Virtual Learning Communitites

This session was led by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (man I wish I went to W&M for grad school instead of VT) and did not involve Pee Wee Herman. Photo by Alan Light Of Dubious Import to Anyone Else There was a lot of conversation debating what community is and what makes a person a member of a community. The majority seemed to feel that you had to give back to the community. I guess I differ in my thinking as to what giving back is. Steve Dembo said “action has to be part of it” but I wonder if we’re not defining action too narrowly- In this case if the goal is to change education so if you take what you learn from the community and go out and change your piece of education you are giving back to the community because you are accomplishing its goals (even if the community is unaware of it). Maybe that’s too flaky. Or if you take what you learn one place and use it to contribute elsewhere it’d seem to me you were expanding the community by proxy as you’re expanding the reach of it’s shared values, goals etc. Simply belonging does impact and help shape a community. If Pee Wee Herman joins your ning community it would change how others (even members) view […]


Edubloggercon 2007 Google Earth Session

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 if you’re interested.


Expanding the Circle Session

A lot of great people and a lot of “famous” edubloggers (I sometimes wonder what impact that fame has on these conversations- real and virtual, good and bad.) It was really nice to meet a lot of people I’d only written to. Now down to business. Expanding the Circle – ebc07ec My take on some of the more concrete ideas- Get an active recruitment/mentoring team going as most people are “brought in” by others. This could be planned or happen naturally. Don’t be afraid to use the heartstrings to motivate. Teachers are teachers because they care Get people personally motivated and then branch out to curricular uses. You need hooks for your various audiences – admins, teachers, students, parents Social networks are nice because you have a built in audience. There’s no “frontier feeling” that you’re out in the middle of nowhere hoping vainly someone will read you someday. There’s some comfort in that but it’s also intimidating to join a big established network because it feels like the training wheels are off way too soon. Maybe an attractive scenario would be to create a small social network to get everyone warmed up and then move to a larger one. Steve‘s comment (I’m paraphrasing) that the sessions would have been better on a blog rang true to me. There wasn’t […]

Edubloggercon and NECC

I’m living on vitamin C and Sobe Energy Gold so if I’m a little twitchy you’ll know why. I just got back Tuesday from a great time in Florida with Colleen Glaude and Michelle Bourgeois. They’re both Apple Distinguished Educators (I’ll be seeing Colleen in CA this summer for Apple Camp). They were doing some powerful (and fun) work with teachers from Pensacola and I got to come down and participate for the first day. The energy and effort they, and their teachers, brought to the training was amazing. I had a blast. I think this quote from a participating teachers sums things up best. But I really blogged in to tell Colleen and Michelle once again what a really awesome summer camp DLSI III was. I don’t use the the word _awesome_ readily; in fact, I don’t use it because its root _awe_should be reserved for the most inspirational and awe-inspiring things. It is obvious that you two worked hard on this inservice; plus, you kept the energy level going throughout the days. Congrats and thank you for a most successful inservice I’m headed to Edubloggercon tomorrow morning! Then it is on to NECC! It’s going to be an exciting time. I’m looking forward to my first national edtech conference and the chance to meet some people I’ve been […]

Chat/Text Resources for Parents

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

Avatars and their Creators

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)

WWDC Keynote Bingo

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

Who says Jaiku is useless?

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.

Web 2.0 Hits the Streets–Graffiti Report Card

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)