True to his Grammar – Dizzee Rascal

Big version here Probably not much use to U.S.A. teachers but I was listening to a song by Dizzee Rascal (he’s big in the UK – I swear). The phrase “true to his grammar” was too good to resist and there were some great high resolution shots out there. So, once again you get a classroom related rap/English poster. Remember the whole point is to find interests you and your students share and then leverag them to the hilt. Despite growing up in Alabama, I like rap, always have. If you don’t like rap and you try to fake it things will go very, very badly. This is true of most things in life and in teaching. Faking = bad. (that’s the condensed wisdom of this comment thread) If rap, or strange UK rap, isn’t for you (or your students) find out what will work for them and you. Then come up with ways to use it. This comes from a guy who used to dress up like a ninja to discuss backing up computers. Strange things work but only if you’re really behind them. Take a risk but make it one you believe in. On another note- go vote dy/dat for best individual blog and best new blog. If you aren’t reading him, I suggest you start.

2007 EduBlog Award Nominee

Just a quick note that our blog has been nominated for best group edublog 2007. We appreciate the recognition and your support of our project. A year ago, we set out to create a place where instructional technology theory met practical, creative ideas. Your frequent visits and thought-provoking comments are evidence that we have achieved some measure of success. Thanks for stopping by.

More Money, More Problems

I know it’s been done but I couldn’t resist. I really need gold $ signs instead of pluses and I’m not thrilled overall but it’s better than nothing. Maybe there will be a version 2.0- depends on how much life intervenes. What would make this a project, something you could use to teach as opposed to just another poster, would be to get your kids making things like these based on the concepts your covering but they choose what pop culture elements to use. They’re then thinking more deeply about the concept in order to figure out the link and they’d be doing it far more frequently (and away from school). It’s like installing a secret little education ninja in their head. I’m working on a poster that ties together Nietzsche’s ideas regarding “eternal return” and TuPac’s “my only fear of death is reincarnation” quote. But I have to re-read Nietzsche in order to make sure I’ve got it right.

Step Up Yo Vocab

I’ve got to give complete credit to Dan for the idea and the example rap poster. After seeing his great poster of Talib Kweli I had to make some of my own. Both images will link to fairly large jpgs. Dan’s blog is what this one might be if it were better so be sure to pay a visit. While some will take issue with the grammar/spelling (I’m not sure which subject “yo” would fall under)- they’re great lines from the lyrics of both artists (although Jay Z doesn’t actually say that line I’m giving him credit because it’s in his song). I would have killed to have posters like these back when I was teaching or in the Boy’s & Girl’s Club I worked at. They’re the perfect fit for certain demographics. Granted they won’t fit all places or all teachers. Remember to “keep it real“- which would probably include not using phrases like “keep it real.”

iPod Touch Hack for iCal

I got an iPod Touch as a gift recently and was thrilled. As I started playing around with it I found I really wanted to be able to do more- like some of the stuff the iPhone could do. I especially wanted to be able to add to my calendar on the fly and to take notes. So the first thing I did was use iJailbreak which required no brains on my part. It’s really just restarting a few times- no coding, no terminal, nothing difficult at all. That got me the iPhone apps and the option to install more programs later (assuming the next update doesn’t kill the iPod). I still could not add events to iCal and that was nagging at me so I found this hack. All you’re doing is adding one small chunk of xml to a specific plist file (/System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/N45AP.plist) on your iPod. That turned out to be fairly easy as well. I got the IP address for my iPod (under Settings>WiFi>then click the blue arrow to the right of your network) I opened Cyberduck and opened a new connection using SFTP to that IP with the user name root and the password alpine I then navigated to /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app/N45AP.plist (Cyberduck may open your window in something other than the root view so make sure you […]

The Cat In The Hat Experiment- A Literary Remix

The Litlab: J. Robert Lennon: The Cat Text I have to say one thing here: it is not fun to be with me. I like books and things. Tame: that is I. I get no kicks, fly no kites, play no games. Hops and pot are not my things. If you are here, I want you to go away. So what should this dish, this fox want out of me? I sat and picked at the fish and looked at those hands, so white. J. Robert Lennon has created a whole alternate story using just words from The Cat In The Hat. This would be a great English lesson. You could remix other things as well- AP news articles, poems, song lyrics etc. It’d be fun to have students use each other’s work. Jill would remix Dre’s paper and they’d talk about the different choices they made. That type of thing. The creativity comes out as a result of the restrictions. from Kottke.org photo credit chinkychongka

Assessment: The Remix

A couple posts caught my eye recently, and I suddenly found a surprising connection. Both deal with remixes. The Last Supper–The Leftovers Remix We all know the iconic Last Supper. We probably know more about it because of Dan Brown, and it is very recognizable–especially in Western Culture. There was a rush of interesting recasting of da Vinci’s painting a couple weeks ago around the web-culture blogs I read. (via Neatorama) (via BoingBoing) (via Neatorama) I thought this might make an interesting art project. The students take an iconic picture or symbol and recast it somewhere else. You would want to have a rubric for the project that asked the students to consider the icon and it’s features and note or create subtle connection to the original in their own remix. The students are not simply spiting up terminology. They are emulating or playing with the original. Sugar Bear–The Fuzzy Remix (via BoingBoing) How does Sugar Bear go from sweet sugar fiend to environmentalist? That is the question you would pose to your students. For the more analytical students, this assessment piece is a dream come true. Students would exam a series of remixes of a single icon. Their task is to research the culture each new version is introduced to. Students would dig for clues from culture that shape […]

A Future Intro

I made this so we could talk to our staff about the TIP Chart (our technology integration progress rubric- which is pretty good). It’d work well for parents as well. It’s pretty interactive and fun in the beginning with a number of pretty funny questions mocking our ability to predict the future. The intro slide sets the tone. I basically say “Where is my jet pack?” Then I try to get people talking about what they expected to have in the “future” that hasn’t materialized. I then pose this question and then invite guesses from the audience as to why this eminent scientist believed high speed train travel would be impossible. After a while I show them the answer. The key is that it gets people engaged at the beginning and it’s pretty funny- yet it is amazing how quickly things change. The presentation then segues into what’s going on now. Since we can’t predict the future very well, we might as well show the “futuristic” things going on now. I showed brief selections from a few TED videos that I thought were cool and relevant to the topic. We hit parts of – Do schools kill creativity? Hans Rosling on poverty – both to touch on globalization and to show how the data is presented Will Wright’s Spore It’d […]

Maps of War

Maps of War is a fascinating site of animated maps showing the history of conflict in our world. They include a history of war and leadership (seen above) that walks through American conflicts and links the American President to various wars, a history of religious conquest throughout the world, and an interesting history of imperial occupation of the Middle East. Along with their own maps, the site links out to other animated maps the feature many of the major wars of our time. I remember struggling as I tried to learn history from a textbook. It seemed like months or years would pass by in a matter of paragraphs. These animated maps would have helped foster a sense of continuity as we “marched” through chapters full of events. via Boing Boing

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Web2Summit: Make Life More Like Games

From the O’Reilly Web2Summit: Make Life More Like Games Games come with better instructions; you have a clear goal, and other people share information on how to succeed. Games give you better feedback on your performance in the form of scores and ratings, plus they provide an audience that’s tuned into your success. Games offer better community: everybody’s agreed to same rules and narrative, and you share a heroic sense of purpose. I’m not sure how quickly that’ll happen in life but what about school? How can we make school more like this? How can you make individual projects more like this? Every little bit will help. Directions Just about every kid wants to please. Some of the major problems I’ve had in my classroom, and seen in other classrooms, occur when kids don’t understand what you want them to do. They get frustrated and/or start wandering off task. You get mad because they’re not doing what you “explicitly” told them to do. It’s often interesting to see what a third person thinks of my “crystal clear” directions. I usually run my directions and plans by at least one person. The hard part for me is figuring out how to get a community of support built around your class. Our current school system is certainly not set up to enable […]