Friday, October 31, 2008

Geotagging Halloween

Normally, I wouldn't post something so inane on a site about education and technology but...

File this under: What will the think of next.  While looking for spooky music for Halloween I came across this link: Halloween Candy Code.  Basically, it's geotagging for candy.  While humorous in nature, it just shows how ingenious can be.  Next year I'm sure it will go more high tech.  Kids may have an elaborate Twitter network established and coded specific to their sweet tooth!  Gotta love it!  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

As I have been preparing for T+L in Seattle tomorrow. I have been thinking about a number of things including: The socio-economic causes of the digital divide, cognitive versus behavioral leaning, bridging the gap between genrations using todays Web 2.0 technologies and ways we can virtually break down classroom walls. My brain has been working so hard at the philosophy, I somehow lost sight of what is most important in 21st century learning process -- the views of the student.
Luckily, just in the nick of time a new found friend on Twitter and facebook posted the following podcast to facebook.
It is interesting to hear how today's students reflect on technology that is just a few years old and practically obsolete already as well as invision the classroom of tomorrow! I remember my first daisy wheel printer. What do you remember? What will we remember in ten years? Great, another question to muddle my brain over the next few days!


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Some Opportunities for Professional Development

As I begin to ramp up for the T+L conference at the end of the month, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some exciting opportunities a little closer to home.


The first is the The Chicago International Children's Film Festival
I happened upon this completely by accident this morning while "sleep surfing" at 4:00 in the morning.


According to their website:

The CICFF is North America's largest and most celebrated film festival devoted to films for and by kids, and it's the only Academy®-qualifying children's film festival in the world! (That means our winners in the short film category can go on to compete for the Oscars®!


This year, "Cannes for Kids" features over 200 of the best films and videos for kids from 40 countries. The Festival welcomes over 26,000 Chicago area children, adults, and educators to hundreds of screenings. More than 100 filmmakers, media professionals & celebrities attend the Festival to lead interactive workshops with kids."


They offer packages for groups over 25 and some very interesting Professional Development Opportunities for parents and teachers alike. Perhaps the most intriguing thing is that it is "for and by kids." I have always believed that giving students ownership of the learning process ingrains the lesson being taught.




You don't even need to leave the comfort of your classroom or home for the second opportunity. It's the K12 Online Conference!


It actually start today October 13th, 2008! According to the website:
"The K-12 Online Conference invites participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. This FREE conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone. The 2008 conference theme is “Amplifying Possibilities”. This year’s conference begins with a pre-conference keynote the week of October 13, 2008. The following two weeks, October 20-24 and October 27-31, forty presentations will be posted online to the conference blog (this website) for participants to download and view. Live Events in the form of three “Fireside Chats” and a culminating “When Night Falls” event will be announced. Everyone is encouraged to participate in both live events during the conference as well as asynchronous conversations. More information about podcast channels and conference web feeds is available!"


I already missed the Pre-conference keynote, but luckily in the 21st century you don;t have to be anywhere anymore! I've posted it for your convenience below:

Pre-conference Keynote



I'm looking forward to the month ahead as it is going to be filled with so many thought provoking opportunities. I'm sure in the coming months this blog is going to be filled with thoughts and ideas, so please visit often!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is anyone really out there?

I'm beginning to ask this question. It's akin to the question does anyone hear you scream in Cyberspace? Viral videos have begun to be broadcast on network tv. There are televisions channel created by people. Current TV for one.
Other sites like UStream, Mogulus, Stickam allow users to broadcast their lives. But is anyone really out there? Are we using the technology purposefully or as I heard a board member for a school district in Alabama say today during a T+L presentation: are we just "playing with technology" Students today are using the network to sign up for facebook and myspace. But what are we doing as adults?
Sure we have facebook accounts and might have 100's of contacts there, but are we just "playing with technology" when we should be leverging its power.
I just sent a very public twitter message stating that I am Stickam right now willing to discuss the days events at T+L Seattle and absolutely no one is dropping in! It may be that a lot of people are still at the event or meeting with people in small groups with their own districts. But you would think that one person, just one, would be curious enough to pop in and see what the heck that tweet was all about!?
In such a social world, we are apparently not very social and that just leaves me screaming in Cyberspace where no one can hear me...Guess I'll try again later. Going to Pike's Market to pick up some souvineers.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hacking the Debates

I realize this is a blog that is mainly about the philosophy of Technology and Education. But this is my blog and I can certainly stretch the boundaries once in a while. Right?
Anyway, I've been using Twitter for quite some time. And I can simply say it's neat to tweet! When sitting at a boring dinner party or event it can be a good way to break the monotony. I like watching the public feed and seeing what other people are doing. But until now, I haven't seen much true value to it. It hasn't struck me a true global medium. Unless you have hundreds of followers (I have 2 at the moment), you may as well be shouting into a black hole! Incidentilly, you an follow me on Twitter at JMGubbins.
I did preface that last statement with until now. You see, over the past few weeks, the Current TV channel has been broadcasting the debates in partnership with Twitter. During the debate they run a twitter feed along the bottom of the screen allowing anyone with access to a cellphone with a Twitter client or access to a computer to send their thoughts on the debate. I was my usual skeptical self when I first heard about this, so I watched the VP debate a few weeks back on Current and was impressed that the tweets (incidentally, a tweet is a posted Twitter comment) were coming from both sides of the aisle and that the majority of the comments held validity. I don't know if Current was filtering the comments or not but I didn't notice any vulgar language or true hate mongering.
At any rate, I now see Twitter as a valuable Social Networking tool, but maybe I'm a little biased since my comment was the last in the commercial Current is running for the 3rd and final debate (look for JMGubbins).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Technology and the 2 year old

Has it really been a few months since my latest post. Time really does fly. It's been a busy few months with school starting up again.

I was recently in a faculty meeting where someone mentioned they were investigating the effects of technology on education and whether there was a correlation to increased mastery of material when technology was incorporated into the curriculum. Of course, I certainly believe in that theory or I would not be in the field of education and technology. I will be interested in what the findings of this research project are but I wanted to share a personal story with you about the influence of technology on learning.

My son is now 2 years old and is really into being read books. However, neither my wife nor I have necessarily sat down and tried to teach him to identify letters or numbers. Colors and shapes yes, but we figured he was still too young to start pushing the literary skills. Now he does watch a great deal of TV (Blue's Clues and SuperWhy are among his favorite programs) and these shows of course are introducing numbers and letters. Now, his grandparents who live just outside Athens, Greece (hence the title of my blog) sent his older sister a toy laptop a few years back and it has been one of his favorite toy's to play with. One of the games on that laptop is a letter identification game. Additinally, we have not necessarily tried to teach our children any Greek since my daughter appeared to be having a late onset of speech due to the bilingual nature of her first year or so on earth. OK, there's the background -- here's the story.

I came home from work the other day and my wife called me saying "come in here you won't believe this!" At this point I'm thinking: OK, what did the kids break now?! I walked into the family room to find my wife's jaw practically on the ground. My daughter had brought something home from school that had been decorated with letters and there was my 2 year old son pointing to random letters and vocally identifying them in English and Greek!!! That's when my jaw hit the floor.

Now remember, the only way he had been introduced to letters was through the TV and this little Greek laptop toy. If technology hasn't already played a role in my child's brain development, I'm not sure what has!

Just food for thought.
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