Monday, March 31, 2008

Hot Off The Press



Full Color Version:
http://www.lulu.com/content/2287172

Virtual World WebQuests: Principle elements of research supported learning experiences within virtual learning environments by Carl Anderson (Book) in Education & Language via kwout



Black and White Version:



I just published for the first time using Lulu.com. For those who don't know about Lulu, it is a service that lets you independently publish books for on-demand publication. That means, if you have 3 people who want the book they print 3 copies, if you ahve 300,000 people wanting the book they print 300,000 copies. Pretty cool.

Anyway, this book is my masters capstone. It is a detailed description of how virtual worlds can be utilized to effectively create cost effective 3d immersive WebQuests. Building on research done in the fields of game based learning, virtual worlds, constructivism, and intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation I built an art curriculum that utilizes the pedagogical structure of a WebQuest but utilize a virtual world to house it. A platform evaluation is also present. I have to note that this platform evaluation was performed in the fall of 2007. Since then there have been more platforms that have surfaced. The results of this evaluation is not meant to be an end all be all off virtual world assessment for education but rather a suggested guide for educators to apply in search of the correct tool to fit their own needs.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Clifford Stoll on Teaching

While I disagree with Clifford Stoll's opinion that computers should not be in our schools his thoughts on the matter have been influential to me in forming my own opinions and beliefs about education and technology. Particularly when it comes to assessing technology. Whenever a new tool comes out Clifford's voice always sounds in the back of my head reminding me to question its necessity and question its value. The conclusion I usually come to is somewhere between Clifford Stoll's extreme view that computers should not be integrated into the classroom and the other extreme. In this very entertaining TED talk he talks about teaching and children and very eloquently illustrates what a great constructivist classroom should look like. I remember back in the early '90s Clifford giving speeches and being very vocal on his view of technology in the classroom and have wondered what he has been doing since he has not been in the public eye much the past 10 years. Evidently he is teaching 8th grade physics, or rather teaching 8th graders college physics.






If the embed doesn't work click here for the TED site with this video.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Software Programs Do Our Students Need To Learn To Prepare Them For the Future

I hear too often that we should stick with this platform or that or we should use a certain software program because our students need to learn how to use them when they leave school. This bothers me to no end and lately has really gotten under my skin. I think the footnote at the end of Dean Shareski's post, "Unlearning," says it all:

Footnote:
One of our high schools sent 2 students to a provincial skills competition in video editing. They realized a week before the event that the competition would be using Macs, iMovie and Final Cut Pro. These students had never used a Mac. Their teacher wanted to pull them out of the event but the organizers encouraged them to compete. They received a 20 minute tutorial immediately prior to the full day competition. They gained a silver medal out of 15 competitors.

Skills are transferable between platforms. Of course there is always a learning curve with a new platform but in your students case it looked to be a 20 minute curve (not bad).

When I was in high school we used Macs. They were Mac Classics with Claris Works and Hypercard installed on them. How often do you think I use these programs? How often did I use them in college? The fact is we can't prepare students for the exact technology skills with the exact platform they will be using when they leave our institutions because those platforms have not been invented yet. We can, however, expose students to different types of computing and different types of applications that share conventions with other similar programs. We have been using office and studio software long enough to anticipate which skills will still be needed in future programs and future platforms.

If we look at current developments in IT as predictors of the future apps we see cloud computing on the quickly approaching horizon as being extremely significant. The nice thing about this category of software applications is they do not exist on anyone's personal computer, they exist online. If they are online it does not matter what platform you use to access them so long as you have a reliable web browser and a decent connection.

The advent and probable future significance of cloud computing makes it possible to discard costly systems like Windows and Mac and go with an open source operating system on a cheap PC and still have access to the same programs you would on a machine running proprietary OS software. Think of the cost savings and what it could mean for schools' tech budgets. Take Apple or Microsoft out of the budget and you suddenly have a lot more money to spend on hardware.

Sure, we still will probably want to have a handful of powerful machines with proprietary software installed for our power users but what percent of student use computing fits this category. I agree with Clarence when he says that sometimes all he wants is a simple OS with access to the internet and a few basic applications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Installing My First Linux OS


Well, I am excited. I have been reading/researching open source software for a long time and finally have a spare machine to install Linux on. Our school just got 4 used laptops from Johnson Space Center and I have the go ahead to do a trial. To this point we have played around with Open Office, GIMPshop, Firefox, and to some degree Scribus but have never installed an open source OS on any of our school computers.

