Friday, April 24, 2009

Project Spic365 - day188

Kid n play

Posted by ShoZu

Simply the best?

I love this blog post response to a leading news publication that states the following:

You Call These The “Best”?

A writer at CNET offers Five tools for the world’s best teacher, calling them “five teachers’ aids that stand out from the rest”.

  1. Blackboard
  2. Classroom 2.0
  3. Engrade
  4. MyGradeBook
  5. TeacherTube


First of all, numbers three and four are both gradebooks. To me that falls under the category of classroom management, not teaching tools.

While Classroom 2.0 is a wonderful community, it’s about professional development and not for use with the kids.

TeacherTube is also excellent, a great place for both teachers and their students to share their work.

And then we come to Blackboard.

This “technology columnist who has written about everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems” either has a huge grudge against teachers or is clueless to make that his first choice.

Or include it on any instructional “best of” list at all.

I absolutely agree with Tim. Some of the best teaching tools should cause kids to think critically, problem solve, analyze and access information, etc. One of my favorite excerpts from the book, The Global Achievement Gap, is...

“It should be obvious that there is no way to teach the competencies of critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication and accessing and analyzing information, and so on without also teaching academic content. Subject-content material is what you think and write about, and problem solving is initially best understood and practiced as a part of the study of math, science and social studies.”
(Pg. 265. The Global Achievement Gab)

The tools that teachers use and the instructional strategies that rank "the best," should cause student to:

Competencies for the Twenty-First Century

• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
• Collaboration across Networks
• Agility and Adaptability
• Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
• Effective Oral and Written Communication
• Accessing and Analyzing Information
• Curiosity and Imagination

So what are the best teaching tools?
1. The teacher
2. Content that causes kids to think critically, access information and collaborate (Inspiration, Nettrekker, Adobe software, Apple iLife tools, Ti nspire calculator and resources, and I'm sure you can come up with a lot more than grade books and a course shell.

Regarding Classroom 2.0, I am a big promonent of this community, but it is a community. I think it's a great place for educators to collaborate and engage in instructional interactions / conversations. While there are great links, resources, videos, etc., it's not the instructional tool that teachers use with their students in the classroom.

It's great to read the responses to the original post as many of the folks comment don't agree or share their favorites:

Others that were shared;
Mediawiki, YouTube, SlideShare, Google Docs, MindMeister, Moodle, MS Office workspace, gCast, SchoolTube, etc.

I recently started working for a company, CompassLearning, and while many folks may consider this to be a legacy offering, I have been amazed at the new development and the high school content that has so many engaging elements that gives students the opportunity to think cricically, engage and interact in a way that is based on brain research. I don't want to use this post as a plug to promote the organization I just joined, but I will say that 21st Century Skills can not happen if they don't have core foundation of skill or knowledge from which to biuld upon. I would love to engage in a conversation with edubloggers out there who are embracing social media & web 2.0 tools and ask them to kick the tires around to see how they would use core content or learning objects tied to these tools. I think it's not any one tool that is "the best," but how the teacher moves through the various recoures at his/her figertips to engage the learner.

Please comment or send me a note. (jcostilla - Twitter)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Targeting the Right Social Media

Social media is all the buzz... but what is the right mix to meet your targets?
Be it education, consumer, community or commerce, we have all found our way to what is becoming more and more mainstream. Educators are utilizing social networks like Ning to setup school profiles and student projects to communities (Classroom 2.0) where tech savvy educators can congregate to share teaching and learning best practices. Additionally marketers and everyday members post tiny blog posts on Twitter to share what's going on in their world and helpful links to relevant content. YouTube has put into motion a production of video-based content like no other. My son learned how to play a guitar thanks to the many hours of video lessons online. And now, he sells his own short video lessons on his own e-commerce marketplace site.

So my real question is this... What is the right mix of social media to leverage a brand, program and business? I have read numerous blog posts that tell us social media is where a huge portion of marketing dollars will go... that word of mouth recommendations carry more weight than banner ads or commercials. Blah blah.

Social media implies grassroots. Leveraging a community or the masses to share their thoughts and reactions to products and ideas. For educators, social media is a platform to share their great teaching lessons integrating technology and Web 2.0 resources. It's also a forum to post blogs, images, videos on student work, conference, models of instruction and the list goes on. It's invaluable because educators are not solely relying on content from publishers. As knowledgeable experts in their field, they are sharing their teaching skills and lessons to audiences worldwide, not just to their students or parents.

For companies, they are now getting input on product development, focus groups, promotions and marketing by average everyday folks like you and me. They no longer have to rely solely on high priced click ads or 30 second commercial spots.

Most importantly, institutions and companies are not relying on their own employees or marketing tactics to promote their brand. I'm sure many of you have see the Zappos, free shoes Twitter post that caused folks like David Armano, a well know marketer, to post a feed and write a blog to his constituents. It's these grassroots efforts and posts that cause a great reaction and create an interest to learn more about a brand or product and even further to go out and purchase something as a result of these little to no cost social media efforts.

The challenge is what is the right mix? It's no question that more and more companies are embracing social media as a platform to get the word out. With more than 200 million users, Facebook is the largest single audience to market to. How are educators, consumers and businesses embracing this community?

With the company that I worked for, and now serve as a social media adviser, we immediately set out to build a social community for educators that allowed them to connect, collaborate and post their content for commercial purposes. Learn more. As we did this, we too fell under the misnomer that if you build it, they will come. And of course, they didn't. So many companies have fallen into this trap. I think schools / educators are victim to this as well. A hand full of edubloggers, facebook users, or Twitter geeks jump on the bandwagon, share these "cool" toys with their colleagues only to get a deer in the headlights look back. I've been in sessions where the battle is over online protection, rightfully so, and access, etc. Many districts block image sharing, YouTube, social networks and blogs. So half the battle for educators is getting a widespread acceptance and application for teachers and administrators to embrace the tools. The other half of the battle is getting access and filtering for appropriateness of content.

