Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lots 'o photos!

More Photos than you can shake a stick at. The buzz in many other blogs is the Google-Life collaboration. These are great, go back to the early days of photography.

On of my favorite sites for photos is the Sports Illustrated Vault. Some great photos here, and yes some swimsuit issue photos too.

But don't forget the Library of Congress and their digital collections.

Here is the needed warning:
Beware the copyright. I would think most of the Life and SI photos are covered by this. Get permission before using. Watermarks are on some larger photos, but that is not permission.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Life to live

Some things I just don’t get.
I tend to understand the use of technology in the world, but I am lost in some ideas. Second Life is of these concepts. Generally any “other world” I don’t understand, but many people in my profession use Second Life for meeting, training and the like.

In a way I think of T.S, Garp in John Irving’s “The World According to Garp”, and how he feels about sports. He did not like sports that put something between you and your opponent. So ball games were out and wrestling was in.

When I need to go through other places to get information I lose interest and do not want to. I have had one meetings using Second Life, and thought it to be silly. Why not do a conference call or use a desktop meeting to do stuff? I have a hard enough time navigating around in SL, which makes it hard to pay attention. I think I last left my avatar underwater.

What are some expected responses to this? I need to give it more time. I don’t really have time. Is this similar to saying I would like ballroom dancing if I gave it time. I have no desire to learn how to ballroom dance, so I don’t want to give it any time.

I never really like role-playing in classes, thought it was dumb. So I guess I think of SL as a role-playing game. Dungeons and Dragons anyone? I have enough time figuring out who I am, and hardly have enough time for this life, much less another life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Technology in the classroom

When I was hired here oh so many years ago, I was to work with teacher to integrate technology into their classrooms. The job changed quickly, to more of the fixing and planning technology for the district. I do very little integration work, but try hard to do some whenever possible. 

I have made many opportunities in terms of equipment and specific training for these pieces of equipment, but getting into the classroom to demonstrate is difficult. 

I ran across this blog post on why we are not integrating technology into the classroom.  He lists 5 reasons why:

  1.  Technology is expensive
  2.  Technology is broken or unavalable
  3.  Technology use is not tested
  4.  Technology lessons are not well planned
  5.  Fear of losing control

What is the reason the teachers here are not using technology? Looking point by point:

1. Technology is expensive. Yes it is. I have been lucky in that my funding level has remained the same for the 9 years I have been here. Which is cool as that the cost of technology has dropped over this time. We have good penetration of technology in the schools and classrooms. 

2. Technology is broken or unavailable: Our stuff works, and it is generally available, unless it is the end of the year when many teachers decide to do a "project". We worked on spreading these out last year and there was available technology. Here is what we have in a 6-12 school with less than 400 students: 2 mobile labs with 20 computers, a computer lab with 30 computers, a library with 20 computers, an on-line learning lab with 24 computers, and two technology labs with 25 each. 1 out of 4 classrooms have smartboards. Each classroom has at least one computer, many have more. Several digital camera and digital video cameras, available methods to post to the web. Technology  is available here.

3. Technology use is not tested. That is correct. It is not on our state tests. But do students who do technology projects do better on state tests? Do they learn higher level skills? I think so, or spending all of this money is useless

4. Technology lessons are not well planned. Many lessons are not well planned. That is why we need integration specialists to work with the teachers. Mentoring. 

5. Fear of losing control. See this with many teachers. They want to dispense the knowledge. Sometimes the students know more about topics than teachers do. Let them teach. I see many students helping teachers with SmartBoards, which is cool. I like to see that.

I would guess around here the problem goes to 4&5. We need to work on that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The End of Blogging?

An essay in Wired Magazine says "Blogs are so 2004"
Twitter, Plurk, Facebook and others are the place to be. 

Could be. Sometimes it is shouting to the empty rooms here. I think that education bloggers still have some value. It is difficult to express complex ideas in 130 characters or less.

But for the most part I agree with vanity blogs, they can move over to facebook and leave it at that. 

I search are read edubloggers to get new ideas and thoughts in my field. Yes, other tools are used too, and I do more with Plurk than blogs, but what depth are these posts?

Back to work