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Sunday
Jan062008

Web Apps I use meme

Following a meme started at TechCrunch and shared by Will Richardson, I'll list my online apps I use. I'll group them by use frequency:

Daily (or more)
Gmail (via Entourage usually)
GoogleSearch
GoogleReader
iGoogle
Squarespace (blog and website ASP)
Firefox

Weekly
Amazon
Del.icio.us
Wikipedia (reader, not writer)
ISD77 website
Online bank
Netflix

Monthly
SmugMug (a commercial variant of Flickr)
Wikispaces
PBWiki
GoogleDocs
Slideshare
Zamar
Second Life
MapQuest
NWA online flight booking
Travelocity/Kayak/Orbit etc.
YouTube
iTunes
Shutterfly
Motivator
ImageChef

I can use on Pain of Death
Twitter
Facebook
Ning

All things considered, I expect I am a fairly moderate user of Web2.0-ish tools compared to most tech bloggers, at least one standard deviation from the norm of most educators. And like most of us, I see more and more of what I do move online, especially when using highly-portable devices like the XO and ASUS Eee. And I don't see the direction changing.

And like Will comments, the list is pretty Google-centric. Hey, even though they are evil, they provide useful and simple to use services. I've gone over to the dark side.

Readers, what SHOULD be on this list? 

googlevil-704286.jpg

Image source: http://www.marketingshift.com/2005/10/evil-empire-google-gaining-evil-ground.cfm

Saturday
Jan052008

Ning privacy

Q: As a result of reading this post [Google Docs - Maybe Not] I did a Google Search of me. I found any thing I have ever said in a Ning Community. I belong to a couple. I was thinking of making one for my extended families so that the children could be included. I am glad I saw that because I unsure if I want that. Any suggestions that would be more secure for a family?

A: You didn't leave an email address so I hope you read my response here. My guess (and it is only a guess) is how restrictive you make your Ning settings may determine if they are indexed. Open Nings I'm sure are indexed; perhaps those that are private are not. I would definitely contact the Ning providers with this question before to using their service to plan any more bank robberies with the cousins. All the best, Doug

(Being able to tickle your own funny bone is a gift.) 

teengroup.gif Image from Ning homepage 1/5/08. Can only young white people use this service?

Friday
Jan042008

Define that for me

Sharon Grimes, Library Director for the Baltimore County Public Schools, sent a long critique of the new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner to LM_Net recently. She makes some good points and has forced me to do a couple things.
AASL21stcover.JPG
First, I'm taking some time to really study and try to internalize these new AASL standards as well as the new ISTE NETS standards, trying to figure out how the sets are aligned and how they differ. More on that in a later blog entry, but for now, let me just say that a one-to-one comparison is proving to be challenging. (And you all know how it hurts my head when forced to think too hard.)

The other thing that Sharon's e-mail made me realize is just how sloppy I am with terminology in my own area of "expertise." She writes:

Another factor that might serve to marginalize the importance of our profession in the eyes of others is the move, clearly evident in Standards 1 and 2, from problem-based to inquiry-based learning.  The implications and potential outcomes of this shift are many and varied:

  • One important distinction between problem-based and inquiry-based learning is that inquiry-based learning explores questions in much more depth for a greater period of time, possibly an entire semester.  Given the time constraints imposed by the test-driven environment created by NCLB, are we ignoring reality?
  • Inquiry-based learning may or may not result in a product that can be evaluated which has clear implications for assessment.  In an era of data-driven decision-making, the lack of clearly quantifiable data marginalizes what we do in the eyes of administrators and other decision makers.
  • Many of the information seeking process models in wide-spread use, like Big6, are problem, not inquiry-based.  As a result, new models will need to be created and/or existing models modified to include inquiry-based learning.  The question then is who will do this and when will the model(s) be available?
  • The distinction between inquiry and problem-based learning is not clarified in the standards, nor is the level of inquiry-based learning (clarification/verification; structured inquiry; guided inquiry; or open inquiry) the standards hope to inspire.
  • NETS -S is clearly problem-based so the alignment that existed with ISTE's standards is now tenuous at best.  NETS-S is also clearly aligned with the requirements of NCLB and national curriculum standards.  The alignment between AASL's new standards and NCLB, national curriculum standards, and NETS-S is only evident at the skill indicator level, not at the standard level.

Why not a more realistic statement that it is not an either/or; both inquiry-based and problem-based can form the basis of valid information-seeking process models?

Hmmmm, I do believe I've been using inquiry-based and problem-based somewhat synonymously. My bad. And as I think about it, there are quite a few related terms that I am not sure how specifically I could define, who the authority for the definition might be, and how they are all related in a Venn diagram-ish fashion. Here are some:

  • Problem-based
  • Project-based
  • Constructivist learning
  • Authentic learning
  • Inquiry-based
  • Information literacy 
  • Information literacy process
  • Information fluency
  • Research
  • Information problem-solving

You can probably add a few related terms yourself.

In asking Sharon a source of definitions and information about this, she kindly sent a list of resources:

Chris Harris suggested John Barell's Developing More Curious Minds as a resource as well.

OK, readers, what are the distinctions and just how important are they when talking about these models or philosophies of learnin' kids good? 

From Alice Yucht: Sharon's essay is now posted on the AASL Blog, where comments are welcome (and archived).