Your Experimental Days in a Sentence

This week, I moved us in a new direction for Day in a Sentence and so many of you took the challenge and went into VoiceThread. Thank you. And for those of you who found the task too complicated — I apologize. We’ll be back to the tried-and-true sentences next week, as Ben B. takes over as a guest-host.

Anyway, here is the Voicethreaded Day in a Sentence for this week:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=37834" width="400" height="400" wmode="transparent" /]

And here are some sentences that came here via the blog:

“Bob Dylan said it best: to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free…” — Christina

“With Beethoven streaming in my ears and new snow dropping from a white clouded Colorado sky, I sit inside writing a case report about a teacher whom I greatly admire for her 30+ year career and dogged commitments to excellent, equitable education for second language learners, many of whom are immigrants.
” — Tom

“This week marked the 100th user registration for my website which validated my dream that, if you build it, and it matters, and it works, they will come!!
” — Sue

“If links were currency, I’ve just found myself some serious scratch thanks to a well-established blog.” — Ben B.

“I am having the sort of week where one longs for a lifesaver to be flung neatly at one just in the nick of time; grade-level meetings, all day training programs, district assessments . . . oh my.” — Liza

Meanwhile, I recorded the audio off the VoiceThread and made a bit of a podcast:

Take a listen

Have a wonderful week!

Peace (in collaboration),
Kevin

CyberSurvey 2008, part two

 

Yesterday, I shared out some of the results of a survey that I gave to my sixth graders. Today, I am sharing out some of the comments they added for two questions:

First, if they said that schools should teach them how to use technology to connect with other students, then I asked them to write why that is important to them.

Here are some of their comments:

  • Yes and only if the teachers teach you to be very careful on how and what your saying to interact with friends online, and if someone you don’t recognize thats trying to communicate with you,you should just tell a parent or teacher you trust. Also never, ever give out personal information!
  • Yes, because it good to know how to communicate with each and other. It is also become very common and it would be helpful if you were taught about it.
  • I would like it because,when you grow up to get a job.The owner would see ask you if you know alot about technology.That is why teachers should teach kids how to type and read!
  • I think that because we should now properly how to communicate with others so that if there was ever an emergency and you did not have a phone you would have to be able to get in touch with somebody fast and I don’t really now how to do that and I’m sure that most other people do not now how to get in touch in other people. Like my grandparents. They have a phone but if they did not and one of them had a heart attack the other would not now what to do.
  • I think yes because teachers can teach us how to start IMing and emailing and teach us not to trust or talk to people you do not know.
  • sometimes kids don’t have computers and need to learn how to write to others. they also might not have the best handwriting. That’s why I think schools should teach how to write on computers.
  • Yes, it would give kids more introduction to what happens on the internet.
  • If the teacher teached us how to use technology for communicating we could what to do and it would help with social skills. I also think we should learn other technology also because technology can be very important. Me myself would like to have a class that could learn about things like video making and editing because it is important to me.

Second, I asked them envision a classroom of the future (Always an interesting question to pose to students).

Here are some of their thoughts:

  • There should belarge computers with a 300 gb hardrive and memor
  • I think they’ll have a tiny computer that teaches them everything. Everything will be used in technology.
  • Robots as techers and mini laptops
  • I think that they will have laptops on every desk, and high tech stuff to use because later 30 years from now if people now are good with technology they should be wicked good with using it 30 years from now.
  • Mind reading pencils
  • I think that they will be using computers that wrote down what they wanted to write. It would a be voice activated computer. I know that they have them now but, they have not reached the schools quite yet. Also they would have these robots that do the homework for the kids.
  • No keyboards, faster use, no lag, more information, and easier to learn
  • High powered scooters — 2 min school with thinking helmets — and better food
  • Super-high tech computers, with almost immediate signal. I also think that Apple(Macintosh computers) will be more advanced and more popular.

Interesting, eh?

Peace (says the robotic teacher),
Kevin

My own little CyberSurvey 2008, part one

Usually, once a year, I try to give an online survey (using Survey Monkey) to my sixth graders to get a sense of how they are using technology and how they perceive technology and education. The first seven questions that I posed to my students were itemized and the last two questions were short answers.

Tomorrow, I will share some of the short answer responses, but here are the results from the first seven questions:

I find it interesting that so many consider themselves “advanced” in using technology tools; that video and music are at the heart of how they are using technology (it must be at home); that a good majority of them enjoy writing (yeah!); that so many think the use of the computer as a tool allows them to be a better writer (although I did not define what I meant by “better” so it may be a bit unclear if I am talking about content or proofreading); and that so many want to learn more about interacting with others via technology.

Peace (in unofficial data),

Kevin

My Day in A Sentence

Even though I put my sentence on the VoiceThread for this week (see post down below), I missed seeing it as part of my blog archive, so here it goes:

I got an article published in the local newspaper about my new XO, leading the other newspaper to interview me for their own article on the XO, and my hope is that both articles help advance the ideas of technology and education in the developing world.

