Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thing # 8

  • What do you like about RSS and readers? I like the ease to which I can subscribe to things that I see and "think" that I might have an interest. I like the way that these subscriptions are automatically assembled into my reader. I like the way the process of aggregating ALL this information forces to you to categorize - lest you become overwhelmed in a matter of moments. This process in itself is valuable in that you are creating little "mind palaces" and training yourself to be organized. For example, in reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, I had been busy "discovering" the resources he suggests in each of the Portfolio sections.  In subscribing to many of these, I soon discovered that I had too many new feeds to do me much good - meaning that I really wanted to delve into the concepts of Design, Story, etc. I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to categorize them. It was this Library2Play exercise that helped me create folders. Well enough for categories that spoon-fed, but the real value of creating folders arises in the sorting of sites that one happens upon in the process of building the Conceptual Age aptitude of Symphony (Pink). Not only is the process building organization in the web presence and in the mind, but it is like a workout for your creativity.
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your school or personal life?  There are numerous categories of information in which I want/need to keep abreast in my "work" life: Reading/Writing strategies, Pre-AP lessons, Lesson Planning, Edu-Advocacy, Professional Orgs/Journals that I don't necessarily need clogging up my other "lives". Overall, the paramount benefit is the time saving aspect. To borrow form Simon & Garfunkel, "Ahh, I can gather all the news I need on the Reader Report"
  • How can libraries/teachers/administrators use readers or take advantage of this new technology? In addition to the comments above, I can see using readers and in particular, the sharing aspect to facilitate a topic study - 21st Century tools in the classroom, RTI, edu-leadership, ,etc.

How can teachers teach the value of heresy? by eduheretic

How can teachers teach the value of heresy? by eduheretic



Pink's Proposal

I picked up A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink as it was suggested by Karl Fisch in a recent Shifting Literacies staff development.  It is an ausome and amazing read.  I also picked up this Instant Poetry app on my phone as a way to ramp up or just complement by Right Brain tune up. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mobile Blogging

I have several students with SmartPhones and this will be a great addition to a 21st Century approach to a Literacy Arts classroom! WOOHOO

Thing #7 Google Rules the WORLD!

I have used a variety of Google Applications over the years, but I have been distracted by my inability to keep all my stuff in the same place. In calendars, I have Outlook on the home machine and on the work machine and have never been very proficient at sync them together with different versions at each place. I have been using an iphone for the past couple of years and the device lets me see all the various entries over several calendars but I have not found a way to have the entries entered into the phone to go back to the various calendars....I think I may have these problems (they may have only been problems due to technical ineptitude) licked and kicked after playing around with my existing calendar for this exercise. I created a new Google calendar with the same title as the blog that I intend to use with my classes. I shared it and gave posting & management rights to my team colleagues initially just to experiment with it, but hopefully for planning/collaborative purposes. Next I activated the mobile device extensions so it can all be sent to the iphone. (It is amazing how in just the last few years, my practices have changed so radically away from work on the desk/lap top to the iphone) Obviously, the benefit to the classroom is for students to be able to keep abreast of assignments. More so, I think the access to the class calendar to post events might work well towards real buy-in to a class community. From a productivity standpoint, I feel that I am now in a position of creating events just once and having multiple reminders of tasks and to dos across a variety of platforms.Lastly, I added it to my blog.
I have an igoogle page that I really love and use on my home machine.  It keeps me constantly hooked up to the news services, personal blogs, and edu-blogs that I want to see. There are so many really fun and useful apps here.  I love the Art Work of the Day, the Sticky Note, and the translation tool. I had begun to use Google Docs in my former position, but it never really went to far, as students were unable to gain access at school and my former district was afraid of such open platforms. Obviously this app is a wonderful way for educators to collaborate on lesson, parent letters, grant proposals, syllabai (?), etc. However the real benefit of Google Docs will reveal itself in student (individual, small group, class, department, world) collaboration on a document or presentation. As exciting as the potential these apps represent, it is nothing compared to the REALITY of using them! Starting in the August, ALL my students will have access to Google Apps!
I also experimented with Google Notebook and it looks promising, though I have to say (if I understand its intended use) is that Delicious and especially Diigo seem to be better bookmarking platforms. I also use Google Reader, but I tend to subscribe to too many streams and end up not really using it. That is my fault and not the app's....but that's a Thing #8 discussion.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thing #6 - Mash it UP!

