Sunday, August 31, 2008

[TIPS] Convention speeches on iTunes

Thanks to Kyle Simon for sharing this one with me via email.

He wrote:

The speeches from the political conventions are available in audio (all) and video (some) via itunes.  I am sure they are available on youtube but they will probably be in higher quality via itunes.

Here are the links:



Are you planning to have your students analyze the speeches? This might be the perfect place to get them. Unless... PLEASE don't tell me that iTunes is blocked in your school, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

[TIPS] A keynote to remember - WATCH THIS!

Thanks to Craig Nansen for tweeting this today.

Could YOU stand up and deliver a powerful, motivating speech to over 20,000 teachers? I get nervous with just TWO thousand. I can’t imagine twenty thousand. (OK, ok.. So I’ve never spoken to two thousand people before. But if I DID I’d be nervous, OK?) :-)

The POINT is.... You MUST check out this keynote speaker who gets that crowd of 20,000 cheering and applauding and, at the end, jumping to their feet. His message is outstanding -”Do YOU Believe In Me?” Outstanding.

Why would a speaker ask if we believe in him? Well, he looks to be all of maybe 11 or 12 years old.

If you’ve got 5 minutes, stop right now and watch the whole thing. Do YOU believe in YOUR students?

Monday, August 25, 2008

[TIPS] Not low expectations, but unrealistic ones? (excerpt here:

You may have to log in to see that. Not sure. But, according to the book by Charles Murray entitled, “Real Education”, ( the problem with our schools may not be one of schools that expect too little and then are upset when they GET it, but rather schools that expect too MUCH. Unrealistic expectations.

Can we even SAY that? ;-)

“The problem with American education, according to Mr. Murray, is not what President Bush termed the "soft bigotry of low expectations" but rather the opposite: Far too many young people with inherent intellectual limitations are being pushed to advance academically when, Mr. Murray says, they are "just not smart enough" to improve much at all. It is "a triumph of hope over experience*," he says, to believe that school reform can make meaningful improvements in the academic performance of below-average students. (He might have noted, but doesn't, that such students are disproportionately black and Hispanic.)”

How many of us have argued that same point? An interesting read. Check it out.

* I always thought that quote was in reference to second marriages. :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

[TIPS] A wonderful blog and video to see - 1st graders!

“We like our blogging buddies, we like them very much”

Stop right now and go to this post:

Two things. First, you’ll smile the entire way through this video as these young first graders rap and dance in honor of their “blogging buddies.” It’s just too cute. (That’s how I look when I try to do that rap thang. :-) )

But second, check out where their rap buddies are from. What do you think those kids think of the world now? These kids are blogging and skyping with kids from around the world. Listen to the word to this little rap they’re having such fun with. Who can argue that this isn’t great stuff? Who can argue and say that blogs and skype have no place in school? These kids were writing and talking with kids from other countries, for crying out loud! Yet, those tools are blocked in most of the districts in my own IU area. In most districts across the state, I would guess.

WAKE UP, folks! (Not YOU, the OTHER folks!) These tools aren’t evil! They are making possible the most significant change to happen to education since the chalk!

Oh, and thanks to Dean Shareski who shared this tonight (Saturday night around midnight) on Twitter.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

[TIPS] Two amazing videos to watch

The first one:

The second one:

Both of those videos show some AMAZING new video software that.. Well.. They will make it damn near impossible to be sure that you’re seeing what you think you’re seeing. In the first video, the woman is actually a computer generated woman. You won’t believe it. In the second one, watch as the computer adds tings to the images that aren’t there, and the video is still as smooth and perfectly believable as the original.

Project this out another 15 years. We won’t be able to believe ANYTHING we see. It used to be that you could only believe none of what a politician said, and only half of what you saw him/her do. Now you won’t be able to believe ANYTHING. We think political ads are nasty now, just wait until folks can manipulate videos like what you’ll see in those two videos. Wow...

Now, here’s the funny part. When I watched that second video I thought, “Oh he’s going to LOVE the other one I saw just a couple days ago. It was about this new video editing software from Microsoft...” And so I set out to find it. Then I remembered that I had starred it in my Google Reader, so I rushed over there and checked it out. THERE IT WAS! Oh... It was ANOTHER one of Alec’s posts from just a couple days before.

Do you read his blog? You should, you know. He finds some of the coolest stuff.


I was pointed to this from the Google Earth blog post here: My opinion – if you’re not already using Google Earth to teach Geography or Social Studies, then you NEED to invest some time here. THERE’S WAY more to it than just looking up your home.

