Friday, February 27, 2009

Game On...

So although I continue to tell my friend Zac Chase that I can't help him solve the world this week, he has issued a really valuable challenge that I can't help but start to think about.
Here’s his charge:

Blog or comment with the three shifts, changes, movements we should demand at the national level to move education somewhere. These should be basic, actionable, transparent steps that are taken or not taken. Don’t just blog it, though, talk about it. Bring it up in department meetings, faculty meetings, podcasts, dinner table discussions, the dog park. Take the conversation outside of the echo chamber. Talk about it with people inside and outside of education (we’re all inside, btw). If you put it online, tag it 3steps4ed. If you like, re-post this to your online space, do that.

Follow the tag, write about what feeds your reader. From there, we’ll move forward. If you’ve already written your three down, go back and re-tag it.

It is no surprise that SOMETHING has to be done about what standardized testing is doing to public education. We talk about that all the time. I created this picture and have had some ideas about standardized testing rumbling around in my head since the Message for Obama Group pool on Flickr. In talking to Zac, it's a start, but I would argue not necessarily definite and actionable. So it is something that I need to continue to ponder and develop as an action...I am sure the more folks I talk to the more the idea will formulate and the closer I can get to something that is actionable...


  • Think of the three actionable steps that need to be taken at the national level to move education.
  • Talk about them with others. Ask for others’ thoughts first.
  • Post, tweet photograph your thoughts and tag them 3steps4ed and see where it takes you~
Like I said, I don't have time to change the world today...but I love how Zac contantly challenges my thinking so I wanted to share this to get others thinking as well.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is it a question worth asking?

Yesterday morning I saw this tweet from fellow Keystone Chris Champion.
Intrigued, I quickly google searched on my mobile web phone and send him a DM in twitter, knowing it would go straight to his phone, but I also noticed that within MINUTES he had gathered this series of responses on twitter. His objective in sending the message was to prove the power of PLN and how quickly information can be shared or gathered in a collaborative manner. I am sure additional folks send him messages via DM so that he could receive it on his sms phone making his point to his audience.

However, I had a real, ah ha moment when thinking about this example....

With the $99 iphone coming this summer- it is getting easier and easier to find information at one's finger tips. Karl Fisch recently wrote an post called Twitter Me This where he describes how he used twitter to help a student find "experts" to help a student with a difficult assignment. It dawned on me as I thought about the "immediacy" of answers that kids can get...that we MUST start changing the questions we are asking, the things we are requiring kids to know. I remember the only "C" I got in High School was a class were I was asked to read a book, find an answer, fill out the study guide, take a test...mind you, this was LONG before google even existed. I remember the class, but I remember NONE of the content. I did a lot of work in that class, but I didn't LEARN a thing. Information was presented that today I could have easily found by googling...I wonder however if I wouldn't have learned more given the opportunity to google and find...discussion boards, blog posts, different thoughts and ideas from different perspectives...

I am not saying that Chris's question was a bad question, it met the objective of what he was trying to teach, but it proved to me that what we are asking students to do with the answers they find is much more critical then finding the answers themselves. We must be asking ourselves...if a student can easily find the answer by googling it, is it a question worth asking in a classroom?

At the end of the is not about what kids were taught, but about what they learned.

Art Turned Ugly: A lesson in Fair Use

I know that the question of Copyright and Fair Use and use of media continues to come up over an over I thought it was important to share this article my assistant superintendent pointed me to regarding a case over the Obama ‘Hope’ poster...go ahead google image search know the one I mean. The article is mainly about how the AP is filing suit to the artist of the poster who is claiming fair use is at the center of a copyright battle that the article states “goes to the heart of how media is made, remixed and mashed up.” It references a PA women who’s 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince's song "Let's Go Crazy" is ongoing in a case claiming fair use..29 seconds...less than what the traditional fair use guidelines say IS fair with no reference of transformative use. Check out the examples in the article... AND most importantly this message

Courts determine if a new work is fair use by asking the following questions: Is the new work transformative - does it add new meaning - and not just replicate the original? What is the nature of the work? (Creative or fictional works generally get more protection than purely factual ones, legal scholars say.) How much of the original work is used? Does the new creation use the "heart" of the original? And how would the new work affect the market for the original?
And then ask yourself...what messages are we teaching our kids? Are we strictly teaching them to follow the guidelines...or are we teaching them to think about transformative use? Are we thinking about media literacy skills in all content areas as we redesign curriculum?

