Archive for August, 2006

QJ.NET – MMORPG Blog – 24/7 Coverage of the Latest MMORPG News – MMOs: The New Pubs?

Monday, August 21st, 2006

QJ.NET – MMORPG Blog – 24/7 Coverage of the Latest MMORPG News – MMOs: The New Pubs? This is a brief overview of new research by Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams. Highlights include the following:

MMOs can “promote sociability and new worldviews… MMOs can also expose gamers to ideas, world views and cultures they might not otherwise get a chance to experience. “Spending time in these social games helps people meet others not like them, even if it doesn’t always lead to strong friendships. That kind of social horizon-broadening has been sorely lacking in American society for decades,” explained Steinkuehler and Williams.

Sadly I don’t see a link to the original research. :(

i d e a n t: Video Games, Authority, and Problem-based Thinking

Monday, August 21st, 2006

i d e a n t: Video Games, Authority, and Problem-based Thinking (Via Mr. Belshaw.) Here is a great thread of posts pointed out by Mr. Belshaw. Ulises Ali Mejias at Ideant responds to a Hapers Magazine article, which documented a conversation including game designer Raph Koster, who then responded to Mejias’ post.

BLC06 Conference Podcasts Have Been Posted

Monday, August 21st, 2006

BLC06 Conference Podcasts Have Been Posted (Via Brian Mull.) Lainie McGann tipped me off to these a few days ago (se did a lot of work on these I believe), and now here they are in Brian Mull’s feed. From the titles and descriptions, these look like great resources for those who weren’t able to make it to the Building Learning Communities Conference this year. Here’s a direct link to the podcasts.

New Poll: 9 out of 10 Parents Think They Should Have a Lot of Responsibility for Ensuring Kids’ Internet Safety – Techweb

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

New Poll: 9 out of 10 Parents Think They Should Have a Lot of Responsibility for Ensuring Kids’ Internet Safety – Techweb (Via Educational Technology.) I’m passing this on because it’s directly related to my last post. I may be able to incorporate some of this data into my presentation. Here is a direct link to the article.

Crowdsourcing a Draft of Internet Awareness and Safety for Educators

Friday, August 18th, 2006

I’ve been hard at work on a rough draft of Internet Awareness and Safety for Educators. As I shared before, I am producing this for the Laguna Beach Unified School District and the Orange County Department of Education, but the final product will be shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license, so anyone else will be able to use it (if they can make sense of my bullet points).

I will be receiving feedback on this draft from the district IT director after he shares it with his board next week. In the meantime, I thought I should share it here because many readers of this blog are experts in this area… or would be the potential audience for this presentation.

Eventually there will be some brief and easy to read handouts to accompany the presentation. There will also be a version for parents. I also know I’ll need to clean up these slides (and probably cut quite a bit) in the end.

I’m hoping some of you will let me know what else I’ve left out, what I should change, and what you’d like to see from a presentation like this. After all, we’ll all be able to use it once I’m done – and everyone’s students will benefit from a job well done. :)

At any rate, I’m hoping some of you are feeling generous enough – or curious enough – to check it out.

Incidentally, I tried to cite my souces and give credit where credit is due whenever possible in the presentation, but I relied heavily on the work of Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Danah Boyd in particular… so I also want to recognize my debt to them here.

Ok, now the link (11.1 MB):

I’m looking forward to your comments.

UPDATE: Thank you for the feedback I’ve received so far… and sorry to any Windows users who couldn’t see all the images. I’ve posted a more PC friendly version now. This goes to the LBUSD board tonight and then I’ll be making more changes and incorporating your feedback. Don’t hesitate to still pipe in!

CUE to YOU Professional Development

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

This is a big announcement for me… I’ve been contracted by CUE (Computer Using Educators) to coordinate their CUE to YOU professional development program. Yesterday was my first official day on the job (though we’ve been working towards this for some time), and I’m now listed on the contacts page (complete with email address).

I’m honored to be able to contribute in this way to the premier educational technology professional organization in the Western United States, and I look forward to serving CUE members, affiliates, and other California educators in this capacity.

The idea behind this service is to bring the experience of the popular CUE Conference to you. So, if you or your organization is interested in hosting a hands-on CUE workshop (or in bringing in a CUE lead learner to present at your event) please let me know. :)

Friendly Hippo

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Friendly Hippo (Via Stephen’s Untold Stories.) My family and I are big hippo fans… and Stephen Rahn has posted a fun video I want to share.

