An interesting mix of Technology

I came upon this….

Possibly something for 802??? It could be used comparatively with the Khan Academy discussion. haha

It made me think of you.


switching gears…

I found this interesting as well

more online learning stuff

and even more









Tuesday. Met with Dr. Schwier for the first time.  Great conversation!  It is kind of sad that we meet almost exclusively online.  I would really enjoy getting together in a classroom and learning/talking together.  We can’t have it all now can we?

Also met with Dirk Morrison.  Another great conversation.  These 2 men were just awesome.  Dirk got to hear me rant and rave about a lot of things.

Had a great time meeting these 2 and respect them even more now.


This was my first attempt at blogging and am starting to see the power of it.

I hope I will be able to keep this blog alive! After I met with Dirk, I registered in a second class for the fall term. (he talked me into taking one of his classes– I think he works on commission haha)  Unless I am “forced” to do it, I am thinking I won’t have any time for it.  I think Dr. Schwier that we might need to see what we can do about this.

I learned a few of  the extras (such as tags and embedding video) and I just read some articles about how others use blogs in school.

I am going to re-recommend the Smartbrief on Edtech emails.  They just seem to keep coming out with great articles.

At the start of my blogging I found myself trying to be too technical and less informal.  I am finding my niche in being more down to earth in my blogs and things that I have read about or that interest me.


I am not completely sold on Twitter.  It seems like one more thing to check on during the day.  I don’t understand the hash tags and am not sure if I will continue to use this instrument.

The 802 experience has been great.  I have been snooping around the Voicethread site and am thinking of ways to incorporate this at my school.  I am assuming the kids will love it.

Bye….for now.



A while ago I watched a video on TED about a technology called Siftables. (See video below)

After I watched this video, I asked myself a few questions:

  • These kinds of videos I watch are always cool but where do they go from here?
  • Do they ever make it to the production stage ?

I did a quick search and came to this website:

As I looked through the site, I realized that you also need a computer close by.  I’m not quite sure if this could possibly negatively affect using these in a school setting or not.  For $150 dollars you get 3 cubes and are ready to go.

I looked at this story from 2 angles.  I am a business owner and entrepreneur as well as an educator.  These types of stories always make me wonder if the inventors start out with the sole purpose of making a better world because of their technologies? or do they invent things to get rich?  or is it a combination of both?

I wonder if Microsoft or Apple would have been born if there was no chance of financial gain? Or was it done to make a world a better place?

When I read the Wikipedia article on Gates, it seemed clear to me that he was fascinated by computers.  So I will be brave enough to say that in his infancy he was not interested in becoming the richest man in the world.  Obviously, I can speculate all I want and will not come to a concise answer.  Some will argue he has made life easier or even a better place.  Some will argue that his invention will ruin the world.  I am just fascinated that some people have such talents.  It reminds me of the story I was told about my father-in-law.  As a child he was keen on music and especially musical instruments.  His mother gave him an accordion.  My father-in-law could have picked up any instrument and started playing it– he was that good.  He especially liked the fiddle and the accordion.  One day when he was a boy, (12 years old I am told) he was in his room with his accordion.  His mother was concerned that it was so quiet in there.  When she opened the door, the accordion was in a million pieces.  He wanted to see how it made sound and how pressing on the keys would do that.  She was very upset.  He told his mom not to worry and that he could put it back together. And he did!

I wonder what David Merrill was trying to achieve when he started Siftables? I am not sure it matters.



CPBW and PINK (not that Pink)

Was reading the discussion board and came to the link from Dr. Schwier to CPBW with Daniel Pink talking on TED.  It was very interesting and as I was watching, I was trying to relate to how my school was run and how I run my class.

This is the link to CPBW blog and the Daniel Pink video.

As Pink was talking about motivation, I was trying to relate his talk to my situation.  I use extrinsic motivation if I need the computer carts taken back to the library, if I need the counter cleaned up, the paint cart cleaned, chairs put away, or any other task that I know I might have trouble getting someone to do.  I have a candy drawer and the students know that.  Whenever I ask, I usually get more than enough volunteers to get the task done.  It is usually done better (in the case of cleaning) than I expected and I sometimes up the ante. 

