Monday, July 30, 2007
This one won't raise test scores, either, but it WILL amaze you. I kept watching to see if I could tell if it was computer animation but I couldn't be sure. My GUT says it is, but then... people are very ingenious, so it COULD be for real.
Send this to your friends who like music - or machines.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Once again I don’t recall who sent this to me or where I found it so I apologize to whoever it was who first pointed this out to me to share.
Wikia.com is a wiki site where you can create a free wiki. That’s not the real news here. I just wanted to point out that second link – the school computing wiki. There are three tons of links on here to some excellent sites and information. And you may contribute to it, if you wish. That’s what a wiki is all about.
But there are a couple of things I want to point out here. First, this is written, it appears to me, on mediawiki, the one that Wikipedia was built on. But, it’s skinable, as that second link shows. Up in the top right corner is a link to the Monobook skin. Try it – mediawiki, no? Second, when I’m in places like this and I see a link called, “Cool Web Sites” I click it. It’s fun to see what others call cool. Here’s one they posted: http://126.96.36.199/me_english.htm You may have seen this before in an email, but this is an excellent ‘movie’ version of the world as expressed in terms of a population of 100. Another is the ashesandsnow site that I had pointed to some time back. Or, this page of links (http://schoolcomputing.wikia.com/wiki/Games_for_Middle_School_Social_Studies) for social studies games.
You could end up spending HOURS on this wiki.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The argument goes something like this: Kids are different. Kids THINK differently. Kids are digital natives. (Oops. Everyone can fill in that block, too.) Kid's BRAINS are different. They're going to be entering a world in which they will be asked to solve problems that we don't even know will exist in 20 years or so. They're going to change jobs frequently. They're going to be competing with people from all over the world, unlike at ANY time in our history. And, by golly, we MUST change the way we teach them (and use all the technology we can in the process) or they're doomed. The U.S. is doomed. We are failing our kids by our failure to teach them using all this technology. My GOSH the changes that they will experience in their lifetimes! How WILL they survive?
I'm old. No, I'm in the youth of my old age - my 50's. I was born in 1949 - a baby boomer. I recall the excitement over our first TV set, a 9" rounded black and white screen on which I watched Howdy Doody. I was paddled three times with a leather strap on my FIRST DAY of school in FIRST GRADE - for drawing a star on my new tablet after the teacher told us not to make any marks on them. I cried every morning and every afternoon that year, and even hid out in the doghouse in an effort to hide the fact that I wasn't going to school. I survived.
In the 50's when I was in elementary school we were forced to learn poetry (I think that I shall never see a poem more lovely than a tree...), and we stood to recite our times tables, and our projects involved cutting up magazines to make posters, and we sat in rows, and we worked independently, and we - or at least *I* - had much cooler things to play with at home than I did at school. I didn't have my own tablet at home, though – or a tablet or my very own (I didn’t have to share it!) pencil. While I was doing that, the U.S. was rebuilding after a war I knew nothing about. There were lots of jobs, and the local coal mines were hiring. The future for the students of the time looked bright and full of promise. There was no mention ANYWHERE about something called a ‘computer.’ Meanwhile the world was inventing the bar code, and the hydrogen bomb, and oral contraceptives, and the MODEM!! And those things were being invented by folks who went to school in the ‘30’s, probably.
Around the time I turned twelve or so, the transistor radio hit the market (or at least it hit my school) and I was one who would walk around with it stuck to my ear, and turn it on at night with the volume low under my pillow to listen to Cousin Brucey in Chicago. My junior high years were marked with the Kennedy assassination, the Lee Harvey Oswald killing, the Martin Luther King, Jr assassination, and the Bobby Kennedy assassination. The world was coming apart at the seams, so my mother said. Yes, we landed a man on the moon using a computer that was smaller than the ones in your watch, today, but that changed nothing at school where we were forced to learn poetry (I think that I shall never see a poem more lovely than a tree...), and we stood to recite our times tables, and our projects involved cutting up magazines to make posters, and we sat in rows, and we worked independently… but at least I had a transistor radio at home which I couldn’t use at school. Didn’t the school realize that we were going to be called upon within the next 10-20-30 years or more to solve problems that we didn’t even know WERE problems? Didn’t the school know that we were going to be changing jobs and careers two or three times in our lifetimes? (I’ve been a music teacher, a quality assurance monitor for Ralston Purina, a realtor, a security monitor, a computer teacher, and now I’m... doing this.) Meanwhile, the world was inventing the video cassette, contact lenses, and permanent press fabric – by people who went to school in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s, no doubt.
