Sunday, July 31, 2005 

Where are you from?

Thanks to this find via Tim Lauer. You'll see a link on my side bar "Sign My Guestmap". Take a moment and let me know where you live or your school or favorite spot in your town.

My Guestmap is another in a great set of Google Map hacks.


More Flattening

Evidence of Thomas Friedman's theory, this African school is utitilizing technology in ways beyond most schools in North America.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 

Hillary vs. the Xbox: Game over

Here's an interesting piece in the L.A. Times from Steven Johnson, author of "Everything Bad is Good for You" He challenges Hillary Clinton who wants to do a 90 million dollar study on the effect of video games on kids. He makes some very astute observations including:

Consider this one fascinating trend among teenagers: They're spending less time watching professional sports and more time simulating those sports on Xbox or PlayStation. Now, which activity challenges the mind more — sitting around rooting for the Packers, or managing an entire football franchise through a season of "Madden 2005": calling plays, setting lineups, trading players and negotiating contracts? Which challenges the mind more — zoning out to the lives of fictional characters on a televised soap opera, or actively managing the lives of dozens of virtual characters in a game such as "The Sims"?

Hillary vs. the Xbox: Game over

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

What's the big deal about Saskatchewan?

This is my response to the 4th podcast of the EdTech Posse. The boys (Couros, Schwier and Wall) talked about what makes educational technology in Canada and Saskatchewan unique from the rest of the world. The discussion led them to ideas of open source, innovation, collaboration and professionalism among other things. I wasn't able to participate live so I added this little piece as my response/contribution to the podcast.

I feel like my retired father-in-law who will do whatever it takes to make sure he's there for his morning coffee time at the local A&W. He just doesn't want to miss out! I think "coffee" is scheduled for Wednesday with a possible guest appearancefrom a formidable educational technologists. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 25, 2005 

Measuring my tee shots with Google Earth

I'm finding more and more cool things about Google Earth. There's a measuring tool that allows you to measure straight lines or paths in a variety of units. I used it to measure my drives from yesterday's round. (You'll have to click on the image to find a larger version)
Google Maps measuring tool
This would be a great way for students to visual distance and make even utilize for more complicated problem solving. There's also a GPS add on for the paid version which I may have to consider.

I drove the ball great that day...too bad about the four 3-putts. What's that saying, "Drive for show, putt for dough?

Saturday, July 16, 2005 

Posse Podcast 3? or 4?

In this podcast Couros, Schwier, Wall and I talk about the recently posted 20 technology skills every technology teacher should have. We have some different thoughts, feel free to listen. We have a few answers but mostly good questions. I'm getting more comfortable with coming up with questions rather than answers. You can also comment on the posse website.

I think this might be our 4th podcast but only our third posted. There's one more still in the editing room.

Friday, July 15, 2005 

So What's Missing?

After reading this post The Kids Are Better Than Alright, it seems to be that kids aren't as bad off and education isn't in the crisis that many think it is. So if kids are overall, doing better academically, what are the big concerns? What's missing?

My belief is that while our level of intelligence may be improving, we need to consider whether increased intelligence is the main goal of education. What are students able to do with intelligence and is that measured with typical achievement tests? I've always contended that traditional testing has to be re-examined, but I do think that this kind of data should make us back off a bit from the "back to the basics" push. I think the basics are for the most part in good shape. I think the basics or traditional thinking may not be the best thing we can provide students. They need more than that.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 

If a weblog post falls in the forest and no one is around...

When we write a post or even several posts with no comments, I suppose one might wonder what the value of our writing might be. Most bloggers write for personal reasons and to reflect. Yet we all love to see comments. It's wonderful to know that what we written has struck a chord with someone else. After all, isn't that the appeal of social software to connect. But what if no one ever comments on our work?

I read a nice post via Konrad Glogowski of the blog of proximal development reflecting on his grade eight blogging experiment. As early cliques emerged he writes:

I kept thinking about my encounter with social cliques and blogs at the very beginning of my blogging experiment.

Does this mean that my experiment failed? No. In fact, I am thrilled with the blogging community that emerged in my classroom. One of the reasons why I think it has been so successful has to do with the approach that I chose that very night when I realized that my students were not giving all their classmates a chance and that most of them flocked to their friends blogs. I decided on the only solution that seemed reasonable at the time: I decided not to do anything at all.

I like the fact that he let things sort out for themselves. Quality work after a while, found its own merit irrespective of the writer. Cliques, popularity still exists in the blogosphere, even among those we've never met face to face. However, Kathleen Gilroy's students understood the value of weblogs beyond the collection of comments.

I love learning from kids.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 

Picture #500

No more calls we have a winner! I just noticed that I've uploaded my 500th picture to Flickr.
The girls in a tree Since this accomplishment has absolutely no significance to anyone other than me, why post it? Well if you haven't taken advantage of flickr or used it much you should take another look. For a mere $24 US, I've been able to use it as a backup of my photos and found it a powerful way to share photos with family and friends. In addition, joining one of the many groups allows you to connect with people with similar interests. There's a fellow from California who has shared some nice comments and photos of golf courses. I've also been able to use RSS to subscribe to comments on my photos and even new photos from my contacts.

I've had several conversations with people lately about how the average person has not yet figured out how to utilize digital photography. Although most people now shoot in digital, they really don't know what to do with them. Most take their card to their local photo store or Walmart and print out pictures. The same problem of shoeboxes full of pictures that are never viewed still remains. Storing them on the home computer, still limits viewing until someone takes you to the computer, figures out where the pictures are stored then finds some software to view the images. Still not the most effective way to share.

Digital images are a perfect example of how data can be used to connect and build community. Flickr...get it!