Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Shameless Plug

PBwiki logo
PBWiki is a free wiki space tool. I used it to set up a district tech committee space for subcommittee work. So far, the wiki has been useful for sharing documents (mostly revisions to tech standards), and I am trying to encourage its use for conversing and creating/revising documents.

I find the PBWiki very easy to use, and I think committee members who have explored have also found it easy to use. At least, I haven't had to answer many questions.

The shameless nature of this plug is that for writing about PBWiki they will up our storage space, which will help as more files get posted for review.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

NCCE 2006 | What is your philosophy?

I started the conference with David "The Shirt" Moursund's session, "Developing a Philosophy of Computers in Education".

Moursund used the session to walk us through his thought process for using information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education. Questioning is a critical component to this process, and he put many questions on the table.

One of the questions that really struck me was "What is your 'authenticity' philosophy?" There was a time when not memorizing was a radical idea. The use of pencil and paper meant facts, ideas, and opinions no longer needed to be memorized. This, understandably, shook the memorization approach and changed the nature of education.

Now, the computer has changed the professional world to the point where it is difficult to work without open access to information. How does this change what "authentic" means when applied to work being done? to learning? to assessment?

So, Moursund asked, is letting the computer do something "cheating"? If part of our goal as educators is to prepare students for the world they will be trying to make a living in, are we doing a disservice whenever we limit their access to information?

This brings me back to an ongoing lunch table discussion of the importance of teaching facts. In a world where facts can be looked up in seconds and frequently don't require specialized texts to access, I see no reason to memorize facts, and I find making students memorize facts a waste of time. The facts we find interesting and/or use frequently, we internalize. If we don't use a piece of information frequently or see any value in knowing, there is no reason to memorize it.

What I am more interested in spending time on is the use of facts, ideas, and opinions to create something new. This is becoming an important facet of my philosophy--the use of ICT needs to fit into a process of accessing, understanding, and creating.

This idea of creating something new, of "adding value", of extending the conversation should be the beginning of my philosophy. How is the use of technology going to help my students bring something new to the conversation?

NCCE 2006

I just got back from two very good days in Portland, OR attending the Northwest Council for Computer Education conference.

Normally, this is a pretty wet time of year to visit Portland, so much so that NCCE gave away umbrellas as member gifts. However, the skies were clear and sunny with temps in the high 40s to low 50s. I took a beautiful walk along the river on Wednesday and really wish I had thought to take a camera.

Over the next few posts I will dig into my notes and start thinking about how to use the ideas I have taken from the conference.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Welcome to my first podcast

Okay, I decided to take the plunge and try out podcasting for myself. Honestly, I'm pretty impressed with how easy it is. And free, too, if you don't count the cost of the computer, thanks to garage band and audacity.

Give a listen here.

The graphic is from Podcasting Graphics.

  1. Put together a few piano loops in GarageBand for intro music.
  2. Record vocals in Audacity (I tried doing this in GarageBand but couldn't get stereo output. I will need to dig around in the settings some more.)
  3. Bring intro music into Audacity, arrange, and add fade out effect for intro music.
  4. Export as MP3 and upload to Internet Archive.
  5. Blog away.
The missing step: Oh yeah, next time, maybe have some content in mind.