Wednesday, July 29, 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 Daccord

  • Essentially, 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 knowledge
  • Avoiding multi-modal texts in our schools will leave our students marginalized
  • We must add value to traditional and multi-modal writing by making it:
    • meaningful
    • authentic
    • social
  • Consider the Student News Action Network
  • Tom created the The Great Debate of 2008 ning with his own students

New Media Reaching All Learners - Karen Janowski

Scratch from MIT - Liz Davis

  • Scratch from MIT (free download)
  • ScratchEd Educator Forum
  • Scratch Tutorials
  • Potential Purposes:
    • Making meaning
    • Kids need linear thinking
    • Following directions
    • Learning from mistakes
    • Problem-solving
    • Teacher-made game that kids use and practice
    • Alternative for presentation or as assessment
    • Animation

Backchannels - Lisa Thumann

  • Think about purpose for teaching, learning and instruction
  • Potential uses:
    • Record of discussion for current events, news, politics, speeches
    • Moderator status as privilege for 2-3 students
    • Extra help review sessions (after school, evening, weekends, etc.)
    • Weekend institutes for parent instruction (math, etc.)
  • More student engagement, especially with hesitant learners or to increase inclusion in classroom
  • Edmodo
  • Tiny Chat
  • Google Talk
  • Elluminate for Educators
  • Ed Tech Talk
  • Backchanneling should be:1.
  1. able to be moderated
  2. editable
  3. clickable
  4. embeddable
  5. archivable

Web 2.0 Smackdown

  • @TeachAKidd
    • video comment
    • video camera needed
    • type in url
    • useful for class website
    • give "new" url to viewers
  • "Show Options" in Google @joycevalenza
    • Search in
    • Click "Show Options"
      • Last 24 hours
      • contextual information filled in
      • Wonder Wheel - mind map
    • Timeline
      • Events by decade
    • More text
    • Images from the page
      • Google Squared
      • Side-by-side comparison search by metatag
    • one page of a website
      • text
      • video
      • music
      • animation
      • graphics
      • no code necessary
    • "graphical" glog
    • register up to 200 students with no contact information
    • - very wide open; social network
    • - private, secure, your students are in one isolated box
  • Fireshot (Firefox add-on) @TeacherJim
    • Like the old "Print Screen" on PCs
    • Useful for teaching how-to for applications
    • Free and pay version available
    • Annotatable with arrows, lines, numbers
    • Always in your toolbar
    • No audio
  • Socrato! @socrato
    • Assemble worksheets
    • Print online or download
    • Free to use
    • Tag clouds
    • Search pre-made lessons by standard, subject or grade
    • Editable for our own use
    • Students may log-in
      • Assessment
      • Assignment
  • Aardvark @alightlearning
    • Import twitter, facebook, gchat friends
    • Pose question:
      • Question is sent to those that have tagged themselves as knowledgeable
      • Others respond with answers
      • Expand your network/PLN
  • The Live Pen by Livescribe @KarenJan
    • Write one key word
    • Pen will record what is spoken
    • Touch pen to word to hear words associated
    • Notes can be uploaded, along with associated recording
    • Available on eBay, Target, Amazon
  • Instructables @EmilyValenza
    • Upload explanations
    • Pick an experiment and try yourself!
    • Or, assess and improve
  • ImageChef @LParisi
    • Create your own image using words
    • Grab image
    • Send to social networks
    • Get an imbed code
    • Searchable gallery
    • Free!
  • Xtranormal @ lloydcrew
    • Text-to-moviemaker
    • Create a video
    • Enter text
    • Enter characters
    • Customize
    • Add movement, animations, camera angles
    • Use for assessment
  • Stixy @ kelleyc3
    • Virtual post-it note website
    • Summer Reading Books
  • Fair Use Guidelines
    • Repurposing
  • YoLink
    • Download
    • Tell YoLink to search links
    • Results will open new toolbar on right with paragraph synopsis
    • Key terms highlighted
    • Clicking on paragraph will open that webpage
    • Social Bookmarking function
  • WolframAlpha @ dkuropatwa
    • Computational Knowledge Engine
      • Power of mathematica in a search engine
      • Taking input - reformat equation
        • Roots
        • Alternate Form
        • Roots
        • Polynomial discriminant
        • Steps to solve equation
    • Changes homework
      • Punch this equation into WolframAlpha
      • Explain why
    • Get charts, languages, statistics
  • Social Technology and Education Conference @lizbdavis
    • August 14th @ Harvard University

#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!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

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 says, outsourcing work to Asia at low costs and high efficiency means that American left-brained workers who rely only on their left-brain analyses will

always be undercut by the Asian competition. Finally, automation means that our left-brained geniuses can easily create programs so computers can inexpensively complete former left-brained human tasks - and probably nearly error free. He uses the example of Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue to illustrate this concept.

So how are we, as educators, to help create students that can survive this changed economy and world? Of course, one place to start is the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which provides resources, links and frameworks. Another is this concept that Pink coins as "High Concept" and "High Touch." In a work, he claims, where left-brain skills are outsourced and computerized, we must ask three questions of ourselves. And - as educators - I think we need to ask if our classrooms and schools are developing skills in our children that transcend these questions:

  1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance? (Pink 51)
The answers to these questions will obviously depend on our subject matter, our grade level and our community, but shouldn't we be at least considering these questions, if we are truly educating our children for the future? I believe so.

Daniel Pink goes on to state that there are six skills or "senses" (65) that future workers must develop in addition to left-brained analytical skills. Pink does a great job of (a) explaining and illustrating each "sense" and (b) helping you, as an adult, develop your six "senses" with his portfolio, which includes suggestions, tips and links.

Below, I've listed some interesting points from each of the six sense portfolios - food for thought, online assessments, suggestions. My hope is that if you take even one idea and start to incorporate it into your teaching, we are moving our students in a direction to better prepare them for the future.

Daniel Pink's Six Senses of the Right-Brain:
  1. Design: function, but also beauty, experience, and lifestyle:

  2. Story: persuasion, communication and self-understanding:

  3. Symphony: crossing boundaries, seeing big pictures, creating a new whole:

  4. Empathy: knowing what makes others tick, forging relationships, caring for others:

  5. Play: the health and professional benefits of laughter, lightheartedness, games and humor:

  6. Meaning: transcending day-to-day struggles to consider purpose and spiritual fulfillment:
So how can we apply these "senses" to our classrooms and our schools? Will helping our students develop these skills make them more marketable and functional in the future? If you can think of any ways to implement in the classroom, by all means, please leave a comment below! And, go buy Pink's book.