Tuesday, November 16, 2010

low-level management

We're a wiki school. Lots and lots of students use wikis. Lots and lots of teachers use wikis. Everyone uses wikis differently, but one thing is a constant: signing up.

There are three levels of wiki sign up and it pays to have a clear plan for signing up whenever a teacher goes about class-wide sign up.

- Ask students to choose which level of wiki user best fits:
  1. Have wiki account and knows necessary log-in information
  2. Have wiki account, but does not remember password
  3. New to wikispaces
- Begin by working with the #1's. Have them log-in and then go to the wiki for their class.
- Move on the group #2. Have them go through the necessary steps to retrieve their passwords.
- Work with the newbies, but encourage shoulder partners (presumably some #1's and #2's) to provide support.

Congratulations! You've completed a required step in an efficient manner. Yes, you could have assigned this sign-up process as homework, but you realize that going through this process as a class is, like many other whole class activities, valuable.

And having everyone do this in class sends the message that the wiki is important.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

reading is dangerous

The following is a detailed account, sans adjectives and delivered in present tense, of personal events that unfolded between 6:46PM EST - 6:49PM EST:
  • Open Google Reader from Gmail
  • Read (in Google Reader) one unread item in Dy/Dan
  • Click on '10 comments on this item' and watch as new tab opens on browser, taking me directly to Madison, IN
  • Read comments, stopping at Bryan Cook's comment which references the book, 'Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do'
  • Open new tab and load up Amazon
  • Search for aforementioned book in Kindle store
  • Eye 'Buy now with 1-Click' chiclet
  • Receive confirmation email for purchase of 'Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do'
  • Think about how many invisible people and ubiquitous web apps led me on a fast-paced path to spend $9.29

Thursday, September 2, 2010

doin' it with alacrity

A new elementary school, replete with interactive white boards in every classroom. A rinse and repeat training session, designed to give every teacher the opportunity to learn how to write and erase on the IWB. Thirty minutes and on to the next meeting.

Would you cover more? Would you provide the whiz-bang?

Key stat: You know that 90% of the staff never used an IWB until today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ugh, wcydwt: slow

But...I did it. There's no math for that.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a litigious...lot?

I mean, what's the technical term for a group of unicorns?

My recent absence on this blog is in no way indicative of my blogging passion. It's just that I've learned I'm better served by blogging about something other than education.

And zippee do-dah indeed if recent news hasn't validated my choice to alter my blogging focus.

But it appears that my real passion has crossed the alleged mythical line that exists between unicorns and their legal representation firm.

Exception they have taken, indeed!

Behold a sampling of the constitutionally-inspired assault I received recently:
Lest you be so uninformed as to recognize the ignominious depiction you project of our rights'-entitled client base, our legal team is obligated to inform you that you must cease and de-continue your web blog as it is in direct violation of the privacy rights afforded to all unicorns.

Please note that unicorns have enjoyed uninterrupted years of privacy, and if our clients wished to have their lives subject to interpretation on the world wide interwebwork, they have just as many limbs as their human counterparts and could blog with alacrity. But they choose not to.

While we recognize that your blog is celebratory, and at times, pun-ny, you must exercise immense caution when blogging, not only about humans or animals, but mythical creatures as well. We recommend automotive detritus. We can even provide you with some catchy domain names. We've cross-referenced against Technorati and Bloglines.
The letter goes on. Needless to say, I'm running out of blogging topics.

Friday, June 4, 2010

when it's ubiquitous

Moderately Assiduous Student:
I don't know why we have all these technology projects. I'm using MovieMaker in one class, Animoto in another, and I just finished up a VoiceThread.
Instructional Technology Coach:
They're not technology projects.
Moderately Assiduous Student About To Ask The Question IT Coach Wants To Hear:
Then what are they?
IT Coach:

Monday, May 10, 2010

6oz under

If you're going to order the reduced sodium oven-gold turkey breast, please order, and only order, in quarter-pound increments.


Deli Clerk

Monday, May 3, 2010

new jersey: land of corn and tomatoes

Claire Thompson, the eleventh person to comment on Jeff Utecht's (educator, consultant, presenter) blog post, "Confusing Parents", asks:

...if anyone has tried rewriting the letter?

regarding a New Jersey middle school prinicpal's letter that asks parents to ban social-networking sites.

Why, yes, Claire!
Dear Parents,

Take away the cell phones. Yours, too. Go landline. Rooted, intertwined with the land. Like the

Remove the computer. And the other one. There be no use for such a device. Return to the cave. Make fire, abundant and crackling. Set down a log between the fire and the wall of the cave. Seat your cherubs upon its bark-festered surface. Stand betwixt flame and thy seated younglings. Hold carvings and whittled items in such a fashion that shadows present themselves upon the cave's wall. Invite curiousity and response from the seated off-spring. All will be well.

Additionally, please insure that the following occur daily at home and on your way:
  • Cook breakfast. Things lean and protein-y.
  • Sit, eyes and ears affixed to your children, and solicit today's goals and dreams that each may have. Encourage persistence. Offer extra soy milk.
  • Walk to the bus stop with your children. Label plants and foliage along the way. Urbanites: discuss zoning and sprawl.
  • Discourage adjectives. Adjectives hurt, damage, and describe. Promote nouns. Celebrate onomatopoeia.
Or another possibility, shorter, terse:

Dear Parents,

Please home school.