My goal is to install Linux on a handful of school computers in the computer lab and load them with open source software that equates with the proprietary software our students and faculty are used to. I will make signs that will be posted next to each machine explaining how they are similar and different and provide a small "Smart Card" next for every two workstations that have graphic oriented tutorials for use.

Distro:

This has perhaps been the most frustrating part of this experiment. There has been a lot of press about using Ubuntu in schools and it appears to be a very reliable OS. However, for some reason the kernel did not jive with these Dell Latitude D600s we got from the government. After a little digging I found that PCLinuxOS 2007 works well without a glitch. Installation was a cinch using this distro. Normally when we have to format and install a new Windows system it is an overnight ordeal. Once I figured out how everything was to be configured PCLinuxOS took no more than an hour.

When you startup PCLinuxOS under the logo is a slogan, "Radically simple." Radical indeed. So simple everything is intuitive but still good enough to have everything I need: Office Software, Image Software, Internet Access, Multimedia Editing Software, and a Reliable File System.

Why is this so exciting?

If my trial is successful and the students take well to this new OS and to the open source software we can run on it our school district stands to save thousands of dollars. We estimate that our little school district alone would have to pay Microsoft around $70k to renew our licenses for Windows and Office. What would you do with an extra $70k? Currently our school district has three computer labs and only one of which is truly up to date. Our teachers just received new laptops but our student use equipment is either out dated or there is not enough for teachers to plan any real tech integration. If we take this money, invest a large portion of it in infrastructure (network, hubs, servers, etc.) and take portion of the money to spend on shipping slightly outdated computers from government agencies and cooperate partners we can get very close to a computer student ratio worth talking about. I have blogged here before about how I am not sure our district is ready to implement a 1:1 laptop program yet and I still feel that way but this would be the next step in that direction. Besides, the jury is still out on the effectiveness and appropriateness of a 1:1 computing. I strongly suspect the research will point us in that direction but for now I propose, at least for our school, that a 5:1 or a 3:1 program is what is best right now.

If we can put 5-10 computers in each classroom it would drastically change the way our teachers teach and our students learn. SMARTboards and high performance teacher laptops are great but they lack the engagement that hands on computing can offer. Placing the tools where we want them to be used is a huge step in becoming a school that teaches 21st century skills well. I hear almost daily from teachers, "I would use this if I knew I could get my students in the lab." Why don't we put the lab in their classroom. The other positive aspect of a 3 or 4 to 1 program would be that it would force teachers to be creative with their instruction. It promotes collaboration and differentiated instruction.

All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash


Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Ninja Parade


Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lorenzo on...Teaching Generation Y

I just came across this video, actually the author posted a comment on my youtube video, Why We Need To Teach Technology In School. The scenes with the two year old using the iPod are especially powerful.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Assessment in Web 2.0 Learning Environments

There is an interesting conversation that has started between the writers at Techlearning blog about how we should assess student work when they are using web 2.0 tools. David Jakes raises some interesting questions in his post (that follows a conversation that occured in Dean Shareski's ustream session last night). I tried to post the following comment on that blog tonight but every time I tried it returned as an error. Frustrated I am posting it here:


Jake's Question:
How do you assess contribution in a networked classroom?

Ok, so what does it look like? What's new, what's different, what's the same? Your ideas?


My Comment:
I must say that this question still requires some distillation. If you are talking about the mechanics of how to do assessment in these networked environments the answer is RSS subscriptions. I try to encourage teachers in my school to utilize web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs and the one overwhelming concern is how do I manage this information overload and how do I know when someone posts? The answer is to aggregate responses into a single reader so you are notified when someone posts among various places.

The flip side of this question, and the side that is most important and I assume is what is really being asked here has to do with how we define the rubric. I think it is dangerous for us to assume there is one or could ever be one set rubric for assessing contribution in a networked environment or any other learning environment. This is going to depend highly on what it is you want students to achieve academically. Ultimately, whether we use pen and paper or web 2.0 tools, we have to assess the learning according to the desired outcomes as they relate to the content. Otherwise we are just teaching students how to use the tools. Why do I need to learn this? When will I ever need to know this? These questions will flourish if we approach web 2.0 tools as an end and not simply a means. It is like teaching students how to build a house but giving them new tools to do it. In the end, whether they have hammers, handsaws, and screwdrivers, or power drills, table saws, and air hammers the house still needs to be measured by the same standards and benchmarks.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

School Boards - Are They Still Relevant? Are They The Appropriate Vehicle to Address 21st Century Issues

Tonight I attended a school board meeting. Not by choice mind you but because members of our local teachers union take turns taking notes at these things. There were plenty of places I could think of where I would rather have been: at a movie, shopping, online reading by RSS feeds, at home playing with my toddler, etc. However, even though I was dragged to this event I must say that witnessing the process was riveting as it always is. Sitting in on a school board reminds me of just how insure our profession is and how resistant it is to change.

