Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free Curriculum Materials from the SEED Archive

"If we represent knowledge as a tree, we know that things that are divided are yet connected. We know that to observe the divisions and ignore the connections is to destroy the tree."

- Wendell Berry

At this time of Spring planting, 143 Packets of seeds developed through the Maine SEED model are still available and amazingly viable for promoting learning. I came away incredibly impressed after coming back to them once again this afternoon. Chief Horticulturist Jenifer Van Deusen explains how the program worked here.

Anyone for starting a new garden?

"Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn. Learning to think as a gardener is inseparable from the acts of gardening. Learning how to garden is learning how to slow down. Wise is the person whose heart and mind listen to what Nature says. Time will tell, but we often fail to listen."

- Michael P. Garofalo

Photo Credit

Friday, May 29, 2009

Games for Change at Student Tech Conference

by Ed Latham

Today in Orono, Maine over 800 students and teachers from around the state gathered to learn and share technical innovations and ideas in education. Olga LaPlante and I offered two sessions introducing lessons designed around using educational games published on the Games for Change organization.

The first of our sessions walked participants through a sample lesson that would begin a unit of study on energy policy. Participants were invited to use a sample simulation to play with different energy generation possibilities that all had potential to create stresses on the economic, environmental, and security aspects of the simulation city. Based on participant choices the game will provide a score and ranking. Students will then develop a brief energy policy based on the simulation and post their recommendation in a blog. The Resources and activity can be found at

Our second session introduced a scenario that had local school board officials soliciting input from participants as to which game might be best to incorporate into the curriculum this next semester. Participants were asked to assume one of four different perspectives while they explored 3 different games. Each group of four students would then post their recommendation to the school board on a blog. The session resources and materials can all be found at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Help to bring about change

Now it's your time to help bring about change: bring good games to school! What is your recommendation?

Energy Solutions

Please offer your solutions that you as mayor would propose to sustain your city energy needs.

Games for Change

Please select one question to reply to, and submit your response as a comment.
    1. What are local energy initiatives in the different communities?
    2. What alternative resources are available in Maine?
    3. Should all cars be electric?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube"

Michael Welch, a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University, studies the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. Tonight we have the opportunity to join him in an Elluminate session at 8 pm Eastern. Click here to join the room a few minutes before the starting time. (Be patient . . . let Java load and then click trust). More information can be found here at the Future of Education ning.

You might want to check out here before attending the session:

More related Videos and here as well.

Digital Ethnography Blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kite Flying

I just got back from camp at Worthley Pond in Peru, Maine, where besides the usual campfire, fishing, swimming, and feasting on smoked ribs and Beth's delicious Filipino creations, we more often than not also fly kites out on the lake. These days we generally pick up our kites at Marden's or the Christmas Tree Shop, where good nylon kites can often be purchased for less than the price of a greeting card. Today my nephew, Josh, a 4th year engineering student at UMO, successfully flew a large dragon kite out in the middle of the lake in a 12 foot aluminum rowboat. As is our custom, we cheered and teased from the shoreline as he sailed down the lake from the energy of the wind.

Back in my days of teaching 5th grade, we made our own kites out of newspaper, trash bags, string, pine sticks, and a bit of masking tape. Amazingly enough, they actually flew! I suspect that these days, in light of the bubbles and boxes of the NCLB mentality, this might no longer be permitted without some heavy campaigning . . .but I might be wrong. I mean, what on earth can be learned from flying kites?

Well *cough* for starters, kite flying is both an art and science:

Kite Flying can be an interdisciplinary or thematic unit that engages students and unifies learning:

NASA: Beginner's Guide to Kites
Education World: Kites
Webtech: Kites
Kite Day Theme (Pre-school)
Let's Go Fly a Kite (K-2)
The Physics of Kites
Welcome to the Adventure with Physics and Kites!
The Fun and Physics of Kite Flying
WebQuest: Flying High with Kites (10th Grade Geometry)
Wikipedia: Kite
YouTube: How to Make a Traditional Kite
More YouTube Videos on Making and Flying Kites
Kite Threads at VoiceThread

The Human Side: "Let's Go Fly a Kite" at Sunshine and Momma blog.

VacationLand Guide: Where Kites Go to Soar

NorEasters: The Kite Site for Maine Kite Flyers

Kite Flying has practical application:


I just recently viewed this delightful series of animations on Voicethread:

Some resources for animation in the classroom:

Amazing Animation Lessons on the Web
Be Very Afraid: Animation for Education

I Can Animate
Blender (Open Source 3D Animation)

The Animator from Alon Perry on Vimeo.

What are some other tools available to do animation?
Who is doing animation in Maine classrooms?

What can be learned from doing animations?