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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Moose Nuggets Kicks off the MentalNomad Podcast Holiday Show

Hey, ya'll,

I'm knee deep in family (literally) but I wanted to let you know that my "old non-standard" holiday tune, "Moose Nuggets for Christmas" has been featured on this month's MentalNomad Show podcast. Head on over and give it some love. There are a number of other great indie tunes in that 'cast, and Jason Tippitt, the show's host, throws down a challenge to donate to charity and in return offers some fun prizes up for grabs!

Great Jason! Thanks for the spinnnnnnnzzzzzzz.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Society 3.0, Savor It with your Egg Nog!

Checking out my Diigo weekly shareouts this morning I stumbled on this, and no, it's not the newest thing on the block, issuing from John Moravec from the University of Minnesota and EducationFutures, back in September, but (wow!) it was such a superior and interesting standalone presentation for me that I thunk I'd better share it out further. I can't imagine being there for the real thing, and I hope my path crosses that of Dr. Moravec soon.

BTW thanks to everyone who voted for "Oh! Virtual Learning!," my Second Life blog, which posted in 3rd place in a field of 6 for the "Best Educational Use of a Virtual World" Edublog2008 Award last night. I thank you from the bottom of my holiday heart! And congrats to Discovery Education Network in Second Life and Jokaydia, the two stellar blogs that won out in first and second places, respectively!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Plurk, Today'sMeet, and Twitter!

Clif Mims in Mahmphis plurked a sweet little application a while ago. True to the micro-blog creed, it's a short one: Useful Microblog-like platform for classrooms and presentations . I'll be using this lean little backchat tool, called "Today'sMeet," perhaps with my 4th graders tomorrow, the last full day of classes b4 winter holidays :)

Sign up for Plurk here! You'll love it! It's Twitter with discussion threads!

Here's a screen grab from my plurk interface. Click for a larger version!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NECC2009, Here We Come!

I'll be heading to Washington DC the last week in June of next year to do some challenging work!

I received emails from the NECC2009 programs committee yesterday announcing that two of my proposals have been accepted, both for 3 hour hands-on workshops relating to Second Life. Presentation proposers--Don't panic if you haven't heard about your own proposals yet: These came early since they required a change in venue from PC to Mac labs due to NECC logistics.

Here are the titles and session descriptions:

Introduction to Education in Second Life: n00bs UNITE!
Session Description Highly experienced ISTE Second Lifers will help interested but "skills-challenged" educators explore this rich virtual platform for its value in teaching and learning.

Educators' Toolbox and Skill Set: Instruction and Presentation in Second Life
Session Description Become a skillful user of the most exciting immersive environment available. Acquire skills and tools that will serve you well in any education setting.
I'm very excited! Especially since, following the implementation design that served us so well last year at NECC2008 in San Antonio, I have enlisted seven co-presenters for the beginners' session and three for the advanced one. There's likely to be some jostling around between now and the end of June 2009, as travel plans and funding and such come into play, but between the two sessions there is an impressive group of presentation talent lined up. Of course my MUVErs partners, John Miller and Cathy Walker, will help with both. I'll announce the others just as soon as I get clear throw-in from all of them (don't want to announce prematurely).

Yippeeee! And thanks to my directors at both University School of Nashville and the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach for ongoing support as I reach out to other educators through conference presentations and collaboration!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

PLEASE vote!

Hey, all,

My other blog, the one about Virtual Environments in the service of education, has just garnered a nomination for Best Use of Virtual Worlds in the Edubloggers Awards 2008 race. I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd click on over to the site and vote for "Oh! Virtual Learning" so I might take home the "Eddie" in that category this year. Voting goes through December but I'm all for pulling out ahead early and staying there. Not that I'm competitive, heheheee. Here's the link:


Monday, December 01, 2008

Fantastic "Case Study" Features "Teen Perspectives on Second Life"

I'm going to cross-post this to "Oh! Virtual Learning" just because it's so cool. Seldom do I find extremely detailed treatments of education in Virtual Environments, and this one is nothing short of extraordinary.

Steve Collis is "a French/English teacher, and 'Head of Innovation' at Northern Beaches Christian School and its innovation arm, the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning" in Sydney, Australia. He recently visited my good friend and colleague Peggy Sheehy at her school in Ramapo, New York, to examine how she has become the nation's premier "virtual pioneer" in using VE to facilitate teaching and learning for her young students. He reported out a week ago at his blog, "HappySteve" (a great name for a blog!, subtitled "Teachers, Technology, Learning"), and I want to urgently suggest (is that subtle enough) that you go visit the particular blogpost (permalink) to view his video documentation. Bookmark it, share it, shout it to the world(s).

Steve, who doesn't know it yet but soon will be roped into my own Professional Learning Network, says of his travels,

"If there is one thing that has stood out to me from her observations on the educational value of a 3D virtual world, it's the notion of a "Psychosocial Moratorium" - a term coined by Erik Erikson. The idea is that the social space of a 3D virtual online world is particularly 'safe', and therefore particularly beneficial for nurturing the confidence of adolescents trying to figure out who they are, what they are good at, what they stand for and what they are are known for. As someone who has spent countless hours in the safety of online environments, I know exactly what she means. As of November 2008 I am seeking to set up Teen Second Life for my school, and can't wait to see how the students respond. Peggy has many anecdotes of students who have 'found themselves' through what is essentially a scaffold to constructing social identity (my wording there)."
When I first met Peggy, at NECC2007 in Atlanta, Georgia (if memory serves me correctly), I was struck by the same sort of impression. This is a passionately visionary educator, a librarian by training, who has struck out virtually (sorry) on her own and gathered legions of followers to create a productive, successful model of how teaching and learning can differ--now, in the early 21st century--from the stale, tried-but-no-longer-true, instructor-centered pedagogies of our great-great grandparents' schools.

Go visit "Happy Steve" and see what I mean. Literally!

To warm you up, here's an embed of the first in the series of no less than 7 short videos:


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