Sunday, February 22, 2009

Articles Worth Spilling Soup For

Well just as always - too much coffee and some late night driving leave me winding down when I should be going to sleep. At least I am using the time constructively.

Did you know that you can put a clip on your blog of your most recently shared articles from Google Reader? I just found it. It is even easy to do - the tools are built right in to Google Reader. You can find some of the articles I find that are worth sharing on the right hand side of this blog (you may need to scroll down a little bit). Look for the title Articles Worth Spilling Soup for.

If you read my blog in a reader then this won't help you. Actually, if you read this blog in Google Reader then why aren't you on my friends list? Email me so we can easily share what we find worth reading.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Buddhist Fisherman

How does a Buddhist fishermen justify his job? "They are saving the
fish from drowning, unfortunately it happens to die in the process."
Amy Tan.

There has been a lot of buzz going around the blogoshere about about
how our educational system is killing creativity. In the act of giving
the students an education their creativity just happens to die in the
process. (Well not always but way to often.) Damn, we are Buddhist

** Update **

This post was made from my iPod Touch so I was unable to add links. One of the articles I was talking about was this one from Ewan McIntosh.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time, Innovation, and Open Ended Learning

I just got off the phone with a colleague. He is participating in an e-Journalism project and just finished a PD day for it. He loved the way that he was given time to play. He said that we would all be using the new web 2.0 tools if we just were given the time to learn them. He had a good point. Why are we only expected to innovate on our own time. When are we given paid time to learn and develop new things? (Conference doesn't quite cut it.) A conference is a great place to dip our toes into the water but then we need to time to go back to school and try it.

My colleague also raised another good point. He learned a huge amount at his PD day. And the learning was structured absolutely nothing like his classroom (or most of our classrooms for that matter). Play time to pursue learning. Learning in the direction you choose. Self directed learning (to use the jargon). I think he is at home right now thinking about how to restructure his classes.
I had a similar discussion with a couple of colleague's after a recent PD. A session were we were being instructed in how to "control the flow of information. " A direct quote. Not kidding. Our classrooms are killing creativity. We are not building lifelong learners. The structure is the problem. The control is the problem. Lets get the heck out of the way of student learning.
Damn, I hope that they don't make me try and innovate too. I just don't have the time.
Photo by Thomas Hawk Used under a Creative Commons License.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to Engineer an Objective Pedagogy

We know that the internet is a great way to enhance classroom-based living documents. It can also be used to leverage top-down interfaces. Good teachers use it to utilize peer-based networks. Others use it to implement holistic higher order thinking. Going online helps us engage compelling learning and deploy mastery focused strategies. We can easily expedite an overarching pedagogy and enhance critical content. I mean it never hurts to strategize performance based systems and extend bottom up pedagogy.

Others (like me) use the internet to randomly generate proffessional sounding jargon. The Educational Jargon Generator is a wonderful tool. Since most of us will need to be getting our second semester year plans in soon I thought I would help you all out. Someplace I read that this website had been successfully used to write grant proposals.

I have to share a story about the benefits of having Google (and this website) in your pocket. In a recent staff meeting a couple of collegues were presenting about a conference they had recently been at about Differentiated Instruction. One activity they had us do was list a bunch of terms that described Differentiated Instruction. I pulled out my IPod Touch and ran the Educational Jargon Generator. "That is exactly what DI is all about" was the response to my randomly generated words. (If you were one of the presenters and are reading this blog I owe you an apology for pulling one over on you. If you don't read this then no apology for you!)

Use this tool wisely and don't tell the administrators in your life.

.............and remember - it's same fertile growing medium, just a different bovine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jason McElwain Autistic Basketball Player

This story is going around my school right now. (I think that somebody saw it at a presentation and passed it on to the rest of us). It certainly is not new - 1.5 million hits on YouTube - but I had not seen it before either. I just figured that I should pass it on to anyone else who has not seen it.

In summary it is about an autistic boy who has been helping out with the basketball team for several years. Then the coach puts him in for the last 4 minutes at the end of the season. To quote Jason he was "hotter than a pistol." It reminds me of the movies Rudy and Radio - only real life.

Watch it. Enjoy it. Pass it on (like some painfully annoying chain letter).