My students were really stoked by the video mentioned in yesterday’s blog, so much that one even came back today anxious to share with me another video he had found on the surface computer. Again, we live in such remarkable times! Would love to hear what you think of this revolutionary computing tool. Do you envision this being as common as a coffee table in the years to come?? Will flat panel tvs become something we lower down off the wall to waist height, then flip more horizontally to use as a computer like this? Wow…am very excited to see where this all goes.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Love those RSS feeds. I have stumbled upon such great finds these last few weeks and here are just a few. First, found an article sharing that two web 2.0 sites have recently been acquired by MySpace. While most of us have heard about Photobucket, you may not have heard about Flektor.com. I was very impressed by this site and its speed. To its credit, it sports a very friendly user-interface that can be learned in minutes. Flektor is much like Mixercast.com, but better - it touts more creative options. What can you do there? Make really awesome slideshows (with music) and even make/edit online movies. These then can be shared via email, or you can paste generated code into your blog or website to view the slideshow there. Liked this site a great deal. I knew that if MySpace had gobbled it up, then it must, indeed be worth the $250 million acquistion they paid for it. :)
Ready for another great find? This one is more futuristic (expect to see these in the next 3 to 5 years??), but when I shared it with my students they reacted with awe. Check out what is called the “surface computer” or the Milan table top computer. I want one! By the way, the source RSS feed for both of these finds above is Webware.com. A great site that I have greatly enjoyed. Don’t have time to keep up? Let Webware.com do it for you.
Have tried some blogging with my students these last few weeks. Have learned lots, but the biggest lessson I am walking away with is to pick an online service that has reliability and speed. My first attempt was to have them use this site, edublogs.org. Found out the district was blocking it, and rarely could I get more than just a few kids on it at a time. Also, discovered that the site itself was experiencing some nasty problems the week I needed to have my students use it. Experienced a great deal of frustration. A few days later, had my students create a Blogger account via Google, and it was smooth sailing, even when 20 kids were all logged in and creating away. Was very impressed by how intuitive it is, and hope to use it more next semester.
Last, received a copy of a magazine the other day called i.e. (interactive educator), a publication of SMART Technologies. In Cara Erenben’s article titled, “Best Practices for Professional Development”, I was dismayed to learn that research says “it takes teachers three to five years to move through the phase of acceptance” when it comes to actually incorporating technology into their pedagogy. I’m hoping that this is research pertaining only to “digital immigrants” and perhaps we will see new teachers coming into the work force embrace educational uses of technology much quicker because they are “digital natives”. Problem is three to five years in the digital world means that by the time you’ve learned to use the technology, it’s already archaic and past tense. The pace of change right now is head-spinning — but exciting. :)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Really do enjoy going to David Warlick’s blog titled “2 Cents Worth“. Because it is now that part of the academic year that makes even the most veteran of teachers gasp for air, I haven’t been able to check out his new postings lately, let alone get here to flesh out my own thinking on recent happenings. But this evening I slipped away up to the computer to take some “me” time. I’ve been called away twice now by my youngest who insisted I come enjoy his freshly baked mud pie he just concocted outside. On the second visit out, I found him laying in the mud he had created, making what he considered an amazing mud print on the concrete with his body. So you see, I write this very moment at my own great peril. :)Okay, back to the purpose of sitting here. In a recent post, Warlick shares a reaction to a comment posted on his blog …
“Last night, in his signature prickliness, Gary Stager (not his first comment on this blog post) lamented that we have had computers in classrooms for 25 years, and that some teachers still resist them indicates “…a conscious effort to be non-learners.”I’ve claimed my own frustration at teachers who ask, “But who’s going to teach me how to do that?” Sadly, we are a generation who was taught how to be taught — not how to teach ourselves. It’s one of the many reasons why the experiences that our children have in the classroom must become much more self-directed, relevant, and rich. They/we need to learn to teach ourselves. Teachers shouldn’t need professional development. They should be saying, hey, I’m going to teach myself how to do that this weekend. It’s about life long learning. Not about a life of being taught.”Odd that this is just the thing I was thinking about driving home from work today. Once I shifted out of the language arts department and became a full-time computer science teacher twelve years ago, I knew that I could never stop learning - that my job would demand constant learning. Oh, how true it has been. Sure, I’d like to catch my breath now and then, but the really fun part is sharing something new with my students. Is there a thrill in being just a few steps ahead of them? Yes, I think so. I’ve come to know that this is the way it is if you’re going to teach in this area. But twelve years ago, I knew what I was getting myself into. I saw it coming, expected it as natural, signed up for it, if you will. Yet I can understand, to an extent, the resistant teacher who wants to be taught by someone, whose computer angst is enough to undo them. I also understand that many of us thought we’d one day come to master the subject we chose to teach (except for computer science teachers, of course). But what has impacted me so strongly this last two years is that no matter whether our respective subject matter changes very little or a lot each year, how we teach kids must change. Technology is changing everything. The term “digital native” is often used to describe younger people these days. They are at ease, almost one, with anything digital, where as adults 30 and up tend to be “digital immigrants”. Some of us take the first ship available, others are more reticent to board. But, if we’re waiting for someone to come alongside and professionally develop us in the latest and greatest technology, I think we’ve got a whole new thing to think about. Those that professional develop teachers like us, are holding their breath, waiting for someone to develop them! That’s how fast change is occurring now. I truly believe if we hesitate to teach ourselves, we risk it all. I think it’s our kids who really lose out, especially if they get a glimpse of us being non-learners, or perceive us to be saying “oh, I think I’ll wait for the next ship to come along”. As many of our great grand parents knew, being an “immigrant” is hard — there’s the unfamiliar land, people, societal norms and language. Who would have thought just a few generations later we’d have the same feelings thrust upon us by the digital world.