School boards were created originally in our country to ensure that major education decisions were made at a local level by elected officials that supposedly have the best interest of the taxpayers and local community at heart. If you look at how things are financed and how they are governed in this country it all follows this structure. Federal funding for education is minimal and to tap into those funds they do dictate certain criteria be met. The vast majority of school funding the fed leaves up to individual states. If you look at individual state budgets the majority of taxpayer money always goes to education. Then, if you are lucky enough to live in an economically well off school district a large chunk of school funding comes from the taxpayers (thus the gap in education provided by public schools in wealthy areas as opposed to poor areas). The people then elect a school board that has final say in how these funds get dispersed and often get their fingers into nitty gritty school policy issues. The boards then appoint Superintendents who are in charge of hiring administrators and teachers to carry out the policies of the school.

The scary thing about this whole process is that a school board member doesn't necessarily have to be a supporter of education. Often school board members are elected to the board feeling they are there to represent those who have little vested interest in public education. This might mean they want to make sure their taxes are low or want to derail the public system to make room for private options such as private schools or home schooling. Or they feel they are put there by a portion of the constituency who want them to impose some sort of moral value or moral code on the school such is the case with issues like creationism vs. evolution. This is always the dilemma of those who push for change in education. Those who have ultimate say are not always in their positions because they put the welfare of our children first or value the education of our children first. There is far more at work when making decisions than that. Now, I don't think anyone is ever elected to a school board with the intent of doing harm but often their values do not match those that statistics show are best for our kids education. Often these school boards become deadlocked on issues because of this and deadlock means nothing is done.

In this particular school board meeting I observed the main point of debate was all day every day kindergarten. This year has been a trial year for this program in our district. We have gone to great lengths to document the impact this has had on this year's kindergarten students. We measured last years students at various points in the year and applied the same rubrics to this years students. The result was that while last years students started the year slightly ahead of this years students academically and cognitively after having them in the all day every day program they measured ahead of last years students when measured mid year. In fact, the level they collectively reached mid year was higher than last years students at the end of the year. I have personally observed these students mastering complex concepts such as fractions and probability that would never have been possible in a half day or every other day program. There have also been tons of parents come before the school board to sing all day every day's praises. Still, despite overwhelming evidence that this program is good for our kids, the board remains unable to make a decision about what to do next year. I have to conclude that this has to be attributed to board members who feel they do not represent the families of next year's kindergarten students (or any future kindergarten student for that matter) but rather represent families who would rather see their kids at home or their tax money in their pockets.

I think from looking at this debate a few things are clear about the nature of public schools and how they are governed. First, should something come up that would require immediate action traditional public schools would not be able to handle it because the process is not designed to handle major change. Second, the more attention is paid on an issue the more in jeopardy it is (whether it is good or bad) and the more something is allowed to go unnoticed the more it will thrive in this system (in other words, don't stand out, don't do things radically different, and don't do things that will attract attention because no matter how good it is there will be someone opposed and ready to make it an issue). This I believe is true of any organization. Look at The Apprentice. On that show there is always a contestant who rises to the top four because they kept a low profile in the beginning. Third, statistics don't always matter and some people will never change their minds. Statistics are great if we are clear that what we are measuring is of value to all. If we want school achievement and the statistics look great fine, but what don't the statistics show. Statistics can be twisted by anyone and are always viewed by the reader differently based on their own bias before they are presented to them. It is almost impossible to shake someone with strong convictions. If they show something positive there is likely to be someone who says they don't measure what I care about so I am going to dismiss them.

This is at the heart of a problem that will soon become a crisis in this country. Every year the cost of educating a child rises at a rate greater than the money states can provide. We have to make great changes to counter this. Second, statistics show that in the next five years our nation will loose the majority of it's teachers either to retirement or to career changes. Last year alone South Carolina only graduated one Chemistry teacher and that statistic is pretty common across the states. We are also facing a national fiscal crisis. Multiple sources are telling us we are headed into a recession. What are the statistics on levys and referendums in times of economic recession? I am sure they are not good. Recessions mean fewer dollars for schools. How is today's school board equipped to handle such a problem?

