Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Sir Ken Robinson shares who inspired him. I'll share mine...
Who: My dad, my wife, my children & my favorite teachers.
What: ACTS community, Life and the right.
Where: My home town of Idalou, believe it or not.
When: When I learn to be quiet and still
Why: The belief that our role is to help each other out.
How: Be still, be quiet and know that He is.
Who/What’s on your list?
Thanks for passing along...Jeff Utecht
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I thought I would share an excerpt from a blog post by David Warlick at the CoSn conference for superintendents. Good insights as to the impact of technology in education.
Most of the research on the impact of technology in education, that he shared indicated little to no impact — until he got to recent studies done by Becta in the U.K. where enormous investment has been made in technology. What has accompanied that investment are efforts to redefine and retool education to reflect 21 century realities. They found dramatic advancement in learning, when that investment was accompanied with enthusiasm and support.
A U.S. metastudy came to two conclusions.
- We’ve often over-promised what technology can do.
- When there is appropriate vision and adequate professional development, Technology can be a powerful, transformative tool.
We are making progress when it comes to teachers. 63% of teachers say their technology skills are “somewhat advanced” or “advanced”. Yet most of them use their skills for e-mail and Internet research, not changing teaching. (CDW-G Teachers Talk Tech Surevey 2006)
From the student perspective (customer), they are expressing growing frustration that schools are “irrelevant”. We teach them all in a cookie-cutter style, while, in their outside the classroom information experiences, they learn at their own rate — and they do a lot of learning outside the classroom. Krueger talks about individualized instruction. I prefer talking about personalized learning. It implies to me a more active and direct involvement by the learner.
Krueger then depressed us all by talking about what technology gets from the Obama stimulus package. That deserves its own blog post.
This one caught my attention. 88% of the voting public believe that 21st century skills are important and should be integrated into the classroom. What actually struck me was the 10% who said that 21c skills are important, but that they should not be taught in school. Where does that come from?
The next slide indicated that 99% of people say that 21st century skills are critical to the future economic success. Yet school and district administration continues to run against resistance among parents and community.
We finally watched the new student-version of the Learn to Change, Change to Learn video. Here are some of the quotes that resonated with me.
"I can make anything that would have been ordinary, extraordinary." “I just started making music a few months ago. I’m learning how by trial and error.” “I’d say that being able to experiment with technology is what is good about technology.” “Video games are about coordinating and communication.” “When you have access to everything, you get to know yourself better, because you have to choose what to use and what not to use.”
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Then I read this post on ReadWriteWeb by Richard MacManus.
Social networks are making it increasingly easy to organize and propagate protests. One that caught our eye today is the New Zealand Internet Blackout, which is using a variety of Internet services to protest against a new law in New Zealand - the Guilt Upon Accusation law 'Section 92A'. This law may have major implications for Internet users in NZ, because it calls for internet disconnection "based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny." This law is due to come into effect in New Zealand on February 28th. The Blackout is in force on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and various websites/blogs.
Many New Zealanders have joined the protest against this law by blacking out their Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or Bebo photos - and even their own websites and blogs.
The blackout is part of a week of action against S92, declares a press release by the Creative Freedom Foundation, a non-profit group in NZ that has similar copyright concerns to those made famous internationally by Lawrence Lessig. The Creative Freedom Foundation will also announce a S92 song remix challenge this week, and "various other initiatives including video commercials and radio broadcasts will follow."
It is important to note that the law only applies to telcos and ISPs, but that copyright holders (e.g. the entertainment industry) can demand that ISPs disconnect internet access for those people they accuse of copyright infringement. P2P users and website owners who allegedly have copyrighted material on their websites are most likely to be the target. While some of those people may actually be copyright offenders, what has upset the Creative Freedom Foundation is that disconnection can occur simply by accusation - the phrase 'innocent until proven guilty' becomes meaningless.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I've loaded this app and it's just as clean and easy as it says. I would definitely change a few things. 1) make it easier to load multiple images at one time instead of having to go back into your library after each image. 2)As stated, make viewing flickr from the app. Overall, great find and very simple straight forward.