Anyway, we built it, they didn't come. It wasn't enough to build it or talk about it, we had to engage and connect with the audience. We later learned that if you identify where they reside, you can intercept. That proved to be a great model for us. Often times companies want to build their own platform / community as opposed to joining in on other communities... for fear that they may take their customers or share their customer base. The reality is, consumers and social media type already belong to a community. They will likely join yours, but not come back unless there is a reason or someone sends them an email note. I have joined so many Ning communities, video sites, etc. I rarely go back to them unless I have a need. I have my homebase and then I branch out from there. Go where they are at and connect the dots.

In addition to building community and connecting, you also have to give them a purpose while they are there. Engagement is key. One way is through content and not always that of the host. Give opportunities for members to participate. Whether it's a blog post, image sharing, status updates, polls, commenting on posts, pics, or videos, create a reason for members to come back. We made the mistake early on of creating all the content. This did not work because it was a one way channel. This is why Facebook works so well in my opinion. They have managed to provide a newsfeed of all the activity of your friends. You view a pic or a post and immediately you respond and two or three others follow there after. Content is being created by the masses and Facebook basks in all the click throughs and memberships.

This brings me to the final questions. While social media is all the buzz, and all of us are jumping on board as though it was the next AOL moment. At what point do companies realize monetization or ROI of this approach? While this may not be a big push for educators. I think educators or bloggers, sometimes those famous bloggers, are looking for a large following. That in turn gets them some level of voice. Sometimes even a banner add or two. But the reality is this... Yes all these social media tools are free. Very few if any have a subscription service to their base community, tool or resource. But really, is anything really free. Click throughs, eyeballs, membership numbers are the game. The more you have the more you can sell sponsorships, ads, and eventually seek investment, funding or buyout.

For these social media / Web 2.0 companies, I am grateful for the great resources, and for free at least for my purposes. But for them to stay in business and keep their lights on, they have to be able to bring in revenue. I think this is something that has been a challenge for many, including Facebook. On paper they have a lot of value because of the audience and engagement. But in terms of selling of services, I'd like to learn more on that.

All this said, I am on the bandwagon of social media and will leverage the tools in my current business.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

School not ready.

Interesting image by Bud the Teacher.

NPM2009: Prompt 22

School Not Ready
Creative Commons License photo credit: Bud the Teacher

My poem:

School in not ready,

but the students are.

Are you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Live video on Facebook with Qik

I use this app on my phone and link live video feeds to my blog and now Facebook.

Qik Adds Mobile Video to Facebook

Qik Facebook LogosQik, the live streaming video service for mobile phones, has launched its own integration with Facebook’s video application to help you publish your videos to the social network.

Now, not only can video lovers upload their mobile videos to the Facebook video app using Facebook Connect, but they can update their status, post it to their wall, and add it to the news feed as well.

For those unfamiliar with Qik, it is a mobile streaming video application that’s available for most phones that have video capabilities. With its Facebook integration, users can now post any of those videos to Facebook. This doesn’t require the user to install a Facebook app, but instead simply linking their Qik account to their Facebook account.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vote for Me!!!

Vote for my image on ISTE Connect!
Click this Link to vote: (selec the radio button next to this image)

This is the image I created using and the theme for funniest Ed Tech photo contest. How many votes can this image get. Let's see if i can get at least 10... Hook a brother up!
Voting is now open on the Worlds Funniest Ed Tech Photos Contest! If you are receiving this e-mail than one of your photos made it to the finals and is up for voting by the public! Good Luck to all of you and be sure to send your friends and family a link to the contest!

Full Link:

Tiny Link:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter's on it's way...

Today we made our way to the park to find a local Easter egg hunt going on with lots of games and activities. Here's a few pics from our Saturday afternoon excursion. While I love the pics of the kids in the bounce house and egg hunt, I must say my favorite was the Easter bunny hopping down the 'bounce house' trail.

Project Pic365 - day180

Black haze

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day178

Work out

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day179

After prom09

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day177

Bud lights

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day176


Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day175

The inlaws

Posted by ShoZu

Project Pic365 - day174

Bumper bowling

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Teach Green! Get $200 bucks!

What would you do with $200 to teach green?

Do something different this year for Earth Day. How about coming up with a project that empowers and challenges your students to think green for longer than just one day?

10 teachers get $200 and a Flip Video™ camera to help get “Teach Green” projects off the ground. Friends and colleagues vote on the top Green projects. The ten projects with the most online votes will be awarded the Teach Green Microgrant. Easy enough! Click here to get your microgrant going...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Winners of the Web 2.0 era

Skype May Be The Biggest Winner From The Web 2.0 Era

Who can take the title "biggest winner from the Web 2.0 era"?
  • Skype: $500 million in revenue, profitable and growing and an iPhone app.
  • Google: not really Web 2.0, though; born in 1999.
  • YouTube: still losing money, no clear monetization model, and video-serving costs are substantial. It is hard to imagine YouTube as an independent company
  • Facebook: how long can the great hope remain the great hope? At some point, it has to demonstrate a sustainable revenue model and some profit. It still doesn't have a native revenue model that makes sense to both users and advertisers.
  • Twitter: see above.
  • not really Web 2.0 either; born in 1999. More revenue than Skype today, but smaller addressable market.