I moonlight as a teacher for an online public charter school. This is a very part time job for me. In fact, I probably only spend 6-10 hours a week working for them. Still, I have 375 students in 2 states enrolled in one or more of 10 classes I offer. In such a system I can be more productive than I could be in a traditional face to face setting. Many people in the distance learning community are looking at these kinds of statistics and saying that this is a solution to our looming crisis in education. How is this public school structure equipped to deal with this? I could very easily add students in other states if I had the licensure but to do so I have to go through the process of getting licensed in each individual state and to some degree have to go through local channels to work with students. I believe there is a better way to handle this.

I used to live in an old house. One nice thing about this house was it was amendable. I could change the color of the walls, I could add or remove walls if I wanted, I could update the decor. After many years of previous owners doing just that the paint got so thick that it began to peal off in thick chunks leaving a large areas of the wall that had noticeable texture issues. The non load bearing walls had been moved so many times there was evidence of where they had been previously. All these additions over the years had resulted in a house that was difficult to restore. This winter my wife and I bought a new house. This house still needs work, the basement is not finished, the yard needs landscaping, and the walls are all battleship gray. The difference is with the new house change is easy. We have an open canvas with which we can do anything we want with relative ease where with the old house we were constantly trying to deal with the structure we got.

We are living in an increasingly more globalized world where things that happen in other people's neighborhoods are more and more relevant to us and what happens in places other than the local community has greater and greater importance to us. Technology is changing fast and allowing this to happen. The television brought news of other places and ideas from outside the community into our homes in the 1950s and web 2.0 is now making everyone a publisher/producer/broadcaster. With the ability to be connected in such a way shaping the way information is shared and having a trickle down effect across every aspect of our culture does it make sense to maintain the education system controlled by a locally elected school board? or do we need to build a new house that addresses concerns of contemporary life?

In the meantime, lay low, try not to be noticed, and don't do anything too extraordinary.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Harnessing your Personal Learning Network(PLN)


Today I attended a conference and participated in a open forum discussion about Personal Learning Networks. This session was led by David Warlick and was held in North Carolina. The awesome thing is I attended and participated in this conference session from my desk in Goodhue, MN.

I first was made aware of this session by checking my Twitter account. David Warlick had just posted on Twitter that he was streaming his session on Ustream and invited other Twitterbugs to join. I clicked on the link and joined the session. In the session he placed an open invitation to all those attending the session virtually to Skype in their questions, comments, and feedback. A few of us did. Additionally, there is a backchannel on Ustream where virtual attendees can discuss the session with text.

Although there were issues with connectivity that I presume had to do with the bandwidth at the conference in NC causing my Skype conversation to be cut short and often caused the Ustream video to freeze at times this setup made me feel I was actually there. Can you imagine if this becomes standard practice for conference presenters? What would that mean for professional development? What would that mean for sharing ideas? If you could attend any session at any conference done by any person and could provide real time feedback, how valuable would that be?

On top of the cool tools this session used the content was engaging, relevant, and useful as well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Techno Lust



I have been wrestling lately with the topic of technology over indulgence. Do we really always need the latest and greatest? At what point does a technology reach its point of maximum potential? Do I really need a pocket knife with 36 different blades, a place to hold a tooth pick, and silverware? At what point do we look at our televisions and say, "Do I really need 900 channels? I never watch more than 10 of them." At what point do we say, "This latest version of Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Windows, etc has cool features but I still only use the ones my old version had." Do we really need a faster processor when a Pentium 4 still does everything I NEED it to do? Does our school really need to have SMARTboards in EVERY classroom? Should we spend our money on one totally awesome gadget with ten million incredible features that also does your laundry for you and tells you when to use the rest room or could we take that gadget money and buy 5 slightly inferior products that do all that but only has nine million incredible features?


Sure, if I worked at Pixar and had the task of rendering the next blockbuster animated feature and had to include special effects that are more advanced than the last film I think I would take the one machine that folds laundry for me but I work in a school district. Our processing needs will never rival those of power users that exist in big business. Often the skills necessary to operate and utilize those obscure power options in most commercial software require study of the software beyond k-12 education. In fact, if we get too much into teaching kids how to utilize these power features we risk neglecting our primary goal as k-12 educators. Is our goal to teach technology or use technology to teach content? If our goal is to teach technology maybe we should invest in the high power machine and superfluous commercial software. However, we will have to have students work in large groups and have to find something else for them to do while others in the class have their turn at the nice machine. If, however, we are trying to utilize technology to better teach content our needs are better served with more simple solutions.


