Archive for February, 2007

Two-Way Teaching With Technology (For Health)

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

A few hours ago I gave a keynote speech for the California Association of Health Careers Educators. I enjoyed the experience and learned quite a bit; they were a participatory group and shared many examples and anecdotes from their own experience. I’m posting the slides here for their convenience, and I’m also posting a question I couldn’t answer, but which I expect will be increasingly important.

So first, here’s the slides. If you’ve downloaded my other presentations you’ll see much that is familiar, with a focus in places on health education. And some of it, of course, you really have to be there for. :)

CAHCE Slides

Also, here are some additional statistics and other items I mentioned as I spoke:

  • 35 blogs about “career education” registered at technorati
  • 39 blogs about “health education” on technorati
  • 1000 blogs about “health care” on technorati
  • See for an example.
  • 50k hits for “health education” at Google Blog Search
  • 30 “health care” podcasts listed in iTunes
  • 22 of them are also listed under “education”
  • I also referred to the wikipedia article on health care.
  • Visit to see some health games for kids.
  • One of the participants also recommended as a source of educational games.

As for the question I couldn’t answer… one of the participants asked if there was a way to search for podcasts that include closed captioning. While some podcasts in the iTunes directory do, there doesn’t seem to be a way to search for them. Short of Googling “closed captioned podcasts” I’m not sure how one could find podcasts appropriate for the deaf and hard of hearing. If anyone reading has any better information, please let me know and I’ll pass it on to the CAHCE folks. (Incidentally, I just learned from the wikipedia article on closed captioning that closed captioned video games are becoming more common. Cool.)

Busiest Week of The Year

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

It’s finally upon me… my busiest week of the year… at least it better be.

Following a half-week trip to Seattle with Eva (to visit old friends), I’ve dropped into a marathon work sprint that won’t end until March 4th. So, considering the sprint started on Thursday, I guess it’s more like a week and a half. The last time I worked on my dissertation was a week earlier (and then it was only for two and a half hours). I’ve been busier than I like since the first of the year.

Now, tomorrow I am delivering a keynote for the California Association of Health Career Educators, an audience I am sure to learn from (in the spirit of two-way teaching, which is once again my topic). Then, the following day I am presenting a District tech plan to the superintendent and her cabinet, and then to the planning committee, in Palm Springs. With a little break to prep for the keynote, wrapping up the tech plan has taken all my time the past three days… and will again tomorrow.

Then I have a day and a half to prep for 15 hours of instruction at the CUE conference on March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. (And I’ll take a break from that to present on Video Games in Education as a “virtual” guest speaker for one of Sheryl‘s events on Tuesday.)

And, of course, as my advisor (Dr. Jock Schorger) likes to say, “life has a way of happening.” My back seized up while we were traveling and I finally broke down and saw a doctor Thursday afternoon. Sitting at my desk all day isn’t helping, but thanks to some muscle relaxants (and getting some of this work done, I suspect) I seem to be recovering.

Sadly, I gave up both Friday and Saturday night with Eva. I have often worked too much, but I never liked doing that – and I’m getting better at not doing it. I’m certainly not in the habit of it anymore… so I’m not at all happy about missing out on my “and Life” time. At least I’m learning my limits… and at least I took a moment to collect my thoughts for a blog post. I maintain I’m learning from the experience even if this blog does devolve into a journal from time to time. Perhaps someone else might, too. A colleague and I had a conversation about working too much a few days ago… and he seemed to be resigned to knowing he wouldn’t change. I suspect many of my colleagues feel that way; I did. For several years now, actually, I’ve wanted to change and I’m continuing to slowly take steps toward a more balanced life. :)

UPDATE: Dan brings up a good point in the comments below. I don’t even have kids yet. There are working single moms in the same Ph.D. program I’m in. I don’t know how they do it… and I don’t know how many of my colleagues do it, especially the ones with gnarly commutes, too. Still, I know I want to have this degree (and with any luck this work-a-holism) out of the way before Eva and I start our family, which will happen as soon after graduation as humanly possible if Eva has her way. ;)

Will Hope Trump Fear in 2008?

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

This is something of a breakout post for me. I don’t often write about politics here, and I’m not often comfortable allowing politics into my teaching.

