Tweet and ye shall receive, part two

November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Twitter conversation with Cybraryman1

Twitter conversation with Cybraryman1

I had another opportunity this evening to help out another educator with a subject that, in all honesty, I am not as expert in as I would like.

My quest: The school counselor at one of my school/clients is organizing a Health and Wellness Week, and she wanted my input on the technology aspect of the program.

My first suggestion was to steer the conversations during Wellness Week toward breaking down the wall between behavior online and behavior in person. How we behave is how we behave, regardless of whether the medium is the hallway, the chatroom, or the cell phone.

I then suggested we consult my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter by posing the following Tweet:

@cybraryman1 I’m looking 4 resources 4 a HS counselor. Do u know of any resources that address the intersection of health & tech? #psychat

“@CybraryMan1,” or Jerry Blumengarten, is (as he describes himself on Twitter) an “educator and writer trying to catalog the Internet for students, educators, and parents.” His web site, http://www.cybraryman.com certainly lives up to his goal.

Jerry replied within moments with the following tweet:

@MyTakeOnIt My Tech Integration for Physical Education & Health tinyurl.com/4vwrbu5 #psychat

Our conversation continued:

@cybraryman1 Thank you, as always! Counselor specifically needs info that focuses on health hazards, addictive use of tech, etc… #psychat

@MyTakeOnIt Students worldwide share mobile addiction tinyurl.com/7mmjcpl

@MyTakeOnIt My Cyber Bullying page: tinyurl.com/ydmpglj Digital Footprints: tinyurl.com/2cnbfwh

In retrospect, I realize I probably should have used the Twitter hash #digcit (short for “digital citizenship” – a weekly chat where educators discuss these very topics). Regardless, in under 15 minutes I was able to send the counselor an email with the following list of links and resources, including a great PSA (embedded below):

CybraryMan’s page of Psych links:
http://cybraryman.com/psychology.html

CybraryMan’s page on Tech Integration for Physical Education & Health (the entire page is PhysEd, but this link takes you straight to “LESSONS and Technology Integration”)
http://cybraryman.com/physicaled.html#lessons

“Students worldwide share mobile addiction” from “Digital Life on Today”
http://digitallife.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/07/6425175-students-worldwide-share-mobile-addiction

CybraryMan’s page on Cyber Safety and Cyber Bullying:
http://cybraryman.com/cybersafety.html

CybraryMan’s page on “Digital Footprints”
http://cybraryman.com/digitalfootprints.html

Michelle Luhtala’s ( @mluhtala on Twitter) Scoop.it page on Digital Citizenship:
http://www.scoop.it/t/growing-cybercitizens

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Tweet and ye shall receive

October 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’m working with a program in Boston called The SteppingStone Foundation on a new endeavor called College Success Academy. One of the program directors sent out an email to all TSF/CSA teachers, requesting the following:
Do you have any favorite academic game websites? We’re hoping to put together a list of such sites for use in study hall when [students] are finished with homework.  Please send me the names of any FREE websites that are fun, academically enriching, and aimed at 5th-8th graders.
So I sent out the following tweet (Incidentally, the Program Director is not familiar with using Twitter):
@dancallahan Need “favorite academic game websites” for 5th-8th gr. Preferably an existing list. Any help? #edchat #5thchat #6thchat
Did my tweeps stand up and deliver? They certainly did! In under and hour, I have more resources and site than I can possibly go through by the time this program ends.
Thank you especially to @dancallahan, as well as @saraallen91, @mrsd5107, and @ginkiy for their recommendations.
Here’s what I sent back to the program director:

Dan also recommended, along with several others [@ginkiy] on Twitter, the following sites:

  • kerpoof.com and SpellingCity.com, and there’s also coolmath-games.com.
  • Coincidentally, Dan stumbled on this list of top 10 sites for educational games while we were flinging tweets back and fourth.
  • Someone I don’t know personally, @mrsd5107, tweeted this list of 5th grade sites that might be helpful: http://www.teachersclass.net/douthard/learninglinks.htm  I wish I could say that I have vetted it, but I have not. In general, I find that the best lists of apps/links are sorted by categories and how you might use the tools, and this is organized that way – that’s a plus, so I’m impressed. It’s an extensive list, and I know a lot of the sites, but not all of them.
  • Here’s a list of math game sites (from @saraallen91): http://pvroom121.blogspot.com/p/math-links.html  I found it harder to browse than the one on “TeachersClass” but still worth perusing.
That’s a start – and it barely scratches the surface. Unfortunately, I’ve probably now given you a list of hundreds of sites, and it may be overwhelming. If so, start with Dan’s suggestions. He’s never let me down.
That’s MyTakeOnIt anyway.

Problem Seeking/Problem Solving Flow Chart

August 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Problem Seeking Flow Chart

Problem Seeking Flow Chart

In my quest to… how did I put it? “…end world hunger and. . . .[solve] other large problems” I have advanced a step or two. (For some background behind this quest, please read my previous blog post here.)

  1. I have made arrangements with several schools, educators, and other programs to incorporate problem seeking classes into their existing offerings.
  2. At EdCampCT [ http://EdCampCT.org ] this week, I lead a workshop on Problem Seeking & Problem Solving where together we:
  3. …used Brad Ovenell-Carter’s draft of a problem seeking flow chart (linked on this blog post) as a foundation to create a more complete algorithm for how to seek and solve problems (image shown right).
  4. I am starting up a non-profit organization for students and central to its mission will be a large Problem Seeking and Problem Solving component.

As I make progress, I will continue blog more about my thoughts and experiences. In the meantime, I am looking for feedback for the process outlined in the flow chart displayed on this post.

Thank you to everyone at EdCampCT who participated in this workshop – I hope you found it as helpful as I did! A thank you also to Brad Ovenell-Carter [ http://ovenell-carter.com/ ] for his blog post and for creating what became the first draft of this flow chart.

(If you want a laugh, check out this alternative problem solving flow chart. Warning: Contains explicit language.)

How to end world hunger and the solution to other large problems

July 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

At around 3:30 AM in the middle of a sound sleep, I awoke to a moment of complete lucidity.

The Process of Finding a Problem

Process of Finding a Problem

I awoke so suddenly because I realized I had solved the problem of world hunger. No, really. I LITERALLY (by the literal definition of the word “literally” – see the recent Boston Globe article here) have in my own possession the tool that will CURE cancer.

Let me repeat that: I have in my possession the tool that will solve the problems of climate change!

No, I posses the tool that will end homelessness… This tool can even get the Republicans and the Democrats to avoid defaulting on the country’s debts AND agree on the best way to do it.

Well, maybe that’s pushing it.

But I CAN end the recession. I DO have the ability to resolve the energy crisis. End poverty, and war, and oppression. I can abolish slavery for once and for all.

The tool I posses tool is my own brain. I won’t do it with my brain alone, though. I have at my disposal the problem solving capabilities of the most amazing brains of hundreds of people… Thousands… MILLIONS (thanks to the Internet) – and those brains belong to our students.

Building Learning Communities Logo

Building Learning Communities Logo

This week I attended a conference in Boston called Building Learning Communities (BLC). I can’t do the conference any justice by writing about it on this blog – I will leave that to some of the awe-inspiring educators I met this week (Here’s a simple Google searchthat will show you some of the blog posts that reference the BLC conference as they are written over the next few weeks, but I will update this post with links to specific blogs as more bloggers post their thoughts.)

[edit: Here is a perfect example of a very eloquent blog post written by Brad Ovenell-Carter, head of Think Global school(@Braddo on Twitter): http://ovenell-carter.com/63074864]

But here’s the important part: At the end of the conference, the organizer, Alan November, put out a challenge he’s calling “Stand on our shoulders” [ http://standonourshoulders.com ]. I don’t think the site is even live yet, but here’s the gist:

Alan has put out a call to action. He has asked all educators to work with their students to find and address the world’s most difficult problems: locally, regionally, internationally – you name it. And the reason he has challenged us to take on this awesome task is because we CAN.

