Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quantum Aspects of Game Theory

Pass The Pigs by Kaptain Kobold
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Hagen Lindstädt and Jürgen Müller, authors of Making Game Theory work for Managers, explain the ways in which Game Theory can be used to help business, as well as the ways managers may misuse the theory. This is also a good model for teachers to use when developing a plan to implement standards, teach content, affect student behavior and more.

One problem with using any model, is trying to cherry pick the "best, right" answer to a particular circumstance and not deviating from the plan, even when the scenario changes.

As the authors state so well, the best way to use Game Theory is to develop a "...range of outcomes".

As teachers get closer to the points where the various outcomes diverge, there is usually more data that can be used to revamp the model and hone in on the point of actual reality.
Making game theory work for managers
In times of uncertainty, game theory should come to the forefront as a strategic tool, for it offers perspectives on how players might act under various circumstances, as well as other kinds of valuable information for making decisions.
it’s often misused to provide a single, overly precise answer to complex problems.
The key is to use the discipline to develop a range of outcomes based on decisions by reasonable actors and to present the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winsome Wednesday: Google Friend Connect

What blog roll web application do you use? Do you use a WordPress blog, a Blogspot format, or some other format? Does this make a difference when it comes to choosing a blog roll visual web application?

As I continue the Winsome Wednesday feature, we'll look at a utilitarian web application, Google Friend Connect. Used effectively, it can improve productivity and increase the amount of time you can spend reading blogs of people in your Professional Learning Network.

I've used several blog roll web applications in the past. Now I'm using the Google Friend Connect application that comes with my blogger application. I try to support those who follow my blog by following their blog. I also follow other blogs that I use for reference material.

New additions were added to my blog dashboard. The folks at Blogger added a place called READING LIST where you can read the blogs that you joined through Google Friend Connect, as well as Blogger Buzz and Blogs of Note.

I like the simplicity of the Google Friend Connect function for my blog. Anytime I open my blog, I can go to my dashboard and read the posts written by any of the bloggers I follow. If I want to comment or link to their blogs, I can easily do that.

I would like to recommend Google Friend Connect to my Professional Learning Network (PLN). You may want to consider using the Google Friend Connect in the place of the traditional Blog Roll. There are many advantages, besides saving space in your sidebar. People can still refer to bloggers you would list in your Blog Roll, because these same people are now displayed in your Google Friend Connect web application.

Any reader who wants to follow other bloggers in my PLN can just click on their name in my Google Friend Connect box. Do you use the Google Friend Connect box? If so, please add your name to the Google Friend Connect web application on my blog. If not, please consider adding some type of blog roll web application, like Google Friend Connect to your blog.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Qualitative Research: Using Technology in Class

bandwagon on web2.0 colors by davemc500hats
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

In this article, Engaging Students with Engaging Tools Ed Webb has created a wonderful example of what I like to see, a reprise of a qualitative study into the uses of technology in the regular progression of improving students' use of technology while teaching class at the college level. Any teacher could use Ed Webb's protocol and replicate this research in their class.

A teacher could even expand on this research by giving a formal pre-post test of technology skills and an interest inventory. Using Google Forms, a teacher could easily present the tests and survey (inventory).
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Engaging Students with Engaging Tools

Engaging Students with Engaging Tools

  • A new course teaching media, mass communication, and political identities in the Middle East and North Africa explored the use of social media in pursuit of effective learning.

  • Using a variety of social media and other tools encouraged student engagement in and out of the classroom.

  • Student responses varied from discomfort with the technology to enthusiastic adoption and continued use after the course ended.
  • The 21 students in the class ranged from first years to seniors and came from several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Some were majoring in Middle East Studies or International Studies with a Middle East concentration, while others had little or no background in the region. At the start of the class almost all had Facebook accounts. Only one had a blog. None used Twitter. I inferred from their comments that comfort levels with digital technology ranged widely,
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    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Another Balkanized Technology Rip-Off

    Choices by koalazymonkey
    Attribution-NoDerivs License

    What new technology do you have that isn't already obsolete as soon as you buy it? Over the past thirty years, I can only think of one instance. I did actually buy a computer that didn't become obsolete within three years. Obsolescence is understandable it if the technology is truly developing, especially if greatly enhanced unique products are being produced. That doesn't happen very often.

