Thursday, February 25, 2010

Weekly Tech Tip: Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Strategy - Backchanneling

This will be my final Weekly Tech Tip from Goodhue Public Schools. I start a new job on Monday as technology integration specialist for the East Metro Integration School District (EMID). For readers of my blog, I will still be doing weekly tech tips but they will be done from a different location and will likely address a slightly different set of needs. For Goodhue Staff getting this tech tip in an email, it has been a rewarding three years and I will continue to forward my Weekly Tech Tips to you as I embark on this new adventure.

This week's tech tip is my second installment of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Strategies. Enjoy!

Weekly Tech Tip:

Twitter in the classroom?
The Twitter Experiment - UT Dallas

Related Post: Weekly Tech Tip - Technology Enhanced Active Learning Strategy - KWL

Link Stew:

Blog Carnival:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cloud Computing: Survey of Online Applications for Education

I am presenting a session at the Minnesota Online Education Association (MNOLA) Conference on Friday called, Cloud Computing: Survey of Online Applications for Education. This is the presentation I put together. I am enlisting the help of a virtual co-presenter called Seymore (named after Seymore Papert) who will goat me through the presentation. Of course, if you are only viewing this on my blog you will miss most of the content but you can get the gist of it here. I will try to find someone to record my session so I can share both sides of the story. Enjoy:

Monday, February 22, 2010


Not sure how useful this is but it is kind of neat. ASCIImeo converts video images on Vimeo to ASCII code.

Filling the Production Gap

by Carl Anderson

Original Video:

Filling the Production Gap from Carl Anderson on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weekly Tech Tip: Integrating Clustr Maps in the Classroom

This fall, Jodi Alper's 5th grade students worked on a "Fractured Fairy Tale" project. For the project they wrote their own versions of popular fairy tales. Then we took them to the lab where they recorded themselves reading the stories. The students edited their recordings using Audacity to modify their voices, add sound effects, and add music. The recordings were then uploaded to Podbean, a free podcasting service, where they were made available to anyone in the world who wanted to listen. Additionally, we placed a map on the site to track visitors. This week's tech tip explains how Mrs. Alpers uses this map to engage students in learning about world geography and I walk you through how to set one up for yourself.

Tech Tip:

Link Stew:
Blog Carnival:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Will you be my digital identity's valentine? #iteach

According to, this ecard was the most shared card on Valentines day from their site:

Nothing Steve Jobs ever creates could fully replace you in my life

This is indicative of a social phenomenon created by the proliferation of mobile devices such as cell phones and iPods in our modern society. What this hints at is actually a problem more sinister and troubling than simply an adoration for our mobile devices. Has our engagement with the virtual spaces made possible by these devices hurting our real-life relationships?

Nokia promised in this add that the mobile devices (the 4th screen) would bring us all closer by getting us out in public again and share real experiences with each other.

While it has gotten many of us out more physically I am not sure we are all "there" when we go. What these devices do for us is open our daily life, wherever we go, to virtual or artificial worlds. Twitter, SMS, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. all are virtual worlds upon themselves. Sure, these virtual worlds are not the 3D immersive kind such as Second Life, Active Worlds, or World of Warcraft, but they are virtual worlds in the sense that we meet other people and interact with them there.

We have moved a large portion of our lives to these spaces and have carved out an identity there that resembles that of ourselves. In many ways this new digital identity is more pure and it is hard to tell which is the real self, the digital one or the one made of flesh. Online networked spaces allow for a kind of mediated psudo-telepathy where we can connect through our thoughts without all the physical baggage that weigh us down in our face-to-face relationships. Online, if I choose, no one has to know what I look like, what race I am, what my age is, etc. All that matters is the quality and tone of our thoughts put to words. This is not to say that all digital identities are genuine, it is just as easy to falsify one's digital self. But then, it could be argued that even the falsified self is as real online. Does it even matter to those who only know your digital identity if it isn't true to your physical one?

This weekend three things I saw brought this issue home to me. First, there was this tweet by @budtheteacher:Then, later that night I watched Disney's Enchanted with my family.

It struck me that the novel act of these characters moving back and forth between two worlds (the artificial, animated one and the real life one) was not so novel anymore. Only three years since its release and this kind of thing is happening everyday everywhere you look. Sure, we are not moving back and forth between visually immersive worlds (unless we are playing MMORPGs or using Virtual Worlds) but our online spaces are artificial and they are places where our digital identities live.

Finally, the next day (Valentines Day) my wife and I took our kids to an indoor play center in Edina, MN called Edinborough Park.

The park was packed, full of young children and their parents. It was probably close to capacity. Then my wife noticed that nearly half of the parents were not playing with their kids or even watching them. Instead, they were fully engaged with their smartphones. Now, I know I have been guilty of this at home at times (my wife consistently reminds me of it) but for parents to do this in public? This is an epidemic. When you step into your digital identity, can you simultaneously devote sufficient attention to your children? Are these parents who arguably, for the time they are using their smartphones, are teleported to a different world absent?

This brings up more questions than answers. If you don't know someone's digital identity, can you really know them? Can young children even know their parents if they are too young to know their digital identities? Can a parent really know their child if they are not friends on Facebook? If you marry someone based on a face-to-face relationship you have with them and do not know their digital self, how well can you know your spouse? Now I am starting to understand why a couple in 2008 filed for divorce because the husband's Second Life avatar virtually married another woman's avatar.

Don't get me wrong, I love my online social spaces and am not advocating anyone give them up. They are powerful and important. But, I think we need to consider when it is appropriate to move between worlds and we need to take more seriously who we are online. As for me, I think I am going to devote at least one full day each week to living off line with my family. I am going to encourage my wife to get to know my online identity better. And, when my children are old enough I will friend them on Facebook (or whatever platform everyone is using in 10-15 years).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Tech Tip: Using Social Networks in the Classroom

In last week's tech tip I showed you how many teachers are using social networks for professional development. This week I will show you how some teachers are utilizing social networks with students and how to set up a similar project yourself:

Weekly Tech Tip:

Social Networking in the Classroom from Carl Anderson on Vimeo.

Link Stew:

Blog Carnival:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Additions to the Digital Backpack

This update of the Digital Backpack includes a lot of services that have been around for a long time (like Google Sites,, Scribd, & TED) that I have been meaning to add but keep forgetting. It also includes many new services. Enjoy:

New Additions:
  • - Like YouTube for documents. Can find lots of published academic resources here. Students  under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Place post-it notes on any web page and share them on Twitter
  • - Twitter Analytics
  • - Share documents (up to 15mb), pictures (up to 10mb), and video (up to 25mb) on Twitter.
  • - Share files (up to 20mb) over Twitter
  • - Online application that lets you create your own platform & first-person shooter video games and share them with others.
  • - Text visualization tool.
  • - Simple embeddable whiteboard for collaborative drawing
  • - Upload and narrate your slide presentations.Students under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Broadcast live and recorded video on your website.
  • - Create timelines, share them on the web.
  • - Generates hexadecimal codes from color palettes derived from photos you upload.
  • - Generates thumbnail screenshots of websites.
  • - Free photo effect generator
  • - Converts text you enter to an image composed of letter images found on flickr.
  • - Stock photo search engine.
  • - Image Search Engine
  • - Search Flickr by color.
  • - Explore Google Earth through Panoramic images.
  • - Create and share custom maps with a built-in threaded discussion forum.
  • - Social Network for academic research.Students under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - allows simple clip snipping of mp3 files
  • - Generates 30 images from a video flv file
  • - Create your own professionally styled, custom branded, live webcast in less than 5 minutesStudents under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Generate a help URL so friends and family can send you instant screen recordings to help trouble shoot computer issues. (Service by Screencast-o-matic)
  • - Watch and listen to talks by the world's leaders in industry, government, and academia.
  • - Watch and listen to talks by the world's leaders in industry, government, and academia.
  • - Watch and listen to talks by the world's leaders in industry, government, and academia.
  • - Watch and listen to talks by the world's leaders in industry, government, and academia.
  • - Watch and listen to talks by the world's leaders in industry, government, and academia.
  • - Watch over 3000 television channels from around the world streamed online.
  • - Simple method for downloading YouTube videos
  • - Generate PDF versions of websites
  • - Large collection of free audiobooks
  • - Create games, quizzes, & crosswords, share them with students online then analyze the results.
  • - Free wiki host that integrates well with other Google products.Students  under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Free blog hosting service.Students under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - track where visitors to your blog or website are from on a map.
  • - track where visitors to your blog or website are from on a globe.Students  under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Social Networking platform that translates into 27 different languages.Students  under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.
  • - Search the internet for mentions of your website.
  • - Build your own mobile application.
  • - Create your own 3D avatar.Students under 13 must have parent permission to use this tool.(14 years and older)