Archive for October, 2006

Tech Planning in Palm Springs

Monday, October 30th, 2006

I’m here with a variety of stakeholders in Palm Springs USD, asking them these familiar questions (their answers are in italics):

1. What is a blog? It’s a weblog. A personal website that other people can add things to. You often get sent there when searching the web.. it’s a source of information.

2. What is the read/write web? A website you can also add things to. Is it like MySpace where you can leave messages for each other? How about electronic bulletin boards?

3. What do these technologies mean for you and your students? Online collaboration. Access to more than you want them to have… and access from home. Access to misinformation. 

So we’ve got work to do…

More Workshop Wikis

Friday, October 27th, 2006

I’m presenting five sessions at the San Diego Computer Using Educators Tech Fair on Saturday. Here are the wikis I’ve put together for those sessions. These presentation notes are a bit sparse without the speaking I’ll be doing, but I know at least one of my sessions will be recorded, and I’ll share that here, too.

In the meantime, feel free to contribute to the new wikis. :)

Power Up: An Introduction to Video Games in Education
It Really Is Really Simple! An Introduction to RSS in Education
Wiki While You Work: An Introduction to Wikis in Education
What More Could You Ask For? An Introduction to Open Source Software
Google More… An Introduction to Google in Education

FBI Publications – A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

FBI Publications – A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety I don’t know how I haven’t come across this before, but this is the FBI’s “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety.” It’s not terribly in-depth, but its certainly got high marks for authority of the source. This resource will now be a part of my internet safety presentations.

On another note, I only had 250 items in my feed reader today. :)

Student Blog Post: Memories

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Will Richardson and others have asked where the great student bloggers are. Well, I think I’ve finally found one. Jo McLeay, of The Open Classroom, pointed to a student blog from her MySpace blog of all places, and I thus discovered Casper’s blog. This recent post is a great example of fluid, focused, insightful writing by an eighth grader… and inspired by a book assigned in English class no less. Enjoy, and then check out some of the other posts: Memories (Via My Year 8 English Experience.)

Links: Video Games in Education

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

I’ve been considering link posts like this for a while. These are all from this morning’s feeds alone (I caught up on over 1600 feeds this morning… it’s been a while… and it felt good to stick my head up into the blogosphere again). I literally have hundreds of similar links I can post when I have time… if this is useful to you. (Chime in with comments if so.)

At any rate, here are some recent posts about video games in education. Most were supportive, but I did come across one dissenting opinion.

This AP article appeared all over my search feeds this morning. I’ve pointed to CNN: Not playing around: Scientists say video games can reshape education – There are some good questions raised at the end of the article. A good summary can also be found here: Scientists say that games are good.

Here is an unrelated post reflecting on an Idea: engage kids with things that interest them.

Then, in David Warlick’s Catching Up! post, he mentions he’ll be moderating a panel on Video Games in Education at an upcoming conference. I’m always excited when educational thought leaders like Warlick pay attention to this topic. :)

Oh, and here’s that dissenting opinion. It’s an interesting read… in parts. I suspect these are views we will have to respect and address, though, for this movement to be successful: Video Games as Education

UPDATE: Unlike this blog, the EdGames blog from SDSU has been producing some great content and links very consistently!

UPDATE 2: Scott McLeod, who keeps up a wonderful and Dangerously Irrelevant blog, has a series of posts up about Games, Cognition, and Education: Part I, Part II, Part III

I’ve Been Busy Part IV: Now Back to Doctoral Work

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Last week, in the online forum Walden University provides for students with the same faculty mentor, I wrote the following about the writing I’ve been doing for my KAMs (Knowledge Area Modules – writing projects leading up to the dissertation… I’m on my last one):

Incidentally, I’ve been reflecting on KAM writing lately, and find that I don’t getting into the flow state as I do when I’m doing other writing. I’m consistently unengaged with and disappointed with my KAMs, and I think I’m realizing why. I’m not writing for an audience (I don’t even have one in mind other than the assessor) and I’m not writing for a purpose (other than to pass the KAM). Also, since the purpose of the KAM is merely to demonstrate my knowledge, I find it difficult to write anything creative (especially when there is so much knowledge to acquire and demonstrate as it is). I’m curious what you all think about this.

I later spent half of Saturday and half of Sunday this past weekend writing about 15 pages of crap for my final remaining KAM. (I’ve been researching, note-taking, and outlining for months in preparation for this.)

More significantly, I brought this up with Eva on Sunday evening and we chatted. I said things like “when I write for my blog or for an article I’m including only what I think is important, but when I’m writing a KAM I’m trying to show that I read all these books and articles.” Of course, she was wise enough to say simply, “you should only be writing what’s important in your KAM, too.” Which, basically, is something my assessors have been trying to tell me for quite some time now. And it’s why I usually write close to 60 pages per section (instead of 30… and each KAM has three sections).

