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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Live Blogging Edubloggercon at NECC



Ustream channelBroadcast by Ustream.TVWill be live blogging Edubloggercon here.May have some other people join me.Also, a monstrous group chat is evolving here. (Passcode: bikx9 )

Friday, June 27, 2008

Laughing at Wife of the Year: Elaine Freedman (Terry's wife!)



Adding to my list of reasons to go back to England, my friend Terry just sent me this hilarious video where he interviewed his wife.

I love her! Like I always say, behind every great man is a woman who keeps him humble! Elaine Freedman, you're my kind of woman -- I want to meet you!



I just love Terry -- he is one of my most trusted advisors and has been one of our many amazing researcher/pedagogical experts who tells us the truth about what we need to do on things like Horizon and Flat Classroom. Terry is a "straight shooter" and also has practical classroom experience in his back pocket. I am very grateful to all of his hundreds of hours and assistance he has given behind the scenes.

Oh, btw, Terry recorded this as he was evaluating the flip video.

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/27/2008



Thursday, June 26, 2008

A photographic journey into plurk: See for yourself before you jump the twittership



BubbleShare: Share photos - Powered by BubbleShare


I chronicled my trip from Twitter frustration to curiosity about plurk. Follow the journey. However, as you can tell, my recommendation is, don't jump the twitter ship yet.

Plurk isn't instant, you can't import your e-mail, although it says you can. There are features in there that just don't work, and yet plurk doesn't say it is in "beta." I really like the interface of twitter better.

My thought: hang tight and see if twitter can get its act together. Use Summize to see one's replies by typing in @yourid -- just remember, this will only show you replies of people who are on the public timeline.

For right now, twitter is like a bad boyfriend: you're crazy about him but he's just not there when you need him. He's still the best one I've got for now. Maybe he'll fix his wandering ways and shape up!

My plurk page

Help my friend Scott, we need your clicks



A friend of mine from high school, Scott Rigsby, is the first double amputee to complete an iron man in history.

We did an amazing interview with him on Wow2 a while back and I've blogged about him before. I'm asking you to do me a favor, he is in the running for the "Energizer Keep going Hall of Fame" but it is determined by votes.

You may vote here
once a day until July 26. (and read more about the contest)

Please help me help him win this! I appreciate it very much! Scott is an inspiration (as are the others who are finalists.) The difference is that I know Scott and his journey out of addiction to pain pills and depression in order to get where he is today -- to run his first iron man at 40 on prosthetic legs -- wow!

Thank you! I would consider this a favor to me if you would pass this along!

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/26/2008



Notes from Google Teacher Academy



Notes from Google Teacher Academy

Note: I took these notes in Google notebook and exported them to Google docs and after they were formatted, I posted to blogger from Google docs.

Google Teacher Academy

Teachers Going to Google :) Home - Teachers Going to Google :)
This is what many of these teachers feel like -- 250 applications for 50 spots here. I wish everyone could come! 5 different countries - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Phillipines, 56 people in the room.

Chris Walsh - Introduction - Google Teacher Academy

Chris Walsh Google for Educators Site - http://www.google.com/educators/gta.html This is about the innovation that Google brings to the table to the classroom. Note from Vicki: I agree with this totally, I use a method in my classroom called 'Google Led Socratic Teaching" Google has created an atmosphere that promotes innovation -- Note: Bicycles are everywhere, most people are casual, microkitchens, decor -- it is a really cool environment. Microkitchens - they are everywhere. Find just about anything you could ever want to eat. They do this on purpose -- feed people well if you want them to work well. ("Partake of the chocolate river" They had more applicants than any other teacher academy every. They have over 200 Google certified teachers around the world.

Mark Wagner - Innovation Connection

Leading the innovation connection. Speed dating for geeky teachers. - 30 minute activity. 2 minutes - to think up an innovation that you've done in education but NO technology. (Gather with teams) - Team names are after 19th century innovators. http://sites.google.com/site/gtaresources Cool ideas:
  • Teacher that adopted a stream/ watershed behind the school -- cleaned it up w/ class and the salmon run came back -- used to educate the whole school.
  • Stereophone w/ pvc looped sound of reading to the student's ear to help find commas, etc. -each one cost 15 cents apiece.

Cristin Frodella, Program Manager - Google Teacher Academy

Focus on the user and all else will follow -- Part of their culture.

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.

3. Fast is better than slow.

4. Democracy on the web works.

5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.

6. You can make money without doing evil.

7. There's always more information out there.

8. The need for information crosses all borders.

9. You can be serious without a suit. **I love this -- Jeans, t-shirts, shorts -- very relaxed. (I like that.)

10. Great just isn't good enough. **Very academic place -- get "graded" every single quarter - OKR (Objectives and key results) -- gets graded every quarter. Based upon "grades" for how they get paid. (WOW! I like this.)

. Good advice for students and teachers too. FOCUS ON THE STUDENT AND ALL ELSE WILL FOLLOW. Innnovation is something that works also outside of technology. She actually said that althought they are teaching Google tools, they encourage us to innovate w/ whatever tools do the job. (Wow!) I love the objectives of Google Teacher Academy -- to inspire us to be agents of change but also to give feedback to Google - help us to make a community of excellence. "Creative education leaders who understand their local needs and can spread innovation as a recognized expert." Our responsibilities: I. Professional Development

By February 2009, lead at least 3 professional development activities on ways that innovative tools can be effectively used in the classroom or school.