Peace (in sentences),

Kevin

Day in a Sentence: VoiceThread Experiment

I want to invite you into this week’s Day in a Sentence feature, and I am adding yet another twist to the equation. I have created this very simple VoiceThread and I want to invite you to post your sentence in my VoiceThread.

You can do it as text, as audio, or talking into a webcam. VoiceThread makes this so very easy to do. Here is the link to VoiceThread for the homepage, where you can set up an account in minutes.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=37834" width="500" height="600" wmode="transparent" /]

If this is impossible for you, then, by all means, leave your Sentence here as a post, but I really do hope folks will try out VoiceThread.

Peace (in threads),
Kevin

Consider TeachENG.us

Ben, over at the Esoterium, had been wondering why there were not more collaborative teaching blogs where many voices from the teaching of English and writing can come together to share knowledge and interact. There are some models of this out there (including Lifehacks, which is how Ben got inspired to think about this idea) in other fields.

Well, Ben is now launching a site called TeachENG.us and he is looking for a wide range of English teacher-bloggers who may want to get involved.

If you are interested, Ben asks that you drop him an email at ben(at)esoterium(dot)com.

Peace (in further collaboration),
Kevin

My Day as a Video

Bonnie has released this week’s Day in a Sentence to the world. I tried something a little different this week — taking my podcast and putting it together with some file photos for a video Day in a Sentence.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/zeo2abfS4t8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

It was only after I started looking at and playing with new acoustic guitars that I realized how much of a faithful companion my old guitar has been in the 20 years that I have had it and how many hundreds (yep, hundreds) of songs I have composed on its tender strings.

I am hosting again this week and then it is off to Ben B. for a co-hosting venture the following week (right, Ben?).

Peace (with guitars),
Kevin

Survey says …. YouTube Educational Videos

(This has been in the back seat of my blog for a month or so)

Curt Bonk is part of a group doing a research project on YouTube and they are looking for folks to take a survey. You can find more information about their work at Curt’s site (one incentive for folks who take the survey is to get 90-day trial of a survey machine called SurveyShare, which I have not heard of).

They have different categories, but here are the educational videos they have provided as part of their research analysis of why people create, share and comment on the web-based video systems:

. Did You know; Shift Happens – Globalization; Information Age
http://youtube.com/watch?v=ljbI-363A2Q

2. Did You Know 2.0
http://youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U

3. Voices from the New American Schoolhouse (trailer)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=rgpuSo-GSfw

4. A Fair(y) Use Tale
http://youtube.com/watch?v=CJn_jC4FNDo

5. Pay Attention
http://youtube.com/watch?v=aEFKfXiCbLw

6. Wikis in Plain English
http://youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY

7. Video: RSS in Plain English
http://youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU

8. Education in Second Life: Explore the Possibilities
http://youtube.com/watch?v=TMGR9q43dag&mode=related&search

9. The Wire: Education
http://youtube.com/watch?v=XDg4U2jYXgw

(I have to include this one — The Wire is on the way out, but not in the DVD world)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/XDg4U2jYXgw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

(But if you want to see a troublesome virtual conversation, follow the comment links to this video on YouTube — this is why schools ban YouTube — racist remarks, profanity and lack of respect for other people)

10. Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
http://youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

Peace (in viral videos),
Kevin

Two Million Minutes in the Flat World

The Flat World is on my mind these days, as I just finished the book by Tom Friedman, and then I came across this trailer for a documentary about the emergence of math and science in China and India and, the concern about lack of these skills in the US, and the future for our children. Friedman makes the same point although he remains optimistic that our creativity and ingenuity will give us a competitive edge. He does warn that the increase in funds and government interest in technology-related fields in India and China, along with a lack of support here, could forebode some shifting of global power in the future.

Friedman calls on the next president to galvanize the country to invest in the future, through technology. We’ll see, won’t we?

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/niU1E3SSTAM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Education Week also profiled the documentary, which you can order as a DVD from the creators of Two Million Minutes (I did, because this idea of the world getting smaller and more competitive as technology comes into play both excited and worries me as a teacher and a parent).

And then there was the Frontline special this week — Growing Up Online — which I missed but found online via another blogger, Kate — and I have only watched the segment on education and technology/social networking in school environment. It was interesting and seemed fairly balanced between teachers and the pros and cons of using technology as a means of engagement of students. It was kind of depressing that one teacher feels she that is “outmoded” because she does not embrace technology and is not ready to give up the traditional classroom — discussions, reflection, writing.

It is disheartening when one boy says he never reads books anymore and uses only online activity as his “reading,” zipping through sites with summaries (such as Sparknotes). Then, in a moment of reflection, he admits that he is cheating himself (and blames lack of time). Also, the aspect of”collecting friends” in places such as MySpace and Facebook bubbles up and shows it for what is: just another social status tool and not what it should be: creating a sense of interconnected communities.

Peace (in smaller spaces),

Kevin