Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ohio EA- Don't social network; Maine LTI- Do

eSchool News reports that the Ohio Teachers' Union discourages use of social networking sites:
"Teachers, watch what you post online": That, in effect, was the message the Ohio Education Association (OEA), the state’s largest teachers union, delivered to Ohio educators in a memo it sent last month.
The memo strongly discouraged teachers from using social-networking web sites such as MySpace and Facebook to create personal profiles or communicate with students.
“OEA advises members not to join [these sites], and for existing users to complete the steps involved in removing their profiles,” the memo said. “While this advice might seem extreme, the dangers of participating in these two sites outweigh the benefits.”
Contrast this message with that of Maine's 21st Century Skills initiative:
While there are many subject-specific skills that are essential in making a successful transition from high school to college, there are three cross-disciplinary skills that are particularly important in this transition: autonomous reading/thinking/analysis, broad information literacy, and comfort in the use of electronic social networks.
This controversy seems to be the raw material for an authentic application for our students of the Showing Evidence tool at the Intel education site.
Using the interactive features of Showing Evidence, students make a claim, identify evidence, evaluate the quality of that evidence, explain how the evidence either supports or weakens their claim, and then make a conclusion based on the evidence. This thinking tool supports activities where students need to debate differences, reach conclusions, and organize ideas.
Let the debates begin!

Zoho Creator goes mobile

Zoho recently announced that they now provide access to Creator via cell phone browsers.
We are glad to announce the availability of Zoho Creator Mobile version. You can access it @ http://creator.zoho.com/mobile or http://creator.zoho.com/m from your mobile. In fact, if you visit http://creator.zoho.com from your mobile phone, you’ll be directed to this page.
This opens a whole new world of possibilities for both collecting and sharing data in a variety of contexts. It may be the opportunity that breaks through my resistance to adding another phone to our account.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Search serendipity

I have been creating activities for the course "Technology in [and beyond] the classroom" for Spring semester. I am building on resources that Intel provides at its Education site. In Destination America: Our Hope, Our Future, one of the exemplary unit plans that the site provides, I saw parallels with our present situation.

At first, I thought of asking students to complete a parallel assignment choosing an autobiographical perspective or a role. But last night, I thought of another way to frame the activity: Autotechnography. So first thing this morning, I searched Google for autotechnography and found only one hit: Engl 106-xxx, a pdf describing developments of another syllabus associated with Engl 680M: New Media at Purdue. I think they have interesting insights that will serve us well:
This studio goes beyond the traditional seminar model by not only investigating contemporary theories of media and media making but by actively producing new media. Readings and discussion topics will bring up questions such as “What is the New Media?”; “Why blogs, wikis, and podcasting?”; “When did virtual worlds and video games become educational?” and many others.

Alas, I reinvented a concept but it is in the early stages of development. But I also discovered another branch of a distributed professional development community. So, I tried to see whether the term has earlier roots, too. So I searched for technography and got thousands of hits. The one that resonated most with me came from DeKoven at www.deepfun.com. While I think that copy-writing the word is unnecessarily restrictive, the concept is powerful:

We often used tools in this way at CTLT but the video clip explains why the approach may be so effective in some situations. I commented on DeKoven's page at Google Video:
The clip captures the essence of the conflict and its resolution starting at 4:09.

I look forward to using the approach in our course.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Testing trackbacks

I reset the trackback option in the settings for this blog to accept pings. Testing to see if it works. Seamless Services?: XO Laptops for teachers, too?

Gave one, anticipating the learning community

In an earlier post, I wrote about David Pogue's review of the XO laptop and the plan to make them available to North American residents as part of the effort to reach a critical mass for the program. Today is the first day that U.S. and Canadian residents can give one, get one XO Laptop. They warn that the organization cannot provide support. They encourage people to think of themselves as part of a world-wide learning community rather than as customers of a commercial product. That makes sense to me! I hope that pre-service teachers learning about how to integrate technology into elementary school classrooms will join the community, too!

Receipt ID: xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx Placed on Nov. 12, 2007
Payment For Quantity Price
G1G1 program donation 1 $399.00 USD
Subtotal: $399.00 USD
Shipping & Handling: $24.95 USD

Total Amount: $423.95 USD