Archive for August, 2007

Pecha Kucha as an Exercise for Students (and Ourselves)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Why Haven’t We Heard of This? (Via 2 Cents Worth.) A few days ago David Warlick offered several links to a budding new phenomenon (which we edubloggers are discovering a bit late):

Pecha Kucha comes from a Japanese term that describes the sound of conversation — or chit-chat. It also describes a brand new medium for communication that was originally invented by Tokyo architects Mark Dytham (born in the UK) and Astrid Klein (born in Italy). A Pecha Kucha is a presentation with slide show, utilizing 20 slides, each lasting 20 seconds. So a single Pecha Kucha presentation will last six minutes and forty seconds.

I just read David’s post this morning, but discovered Pecha Kucha yesterday… in a WIRED magazine article (in the print edition). The article doesn’t seem to be online yet, but last December one of their commentators wrote this bit online:Pecha Kucha: Design Virus.

Practicing this new art form (something like the Haiku of the 21st century) would not only help those of us who teach using powerpoint (or keynote), but would also help students. What a great exercise to give students to help them develop their 21st century communication skills – and to help relieve the tedium of classroom presentations. Final products could even be shared online to save classroom time, or to allow students to browse and view at their own pleasure in a lab (or on their own machines in a 1:1 environment). Alternatively, there could be a sort of red carpet unveiling during (or after) class. Creating an evaluation rubric would be easy, and then the class could evaluate and vote on their favorites – and, of course, justify their choices.

On the other hand, Gary Stager, of course, would disagree. See the comments on Dave’s posts for details.

Link: Wikis in the classroom

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Wikis in the classroom (Via elearnspace.) I often hear teachers talk about wanting to delete their blog or wiki (or whatever) so that the next year’s students can’t benefit from the previous year. I usually try to temper my “what!? Why would you do that!?” reaction a bit and try to convince them to leave the existing resources online… and to give assignments where the work of others would benefit not undermine the assignment. In any case, here George Siemens linked to Clarence Fisher saying that the most valuable thing about wikis is that “they allow students to see what their peers have done over the past years as part of the mandated curriculum. Students make connections with students from the past and also build on their knowledge, seeing each other as legitimate sources of information and learning.” I like that approach.

Link: Using Games to Engage and Educate

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Wired Article: Using Games to Engage and Educate (Via misterteacher.com.) I don’t know how I missed this earlier in the month, but misterteacher pointed to a Wired Magazine article on using “game design and game-inspired methods” to educate sixth through 12th graders.

Link: Infinite Linking Machine: Post of The Month (August 2007)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

The Infinite Linking Machine: Post of The Month (August 2007) (Via Infinite Thinking Machine.) I just finished a new post at the ITM (finally). It’s a bit different from the usual fare, and it’s an attempt to encourage more reader participation – and more linking out from the ITM. Let me know what you think… and of course, I hope you’ll participate.

Link: School 180 | 180 Days to Change How We Think About School

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

School 180 | 180 Days to Change How We Think About School (Via Chris Walsh of Infinite Thinking Machine, NECC Live, CUE Live, and Epoch Learning.) Chris Walsh, our innovative leader over at the ITM has started a fantastic new project. He’ll be on a daily blogging regimen for the next six months… he’s got 180 days to change how we think about school. He’s started with a few poems, and there’s plenty of video content, so stay tuned…

Link: Ian Bogost on Persuasive Games

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Ian Bogost on Persuasive Games (Via Bionic Teaching.) Jim Coe posts about Ian Bogost’s new book, which had so far managed to escape my attention. This is another must buy for me… there. Just purchased it. Too bad it won’t make it in my dissertation, though.

Dr. Ian Bogost is a videogame designer, critic, and researcher. He is Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games LLC. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on games about social and political issues. (Via Persuasive Games.)

Link: Changing my Tune – Internet Safety for Students

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Changing my Tune – Internet Safety for Students (Via Multi-faceted Refractions.) Here’s a great new approach to Internet safety for students from Vinnie Vrotny, inspired by Steve Dembo. I love the questions he asks instead of providing students with a list of things they can’t do online. His approach also has the advantage of encouraging rather than squelching discussion.

Link: Google Sky: View of the Universe at Your Fingertips

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Google Sky: View of the Universe at Your Fingertips (Via ABC News.) In my workshop this morning, all the participants came in excited about the release of Google Sky, . Even the elementary teachers (whose students learn about the solar system) are excited. So, I thought I’d post the news here and pass on it on. Talk about two-way teaching, eh?