Maybe you’ve been talking about the global warming issue – both sides of the debate. Maybe you’ve been talking about how our need for oil drives our foreign policies. Maybe you’ve been talking about alternative energy sources, like wind, hydroelectric, and others. Then you NEED to check out that website (top) and the gearth blog post. In fact, I’ve said before, you NEED to subscribe to the gearth blog. It’s EXCELLENT!!!

There’s a KMZ (google earth) file that is referred to in this post, and you’re going to want to download it and check it out. It shows a map of the US colored in to show the amount of geothermal energy that is available in the different locations.

By the way, do YOU have your students creating and sharing kmz files as part of their assignments? If not, why not? Wouldn’t it make a GREAT assignment for the students to create a world map showing, say, conflicts of the world, or religions of the world, etc, and tie it in to the news, maybe news that they have found at iCue. If you’re studying the relationships of geography to exports and inports, what better way than to create a kmz gile that takes the reader on a virtual tour?

If your teachers don’t know how to use Google earth, then why don’t YOU take the bull by the horns and set up a series of workshops to show them how. There are lots of online tutorials to help, as well. And, if the site isn’t blocked at school (don’t get me started), show them the gearth blog, as well.

Tutorials (just a few) – my July post that points to a tutorial or two - lots of videos on the google video site – videos on youtube - LOTS of very good tutorials

[TIPS] National Center for EdTech Research

You know by now that the Learning.Now blog is one of my favorites, and today’s article is another example of just why I like it so much. In this article we learn that the Federal government is going to establish a National Center for EdTech Research. Read this post and follow the link to the Fact sheet ( that tells more about the goals of the Center.

I wonder...

What if the study reports that blogging really IS an EXCELLENT way to improve student writing? THEN, will our schools stop blocking them? Or what if they say that wikis are the PERFECT tools for collaboration? THEN will schools stop blocking them? What if they say that sites like Delicious, Diigo, Flickr, and YouTube are all EXCELLENT resources that schools should be using? THEN can we use them? What if they say that Second Life is a great tool, too? Well, now I’ve gone too far even for my own argument, haven’t I? :-)

Still, I’m looking forward to reading the results of their work. I wonder how many teachers will be hired there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Did You Know - updated

Tonight a tweet by karen Janowski (karenJan) pointed me to Karl Fisch’s blog post here:

THAT pointed me to this: or This is the Music Industry’s version of Karl’s Did You Know presentation.

Those who know this presentation will get a kick out of the new version. Those who haven’t seen it.. Well.. You’re probably not reading the blog post.

Can you imagine what a kick it must be for Karl who made this presentation to show to his faculty a couple years ago in 2006? (, He released it with the purest of intentions, saying that if you wanted to use it, go ahead. BAM! WORLD FAMOUS in a matter of a few weeks. It has done more to start conversations than anything else we’ve seen. People didn’t read, “The World is Flat”, perhaps, but they DID see this presentation.

And now THIS version. Why? The STORY! The MESSAGE! Are schools listening? Probably not. This is in a blog – and it’s blocked at school.

Congratulation, Karl.

[TIPS] Now HERE is a life-long learner

Thanks to Kevin White for sharing this with me via email.

This is the story of a 70 year old man who, at the age of 8, had to go to work in the fields and consequently never learned how to read or write. But, he promised his mother that he WOULD learn one day. So he went back to school – in first grade – and began his journey to learn to read and write.

Watch this video. It’ll warm your heart.

[TIPS] Interview with Dan Pink

How’s THIS for a coup: Our own Dave Solon (IU13) scores an interview with Dan Pink. Yes, THAT Dan Pink, author of, “A Whole New Mind.”

In this interview, Dan talks about his newest book, “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko.” It’s an unusual book, written in the form of Manga, a comic book style popular in Japan.

But the point is... Holy cow, Dave. Way to go!!!

Now go out and give that interview a listen.

[TIPS] Boy Drops out to play Guitar Hero???

Thanks to Dave S for sharing this one with me. It's... I don't even know HOW to describe it.

It's about a 16 yr old boy who is dropping out of school so he can focus his attention on playing.. er perhaps BEING... a Guitar Hero. Yes, he's going to become a professional gamer. After all, the TOP gamers can rake in as much as $80k/yr - sitting around playing games. The article says that most will only make around $25k, however.

Once again, MORE proof that we've got our priorities upside down in this country. This kid is going to stop his education at the age of 16, and will be able to pull in $25k/yr. No benefits, of course, but who needs them when he's just 16 and still covered by his parent's policy? On the other hand, I've been taking classes all my life (just last September I completed the Master's of Instructional Technology program), and I've got well over 30 years of experience, and I'M NOT MAKING AS MUCH AS A GAMER????? CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING????