The bottom line is, I had a breakthrough that night, and finally turned a corner I new I was going to have to turn before finishing the degree. I resolved to no longer write crap for my academic writing… to no longer cobble together quotes and references to show how much I’ve read (which is always too much, btw). I’m going to take the extra time for an additional step (after reading and collecting my notes in an outliner) to decide what I have to say, and then prune away my notes until only those things essential to my point remain. This is going to be painful – and it will take time, but in the end I think it will actually save time… and, of course, I think my academic writing will be better for it. I’m glad I’ve still got a chance to write this way before my dissertation. (All my KAMs will likely end up in my dissertation, though.)

So, starting tonight, I am starting an all new outline for this KAM and whittling down my resources to fit it. I’m excited about the new process and look forward to seeing what I can write. I just can’t believe it took me three years to get here! Or five years of grad school, if you want to look at it that way.

In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll continue to blog sporadically, but I guess I need own up to the fact that I can’t maintain a blog with daily new content and daily links, as I tried to back in the first few months of the year. Maybe after the baby Ph.D. is born, though then there might be another kind of baby altogether. Well, I’ll continue to share what I can.

Thanks for reading, as I used to say.

UPDATE: Incidentally, my audience for this final KAM is you guys. :)

UPDATE 2: This is much scarier. Note all my procrastination…

UPDATE 3: A thought from Senge is appropriate… “one of the most painful things in the life of a poet is learning that you often have to leave out your best line in order for the poem to work as a whole.” (Senge et al., 2000, p. 561)

I’ve Been Busy Part III: The Infinite Thinking Machine

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

At the end of a very long two weeks, I’ve also finally managed to get my second post up on the Infinite Thinking Machine blog. This post focuses on 21st Century Skills, and models the use of several search tools to learn more about the topic.

Meanwhile, my fellow ITM bloggers have been generating some great conversation. Check out the reactions to Wes Freyer’s last post. And be sure to check out the second show, which shares a few great search tips, and explores the use of Google Docs (formerly Writely) in the classroom. Good stuff… and short to boot.

I’ve Been Busy Part II: The k12 Online Conference

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

I spent many hours last week recording and editing video!

I am “presenting” three sessions for the k12 Online Conference, which is going on right now. My first session, Blog if You Love Learning is already live. Head on over to see what I hope is a fun and informative overview of blogs in education. I was inspired by former science teacher Alton Brown’s Good Eats and Amanda Congdon‘s Rocketboom (the old Rocketboom), and I used Snapz Pro for the first time, so hopefully I can hold attention for an hour… and then some. I hope you’ll check it out and leave a comment if you watch it. :)

My next presentation will be “Two-Way Teaching” which is a fast paced overview of the read/write web in education – and using these tools for two-way teaching. NOTE: It’s now Wednesday and the link is live!

Then, on Friday, I offer “Wiki While You Work” an overview of, you guessed it, wikis in education. I’ll add this final link when it’s time. :)

I’ve Been Busy Part I: Workshop Wikis

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Once again, I’ve been having trouble keeping up the pace of blogging I’d like, but I’ve been busy… even to the point where I’ve also had trouble keeping up the pace I’d like in my doctoral work. :(

However, over the previous two weeks I actually lead (or recorded) 11 different presentations (for various clients), and I’m happy to say that for nearly all of them, I used a wiki to support the face-to-face instruction. The benefit of this is that the participants can access the materials (and links, which are actually clickable, unlike on the handouts), and they can continue to collaborate after the workshop is over. This is not to say that they do, but it’s possible.

Also, the wiki can benefit visitors from elsewhere, who can in turn also contribute to it. With this in mind, I’m sharing all the workshop wiki addresses here. I hope these might be useful to others leading similar workshops, and I hope that some of you might contribute as well.

First of all, I should mention that I was inspired by CUE Lead Learner Burt Lo, who started two wikis to support his upcoming trainings at the CLMS conference in November:

iPod in Education
Digital Camera in Education
(He hasn’t used these yet, but feel free to lurk or contribute!)

For recent face-to-face training sessions, I’ve created these wikis:

iPhoto in Education
Picasa in Education
Premiere Elements in Education
Tablet PC in Education
The Read/Write Web in GATE Education
Internet Awareness and Safety (for Educators and Parents)

And, for the k12 Online Conference, which is going on right now, I’ve created these (which I still need to fully populate with links and materials from the presentations):

Blog if You Love Learning
Two Way Teaching
Wiki While You Work

They only things I presented where I did not use a wiki for support were the AB 430 Administrator workshops. Perhaps that will change soon, if Ted Lai is up for it…

The Read/Write Web in GATE Education

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

So I’m here at UCI today with a group of GATE teachers, asking these three familiar questions (their responses are in italics):

1. What is a blog? A forum or panel for discussion. It’s interactive. You can respond. The word comes from web + log. Online journal or diary.

2. What is the read/write web? Some parts of the web are fixed, and some are in flux – you can add to them. Maybe the web was read-only until recently. Web users used to be more passive… now than can be more active.

3. What do these technologies mean for you and your students? We’re meeting them where they like to be. It increases the time you can interact with your students.

These folks really are GATE teachers… here we go…

Update: Here is a link to the GATE 2.0 wiki I set up to support this presentation.