Away… Training, Commenting, and Contributing (Plus the Blogging Process)

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

I’ve been busy training face-to-face this summer, which has resulted in something of a slow down in posting to this blog. As I noted on twitter* the other night, “the more I contribute face-to-face, the less I contribute online.” I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.

I have, however, been inspired by recent face-to-face experiences and I have more to write than I’ll ever get around to. Still, I hope to have some posts up in coming weeks (especially when things slow down for me in September) about such things as: my experience filming another video with the Orange County Department of Education (complete with teleprompters – and is that a 21st century skill? Or has it’s time come and gone?), my experience leading an intro to Tablet PC workshop after a year with a pilot project, and my experiences leading Blogging workshops… in Blackboard.

Now, strangely, when I find myself with an evening free to blog (Eva’s at a cooking class and I have no workshop tomorrow – though I’ll be back to working on Walden, CUE, and catching up at my desk), instead of jumping in and writing posts, my RSS feeds are pulling me away. I’ll never get through the 1200+ posts in my aggregator (even skimming them) at this rate. I keep commenting on blogs and contributing to wikis. But it feels good. I’ve always felt a little inadequate compared to some edubloggers who seem to comment and contribute all over creation. I think there’s a lot to say for contributing to other’s work and leaving comments (other than trackbacks from your own blog). And of course, wikis don’t work without contributors.

Obviously, the pull of the blog has brought me back for this on-the-fly reflective post. I suppose it’s yet another example of the quintessential blogging process. Will would say that true blogging begins with reading something, includes a period of processing the input, and only then moves on to writing about it and sharing it online. I’ve been expanding on this blogging process in my workshops lately with this model…

The Blogging Process

  1. Read (Or Do)
  2. Reflect
  3. Write
  4. Respond (Giving and Receiving Comments)

Does this capture the process? I’d be interested to hear reactions to this. Am I missing part of the blogging experience? Or have I included too much? Or, more likely, has this articulated better elsewhere?

In any case, I feel this post has now made some sort of contribution, however small, so it passes the “should I post this?” test. For what it’s worth, when I talk about “Better Blogging” now, I stress making a contribution. I also stress making connections. Hopefully my commenting elsewhere is doing the later – and I can always hope others will comment here. Thus the inviting questions. ;)

*Incidentally, my twittering hasn’t slowed down much since I picked it up in June – arguably some of my blogging time has now gone to that, and I’m not sure it’s a bad thing. I have a smaller audience there, but it’s certainly high impact. Follow along if you’re interested… and starting tweeting yourself if you’re not already. :)

PS: I’ve added my twitter badge to the side column of this site so that casual web visitors can see what I’m up to (if they’re interested). It’s slow loading tonight, but twitter did announce that it was napping…

Walden: The Social Change Conference and Summer Residency

Monday, August 13th, 2007

This may not be relevant to many of my readers, but I wanted to bring my part of this discussion out into the blogosphere for any other Walden students out there. My advisor, Dr. Nolan, recently posted this prompt in our online discussion forum:

There were many complaints by the attendees of the Minneapolis residency about being forced to attend the Social Change conference. How do you feel? Do you think WU should be hosting the SCC at all? Do you think that the SCC should be a part of the summer residency? If so, how should it be changed? Should it be shorter? Should students be more involved, less? There are no wrong answers here.

Though I wasn’t at the residency myself this summer, I did respond to the prompt and to some of the others’ responses. I’d be currious to read other responses in the comments below:

I enjoyed reading everyone’s responses just now. I wasn’t at the residency, so I can’t answer the question directly myself, but I can say a few things in reaction to what you all wrote:1. Walden’s social change mission has been one of the surprising benefits of going through this program. It has changed my perspective… the way I see what I do, what I can do, and what I should do.

2. I strongly believe that Residencies are for talking to the people who are there. Period. I often say now that information transmission is no excuse for a face-to-face meeting. I gather that residencies have changed a lot since I was attending them (I haven’t been since summer 2005), but I appreciated any flexibility offered to us at the time… and simply made my own flexibility if it wasn’t offered. (I should mention that the faculty I respect most behaved the same way.) Sessions can be good food for thought, especially if they include discussion (the Q&A at residencies is of course ideal)… and they can be a good opportunity to see our faculty in action. As much as I’ve come to love the social change mission of the university, I think I probably would’ve resented having to attend. But, if it were an option, I’m sure I would’ve dropped in – and probably gotten quite a bit out of it. I wonder if Dr. Nolan’s question was a bit of a leading question with the choice of the word “forced”… but I’m sure it was based on conversations he’d already had with students.

3. That being said, I might consider attending the social change conference in the future. ;)

If you are a Walden student and have an opinion on this topic – or if you are interested in it for other reasons – please leave your response in the comments below.