Monday, December 29, 2008

Writing Prompts & Idea Generators

Writing Prompts

Idea Generators

How to Write a Book

Write and Publish Your Book

So You Want to Write a Book?

The Known Universe

Scott Love of AquaMinds shares "The Known Universe":
"Teeming with life. Social, electronic digital life. That's how I see the Internet. Deep and mysterious at times but always rich in content and information. How does one find it and then share it? I like to use NoteShare as a tool for aggregating information and content but also using it as a terrific way to share and publish discoveries. From another point of view, one can easily imagine this same process of gathering resources (we called them readings in college) and creating the super syllabus of the 21st century course notebook. And I've seen evidence already by middle school teachers who are way beyond the experts and ivory tower researchers when it comes to integrating and exploring the vast information riches of the Internet for classroom use. Teachers and librarians are cool!" ~ Scott Love

Link to Noteshare Web Notebook, "The Known Universe"

AquaMinds Weblog: Web Agents, NoteShare and Collaborative List Building and Note-Taking

Ann Marie Quiron Hutton's Video Noteshare Tutorials
Noteshare Server for OS X

"There Ought to Be a Law"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will I Succumb to High Tech Reading?

by Becky Ranks

I tend to be an Oprah follower. I read her magazine, buy some of her recommended products, and read some of, but not all of her book choices. I actually even take some of her advice, and I find myself even more aware of the needs of people less fortunate as a result. Well, about a month ago Oprah came out with the ultimate recommendation...she actually blessed a piece of high tech equipment with her golden touch. That equipment is the Kindle. The Kindle is a wireless reading device unlike any other device on the market. It uses cell phone technology that enables you to buy books and newspapers from anywhere you might be. It has an electronic paper display that provides a sharp, high resolution screen that reads like real paper. It holds up to 200 books and has a long battery life. Everyone who owns one seems to love it and they claim it has changed the way they read. It is so wildly popular that you have to get in line on the Amazon site to purchase one. They sold out before December on Amazon. I am teetering on the brink of Kindle ownership. I am a reader. I love to read and read all kinds of different things. I am reading Twilight at the moment, but I may be reading a biography in the next moment or a thriller after that. I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, an Oprah book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I might want a Kindle. The operative words are "think" and "might". I still love the touch and the feel of a real book. I love turning the pages and placing my Harry Potter bookmark in the crease when I put the book down. I love the smell of a book. I love the way it feels in my hands as I escape on whatever journey it takes me on. I might want a Kindle, but I am not sure. Reading is reading isn't it? Or is it? I would love to know if kindle owners regret their decision. Are there a lot of Kindles on eBay? That might tell me something. I love technology and new gadgets, but I am not sure if this new gadget will rob me of that real reading experience that I cherish. Is there anyone out there who has succumbed that might offer some advice?

Social Networking Pros & Cons

Question: Is online social networking socially enhancing or socially isolating?

The Economist Debate on Social Networking in Education

Horizon Project: Social Networking
Connecting Safely - Social Networking Dangers in Perspective
The Dangers of Social Networking
Washington Post: Social Isolation Is Growing in the U.S.

"No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service Learning"

Jeff 'n Dan of Western Maine present Show #49 (7X7) on Wicked Decent Learning.

TeLL MAINE Teaching, Leading & Learning Survey

Results Link

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Free Technology for Teachers

Congratulations to Western Maine teacher, Richard Byrne for winning the 2008 Edublog Award for Best Resource Sharing Blog! If you aren't already a regular visitor to Richard's site, you really owe it to yourself to see his superb work. Maine is proud of you, Richard.

How Are We Using Our Wireless Gift?

"We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." -Albert Einstein

I often forget that not all schools around our nation have wireless capabilities. In Maine, we are blessed to be the recipients of the forward-looking decisions made to create the MSLN and then the MLTI laptop program which, in turn, leveraged the creation of wireless networks in our schools and libraries. How are we using it?

Karl Fisch of "Did You Know" fame makes an excellent case for the importance of WIFI in schools here.

Questions: How are we using our WIFI capabilities? Is it transforming our school model or just a distraction of the status quo?

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." - Alvin Toffler

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Hit the Road, Jack"

I know that many would disagree, but more and more, every day, I am finding YouTube and Wikipedia to be the most wondrous tools for learning. More and more, authority-based information, filtered by established elite, seems highly over-rated if not even of questionable validity.

