The following information comes from two reports…
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
The following information comes from two reports…
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
Thanks again to the great work of the Pew Internet Research folks…Teens and Mobile Phones
Here’s my picks of stuff that are helpful in workshop presentations:
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
The digital landscape is changing…more information, more ideas, more creativity…but how do you prove that?
The “Graphs” series continues…trying to find graphs to convey ideas, whether they have to be made or they are conveniently available and shared here so *I* can find them. I hope that these compilations are useful to others.
More from Pew Internet Research on Teen Content Creators…
This is part of an ongoing series to share graphs I stumble upon and need for presentations.
One in four (26%) of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and half (48%) of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel. (Read more)
While distracted driving is a problem for “grown-ups,” it’s also one for teens. I can’t imagine what compulsions to text while driving will teens who are growing up texting will feel when it’s their turn to sit behind the wheel. Thank goodness for these graphs to highlight the information!
Over the next few days/weeks, I’m going to try to share some graphs on statistics that need visual representation to be better understood…this comes as a result of my having trouble finding graphs to represent “the numbers” I need for presentations. I share them here in the hopes they will be useful to others.
This blog entry includes graphs based on data the Sex and Tech:Results from a Survey of Teens and Young Adults by the The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. From the document with survey results:
This survey was fielded online to a total of 1,280 respon- dents—653 teens (ages 13-19) and 627 young adults (ages 20-26) between september 25, 2008 and october 3, 2008. It was conducted by tRu, a global leader in research on teens and 20-somethings.
At present, it is estimated that about 90% of teens and young adults are online. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in tRu’s online surveys. Respondents were stratified according to the u.s. Census and the data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of teens and young adults. Respondents do not constitute a probability sample.
This document contains the precise language used in the sur- vey and separate results for teens and young adults, as well as the total combined. for additional data, please visit www. TheNationalCampaign.org/sextech or contact the national Campaign at 202.478.8500.
Note that these are my attempts to graph data existing in the report…Any errors with the graphs are mine alone and I welcome correction in the comments.
Click on each to enlarge it and view the source.
The National Campaign offers 5 tips to help parents talk to their kids about sex and tech:
|Title:||Moodle Mayhem – Expanding Learning Opportunities in Urban Districts [9 words]|
|Abstract:||Establishing a online learning opportunities for K-12, as well as adult learners, can be tough. Learn how the San Antonio ISD has built up the infrastructure, the human capital, and get some practical tips on Moodle administration, implementation and more. In this Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) session, participants will get a chance to try working with Moodle on their own via the Conference network. [65 words]|
|Summary:||“It is a truism that we cannot know what the task is until we know what the tools are.” While many school districts are hoping to jump into online professional learning, it is critical to remember that there are many tools available. Which do you choose, how do you decide which is the right one for your implementation, and how do you bring all those components together to create a working virtual learning community? These are some of the challenges the San Antonio ISD has been working through. By sharing this hard-earned wisdom with other districts, we hope to spare other districts the trouble and time.
Primary objectives for this session include:
Participants will also be invited to participate in an online learning community for Moodle K-12 educators to continue the discussion online at http://intouch.saisd.net/learn[175 words]
|Outcomes:||Outcomes for the session includes:
1) Improved understanding of how to plan and manage your online learning implementation.
Is this for real?
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Is this for real or a hoax?
You make my point exactly! Thanks!
It should not be a e-paper chase to follow anyone.
A new teacher, or someone new to the whole world of edublogging, would have no idea about all of these things that you mention, unless they a) read your article, or b) read a mention of them somewhere, or c) knew a friend, or D) …you get the idea.
If I am a newbie, and I start following you on say, Twitter, or Will, or David, or anyone, there is probably NO WAY to figure out about all of the things you mention above.
If I start following you on Facebook, there is no way to know about them based on the messages that show up there. None. You have to stumble upon them, or have a friend set you up. Both of which are iffy propositions.
“Consider your most recent post on my homepage on Facebook: Miguel Guhlin Tools of the Trade http://ff.im/-cwZXi 58 minutes ago · Comment · Like”
Google? RSS? Miguel is on You know about these things because you do these things.
You know about these things because you have been involved in the conversation for years.
In order to use Friendfeed, you have to know about Friendfeed.
(BTW, when I posted about you posting to Twitter, that is exactly what you do when a Tweet appears, whether you posted somewhere else or not. If it shows up on Twitter, it is posting to Twitter.)
You yourself called the setup you have as “elaborate.” I agree, And following is just as elaborate.
The point of the article I wrote, was that it is not easy to follow a single person, and it is even harder to follow multiple people. Miguel has Miguel’s set up, David has his, Will has his, and so on.
And while you don’t see it yourself as complicated, teachers with limited time, whom we are trying to “convert” would indeed see it as too complicated.
(If you don’t believe it, just look at the ways you could sign this entry: I count at least 8.)
To which I respond:
@Tim – Social networking tool use evolves over time…I didn’t know all this when I started, and who knows, tomorrow, the tools might be different.
I choose to learn them because I present on these topics and want to simplify my life. Whether others choose to is entirely up to them…however, if folks start blogging, they are embracing constant learning experiences.
If a teacher isn’t willing to be a constant learner in communication/collaboration tools of the age, are they going to remain worthy of students who are?
Dan McGuire points out:
“If a teacher isn’t willing to be a constant learner in communication/collaboration tools of the age, are they going to remain worthy of students who are?”
The answer to that question is very clearly, ‘NO.’
To which Tim Holt continues:
“If a teacher isn’t willing to be a constant learner in communication/collaboration tools of the age, are they going to remain worthy of students who are?”
I think you overestimate the time and willpower of most educators.
Most teachers are “constant learners.” I would say a much smaller percentage are “constant implementers” that actually practice what they learn.
From my own experience, it is one thing to teach, it is another to implement.
I stand by my original blog post: Following you, or me, or Wes or anyone takes a great deal of effort and it is not intuitively obvious.
Because there is such difficulty, the opportunity to learn, to be a “constant learner” is often lost.
I appreciate you keeping the conversation going.
Essentially, the desire to be a constant learner is “overestimated” in Tim’s opinion…it has always taken focused effort/work…to be a continuous learner at any time in history. What I’m challenging isn’t that learning is time-consuming, tough, requires determination and will power, but rather, that as a collection of experiences that run the gamut from failure to success that EDUCATORS LACK THE TIME AND WILLPOWER.
Since social networking skills evolve over time–in my own experience–it is foolish to think any one person will acquire elaborate skills Tim refers to.
However, Tim makes an assertion I disagree with–in addition to the one that educators lack time and willpower. And, that assertion is that educators have to learn how I publish my information to be successful followers. The reason my chart is detailed and complex is because by following ONE RSS feed, educators can get access to EVERYTHING I share online.
