Thursday, December 31, 2009

Current leadership models are inadequate for disruptive innovations

If you are interested in educational administration, here is a relevant video on the topic of how our current leadership models are inadequate for disruptive innovations:

Current leadership models are inadequate for disruptive innovations | dotSUB

On another note...this dot|sub site looks interesting too...


The Impact on Bussing

I saw this picture today on the Dangerously Irrelevant blog, and thought it very relevant to the issue of restructuring schools. Over the past few years we have spent considerable (and needed) time reflecting on and revising attendance boundaries in our district, to accomodate the opening of two new schools.

This effort was needed, and helped coordinate transportation within our district addressing many issues that existed, but I can not help thinking as we move forward that we might be moving towards larger transportation related issues in the future.

As students and parents seek to increase the personalization of their programs, taking advantage of online and community-based offerings, what will be the impact on bussing and transportation?  The picture attached makes me think that the changes coming in the future are going to impact our system in ways that we may not consider now....I feel inadequate sometimes when I think about how much I do not know!


Google Goggles

I'm starting to think I like Google too much.....but this app for my new Android phone is just too cool.

Watch this short video to learn more about visual searching! I'll come  back and update after testing it a bit

I think this looks amazing.....

Stay tuned for the mobile Google translate application too.....that's coming soon too, I think.


Sent from my iPod

UPDATE:  OUCH!  As it happens, my HTC Hero runs Android v. 1.5.  Google Goggles is listed as working on Android v. 1.6 and higher.  Who's sad?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Education Jobs in the Future

I was reading another future-oriented article tonight, and as with other articles I've read on the subject it predicted education jobs would be plentiful in the future.

I agree, with the population growing it makes sense that we will have large numbers of children in a hoop.  It also makes sense that adult education will continue to be a growing market.

One thing that is almost always absent though is recognition that teaching is bound to be a very different job in the future.

We know how important it is to help people construct their own knowledge.  When will the tipping point be reached re:  changing HOW we teach, for instance?   By the time our system changes structure to embrace new methods, what will our teacher prep programs look like?   Will the new teachers continue to be the last ones to learn?

Seems to me that might be a good place to start if we know we want/need change.....


This post made from my HTC HERO smartphone

Friday, December 18, 2009

Google Voice

If you haven't stopped by Google to look at their collection of applications lately, I think now might be the time! Not too long ago I again posted about Google Documents and Google Forms because I think they have HUGE applications in the classroom.  Here is a little bit of information I've picked up about a new offering from Google that looks very interesting!

I think the content of this post may be more suited for personal use, than educational, but regardless of where it will be used, I now have a new Google application on my list of things to learn more about. There is only one drawback that I see at this point - it is currently only available in the U.S.

The application I'm drooling over today, available only by invitation at this point before being rolled out on a larger scale, is Google Voice (GV).  GV is a collection of internet-based phone features and utilities. A list of the features includes:
  • Google voicemail: voicemail like email
  • Voicemail transcription: read what your voicemail says
  • Custom greetings: vary voicemail greetings by caller
  • International calling: low cost calls to the world
  • Notifications: read voicemail messages via email or SMS
  • Share voicemails: forward, embed, or download voicemails
As well, through GV you can get a Google Number which offers the following features:
  • One number: a single phone number that rings all your phones
  • Free SMS: send, receive & store text messages online
  • Block calls: send unwanted callers straight to voicemail
  • Record calls: record phone calls and store them online
  • Conference calls: join several people into a single call
  • Screen callers: hear who is calling before you pick up

Doesn't that look like an impressive collection of gadgety utilities and features? I've just ordered a new smartphone running Google's Android operating system, and I'll have the full power of the web at my disposal with my phone. Hopefully GV will play well with a phone running the Google OS, and I really look forward to getting set up with Google Voice to take advantage of some of these features.

Oh, and hopefully Google will make it available in Canada too.

If you would like to watch some video of these features in action, please check HERE.  If anyone out there has used Google Voice, drop a quick comment here and let us know what you think of it so far.  I don't think I'll be able to get an invitation, as it appears to be only available in the US at this point, but I am still interested....maybe I can set it up and use it somehow when I'm in Arizona for a month later this spring...


