Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two For Tuesday 9/28/2010

1. Where Good Ideas Come From - Video by Steven Johnson
In this video Johnson illustrates (literally) how good ideas come to fruition. He addresses the time it takes and the collaboration that is required to take something from a hunch to a reality. My favorite line: "Chance favors the connected mind."

2. Guy Walks Across America - Viral Video
This is an incredible stop motion video of a man walking across America. Be sure to scroll down on the page to watch the Behind the Scenes video that shows how they created it. I am amazed by how accessible media has become. While it was extremely complicated to create this particular video, it didn't take a lot of money or expensive technology.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seven Shanghai Surprises

I have just returned from the Learning 2.010 conference in Shanghai, China where I was invited to facilitate a cohort of learners on the topic of social media. It was an incredible experience in so many ways. Here are just a few of my thoughts on the experience.

1. English
- I was amazed my how much English signage there is in Shanghai. All of the street signs are in Chinese and English. The ATM machines and the ticket machines for the Metro all provide English as an option. Sometimes the English translations are interesting, but I couldn't even begin to translate my English to Chinese, so I won't complain.

2. Better City Better Life - This motto is everywhere in Shanghai. Guy Kawasaki speaks about the importance of having a motto. China has embraced this concept whole heartedly. The construction in Shanghai is beyond imagination. And, at every construction site you will see "Better City, Better Life."

3. Unconferences really work - I have been to several unconferences and I even run one every year at BLC. They are daunting to put together because you have to trust in your participants to build the conference. The Learning 2.010 team was extremely brave to take a previously structured conference and reconstruct it in the unconference model. I think it really helped to have the facilitators there to help run sessions, but by the last session the unconference ran itself.

4. Social Media in education has its benefits and challenges - The topic for my cohort was "Social Media." On the first day we wrote about the benefits and challenges of using social media in the classroom. I think my cohort made some excellent observations.

5. Building Community is up to the Community - Facilitating a group of teachers is challenging. Michael Lambert and I did the best we could to meet the needs of the people in our group. We were constantly adapting and changing our plans to try to react on our feet to the feedback we were getting. I hope we succeeded, but in the end I realized it really isn't up to me. Each person has to find their own way into the learning. I can help guide them, but we each need to take responsibility for our own growth and connections.

6. My Edtech Rockstars really are Rockstars - It was amazing to be given the opportunity to spend a week teaching and learning with people whom I have respected and admired for years. I felt incredibly honored to be in their company. I had the chance to work and hang out with Kim Cofino, Darren Kuropatwa, Wes Fryer, Alec Couros, Jeff Utecht, Julie Lindsay, Tim Lauer, Steve Hargadon, Gail Lovely and Melinda Alford, Chris Betcher, Gail Lovely, Michael Lambert, Laura Heikkila, Ann Krembs , and Madeleine Brookes. Most of whom I had never met face-to-face. They all proved to be as inspiring in real life as they have been online.

7. Jeff Utecht is an Amazing Host and Tour Guide - Shanghai would not have been the same without him. He took us to eat some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten, showed us the sights and taught us how to bargain like a pro. I am profoundly grateful to him for everything. Thanks so much Jeff!

And of course @intrepidteacher's charming wit was a bonus!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two For Tuesday 9/21/2010

1. Rhymer.com - Free Online Rhyming Dictionary
For all your rhyming needs, Rhymer finds beginning rhymes, first syllable rhymes, last syllable rhymes, end rhymes, and double rhymes for any word. Next time you are writing a poem and need a good rhyme, this is the place to go. (Thanks to Pedro R. for suggesting this one.)

2. Tracking the Oil Spill in the Gulf - New York Times Animated Interactive Map
This map shows how the spill has grew and moved between April 22nd and August 2nd 2010. You can also see where the oil made landfall, efforts to stop the leak, effects on wildlife and more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two For Tuesday

Every Tuesday during the school year I try to share two links that I think might be helpful to educators and students. Last year, I created a separate blog to share the links. This year, I've decided to move these links to this blog.

Here are two interesting links to start off the school year.

1. Yolink - Search more efficiently and effectively
Yolink searches your searches, shows you where your search terms appear in your search results and gives you the context for those results. Download the Firefox add-on and improve your search results today!

2. Sign Up Genius - Manage your sign up lists Online
You can organize your team, event, dinner or party with this free invitation service. It includes templates to help you create your invite and automatic email reminders to keep everyone organized.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Just Blog It!

I have been so lame about blogging, that I just got off the couch and decided to write something, anything just to get myself going again. Here are a few things that are going on with me these days.

1. School just started and I am once again teaching digital journalism. So far it is going well (we've only had two classes). Two new things I'm doing - starting each class with 8 minutes of writing and planning to do more actual journalism (not just learning about it, but doing it).

2. I'm heading to Shanghai on Sept 11th for a week to facilitate a strand of the Learning 2.01o conference. My cohort will be looking at social media in education. I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm also a little nervous. I'm really not a world traveler. I've never been to Asia. This should be a really interesting and challenging experience.

3. I was recently elected to the MassCUE board. The annual conference is fast approaching and I'm looking forward to attending with a different perspective. I'm also looking forward to being a part of this organization.

OK - It isn't a fancy post. No images or big messages, but at least I got something out there.

It is great to be in a profession that offers so many fresh starts. May we all have one this year!