Maybe It doesn’t Matter
OK, this is a pretty scary picture.  But I had fun taking the pictures with PhotoBooth on my new MacBook and then using Photoshop Elements to combine them.

Yesterday, I wrote about social networks, and rather harshly claimed that I just don’t get it.  Well maybe that just doesn’t matter.  I talked about how children need clubhouses to play adult in, implying that their MySpace and Pizco pages were perhaps like club houses, and that they would mature into my way of looking at networks.  How could I be so arrogant. 

I’m with Will.   I have my social network — my personal learning network.  But who am I to suggest how my friends attach themselves to their networks, — and I certainly can’t predict where my children will take this.  The concept of the children’s club house may be expanding into something brand new and much bigger than anything I could imagine.

I was very happy to see so much conversation come out of yesterday’s post, but please do not think that I am criticizing what Steve Hargadon (Classroom20), Bill Drew (Library20), and others are building with Ning. I see value there and I suspect that I’ll spend time there. 

Two more cents worth!

See you at NECC

I’m just echoing an announcement that Doug Johnson posted earlier this month.

SIGMS Forum: The Changing Landscape of 21st Century School Information Centers
Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 10:30am–12:30pm

The SIGMS forum will feature a discussion about the changing landscape of the 21st century school information center led by a panel of technology experts. These experts will include bloggers, wikiers, tech gurus, technology information specialists, school library media specialists and administrators. Nonmembers welcome!
*Brian Kenney, editor-in-chief of School Library Journal, will introduce the panel

Esteemed panelists: Doug Johnson, David Warlick, Will Richardson, Larry Johnson, Alice Yucht , Joyce Valenza, and Lisa Perez (AKA  SL’s Elaine Tulip).

I Just Don’t Get it Yet — Social Networks

This is what I feel like sometimes.  I’m one of the little yellow dots.

Ok!  First! Understand that these comments come from someone, who probably just doesn’t get it yet.  There has been a flurry over the past couple of weeks to set up social networks for education 2.0 issues, using a social networking tool called Ning (a great name, by the way, as long as you don’t have a cold).  I’ve joined Library 2.0, School 2.0, and Classroom 2.0, and have accepted lots of requests to be people’s friends (well, at least four).

I must confess that I am a little under-impressed.  I have a personal page, just like my daughter’s Facebook page.  I have an unflattering picture of me there, a place to put a blog, a profile (which I’ve scaled way back), a picture of Steve Hargadon (best part of the page), and something called a Chatter.

The Chatter intrigues me, but it appears to be only for people who visit my page, and I don’t think I’ve visited the pages of any other users.  I guess I’m a real digital recluse.  There is a forum, with some great conversations, but it’s a forum.  Nothing new there.  Now let me repeat.  I accept that I may simply be overlooking something here that’s hitting me over the head, but I’m to dull to know it.  So please explain. 

I’m wondering if this sort of social network “place” is really more for kids.  Children need a clubhouse, a place where they can be themselves, pretend to be somebody else, make up their own rules, and dream of other places and times.  But clubhouses have walls, as does Ning!  It seems to be a container and less in the spirit of small pieces loosely joined (reference book by David Weinberger).

I don’t need someplace else to go to on the Internet.  I need it to come to me, to my aggregator, or my mail box.  I need it to be organic, infinitely shapable, and to be a valuable conversation.

So what am I not getting here?

Got to go, Vicki Davis wants to be my friend

2¢ Worth!

I just learned that Ning will be adding a Wiki tool in June!

Image Citation:
Parks, J.. “GlocalVersation.” vaXzine’s Photostream. 17 Jun 2006. 30 Mar 2007 <>.

What do you think?

I have been thinking about doing this for a while, adding a polling feature to 2¢ Worth.  Commenting is hard and time consuming, but taking a quick survey may be a better way to get people’s feelings about an issue.

A perfect issue came up this morning, with a link through EduTopia to this NYTimes article about schools and districts that are considering lengthening the school day in order to improve test scores.

Failing Schools See a Solution in Longer Day – New York Times:

States and school districts nationwide are moving to lengthen the day at struggling schools, spurred by grim test results suggesting that more than 10,000 schools are likely to be declared failing under federal law next year.

So, what do you think?  The survey widget to the right will likely remain there for about a week.  Please take the time to vote, yes or no, and check back every once in a while to see the results.

