Archive for January, 2008

Links for 2008-01-16

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Steve Jobs’ Keynote

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I’m here at the Steve Jobs keynote. The speakers just got escorted in – including the Educator Academy speakers. We’re about half way back. There’s about a dozen computer-to-computer networks, but no free wifi, so it looks like I’m moblogging it. I’m on my treo – a real ghetto phone here. Sadly’ twitter seems to be down, but I’ll keep checking it. Oh, lights dimmed.

UPDATE: It turns out live blogging and thinking is tough. This is just a chronical of events right now – and only rough notes at that.

Four Things

1.) Time Capsule – A backup appliance. Airport Extreme 802.11 N and server grade HD. Time Machine with no wires. 500 GB for $299 and 1 TB for $499. Backup the whole house… Or classroom?

2.) iPhone – New features… Maps with location, weblips, customize homescreen(s), SMS multiple people, chapters subtitles lyrics.

Maps is Google… With a location featuee… GPS?… Directions… Pins. No GPS. Skyhook wireless mapped and triangulated wifi hotspots to get location – and Google does the same thing with cell towers. Wow.

Webclips also highlights Google. Add shortcuts to websites to your home screen. Webclips remember zooming and panning.

Customize home screen… Cool jiggling icons! Dock and multiplt “pages.”

All a free software update.

iPod touch gets mail, stocks, notes, weather, Maps, customizable… For $20.

3.) iTunes… a better way to deliver movie content – rentals. Less expensive and doesn’t take up HD space when you’re done. All major studios and releases. Great library titles. What’s the deal? 30 days after DVD release. Watch instantly. 30 days to start. 24 hours to finish. Transfer while watching. Cost… Library title $2.99, new release $3.99. Launches Today.

What about TV? Apple TV didn’t really succeed… People want Movies… No computer required for Apple TV! Rent movies on your TV in DVD or HD quality – $1 more for HD. Also audio and video podcasts. Photos from Flickr and dot mac. And youtube 50M videos. Buy shows and music – and synch with computer. New GUI… Long demo.

Flickr connections are cool. Includes friends feature. Uh oh… Tech glitch – blamed on flickr.

Free software upgrade to existing Apple TVs! New ones are only $299… nope – $229. Shipping in two weeks.

Now chairman of 20th Century Fox Jim Gianopulos now on stage.

Apple’s definitely in the entertainment business.

4.) There’s Something In The Air – best notebooks on the planet: Macbook, Macbook Pro… Now Macbook Air. Thinnest notebook.

Thinness .76 to .16 inches.
In a “district mail” envelope!
Full size keyboard and screen
Mag latch
13.3 inch display LED backlit instant on
iSight!
Backlit keyboard
Generous Trackpad with multitouch
iPhone like gestures incl. Zoom.
Me: Best blogging machine ever?

iPod HD 80 GB
or 64 GB solid state.
Intel core 2 duo – same as macbooks
1.6 to 1.8 GH – but 60 percent smaller

Paul Otellini, CEO of intel on stage.
Was challenged a year ago!
What are they doing now?

mag pwr adapter smaller
usb2 micro Dvi and headphones
802.11 N and Bluetooth

a new superdrive $99 dvd drive
no need
wireless rentals for movies
time capsul for backups
ipods for CDs
remote disk for installing software
share disks from othe macs and pcs

battery life 5 hours!
2GB ram standard

$1799
shipping in 2 weeks

environmental inniatives for all future releases
case is recyclable alluminum
display mercury and arsenic free
circuit boards more eco-friendly
50 percent less packaging

That’s four… one more thing?

A special treat…
Randy Newman
A VERY political song!

A president once said there’s nothing to fear but fear itself… now we’re not supposed to be afraid.

More soon…

UPDATE: On initial reflection there are not many initial educational benefits of these announcements. Many are entertainment focused, and the hardware is priced out of schools’ budgets. However, the technology behind the iPhone and Macbook Air – and behind the iTunes content distribution system, paint an engaging picture of mobile educational technology in the future.

