Be sure to read this great blog post on 50 ways to use wikis! here are 10 of my favorite selections from the list….
From the web page sharing about TweetPsych:
TweetPsych uses the LIWC and RID to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their Tweets. It compares the content of a user’s Tweets to a baseline reading I’ve built by analyzing an ever-expanding group of over 1.5 million random Tweets, then highlighting areas where the user stands out.
The service analyzes your last 1000 Tweets; as such, it works best on users who have posted more than 1000 updates. It is also better suited for running analyses on accounts that are operated by a single user and use Twitter in a conversational manner, rather than simply a content distribution platform. It takes a few moments to analyze an account the first time, but subsequent views of a profile will load faster.
Dan Zarrella (creator of TweetPsych) uses this to analyze your Cognitive Content and your Primordial, Conceptual, and Emotional Content. Does this analysis mean anything? Well, who knows.
By way of explanation, Dan shares:
[The second measure….] primordial (the unconscious way you think, like in dreams), conceptual (logical and rational though) and emotional…[the first measure…] measures the cognitive and emotional properties of a person based on the words they use.
Fun to try out and see what happens. I find it difficult to interpret and I’m not sure if this is “good” or “bad;” however, it’s interesting to see what it involves.
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
Looking for a desktop app that will do it all on a Mac for microblogging, socialmedia, whatever, I re-discovered Twhirl, which enables you to connect to various items, such as:
Although Twhirl doesn’t do Ping.fm, it does do Friendfeed…which in turn does every other network tool. This clinches it for me–Friendfeed and Twhirl together. One post to Friendfeed via Twhirl, and I share with all my networks at once. I just hope Facebook’s acquisition of Friendfeed doesn’t mess it up.
Another one is AlertThingy….
Another one to consider, but that never quite covers ALL the tools you want is Posty.
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
By blocking social media apps in schools, are we creating a digital divide between those who can afford smartphones (administrators, superintendents, pr personnel) and those who can’t (teachers, assistants, students, etc)? Why should this matter? Simply, blocking social media (twitter, ping.fm, plurk) mean that you’re disempowering your own people. It’s not about blocking students’ access because of CIPA, but blocking adults who have a real need to share information and ideas, problem-solve with a global community of other educators and find that they can’t do it.
This idea of an organization using social media to further its own goals online but dis-empowering its employees is worth reflecting on. It was driven home to me when I considered Seth Godin’s words:
If you want to change what your boss believes, or the strategy your company is following, the first step is to figure out how to be the best informed person in the room.
Source: Seth Godin, Willfully ignorant or aggressively skeptical
Wow, what a powerful quote. Since social media is a VALID NEW approach to staying informed, should school districts (and organizations) have the ability to limit the flow of information?
But that’s not the real question. That question I just asked above (in bold) doesn’t really matter, right? It doesn’t matter because organizations CANNOT stop social media. They may put up some speed bumps but most folks are carrying affordable alternatives to organizational ways of tapping into the network. I guess we’re back to the old argument of, should organizations provide access to tools that you can get on your mobile device?
As Blackberries become more affordable (ahem) and iPhones take over, I’ve run across some Blackberry apps, so thought to make a list of them here…feel free to suggest your own (and if you’re the person selling them, be sure to tell us that rather than just leave a comment saying how great your product is, ok? Transparency….)
- SocialScope – Access Twitter and Facebook on your Blackberry
- UberTwitter – Integrated ability to upload pictures to a site dedicated to serving ÜberTwitter users; Ability to optionally update your Google Talk status with your last tweet, making your tweets reach a wider audience then just people following you on Twitter; Automatically update your location based on the cell tower information provided by your phone, no GPS hardware required, click here for an example; Send videos embedded in your tweet; See everyone who is tweeting near you
- Facebook for Blackberry – obvious, huh?
- BlackPing – Ping.fm on your Blackberry.
- Pinglet – Ability to select default and custom triggers for posting; Input for title and a message body for post; View recent posts; Auto detect Direct TCP, MDS or WiFi connection
Any others worth recommending?
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
Nice article on the skills/attributes of new public relations professionals. I have to highlight this blog entry because it reminds me of what is often missing in school district communications. Dave Fleet divides up his blog entry into traditional vs new attributes.
As I review Dave Fleet’s list, the one that jumps out at me is the difference between microblogging and social networking/media. I have a better understanding now between what FriendFeed and services like Ping.fm can do, which is essentially, to share your updates about whatever to a variety of services. This is important because you may be developing an audience in multiple spaces…for example, although I usually share ideas via Twitter, it’s my Facebook audience that is more likely to respond. I could share updates via Plurk, and they would go to Twitter and Facebook. If I share via Ping.fm, they go to Twitter, Plurk, Facebook…and that includes blog entries, etc.
It’s a lot of fun figuring out what goes where and finding the right tool that will disseminate information to all my networks. Right now, it’s a contest between Friendfeed (just acquired by Facebook) and Ping.fm. I’m leaning towards Ping.fm but FriendFeed has TONS of services it interacts with…but no toolbar or anything to post to it. Ping.fm does.
Here is what my FriendFeed services window looks like:
So microblogging/socialnetworking/social media–which are catch-all terms that get used interchangeably–really involve, for me, finding ways to have them work together to minimize the time/effort to get the word out (and in). Right now, Friendfeed and Ping.fm seem the best ways to accomplish that and I’d be showing “PR Professionals” that those are tools to use.
I’d show educators, but we don’t want to allow them access to social networking/media because they might say something during the work day–even though they are accountable for anything they say, on or off work–that the organization wouldn’t like. We need a more enlightened perspective but that can only come after conversations with stakeholders.
My Ping.fm services:
This afternoon, I found myself somewhere I couldn’t access twitter or plurk. Ohmygosh, how can we practice “connectivism” as educators if the network is inaccessible?
I tried a variety of options to connect to Twitter/Plurk, but then remembered the ubiquitous Ping.FM, which allows you to post to various networks. It reminds me a bit of Friendfeed in the way it enables one to post to various networks. However, once I was using Ping.FM, I wondered what would happen if the web site was blocked? How would I get to it from where I was at?
Some quick research:
- PingFire – Ping Fire is a Firefox extension that is used to post messages to Ping.fm.Unfortunately, the current version as of this writing doesn’t work with Firefox 3.5.x but there’s hope.
- Ping.fm Widget – This widget is an Adobe Air app that you can run on your computer and it connects to Ping.fm, allowing you to post.
- Ping on Air – Adobe Air interface to Ping on Air. Not that great.
- Me Ping
- Ping.fm Toolbar – A nice toolbar for various browsers.
- AlertThingy – a desktop (adobe air) app that you can use to connect on your Mac to Twitter, Facebook, Ping.fm.
- Twhirl –
I suppose, I’m looking for something like Tweetdeck. I thought Nambu might do it but no. For now, I’ll have to figure out some combination. However, I may replace Friendfeed with Ping.fm as a way to get information and ideas out there.
Periodically, I’ll take some time to look and see who is linking to Around the Corner. Occasionally, I’m surprised to see links coming from web sites that aren’t other education bloggers sharing information. One surprise today was Bryan ISD, who has linked to this web site from their district Moodle, as shown in the image above.
Thanks for visiting, Bryan ISD Moodlers!
My son and daughter have invested a fortune of hard-earned money into games. Unfortunately, I didn’t wise up to helping them keep digital copies of their game serial numbers until…well…a few computer room clean-ups down the road.
Until now, I’ve been unable to find out what the serial numbers are for those installed programs. Thanks to a recent post at MakeUseOf.com, I found out about:
…a neat little piece of freeware called LicenseCrawler.
Once you download this little gem you can use it to scan your machine for serials. The program is 100% free – make sure you do not pay for it! Some of the download links ask for money – don’t use them! Use the free links! The author wants the application to be free, so lets keep him happy!
After downloading the application you simply run it and it will return all the keys from your computer…You have to manually write them down as there is no copy and paste functionality
Wow! Pretty nifty, huh?
Sony’s position on it is that Sony engineers were, “concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter.”
Some owners have demanded refunds while others are going further and calling for a class-action lawsuit, alleging the company was not clear on the fact that the VAIO machines were made incapable of using a core feature of the Intel Core 2 Duo chip inside.
It’s amazing. Back in 2005, I wrote about trusted computing, citing the work of Richard Stallman….
He describes treacherous computing in this way:
The technical idea underlying treacherous computing is that the computer includes a digital encryption and signature device, and the keys are kept secret from you. Proprietary programs will use this device to control which other programs you can run, which documents or data you can access, and what programs you can pass them to. These programs will continually download new authorization rules through the Internet, and impose those rules automatically on your work. If you don’t allow your computer to obtain the new rules periodically from the Internet, some capabilities will automatically cease to function.
Programs that use treacherous computing will continually download new authorization rules through the Internet, and impose those rules automatically on your work. If Microsoft, or the US government, does not like what you said in a document you wrote, they could post new instructions telling all computers to refuse to let anyone read that document. Each computer would obey when it downloads the new instructions. Your writing would be subject to 1984-style retroactive erasure. You might be unable to read it yourself.
Treacherous computing puts the existence of free operating systems and free applications at risk, because you may not be able to run them at all. Some versions of treacherous computing would require the operating system to be specifically authorized by a particular company. Free operating systems could not be installed. Some versions of treacherous computing would require every program to be specifically authorized by the operating system developer. You could not run free applications on such a system. If you did figure out how, and told someone, that could be a crime.
…every computer will have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), also known as Fritz-Chip, built-in. At later development stages, these functions will be directly included into CPUs, graphiccards, harddisks, soundcards, bios and so on. This secures that the TCPA can prevent any unwanted software and hardware. The long term result will be that it will be impossible to use hardware and software that’s not approved by the TCPA. Therefore open-source and freeware would be condemned to die, because without such a certification the software will simply not work. In the long term only the big companies would survive and could control the market as they would like.