Enter open source and online apps. I have been playing around this year with both of these kids of applications and have fallen in love with both. I think they are perfect for education, at least k-12 education. Most open source software nearly mimics the look, feel, and functionality of commercial brand counterparts and whatever tech skills are necessary to operate one platform are also necessary to operate the other so skills are transferable. Online apps. answer another problem that I see all the time in schools. That problem is compatibility. If we encourage our students to use online apps. for their assignments then it won't matter what kind of machine they are using, everything is compatible. My goal is never again to hear, "I can't show you my PowerPoint because your version is incompatible with the one I have at home." or, "I couldn't work on my PowerPoint at home because I couldn't open the file."


If we decide not to renew our licenses with Microsoft, Adobe, and other commercial software providers we can save tons of money to reinvest in our network and hardware. If we replace it with a fully functioning, easy to use platform we can focus more on how it can be used to make learning reading, writing, science, art, social studies, math, physical education, etc. more engaging, authentic, and learner centered. We take that saved money and invest it in hardware that will serve our needs, not hardware that far exceeds our needs and we will be happy. I think I choose to do my laundry myself.



Digital Backpack - Killer online apps and resources for learning.

I just finished the prototype of beta version of a new feature on our school's webpage and I post this to gather feedback from other educators. This feature is a tool I call the Digital Backpack. Click this image to open the digital backpack:



The development of this feature is meant to solve or at least address a few problems I have observed. First, the major impetus for this was the frustration I have begun to feel seeing staff overwhelmed and sometimes confused after I had demonstrated too many different online applications for them. The Digital Backpack is first and foremost an attempt to cluster these tools in one place.

The second purpose for this feature is to illustrate how the majority of our computing needs can be delivered with free online applications by organizing them all in one space. I feel this tool will be nice for transitioning between single user apps and web apps. The drive here is to encourage teachers to have their students use these tools because they are cross platform and most of the programs themselves foster and encourage collaboration.

The third purpose for this tool is instructional. After an assessment of student use of technology it became apparent that digital literacy skills such as evaluating web content or performing search for credible information was lacking. This tool, through brief descriptions after each link, puts this information right out there in front of the student so when doing a web search they can make an informed decision as to which search engine to use. The tools for evaluating these sources will also be here in future versions.

If you like you can link to this tool for your own website. What I am looking for here though is feedback. What online apps/resources have I missed that should be here? What issues do you have using it? How effective do you think this is?

Thanks!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mandating Participation - What Exactly Are We Trying To Achieve

I overheard a conversation the other day that I just can't get out of my head. The conversation revolved around how we might get more students to participate in extra curricular activities at school. One solution that was tossed around was to extend the lunch hour and require students to participate in something at that time. This really bothered me at first but I did not know why at the time. It took some reflection for me to come to this conclusion. The problem is not that this would get more students participating in extra curricular activities or that there would be some benefit in their participation but rather that this solution would negate the fundamental positive benefits extra curricular activities provide. This issue gets at the heart of motivation and encompasses a whole host of other external factors that schools don't have control over.

The argument is that studies have shown a positive correlation between participation in extra curricular activities and academic performance. Therefore, if we require all students to participate in at least one activity we will see increases in their academic performance. To me this is logic follows the same lines as is described in this clip from South Park:



What we need to ask is WHY is there a positive correlation? I suspect the active variable here is not participation but rather what leads a student to become involved in extra curricular activities. I see two main factors involved here:
  1. Intrinsic Motivation
  2. Involved Parental Structure
Many students participate in these activities because they want to. These students do so out of enjoyment of the activities the extra curricular clubs and teams provide. Mandating their participation will turn the motivation extrinsic because there will be consequences for non participation. Of course, many students will still find these activities intrinsically motivating but the presence of those who are there for purely extrinsic reasons will diminish the quality of the experience for everyone and for them their participation will not likely lead to further academic success.

There are a fair number of students who participate in extra curricular activities for extrinsic reasons already. Usually these reasons involve pressure from others. In this case this pressure is positive. Often parents will require students to participate in something. My parents made me take band, participate in at least one school sport, and participate in at least one school club. I dreaded some of these activities as a high school student but I willfully participated in others for pure intrinsic reasons. The benefit here for the student motivated extrinsically is the strong parental structure and the involvement of parents in a student's life. If it is not a parent providing this extrinsic motivation it might be peer pressure that when applied in this way has a positive effect. The resultant academic success tied to extra curricular involvement for these students is not the result of involvement in the activity but rather the support structure that student has.

