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Friday, November 30, 2007

Things I've learned this week



The completion of the Flat Classroom project has had Julie and I meeting continually and working through things. There are some new things I've learned this week, but I don't have much time so it will be quick!

  • Uhm, Facebook is like a monstrous rolodex. You'll find people you really might be missing and link up with others (like edubloggers.)

  • The Ohio Education Association who are telling teachers not to get facebook and myspace profiles need to realize that professionalism should be encouraged not abdication of society. (Teachers shouldn't have to be told not to run around naked in town, likewise, professionalism is everywhere. Don't stay away from town, just don't run around naked!)

  • Innovation has centered around human enhanced computing. It is soon to move to computer enhanced human-ing. The robo-soldier announced this week gives people the ability to have robotic exoskeletons with super human strength.

    Often these innovations begin like this and also with helping those who are disabled (imagine super human abilities for the disabled.) I can see how Xmen-like discrimination could happen at some point. Again, discussing technology and ethics is so important.



  • Strange Citations - My students and I had to basically "hack" the MLA format. How do you cite a comment on a ning page? How do you cite a specific discussion on a wiki page? How about a specific edit of a wiki page? We've worked through what works for us and I'm planning a video about what we did so those who know more than me can given input.

  • Flat Classroom Reflections - Most of this week has been spent working on the reflections for flat classroom made a little more complex by citations. Student work is starting to go up.

  • John Turner in Australia held a quick student summit in elluminate this week before his students are out for the summer. (It is archived for you to listen.) Look for a calendar this week with open elluminate sessions so that you can interact with and view the presentations of these amazing students.

  • Judging and surveys. I must say I'm quite taken with www.surveyshare.com. I recently met Dr. Curtis Bonk at the GAETC conference in Atlanta who referred me to this amazing service!

  • My current events class is finishing up with the incredible Middle East Conflict Simulation with the University of Michigan. Some are so into it they never want it to end, and others are frustrated because of the complexity of negotiating with so many. Interestingly, one of the "world leaders" was assassinated last week but didn't read the press release and kept wondering why no one was answering him when he wrote. The students role play so well that they truly feel a tiny understanding of the frustration.

  • I've played a little with Yahoo Pipes. I really would like to see us aggregate all of the RSS feeds in the edublogosphere to be able to be able to create a tag cloud for the edublogosphere. That would be so useful!!! (This came from an insightful discussion on the edublogger facebook group.) If we could create an xml file or something in Google Base (or if Google spreadsheets will do an ongoing output as a csv file), then we can aggregate that using Yahoo pipes. Then, we feed it into a tag cloud generator. It is probably going to take someone smarter than me to make it work, I spent about 3 hours tonight but probably won't have any more time for a while!!

    We really need to make something like this happen so we can simply see the trends emerge! We should be able to have a tag cloud for the edublogosphere.

  • Meanwhile, if you have a blog, please tag your feed on del.icio.us as edublogosphere_feeds. We could at least have a list, then we can pull it into something. (I've tried to make the page itself an xml file, haven't figured that out.) Would some programmer come rescue us!

  • Meanwhile, my ninth graders have been beta Testing Microsoft's New Expression Web which has been a great learning experience for all of us. Beta testing is a challenge that they've never understood or experience but I think it is a good one. Something happens when students are pushed by what they THINK they can do!

  • My ninth graders are also enjoying blogging. They all blog on youth voices, but some parents have allowed me to teach them "real" blogging. (See Add to Netvibes).

  • My eighth graders are working on their portfolios which I've totally restructured along with the curriculum director to include less "printing" and more meaningful higher order thinking activities. From explaining Web 2.0 using several creative choices, to making videos for next semester's students to use to learn the basics of keyboarding, these students are learning and very excited.



    Probably the greatest challenge for them is the photo essay assignment. They have to take four photographs that represent the essence of them. (This is reminiscent of what some major colleges are doing now.)

  • Meanwhile, as I help two of my three children slog through middle school, there are all of the challenges of having children in the throes of puberty! Whew! Life is really challenging. But I've found that the easiest way to be unhappy is to go to a personal pity party. When I focus on others and on my purpose on this earth, I am much happier.

    Today I had the chance to be there for a coworker during a tough time and it really was a great feeling for me. It reminded me that others are having tougher times than me and I need to just keep moving ahead.

  • I'm beginning to get a lot more spam and this is a tough one. While I love to try new products that relate to education and technology, I find that the "drive by commenters" and e-mailers or only want me to write about them are becoming more frequent. Don't get me wrong, I want to learn more about products for educators, and please keep sending the thoughts. However, I have always appreciated people selling to educators like those at Wikispaces, Crick Software, Airset, Discovery Educators, and Elluminate. (and so many more I've forgotten) They are involved in education, participate in discussions, and contribute to the overall environment as well as providing a service for profit. So, I guess my message to those selling to educators is to BE INVOLVED in education and you'll find lots of loyal customers and feedback on making your product better.

  • I've been Christmas shopping (on Amazon mostly) and trying to get the decorations up.
Well, I have a lot more to tell you, but really, I'm tired! I've got several blog posts in the hopper, but will tell you more later.

My official blog anniversary is tomorrow, December 1st! That was the original date of my first blog post. I'll be TWO!

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