Tom has been doing such an amazing job with an internet safety package that will be ready for parents and students this fall. I wanted to share these resources I found for deciphering chat/text speak (sometimes called l337). I tested out the decoder. It seems to be well stocked. The list from netlingo is a helpful quick reference, as well. Netlingo’s Top 20 Internet Acronyms Parents Should Know Teen Chat Decoder via MetaFilter
Photographer Robbie Cooper has compiled a set of photos of Avatars and their creators for his book, Alter Ego. New Scientist has a photo essay up with Cooper sharing some of the stories behind his photos. It was fascinating to hear about the varied motivations of the gamers. Their stories may help you build a case for using virtual worlds in the classroom. Cooper’s gamers are not online simply to play. They are socialites, entrepreneurs, pilgrims, and the liberated. Link (via BoingBoing)
If you are an UberMacDork like Tom and I, you may be feeling a bit of excitement right now over Steve Job’s WWDC Keynote scheduled for tomorrow. This may be the cherry on top: Keynote Bingo. Available as a PDF or program. via TUAW
Bouncing Ball, originally uploaded by baslercast. It’s just another tool and it makes possible some quick connections that lead to bigger things. Connections are good- no matter how trivial they might seem. Last night I noticed Basler bookmarked the same water balloon catapult I did. I mentioned that in a comment. He responded with a flickr link to a water balloon launcher they made for physics last year and then I found the picture above, in which students took a photo and then explained the physics demonstrated by each picture (description below). What a cool idea and it seems to be part of a larger AAPT photo contest. It shows the period of time during which a ball was compressed against the ground after being thrown towards it. During the period of time which the ball is compressing on the ground, the ball’s kinetic energy is transferred into elastic potential energy. The ball is also dissipating some of its energy which results in the ball not bouncing back to its original height.
Does this sound familiar? You’re driving downtown and see a piece of graffiti that doesn’t quite “tickle your fancy” (as the kids say). You pine to yourself, “Man, I wish I could leave some feedback for that artist. If this were on The Web, I could simply leave a comment.” Well, pine no more. I give you the Graffiti Report Card. Seriously, it excites me to find an example of such a fundamental characteristic of our internet bleed out into real life. It might be fun to create a stylized sticky note template (similar to this one) that would allow students to give feedback on all sorts of things (behavior, performance, product, compassion). Link (via BoingBoing)
I think the idea of verifying a site is going to take a few pages to cover completely but here’s the start. I’m considering linking out to a more detailed “how to” type of page in order not to make this section too long. Click on the image for a full size view.
I’ve been using Comic Life for a while now (which is probably pretty obvious to anyone who reads regularly) BUT I’m trying to help get a site license approved for the county so I made up two quick examples of other types of uses today and figured I’d post them. If anyone has done anything cool with Comic Life and feels like sharing some examples of student or teacher work I’d appreciate it. The history example hits on SOLs 6c and 6d dealing the Revolutionary War and why the colonists won. This example is meant to show how it can make relatively dull vocabulary work more entertaining. Sure, could do something similar in Word BUT the key is that Comic Life makes this both very easy and very fun. I seem to recall that fun things work better with kids.
Another page. This one’s focused on making sure your students know what to do should they accidentally encounter something “bad” on the Internet. I also made some minor touch ups to earlier pages. Full package here Click the picture to enlarge.
Comment is free: See no evil? But every filtering enterprise to date is a failure and a disaster, and it’s my belief that every filtering effort we will ever field will be no less a failure and a disaster. These systems are failures because they continue to allow the bad stuff through. They’re disasters because they block mountains of good stuff. Their proponents acknowledge both these facts, but treat them as secondary to the importance of trying to do something, or being seen to be trying to do something. Secondary to the theatrical and PR value of pretending to be solving the problem. The quote is from a Cory Doctorow article on filtering that is worth reading. I realize that some filtering will be in schools no matter what but the poor quality of filtering teachers and students have to deal with is unacceptable. The way decisions on filtering are (too often) made by those without any educational experience is unacceptable. gyrhead wrote an interesting comment saying, in part, If you have a one size fits all filtering solution like Bess you will end up with a very restrictive environment; if you go with your own locally managed and customizable solution you will have much better results. I think that’s true up to a point. For me, it all depends […]
The saga continues . . . This one mentions room arrangement and minor things you might do to keep kids honest. I think in the end I’ll have links out that describe how to arrange the room, how to check history etc.