Friday, March 19, 2010

kindled, indeed

Due to the prevalence of intra-scholastic relationships between faculty members, those pining for teacher-teacher relations now have:

Of note: Register before March 31st, and you will automatically be entered to win an Amazon Kindle.

Because nothing says I'm looking for love more than I'm going to sit home and read.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

a chasm vast, deep, and wide

Professional development sessions currently offered or underway in my district:
  • The Role and Purpose of Wikispaces in The Classroom
  • Using Digital Storytelling to Enhance Student Communication
  • Interactive White Boards and Center-Based Learning Opportunities
  • Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century: The Need for Change
  • Flip Cameras and Dynamic Student Portfolios
  • RSS & PLNs & U- BFFs
  • Understanding Digital Citizenship and Creative Commons: A How-To, Hands-On, Copyright-Friendly Session (UDtripleC: HT HO CFS)

Needed professional development sessions:

  • Holding Down: Making Things Blue in an Otherwise Black-and-White Digital Landscape Through A Sustained Left-Mouse Click
  • The Right Side: The Inspiring Story of Cutting and Pasting in an Embedded World

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

rock on, rock-and-roller

Some day, Sisyphus will reach the apex of the mountain.

He and his rock will rest, forever at the mountain top. Sisyphus will update his resume, perhaps contemplate going back for his Bachelor's degree, and seek out gainful employment in something a bit more white-collar.

But, as Camus once noted, myths are around for us to breathe life in to them, so as long as people need the differences between an overhead and an interactive white board explained, neither Sisyphus or Instructional Technologists are going away.

And neither will update their respective resumes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

explaining I-T to a boy in a 5-T

Last week, I sat on the floor in the living room, because all the cushions on the couch and chair had been deployed to fort-building duties. The Minnesota Vikings just beat the, well, you know who, I won't even say their name, and Fox Sports took viewers inside the Viking's locker room to watch Brett Favre lead his team in a new, American Idol-inspired chant.

Later that evening, I sat at the kitchen table, this time on a chair, and began to chant about pants being on the ground. My oldest wanted to know what I was saying. He wanted to know if my pants were on the ground. He wanted to know why I was chanting 'pants on the ground'.

So after the twins went to sleep, I pulled out the laptop, loaded up YouTube, and found the video. He watched. He laughed. He wanted to know why the Vikings were saying 'pants on the ground'.

I knew that any answer should be age-appropriate, so I told him that Brett Favre heard it on a TV show. And Mark was satisfied.

This morning, my Mark woke up, walked down to the kitchen, and asked me who won last night, the Saints or the Vikings?

I told him that the Saints won in overtime, and that the Vikings lost. He thought for a moment and asked if he could ask me a question.

Okay, how do I explain 'overtime' to a five-year old? Think, think.

How did that football player get that pants on the ground video on our computer just for us?
So I told him that it's on everyone's computer. Problem solved.
How did that football player get that pants on the ground video on everyone's computer?
So I told him that he could put the butter on his bagel all by himself. And he could have juice instead of milk.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

do you teach avatar?

Regarding a little slice of entertainment playing at the nickelodeon, Avatar, io9.com's editor in chief, Annalee Newitz, notes that:
the fantastical elements of [science fiction] works offer a place of “narrative safety” to contemplate real-life issues like environmental decay, totalitarianism and torture.*
Do Language Arts classrooms offer up cozy "narrative safety" spots to discuss the aforementioned issues?

And why do movies get all the credit?

*Source: You Saw What in 'Avatar'? Pass Those Glasses!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

priority shipping

Stuck on four shirt designs.

A bit of choice paralysis. Each one designed with whimsy and irony, and they convey fairness at $18 dollars each. I already own three other shirts from Threadless, so I'm one checkout away from having a week's worth.

I can't stop thinking about those shirts. I'm visualizing the shipping process, imagining the arrival of the package, sandwiched between the screen and front doors.

I have to think about those shirts. Because every time I stop, I'm thinking about Haiti, the death toll, the rubble, and the bodies pinned under roofs, walls, beams. Because the information pouring forth from my flat-screen HDTV indicates that even the saved are still at peril. No food, no medicine, one runway.

But I can pick up my tricked-out, app-ed up phone and donate $10. I can sit back on Friday night and watch (on my flat-screen HDTV) George Clooney telethon, celebrity-style, to raise needed funds.

And if all goes according to priority-shipping, I'll have one of those new shirts on Friday night, amazed and disgusted with a process that brings me cotton trash with greater celerity than food, medicine, and people to a country in dire need of on-going support.

Friday, January 8, 2010

found in five

Okay, maybe ten minutes is more spot-on, but I adore alliteration.

Here's what I discovered, read, tagged (and magically shared) in a sixth of an hour on Twitter:
The Happiness Index - Thank you, Scott McLeod, for sharing. This article confirms a recent assertion that using adjectives is a tough endeavor.

Girl Talk Radio - Kudos to you, Kevin Jarrett, for opening up your blog to the world.

College Cost Calculator
- Expressions of gratitude bestowed upon you, Richard Byrne, for allowing me to cry, four-fold, over the impending money suck investment for the education of my four children

Lullabies for Elmo - Much obliged, Guy Kawasaki, for overloading my tweet stream with links and links and links.
So, in the most simple manner I can muster, I still marvel over resistance to using a resource like Twitter.