Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I found this TED talk on the history of videogames and where they are heading to be very disturbing.  "Part of me is just waiting to let go"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1 to 1 as a Distraction

On Thursday, Slate published this article, which criticized 1 to 1 laptop initiatives based on research from the Euro 2000 program in Romania. This is not an apples to apples comparison. The results of the study noted that student achievement dropped for students that received a subsidy to purchase a computer. When 1 to 1 laptops are deployed, all of the students receive laptops, not just a portion of them. As Alan Kay points out, the dominant technology defines the dominant task. In a case of a 1 to 1 deployment, this means that the paper and pencil exercises can be opened up to problem based learning.

Also, as Lawrence Lessig points out, technology has the effect of democratizing the means of production.

This again is a very good thing. It will hopefully enable students to take back their voices.

The other big argument in favour of 1 to 1 laptop programs is the fact that students often say that school is where they have to disconnect from the grid. (John Medina would argue that we need some time to disconnect:)

However, disconnecting for seven or eight hours every day creates a disconnect for students between school and the world that they inhabit the rest of the day and rest of the week.

Web programming and information architechture

Andrew Hinton's slide share on the nature of information architechture

As an occasional web programmer, this notion of embedding good information architecture in the form of documents. The example of Flickr on slide 73 is especially illustrating of this principle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Brain Rules

Jeff Utecht recently posted about John Medina's book the Brain Rules.

Jeff also provided a link to Garr Reynolds' presentation on his take on the book.

Both of these have me believing that John Medina's Brain Rules is very much worth a read.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Technology starting to have an effect

I found an article in today's Salon in a lot of ways to be very encouraging. Kids are using technology to get at higher order thinking skills. 8/10 students surveyed understood what To Kill a Mockingbird was about. Lots more work to do. 25% of teh students surveyed could not identify Adolf Hitler's role in World History. The important thing is that Web 2.0 tools are gaining traction and students are starting to use their brains to think, rather than just cram information into.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A philosphy of Anti-teaching

I just came across Michael Wesch's Savage Minds page. He defines anti-teaching as getting students to ask good questions. To me, that is the essence of good teaching.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

21st Century Skills

In an article entitled "Programming: The New Literacy" Marc Prensky writes:

Thirty years from now, will the United States
be more competitive with a population that can
read English at a tenth-grade level or with a
population excellent at making the complex
machines of that era do their bidding? The two
options may be mutually exclusive, and the
right choice may determine our children's place
in the world's intellectual hierarchy.
This is the need to teach our students how to program, whether that be Excel spreadsheets, html pages, php and MySQL or C++. He who controls the machines is going to have enormous power in the 21st century.

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Virtual offices

Mother Jones published an article yesterday about professionals who have the option to work out of their homes, but choose instead to rent space in an office. They find that there is a great sense of synergy. This lack of uptake on virtual offices, and cyber commuting is very much tied to the lack of uptake of virtual schooling. As a representative of member of the NESA Virtual School consortium, it's always been incredibly productive to sit and meet as a group. Some of this is freeing ourselves up from the daily grind, and some of it is the side conversations that occur about what technologies we are adopting and how we are implementing them. We always have a common set of questions and queries, and benefit greatly from the wisdom and experience of the group. I've always felt that it was somewhat ironic that a group of cyber-savvy educators discussing a virtual schooling project need to meet in face to face mode. This article helps explain a little bit about why.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Teens Are not Internet Couch Potatoes

From David Weisenberg:

From Pew Internet:

One Quarter of Teens Are Super Communicators

The Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 93% of teens
use the internet, and more of them than ever are treating it as a venue
for social interaction — a place where they can share creations, tell
stories, and interact with others. 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have
participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating
activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar
survey at the end of 2004.

Girls continue to dominate most elements of content creation:

* 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys

* 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys.

* 19% of Online boys post video content online, compared to 10% of
online girls who have posted a video online where others could see it.

47% of online teens have posted photos where others can see them,
and 89% of those teens who post photos say that people comment on the
images at least “some of the time.” Many teens, however, limit access
to content that they share.

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