A blog is . . .

#usgened #connectedlearning A good summary of the ethical issues of student blogging: http://t.co/EHlyiG4ZiT — Robert H. Gowdy (@rhgowdy) June 20, 2015 The Twitter exchange above prompted this post which will revisit some things various people have said lots of times to lots of different people but I haven’t written any of my responses down lately. The post that kicked this particular version off was from Annette Vee. I find it a well-intentioned consideration of things she’s thinking through when using blogs with her students. And that’s the important piece. This is about how Professor Vee has chosen to use blogs with her students (Sounds like personal essays as part of a writing class?). That’s not the same as concerns with blogs (the tool that lets you put stuff on the Internet). The danger with the word “blog” is that it appears to mean something specific and it doesn’t. Alan makes that point here in 2005. A few years later I tried to do similar things in 2007 and 2008.1 2 I pretty much feel like the comic above applies to this topic pretty well. We’d just need to add a few statements around democracy and inequality. This won’t fix all the core things that are broken about school or our society. It might help some if properly applied but it’ll […]

I'm sorry

Pop Culture Omnibus

An aggregation of strange things that interested me in one way or another. tl;dr and government communication in the age of the hipster SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back? No. Seattle PD’s information on marijuana legalization is an interesting piece with a tl;dr reference and an embedded Lord of the Rings “finest weed” video clip. Compare the voice and audience of this government communication to other state communications. We will kill you so fast We need doctors because people grow up and you fall down and go boom. Everyone’s going to need a doctor. Let’s have 3 doctors per floor of every apartment building in this town. How about that as a good idea? Like that is a good idea. OK. So let’s make college tuition either free or really low. And if you have a country full of whip-crack-smart-people, you have a country the rest of the world will fear. They will not invade a country of educated people because we are so smart. We’ll build a laser that will burn you, the enemy, in your sleep before you can even mobilize your air force to kill us. We will kill you so fast because we are so smart. –Henry Rollins Henry Rollins gives a whole new side of STEM […]

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Strange Screenshots

I take screenshots of things I think are strange or perhaps illuminate something about the strange world we now inhabit. Think of it as my personal take on The New Aesthetic. All of these images are pulled from my actual life and interactions with former classmates, friends, coworkers etc. There are a blurred out series of iffy pictures down there if you’re easily offended you might opt to skip this post. Laser toe fungus available now. Social media makes some really awkward conversations permanent. I am influential in Zoolander, very, very influential. This happened shortly before I deleted all of my authority. Some things you shouldn’t tweet from Harper’s Weekly Review(which would also make a great project). Laptops don’t even make the list any more. Strange times. The app-ification of education is proceeding at full speed. Reality doesn’t matter much and we’re losing the war of perception. These four images are someone’s Instagram likes posted in Facebook.I can’t believe he realized this would happen, yet here it is.Social media makes for some really uncomfortable juxtapositions. Modern day job benefits are not what they once were. Geek desks and monster monitors are pretty attractive to me though. Someone I follow re-tweeting CNN’s coverage of Greek issues showing up right next to Real Time WWII Tweets also dealing with Greek issues. Everything […]


Social Media Talk

I’ve spoken to the PTA at Tuckahoe Middle School for the last two years about social media. It’s been pretty interesting both times in that I take a closer look at things that I tend to take for granted. I think both conversations have gone pretty well. I’ll document the conversation below (mixed with a few things I did with our principals a while back) for anyone who might have to do the same. Introduction I start with a slide that mixes the pictures of as many radically different people with Twitter accounts as I can find. I get the audience to try to identify the people. The one I’m using now has the Dali Lama, Rupert Murdoch, Sarah Palin and a few others. My goal was to have a few easily identifiable people and a few that took a tiny bit more effort.1 I wanted a wide diversity in political views, ages, etc. After we’ve ID’d the people, I ask “What do these people have in common?”2 I mention that you’ve probably heard references to Twitter after shows like Good Morning America, etc. Hopefully this gets people into the mindset that Twitter (and social media in general) is becoming more broadly adopted and is being used by mainstream media. My next move is to argue against polarizing social media. […]

Obama Smoking

Speaking from experience . . .

