“My Favorite (Awesome) Teachers” Learn About Blogs

I’m back at Salem in Orange asking these three familiar questions (participant responses are in italics):

1. What is a blog?

An online journal… a source for information… a tool for discussion… somebody’s opinion… it’s interactive (we put stuff in and get a response)… 

2. What is the read/write web?

Interactive back and forth reading and writing – responses… online conversation – that stays… is it different form a blog? … open to everybody

3. What might these technologies mean for you and your students?

Communication… you get to know them better… relationships… feedback… it goes beyond the classroom.

Their wheels are turning and we’ve got some good stuff going into the workshop. We’re off. Please leave a comment related to how you hope you can use a blog in your class.

PS. Yes, the participants titled the post. ;)

Blogging With CLMS/CLHS in Indian Wells

It’s a 111 degrees outside, but we’re in here learning about blogs and the read/write web. I’m asking these three familiar questions:

1. What is a blog? Public email? A web page? Postings and responses. two-way communication. one-to-many. public journal by an author who wants to share what he knows. discussions.

2. What is the read/write web? you can read & write, is a blog a read/write web?

3. What do these technologies mean for you and your students? You can extend dialog after class and beyond the classroom… even kids who won’t talk in class might participate… students taking charge of their own learning… did you see today’s USA Today?

We’ve got a wide variety of starting points in the room, and we’re off…

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the workshop:

What am I doing?

Between catching up from NECC, preparing to be gone for another conference next week (followed by vacation), taking on a new (volunteer) project, keeping up with my long-term work, and starting in on Chapter three of my dissertation, I haven’t wound up posting anything new here on this blog. (By Monday I hope to have chapter three up.) I have, though, had an active online presence this week. I’ve been posting updates to twitter, and following a host of colleagues there. Please check it out if you’re interested: http://twitter.com/markwagner/

I suspect I have another blog post about twitter coming up… it’s a strangely engaging communication “tool” and others are already starting to write a great deal about how it might be useful in education – to say nothing of it’s social significance. Here’s a few sample (in no particular order, though I tried for chronological):

Idea: TwitterStory where everyone contributes… (Via theory.isthereason.)

Twitter in the Classroom? (Via 2 Cents Worth.)

Twitter Me This: Brainstorming Potential Educational Uses for Twitter (Via http://eduspaces.net/csessums/weblog/rss.)

Twitter: Ephemeral Learning Tool (Via A Difference.)

I Feel Like a Twit Part II (Via The Four Eyed Technologist.)

TwitterLit is genius » Slacker Manager (Via A Teacher’s Life.)

twittergram.com can now handle wav files (Via Scripting News.)

A new journalism tool? Twitter? (Via Scobleizer – Microsoft Geek Blogger.)

I think I missed a few good posts on twitter in education I’ve seen recently, so if you know of any, please post them in the comments. Meanwhile, I still need to get my own mind around this and see what comes out as I process it.

Mark Wagner – On a Mag

DSCN0263.JPGMy WIRED magazine came on Friday… and my tie matches the map in the background! As Hall Davidson said, “Yeah, WIRED did invite me to be on the cover. They, alas, also asked thousands of other subscribers. In a very cool piece of marketing process, they managed (with Xerox I believe) to send the correct issue to the correct address for thousands of people. Amazing control of their distribution process.” The title of this post was inspired by the ridiculous edublogger antics in Atalanta last week – bloggers in a bag.

…and Life: My First Father’s Day?

I suppose announcing something like this on your blog pegs you irrevocably as a geek, but c’est la vie. It’s fun. This was taken on Thursday and it just might be my first baby picture… meaning this might be my first father’s day.

Eva was pregnant in January, but had a tubal pregnancy and had to have surgery to remove it (and one of her tubes), so we’ve already seen the down side of letting people know too early… and it’s not that bad. So, understand it might not all work out, but we’re excited. We’re pregnant. And it’s in the right place this time. It’s 2 mm of heart tissue and it’s beating… it’s only 102 bpm, but she’s only 5 weeks pregnant. We’ll be going in again on Thursday and hopefully it will be up over 120 – or more like 160. The dark circle, incidentally, is the gestation sack (I think), and the light circle is the yolk sack… the baby is the white mass at the tip of the arrow. It flickers on video. :)

And now I have yet another reason to finish my dissertation as soon as possible… at least before February when the baby is due!

Link: Ducks are Stanley Cup Champions!!!!

Ducks are Stanley Cup Champions!!!! (Via SoCal HockeyCast.) I couldn’t really let a blog day pass without mentioning this “and life” excitement, but fellow educational technology professional and fellow hockey fan Ted Lai has already done it justice over at the SoCal HockeyCast, which he runs with his two young daughters. If you haven’t caught one of their podcasts, do.