Examples include:

  • Hands-on Workshop
  • Peer Coaching Program
  • Large Group Presentations
  • Online Learning Events & Modules
  • Weekly Podcast Program
  • Weekly Blog Posts
Complete Action Plan Tracker
  • Three Activities You Plan to Lead
  • Intended Audience
  • Intended Results
  • Demonstrates the concept so that other GCTs might implement it
  • Utilizes at least one Google tool
  • Serves a specific educational purpose
  • 30 minutes for "rapid prototyping"
  • 30 minutes for sharing
Pair up w/ a peer to work w/ the action plan. Google, Google Teacher Academy

Chris Walsch - Google Search & Personalized Information

90% of peoplethink that Google Search is what it is all about http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/ - Link to every product that Google Has
  • Advanced search -- copyrighted authors tend to do pdf's -- so you can go in advanced search and search for pdfs - http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en - We need to teach students to search by file type.
  • You can search within a domain - UCLA - education science ucla.edu and search powerpoints from there.
  • do an order of operations lesson - type in a long math problem and google will add parentheses in there for you -- can discuss this
  • define: and the word -- Note: I use this ALL the time in my "google led" socratic teaching.
  • Search bar is no longer a place to find websites -- it finds INFORMATION
  • Google 411 - http://www.google.com/goog411/index.html#utm_source=us-et-more&utm_medium=et&utm_campaign=GOOG-411 - Call 800 GOOG 411 (1-800-466-4411) About GOOG-411 Google's new 411 service is free, fast and easy to use. Give it a try now and see how simple it is to find and connect with local businesses for free. It will answer with a text message.
  • Talks and shares iGoogle Note: We teach all of our teachers to use igoogle, it is a great entry level igoogle page. Also if you do hosting w/ Google -- you can create customized igoogle pages for your school.

Google, Google Teacher Academy, search

Google Maps, Google Earth, Sketchup, and Sky - Jerome Burg

Stimulate ideas http://sites.google.com/site/gctalmanac/ My computer crashed - lost the rest of these notes! ;-)

Mark Wagner - Docs

Like the comment feature in docs - leave feedback but it won't be printed. Each collaborator can get a color Preso - http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=ddnctvgt_170cbskvf68 Doc about Docs Can you share a document w/ a mailing list -- YES -- so we could create a listserv for the class -- CHECK - invitations may be used by anyone. So you can invite them. That is a great thing! (Just remember anyone can add themselves who wants to.) I like this. E-mail collaborators - it becomes a list serv itself. (I love this feature - it is a great one.) Can you change ownership of a doc? He says when you go to delete it you can. Can translate your do -- but you can make a public page -- tranlate a webpage - http://translate.google.com

More Google

custom Search Luci - Lets you just search specific sites Custom Calendars Terry - give you access - timebridge -- will work with www.jott.com will also put on the calendar Specialized search Devery - blog search, book search, news scholar, special searches -- multiple ways to search blogs (note: you can also subscribe to these rss feeds) -- see where the books are available (NOTE: some teachers are using this to work w/ their card catalog search) -- search news Picasa - Jim - rss feeds -- put into igoogle -- photo sharing -- pictures on igoogle Can embed to the website. Youtube & video - Nicole - www.getmiro.com - go out and search video tags www.vixy.net - www.zamzar.com -- piclens add in -- wonderful. -- moya software Groups -- threaded discussions - post files -- post hyperlinks -- make pages -- common folder for files Sketchup - 3D artistry program -- pull objects from google earth -- WOW! -- (I want to share this with my students) - compare pyramids to the parthenon -- create models of their room or classroom - label pieces of the item and draw it out. Place back into google earth when done -- put own new pyramid into google earth. California's 4th grade standard - missions - compare and contrast different missions. Gtalk -

