Saturday, December 31, 2005

I want my flying car

It's only fitting that while I'm creating a presentation on the power of the blogosphere that I do something like this:

David Warlick wrote a post called Our Classrooms are Irrelevant, not obsolete! Steve Dembo read that post, and responded to it with his post called High touch AND high tech. Now it's my turn to respond to both of them.

We might be using computers and web sites, but this is still good old fashioned networking - the sharing of ideas and concepts. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling when I get to participate in a global phenomenon like this.

... but I digress. The conversation's on what people think the classroom will be like in 2015. To summarize, one comment Mr. Warlick made was that it's disturbing to him that so many educators think classrooms will be totally replaced with long distance learning by then. Mr. Dembo's post continued along those lines, mentioning that to do such a thing would actually pull people apart rather than bring them together.

I totally agree with both Warlick and Dembo, but I'm not worried about the classroom disappearing. Why? Well, the answer's quite simple.

I've read a lot of old science fiction.

I mean REALLY OLD science fiction. In high school I would often walk to the local used book store and buy all kinds of anthologies and other sci-fi books, many of them published before I was born. I loved entering those hundreds of fanciful universes where the writers' futures were our present. They had some really cool ideas about what would be going on right now, but you know what?

They all got it wrong.

In some cases we're more advanced than they ever thought we would be. (The first Foundation novels by Isaac Asimov had the characters calculating equations for faster than light travel without a computer to help them.) In other cases, we've advanced much slower than the writer thought we should. (I'm still waiting for my fusion powered flying car.) In all those stories, the writers were way off on what life is like today.

Sure, some of them predicted certain ideas, but looking at the big picture they couldn't get it right.

So I don't really think we'll get rid of the classroom any time soon, or even in the next ten years. Kids need social, face to face interaction. They also need to use computers and understand how flat the world is becoming, but you can't play kickball with someone on the other side of the country (unless you've got a VERY strong kick...) or have a chemistry lab partner on another continent.

There are some who would look at Warlick, Dembo, and myself and say that we just don't get it, that we're holding onto the past like so many of the industrial age teachers we criticize. My response to them is that I've never advocated the total abandonment of old styles. For example, there are a lot of art projects for which a sheet of paper is far superior to a laptop screen, and there always will be.

What we need to do to prepare our students for the future is to give them a healthy dose of both old and new styles. I think I could go on, but I'll stop here and let someone else add to the chain of thought.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wiki mania

Thanks to a great plug by Steve Dembo there are now others besides me editing the Blogging 101 wiki. I myself have been slacking on that, but only because I'm busy designing and rehearsing my blogging presentation in OpenOffice. ... oh yeah, and visiting the family in Pennsylvania for the holidays sorta limits me to infrequent dial-up access. (Do you remember when a 28k modem was fast? I do, but now a 56k modem feels like molasses.)

In any case, my presentation on January 10th is going to be fun. If anyone's near Anne Arundel County, Maryland and wants to register, drop me a line.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mini Lesson 4 - high quality

minilesson_04In this lesson I show how to make a Star Book - a lesson I've seen in a couple of places including

High quality .mp4 (4.5 MB)
Video length: 5:02

Mini Lesson 4 - low quality

minilesson_04In this lesson I show how to make a Star Book - a lesson I've seen in a couple of places including

Low quality .mov (3.6 MB)
Video length: 5:02

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 43

In my 43rd podcast I answer questions 3 and 4 from episode 41's "Open Interview."Click to play or download.

Show Notes:

I'm now a proud member of the Discovery Educator Network, also known as DEN. More information will follow in future installments.

I'm going to be running a blogging inservice in early January, and rather than give out handouts I've created a wiki. I'm looking for a few good editors, so if you're up to the challenge then please take a look at what's there already and add some of your own content. (Yes, I mentioned this before in my blog, but not everyone who listens to my podcast reads the blog so I tought it deserved a rehashing.)

I spend the rest of this podcast answering questions 3 and 4 from my "Open Interview." I'm looking for more people to answer these questions (hint, hint...) so if you've got a computer and a microphone I wouldn't mind having am audio file (or a link to your own podcast) show up in my inbox.

Oh, and don't forget to put a pin in my Frappr Map!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wrongs have been righted

My goodness! I was taking a look at my blogroll and was surprised to see how different it was from what I actually have in my Bloglines account. I immediately fixed it, adding a lot of links in the process.

I'm also creating an EduBlogging 101 wiki that I'll be able to use at a teacher inservice in the near future. If you've got some ideas, please feel free to edit it.

... oh yeah, and if you haven't put your digital pin in my Frappr map ... well, why not? Do it already!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Subscribing's easier than ever!

After reading Steve Dembo's thoughts about FeedBlitz, I've decided to add FeedBlitz and MyYahoo! to my site. MyYahoo is kind enough to aggrigate blog feeds, and FeedBlitz allows people to subscribe via email.

Personally I'd rather just use an aggrigator like Bloglines to subscribe to RSS feeds, but for those of you just getting your feet wet all you have to do is plug your email addy into the box below and you'll never have to come to again.

Subscribe with Email


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 42

In my 42nd podcast I answer questions 1 and 2 from episode 41's "Open Interview."Click to play or download. When I look back on the resourses I had compared to what our kids have now, it's no wonder that so many people in my parents' generation aren't computer savvy.

... in retrospect I should have done something truly geeky for my 42nd podcast. (Don't understand what I'm talking about? Google's there for a reason!) Alas, I couldn't think of anything truly special to do. Oh well...

Oh, and don't forget to put a pin in my Frappr Map!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Podcast 41: Open Interview

My 41st podcast is an interview with ... YOU! That's if you want to answer, of course.Click to play or download.

Show Notes:

I decided to do something that I'd like to call an "Open Interview," so called because I'm encouraging anyone and everyone to respond, preferably in audio format. You can email your responses to or, if you decide to podcast your response yourself, just send me a link to your podcast.

Thanks, and now on with the questions:

1. What was your favorite subject when you were in elementary, middle, and / or high school, and why?

2. What do you remember about how your teachers used technology in the classroom? (keeping in mind that technology in it's most basic form is any kind of tool)

3. Assuming you're a teacher, how has technology made your lesson plans different from the lessons you had when you were the same age as your students?

4. Which do you think is better: A computer in every classroom or a single common computer lab in the school that has enough computers for everyone in a class?


Like the Show? Vote for it at! (I'm only asking once a month, now.)

And don't forget to put a pin in my Frappr Map!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Mini Lesson 3: Origami (Yakko-san) iPod version

File Size: 31.4 MB

Mini Lesson 3: Origami (Yakko-san)

File size: 4.4 MB
Length: 6:03
Format: quicktime

This lesson in folding origami is appropriate for kids in 3rd grade or higher, although in small groups you could go even younger than 8 year olds. The iPod version of this will follow shortly.