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Monday, March 31, 2008

Pics from Friday's TAIS Technology Institute in Memphis, Tennessee!

Friend Julene Reed, techwiz extraordinaire and Director of Technology at St. George's Independent School in Memphis, Tennessee, sent me pics from the event I blogged about earlier and I want to share them! Here's a picasaweb slideshow. You can click on the show to visit the slideshow for larger pics. This event was a great one for me, and I'll continue to share what I learned there often and loudly! Thanks, Julene!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Personal Learning Network Offer

Hey, ya'll,

From my favorite administrator's blog: PHSPrincipal Blog, this post where he muses about a comment from his own PLN (Personal Learning Network). Are you a colleague of mine? I don't care where you live or work, if you need help getting started with the kind of ongoing learning and collaboration Dave's talking about in his blog post, when he says "I have found that I spend more time now reading about educational issues than I did when I was working on my Masters degree or my Specialist in Ed. degree. One particular item that i read this past weekend has me thinking about our particular place in history..." you just let me know. I'll help.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tons of Photos from a NY meetup on the Second Life Teen Grid Work!

Thanks to Kevin Jarrett, tons of pics from his work this past week with Bernajean Porter, Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malmstrom on a variety of projects in the Second Life Teen Grid. At TAIS I had a number of educators ask me what's going on with Second Life. Here's a set of things, most certainly.

Go see 'em at a flickr slideshow!

"Animator vs. Animation" an Amazing Funny Animation by Alan Becker!

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time and I'll definitely share it with my kids this coming week. Thought it might brighten your day. By the way, thanks to 4th grader Michael, who sent the link via email to me. Have fun viewing the new flash masterpiece Animator vs. Animation!

Friday, March 28, 2008

At TAIS -- ustreaming Will Richardson and more!

The Tennessee Ass'n of Independent Schools Tech Institute in Memphis, Tennessee is underway and I'll have more later from the hotel room tonight. I'm archiving it on, and if you get in live today you may catch it live! The address is if you want to check it out! Resources he talks about are at Will's Weblogged-Ed wiki. Will's blog, linked in my sidebar for well over two years now, is Weblogged-Ed, one of the (if not the) first blogs to be created about education and "the read-write web." One of my favorite recent posts is his 53 second snippet from UK maven Dr. Steven Heppel, simply entitled "Universal Learning Care," a compelling analogy, the concept that "learning goes with you through life, just as health does."

Here's a url to Will's presentation on RSS--treat yourself to it! And I've now prettied up the videos of his sessions, so have at those at

Awwww, heck--here's the embed:

and here's the backchat from that session!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

NECC Birds of a Feather Gets its Final Co-presenter!

Okay, ya'll. In an effort to make the Birds of a Feather June 30 interesting and fun, I've added several co-presenters. Why? 'Cause I CAN, silly! I promise I'm finished!

The RL rundown:
Me, you know me
padl is a Tech Coordinator in Arkansas, JS is a Community College nursing educator in Washington state, Gia is a SLoodle expert in London, Know is a theater teacher in New Jersey, and the Prof. is an English language teacher in Kobe, Japan.

Sound fun? It will be. Join us. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Great Moments

I often promise myself not to use my blog for political commentary. Who am I to comment on the political ebbings and tidings of American politics. Wow. Did I say "ebbings and tidings?" I must have been influenced by recently viewing a YouTube video compilation of some of the best of the best from David Letterman's "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" spot.

The answer is, of course, that I'm nobody. But I am somebody who was so impressed by Barack Obama's speech on Race and Politics in America yesterday that I have to applaud it out loud here. I'm hoping against hope that the upcoming years of our America can be characterized more by Obama's level of candor and sincerity, intellect and introspection, and genuine commitment to change than by our current leader's perhaps not so inadvertent obfuscation. Whether you are for him or against him, any effort to discount his eloquence is doomed to failure.

Hope with me.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Snacks4theBrain! is up!

Wow, I spent much of the last two days, when not relaxing with my family, painting doors for our house, or watching DVDs with my wife, putting together Snacks4theBrain! episode number 69, a nifty little number with music from friend Ross Falzone and Rocky Alvey and a very fascinating interview with the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach's Dr. Jennifer Ufnar. Go listen.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Muddy Sunshine is Launched! and Hot!

This post is in the "lagniappe" category. If you don't know what that means, look it up: It's a GREAT word. Okay, I'll baby you.

I'm sorely delinquent in putting this out, but my friend Rocky Alvy (superintendent of Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and longtime friend, as well as featured subject of not one but two Snacks4theBrain! podcasts) has realized his record label in style. Check out Muddy Sunshine and be sure to visit the video at YouTube. Heck, why go anywhere just now--here it is:

Find out more about Rocky and Steve at the bio page at Muddy Sunshine. Then help yourself to some stellar, edgy, beautiful music.