Monday, August 18, 2008

[TIPS] oh my... 3000 homeless kids in ONE DISTRICT?

That was twitted just now (nod to cathyjo) and I had to stop reading it. It sickened and saddened me beyond words.

Like these two paragraphs:

"You can add another casualty to the mess created by subprime mortgage lending. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are projecting the system could see more than 3,000 homeless children when schools open this month -- a 17 percent increase since June.

Laurie Schwartz, development director with A Child's Place, a nonprofit that works closely with CMS, said officials counted 2,493 homeless children enrolled in the school system two months ago. That's a 13 percent increase from June 2007, and a 35 percent increase from the June prior."

Now, I have to wonder what's wrong in this country when this doesn't get any - or certainly not ENOUGH - attention on the news. But, we DO hear that Donald Trump is going to save Ed McMahan's home from being foreclosed.

Oh my...

[TIPS] Teaching the 2008 Election

Do YOU teach the election process to senior high students? Maybe you nkow someone who does. Well that person should read that above post from Andy Carvin in his Learning.Now blog. His article points to this site:, one that includes lesson plans, interactive activitites, other tools, and material for both elementary and high school classes.

Geez I wish I had more time to write about it. But I don't. Check it out!

[TIPS] Photos from Cern

Thanks to Tim Stahmer for this post: about this article:

This is a collection of photographs of the giant, rather, the "Large Hadron Collider" that sits on the boarder between Switzerland and France. It's a particle accelerator that some folks say will be the death of us all. Others hail it as a VERY important step into understanding - of everything. Regardless, however, these images are amazing.

When you look at these images, keep in mind this chilling fact: To make this work, the inside of that facility must be cooled to -271.25 C (-456.25 F)!! (Sorry for the 'chilling' pun)

Send this one off to your favorite science teacher. Surely this will find a place into a lesson this year.

Oh, and one more thing of note. At this time there are 1636 comments on that article. And I saw at least 4 different languages represented. I LOVE how this technology allows people to discuss the news, rather than to just consume it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

[TIPS] Words that lose their meaning...

...when the denominator approaches infinity."

What an interesting idea. Write the word "Most" on the board and ask for definitions. Then change it to:


NOW get definitions.

Then change it to:


The definition falls apart, yes? Try it with the word, "average." Or 'many', etc. That's the idea behind this fascinating article from the Long Tail blog. Business teachers will know that I'm ALWAYS pointing them to the Long Tail blog and Chris Anderson's theory.

Business teachers - WATCH that video. Read the top blog post. Do it NOW!

[TIPS] Mad Scientists - on TED

Just came upon this video on TED:

Send it to your favorite science teacher. It's a little video rap about particle physics and the collision of atoms, and... and it's fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

[TIPS] How would you teach THESE kids?

I'm a big fan of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, the author of the blog (above). Today's post came to me via the education group email from Diigo, as someone had posted it there. While I'm still going to stick with Delicious, that grouping and email thing in Diigo IS very nice.

But I digress.

Watch one or more of the videos in this blog post. They're from youtube, so you'll have to use your teacher override to the filter to see it. (You DO have that override ability, don't you?) These videos show three different students who are presenting a tutorial about some software for the Mac. That part is immaterial. The important thing here is to watch and then ask yourself, "Will I be able to REALLY engage this student using the 'traditional' methods of teaching?" These kids are publishing themselves giving tutorials. They are well thought out, very well done, and were NOT done as a homework assignment.

And then ask yourself this, "Is it still considered to be OK for us to say, 'I'm just not good with computers'?"

As Sheryl says, "Let's quit talking about it and roll up our sleeves and change our classrooms and schools into meaningful learning nodes in our students' network of learning choices."

Saturday, August 09, 2008

[TIPS] google election video search for educators

This one site will search for election videos from the candidates, based on your keyword. For example, search for education, and click McCain to hear his speeches. Or, click Obama to hear HIS speeches. A one-stop-shop.
Now, I hope you'll excuse any typos that I may have in here. I'm sitting on the porch at my cabin, listening to the katydids ("1-2-3's") with only the light of the monitor to see by. THerefore, I'm relying on my keyboarding skills to carry me throgu this. Yikes!

Friday, August 08, 2008

[TIPS] tweetdeck - my new twitter app

No, I am NOT switching to Plurk until everyone that I follow has disappeared from twitter. I just CAN'T be changing apps every time the wind blows in a new direction.

So, let me tell you about my new favorite twitter app. It's called tweetdeck ( and I LOVE it. It's an Adobe Air app (so yes, it's a pain to install - you must first install Adobe Air, etc etc). But, once it's installed it's configurable in lots of ways.