Great job, Sony! You’ve made Stallman’s prediction come true!
This afternoon, as I was handling phone calls and working with team members, someone brought me an iPod Touch…apparently, it had been used previously and the previous user had set a passcode. Unfortunately, no one knew the passcode and this was preventing the new user from accessing it.
To get past the passcode prompt on the iPod, I followed these steps:
- Open iTunes on your Mac and connect your iPod Touch via the cable to your Mac
- Press the sleep and home button at the same time.
- Hold both buttons long past the time the iPod Touch turns off.
- The iPod should turn back on while the buttons are being held down.
- Let go of the sleep button (the one on top) but keep pushing down on the home button.
- Keep pushing down on the home button until the iPod Touch shows the iTunes logo with a USB cord…then let go.
- At this point, you can use iTunes to restore the iPod Touch to factory defaults and/or load new updates to it.
The process works!
A colleague recently asked the following:
Good Morning Miguel! Have you had much experience with Joomla v1.5?
I’m looking for some recommendations for ‘tried & true’ components that will add serious functionality to a Joomla-based website.
I’ve looked at several online, but you have to install them before you can ‘test drive’…
Although I didn’t have an answer, I knew who to ask–one of my team. Here is her response:
Welcome to the Joomla family J
We have plenty of module/components that we’ve installed on our standard Joomla installations to make things a little bit easier for our users and administrators.
Better editor than the standard TinyMCE. Gives the administrator the ability to add tables, change font type, color, and size.
Different versions for the different Joomla generations. If you want the spell check function, be prepared to purchase the full version of JCE
A document management system. Gives the administrator the ability to upload documents (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe .pdfs…) to a location on the server. Users can then click on a button and download documents. Keeps track the of the number of ‘hits’ per document.
Different versions for the different Joomla generations. Now a ‘dead’ product no longer supported by the company that created it. Be prepared to solve any problems you may encounter.
A Pop-up menu component. Replaces your main or top menu.
Different versions for the different Joomla generations. Great product, never had any problems.
Through the ‘front-end’ of the site, will list all content items that a user can change/modify.
Great tool to use with teachers who have ‘author’ level access to a site. Instead of search for each and every item individually, they can click on a list and all of their items will appear in table format.
Changes the static Newsflash to a scrolling newsflash
Different versions for the different Joomla generations. Problems with changing scrolling speed.
Displays images in a specific location. Images are ‘picked’ from a folder located in the media manager of the site.
Back-end module allows the administrator control over how/when the photos appear.
Nice to know the right people!!
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Over the next year, I have at least two (actually, it’s more but I’m not yet at liberty to share where/when with you) Moodle presentations coming up! I hope to see you there!
The first one is Moodle Habitudes, a hands-on, albeit quick, workshop to be offered at TechForum Southwest 2008. I’m jazzed about finding the right blend of admin and teacher tips for new and old Moodlers!
REGISTER TODAY! ENTER DISCOUNT CODE TX9EB
Take advantage of our early-bird rate
and save $94 off the on-site registration price!
The second is with the TCEA in May, 2010. You can find a description online at:
Making the Most of Your Moodle Server
Learn how to create rich learning collaborative communities in Moodle. This free web application allows you to create effective online learning sites, custom-built around your subject matter, as a way to deliver content to students and assess learning using assignments or quizzes. Attendees will learn to navigate, administer and set up their classes. Participants will learn to modify brand new courses and add resources and activities like quizzes, forums, and journaling. Participants will also build exportable modules and courses.
Date: 5/25/10 – 5/27/10
Location: TCEA-Computer Lab, 8134 Exchange Drive, Austin, TX 78754
Member Cost: $375
Non-Member Cost: $405
Course Hours: 18
TCEA has a few more sessions to offer…see them all online.
This evening, as I sit watching an August 21 school district convocation speaker that has me rolling on the floor laughing so hard (which, if you’ve attended a school district convocation, you know that just isn’t done! (smile)), I ran into Dr. Scott McLeod’s (Dangerously Irrelevant) blog post about a video on the Social Media Revolution.
The connection between the advice of the speaker in the convocation–Find your story, love your story, tell your story to everyone–and the power of social media to help amplify our voices as educators couldn’t be missed.
I sincerely believe that every educator should be called upon, invited, encouraged, welcomed into a world of citizen journalists, becoming digital storytellers who captivate the hearts of our children, profoundly engaging them with the tools they use. Social media can profoundly engage, enliven the work we’re about, and we need to move these powerful stories from the television screen online as vidcasts/podcasts.
How can we empower our educational community to share the compelling stories that are a part of every day work?
originally posted on YouTube here, but downloaded and put on Edublogs.tv for my colleagues where YouTube is blocked:
A few days ago, I asked a few of my colleagues, curriculum directors in core content areas a deceptively simple question. The question was worded in this way:
What are the essential understandings in your content area that you think I should be aware of a technology director?
Here are some of the responses:
- Reading/ELA – Delivered a copy of the new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to me.
- Mathematics – Sent this insightful message I agree with complete:
The main essential understandings that transcend all grade levels would be relevancy of content and connections to real-world experiences.
- Social Studies – No response
- Bilingual/ESL – No response
Of course, if I had to pick, I’d definitely go with the Math Director’s response. Kim Cofino’s response in the form of a blog entry she wrote long before I asked the question of my colleagues includes:
The goal of 21st century literacy is to move beyond obsessing about the terminology and the technology, to accept that technology is a crucial and critical aspect of our lives, and that as such, it must be used as a tool to better understand our world, to search for solutions to the problems facing our global society, and to develop a better and brighter future. 21st century literate students and teachers are those who understand that their learning and creativity can, and should, directly and positively impact our world.
She goes on to share that students must be (quoted)…
- Effective Learners – Students and teachers will understand that learning is a lifelong process and that the pace of technological change requires us to focus on learning how to learn, rather than learning specific tools. It is expected that neither students nor teachers will know how to use every available tool, rather that they will be comfortable learning how to use new tools independently.
- Effective Collaborators – Students and teachers will develop the behaviors, attitudes and dispositions required for working in partnership with others, whether in person or over distances. Global collaboration requires effective communication, social and cultural awareness, and flexibility. Effective collaborators actively take responsibility for their role, and are able to delegate or share responsibility when necessary. Effective collaborators are equally comfortable as either leaders or participants. Effective collaborators appreciate and internalize the essential interdependence of all human endeavors.
- Effective Creators – Students and teachers will understand that an essential component of lifelong learning is analyzing, synthesizing and applying what they’ve learned to make an original contribution to society. Effective creators are critical thinkers who are able to “think outside the box” and analyze systems to identify and solve problems. Effective creators are constantly innovating and routinely use metacognition skills to evaluate and improve their own work. Effective creators are goal oriented, using time management and multitasking skills in order to work at their highest level of productivity. Effective creators understand that, as members of an interdependent society, their work must adhere to standards of ethics and social responsibility.
It reminds me of an article I wrote some time ago…how relevant is this work today?
Make the Connection: TAKS, Technology and Problem-based Learning
by Miguel Guhlin
Several years ago, I embarked on a pilgrimage. Rather than voyage to a far away city or place, I sought out the best constructivist approach for integrating technology into the curriculum. My quest led me to try out telecomputing based activity structures, activity formats such as webquests and subject samplers, information problem-solving approaches, all with an awareness of how technology can transform teaching, learning and leadership. As an education specialist for an Education Service Center, I could be the architect of professional development that transformed the way teachers met new and innovative approaches. More importantly, it was my responsibility to find the “right approach” and bring it back to the 52 districts I served.
The more approaches I encountered and shared, the stronger my awareness grew that they were all connected. I sought out a way to harmonize these approaches, eventually developing a sophisticated concept map showing the relationship between these different approaches and strategies, and the role technology played in each. I called this approach “Writing Technology into the Curriculum.” Over time, I came to recognize that the Holy Grail of constructivist approaches is problem-based learning.
WHAT IS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING?
Problem-based learning (PBL) uses real-life problems modeled after a contemporary or historical case to engage students as they pursue specified learning outcomes that are in line with academic standards or course objectives (Stepien & Pyke, 1997). Students work through the problem as a stakeholder. The teacher acts as a guide or advisor as students explore the issues involved, formulate questions, conduct research, and consider possible solutions to the problems.
According to Stepien and Pyke (1997), a problem-based learning situation must meet several criteria. The situation must provide an effective way of engaging students with experiences that scaffold higher order thinking. The situation should also accomplish curriculum objectives and include age-appropriate topics. Further, the learning situation should take the form of an ill-structured problem to foster inquiry at a level that is cognitively engaging but not frustrating. Lastly, the situation should make efficient use of instructional time allotted to the unit.
WHY PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING?
Prior to learning about problem-based learning several years ago, I worked with the latest technologies and learned how to introduce them to the adult learners that attended. As time went by, however, I realized that the latest and greatest tools were insufficient. What was missing was a constructivist approach that made technology transparent and necessary, not secondary. In my search for the perfect approach, I had the opportunnity to study project-based learning. Typically, I began to research this approach. In my studies, I “discovered” problem-based learning. At first, I could not distinguish between the two and, worse, which I preferred.
I did not truly understand the difference between project-based learning and problem-based learning until I attended an ASCD conference held in San Antonio, Texas. There, I had the opportunity to listen to William Stepien who outlined problem-based learning, and modelled it. Eureka! By the mid-morning break, I could barely keep my seat. I had to walk outside, call my colleague at ESC-20 and let him know what he was missing. I had found the approach I’d been looking for–PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING.
PBL could be the vehicle for achieving “true” technology integration. But, as I’ve come to understand, many teachers do not know what “true” technology integration looks like. It’s definition is a well-kept secret. Even though it is in plain sight, we do not know what it looks like. I learned that on introducing principals to the LOTI as a framework for observing technology implementation in the classroom.
