Standardized Tagging – And The Best Idea I’ve Had in a While (right?)

OK. We had an interesting conversation at NECC about creating a standardized system of tagging so we can all actually find the things other people have made or found already. BUT the issue is in coming up with an effective way of tagging that everyone can use across all the school districts, states etc. Teaching Generation Z added an extra level of complexity by reminding me that there’s more to the world than the U.S. Dang. Forgot about that. 🙂 SO . . initially I figured you’d have to make a choice. You’d either have to go pretty broad and lose a lot of individual usefulness (state standards for one which I feel is really the key to getting a larger sphere of involvement and usage) or you’d end up with way too many tags. So rather than being a negative jerk I started thinking about how it’d be possible to keep the regional detail needed and still create something that was useful internationally. A POSSIBLE ANSWER— What if we set up tagging standards based on smaller groups (state standards in the US and whatever is a comparable level internationally). Then we create correlations between the standards. (That would be the real work). After that when you tag it with the VA standards it will automatically pull in the relevant […]

Simile – Exhibit – Tutorial v.4

It took a while but I put together a fairly lengthy tutorial on how to make an Exhibit site that gets its info from a Google spreadsheet feed. It’s complete with tutorial files and a number of screencasts. I’m not sure it’s out of beta yet but I’m inviting anyone who’s interested to check out the tutorial and let me know if I’ve done anything stupid or made absolutely no sense in any portion (which is likely when trying to describe how the different view options work). I tried to include a rationale for using the project with Millennials as well as step-by-step directions to get a basic working copy up and running. The customization piece was a lot harder to do w/o specific requests to cover. If you want to know how to do anything I didn’t cover feel free to contact me and I’ll throw up some more video. The link is here. I’d appreciate any feedback- good or bad. Thanks, Tom

TeacherTube Now Fixed

TeacherTube has been fixed for a while now and seems to be running better (in my mind anyway). It’s a great site and well worth checking out. The nice thing too, is that I imagine they’ll have locked things down pretty securely after that. It looks like TeacherTube has been hacked. Don’t try to log in or you’ll get stuck in a loop. An unnerving experience and hopefully it isn’t too bad. It does serve as a reminder to stay on guard.


NECC Takeaways

Shareology.org– A free resource made available by the Nicholas Foundation. There are a number of things going on there but the one I was really interested in is designed to enable large scale resource sharing, communication and cooperation among teachers. We were starting to cobble together a way to share, tag, rate, and review lesson plans and resources between our Instructional Technology Trainers. Shareology is offering a hosted package designed to help teachers do exactly this. It also supports variable levels of security, easy to set up user groups, blogging and discussion boards. There’s an example site for math teachers in a district similar in size to HCPS (50,000 or so). It’s a little locked down in terms of privacy but that’s one option some people will like. The fact that it’s free and hosted would make it ideal for a lot of places with over stretched IT departments and tight budgets.

Simile Exhibit Project – VA History SOLs

So I finally managed to get Exhibit working. Which is pretty impressive considering I’ve been working on it during NECC and I’ve failed a few times before. The site is up here. The death locations aren’t correct right now but I welcome any feedback you’d care to give. I think it has some really interesting potential in enabling students to interact with and see relationships between different types of data (geography/time/facts/eras). Plus it looks pretty, is interactive and you can click to sort/categorize everything on the fly. I used the same layouts used in their Presidents example. I took what they’d done and changed categories, some css etc. to create information that was more relevant to what we have to study. It was something of a hassle to get this done but I think it was worth it and I’m working on creating a basic template to allow teachers to put the data into a Google spreadsheet and drive the site through that. Here’s a short video showing what it can do. Click here if you can’t see anything below.


Model Classroom with Jerome Burg – “Of Mice and Men” – n07s809

This was my favorite session so far. I’d liked the work Mr. Burg was doing with google lit trips so I decided to check this one out. Things I liked. The focus was on quick easy technology to directly impact student engagement and learning- no fancy programs, no high level of skill needed He did it all with only one computer He focused on the little tricks that enable things to work smoothly It was a hands on student project So enough teasing- here’s what the man said about how he has students create a graphic novel based on “Of Mice and Men.” All quotes are not literal but the best I could do. He starts off not telling the students the name of the book. That means no baggage from kids who heard the book sucked from a friend etc. plus it’s got an air of mystery. Then the class is divided into groups (setting, characters, plot, theme) They’re sent to Google image search to look for images of “Of Mice and Men” that represent their group assignment. This leads to a lot of pre-thinking and gets the kids interested. The pictures are then submitted to the teacher The teacher makes a quick slide show of the images (grouping them w/o telling the kids by setting etc.). He had […]


Is there a 2.0 version of leadership?

Gordon Dahlby, West Des Moines Community SD with Larry Anderson Monday, 6/25/2007, 8:30am–9:30am; GWCC B208 Today’s leaders must invest in self and their staff and students. We’ll share habits and resources for leadership development highlighting opportunities that new technologies provide. I didn’t get a whole lot out of this one. There were some interesting points and some good quotes but it wasn’t quite the concrete session I was looking for. I’d like to see someone doing kind of a walk through which takes me through a progression of building leadership through technology. Kind of like – we started w/ blogs to enable blah blah and then were able to move on to wikis which added this, that and the other. Or you could approach it through aspects of leadership and what technologies would best support each aspect and why. One of the key points I though was worth focusing on was that leaders create other leaders. It’s all about pulling up the whole group. I don’t think we do too much of that, with intention, in education. I’m not sure I do enough of that. I might end up helping too much rather than building competency. It’s hard to walk that line. There was a pretty good interview with a google employee that pretty much described the opposite of a […]

Tagging Network Feed

Vicki from Cool Cat Teacher mentioned something I hadn’t thought about before regarding del.icio.us networks. Wouldn’t it be useful to be able to create a rss feed based on your network and keyword(s). I know I can get a direct feed from my network but I’d like to be able to sort things based on keyword. I could then do some really interesting collaborative work in web sites without having to manually add anything (I know I’m that lazy). Maybe this is possible now and I’m missing something simple. I’ve looked in the Network view and didn’t see it. Manually adding keywords above like http://del.icio.us/network/bionicteacher/history doesn’t work (although the page refreshes to taunt you into thinking it does work so you get all excited late at night). I tried the link roll option and isn’t built in. I then tried to force it by manually editing the script and failed there as well (that could be through sheer ignorance though). Finally, the other place it would fit perfectly is in subscriptions. Since you can subscribe to tags by user here it seemed like I might be able to put in history as the tag and network/bionicteacher as the user and get only history tagged items from my network. This didn’t work either. So I’m stumped. Can anyone enlighten me? I’ve […]


Edubloggercon 2007 Classroom 2.0

We had an interesting session with Steve Hargadon moderating (very good at moderating by the way) on “Creating an action plan for developing good repositories of lesson plans and training for the use of technology and Web 2.0 applications in the classroom.” It’s covered well in the notes and I think there were some good ideas broached but it isn’t likely to be easy. I could be pessimistic simply because of the difficulties in getting this done on a much smaller scale in our district. Steve and Vicki are much bigger players than I am so who knows? I’d love to be proven wrong. Even deciding on tags is likely to be more difficult than it appears. There needs to be a lot of forethought going into what kinds of tags would work across state standards and how different each school district is. You’ll need nice broad tags but if they are too broad they won’t be very useful. You could use middle school as a tag but I don’t think you’ll ever get say 6th grade. Even things like life science may vary a good bit in content. Although at some point I guess you just have to make a choice as nothing is perfect. You also have to keep things economical enough for the tagger that it is […]

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 […]