Asked by one student how he could become President someday, Obama issued a warning about Facebook. “I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life. That’s number one,” he said, according to Bloomberg. – source Good advice but I really wonder what will be considered “bad” in 30 years1. Neither party has been too clean in terms of youthful (on non-youthful) “indiscretions” lately2. Leaders in the private sector and many religions don’t seem any different. I wonder if the easy and frequent documentation, not to mention publication, of all sorts of mistakes will change what people expect out of politicians and people in general. People make mistakes. It’s going to happen to lots of them. Will the sheer proliferation make those mistakes matter less? Will it take more and more shocking things to make any sort of impression? That’d be an interesting byproduct. As a result of the consistent chronicling of “bad” behavior in our society the definition of bad behavior has been revised. I think it has already happened. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. Maybe we’re looking at people realistically or maybe we’re lowering the bar. 1 Granted, many people don’t care about […]

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Two Ways To Fail

Here are two options our new filtering system currently gives when you try to access a blocked site1. Option One Misspelling aside, this warning is not pleasant. It assumes what I’m doing is bad and that I am acting with bad intent. Apparently I need a scary warning. I am being treated like a deviant. This does not please me. Option Two Well, am I blocked? Is the site down? I don’t know. This message does nothing for me and leads to frustration and irritation. I suspect the filter but have no obvious way to confirm it2. Super. The message I want is simple. Let’s choose something with a blue or green background. It can be unique looking so teachers can spot it easily but it can also be calm and polite. Maybe something like . . . There’s nothing wrong with treating people with respect and politeness. The scary page isn’t going to deter people who are interested in bypassing the filter and it only insults those who are going about their business with legitimate intent. 1 I’m not going to get into the whole filtering things again. My views on that are probably known if you know me. 2 At least not by myself while at school. I did confirm it via my network of Internet malcontents.

Cute Cats, Dissidents & Your School’s Filter?

I found this great post via O’Reilly Radar. It’s basically the notes from a presentation at eTech. I found the ideas and applications really interesting. If you want to see examples of Web 2.0 being used in amazing ways to change the world, this is the post for you. It ought to lead to some deeper thinking about the technologies and their possible applications both in schools and elsewhere. I thought this quote could apply to schools who are filtering in the typical “block all student communication” manner. (referring to getting a site blocked) This is a good thing if you’re an activist. Most Tunisians don’t identify as activists and might not be engaged with politics. But, like Americans and Europeans, they’re interested in seeing cute cats being adorable online. When the government blocks DailyMotion, it impacts a much wider swath of Tunisians than those who are politically active. Cute cats are collateral damage when governments block sites. And even those who could care less about presidential shenanigans are made aware that their government fears online speech so much that they’re willing to censor the millions of banal videos on DailyMotion to block a few political ones. Blocking banal content on the internet is a self-defeating proposition. It teaches people how to become dissidents – they learn to find and […]


Technology Mistakes

This question on the MACUL Ning space got me thinking (you may be wondering why I’m part of a Michigan edtech group when I live in VA- answer Ben Rimes). As a School Board Trustee in Lapeer Community Schools(6500 students) I am very excited about passing our first Bond in 34 years!!! With the passage were looking at $6,000,000 for technology. The big question now is…where do we spend the money and how do we get the biggest bang for our taxpayers hard earned dollars. Certainly we are involving the teachers, administration, students,etc…but I dont want to just dump computers and white boards in every class only to see them sitting in the corner not being used. Has anyone observed mistakes when purchasing technology, or have any success stories about implementing teachnology in their schools? So here’s my two cents based on my experience in Henrico county with our 1 to 1. It’s not exactly coherent or ordered but I think there’s some truth in there. Am I missing things? Too paranoid? Plain wrong? I think these concepts seem to get left behind or only partially implemented far too often. 1. Staff development– this isn’t just how to use the computer/white board etc. (although that is important) the focus should be on why you’d want to use it, ways to […]