In a similar way, I’ve been uncomfortable taking a dogmatic stance on the old PC versus Mac debate and I rather like calling myself non-denominational in that respect… and I’m quick to note that I use all three operating systems (meaning Windows, OS X, and Linux of course – and, yes, I know there are many more out there).

I also registered as a libertarian when I first registered to vote. (This is the political equivalent of using Linux I suppose.) Unfortunately, the party leadership (and literature) turned out to be embarrassing.

Through most of the nineties my espoused voting philosophy was to choose the candidate that would be the most entertaining, since that was the only benefit my peers and I seemed to receive from any politicians. In this respect, Ross Perot would’ve been great… and Clinton sure panned out.

At any rate, I have a feeling this may be changing for me. Over the last several months I’ve really been enjoying Senator Barack Obama’s podcasts… so much so that I just bought his audio books on iTunes, The Audacity of Hope (What an amazing title!) and Dreams of My Father (a much more personal book). Listening to him speak and hearing his story has been moving, and though I can’t articulate just yet how it has effected me beyond that, I have a sense that I am receiving an education as I listen (a rare thing for me these days).

At one point I actually emailed Obama’s office some feedback pointing out that his podcast did not allow comments (or two-way communication of any kind)… and I like to think his comment inviting listeners to email him at the end of his next podcast might have been a reaction to my feedback. At the very least, I’ve been happy to discover a politician who seems to “get it.”

Then, when he announced last Saturday his candidacy for president in the 2008 election, he also launched a new website and my feeling that he “gets it” quite soundly affirmed. It seems that John Pederson felt the same way: Hey Kids, Get Involved! Oh Wait… (Via pedersondesigns.)

Even Will Richardson noted how remarkably Web 2.0 (and Politics 2.0) the new site is: (Via Weblogg-ed News: The Read/Write Web in the Classroom.)

Robert Rozema also noted it, and honed in on some of Obama’s education policy: My Barack Space: Social Networking Gets Useful (Via Secondary Worlds: Teaching, Technology, and English Language Arts.)

Though there were some bugs at the site on the first day, I signed up right away. There were already 3 people in the Orange County for Obama group. A few hours later, after the bugs were worked out, there were around a dozen. I’ve already gotten emails from the list-serv of members asking questions and others answering. All of a sudden it was immeasurably easier for me to actually “get involved” in politics, something I’ve never done before. I have no doubt this technology is working to Obama’s advantage. The election is a long way away, though, and I suspect he will not be the only one playing in this new space and connecting his supporters in this new way… and if he becomes just one of the many, then this is that much more exciting.

Meanwhile, I do think his campaign and his message are different. Actually, I suppose that “different” is his biggest strength as a relatively new politician. I especially appreciated this portion of an email I received from his campaign:

In announcing his candidacy, Senator Obama said this campaign can’t only be about him. He said, “It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams.”

Obama’s message of hope (and empathy – and a middle way) is contagious. Of course, as Henry Jenkins suggests at the end of The Only Thing We Have to Fear… (Via Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins), it seems that fear “always” trumps hope. This same dynamic is what drives DOPA and gets web 2.0 services blocked by IT departments in schools. But if Obama can offer and advocate a message of hope in American politics, we can certainly advocate for the same thing in education.

This will be interesting… he’s already taken flack for his policy on Iraq (though that might work in his favor according to recent polls) and there is a lot of time for opponents to attack his campaign… but this will be interesting, if for no other reason than this time I care.

UPDATE: It turns out this is what I was really driven to write about tonight. As usual there is much else I’ve read that I want to respond to and pass on, but the posts on the read/write web, Google, 1:1, and social change will have to wait… as will my second “Geek to Teach” post. Now, I’m off to bed. I have a plane to catch in the morning.

