Sunday, June 28, 2009

All for Good support

I added the All for Good widget to this blog and to my iGoogle page to support the Obama initiative for a summer-of-service. I wonder whether we can develop the capacity to serve MSAD 75 volunteer opportunities and have them rendered here and on the District's web site.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Google Wave for learning 2

In an earlier post, I described developments in Google Wave that might apply to our situation: Google Wave for learning. Avital Oliver, a mathematician, has extended Wilson's work (and other) and has produced a Wave Emulator that shows how several gadgets can be implemented and used by people who don't have developer access to Google's Wave servers. Oliver describes some of the challenges he discovered in trying to implement the emulator for his task list.
As I started the implementation, I realized that there are certain difficulties with gadget state management with regard to Wave’s real-time concurrency. Here is an attempt to recreate the learning process I went through, with the difficulties I encountered and solutions I put in place to make this gadget work.
It reminds me of our (CTLT and Friends & Morning Reading Group) discussions of working in public. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Students inspire my professional development

We chose the late start time for iTeam meetings in part because members are engaged in activities that parallel teacher's professional development and collaboration. Brandon has reliably come at 7:30 am nearly every Wednesday since November. Today, we learned quite a bit from each other. 

Initially, he was browsing the workshops page at the "Closing the Gap" conference site. He enjoyed participating in two conferences and wanted to see whether he could find new opportunities to learn and participate. We learned that we missed the deadline for presentation proposals and the conference is held in Minneapolis. So, we used the links tool at the Closing the Gap site to find local connections.

The search produced a link to Maine CITE , the Coordinating Center for Assistive Technologies. The Maine CITE site provided a link to the Maine Accessible Instructional Materials site. And the Maine AIM site provides a link to the AIM Community of Practice. The list of members includes Cynthia Curry, the MLTI specialist interested in AIM and Universal Design. I wonder whether they might be open to having an iTeam member join the community of practice?

Then, he showed me Free Rider 2. It is a game and game creation site that simulates trick riding (dirt bikes, skateboards, wheel chair, ...). He found a particularly challenging course and showed me how to use it. He observed that people must spend tremendous amounts of time to create the tracks they share. I asked him whether he had tried to create any tracks; he had but could not find it. I think he showed it to me because he knows I want to learn how he and friends use technologies. I asked him whether he saw any connections between the game and school. He couldn't think of any. I surprised him by pointing out the games connection to physics and math. I suspect we will see a new round of interest in his work there. I can hardly wait to see where it takes us.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Maine: Historical sense-of-place

Maine has a long history of sharing its sense of place. The Passenger Department of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company published this introduction to In the Maine Woods in 1900.

Moose and Maine Guide
In the Maine Woods By Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company

Google books tries to make it easy for one to add this image to this blog. Select the portion of the page and then post to Blogger. Unfortunately, for this selection, the title and author link may push the link over the limit to transfer to Blogger with no intervention. I had to copy the link and create the page by hand. In pasting the url in the "Edit Html" tab, I discovered that the alt tag can also be improved by users to indicate the content of the image.

When I published the post, I discovered that some of the Blogger tools cover part of the image. I didn't find a parameters in the code to adjust the size of the image to prevent this but when I viewed the post in the "Compose" tab, it provided image resizing controls. It makes the text harder to read but that is not much of a problem because the original text is just a click away!

<a href="
ci=49,108,886,936&source=bookclip"><img src="
ci=49%2C108%2C886%2C936&edge=1" border="0" alt="Text not available"/></a>
<a href=",108,886,936&
source=bookclip">In the Maine Woods By Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company</a>

I tried to add this clip to our iTeam wiki but Wetpaint doesn't yet support this form of insert.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wilson's Cove Trail Head

Kate participates in the MSAD 75 Wellness program. She discovered that we would benefit from walking more because the steps we take at work don't contribute much to the aerobic steps that we want. So, she has looked for longer and more interesting walks. She heard about the Wilson's Cove Trail that the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust recently improved. 

We have taken that walk several times and wanted to be able to recommend it to others. I tried to find the trail head from the Google Map by using the drawing tool in Maps to find the point 0.9 miles South of Mountain Road. Unfortunately, the designated point did not match what I could see in the satellite view of Maps. But I couldn't see the trail or trail-head in the satellite image. Derrick tells me that the map images are several years old. Then, I thought to use the street view in Maps and it solved my challenge.

View Larger Map

The street view images clearly are much more up-to-date because you can see the HHLT sign even though you can't read it. To see the more conventional Map view, close the street view using the "X" in the corner. Enjoy the walk! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Seth Godin describes ways drive change at TED

The TED Conference invited Seth Godin to present "The Tribes We Lead" at TED in February. They posted the video of his presentation in May. At 8:45 (minutes:seconds) he presents a diagram that ITeam members recognized as similar to our work on infecting people with good ideas.


During the talk, Godin refers to Kevin Kelly's concept of 1,000 True Fans:

The Technium: 1,000 True Fans


Note that TED talks now include a linked-transcript that helps navigate between text and videographic respresentations. I tried to capture the time-code anchor url but the system did not provide it and I could not find the hand-coded equivalent. You need to open his presentation on the TED site to open the transcript window.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Google Wave for learning

Magnetic Poetry of Google Wave ala Wookie.

Scott Wilson of CETIS, reported on Monday June 1st, that he had successfully implemented a Google Wave gadget on Wookie server as a W3C Widget. He commented:
By itself this is not a very exciting example, as most of the cooler examples need a participants model, and so lend themselves better to running in something like Elgg or Moodle than a plain blog site like mine. However the basic principle is that Widgets with this level of interaction could easily replace LMS-specific tools in the near future.
He goes on to say that he has only tested in Firefox and Safari4Beta. I tested on the iTouch and can see the tiles move on the Touch when I use computer browser to interact with the gadget but the Touch's interface does not allow me to move the tiles.

While I agree that this particular gadget is not the most compelling demonstration, it convinced me that we should attend closely to developments at Google Wave and CETIS. Wilson has demonstrated the principle that Lars Rassmussen articulated in his video introduction to Google Wave that they intend for Wave to be free and open to developers at several levels including running local servers. This may be the venue for open source effort that Sally Loughlin and I discussed recently.
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Testing rss bookmarks with Safari

Put feed in the toolbar and then watch to see if it updates the marker with the index of number of items to read.