In high school it was the same. I graduated from high school in 1967 (the year that the handheld calculator was invented probably by someone who went to school in the ‘30’s or ‘40’s) when the biggest problem that the teachers could envision for us was whether to go to college, to the coal mines, or into a trade. Do you think that even ONE of those teachers back then had ANY idea the kinds of jobs that we graduates would have in our lifetimes? Or the kinds of problems we would be asked to solve? And I would bet my CABIN on the fact that NOT ONE of my teachers would have given me even odds of becoming even remotely successful. I am too ashamed to tell you what my junior and senior year report cards were like, but suffice it to say that they were…awful! AWFUL!
Think of all the amazing inventions of the past 50 years, from Teflon to Velcro to space flight to microwave ovens to the micro chip to the world wide web. Which one of the inventors of those items went to a school where they KNEW the kinds of problems that would need to be solved? Not one, I’m sure. Yet, they all managed to solve those problems, perhaps in SPITE of their education.
What’s my point? I don’t think that today’s students will see any more of a dramatic change in their world than I experienced in mine. I went from a 9” black and white TV to seeing a lunar landing and space flights and the world wide web and the global economy. The change they will experience may be different. It will take them into space and into an unimaginable network of information, and it will link them to the world unlike ANYTHING we can imagine now. But, they will be fine, just as WE were fine in the face of OUR changing world. Sure the kids are digital natives, but it was the digital IMMIGRANTS who invented this digital world, don’t forget.
That said… we DO face an appalling dropout rate – as high as 75% in some schools. The expanding global economy cannot be understated. So, we MUST find a way to re-engage our students to keep them in school. But, we DON’T have to teach them, as Sir Ken Robinson said in his Ted Talks video, “ as though they’re all going to be college professors.” We need to do our jobs. We need to excite them about learning, true. And, as we do that there will be many instances where the proper tool to bring about that excitement and the desired level of understanding will be a computer. And the web. Likewise, there will be times when it’s NOT the right tool. And, for those teachers who are unwilling to learn the technology to use for those times when it IS the best tool, we must charge them with malpractice and bring in others who DO know the tools. But, I have to believe that the kids will survive and flourish, perhaps in SPITE of their education – just like we did.
So, let’s take a deep breath and relax a bit. Yes, we DO have to change some things, but I don’t think we need to panic.
What say you? SURELY I said something in there that struck a nerve, eh?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
"Publish text, audio, and video to a customized show."
Looks very interesting, but I didn't try it. I do have one question however. If it is so great, why didn't they use it to make the tour/demo of the site?
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I can't WAIT to get over there and try it. Slideshare has LONG been very cool from the start, but this makes it a killer app. Go here for an audio demo: http://www.slideshare.net/faqs/slidecast
Let the fun begin!!!
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Not quite, but these animations show life inside the cell. Send this to your favorite Biology teacher(s).
"Medical animator David Bolinsky presents 3 minutes of stunning
animation that show the bustling life inside a cell. Built by his
company, XVIVO, to teach Harvard medical students, the clip features
sweeping cinematic values and even a little drama. It communicates not
only the facts of life, but life's truth and beauty."
Are you SURE that none of you can send me to Ted?
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Click the "View Anti-Bullying Video" link under the picture here: http://www.thespiritdesk.com/heroaward.aspx
Anyone here ever been bullied? I was beaten up once because the report card I was carrying home had all A's and B's. ???
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Monday, July 23, 2007
This post: http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2007/05/rebuilding_a_sc.html talks about how one school in Norway went from being one that people fled to one that is turning people away because the school is full. What made the difference? Uh-uh. I won't tell. You have to read it for yourself. But, I'll tell you some things to look for. First, look at how they restructured TIME. Second, look at what they did with the physical space.
"Teaching had to now focus on the individual, on the pupil, using
computer technology as a prominent element of teaching and learning." And, "Active problem solving should be the preferred method of teaching and learning (much in the way that an element of extreme learning tackles learning)."
I'd LOVE to hear what parts of this reform resonate with you the most. Comment, anyone?
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Ken Pruitt is doing something I like over here: http://kpruitt.edublogs.org/2007/07/21/call-for-data/ He’s calling his network for help. His network are those people with whom he communicates via his blog or their blog or skype or in Classroom20.ning.com, etc. He has learned the power of a network of friends and fellow educators to aid in his learning, and he’s asking those kind folks to share some ideas with him regarding how he might takle a project at his school. He’s being charged with helping to provide professional development to the teachers in his elementary and middle schools, and he’s looking for input on the most effective ways that it can be done.
