Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trivial Detail

I need to provide a brief paragraph about myself for tonight's trivia competition.

For my introduction, I will use testimonials uttered by those who know me:

Mom-Mom Rose: "A good Jewish boy."

Former student Bruce S.: "Best teacher ever."

Former student Laurel M.: "From class to personality, easily forgettable."

Dr. Smolar, psychiatrist: "Another young man with daddy issues."

Student and Editor of our school newspaper, Dani N.: "Endless creativity and energy."

My mother: "I'd love him a lot more if he called more than once a week."

Assistant lacrosse coach, Megan O.: "Dedicated and enthusiastic."

My cat, Colby: "I don't care what he says, never get into a car with him" (recently euthanized).

A fellow colleague on the basis of anonymity: "You make me wish I had had you as a teacher."

Judge Householder, Montgomery County, PA: "A young man who must learn that golf carts are not designed for highway travel."

My wife: "He's just...Ken."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Choose Your Own Adventure

Growing up, you may have read the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books. You remember, right? After a couple pages of plot advancement and exposition, you would stumble upon a question and two possible choices. Each choice directed you to a different page and consequence or reward awaited.

And the aforementioned pattern would continue throughout each book until you reached one of two conclusions.

Today's session on Digital Literacy sure had me longing for the days of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books. The presenter showed the page on Wikipedia about the Civil War. Every other word was a link to another page.

Wikipedia is a steroid-induced 'Choose Your Own Adventure'. It sure seems exciting, but as an educator, I'm mildly disconcerted about the new challenge in teaching students, even/especially high school students, how to remain focused while reading.

If they begin to click, click, click, where might they end up? Having a clear purpose at the outset is fine, but links are tempting, action-filled words full of potential.

Training our students to navigate through these blue-linked pages is mandatory. If we don't, a few clicks in and our students will be mired in the Blair Wiki Project; lost with no idea how to get out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Should Bison Blog?

Seven educators from PA travel to GA for NECC and wouldn't you know it, they start to talk about blogging.

So we sit and eat our bison burgers, discussing the unintentional (maybe) redundancy of blogs. People tend to post about what they read from other blogs; otherwise known as Blog-Based Blogging.

I detest such hackneyed practice, but I agree with Kristin when she says that thoughtful analysis or something that fosters more discussion is worthwhile.

However, Blog-Based Blogging is the internet version of Whisper Down the Lane. The message morphs, (d)evolves, and mutates to something quite different, but all the steps between first and last are meaningless. In fact, they do nothing more than distort and invariably ruin the message. And when the message is announced at the end of the line, people laugh.

Blog-Based Blogging? Better when it's a face-to-face discussion.

NECC Welcomes Beta Boy

Blogger's Cafe; although, to be honest, I might be the only one blogging. Through the glass the exhibit hall is busy, in full set-up2.0 mode, and front and center is Apple. A large sign, scantily clad with just three words stares at me in alluring Apple-fashion.


Let's see how I, in true 21st Century fashion, synthesize, collaborate, and communicate.

Eat a peach!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Courageous Conversation...Now in Beta!

What follows is a recent post I contributed to the Classroom2.0 ning.

Can we talk about race?

Why not?

Our district's commitment to diversity training as part of our professional development agenda is sufficient.

Please...can we talk about race?

Talking about race only incites racial tension. I'm sure you can understand this.
But not talking about it fosters the same tension and even worse, keeps it bottled up, percolating like lava.

Volcano eruptions are rare; especially in this suburban community in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but I thoroughly enjoyed your use of simile. Are you an English teacher?

Yes, but I am also the Tech Coach for the Classrooms for the Future grant.
What's a Tech Coach?

I work as an instructional specialist, coaching teachers to develop lessons that integrate technology in meaningful ways, aligned to state standards, to increase student achievement and help them develop 21st Century skills.

Can we talk about what it's like coaching teachers to get them to re-evaluate and re-vision their pedagogical and methodological approaches?


Why not?

Can we talk about race?


Seems like we're at an impasse.

Perhaps we can blog at this.

At a diversity training workshop