Not so irrelevant 014

My latest roundup of links and tools…

America is not competitive

A majority of Fortune 1000 executives surveyed give the American pre-college system a failing grade. As Andrew Trotter reports from Education Week’s new Digital Education blog (check it out!), 95% of the survey participants think that the U.S. is in danger of losing its global position because of students’ disinterest in STEM fields. Be sure to check out the other Bayer Facts of Science Education surveys.

Chris Lehmann rocks out

As others have noted, Chris’ presentation at IgnitePhilly is a must-see. Forward on to others using this URL:

This is the kind of passion I strive for on a regular basis. I don’t always get there, but this is my desired goal. 

Hot for teacher

I wonder what the NEA thinks about this SinglesNet ad.

Teach students about dating violence

Rhode Island has made school training about dating violence mandatory. This is a fantastic idea. Did you know that 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner?

Americans who want Americans to be dumb at math

Jo Boaler has an interesting Education Week article on the ‘anti-knowledge movement.’

This just in: Teenagers like to text message

The New York Times reports that cell phone users send more text messages than make phone calls. Teenagers are the most prolific texters, which of course will impact their communication habits when they hit the workforce.

Wireless school buses

I love this creative thinking in Arkansas about using wireless Internet access to turn long school bus rides into learning opportunities.

WeDo joins MindStorms

Andrew Trotter reports on Lego’s upcoming WeDo kits for schools. Calling all junior robotics engineers!

Two great Campus Technology articles

Article 1: 5 common mistakes using blogs with students.
Article 2: Educators and the generative nature of the digital economy.

Hill Street Blues meets K-12

Did you know that over 12,000 K-12 employees in the U.S. had a nonfatal occupational injury in 2006? As Sergeant Esterhaus used to note, Hey, let’s be careful out there!

My netbook is on its way!

Netbooks are hot, hot, hot! (see, e.g., the articles in GigaOM, ZDNet, and PC Magazine). Between netbooks and smartphones, the mobile Web is well on its way to penetrating every nook and cranny of our lives. This has positive implications for getting a computing device into the hands of every student! I thought it was time to dive into this computing sector and will share pictures of my Dell Inspiron Mini 9 when it arrives later this month. Now all we need is ubiquitous wireless broadband…

Not so irrelevant 013

My latest roundup of links and tools…

When did the IT staff get promoted above the superintendent?

Will Richardson notes:

[A] school superintendent I spoke with … lamented the fact that his IT staff wouldn’t give him access to YouTube and even Wikipedia.

See also my older post: Principal blogging not allowed.

Math and motocross

Check out this sweet series of motocross math videos at HotChalk. The brains behind the math? Former guest blogger Jason Dyer!

“I didn’t know Sasquatch was real.”

Fun with the Pacific Tree Octopus!

Maybe we should do this for teachers and administrators too

"Seventy-one-year-old Peggy McIntyre needs to learn as much as she can about Windows before 8 a.m. Or else."

Post-Gutenberg economics

It’s now a publish-then-filter world. Clay Shirky notes that “we’re clocking a singularity a week at this point.”

We need to educate our educators

Seth Godin says:

It’s easy to be against something you’re afraid of. And it’s easy to be afraid of something that you don’t understand.

Open your brain, open your model of education

The Education Innovation blog has an interesting post on closed v. open models of education. [Note to self: this might be the world’s longest URL]

Some good thinking going on here

Thanks to Mike Sansone, I recently discovered the Union Square Ventures blog. In Power to the People, they state:

[W]e believe that we are only at the beginning of the web’s impact on the fundamental structure of education. We expect much of that change to be away from the existing educational institutions and towards empowering individuals and newly-formed groups.

In Why the Flow of Innovation Has Reversed, they note:

[T]he vector of innovation has changed. It used to be that innovation started with NASA, flowed to the military, then to the enterprise, and finally to the consumer. Today, it is the reverse. All of the most interesting stuff is being built first for consumers and is tricking back to the enterprise. . . . [O]ne reason this is happening is that the success of a web service is more often determined by its social engineering than its electrical engineering.

Students aren’t the only ones missing the big picture

The Florida Department of Education is concerned that students are missing the big picture when it comes to science. A task force stated that “teachers should provide a broader focus on scientific concepts and process in a ‘big picture’ sense.” Hmmm… I wonder if that means the Department is going to narrow down the list of required science standards and also pare down the size of approved textbooks. I’m guessing not. Download the full report if you dare.

Disempowered today = disempowered tomorrow

I left this comment at Jim Gates’ Tipline blog:

Students who aren’t fluid technology users today will be the low-wage workers and disempowered citizens of tomorrow.

I want it right THERE

Finally, if you’re anal-retentive about your Windows taskbar like I am, check out Taskbar Shuffle.

Not so irrelevant 012

Three great questions

I especially like the last of these three questions from Rodney Trice. We should be asking teachers and principals that question more often (and just that directly).

  • How do you intend to bring the global community into your classroom?
  • How will you prepare students for a future that is relatively unknown?
  • How you will eliminate the racial predictability of achievement outcomes in your classroom?