Principals thought that any use of technology was commendable, which made for interesting discussion when you consider that target technology use can be a lot less expensive than Level 1 (e.g. integrated learning systems like SuccessMaker, Plato products, curriculum management systems) and Level 2 (e.g. distance learning centers used at the knowledge and application levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy). At the STaR Chart’s target technology level, or LOTI Level 4, technology is used as a tool to identify and solve real life authentic problems.
WHAT IS TRUE TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION?
In various online forums, I have shared my realization that “technology integration” efforts have failed. I began to understand the futility of trying to catch the technology train years ago. Technology was changing too rapidly for anyone–including educators–to keep up. Those technology integration efforts were characterized by using the latest and greatest technologies (e.g. the latest push might be seen as the handheld craze). These technology innovations forced us all to learn the latest and greatest tools, then share them for use in the classroom before authentic uses were discovered. It does not mean that these technologies won’t find a place in the classroom, but that they were pushed out to the masses before their appropriate use was identified.
In “No Child Left Behind,” we see an emphasis on technology literacy. But, what does “technology literacy” mean? How do we define it? As the train slows down again because of funding issues, it is time to look back at all the technologies we tried and discarded (refer to sidebar 1), to begin to use them strategically and systemically.
To do so means to re-evaluate what true technology integration is, and perhaps, to choose to abandon a phrase that means so much it only describes our failure to keep up with the technology train. Technology integration has meant for so long, “technology acquisition and experimentation” at the 2nd Level of Technology Implementation (LOTI). The 2nd Level is characterized by: Greater emphasis on technology rather than critical content.
WHAT IS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR?
Technology integration, technology literacy, information literacy all boil down to the same common denominator–do students and teachers know how to use technology appropriately, at the point of need in anticipation, or in response, to a real life, authentic problem?
And, that is where the challenge lies–not in the appropriate use of the technology, but in the “real life, authenticity” of the problems that may be lacking in some of our schools today. Approaches such as project-based learning, the more rigorous problem-based learning upon which higher-order thinking activities may flow from demand a shift in teaching approach. Now that technology is ubiquitous, it’s not “technology acquisition, experimentation” that needs to take place, but that we must “uncover” the appropriate uses of technology in a problem-based curriculum.
At the TCEA 2003 State Conference’s Professional Development Academy, 71 educators were introduced to Problem-based Learning (http://pda.tcea.org). At the end of the two days, I was surprised at how many educators remained. Perhaps, they believed us when we stated that problem-based learning prepares students for the TAKS. I found myself responding again to teachers in the Professional Development Academy, “You have to trust the process. Once engaged by a real life problem, students will ask the questions needed to solve the problem.”
IS PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING A VALID APPROACH IN TEXAS SCHOOLS?
Though the Professional Development Academy organizers and I constantly stated that problem-based learning approach would prepare students for the TAKS, I wanted to verify this with the “curriculum experts” at TEA. While I felt comfortable asserting PBL use in all other content areas, especially after reviewing the resources online at TEA for TAKS, I wanted confirmation from the math expert at the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
You have to understand that math is not my strong point. I was one of those students who always asked, “What’s the purpose of learning the quadratic formula? I’ll never use this again.” The explanations my teachers gave me over the years took too long. I felt like an old-fashioned superintendent must feel when trying to understand the benefits of a network bandwidth upgrade and its connection to voice over IP–”So what? Is this really important?”
“Teaching lessons that require students to relate to problems and contexts that they will encounter in ‘real-life’, says Paula Gustafson, “motivates them to learn more rigorous mathematics content.” What a powerful statement this is. TAKS focuses us, not on breath, but depth.
Ms. Gustafson goes on to say:
“The agency is encouraging districts to teach students throughout the year using complex lessons that require
students to think at high cognitive levels. The inclusion of these lessons, rather than using a “test-prep” resource will increase TAKS scores. The difficulty with TAKS-prep is the alignment of the sample items to the items developed for the real exam. Many teachers are beginning to embrace this type of lesson structure and have been pleased with previous TAAS results.”
WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY’S ROLE?
Tom Snyder wrote long ago about an experience he had as a vendor of his computer-based simulations. In presenting to a large group of teachers, he shared that a teacher in the audience raised her hand and asked, “Do you have to be a good teacher to do this in your classroom?” Despite the counseling of the company representative sponsoring his product, Tom Snyder listened to his conscience, and said, “Yes, it requires a very good teacher.”
In my quest for the right approach, I realized that instructional technology had to be about the constructivist approach employed, rather than the technology. Problem-based learning is the apex of constructivist approaches and is definitely appropriate in preparing students for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The role of the technologist is to accomplish what Ms. Gustafson writes next, “Technology use within these lessons should be seamless. Proficiency with the technology will make a vast difference in the TAKS results received at the district level, and remember we have the mandate for technology in our TEKS from grades K-12.”
THE TAKS-TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY
Too many workbooks, not enough real life applications left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding math. Even as an adult, I sat through inferential statistics feeling like a dummy, since I did not know how to apply any of what I had learned to the case study approach our professor used. Let me phrase that differently: I didn’t learn how to do math in relation to problems and real life contexts. This caused me difficulty in college when I was called upon to solve higher-level math using a case study approach (an approach similar to problem-based learning).
As we move into TAKS, I’m delighted by the opportunity we now have as educators. TAKS may finally give us constructivists the opportunity to shine…and being a firm believer in the idea that professional development for teachers impacts student achievement, I invite you to use problem-based learning in your classroom.
Excerpt from Merryfield, Merry M.; Becker, Henry J. (Winter,1998). Running to catch a moving train: Schools and information technologies, Theory into Practice , ISBN#0040-5841 Vol. 37No.1
1982: It’s the language that comes with your computer (using BASIC).
1986: Use networked systems that individualize instruction and focus on increasing test scores.
1988: Word processing-using computers as tools like adults do.
1990: Integrate the computers with the existing curriculum through the use of history databases, science simulations and probes
1992: Change the curriculum–students learn best by creating products for an audience
1994: Use email to allow students to be part of the real world.
1996: Use computers to publish student work to a world-wide audience via the WWW
Phone conversation and email author had with Paula Gustafson, TEA Math Director, on 02/13/2003
Here are 3 YouTube videos worth watching…I like the first because it is a welcome reminder to the work we are about as educators; the second because it highlights the power of social media and that big media/companies/organizations are no longer in control of the message; and the third because we need to value a sense of urgency in how technology can help us change what we believe in.
What are your 3 choices? Post them on your blog and link back!
Wondering how Moodle can be used to enhance instruction? Well, here’s a list that came my way via Ken Task in Texas. It was too good to pass up and if I bookmark it, I’ll forget it…but blogging it will keep it fresh.
The following is a list of some of what you can do with Moodle, the free, open source course management system. The list comes from Ken Task, who cites ISTE Moodle Ning and Susan Sedro. I liked the list so I’m re-printing it here with some minor modifications–spelling, grammar, readability corrections–but you can always read the original online.
I’ve also taken the liberty of adding my own scenarios at the end and welcome feedback via comments or on your own blog/wiki!
I want my students to use a blog to record their impressions/reactions/etc. to events/activities presented throughout a semester/year course. The students and the instructor are the only ones that can see the blog entries. In other words, students cannot see other students’ blogs. This activity will be graded on a rubric and after the grading, students will be able to see other student blogs.
I have several forums setup in a course. To facilitate notifications concerning new information in each of them, I want my students to be able to subscribe to an RSS feed for each of the forums.
I teach English as a Second Language or Languages Other Than English (LOTE). My students have iPods as portable learning devices. I desire to use an online LMS to not only provide digital voice (either recording or playback) in such a fashion that students can integrate their personal learning device … ie, the IPods. This involves a “podcast” – which could be audio and/or video. Using the podcast module in Moodle, both students and teacher can post podcasts that can be subscribed to in iTunes or via RSS readers (e.g. GoogleReader).
I teach English/Language Arts. I want students to write a short story and have peer review where students are placed into collaborative groups and each student reviews the short stories of the other members in their group. Each student is allowed to critique/offer suggestions to the other students (their critiques/suggestions are part of the assignment and will be graded). I then desire the students to be able to revise their work should they deem a peer review to be of benefit.
I have an online class that’s blended in format. I keep after school “office hours” for an hour in the evening where students can, should they seek individual attention and extra help, communicate directly with me via Instant Messages or via Chat in a safe online environment where the “conversations” are recorded for later review.
Using the same situation above, parents often seek information about helping their child in something. I want to allow parents of my students to be able to access my online class, see their childs work ONLY, and interact with me online during after school office hours. I want to do this inside the online system.
Update to Scenario 5.1 by Dan McGuire (Skype mcguiredan):
This is one of the most practical features of Moodle. Last year I taught a 4th grade class. One of our standard weekly assignments was to use each of the twenty words from our weekly spelling list in a separate sentence. Students had the option of creating a story with the sentences or not. I would vary the particular requirements depending on the skills we were working on that week – two subjects in each sentence, two verbs, more than one adjective, etc.
Using Moodle for this exercise is particularly helpful for students who want a little extra help from parents or siblings. It allows parents to know what the assignment without worrying about lost papers, etc. Students don’t need to worry about hauling paper or notebooks back and forth from home to school. I showed the students how to use Google translate which was useful for a few ( There were several Somali speakers in my room and the translation capabilities for Somali aren’t very good yet, though. It worked great for the Spanish speakers.)
I also took advantage of the relationship our school has with the U of Mn I was fortunate to be able to work with the great grad students in the Teaching Smart program. Several of the grad students took on tutor roles and made comments on student work. This was particularly useful in the science writing assignments we did, which were a variation of the above. In the science assignments students were to describe the activities of a science experiment that we did.