I look forward to becoming a grown up, the man I want to be, the eager student, the wise sage on the stage, and now, at last, the Guide on the Side. I am a huge fan of scrap booking as a means of relaxation through artistic expression. My "old school" nature engenders a love of the real feel of artifacts from my various exploits and adventures - the receipt from the expensive gourmet meal, the stub for the roller-coaster that ripped the heart from my chest, the perfect photo that ordinarily overlaps, yet mimics approximately the extra-ordinariness of the  comparison....but these applications are an oldmanturningyoungerman's digital dream works! When I can't wait to get out there and upload my digital adventure record to Flickr and then spend a day or 10 in personal satisfaction....then I am Busting-at-the-Seams giddy to provide these opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding of the heretofore difficult, dry, and boring concepts of setting, characterization, plot, theme, mood, tone in a format rich beyond the dreams of avarice over the 5 piece paragraph, the multipleguessbraindead assessment....well, I am impressed! There is so much very doable and valuable cool stuff in just this one place. The beauty of it is that one test run, leads to another and another and then to the glorious pedagogical realization....that only the iceberg's tip has been glanced, not even really seen, far from being witnessed or explored.....Literacy Arts Indeed!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thing #5

Flickr is Quickr! I spent the first week of the summer in a College Board Pre-AP training. Many of the strategies were taught using images to get to the heart of disscussions on subject matter, mood, tone, and theme. Last week I attended a Promethean workshop in Fort Worth where the use of images to get to the heart of content were highlighted. My favorite recreational blog uses images very effectively to get its point across. I see the Flickr as a very effective and efficient tool to find quality images on the fly. The creative common aspect is not only a relief from copyright concerns, but offers a real-world segue into that otherwise, eye-rolling and sigh inducing subject. I can see using Flickr in a number of ways in Language Arts. One way is through the 4 image story - here the students would create, organize, manage, select, edit and assemble images to tell a story(ies) according to selected or assigned theme(s). Flickr provides an easily accessible and a manageable storage tools for individual students, student groups within and across classrooms and content areas. Images are not only a great enhancement to student writing, but can be inspiring nudges for reluctant and/or struggling writers. Lastly, I see numerous possibilities for inter-disciplinary units using image tags.

Pearl Jam - Just Breathe

Le Tour de France 2010


Friday, June 11, 2010

Educational Leadership:Expecting Excellence:Rigor Redefined

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thing # 3 Blog & Avatar

I had experimented with blogging a few years ago in a variety of fomats: wikispaces, pbwiki (now pbworks), ning and blogger. I had toyed with wetpaint, but never found it satisfactory. Blogger is actually pretty simple to use and I like simple - Who doesn't! The set up was as easy as I had remembered. I met the avatar challenge with some trepidation.......not sure why, just that I have this idiotwithimages stamp on my forehead. I'm not sure how it got there, but past experience justifies its presence at the front n' center of my being. I have been having issues with my machine so the toggling back & forth between pages for directions was a more than a little exasperating. Also, I was looking for a better likeness: bald, glasses, whitening facial hair, WILDCRAZY ties, earrings....I guess what I ended up with represents more wishful thinking than acceptance of the harsh realities of gettingolder aging. I can see that this avatar biz satisfies at least 2 concerns I have with student blogs - it allows for some degree of actual representation with a fair dose of creative expression AND it's not an actual photograph. I think this coupled with "stage" names would provide calm for web predator concerns. This easy process also makes me see beyond my "One Class Blog" approach to envision a class network of student blogs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thing # 2

I worked on the post in Word thinking I could paste it in....Blogger won't allow that, yet it will allow one to paste a comment...strange. So I am asking for permission to let my comment count as my Thing # 2 post in this one instance?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer 2010 Staff Development Goals

This is going to be one cool summer! I am starting the College Board Pre-AP English course next week - Man, I hope it's good. Really, all a highly paid professional requires is that a course adhere to the command, "Don't Waste My Time!"
Then I begin (posting for Credit that is) on the 23 Things Web 2.0 tools thang...hopefully I can get to tackle the 11 More Things Web 2.0 thang.....Then on Monday - 6/14 - I get to attend the Shifting Literacies double am sessions....then if I can get the district's staff development page to open, I'll go for a day of looking at an ActiveBoard LA classroom....then the fam is off to Cosmo Fort Worth for a Promethean's ActiveBoard Symposium/Workshop. Of course there will be BBQ and Art Museums, and a roller coaster or three to thrill to! I'll be reading and posting on A Framework for Understanding Poverty (IF I can manage to get on the wiki!), creating personal musings and chasmodically deep insights on the films Freedom Writers and Under the Same Moon. Then after a look at several eastern colleges we can't afford, I venture to Austin for a retreat with my SFMS LA colleagues and get all prepped out for the new year....then to the New Jersey Writing Project for 3 weeks of guud ol lurnin' bout ritin'. Oh yeah, the Goal! Be a an effective LA teacher that actually teaches some 21st Century Skills. First step! Let's ROCK!