Category Archives: Blogs

Ubiquitous Thoughts is Two!

Yes, it’s hard to imagine that what started out as an experiment is now a two-year-old blog. The writing has somewhat dwindled as of late, and that’s because I’ve been doing a lot of writing for other purposes. In any event, I’m planning on continuing to blog, even if it is in spurts. I’m sure I’ll never be as prolific as some of the other ed tech and/or mobile bloggers out there, but it has been a fun ride nonetheless.

Image Credit: “Birthday Cake – Circled”, bcmom’s photostream:
http://flickr.com/photos/bcmom/124458214/ 

Getting Ready for NECC, Part II

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As many of you probably know by now, Steve Hargadon has created a list of tags and feeds for all NECC sessions. If you are attending any of the SIGHC sessions, please use the tags below (especially helpful for those of us who will miss sessions or NECC altogether). For a full list of tags and feeds, please click here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

1st Annual International Leadership Summit for Learning Technology Research, Development, and Dissemination (SIILT, SICHC, SIGDE, SIGTC, and ISTE’s International Committee (Monday, June 25, 2007, 7:30 am – 1 pm; GWCC B203). Registration is $20, seats are still available.
Link to registration page
Click here to go to a list of priorities submitted by SIGHC
Tag=n07s123 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Mobile, Digital, Ubiquitous: Solutions for Learning with Handhelds external image calendar_icon.gif
[Session: Panel]
Julie Lindsay, International School Dhaka, Bangladesh with Judy Breck, Graham Brown-Martin, Michael Curtis, Janice Kelly and Tony Vincent
Monday, 6/25/2007, 8:30am–9:30am; (GWCC B213)
Panel members present solutions for curriculum integration, multimedia inclusion, and best practice of mobile technologies for learning at any age. Sponsored by ISTE’s SIGHC.
****Click here for more info****.
Tag=n07s732 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Anywhere, Anytime: Using Mobile Phones for Learning external image calendar_icon.gif
[Session: Lecture]
Thomas McNeal, Kent State University with Mark van’t Hooft
Monday, 6/25/2007, 11:00am–12:00pm; (GWCC B301)
The Desktop Videoconferencing (DVC) Project at Kent State University has been investigating new and unique ways of using video-conferencing for learning with mobile phones. Sponsored by SIGHC. (Commercial Content)
Tag=n07s653 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SIGHC (Handheld Computing) Business Meeting external image calendar_icon.gif
[Other Program Events: Meeting/Focused Gathering]
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 4:45pm–6:15pm; (GWCC B301)
Gather with fellow SIG subscribers and leaders, plan yearly activities, exchange best practices, and recognize innovators and leaders who are committed to advancing educational technology. If you are at NECC, please plan to attend. There will be food!!!
For a preliminary agenda and to provide your input, please go to the Business Meeting page. The agenda will be finalized by Thursday, June 21, 2007.
Tag=n07s905 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Handhelds: Empower Students to Increase Academic and Behavioral Achievement external image calendar_icon.gif
[Poster: Traditional]
Daniel Gulchak, Arizona State University
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 9:00am–11:00am; (GWCC Level 5, Galleria)
Learn how students can use handhelds to monitor their performance in school with results of an empirical study and ideas for replication in your class. Sponsored by ISTE’s SIGHC. (Commercial Content)
Tag=n07s515 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

mLearning with Cell Phones: Just the Beginning external image calendar_icon.gif
[Poster: Traditional]
Lucianne Sweder, Governors State University/Capella University
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 12:00pm–2:00pm; (GWCC Level 5, Galleria)
Can mobile phone learning be designed to advance the adolescent reader so maybe “Johnny” can read? Sponsored by ISTE’s SIGHC.
Tag=n07s412 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Using Student Response Systems Across Environments: See It in Action external image calendar_icon.gif
[Session: Lecture]
Margie Johnson, Metro Nashville Public Schools with Patrick Artz and Daniel Gulchak
Wednesday, 6/27/2007, 1:30pm–2:30pm; (GWCC B405)
Engage students in your classroom discussions like never before. See how three educators use student response systems and learn to use them yourself. Sponsored by ISTE’s SIGHC. (Commercial Content)
Tag=n07s835 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Is MySpace Really Mine?

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Here is a scary thought: Banning MySpace – at Home. According to this post on KairosNews, and the orignal article here, St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic School in Bloomfield Hills, MI, is banning students from using MySpace, on campus AND at home. “Those students who have existing MySpace.com accounts must delete them if they wish to continue going to school there. Students who do not delete their accounts cannot attend the school, Van Velzen [the school’s principal] said.”

