Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This is the listing of all of the videos from #140EDU Conference. Please feel free to share these videos with your friends and colleagues:

Chris Lehmann – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-welcome-5465616
Jeff Pulver – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-welcome-5465616
Jack Hidary – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-jack-hidary-5475010
David Singer – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-david-singer-louis-wool-5465907
Louis Wool – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-david-singer-louis-wool-5465907
Rebecca Levey – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-rebecca-levey-5465920
Christian Long – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-christian-long-5465962
Steven Anderson – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-steven-anderson-tom-whitby-5469136
Tom Whitby – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-steven-anderson-tom-whitby-5469136
Lisa Nielsen – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-lisa-nielsen-5474229
Inga Ros – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-inga-r%C3%B3s-5474278
Patrick Higgins – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-patrick-higgins-5469157
Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo  – http://blip.tv/140confevents/cynthia-lawson-5469188
Mel Rosenberg  – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-mel-rosenberg-5469255
Jerome McLeaod – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-panel-growing-up-in-real-time-5475039
Danielle Duncan – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-panel-growing-up-in-real-time-5475039
Joshua Hendarto – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-panel-growing-up-in-real-time-5475039
Daniellee Villa – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-panel-growing-up-in-real-time-5475039
Maya Wright – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-panel-growing-up-in-real-time-5475039
George Haines – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-george-haines-5469357
Don Burton – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-don-burton-5469338
Katie McFarland – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-katie-mcfarland-5469369
Barry Joseph – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-barry-joseph-5469388
Marc Ecko – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-marc-ecko-5469424
Anthony Stover – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-parents-panel-parents-of-sla-5469471
Janos Marton – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-janos-marton-5469496
Michele Haiken – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-michele-haiken-5469532
Adam Bellow – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-adam-bellow-5469551
Shelley Krause – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-shelly-krause-5474324
Michael Federochko – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-shelly-krause-5474324
Niki Kakarla – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-shelly-krause-5474324
Perry Hewitt – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-perry-hewitt-5474355
Andrea Genevieve Michnik – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-andrea-michnik-5469595
Will Craig – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-will-craig-5469623
Dale Stephens – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-dale-stephens-5469901
Barry Schuler – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-barry-schuler-5469972
Lynn Langit – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-lynn-langit-5474396
Samantha Langit – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-samantha-langit-5474378
Eric Sheninger – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-eric-sheninger-5469999
Tal Horowitz – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-tali-horowitz-5470009
Tom Krieglstein – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-tom-krieglstein-5470025
Gina Johnston – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-gina-johnston-5474416
Kim Sivick – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-kim-sivick-5470043
Wendy Brawer – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-wendy-brawer-5470079
Dr.Green – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-alternatives-to-an-outdated-education-model-5470112
John Mikulski – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-alternatives-to-an-outdated-education-model-5470112
Donna Murdoch – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-alternatives-to-an-outdated-education-model-5470112
Shelly Terrell – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-alternative4
Erik Endress – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-erik-endress-547012
Jane Barratt – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-jane-barratt-5470147
Kyra Gaunt – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-kyra-gaunt-5470171
Mahipal Raythattha – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-mahipal-raythattha-5470860
Deb Eckerling – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-debra-eckerling-5474465
Ethan Bodnar – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-debra-eckerling-5474465
Kristen Durkin – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-debra-eckerling-5474465
Linnea Keys – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-2-11-debra-eckerling-5474465
Kelly Sutton – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-kelly-sutton-5470892
Douglas Crets – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-douglas-crets-5470912
Michael Karnjanaprakorn – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-mike-karnjanaprakorn-5470958
Karen Blumberg – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-educators-taking-control-of-their-own-professional-development-the-edcamp-model-5471079
Ann Leaness – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-educators-taking-control-of-their-own-professional-development-the-edcamp-model-5471079
Meenoo Rami – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-panel-educators-taking-control-of-their-own-professional-development-the-edcamp-model-5471079
Gregory Corbin – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-gregory-corbin-5471120
Randee SchneebergPomerantz – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-randee-schneeberg-5471136
Michael Margolis – http://blip.tv/140confevents/140edu-8-3-11-michael-margolis-5474488