Yes, I do know the warnings . . . from librarians, educators, and the keepers of the firewall and holy scripts - but, you know what - the genie is out of the bottle, the cat is out of the bag, the apple of consciousness has been eaten. We are no longer in Eden. We are simply in denial if we pretend that we can put the lid back on Pandora's box and everything will be as it was before. It is now a different game, and we need to learn the new rules and how to ethically work and play within this changed narrative.

YouTube is being used by many as a vehicle to develop their talents by sharing and building specialized communities. We all need audiences and encouragement in some form or another.

An example: Ulli Bogershausen is a famous German solo guitarist and teacher of guitar. He is an inspiration to South Korean child guitar prodigy, Sungha Jung,. YouTube, mentoring, the circle of life continues . . .

Sungha Jung's MySpace Page

What do you think?

Monday, December 15, 2008

ArtReach at Telstar Middle

Last Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to observe part of the ArtReach project at Telstar Middle School that this year is centering its work and learning on helping to support the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg. Under the leadership of art teacher, Melissa Prescott, students had earlier visited the shelter, interviewed the staff, and created a polished video documenting the experience using the laptop iMovie program. The evening events started with a presentation of the documentary and then continued with an auction of donated works of art by area artists as well as the sale of student art with school superintendent, David Murphy, acting as auctioneer. Subsequently, student musicians, under the leadership of Tom Coolidge, performed for the audience.

There are great connections here. It is a powerful model for what education should be all about, with the integration of real-world needs, community involvement, citizenship, empowering technology, inspired teachers, and engaged students. Congratulations, Telstar!

Sun Journal Article
Melissa Prescott's Classroom Project Blog
Melissa's Art Portaportal
Digital Storytelling
Video 1 Workshop
Video 2 Workshop

Thursday, December 11, 2008

MARTI Session: "The Future"

Discussion "Are we being empowered by technology or enslaved by it?"

Workshop Session Link

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maine is on the Map!

By Kern Kelley

Maine now has Streetview enabled in Google Maps. If you haven't tried it before, check it out below. Here's my school, you can get an idea of how to move around. Too cool!

Need a Classroom or School-wide Helping Hand Project?

Click Here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Transforming Learning with Technology

Essential Question: How do we use technology in a classroom?

Crescent Park School, 3:30 - 7:30, Agenda

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sticky Notes

Mainers, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, of Diet Coke/Mentos YouTube fame, experiment with the many uses of stickies:

WikiHow: How to Use Sticky Notes
Wikipedia: Post-It Notes . . . history and background
Awesome Alternative Uses for the Humble Post-It Note

What uses do you have for stickies?
(Click here to share in "LIM Discussion")

Related Links:

The Odd Company
Celebration Theater
Eepy Bird
Oddfellow Theater

Photo Credit: Bah Hoonchback @ OddFellow Theater in Buckfield, Maine

Federal Secretary of Education?

U.S. Department of Education

Here are some different viewpoints on who should be the next Secretary of Education gathered from Google News.

Amanda Ripley @ Time
David Brooks @ NY Times
Dan Brown @ Huffington Post
Seyward Darby @ The New Republic
Washington Post Editorial

Google Alert on New Secretary

Who do you prefer for the position?

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens." ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pros & Cons of Twitter

Twitter - What are you doing?

CommonCraft "In Plain English"

Twitter4Teachers Wiki
Twitter as a News Source
Tweeting the Terror: How Social Media Reacted to Mumai

Essential Question: What is the upside and downside of Twitter?

Cartoon Credit

Essential Question: What do we gain and lose from using Twitter?

Cartoon Credit

Why Teens Don't Tweet

Something New: Tweach!
50 Ways to Use Twitter in the College Classroom

Hurray for Western Maine!

by Richard Byrne

The official 2008 Edublog Awards nominees were announced last night. Four people from Western Maine were nominated. Jim Burke was nominated in the category of Best Educational Wiki 2008 for the Learning in Maine wiki. Jeff and Dan at Wicked Decent Learning were nominated for Best Educational Use of Audio. My blog Free Technology for Teachers was nominated for Best Resource Sharing Blog.

The voting is open now. You can see the full list of nominees and place your votes here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

TelstarToo: Creating and Using Movies

Crescent Park School 3:30 - 7:30, Monday, December 1. All are welcome!