If we want to increase student achievement by looking at how those students who participate in extra curricular activities have excelled we need to dig deeper. We need to find ways to support students who find intrinsic reasons to be involved in positive activities. We also need to find ways of strengthening a student's support structure. I believe the key here is community building, not mandating participation. Just because one person got profits after collecting underpants doesn't mean that collecting underpants led to profits.

I think this same analogy applies to 1:1 laptop initiatives. This one has been even more difficult for me to conclude given my obvious bias for technology enhanced learning environments. I love my laptop, I love the internet, and I love what I can do with technology. When I was a classroom art teacher I loved seeing what my students could do with technology and I loved the positive results I saw because of it.

Many school districts are jumping into the 1:1 initiative. There have been studies done that show the positive result of implementing a program like this. However, I suspect this is similar to the debate about extra curricular activities and similar to the underpants analogy. I believe it would be foolhardy for any teacher, school, or district to say, "That school went to 1:1 and saw gains so we need laptops too." Is it the technology that produces these gains? I suspect the technology enables or rather encourages other changes to occur in the classroom that are the direct correlatives to academic gains.

When each student has a laptop or access to a computer in a 1:1 setting the teacher can plan instruction or rather learning activities that involve more independently tailored tasks and assessments. Having more tools to work with promotes a constructivist approach to learning. Effective 1:1 teachers are having students solve real world problems using digital tools to create, manipulate, solve, and innovate. They are approaching curriculum from a project-based inquiry model and sharing their time with students as co-learner, not "sage on the stage."

However, just plopping laptops in each classroom does not a constructivist teacher make. I believe for this to truly be effective the pedagogical shift has to occur first. Technology clearly enhances PBL in a way that academic gains can be measured. Technology enhances a behaviorist classroom by making presentations more pretty and entertaining but not really engaging. I feel engage is often equated to entertain by educators. The truth is that true engagement, the type that leads to knowledge construction and true understanding, is not entertainment. True engagement often is not fun. We need to take a close look at our practice and decide for ourselves how we will best engage our students in authentic learning and then decide what the tools are that will make this happen. It may vary well be that we will need a 1:1 laptop environment to achieve these goals but the machine is just a tool to assist in the process. The real actor in this is pedagogy. If the teachers in a school are not ready to adopt a constructivist pedagogy the money spent on 1:1 will be wasted and I fear will actually show a negative correlation with academic achievement. For those schools it might be best to start small. Place 5-10 computers in each classroom before jumping in and doing a 1:1. Otherwise we are just collecting underpants and hoping to get profits.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

TipLine - Gate's Computer Tips Backchannel Discussion

Today Jim Gates from TipLine - Gate's Computer Tips gave a presentation to 175 science teachers I presume at a conference somewhere. He used CoverItLive to create a backchannel on his blog for the session and invited his readers to join the session through the backchannel. A guest blogger managed comments and posted key notes from his keynote presentation. What evolved was a wonderful dialog between educators. Joining the backchannel discussion I felt like I was there and the sharing that went on was amazing. One idea that was tossed around was that some of us who participated in the backchannel could host a Skype conference call where districts could share ideas. I think this could blossom into something wonderful and I am putting the call out there for other tech integrationists to join me in this. Each week we could get a group of us from around the country to gather and discuss tech integration for 30 minutes. Our call could be recorded and produced as a podcast. I would be more than happy to facilitate this and make the final edits of the audio if any of the attendees would contact me. Even if we started with just three or four schools we could make this thing go. Since no one else put their information out there in the live session I am placing an open invitation to contact me about this:

email: anderscj@yahoo.com
skype: canderson33

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nintendo Game Testers Needed

Augmented Reality

This post is in response to a post that was made today at Muve Forward titled, "Virtual to Augmented to Holographic Reality." In that post Chris Topher shares with us the following video he found on YouTube regarding augmented reality:



Imagine the possibilities here. I have often pondered how such a mashup with the real world could happen and if in the future this will become commonplace. We are approaching, with this and what I will follow it with, very close to making some of the more awesome technologies from science fiction possible. Growing up, the one thing I wanted more than anything to become reality was the holodeck on Star Trek TNG. So, to follow with Chris' post, here are some things I have dug up in the past 6 months that blew me away along the same lines:





I also saw a video this fall on YouTube that I can seem to locate today that showed a Korean University student who put together a project that used three cameras to track the motion and capture the appearance of a person and import that image as the avatar in a virtual world. In other words, total visual immersion.

Chris Jordon - The Colbert Report



Chris Jordon's Website