Google in High School Journalism

Esther Wojcicki - Just joined the board of Creative Commons - created 5 media programs in grades 10-12 -- completely self supporting - kids go out and get ads. (real journnalism) 4 programs recognized for excellence. 4 classes that use docs for their journalism -- more than 400 students that take journalism at Palo Alto high school. 4-6 editors in chief - section editors, page editors, everyone is a reporter, business staff, advertising staff (create ads) 2005 winner of two webby awards -- http://voice.paly.net -- 30 kids that work on that website. They also have a newspaper -- The Campanile -- Columbia Corwn winner and National Scholastic Press Hall of Fame - Top 1% of the countryfor many years. -- National Scholastic Press Paecmaker - Verde Magazine -- Viking Sports Magainze - June 2008 They use docs to create all of these things. Advantage of Docs -- easy to use and collaborate w/ other students - revision easy to locate, easy to organize documents, easy to find a document, saves automatically -- great for teaching journalism. -- Cool Prior to using docs they were in constant crisis w/ disks and problems. I left it at Dad's house and this weekend I was at Mom's house - tough. Great b/c you can comment on the article right away. Submit online and in hard copy as well but they do lose it in hardcopy -- easier to read in hard copy -- so they print it out when it is time to get it together. The other advantage of docs - online peer editing. They work on it at all times of the day -- can see when they were online working on this - she's seeing work and editing at all times of the night and day. How do you get such high quality writing? She says b/c it is easy to access and they can work when they are comfortable. Can download and save it as a word file later on -- Adobe InDesign requires to save it as a word file. However, within the next 6 months - in design will allow the files to come straight from Google Docs. So, all students have an online portfolio - just type name into search bar -- they have Google sites -- she can see what every student has done for the entire year. -- In the docs account.-- if you want credit, you have to share it with her -- the teacher. They have an online porftolio -- revisions history -- and how many revisions they have made -- showing a doc that has 173 people looking at- advantage of publication is this quality (see the foxfire information -- similar format.) Note to self: What about a magazine or website covering technology w/ my students -- write in google docs, share and cover technology. Hmmmm. Sample assignments for beginning journalism -- cool information. How do you label all these documents so you don't go crazy? Students name documents by their class period, first name and last name. 2Brown, Catherine: Pizza REview -- then you can alphabetize by class name -- (I WANT TO DO THIS) -- again -- standardizing tags -- I am starting to do this, it is such an important practice. ***Standard tags for assignments, etc. are very important -- having some naming standards -- she has hundreds of students and it is a necessity -- I agree totally!!!! They can click on contacts and share -- I think they are in google sites which makes it easier to do things. (Note to self: I am putting on my list to give each student an email this year from grades 6-12 -- that will be so helpful.) They critique each others work -- you can see if they do == the comments don't print. It really makes a difference. It helps students do really great work, that is why she likes docs. Mag comes out 12 x per year -- website is updated every day. 2 sections to the paper. Have a professional printer -- send it and ftp it to the printer -- fricky parts press in union city journalism, googledocs, Google Teacher Academy

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My day at Google Teacher Academy



Tomorrow on this blog, you'll get a lot of links. Also, I have a post coming from Google docs with my notes.

Although it is 12:10 on the east coast and I'm dead tired, I just have to reflect on my thoughts about Google Teacher Academy today.

It was a wonderful experience. To be here at such an icon of our time... the company who showed what it was like to become so wildly popular as to literally become a verb, I felt like a part of history.

I am proof that a teacher who was formerly behind and didn't know a thing about anything Web 2.0 can jump into these tools and combine a commitment to excellence with a desire to learn more and share the process of learning -- can make a difference.

And I'm not the only one. There are many of us teachers who are reaching and connecting like never before.

I dream of a day when many teachers present at 5-6 conferences a year about best practices in the classroom. I dream of a day when pd is embedded as part of our day and that reading our rss reader will be considered important PD rather than "goofing off."

I dream of a day when it isn't about edtech bloggers but we have an lit-edublogosphere sci-edublogosphere hist-edublogosphere lang-edublogosphere -- even more than we have today. Where blogging is more mainstream and each discipline has its own "coolcatteacher" -- a practicing teacher who discusses ALL the tools of teaching that discipline.

We've got to do a better job of connecting teachers in their own discipline. Should we make a list of bloggers by discipline? What should we do? It is time to move it past edtech because these tools are so important in every class.

But it is not just about the technology - it is about great teaching.

Today, I shared this video from the miracle worker -- it is who I am. It was very personal to share and I always tear up when I see it. Every teacher, every professional developer (you're a teacher too) -- this is our holy grail of teaching.

Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, is my epitome of the greatest teacherpreneur. This is who I want to be.



I hope you listened to the end. Teacher.... Teacher.... Teacher....

That is me.

And we are in an era where progressive companies who understand education (by listening to educators) want to include rank and file teachers in their equation.

Cristin Frodella, the manager of the Google Teacher program, Mark Wagner, from CUE, and Mike Lawrence, Executive Director of CUE, did a phenomenal job of organizing. And the google technology crew, filmmakers, av team... they were "tack sharp." Wow! Absolutely amazing.

But perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was Cristin's willingness to encourage all innovation of all kinds. It was not the kind of conference where we only talked about Google tools, although those were definitely the focus. Insight into the innovative mindset of the company taught me a lot.

The Google Culture
Google sees the big picture of innovation and culture... having good food to eat, large large green areas (but small elbow to elbow work spaces), and a strong knowledge of who their company is. I see why Google is successful.

This place oozes creativity. Tons of bicycles, a casual dress, and unique, beautiful natural areas. Interesting decor from a sea kayak to large balancing balls that one can grab to sit on.

I learned a lot. Not just about technology but about a culture of excellence that doesn't have to be restrictive and tight.

No Wool Suits 4 U


I recall my early days at GTE -- it was a wool suit EVERY day -- in 105 degrees, there I was in my heels and wool suit, traipsing to work.

The Day I let my hair down to present
And today I took a chance and did something I've literally NEVER done before. I'm shocked at myself. I let my hair down, literally -- I've always put my hair up either in a barrette or (ugh) a bun or french twist.

Now, you men may not understand this, but I have been so brainwashed to the point that I had to "look the part" and I still know there is something to it. However, for some reason, I felt OK just being ME. The atmosphere of "be yourself but be incredibly good at what you do" is contagious and you know what, I wasn't distracted. It was nice.