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Whenever I bring up the topic of Blogs within a gathering of educators, the comments in response usually include the teacher who lost her job because of blogging. If you are not familiar with the story, it is one of stupidity, disrespect and irresponsibility. It had little to do with blogging. A teacher decided to start a blog and trash her students, parents and her school. It was the content of her comments that was offensive and not the fact that she used a blog post to do it. If she wrote a newspaper article, did a radio, or television interview, or stood on a soapbox on a street corner of her local community, she would still be held accountable for the thoughtless, offensive, and irresponsible comments. It is the intent of the comments which should be condemned, not the media of choice. This incident has served to stall the talks about blogging in the class for the purpose of learning. It gives a great excuse to educators who are reluctant to change a means to delay the ability of students to write authentically in the classroom.

I attended a meeting not too long ago where Higher Ed English teachers were sharing with other staff members what they do to teach writing in their classes. They had the floor for about twenty minutes and reviewed much of what they did in the area of writing. The one point that smacked me in the head throughout the entire presentation was that the words “Post” or “Blog” were never ever mentioned. I decided that day to ask English teachers, whenever I met them, if they used blogs to address writing skills. My second question to the same teachers was “Do you Blog?” Many rattled off multiple reasons why blogging can be dangerous before actually admitting “no” to both questions. Many were clear to state that they felt their job would be in jeopardy if they personally blogged.

Blogging provides a real reason for kids to write. The realization that an audience of more than one would be reading their work is a real incentive. Comments on the student blogs offers the teacher an opportunity to teach critical thinking, as we as reflective thinking skills. With a global audience syntax and grammar have a purpose that is meaningful to the student. It enables students an appreciation for blogs of others giving insights into commenting on others’ blog posts.

There are applications that will allow this to take place in a closed setting for younger children. Class blogs are also a good way to introduce blogging to elementary students. No matter what method is used it is allows students to publish. Publishing on the part of students has long been a dream of many English teachers over the decades. The idea of dealing with publishers or literary agents had always stood in the way. Those obstacles have been removed in the 21st century. There are no longer the dreaded rejection letters of the 20th century. Any student at any age can publish content. How they research, create and communicate that content is the job of the teacher. That is one of the challenges of teaching today.

Every idiot has the ability to publish a blog and everyone does. It is today’s educator’s challenge to teach students the skills needed to publish intelligently and responsibly. This does not happen in a week of lessons or a video of a “Ted Talk”. It happens after it has been taught from elementary school, reinforced in Middle school, and set free to bloom in High School. It is a process not a Unit.

A key factor in teaching is having the teacher model the skills being taught. In that fact lies the rub. Getting teachers to put themselves out there and blog is the challenge. Too many of our educators believe in “Do as I say, not as I do” teaching philosophy. We need more transparency in education. We can make that happen with more thoughtful and responsible educators blogging to the world. We are in a profession in which everyone claims expertise. Everyone has a common experience of receiving some education so they feel that they have all the answers. I am thinking of Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg.

Blogging by the real professionals can shine a light on our profession and involve teachers in the discussion for reform. I know that, if you want to know where I stand on education and teaching, you need only to read my blog. You will have no doubts. But then again, I believe in blogging as a tool for learning; my learning. Every blogger I come in contact with feels very much the same way. We need to engage more educators and students in this endeavor. Blogging promotes learning.

Blogging is another tool for learning. If we do not take the opportunity to teach kids how to publish responsibly with intelligence, we will have more people like that teacher who trashed her kids, parents and colleagues. But, then again, she was never taught about blogging thoughtfully, respectfully, intelligently. We should be encouraging teachers to blog and not threatening their jobs if they do.We should be supporting teachers to engage students in blogging. Your choice is To Blog or not to Blog? That is the question.

