Archive for the '644' Category

A Real Test

April 28th, 2009

I love this guy.

Class members should have seen this on their aggregators, but this is too current — too important to let slide.

My idea is simply this. How can we use an event like this, and all of the news sources that are available on a breaking, global story in our classrooms? How can we teach kids about which sources of information are valuable in the midst of swirling rumour? They must be able to evaluate the worthiness of primary information surces at a time like this. There are many different channels of information available. How can our understanding be collated and improved instead of swamped by information and rumour?

This is a real test of information literacy skills.

via Remote Access: Swine Flu and Breaking News in the Classroom.

Clarence is right. This is a real test. More than a test for his kids, it’s a test for us. We *think* we get it.

Do we?

phaedrus » 2008 » April

April 2nd, 2009

I’ve been a bit derelict in directing the class so here’s a step back into the river of learning with a recap of something I found last year.

Big Idea

February 23rd, 2009

It happens again, and again, and again, and again …

John Pederson is a fellow twitterer – one of the almost 700 people I follow on Twitter – but I had to go to Remote Access to find a comment he left on one of Clarence’s posts, which brought me to THIS post on his blog.

It’s a learning project. It’s not a social networking project. It’s not a Web 2.0 project. It’s not an online community or a virtual world. Teachers need to experience and learn online learning. It’s built through a collaborative model of online learning and teaching. We aren’t building virtual schools or training more teachers. Leave that to others. This new collaborative model becomes the network around the network.

via ijohnpederson » Blog Archive » Idea.

It’s eerily similar to what *I* said just the other day about teachers and learning. An idea that’s been brewing here for a few weeks surfaced in a completely different form from a completely different vector.

This synchronicity is endemic and it’s one of the ways you know you’ve got a network.

For me, the really fascinating meta-moment here was when I remembered a post I made about a year ago about having different people pop up with the same idea almost at the exact same time.

Ironically, just a few weeks later, Will and I were talking about the same things at the same time again.

Guess what it was!

This is what we mean when we talk about having a personal learning network. It’s having ideas, and seeing them validated (or occasionally invalidated) through the serendipitous application of the network. Note that neither John nor I are saying anything radically different here than Will Richardson and I and many others were saying last March.

What’s different is that we’re refining the ideas over time. We’re constructing a common belief structure — distilling it out of experience into some stronger spirit than simple practice.

What's the Problem?

February 19th, 2009

We’re getting ready to ask our institution here to support the creation of a professional development institute. This morning we’re going to the dean in the next step of gathering support. I made this video over the weekend to support that bid:

Find more videos like this on Fireside Learning: Conversations about Education

It started life as a presentation which served as storyboard, then I saved the slides as images and imported them into MovieMaker and added music and transitions.

Comments? From a cultural perspective? Technical?

Media Literacy Presentation

February 11th, 2009

Thanks, Alec, for doing my lesson for me today:

Media Literacy Presentation

Tonight I presented “Popular Issues in (Digital) Media Literacy” to my EC&I 831 students. The presentation covered various topics such as: offensive content (bad taste, sexuality), viral videos & memes, misinformation (satire, hoaxes, scams, phishing), safety & cyberbullying, hate (racism & violence), social networks & privacy. It was very much a survey approach to the topic in hopes that my students will understand the broad scope of related issues.

via open thinking » Media Literacy Presentation.

Class? Do you have Alec Couros in your ‘gators? You should. This is why.

Intended Consequences

February 8th, 2009

Tim Holt is an educational podcaster who often has some interesting things to say:

What happens when a teacher comes up against a textbook company and it’s intellectual property protection clause?

In this case, the teacher is left with little help from their education “partner” and is left to fend for herself.

via Intended Consequences.

There’s an audiofile associated with this post (yes, it’s a podcast. There’s a feed). Go listen to it and see if you think this teacher should be allowed to do what she says she wants to do with Houghton Mifflin’s copyrighted materials.

This is an exercise in listening. Don’t listen to what you think she means. Listen to what she says she’s going to do.


That's Interesting …

February 8th, 2009

Periodically, I like to step back and take a meta-cognitive look at how the class is going. These are some of the key ideas that have shown up in my ‘gator:

Production Models and Learning
I think that this is proof that in order to be successful in teaching we must met our targeted audience’s interests.