    From vinyl formats to programs to online image formats to music formats, the balkanized world of technology has introduced its most recent addition: E-BOOK READERS.

    The concept of importance here is that the e-book reader world is balkanized, separated....segregated, for no good reason. One might surmise that it is greedy desire for exuberant overspending by the consumer. What is the purpose of planned obsolescence? Is this what drives the separation and format variations among the electronic publishers and e-book reader manufacturers?

    Each e-book reader accepts a few electronic publication formats. NO e-BOOK READER accepts all formats of electronic publishing. This is the Betamax debacle all over again.

    With a crippled world economy, I would suggest that e-book reader manufacturers and sellers should remember that the world has changed. Consumers can’t cavalierly be the engine of commerce. I believe that BUYING just for the sake of consumption must stop. It’s neither sustainable nor ethical.

    PC World recently tested seven of the latest e-book readers that were available, except the newest one: Barnes & Noble’s Nook. It’s not available for testing yet.

    I believe that the company who makes an e-book reader with access to all formats of electronic publications will win the market in the end. Pssst: publishers are you listening? You could solve this problem by selecting a publishing standard or allowing conversions to a variety of electronic publishing formats.
    clipped from
    If you think the universe of e-book readers begins with the Kindle 2 and ends with the Kindle DX, think again. That universe is expanding rapidly. We recently completed thorough hands-on testing of seven of the top e-readers available today and came to a surprising conclusion: Our number one choice isn't from Amazon at all; it's the Sony Reader Touch Edition.
    Sony's $300 reader matches the Kindle 2's screen size and quality but adds a touchscreen and support for free e-books and Adobe ePub, an e-book file format that book publishers and resellers have widely embraced. Whereas Adobe's PDF reproduces a fixed image of a page, ePub permits text to reflow in order to accommodate different fonts and font sizes.
    Of course, no company's lead in the rapidly evolving e-reader market is safe.
    Barnes & Noble
    announced its Nook e-reader
    most people who got a peek at the device seemed to love it.
    Nook isn't yet available for thorough testing, however.
     blog it

    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    Getting Started in Web2.0

    Getting Started in Web 2.0
    is a great presentation to help develop activities to use when building effective school communities with Web2.0 tools.

    You can encourage parent interactions with the school and teachers that will ultimately improve the learning of children. This wonderful school presentation was created using Google Docs. You can use it as a guide for several activities in the learning practices of a school community.
    1. Professional Development for teachers and staff.
    2. Parent meeting presentation
    3. Class lesson
    4. School Board meeting

    Use this presentation, by Dan Noble, as a springboard for your own parent interaction presentation. That's what the author is hoping.

    Friday, December 25, 2009

    Do You Lock Your Doors?

    "Key Note" by william.neuheisel
    Attribution License
    Have you had trouble with spammers, phishers or other internet interlopers? Many of my Professional Learning Network, including me, have recently experienced troubles with our various interactive social networks, including blog comments and Twitter. There is also the less obvious, yet serious problem: thieves that steal your postings without attributing the work to you.

    Do You Lock Your Online Doors? In the beginning, I didn't, but now I do. At first, I just tried to avoid the issue of phishing, spamming and theft. I ignored the Direct Messages, deleted the spam comments and stopped blogging. From my own experiences, that makes you more vulnerable which seems to be just what these people want. Just as you do at your own home, I would like to recommend that you take a more proactive stance against personal attacks. To begin with, I'd suggest that you LOCK YOUR DOORS!

    The first time a phisher captured my Twitter account, I thought it was an accident. This first phisher was an educational group communicating with me. Eventually, as I discussed the problem on Twitter, they stopped sending their tweets of new blog posts in my name.

    Unlocking by Gabriela Camerotti
    Attribution-NonCommercial License
    Even after that experience, I was naive. I didn't realize that some SEO's follow you with the hope that you will follow them. When you do follow them, they stop following you. They capture your Direct Messages to promote their new products, games, or blog posts. When you call their attention to it, they don't know what you are talking about since they don't even follow you. I wonder if you have had any similar experience?

    Finally, I changed my password. That was very aggravating, but it did stop the phishing. I had to remember: "Lock the Doors!".