I like it for a couple of reasons. First, the appeal shows that he’s feeling truly connected to his online community of friends and fellow educators, and so he’s actively networking with them to get ideas. Second – you get to see the really cute pictures of his new son on Flickr. J
In any case, if you’ve got a minute, maybe you could drop on over there and provide a helpful hint or two. Not that we’re trying to start a mass campaign of open helpdesk requests. This is a teacher who “gets it” asking for opinions from others who “get it” and who may have something they wish to share.
I like it.
Perhaps THIS one is a better fit for a writing prompt. A two minue video that details the pursuit of oil. It’s not pretty. Can anyone refute anything in this video?
Look what I just dugg – this entertaining and informative video about the history of Middle East oil. Robert Newman is the brains behind this very clever performance. While I do get a bit lost in the accent at times, overall I follow him perfectly well.
Maybe THIS is another writing prompt for your seniors, eh?
Darren Draper, author of Drapes Takes, has this post about two things. First, the article mentions how great the presentation by Hal Davidson was at NECC when he presented on Google Earth Pro. Second, he points to how educators can get a free copy of Google Earth Pro.
Check it out!
(P.S. I sent this before with the word free in the subject line and our spam filter wouldn’t let it out. @#$% spammers!!)
Friday, July 20, 2007
The question, “What’s the difference between a blog and a Discussion forum?” gets asked a lot of times by lots of different people. The answer is not easily explained when you’ not right in front of a computer. NOW it IS! Just point them to this page that does an excellent job of explaining the difference. There’s even a nice table there that compares blogs and forums side by side in a number of categories.
I found this one from the programmableweb.com blog. You’ll not get this one at school, but I do suggest you try it out at home.
In the search field under the initial (lame) video, type the word education, or math, or science and hit enter. That will search MANY different sites for videos tagged with that keyword and put the search results in a list underneath the video. You can cycle through the found videos by clicking the right arrow that appears when you hover over the video, or you can scroll through the list at the bottom. Or… well… you’re smart enough to figure it out.
Don’t forget that there are several firefox plugins that allow you to save the movie you’re watching so that you can take it to school for your classes.
Check it out. Remember, as with any public site, there are folks using it whom you wish weren’t. J
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Am I too geeky, or is this really funny? I mean, I GET all the little references – like the hardest hit nation is Nigeria since “…94% of its gross national product comes from ‘Internet ventures’.” ROFL!! Get it? “Coming up.. one man’s effort to rebuild his Flickr albums.” TOO FUNNY!!!
OK… so maybe I should shut this down and go outside and play for a while.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
This one was on Rocketboom today. Someone has filed a patent application for…. Drum roll… a THINKING MACHINE! (cymbal crash!)
Here’s what the site says about this machine:
“A thinking system and method is provided by the present invention. In the present invention, the “thinking” system is capable of accepting information from outside environment, analyzing the information, requesting additional information, and then resulting the problem. More particularly, the system can make new rules according to the information within the system and the new information received and requested. The rule making process is not controlled by outside command, but by an internal controlling mechanism that can be modified by the outside commands. Further, the system comprises a knowledge structure that can be used by the system for analyzing the inputted information, making request for additional information, making new rules, and solving problems, wherein the knowledge structure comprises element files include direct link information of the elements with other elements of the element files in the knowledge structure.”
No word on how much it will cost or how soon we can expect to equip our students with one so they won’t have to think at all! In theory, then, ALL of our students will be able to get perfect scores on their SAT’s. Of course, like the calculators before them, it may take a couple of years before students will be able to use one when taking the test. J
Ask your high school students to write about what they know about the Aids virus in Africa. What do they know about the spread in Africa? What do they think is the cause? How do they think it might be prevented?
NOW, show them this video and ask, “How do you think and feel about this problem NOW?” This is a WONDERFUL perspective of the epidemic framed in economic issues and sociological issues. You know, this is one of the world’s problems that they will have to solve.
How’s THIS for a VERY cool idea? On a given day at a given time(s) you get photographers from around the world to document what was going on where they were. Then, you collect all this data and put it into an amazing mosaic. Trace your mouse over the mosaic to see popups of the photos below. Click a photo to read the story associated with it. Make sure you watch the trailers, too. Breathtaking! (The link to the second one is a tiny link under the first trailer.) The world at work, at play, at war, at rest. Outstanding. And to think that the film’s producers had to sell shave ice to raise money to make the film. I especially liked the one man’s comment about there being so many creative people in the world. Indeed there are.
