Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 51 - PETEandC 3 of 7

Listen to the podcast!After writing up my summary of the PETE&C DEN event I noticed that it can easily be divided into 7 sections. So, rather than bombard you with a large report I'll post one section a day this week. Short, sweet, bite-size chunks of information work much better for me, and hopefully for you as well.

Again, this is also a podcast.


The first breakout session I attended was run by the DEN's own Scott Kinney, who only had to drive down the road to attend the conference. (The lucky guy lives in Hershey.) His presentation was all about the diversity in our classrooms and how unitedstreaming could help us meet the needs of today's classrooms.

If I wasn't already sold on unitedstreaming.com I would have reacted to this like so many other vendor presentations, but since they had me at multimedia downloads I paid attention to find out what else unitedstreaming could do.

We started with a quiz, and the answers were a bit surprising to us. I'd list them here, but I forgot his source so I can't properly cite his statistics.

The main point of this warm-up was that our schools are a lot more diverse than we thought.

Since unitedstreaming has lots of features from subtitles to online quizzes to encyclopedia articles, It really does help people who have a variety of learning styles.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Self Realization

techicnThis morning I left two things on the counter that were meant to go to school with me:
  1. My Lunch. I had no cash on me, so my lunch was in fact irreplaceable. I would just have to wait until after school to get a bite to eat.
  2. My Camera. I didn't have any lessons planned for today that required the use of a camera, digital or otherwise. Even if something came up in a spur of the moment, I still had my standby camera and a 256 MB card.
So guess which item I missed more today?

That's right, the replaceable digital camera I didn't even need.

Hello, my name is Aaron, and I'm a digital junkie.

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 50 - PETEandC 2 of 7

Listen to the podcast!After writing up my summary of the PETE&C DEN event I noticed that it can easily be divided into 7 sections. So, rather than bombard you with a large report I'll post one section a day this week. Short, sweet, bite-size chunks of information work much better for me, and hopefully for you as well.

Again, this is also a podcast.


During the keynote I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cristina Runkles, whose third grade class has just started podcasting. We exchanged web addresses since we were both into blogging and podcasting.

I've already listened to her students' work, and it's good stuff! Just imagine what these third graders will be capable of when they graduate, having experienced cutting edge technology at such an early level.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 49 - PETEandC 1 of 7

Listen to the podcast!After writing up my summary of the PETE&C DEN event I noticed that it can easily be divided into 7 sections. So, rather than bombard you with a large report I'll post one section a day this week. Short, sweet, bite-size chunks of information work much better for me, and hopefully for you as well.

Oh yeah, this is also a podcast. Enjoy.


The first keynote speaker was Kathy Schrock, and she did a great job going over tips for visual presentations. Now granted, I knew most of her tips due to my training as an art teacher, but I've sat through far too many presentations (done by adults who should have known better) that included sounds, transitions, pictures, fonts, and even colors that just did not belong.

And of course the whole thing was made even better because she put examples and notes from her presentation online for us. This took a lot of pressure off of the people who were taking notes, and it also meant one less handout for us to file and forget. (I myself intend to use wikis for my presentations, since my last wiki is still the number one downloaded resource on the new DEN site. ... how did THAT happen?!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Link Reciprocation

writeI'm working on write-ups and/or podcasts for the PETE&C DEN event, really! But until then, I have something else to share.

I was going through my site statistics to find out what kinds of websites are leading people here. Some of them are obviously just from people clicking on that "Next Blog" link at the top to see another Blogger blog (is that too redundant?), but others are nice to know or, at the very least ... interesting. In a lot of these searches I'm finding myself in very nice company.
Ok, enough ego boosting for one day. My next post SHOULD contain a podcast, one way or another.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PETE and C DEN Event Vidcast

PETEandC.jpgI'm sorry to say the quality of this video is below what I wanted, but I still got to talk to a lot of people at the PETE & C preconference that was sponsored by the Discovery Educator Network.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Collaborative Lessons Wiki and Frappr Map

artclublabAre you interested in having your K-12 class work with another class in another school for a lesson, project, or other activity? That's why the Collaborative Lessons group is here!