Electric Vehicles

The idea of moving from internal combustion to electric vehicles is BIG idea to wrap our heads around.  It would be a monumental shift in the car industry. The concept is immediately appealing for the value it offers to our environment, but as with most great ideas there is a great deal to consider to make it reality. 

I recently viewed a brief video created by IBM predicting the top 5 ideas that will be popular in 5 years in cities. Number one on the list was electric vehicles.  The talk of smart grids with charging stations started me thinking about battery issues, and I was reminded of the single best presentation I'd ever heard on this topic. 

Watch this 18 minute presentation from a TED conference in February of 2009. Does this not sound like an amazingly simple, yet powerful and effective, idea? 

What do you think of that? Doesn't that sound possible? When I watch this, I think to myself "Why not?"  It comes down to will, doesn't it?

UPDATE: I just visited the Better Place website to see what they have been up to since this presentation, and they have pictures and test drive results for the Renault Fluence. It is a nice looking car (I'm still waiting for the 4WD version) and the early reports are positive. Of course, I doubt the negative comments would be posted here. Regardless, progress seems like it is being if they make a vehicle that fits me, and that I can effectively use here in the frozen north, then I'm in!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Personal Learning Networks

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the creation of knowledge, while I've been reading up on theories of human development and how people learn for my current course. The focus of the course is adult learning and lifelong learning and it has been very interesting to reflect on how I've consciously and unconsciously come to know what I know and (more importantly perhaps) discover what I don't know.

Obviously, formal learning plays a significant role, as does professional reading. Equally important in the world of adult learning, I believe it is an individual's personal learning network (PLN) that helps them construct meaning of what is going on around them and inspire the deep, lasting learning that makes a difference. Learning in a vacuum can only go so far, it is when it is shared and built upon that it becomes deep and embedded.

On that note, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share an opinion with me in the past, to wax philosophical about teaching and learning, to email me a link to an interesting article, or to ask questions and reflect with me about what we do. You are a valued member of my PLN and there is no way I would know what I know without our interactions.

Over the last few days I have had the privilege to spend significant time with some members of my PLN in person AND ONLINE, and as always I appreciate (and benefit from) their knowledge, PASSION, and energy levels. I hope everyone has someone like that in their network. I also hope you are taking advantage of technology to broaden your perspective and to add to your network. It is incredibly easy, and valuable, to find an online group you are interested in and touch base with them to find out more about what you know and don't know.

For those of you who may be reading this, I have some questions for you to reflect on. What do we do to help our students understand the importance of building those connections with their peers? Do we do enough modeling for our students and are we beginning to train them in the skills they will need to be lifelong learners?  Are we providing them with opportunities to shrink the world and broaden their knowledge through involvement with peers in other parts of the world? Should we?

I hope you get a chance to discuss this with those in your personal learning network, and if you'd like to share your thoughts on these questions with me, go for it. I would love to hear them...


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Web 2.0 For Teachers


As most teachers will be able to tell you, there are an amazing number of web-based resources available online.

Many teachers think a significant challenge to making use of different software is learning how to use them. I disagree that is our biggest challenge. Through experience I have found many similarities among software applications, and most students intuitively learn their way around web-based software quite quickly. I think all we need to do as teachers is help (most) students find the medium, and they will be able to figure out how to use it to communicate with us!

The bigger challenge, I have always felt, is staying up to date with what applications are out there. It seems like every week I read about a new tool, or someone shares one with me. I frequently find myself thinking/worrying that I might be missing something important...UNTIL NOW.

Today, I happened across what appears to be a very comprehensive collection of web 2.0 tools for teachers, all in one place. Thanks to Jesper Isakkson for putting this together!  I've added it to my delicious bookmarks, and I hope it comes in handy for some of you too! A screenshot showing the list of categories is at the beginning of this post.

As comprehensive as this map is, I have not seem some of my favorites on the list. One that is missing is If you have students create timelines in your classes, perhaps some may find the option of making their timeline online appealing? Here is a link to my favorite 11 year old blogger's most recent assignment in social studies, created using dipity: