Friday, February 27, 2009

Virtual Learning

February 2009 saw the publication of two (at least two that come to me) magazines with a distance learning focus.

Leading and Learning had a rather glowing account of Florida Virtual. It was future-oriented and described some components of what must be the future of 8-12 education.

NEA also published a lengthy article on the topic this month. Virtualizing education in Alaska, according to the article, takes the form of a teacher speaking into a video camera in real time while students watch and reluctantly participate. I kept looking for a disclaimer saying "Luckily, this story of virtualizing education is from LAST decade. We're not really still doing this to our kids in the classroom." No such luck. The article is worth reading, if for no other reason than as a "how not to do distance learning"!

If you've ever seen Marco Torres with his cartoon teachers saying "read pages 1-10 and answer questions 1-4" using the latest and greatest technology of each age, that's exactly what the Alaska article highlights.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 Web-Based File Storage

This weekend I saw Microsoft's SkyDrive and thought that was pretty cool. 25GB of free storage, where each folder can be set with different permissions . . . that's all right! I could see sending my teachers and students that direction.

But then today I saw, and I am very impressed. You share files up to 100MB in each drop, but the flexibility is what takes my breath away--is there a mode of communication it doesn't work with? I'm going to see what a group of students with cell phones can do to make it a collaborative sharepoint.

Cell Phone Magic

Did you know you can do this with any old cell phone? (not just the fancy ones)

Now you can find businesses for free from any phone – no internet access required, and with no 411 charges. Just call 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and say where you are and what you're looking for.

* No need to memorize or write down phone numbers.
* Call and connect directly to businesses.
* Get the businesses' info sent to your phone for free via SMS.

Google SMS
From local business listings to stock quotes, you can get the information you're looking for with Google SMS.

Simply text message your search query to 466453 ("GOOGLE" on most devices) and we'll text message back your results.

Want to post text and pictures to your Blogger blog directly from your mobile device? Email them, or if there's no mobile internet, MMS them to

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NCCE Thursday Afternoon (Chris Haskell)

Cell phone projects:

  1. Send me an sms-to-email with your name.
  2. I now have your phones' correct emails (, etc)
  3. Now I can send out an email/sms to 5 students at a time, saying "okay, group 1, stand up and go to this building on campus, and wait for instructions"
  4. As they go, I send out the other groups and then send a follow-up email to group 1 with the further instructions.
This would be useful in Ashland.
  • Phones can send email. Pics emailed to Flickr, Picnik, Photobucket are put into albums.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Books to Read

The Tipping Point
The Outlyers
Here Comes Everybody--Clay Shirkey
Growing up Digital--Don Tapscott (get a newer book)
Element--Ken Robinson
Shaking up the SchoolHouse--Schlechty
Working on the Work--Schlechty
Classroom Instruction that Works--Marzano

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ITSC Tuesday Afternoon (Wes Fryer)

Powerful Ingredients for Digitally Interactive Learning

"I'm here for the learning revolution."

Applications can go into the Finder window as quick links.

TEXAS: Local autonomy for textbook purchasing--change the law from "textbook" to instructional materials . . . then you can buy netbooks with textbook money.

Diffusion of Innovation (Everett Rogers) Curve of Adoption of new technologies.
"You're not a laggard. You're here at this session."

Here Comes Everybody--Clay Shirkey
Growing up Digital--Don Tapscott (get a newer book)
Element--Ken Robinson
Shaking up the SchoolHouse--Schlechty

Back channel chatting and collaboration via Chatzy.

Facebook "facet of profile" so that students can be in partial relationship "list public."

NO ONE is preparing kids for the unfiltered web. --Scott McCleod.

Compfight searches flickr and can be limited to creative commons.

Proceedural vs. Navigational Learning

Don't print handouts for kids--you're wasting paper.
Meet the learners where they are. You must supply paper handouts for fearful learners.
We tend to teach the way we were taught.

Nokia Ad--4th Screen
Texas Abilene Christian University "Connected"

ITSC Tuesday Afternoon (Marco Torres)

Focus on Verbs, not Nouns

What makes you an expert? The dept. teachers went around the table describing what makes them an expert. Then I asked them--can you find it on Google (big screen change to Google Home).

What is an educated person?

Remind me never to debate someone who has an iPhone.

In a restaurant, if you're not talking about food, you're in trouble. Yet so many of us in education talk about schooling ... and not learning.

How much time do students spend creating and producing vs. passively receiving? Are we attempting to create really, really good passive receivers? Is that our purpose?

Monday, February 16, 2009

ITSC Monday Afternoon (Kelly Beaudry)

Tech Enriched Classroom

"If you didn't find a partner, make a triad." That sounds SO much better than Ménage à trois!

(Too often I find myself hoping that they won't go there when I say "Create a threesome" or "Create a threeway." Triad is so much better!)

Quadrant Page activity to start, so that participants can return to a SAFE HARBOR person.

Having a starting Quadrant Page activity is good so that people make an initial connection and know immediately who they need to connect with when it comes to do that. Very efficient, but it also creates a "safety" because you can come back to that "winter" partner several times and your "summer" partner several other times.

"Let's get ready to do some reflection . . ."

ITSC Monday Afternoon (Wes Fryer)


copyright comes into existence the moment it's written on the cocktail napkin--not just spoken, it has to be a static form.

