Archive for February, 2006

Lessons on an iPod – Spartanburg Herald Journal

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Lessons on an iPod – Spartanburg Herald Journal (subscription) (Via Google News – Educational Technology.) A brief but interesting article for iPod and podcasting in education fans. The most important part may be the last section which begins with this: “College students in the Upstate had mixed reviews about the course casting concept.”

Weblogs Compendium – Blog Tools

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Weblogs Compendium – Blog Tools (Via Furl – The mguerena Archive.) Mike points us to a list of blogging resources, and lets on that he might be blogging soon himself, which is good news. :)

Google.org

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Google Hires A Physician – For Google Medicine? (Via UBC Google Scholar Blog.) This is exciting. I didn’t know about Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the internet giant. There isn’t much there, but I thought it was worth passing on for awareness. They are clearly backing some educational initiatives in India, and it’d be great to see them head down the road of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in supporting innovation in US Schools, too.

For some educators, tagging is ‘it’: New way to find and store information online has implications for schools – eSchool News

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

For some educators, tagging is ‘it’: New way to find and store information online has implications for schools – eSchool News (Via Educational Technology.) Ray Schroeder’s feed is another I’ve only recently discovered and added to my “Trial” subscriptions. Here he points to an eSchool News article on Tagging. I don’t think the article can really get across what tagging is to someone that doesn’t understand it, but it does a decent job explaining some of the benefits. This excerpt is a good example:

Tagging services have multiple uses. First, they allow web surfers to save hundreds (or even thousands) of favorite web pages under key words. The technology is named after the keyword “tags” that users associate with each page they want to save. (For example, a web page featuring information about Abraham Lincoln could be saved under the tag, “Lincoln.”) For individual users, tagging makes their own favorite pages easy to search and retrieve. Unlike storing addresses in a “favorites” folder on your computer, tagged pages are stored on the web and are accessible from any computer. A tagging site also lets you search among all your stored pages by keyword, eliminating the need to scroll through dozens of sites and remember the order in which your links are saved.

I have not yet really delved into this personally, but may need to as I too consider offering a class on tagging for educators at the OCDE, as Tim Wilson is (according to the article).

Towards a Web Office Suite

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Towards a Web Office Suite (Via Easy Bake Weblogs.) This is a great direction for schools to move, for all the reasons Andy Wibbels expresses, not the least of which are the facilitation of collaboration (important for social constructivists like us) and a reduction in IT support needs (important for cash-strapped public institutions). Writely has got some teachers and students on the way already. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to more a more complete online office suite.

Raph Koster on A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Amazon.com: Theory of Fun for Game Design: Books: Raph Koster This book has been great for light reading that is still relevant to what I’m studying… every other page is a cartoon about whatever point the main text is making. I’m enjoying it and getting something out of it, so I thought I’d pass it on. I think a game designer already familiar with these issues might be a bit more picky about the book though. However, I’ve also appreciated Koster’s focus on the importance of games in learning, and the social significance of gaming. So, if you are interested in the study of games, enjoy. :)

Multiverse MMO “Kit”

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Multiverse MMO “Kit” (Via TimePhiz.) I’ve often written about wanting one of these, most recently here. I’ve seen several demonstrated at conventions, but they’ve all required significant scripting or programming skills and were well out of the reach of even enthusiastic tech-loving teachers. This bit from winchou at TimePhiz looks promising though. I can’t wait until teachers and students are able to create and host their own learning worlds. :)

Lev Vygotsky on Writing as an Integral Part of a Learner-Centered Approach

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

As you’ll notice from the citation, this is not from a primary source of Vygotsky’s ideas, but rather is a bit from Lisabeth Dixon-Krauss’ book, Vygotsky in the Classroom. This morning, I’ve been working on adding Vygotsky to the outline of my next paper (which is already much longer than the paper will be… I definitely write with the fiction writers iceberg theory even when writing academically). As I worked through Dixon-Krauss’ book, this particular quote struck me as relevant to the work we are doing with student blogging:

Adults involved in the teaching of writing will write and share their writing, if they are teaching it authentically. Adults who teach writing authentically must write to express themselves and to learn how the teaching/learning is progressing. When we view writing as a process, as an important end in itself (a way for people to express themselves), and as a way to learn what and how we think, we understand how it must be an integral part of the school setting. Without writing or some kind of discussion , how can we know what the children already understand or have learned about a subject? (Dixon-Krauss, 1996, p. 102)

The social constructivism I am studying in relation to games in education continues to seem highly relevant to my other recent passion, the read/write web in education.

Incidentally, the Squire stuff I’ve mentioned is for the paper after this one… I’m alternating between reading for that project and writing for this one, in order to maximize my time, my moods, and my circumstances. :)

Wouldn’t this be great if teacher really could get recognized for the PD they do online?

Friday, February 24th, 2006

My 25% PD (Via The Thinking Stick.) Jeff Scofer finishes off a post full of referrals with these thoughts about professional development for teachers.

Wouldn’t this be great if teacher really could get recognized for the PD they do online? Instead you have to attend a conference and sit through sessions. Gee, kind of reminds you of seat time needed to graduate high school don’t it? It doesn’t have anything to do with learning, just as long as you attended. Could this from of PD be assessed? Sure, I could create a portfolio, or give an in-service in my school teaching others what I’ve learned and have been exploring. Would reflective blog entries suffice? Not in today’s word, but we can hope. Reflecting on ones learning is how you show understanding of concepts and stretch your own knowledge. How far away is education from this model? We talk about changing education for the students, but what about the way we learn as educators? There are some new ways popping up here in the blogoshpere like Shifted Learning and other PD opportunities on the web. But will teachers get the paperwork and credit they need to renew their certificates? We talk about a shift in education could it start by shifting the way WE as educators learn, attend conferences, and apply reflective models and social connections to our own learning? Could that be the key, to first change our model of learning before we change it in the classroom. HHHMMM, makes you think don’t it?

I too wish I could get some “credit” for the thinking and learning I am doing while reading feeds and blogging about them, but I suppose the intrinsic motivation keeps me going regardless.

Perhaps I ought to also take a hint from what Jeff has to say about this blog: “Most of these links came via Mark Warner [sic]. I can’t keep up with that guy. Every day I swear there are 10 postings.”

On one hand, I have a good system worked out. On the other, I am probably spending too much time on this, and I don’t want to overwhelm readers. Like I said, though, the intrinsic motivation, the high of learning, keeps me going.

U2 is Playing Outdoors & I’m Going to Hawaii

Friday, February 24th, 2006

My old friend Ryan Chan pointed out to me yesterday that there were still floor tickets available for the last show of the U2 tour… in Aloha Stadium, Hawaii… on the first weekend of Eva’s spring break. So, we’re going! I saw the opening show in San Diego a year ago. At the time it was an arena show, but as you can see from this picture taken at a recent Latin American show, they’ve once again graduated to stadiums. It’s great to see their most impressive stage since ZOO TV on the road as we speak. Anyway, it was time for a true “and Life” post… and for me to get back into adding pictures to my posts. :)

Incidentally, I’m up to five drafts of posts based on Squire’s work, and hope to have those up in the coming week or so. Meanwhile, I’m getting a lot of reading and outlining done on vacation. I’m gonna miss this (and the time with Eva) next week. I’ve got to find a better balance.