I teach Social Studies (American and Texas History). I want my students and students from a “sister community” (any where in the US or foreign country – like England or Austrialia) to be able to access a single History course via the internet where they can contribute a local multimedia history of their community and share that information. In the course, my class will concentrate on the local history of my community. The students of the sister community will concentrate their publishing efforts on their own community. Students in each are to work collaboratively in constructing the local history and the associated digital content. The local histories can (should) include a photo gallery, a podcast, as well as video clips of historical places/events within their respective communities. The students from either sister community will be able to ask each other questions and share information (as well as files) in a safe online environment.
In the context of an Introduction to the project, weekly planning/sharing, or a culminating activity, I desire to have an online conference with collaborative ISD classes through our learning management system. Since there is only one video conferencing system (lab) in my ISD (which is booked all day long for dual credit courses of older students), the conference has to be conducted without the VC system. We desire the collaborating teachers to able to “take control” of a portion of the online conference – ie, become the teacher of students in the other ISD.
I teach at the secondary level and use a web site for some curriculum content which includes quizzes and test. I also sponsor a student teacher every year. I want my student teacher to be able to participate in my online curriculum content, but in a limited role. I want them to be able to see student work, but NOT grade student work.
I am a campus administrator who is responsible for not only behavior of students but also evaluating teachers on my campus. All my teachers do a portion of their class online (blended) using a variety of “social tools”. I want to be able to access each of their online classes with access rights to see all, but remain “stealthy” … ie, hidden to students. I can check on student online behavior (bullies, etc.) but I can also acquire insight into a teachers ability to teach and interact with students for evaluating them.
Scenario 9: Interactive Writing Feedback
(A scenario adapted from Susan Sedro’s posting)
Students can draft their writing in a word processor, then paste it into the Assignment module. As a teacher, I can score it and provide feedback–all done online.
Update to Scenario 9 by Dan McGuire:
As above in spelling example, and I also took advantage of the relationship our school has with the U of Mn I was fortunate to be able to work with the great grad students in the Teaching Smart program. Several of the grad students took on tutor roles and made comments on student work. This was particularly useful in the science writing assignments we did, which were a variation of the above. In the science assignments students were to describe the activities of a science experiment that we did.
Some ideas of my own or adapted from my work with Moodle in my work experience:
Scenario 10: Learning Diary with Teacher Feedback
Using the Learning Diary module, students can write about a particular assignment and I can respond and provide feedback without other students seeing that exchange. This replaces the old paper journal where students write questions, reflections and the teacher writes back.
Update to Scenario 10 by Dan McGuiere:
This worked well with in conjunction with particular reading assignments. I would usually post the questions that I wanted students for student response. It is especially useful to then ask for volunteers to let me show their work on the projector and make comments in writing on the screen. This is one of the best writing teaching tools since the invention of the pencil.. Most students at this age are eager to have their work critiqued in front of other students. I’ve found they actually enjoy doing editing, which is certainly not the case when you ask a nine year old to rewrite 200 words they’ve just struggled to get on paper with a pencil. The computer gives them a power with making words that they don’t have with a pencil and paper.
Scenario 11: Online Literature Circles
When you think of literature circles, we think of kids sitting in a circle reading books and sharing their thoughts on it based on the role they are assigned. Discussing books helps children build connections, sets a purpose for reading beyond the intrinsic motivation we all prize, and motivates them. It also helps them, read, observe, question, discuss, answer questions, and write about what they are reading. It’s a fantastic activity, rich with opportunities for reflective learning.
Students can post online book talks to persuade other group membes to choose their book for literature circles, vote on book selections, and they use the Moodle discussion forums to discuss their book, upload images, etc. More on this online here.
Update to Scenario 11 (Contributed by Dan McGuire):
I used both the forum module and the workshop module to do writing circles. The forum module is a little easier to manage. I found setting up the workshop module to be still a bit cumbersome. I hope to practice with it more this year because I think it has tremendous possibilities.
The trick to using the forum module was that students were required to write something new about each of the prompts that were the forum topics. This forced the students to read what others had written and then got them back into the text because I insisted on quotes from the text to support their opinions. Students were only permitted to disagree with another student if they proved their point with quotes from the text.
In my district, we’re getting ready to follow in the footsteps of others that have launched iPods for use with English Language Learners. We’re targeting 2 high schools and 2 middle schools. It is an exciting time. What’s neat is that the idea of using iPods with English Language Learners is pretty well-established now. Several school districts are already doing it in the San Antonio area, including Judson ISD. Others are planning to launch, and San Marcos Consolidated ISD–which isn’t too far away–has led the way (as shared in this podcast).
Consider this paper on the subject:
Current technology offers new opportunities to increase the effectiveness of language teaching. The purpose of this paper is to outline how one such technological innovation, the iPod, used with the iTunes and iLife software, can serve as a powerful tool for teaching and acquiring languages. With its unique features of portability, ease of use, and file storage capacity combined with its ability to deliver audio as well as text, images, and video, the iPod holds the promise of revolutionizing the way languages are acquired both in and out of school.
This paper will:
• Outline a basic framework for understanding how iPod and iTunes can be used in
language education, consistent with current theories of second language acquisition and
• Review research findings that support this framework for using iPod in K-12 schools
• Discuss ways in which the iPod, iTunes, and iLife software can be best used to support
• Give examples of the use of the iPod in language education
• Provide recommendations for further reading
This diigo’d article below makes it possible for researchers to find out if downloading and listening to a podcast of K-12 education is going to be as effective as university students doing the same thing. So, any researchers out there up to doing this kind of research in K-12 schools, especially considering that there are plenty of folks using iPods with English Language Learners?
Of course, I disagree with Clay Shirky. In the end, *I* am going to link to what I write, and if I lead others, they may also.
Secrets have always driven me nuts. Unless you’re dealing with strictly confidential information, military secrets, the identities of CIA operatives, there’s really no reason why government and education should be keeping secrets about their decision making process.
Social media has made it possible for everyone to questions the motivations behind why someone does something…rather, it has heightened the need for increased transparency. Just because a school district or organization web site says, “This is the truth…trust me” does not mean that inquiry and questionning end there.
But isn’t that where authority comes from traditionally? If I say it’s over as the leader, then the conversation is over. This implies trust that comes from the leader knowing something the others don’t. Rather than sharing how s/he arrived at his own or her own conclusions, the leader decides that others don’t need to know and that’s that.
Transparency in leadership is even more essential now. Whether we characterize that transparency as honesty, trust because leaders must do what is right above all. New technologies empower leaders to do what is right and more easily help others understand what they are doing and why through the links they make.
So, that’s one sense in which transparency is the new objectivity. What we used to believe because we thought the author was objective we now believe because we can see through the author’s writings to the sources and values that brought her to that position. Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases. Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.
This change is epochal.
Objectivity used be presented as a stopping point for belief: If the source is objective and well-informed, you have sufficient reason to believe. That was part of high-end newspapers’ claimed value: You can’t believe what you read in a slanted tabloid, but our news is objective, so your inquiry can come to rest here. Credentialing systems had the same basic rhythm: You can stop your quest once you come to a credentialed authority who says, “I got this. You can believe it.” End of story.
We thought that that was how knowledge works, but it turns out that it’s really just how paper works. In a linked medium transparency prospers, for you can literally see the connections between the final draft’s claims and the ideas that informed it. Paper, on the other hand, sucks at links. You can look up the footnote, but that’s an expensive, time-consuming activity more likely to result in failure than success. So, during the Age of Paper, we got used to the idea that authority comes in the form of a stop sign: You’ve reached a source whose reliability requires no further inquiry.
Source: http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-aug18-09.html#transparency via Will Richardson’s tweet
Great stuff in this entry…read the rest online.
Reading this blog entry on how to make Wordle safe in education environments by blocking specific sites, I also saw a tweet about The Digital Narrative site and some of the warm-ups it advocates for in telling digital stories.
Jonathan Feinberg’s safety tip for using Wordle.net in schools:
Simply have your networking administrator block the following base URLs1:
and your users will not see anything that’s not safe for classrooms. You’ll still be able to save your work, bookmark your individual Wordle creations, print them out, and share the URLs of saved Wordles with each other and with families.
and using Wordle for more than just fancy images but rather, storytelling:
What: Wordle is a wonderful introduction to word clouds – visualising thematic ideas in a text. It highlights the more common words in a text and emphasises them in a word ‘cloud’. Allows students to experiment with the emphasis their words have in a text. It also introduces color and writing direction, font and style as thematic influences.
Ease of use: Simple!
Writing application: There really are many, many ways to use Wordle. I’ve outlined a few below, but I’m certain that once you have a handle on this tool, you’ll find your own unique approaches.
Wordle is quick way to warm up students to the idea of a flexible narrative. Have them prepare a word document with a story – (it can be something they’ve written previously). Simply paste it into the word cloud box, and click ‘Go’.
Allow students to experiment with the font, layout, color until they recieve a desired effect. You can supplement a discussion with relevant points outlined in the discussion section of ‘A classroom approach to DN’ [.doc].
Wordle is also a wonderful tool for reflection, and an engaging way for students to focus on grammer, vocabulary and meaning in a body of text. Wordle makes these tasks accessible and motivating.
Suited: To a range of learning abilities – easy to learn, with enough depth to explore throughout a full 50 min lesson.
Teaching with an existing text: There’s a huge body of evidence that supports the sorts of prereading exercises Wordle is ideal for in a classroom. When working with an existing class text it’s a wonderful application for gaining a thematic impression of the writing. If you’re working with a class novel it can be used to highlight common elements in the text, common words and phrases … the list goes on. You’ll find the list of things you can do with this little app are endless!
Gaining a copy of the text in a format that can be cut and pasted may be more difficult for some novels, but old favorites like hamlet should be readily available on line.
