Saturday, January 19, 2008

Social Networking Debate

"Social networks advertise access to this diverse world while simultaneously confining users to affinity groups so as to sell, sell, sell."

~ Michael Bugeja

Pro, Con & Debate at the Economist on the following proposition:

Social networking technologies will bring large (positive) changes to educational methods, in and out of the classroom.


Ewan McIntosh
Harold Shaw
Will Richardson
Danah Boyd
Stephen Downes

Advertising in the year 2050: The Minority Report . . .

The Future of Advertising with Google CEO Eric Schmidt

WordWatch: Echo Chamber

Cognitive Dissonance

Friday, January 18, 2008

Laptop Squad

How is your high school MLTI Leadership Team functioning? Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School's Laptop Squad is alive and well. According to social studies teacher, Richard Byrne, the "squad" meets once a week and also offers Tech Tuesday in room A110 from 2:15 to 3:15 to help people familiarize themselves with the software installed on the MLTI MacBooks and web applications. This week there will be an introduction to Keynote. Richard has created a blog called Free Technology for Teachers to further assist in the collaboration.

What is happening in other Maine high schools?

Professional Learning Communities
Capacity Building in Maine


by Harold Shaw, Jr.

Jim kindly invited me to write on this forum, so I will quickly share my thoughts about being in school today. I took a picture out my classroom window and will add it later tonight.

Well another snow day for the rest of the local education world, yet here I am sitting at work, getting ready to greet the students after an hour delay. Not whining too much, but it sure would be nice to be sitting on the couch curled up with a good book looking out at the snow coming down, instead of driving in this morning. Oh well, I can think of what I will be doing after June 6, when they will still be going to school. tongue_out

It still amazes me the number vehicles that are off the road when I came in this morning. You would think by now that with all the nasty weather we have had that drivers would have the common sense to slow down. It is easy to go fast on a clear day, but attempting to go the same speed on a day like today??? Oh well, I guess they forget that it isn't the going, it is the stopping, turning and sudden accelerations that get you in trouble. I still like the piece of advice my father gave me about four-wheel drive -- "it just means you walk farther when you get stuck". Oh well, their problem not mine.

Well I am recovering well from that ladder ride I had. I re-joined my gym and ran on the treadmill for a mile -- really slow 9:35, but it seemed to help my hip a lot. Then I luxuriated in the sauna for 30:00 minutes, now I remember why I like the sauna so much. I sit there and sort of meditate or is it vegging, but it allows me to just wind down a little from the constant barrage of information, distraction and confusion that we are constantly subjected to in today's world.

I think we would all be better off if we took a 20-30 minute timeout from our lives and just simply let go.

Thoughts Blog

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The network begins at home. Isn't there MUCH more we can do to make the existing learning environments more social, collaborative and meaningful whether electricity is involved or not? Why do we constantly jump from melodramatic tales of school to some utopian world of online alchemy?

~ Gary Stager
The quote above is from a recent post by Stager at Stager-to-Go.

IMHO, these are essential questions that are increasingly being dismissed by technocrats and other true-believer change enthusiasts.

To once again quote Neil Postman in Informing Ourselves to Death:

Here is what Henry David Thoreau told us: "All our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end." Here is what Goethe told us: "One should, each day, try to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it is possible, speak a few reasonable words." And here is what Socrates told us: "The unexamined life is not worth living." And here is what the prophet Micah told us: "What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" And I can tell you -- if I had the time (although you all know it well enough) -- what Confucius, Isaiah, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, Spinoza and Shakespeare told us. It is all the same: There is no escaping from ourselves. The human dilemma is as it has always been, and we solve nothing fundamental by cloaking ourselves in technological glory.

Even the humblest cartoon character knows this, and I shall close by quoting the wise old possum named Pogo, created by the cartoonist, Walt Kelley. I commend his words to all the technological utopians and messiahs present. "We have met the enemy," Pogo said, "and he is us."

Are we hoping that technology will SAVE the world?

What IS progress?

Related Links:

Technological Singularity
Ethics of Technology

Maine Libraries

This afternoon I was at the Norway Memorial Library using their downstairs meeting room for the Oxford Hills Adult Education MARTI Video Workshop. Norway, Maine has less than five thousand residents and is not a wealthy community, and yet, it has an incredible library.

Now I'm not going into the details of why it is such a wonderful place to be. Check it out yourself, should you be in town. Suffice it to say, I'm sure there are many other libraries in the State that are delightful places to be as well. Care to share your favorites?

I've loved libraries and librarians since a very young age. My first library was the Mexico Public Library, directly across the Androscoggin River from the local papermill in Rumford. The librarian at that time in 1960 was Mrs. Bradeen. I'm not sure how old she actually was, but she seemed ancient with her conservative clothes and her grey hair brought back tightly into a bun. She took her job seriously, was quite stern about any shenanigans, and insisted that we use extremely quiet voices . . . and then only when needed.

