Seems Familiar

Under the heading of “the more things change, the more they stay the same…”

What do Ben Franklin and Matt Drudge have in common?
Yesterday’s pamphleteers = today’s bloggers. Interesting take on mass communications!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Another Wow!

Yet another amazing application–this time, an iPhone ocarina (flutelike instrument) orchestra! Stanford. Asst. Professor Ge Wong created an iPhone app that turns the device into an ocarina–the player blows into the microphone and moves fingers as if on a wind instrument to make music. Wow. Further, he demonstrates another app that links players all around the world.

Dr. Wong makes some interesting points about these technologies bringing musicians from all parts of the world together–flat world in evidence.

Blocking…

Wow! My second post today!
I’m just catching up with reading from my RSS aggregator, and I found another short article by Scott McLeod (for American Association of School Administrators ) that seems to fit into my current mindset regarding 21st century skills, NCLB and enabling creative kids in our schools!

In Blocking the Future, McLeod compellingly urges superintendents and other school policymakers to find a way to enable teachers and students to use 21st century technologies to create authentic learning environments in schools. He writes:

…school district leaders have a critical choice to make: Will their schools pro-actively model and teach the safe and appropriate use of these digital tools or will they reactively block them out and leave students and families to fend for themselves? Unfortunately, many schools are choosing to do the latter. As a technology advocate, I can think of no better way to highlight organizational unimportance than to block out the tools that are transforming the rest of society. Schools whose default stance is to prohibit rather than enable might as well plant a sign in front of their buildings that says, “Irrelevant to children’s futures.” Note: I inserted boldface.

Strong words, but so true and so important. Thanks for eloquently saying what so many of us think, Dr. McLeod!

Dr. Tim Tyson–another great keynote

OK, OK, OK…I know I’ve been full of suggestions, must-hears, must-reads, must-sees, but I’m going to add another to my list–if only to store my thoughts here for my own future reference.

I’ve been listening to back-episodes of Bob Sprankle’s Bit by Bit podcast for the last few days. Among insightful blog posts, he’s posted all sorts of wonderfully rich and thought-provoking podcasts, including several keynotes from various conferences he’s attended, including the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference last fall. Today I had a real treat hearing the keynote speaker from that conference (Bit By Bit Podcast #56), Dr. Tim Tyson of Mabry Middle School in Marietta, GA. Dr. Tyson just seems like the kind of administrator that I’d wish for to lead my daughter’s school–he’s a real visionary, I think. Visit his school’s web site, Mabryonline , if you have a chance. Wow!

Here’s a link to Dr. Tyson’s Keynote, entitled Moving from Personal Knowledge to Global Contribution , linked from Bob Sprankle’s great site. I think Tyson’s one of the most inspiring speakers around–how I WISH we could get someone like him to speak in our district! Wish, wish….

Belated Thoughts on K12Online Conference

Wow! Is it ever easy to slide and not post for weeks! I’ve been swamped, for one thing, and for another, I’ve been a bit…disconcerted & didn’t want to blog before I got my brain around a couple of things. I’ll post later about that though…I needed to just get a post up tonight so that I’m over the hump and maybe I’ll get back to posting semi-regularly!

I’m still trying to catch up and enjoy the K12Online presentations. So many of them were sooo good. Like many people whom I’ve heard give an opinion on various edtech podcasts, I thought Sylvia Tolisano’s presentation, Travel Through Space and Time was just so inspiring! Her school completed a virtual “trip” to China using a Build-a-Bear to give students a focus in their studies. The entire elementary school studied Chinese customs, history, geography, culture, and then 2 teachers (with the bear) actually traveled to China. They used blogs, digital video & photography and various other web2.0 tools to keep in touch, real time, and bring the trip to the children in their school. What a great idea! And it sounds like they’ve really squeezed all the learning opportunities and connectivity out of it that they possibly could! I’m sure the students at her school will never forget this vivid learning experience! Wow!
Wheels turning in my brain…

Flat Classroom 2007 Keynote

Wow! Dean Shareski’s keynote for this year’s Flat Classroom Project (Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsey) is just a great discussion of the elements of design & things to think about as students (anyone) create their projects. The FCP is utilizing Daniel Pink‘s A Whole New Mind as part of their framework this year, and Shareski uses these elements as talking points in his keynote.

I shared the video with my high school daughter (our artist in residence), because I thought it so spoke to her, her strengths and interests.

Here it is–wow!

Online Connections

Wow! I read about Jennifer Dorman’s Online Connections class on Cool Cat Teacher Blog this morning and took a quick look at it. Wow! Dorman has used the web 2.0 tools that we have all learned about over the past few months and taken this course to a whole new global level. Her course has a global slant that we know is important for the 21st century. I wanted to mention it on my blog so I don’t forget to go back and look it over more carefully. It really looks primo.

Week 8 Thing #18 Online Productivity Tools

I have played around the Zoho writer and Google docs for a few months now, and I must say that I think this change in the whole idea of applications and software is an exciting one. I’ve found that they work almost identically to MS productivity tools, and documents created in these applications open and function perfectly normally in MS Office. These online productivity tools could potentially replace expensive applications such as MS Word, Excel, etc. because they’re free and accessible anywhere. Other than the necessity of being live online, I can see no reason to insist on MS products for our school PCs. Users can save their work in microsoft-friendly formats too, so they’re useful to users who might not be Zoho/Google Docs users.

Imagine my disappointment when I found that Google Docs is blocked at my school. I haven’t checked Zoho. I don’t know why. I don’t know why such a tool would be threatening to the network or to student safety. Perhaps the ability to publish a document wide is the objection that the district has to these tools. It is certainly too bad, because this seems like a huge “gift” to school districts strapped for funding!

Changing Role of Schools

In the July/August 2007 Editor’s Note, James Daly (Edutopia magazine) gives a clear and concise overview of the change in the nature of information over the last 20 years, and the change (or lack thereof) in America’s public schools. He points out that business has called the shots in the formation of today’s information age, and schools must now

step into a new role: assembler of the collective intellect. Educators must help students sort out the insightful from the ludicrous, assisting them in their new role as capable and critical thinkers.

Wow! He’s talking about the very skills that librarians are suited to help students/teachers with! Evaluation of resources! Critical thinking!

Who says librarians are obsolete? Skilled librarians are more important now than ever–we just don’t always market ourselves effectively. It’s time for us to step up too.

Did you Know 2.0—2.0

Because I can’t get to videos on youtube at school, I’m embedding Did You Know 2.0 from teachertube here. We can get to that.

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