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Wiki Testimony

As part of our parent training we’re having teachers and ITRTs speak about powerful ways they’ve been able to use technology in support of 21st century skills. This is Ken Kellner’s comments on how using a wiki changed his classroom (6th grade history). He does a good job and conveys a lot of excitement. If you see him jumping and twitching it’s because I edited like crazy to get the movie down to about a minute and a half. Deep breaths and dramatic pauses were not allowed. It’s in TeacherTube as well. Download Video: Posted by bionicteaching at TeacherTube.com.

Ian Bogost on Persuasive Games

Ian Bogost was on The Colbert Report last night. Bogost has a new book, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, about rethinking the value of video games. From the book description: Videogames are both an expressive medium and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. He mentioned a series of persuasive games he had produced to illustrate his theory, and as he described one of the games, I suddenly recognized it. Dissaffected, a game that places your on the service side of a Kinkos, must have popped on my radar last year. I played it for awhile, then became frustrated with the way I was being treated by the customers and never went back to it. I never realized the significance of my reaction. It is an interesting simulation of the service industry. Bogost has added a number of games to his catalogue, and I recommend exploring the games with your classrooms in mind. This could be a wonderful way to stimulate conversation and reflection. Ian Bogost’s Blog

Malawian H.S. Student Builds Windmill Generator

William Kamkwamba had to drop out of high school because his family didn’t have enough money to cover the fees. Comitted to continuing his education, Kamkwamba found a local primary school with a large donated library. He read everything he could get his hands on, but was taken by a book on energy production that included plans for creating a windmill generator. His blog is a wonderful account of his successful attempt at providing power to his home and the homes of his neighbors. I was inspired by this story. The “internets” have been a key component to connecting Kamkwamba with other solar engineers and the larger world–helping him improve on his original generator. His windmill is the perfect example of 21st Century skills in practice. via BoingBoing

Physics Flash Animations

David Harrison at The University of Toronto’s School of Physics has a wonderful collection of physics animations. Many of them are interactive, and some allow the viewer to make predictions before the animation plays. Now, I have to be honest. I made it through physics because the top three students in my graduating class (wonderfully kind ladies) befriended me my senior year of high school. I remember little about the class except my teacher insisting that “1 and 1 makes three.” Needless to say, physics is not my strong suit, but I enjoyed playing with these animations. I found myself testing what would happen with this change or that one. Let me know if you can use these in your classroom. I’m trying to dig up more science and math resources, but these subjects are not my ex-per-tise. Link

Online Media God–400+ tools for creating content

When I was issued my Dell laptop for my new high school tech teacher position, the first thing I noticed (moving from a Mac) was the lack of media content creating/editing software. “Well, I’ll just have to work this year to collect a group of web-based programs that will do the job,” I resolved. Luckily, the folks at Mashable have done it for me. In fact, they have put together the most comprehensive annotated list of sites I have seen to date.  Take a second and check it out.  I’m convinced even the most knowledgeable media editor would find something new on this list. via Neatorama

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Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks

Bad Gods | Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks The Raven There once was a girl named Lenore And a bird and a bust and a door And a guy with depression And a whole lot of questions And the bird always says “Nevermore.” What a great project for all sorts of reasons and it doesn’t have to be just poems you could do novel or short stories or even speeches (I Have a Dream as a limerick?) You’d get students learning limericks and other poetry skils really analyzing the work they’re limericking (I know that’s not a word- humor me) getting to the essence of the work they’re analyzing having fun creating a shareable product something that’s easy and quick to grade but deep in terms of processing and creativity It could also work for explaining scientific principals, historical events/people etc. Lots of options. via BoingBoing

Awesome – Univ. of South Florida on iTunesU

If you haven’t checked out iTunes U, I strongly recommend you go there immediately and look at the University of South Florida’s College of Education content. I’m amazed at what they’ve been up to. It’s lots of high quality video content covering tech integration lesson plans, student centered audio books in English and Spanish and a variety of tech tips covering social bookmarking, flickr and a lot more. This is a huge amount of content and virtually all of would be incredibly useful for staff development in school systems anywhere. It makes me wonder how much awesome work is going on between colleges and school systems that could be applied nationally but isn’t for lack of a publicized and easily searchable distribution network. That brings us back to the whole idea of universal tagging . . . and this comment by Tarmo Toikkanen (my new hero- really go look at the concept map). I didn’t see it for a while because it was caught in the spam net but it means that far smarter people have been working on this for a while and re-inventing the wheel might not be necessary. Worth thinking about anyway. Regarding this tagging issue, I’d like to point you to the CALIBRATE project (http://calibrate.eun.org) and specifically the work carried out in work package 1 (http://calibrate.eun.org/ww/en/pub/calibrate_project/research_objectives/wp1.htm). […]

Chore Wars

I saw this Wednesday on Wonderland, Thursday on MetaFilter, and was reminded of it again on BoingBoing late Friday night.  You get others to sign up and assign experience points (XP) for completing chores.  I finally asked the “How would this fit in a classroom?” question the third time I saw it, and I came up with two ideas. 1.  Use it as a creative homework incentive program.  Students get XP for completion of work.  “Prizes” are awarded for the best  performance.  You know, the usual, but within a “gaming” framework. 2.  Use it to map out a group project.  Teams get to map out the tasks necessary for completing the assignment.  Tasks are giving point values based on difficulty or time commitment.  Once a student completes a task, they give themselves credit.  The XP becomes a gauge for individual participation levels. Clearly, there would be issues with this site, as there are fight scenes that you would find in any role playing game which might not appeal to all students/parents.  But the idea of integrating gaming, organization, and accountability in a classroom has appeal. Chore Wars

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New Internet Safety Video

This is part of a class I’m working on for our students. The idea is to start each lesson with a “hook” video that will capture their attention and introduce the concept we’ll be covering. This one uses a bunch of short clips from popular (and not so popular) videos to show the power and influence that Internet video can have. The emphasis at the end is that you can either use this power wisely and possibly become a hero or screw things up and become mocked for “generations to come.” For the teachertube version the direct link is here. >>>>Edited to remove ebaumsworld reference on one of the videos- Thanks Chris and I’m working on a possible Ninja intro (time allowing) The sources for the video are listed below- “Dr.” Wix Dramatic Prarie Dog Lonely Girl 15 Numa Numa David Elsewhere – Kollaboration 2001 AskaNinja.com OK Go- Here it Goes Again Mentos Guys Star Wars Kid Spider Man This Land is Our Land – Jib Jab Hillary Clinton Impersonator