Then one late afternoon it happened. It was a moment in time that was to color the rest of my life: I was casually riding my bike on the street in back of the library and inadvertently caught Edna Bradeen locking up the library, ready to go home. Her hair was down, flowing over a black leather jacket when she jumped on her Harley, gave it a powerful start-up kick . . . and left a trail of dust as she roared down Main Street. (At least that is how I remember it. Please, I don't want to know the actual truth).

Ever since that point, I've seen every librarian in the same light. They might seem mild on the outside, but look out for the fire inside! :)

Maine State Library
Auburn Public Library
MARVEL - Maine's Virtual Library
Find a Library in Maine
Maine Library Association
Maine Association of School Libraries

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oxford Hills MARTI Video Workshop

We'll be investigating the possibilities that online videos have in promoting learning in the adult education field tomorrow. Here is the workshop agenda.

Anything you can add to the offerings?

What are your experiences accessing online video for classroom use?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scholarship Blog

by Kern Kelley is a great blog from the Guidance Department of MSAD #48 about scholarships available for students. They also include tips for completing scholarships and it's updated regularly.

Hshawjr's Thoughts

Here's a link to still another fascinating Maine teacher blog: Hshawjr's Thoughts.

Looking for other Maine educator blogs . . . . got any leads?

Noteshare Training for Maine Middle School Educators

Info & Registration

Hancock Region:

* February 5 at Hancock County Higher Education Center, Ellsworth
* February 6 at William Cohen School, Bangor

MidCoast Region:

* January 29 at Great Salt Bay CSD, Damariscotta

Western Region:

* January 30 at Auburn Central Office
* February 4 in Dixfield at the Richardson Hollow Associates Building

York Region:

* January 31 at Biddeford Middle School

Ubiquitous Tools for Collaboration

Tired of proprietary tools that limit participation because of complexity, operating system, learning curve, or administrative hurdles? Why not use these straight-forward tools for digital collaboration?

Google Apps
Imagination Cubed

What other possibilities are there? What are your experiences with any of these tools?

Reporting Out on Books and Stories

More Ideas Than You'll Ever Use for Book Reports

How to Write a Book Report

75 Ways to Share a Book

Book Report Ideas - Web English Teacher

Bloom's Taxonomy Book Review Questions

eCoach - Instead-of Book Reports


There are increasing opportunities to find books and stories online. Of course, the Gutenberg Project started it all, Google is in the middle of a ambitious process of digitizing books and WikiBooks is promoting open source books. Below find some other sites to check out:

Project Gutenburg

Bartleby.Com E-Book Store - Great Books Online


UT Library Online - Electronic Books

The Online Books Page

Internet Public Libary: Free Online Books

Free Online Books At The Free Well

Children's Books Online

Aesop's Fables

IPL List of Online Book Sites


Folk and Fairy Tales

Online Children's Stories

Free Online Classic Children's Stories

Authorama Public Domain Books

Online Books, Poems, Short Stories

The Online Books Page

Google Books

Children's Storybooks Online

From Kern Kelley:

Universal Digital Library

Monday, January 14, 2008

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)

Anita Bernhardt is the new Science and Technology Specialist at DOE.

"Sage on the Stage"

Want some top-notch lectures from people at the top of their fields at your fingertips? I had already discovered the stimulating TED Talks. This morning I discovered the wealth of knowledge at iTunes U. Wow! Why had I missed this before?

Any other comprehensive lecture/talk sites I might have missed?

* David Patterson has opened my eyes to Pop Tech . . . held right here in Maine. Good stuff!

* Another excellent site: Ed Latham recommends Free Online Education. Amazing! Thanks, Ed.

What are the implications of this development?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"I have a dream . . ."

"I say to you today even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream that is deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed."
MLK Resources @ 42Explore
The Seattle Times: Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month
MLK Resources @ Scholastic

MLK Resources @ Education World
MLK Resources @ TeachersFirst

Martin Luther King, Jr. . . . a nation remembers
Wikipedia: Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK Resources @ Webtech
MLK Jr. Resources
Prejudice & Intolerance Resources
Bullying Resources
Evaluating Information Resources
Citizenship Resources
Conflict Resolution Resources
Logical Fallacy Resources
Propaganda & Advertising Resources

Classic site as an example for evaluating websites:
Whois search
“The moral bottom has dropped out of our culture. Americans have no compelling incentive to postpone gratification, because they no longer believe in the future.… There is only one cure for the malady that afflicts our culture, and that is to speak the truth about it."

~ Christopher Lasch

Do we still have hopes and dreams for a better future?

OLPC to Be Distributed to U.S. Students

Article in PC World about U.S. Distribution

One Laptop Per Child Site