Friday, March 30, 2007

"Learning is something that happens when you're doing something else."

Educational Games  Annotated

Quote: You don't have to be a genius to understand the work of the Nobel Laureates. These games and simulations, based on Nobel Prize-awarded achievements, will teach and inspire you while you're having FUN! Students, teachers and non-professionals of all ages will enjoy testing and building their knowledge in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace and economics. So, go ahead, Explore and Learn!

Watson'sComment: In our technology meeting yesterday, we talked a little about gaming in education. I game across this link on Academic Commons.



XPLANE | The visual thinking company

I ran across this link on Karl Fisch's blog (found him through 1001 Flat World Project). After attending an Apple digital storytelling workshop, this site really stoked my interest.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Long, Strange Trip...Not Really With Google Earth

GoogleLit Trips


A Different Way to Read Great Literature!This site is an experiment in teaching great literature in a very different way. Using Google Earth, students discover where in the world.

My annotation:

I've spent my spring break away from my laptop. And I'm back with a renewed sense of balancing use of technology and authentic inquiry and thinking. Judy forwarded this example of using Google Earth in English class. A few weeks ago, my class tried using it to explore the Congo as we read The Poisonwood Bible.

Friday, March 16, 2007



Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When A Place Becomes A Person

When my wife and I were creating the save the dates we sent out for our wedding, we walked around downtown Seattle taking pictures in front of places we love. On the ferry, at the market, strolling the pier. But the pictures that we go back to are not memorable because of the places. They're important to us because of the people that characterize the places. Soundgarden made famous Spoonman. And Pianoman is a ficture on the corner of Pine and Pike. This video reminded me of those people and places. Except the place is the web in this case.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just Because

I subscribe to Web-Zen's RSS feed. They recently linked to Play-Create. Check it out.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Project Juggling

[Cross-posted from 1001 Teachers]

Michelle's discussions were interesting to read and prompted me to add this post about my classes' Flat World Writing session yesterday (Thursday in Honolulu). We were working on feedback only. (Okay, now several anecdotes are popping into my head).

First, two students were sitting next to each other making their way through the organization rubric and their partners' stories. The first student's partner had not posted a second draft. So I asked if she put her partner's number and name on the 4th column. She said no. I asked why. She said that if her partner looked under history, she'd know who put her name up there, and she didn't want to make trouble (sorry for unclear pronoun references). So I asked her how she'd feel if she took my class, did no work, and I still gave her a passing grade.

Second, my other student was working on giving feedback on his partner's introduction. He was typing some rather discouraging and unhelpful notes. So I asked what his partner was supposed to work on after reading the feedback. And I asked him to rephrase his feedback according to Elbowing protocol. All of sudden, very useful feedback.
My observation is that because we don't share a physical classroom, each piece of feedback, every edit to the wiki carries more connotation. And that's a great exercise for students.

Finally, what's been really fun for my students are the two warm-ups that Clay created on the 1001 Writers blog. My students loved collaborating in a lower stakes activity. I think those really help trust/relationship building.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Are You Listening To Volcano Radio?

Volcano Radio is a podcast being produced by friends of mine, Malia and Stewart. They're both accomplished journalists and writers. And on the podcast, they're accumulating some great content about what it means to live in Hawaii and how to have a non-touristy visit if you don't live here. I'm lucky enough to every once in awhile be asked to contribute something. Here's a book review I wrote. The audio should be available at Volcano Radio soon.

As surfers we’re lucky that such places as the Bishop Museum exist. They have vaults of antique surf memorabilia and photography. Desoto Brown had the opportunity to comb through these pictures and publish them as a kind of scrapbook of surf photography.

In Surfing: Historic Images From Bishop Museum Archives, we get a little over 150 pages of black and white photos of Waikiki, early surf contests, tourism, and the Duke, taken from 1890-1960. In the background of these pictures is the development of a tourism mecca, including the construction of the Royal Hawaiian and filming of Hollywood travelogue productions for the Hawaii Tourist Bureau.

A few pages in, the book, contrary to the implication of the title, says that “this is not a history of surfing or even of surfing photography. Instead, it’s a selection of historic pictures from just one collection, the Bishop Museum Archives in Honolulu, Hawaii.” It goes on to describe the millions of images held in this collection. And the fact that there are still some gaps in surfing history. Brown also says: “You won’t see the full evolution of surfing from the time of Western contact onwards: the sport’s fall and rise, its growth beyond Waikiki and then the Hawaiian Islands, and the position it occupies in the world today.” Okay, this is just page 9, but I’ll keep going. I want to see what the book is.

The photos are full of sexy smiles and perfect waves. And the captions provide context for each of the shots and the people and places in them. For me some of the highlights are the documentation of the surfboard as a relic, and then as a symbol of Hawaii, the discussion of the staging and truthfulness of some of the photos, the photo ops at the Moana Pier, the land sled, the 3D photography and the early aerial shots.Yet, the reader is left wondering how these photos fit into the story. Are there thematic connections? Are the same people involved in the development and the surf? Is there a sequential story to follow?

The book ends with a 1960’s Waikiki that we start to recognize, crowds and concrete. And the last 30 pages are a dedicated tribute to Duke Kahanamoku’s life and contribution to Hawaii and surfing.

For $15, the Bishop trades an attractive, compact package, adorned in reef green pastels and the quintessential Waikiki surf photo with Diamond Head in the background. But it’s apparent immediately that this not going to be photography for your coffeetable or bookshelf display. More with the visitor in mind I think, you won’t have a problem fitting this small soft-cover in your luggage or carry-on. But as a surfer anywhere, this is a must-have.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Eh, Here's One Podcast

For the last week or so, I've spent a lot of time in my new headset, and I've become pretty familiar with Garageband. Today, I shared a story with my students about how when I was growing up, my parents had a band that played at weddings and parties, and our basement was set up like a recording studio. In high school, three buddies and I started our first band. We'd spend days recording and re-recording, mixing, dubbing, fading, and jamming. I haven't plugged my guitar into my Mac yet, but I've been doing a lot of podcasting. I started with a story for the 1001 Flat World Project. And I've been recording class discussions and readings (soon to be mixed). Here's my player and story (sidebar). Plenty of students and colleagues have already goofed on my bad pidgin. But at least I gave it a try.