How hard is that? Go watch RSS in Plain English….
A colleague recently shared with me the following:
These are the web sites we will need to access during the training session this week.
Twitter.com is blocked in my colleague’s district. If blocked, does that mean that the presenter coming in WILL NOT be able to do the session? What will be the discussion around this blockage? “Oh, you’re not alone…a lot of districts block Twitter because they want to protect children from inappropriate chats with adult strangers. You’ve seen that Twitter-spam that just pops up on your screen“
Or, perhaps, will the conversation be negative, such as, “What’s wrong with YOUR district? How come it’s not allowing it’s staff and students to publish at will and share what they really think–and THINK is the key word–with a global audience? Who do they think they are fooling when they say, ‘We’re protecting you!’ when we really know they’re protecting themselves from liability.” What do you think?
Does it mean that my colleague’s district has somehow banned professional learning the way it is expressed, practiced in the 21st Century?
Twitter is being espoused as a tool that can be helpful in the classroom. However, many districts have taken a different course to ban it. Should we take such a ban as a way of “silencing the people?” Twitter enables instant communications among large groups of people…with Twitter, any one person can decide choose to share what they are learning, what they agree or disagree with and the world will know about it. Why aren’t schools–and organizations–up to the challenge?
Think about it. If the work we are doing is so sacrosanct, why can’t Twitter use be allowed in school by learning professionals that are trusted to do the right thing? If Twitter is so dangerous for children to have access to, why do we allow parents who don’t have a clue about raising them the right to do so, let them sleep in Children’s Shelters, stress them out over high-stakes tests…maybe, Twitter is dangerous because it would allow, not adults inappropriate access to children, but rather, children to say to adults what they really think of the precious work we are (or aren’t) doing in schools. What would happen if students were allowed to gather and discuss and be influenced by American democratic ideals, then apply those filters to how they learn in school? What would be their reaction?
Might that reaction be similar to what is discussed in “What Do You Mean I can’t Twitter?“
Would you go to a conference or a presentation the banned Twittering or Social Media during talks or discussions? I don’t think that causing a disruption or disturbance is warranted in any case. However, if you can’t stand the heat….The Twitter stream and backchannel provide a place for the audience to comment, in real-time on what is being discussed.
As a conference participant and presenter I have to ask some questions. As an audience member, why should I not be able to question and comment on what is being presented? Should I just sit and accept, without question, what is being said? As a presenter, do I not want people to discuss my work and ask questions, and yes, even criticize?
When did Twittering become an “unalienable right?” You know what I mean, right?
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Source)
Yes, fellow Americans, one of those that Thomas Jefferson meant to refer to but was downplayed because of lack of universal technology access was the right to tweet. Why should any organization delivering professional learning in the 21st Century or anyone attending a conference be granted access to social media tools to share with others? Is the right to Twitter synonymous with a 21st Century version of freedom of assembly?
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. The right to freedom of association is recognized as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty. (Source)
Let he who can tweet, do so. If you can’t afford a smartphone (e..g iPhone/Blackberry) that can send out tweets and enable you to be a part of the conversation that can happen IN SPITE OF the regulations in schools and association meetings, well then, perhaps the Government should put to good use the funding banks have “paid back” and put them into equipping every American with the tools they need to achieve their unalienable right of Tweeting rather than spending it on job creation…although I suspect that if they were to invest in equipping every person with a mobile phone, that might create a lot of jobs SOMEWHERE.
In short, though, if you have the ability to tweet–using your mobile phone–and you are at a public event, then do so. If, as a member of the Press, I were to attend one of these events, I would make pains to be accurate and report on what was going on. I don’t see that as any different that what Twitterers are doing when they are microblogging a conference presentation.
As another commenter points out, don’t present at a conference what you’d rather keep secret.
Here are a few podcasts–in no particular order and in OGG format–from the Virtual School Symposium 2009 Conference…sorry to take so long to share them. These were actually recorded by a colleague to whom I gave a digital audio recorder. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much identifying information from her so I will count on you to listen carefully!
More on their way, so check back!
A short time ago, I shared an article for publication–which appeared in TCEA’s TechEdge magazine–entitled Social Media Tools: Gathering the Loose Threads. Apparently, Tim Holt hasn’t read it! (sigh). In a simple way, if you use Google Reader, you can subscribe to everything Miguel Guhlin shares online…and that’s by design!
In a blog entry recently, Tim Holt (Intended Consequences) shares that he’s been rethinking the whole blogging thing….
So I have been rethinking the whole blogging thing. How many people are reading them? How many people are writing them? How many people are becoming new readers? Unfortunately, with my little iWeb program, I don’t have any idea how many people actually read this blog or listen to my podcasts. I know, for instance, that I am not nearly as popular as say, Will Richardson, but I also know that there are a lot of you guys out there that do read it. I don’t have Google analytics., I don’t have time.
Before moving on to the main points of this blog entry, Tim (and Apple iWeb bloggers), I encourage you to read about these iWeb tools and tips:
These should slay the complaint that you can’t do certain things in iWeb…but don’t get me wrong. I’d rather use Google’s Blogger, WordPress.com (although there are limits), Edublogs.org (pay for it), or something else besides iWeb. I know…remember that I used Thingamablog–view the old version of Around the Corner with 7000+ blog entries–that works in much the same way.
TRACKING THE FLOW OF IDEAS
Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.
-Henri F Amiel
In his post, Tim uses me as an example–incorrectly–that suggests I run around and post my information to multiple social networking sites (e.g. Plurk, Twitter, Facebook, My Blog, etc.). If I did that, I wouldn’t have time for anything else! I suspect (ok, I know) others think I spend massive amounts of time managing my networks.
Tim writes the following:
Even more difficult to track is posts. For instance, I track a bunch of people, Miguel Guhlin, Will Richardson, David Warlick and a few more. So here is what happens:
Say Miguel posts something on Twitter. I have to be on Twitter when he posts or close to when he posts, or I have to purposely track his Tweets. He may or may not Tweet something that he posts on his blog. But maybe he posts something on Facebook. Or MySpace. Or his Blog.
All of these have to be tracked. Every single one of them. And there simply is no program or site that I know of that tracks every single place that Miguel, or Will, or David or anyone posts to.