This site is chuck FULL of writing prompts, isn’t it?
OK…ok..ok…. (echo fades.) This was posted here: http://www.crucialthought.com/2007/05/31/screencastomatic-intro/ and I read it first here: http://timlauer.org/2007/06/04/screencasts-from-your-browser/ Screencast-o-matic (not to be confused with Bass-o-matic) will let you make screencasts right from your browser and save it, then grab the code for your web page or link to it directly. Check out this screencast done with the program itself, entitled, “How to Make A Screencast.”
I’ll tell you what… the tools on the web, now, are SO cool, aren’t they? If any of you makes a screencast with this and you’d like to share, let me know.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Once again I came up late in trying to post something. At yesterday’s conference committee meeting for PETE&C I said that I would send out a message to my blog to alert folks to the fact that there’s still time (Until August 17th) to submit a proposal for PETE&C 2008. When I got home I decided to read my blogs first, and I’m glad I did. Jennifer Dorman beat me to the punch (again) with her mention of this call for presenters.
So, I’ll just point you to hers: http://cliotech.blogspot.com/2007/07/pete-call-for-proposals.html She put a lot more into her post than I would have into mine, anyway. :-/
While you’re there, subscribe to her blog. And check out her resources like the link to her class blog and her class podcast page, and others. Do they give you ideas?
Those who have enjoyed some of the many “Will it Blend” episodes might enjoy this one – with an iPhone!!! Mac and iPhone lovers… maybe you shouldn’t watch this.
Why can’t he stick to blending pens and aluminum cans and send ME his iphone?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"For 30 years, Sonoma State University's Project Censored has released an annual list of the most important news stories not covered by the corporate media in the United States. Here again are the Top 10 news stories that didn't make much news."
Here’s the “About this Talk” from the site:
Jonathan Harris wants to make sense of the infinite world on the Web -- so he builds dazzling graphic interfaces that help us visualize the data floating around out there. Here he presents "We Feel Fine," a project that scours blogs to collect the planet's emoti(c)ons, and the "Yahoo! Time Capsule," which preserves images, quotes and thoughts snapped up in 2006. And he premieres "Universe," which presents current events as constellations of words -- a tag cloud of our collective consciousness.
Once you watch this movie, check out the website here: http://www.wefeelfine.org/ Go to the “Open We Feel Fine” applet.
This is truly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
- 1. Can't play a video? Try us.
Play virtually any video-- Quicktime, WMV, MPEG, AVI, XVID, and more. Browse your collection, make playlists, stay organized.
- 2. Get Internet TV Shows
Subscribe to any video RSS feed, podcast, or video blog. Explore over 1,000 free channels with the built-in Channel Guide.
- 3. Search YouTube
Download and save videos from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video, and other sites.
- 4. High Definition and Fullscreen
Your computer screen is a high-def display. Watch free HD videos in gorgeous fullscreen.
- 5. BitTorrent Animal
Easily download any BitTorrent file. Fast. Then watch it in the same app. Simple.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
One thing I like about doing workshops is that I learn as much as I teach. Here's a great little tool that will save the video you're watching. Perfect for the YouTube videos that you can't see at school.
On the site, drag the button to your links bar. Then find a video on youtube or teachertube , etc, and click the new button. Very slick!
Then how do you watch the flv file? Try the VLC converter. Multi-platform. Just great! http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
Two great tools. Get 'em today!
Thanks to Chris W for sharing this with me at the Getting to One workshop tonight.
"Celtx is the first, cross-platform media application that provides support for the entire pre-production process."
It does storyboarding, character development, and so much more. And, it's FREE! And cross platform!
Check it out!
Monday, July 09, 2007
I read this tip in one of the blogs that I read faithfully, but now I can’t find it to give credit. My apologies.
Remember this post about the then upcoming show called 2057? Well, now it’s on google video. Holy cow….If even a tiny percentage of this actually comes true… wow.
These are about 40 minutes long each. Whether you believe this will actually happen, these make GREAT writing prompts.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
OK... so I wasn't quite totally honest with a couple answers, but I thought some of them were obvious gotchas. Like, have I ever thought of something to blog about while in the shower. Come ON! No serious blogger will say Yes to that one if you're looking to keep your addiction score down. What were they thinking?
