Thursday, November 30, 2006

Technology Spurs testing culture? - DRAT!

This interesting Washington Post article
is brief walk through history from ancient greece to NCLB.

It appears that teachers are focused on inputs and politicians on outputs. That can't be good. I've always suspected some such problem myself.

Jim :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A time to chill out? - Thornburg Blog Post

On District Administration's "The Pulse" blog David Thornburg posts an awesome rant and call to action.

See it here.

My favorite line is, "broadband access can be a distraction to the teacher whose lifeless uttering might otherwise compete with real-time research being done by students in his class." Ouch!! :-)

You go David.

Jim :-)

ps- I must say that I have admired David T.'s work since I was a 1992 Master Teacher at the WNET Teacher Training Institute in NYC. He keynoted there and was amazing. He has been inspiring teachers to "think big" for a LONG time.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Poverty of Abundance - McKenzie

For an excellent article on info-glut and kids see this one from Jamie McKenzie.

I think you will find some excellent thoughts here. When you are done, then search out the rest of his site for other fantastic ideas. This is staff development one-stop shopping. For the best experience though you have to have the man himself present the ideas at a pre-conference session. Good stuff.

(BTW- I am in no way affiliated with Jamie. I just like his persistence and his gutsy and honest ideas.)

Jim :-)

"Happy Thanksgiving"

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why teachers don't use ICT.

Terry Friedman of "The Educational Technology Site: ICT in Education" conducted an on-line poll asking, "Why don't teachers use ICT?" You can see the results at this article.

Although I am sure these results are "unscientific" I applaud Terry for asking a good question. Good questions are amongst the most valuable things in the world. Even if the results are not perfect they will lead to meaningful conversations ...which should translate to better educational experiences for kids.

Jim :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

T& L speakers challenge educators?

Hi All,

Educational technology trade show's theme: Today's students need high-level skills to succeed.

Yah think?

Thanks for the breaking news out of the 1989 SCANS report.

As far as the "world flattening" commentary about China, see my earlier post about that one. (scroll down to 1/9/06 to see it.)

Also, I find it interesting that more than half of this article (the last two pages) were dedicated to highlighting corporate entities from the exhibit hall. Shouldn't that have warranted a different article title so I could miss that section? May I sugest, "Educational Technology Corporations Seeking your eRate Dollars!" (You realize I am being kind here.)

Jim :-)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Second Life??

I posted this on another blog of mine but thought you might have an interest in this also...yeah, yeah, I'm skeptical...but it is worth investigating!

HI All,

As if manging my first life wasn't bad enough, here come a web space known as "Second Life".

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by over a million people from around the globe.

You create a virtual person, known as an avatar and literally make your way through this world. There is an economy based on something known as a "linden dollar" which I believe can actually be converted to real money for people who would rather buy these virtuaa assets rather than earn them!

Why would I post this info on the RW Blog? Well, I recall a number of years ago joining a community run by Compuserve known as "World's Away" and finding it absolutely fascinating. The problem was that on-line time was expensive and 56.6K modems were too slow to effectively utilize the real-time aspects of the world. Now, given our new lap tops and high speed connectivity, it is actually time to see whether or not this idea has merit, free of the technological restrictions of the past.

This CNN article from 11/14 even suggests that, "A growing number of educators are getting caught up in the wave. More than 60 schools and educational organizations have set up shop in the virtual world and are exploring ways it can be used to promote learning."

Let's say we wanted an island for our organization well here are the specs..."We offer a discount to verified real world educators and academic institutions (e.g., universities/schools) or 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that will be using the regions to support their organization's official work. For these organizations, small islands are priced at US$980 for 65,536 square meters (about 16 acres), and monthly land fees for maintenance are US$150."

I know this is a far out concept but it may be time to consider the merits of virtual spaces. My 9 year old daughter is currently fascinated with a virtual space called "Club Penguin" in which she exists as a panguin, owns an igloo and, from what i just heard, an LCD TV! I kid you not! Ask any kid under the age of 11, with broadband, about it. Given the popularity of these spaces with the under-10 set they will certainly be ready to utilize an Avatar as an undergrad.

Jim :-)

Hi Tech toys and educational gains?

I'm back!

Thanks for your patience with me. I took a couple of months to deal with some family things and to explore a couple of other fun side projects. The most bizarre of which is my use of under the pseudomym "jimmyandthekeyz" *see to express my disappointment with Pluto's demotion! :-) Seriously, I am not really THAT upset! :-)

Anyhoo.. in an article written by Lucy Ward of The Guardian, it appears that an English government study has suggested that electronics for infants and pre-schoolers may not be as educational as once thought. Apparently they are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing literacy and number skills. The bottom line is that they found that "such toys were neither harmful nor "particularly beneficial". This really flies int he face of the advertising which preys on the guilty "my kids might not get into Harvard if I don't buy this" feelings of sub-urban uber-parents.

I will probably place this under my "DUH!" file, but given that it is closing in on Xmas time I thought it might be nice to share this info.