In actuality, Tim could just subscribe to my FriendFeed RSS feed and get ALL my content sharing across various networks via his RSS reader. To better understand the flow of ideas and information, here’s a crude diagram:
Source: Tools of the Trade from Durff
GoogleApps for Education–with the free Postini Message Security–is certainly spreading in Texas. For example, I’ve heard of the following Texas districts that are switching (or already have) to GoogleApps for Education to replace their in-district email systems (please let me know of others I’ve missed):
I’m also enjoying watching these videos on using GoogleApps in the Classroom from Dan Rezac:
And, a quick round-up of other stuff out there:
and Henry Thiele’s tutorials at:
As I was reading Nancy Farmer’s “The Sea of Trolls,”–which reminds me a lot of Ursula LeGuin‘s Wizard of Earthsea, a book published the same year I was born–I ran across a passage that reminded me of many of the fascinating concepts shared during yesterday’s Day of Discovery, organized and sponsored by Discovery Education, KLRN (PBS) Connect, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Area 20, and Alamo Heights ISD in San Antonio, Tx. My thanks to Discovery Education staff Justin Karkow, Steve Dembo, Mike Bryant as well as Malinda McCormick (KLRN) and Jennifer Faulkner (TCEA Area 20) for organizing the event! And, to my wife (shown right) for attending the day with me.
Listen to Day of Discovery podcasts (all audio is in OGG format)
I would have recorded Justin’s presentation, but had to step out for a moment for a phone call and I completely forgot…sigh.
As we work to transform teaching, learning and leading practices in schools it’s quite easy to slip back into constrained behavior rather than learn to explore the possibilities available to us. Finding trusty comrades to do so is even more difficult…the passage from Nancy Farmer’s book is as follows:
“You see, lad, most people live like birds inside a cage. It makes them feel safe. The world’s a frightening place, full of glory and wonder and danger. It’s better–so most people think–to pretend it isn’t there.”
This passage rung true and brought to mind the learning opportunities shared during Day of Discovery. Below is a blurry image of Steve sharing a presentation I took with my lowly camera phone. The slideshow represents Darren Kuropatwa as one of the teaching wizards who have taken advantage of enabling students to publish more, and as a result, become more engaged because they want the recognition that comes with sharing more with others…as Jean Rosseau says, When a man dies he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime.
It’s built into who we are as human beings, isn’t it, this desire to share?
Steve Dembo (teach42.com) gave the keynote address. One of the examples was Judson Collier demonstrating their passion via the Web…how can educators prepare students for that kind of world?
…Judson Collier, a 16 year old high school student from Jacksonville, Florida. You read that right – 16 years old. I originally found Judson via Twitter, and he started participating as a creative on crowdSPRING. He wanted in on the Community Manager action, and in order to get our attention, he created this super impressive video:
…and that, my friends, is the power of creativity combined with the internet and social media.
Source: CrowdSpring Blog
I found Steve’s presentation particularly fascinating since a set of his slides included Introducing the Book and the follow up video where 3 students are trying to double-click images and words in their own video. These are the same videos I used myself with museum directors earlier this week, so they were fresh in my mind. However, where I chose to focus on student examples, Steve approached it by introducing teachers who were doing awesome things in a globally, connected world. It was a great way to show teachers how others are using technology to engage their students.
My focus in my presentations is on how students are 21st Century learners taking advantage of technology to do things in spite of roadblocks school administrations throw up. It taps into that desire to overcome the frustrating obstacles we encounter as classroom educators. As such, Steve’s presentation helped me move in a different direction.
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/langwitches/4160561881/
As learners with access to 21st Century tools that enable our learning to be more than lonely endeavours, it’s easy to fall into the “caged bird” approach Farmer describes through her Bard character in The Sea of Trolls. Silvia Tolisano (Langwitches) describes it in this way more directly and to the point:
Most teachers who have embraced 21st century teaching and learning are indeed alone or part of a small minority in their school or district. It sure can feel that one is walking a lonely hallway with no one around or even running away as they see you approach.
But, of course, the truth is that transparency is there and available…we may feel ourselves in a closed bubble, but the truth is, we are in a transparent bubble. It is reminiscent of Kim Cofino’s words in K12OnlineConference.org presentation:
“Connect yourself to connect your students!”
This aloneness is something we’ve endured for so long that it’s become normal…phrases like “behind the classroom door,” “through the keyhole,” remind us that teaching and learning in today’s schools is a lonely endeavor, a do-it-alone exercise for which we will be held accountable. Read 10 Places for Teachers To Collaborate and Communicate Online.
New technologies offer us access to a wealth of media and resources…yet it continues to be allowable for educators to ignore them. Safety concerns are one of the reasons why this happens, but it may be simply that old habits are holding us back.
(Image Citation: Apple’s Game Changer: Downloading Now, New York Times, Available 12/06/2009)
I also had the good fortune listen to Steve later in an afternoon session–after a heavy lunch from Fresh Horizons Creative Catering, which was just sumptuous–but one of the presentations that emphasized this idea of global connectedness was Justin’s presentation on GoogleEarth. While I am not a heavy-user of GoogleEarth, I do recognize it’s incredible potential. It was while sitting there in Justin’s presentation that it occurred to me that while, Yes, I was familiar with these technologies myself, it was a wonderful experience to watch how teachers new to the idea of GoogleEarth responded. The technology aspect of the presentation was not overwhelming, yet one of the teachers asked in an aside to a colleague, “Is there Google Earth for Dummies?” (check the link to see it at Amazon).
Each presentation served to underscore a point that Justin was quick to emphasize in the final session–whether you use Discovery Education resources or not, there are a wealth of digital media that can be used to transform how you approach teaching and learning…all free and ready for you to use.
Finally, what a delight it was to be on hand to celebrate Steve’s birthday later that evening. While there is much that could be said about the event, I find this image below to say it all…
Steve Dembo, Vaquero
Find out about MoodleShare from Jon Fila (I hope I got the name right!).
MoodleShare is a community of Moodlers sharing their Moodles, Moodle Sites, and Moodle Lessons.
This 11-minute podcast was recorded at the Virtual School Symposium in November, 2009. It was a just-in-time conversation that occurred when Mary from RoundRock ISD introduced me to John.
Listen to Podcast (Ogg format…you may need to use VLC Media Player)
Direct link: http://www.edsupport.cc/mguhlin/audio/moodleshare_11_2009.ogg
Here’s a quick snapshot of Jon:
Having had the opportunity to read several of Packt Publishing’s books on Moodle, I have to confess how impressed I am with their depth and detail. If I had to rank the books, I’d certainly put the latest book to come into my hands–free copy sent for review purposes–in the top 3 I’ve reviewed.
Full Disclosure: A free copy of all books I review from Packt Publishing is provided to me at no charge. To date, I haven’t had anything negative to say about Packt Publishing books on Moodle, but a free copy of the book wouldn’t be enough incentive to stop me. I do not receive any other compensation–aside from a free copy of the book–to share my reflections about it and feature it on my blog.
