Friday, November 2, 2007

MacBook Help Video

by Kern Kelley

Some of the students in our Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting class are working on a weekly technology help show for students and teachers. This was their first outing where they cover the new MacBooks the High School teachers received.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Tool: Dominoes

What can we learn from a set of dominoes?

Wikipedia: Dominoes
Domino Math Printable: Activities and Worksheets
(Can create templates from this site)

eHOW: How to Play Dominoes
Illuminations: Do It with Dominoes
The Mathematics of Dominoes
Math Games: Domino Graphs

A Way of Looking at Technology Integration

A handy tool for looking at where we are in using technology in our classrooms is called Grappling's Technology & Learning Spectrum. A one-page version is here. It divides experience into three categories: Literacy uses, adapting uses and transforming uses.

This is just part of the work of Bernajean Porter. Her down-to-earth approach offers many opportunities for discussion and assessment. Good stuff!

Where do you think your school is on this continuum?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Technology Tuesdays With Nicole: Water Quality Outside and On The Web

by Nicole Ouellette

This Technology Tuesday is all about drinking water. It’s a great time of year to go outside with students. Sometimes, science labs at schools even have water testing kits for pH, dissolved oxygen, algae, or other water quality indicators. (You can also buy testing strips, which end up being fairly economical and easier for littler kids to read.) Record results for one body of water or several bodies of water. Make observations about what lives by and in the water in addition to taking measurements of water quality indicators. I could go into a little more detail about data collection here but the important thing is to collect as much data as you can so it can be analyzed. And now the technology part.

After you’ve collected water data, you can determine water quality based on the results you found. National standards exist for drinking water contaminants and can be found here. How does the pH of your water compare to the pH the US considers safe, for example? Oftentimes, the same contaminant information is available for individual towns as well. To take the analysis one step further, you can also have students look at aquatic macroinvertebrates as a determinant for water quality in addition to the chemical pollution. Here are some handy photographs to help students identify the insects and which species are more pollution tolerant can be seen here.

So take your class outside before everything freezes and you’re stuck inside for the winter!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ubuntu Developers Summit Fall 2007

by David Trask

Well, here I am at another Ubuntu Developers Summit (UDS) where folks from all over the world come and work together to prepare and develop specs/features for the next release of Ubuntu (Hardy Heron or Ubuntu 8.04). You may recall from previous posts on my own blog "Ramblings of a Digital Educator" that I have been lucky to have been able to attend past UDS's in exotic locales such as Montreal, Google headquarters in California, and Seville Spain. Where am I now? The wonderful exotic locale of BOSTON. Ok, for me it's hardly exotic. In fact, I get down here several times a year for business, pleasure, and most of all...Red Sox games! Don't get me wrong, I'm honored to be here and excited about the work to be done. I'm here representing all of you as an educator, making sure that features we need such as user management, classroom applications, easy configuration...etc. are discussed and included. I'm not a programmer, but I understand "programmer-speak" or "geek-speak" so I'm able to bridge the gap and help out in that manner. I'm happy to report that Ubuntu/Edubuntu has matured to the point where most of the features with regard to the operating system, are it's time to focus on creating and implementing GUI tools to make the lives of system administrators and teachers much easier. Tools to manage classrooms, manage users, manage servers, and much more are in the pipeline and slated for discussion and development. It's an exciting time. Linux in education is poised for major adoption. Access to technology will become much more commonplace worldwide...for very little investment. the world what they can do...regardless of where they are and what their circumstances may be. Very cool.

Getting Started with Monday Too! at Telstar

"If my life was a song, it would be ____________because ______________."

Why are we here? What do we know? What would we like to get out of this?

Getting Started Agenda
Western Maine eMINTS

What Do We Care About? What Is Important?

"Real change begins with the simple act of people talking about what they care about." -M.J. Wheatley (2002) Turning to One Another, Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, (p. 22)

What do you care about?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Technology . . . Friend or Foe?

The Law of Accelerating Returns ~ Ray Kurzweil

"An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The 'returns,' such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There's even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light."

We seem to worship technology. The equation seems to be: More Technology = Improved Lives. Yes, we love our gadgets and our systems and our data. We believe that science and technology will provide the answers to our problems.

Will it?

Technological Determinism
Informing Ourselves to Death
Chandler: Technological or Media Determinism
Technological Determinism of Marshall McLuhan

What is worth memorizing?

Most of my own schooling over the years has consisted primarily of memorizing material and then showing, at least in the short term, that I could pull it up at will. Let me confess that my abilities in this area have always been rather marginal, but I was good enough at it (read stubborn) to acquire the necessary documents to allow me to be eligible for my present position.

My awareness of this difficulty with memorization started in a high school English class when I realized that my classmates were able to memorize poetry verses much faster than I was. I noticed how many were able to learn lines for a play or lyrics to a song with much more ease. What they learned by repeating a few times might take me hundreds of times along with use of a multi-sensory approach. And yes, I've tried many of the mnemonic devices.

So you see, it is quite natural that this old digital immigrant has become very comfortable with the personal computer. I don't need to keep everything in my head now that I have almost instant access to it through the Internet.

This raises the question: What IS worth memorizing?

In other words, what are those things that, by keeping in my own head, will empower me, or at the very least, allow me to function in an efficient and productive manner?

For example, knowing my home phone number and social security number seem to be handy things to have committed to memory. I still think that having memorized basic math facts has saved me a lot of agony over the years. I'm not so sure that having to memorize the periodic table in 8th grade was particularly helpful, as I'm not a chemist, rarely use it, and can find several interactive representations on the web, if needed.

So . . . what do you think? What is worth memorizing for those of us who have difficulty with it?

Another question: Should we teach students memorization skills?

Memorization Skills Resources

Memory Resources