Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thiagi's Newsletter for a New Year

Thiagi's Newsletters are full of fascinating and applicable ways to help students learn.  Here are ten tips, but you need to go look at the article to get the good stuff.  No, I don't have any reason to drive traffic there, just a desire to share really good, practical, and tested training advice.  Here is the link.

Ten Exciting Ways To Waste Your Training Dollars

1. Analysis and Planning
2. The Finish Line
3. Content is NOT king
4. Information Please!
5. Multimedia Spectacular
6. Passive Learning
7. Activity Abuse
8. Testing, Testing
9. Follow the Script
10. Beyond Smile Sheets

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Learning Credos are Teaching Manifestos

Dan Gilmour has some advice for journalism students on being a literate person ten years into the 21st century.  More importantly, I think this 'advice' is a  learning credo which means that it is also a teaching manifesto.  I highly recommend reading the whole article.  It is full of insight that can only come from having been a reflective participant for decades.  This article is a year old and I am sorry I missed it when it came out.  As usual the comments are thought provoking and humbling.  The Berkman Center continues to provide a useful and interesting forum for new ideas prompted by our evolving digital ecologies.  Their podcasts are a steady staple for my commute time:  Audio and Video.
        • Principles of Media Consumption: the principles come mostly from common sense. Call them skepticism, judgment, understanding, and reporting.
        1. Be skeptical of absolutely everything.
        2. Although skepticism is essential, don’t be equally skeptical of everything.
        3. Go outside your personal comfort zone.
        4. Ask more questions.
        5. Understand and learn media techniques.
APA Citation via Zotero: 

Gillmor, D. (2008, December 12). Principles for a New Media Literacy – Center for Citizen Media. Center for Citizen Media. Blog, . Retrieved December 30, 2009, from

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Amish Web Sites and New Scientist Curmudgeons

This is not exactly an awe inspiring article, but the gist of it is that technology needs to be on tap, not on top.  There is a value to curmudgeonry as long as it does not conflate its position with the Perennial One--capital T Truth.  The argument made here is the same one that the Amish have wrestled with for centuries: how much technology is enough?  They tend to draw the line where it diminishes family connection.  Kevin Kelly's article on "Amish Hackers" puts this distinction another way.  They distinguish between owning and using technology.  Consider their rules when you, your company, your school, or your business is thinking about the next new new thing.

The Amish are steadily adopting technology -- at their pace. They are slow geeks. As one Amish man told Howard Rheingold, "We don't want to stop progress, we just want to slow it down," But their manner of slow adoption is instructive.
  • 1) They are selective. They know how to say "no" and are not afraid to refuse new things. They ban more than they adopt.
  • 2) They evaluate new things by experience instead of by theory. They let the early adopters get their jollies by pioneering new stuff under watchful eyes.
  • 3) They have criteria by which to select choices: technologies must enhance family and community and distance themselves from the outside world.
  • 4) The choices are not individual, but communal. The community shapes and enforces technological direction. 
Kelly, K. (2009, February 11). The Technium: Amish Hackers. The Technium. Retrieved December 29, 2009, from

Below is a quick summary of the New Scientist piece that inspired this post using Diigo's annotation features.  All material is quoted with some connective language added to aid the reader. 

    • "THE age of melancholy" is how psychologist Daniel Goleman describes our era.

    • Our lifestyles are increasingly driven by technology.

    • Technology can be hugely useful in the fast lane of modern living, but we need to stop it from taking over.

      • the computer has become the centre of attention; it is the medium through which we work and play.

      • adults and children increasingly believe that in order to belong and feel good about themselves, they must own the latest model or gadget.

      • psychologist Tim Kasser of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, has shown that people who place a high value on material goals are unhappier than those who are less materialistic.

      • As one unhappy human-resource manager in a high-tech company put it: "They gave me a mobile phone so they can own me 24 hours a day, and a portable computer, so my office is now with me all the time - I cannot break out of this pressure."

    • Psychologists generally believe that the lack of a clear separation between work and home significantly damages our relationships with loved ones.

    • Modern society is in danger of swapping standard of living for quality of life.

    • My prescription is self-determination theory, developed by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester in New York state.

    • three vital elements

      • First is autonomy

    • It is easy to see how technology undermines autonomy, but also how to regain it. This may be as simple as switching off mobile phones during meals and family time, setting aside specific times to answer emails, and being available only when we choose to be.

      • Second is a sense of competence

    • being truly competent must be a continuation of our autonomy: knowing which activities are important to us and carrying them out in the most effectual way possible, making use of technology where applicable.

      • The third factor is relatedness.

    • Psychologists have found that the pivotal difference between happy and unhappy people is the presence or absence of rich and satisfying social relationships. Spending meaningful time with friends, family and partners is necessary for happiness.

    • A added fourth factor is critical thinking.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Innovative

  • tags: no_tag

    • Five Ways Innovative Educators Can Use Texting As a Professional Tool
    • Texting as an Efficient and Effective Communication Tool
    • disruptive announcement system
    • enables educators to communicate short, efficient messages to one another without robbing students of instructional time.
    • Enhancing The Home-School Connection
    • The Journal has an excellent article on how schools are using notification tools for more than emergency alerts. In fact some schools are using it in a way that can revolutionize parent involvement moving beyond basics using services such as TeleParent ( 04/01/08)
    • According to the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory study, “Students with involved parents are more likely to attend school regularly, earn higher grades, and have better social skills.”
    • Free Audience Response System
    • With Poll Everywhere everyone's voice can be heard by texting 99503 and texting in your vote just like they do on American Idol. No equipment needed or software to download within seconds educators have audience responses.
    • SMS Tweeting from Your Phone to Gain a Collective Intelligence on Topics of Importance
    • Twitter is a great tool for schools to use to share interesting and relevant information with the student body, staff, parents and family.
    • Once you're set up, you can start tweeting your way into the microblogging community. Here are some ways you may want to use Twitter. 1) If school staff are attending a conference or professional development activity they tweet reflections, favorite quotes, or reactions to what they're learning. You can read how a group of school leaders did this at Leading By Example - Transforming Education for the 21st Century ( 2) School staff can tweet interesting announcements, updates, and activities at any time into the school account. This can be fed right into a school website providing the school community, parents, and more with an ongoing stream of updates about school happenings. See how one school does this at 3) Use your class, library, or lab twitter account to share news and information with your students and teachers. For a great example of how this is done, follow Tracy Karas of Marta Valle High School in New York City at
    • Google SMS as an Educational Tool That Can Be Used Directly From Your Phone
    • Editors note: Unfortunately, even as a Technology Innovation Manager, I have been cut off from using this innovative digital tool since October after a decision was made for NYC DOE employees that ALL TEXT MESSAGING capabilities for DOE account holders will be disabled. It was a NYCDOE policy decision to disable the text messaging feature from all DOE issued devices. The rational for the disabling this service is all devices provided are for DOE business related communication and this communication must be documented. It is also the DOE position that communication thru text messaging is primarily for “personal use." Upon further investigation I learned the service could be restored if a professional case was made for using texting. I made my case more than two months ago and still have no service.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.