That book is Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching by Jeff Stanford. As a bilingual/ESL certified teacher and with a Master’s degree in Bicultural/Bilingual Studies with English as a Second Language Concentration, I was thrilled to crack open the 500+ page tome and run across Jeff’s statement:
[the book]…starts with examples based on what you need for your language teaching and shows which bits of Moodle you need to make them…it aims to provide relevant information for language teachers.
One of the key points that Jeff makes is that while this is a how-to, recipe book, it fundamentally starts out with language teaching at the center. Jeff makes this message clear when he grounds the book in the communicative approach to language learning experience. He also makes a connection to Understanding and Implementing the Communicative Language Teaching Paradigm by George M. Jacobs and Thomas S. C. Farrell; you can read about some of their ideas.
Jeff discusses a few points that I have found invaluable in my own work with Moodle and helping teachers get started; those points include the following:
Of course, it’s worthwhile to jump straight to Chapter 3-Vocabulary Activities and start there. Language teachers might see this as a simple enough place to start. If you’ve ever wondered about what can be done with the Moodle glossary, Jeff provides a lot of examples that are specific to vocabulary learning. True to his promise, Jeff organizes what you can do in Moodle around core vocabulary learning activities that range from the glossary to Hot Potatoes Crossword Puzzles to Chat and other components (e.g. databases, quiz, )available in Moodle.
And, simply, that is the process Jeff follows for the rest of the book. In Chapter 4, he urges the use of MediaCenter and Audacity to help students participate in a dialog…he sets it up in this way:
How can we use Moodle to help students prepare themselves for dialog work? Well, one way is to setup a recording where they hear just half the dialog and they have to provide the other half, using prompt that they can listen to independently. LeRet’s call it Dialog Minus One.. This sort of activity can help students listen carefully and get used to new words or expressions and practice new language functions such as interrupting, inviting, asking questions, and refusing. The big advantage of Moodle is that they can listen in their own time as often as they want.
A list of other topics covered by Jeff include the following:
Overall, Jeff has done a great job of fleshing out language learning activities with specific Moodle uses that shift one’s focus from the technology to language learning. This is a rare approach in the Moodle books I’ve seen which are almost overwhelmed by the technology. Instead, Jeff fulfills his promise to provide how-to recipes and tutorials within the context of the language learning classroom.
That said, the wealth of activities Jeff provides is overwhelming. This text reminds me of the Grammar/Reading/Writing activity books that are organized around what you want to achieve and then illustrated by language activities. Language learning educators will find Jeff’s approach to the subject matter familiar, although the juxtaposition of technology tools available through Moodle and language learning may still cause challenges for neophyte tech users.
I do recommend this book for purchase for Second Language Educators who are investigating Moodle. I also caution them to resist the impulse to implement all the rich activities–view this example available online–the author has included all at once. It may be that a book like Mary Cooch’s Teaching 7-14 year olds might be a better introduction to Moodle in the classroom, Moodle Multimedia as an introduction to various multimedia, Web 2.0 tools, and Second Language Learning as a reference resource for the serious Moodler/teacher.
Of course, those are my top 3 choices of Packt Publishing books on Moodle 1.9!
Finally, I’d be remiss to not mention that this book has been pirated and a Google search will reveal multiple locations where it might be downloaded. I have made the publisher aware of the piracy but…piracy isn’t surprising these days. As to readability in electronic form (PDF), I do NOT recommend downloading the book illegally and trying to wade through it that way…this is a book you’ll want to have next to your desk and add post-its all over!
A few free utilities. I found all these entries online on Gizmo Richard’s web site. He’s done a nice job finding 46 free utilities for Windows computers. While many of his are also on my list (how’s that for validation), here are some I had not found yet (only exception might be AIDA32). I especially liked the TrueCrypt.
Xplorer2 – http://www.netez.com/xplorer2/x2lite.htm
Easy to use file manager for Windows
Hotkeycontrol XP — http://www.digital-miner.com/hkcontrol.html
Allows you to set up certain keys so that a single key press combination can start up a program, insert text, change directories/volume, or whatever.
AMDeadlink – http://aignes.com/press/deadlink140.htm
Checks for deadlinks in your bookmarks or favorites files.
HTTrack – http://www.httrack.com/
Allows you to whack a web site.
Empty Temp Folder – http://www.danish-shareware.dk/soft/emptemp
CCleaner – http://www.ccleaner.com/
Empties temporary folders and a few other things as well.
Aida32 – http://www.sofotex.com/AIDA32-download_L9326.html
AIDA32 is a professional system information, diagnostics and benchmarking program running on Win32 platforms. It extracts details of all components of the PC. It can display information on the screen, print it, or save it to file in various formats like HTML, CSV or XML. For corporate users, AIDA32 offers command-line switches, network audit and audit statistics, remote system information and network management.
KarenWare’s Replicator – http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp
Automatically backup files, directories, even entire drives! Karen’s Replicator copies selected files from one drive/folder to another. Source and Destination folders can reside anywhere on your network. Files larger than 2 GB are supported.
PC Inspector File Recovery – http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/welcome.htm
This is a data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. he “Special Recovery Function” supports the following disk formats: ARJ AVI BMP CDR DOC DXF DBF XLS EXE GIF HLP HTML HTM JPG LZH MID MOV MP3 PDF PNG RTF TAR TIF WAV ZIP
TrueCrypt – http://www.truecrypt.org/
Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows XP/2000/2003. # It can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mount it as a real disk. It can encrypt an entire hard disk partition or a device, such as USB memory stick, floppy disk, etc.
Free PDF Reader – http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
Foxit Reader is a free reader for PDF (eBook) documents. You can view and print PDF documents with it.
Free Spell-Checker – http://tinyspell.m6.net/
WordWeb Dictionary – http://wordweb.info/
Free Undelete Utility – http://www.geocities.jp/br_kato/
Panaroma AutoStitch – http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html
Some of the neat stuff (IMHO) from the report includes the following:
About the Image Above: A new organization is forming to potentially represent Museum and Education Associations in the San Antonio area…it’s great to be in on observing the “ground floor” creation of such an organization, the brainchild of Molly Valdez and Carey Eagan, two veteran educators. The org’s banner image is displayed above and the organization web site (nothing there yet) is online at http://www.aamaea.org
On Wednesday, December 2, I had the opportunity to deliver the keynote address–Reaching 21st Century Learners–at the first meeting of Alamo Area Museum and Education organizations. I’m very grateful to Lupita Barrera (Director at the ITC) and Carey Eagan (Facilitator) for having me over to present!