Whether we’re looking at the issues of technology, education, and culture, or multimedia production, this is a key element. Think about how what and how we teach.

And speaking of what and how we teach, several of you had comments like this one.

I really think figured out what Dr. Lowell was trying to do, because what seemed to be a simple assignment took a lot of digging to figure out, and in the process I learned alot of other things you can do with the program. So for me, it was worth it. I don’t mind spending time on things I enjoy, and this was like a puzzle for me I could not put down.

I suspect more than a few of you hit this level of engagement — just judging from the number of people who were writing about the frustration and still going at it. This is a key element that we need to pay attention to when dealing with “gaming in the classroom.” It’s important to create real, authentic puzzles in our instructional games in order to get the deepest engagement.

It’s also telling the number of people who said, “I thought I knew how to use this tool…” That’s a direct commentary on the reality of levels of knowledge. If you don’t know something very well, then you don’t know what you don’t know and the probability is high that you think you know a lot. This is true in every domain. I’m a Ph.D. and it’s amazing how little I actually know. I used to think I had a handle on stuff, but as I moved up thru the ranks of academe, I kept getting stupider and stupider. Now, I’m pretty sure I don’t know very much, but I’ve got an interesting clutch of questions.

Finally, from the “Catch a Cluetrain Department,” several of you were on track with this. This is only one of several comments …

Cluetrain Manifesto
I suppose you could replace business with schools/universities/teachers and replace consumers with students. If you do that, then you come out with the Internet creating an open classroom style.

And for a very cool remix of Cluetrain, see what my friend Scott Adams cooked up years ago.

These ideas aren’t going away.

I Tweet Therefore …

February 6th, 2009

Alec Couros is one of the great cohort of “Canadian Content” folks that I follow regularly. This post is one of the reasons why.

Digital Storytelling Resources — Couros Blog.
With a well-established network of educators, it seems easy to solicit responses from educators who are willing to share favourite resources on various topics.

We’ve talked about Twitter in this class before and I regularly hear questions like “Why?”

I have trouble answering that because I think a lot of these “Why?” questions really depend on what you’re trying to do. Sometimes “Why?” is related to “I really just need to play with this to see what I might be able to do with it that I couldn’t do before.”

The problem comes when we don’t have enough time to play – or think we don’t. It’s sorta like saying, “I don’t have enough time to eat.” Sure, sometimes you have to eat peanut butter toast while standing over the sink because there’s just not time to cook anything, but a solid diet of that will soon have your body doing unfortunate things to you.

If you don’t take time to play, then your mind starts doing those same kinds of things.

Podiobooks in Time

February 4th, 2009

I’ve suggested to a few people that they should check out for podcast novels. [Disclaimer: I have 5 novels on the site, but you dont need to subscribe to mine.]

Here’s evidence that the nature of “media” is changing:

Podcasting Your Novel: Publishing’s Next Wave?.

While I didn’t get mentioned in the article, I’m tickled that my friends did.

As much as educators want to re-define what podcasting is, there’s a whole world out there that doesn’t care what educators think. As an educator, I find that more than a little troubling.

Comfort in Constancy

January 28th, 2009

I suppose I should take comfort in the constancy that in every semeseter, I will find students who believe in “learning styles.” The comfort comes from knowing I have resources lined up to try to help. Like this post:

Learning Styles
Several of you have referred to “learning styles” in some of your posts and comments. I know it’s fashionable, but it’s also not supported by any credible scientific evidence.

And this one:

Learning Styles, Again
In order to justify the “Learning Style” theory, that individual student MUST show sigificant improvements across a wide variety of content areas delivered in a variety of modes and therein lies the rub. Whatever design this research takes, it must somehow tease out that causal relationship between the delivery mode and the outcome that’s independent from the repetition.

I even use it as an example of non-theory here:

Theory?! What Theory?!
My problem with it is that it seems so nonsensical that the likelihood of it actually being true is too remote for me to waste spend time with it. Logically, it just lacks a level of coherence that I need in order to take it seriously.

Yes, I know. A lot of people believe in learning styles. That’s fine. I’m happy they worship at that altar.

Education isn’t something I’m willing to take on faith.