Technorati Tags:

Christine Hunewell’s A Blogger as Writer

I love Christine Hunewell’s lead up to this blog posting (A Blogger as a Writer), that she’s had it in draft form since last fall.  She hauls it out periodically and works on it some more, and then slides it back away for more reflection.  Christine goes on to write…

Newfound Technocalities:

Usually I post late in the evening, just before the end of my day. Throughout the day, I think about an idea, a notion, the content of the day’s post. I find myself composing phrases at odd times. If I come up with something I really like, I often make a note to myself. I even started a running list of ideas about which to post – old stories and memories, things that are on my mind, that sort of thing. When I finally do sit down to blog, I have my dictionary application open so I can check spelling and reference the thesaurus. I compose the day’s post, then I reread and revise. Mull over my choices of words. Vary my sentence structure. Make sure the paragraph flows. Try to be concise but clear. I work hard on the ending trying for a big finish. When I think I’ve got it right, I publish – and then shut down for the night. But in the morning with coffee, after I’ve caught up on the news, after I’ve checked email and the weather, I read the post again. If it needs tweaking, I do it then. I find it helps in the revision process to have that little bit of distance from the original writing session.

As I read this, I got the sense that she really isn’t writing to an outside audience as much as she is to herself.  It’s bread crumbs, dropped to mark the place where she is and how she got there.  She (we) are laying a trail to ourselves.  When I write in my blog, I’m trying to describe myself, where I am, who I am, and, perhaps even more, how I got here, why I think and believe what I do.  I’m laying a trail to myself, as much so that I can find my way back, as much as for others.

Hunewell continues with a question…

So here’s my question: Could the same thing happen for kids who blog? Does it? Does their sense of audience drive them to work harder at writing than they ever thought they would? Might they find they actually like to write? I wonder.

I think that the answer is, yes, that audience does drive them to work harder.  But perhaps the real value of blogging is in the laying of trails for ourselves.  Blogging, or any kind of reflective writing, serves to connect us to our world, to take our perceptions, and try to make meaning of them in relation to the real world that they reflect.  Sometimes we find that our perceptions are wrong, and sometimes that comes from the writing, and certainly from the conversations that insue.  But sometimes, it’s in getting it wrong that real wisdom comes.

OK, that was deep!  Back to e-mail…

2¢ Worth!

Image Citation:
Marie, Gina. “Writing Down Today (day 162).” Sortsyithurts’ Photostream. 25 Jan 2007. 28 Mar 2007 <>.

Warlick on “Derailing Education”

The first thing that pops up on my aggregator this morning are some comments from Patti, at Tech and Teaching for High School.  I must confess that I was a bit overcome by the excitement over the keynote that I did for the K12Online conference.  It was very much off-the-cuff, and the concept of side trips and teaching from the rails sorta came out of the conversation I was having with the camera that day — still one of the weirder experiences I’ve had in the last ten years.  So, I am surprised I’ve not seen more of these.  So here are some of my reactions to Patti’s reactions.

Tech and Teaching for High School: David Warlick on “Derailing Education”:

Live in a time of rapid change…kids are a different generation
…but how do we make the things that were meaningful to us as students meaningful to them. How can I enforce the importance of a bibliography when students can just go online and put their information into a website that creates bibliographies? Why should a student ever visit a library when they can get entire books online? And how do we make that meaningful and important to them other than telling them these are skills they “should” have?

I would be the last to say, “Throw the baby out…”  Especially when the baby is as important to them as it is to us.  The ethical use of information is as important in our children’s digital networked information landscape as it was to our published print environment.  In fact, it is far more important. 

Our children will be content producers and intellectual property owners.  A majority of the teenagers in the U.S. already are.  Treating each others information with respect is now a personal issue, and a concept that can easily be addressed in the classroom as you teach students about copyright and creative commons within the context of their own reports, videos, web sites, and podcasts.  If they are convinced of the value and worth of their own work, then they may come to want to respect the work of others.

In my talks and writings about contemporary literacy, I maintain that the ethical use of information is as much a part of literacy as being able to read and write.

Teach kids in a meaningful context only if we are connected to them through the new high tech culture…need to stop acting like immigrants
…I get the idea of meeting our kids on their level and finding ways to reach them that are meaningful. But does this just create more of a culture of instant gratification and self-indulgence? I really feel like my kids just expect everything to be handed to them. How can I challenge them and validate their context?

With the rail,
How can they be called,
Side trips?

I get your reaction, but I do not necessarity get the connection.  We find ourselves teaching in a unique time.  I suspect that you are a good deal younger than I am.  I went to school in the 1950s and ’60s, and in that time, I could look at my Dad and see my future.  When I started teaching (before the personal computer had been invented), I had every reason to believe that I would be doing what I was doing then, for the next 30 or 35 years.  This is where we come from.

For our children, however, they understand that they will live in a time of rapid change.  They are accustomed to it.  Rapid change is an integral part of their experience.  ..and teaching them from the perspective that this knowledge will serve you for the rest of your life, has very little meaning to them.  It’s why it is so important to pay less attention to the content and more to the process.  We have to teach our students how to teach themselves.  It’s the best thing we can teach them.

I’m also coming to question this position that our children are after instant gratification.  It’s certainly there.  I have two kids.  But I think that has come more from their growing up during a time of plenty and with parents who were/are eager to provide for them — almost to their detriment. 

