Other Meandering Minds and Sofa Kings

So I guess I am not alone as a Meandering Mind. I just happened to be doing that self-centered activity of googling my site and found a few other Meandering Minds way ahead of me in the search engine. It’s not that I thought I was being so original with my Weblog title, but still … brain

Here are a few other Meandering Minds blogs:

This reminds me of an experience I had recently when designing the website for my rock band, The Sofa Kings, and realizing just how many sofa king bands there out there in the wide world. Here are a few:

sofa kings logo

Another bit of experimenting

I’ve been trying to find the right source for uploading and sharing audio files. OurMedia was OK until I made an error with a password and cannot seem to retrieve any of my new information from the site, which is very frustrating. They seem to have zero email support there.
So I am trying this new site to see if it works as a place to link audio files for school and personal use.

microphone Listen to the greetings for students at my classroom Weblog

And here is a PDF file of a short story I wrote for my students at the end of last year. I wrote the story as they were writing, and shared pieces of it (and the writing process I was going through) as they were doing the same thing:

Risking it all for the King


Change On the Horizon

I use Bloglines as my RSS feeder and I have become convinced how valuable such an aggregator can be (for some reason, I wasn’t always that convinced of its value and thought it more a nuisance that I would have to work hard at, but that is not the case — it works hard for me). The RSS aggregator really allows me to “pull” the things that I am interested in right to me, instead of barreling through the world of links left and right, aimlessly hoping for some semblance of substance. It also leads me to other interesting areas of the wired world, sometimes unexpectedly.
Recently, a feed from Will Richardson’s Weblogged site led to me to a posting by Joyce Valenza, who charts out what the world was like for a librarian in the 1970s, how the world is different now, and what the implications are for all that for the future of education. The chart — entitled How My Life Has Changed/How My Life Will Change — is very interesting and covers a lot of ground. Although it deals with library science, the topics are valuable for any educator.
Here is an interesting observation from Joyce about what students need as researchers and the dangers of access issues:

Need to introduce a fuller information toolkit. Need to promote lesser known or used tools—subscription databases, alternate search tools, ebooks. Potential for an information underclass! Need to help students determine where to start. Need for high quality federated searching to cut through the noise? May need to promote the value of books for some projects.

And this, about the reconfigured use of the library space by teachers and students, seems very insightful, too:

Increasing need for group, creative production space—iMovie, podcasting, blogging. Library as group planning/collaborating space. Library as performance, presentation space. Library as event-central, telecommunications, remote author/expert visit space. Library continues as study/reading/gathering/cultural space.



A good friend of mine, Paul O., from the National Writing Project has been thinking about the convergence of technology and writing for many years, in a variety of different perspectives — teacher,workshop developer, technology leader.

On his Weblog — called SchoolTube — Paul suggests that we try to find some new words to describe the emergence of technology in the classroom. He doesn’t mean dropping kids off in a computer lab and hoping for the best. What he means, and what I believe in, is the full integration of these new tools into the classroom for students to construct their meaning and understanding and critical thinking skills.

So Paul proposes using a new term to describe this shift: dComposition.

Here is his definition:

I’ve been trying to get a new term into the popular lexicon: dComposing. This in place of terms like digital literacy or media literacy. dComposing, as I see it, would incorporate the different forms that we now use to create compositions mediated by digital technology. I believe dComposing avoids the legacy definitions of digital literacy and media literacy, which have sometimes defined them narrowly. dComposing is not solely about the mechanics of the technology (digital literacy in its narrowly defined sense), nor solely about the understanding of the media through which it is emerging (media literacy in its narrowly defined sense), but rather focuses on the notion that writing and reading and how we create composition — literacy itself, in other words — is changing.
— from SchoolTube.


DOPA Legislation

There is a loud and concerned outcry of opposition from writers of educational/technology Weblogs these days over the initial passage of legislation known as DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act) in the House. The bill is now being considered by the Senate. DOPA seems aimed directly at the worries over such sites as MySpace and the very real fact that some young people are misusing the technology and are being harmed by online predators. Unfortunately, the bill would force schools to block all commercial websites that have any interactive elements.

It seems to me, as it does to most of the voices out there, that the role of educators should be to teach our students about these sites and how to best use them, and to be critical of them, too. The volume of ads alone provide an opportunity to discuss what the owners of the sites are really trying to accomplish. To merely put up a wall is to ignore the fact that our students are probably still accessing these sites at home or at a friend’s home, and they need to learn how best to use Weblogs, Wikis and other sites for creative expression, and they need the skills to protect themselves against any dangers out there. The classroom is one of the best places to learn such skills. The home, of course, is the other place but how many parents are that savvy? (Of course, how many teachers are that savvy, too? It’s a legitimate question).

Teachers and others who believe in the opportunities of the Read/Write Web are being urged to contact their senators and legislators and urge rejection of DOPA. Here is part of one letter:

As the Web becomes more and more a part of the way that kids communicate and socialize, I would submit that we need to focus on educating them in the most effective and safe ways to use these technologies. Banning them is a reactionary response, not a reasoned one. And it is a response whose ultimate motives are spurious at best. Why not, instead, focus our discussions on how best to prepare the millions of new teachers who will be entering the classroom in the next five years to deal with these issues, or on reaching out to parents to make sure they are well versed in overseeing their children’s use of the Internet? — from http://dopa.pbwiki.com/

I just emailed a letter to both Senator John Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy asking that they find a better solution to protecting our young people and you can do the same, if you would like.