The “Let’s Get Connected” Luncheon included a diverse assembly in San Antonio, Texas such as the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC), San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Botanical Garden, Texas Transportation Museum, and several others. It was fun to point out that these sites are not RSS subscribable, so I’m hoping they’ll all be revamping their web sites.
Here’s the welcome message from Carey Eagan:
Welcome to the first San Antonio Museum Professional’s Let’s Get Connected Luncheon. I am very excited to have everyone here today. The idea for the luncheon came about during the ITC Education and Interpretation goal setting meetings. As you all may know ITC is undergoing great changes, and many of us here are new to the field, the museum and the city. We felt it would be beneficial to come together with our local colleagues and share ideas. We hope that this will become a regular event.
The focus of my presentation was on enhancing communication and collaboration so as to better meet the needs of 21st Century learners. I can honestly say I was humbled to be speaking to this group.
Listen to Podcast – Not Yet Available
Juxtaposing the past with a present that is racing forward was a delight and offers these folks a great opportunity for growth. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace are only some of the tools available to these organizations…but how to use them to engage 21st Century Learners is another issue altogether.
My presentation had 3 points: 1) Local and low tech is insufficient way of reaching 21st Century learners; 2) It’s important we learn to act on our imagination rather than stick with traditional approaches we are more comfortable with; and 3) It’s critical that we make our work irrelevant without technology.
One of my favorite quotes from the presentation is from Guy Clawson, who points out that “We need to know what to do when we don’t know what to do.” For me, this highlights the need we have to involve information problem-solving strategies. Another key point is how we can bring our passion for the work we do–such as the Park Ranger in the audience who spoke eloquently about protecting the Earth and how podcasts have played a key part in that–and share it in ways that are engaging to 21st Century learners.
These passions for history and change over time MUST be shared…but the primary ways of sharing them are no longer doing the job. For example, schools are increasingly marginalized as parents realize their children can access resources online. How can museums reach their “niche learners” and audience using social media tools?
The concept of acting on the imagination is also incredible.
I made a minor adjustment to the quote from Thomas Friedman above…if our museums can’t empower, nurture and enable imagination among students and citizens, then they will fade away into boring digital archives that are clickable but fail to engage.
Finally, it was so thrilling to listen to the audience after the presentation and get their feedback. It’s always fun to see a group realize that the answers to the questions they have are IN the group’s members.
Next steps? This group needs to build a virtual presence, something that Lucretia Fraga from the UTSA Academy for Teacher Excellence (ATE) was able to do! Lucretia set up a Moodle course for participants at the “Let’s Get Connected” event organized by the ITC to connect virtually:
While I recorded my presentation as a podcast, it isn’t available just yet. However, this draft press release was shared from ITC…
INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES WELCOMES LOCAL MUSEUM PROFESSINALS,
BEGINS BUILDING MUSEUM ALLIANCE
Representatives from missions, museums attend
SAN ANTONIO – The Institute of Texan Cultures recently took another step in strengthening its relationships with local museums and educators. New personnel and leadership in the Education and Interpretation department welcomed 30 guests from local museums for a Dec. 2 luncheon, with plans to collaborate further in the coming year.
Lupita Barrera, the institute’s director of education and interpretation, and Carey Eagan, an educational specialist, both new employees, continue to search for ways to connect the institute with major stakeholders – educators and peers at other museums. The luncheon conceived by Barrera and Eagan, gathered representatives from the National Parks Service, the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Mc Nay Art Museum, Museo Alameda, The Botanical Gardens, The Spanish Governors’ Palace, Texas Transportation Museum, Ft. Sam Houston Museum, and The U.S. Army Medical Department Museum.
At the institute’s Connally Conference Room, tables were arranged by role, with education specialists, curators and librarians grouped together, creating opportunities to discuss current events at their institutions, best practices in their fields and opportunities to share resources.
The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Miguel Guhlin, San Antonio Independent School District’s Director of Instructional Technology and Learning Services, who discussed the evolution of technology in the classroom and how students are getting more information through the use of technology.
The gathered company of educators agreed to form a new alliance of San Antonio area museums and schools, Alamo Area Museum and Education Association or AAMAEA. Agreeing to meet next quarter, the association is considering options for continuing education and training to maintain best practices in museum and education fields and better serving students and the public by effectively delivering information and fitting museum content into classroom curriculums.
For more information on AAMAEA visit www.aamaea.org or contact Carey Eagan from the Institute of Texan Cultures Department of Education and Interpretation at (210) 458-2351.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (12-64); $7 for seniors (65+); $6 for children (3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For additional information, call (210) 458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is an agency of the Vice President for Community Services at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The mission of the institute is to engage lifelong learners in the understanding and celebration of Texas cultural heritage. Located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus in downtown San Antonio, the 182,000-square-foot complex features 65,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and displays that tell the stories of Texans. The institute develops quality, accessible resources for educators and lifelong learners on topics of cultural heritage and strives to develop a rich and vibrant culture in the arts and humanities that will expand the community’s awareness and appreciation of Texas through an engaging series of exhibits, programs, and special events. Resources for multiple audiences are available at the institute’s Web site, TexanCultures.com.
Finally, be sure to check out the ITC’s TUSKS event:
A few days ago, I shared information about a new partnership between the Texas Education Agency and the New York Times. The name of the partnership is “PROJECT SHARE.”
Other organizations–such as the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) in San Antonio–are also considering partnering with the New York Times to obtain access to the rich media resources available.
Lori Gracey (TCEA Executive Director) recently shared the following information worth disseminating:
TCEA is hosting a training today and tomorrow by TEA for the ESCs on Project Share, the new initiative that will build a portal system to expand the development and delivery of high-quality professional development in an interactive and engaging learning process across the state. Below are some things that I learned about this system that I thought might be of value to you. The information is from the presentation done by Anita Givens.
Project Share will provide access to online resources, online course content, academic networking, and professional learning communities. It will also provide opportunities for extensive interactions among teachers and students, product sharing through ePortfolios, and new forms of evaluation through online student assessment.
· Authors of Professional Development Content
o Education Service Centers
o Institutes of Higher Education
· Teachers and Administrators
o Online PD participants
o Professional learning communities participants
o ePortfolio pilot participants
2. Shareholder Participation – Shareholders will receive:
· Invitations to participate at one or more levels
· Access to resources, including the New York Times Knowledge Network (text, audio, video, images, webcasts)
· Frequent communication with moderators and/or other group members
· Feedback and ideas from other group members
3. Professional Development
· Leverage a multimedia approach
· Portal through which educators can collaborate, share, and tailor professional development based on individual needs
· Science, Math, ELA, and CTE TEKS
· English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS)
· College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS)
4. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
· Discussions, collaboration, and sharing among educators
· Ongoing learning opportunities for PD participants
5. Access to Digital Content – to provide access to a variety of repositories for use in professional development and classroom instruction
6. Planning for ePortfolio Pilots
· Explore student portfolios of coursework (essays, research papers, audio and video files of academic presentations and artistic performances), and other examples of academic and extra-curricular activities
· Spring 2010 planning. A request for statement of interest will be coming soon to districts.