    Another recent problem is spamming comments on my blog posts. Some of my professional learning network recommended allowing comments to go right to my blog, and I believed that would allow people to comment with the least trouble. That worked well for me for over two years, yet "a good deed never goes unpunished". Do you still allow open commenting without approval? If so, how do you deal with spammers?

    Over the past two months, I've had at least five different spammers attack my blog comments section. I didn't notice it at first, as they were adding their spam comments to my older posts. Fortunately, I found them in the email notifications when new comments appear on my blog.

    I wanted to counteract the spamming, but still allow unrestricted comments on my new posts. These are some of the measures that I instituted for this blog.

    I locked down the comment postings on my old posts, and these comments had to be approved before they would be posted. That worked for about a week, but the spammers started direct attacks on my new posts. Has this happened to you?

    In the end, I've changed all my blog comments approval system. Your comments must be approved before they will appear on my blog. Philosophically, I'm opposed to that. I want my readers to KNOW that all comments will be posted. I want to assure you that all comments, negative or positive, will be posted, unless they are off-topic spamming. How are you solving this blog comment spamming problem?

    The last problem is the most offensive to me personally, just because it is so personal. I use one of the most generous Creative Commons copyrighting licenses available, but some people ignore it. They seem so desperate to appear creative and original that they don't make attributions of other blogger's work on their blog posts. Have you experienced this problem?

    How did I discover it? Just as I discover cheaters in my classes, they usually give themselves up. Many are loosely connected to me in my professional learning network (PLN). When they advertise a new blog post about a topic of interest to me, I want to read it. My original intent is to learn more, but then I'm disappointed to find they use the same links that I've found to discuss the same idea from MY perspective. What's worse is the use of direct quotes from my blog posts without attributions. I'm flattered that they take my ideas or my words, but I would appreciate a simple link to my original article.

    How are you dealing with this phenomena? My original response was to stop posting. That's a dead end proposal, because I want to write about my ideas, experiences and practices.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Glogster Education: DIY for teachers

    Try out the Glogster Education website. It's easy to add your students, and they don't have to have an email address. The teacher has control over the project distribution and content. Save money, resources and the environment by eliminating the need for traditional posters. These can be saved in .jpg format and displayed on monitors or digital photo frames.

    You may use my sample, but I would appreciate it if you would link to this article or cite my work.

    If you are using Glogster, what do you think of the product? What was your experience?

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Making the Rounds of the PLN!

    Be seeing you by Olivander
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
    It never hurts to be reminded of the basics of learning, just as was pointed out by members of my Professional Learning Network. 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer is a humorous homily for this simple idea about deliberate practice written by Brian Clark.

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    12 Views in Animoto

    Using this sample Animoto video as a guide, you may see how to use the Animoto web application to build a video from images and videos. Add your own music, or use the music available on the web application. Twelve images and one video clip were used to create this thirty second video that was packaged for Youtube.

    The video you create can represent one part of your Biodiversity presentation and can be transferred to Youtube or other presentation media.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Find Your Family's Footprint

    mother daughter scooter by WhatDaveSees
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

    On Blog Action Day 2009, bloggers all around Earth are sharing their ideas, comments and actions for Climate Change.
    If we hope to be the change we see in the world, let's start at home. Try this carbon footprint survey provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and determine the extent of your carbon usage. Learn what you can do to make it smaller or pat yourself on the back for keeping your family's ecological footprint to a minimum.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    I Skype!

    the skype payphone project by pt
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
    Mr. Robbo, The P.E. Geek, a colleague in my PLN (professional learning network) recently posted his teaching experiences with Skype. I agree with the basic premise of his post, Why Skype Is the Most Valuable Tool I Use. Yes, Skype is a great tool.

    It seems strange, yet people often resist the most obvious and easiest internet path to use, free online tools. In my own case, I came to Skype recently, but it has revolutionized the way I communicate with my Professional Learning Network (PLN). What finally helped me begin to use Skype was encouragement from my peers.

    Since my teen, as part of her official, school web applications, uses Skype in her Project Based Learning Activities, we discussed how she and her peers use Skype. Later, I wrote an article, Anticipate and Skype Your Reaction about a few of the many possible educational ways teachers could use Skype in their classrooms.