In Pink’s talk he explained about a study that found, “As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected, the higher the pay,the better the performance.”  I am only going to assume that I am getting kids to do something mechanical and also going to assume that when they do a super job cleaning the counter or the paint cart, they already know I am going to reward them better. 

Intrinsic Motivation

Pink talks about AUTONOMY.   How does this relate to education?  (Pink’s talk is mainly to do with business but I see the relevance to education as well.)

He talks about a company called Atlassian  At this company, Pink explains, that they tell their workers a few times a year to go and work on anything for 24 hours as long as it is not related to the job they have been working on.  Then they present what they have done at a meeting with all the workers who have been doing the same thing. What is the result?  A whole array of software fixes that might never have existed without giving their workers autonomy.

Workers at Google can spend 20 percent of their time working at anything they want.  The result?  About half of the new products Google produce come out of the “20 percent time.”

The “ROWE.” This stands for results only work oriented. People who work for these companies have no schedules.   They can come and go as they please.  They just have to get their work done.  Productivity goes up, worker turnover goes down.

How do these 3 examples relate to education? and maybe more importantly, my own personal situation?

I do have an issue at my school with students not handing in work or getting assignments completed.  I am powerless because I know I can’t force these kids to get work completed.  But are these assignments relevent? What is the motivation for these kids to get their work done? I think I need to start accepting some of the blame why assignments are not getting completed.  What if I used some of the ideas from the 3 above in how I teach?

What would happen if I said to my students at the start of the day, “This is what you need to accomplish today.”  And then I left them alone to do it on their own? I actually don’t have an answer because I am really not sure how that day would turn out.  My assumption is that I might need to equip each student with a computer so they could at least “surf” answers on the net.  I do wonder about the off task behaviour and if it would be a detriment or not.

What if I gave my students 1 hour a day to work on something of their choosing?  Would they be able to teach, learn, and do on their own? Could I sit in my desk and just advise? Or would they need to have the proper tools, maturity level, and ability to flourish in this environment?

What about the ROWE system? I kind of like this and it sort of fits into my philosophy about the direction of education I want to go in.  Making classes online at my school would enable students who miss a lot or who are late to still be successful.  My students don’t work well on a 9 o’clock start time.  Come, don’t come, it doesn’t matter.  In the end, you just need to get your work done.  I like it.

I think the key for my situation would be to take parts of this and slowly introduce it to my class.  Eventually, over time, students would gain the skills to know how to spend their “free time.”  Is this a case of a teacher just not being able to “let go?”

Post 1- Introduction

The United States Department of Education created a document that is attempting to give its country the highest graduation rates in the world.

It is planning to do this using technology.  President Obama wants to put an electronic device into the hands of every child in the United States Education system.

What does this mean to me?  It excites me! It gets me dreaming of teaching and learning in ways that we have yet to explore.

About a  year ago, I set out to better myself by enrolling in a masters program.  It has brought me out of being stagnant. It has given me enrgy and passion again.  I set out to find a way I could reach and teach students through the computer.  My first stop was the BLACKBOARD learning system which I found out was free to STF teachers.  I set up a class and began to quiz students online.  I encouraged them to do this at home and I also stressed that their could and should help.  If nothing else, it would force parents to at least spend time with their children.

My vision for fall 2011 is to take Health 8 and make it an online course.  I took the ideas of my previous masters classes and am going to include a discussion section where students would be given a topic and we will discuss these issues together.  Students will be responsible for a certain number of weekly posts and also be the moderator.

Why  would I do this?  I was not a sit in your desk student.  I hated it.  When I started to take online classes in the fall, I LOVED it.  I understand online will probably not be for everyone but I think I will be able to achieve a nice blend of traditional and online within my classroom.


First post test

I am brand new to this and am just checking to see if this has been done correctly.