We have the ability to solve the world’s problems, and it is simply a matter of sourcing our students – and teaching them how to use the greatest tool at their disposal, their brains – to solve these problems together. Alan wants all educators to put out their hands and figuratively lift our students up onto our shoulders so that our students can take advantage of all of OUR accomplishments, and all of our parents’ accomplishments, and so on. From up on our shoulders, our students can reach even higher, lifted up by humanity’s history of accomplishments.

I am taking Alan up on this challenge. This fall, I will facilitate at any schools that wants to have me, a class on “Problem Finding.” In each of these classes we will find a problem of value to us, and we will spend the semester, the year… The rest of our lives, if need be, addressing that problem; attempting to solve it.

I will help students learn how to use their most valuable and accessible tool – their brain – and I will help teachers coach their students on becoming the best problem finders and problem solvers they can become.

Together, we WILL end world hunger! We CAN, and we WILL.

Thank you, Alan. I guess all we needed to solve the world’s problems was the right tool and the right inspiration.

(A little bonus inherent in this challenge: The best way to evaluate the success of this achievement will not be a standardized test, as so many politicians would have you believe (see this site from another BLC attendee, Angela Maiers or @AngelaMaiers on Twitter). The success of these students will be assessed by the actualization of the real change that these students enact, their ability and desire to repeat their results on future projects, and the benefits to humanity that will be accomplished. Maybe our politicians could learn something from this challenge, after all!)

That’s my take on it, anyway.

(Image credit: Image taken and posted by BLC participant Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches on Twitter) and linked here is a photo from @ewanmcintosh’s keynote presentation on Problem Solving

EdCamp Book Club

June 25, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’ve noticed something in myself that I find intriguing: When I am participating in conversations on Twitter I am drawn to find a way to bring those conversations off the Internet and have them in person.

On the other hand, when I am at a conference, I find myself compelled to participate in backchannel conversation while I converse with folks face-to-face. At first I contributed this peculiarity to my “grass is greener” syndrome, but now I’m not so sure.

Earlier this spring I made an attempt to bridge my online conversations with a face-to-face meeting when Eric Hileman ( @ittosde on Twitter ) – an educator from Oklahoma whom I have never met in person – and I conceived of a face-to-face component of the weekly Twitter conversation #edchat. You can read about it here.

While #edchatf2f (“EdChat Face-to-face”) was by no means a failure, I have not given the experiment a chance to succeed. The maiden meet-up was close enough to the end of the year that very few teachers could participate, and though summer is almost upon us, I haven’t planned another gathering.

BookshelvesI read something on Twitter this morning that got me thinking about another way to bridge online conversation face-to-face conversation: a Twitter-based book club. The idea is simple: A handful of people get together and read a book together – a standard book club – but instead of meeting regularly in person, the group meets online via Twitter. This already exists.

Now take that idea, and apply to it my desire to continue online discussions in person. Suppose you time it so that the group finishes reading the book just in time for a conference that the group of readers will be attending (or most of them). Imagine it: several weeks spent reading the same book and discussing it online culminating with a face-to-face wrap up of the discussion at a conference!

With EdCamp CTfast approaching, I think I may try this experiment. If you’re interested in joining me, send me a message on Twitter (@MyTakeOnIt). I will organize a group of interested participants, we’ll pick a book and a weekly meeting time, and we will discuss the book on Twitter. We will then organize a corresponding session at EdCampCT to wrap up the book discussion and also debrief on the experience.

I think I want to start with an educationally relevant book – maybe even something about online learning or collaboration. I’m open to suggestions. We’ll work out the rest on Twitter… Maybe even bring it up at EduBloggerCon East 2011 in a few weeks… Though may need to begin sooner.

Jeremy

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