    It seems to me that the increased communication capacities when using audio and video, as well as sharing links and screenshots make Skype one of the best free web applications to improve student access to teachers and their learning.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Winsome Wednesday: PhotoFace Animation

    If you have ever animated images, you will recognize Oddcast: PhotoFace as an exceptionally simple tool to use your own images to develop an interactive animation similar to those generated from applications such as Voki. This new web application drew my attention, and I want to thank my PLN colleague, marragem for sharing with our fellow Plurkadians.

    What makes Oddcast: PhotoFace different from applications such as Voki is the use of your own image as the base of the animated creation. That is very exciting, as you can also add your own audio.

    First, you download a picture, or you can use one provided at the website. Here is a sample of how that works:

    Then you follow the step by step procedure to add audio and send your new animation. I hope you enjoy this web application, OddCast: PhotoFace.

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Teachers Can't Coast

    All through our lives, we are at various stages of interest and commitment to our work and personal lives. When you teach, you must be on target, and there is no room for coasting. This is this issue discussed here in our PLN.

    I like the idea that Sharon Elin shared that possibly the "coasting" teacher may need some assistance to get back on track. Sometimes, personal or family illness can put a strain on a teacher's ability to respond in a robust manner to their students.

    As I always say, let's check out the antecedents, before we throw the baby out with the bath water. If assistance doesn't help, the "gold-bricking" teachers may need to work somewhere else where they may have better results with this behavior.
    clipped from

    What do we do with goldbrickers and dead wood?

    Education is a noble and honorable enterprise — well-meaning, respectable, geared toward progress and success. For all its lofty intentions, though, we have a few glaring problems in education here in America. One of the most pernicious is the dark truth that the profession currently includes too many ineffective, lame, or even neglectful and abusive teachers. They make us all look bad, and, frankly, I’m ready to either clean house and get rid of them or find more assertive methods to remediate their training until they improve.

    This is how Sharon Elin starts her blog posting under the heading: The best mirrors.  The article is worth reading in its entirety.  What amazes me is the similarity between America and South Africa on this matter.

    The first step to solve the situation is to recognize, and then acknowledge, that we have a problem.  Sharon helps us to do just that. 

    I echo that by saying: “Prune out the dead wood.”

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    NRICH Your Student's Math Interactions

    I have used and shared this website for several years now. Students and teachers can access a variety of math problems and activities that can enrich student's learning.

    There are interactive aspects students access here, when they choose a background for their work at the NRICH website.

    Try this website and sign up for their monthly newsletter.
    clipped from

    The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of
    all learners. To support this aim, members of the NRICH
    work in a wide range of capacities, including providing
    professional development for teachers wishing to embed rich
    mathematical tasks into everyday classroom practice. More
    information on many of our other activities can be found here.
    thousands of our free mathematics
    enrichment materials (problems, articles and games) for teachers
    and learners from ages 5 to 19 years. All the resources are
    designed to develop subject knowledge, problem-solving and
    mathematical thinking skills. The website is updated with
    on the first day of every month.

    mathematical theme continues to be Visualising:
    We use visualisation almost every time we engage in problem
     blog it

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    Looking for Pearls

    A discussion of what we are missing in our conversations that could encourage a fuller understanding and acceptance of technology in education. Positve and negative comments have bits of truth that are there for us to mine to develop into pearls of wisdom.
    Go to the source

    It has been a very busy week and it will only intensify from now until the end of June. I’ve been working on several projects and just haven’t had the time to get involved in conversations via twitter or read too many blogs. However, as I was working tonight, I’ve been reading a few as they cross my screen. The following tweet by byjudeonline caught my eye:

    The idea brought up by heyjudeonline  is a core part of the whole web2.0/21st century learning discussion . As I work frantically to meet deadlines, get ready for meetings, meet with parents, visit classrooms and all the rest, there isn’t time for me to be on twitter or keep up with the conversations and discussions and I just don’t have the desire to go back too far in the discussions to see if I’m missing anything.
    However, to learn and grow, I’ve really looked at what has been said and learned to see the grain of truth that is hidden there.
    take it and let what could be an irritant become
    a pearl.
     blog it

    Making Technology Relevant for Education

    Using technology in our classes, just because it's out there, just for its own sake is a recipe for disaster. Technology in education is not the one new thing in town, it is the way we expand our teaching and learning. If we don't use it with an eye to relavance and rigor, the use of technology is pointless... This is why I chose this blog post to begin our group clog, the ABCs of PLN Power. Good teachers know how to teach, and good technology should enhance that good teaching through opportunities to expand student learning.
    clipped from

    What’s your point?

