Four Slides and the Truth (kind of)

I was following Alice’s blog site, when she mentioned a “contest” over at the dy/dan blog in which people are asked to create a no-frills elevator pitch using slides (no video, no audio, no animation, etc). After reading through Alice’s variations of work, I decided to craft one myself, thinking of my students as my audience. Four slides …. not much room to work and forces you to get to the essence of your message.

But here it is:

[slideshare id=88903&doc=just-who-am-i-anyway3325&w=425]

Peace (in four pieces),
Kevin

Professional Writing Retreat, part two

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post. Using some pics, I created a little slideshow movie for folks who attended the Professional Writing Institute this past weekend. I also used my SuperDuperMusicLooper program to make some music for the movie, as I continue to check out the possibilities and limitations of that program.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-596529446926397614" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (on the Long Island Sound),
Kevin

Writing by the Oceanside

I got back yesterday, late afternoon, after three days by the Connecticut oceanside as part of a Professional Writing Retreat and it was just a fantastic experience. The house that the dozen or so of us stayed in was right on the water and the view across Long Island Sound was splendid (if a bit hot).


The retreat provided me with valuable to time to work on the first draft of my chapter for a book about technology and writing. I am focusing on a digital science book project, and although there were struggles along the way (aren’t there always?), I feel as if I made real and substantial progress. I know I need to add some more about assessment and standards, and go through a do quite a bit of trimming to what I wrote (11 pages), but I feel as if it is on the right path.

See — I really was working hard!

As part of my role as co-editor of our WMWP Online Newsletter, I also interviewed other retreat participants about what they were writing about and how the writing process was working for them, and then created a podcast of the interviews.

The topics under development for articles ranged from examining personal beliefs about teaching, ways for administrators and teachers to share leadership opportunities, the development of an after-school writing program in an urban city where kids are starved for creative writing, the ecology of a classroom and the impact on student motivation, and the use of technology to inform student writing skills.

Listen to the podcast

Peace (by the ocean),
Kevin

Stories for Kids

When you have little kids, and an aversion to television (as we do in my house), it is helpful to engross them in stories and children story sites on the Net are something we turn to every now and then. This site — called Storybee — was launched recently by a family who lives not far from us ( a few towns over) and it is loaded with great MP3 files of engaging storytellers doing what they do best — drawing you into a story.

Another great site for stories is called Kiddie Records Weekly, and it revamps and shared old vinyl story records that are now part of the public domain. Some of the stories are very outdated but my kids get a kick out of listening to them from time to time.

For example, during the height of baseball season, we listened to Casey at Bat and then, during all the news about Jackie Robinson, we listened to a story that had the real Jackie Robinson in the story, talking. They could hear his voice and that was a thrill for them!

Peace (in stories),
Kevin

Public Wants Tech in Schools

An article in e-School News Online reports on a survey of several thousand people which concluded:

The majority of respondents said technology is an important factor in connecting schools to their communities, as well as in leveling the playing field among more and less affluent schools by providing equal access to educational content.”

In addition:

According to the survey, 59 percent of Americans agree that “information technology is a vital tool that can help educate our students by providing access to video and other dynamic content” and that more should be done to incorporate technology into the learning process.

Americans also recognize that understanding science and technology is important to success in the 21st-century workforce, the poll suggests: 69 percent of Americans believe that science and math courses should be made mandatory for grades 7 through 12.

The flip side is that respondents were not in any agreement on how this kind of technology education should be delivered, nor did people see teaching technology at odds with the push for more standardized testing.

Some links from the article:

Video of panel discussion
http://www.463.com/Clients/Cisco/

Cisco Education
http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/education/index.html

Consortium for School Networking
http://www.cosn.org

International Society for Technology in Education
http://www.iste.org

Peace (with tech),
Kevin

Get Up — video

I used my loop remix of my song, Get Up, with some pics from a Creative Commons search engine (plus PhotoStory as an editing tool) and put together this music video:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-4430625363031699385" width="400" height="326" wmode="transparent" /]

Peace (with truth),
Kevin

Human Brain Cloud

This is slightly amusing, but also instructive, as a site called Human Brain Cloud seeks to gather intuitive word associations from as many people as possible and then collate that data through a connected web. It’s social data gathering, with a fun twist.

  • .

    (c)2007 Kyle Gabler
    I think I'm shrinking

    The site gives you a word or phrase, and it asks you to quickly write down the word or phrase that comes first to your mind, and then your response goes into the database. Then, after you’ve done a few, head to the cloud itself, which fans out before you like a great big growing tree. You can even search by words or terms.

    Peace (with association),

    Kevin

    Writing Retreat — getting my chapter up and running

    I have written before about a book I am co-editing that profiles teachers from k-college as they begin to study, think about and explain how technology is slowly changing the way they teach writing and the way their students are writing. We are focusing in on how teachers are assessing such tech-flavored writing in light of state and national standards, too.

    And I need to write my chapter on the digital science book project that my students worked on this past spring, so this weekend — thanks to Western Mass Writing Project and National Writing Project — I am heading to the beaches of Connecticut for a writing retreat for other teachers in our network who want to write for professional publication and I hope to get much of my chapter written. Ambitious? Yes, but much of the chapter is unfolding in my head during the days when I am not writing. I just need to capture it.

    I am looking forward to a Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon writing-and-nothing-but-writing (except for some walks along the beach and a few beers at night) getaway.

    On a related note, I was rummaging through my computer and stumbled upon this old PP show that I did in my Summer Institute for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project about the uses of picture books in the upper elementary classroom. This was a research question that I pursued that summer and then presented to the rest of the SI folks. Some of the information is still helpful as I think about my chapter.

    So I uploaded it to Slideshare for more sharing.

    [slideshare id=61693&doc=the-power-of-picture-books2418&w=425]

    Peace (in pictures),
    Kevin

    Get Up — remixed with Loops

    I continue to toy around with this music loop program and decided to do a remix of a song from my band, The Sofa Kings, called Get Up. It’s an uptempo reggae song about a nation rising up against its leaders through music that I have recast here as a sort of R&B Hip-Hop song, with loops. I like the results … I think. The song itself was co-written with my friend John, who did the music progression, and I wrote the lyrics during the ignorant reign of Don Rumsfeld in the early days of the Iraq War and the implementation of the Patriot Act, so it has political overtones to it.

    Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

    Listen to Get Up

    Peace (with music),

    Kevin

    PS — Happy Second Birthday to Edublogs!!!