This just in: Teenagers play video games!

All kidding aside, the latest report from the amazing Pew Internet & American Life Project confirms that kids – even girls! – are up to their eyeballs in video games.

We’ll stick to the tried and (not) true

Nope, sorry. iPods are not allowed. Back to the old way. Too bad it doesn’t work as well. Gotta do it anyway. Oh, and I love how the music players are categorically, by definition, a ‘distraction’ (if not in actuality). Who needs reality when we have these little educational policy fantasy worlds that we can create for ourselves?

Throw da bums out!

After attempts to bring in turnaround experts didn’t work, the state of Maryland is increasingly leaning toward completely restructuring schools that are academically unsuccessful. State schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick says:

We are very comfortable being more aggressive about this. We have seen much better results [when the staff is replaced].

Blog like a farmer

I ran across an old post by Mike Sansone, one of my Iowa blogging buddies. I really like his metaphor that blogging should be like farming.


I bet parents and community members would really like to see scorecards like this one (maybe with different data) for their local schools. I know some schools and districts already do this. Hopefully they use line graphs rather than tables of numbers. Could you tell the essential story of a school district with 10 key, well-done graphs? I bet you could!

No writing in journalism class?

Check out this excellent article about the NYU journalism student who got in trouble for blogging about her class. [hat tip to Tim Stahmer]

I got no money, honey

Did you catch Edutopia’s advice on how to innovate without extra money or support?

Spend hours on content you can find with Google in 3 seconds!

One of my favorite things about Wes Fryer is his ability to highlight the ridiculous. I also enjoy his irreverance (“Behold! I hold aloft the holy words!”), particularly when I have the same experience at my kids’ school.

Speaking of Google…

Finally, I’m digging Google Chrome. it’s now my default browser and I’m using Firefox less and less (and I love Firefox). Chrome is much faster. I also like that each tab is a separate process; I have yet to have a browser hang…

Not so irrelevant 011

My latest roundup of links and tools…

The critics need a reboot

David Wolman’s article in Wired Magazine is a quick and effective rebuttal of those who claim that technology is making us stupid.

Social networking for babies

Yep, that’s right. Social networking for babies: Made a mess in my pants today. Slept. Made a mess in my pants today. Slept…

The $70 PC

Using a thin client model for school computers seems like an idea that has promise. And of course a $70 price tag per computer sounds great. Does anyone know a school organization that’s working with NComputing?

Should kids learn about 9/11 via cartoons?

Gary Stager’s got a vein pop about BrainPop

Handheld learning

Thanks to Dean Shareski, I now know about the Handheld Learning web site. Thanks, Dean!

Youth, porn, and violence

Want the latest facts on youth exposure to pornography and violent web sites? Head to Harvard’s Berkman Center!

Speaking of the Berkman Center…

There is a LOT going on at the Center. Check out its list of projects (the list is clickable thanks to Kwout) and sign up for its news feed!

Karl Fisch is big in Germany

If you didn’t catch it, Karl recently posted about a German
magazine’s story about his school
and the Did You Know? video. Anybody read

Snow in the bathroom

And, finally, here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t read
Doug Johnson
while you’re supposedly participating in a serious meeting. Thy
guffaw mayest disrupt…

Not so irrelevant 010

My latest roundup of links and tools…

By now we should be thinking about the Internet like we do water and electricity

Slate Magazine notes that

Camp McCain . . . fundamentally does not see the Internet as essential infrastructure. . . . Instead, Camp McCain dreams of a competitive market in Internet services, and so if Obama sees the Internet as a road, McCain takes it as a car: something that consumers will buy if they want it. In fact, in 2001, Michael Powell compared the Internet to a luxury car: ‘I think there is a Mercedes divide. I would like to have one, but I can’t afford one.’ Any too-ambitious government project to put a fiber cable in people’s homes, thinks Camp McCain, is likely doomed to failure.

All I have to say about this is that any country that doesn’t see the Internet as essential infrastructure for driving forward its national economy and societal well-being is doomed. Doomed, I tell you! [hat tip to Will Richardson]

Speaking of which…


  • It’s easy to find examples of why we need people to translate the world of educational research for practitioners. To most K-12 educators, for examples, paragraphs 5 through 7 of this study summary (which purports to report the instructional value of using interactive whiteboards) are complete gibberish.

The power of transparency

The power of the aggregator

The power of prefetching

  • I like the fact that FeedDemon, the software I’m using as my primary aggregator, lets me read stuff offline.

Do you know the way to San Jose?


  • Finally, make sure you read the responses of Karin Chenoweth and Ben Wildavsky to Charles Murray’s latest book, Real Education. If you’ve forgotten, Murray is the guy who wrote The Bell Curve and believes that poor kids should just be slotted into menial (but somehow emotionally-fulfilling) educational tracks and jobs so that our schools can go back to their business of educating the elites to run the world. [hat tip to Eduwonkette]

Not so irrelevant 009

My latest roundup of links and tools…

Do buildings matter?