57%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?
Mingle2 - Online Dating
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thanks to Jaron F (how many Jaron’s do YOU know?) J for sharing a site with me that led me to Gapminder. Watch this video on Ted that features this VERY cool tool. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/92 This one is for your sociology teachers. Send it to them. Tie them down and MAKE them watch it. They’ll be glad you did. Then watch the one on the gapminder site itself: http://www.gapminder.org/video/video/1---health-money--sex-in-sweden.html You’ll get an idea of how that tool works. This is perhaps the BEST presentation I’ve EVER seen – and not one powerpoint-like slide. Watch for yourself.
The top link, however, is a direct link to a particular Presentation (More presentations found in the Left Nav area) that you’ll like. THAT is the one that your sociology teachers will be bookmarking. Just watch the first one dealing with Income in the world. (Hint: we’re VERY lucky people to be living where we do.)
Enough talking. Go check them out!
Thanks to Sue S, again, for sharing this site. Here’s one for your English teachers. It’s the Center for Programs in Contemporary Wring at the University of *Pennsylvania. Hear poetry read by the authors and others. Check out the Anthologies area and in particular the Dada Sounds section. This may not be MY cup of tea, but I’ll bet it would make for a great (threaded?) discussion with your upperclassmen. Have them listen to some of the work in the Stray Singles Index area and blog about them, perhaps. This is also… well.. so much more.
My only frustration with the site is that it had so many file types, and I still don’t have Real Player installed so I couldn’t watch a couple of the movies. But, for the serious English class that is studying poetry, this site is a must-see.
* Anyone here remember watching the old Jiminy Cricket? Do you remember the song that he would sing about the Encyclopedia? E-nc-yc-lo-pediaaaaa. Well, that’s how I learned how to spell Pennsylvania when I was a kid. It fit to the same tune and rhythm that Jiminy used for Encyclopedia. To this day, when I type or spell those words I mentally do so to that tune. I even type them to the rhythm. Er… is that a sign of a sickness? J
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Anne Smith from Arapahoe SD at the NECC conference in Atlanta. I’ve pointed you to her site before (http://tipline.blogspot.com/2006/12/tips-power-of-blogging.html) . While I didn’t get to talk with her as much as I would have liked, I did talk to her long enough for her to suggest that I check out the student work that was done for her final project of the year. I will let you read it as she wrote it so that I don’t misspeak about any part of it.
But, you should see – you NEED to see – the student projects that she has posted there. You need to see them for a couple of reasons. First, they are OUTSTANDING! Second – these are 9th graders! When I see work like this I keep thinking, “My, how we underestimate them.” Third, I LOVE the idea of this assessment – AND of the BIG question that she put forth at the beginning of the year, “What does literature say about human beings?” Fourth, I love how they made this assignment personal. Watch their movies. Listen to them. My, how we underestimate them. Fifth, this is BOUND to give you ideas for other ways that YOU can assess your students. Perhaps, rather than marching them through a multiple choice test, if you give them the opportunity to tell you what the stories mean to them, you will find a MUCH deeper understanding of the stories than you thought.
Check out her rubric, too. As she says, the students worked with her to develop that rubic.
Hats off to Anne and especially to her students whose work is shown here.
Monday, July 02, 2007
http://meneame.wikispaces.com/ - in Spanish (give anyone an idea?)
I was on the Wikispaces site today and clicked on a couple links to see what others are doing with the wiki. Above are four wikis that I thought would spark a bit of creativity in you. Check them out. Did any of them give you an idea for what you’ll do with YOUR students next fall?
MANY thanks to Sherri M for sharing this one.
I stumbled upon this page after seeing her post on the Classroom 2.0 ning site. The above page contains some links to some great resources for free visual materials, from clipart to videos, and all licensed on the “Copyleft” licenses. (See her description of that on the site.
While you’re there, scroll all the way down to see her post on free audio resources, as well. The click Previous Posts to see other episodes of hers.
For those of you who aren’t blog readers, you may not have seen this movie about wikis. CommonCraft has created a few of these movies designed to make the ideas of RSS, Social Networking, Blogs, and even wikis easy to understand. This one, “Wikis in Plain English” my be just what your students (or other teachers) need in order to have that “ah-ha!” moment with wikis.
Here are the YouTube links to some of those movies:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY – wikis in Plain English
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc – social networking in Plain English
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU – RSS in Plain English
- http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=51aeb480ecbd988cd8cc – Wikis in Plain English