Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The iPad is around the corner

It doesn't come to anyone who has as much as a little finger in computers and the Internet that this cyberworld is getting way out of hand. Not that this is bad or that the components are bad, it's just that there's so much of it and it changes so fast that it's impossible to "keep up." How to young people do it? One thing is that they don't concern themselves with the big pictures. If they find something the works and they enjoy it, they use it. The overly analytic oldsters want to compare with the umpteen other options and understand how it compares with the past, and how it may effect the future.

So I attended this workshop yesterday that served as an overview of the possibilities in using Moodle, the university's course management program. I've used it for several years but the possibilities that I haven't used or even knew about are, well, just plain overwhelming.

Are you ready for the iPad coming out this weekend? Have you considered the competition such as the Kindle from Amazon? I found it very relaxing and soothing to be making wooden boxes as graduation gifts this morning beside a wood-fired stove while listening to the rain on the roof.

Enjoy the vast world that goes beyond our planet> By the way, I just came back from Second Life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Started with Blogging

As the usefulness of blogging becomes more apparent, it is necessary to support people develop their own blogs. There are many blog providers. I will walk through the steps using the google sites.

First we will setup an gmail account if you don't all ready have one.

With your browser go to

Click on Gmail.

Click on Create an Account, and follow the prompts. Remember your gmail email address and your password. Write it on a sheet of paper and store it in your sock drawer. Some suggest in your mother's undie drawer because no one goes there.

Secondly we'll setup the blog.

Go to

If you need to, sign in with your gmail account information.

Follow the prompts. About names: the first one requested is a general name that the public will see. Another is the title of your blog, always on the top of your blog page (think carefully about this one; it's like your brand, your sales pitch). Lastly you will enter a name for the URL address of your blogspot (simple is good).

You're ready to blog or post an entry. Do it.

Thirdly, find blogs that you would like to read on a regular basis, like that of your professor. Try "". Click on "Follow" in the right column and follow the prompts.

Blogging is all about getting readers and interconnecting so follow blogs that interest you and follow blogs that are followed by those you follow.

Have fun but beware that blogging can be addictive. Questions: email me at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blogging Ideas and Standards

In conjunction with a session on how to use blogs in education, both technically and pedagogically, I adding several links that Will Richardson includes in his book "Blogs, wikis, podcasting..."

The first is a site where you can share the different uses for blogs in education.
There are probably many more since 2004.

The second is site listing the Standards for the English Language Arts by NCTE and IRA.
Since the one is Richardson's book is outdated, I recommend that a search in would help with the standards for language arts. Not being an language arts scholar I will not attempt to advise anyone on this topic.

Should there be standards for blogging in education?

Driving in China

They say that driving is China is crazy. I believe it. I've seen it. But why? Here's one of my theories.

Throughout the past century as Americans drove cars, Chinese walked and drove bikes. When we walk, or bike, we naturally avoid collisions by adjusting our pace or stepping aside. Seldom if ever do we stop at the edge of an empty sidewalk and wait for a potential walker to pass before us. So it is in China, and many other developing countries, and when the car came into the picture, the same rules applied. Basically don't collide. Don't stop, just merge into traffic. They don't want to hit you any more than you want to be hit.

Is that where we are with the Internet? We chat as we would on a street corner. We interrelate as if we're in the privacy of our homes. Because we often are. And like the Chinese we don't want that to change.

We've just plodded through a course, a research project it you will, on gathering, organizing and managing information from the Internet. Now we are more "up to our necks" than before, but we do know there are tools for this job, in fact there are too many such tools. So we walk randomly sidestepping and slowing down and then surging forward. There are even some backtracking going on. Oh, where is clarity and modeling?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Staying the Journey

Certainly the theme education encompasses my life. PBS was just talking about teachers and education, and I realized that what intrigues me now as much as anything, is the changes that are occurring. The drivers in this change seem to be either politics such as NCLB, our status among other nations and technology.

During the past several weeks with my new focus on Professional Learning Environment (PLE) or Personal Learning Network (PLN), I have been pushed and shoved is so many directions, I'm too dizzy to stay up straight. But I've learned to take small steps, start simple, progress slowly and keep going. When the information becomes more than I'm ready for, pick only the most important information and gradually add from the peripheral. Don't expect to understand everything. Just because something is new doesn't mean that's what I need to do. Just because something is traditional and well-used doesn't mean that I can't change.

Frustration can come at many levels whether it's a president without a health care bill or a baby who can't verbalize hunger. Frustration can be managed particularly when looking beyond the immediate surroundings. The big picture in lifelong learning is finding and utilizing the tools that benefit that process. Frustration will come while searching for those tools but small deliberate steps will get you there.