Protecting students from the evils of the web is one thing, but I’m waiting to see when the first lawsuit is going to come about for violation of First Amendment rights. The scary thing is that according to the article, most parents seem to be in favor of the new school policy. Is this because it is easier to ban the use of MySpace than to learn about it and educate students on responsible, ethical, and safe use? Also, who is going to check to see whether students delete or keep their accounts, and how will the school be able to prove whether a student has an account or not? I’m sure students are already thinking of ways to circumvent this new policy.

 Instead of banning out of fear, schools and parents are better off learning about the web tools that kids are going to use, forging better relationships with kids AND technology, as I argue in the latest issue of Innovate that focuses on the Net Generation. I especially would like to point out the first comment on my article, made by Elizabeth Igarza from South Texas College within hours of the article being posted online. A couple of excerpts:

School districts across the globe are scrambling to keep up with blocking the newest social networking sites that pop up online seemingly overnight so as to safeguard our children while at school. Why then, like any other educator who cares about the well-being of our children, would I advocate unblocking these potentially dangerous sites? Simply put, because when we block our portals, we close our eyes and leave millions of our kids are out there alone, vulnerable, and unprotected. We have a duty to un-block access to social networking sites and get in there to help them understand this new connectedness, make informed choices, and lead the transformation toward a greater good. 

We could, however, just continue sitting behind blocked content warnings and let the next generation stumble in the middle of the information highway without so much as warning them to look both ways before crossing into a new digital neighborhood. Or we can get logged in, lead the dialogue and the content, and guide them in building social networks that will benefit their lives and our increasingly interconnected world. If we don’t, the headlines are full of terrifying stories of who might.

As a former social studies teacher, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Please read the entire comment at Innovate, and thanks for commenting on my article Elizabeth!!

Image Credit: MySpace.com for the MySpace logo. The rest is PhotoShopped.

The Importance of Open Content

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This one’s been sitting on my “to write” list for quite some time now, but a visit to the university library yesterday reminded me of it.

The idea of open content online is a simple one.  As Judy Breck has written in 109 Ideas for Virtual Learning, and  in this article:

Open content for learning, which is the substance of the global virtual knowledge ecology, is free, reusable, connectable learning subject content within the open Internet. It is easy to assume open content is applauded because it is altruistic for content creators to let what they produce be used charitably, for free. A much more fundamental advantage is the openness in the sense of being connectible to all other open content. Any content that is closed in the connective sense will atrophy in a withering that will ultimately punish those who sought proprietary profit.

I agree with Judy that access and connectibility are key ingredients. To that I would add (and this is by no means a complete list)

  • creativity: learners creating content; prime examples are Wikipedia, Curriki, and any of the myriad of media sharing sites that are out there;
  • accuracy: if content is open, created by many, and used for learning, it should be accurate. Wikipedia has been at the center of the accuracy discussion. If you ask me, I’d put more faith in Wikipedia content than the average textbook, because I know online content is up-to-date, multimodal, and checked by many (relatively speaking) for accuracy;
  • quality: see “accuracy”. If content is open, created by many, and used for learning, it should be good;
  • the power of groups and collaboration: many small ideas lead to big ones; examples of this include Google Image Labeler and Photosynth (Microsoft Live Labs): , as described in this earlier post.

Obviously, open content does bring with it its own issues that will need to be addressed, such as

  • access: does “open” mean “unfiltered”? 
  • copyright: Creative Commons is a workable solution for this issue. It’s a matter of content creators being willing to use Creative Commons instead of more traditional forms of copyright. A good example is Gilmor’s We the Media
  • authority: or the importance of source. See e.g. this post by David Warlick.

What triggered my memory to write this post was a somewhat forced trip to the university library yesterday. I was working on a paper and a tight deadline when I was looking for some specific information on the history of cell phones and cell phone use. I figured, no problem, hopped on the Internet, searched wikipedia, ran some queries through Google and Google Scholar, but lo and behold, I couldn’t find the info, or if I thought I had, it was inaccessible because it was through a subscription service.

Finally, I turned to our library to look for a book or two on the topic. Usually, this isn’t a problem, as our library has a nice service where you can order the books and library staff will pull the book for you and order it. All I have to do is go pick it up (in past years, they would even deliver to your office). Anyway, because that usually takes a day or two I had no choice but to go get the book myself. According to the database the book was readily available on the shelf.

To make a long story short, I finally found the book on one of the sorting shelves (and out of order) after 30 minutes of searching. The trip to the library took me about an hour, time I could have spent writing if the information I needed had been readily and openly available online.