Math matters

Moving forward in Manassas

Extremely handy

Sylvia is skeptical

Follow the numbers

Send this to your wife or neighbors and spark a good conversation about your kids

Not so irrelevant 008

My latest roundup of links and tools…

I read blocked blogs

Are you up to the challenge?

Why K-12 educators shake their heads at academia

  • Rick Hess perfectly captures one of my primary complaints about academia, which is that much of what we do is completely inaccessible (and/or meaningless) to K-12 educators

No hand-held electronics in front of the kids!

I was incredulous to read … the decision by the London Catholic School Board in Ontario banning hand held electronic devices in schools. . . . Even more bizarrely … school board employees are only allowed to use these devices "in areas from which students are excluded." Taken to its logical extent then this includes staff also being unable to use digital cameras to record student work or projects, create and listen to podcasts and so on.
Gareth Long

Like Alfie Kohn, Dan Meyer forces us to rethink / justify

New tools I’m finding quite useful

The impetus is on us, not them

Help a teacher develop an integrated lesson [that] … focuses on a local issue of real importance, in which they, their families, and/or others in their community have a genuine stake and interest. If their learning is situated in that type of context, I think you’ll find the impact of their learning experiences will be far greater, and many more of them will learn digital literacy skills alongside traditional literacy skills. Teaching in a problem-based learning environment is a lot more work than simply lecturing and delivering content to students, but it is the type of learning environment our students need to remain engaged in school work. Too many kids today are BORED by school. As the adults running our schools, it is our responsibility to remedy this situation.
Wesley Fryer

A couple of gems from Clay Burell

And a couple more from Gerald Bracey

We are a little egocentric, aren’t we?

And, finally, a reminder from John Pederson

One year ago: Well, what’s your answer? and Principal blogging not allowed

Not so irrelevant 007

My latest roundup of links and tools…

Some really cool posts about Twitter

Reading blogs is like visiting a new city

  • I need to think this way about all of the unread posts in my feed aggregator (thanks, Mike Maloy!)

Rethink trust


  • Like many others, I am enjoying using Zamzar, a video download / file conversion tool


As someone in a Ed leadership program right now, I couldn’t agree more that it is a waste of time and hoop-jumping to get an administrative license. My professor lectured for two hours to a class of adults on the importance of collaboration in adult education. Lame-o.

A great way to think about the social Web

  • No one has ‘forgotten’ or ‘left out’ anything. You just haven’t added it yet. – Alan Levine, Wiki Way (thanks for the tip, Vicki Davis!)

The firestorm subsides

Happy reading, everyone. Like Wesley, I am here for the learning revolution. Hope you are too.

Not so irrelevant 006

In the past, I’ve labeled my random thoughts and captures from the Web on this blog as Half-finished or half-baked?. As of today, I’m re-labeling those as Not so irrelevant and have made a new category on my blog for these…

YouTube Insight

YouTube has released YouTube Insight, an analytical tool that allows users to view detailed statistics about the videos they have uploaded. I pulled up my list of videos and clicked on the About this video button for my video on The Resilience of Teacher Culture (featuring Richard Elmore). Here’s what I got:


Nathan Lowell quote

Here’s my favorite quote (from Nathan Lowell) from all of the comments at Will Richardson’s post regarding 21st century skills for educators:

We’ve spent millions of dollars to equip and wire schools and now that we’re discovering just how much we can learn with them, we’re spending millions more to prevent the intellectual capitalization that our investment represents.

Classroom examples

Colette Cassinelli has set up a VoiceThread 4 Education wiki where educators can post examples of how they’re using VoiceThread in their classrooms. Very cool idea. Similarly, Liz Kolb is blogging about how to use cellphones as K-12 learning tools. I’ve added these to the Moving Forward wiki since I think they’ll be helpful examples for presenters. [Anyone know of similar sites – ‘how to use these tools in education and here are lots of examples’ – for online video, podcasting, Twitter, etc.? I particularly like the idea of the wiki where everyone can post their examples for all to see…]


Courtesy of LifeHacker, I discovered a nifty little Windows tool called Rightload that allows me to right-click on a file and instantly upload it to my web site.

Music education bloggers

Joseph Pisano and Owen Bradley are trying to get 100 new music education bloggers by January 2009. So far they’re up to 36. If you know of any music educators who are blogging who aren’t on the list, encourage them to sign up! [It would be great if the massive list of teacher bloggers at Support Blogging was divided up by subject areas!]

Leaders in Learning 2008

Kudos to Dan Meyer, Vicki Davis, Jason Ohler, Liz Pape, and the other finalists for the 2008 Leaders in Learning Awards. As a General Excellence awardee last year, I can emphatically state that the winners will have a great experience!

Half-finished or half-baked? 005

Random musings. Half-finished (and quite possibly half-baked) thoughts.
Things that have caught my eye…

One of the most interesting articles I’ve read in a long

Students learn by doing

Google Maps Street View

Nebraska is our model for how NCLB should be

Proper etiquette?

Will every household have one of these some

Anti-school blogs

Second Life as a museum?

Guess which university produces the most doctoral students in

An interesting perspective on higher education

Make your own screencasts (free)

A different way to pay teachers?