Please visit from here on in.


New Site Feature

I have added a new page – Resources. This is a place to find some cool Web 2.0 websites that are good for classroom use. This list, while not exhaustive, is only a start. I do have many more ideas to add – this is my starting place (due to time constraints).

Textbooks… ah… textbooks

Textbooks are very expensive. They just are. We are seeing the publishing industry morphing – still really beginning but with the advent of the Amazon Kindle – especially the new larger version, we have an opportunity. But what are the ramifications?

I, for one, think that the new possibilities are exciting! Even though the Kindle is more expensive, imagine what a motivated teacher could do to liven up the curriculum! The text could morph and especially when information (in some courses) changes constantly, perhaps the Kindle is the way to go.

Found this excellent post: Thinking Stick – Amazon Kindle

What is your opinion?

Educational Technology doesn’t work (Not my title)

I found this excellent entry on the GenYes Blog. I love the author’s reasoning behind why this title / subject is simply not correct. Have a read!

Why can’t kids learn online? I did.

Having had many conversations with various teachers, I am always astonished to hear some question how they could use the Internet to teach their students. I realize that there could be several reasons behind this skepticism. I am hoping that the biggest reason is simply that they do not know how to incorporate it into their classroom. There lies the potential  – if we remain open to using various technologies like the Web, we can always learn how to best utilize it to our students’ advantage. If we are close-minded, we will not learn.

This conversation always get me thinking about my own personal learning curve. Google has become my new teacher… or rather guide to new learning. I love photography. I love to learn about photography and to practice my skills. Where did I learn most of these skills? I learned them on the Internet. The search engine (mine is Google) has allowed me to find information about this topic. It has never been so easy.

Let’s take this one step further. The current generation of students are frequently visiting social networking sites and social media sites. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are some examples of social sites where students tend to hang out. They have shown us they like to collaborate and to learn together. This is partly why I use social networking in my classroom. If I look at how I started to learn and grow quicker, I demonstrate the same desires. I joined sites like Flickr where I post my pictures and then discuss and critique photos in the various online communities on Flickr. This collaborative learning as we critiqued each others’ photos was instrumental in getting me to think differently about my photography. It has been mind stretching to have immediate contact with other photographers from around the world.

Why can’t kids learn online? I did. We just need to inform people and be constantly in conversation about how to go about helping students find the resources they need to be more independent and initiate self-learning. Isn’t that our goal? That our students are prepared for the future and that they become life long self-learners? The scary thought is that perhaps most students have figured this out for themselves thereby leaving teachers behind to learn this for themselves.

Hiatus! Sorry, I didn’t mean to.

Sometimes life gets in the way of things. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. My wife and I took our kids to Disney World over the March Break. What a good time that was! Further, I caught a nasty strep throat after coming back. All that to say, posts should be coming soon! Thanks for your patience!

Moving towards where we should already have been

With all of this talk of technology integration and looking at how students in today’s world learn and use technology, the school system has needed a drastic change for a while. There are some important questions we need to ask ourselves concerning this transition.

Why haven’t we changed yet?
What is stopping or hindering the change?
What are the dangers of not changing?
What will it take to change?

This reminds me of a particular industry that has been drastically impacted by their fear of new technologies and their reluctance to change with the times. The industry saw the Internet coming and became paralyzed by the potential of this technology to change its business model. They were blinded by this so much that they did nothing or even worse. They began to fight it!

I am thinking of the music industry. As the first iPod came out (2001), the music industry was so concerned about downloading and fighting it that they did nothing to join the revolution. They should have been FIRST to dip their feet in the pool (Internet, downloading) by offering legal and legitimate ways to purchase music online far before the time when people decided to take this into their own hands. As controversial as this comment may be, our society has now accepted downloading music. Whether you agree with that or not, the very industry that tried to prevent this is probably to blame. Today, iTunes (Apple’s online media store) is the largest seller of music in the United States. Walmart used to hold that title by selling CD (hard copies). We vote with our dollars, a friend of mine once told me. People are voting, with their money, that they prefer the digital way. Thankfully, the music industry is on board now. But, imagine where they would have been by now if they transitioned when they could have.

Fast forward to the future (2009) and  it seems that some schools / teachers are fighting tooth and nail to teach using techniques from the past. What will happen if we don’t change with our students? I shutter to think about the repercussions. *Please read me correctly, I am not painting with a broad stroke by saying that ALL teachers are reluctant to change. But, in today’s day and age, I find it difficult to believe that one can not see its importance.