· Selected shareholders:
o Assessment experts
o ePortfolio experts
7. Planning for ePortfolio Assessment – to explore new forms of evaluation of student work to estimate college readiness
1. Launch ePortfolio pilots
· ePortfolio pilot projects to explore building student portfolios to showcase work representing a wide range of student capabilities
· ePortfolio assessment pilot to explore a system to review student work to estimate college readiness
2. Expand digital content
· State-owned open source
· Statewide licenses
3. Develop and deliver online courses
The portal will be powered by Epsilen, which has a full suite of tools and resources. Some of those tools include blogs, wikis, email, chat, drop boxes, discussion, tests and quizzes, gradebook, rubrics, and many, many more. It can import courses from Moodle as well. The portal will provide access for students, but not until next school year.
TEA will unveil Phase 1 of the portal at Midwinter in January. There will also be numerous presentations about it at TCEA in February. At this point, school districts do not have access; they will receive information from their service centers in the new year about logins and passwords.
As I learn more about this, I will continue to update you.
Texas Computer Education Association
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Save the date for TCEA 2010 ‘Charting New Waters’
TCEA 30th Annual Convention & Exposition – February 8-12, 2010 – Austin, Texas
TCEA 2009 – 2010 Professional Development Registration now OPEN! Register Today!
An issue that some schools can’t talk about because it’s too real, involves discussing sex with teens, a conversation that parent(s) prefer to reserve for themselves…but shouldn’t schools be having these conversations, even if it means stepping between the right of a parent and his/her child?
Texas Linux Fest is the first state-wide, community-run conference for Linux and open source software users and enthusiasts from around the Lone Star State. Much like SCALE in Los Angeles, Ohio Linux Fest in Columbus, and Linux Fest Northwest — and an ever-growing list of successful regional shows — Texas Linux Fest is a weekend event geared towards individual users, rather than an expensive multi-workday expo that might cater primarily to sponsored attendees. Whether you use free software and Linux at home, in your place of business, in your school or non-profit, or you are simply curious, Texas Linux Fest offers something for you.
We hope you’ll join us for our inaugural conference in Austin on April 10, and meet fellow Linux users and developers from around the state. The team organizing Texas Linux Fest chose Austin as our host city both because of its strong high-tech community support, and because its central location in the state makes it an easy drive for more than eighty percent of Texans.
Linux User Groups (LUGs) and software development groups from across Texas are helping us to organize and plan this event, as are members of the open source business community. If you would like to learn more, or just stay in touch, please visit the Participate page to see how you can help. If your company is interested in being part of Texas Linux Fest, please visit the Sponsorship page and get in touch with us.
Things are moving quickly. Check back soon for more details on the venue and the official call for presentations!
Check out our wiki.
On occasion, a publishing company will send me a copy of a book to reflect on in my blog at no charge (and, I’m about 3 books behind thanks to other commitments). I usually have no reservations about reviewing the book, but one that recently came by that I found initially offensive (but later changed my mind), was Terry M. Moe’s and John E. Chubb’s book, Liberating Learning.
The book makes some great assertions in the beginning that anyone could love but later…it then moves into other areas that I object to…so much so that I immediately put the book down on my first read-through. I let it stay there until I attended the iNACOL Virtual School Symposium 2009 in Austin, Texas recently (gosh, I haven’t processed the podcasts from that yet!).
That feeling of “push away” was intensified by Moe’s keynote at the recent Virtual Schools Symposium held in Austin, Texas this past November, 2009. The reaction among participants was particularly negative and everywhere I turned, Moe’s words ate like acid through the conversation. It’s not that technology isn’t praised and held up as a power for transformation, but rather, the focus on the forces that OPPOSE technology. In this sense, it appears the authors built up the power of technology to better demonize anyone who doesn’t jump immediately to the cause.
The more I reflect on the authors’ points, the more I’m convinced. But so many assertions are made, these will have to be “unpacked” and reflected on individually.
Over the next few days, I’ll add to the lists below…so this blog entry is very much in a state of flux so expect it to get updated.
Some of the points I was intrigued by, if not captivated by entirely:
Points I disagreed with:
Woohoo! My certificate is in…kudos to Jeanie Cole and David McGeary for their excellent facilitation of the Online Instructors Training!!
Check out the news from the Texas Education Agency and the New York Times and a new resource for Texas educators that cost $1 million (per a local news broadcast this morning):
“Project Share is a cutting edge initiative that will allow teachers to share classroom practices that work well with teachers all over Texas and the country in a new and exciting way. It will allow students to do in-depth research in a real time fashion that connects them with experts. It will also allow the state and its partners to deliver training to educators in an interactive and timely manner,” said Robert Scott, commissioner of education.
The Epsilen Environment offers opportunities to enhance the eLearning environment through its comprehensive suite of tools for teaching, interacting, collaborating and assessment. Project Share will also provide more than 150 years of articles, videos, and interactive features from The New York Times Knowledge Network Content Repository (NYTKN Repository), which houses NYT and other digital content and resources dating back to 1851. The Epsilen Environment and NYTKN Repository allow teachers to use existing content and specifically align it with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Project Share will provide access to an interesting repository of resources. The question is, will they be used anymore than Gale Resources and ProQuest in the past?
This article was originally published in Innovate (http://www.innovateonline.info/) as: Sontag, M. 2009. A learning theory for 21st-century students. Innovate 5 (4). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=524 (accessed March 31, 2009). The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.
The following are my notes from the article cited above:
The following is a departure from the usual blog entries found here…you’ve been warned. My adopted sister, and full cousin, Talsidia Vega and her family are missionaries in the Republic of Panama. Occasionally, she shares updates on her work as part of the “prayerline” and I was fascinated by some of her recent updates. When you consider that her work takes her into the mountains of Panama, it’s pretty amazing story, whether you might be inclined to support her work or not.
She shared some of her efforts to evangelize and I thought I might include them here with photos. It’s fascinating stuff (at least, I think so) to read. Consider the story of the people here in the context of 21st Century Learning…the Digital Divide is almost insurmountable.
Note: I haven’t edited this TOO much. Remember, it was written by native Spanish speakers writing in English, a language they are more accustomed to speaking than writing.