On any given day, there are thousands of people snapping iPhone photos and uploading them to Flickr. So many in fact, that the iPhone is one of the top five cameras. That's amazing - but not for the reasons you'd think. It's amazing because the default process of getting a photo from the iPhone to Flickr should be easier. And while any number of apps have attempted to solve that problem, Flickit handles the task in a way that is arguably the most graceful - and iPhone appropriate - of them all.
We've had excellent ways to view photos on Flickr from the iPhone - Flickr's iPhone-optimized mobile site is great and we're fans of the Cooliris iPhone app. Getting them to Flickr however - either by emailing them to a Flickr dropbox or using an existing app - always seemed to lack that certain je ne sais quoi.
Flickit is different. It's a beautiful little app that offers a simple - yet rich - Flickr uploading experience. Or as Lifehacker puts it, "the free Flickit application is [Flickr's] truest friend on an iPhone or iPod touch." We couldn't agree more.
While Flickit's functionality can be found in other apps, the look, feel, and usability give it something special. It has an aesthetic that matches the iPhone, with big chunky buttons and stylish animations. Long story short, Flickit just feels like an iPhone app.
And like the iPhone, it's easy to use. How easy? The IKEA-like instructions should provide a clue.
Once you've installed Flickit and logged into Flickr, you'll start with Flickit instead of your camera. Shoot photos directly from the app or grab pictures from your existing camera roll. Select a photo with which to work and you can edit title, description, and tags, add it to a set, choose its visibility, and geotag it with your current location. Press upload and you're done - fast. And it's all thanks to Flickit's streamlined uploading engine.
Downside? Flickit is an upload-only utility. So you're not going to be browsing your photos from it. That's unfortunate because given how they handle the upload process, we'd love to see how they handle viewing.
Want to give it a try? Download Flickit for free.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
'I wrote the program for my younger sisters, who like to draw.'If you haven't read about or downloaded the iPhone App, Doodle Kids, it now has more than 4,000 downloads and growing. In addition to this, Lim is also writing more kid games including a space race game called 'Invader Wars.'
So what is it that brings about the brightest and best from countries like South Korea, Japan, Finland, etc. and U.S. is lagging further behind?
UNICEF ranked countries on academics and found suggested that:
It's not surprise to me that a 9 year old student from Singapore can create an iPhone App because it's something his sisters wanted. I believe there are many students here in the U.S. that are equipping their children with FLIP cameras, iPhones, video editing and Web designing tools.
"...countries are consistently performing better than others when it comes to educating and equipping their young people for life in the 21st century ..."
"In all countries under review, a strong predictor of a child's success or failure at school is the economic and occupational status of the child's parents," it added.
If the notion is true that a strong predictor of a child's success is economic and occupational status, then this would hold true for Lim Ding Wen. I believe this to be the case for our kids as well. Many affluent families have digital cameras, wireless Web access from home, and students have cell phones with mobile Web capabilities. The key to this child's success story and others is not what they are doing in school, but rather what they are doing outside of the school day. Kids today have tremendous access beyond the school day including applications and Web 2.0 resources that so many districts block. The reality is, students are accessing and creating and applying 21st century skills at home everyday! As an institution, the schools should and do a sufficient job and teaching students the basic skills and 4 x 4 curriculum requirements. With that said, if the core instruction is provided for students at school, the innovation and application of 21st century skills is a result of the core learning and happens everyday all around them with all the resources at their disposal. Granted it may not all be included in the school day. The catch, not all students come from econcomic or occupational setting as Lim's family.
As is stated in so many education technology circles, U.S. students need 21st century skills to compete in the global economy. My question is... 'will this happen from an institution, or rather from a community of learners through online venues outside the school walls?" If students who are economically well-to-do and parents come from a "21st century occupation," I don't think there's much to worry about there, but what about the many who do not? What about those who are from single parent homes, rural parts of the country or not economically equipped to have access?
Organizations like ISTE and Partnership for 21st Century Skills are making a strong push to ensure schools are prepared.
I've just starting reading the book by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.