In light of my blog entry earlier today, I have to share this:
Date: August 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM PDT (3:00 PM EDT) / Duration: One hour
/ Sponsored by: T.H.E Journal and Speak Up
Discover ideas for instruction that innovative districts have developed
to better leverage the increasing number of laptops, cell phones, MP3
players and smart phones that students carry. This webinar explores the
latest findings from Speak Up surveys given to K-12 students, teachers
and administrators regarding their views on mobile devices within
Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education
nonprofit organization that facilitates the annual Speak Up surveys,
will present the data findings and moderate a panel discussion with
students, teachers and administrators from various school districts.
- Jeff Billings, Director of Technology, Paradise Valley Unified School District;
- Thea Jones, Supervisor, Office of Instructional Technology, Baltimore County Public Schools;
- Suzette Kliwer, National Board Certified Teacher, Mathematics, Southwest High School, Onslow County School District;
- Geoff Fletcher, Editorial Director, 1105 Media
Links To Audio / PDF Presentation / Twitter Hash Available At
Audio [http://tinyurl.com/mmrnc9] [01:00:47]
Presentation PDF [http://tinyurl.com/m4t3ho]
As I shared earlier, I’m reading The Art of Followership (you can read the section in the book (page 7-8) via Amazon) and I just had to jot these notes down on one section. It’s amazing, I can definitely see these 5 roles in the various workplaces I’ve been, including in myself. What do you think? Accurate or not?
There are 5 basic styles of followership:
The Sheep. Sheep are passive and look to the leader to do the thinking for them and to motivate them. If you are the boss and in your car on the way to work, and you’re thinking about what you’re going to get your workers to do and how you’re going to do that, then you’re dealing with sheep.
The Yes-People. Yes people are positive, always on the leader’s side, but still looking to the leader for the thinking, the direction, the vision. If the leader asks them to do something, they’ve got the energy and they’ll go forward with it. When they finish that task, they’ll come back to the leader, asking “What do you want me to do next?” Yes-people will say, “I’m a doer; that’s my job. The boss gets paid to think, and I’m the one who does the work.”
The Alienated. Alienated followers think for themselves, but have a lot of negative energy. Every time the leader or organization tries to move forward, there are the ones who have ten reasons why the leader or organization shouldn’t. They are not coming up with the next solution, but are skeptical, cynical about the current plan of action. They see themselves as the mavericks, the only people in the organization who have the guts to stand up to the boss.
The Pragmatics. Pragmatics sit on the fence and see which way the wind blows. They’ll never be the first on board, but they will never let the leader or organization leave without them. They see themselves as preservers of the status quo. Their internal diaologue goes something like this: If I got all excited every time there was a new leader or a change of direction, my wheels would be spinning constantly.”
The Star Followers. Start followers think for themselves, are very active, and have very positive energy. They do not accept the leader’s decision without their own independent evaluation of its soundness. If they agree with the leader they give full support. If they disagree, they challenge the leader, offering constructive alternatives that will help the leader and organization get where they want to go. Some people view these people as really “leaders in disguise” but this is basically because those people have a hard time accepting that followers can display such indpendence and positive behavior. Star followers are often referred to as “my right-hand person” or my “go-to person.”
I’ve run into a lot of YES-people in my work. It’s so easy to be a “yes person” but it comes at great sacrifice. When I hire someone, I hire a professional team member who is going to be an active contributor, who can decide for themselves and keep us moving forward. That means, it’s a person who is going to come up with great ideas and share them with the team. As the designated leader, it will be my job to marshal support for these ideas and plans for improvement.
Later in the book, the author notes the following:
Most executives fear that they can neither keep star followers challenged by the job nor satisfied with their role in the organization. They believe that star followers will grow bored and disillusioned, seeking greener pastures and leading to high turnover…My own experience is that organizations with more star followers perform better because the star followers need not depend on the leader for direction or motivation. This reduces the transaction costs that hinder organizational success.
As a leader, I can certainly testify to the veracity of the statements in italics. In fact, whenever I have “star followers,” that is exactly my fear. Yet, I believe that I have no control over people’s lives except to empower them to create. My role is to create an environment that enables them to achieve their potential for the benefit of the organization, which is also to their benefit. Those that grow bored and disillusioned are not star followers, but really, sheep who imagine their attitudes and behavior make them “stars,” when in truth, it is just the opposite.
Over the years, I’ve come to fear less where a star follower will go. In technology, such a person is always “on tap” and available for consultation. My network is still enhanced, even if that person isn’t here in this workplace. Perhaps that view is unique to education where losing someone to the competition doesn’t mean serious setback and failure, as it might in business.
One of the problems with having all YES-people is that no one ever thinks of the problems in an implementation. The balance is always in favor of the leader. This is problematic when considering a new initiative. While it would be nice to have a balance, the optimum situation is not to have an alienated follower for every yes-person on your team. Divide and conquer doesn’t work here.
In the teams I’m familiar with, it is far better to have star followers who have the autonomy to think and do for themselves once they understand what is desired, but more importantly, can innovate on what is desired. For me, the star follower is the one who can validate their own work, “punch their own clock” as one presenter at a Catholic Teachers’ Conference put it rather than let others decide what is worthwhile, what is not. That’s not to say that Dale Carnegie’s reminder to be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise” in his awesome book isn’t a requirement for leaders but I imagine that we can all be star followers, disciples to the learning we each can bring to one another.
Balance of the negative (alienated) and the positive (yes-person) isn’t what’s desired. Instead, balance can be achieved without the negative vs positive energy dynamic.
That distinction is critical…balance without good and evil, just good. What’s positive need not be bad because it is blind, and what’s negative need not be bad because it’s pessimistic and cynical. What is, is and we learn from one another what we need to do to improve the situation for those we serve.
“We felt that if a student could learn better working in front of a computer,” said Jeff Crawford, manager of networking and security for East Grand Rapids Public Schools, “that he or she should be able to maximize that learning tool.” The district encourages students to bring their own devices to school and use them in their classes.
Source: Flipping the switch on Mobile Security, THE Journal
Tim at Assorted Stuff shares his reflections on the switch from 1 to 1 computing to students having ubiquitous access to powerful communication technologies, often, ones that they pay for and maintain themselves. This idea of making school district networks irrelevant for social networking, sharing information is fascinating.
The larger impediment are the teachers and administrators in the schools, not to mention the curriculum folks in central office.
Very few of them are prepared for what happens when every student in class has instant access to a huge variety of communications tools, both incoming and outgoing (who’s streaming the class today?).
How is that power controlled? Or more to the point, how should the teaching and learning process change when students more equally share control of the technology, instead of access being exclusively dictated by the teacher?
Those of us who are advocates for the potentially transformative effect of instructional technology are often caught up in the day-to-day, never-ending struggle to provide enough equipment, software, training and support to make large scale changes possible…if we ever did get to the point where every student is carrying around their own networked computing device, the traditional education model we’ve lived with for a century or more would probably fall apart very quickly.
And that is NOT a bad thing.
Tim points out that the effect of ubiquitous access to information, ideas would cause the current education model to fall apart. I’d like to suggest an alternate view to that, a possible parallel universe scenario. Perhaps, these ideas are obvious to some, but I have to consider them periodically and hope you will correct my thinking or point out flaws.
What if education model didn’t fall apart but continued to exist alongside a vibrant information network that was student created, run, and individually managed? Teachers could tap into this network in the same way other students would but exerting no more power over the others?
In fact, teachers already do this. While there are undoubtedly a few teachers who do enforce the bans on mobile ICT devices, the proliferation of devices in schools and their use implies that most teachers turn a blind eye 90% of the time. And, consider that while there are inappropriate uses of these mobile technologies in schools by both students and teachers, they are not representative of the whole who do use them appropriately.
Currently, almost 100% of students have ubiquitous access to communication technologies in the form of their mobile communications device that exists independently of the school network. Walk down the hall of any high school, and students are accessing mobile phones in clear violation of signs posted every ten feet. In short, it’s no surprise that an information network already exists among our students via Facebook, Twitter, and other tools that they use to keep in touch.
Since such a network already exists in violation of school district practices, the only question is whether we should do as Tim says and embrace this haphazard network that works for social networking among our students for academic purposes.
The question, “Should we embrace the student network for academic use?” implies a lack of choice among students. Perhaps, students don’t want us on “their network.” They enjoy the independence from the school network that is used for “schooliness” and prefer to use their network for real life, their lives.
Rather than thinking that our current education model will be destroyed, vanquished in the face of new communication technologies, one might suggest that it will become more entrenched as “schooliness” is passed along one network while real life learning flows along the other.
Or, is this vision of two complementary, separate and unequal networks too flawed to persist?
Update (an hour or so after I wrote this): Just ran across Scott’s quote of Seth Godin and feel compelled to include it below:
School was the big thing for a long time. School is tests and credits and notetaking and meeting standards. Learning, on the other hand, is ‘getting it’. It’s the conceptual breakthrough that permits the student to understand it then move on to something else. Learning doesn’t care about workbooks or long checklists.
For a while, smart people thought that school was organized to encourage learning. For a long time, though, people in the know have realized that they are fundamentally different activities.
Source: Seth Godin as cited by Dr. Scott McLeod
The role of technology in our classrooms is to support the new teaching paradigm– support students teaching themselves (with teacher guidance)….
Source: Marc Prensky, The Role of Technology
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to conduct a two day workshop. It was the first time in awhile I’d stepped onto–forgive the metaphor–the “field of battle.” Of course, I LOVED it. I relished the close connections with teachers, the challenge of sharing technology-based instructional strategies and tools that pushed them to move outside their comfort zone.
I couldn’t help but smile, the kind of smile that comes to one’s lips when you encounter a fierce challenge that, rather than knock you flat, spurs you to greater lengths. “This has to be the most irrelevant two days of workshops I’ve had!” proclaimed one teacher. At the end of the session, though, she was smiling and offering thanks. I joked with her about her remark as she heaped praise, claiming it wasn’t even close to making up for her painting all technology workshops offered during the 2 days, including mine, as “irrelevant.”
Yet, irrelevance is not so bad a thing. I was reminded of a quote I prominently displayed–my own creation without attribution–in several of my presentations:
If technology is irrelevant to how you communicate and collaborate, then your classroom is irrelevant to your students.
In the case of these classrooms and lack of approaches to technology use in teachers’ rooms, I’m not surprised to hear that workshops on using Read/Write Web tools, digital storytelling, GoogleDocs are irrelevant…it’s not a surprising reaction from teachers who work without technology, preparing children in a way that David Warlick has characterized as the 1950s:
Without contemporary tools and contemporary information environments — all we can do is continue to prepare our children for the 1950s — no matter how many hours they’re in school every day…
[our focus should be on] . . .crafting learning experiences, within networked, digital, and information-abundant learning environments, where students are learning to teach themselves, and begin to cultivate a mutually common cultural and environmental context for for their lives.
This idea of students teaching themselves, a paradigm shift as Marc Prensky calls it at the start of this blog entry…well, it’s completely foreign to what many teachers are doing now. As I chatted with a colleague this morning on the phone, as I drove into work, school districts are CURRICULUM-FOCUSED, rather than learner-centered. Our work as educators is wrapped up in mandating the curriculum, marching lock-step in line with what must be taught.
Where teachers are doing well without technology, asking them to embed technology in ways that disrupt their work might be perceived as well…bold, if not rash.
…change happens one person at a time, outside the control and in spite of the school culture that tries to maintain control over everything (a futile effort but ignorance blinds their awareness of that).
[then, I quoted this old parable I’d found on the wall of a portable in a small district in Texas I had occasion to present in when in my mid 20s one hot summer day….]
THE TALE OF THE TIRED TEACHER
There’s an old proverb: ” You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” But around this ranch, I keep getting told it’s my fault when the horse won’t drink. “Make the water bluer,” someone says, “Make it colder. Try adding sugar to sweeten it a bit. Make it shallower; maybe the horse is afraid of deep water. Put the water in a smaller container so the horse isn’t overwhelmed by so much water.”
I get told maybe I should consider the poor horse’s background. Maybe it wasn’t taught to drink properly–it needs a course in remedial drinking. Some idiot says I don’t recognize a horse when I see one…Says I really have a camel and shouldn’t expect it to drink like the other horses.
The boss says I’m not providing enough motivation to make the horse drink. He says I should give the horse an enthusiastic pat and keep telling it what a great horse it is. I should reward it with sugar when it drinks. Or build a waterfall and decorate it with rocks so it looks like a fun place to drink at this spot. When all fails, I should hold the horse’s head under the water until it is forced to swallow some.
And I faithfully try all these ideas. And the horse still won’t drink. So I have another solution. I think it’s time to give water only to the horses that want to drink. Any horse that doesn’t want to drink water should be worked harder. Make it work up a sweat so it gets thirsty. Make it haul a load or run faster until it appreciated a drink of water. Put the pressure back on the horse instead of me…because I’m getting mighty tired of trying to drown horses.
Put the pressure back on the horse…learner centered approach? I have to remind myself of the following:
- To achieve higher order thinking, student learning and questioning needs to be at the synthesis/evaluation/creation levels.
- To be engaged, students need to help define the task, the process, and the solution…collaboration with others extends beyond the classroom.
- To be authentic, the learning experience is directly relevant to students and involves creating a product that has a purpose beyond the classroom that directly impacts the students.
- Technology use is directly connected to and required for task completion involving one or more applications, and students determine which application(s) would best address their needs.
This can take the form of work that IS being done. Consider this work shared by Robin Ellis some time ago:
We are a team of 8th grade students who are learning how to use technology to improve our understanding of Alternate Energy.
On this wiki space we will be keeping track of the things we learn and compiling information about the topics that we study. Join us on our journey to save the world!
Some people hesitate to take action because they are waiting to become “good enough” to make a difference. In fact, we never will have all the answers. It is impossible to be correct all of the time. So take a new attitude this year and join the discussion!
Self-directed learning…back in February, 2009, Robin wrote this short entry on the subject. At the end, she asked:
When decisions are made for students and they are given little voice they are unlikely to develop a sense of responsibility. If they believe their opinions and preferences don’t matter they are unlikely to take ownership of their learning. Without ownership what is their motivation to succeed?
How do we begin to involve students in their education? What are we doing to prepare them to be self directed learners, what is taking place in your district to move students and forward in this area?
Simply, self-directed learning means that students want their work to be perceived as authentic, purposeful, valuable to the society and culture in which they live.
Working with a group of teachers over a two day period, my goal wasn’t to highlight the irrelevance of what I had to share, but to use technology to spotlight how relevant their work could be among a global community of educators. If such work is irrelevant, then I like it just fine.
Tired horse. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/asilverman/media/tired.jpg
In response to a DiigoNotes blog entry I wrote that cites the results of online learning research, specifically commentary on the study making the following assertion:
“The technology will be used to create learning communities among students in new ways,” Mr. Regier said. “People are correct when they say online education will take things out the classroom. But they are wrong, I think, when they assume it will make learning an independent, personal activity. Learning has to occur in a community.”
I was intrigued by a response from one of my colleagues–Joy Rousseau, Arp ISD–in Texas. She wrote the following:
“I agree that while learning will take place in a community. It is the community, however, that will change. It very well may become (I am almost sure) a distributed community of learners instead of a community in proximity.“
I love this perspective…”While learning will take place in a community, it may very well become a distributed community of learners instead of a community in proximity.”
What do you think?
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Technology & Learning magazine goes to press today and was kind enough to drop me an email:
HI Miguel –
I need a short piece on Moodle for our September issue (going to press today) and wondered if it would be okay to excerpt your short piece on security tips form your blog (attached). I thought this would also be a nice way to promote your upcoming talk at Tech Forum and your blog.
We go to press today, so I’m hoping you can get back to me asap.
Thanks — and hope you’re enjoying your summer!
The email from Technology & Learning’s Managing Editor refers to this blog post I wrote on “Keeping Moodle Safe.”
Any suggestions/feedback on that?
While I’m always skeptical of research that shows that one form of instruction is “suddenly” better than another, I am thrilled to find this piece. Many schools are still evaluating whether online learning is even valuable for adult and K-12 learners. One would hope that such research would set those biases aside, especially for adult learners in school districts.
However, one of the critical comments that jumped out at me this morning–as I sit here before getting ready for work–is that Learning has to occur in a community. I couldn’t agree more. When you consider the “self-paced” online learning options that are available, my experience of community learning within Moodle, as well as outside of Moodle, just drives home that point. I can’t just be doing it for me, in solitary confinement. Sharing is key, conversations are important.
Some key findings from the report itself include:
- Few rigorous research studies of the effectiveness of online learning for K–12 students
have been published.
- Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than
those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Interpretations of this result,
however, should take into consideration the fact that online and face-to-face conditions
generally differed on multiple dimensions, including the amount of time that learners
spent on task. The advantages observed for online learning conditions therefore may be
the product of aspects of those treatment conditions other than the instructional delivery
medium per se.
- Instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage relative
to purely face-to-face instruction than did purely online instruction.
- Studies in which learners in the online condition spent more time on task than students in
the face-to-face condition found a greater benefit for online learning.
- Most of the variations in the way in which different studies implemented online learning
did not affect student learning outcomes significantly. Of those variables, (a) the use of a blended rather
than a purely online approach and (b) the expansion of time on task for online learners
were the only statistically significant influences on effectiveness.
- The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears quite broad across different
content and learner types. Online learning appeared to be an effective option for both
undergraduates (mean effect of +0.35, p < .001) and for graduate students and
professionals (+0.17, p < .05) in a wide range of academic and professional studies.
Though positive, the mean effect size is not significant for the seven contrasts involving K–12 students, but the number of K–12 studies is too small to warrant much confidence in the mean effect estimate for this learner group. Three of the K–12 studies had
significant effects favoring a blended learning condition, one had a significant negative
effect favoring face-to-face instruction, and three contrasts did not attain statistical
- Effect sizes were larger for studies in which the online and face-to-face conditions varied
in terms of curriculum materials and aspects of instructional approach in addition to the
medium of instruction.
- Blended and purely online learning conditions implemented within a single study
generally result in similar student learning outcomes.
- Elements such as video or online quizzes do not appear to influence the amount that
students learn in online classes.
- Online learning can be enhanced by giving learners control of their interactions with
media and prompting learner reflection. Studies indicate that manipulations that trigger
learner activity or learner reflection and self-monitoring of understanding are effective
when students pursue online learning as individuals.
- Providing guidance for learning for groups of students appears less successful than does
using such mechanisms with individual learners. When groups of students are learning
together online, support mechanisms such as guiding questions generally influence the
way students interact, but not the amount they learn.
- One should note that online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction.
- the great majority of estimated effect sizes in the meta-analysis are for undergraduate
and older students, not elementary or secondary learners. Although this meta-analysis did not
find a significant effect by learner type, when learners’ age groups are considered separately, the mean effect size is significantly positive for undergraduate and other older learners but not for K–12 students.
A recent comment on the MoodleMoot 2010 in Texas recently asked:
Could this be done the week of TCEA in Austin? I would make the extra effort to attend this year or at least be in Austin that week for a MoodleMoot. I think it could probably even happen in parallel to TCEA and need not be part of it at all. What do you think?
While it may be too late to do a MoodleMoot during TCEA week–and who can attend everything there is to attend that week anyways?!?–and I wouldn’t want to since I can’t attend except for 2 days that week due to other commitments, I have sent an email to TCEA requesting their help in organizing a Texas MoodleMoot in 2010.
Here’s my email to the TCEA organization:
Looking forward to 2010, I’m wondering if TCEA would have any interest in organizing a MoodleMoot 2010. A MoodleMoot, in case you haven’t heard of one, is a conference about Moodle where people share how they are using Moodle, tips, etc.