Welcome to the Blogosphere HBHS

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

This morning I am back at Huntington Beach High School for Day Three of their Tech Summer Camp. Yesterday Robert Craven and I joined them for four hours. I led them through a hands-on introduction to Audacity, and Robert gave them an orientation to their new Cannon A620 Digital Cameras and to Picasa. Today I started the day with my introduction to blogs and the read/write web, and Robert moved them forward into Podcasting. The sessions were short (less than 2 hours each) and there were a handful of setup and technical challenges, but boy did the 28 participants learn a lot – and boy did they seem to enjoy it. I always enjoy working with enthusiastic teachers… especially when they are choosing to come to a training during their summer break!

They didn’t get a lot of opportunities to explore what’s out there, so I left them with Will’s site, Dave’s site, and this site as places to start. (From there I’m sure they’ll be able to find dozens of other amazing educational blogs.) I am writing this post to welcome them to the blogosphere. :)

For my part, I really got spoiled by the Blogging Institute at the OCDE last month. I enjoyed having the time to really delve into questions. Thankfully, HBHS teachers can still visit my Blogging Institute category to explore the resources and links we generated at that event.

I know these things will only gain limited traction due to a one shot summer camp, but they’ve got some enthusiastic folks there (including Jamie Knight, the Loud Librarian), and I look forward to seeing how these seeds we’ve planted will grow at HBHS.

Lead a Balanced Life

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Lead a balanced life (Via Lifehacker.) Lifehacker is often a low signal to noise feed for me, but this was one of those (non-technical) gems that keeps me subscribed. This bit in particular caught my attention:

Recognize you have the right to be healthier than those around you.

I also followed the link through to the original post, where these ten tips are all elaborated (my own reflections are in parenthesis):

  1. Go home from work on time. (I started doing this before I quit. Now I need to stick to regular work hours. Both tactics have worked well.)
  2. Don’t be a yes person. (This one is still very difficult for me – and I’ve gotten much better.)
  3. Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. (I’ve been slowly getting better at this over the last few years… and I am finally starting to wake up without an alarm clock on a week day – and it’s much nicer.)
  4. Slow down. (This is still very hard for me, but I’m getting better… sometimes.)
  5. Don’t buy into the culture around you if you don’t want to. (I think I do well at this… but boy is it relative… do I buy into the edublogger culture too readily?)
  6. Create your own sub-culture involving your friends and family. (What a great idea! I’ve been missing this.)
  7. Recognize you have the right to be healthier than those around you. (The original post actually says “if everyone else around you drink too much coffee – that doesn’t mean you have to” – and I’ve been clean for almost six months! Still, I appreciate finding this reminder.)
  8. Do something meaningful with your spare time. (I think a PhD counts… but I miss playing guitar and writing songs… ah, but this is about volunteering. I still get a zero there – except that I work in education – and do lots of overtime for free.)
  9. Let go of the need to buy the next big thing. (It’s hard, but working for myself has suddenly made me much more thrifty.)
  10. Develop compassion, patience and tolerance for your fellow people. (This always takes work.)

The original post is worth a read, too.

I was also happy to see this related post – especially since I’ve made getting to the gym regularly a priority now that I set my own schedule: Exercise can make you a better entrepreneur (Via Lifehacker.) Others, including educators, can reap these benefits, too – particularly this one:

Growth: When you are working out, you are growing. Even if your only growing physically, your still on a path to a better place. This dynamic alone improves your mindset tremendously. There is no worse feeling then being stagnent.

Ultimately, if we can’t lead a balanced life, we can’t fully serve our students – or model a healthy life for them. I know I’m a “work-a-holic” because that’s what I knew growing up. I hope I’ll set a better example for my kids, my students, and participants in my professional development sessions. In fact, these “and Life” posts are an effort to do just that.

Incidentally, speaking of balance… I posted this while on a conference call. But is that good or not? ;)

UPDATE:I’m going to answer my own quesion – on balance I think that’s bad. In fact, I’d like to add one to this list.

11. Let yourself do one thing at a time. (This makes me so much more satisfied from moment to moment and at the end of the day… I can point to a few things I did well.)

Blogger Launches New Beta

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Blogger Launches New Beta (Via Wired News: Technology.) This is big news (in blogging circles – or at least among blogging trainers), so I’m passing it on straight away:

Blogger went live with a beta version of their new blogging tool this morning. This is the first major upgrade for the DIY-publishing site since Pyra Labs, the creator of Blogger, was purchased by Google in 2003.

Of course, in those places where Blogger is blocked, we still have