Won’t it be great when, oh, a year from now, I’ve finished my dissertation and learned not to over-commit to work even though I’m self-employed? I look forward to more discretionary writing time… that is, until kids. :)

NetDay Speak Up Data for N-MUSD

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

NetDay Speak Up Data for N-MUSD (Via Steve Glyer and Lainie McGann.) Steve Glyer, director of educational technology at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (N-MUSD) just sent me an email, which included this bit:

You should check out the great site Lainie created to show case the just released NetDay data for the district. We had over 10,000 students, almost 700 teachers and almost 500 parents take the survey. Go to:

N-MUSD is a cross section of very poor areas (90% second language and free and reduced lunch schools) and very rich areas (Newport Beach and Corona Del Mar), so this data is probably representative of much of California, and perhaps much of the country. You can inspect the results by school if you are interested.

If you participated in the survey at your site or district, the data is now available online:

What Comes Next?

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

One of the most interesting questions Mike and I were asked during the WOW2 skypecast on Tuesday was something along the lines of “where do we get our inspiration for innovations?” I believe Mike’s answer was (without going back to the recording) something about teachers and those in our field inspiring us. I then took the opposite tack and talked about the inspiration I get from outside the field… often by reading the A-List bloggers like Winer or Scobble, but also from reading folks like Kathy Sierra (who is popular with edubloggers) and Liz Stauss. There’s certainly others in my 632 subscriptions, but a new addition I want to point out is my long-time friend David Brussin. (We’ve known each other since about 6th grade, were in high school drama and AP classes together, and occasionally played table-top role playing games together.)

David has co-founded three successful technology companies, and is working on ideas for his forth. Brainstorming with him about technology, education, and gaming remains an inspiration for me. Happily, he has also started blogging at What Comes Next?

Enjoy the new “perspectives from the line between technology and business.” I hear he has a new post going up later today, and a more in-depth collaboration coming soon.

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

The first entry in my new “geek to teach” category (inspired by Lifehacker‘s “Geek to Live” of course), is this link, courtesy of my friend Ryan Chan who mailed this to our college buddies listserv (a yahoo group actually): Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination | California Science Center

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination is the first exhibit of its kind that combines costumes and props from all six Star Wars films with real-world technologies, video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers, and two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test speeders and robots. Visitors will explore prototypes, learn about the engineers and designers who are creating new technologies, and discover intriguing similarities between how scientists and filmmakers think.

For more information about Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, visit the exhibit website.

I hope some teachers in the area can take their students. Back in, oh… about 2000, my colleagues and I took all the Freshman Honors English students at our site to a Star Wars exhibit in one of the Balboa Park museums in San Diego… to learn about Joseph Campell and the Hero’s Journey. The exhibit and accompanying materials actually focused on this… the entire thing was like a critical analysis of the movies. I was thrilled with all of it of course, but was shocked not only to discover that some students thought the exhibit and studying parts were boring… but that some couldn’t believe we assigned watching the movies – and called the movies boring too. That was sobering… and I felt old. This was much more of a shock than discovering they didn’t want to study Rush lyrics to learn mythology.

I wonder, too, if introducing video games into the curriculum might have a similar effect.

In any case, I’m sure it was a highlight of the year for many students, and that many more might enjoy this science exhibit.

Video Games in Education Updates

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

On the games and education front, I appreciated this reflection from Dan Marchant, a game developer: Department of Education and Skills Game Summit

My personal view is that the government’s best efforts would be directed towards educating publishers/developers on how education department purchasing works (so that they can work out a viable business model) and how to track down educators who can work with them to develop great games that meet a school’s curriculum requirements.

I’d certainly like to be involved in something like that… once I get this dissertation finished. I’m deep in the literature review right now and find about ten post worthy things everytime I sit down to work on it. I did actually type this one up, though, I did a Will Richardson-esque find and replace (“player” for “student” and “learning-world” for “game-world”) on Richard Rouse’s lists of “Why Players Play” and “What Players Expect.” The result is what I consider good food for thought for designers interested in creating educational games – and, as Gee and others would suggest, for teachers preparing classroom learning experiences for their students (I added stars to the ones I’m most passionate about providing):

Why do students learn?

  • Students want a challenge
  • Students want to socialize
  • Students want a dynamic solitary experience
  • Students want bragging rights
  • Students want an emotional experience*
  • Students want to explore*
  • Students want to fantasize*
  • Students want to interact

What do students expect?