Obama Hope Poster
Shepard Fairey artist took a Google image and altered it (and avoided a lawsuit how?)

We need to be able to give advice to our colleagues!

Compfight --looks for creative commons images in flickr

There is a myth . . . the 10% myth. 1986 Fair Use Guidelines what lawyers call "bright line rules"

Fair Use

We need to know this topic, especially in an age of remixing and video/audio creation.

H omegrown
C reative Commons
F air Use

Then, after talking about copyright, get to fair use.

Derivitive, Transformative
In many cases, educators have not fully used their rights under Fair Use.

Copyright's for the People video. Temple University: whats-copyright, user-rights
Don't copy that floppy.

TED Talks remixing Larry Lessig

Creative Commons Get Creative Video
Building on the Past

Sunday, February 15, 2009

ITSC Sunday Evening (Sir Ken Robinson)

What are we taking for granted? ...our sense of creativity
We don't know what we take for granted ... because we take it for granted!

Creativity: The process of having original ideas that have value
  1. It's not special people that have it.
  2. It's not about special things (artsy vs. all the other things in life where talent exists)
  3. You can help increase creativity.
They have high standards, but they're not standardized. Excellence comes not through standardizing but through customizing. The enemy of raising standards is conformity.

Tonsectomies--A false epidemic of the 50s and 60s.
Our current false epidemic is ADHD. Too many people are being casually given this label.

Linear vs. Divergent Thinking
Redefining Genius: 98% of kindergartners vs 32% of 5th graders scored genius on a divergent thinking test.

Blue Man Group

Why wear a watch..It's like a single-function device! How lame.

blue man school finding their element video
Freight cars and school is a silo. No, we are a launch pad.

A better metaphor for education is not industrialism but agriculture. What is holding education back is the depersonizing, conformity, and standardizing.

Michaelangelo--I didn't make the David--the David was in the stone all the time... all I did was reveal him. It was actually easy. All you have to do is see which parts of the stone are not David and remove them.

Bertrand Russell
"Is the world divided into mind and matter, and, if so, what is mind and what is matter? Is mind subject to matter, or is it possessed of independent powers? Has the universe any unity or purpose? Is it evolving towards some goal? Are there really laws of nature, or do we believe in them only because of our innate love of order? Is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water impotently crawling on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet? Is he perhaps both at once? Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are all ways of living merely futile? If there is a way of living that is noble, in what does it consist, and how shall we achieve it? Must the good be eternal in order to deserve to be valued, or is it worth seeking even if the universe is inexorably moving towards death? . . .

"The studying of these questions, if not the answering of them, is the business of philosophy."

A better metaphor for education is not industrialism but agriculture. What is holding education back is the depersonizing, conformity, and standardizing.

Michaelangelo--I didn't make the David--the David was in the stone all the time... all I did was reveal him. It was actually easy. All you have to do is see which parts of the stone are not David and remove them.

Question and Answer Session

Last summer someone keynoting another conference talked about educators re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Is the ship worth saving or shall we find a lifeboat.

We can't stop education and put it into dry dock. We have to rebuild while were at sea. History is with us in that the current system is breaking down. Reference here the declining value of the degree.

It's not going to be a revolution as much as an increased evolution. One of the great bridgeheads here is going to be information technology.

Schools won't go away, but they need to focus on practical arts, collaborative work. Teachers must become curators of knowledge rather than sources of knowledge.

We think if we can't count it, it doesn't count.

ITSC 2009 Sunday Afternoon

Microsoft Apps in Education

Photosynth--seems to require Silverlight to be installed (what is Silverlight?)

Kodu--Video Game creation software (still in beta?)

Live@edu VIDEO

SkyDrive--store files, permissions by folder, send direct notification link via email

OfficeLive--share documents


Live Mesh (installed application per unit)
  • Sync docs on your PC or Mac or Phone (change one and the others change)
  • Remote desktop
Windows Live Photo Gallery--Similar to Picassa

Career Forward cFWD

Office Labs (community clips screencasting from MS Office, pptPLEX)

ICE --composite image editor

IM with Windows Messenger with real-time translation tool.

Steady State--What does this do?

Worldwide Telescope

APPLE (iPod Touch, Podcasting, etc) (research and resources for setting up a charter school in 21st Century Style)

GarageBand--creating a podcast with screenshots and prerecorded voice

KQED Podcasts and Vodcasts in the area of Science a presence, share ideas--submit an Apple Distinguished Educator application


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Google Earth

This just came from the Google Educators Group:

"Speaking of changes around in the world - when it launched three years ago, Google Earth changed the way people everywhere access the world's geographic information. Since then, we've added useful features like 3D buildings, Street View, Sky in Google Earth, and countless educational content layers. This week, we are thrilled to unveil three exciting new features in Google Earth 5.0! With touring in Google Earth, your students can record and play back their own tours, complete with voiceovers! In addition, new historical imagery allows you to use a time slider to explore local and global changes over the past few decades. Finally, you can now dive to the deepest part of the sea with oceans in Google Earth! Our newest release allows you to fly beneath the surface to explore underwater canyons, see shipwrecks in 3D, and watch YouTube videos submitted by oceanographers and aquatic experts. Check it out at!"