Incidentally, yes, I still play hockey once a week (roller hockey now)… and I’ve really been getting into it again lately (despite not making much time to watch all the excitement on TV). I’ve even been practicing at the outdoor rink at UCI. :)

…and Life: Awesome

Awesome (Via Mike Porcelli, who has clearly given up on not wasting time online.) I don’t agree with the sentiment in the caption of course… but boy is this funny… I mean awesome. Incidentally, as far as an image credit, I have no earthly idea where this came from. Enjoy.

…and Life: Goodbye Gilmore Girls

Adieu Gilmore Girls (Via Thoughts From A Technospud.) I can definitely second Jen’s thoughts on the final Gilmore Girls. Eva and I have watched it religiously since the very first episode. For a long time I proclaimed it “arguably the best show on television.” I always appreciated the brilliant dialog, especially the pop culture references, including the frequent Bono references. And I’m not ashamed to admit I found myself a bit teary eyed more than a few times watching that show.

After Amy Sherman-Palladino left at the end of last season, though, the dialog suffered, and we were more or less watching to see how things turned out for the characters we were invested in. Eva pretty much lost interest a few months ago, so as a result we hadn’t watched the last three episodes at all.

So, friday night we ordered pizza (like we used to religiously on Tuesday nights) and settled in to watch the last three episodes. It turned out to feel a whole lot like a feature film to wrap up the series… beginning with a dream sequence that included a flashback to Rory’s Chilton days (and a picture of future Paris standing next to Bono) and ending with the final scene in the diner (that mirrored the first scene of the series). Of course, Luke and Lorelai ended up together. It was an extra bonus (for me) that Rory was leaving to work as a reporter on the campaign trail with Barack Obama. It was, as my mom said, a “sweet and sad” conclusion to the show. I’ll miss the show and the characters.

These last three episodes seemed much more like the show in seasons past (that is, better) and in the final episode I noted that Amy Sherman-Palladino had an executive producer credit. I didn’t notice though if that was always there all season, or if she returned for the final episode (or three). From what I can find Googling around the internet I see no evidence that she did return. If anyone can shine any light on this I’d love to hear more.

In any case, I feel like Eva and I watched Rory grow up and I think Eva got a preview of just how sentimental I’ll be about our own kids someday…

Intro To Blogs at SAUSD

I’m askin’ teachers three familiar questions:

 1. What is a blog?

An online journal or diary… ongoing exchange ideas between people… shy students can express ideas online… a good way to disperse information… a record of what students said…

2. What is the read/write web?

You can read and respond… something like a chat room… or bulletin board… a forum.

3. What do you think these technologies might mean for your stundents?

 We can send information back and forth… you can’t claim to lose it… everyone can see it…

This is a short workshop… so we gotta get moving!

All the folks the rest of us won’t get to know… including a hero

This morning I was once again struck by the power of a list of names of those lost in a tragedy. The first time I experienced this was listening to U2’s Peace on Earth, in which Bono sings the following stanza:

They’re reading names out over the radio
All the folks the rest of us won’t get to know
Sean and Julia, Gareth and Ann and Breda
Their lives are bigger than any big idea

I believe these people died in a bombing in Northern Ireland that actually occurred when Eva and I were visiting the country. The list in the song affected me more than the close call did.

Then, when U2 was on tour in the US when 9/11 happened, they took to projecting the names of the dead on the roof (and walls) of the arena during the show. I was never there live, but the effect was powerful even on video.

Now, this morning, Wes Freyer linked to the wikipedia article about the shooting at Virginia Tech. I saw plenty of news about this event on CNN over lunch yesterday and on Google News each time I opened my browser. I was of course moved by the senseless of it all, but I didn’t really feel the loss until I saw the list of the fatalities on the Wikipedia page… students from all over the country (and the world.. can you imagine your son or daughter being shot to death when they’ve gone to The United States of America for school? How responsible do our gun laws seem for that?)… and faculty, too, from all over the world, including Liviu Librescu, who (it appears) was both a holocaust survivor and – in the end – a hero. He was killed while holding off the gunman so his students could escape out the window. His major research fields were aeroelasticity and unsteady aerodynamics, and I’m sure that doesn’t even begin to tell his story.

UPDATE: After reading some of the recent news articles (including some cited in the wikipedia), it seems Professor Librescu was far from alone in his heroics. Many students and faculty worked to save and help each other. Like 9/11, I suspect this is one of the important stories that will be taken away from this tragedy.