    I learned a new word this week: sciolism. It’s my new favorite word. Learning about it slapped me in the forehead with a V8 moment, reminding me not to settle for shallow busywork or entertaining (but brainless) activities in my lesson plans.

     blog it

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Winsome Wednesday: Amplify what you are reading

    A new web application, Amplify, simplifies a number of learning strategies that anyone can easily use. Amplify makes ordinary notes expand into a marvelous presentation blog format that can include ideas, commments notes, quotations, and images that form a clog. Anyone who enjoys learning and sharing their ideas online can benefit from using this new web application, Amplify.

    Clipmarks has been amplified in this new web application, and we are the beneficiaries. Try it out. I think you will find a variety of ways to use it.

    Amplify makes a wonderful educational online tool. Teachers can use the group function to encourage students to take notes and share them in a project. Students can use Amplify to develop their reports, summaries or presentations.

    Since your Amplified Clip goes straight into a Clip blog called a clog, you can easily start a group blog where your friends, family and coworkers can add comments if you like. Although you don't have to accept any comments if you are using it for a particular purpose. In a group or by yourself, Amplify gives you an opportunity to develop a special clip blog, so you can keep track of all you are reading.

    Amplify DOES NOT require a toolbar to make it function properly. All you need to do is download a tiny icon with a drop down function box. There is a Firefox extension icon(it also works in Flock), as well as a Microsoft Internet Explorer extension icon. It is clean and out of the way. When you want to use it, the Amplify extension icon is available right away.

    Several of us are testing a group clog entitled ABC's of PLN Power, and I want to invite you to join us in this beta. Add your comments and suggestions. We can guide the development of this wonderful web application through our participation.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Opportunity: Using 3 Column Blog Templates

    mother and daughter by pomegranates
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
    As my n2teaching Hearts and Minds blog develops, I include new interactive applications for teachers, and I can't bear to delete the earlier ones. As far as I am concerned, if they were important enough to select as examples of applications that have educational value, I still want to keep them on my blog.

    Having the widgets, badges and other interactive applications on my blog makes my second column very long, in comparison to the right side. I don't really think people access those applications located towards the bottom, and I would like to share these with readers and my PLN(Professional Learning Network)colleagues.

    My current dilemma is partially created because I use my blog like a website. This is a necessary requirement in a way, since I want to keep my official professional development archives easy to access and simple to use

    To solve the issues of reader accessibility, I decided that I should experiment with 3 column blog templates. My goal is to keep the blog post in a central position, yet have more information easily accessible for the reader.

    I researched what is available for someone with rudimentary programming skills such as mine, and I found many examples that I would like to share. My basic criteria for the 3-column blog templates search were:

    ****minimalistic color and structure
    ****compatible with Blogger
    ****easy to adapt

    I was greatly inspired by cgseibel's Technology for Learning blog where she uses a 3-column blog template, so I have looked for similar ones.

    Here is a Diigo Webslides presentation of a small grouping that met my criteria.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Winsome Wednesday: "Doing DaVinci"

    Doing da Vinci, a new interactive website with a companion weekly show, contains historical and scientific information about Leonardo da Vinci, as well as games and surveys. There are also video clips and information and interviews about the expert builders who brought da Vinci's machines to life, from his notes and diagrams.

    One of the more interesting web applications on this site is Leonardo da Vinci's Personality Quiz. Several colleagues, including CoffeeDdaisy, Lona, sciproLdySlpr, Linda (Mrs C) and brina 1300 in our PLN, professional learning network, tried it out. We found it enlightening, as well as entertaining. This quiz would definitely capture the interest of students and teachers. It could be used as a lesson starter, sometimes called the anticipatory set.

    This website contains timelines, samples of da Vinci's machines and a host of other applications that could be used by teachers of any subject.

    The draw to da Vinci, as the ultimate Renaissance Man, remain his great and varied interests. Try out the website, quizzes, model-building and dramatizations. The companion television show will air each Monday throughout the month of April.

