Monday, June 29, 2009

Why They THink They Can Succeed

I'm in Washington, DC this week for NECC, and already the trip has been extraordinary. I want to share one story with you.

After the edubloggercon gathering on Saturday, the great folks from Wikispaces held a reception. While mingling with the guests we met a young man, Evan Morikawa, who seemed to be soacking this all in with special interest. He appeared to be about 19 (younder, actually) so we were curious of his connection. It turns out that he is one of the co-founders of Alightlearning.com. That, in istself was pretty cool, but his story is even better.

He was happily attending college in Massachusets, somewhere (Sorry, I forget where) when his friend received an invitation to the premier showing of the Google Wave. Everyone who was lucky enough to be there received an API code so that they could begin to develop apps for this amazing product. That changed their lives. They were so blown away by the possibilities of that app that they then began to view college as just being in their way. They dropped out of college to begin work on their app idea.

That alone is pretty amazing and gutsy isn't it? But, we loved his response when asked why he thought they could make it in this economy when other web services have failed. Evan replied, "Because Blackboard sucks and they charge $100,000 per school." :-)

I love their idea for their app, and I love their attitude. Can't wait to see their Google Wave app when it's released later this year. Good luck, guys.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twitter reacts to Michael Jackson's death

Another reason why I love twitter. Today @dwarlick posted a link to this video of twitscoop in which we see clearly how the world was chatting about the news of Michael Jackson's death. Watch closely and you'll see his name appear in the list, but not very large. Then you can see it grow as more and more people spread the news. Suddenly the word arrest appears. Then Cardiac. Finally, at the end you can see the key words have told the story.

Very interesting. I encourage you to visit the twitscoop site and watch the live cloud for a while.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Amazing Day

Today was an historic day in the world. The elections in Iran sparked demonstrations by the people there insisting on their freedom. They objected to what they call a fixed election and have, in spite of everything, taken their anger to the streets in incredible numbers. And, they used the social medium of the web to help spread their message.

They posted pictures on Flickr, they tweeted messages and images on Twitpic, posted videos on Youtube and in blogs, created petitions. We were able to follow up to the minute events and see incredible images like these in the Boston Globe. There was so much of a new leak there today that the Government shut down the social media sites. Listen to the end of this video to hear how the government was trying to shut down communication to the outside world. And, when word got out that the government was cracking down on access to social media sites, the world rallied to provide them with the addresses of proxies that they could use to bypass the filters to keep the lines of communication open. Take this tweet, for example, "RT @oliverg: pass it on RT @emsenn:Iran proxies 218.128.112.18:8080 218.206.94.132:808 218.253.65.99:808 219.50.16.70:8080 #iranelection" It was simply amazing to watch. The world was responding to the human story here, without regard to the politics between Iran and their own countries.

There was so much coverage on those sites that some folks began to criticize CNN for not being up to speed with the twitterers and bloggers, etc. And that criticism boiled over until CNN just HAD to respond. This is a perfect video to tell the story of the nature of news today. PERFECT.



When Clay Shirky writes the next edition of his book, "Here Comes Everybody" he's SURE to include many of the stories that have arisen from the events of today. And, stay tuned. This is far from over. Neither the story of the election nor the story of the coverage of the election.

This was a GREAT day to be working with teachers and trying to show them the power of social media, Twitter, specifically. In Tweetdeck I created a Search column for the word Tehran and that's how I followed the events. There was a hashtag of #iranelections too that I could have chosen to follow. But, the bottom line is that I was following up to the minute reports from the people who were living the event.

It was also interesting how some folks commented that they wondered how the Tienanmen Square incident would have been different had the technology been as it is today. Hmmm... I wonder.

P.S.
This is another example just tweeted (9:31PM) by @whynot88: http://iran.twazzup.com/ - real-time tweets from Iran. And this one posted by ??? (I can't find the post again!) that shows pics from today and the number of times the image was retweeted: http://picfog.com/search/Tehran

P.P.S. (Tuesday)
This article on BoingBoing talks about how NOT to use the social media to help your cause. Check it out, too. It falls under the heading of "Best Intentions." For example, posting the proxies wasn't the best idea, although it had the best intentions. My point for my post, however, is the same. It was AMAZING to watch this issue being covered on Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, etc. This changes everything!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

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Monday, June 08, 2009

The purpose of school

At today's workshop about an hour North of here, I asked the teachers (in a polleverywhere poll) to tell me what they thought was the purpose of school. Not original, certainly. But, the idea was to ask again at the end to see if their thoughts had changed. The session ran long so I didn't get to ask the seond time. Here, though, is the list of thoughts that they submitted during the first round:

To prepare students for the future.
help children learn- keep their minds busy
To create an educated population that is capable of supporting the needs of the nation such that all people have access to resources that are essential to life.
It depends on whose point of view we are using. The government's point of view is to create "good" citizens. The business world's point of view is to create good workers and problem solvers. The academic world's point of view is to create good thinkers.
The purpose of school is to promote life-long learning.
To educate students and make them self-reliant is the purpose of school.
the purpose of school is to help each child reach their potential
To prepare students for career and social needs.
The purpose of school is to create independent, adult learners.
to facilitate student learning and to prepare them for success in the real world
How to acquire and learn new informaton
the purpose is to input the brain as much as possible
To help students to use critical thinking, to help them to be able to gather information and to use it in our global community.
The purpose of school is the provide opportunities for every student to develop their potential so that they may be productive members of society.
To prepare students for be productive members of society.
provide core information and prepare students for the future
To educate young individuals preparing them for tomorrow.
to learn
to impart knowledge: about academics and everyday living
To educate students and prepare them for life whether it be academia or job-force.
To be competent citizen in a democracy.
The purpose of school is to educate our students so that they can have the tools necessary to enhance their knowledge and skills to contribute or acquire a 21st century career.
for a job
To facilitate and provide experiences that encourage curiosity and learnintg in a safe and caring atmosphere.
The purpose of school is to educate children so they may become a productive member of society as it is today and also as it will be in the future.
To provide educational opportunities for all students with a variety of learning styles.
To educate students in all subject areas. To build confidence in students and to build life skills.

Interesting, no?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A GREAT deal - and more

It's only 10:00 AM, and I've been at my computer for only an hour or so. But, in that hour I've learned a TON of things from my friends on twitter. What a day it's been already.

First, let me apologize to those folks who tweeted some of these and I can't seem to find them now to give you credit.

Some of what I learned:
Not sure about twittter? Really, you have to try it. Follow the educators. You'll learn more in a day than you did in an entire class that you may have taken in your life.

Yikes! It's now almost 11:00 AM. No, the article didn't take this long to write. I just got distracted by other tweets.