  • Students expect a consistent learning-world
  • Students expect to understand the learning-world’s bounds
  • Students expect reasonable solutions to work
  • Students expect direction
  • Students expect to accomplish a task incrementally
  • Students expect to be immersed
  • Students expect some setbacks*
  • Students expect a fair chance
  • Students expect to not need to repeat themselves
  • Students expect to not get hopelessly stuck
  • Students expect to do, not to watch (Rouse, 2005, p. 17)

I’d love to hear any reactions to this list in the comments. :)

And a final thought… the video Mike Guerena and I produced continues to have legs. Lately I’m seeing something like a post a week similar to this: Erwin’s Site – Games in Education


Rouse, R. (2005). Game Design Theory and Practice. (2nd Ed.) Plano, TX: Wordware Publishing, Inc.

The Impact of Web 2.0

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of joining CUE Executive Director Mike Lawrence for a skypecast with the Women of Web 2.0. I’ve read other guests rave about the experience and now I know why. They sure made us think – both the hosts on the call, and the listeners in the chat room. Vicky Davis said “that’s what happens when you talk to teachers.” :)

Our conversation started out with a lot of talking about CUE and CUEtoYOU Professional Development Services, but soon moved into discussion about topics I’m passionate about, such as the “lead learner” philosophy and the “face to face” philosophy – and of course, Two-Way Teaching. They asked a lot of questions about how Web 2.0 technologies might extend traditional conferences – and how something like the k12onlineconference might compliment something like the CUE conference. The podcast (and text chat transcript) are now available: Women of Web 2.0.14 (Via

Prior to the talk I hadn’t yet watched the amazing Web 2.0 video that everyone has been posting and raving about, but once I saw Lawrence Lessig post about it (and I had a morning at my desk) I couldn’t resist. I, too, highly recommend it, though I do wonder how much sense it will make to someone who doesn’t already grasp much of what is shown in the brief video. HTML and XML are well explained, but social bookmarking and tagging just fly by. In any case, check it out: Web 2.0 Video via Lawrence Lessig

This morning’s feeds also brought me this very visual Web 2.0 link via Jenith Mishne: Web 2.0 Concept Map (Via Furl – The Jenith Mishne Archive.)

In related news, earlier this week I noted the new Edublogs Premium service, but I didn’t take the time to blog about it (though I saved a draft of course) and now Steve Dembo has beaten me to it. Check out his post on the subject: Edublogs Premium (Via Teach42.)

Similarly, I noted the NETS “refresh” that is meant to include many of the technologies (and issues) related to the Web 2.0 in the new student standards. David Warlick already has a link up to the eSchool News Article, the Draft, and the feedback form:NETS Update (Via 2 Cents Worth.)

Finally, in Web 2.0 news, Mr. Belshaw is diving into wikis with his students. The best part of his announcement is that he asked for examples and there are now some great links in the comments of this post… including a few I contributed: Taking the wiki plunge at

iPod in Education Links

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

One of the teachers on the Google Certified Teachers listserv (actually a Google Group of course) posted that he has $1200 of grant money to spend in his classroom, but has recently acquired a set of MacBooks, complete with airport (and printer)… and he asked what else he might consider buying (other than digital cameras). My response included a succinct list of quotes I haven’t posted here before, so I thought I’d share them.

There’s always iPods (with Microphones of course).

Apple’s iPod in Education Site:
ADE David Baugh’s iPod in Education Site:
CUE Lead Learner (and Google Certified Teacher) Burt Lo’s iPod in Education wiki:


I also appreciated David Warlick’s post about Hall Davidson presenting from an iPod (complete with a classic picture of Hall): PodPrez (Via 2 Cents Worth.)

Incidentally, I’m back “in the office” today and hope to get a couple of posts up before I get back to catching up. :)

Google News, Groups, and Pages in the Classroom?

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

This may be too little too late… but is anyone using Google News, Google Groups, or Google Pages with your students? Do you have any specific examples you can share?

If so, let me know ASAP and perhaps they can be included in the next Google Teacher Academy. Even if ideas come in after the fact, I’m sure the materials can be edited for the future.

Thanks in advance!

I should’ve done this days ago… individual emails have gotten me few responses.

UPDATE 02/02/07: It’s not too late. I’m doing revisions this morning…