I'm a teacher. At 39 years old, and OK with who I am. I love my husband, my three children, and my students. I love my school and my job and it is really cool that a few times a year I get to go to some amazing places like Google Teacher academy and become a better teacher.

I want this for more of you, my friends, the teachers because it is about time that we connect. It is time that we all let our hair down and be who we are and be OK with it. It is time to realize that we have a job to do and that many things are just a distraction.

We want kids to come to school and want to improve the dropout rate -- and yet, what do we do? We tighten the dress code, we serve food that is worse than most prison food, and we test students like crazy. WE put them in class sizes so large that their teachers don't know all of their names and put them in uncomfortable seats. Now, work is always going to be a little bit unpleasant for most of us at least at some times, but how about making the MAIN THING the MAIN THING.

It is about learning. It is about educating. Teaching students to think, create, problem solve, and be successful in life. To help them see the larger world and have a purpose.

Today, I used my example about a cupcake and ask if cupcakes are good or bad and then I show a cupcake that says "I hate you" and ask if it is good. (The point is that any tool can be good or bad, it is the use.) At least 10 educators responded that they ban cupcakes at their school. "We only allow healthy non-sugar choices," said one. Another said, "we only allow presealed treats, cupcakes might be poisoned."

What?

So, instead of teaching proper behavior, it has come to the fact that we no longer allow kids to eat cupcakes in school.

Many people blame blame blame today's kids. I was always taught by my Mom that if I pointed at someone that four fingers were pointing back at me. These kids are not only a product of our society but they are a product of our education system. If we're not happy with today's kids, then we should also not be happy with ourselves.

We don't let them eat cupcakes. They can't play outside. They are bad if they play video games all day. They are bad if they hang out at the mall and spend money. They are bad if they veg in front of the tv. Don't go building a fort in your front yard, the neighbors won't like it.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the kids of today. We've taken away a lot of the great things I remember about being a kid. And we wonder why they turn to technology? What else can they do?

I'll tell you that the students I've worked with give me amazing hope and excitement about the future. (But then again, we eat cupcakes. ;-) When I get discouraged is when other teachers tell me how many things they CAN'T do.

Life is messy and not perfect. Kids make mistakes. A zero discipline problem, no controversy school is not possible.

I just know that if I'm going to have issues w/ parents, I want it to be because I do the right thing not because I'm being slack. I want these kids to thank me, today and in the future. And I want what I have in my classroom for more teachers.

I think that is why I travel sometimes. I want others to know that there is a better way and it doesn't come from being a Mini Cool Cat Teacher -- it comes from educating oneself as a teacher and having the empowerment to customize your classroom to the students and objective.

In a world that doesn' t need cookie cutter students, we no longer have room for cookie cutter teachers and cookie cutter curricula, and the training experiences like I saw today help make teachers and professional developers qualified to customize their classrooms.

OK, it is very late now and this has rambled quite a bit.

If you ever get the chance to apply for Google Teacher academy or you were one of the 200+ people who didn't make this class, PLEASE PLEASE apply again -- take a look at some of the videos that people submitted and go ahead and film and make your case so that when some more classes are announced, you'll be ready.

Such a time in history when classroom teachers, technology integrators, principals, curriculum directors at the local level count enough to be involved in an icon of our time. Be a part of history (and improve yourself in the progress.)

I'm proud to be a Google Certified Teacher. Does it mean I'll use Google exclusively, no? Does it mean I'm connected with amazing educators who know a lot about getting the most out of Google... oh yeah, and that is the best thing... the connections.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/24/2008



  • Nice post. I think many of us are wanting to push past the cool and trivial and use Web 2.0 to do meaningful, authentic things (imagine how students feel.)

    I think a more important question is that "Are students bored with worksheets?" Authentic and network building experiences and learning should become part of what they do. They don't want the trivial any more than we do.

    tags: education, web_2.0, social_networking

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/23/2008



  • This cool course is fascinating. I've been getting a lot of links titled "Thing 1" or "Thing 8" -- didn't know what it was and now I do. The 23 things is a fascinating way to teach teachers about these tools. Great resource for professional developers to look at.

    tags: education, edu_trends, professionaldevelopment

  • Tweetboard lets you follow specific tweets with certain people. I asked yesterday how this worked and now I know -- this is fascinating.

    tags: education, twitter

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Slideshare group for your #NECC presentations



I've made an event in slideshare for your presentations for NECC. Just upload your presentation as usual and then add it to the event. (I do think you have to join the event first.)

Also, the presentations that are uploaded have been added to the feeds on my NECC Netvibes page. This is yet another way to bring others in.

IF you wonder why I'm using #necc in the title, it is so when my blog post is tweeted that it will be pulled into the hashtags feed for twitter.

I blogged about this yesterday, but hashtags lets everyone be involved in the conversation, even those not on twitter.

All of the things done here, you can do for your school or group to facilitate communication.

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/22/2008



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Following NECC: Here's my RSS page



Every time my students and I have a new topic, we create a new PLN. A personal learning network in the form of an RSS page aggregates all things of interest and gives one a starting point.

If you have netvibes, here is the page I've made over there, or you may click the button below to just add it to your own netvibes - Add to Netvibes

Opening Twitter to everyone
It is so important to be inclusive. Not everyone is on twitter, but shouldn't they be able to be "in on" the tweets?

You'll see that the netvibes page has a hashtag for twitter on it. Here is how it works:

  1. Follow @hashtags
    Hashtags is an "opt in" service, which means you have to tell it that you want to be indexed. If you don't follow the hashtags user, you can use #necc all day but WILL NOT be included. Don't worry, hashtags won't tweet you back, it doesn't work that way.
  2. When you tweet about something at necc put #necc in your tweet. It will then automatically go to the hashtags page for necc. This page has a nice little RSS (that provided the rss feed for the netvibes page.)
To follow this in your own rss reader, just add the rss feed on this page to your rss reader. (Put the url of the page in your reader, it should find the feed automatically as it did for me.)

Why not use necc2008 or necc08?

My pet peeve is two digit years for the date -- we act as if we learned nothing from y2K and will require someone to reindex our work another 100 years from now -- I guess many people don't want their work to stick around that long, but if y2k taught me anything it is to use 4 digit dates.

So, we could use necc2008 -- the only thing is that digits are scarce in twitter - you get 140 characters. So, why can't we follow necc? Just in case, however, there is a hashtag for necc2008 so it will take both.

Also following the necc 2008 ning -- have subscribed to the blog posts and pictures there -- there is quite a nice gallery growing there.

OK, have fun following necc. And let me remind you. If you're having a pity party that you cannot come, my first year in 2006, I made it a point to cover virtually everything that was happening and many people thought I was there. I put on my slippers and immersed myself in everything happening. It is not quite like being there, however, it is still a very enriching experience.

US Presidential Candidates Debate on Twitter



Well it SAYS it is an Obama/ McCain Twitter Debate, however, it is really some of their advisors. However, there is a "twitter" debate between the two candidates nonetheless.

How does it work?

How to play along:

1) You can "follow" all three particpants via Twitter:

2) Or you can search for their Tweets on Summize, using the "#pdfdebate" tag as a search term. (See Twitterfan wiki on how hashtags work -- this means you don't have to be on twitter to follow it.)

3) Third option: A "Tweetboard" which lays out all of the players, side-by-side. (They listed this third option -- how to do this -- I have no clue - there is no link.)

I wish the candidates themselves were answering the questions, but then again, I'm not sure that they ever really do anyway.


Math Videos and Math Cast Innovation in Sixth grade



A big hat tip to Eric Marcos, sixth grade math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in California.

His video overview of the work of his students is inspiring



He and his students have co created the Math Train Podcast and Math Train TV.

Mathtrain TV is a "free educational kids teaching kids project" created by he and his kids.

I love these videos like this area of a target circle problem.



I have so many questions that I want to ask Eric! How did he set up the site? How did he do it? What does he do to record video? (There is no ambient noise in the background!) Eric also has a great website with an overview of information about him and he will be presenting at Alan November's BLC conference this summer. (I tried to link to Alan's blog -- does he not blog any more?)

I'm going to profile as many TEACHERS as I can find over the next 3 weeks of total craziness.







Turbo Tagger

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/21/2008



Friday, June 20, 2008

Mainstream Media vs. Blogosphere: Mainstream Ed vs. Edublogosphere?



It is no secret that mainstream media tends to dislike the blogosphere and many bloggers (particularly political ones) dislike mainstream media.

However, I find the current Associated Press assault on quotations used on the Drudge Retort (with links, mind you) as short as 35 words to be #1 Shortsighted and #2 the wrong thing to do for mainstream media. (Hat tip to Will Richardson and Jeff Jarvis.)

It is all about eyeballs. Whoever gets the eyeballs gets the advertising dollar.

However, if mainstream media would wake up and realize that many of us are getting our breaking news from twitter, (I've settled for following BreakingNewsOn from the Netherlands - REAL news sources inundate me - they do about 3 updates a day.), perhaps they could add value to our lives instead of inundating us with 24/7 news online. Online, we don't want 24/7 news -- if we want that, we'll watch cable. We want snippets of the news and updates, we need meaning--- quality over quantity, for goodness sakes.

So, this week, the New York Times reported that the AP will clearly define the proper linking policies for bloggers.

I do entirely agree with one quote in the article from Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P:

"“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”"


I agree with this entirely, although I disagree with how they went about trying to make this their point!

If you write about it, link it.
That is good netiquette and soon, it may be illegal to do otherwise.

Blogging is not something for the lazy. Just this week, someone wrote a blog article about me (not linking to article on purpose) and in it, told the readers to go to my blog and give me a thank you. There was just my name, no mention of my blog name.

Now, let me ask you -- how are those readers going to find me? Was it really a compliment or was it really not? It was not kind to the reader and not good netiquette.

Additionally, splogs often copy ENTIRE blog posts from here and use it without linking. I have no method of recourse against them. I've seen some educators do this in the past, although it is not as much of a problem.

Additionally, I have seen some companies take entire blog posts WITHOUT my permission and have had to deal with that as well. Companies who steal content and think creative commons is permission to steal AND DON'T Link back to my blog. I notice this at least 4-5 times a week.

So, mainstream media shouldn't think they are the only one's in this. And bloggers don't have the time to pursue all of the perpetrators.

Teach the right way!
But I believe it is VERY important to teach students to link to their sources, even if they are commenting on a post. It is the right thing to do.

We'll see what happens with this, however, this whole incident shows the growing tension between the blogosphere and mainstream media outlets who still haven't quite begun to understand the blogosphere.

Controlling the news is something that a few organizations have done for quite a long period of time and now anyone with the ability to blog, wiki, take photos, or record things can break news from anywhere. Many news organizations are disconcerted as well they should be.

And it is just beginning in education
I also predict that this same upheaval is just beginning in education. Just as the political and news blogosphere is drawing increased dislike from established journalists, so too will many teacher, administrator, and educator bloggers in the coming years.

It is all about power and when power shifts, the establishment fights back.

It has only begun in education.

I would like to say that many in education have been welcoming to a newcomer like me. As a relative newcomer, I would find that many in edtech (particularly the edubloggers) have been incredibly welcoming. (But maybe that is because most edubloggers are relative newcomers too, at least to the edublogosphere.)

However, there are also many in establishment who have NOT been welcoming at all. This is their hill and they've been on top for quite some time and think someone is coming to push them off.

(This is mostly in the form of those in edtech who don't read the edublogosphere, whether intentionally or not, really leave others out of the conversation-- me included! I've seen this happen between edubloggers, though, and it is something we must all be careful about. The "you're not worthy of eye contact" type of thing.)

I get a lot of "and who are you" types of comments when I travel. My response, "I'm just a teacher."

(Which makes most mad, however, it is a litmus test for me with those I meet. If a person immediately says -- "but teachers are very important" -- I know a lot about that person. I believe that teaching is an amazingly noble and tough calling that is misunderstood greatly. If someone says, "oh" and moves on, then that is all I need to know. I am just a teacher and teachers have made me who I am.)

Well, I am planning to stay in the classroom. I hardly think my 5-6 conferences a year are going to hurt anyone.

However, when many more teachers like me begin to do 5-6 conferences a year, as they will, the backlash will happen.

SomeONE is not coming to push off the establishment off the presenters circuits -- but ManyTEACHERS are!

I predict that classroom teachers will increase in prominence and voice in education, despite the efforts of many to tell teachers that they shouldn't be blogging and shouldn't be speaking. I also think that many in the trenches like administrators, curriculum directors and IT directors will also. I think that being an ACTIVE person in the trenches is the new currency at conferences and carries a lot of merit. (I also happen to think that presenters with a lot of teaching experience in their background are also in high demand.)

I hope that we can handle the changes that are coming well and model for the other sectors of society how it is to be done.

What are we here for?

The way I feel about it is that we should all be here for the students. It is about making sure our classrooms are doing a great job of not only educating students but helping them find their individual talents. It is about helping our country thrive in the years to come.

If anyone is in the classroom for a power trip, they are certainly there for the wrong reason. Now, the speakers/ pd circuit -- that is a whole different animal.

What will happen we we truly start seeing more teachers at conferences, that is anyone's guess.

What will happen as more teachers write their own textbooks and self-publish on lulu?

What will happen as open source curriculum begins taking hold?

What will happen when students start creating their own voice outside of adult control?

What will happen when a group of anonymous editors writes a source of educational material that has more readership than any printed book in existence? (Um, that has already happened in Wikipedia.)

We are talking major shifts in organizational structure. We will have organizations in education that emerge than haven't been heard of yet. And we will have organizations that have been a mainstay for many years disappear.

I'm not one who wishes for this to happen, but as a product of a business school, it is happening.

I believe that business has great value to offer education and vice versa. I also think that not one side has all of the answers in what needs to happen for education to evolve from a failing mush of student-mass production with an excessively high failure rate to a personalized learning environment that allows students to become well educated AND find their strengths. We need to work together.

The trenches have never been more attractive or more terrible!

But the shift in power, the shift in money... any time this happens it isn't pretty. It just isn't.

Don't get out of the edublogosphere... join it. Just know that many have hidden agendas and it takes a while to know what they are.

And don't think that anyone has ALL the answers (especially me!)

I happen to think that the infusion of many excellent practicing teachers into professional development and the collapse of the float for discussion of best practices is a good thing for education.

I think that teachers, students, and others working around the world together make education stronger.

My own personal mini-sabbatical for a few weeks helps me come back to things and see some things about behind the scenes turmoil and power struggles that I'm seeing in my own email inbox.

Power shifts cause powerful disagreements and there is more there than we know.

Be ready.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/19/2008



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's look at Miguel's Idea: Positive Screensaver for Ed?



I'm fascinated by Miguel's Idea and wondering how it can best be done.

Miguel says:

"So, it occurs to me as I skim through the images in PassionQuilt08 on Flickr...what about a screensaver made of all these positive images? Wouldn't that be a conversation starter?

The only problem...I'm not sure how to best go about this. Create a folder, drop the images in there, and then point your screensaver software to it? Thoughts?"

I think that the trick would be to have automatic updates and perusing the Internet, something like PhotoCafe might do that.

Just thought I'd repeat Miguel's call and also ask Miguel -- what about photo spam? Would it be better to have a moderated group so that when new photos are downloaded that someone is moderating them?

Should we have a moderated photo group and some way to have an automated screensaver from them. Would it eat up a lot of resources?

I don't know, but I would be interested in having some up to date screensaver that is motivational on the computers of my students like this. Just thinking out loud.

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Working on Google TCA & NECC presentations



While in the midst of a huge undertaking at our church this week, every afternoon and evening is spent working on presentations for the next two weeks.

It will be a very exciting few weeks with many things planned. I'll keep "official" events on my public calendar on Airset and in the list below.



I'm so excited about Google Teacher Academy next week and about Edubloggercon. Also, over the past few weeks, I've booked my school year and now am totally done with that. (Can only do 7-8 days out of school per year.)

But really, the most exciting thing about conferences is getting to meet other teachers and see what THEY are doing. It would be easy to get caught up in my own things and what I've done, but I know, it is not enough. I'm not going to teach myself anything new!

There are only two things that truly change our lives: reading new books and meeting new people. That is it.

There is another thing to remember: When you're green, you're growing and when you're ripe, you rot.

To be green and growing means that one is learning, absorbing new things... the sunlight of other inspiring teachers, the rain of teaching reality to prevent discouragement, the heritage of other teachers and research as our fertilizer to help us grow and be more.

A plant cannot consume itself & thrive, neither can I grow myself.

I like to listen to people who constantly reinvent themselves. To me, if I see someone presenting a year later and they are using all of the same slides, that is a person I'm not going to see again.

Is that a strain to put on myself? Yes. And sometimes I do reuse my favorite slides, however, reinvention is what we all must do.

So, take some time to reinvent yourself this summer. If you're presenting, be thankful, but also remember that engaging the audience is important.

Perhaps the toughest thing about presenting to me is the pd hypocrisy of it all... we talk about how the classroom has changed when pd is mortally wounded...lecture mode, the worst teaching method. The challenge is to provide backchannel chats in all forums and presentations and this is such a challenge to do.

If you're going to attend any of these events at GTA or NECC, we would love to have some backchannel volunteers. Also, we need 10 non-present wiki participants for the NECC workshop. First ten people to e-mail me at coolcatteacher at gmail dot com will be able to sign up for those slots.

We also have slots open July 8,9 in St. Louis for training.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/17/2008



Monday, June 16, 2008

A little Taxonomy with your Folksonomy?



Who am I?

Well, when I use wordle to take a look at the tags I use in delicious, I see a lot about who I am.

(to see the larger image of this picture, look at this Java image in the Wordle Gallery.)

Wordle takes a word cloud of any text that you either paste in or your delicious tags. The larger the word, the more you use it.

So, obviously, education is something that is important to me. Other things: teaching, web 2.0, blogging, tools, free, innovation, flat classroom, horizon project, wow2.... all of these give a snapshot of the things that are most important to me.

Interestingly, although these tags come from delicious, it wasn't until I began using diigo that true consistency emerged as I would like to see it. The ability to have standard tags (so I don't accidentally misspell, etc.) has helped me.

I have been accused before of wanting to "standardize the Internet."

Nothing could be further from the truth!

I don't want to standardize -- folksonomy is great. However, the problem is consistency when it is wanted.

When do I use standard or consistent tags?
  1. When I want to Do something

    The tag "education" sends a link to an autopost in diigo to my blog. This is where my morning post with links comes from every morning. It is automated!

  2. When I want to share something

    The education group on diigo has a standard tag dictionary -- that way if you wanted to just follow the links under a certain tag like education_new app - you could follow the RSS feed for a subset of the data. These little subsets are a gold mine. For example, I have tags for researcher_thoughtleader that are intended for those staying abreast of educational thought.

    We are all beginning to experience a little RSS overload and are going to need to get smarter and more efficient about it. For this reason, I organized some of my own tagging. Mainly because if you look at the bottom of my tag list, you'll see a lot of redundancy mostly because of misspellings or because I forgot my own tag that I wanted to use.

  3. When I want to automate something

    I do this in my own bookmarks - which I am using to build current wiki pages for science, math, english teachers, etc. that I don't have to update because I used a consistent tag of my own. We used this on the horizon project to share research with the students that was embedded on the wiki via the rss feed from delicious for that bookmark.

  4. When I want to find something from a group of people

    (like my students.) I am moving to the point where every assignment has a "tag" -- so when I need to find the artifact, I can easily search for the tag and find it whether it is a picture, video, blog post, or anything. So, for example, all of my students had to upload a photo to the Horizon Ning for the student summit, the tag was whs_studentsummit, so I could just go to the page that aggregated all of the tagged files together and get them in one place. Sometimes the biggest challenge with grading in this environment is finding what you are to grade. Having an assignment TAG saves you a lot of time.
So, no, I do not advocate abolishing folksonomy -- it is very useful, particularly for those who are looking at trends that are emerging. For those who watch trends, folksonomy is great.

But for teachers or those sharing links with others for PD, using a standard or consistent tag with a purpose is a real time saver and necessity. Using a standard or consistent tag for oneself and with others with a common purpose, like the horizon project or Advocates for Digital Citizenship, Safety, and Success, it can be a real helper.

Will taxonomy mess up folksonomy?

Of course, the argument is that these consistent tags or "standard tags" will mess up the folksonomy of the Internet and in some respects, I could see that to be true.

However, from a practical standpoint, I really need a way to aggregate things in one place in order to give my students options AND allow them to join in projects with 250 other students or so without getting lost by their teacher. (I have them tag everything they do with WHS as one tag so I can find their work easily.)