By default you have three columns. One for tweets from those whom you follow, a second that collects the @replies, and a third that collects the direct messages - d jgates513, for example. But, it goes further.

You can also set up a group column and have it follow the tweets from all those you enter into that group. For example, I've entered the names of the coaches in this area so I can watch their conversations. You can have multiple columns of groups, too, if you wish. Of course, you can only see about 3 at any one time without scrolling, so after a while you reach the point of diminishing returns.

But here is a great column idea. A Search column. Enter your search term, like itouch, for example, and this column collects tweets that contain that keyword - from the entire twitterverse. What a great way to find cool apps and tips about its use, etc. I've got one for the word 'mac' and another one for the word itouch. I've found two great itouch apps as a result, PLUS an excellent blog for mac tips and tricks - just from reading those two columns.

So, if you'd like to extend the use of twitter a bit, give tweetdeck a try.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

[TIPS] Second Life - Why it's not for me

Everywhere I go, it seems, folks are telling me that I should get into second life, or that there are so many good uses for it in education, etc, etc. I don't buy it.

First, for those of you who may not know what second life is, try these two links: (a cbs news segment - after the 30 second commercial), and (some videos from the secondlife site itself)

From my perspective, yes, I know that there are some wonderful virtual sites in there ( but there is a lot of smut in there, as well. ( But, we're talking about an institution that is still blocking delicious, and flickr, and all blogs, and all wikis, for crying out loud. Second life will NEVER fly in public schools. You won't find a tech director anywhere who will want to devote bandwidth to second life, even if we DID somehow manage to get past the smut part. It just won't happen.I know of schools who won't allow Google Earth because of the bandwidth We think they're going to allow SecondLife? Not in THIS life, they won't.

So, while there may be some fun stuff to do in there, I'll continue to focus on things that I think WILL get into schools. Sorry, guys.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

[TIPS] Go!Animate

I've been seeing lots of talk about this Go! Animate site, so I went out this Am and checked it out. What fun! You've GOT to try it. My advice is to watch the demo first, but it really is quite intuitive. I made one in about ten minutes, and if you visit the blog you'll be able to see it. Go! Animate allows you to embed your work.

The ONLY thing that MAY be a problem for some is that one possible action that a character can do is to either 'give a beer' or 'take a beer.' Is that a showstopper? Gosh I hope not.

Check it out!!! Oh, and go to my blog ( in a couple minutes and check out my goofy sample. :-)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

[TIPS] watch this YouTube video

Thanks again to Alec Couros for pointing us to this video:

His post is here:

This should be a MUST-SEE video for .. just about ANYONE who has even a passing interest in what's going on on the web. In this case, the man who created the video, "The Machine is Us/ing Us" gives a talk to the Library of Congress about user-created content. What's interesting is that it examines this from the anthropological perspective.

I'm going to assign it to my grad class and open a discussion forum for it.

Thanks again, Alec.

Warning: In a couple instances you'll hear the ol' F-bomb. But, don't let that chase you away.

Friday, August 01, 2008

[TIPS] Now THIS is going too far...

I can't stop thinking about this. I recently heard from a person who was using the "company issued" laptop while attending a mini-conference. While at work this person is filtered from using such things as social ANYTHING sites (well, delicious is ok, but no diigo or ning, or such), personal email sites, no flickr, no twitter or plurk, etc etc. This, by the way, is a place with all adults!

But here's the killer - this person is ALSO blocked from those sites when AWAY and on another network!

What does THAT say? I'm even too angry about it to even THINK straight. This person is supposed to be a LEADER in the field of education. Yet, even when this person is away from the employer's network, the filter restricts access. What is it? Is this person not trusted? Does the network administrator, maybe, have a control issue? Is that person also making curriculum decisions for this employee?


[TIPS] Did you know there were THIS many wiki sites?

I knew of about ten or so of these sites, but - wow! This is a list of 30 places to go to get a free wiki.

Interesting what it says about some of the favorites.

[TIPS] Days with My Father

This is... beautiful. Very sad, but beautiful. Philip Toledano is an artist/photographer who took a series of wonderful pictures of his 94 yr old father who was suffering from dementia. He put the images together into a wonderful slideshow, along with some text. VERY touching.

As Alec Couros said in his blog (, THIS is how to do digital storytelling.

[TIPS] Math + Origami - a TED video

What do cookoo clocks, telescopes, airbags, cockroaches, and heart stents have in common? They can all be made using Origami. Watch this video to see how a new breakthrough in the understanding of origami has made it possible to fold - just about ANYthing.

Send this one to your favorite math teachers. This is just SO cool!

(Do you think I'll ever make it to a TED conference?)