Of course, in a formal educational environment an occurence like this tends to have larger consequences, as teachers and students don’t have the kind of time that I do to go peruse the library for an extended period of time. Immediate access to digital information online and in the classroom is key to maintain the flow of learning.

Another interesting observation here is my dissatisfaction with the whole affair. A few years ago going out and getting the book wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. However, with the pervasiveness of the Internet and online resources, I think immediacy of access is something that we’ve come to expect; I know I have …

Image credit: “Open”, tribalicious photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tribalicious/185151669/

Reflections and Top Posts for 2006

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As many other people are doing, I started looking back at the posts I’ve written since I started my blog in May 2006. It’s always interesting to see how your work progresses over time, and I was a little surprised about the quality of some of my earlier posts (they seemed so much better when I wrote them). 2006 was the first year in which I started to seriously examine the blogosphere, and one way in which I did so was by creating my own blog. Here are a few observations about getting into the mix:

  • Blogging is difficult, especially if you want to do it well and on a regular basis. I’ve learned that it is better to blog when you have something to say than to blog because you haven’t posted in a while (i.e. blogging on a daily basis, or extreme blogging as Will Richardson calls it, is pretty much an impossibility for me);
  • Like many other things, you can’t understand what it takes to blog until you actually do it for a while;
  • Blogging is more about process than product;
  • I usually get an idea for a blog from something I’ve read or seen online;
  • When I blog, I tend to spend a lot of time reading other blogs and news sources while writing;
  • Because of blogging and feedreaders, I’ve started reading more, and more digital resources; I’ve also had to rethink how I deal with the flood of information that is out there;
  • Related to this is the fact that Web 2.0 tools are enabling everybody to create content, so besides dealing with quantity, I’ve had to be more scrupulous when looking for quality.
  • The way in which I write (and think) has become less linear than it already was (see also this post by Chris Bowers);
  • My writing has matured because I’m writing more and for a wider audience;
  • I’ve started using other Internet-based tools such as tagging and media-sharing sites.

Note btw that a lot of these bullet points are important ones to think about for education when considering the value of blogging for teaching and learning.

And now…..

My top posts for 2006 (in no particular order):

Mobile Learning Redefined (Nov. 28)

Cell Phones in Schools, Part II (Oct. 17)

We All Need Perspective  (Sept. 7)

High Tech, High Touch (Aug. 15)

I really tried to limit myself to what I thought were the most important posts without forcing myself to create a Top 5 or Top 10.

Image credit: “Reflection on a Building”, Takanawho’s photostream,
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28481088@N00/311823186/

Information Is Ubiquitous Too

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I’m trying to get caught up on my blog/news reading today, and ran across Jeff Utecht’s post “Why you are not in control of information“, which reposts the latest state of the blogosphere as reported by Dave Sifry in this post on Technorati.

Without going into much of the details (the numbers are literally running off the charts), it is obvious that the amount of information that is available to us and our students is literally exploding (and I’m just talking about the Internet blogosphere). Does that mean all of this information is good? Absolutely not. Does it mean that as teachers we are still in control of the information we teach to our kids? Even less so.

The proliferation of open content on the Internet is making it even more important these days to teach kids digital and information literacy skills as I wrote about earlier in my Information Literacy post. Instead of trying to cram more content into the school day because students need to know it “for the test”, why not focus more on the skills that will help kids deal with the flood of information our society throws at them every waking hour of the day? After all, to quote Albert Einstein, “Information is not knowledge”…

Image credit: Dave Sifry @ Technorati:
http://technorati.com/weblog/2006/11/161.html

PS: And of course, right after I wrote this post I ran across this article in eSchoolNews via this David Warlick’s blog post.

Teachers Take Heed, Part II

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I just finished reading Jeff Utecht’s anniversary post, “1 year and counting” on the Thinking Stick. I’ve been following Jeff’s blog for a while now, originally because he’s working in education in Shanghai, a city I visited this summer and am still very intrigued by. However, the more I’m reading his blog, the more I’m realizing how issues of teaching, learning, and technology are similar all over the world. The context may change, but at their core, the issues that Jeff faces are very similar to the ones we face here in Ohio. This may be an indication of a world that is increasingly connected at global levels. If only we could get more teachers to see the power of the Read/Write Web.

 I could say many more things about Jeff’s post, as much of what he says about getting into the Read/Write Web rings very true for me as well, but I really urge you to go read his post yourself to get the full effect. In any event, congratulations Jeff, and here’s to your second year 🙂 Keep sharing…

Image Credit: http://jeff.scofer.com/thinkingstick/(I actually borrowed the Image Header from his blog 😉 )