    Image Credits:

    DaVinci Notes of Geometry of Flower

    Leonardo da Vinci Helicopter and Lift Wing

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    Technology and the Source

    Dr.Fifer1863, officially Dr. Jim Beeghley, shared a wonderful posting on technology and primary source photographs. Any teacher who wants to learn more about using technology and primary sources to teach the American Civil War or any other educational topic, should read and learn from his blog. I also would like to direct you to another colleague who teaches using primary sources, Nancy Bosch. Her work in CSI is one of my favorites among her many project ideas.

    Many of us are interested in using primary sources in our work and the work of students. I am especially reminded of our friend Nancy Bosch and her excellent work with students as shared with us in A Very Old Place. Many of us would like to use primary sources in teaching our students. We may need a bit of guidance, so I would refer you to Nancy's blog and the efforts of Dr. Jim Beeghley.

    Primary sources can be more interesting, and are usually without bias, but not all. Dr. Jim Beeghley explains in his Teaching the Civil War with Technology blog post,Using Photographs from the LOC, that sometimes even primary sources can be flawed when the author inflates or changes the story in some small way.

    Some authors of Civil War photographs, including famous ones such as Alexander Gardner, manipulated the scenes to make the photographs more graphic or exceptional. Their view of the "scene" may have been different than we think of today.

    Dr. Beeghley provides several excellent ways that you and your students can use modern, available technology to lead "...our students to some analysis of these photos..." He explains how to access the wonderful resources of the Library of Congress photographs and their activities.

    These lessons and related activities are ready to roll. I don't think you need to know much about photography or technology to achieve good results in the classroom. Just follow the directions, practice before and then use the tools and guidelines with your students.

    Photograph Bibliography:
    Photographed by: Barnard, George N. Compiled by:Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge. Atlanta, Ga. View on Decatur Street, showing Trout House and Masonic Hall. 1864. Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865. 1977. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. No. 0698. March 29, 2009 Electronic address.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Winsome Wednesday

    rtw - 0334 by neil banas
    Attribution-NonCommercial License

    Today, I am introducing Winsome Wednesdays.

    I will discuss interesting, curious and joyous ideas.

    These are topics of interest to me that I think are related to education.

    I hope you will enjoy them.

    For my first Winsome Wednesday whimsy, I am featuring, Muxicall, so other educators can learn more about this simple, yet powerful web application.

    Muxicall is an interactive online web application that helps people, anywhere online, interface through music. Created by a young student, Diana Antunes, Muxicall is a superb online application that everyone should enjoy.

    You don't need to know anything about music to use Muxicall. Just go to the website and play around with the interface. I was most impressed when a friend joined me there. After a few squeaks and squarks, we fell into a synchronicity of musical interactions. It was a type of communications.

    I will leave it up to you to decide, but I think there are a multitude of uses for this web application, Muxicall.

    Particularly, I thought it might help children with interaction issues. It has a clean, minimalist interface. Its ease of use and wonderfully vibrant results could help draw them into interactions online that might lead to more face to face interactions with music. Music Therapy and Play Therapy have always been a powerful force to help children reach out to the world.

    Try Muxicall. If you need a partner, let me know. We can find a time to evaluate Muxicall for future use in the classroom and have fun.

    Professional Opportunities in Times of Uncertainty

    One of the hallmarks of the American Experience is the mobility of the population. From our immigrant ancestor's original trip here to our ability to move to better our conditions, Americans value mobility across the country and through the class ranks. This mobility remains especially important in times of economic stress. As educators, we can move to new schools or educational settings.

    Educators have a variety of reasons for moving, but two important ones include, finding a new school to earn more money and finding a better working environment.

    As individual educators, you don't have to be young to change jobs, just be willing to adapt. Children all over Earth need our help, so we can always find places to skillfully practice our craft.

    What about those of us whose spouses or families cannot adapt with us? Well, in my experience, you can always commute. My husband's work and investments are in the land, so he must stay where we live to keep everything working.

    In 1998-99, I was following a professional dream to be an independent contractor helping various schools with their curriculum and professional development inservices. I discovered that I needed more economic stability. I chose to take a job in Wichita, Kansas where I found a high level of professionalism and pay in their school district. I taught there from 1999 through 2004. Even though I had never taught in a city, I found the experience exhilarating.