Just place a pin in our Frappr map, including the subject to which you'd like your lesson to relate. Include an email address in your "shoutout" message, along with any other specifics you'd like to add, and then other teachers will be able to see where you are and what you'd like to do.

Sometimes teachers want to do a collaboration with another class but just can't think of a good lesson idea. That's what this wiki is for! If you've got a cool concept for a collaborative lesson just go to the appropriate page (or make your own if the page doesn't exist) and add in your idea.

Don't worry about mistakes or immature people going in to change the pages in a bad way, every change is saved so we can always go back to the way the site used to be.

Sue's Journey Thru Wikis

As someone who loves education, technology, and art, I always enjoy when I see someone putting all three together. Usually this means some sort of digital artwork is the end result, but not always.

Take Sue, for example. She's doing a unit on Monet and wants some advice, tips, tricks, and so on. Rather than just limit herself to asking a handful of teachers, she's set up a wiki where lesson ideas can be exchanged.

I've already given her my two cents, but if you'd like to join in and help the password is "lessonideas" without the quotes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Among Giants

HPIM2578.JPGYesterday I arrived at the Hershey Lodge for the PETE & C Preconference sponsored by DEN. (Wow, what a name!) I couldn't go to the full conference, but this one day event was too good to pass up.

To be honest, it wasn't truly a one day fling - last night a bunch of DEN members got together to have dinner and socialize for a few hours. While we were still in the lobby waiting to go I had the opportunity to meet David Warlick.

It was quite convenient that I was talking to DEN managers Michelle Adams and Jannita Demian, or I would have never had such a chance encounter. They got hugs and hearty greetings while I got a wave and a handshake.

That's me.Dave had no idea who I was, but why should he?

At dinner my wife and I got to sit across from Kathy Schrock and discuss everything from family to educational podcasting.

Kathy had no idea who I was, either.

The next day I had the great honor of meeting Steve Dembo himself, who only recognized me because my hat had "Art Guy" written on it. (He mentioned at the time that I didn't look anything like he imagined.)

This is the part of the story where I'm supposed to say that after shaking hands with all of these powerhouses in educational technology I'm never going to wash my hand again, but that's just gross, isn't it?

There's a point to this beyond incessant name dropping. You see, I was getting a little worried that I might be getting a little too full of myself. I mean, let's face it - I've got over 2,000 kids that freak out every time I walk into one of their classrooms.

Now, having met these icons of ed tech that are doing so much more than me to further the cause, I think I have a much better sense of self.

After all, I'm way too much of a fanboy to be all that famous, right?

(PS: More info on the conference, including a podcast or two, will be forthcoming as soon as my Powerbook is up and running again.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Evicted from my laptop.

Earlier this week my hard drive began to make a very unsettling noise. Seeing this as the beginning of the end I immediately backed up all of my files. I would have replaced the hard drive, and in fact I've done just that on several occasions, but with this particular laptop I think it would be too risky for me to do so.

So it's at a repair center and will be returned next week with a new (and larger) drive. I'm getting by thanks to school computers (even if most of them are running Windows...) and my spare home computer, which just happens to be an old Compaq running Linux. I really like this Linux install, too - I don't think this thing was this fast when it was new!

It's also quite fortunate that I transfered my blog over to Blogger and my rss feeds over to Bloglines before the fateful day, even if I still have no way to put podcasts onto my iPod until I get my laptop back.

Unfortunately this means I won't have my laptop when I head up to the PETE&C preconference sponsored by DEN. I've got to find another way to blog about it.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 48: Polls

Click to play or download.My 48th podcast is brought to you by the letters "S," "N," "O," "W," "D," "A," and "Y." The snow wasn't the problem today, but the trees and power lines that the snow took down were a bit of a hinderance.

Show Notes:

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Flickr Limit

writeI had a great post written on Flickr's 200 image limit and my debate over whether or not I should switch to a pro account. I reasoned that by switching I would get rid of that limit and my need to resize my images (that 20 MB/month limit can be a killer...), but that I'm so much of a cheapskate that it might not be worth it.