And I don't know how much value it is when one time I tag something free and another time free_tools -- those things really belong together.

The problem is always when one IMPOSES something on another and that would never be the case.

For me it is a matter of utility and usefulness. I have a job to do and need to be more efficient. Using a standard tag (or consistent tag) in this case really helps me save time and spend my time with students instead of looking for a needle in a Ningstack or Wikistack!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/13/2008



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dick & Rick Hoyt - This Father Son Pair is Inspirational





This amazing story really moves me as we think about Father's Day. I'm so fortunate to have an amazing husband who is unselfish and helps his family be so much more. As I watched this other video profiling the pair and listened to the e-mail message sent to Dick Hoyt, I was moved to tears how sometimes when we have struggles and share them, we can inspire and affect people more than we know or understand.




I'm so busy right now - haven't had much time to blog, but this sort of video reminds me about what is important.

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Sites that Caught My Eye Today 06/11/2008



  • Microsoft's Innovative teacher's network. Another network for teachers.

    tags: education, microsoft, edu_trends, edu_news

  • Those people who are open source junkies -- this is a great google gadget custom search engine to add to your igoogle or gadget. It will help you easily find open source software.

    tags: newapp, opensource, education, edu_newapp, techintegrator

  • For those using linux, this linux app finder helps you find what will replace other apps that you may be used to.

    tags: education, edu_newapp

  • Adobe Air will let you store searches on craig's list and access them even when your computer is offline. Adobe Air has some cool things that are coming and this is just one of them. I wonder how it will affect download time?

    tags: education, edu_newapp

  • I love this article which talks about the most common problems when people call customer service. I believe that as I teach my students I should help them become technically fluent to minimize these problems and maximize their potential in this increasingly technical world.

    The most common problems are:
    * Users don’t know the terminology to describe the problem they have or to know what to look for.
    * Users haven’t studied the problem long enough.
    * Users don’t recognize details or signs which might aid in understanding the problem.
    * Users might not have easy access to the documentation, may not be qualified to understand it (because of language barriers or technical level), or they may simply not have the time or energy to use it.
    * Users might be unaware of the status of their computer/account/browser and/or they might be limited in their ability to obtain this information.
    * Users might have received incorrect or misleading information from someone else, or they might have made incorrect assumptions about the product.
    * Users may be familiar with one kind of product and lack the appropriate mental model for knowing how the product is supposed to work.
    * Users might have previous problems in the past and found it easier just to call technical support than to risk aggravating the problem when trying to fix it.

    tags: education, techintegrator, clicksmart

  • Current comparisons of computer science and introductory computer science courses from the Computer Science teachers Association. I find it interesting that only 33% of schools require such a course and that the #2 choice for professional development for Computer Science teachers is now online networking.

    tags: education, trends, csta, edu_trends, technology, techintegrator, professionaldevelopment

  • Tapped in has been a mainstay in education and a non threatening method of using chat to link with people around the world. This longstanding contributor to education has its 2008 Tapped In Festival scheduled for July 23 and July 24th with some neat things planned. This website has more information for you and certificates of participation will be available for those who participates.

    Teachers should connect in which ever way they feel most comfortable and the power of embedded networks should never be ignored.

    tags: ad4dcss, education, globalcollaboration, flat_classroom, edu_news, professionaldevelopment

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What is Link Love? Why does it make a difference to bloggers?




Like many bloggers, I rethink everything I do here so much. This vacation was no exception.

But when I came home to see this link on my rss reader, it brought tears to my eyes.

Bloggers, beginners, and anyone creating a Web 2.0 website, links mean a lot to bloggers. And this link is especially precious because it is what I aspire to be.

So, I want to give a shout out to all of you who commented while I was away (I'll be responding soon) and to all of those who offer encouragement.

Thank you perkone, we all need encouragement sometimes. I just want to make sure that I return the favor.

I hope you'll take some time this week to find a blogger who needs encouragement (I love to find beginning bloggers) and comment or link to their blog.

Many people don't understand how the technorati authority rating system works. The Authority rating system is determined by how many BLOGS have linked to you not how many links have.

This is why I have a long blogroll and it will get longer soon when I update it to pull from the education folder in my google reader, which has a lot of new bloggers in it.

Using an automatic list from your feed reader lets you add new people automatically and help those in the edublogosphere climb in authority.

Although many people don't like the technorati authority system, for now it is what we've got. (See Scott McLeod's recent post on the top Edublogs -- it is based on Technorati Authority ratings.)

Really, I think the most important thing about it is that I want to help people who are not sponsored by anyone but just blogging as individuals climb in the rankings because teachers with more authority in the blogosphere will soon have more authority in their offline world. (As soon as people really understand what blogs are -- and it is happening as we speak.)

So, give a little link love and help others climb in their authority. But to do it, you've got to have a blog! ;-)

Now, I will tell you that I don't really like the linkshare services. I think that someone's blog roll should mean something. Unfortunately, many bloggers do that sort of thing which makes it harder for average every day folk to climb in authority.

It is not a perfect system but understanding how it works may affect how you set up your linkroll.

If you want to help edubloggers and like them, the nicest thing you can do is to link to them.

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