Archive for August, 2009

Microblogging in the Classroom

Posted in classroom tools, Educational with tags , , , on August 22, 2009 by Mister A

Our district has been bringing in big-pay speakers like Kevin Honeycutt and Leslie Fischer to discuss the power of learning networks, mobile devices, and social media in our classrooms.  I think it is simply fantastic that people in my school district are beginning to see the power many of these tools might have in our classrooms.  For me, the ability to learn new things has increased exponentially as I have become increasingly proficient in utilizing many of these new tools in my own life, both personally and professionally.  I am hoping that others see how powerful these tools are and continue to push their use in the classroom.  I believe microblogging tools  can be powerful tools to share ideas and content with students.  I also believe they give us a new method for assessing student learning.  Sharing your thoughts in 140 characters  requires communication with precision and clarity.  I have talked with one teacher who has used a microblogging tool in his classroom, and he shared that the benefits far outweighed the detriments.  I really want to use many of the tools I have learned about, but it sometimes seems an uphill battle to use them as many people fear the negative repercussions of implementing these tools in a middle school classroom.  I can see why many teachers simply give up when it comes to using new tech.  It seems so much easier to simply maintain the status quo.  Anyone out there have any similar experiences?

Inspiring Bits « johnsonLAB

Posted in Educational, New Technologies on August 12, 2009 by Mister A

I watched this video and found it to be extremely insightful. The web is only 5000 days old, a little older than most of my students. What will it look like 5000 days from now? The connections we make on it are only going to continue to increase in an exponential way. I think that is an exciting thing to think about…

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Blogging from Joanie’s Minivan

Posted in classroom tools, Educational, Mobile Learning, Vacation on August 1, 2009 by Mister A

Seems like the only time I blog anymore is from a fast moving vehicle.  I guess if I am not sitting in a car or a plane traveling to a new destination…I would just as soon be on my bicycle riding up a hill.  I am in my car with my wife and two sons heading to Lincoln City, Oregon to spend some time with Joanie’s family.  Her parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary…so I thought I had better go.

Picture 4On my last trip out here to moodlebootcamp, several teacher friends told me about this game/activity called geocaching.  They explained it to me and it sounded very cool.  Geocachers search all over the place for hidden treasures called geocaches.  The coordinates of each Cache are loaded on Geocaching.com and you can actually load them on your Ipod or Iphone with their application.  There are several different types of Geocaches, but I have only found one kind so far.  When you find the cache, there is a notebook inside for you to sign that says you found it.  When you return home you can log your find, or non-find in some cases, on the Geocaching.com website.  Some of the Geocaches are far more well hidden than others, but actually finding the geocache is really quite rewarding.  It could be compared to completing a difficult and arduous quest in World of Warcraft.

Geocache at Hidden Lake

Geocache at Hidden Lake

When I went to the Geocache.com web site, it was boggling to my mind how many geocaches were placed around my hometown.  I investigated a little further and found that people place them at the end of terribly long and strenuous hikes…but man…those hikes have some kind of a view.  We went for a family hike earlier this week and found a very beautiful mountain lake with a geocache hidden in some rocks right next to it.  There was one other cache up there that I did not have time to hike up to…but I know I will go back again for that one.  Our district just purchased several GPS devices for teachers to begin using and geocaching will be an excellent way to incorporate those devices into my classroom.  I found an excellent blog that was entirely about classroom uses of Geocaching if anyone is interested in ways to utilize this awesome technology in their own classroom.  This blog contains an excellent video that describes in far more detail exactly what geocaching is if my description was not enough.

On a personal note, We are going to hike up to Multnomah Falls on our way to the coast tomorrow.  I found four Geocaches on Geocaching.com and uploaded them onto my GPS device.  My two boys, joanie, and I are going to do some geocaching before we head to the beach.