Then I noticed that I could see all 309 of my pictures, even if I wasn't logged in.

So much for my rant!

... I think Flickr needs to update it's FAQ.

-= UPDATE! =-

And now I can only see 200 pictures again. Why is Flickr turning the limit on and off? In light of this I've added my original post below.


As I'm sure you may have noticed, I've integrated my Flickr account into my blog and my RSS feed. Flickr is a great way to share photos, and it even has a Creative Commons section where you can find pictures that you're allowed to use for other projects.

They offer free and paid accounts, and therein lies my problem.

You see, while the free account offers many useful services it will only display 200 pictures for you at a time. It won't delete the old pictures, and if you're already showing them on a blog they'll still be visible there, but you won't be able to get to those pictures from the Flickr site unless you pony up for a pro account.

As I'm typing this I've already uploaded 200+ pictures this school year. That means I can't reference any of the artworks I uploaded last year.

Unless I get a pro account.

Which I wouldn't mind having.

The question I need to answer is: "Is the pro account worth it?"

The geek in me wants to say yes, because the removal of an upload quota would let me post larger images and I hate resizing. The cheapskate in me is happy with the free service.

This is something I need to work out. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Two years later...

writeYesterday nbc4.com posted this story on their website. I recommend that you go and read the whole article before you continue with my own ramblings. Go ahead, I'll wait.

All done? Good.

I'm sure the author of that article wanted his or her thesis to be that there's a growing problem among today's youth where they think that the rules in the digital realm are different from the rules in the analog realm. The solution of course is to more thoroughly educate students about plagiarism and to also know how to look for it.

At least that's what I think the author's take was on it, and two years ago I would have agreed with it completely.

Let me first preface my own thesis with the following statements:
  1. Yes, I think plagiarism is wrong.
  2. Yes, I think students who knowingly commit plagiarism should be punished.
  3. Yes, I think that we should both educate our students on the perils of intellectual theft and keep a watchful eye for signs of the same.
I don't have any problem acknowledging any of those points. My contention is with the point of view.

Allow me to elaborate by quoting two sentences from the story itself.
"Part of the problem is that students now have easy access to a number of Web sites that offer papers on just about every novel, topic and theme taught in schools. Many students said the Internet is an easy way to get free information."
I would propose that the solution would be to look at that part of the problem in a new light. Remember, when the Industrial Revolution put many farmers out of work they saw the change as catastrophic, but at the same time those unemployed workers were hired in droves to work in the factories. (Thanks for the history lesson, Bob!)

At the risk of sounding too much like Mr. Warlick, we're in the thick of a digital revolution. The farmers who couldn't bear change suffered, starved, and in the worst of it started riots and rebellions. Those that changed had a chance.

It's sad that all that free information out there is seen as a disadvantage for students. With our current teaching methods (at least in most schools) we're still pretending we're in the 1900s or even 1800s. "Memorize this, quiz on Thursday" might have worked well when we were kids, but let's be honest here.

How often do you encounter problems where you cannot check a reference if necessary. They make those teachers' editions for a reason, after all!

I currently do not have textbooks that I can use in my classrooms, and frankly I don't want them. I have a few reference materials I can use in and out of the classroom, but it's so much easier to use the internet that sometimes O don't even crack a book open to plan a lesson. As someone who is required to use his art lessons to teach all the other subjects, I think that's really saying something.

If we're supposed to prepare students to survive in the "real world," (That is our job, right? Right?!) then we should show them how to use references the same way we do.
  • Don't just copy that page from Wikipedia, check some of it's facts to see if they're accurate!
  • Don't just take an essay off the internet, use it as a reference in a blog post!
  • Don't spend all your time memorizing the periodic table, find out what you can do with all those cool elements! (Don't forget your safety goggles!)
What if a teacher assigned a project where the report wasn't even graded, but the responses to other students' reports were?

I've rambled on long enough, so how about one of you wrap this up for me?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Academic Aesthetic Podcast 47: Lifelong Learners

Click to play or download.My 47th podcast is tale of how some special needs students are showing lifelong learner skills. Yes, beleive it or not we're not failing all our students!
Show Notes: