our leaders to take strong and decisive action on climate change in Copenhagen this coming December 2009.
The vote has begun! At 8.30 pm local time, residents of the Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean turned off light switches and kicked off the global Earth Hour rallying cry for decisive action on climate change from world leaders this year.
The call, endorsed earlier today by more than 3929 cities, towns and municipalities in 88 countries across 25 time zones, is expected to involve hundreds of millions of people turning off lights for an hour in what has been billed “a vote for earth”.
Only 9 hours left in my time zone, what about you? Where will YOU be at 8:30pm in your time zone?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference

Anyone else remember the great time we had at this conference? They're doing it again! This conference will be hosted by Rockcliffe University Consortium and information is posted at VWBPE09 and VWBPE09Wiki.
This year's conference is March 27th to March 29th in the virtual world of Second Life. I find this conference so important than I took off work to attend this free PD event inworld the whole time. I do hope they give us a good long lunch & dinner break though!!
This is THE event to attend. Whatever you have to do, get yourself over to SecondLife and get an avatar tonight!! Do not be let wondering ... be involved! Last time it was crowded! I'm excited already - what shall I wear.....

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Could this be the future?


World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.
The saddest story you will see today....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Giant Snail Race!!

There is a Giant Snail Race! (Have you ever seen snails race? Me neither.) It takes place Saturday, March 21, 2009 in Second Life. If you plan to watch the RFL Giant Snail Race tune into http://streams.slcn.tv/live.mov or see them live along the road in SL but please try to spread out into different sims so the snails can get through. It has been suggested there should only be about 10 spectators per sim. The race starts at 2:00 and takes about 40 minutes and starts in Superior but that sim will be full so please pick one of the other sims listed below. Just type the name into the map and hit search then find a spot by the road. Open the map and watch the green dots till they get close. Here are the other sims through which the race will run:
Ontario
Brauer
Clunn
Yelas
Butler
Munck
Chong
McFee
Whinlatter
Macclaine
Hardknott
Mowry
Selby
Mare
Brazos
Garrison
Pierce
Suisun
Buckler
Bishop
Arcata
Samoa
Quentin
Clarksburg
Hookton
Westport
Shelter
Crescent
Kaminari
Yamato
Gama
Amida
Gualala
Limantour
Montara
Hooper
Bolinas
Bodega
Davenport

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Photo courtesy of Glockenblume available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/40702804@N00/2232892225 & covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Changing the System

I disagree about the concept of working in, around, outside of the current system in order to change, improve, or save it. The current educational system needs to implode and from it's ashes a new system of education can emerge.
We must be careful at the same time this system is imploding not to alienate the people. It is the system that must end, not the people. We all need to be re-educated to disperse strategies / skills, facilitate expertise, & engage learners in different ways. The status quo worked perfectly for educating people to work in a past era.
However, those crowding our schools now attend school for two reasons: their friends are there (at school) and we make them. They don't come to learn. Oh, they earn grades for parroting things back to us and they learn to do just enough busywork to get the grade. But do learners ever really increase in abilities...until they get out of school?
Christensen said, "To succeed, disruptive technology must be applied in applications where the alternative is nothing." In a recent post, Shirky describes the demise of print newspapers. Apply his thoughts to the current mandatory public schooling in this country.
The old model is just not salvageable, much like the newspaper industry. It must fall. But what will rise in its place? Shirky refers to Eisenstein's book, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. She said that in the 15th century an upheaval took place as a result of the printing press. Shirky claims (and I agree) that another cultural upheaval is taking place right now as a result of the widespread use of digital media.

Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced... (Shirky, 2009)
Our present educational system is a social bargain, a cultural contract that we all have signed. The old system is broken and cannot be fixed. Like the lady in the commercial, it has fallen and cannot get up. What will happen next, none of us can predict. I just wish it would hurry up and happen.
Last night in the ISTE Eduverse Talks in Second Life, Peggy Sheehy (Maggie Marat) said something intriguing that had me scrambling for paper, as opening anything while running SL might have made the application crash and I didn't want to miss anything!
She said a colleague said to her,
"...wherever you put me, I know how to swim." (Sheehy, P. ISTE Eduverse Talks, March 17, 2009)
That is so true for education. I earned my teaching credentials and I know how to teach. Doesn't matter where, I can swim.