The Steve Jobs Keynote From An Educator’s Perspective

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I’ll be live blogging the “Stevenote” here if at all possible. I’ll begin posting updates sometime after 9am PST, including pictures from my Ghetto phone (my Treo). If for some reason I can’t use my laptop I’ll probably just use twitter, so check my updates if there’s nothing here:

http://twitter.com/markwagner/

Since there will undoubtedly be many more mainstream bloggers covering it better and more quickly than I’ll be able to manage, I’ll do my best to deliver the news from an educator’s perspective so that this blog (or my twitter updates) might provide an additional benefit for my colleagues.

Leave me a comment this morning if you have any other suggestions, ideas, or requests.

Links for 2008-01-12

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I’ve got the opportunity to provide input on the development of the fall technology conference put on by the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) and High Schools (CLHS)… and I’d be remiss not to involve “the network” of educators and learners who read this blog. So, I thought I’d share a little bit of information and ask some questions here.

In 2006, the theme of the conference was “Teaching Millenials” and the keynotes were David Warlick and Leslie Fisher. In 2007, the theme was “Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives” with Marc Prensky (of course), Will Richardson, and Carol Anne McGuire as keynotes. I coordinated the hands-on ticketed workshops at both events and was able to get away and see a good deal of the conferences… these were two great years – and a they’ll be a tough act to beat. Naturally, I have some ideas for new themes and new keynoters, but I thought I’d open it up to all of you and ask what (and who) you’d like to see from a regional technology conference. So, please leave a comment with an answer to any or all of these questions:

  1. If you were on the conference planning committee, what theme would you suggest for Fall 2008? (I’d love to hear why, too.)
  2. What keynote speakers would you most like to see? (And while the speakers from 2006 and 2007 are among my favorites, we won’t be having any repeats… so I’m looking for new ideas.)
  3. Imagine you’re a classroom teacher in a middle or high school (unless you actually are – then no imagining necessary)… what do you want most from a technology conference?

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to share their thoughts and vision. :)

Links for 2008-01-10

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth In A Sustainable Lifestyle

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

This post borrows it’s title from David Wann’s book by the same name, Simple Prosperity. For my winter break reading, this book was a companion to Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrand. From Kiyosaki I was learning new ways to make money (and think about money) in order to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle through financial freedom. From Wann I’m learning new ways (well much older ways) to need less money and get more out of what I already have to achieve a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. I believe both sets of skills, Financial Literacy and Environmental Literacy (or Green Living) are sorely needed in our schools.

I haven’t finished reading the Wann book. In fact, I’ve barely started, but I found some of these early segments worth sharing here:

The people who track “consumer confidence” have their metrics on backward, in my humble opinion. Overconsumption is clearly a fundamental problem, not solution, in the maintenance of a healthy economy and planet.

This idea is certainly not new, but I’ve never heard it articulated so clearly and succinctly before – and it is already helping me to think about things in a new light. Also, especially in light of my recent focus on my own financial education, I thought Wann turned a nice phase when he said this:

In the gaurdian economy now bieng born – that acknowledges how small the world really is and how fragile its web of life – only the interest provided by nature will be consumed, never the principle.

This is more or less the exact same principle behind Kiyosaki’s idea of financial freedom: build up your assets to the point where your passive income can support you (without the need to draw on the principle you put into your assets – or, ideally, the gathering equity). Perhaps worst of all, we’re destroying the environment to make money not only for new things we didn’t used to need (like iPods etc.), but also for things we used to have in abundance for free:

In recent years American household budgets have skyrocketed for day care, elder care, health care, lawn care, pet care, house care, and hair care – in direct proportion to our often-frustrated quest to be “carefree.”

This makes me particularly happy about the plan Eva and I have to cut back on work in order to raise the baby. The plan is for her to work only 40% next year while I work only 60%. Cross your fingers for us. ;)

In summary, Wann’s goal sounds good to me and I hope to continue making small changes this year in order to move my life in this direction:

If health, happiness, and humility become new American benchmarks of success, we’ll no longer need hypergrowth or overconsumption. As a result, we’ll generate less stress, environmental destruction, depression, and debt!

I also plan to make this a more integral part of my professional life as an educator as well. Let’s hope it’s appreciated.

