Friday, November 30, 2007

Tech Sherpas in Maine

Check out the Christian Science Monitor for an excellent article on Maine students helping teachers.

Related Links:
MSAD#48 Tech Club

Incidentally, check out Dan Viles's google pages website to see an excellent example of what is possible using this extremely user-friendly format. Dan also makes great use of Google Blogs and Groups and Docs for organizing content and collaborating with his students. Be sure to check them out. Wow!

Question: What do other online learning environments such as Studywiz and Moodle offer that free Google Apps doesn't have available?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Missed Christa McAuliffe? - no worries

by Sharon Betts

If you missed the CMTC this year - we are beginning day 3 as I type - don't worry.
How can you reap the rewards from home?

check out the handouts from the presenters - or look for the as you browse all the presentations.

Visit other bloggers - like BitByBit (where podcasts and videos will soon be posted)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kindle or OLPC?

Here's the deal: You have just received a $400 certificate with the limitation that you can redeem it for either the Kindle or the OLPC laptop. Which would you choose?

Thank you to Barbara Greenstone for bringing up the discussion on books and the Kindle in an earlier post. Thinking about the difference in the experience in reading from the extremely long-lasting technology of the book to the portable digital version brings up a series of issues.

A number of people have not missed the point that the OLPC device and the Kindle can be had for the same price. The discussion that has ensued is fascinating. Check out these discussions:

The Future of Reading

Do Not Fold, Bend or Kindle

Think Macro . . .Kindle vs. XO

More on Kindle/OLPC

So . . . which would you buy?

Teampedia: Tools for Teams

Here is an excellent wiki that is collecting activities to use in helping to grow teams: Teampedia: Tools for Teams

Additional Process Skills Resources

Monday, November 26, 2007

Choosing, Doing & Sharing

I just got back from our Telstar Group 1 session this evening. I've been working with this group of 15 diverse participants for about a year now and couldn't ask for more interesting and friendly humans beings. The title of tonight's session was "Choosing, Doing & Sharing." The agenda essential question: What are the implications of choice and freedom in our society and classrooms?

To kick off the discussion, we watched two contrasting videos. One was the trailer for Pleasantville and the second was Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice talk.

And a great discussion it was! I really believe this is an issue that needs to be brought more into consciousness. With choice increasing at exponential rates according to people such as Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, we need to become more self-aware of the implications. The Pleasantville/Schwartz combo makes a fine springboard for powerful discussion. Give it a try.

How do we deal with making decisions?

Session Agenda

NERC 2008 Conference on Social Studies

The 39th Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies, titled Social Studies: Global and Local Connections, Shared Responsibilities, will be on March 26 - 28 at Yale. More Information

The Maine Council for the Social Studies Conference

On April 2, 2008, MCSS will have its annual conference titled No Citizen Left Behind: Teaching Resources for Maine Teachers. Check it out here. It is still not too late to send in a presentation proposal.

Workshops/Conferences at Maine Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Check out the upcoming workshops and conferences through Maine ASCD here.

Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Workshops

MMSA has a very interesting series of workshops lined up for the next few months. Check them out here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So, what about the Kindle?

by Barbara Greenstone

eReaders have been around for a while but I've mostly been ignoring them. I keep telling myself that, given a choice, I'd rather read from a printed page than from a screen. In my work, of course, I do read from a computer screen - whether it's emails, chats, web articles, blogs, NoteShare notebooks, or other digital documents. I seldom print anything. But when it comes to reading for pleasure, I'd rather sit down with a book. I've been a reader for more than half a century and why change now?

Having said that, I have to admit that Amazon's Kindle has me thinking... What is it I really love about books? Is it some kind of kinesthetic pleasure from holding it and turning the pages or is it purely the content? Do I prefer print books because it's really a better reading experience or is it a bias from years of habit?

If you walk into my house you will know right away that I am a book-lover. There are bookshelves everywhere. But I don't think of myself as a true bibliophile. I think true bibliophiles love the books themselves. They care whether it's a first edition. They care about the binding and the typeface and the quality of the paper. I don't care about any of these things. I do like seeing my books on the shelves but I'm not sure why. Maybe because scanning my eclectic collection gives some clues as to who I am, or who I have become over the years.

But now I'm thinking about that Kindle and thinking I might like to try it. David Pogue gives it a mostly favorable review in the NY Times and his is an opinion I have learned over the years to trust. I'm also thinking about whether eReaders like this have a future in education. I think many of our students do not have the same print prejudices that I have and might welcome an alternative to those heavy textbooks that fill up their backpacks.