    Since this was a weekly commute, I rented an apartment. My daughter joined me in 2000 and we lived in the city during the week. We drove home on Friday afternoon. My husband's help was critical to the success of this mission, and my daughter enjoyed her elementary school years in Wichita.

    My family's experience is not unique, but I wanted to share it to let others know that when you need them, you can find professional opportunities out there. During this time of economic upheaval, I hope anyone who needs to improve their teaching or economic situation will consider such viable options as moving, short commutes or weekly commutes.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Ada Lovelace Day: Honoring Tamsin WeatherPixie

    Life often becomes more powerful through the relationships we make. Whether the opportunities are face-to-face or online, we can meet people in the most serendipitous ways. If it hadn't been for a fire in a Texas server center that shut down Weather Pixie, I would have never met Tamsin, the young woman, the talented programmer, who created Weather Pixie. I want to honor my Ada Lovelace Day pledge by sharing a brief description of her contribution to technology.

    Tamsin is the programmer who developed the awesome widget called WeatherPixie or What to Wear. In my professional opinion, as an educator, I believe WeatherPixie is one of the most valuable web applications that teachers can use.

    Not just educators love Weather Pixie, so you might want to try it out, especially if you like knowing about the weather. You can set up Weather Pixie for your area or for any area on Earth.

    Weather Pixie is a web application or widget that anyone can use. I believe parents and educators of children of the preschool through elementary ages can use Weather Pixie to help little ones learn about the weather and what types of clothing to be worn each day. If it is raining, the Weather person (select a boy or girl) will have an umbrella or raincoat. When it is sunny and warm, they may wear shorts.

    A colleague first shared Weather Pixie with me in September of 2007. In turn, I share it, as a widget and blog postings, with my readers. I hope you will download and use a Weather Pixie for your blog, website or wiki to teach your children or students or just for your own enjoyment.

    Tamsin Bowles is a young, very resourceful programmer who appreciates her privacy. She lives in a metropolitan area of the United Kingdom where she works as a programmer. She made Weather Pixie because she wanted to keep up with the weather throughout the day, and we are the beneficiaries of her idea. If you like her work, you can donate at her website. She has a wishlist and Weather Pixie swag. Her family and peers have every reason to be very proud of her. I'm glad she loves technology and programming, and I look forward to hearing more from Tamsin in the future.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Opportunity to Comment: Elevate Educators to Professional Status

    As the American Education Historian David B. Tyack asserted in his book, The One Best System, on page 10:

    It is more important to expose and correct the injustice of the social system [ie. the educational system] than to scold its agents. Indeed, one of the chief reasons for the failures of educational reforms of the past has been precisely that they called for a change of philosophy or tactics on the part of the individual school employee rather than systemic change---and concurrent transformations in the distribution of power....
    It seems to me that a single, yet powerful reform can change the way in which educators think and work, as well as, increasing the compensation they receive. Your comments, pro and con, would be greatly appreciated.

    If the current reforms in education, as they relate to staffing the ranks of educators, are to be successful, educator status should be raised to the same level as lawyers, accountants and doctors by professionalizing those who meet education and testing standards set by a self-regulatory body, possibly called the American Education Association.

    All currently licensed educators, of Masters level or higher, would receive professional status. This would allow them advantages that could be monetized, including income tax deductions similar to those available among other professionals, such as ALL TECHNOLOGY: HARDWARE & SOFTWARE and ALL MATERIALS FOR OUR WORK ($250.00 doesn't cut it). This would provide an automatic pay increase that local governments would not need to pay, because it would be generated through reduced income taxes and more money retained by educators.

    This professionalization process would allow for interns and residents to be trained under professional educators and that should be more effective for education reform as well.

    As educators, we should avoid the diatribe that has blemished our positive attitudes and educational backgrounds for decades.

    No longer are our ranks being filled by young, naive, single girls whose only options, in earlier times, were marriage and family or life as a teacher. This was the case earlier in our American History, as Carl F. Kaestle carefully explains. In Pillars of the Republic his history of American Common Schools, Mr. Kaestle explains the history of the precursors of public schools.

