Archive for October, 2007

Links for 2007-10-31

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

A Message From The Future (For The Principals of Today)

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Last Monday I led a technology workshop for administrators. Specifically, this was the Orange County Department of Education’s AB 430, Module 3, Day 2. Among other things, this day now includes an introduction to the read/write web for administrators. This was added when I re-wrote the OCDE version of the curriculum in early 2006. Last week was the first time I significantly updated the segment since that time. Day 1 with this cohort was my favorite administrator training yet, so I needed to step up day two to match.

As in day 1, I moved the introductory slides into a Google Docs presentation and invited folks from around the world to participate (via a post on twitter). In order to engage any potential visitors I created a “discussion prompt” based on one of the introductory anecdotes I usually tell on Day 2. One of the anecdotes is based on excerpts from Lary Cuban’s (2001) “Over Sold and Over Used” – but that tends to generate some negative responses and is beginning to be a bit dated. So, I turned to the other segment, “A Message From the Future.”

And it’s time I tell this story here on the blog…

I begin by telling the participants that I’m a big U2 fan and that back in 2004 the band released the song Miracle Drug on their latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. I explain the history of the song in person, but the wikipedia article captures it well:

It was written about Irish writer Christopher Nolan, with whom the band attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School. Bono said of Nolan:

“We all went to the same school and just as we were leaving, a fellow called Christopher Nolan arrived. He had been deprived of oxygen for two hours when he was born, so he was paraplegic. But his mother believed he could understand what was going on and used to teach him at home. Eventually, they discovered a drug that allowed him to move one muscle in his neck. So they attached this unicorn device to his forehead and he learned to type. And out of him came all these poems that he’d been storing up in his head. Then he put out a collection called Dam-Burst of Dreams, which won a load of awards and he went off to university and became a genius. All because of a mother’s love and a medical breakthrough.”

There’s a line in the song that says “with science and the human heart, there is no limit.” That line, and the suggestion that positive social good can come of the marriage between these two things, captures much of the reason behind why I am involved in educational technology.

But the following story captures it even better…

I saw several of the shows from the following Vertigo Tour, and I was lucky enough to hear bootlegged recordings of a few others. In many of the shows Bono would use the introduction of this song (while Edge, the guitarist, played a beautiful and echoing guitar riff) to express his appreciation for doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field. In one particular show (in Toronto, if memory serves), he told a story instead. He said that the beautiful riff was the sound that Edge’s spaceship made when they first met him over 20 years ago. Bono seemed to make up the story as he went along, sort of chuckling along the way. In the story, Edge descended from the sky and stepped out of the space ship. Larry Mullen, the drummer, asked him where he was from and he said “the future.” Adam Clayton, the basist, asked him what it was like there, and he said “it’s better.” At that moment the band launched into the anthemic song about science and the human heart.

It was an emotional goose bump raising moment for me. And it also perfectly captured why I’m in educational technology. I believe that brining new technologies to bear on education can make the future a better place for our students.

This segment was much better fodder for inspiring edubloggers to share with principals! I decided to ask them to share “a message from the future… for the principals of today.” I was thrilled to have a few edubloggers drop in and give thoughtful responses to the question. David Warlick gave his two cents, as did Darren Draper, Chris (Betcher I believe), and Susan from Virginia (I didn’t catch her last name). A few others popped in and out. The messages really had an effect on the principals and inspired their own answers when I turned the question to them next. After the fact I went back and used Jing to capture the Google chat in the side bar. Click here or on the picture to watch the screencast.

We usually spent our discussion time on the Larry Cuban material, but this turned out to be a much more moving discussion. I plan to focus more on this segment in future AB 430 Module 3 Day 2 workshops… and I expect I’ll use it in other workshops as well. I’ve told the story often, but never asked for others’ “messages from the future.”

So… if you had a message from the future for the school principals of today, what would that be?

Link: The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen (and Weapons of Mass Distraction)

Monday, October 29th, 2007

The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen (and Weapons of Mass Distraction) (Via The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss.) This was the first – and last – post I read in my aggregator this evening. Tim Ferriss brought us the Four Hour Work Week (which has already impacted my work flow, and which could revolutionize my work flow if I let it). Now he brings us these words of wisdom.

Oftentimes, in order to do the big things, you have to let the small bad things happen. This is a skill we want to cultivate.

The rest of the post is worth reading, too, so be sure to click through. For my part, I’m off to relax right now – and tomorrow I’m starting the day with a workout and then some reflective blogging. ;)

Links for 2007-10-26

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Links for 2007-10-24

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Links for 2007-10-21

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Links for 2007-10-20

Saturday, October 20th, 2007
  • Daft Doggy
    Wish I could remember who tweeted this earlier in the week. It’s actaully rather cool: “It’s a service that allows you to save, play back and share web browsing sessions.” It doesn’t capture mouse clicks, only an annotated series of pages.
    (tags: web2)
  • TED | Talks | Will Wright: Toys that make worlds (video)
    Jen from injenuity sent me the link to this a few days ago. Sadly, it seems the game (Spore) has been indefinitely shelved (thanks for the update, Sabine). It had a lot of educational potential.
    (tags: edugames spore)
  • Steve Hargadon: 200 Students Help Create Video on Education, Model Collaboration
    Steve links to two powerful (and viral) videos by Professor Michael Wesch and his students.
    (tags: web2 video)
  • PC Writes
    Jo McKleay tweeted this a few days ago. Mr Cahill links to new 9th grade student bloggers in the right hand column of his blog. Check out Tegan’s blog for example.
    (tags: studentblogs)
  • » TreoTwit (en)
    A twitter client for networked Palm devices like the Treo. Someone tweeted this days ago. It’s been in an open tab all week and I’m finally trying it out as I type this. Update: It’s pretty lame. Just using a combo of SMS and mobile web is the same.
    (tags: twitter palm treo)
  • Building out the Choir (Techlearning blog)
    Steve Dembo makes a good point about the need to build the choir rather than preach to it. I’m worried though about how well the choir will hang together as we add to it. Will new members get the same benefit as early members? Or do we need many choirs? (tags: learningnetworks)

Links for 2007-10-19

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Monthly CUEtoYOU Workshops in Palm Springs

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Monthly CUEtoYOU Workshops in Palm Springs (Via I just posted this over at the CUE site and thought I’d pass it on here. Palm Springs is only a 90 minute frive (or less) from Orange and San Diego Counties, so these Saturday workshops are within range of anyone in Southern California. If you would attend the conference, you can attend these workshops. Spread the word. :)

Some of the most popular events of the annual CUE conference in Palm Springs are the hands-on workshops. Now you can enjoy hands-on workshops in Palm Springs year round! Cahuilla CUE, a local affiliate of CUE, Inc. is hosting monthly workshop at the Palm Springs Unified School District Professional Development Center (across the street from the conference center). Each workshop is a three-hour experience facilitated by a CUE Lead Learner on a Saturday morning (or afternoon). Topics include read/write web applications (such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts), multi-media applications (such as editing images, audio, and video), and exciting new applications from Google. Classes are offered for both Windows XP and Mac OS X.

The cost for CUE members is only $100 for a three-hour hands-on experience. Register today… then download a pdf of the schedule to spread the word!

Is Palm Springs too far to drive on a Saturday morning? Host a series of CUEtoYOU Featured Workshops in your area.

Links for 2007-10-18

Thursday, October 18th, 2007