Project-Based Learning: A Student Comment

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Out of the blue last night I received a new comment on a two year old post… and it’s one of my favorite comments in over three years of blogging. In response to a brief post about the U.S. Falling Behind in the Global ‘Brain Race’, an anonymous high-school student left this comment:

I am a high-school student, and I believe we need more project-based learning in our schools. Of all the classes I have taken, I have learned best in those that are interactive. Anybody can read from a textbook, memorize the information, take a test, and forget what they read in a week. American schools are focusing on just that. Students take tests on words, words they found in a book for the sole purpose of testing. They don’t need to learn what the words mean, because they only need that information until the test. Also, I think we need to rethink our testing strategies. Vocab tests are insane. We get fifteen words on Monday and test on Friday. We forget the words over the weekend and get fifteen new words on the next Monday. History is a little harder. Students are required to remember dates and names. I personally only remember what happens, not who made it happen or where. I consider myself a good learner, but I have a good short-term memory, so I have been successful so far. However, if I was asked what happened in World War I, I would be able to tell you it was called the Great War, involved most of Europe, and started in 1914 (I think…). This coming from an A student. In addition, many of my peers are happy with C’s and don’t try to accel in school, so I think the United States of America needs to find a motivational tool to help American students reach their potential and continue to better our economy. -I apologize for the lack of structure in this comment. (My thoughts aren’t always organized.)

Coincidentally, I just recently was involved in leading some Project Based Learning workshops, including a rather bizarre one. And, just this week I received a marketing email from ISTE about the new (Will Richardson endorsed) book, Reinventing Project-Based Learning. I’m glad to be involved with (formal) PBL again, and it’s good to see it’s alive and kicking in our professional circles as well. More importantly, this comment reminds me that it does make a difference and it is well worth the effort. I hope other teachers and educational technologists might find this comment inspiring as well.

Of course, on the other hand, I’ve actually had A students tell me, “you can’t do this to us, Mr. Wagner” when I was using project-based learning. They were not so much concerned about having to learn a new system when they’d adapted well to the old one; they were more concerned that it was not the system their colleges and universities would use. In essence they felt they had to get through the traditional higher education system before learning in a better way!

From another perspective altogther, as much as educational technologists (and edubloggers in particular) have taken issue with the how of our current educational system, I’m finding increasing fault with the what as well. I find myself thinking more about the lack of Financial Literacy in our schools (I’ve only just begun thinking about the intersection of edubloggers and financial literacy) – and about the lack of environmental literacy (or Green Living) in our schools. The last thing we need to do is raise another generation of overconsumers… but more on that in my next post.

Edubloggers and Financial Literacy

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Out of the Box Thinking About Education and Teaching (Via http://weblogg-ed.com/.) Will’s post about the Personal MBA, and his related reflections, were thought provoking for me, especially in light of some of what I’ve been reading over the “break.” Here’s my comment – perhaps some of you have been thinking along the same lines:

Will, I appreciate this post for a few reasons. First, I’ve been investing some time in my own financial education lately… so stumbling upon the personal MBA here is timely for me and I’ll probably be chipping away at the reading list this year. Second, of course, I’m excited about network learning and am interested in any efforts to find a formal system for implementing it on a large scale – and perhaps more importantly, monetizing it on some scale. I’m also excited to hear you “seriously considering” opening a school. It seems like a step many edubloggers have flirted with and I like to imagine what would happen if many came together and made it a reality. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I’m not sure the consulting model is a sustainable (or particularly effective) one for many of us now engaged in it. I’m looking for a new system in which we might work… to make a living, and to make a difference… without burning out. And I think some new web 2.0 technologies might help make this possible.

Clearly there’s more to come on this subject, and though I’ve fairly well filled up the break at this point, I hope to post something more before everyone starts back in school on Monday. In the meantime, let me know if these thoughts hit home for any of you as well. I suspect the answer will be in the power of the network.

Links for 2008-01-04

Friday, January 4th, 2008
  • New Page 1
    Brother James, an actor, has revamped his website to showcase video content on the front page.
    (tags: andlife)
  • Act Awake
    Brother James has also been blogging regularly, as a transformative practice. And he’s discovered that Blogger now hosts video!
    (tags: andlife video blogs)
  • Housing – Google Search
    Anyone else seen this cool housing search feature in Google? Just type “house [your town]” into Google and see what happens.
    (tags: google)