Photo courtesy of paul goyette available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/65414509@N00/97817362 and covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.
References:
Christensen, C. (2008). Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Eisenstein, E. (1979). The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Shirky, C. (2009, March 13). Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. Retrieved March 18, 2009, from Clay Shirky Web site: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/


Intellectual Engagement

Curriculum which engages is not delivered by one person up front writing on tabulae rasae. High engagement happens when students are encouraged to collaborate in moderating, leading, and teaching (gasp).
I have seen this in my own classroom. I simply ran out of time to keep up with the bloggers' hall of fame, so I delegated the task to a student. I gave over all decision making to students. Next thing I knew, the survey software used went viral! Everyone had to have a poll for food, music, clothes, anything, on their blog! The neat thing was I didn't teach anyone how to make a poll using that software, how to capture the embed code, or paste the embed code on the blog. Students taught each other. Think for a minute how useful this skill will be for learners in their futures.
The engagement I seek in my learning is a state of full immersion in whatever I am doing. Students are no different. They seek that 'flow' in all they do. K12 learners already find that flow in video games, in reading books, in playing music. If we are not getting kids into that 'flow' in our classrooms, then they are not engaged with the content we are hired to convey.
My job is not to perform for students, but to applaud students who perform for students. One of the first things I say every fall, and often throughout the year, is that I am NOT the teacher. We are all learners here. I get a lot of push-back about that, especially from my fellow faculty members. Oh well. That is reality. Get used to it.
Are your classes intellectual engaging?

Photo courtesy of Wes Fryer available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/31442459@N00/2308971057 and covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Relay For Life 2009


The Second Life Relay For Life 2008 raised over L$55,000,000! At that time, those Lindens were worth more than US$200,000!!! This year, the Second Life Relay For Life seeks to surpass that goal! You can help by hosting a kiosk on your prim in Second Life. If interested contact Sabine McGettigan in SL. All money dropped into the kiosk will go to the American Cancer Society.
There are several content creators in Second Life supporting our team at the clothing faire so if you are in SL please stop by their stores and buy from them!
Dani's Fine Fashions Danielle Harrop
Rebel Hope Designs, Inc Rebel Hope
Sam's Secret Boutique Samsara Nishi
Silent Sparrow hyasynth Tiramisu
Sn@tch Ivey Deschanel
.:SToRin:. Annah Whitfield
The Clothing Faire runs through March 22nd. The Second Life Relay for Life blog contains the current schedule of events and team totals. The Passionate Redheads blog is my team blog.

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Video Courtesy of MarkTwaineWhite available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt_xMeN74TY&eurl=http://www.relayforlife.org/relay/node/4224&feature=player_embedded

Monday, March 9, 2009

International Online Conference

This online thing seems to be catching on! This year on March 30-31, 2009, a conference focusing on teaching and learning is put on by Learning Times.
This conference features three keynote speakers. Dr. Stephen D. Brookfield best-selling author of Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice, coauthored with Stephen Preskill speaks Monday at 12noon in the eastern time zone. Also Stephanie Norby of The Smithsonian speaks Tuesday at 11am in the Eastern Timezone. She will guide a tour of learning resources available at the Smithsonian for any grade level or content area. Finally, Michael Coghlan keynotes Tuesday at 9pm EST. He is the E-learning Facilitator for TAFE South Australia.
Registration for this conference is $99. Now would you rather take time of, register for, pay for hotel and food, for a regional or national conference or would you rather pay for this and stay home? I am already taking off for one conference online in March or I would. I will definitely attend all the ones I can attend.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Keynote for Net Generation Education Project



This post is in response to the Gr8Tweet Challenge for today. The leader of Team Starbucks asked: "What's one link you think every educational leader should read/watch?"
This keynote for the Netgened Project, created by Suffern Middle School students, sums up exactly what every educator needs to see. And see yesterday.
The brain research shows young minds are different hence they learn differently, they pay attention differently, they work differently. I have felt the frustrations in my classrooms and I need to change the way I encourage learners. If this is true for this disruptive, somewhat juvenile, & coffee-possessed educator, then I know it is true for others.
#gr8t #teamstar

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Organisation 101 or 2.0 ?

What tools do you use to organise your ducks? I can list these tools that make my life more efficient:

  1. RSS (ReallySeriousStressrelief)
  2. Instapaper (make your own)
  3. Skype chats / IMs (leave me a message)
  4. Twitter (connect me)
  5. Online Calendar (Google / Airset)
  6. Offline Connections (Dail2Do / Jott)
  7. And the survey says....(surveymonkey / polldaddy)
  8. Get a life (Firefox Addons/extensions)
  9. Inbox Zero (handle it once)
These tools enable me to efficiently deal with life. As many of you are bored of hearing, I am disabled (though I don't think so). Without Web2.0 technology, I could never do what I do. What do I do? I am a lead learner who excels in following from behind, constantly pushing other learners, usually ages 3-18, ahead of me. When they actually begin to catch on that this lead learner does not want one right answer traditional knowledge spit back at her but demands thinking minds to delve deeply into subject matter, then they fly!
Which tools do you find most effective in your journey through this life?
Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/233565501 covered under an Attribution-NonCommercial Creative Commons license.