How to Choose a Student Laptop

Lots of parents are interested in looking at laptop/notebook computers for their chidren, and I do have my opinions but will defer to another source instead of making things up from scratch. Look at How To Choose The Best Student Laptop? By Titus Hoskins and then go look at's comparison of 6 top brands and models.

Another thing you might consider is the new array of subnotebooks, offshoots of the "100 Dollar Laptop" development. I'm particularly intrigued by the Asus EEE PC. See a detailed comparison of currently available ones at ITReviews from Merry Olde England.

My general advice for parents is to purchase a notebook with the fastest processor, the most RAM, and the devices you know you will need. DVD player? Integrated webcam? These are decisions each family needs to make for themselves. With a student laptop, I believe weight is also an important factor. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be moving to completely digital textbooks any time in the near future: The textbook lobby is too powerful. 1 or 2 pounds saved in the backpack can help the already overloaded child.

Best of luck in your shopping!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Attention to Attention

Twitter tweet Fleep Tuque (Chris Collins) shared this out at her own blogsite today and posted a link to it in Twitter, which I pursued: Fleep's the real deal when it comes to passion for teaching and learning and I like to see what she's seeing. What do ya know, it's another video from webpundit Howard Rheingold (aside: I'm reading Wagner James Au's The Making of Second Life and Rheingold was a fundamental consulting resource during SL's formative years--he reportedly saw the 3Di as promising fulfillment of some key predictions he had made for society's future), whom I featured here just a few posts ago.

Here's a great review of Au's book from Daniel Terdiman at cNet News.

At the risk of becoming a mirror site for Howard, I'm also sharesharing. This is good, ya'll, real good:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My "Little" School in the Top 60 College Prep Schools Nationwide

University School of Nashville fared well in an admittedly not-that-scientific survey of eight top colleges, according to a Wall Street Journal report from December 2007. The report, compiled by the Journal's "Weekend Journal" staff, looked at freshman classes at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins to see how many independent school students were enrolled from various schools in 2007, then divided that number by the number of graduates at the high school.

USN was the only southeastern school in the list.

Yay. Now the disclaimer from the announcement:

Of course, college placement is only one measure of a high school's success, and varies from year to year. Many high schools emphasized to us that they strive to find the right match for each student, not the college with the most cachet.

Still, a nice little gem for a unique school that attempts to do more than it has the money to do. I'm proud.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Moo Cards!

Hey, all,

Toward preparing for NECC in San Antonio, I've created new mini-bizcards at, where I ordered 100 to have on hand for the week. This has also made it possible to upload the cards' image to Second Life and create business cards there! There's a little stack on the table in the Bloggers' Hut and the Podcasters' Place. Feel free to take a copy so you can always have my websites in your pocket (or at least most of them :).

Here's the image:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

How Connected _is_ One?

Snow in Nashville March 2008

The Cost of War

My dear friend James Morrison sent me an email this morning that directed me to the Quaker's American Friends Service Committee website, where one may download .jpg or .pdf versions of images that relate the terrible economic cost of the war in Iraq in comparative terms. Eveready for the learning moment, I fired up Adobe Fireworks and noodled with turning these into an animated gif, something I have only limited experience doing. Here's the result. Once you have absorbed the message, click on over to the Friends site and sign the letter to congress imploring them to defund the war. It's killing us.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Will Richardson Live Blogging from New York

Silvia Martinez added the comment "It’s fascinating - a civil discussion between two educators about the essence of what we need to do to improve schools in the US." to educational innovator Will Richardson's "Live Blog" post from Teaching and Learning's "" conference in NYC. More and more, it's becoming possible to "attend" to these events online in between classes and as one can. Travel? Certainly necessary, so there can be a strong diverse local audience. Participation? At will and as needed and justified. Learning? Anytime.

Catch up on the Live Blog post after the fact. Join Twitter or another educational network to build a set of resources to allow you access to live presentations. You can't attend if you don't know about 'em!

Attending a conference? Use CoverItLive, Twitter, or to share out. WOW!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Why Let Our Students Blog?

Forgive me if this is old news to you but it's new news to me. Connecting the dots from twitter to email to internet this morning (not an unusual pathway for me) I came across a video I'd like to share. It's from New Zealand teacher Rachel Boyd and I find it rather eloquent. Enjoy:


Gus by Scott Gardner Merrick  I wear these navy slacks I found behind O'Shaugnessy's, in the dumpster there. And they'r...