At the Tx Distance Learning Association Conference earlier this year, the idea of a Texas MoodleMoot was greeted with enthusiasm, not just by educators but government and business folks who are using Moodle to enhance their online presence. Although I wanted to organize a moot that is separate from any organizational affiliations, I’ve come to the realization I’m a bit under-powered to do all that work myself!
I originally suggested the idea here:
and more on MoodleMoot here:
as well as set up a Moodle to invite organizers:
One of the commenters on my blog suggested that TCEA manage the MoodleMoot. I did receive permission to use the “MoodleMoot” term. To be honest, while I’d love to present and attend at MoodleMoot, I’m not as thrilled at organizing the conference.
Any chance TCEA can take on this role?
What the MoodleMoot might include:We are interested in offering five tracks during the moot – curriculum, hands-on, technical, business, and Moodle 2.0.
The curriculum track will focus on using Moodle for curriculum development and delivery and cool & unique ways to use Moodle in the classroom. If you are using Moodle in some exciting ways, we’d love to have you present.
The hands-on track will focus on teaching others how to set up courses and use various components of Moodle. Computer labs will be provided and limited to 10-15 users each, with help (hopefully) to keep everyone on track with what you’re doing. This track was the most popular last year and we could use all the help you can give us.
The technical track will focus on technical and administrative aspects of Moodle. How are you securing Moodle? What have you done with Moodle code that lets you do just what your organization needs? We’ll have our fair share of geeks and moodle administrators that will be on the edge of their seats listening to what you have to say.
The business track will focus on using Moodle for corporate training needs. Academia isn’t the only place for Moodle. We think this would be a wonderful opportunity to share how Moodle is being used in other environments from small business to large organizations or government. Come teach us some of what you know.
The Moodle 2.0 track will focus on showcasing the features and capabilities introduced in Moodle 2.0. If you have inside information about the improvements in Moodle 2.0 we’d love to have you come tell us about them.
Some ideas from other MoodleMoots:Breakfast and lunch are included for the Pre-Moot training and both days of the MoodleMoot. T-Shirts and bags will be given out at the MoodleMoot.
Presenters are free for the MoodleMoot and must submit a presentation proposal and be accepted.
What do you think? Is this possible and can TCEA help out? I’d originally planned for the MoodleMoot to take place in June, 2010, but now, I’d settle for a Texas MoodleMoot in 2010.
Now, I’m waiting for a response…let’s see what happens!
One of the most insightful experiences–into oneself or others–is to ask interview questions. I learn so much when I ask folks tough questions and then watch them marshal their experience, knowledge, and, perhaps most importantly, their wisdom to respond. It’s also a question of leadership. I’m drawn to the idea of servant/transformation leadership:
…transformational leaders should build the whole of the institution into each individual. All people have a voice and input in the direction and execution of the institution’s vision.
Source: Michael Fullan as cited in The Edge of Tomorrow
In the first 15 minutes, I can often tell whether I’d hire someone. In considering questions like the one below, I recently tweeted the question, What are the top 5 questions you would ask someone interviewing for a Chief Technology Officer position?
In reviewing the questions, one of the tough issues is, What about Curriculum & Instruction questions? I’m reminded of a History Channel show I saw earlier this week about Galileo. He dared to challenge the Church and suffered house arrest after recanting at the Inquisition. What if we equated our fixation on Curriculum & Instruction–those 3-ring binders with a wealth of curriculum that teachers are expected to read and implement in their classrooms–at the center of the educational universe, and then…decided to place learning at the center?
Before jumping into this further, check out Tim Holt’s exploration of what makes a good EdTech boss.
Here are the questions suggested:
- How important do you think the role of libraries fits in with technology? (Carolyn Foote)
- Do you have any experience in curriculum development? (Dan Rezac)
- How do you determine if a teacher is effectively integrating technology? (Joel Adkins)
- Describe your last experience in a classroom as 1) an instructor and 2) as a learner. What would you change about each experience? (Joel Adkins)
- Have you ever heard of: NETS A , TA TEKS, NETS T, NETS S, SBEC standards for new teachers…how would you support these? (Tim Holt)
- How do you incorporate new ideas from the grass roots level? (Carolyn Foote)
- What technology ideas worry you right now? (Joel Adkins)
- What is more important: a pencil or internet access? (Tim Holt)
- What is your BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal? (Joel Adkins)
- How will you operate as a support for teachers? (Carolyn Foote)
- How do you stay current with technology issues, apps, innovations? How do you stay current with educational research, reforms, etc.? (Judith Epcke)
- Who do they percieve as the most important clients? (GDahlby)
- Why do you want 2 work in K12 public schools? (GDahlby)
- How would they direct/handle/deploy a new district wide initiative? (Amber Teamann)
- Is learning w/technology appropriate 4 everyone? (Is teaching w/technology appropriate 4 everyone?) (Andrew Forgrave)
- What are you passionate about? (Gail Lovely)
- In your opinion, what single technology holds greatest potential to significantly enhance learning? (Andrew Forgrave)
- Discuss where you believe we need to look to identify our “pace” for technology integration. (Andrew Forgrave)
- Discuss how frequently and how comfortable you would be asking, “How can I help? What can I do?” (Andrew Forgrave)
- How will you integrate technology without treating teachers and students like felons? (Shawn McGirr)
- What is your vision of a 21st Century Learning environment? (Jennifer Spille)
- What is your vision around mobile learning in K-12? (Jennifer Spille)
- May we see what stocks you own? (Tim Holt)
- How do you balance providing the electronic resources needed for the classroom environment while securing the network and related technology that you are responsible for? (Patricia Holub)
My next step is to actually ask individuals I respect what their responses are to these questions and share them here. However, because I may not know everyone I should respect, I’d love to hear your responses, whether as podcasts or text answers.
To collect responses, I’ve set up a Drop.io site:
- Email – email@example.com
- VoiceMail – 646-402-5701 x 78544
Thanks in advance!
A Texas colleague recently sent me this question:
In your opinion, if I want to introduce PLN’s to my district, (sigh.) should I do an all encompassing piece that includes a variety of resources (diigo, delicious, twitter, facebook, etc) or just choose one to start with (twitter)?
Here is my response…what wisdom would you offer?
Thanks for asking! I introduce PLNs as professional learning opportunities, a way to move from professional development as a special event (e.g. workshop, training occurring between 8:00 and 3:30 PM or at a conference once a year) to a continuous flow of learning.
This requires an adjustment and is a choice teachers have to make after becoming aware that lifelong learning is now possible in ways they never imagined. I also remind them that they have complete control over how little or much they choose to learn.
One of the tools I share with them is Diigo Social Bookmarking. It allows me to introduce a variety of other tools as time allows. Diigo can post to Twitter, to Blogs, etc. As such, it serves as nice jumping off spot. I can blog, tweet from Diigo without doing too much “extra” work.
These technologies are blocked at schools in some districts: Friendfeed, Twitter, Facebook. For these districts, content filtering is an ON/OFF switch rather than a finely grained set of controls. To “protect students,” technologies have to be blocked.
One of the important questions you need to be able to answer is, “How are these technologies relevant to helping children learn?” That’s a question I discuss in my presentation–which leans heavily on the work of others–below:
Ok, it’s too harsh to hold Diigo accountable. Diigo is awesome, and I love it (check out my DiigoNotes series to see how much I use it) but there are some things about the “social” part that I just don’t like. Maybe I’m getting old like the Blue Skunk dude and get curmudgeony (sp?)!!
Back when (March, 2008 – read the original entry), I posted the following on my “old” blog some suggestions for improvement…here they are again:
As I’ve worked with Diigo for the past day, some suggestions for improvement keep popping into my head. It’s a bit of an irritation to have them, so as they pop in, I’m going to throw them out onto the blog, as well as into the conversations begun on Diigo. Putting them here is for record keeping actually…a blogging habit. . Again, I’m having fun with this tool that others have recommended in the past but I felt I didn’t need…that changed as soon as they add all the interactivity. And, what I like is that they are responsive to suggestions…much more than some other services I’ve used in the past.
Suggestions for Improving Diigo:
Diigo needs an easier way of inviting friends to conversation than just typing them in one a a time. I’d like to drop in a list of folks by tag (can we tag our friends? have to check on that) as well as just selecting by clicking on them. I can see it now…a Friend box where you can type in a tag and send bookmarks to friends.
Here’s what it might look like or where I’d like to see the suggestion appear:
Enable more control over the My Messages window
Make it easier to thank or communicate with someone from the window below…why should I have to go somewhere else? I’ve added some suggestions…
What about RSS feeds for each of these Message Topics? That way, you don’t have to login or get email notifications (like we need more of those!)….
What do you think? Is it unreasonable to expect Diigo to have included these suggestions?
While there are lots of programs you can use to augment the video codecs installed on your computer, I just found out about this one–GSpot (Windows Only)–that helps you identify the codecs you need to have installed to play a video. This is handy when you encounter problems like this one:
Anyone use Premier Pro CS3? Just recently – when I import AVI video, I can see the video, but I get no audio. If I import the video to Windows Movie Maker and export it out as a WMV, I can then hear and see the video when imported into Premier.Any ideas?
A colleague on a Texas-wide email list shares:
It’s probably a audio codec’ problem. When converting to WMV it is being put it into a different more “generic” audio format. Search for some new audio codecs to apply to the computer and it may work. There is a program called “gspot” (http://www.headbands.com/gspot/), that will take all the identification of all the codec’s both audio and video from a file such as a video file or a music file, and it will tell you what codecs you need to both play it and decompile it.
