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EdTech Update





Happy blogging day and whew!


As I understand it, August 31st is now blogging day and bloggers are supposed to recommend 5 blogs to others. I am going to forgo recommending professional blogs and instead list those I read just for fun. Maybe these aren't blogs, but RSS feeds:

  1. Netflix New Releases: A movie buff like me likes to know what's available. Even titles like Care Bears: Fitness Fun and Tebana Sankichi: Snot Rocket and Super Detective.
  2. MacRumors: This one is 99% disappointing, especially for those of us waiting for an ultra-light or tablet Mac. But it still feeds the geek fantasies.
  3. Cool Tools: This week alone: Easy Cutter Ultimate, Rite in the Rain Notebooks and the Go-Ped. Need I say more?
  4. Presentation Zen: PowerPoint tips that go beyond the 5 by 5 rule.
  5. Techno Search Doug Johnson: OK, I am the only person in the world who subscribes to this - a feed letting me know when my name surfaces in the blogosphere. The ultimate in vanity searching, I suppose.

 I am sort of relieved that August is over. This month:

  • I did 4.5 days of workshops in 3 different states - the workshops were fun, but flying to get to them wasn't always
  • Wrote two columns
  • Helped inservice 120+ teachers getting new computers in our district and about 40 new teachers
  • Helped with my stepdaughter's wedding
  • Attended all the normal back-to-school meetings of librarians, techs, administrators, teachers, etc.
  • Answered close to a billion questions from returning teachers - most regarding passwords they'd forgotten over the summer
  • Worked in about 5 days of vacation - enjoyed them but the elves didn't come into my office while I was gone, dammit
  • Wound up mowing the LWW's acre-sized tribute to botanical mono cultures (our lawn) about 4 times after not mowing it all through June and July

The pity party starts at noon. I need this three day weekend up at "our" resort up north. Until next week...


Conforming to nonconformity

"Nonconformists are significantly heavier users of social networking sites than other students, participating in every single type of social networking activity surveyed (28 in all) significantly more frequently than other students both at home and at school -- which likely means that they break school rules to do so. ...
These students seem to have an extraordinary set of traditional and 21st century skills, including communication, creativity, collaboration and leadership skills and technology proficiency. Yet they are significantly more likely than other students to have lower grades, which they report as 'a mix of Bs and Cs,' or lower, than other students. However, previous research with both parents and children has shown that enhanced Internet access is associated with improvements in grades and school attitudes, including a 2003 survey by Grunwald Associates LLC. In any event, these findings suggest that schools need to find ways to engage nonconformists in more creative activities for academic learning." -- From a new report by the National School Boards Association <> as reported on “Good Morning Silicon Valley” for 8/08/07. Thanks to Nancy Walton at the Minnesota Department of Education for passing this one along. 

Creating and Connecting, the report from which the above was taken, has been riding around in my computer case for a week or more. The interestinggoth4.jpg quote above got me to finally read it. I'd suggest you do the same. And share it with your administration.

One of the things about the report that caught my eyes is the disconnect between how schools (or school officials anyway) perceive the value of social networking  vs. how parents view it. While 80+% of schools prohibit chat and IM; 60+% prohibit bulletin boards, blogs and e-mail; and over 50% "specifically prohibit any use of social networking sites;" (p 4) 76% of parents "expect social networking to help their children improve their reading and writing skills or express themselves more clearly." (p. 7)

Should those of us who are excited about using social networking tools to improve education be looking for allies among our parents?

Oh, and are the adults who are social networks more nonconformist and more likely to break rules than their peers?





I'm quoted in a column, The technology kids want, versus what they need" by Tom Regan in the Christian Science Monitor. And he got the quote right!