But within their information experiences, I suspect that there is great patience going on.  It takes days to get through many of the video games, and sometimes much longer than that.  In their virtual experiences, such as World of War Craft, they are willing to work many hours and days to achieve the wealth and the experience levels to achieve what they want.  MySpace is the same.  To get a truly impressive site, takes a very long time.

So I’m not convinced that teaching them from their information landscape and their information sentiments is directly related to instant gratification.

We can learn by sharing experiences only after we have them. Students can discuss what works for them and how they learn only after they have learned. I am not sure that the side trips can be the foundation. Without the foundation, how do you know what the side trips mean? Side trips can only be side trips in relation to the standard course. Or do we only know the standard course because we can define certain things as side trips? Either way, it is difficult to go on a side trip if you don’t have the rail to define the course for you.

I agree with you entirely here.  I remember saying that the side trips should be the foundation of their education, but I also remember struggling with the right term here.  What I wanted to say was that the side trips should be what they remember.  When they think back to their schooling, it should be the side trips that they draw on for guidance and grounding.

The basics on the rails remain the foundation, because without a foundation, a main road, a corridor, a rail — how can it be called a side trip?

Image Citations:
1 Poff, Stephen. “February 17 2006.” Stephen Poff’s Photostream. 18 Feb 2006. 28 Mar 2007 <>.
“View from Water Canyon.” Gwarcita’s Photostream. 16 Jan 2007. 28 Mar 2007 <>.
Fernandez, Maria. “feel the goose.” Maria’s Posts’ Photostream. 1 Feb 2007. 28 Mar 2007 <>.

You Just Got the Nod! Restructure You Your School Library

Let’s say that your school administration and board of director/education have just given you free reign to re-purpose and restructure your school library. They’ve latched on to the Library 2.0 movement as an opportunity to reinvent that room in the middle of the school.

I have three questions:

  1. What do you eject?
  2. What do you add?
  3. ..and what is the fundamental guiding principle(s) that drives your decisions?

Image Citation:
Julien. “Cool Big Library.” THEfunkyman’s Photostream. 13 Jan 2007. 27 Mar 2007 <>.

More Reasons Why We Should Take these Kids More Seriously

Cherrie sent me this news story about two teenage girls, who discovered during a high school science project that GlaxoSmithKline’s advertized claims about the Vitamin C contents of one of their products was not correct.  The company brushed them off, and is now sorry that they did!

On a similar note, I may have mentioned that my son has decided to switch majors from Music to Computer Science.  It seems that the military has decided to cut most of its military bands, which would have been his best employment opportunity, given the instrument that he plays.  There simply isn’t a future.

So this week, while on spring break from University of North Texas, he was given a tour of the very impressive Computer Science Program at UNC-Charlotte — personally led by the chair of the department.  I’d love to say that it was my fame in the field of technology that warranted this personal treatment, but, to no surprise, it wasn’t.

It seems that back when Martin was dabbling with MUDs, using a service called MooseCrossing, he made friends with a girl, and their correspondence has continued.  As it turns out, the chair of the CS department at UNC-C is her father.

I think that we have to come to respect our children as valuable participants in their world (our world) and realize that they can be valuable contributors.

2¢ Worth!

Teachers Tell the Best Stories!

I love receiving these e-mails.  It speaks to me as much as any research statistics.

Just wanted to let you know that Broadview students were selected as the “Best Showcase” for middle schools at our system’s Tech Fest tonight.  That’s notable since our students are usually not very competitive in academic areas.

Their project began as a Social Studies assignment researching the Civil Rights Movement.  When we added the ability to move beyond the standard assignment by including a discussion board with local leaders who had lived the events they were reading about, interest picked up.  Then we created the opportunity to blog…  When they saw the first two dots on the cluster map, their interest soared.

Our students became the force behind the project, on their own asking to use music that represented the changes in black culture through the years.  Then realizing that the music needed to be edited to fit the constraints of fair use–and finding a way to do this!!

Colleen Macklin (Media Specialist) and I planned to spend most of today working with them on their presentation. But after we described the process for Tech Fest, they immediately began organizing things on their own.  Colleen and I were delighted by their independence.

Thank you….  Being able to have a safe environment for our students has been a wonderful open door to new possibilities .

Paisley, Joyce. “BlogMeister Message: NC.” E-mail to Mar 2007.

Home At Last

I’m finally at home — and for nearly a week.  I suspect it will take about that long to get caught up on e-mail.  Not much else to say except that I had a wonderful time, touring the Fredericton Farmers Market yesterday morning with Jeff Whipple and his wife, Tracey, and then an uneventful couple of flights home on Air Canada. 

I think that Brenda is planning a vacation to New Brunswick now. 😉

This week, I hope to get some writing done, and even take a little time off and make some music.  Hope I get around to it…

2¢ Worth!