For God’s glory, we continue moving forward to reach all the small villages of Panama with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Pueblo mesa and monte lirio (no rainbow. Sorry) are two of those villages located in the province of bocas del toro inside the ngobe indian reservation. Four years ago, the only way to reach these villages were by boat going up rivers or by walking through the jungle. Only few people could reach them using a helicopter.
Three years ago, during one of our mission trips to bocas del toro, we came to know that a new route through the jungle was under construction. The people of the area informed us that a Roman Catholic priest with the approval of the government and the help of some organizations was able to find the resourses for this project connecting not only pueblo mesa, but another
The more we were informed about the people living in those villages, the more we felt excited to take the challenge to penetrate and reach them with the Word of God.
Therefore, we made a plan to visit some of the first villages in the route and see the condition of the people by ourselves. We were very surprise to see so many families with so many childrem. Also, many villages already had brand new schools facilities built by the goverment.
In the other hand, we were very sorry to see that the majority of the adult generation did not know how to read or write their own language or spanish. They only speak ngobere the language of the ngobe people.
As we introduce ourselves as missionaries of the bible, we discovered they do not have an idea of the story of the creation, the fall of man and God’s plan of salvation for the whole world. The majority did not know the meaning of “the bible”.
We took some bible with us and as we showed and explained them about the
bible, they became very interested to know more about it.
By the time we had to say “good bye” many were saying, “missionary, do not> forget to bring me “the black book”. They could not say the bible.
As we depart from the area, our question was Lord how do you want us to serve them???
They are so many, Lord. As we wait for an answer. Our mind was focused on we need workers, where are they, Lord???? We insisted and the church, where is your church??? Finally, an answer came from the Lord of the harvest “do not wait for more workers, leave that to me, you go and take the bible to them. The workers will come after….”
After praying and sharing about this experience with friends a plan is under process.
One thousand bibles project:
to raise five thousands u.S. Dollars for purchasing and distributing one
thousand bibles between fifteen villages located along this route
For the adult generation who does not know how to read and write our program includes showing two films; one is about genesis and the other one is about Jesus. Both in ngobere language. A missionary family is Costa Rica is translating the film “The Hope” to ngobere. This is another good film from Genesis to Revelation that will be shown. Praise God.
This week, we made a trip to barranquilla, a village after pueblo mesa. We distributed sixty bibles and two hundreds books of life. Also, we were able to show Jesus film in ngobere.
We still need to go back to Barranquilla next month for follow up and to show Genesis film.
Arsenio, a young kuna missionary (kuna is the the name of another indian group of panama) who serve the Lord with us went on this trip and spent four days with them teaching them how to use the bible. He also did childrem ministry.
God provided rolando abrego an indian of the village who helped us as translator. Rolando came to be the policeman of the village. What better translator we could have. Rolando told us that this was the first time the people of barranquilla had the opportunity to receive the message of God in their own place.
Samuel abrego the chief of the village and his daugther, Anayansi, were very happy with our visit. God made a miracle for us.
Also, we had the opportunity to have a meeting with the principal of the school, teacher maribel navarro with nine other teachers under her leadership. After explaining to them how to take advantage of our program to help the students, they were motivated and committed to follow up the work with their classes.
Please, join us in prayers for this program and if the Lord leads you to plant a seed with us, you are very welcome.
Please, see our gallery of photos.
God bless you.
Experience shows that organizations have the most difficulty at learning when the problems are difficult and embarrassing or threatening precisely when they need learning most.
An organizational defense is a policy, practice, or action that prevents the participants (at any level of the organization) from experiencing embarrassment, or threat, and, at the same time prevents them from discovering the causes of the embarrassment or threat.
Source: Chris Argryis (sp?)
This quote comes from a book I loaned out years ago, and all I have of the book is the quote. I don’t even remember the book title but this truth has become something of a touchstone for me in my readings on public school districts. Yet, it is not just about public schools, but ALL organizations.
NEW YORK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the city’s public schools to start using student achievement data in the evaluations of teachers who are up for tenure this school year.
“It is an aggressive policy, but our obligation is to take care of our kids,” Bloomberg said last week in a speech in Washington.
“Nobody wants to promote and give lifetime employment to teachers who can’t teach,” Bloomberg told reporters after the speech. “Those days are gone.”
Source: Evaluating Teaching In Order To Fire Them? Larry Ferlazzo
What organizational defenses are in place to protect poor work in schools? Those merit our attention more than considering how to hold accountable the lack of merit among the oppressed in our classrooms.
When someone leaves a comment on your blog you don’t like, “Should the blog author be allowed to remove it?”
The choices are simple:
Some might argue that if the anonymous commenter wanted to make a negative comment, s/he might have posted it on their own blog. That way, it wouldn’t matter whether the blogger found their comment objectionable or not…she couldn’t do anything about it.
Why should bloggers allow comments they disagree with?
Finally, I suppose the best reason is one that is captured in this 1859 quote from John Stuart Mill’s Essay on Liberty:
The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of opinion is that it is robbing the human race…if the opinion is in the right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.
–John Stuart Mills, “Essay on Liberty” (1859)
Should a person blog who has no interest in experiencing a “collision with error” as described above?
David Jakes, an excellent speaker who I envy his ability to cut through to the heart of a discussion, shares the following:
And have you considered that individuals in the “echo chamber” might just be the people a larger audience needs to hear? That they might be the leaders, might be the people with the next great idea or ideas, the next leader, the next person to light the way…The process that ISTE has undertaken may not work. Then again, it just might.
While you’ll have to read his entire blog entry for the context, I love and hate the idea of the echo chamber. The echo chamber has been around for a long time, and I’ve been a part of it for quite some time…I’m not sure I’m there because I sought it or because I was dragged into it or what. It is the online community that I’ve become familiar with ever since I started blogging a few years ago–gee, I should add the year to my resume so I can remember when–and it’s amazing that the Chamber endures. To review….
Echo chambers…are places where like-minded people talk to one another, nobody ever changes anyone else’s mind and true diversity of opinion is exchanged for an infinite plenitude of ideologically identical communities.
Source: The SALON
The echo chamber reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ “The Inner Ring” (read it online in this discussion forum). One of the key ideas one’s craving to fit in, to join an inner circle of people that is exclusionary of others, making it all the more desirable to join.
One of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left out side…Exclusion is no accident; it is the essence…As long as you are governed by that desire you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion: if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain.
The echo chamber is full of wannabees, full of each of us who wish they could impact the conversation. I have to struggle to NOT want to impact the conversation but rather, to find my own voice…simply, I want to be an outsider who isn’t caught up in the jockeying for position. Yet, I’m a human being.
