Monday, January 28, 2008

Some amazing art

A colleague shared some of Peter Callesen's art with me today.
In some of it, he creates 3-dimension paper sculptures. The rule is that each one is made from only one piece of paper.

There's an example of one above.

Here is what the artist says about his work:
My paper works have lately been based around an exploration of the relationship between two and three dimensionality. I find this materialization of a flat piece of paper into a 3D form almost as a magic process - or maybe one could call it obvious magic, because the process is obvious and the figures still stick to their origin, without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in most of the cuts.

The cool thing for me, in looking at them, is the progression from the more simple relationships between the figures and the original piece of paper (like the skeleton) to those where the relationships are more and more complex.

It made me think of the process of ownership, where knowledge or skills move from something that belongs to someone else to something that belongs to you. The relationship between you and the knowledge and/or skills gets deeper and deeper and deeper.

Check them out here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

An example of what can happen

As had been widely reported, the Library of Congress has launched a pilot program with Flickr. The pilot has placed 3100 of the Library's photo collection with the photo sharing site.

Here a report from the Library of Congress blog:

Let’s start out with a few statistics, as of last night:

• 392,000 views on the photostream
• 650,000 views of photos
• Adding in set and collection page views, there were about 1.1 million total views on our account
• All 3,100+ photos have been viewed
• 420 of the photos have comments
• 1,200 of the photos have been favorited

And just look at all of those tags!

What blew me away when I read this was that prior to this pilot, people seeing the photos in the Library would have had whatever responses they did, but there would never have been this level of interaction/participation/adding value.

As I always say, what would people say if you gave them a voice?


Social networking as power learning

This article from the looks at some students who are using social networking for learning (as opposed to all the other things they could use it for.

Here's great quote:
The high schoolers took a more direct approach. They felt that world peace cannot be obtained without global understanding and respect. Working with a German foreign-exchange student, they decided to collaborate on music composition with students in Germany, entirely online. They “jam-glued” a collaboration site for use by all participants. If they could compose together, they can understand each other better. Collaborative understanding = world peace.

Learning was fun and inevitable. And is

The question for me is this:
What happens when students actually have a voice?
What would say? And how? And to whom?

Blogged with Flock

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm in love!

Today, I had a chance to spend some time playing with the XO Laptop (aka, the One Laptop Per Child Laptop).

There have been many (and more detailed) reviews/praises/criticisms published, (like the one below from David Pogue) so I'll not try to compete with them.

What struck me most was the revolution of the interface. [You can read their interface guidelines here. And check out an online demo here.] The focus (unlike most PCs) is around play and collaboration, as opposed to "productivity." In my experience, the icons draw you in and the machine really, really delivers: it has WiFi, word processing, web browsing, programming (in 3 different applications), painting, video recording, audio recording/editing, and, most importantly, networking.

Here's what really hit me. I have been in lots of discussions (both face to face and online) about the role of/use of technology in K-12 situations. And, like many of us, I have strong opinions about this. But this little laptop showed me that it is possible for the whole metaphor to change. And when it does (which I am convinced in does in little XO), who knows what can be possible?

Thanks, Mr. Negroponte.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Study on Blogging

Jeff Felix, a superintendent for a California school district, has completed a study on the use of blogging with K-12 students. Here is a summary (from Jeff) of his findings:

The study on teachers in the United States who are using blogging as an instructional practice has finally been completed. The study shows that teachers perceive a significant increase in student learning through motivation for assignments and through deeper thought processes. Students seem to enjoy the connectiveness of their work to other subjects and to each other. This collaboration encourages a deeper relationship with their peers and with the teacher.

Jeff has generously made the full study, as well as a shorter paper available on his blog. I celebrate and appreciate it work and commend it to all of us committed to opening up new possibilities for our students using Web 2.0 tools.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

How does learning work?

This morning my 3 1/2 year old looked at this picture, the cover from the latest issue of Wired.

Then, he said, "Look, there's some juice in the snow."

It reminded me that we learn new concepts by piggbacking them on what we already know. Then, as we go on, we fix any misconceptions (or they are fixed for us) -- hopefully.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Amazing use of tools to visualize statistics

Happy New Year!

Here is a video from TED which shows global health expert Hans Rosling looking at trends in the developed and developing worlds.

What he says is cool, for sure.

How he says it, using some amazing tools to visualize the statistics is really impressive.

What if we did this in our classrooms?
What if we taught our students to do this in (and out of our classrooms)?