Showing posts from 2009

EduBloggerCon (R)Eflections

I made my way down to the Boston Park Plaza yesterday for my first EduBloggerCon-East (#ebce09 is the free, one-day precursor to #BLC09). I found some amazing resources, met some great new colleagues, and thought it useful to draw some conclusions to synthesize, find patterns, and make my own meaning. I created a mind map using Mind42.

Best Practices in Textured Literacy - Tom DaccordEssentially, Tom suggests that we can no longer focus on traditional student literacy, but we must also consider multi-modal literacy and texts (pictures and text)Use backchannel Today's Meet to assess previous student knowledgeAvoiding multi-modal texts in our schools will leave our students marginalizedWe must add value to traditional and multi-modal writing by making it: meaningfulauthenticsocialConsider the Student News Action NetworkTom created the The Great Debate of 2008 ning with his own students New Media Reaching All Learners - Karen JanowskiEtherpad is a good place to begin to provide a for…

#EBCE09 Wordle

I attended the EduBloggerCon-East 09 "Un"Conference on Tuesday, July 28 at the Boston Park Plaza. It was great. Not only did I meet PLN friends in "real life," which was great, but I also learned about new tools for my classroom and met some new people. I created a wordle from the notes I took; I think the largest words is telling about what the focus of our conversation truly was! (One note: I obviously couldn't attend every session! If anyone out there has notes from their sessions they'd like me to include in another wordle, please email me!)

Right-Brained: The Fourth R of School

Often considered superfluous, developing the right brain will become an asset with the advent of abundance, Asia and automation.Workers must combat these concepts and be high concept (beautifiers and inventors) and high touch (empathizers) in the Conceptual Age by developing six senses: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.
This 50-word mini-saga (synopsis: see below) of A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink is proof: I do have right-minded ability! Daniel Pink lays out a thoughtful thesis that I shall apply to the world of education: we must create students (and workers) that can no longer exclusively rely on left-brain analysis and logic, but instead must possess left and right-brained skills. The reason, you ask? With the abundance of "stuff" (cheaply-made and high-quality "stuff" at that - just head to Target to see for yourself), workers who can synthesize, rearrange and create that abundance of "stuff" will be in demand. Further, Mr. Pink…

The Saturation Point

I fondly remember the new NES my parents saved and saved and saved so I could play Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers.  I was so happy and content with the NES console, and then my neighbor got the new Sega-Genesis.  Alas, I continued playing my Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers, but then arrived Nintendo 64, and Play Station 1, then 2, then 3; Nintendo DS emerged, and Game Boy, and Nintendo Game Cube, Xbox 1, 2 and 3, the Wii, and now finally an incredible Project Natal from Xbox.  With every newly-released game system, I hoped my parents or a rich, long-lost relative would purchase the newest game system for me...but not so.  I forged on with my NES.  Granted, I broke down and bought a Wii last year, but I still have my original Nintendo NES console, and there's something to be said for my perseverance, 20 years later, that every once in a while, I still pick up my NES and play, with my wired controllers (!), trying to perfect level 9-4 on Super Mario Brothers.
Since the world i…

The 3 Rs and 1 C of school

What's the true genesis of creativity?  And the true need for creativity?  And how can an educator/classroom/school/district/nation/world encourage it in our students?  This evening at the Twitter #educhat forum on "Nourishing Creativity in the Classroom," a lively discussion was had, and the conversation finally eventually led to what I believe to be the crux of the matter limiting creativity in schools: grades.  Are grades and creativity mutually exclusive?  Polar opposites?  I should hope the answer is no, but I fear the answer, in 2009, may be yes.  Or at least perhaps.  First, one must consider the determine what creativity is before one can determine if it is being used and encouraged in schools.  According to, creativity is: 
"the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination."

Craigslist Killer improves Global Education

It’s true: The Craigslist Killer will improve education.Why?The simple answer: awareness of “what’s out there” will improve our students’ ability to discriminate sources, be safe web users and responsible internet contributors.Believe it or not, it all comes back to one essential question: How does peer pressure influence adolescent behavior?As my eighth grade students start to head into young-adulthood, they will be faced with decisions and issues, not unlike decisions and issues adolescents have always faced: What's my social standing?  
Am I popular?  
Who am I?
Do I fit in?
These questions certainly do pressure and guide students’ behaviors, and I am quite certain that as time goes on, students will continue to face similar issues, albeit some iteration of these questions.Generations change, but adolescent issues and behavior remain relatively constant.Regardless of it being 1959, 1989 or 2009, students need to be given the tools to be thoughtful, responsible young adults, and it …

The Audacity of the 21st Century

21st Century's out there all over the educational landscape, and it's truly very exciting; I'm wondering - how do I guarantee content, so as not to lose the meat of what my students need to know.  You know, having students understand human nature, struggles, defeats and successes, like Edmund Burke said, "Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it."  Yikes!  I'd better ensure my students can function in the 21st century as a safe, responsible and meaningful contributor, but also know about history.  
This is why I am turning to Audacity - hopefully, it shall save the 21st century learner!  In a way that engages 14-year-olds to think, create and evaluate, Audacity has the, uh...audacity to provide students with a forum to think about historical concepts, ideas and people in a modern-day forum.  Setting the constructs to be age and developmentally appropriate is essential, but I'm hoping that this educational experiment be a po…

Kids will be Kids

Thanks to my wonderful friend KRabs and my new virtual colleague MagistraM (via Classroom 2.0), I've been inspired to update my blog reguarly, and gosh darnit, I'm going to succeed.  
Today my students had the option of creating a wiki, a Capzle, or a PowerPoint, and I closely watched who picked what option - because I think it says so much about a student - with regards to everything from risk-taking to learning style.  Overall, I think that students were pleased that I'd decided to give them a project-based final assessment for our unit on Islam as opposed to a good, old-fashioned paper and pencil test.  Seeing as the children had three tests this week, I saw this as a good opportunity for an alternative assessment.  I wanted to keep my standards high, challenge their thinking, give them the opportunity to create an internet based-product, and give them choice in the matter.  I believe I achieved all those things with my assessment.  Only having done one wiki with my stud…