When I consider the ISTE keynote, I’m delighted that ISTE had the imagination to embrace the conversation, to focus us all on the discussion. I find Scott’s reference to who’s in the lead slightly distasteful (and funny enough to tickle my sense of humor), even as I send out an occasional tweet about how great it would be to hear Chris Lehmann present…would it be inappropriate to mention that I have an email from Scott asking for me to support Chris’ bid? And, given that I’m interested in no less than influencing the conversation…I have (once).
I’m as guilty as any other in desiring to be part of the “inner ring,” to influence the conversation in the echo chamber, to hear my voice come back to me.
Accept this as my act of contrition. . .
I confess to my twitter followers, and to you my fellow bloggers, that I have sinned through my own tweeting and blogging, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, and I ask all of you to link back to this blog entry so I may expiate my sins through blogged transparency.
Well, it didn’t quite work (or did it?).
With no intent to be disrespectful of the self-proclaimed “List of the Top 200 Education Blogs,” I share the following email as a press release…over time, I’ve managed to make a few of these lists–although I’ve missed the Edublogs Awards list year after year and entertain no hope (or interest) in making the list, except as an opportunity to reach new readers–I’ve decided my attitude needs changing.
Ok, I’ll be blunt. I think these lists are a waste of time…except to folks who need a list as a starting point. Yet, placement on the list must mean something. At least, someone was kind enough to include the blog in what they perceive as the top 200. But what about the rich variety of new bloggers with less than 2000+ subscribers, whose voices are undiscovered? Or, who can keep up with the 10 blog posts per day by resource/tools enthusiasts that make one wonder, how the heck can anyone learn to use 100 tools they share in 10 days?
As a veteran blogger, I hope I’m not slipping into the cynical point of view that afflicts middle-aged folks (I turned 41 last month, and noted my marked lack of enthusiasm for blogging these past few months with a bit of unconcern, a reason for worry, were one given to worry). As a blogger, I also appreciate the ebb and flow of the “blogging tide,” which is natural to me as a writer and worker. Sometimes, I’m enthusiastic as all get-out, and some days, I find myself wondering why the heck did I accept an assignment or begin writing. I find myself flitting back and forth between the two extremes as I reach for keyboard and/or pen, or agree to a speaking engagement.
It’s fascinating to watch, and as a result, I decided to write about that feeling. Why do I feel that way about projects? I notice that it appears right before a project begins, whether it’s a writing or speaking engagement. I have to “work my way through it” and get engaged by the content or work. Blogging helps me to accomplish that (for example, I’m working on a project now and this blog entry, like the previous one are helping me get to the point).
Ok, that said, here’s the email announcing Top 200 Education Blogs. My apologies to the rest of the blogs that didn’t make the list. While you may aspire to be put on a list, I encourage you to be grateful that you are not on a list. You have the freedom to explore a variety of topics and ideas, without fear of having to live up to what 2 sentence summary that appears after your blog on a list.
I’m writing to inform you that Around the Corner has been featured on Guide to Online Schools’ Top 200 Education Blogs list found here: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/tips-and-tools/top-education-blogs. We’ve gone through and created a list of our favorite education blogs and your incredibly useful tech insights and commentary made your blog an easy choice for our list.
I’d love to get your feedback on our Top Education Blogs list and it would be fantastic if we could work out some cross-promotion. I’ve attached a badge that you’re welcome to use anywhere on your site to let your readers know you’ve been recognized on our list.
Cross-promotion. It’s all about linktribution, isn’t it?
The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
Source: Government Code Chapter 552 – Public Information
I have been. I wrote something that was interpreted as critical of my supervisor’s leadership (or lack thereof). The funny thing, though, was that I’d written the article in question 1 month before it was published and appeared…1 month and 2 weeks before I was even hired for the position I was in. Yet, my boss thought I’d written the article about her in the current job. Obviously, it was delicious feeling to point out the time difference…I couldn’t very well write about future events I knew nothing about. It is also a testament to how similar two school districts in Texas are.
In response to question #3, I found myself in this situation as I wrote about a district I’d worked in years ago. The boss who called me on the carpet thought the situation I wrote about was current at the time–again, a new position unrelated to the previous situation. While I was able to easily share the real story–providing names–the stigma of truth-telling hitting home never quite left. After all, in these two cases, truth transcends situations and represents more than one.
What about you? If you answered YES to any one of these questions, then you’re in the wonderfully elite group of writers/bloggers who have to endure misunderstandings from those who would like to control what others say and do.
Fortunately, I live and write in America, land of the free, home of the brave. People have fought for my right to write and speak my mind, to own the consequences of that writing, and I am profoundly grateful.
These thoughts came to mind as I read Mr. Vilson’s Guide to Jerking a Teacher-Blogger. He invoked my blog, even though he didn’t know it, with this paragraph:
Right then, I realized that, around the corner, where ed-techies and Twitterholics never venture, infrequent visitors of the web and unintentional saboteurs congregate to discuss ways of discouraging people from using the Internet.
Although I wish I could say something profound in response to what Jose Vilson writes, I’m not so profound anymore. The truth is, I’m just “ho-hum” about it. You know, these things happen. We’re dealing with human beings who are going to misinterpret everything because they look at it from THEIR point of view…and that’s OK. In the end, I want every person to have the opportunity to make mistakes in public, to be transparent about what they are thinking, to share their “issues” with your writing and work.
It’s better that they do that than whisper in the corners, hoarding their ill will like some treasure troves, doling it out in small measure like 30 pieces of silver. I’m tempted to reach for some profound bit of wisdom in one of the sacred texts I’ve chosen to surround myself with, but instead, I’ll agree and disagree with these words from Clay Shirky:
Secrets have always driven me nuts. Social media has made it possible for everyone to questions the motivations behind why someone does something…and, 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.
New technologies empower each of us to be leaders, to do what is right and more easily help others understand what we are doing and why through the links we make. Consider Michael Fullan’s list of 6 Secrets to Change:
When people fear for their jobs or their reputation, it is unlikely that they will take risks. Fear causes a focus on the short-term to neglect of the mid or longer term. Fear creates a focus on the individual rather than the group. Teamwork suffers.
So, go ahead, supervisors of the world (myself included since I supervise)…make people fear for their job or reputation. Will that get the organization what it needs?
Conversations whispered in hallways, behind closed doors do nothing except engender distrust, giving the illusion of leadership to those who are frightened for their jobs. But, illusions just won’t work when everyone is connected to each other…in fact, if I don’t know what you’re doing, there is sure to be someone near you who is willing to share…and will with audio, photos, and/or video.
Isn’t it time we put illusions of leadership aside, stopped chastising the people who write about those truths we so easily set aside, and embraced transparency?