Bird’s Eye View of Rome

My gosh … this is cool. Google Earth with an entire replica of Ancient Rome. Man, just think of the possibilities if you teach this unit. And, if you are ambitious (which my math teacher and I hope to be later this year), you can even use Google Sketch-Up to build your own 3D buildings and place them on your Google Earth.

Here is some info about the Google Earth Rome Project.

And here is a snazzy video:

Peace (in exploration),
Kevin

Wordle to Wordle: the two speeches

I was interested to see what would happen if you Wordled the two political speeches: Obama’s acceptance and McCain’s concession. So, what the heck, I did it.

This is Obama:

I like how change and hope and world and new are out front (wordle takes text and recasts it based on frequency). I guess you can’t give a political speech when you win the presidency without saying America over and over again, right? But notice some of the smaller words and how they seem to capture details of ideas and policy. Interesting.

Here is McCain’s (which I had to edit the various “boos” and chanting from the text version that I was using):

Country is certainly front and center, and notice how differences is pretty prevalent, too. And, to give McCain credit, he noted the achievement of Obama in his speech. And of course, he mentioned Obama by name more than a few times (as opposed to Obama, whose reference to McCain barely registered in Wordle).

McCain should be commended for this line: “…he (Obama) managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.”

What do you think?

Kevin

Get out and vote!

And here is a video and song that I wrote back in February as Obama was in the midst of his primary against Hillary Clinton. I think the message still rings true for me.

Peace (in change),
Kevin

The Fuzzwich Movie Site

I am trying my hand at an animation site to see if it has possibilities for my students. The site is called Fuzzwich and it’s a bit tricky to get a handle on it, but once I got started, I figured it out. It might have possibilities for the classroom.

Check out my election video:

Peace (in aliens),
Kevin

An Audio Adventure Story Collage


(this is an illustration from one of the adventure stories)

Yesterday, my students chose a section of their adventure stories to share and we created a collective podcast of their readings from each class. I love this idea of an audio collage, and students were quite interested to hear the bits and pieces of each other’s stories, wondering about the rest of the tales.

Give a listen:

Stories from First Period

Peace (in voice),
Kevin

K12 Online Conference (and NotK12Conference)

This coming week, the 2008 K12 Online Conference ramps up into high gear with the start of presentations and if you have ever wanted to explore new tools and learn about integration of technology into education at a higher level, this free conference might be just the thing for you. The online event is full of interesting topics and workshops and best of all, it is archived on the K12 Online site, so there is no rush on your part. Delve in when you can. You can even participate in your pajamas.

Here is what piques my interest this year:

  • Web 2.0 Tools to Amplify Elementary Students’ Creativity and Initiative
    Jackie Gerstein
  • Games in Education
    Sylvia Martinez
  • Connecting Classrooms Across Continents: Planning and Implementing Globally Collaborative Projects
    Kim Cofino and Jen Wagner
  • Monsters Bloom in Our Wiki
    Ann Oro and Anna Baralt
  • Film School for Video Podcasters
    Mathew Needleman
  • The Lie of Community: The True Nature of the Network
    Bud Hunt

Meanwhile, Bud is also leading a complimentary concept: The NotK12Conference, which I hope to gather more information about in the near future. I told Bud that we could shift the Day in a Sentence idea over to the Unconference, and he liked that idea. I’ll chat with him about coordinating that effort and broadening the scope of Day in a Sentence.

Peace (in sharing),
Kevin

PS — Last year, Bonnie and I presented on our Collaborative ABC Movie Project and the workshop is still there for viewing, if you are interested. Go to the ABC Movie Presentation site.

A PhotoFridays’ Adventure

I don’t always blog about it, but the PhotoFridays project that Bonnie started up continues to be a source of great interest. Simply put, participants (and you are invited!) add photos via Flickr to the PhotoFridays group, and then write comments and share ideas, etc. It’s a nice way to mix the visual with the written word.

Bonnie has now launched a project within PhotoFridays in which we are mailing around a pair of California Raisin figurines. When we get them, we take photos of them in our environment and then mail them off to the next person (I said it is sort of like a Flat Stanley project).

When I got the little dudes the other day, I also wrote a short, first-person narrative of their visit, and I am hoping others will follow my lead and do the same, adding the stories both to the PhotoFridays site and also in paper form into the envelope. At the end, it might be neat to see the entire collection.

Here was one of my photos:

And my narrative:

Arrived yesterday. Sick of being stuck inside this envelope. And tired of hearing my brother practice his saxophone. If he plays the melody to Tequila one more time, I am going to squeeze the last bits of grape juice from his body and leave his skin behind. Before the envelope was even opened, I heard a lot of commotion. This must be a busy house, I thought, and I warned my brother. He ignored me and started to work on some Ornette Coleman free jazz lines, which also drives me crazy. Finally, some dude opened us up and took us out. Fresh air, at last. I looked outside the window and noticed all of the trees were different colors. This must be New England, I told my brother. In the autumn, the leaves go from green to red, yellow and orange. Beautiful, man, was all he could say. He so much wants to be the hipster. The dude who took us out of the package them lined us up next to a comic book. A comic book! What are we? Some playthings? The picture on the cover was some scrawny guy, looking like he was running for president. Click. Then, the guy puts us on top of some blocks that were hung on the wall. I noticed some musical notations, and so did my brother. Cool, man, my brother said, and then started to play some Grover Washington Jr. Now, that I didn’t mind. Click. I figured we had some time, but then this guy stuffs us right back into the envelope and starts writing on the outside. Hey, man, that pen hurts! I wonder where he is sending us this time …

If you want to be a recipient of the traveling raisins, just let Bonnie know (you can find info at the PhotoFridays site, including Bonnie’s email).

Peace (in sharing),
Kevin

My Webcomic Writing Adventure

As I mentioned, last weekend, I headed off to Missouri to give a keynote talk at a conference at the Prairie Lands Writing Project. I also created a shortened version for their website and I figured I would share that out with you. (Actually, this is the main keynote and the smaller presentation on using Web 2.0 in Education I will share out later).

(You can also download a Powerpoint slideshow of this presentation, without audio. Click here to download the presentation)

Resources in my Keynote