What do you think about this case is the poster a transformative use of the original image?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Imagine Create and Play: Programming for kids

Dan Pink Keynote

Live blogged in CoveritLive

After the Keynote I sat in on a Q & A with Dan Pink trying to soak it all in. Arts, creativity, what is going to happen as we move forward. Will the greatest opposition come from parents? How do you make changes in educational system when people expect kids to be schooled. Upper Middle class parents who did well on their SATs want their kids to get into college. Ask the parents who is the top performers at your work...are they the ones who do well on the test? I keep thinking back to all of the assessments we expose our kids to...foresight on a quarterly basis. Is having kids repeatedly taking these tests teaching them math and science in a whole mind way. If we want them to think mathematically and not just to do well on the test- is giving them mores tests helping them to get there? Why

THere is a TOTAL correlation between the principals who know the name of every kid in their school and how well they (those kids) do in school

When asked if I could design a school...what would I do is recruit best teachers and ask them to design the school.

Great list of questions for Superintendent
what tech do you use in your daily life
when was the last time you were in a classroom to teach
when did you actually have to stand in front of room of 11 year olds and get them from point a to point b.
Communication is KEY
We need to teach our kids adaptability...they will need to teach themselves how to shift-wondering about the types of things they are current.
Thanks to Lee Speers, there is actually a recording of Dan Pink’s 10:30 Q&A chat with PETE&C attendees.

Monday, February 09, 2009

PETE & C Presentation: Conquering Copyright Confusion

Huge thanks to Tracy McGrath who ran the live blog for this session and Chris Champion who streamed the session. Although we were hard wired, ustream did cut off the last5 minutes. Thanks to all who attended Keep the conversation going am exercise YOUR rights to fair use.

Live Video streaming by Ustream

Google Earth Globe

Didn't open a coveritlive for this session...since I have my laptop set for my session at 3:45 but wanted to be sure to capture some notes and ideas
All italics are my thoughts and ideas...please excuse choppy wording

Will have all kinds of examples on the site

Google earth has layers to study transportation and demographics
Can link video, audio, images and websites including blabberize and glogster
Great for differentiated instruction

Can create a builder in Discovery education and put link into description box--need to spend some time learning this...would be great PD for summer

Centers in the the writing center they have to write a letter to King George -student turned it into a photo story upload to TeacherTube and then embed HTML code into the placemark

Uses different colors for different paths...Safari live Montage, Discovery Educator

Now Traci Sharing her tours that she has created using glosters...
Examples on the about engagement!

Kids listen to a video introduction (blabberize) activities built in Discovery Streaming

I get that google earth is a huge bandwidth hog.. but listening to Adam talk about what is students are doing is AMAZING...tour of soccer stadiums around the world

Now sharing how he uses Nettrekker and embeds the read aloud right into his google earth tour

Do the images and eyewitness accounts tell the same story
GREAT link for Boston massacre to check out

Technology Staff Development that works

PETE & C: My First Year with a GenYes Tech Team

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Technology isn't something special-it just IS

So I have been thinking a lot about the conversation on Will Richardson's reflection of educon. The post started out as a reflection of a powerful learning culture but quickly turned into a conversation (stemmed mostly by Gary Stager) surrounding the idea of whether or not technology is something that should be referred to separately to the curriculum. In his comments to Will's post, Gary asks...

What was the last time you questioned the investment in Algebra II or D.A.R.E. or football or health class?

As someone who was there at the beginning of laptops in education, I implore you and your colleagues to stop referring to 1:1 program. What is the program? Does your school have a desk program or a bus program or an annoying public address system program?

Back in October of 2007, Karl Fisch wrote a post called Digital Native Post of the Day. Where he described his daughter's introduction to Webkinz and use during a family vacation...Fisch wrote..She doesn’t think it’s fantastic or outrageous, cool or amazing – it just is. She just thinks this is the way the world is – she can connect pretty much effortlessly to others across space and time - and she’s right. We are in the process of bringing an au pair to come live with us from South Africa--We have been able to instantaneously share pictures and children have the expectation that they can get to know her via skype before she even arrives. Like Gary I too wonder why we continue to treat technology as something that we have to "teach" the kids so when I watch things like it becomes glaringly apparent--Techonology isn't something just IS! When is the world going to start treating it that way and start creating more powerful cultures? Isn't THAT what we are all really talking about anyway?

BTW...when I watched this video with my kids
my 6 year old's response...that's cool...
my 8 year old's response...Emma could do that...
my 2 year old's response..."I play you pone?" ..."Mommy, where you ipod?"