    Historically, the use of cheap labor, young local women, exasperating those who considered teaching a profession. This caused the ranks of doctors and lawyers and accountants to expand and professionalize to prevent the same from happening to their positions in these other fields.

    Today, most educators have excellent training, yet now the reformers are going after education graduate schools. This has to end, it seems to me. Professionalize and we will no longer be unsure who is qualified. Professionalize and anyone who can pass the professional educators exam would be qualified to teach. Educators should stand up for themselves and claim their professional status.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Opportunity to Adapt: 20th Century Preconceptions

    wishes and regrets by McMorr
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

    If we want to think of ourselves as Twenty-first Century educators, we must remove some of the old paradigms that affect this view of learning. One of the most prevalent preconceptions is the definition of TEACHER.

    What is a 21st Century Teacher?
    Who is a 21st Century Teacher?
    Where does a 21st Century Teacher function?
    Do all 21st Century Teachers have an official class?
    Do all 21st Century Teachers have an official school?
    When does a 21st Century Teacher teach?
    Why does a 21st Century Teacher teach?

    While there may be some new words for teacher, educator comes to mind, I am wondering how the lines between informal education and formal education through the advances of web applications and other technologies are blurring the definitions of teachers or educators?

    It seems to me that this blurring of the learning place is an opportunity for all of us to change our 20th Century preconceptions of teacher/educator into the 21st Century paradigms. Are you doing that? Do you respect all educators no matter their place of being? OR Are you stuck in the 20th Century?

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Lighten the Load

    Lighten the load and save money on your electric bill. Test your various electric appliances and other devices with this inexpensive electronic gadget. Once you determine the electrical usage of each device, you can decide how to eliminate or control electricity usage. I've seen this gadget being demonstrated, and it is easy to use.

    This could really help schools or businesses save money also.
    clipped from

    P3 International

    P3 Kill A Watt Electricity Load Meter and Monitor

    P3 International P4400 Kill A WATT Electricity Load Meter and Monitor

    Feeling environmentally conscious? Worried about rising fuel and electricity costs? Cut down on those costs and find out which of your appliances, lamps and computers are actually are costing you the most! Just plug them into the Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor and it will tell you how efficient they are. The Kill-A-Watt’s easily-readable LCD display measures consumption by the kilowatt-hour, just like the electric company.
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    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    The Legacy

    When I moved to my own home, my grandmother and I dug up some bulbs of one of the most amazing plants I have ever seen, the Surprise Lily. I shared them with my sisters and planted them in my yard. I will be moving soon and so will they.

    Plants, recipes and other traditions can provide an enduring legacy to the giver upon all who were touched by their lives. My grandmother is no longer with us, but her legacy remains.

    Using Amplify, a social bookmarking site with a group blog, for such a project to begin or end Grandparents' Day would be a great way to encourage students to share their histories and legacies.

    Plant of the Week
    Surprise Lily,
    Magic Lily, Naked Lady
    Latin: Lycoris squamigera

    Picture of Surprise Lillies (or Magic Lilies, or Naked Ladies) with tall stems and light pink flowers clustered at top of stems.

    With the arrival of August, gardeners throughout the state are delighted to
    see their gaudy and somewhat ungainly surprise lilies come into bloom. These
    bulbous plants belong to the amaryllis family and are native to southern Japan.

    The bulbs are as long as three inches in diameter with long necks and persist
    for years once established. The foliage comes up in late winter and looks like a
    large-leafed clump of daffodils, but without flowers. There will be one bloom
    for about every 10 leaves produced by the clump. The leaves die away with the
    arrival of the first warm days of late spring, usually disappearing below ground
    by late May. This growth pattern is an adaptation of the species to survive in
    an area with moist springs and prolonged periods of summer drought.

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    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Plumped Poster Presentation

    Glogster is a very popular web application among teachers and students.

    You can use Glogster as a static poster or background. For instance, I have seen glogsters used as backgrounds for wikispace pages.

    I believe its most important use is as a front page portal to an entire presentation.
    clipped from - New tool for education

    New tool for education

    Teachers, try education 2.0

    Glogster is proud to present, a NEW addition to the site for all your educational needs!

  • Glogster provides master-accounts for teachers integrating all student accounts. Click for detailed info.
  • Register your class and try education 2.0 now. EDU accounts are PRIVATE. 
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