List of features:
|Establishes what video codecs (audio and video) are required to play an AVI file.|
|● Determines whether these codecs are installed on your system.|
|● Isolates problems associated with these codecs.|
|● Simple operation – Basic use: “File > Open”, then read results|
|● Identifies download induced problems (truncated files, “cooked” files, etc.)|
|● Shows framerate, duration, aspect ratio, bitrates, AVI structure info, and more.|
|● Displays and allows editing of RIFF info (title, etc); displays “hidden” ASCII info.|
|● Drag and Drop and “Send To” support, multi-file (batch) processing support|
|● Copy/Paste or text export GSpot information – format is user configurable.|
|● Built-in database of 350 video and 150 audio codec types|
|● Advanced UI including “dual-mode” and hyperlinked “persistent” tool tips|
|● Full support for OGG media files as well as AVI stream formats|
|● Identification (only) of non-AVI files (.mpg, .mov, .qt, .rm, .swf, .wmv, .asf, etc.)|
|● Supports VFW, ACM, DirectShow and DMO codec types (audio and video)|
|● No Install (optional), No spyware, No advertising, No registration|
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Today in my workshop on Intro to Moodle to Languages Other Than English teachers, one of my selling points for creating, learning and teaching in virtual learning spaces was, “What if the swine flu or something else hits us this year and we have to teach our children?”
Thanks to Mark Kerr (WestEd.org) for sharing:
Beginning this fall, the H1N1 is expected to impact libraries, preK-12 schools, colleges, businesses, churches and synagogues, sporting events, professional conferences, nurses and other healthcare providers, and many other aspects of public life.
The vaccine may be in limited supply, and the CDC wants public input.
Input? You bet we have input! Here’s the official announcement:
WebDialogue: H1N1 Public Engagement Dialogue
* Make Your Voice Heard on the H1N1 Pandemic Flu Vaccine *
In July, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced that the federal government expects to initiate a voluntary fall vaccination program against the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. The CDC will help state and local health organizations develop the vaccination program and are working to decide the scope of the program for vaccinating Americans against the novel H1N1 pandemic influenza virus.
The CDC is asking for public discussion, deliberation, and input as the agency considers whether to simply make vaccines available to those seeking immunization, to promote vaccination to those most at risk, or to implement a widespread immunization program.
Space is limited, so register early. Two WebDialoges are available, and both dialogues will follow the same agenda. Each WebDialogue will take place over two days. Participants can enter messages at any time during the day and night. Facilitators will guide the conversations, and subject matter experts will clarify information.
* Make your voice heard on a decision facing Americans about the H1N1 vaccine *
WebDialogue: “H1N1 Public Engagement Dialogue”
Sponsored by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Keystone Center, and WestEd
Interested members of the general public. No prior knowledge of H1N1 or flu is necessary.
Online at: www.WebDialogues.net/H1N1
Two opportunities to participate:
Wednesday and Thursday, August 26 and 27, 2009
Monday and Tuesday, August 31 and September 1, 2009
Visit the following link to select from two dialogues, then register: www.WebDialogues.net/H1N1
Thanks to Paul R. Wood for sharing this link to Social Media Guidelines with me!
This is a collaborative project to generate Social Media Guidelines for school districts. The goal of this guideline is to provide instructional employees, staff, students, administrators, parents and the school district community direction when using social media applications both inside and outside the classroom.
Deploying Moodle in a large school district–or even a small one–can be a bit daunting. After all, if success means that every teacher (3000+) is going to have one or more courses, that means you could easily knock your server(s) offline!
But it also means you have to work out a process for handling all the new Moodle courses coming your way. After a long team meeting, here’s what we worked out. I’m not saying it’s the best approach, and it does require work, but what doesn’t?
Here is an email I wrote to summarize the meeting among my team members; I hope it’s instructive. I hope you’ll share how you’re organizing your Moodle deployment:
Thanks to all of you for your feedback during the Moodle Best Practices course meeting we had this morning. I thought I’d take a moment to summarize my take-aways and perception of responsibilities taken on 1) Moodle Creation Process and 2) Moodle Best Practices Course
1 – MOODLE CREATION PROCESS
- End-User (e.g. teacher, dept head) completes an online form requesting Moodle creation*
- Upon clicking SUBMIT on that Moodle Request Form, the user is taken to a confirmation web page that features background information on the Moodle Best Practices course with the requisite enrollment key
- The user completes the Moodle Request course independently
- The IT Facilitator assigned Moodle Creation creates the Moodle and places it in the appropriate space (e.g. Open Campus, Think) and notifies the user of the location and enrollment key to gain access to the new course.**
- IT Facilitator enters ePath and assigns 1 hour of CPE credit in one class that “never ends.”
*Suggestion: Using our learning management system, move steps 1-3 into a SCORM module to minimize interaction. This will be figured out by November 1 and decision made whether to implement or not.
**Suggestion: Any new Moodle account would result in a face to face meeting.
2 – MOODLE BEST PRACTICES COURSE – Components
This is the “shell” for this Course
- Look-n-See (This is a video featuring various exemplary Moodle Courses in the District)
- Video Resources
- “Moodle in SAISD Classrooms”
- Inclusion of simple how-to videos (I’ve requested we all review that to ensure they reflect our understanding of what needs to go into the course and so that we are all on the “same page” about those videos)
- Face to Face Workshop Learner: These F2F workshops include a 1.5 hour Moodle Basics/Beginner course offered twice per month with additional Intermediate and Advanced courses offered throughout the year.
- Self-Paced Learner
- Moodle is Not For Me at this time.
- Discussion Forum (standard) that Moodlers can come back to share questions and ask for support
- Facilitators will cycle this responsibility
You can start to see the budding list of Moodlers. Wow, who would have thought it?
Source: A photo I snapped of Mike from HEB at Nacogdoches and O’Connor, San Antonio, Tx with my camera-phone. Mike helped out by trying to jump our battery and offered free drinks while we stood out in the heat of a Sunday afternoon.
This afternoon, as we found our way home from shopping for school supplies, in the midst of grocery shopping for the week, and filling up one of our vehicle’s gas tanks, the battery died. As I walked across the parking lot–about 100 degrees out there–from the supermarket to the gas station, I wondered why, why oh why, does this have to happen now?
As we endured the slight embarassment of waving people in their cars off from the gas pump where my wife was parked, her face turning beet red in the heat and children not far behind, the HEB Supermarket (at Nacogdoches and O’Connor) manager, Mike (pictured above), came over to inquire what he could do.
Even though we were clearly blocking a lane in the gas station, losing HEB money (must have been 15 cars in the 30 minutes before HEB put a cone to warn people off), Mike was kind enough to try to jump our vehicle. He had to pop the backseat off his car to access his car battery. When that failed, he offered us some Dasani (or anything in the cooler, actually) water bottles, which was welcome since my wife and I hadn’t planned on a long stay in the sun.
We continued to try to no avail to jump the car. Fortunately, as soon as we knew were down, we’d called triple A. Bob from AAA-Allied Towing showed up to help us out. A short time later with a new battery in place, we were on our way.
All Allied batteries come with a 3-year free replacement warranty valid in the U.S. and Canada.
Battery Jump-Start and battery replacement Program— call us if your battery fails. If possible, it will be jump-started at the scene to help get you on your way. Please view our Battery service we provide.
Source: Allied Towing, San Antonio, Tx
Thanks to all who helped out!
Pick your proverb and the message is the same:
The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.(Bible)
I have granted you much that you asked: and yet you never cease to ask of me. He who refuses nothing, Atticilla, will soon have nothing to refuse.
Author: Marcus Valerius Martial
Source: Epigrams (bk. XII, ep. 79)
Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulleth edge of husbandry.
Author: William Shakespeare
Source: Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Polonius at I, iii)
Who goeth a borrowing Goeth a sorrowing. Few lend (but fools) Their working tools. – Thomas Tusser,
Author: Thomas Tusser
Source: Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry–September’s Abstract, first lines also in June’s Abstract
He who borrows sells his freedom.
Author: German Proverb
Is Borrowing 2.0 going to come to an end? Perhaps it’s a stretch to say that educators, frustrated with in-house network/information technology services lack of support (perhaps, their inability to support from under-staffing), are reaching out to free Web 2.0 services that can give them what they want. Yet, time and again, no matter the good intent of the “lenders” (Web 2.0 services), free cannot continue.
Should school districts continue to allow teachers to post content online in Web 2.0 services that are “free” now but may result in cost later? And, do all teachers have the “technical flexibility” to adapt to new tools as they arise, shedding the old ones? Consider how we move from Gcast to Gabcast to Drop.io, from Edublogs.org to Blogger, from Voicethread.com to ShowBeyond.com to avoid the pervasive advertising, the requirement to commercial ventures have to make money?
Sylvia Martinez (GenYes Blog) sums up the argument against living in the cloud quite well with these words:
At the end of the day, using a free tool is a gamble. If it’s just you as an individual taking a risk on a free tool, that’s one thing. But if you are recommending these tools to others, spending money and time implementing them, planning lessons, or shifting your “business” to them, you really need to think about it. You may decide instead to use tools you can really own, like a do-it-yourself open source implementation, or tools from a company you can trust.
Time and time again, we’ve seen free Web 2.0 services “hook” users with their services and then seek to profit from them. This has been true in multiple services–which I’ve blogged about before, so no need to mention them again and endure their “ire” –and is now true of Bubbleshare image sharing service (closing its doors) and Wetpaint.
What’s ironic is that in my recent review of wikis for use in a school district, I realized that the only wiki not charging for their services was Wetpaint.com. Someone in the edublogosphere wrote me and suggested it. Fortunately, I’d tried Wetpaint.com and I wasn’t ready to switch to recommend it. Now, it’s just the same as the others. It costs money.
In the end, we’ll have to pay for the services. Will paying for these Web 2.0 services become the new way teachers spend their hard-earned funds, rather than investing in classroom content?
As a school district administrator, movement into free services–consider GoogleApps for Educators–must be carefully considered. What happens tomorrow when the money runs out and the lender calls in the note?