Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Amazing Tool

Earlier today, I ran into Dipity, which is a free tool to create timelines. I can see all kinds of possible uses for my students.

One nice feature is that it creates a timeline from blog posts. Here is one from my class blog:

Suddenly, what has been a stack of information (which was never intended, at least, to be random, is ordered and tells a story.

I feel like I want to use this for all of my digital lives.

Wireless and Beyond in Education

Some colleagues are I put together a presentation on innovative uses of wireless technologies in schools. We focused on elementary schools, middle schools, and school administration.

Have a look. Let us know what you think.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

User created art

Speaking of giving students a voice, this week the new NPR news show The Takeaway did a piece on some art installations that directly involved the voices of the audience.

One of the exhibits is an installation in Queens.
... visitors to Olafur Eliasson’s "Take Your Time” exhibit at P.S. 1 in Queens can don cellphone cameras and document their movements through the exhibit, in turn becoming part of the show’s online element.
The others mentioned also were very creative in involving the audience, blurring the line somewhat between who is the creator and who is the audience.

These piece move me because it makes me think about what's possible in a classroom.

Gmail Labs and Classrooms

The Bits blog at the New York Times had an interesting piece the other day. Entitled "The Hidden Danger of Gmail Labs," it described another Google initiative, where regular folks can develop software connected to Gmail and have it pushed to those interested.

The blog discussed the archetypal conflict between freedom and chaos which seems to be the hallmark of Web 2.0. I mean, what does happen/what will happen, when people can have a voice? Is Wikipedia the ultimate in the democratization of knowledge or the insane ramblings of well, anybody?

But any creative process alternates between tightness and looseness, between brainstorming and prioritizing. And I think that Google’s ever-expanding array of services already suffers from the ills of too many different authors.

And, by extension, what happens when students are equal participants in our schools. Do we see the transformation of education into something amazing or digital graffiti?

Check out Gmail Labs here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Newsrooms and Classrooms

I heard an interesting story on NPR's On the Media today

The theme of this week's show was the physical newsroom, and the particular story dealt with two responses to changes in the newsroom.

One part that was very interesting talked about technology, especially computers, has changed the soundscape of the newsroom. Once noisy, with the clacking of typewriters and phones and other equipment, they are now eerily silent. In fact, some newsrooms pump in "pink noise" to add sound where there is none and where there used to be lots.

I tried to think about how classrooms would/do sound differently as technology becomes more and more integrated. What old sounds will be gone? What new sounds (and new conversations) will take their place?

Take a listen.