As always comments welcomed.

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 48 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 17 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 953kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 15th with 485 views. The most popular post that day was My First Post on My Own Blog.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, iconfactory.com, hootsuite.com, facebook.com, and refzip.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for illegitimi non carborundum, my island view, tom whitby, tom whitby blog, and lack of discipline.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


My First Post on My Own Blog January 2010


A Modest Blog Proposal September 2010
53 comments and 7 Likes on WordPress.com


About Me January 2010


Twitter’s Achilles Heel September 2010


Lack of Discipline August 2010

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Back in the late 50’s one of my favorite shows was Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O’Brien. Wyatt Earp carried a gun called the “Buntline Special”. It was a gun designed by Ned Buntline a journalist, who designed a pistol with an extra long barrel. As an adult, I realized that it must have been barrel envy that prompted so many gunfights with Wyatt.

The one Law that Wyatt insisted on in the old west town of  Tombstone Arizona, was “No Guns Allowed”. Firearm technology had advanced so much that the Colt .45 was a weapon that had to be restricted. There were laws to protect citizens, but Wyatt thought it to be easier to collect all firearms as the men (women played no significant part in TV westerns) entered the town. It was a pain in the neck but way easier than dealing with those cowpokes using their guns. As the song went on Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, Brave, Courageous, and Bold. Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, long may his story be told.Fifty years later I am still telling the story.

Moving ahead in the space-time continuum I found myself visiting the 1964 world’s fair in Flushing, New York. You may remember the site of the Fair as it was imortalized in the movie Men in Black. That fair was about the Future. Most of the pavilions hosted exhibits telling of what life would be like in the 21st Century. They promised Flying Cars, my favorite prediction. Many of the exhibits talked about the Technology of the future and how kids would learn using Technology. I do not remember the specifics since that was so many years ago, but I loved future predictions like: Someday kids will have powerful computers the size of a deck of cards. These computers will be able to seek out and deliver information in various forms to these kids. They would be able to exchange ideas and collaborate globally. Back in 1964 that would have been a radical concept way beyond anything in existence.

Shortly after that World’s Fair, we landed men on the Moon. Amazingly, many of those World’s Fair predictions have come true. I am still waiting for those Flying cars. Now we move closer to the 21st Century. No more of the Old West is left. Technology has moved at a rapid pace since that Fair. Kids carry in their pockets computers that are more powerful than those used to place men on the moon. Students may use these computers for all that was predicted. For an educator it is beyond imagination to have students equipped with the ability to access information pertinent to learning at any time. These tools of technology go way beyond anything really imagined from the 60’s.

Now I need to tie things together so that this all makes sense. In many districts across the land we have educational leaders who see themselves as Wyatt Earp. They have discipline policies in place. Every class has rules generated by the teacher, or collaboratively agreed upon by the class itself. There are established consequences for inappropriate actions. With all of this in place educators are not inclined to enforce their own discipline policies. NO CELLPHONES ALLOWED. This is not the wild west. Whatever happened to Brave , Courageous and Bold?

If a kid is using a cellphone in class, a teacher needs to do two things. First enforce the rule addressing inappropriate behavior in class. Second, reflect on why a student finds more engagement in cellphone use than engagement in the lesson for the day! As educators we are the adults in the room. We need to Guide our students to appropriate behavior. In addition we need to model appropriate behavior. There are many teachers using their cellphones at inappropriate times.

We are dealing with many issues that did not exist even a few years ago. We need to proceed using common sense and focus on what is needed to promote and support Learning. Our students are not indentured servants. We have to guide them with the same respect we expect from them. I can only hope that a short time from now we will look back on these wild west policies of leaving cellphones at the door and ask, “What the hell were we thinking?’ Let us strive to harness the power of these very personal computers and have our students use them to engage in learning, and save its other functions for more appropriate times. While we are at it let’s direct students to use technology for speeding along the invention and implementation of flying cars. My selfish request.

