I’m going to be co-teaching a class for our county’s administrators on creative communication. The idea is basically that email is boring and often ignored so spicing things up really helps for important communications. You can check out some of the work of my co-teacher, Jen Maddux, below (a few more of her movies to follow later).
This branched out into Google Maps, Sketchup and even Swivel. I heard about some great projects being done by 4th and 5th graders using sketchup to create Incan (or Mayan?) ruins and then putting them in Google Earth. I’m really interested in seeing the examples but don’t have a link yet. The most interesting part of the discussion to me was a reminder of the googlelookup function in Google spreadsheets. You can use it to look up latitude/longitude coordinates for cities it appears and the use it to create an xml file. The cool thing to do would be to generate that data, the city’s population, avg. temp etc. (whatever interesting data you can pull through lookup or manually) and then push it to Swivel. And then, and then, and then you embed the Swivel data in the info window for each city. It’s sad how exciting that seems to me. Besides that I got some good links to look at later which are posted in del.icio.us if you’re interested.
I got these photos from Abe Barker. I met him and his copilot (?) at the Congress St. Bridge in Austin TX. They’d flown some people in and were checking out the bats. We got to talking and they mentioned having some crazy shots of the shuttle from 20,000 feet and a really odd white cloud that formed shortly thereafter. It was odd enough that two professional pilots not only remarked on it but took pictures and brought it up in a conversation with a very strange guy taking 100 pictures of bats. Abe was kind enough to email me the photos so I’m putting them up in case they interest anyone else. I found this to be interesting not just because of the unique natures of the pictures but because of the way this whole thing happened. Just about everyone has a camera these days so all sorts of odd things are going to be captured that would have been missed before. These photos are now digital so it’s insanely easy for me to pass them along, put them on the web and let anyone in the world take a look at them. Imagine JFK’s assassination today. Instead of one film, you’d have HD footage from a hundred angles and innumerable high quality still images. That’s not counting all […]
Mr. Guhlin asked “How have laptop programs helped?” and the responses depressed me. Maybe, I’m over analyzing but quote like “Imagine anything one could do on an overhead projector. You can do the same on a tablet if you have an LCD.” brought me close to tears. Clearly, replacing an overhead and pen with several thousands of dollars worth of equipment to do “the same” is not a cost efficient trade. Other quotes that made me wince: my laptop/tablet has replaced a paper notebook during meetings. Have students do grammar exercises. Math teachers do the same. Not exactly what you’d want to hear if you’re paying for those laptops. Now, I also realize these are quick reports but I don’t see anything in there about students doing anything they couldn’t do with paper for far less money.Â The whole point of a 1:1 is to get students producing with laptops and to have no comment on that worries me. Don’t get me wrong- I’m for 1:1 initiatives and that’s why I’m concerned. I work in a district going on the 6th year of a 1:1 initiative and I worry that some teachers might give similar “proof” that our program is working. So here’s how our 1:1 has helped students in our school- everyone now has a computer no matter their […]