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I am beginning to appreciate this blogging thing more with each post I write. What I like best is that these are my ideas and have no effect on anyone except those who choose to accept them. Readers even get to pick and choose which of my ideas they want. I will never know what effect they will have, but I do get to read the comments, and for the most part they are positive. I appreciate the comments that are even more thoughtful than my original post. That being said, I can now post something that some will find upsetting . If you are in that group by the end of the post, come back to this first paragraph and remind yourself of this opening statement. It may have more meaning for you the second time.

Through my entire career in education I have seen plans that were supposed to revolutionize the educational system, the latest attempt being “No Child Left Behind”.  Now with this new administration we are looking at merit pay for teachers. A plan flawed in its conception with a great potential to fail and once again target teachers as the reason for failure. I am putting an IMHO here to quell the stirring beasts who are about to pounce on the reply box.

As a teacher of teachers I always instruct my students to have an objective or a goal for every lesson they teach. Their purpose is to focus their thoughts, direction, and energy to accomplish that goal. Most importantly however, they are to assess their students along the way to make adjustments in order to complete the goal.

If we apply that same principle to our educational system, I would expect a positive result. All we have to do is ask the question, “What is the goal of education?”  You have to see where this is going by now. The problem is who will answer that question: Politician, Parent, Administrator, Teacher, Student, Tax-payer, or that non-educator sitting on the educational advisory panel? The answers will muddy what should be a clear answer.

Here comes the IMHO again. As far as I can tell, the goal of education is to provide workers for the job force. That seems to be the driving force in everyone’s perception of education in America and probably elsewhere. Before you scroll to the reply box, finish the post. I might say something else to set you off. Employment seems to me, to be the Goal of education. Some might say the goal is to get the student to college. Moving a student to Higher Ed, it is just a hand-off to the college to prepare a student for higher paying employment. Colleges are ruled by the same goal.

The problem with all of this is that when the goal of employment is reached the perception of many is that the need for education, and learning has ended. That is true for many individuals no matter what line of work or whatever profession they enter. That most definitely includes ALL of the professionals in education. Once they get their job there is no longer a need to learn. We have even coined a phrase for those who are exceptions. We call them Life-Long Learners. Those are the people who did not buy into the education- culminates-with-employment idea.

If the goal for Education is employment and a student becomes employed, the goal has been attained. There is no need for continued learning. We have succeeded. If however, that is not the outcome we want, maybe we should go back to the beginning. Let us look at the Goal for which we must focus our thoughts, direction, and energy to accomplish. Maybe it needs tweaking, or clarification, or assessing, or a complete change. As an educator I have to throw all that in, even though IMHO the goal sucks and should be scraped.

It may be time to establish a Goal we can all agree upon. Here is my contribution or the point I would like to make with this discussion. My Goal would be to promote Learning and Literacy through education. “We do that”, you say. If we did, why do so many people stop learning and being literate once they get a job?

At one time people needed to spend time reading books and engaging in conversation and debate and collaboration. It was difficult to do when there was no time or place to do this after one graduated. After all, the goal was attained and there was no need. The Internet has changed all that.

If Administrators made their decisions on whether or not something promotes and supports literacy and learning, many decisions for financing, curriculum, and staffing might be different. If principals had that as a goal, School policies, support of teachers, professional development and even interaction with parents might be more purposeful. Teachers, many who will claim this to be their goal, will be more open to accepting new ideas and new tools for preparing kids to learn beyond the classroom. A skill they will need if we meet the goal of learning and literacy.

Employment and supplying a workforce should not be the goal of educators. That is the stuff of politics. Let the need to continually learn and communicate in a literate manner be the Goal of All educators. All decisions should be weighed with this in mind. All assessments should address this goal. We would need no standardized tests with this as a standardized Goal. IMHO.

Now you can return to my first paragraph and then scroll to the Reply box and leave your comment. I hope my humble opinion has given you pause to reflect.

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