Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tracking Santa

Amazing enough my oldest daughter came tonight and asked me to track Santa for her. She said, “Daddy you have to go to www. Something and track Santa for me.” Now, if technology is reaching 1st graders, what is the real potential of technology? I don’t know about other parents, but I donated my old computer to my daughter to use to play educational games (e.g. reader rabbit type games). As a result, she is currently more proficient with a mouse than many of adults I know. Imagine the potential of children that have access to technology. What will they accomplish in the future?

If you’re interested in tracking Santa for your children you should visit . Once there you can choose the language you want and track Santa. The language options are English, Spanish, French, German, etc. The site discusses the most recent sighting of Santa and comes with some neat videos.

Feliz Navidad…

Technorati Tags:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Securing the future: An Educational Race Involving Technology

The launching of Sputnik in 1957 created an educational race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Historians refer to the educational race as the Cold War. The race between the superpowers was an educational competition of sorts. It shows how competition between two superpowers affected domestic reforms, not only in the Soviet Union and the United States, but also in every corner of the globe. Ultimately, when the competition was over in the late 80’s, the Soviet Union had not only lost the educational race, but also their beloved union. What does this have to do with education?

Most Americans view the end of the Cold War as a triumph for America and the world, however victory is sometimes bitter sweet. With the demise of the Soviet Union, came the demise of educational competition to an extent, not only in the United States, but also at a global level. Consequently, the quality of educational services within the United States and the world has declined until recently.

Currently two things are actually causing policy makers, business leaders, and educators to wake up and realize the need for an educational race. The two entities are technology and terrorism. Ironically, technology and terrorism may actually stop the educational decline and get the world back into educational competition. How so?

In the United States, due to the constant treat of terrorism, there is again talk of teaching critical languages (Arabic, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Persian-Farsi, and Russian) in the United States. The National Security Language Initiative proposes to produce advanced speakers of these languages by 2009. NSLI plans to further strengthen national security and prosperity in the 21st century through education, especially in developing foreign language skills.

As a foreign language teacher, I believe that NSLI is a step in the right direction, but we can do more. We must do more. I believe that teachers and the government have to rethink the way we are approaching instruction. We can only produce prosperity in the 21st century through education if we develop an understanding of the global economy, of its cultural, social, political and gendered impacts, of the revolution in communication and informational technologies.

In closing, educators have to embrace and allow their students the opportunity to embrace emergent technologies (Web 2.0) at the K12 level in all disciplines. Not for the sake of integrating technology, but to prepare students for the 21st century. As such, governments must find ways to adequately fund technology within their schools. With educators and the government working toward this goal, students of the world will prosper in the 21st century. However, if any group fails to participate adequately in the race, then the race will be lost and prosperity will most likly be lost as well.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Podcasting Basics

This is my second podcast and it discusses podcasting. Let me know what you think!

My Odeo Podcast


William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My first podcast: Sorry

My first podcast! Sorry
My Odeo Podcast

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crossing the Chasm Between the 20th and 21st Centuries

Walk into almost any school in the United States and you will feel at home no matter your age. Why? Most classrooms look a lot like they way they did when you were in school. Actually, most classrooms look a lot like they did when your parents and grand parents were in school. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If you’re afraid of change, then I suppose that it’s a very good thing. However, if you are looking for ways to move beyond the 20th century mentality of teaching, then you need to start looking for ways to move beyond traditional teaching methods. I’m not saying that traditional teaching is a bad thing. I’m saying that as educators we can and must do more to cross the chasm between the 20th and 21st centuries. The most logical way to make this crossing is through the technology that Web 2.0. has to offer.

If we continue to refuse to change for whatever reason, how many children are going to get "left behind"? What will happen if an entire generation fails to make the grade in the global economy of the 21st century because they can't solve abstract problems, work with others, perform basic research, or speak a language other than English? Can we afford to wait and see?

The United States currently resembles a third world nation when it comes to foreign language instruction. Too many of our policy makers have not had the foresight or fortitude to require foreign language P-12 and now we are facing a dilemma (i.e. individuals speaking Arabic languages). The same thing said about language may one day be said about technology, not because of the politicians this time, but because most teachers continue to refuse to implement technology efficiently in their classrooms.

Right now, as a result of NCLB, we're focused on testing and scores, but there is so much more. What about communication skills and technology? Aren’t both of these entities currently as important as ever? The current and future global economy will not allow tradition and complacency in our classrooms. The global economy now requires so much more. It requires not only competence in the traditional academia, but also competence in functional 21st century Web 2.0 skills. If students aren’t taught these skills in our schools, then where are they going to learn them?

The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, a high-powered, bipartisan assembly of education secretaries, business leaders, and a former governor recognizes the dilemma. It just released a report for rethinking American education P-12 and beyond. The report includes a remarkable consensus among educators, policy makers and business leaders on one key point: we need to refocus how we teach and what we teach to help students cross the chasm between the 20th and the 21st centuries.

Now, I’m not going to pretend for one minute to be an expert on Web 2.0 technologies or skills, but I do see their potential. As such, I am not willing to sit back and continue to teach the way I was taught. Therefore, I am reading and embracing technology at every turn. My ultimate goal is to create a nexus of learning for students that promotes creativity. Moreover, I want students to cross the chasm between the 20th and 21st centuries. I want students to recognize geography, customs, and culture, acquire and use communication skills in other languages, understand and utilize technology, and ultimately think outside the box. Wish me luck!

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Teacher Techies, Techless Teachers, and The Tech Bus

Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, a book about fast changing technologies, divides personal technology consumers into five categories. His categories of tech consumers are, the enthusiast, the visionary, the pragmatist, the conservative, and the laggard. His categories although originally applying to technology consumers, may also be applied to teachers using technology. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, a book about leadership strategy, compares the leadership strategies of great companies to individuals on a bus and their positions on that bus. Taking the concepts of Geoffrey Moore and Jim Collins and applying them to the teachers we can better ascertain the roles of teacher techies, techless teachers, and the tech bus within the K12 setting.

Before applying theses concepts to the current situation, we must first understand them. Teacher Techies are individuals that are technology savvy and use technology as a teaching tool. In contrast, Techless Teachers are individuals that are not technology savvy and refuse to use technology as a teaching tool. If we place these teachers on a continuum we would find them at opposite ends. As for the tech bus, it may be defined as the new emergent technologies appearing in our schools (e.g. blogs, dictories, wikis, moodles, mashups, search engines, etc.). The tech bus is inherently intertwined with technology through computers and the Internet.

Now, consider the teacher as a tech enthusiast. When offered a new tech tool, this kind of teacher says, "Great, let me at it, I want to see what I can do with this tech tool". These teachers totally engage with the new tech tool and become consumed by it and its applications. Moreover, they’re really passionate about using technology both inside and outside of the classroom. You can usually find these teachers standing in front of the white line right beside the bus driver.

Next, consider the teacher as a tech visionary. Adopting a new technology for these teachers is about staying in the game. Visionaries, more than anything else, like to be in the front seats of the bus right behind the driver. These teachers are often more practical than enthusiasts because they wait for the tech enthusiast to figure out how to use the new technology before applying it themselves. They're thinking, “If I adopt this new technology, I can use it to benefit my teaching in the following ways.”

Then we have the teacher as tech pragmatist. These teachers won't think about using new technology until almost all other teachers are using it. "They're asking their colleagues, “Do you have a class blog yet? Me, neither.” But when they ask around and people say, “Yeah, I’ve got a class blog” then they start looking for a seat near the front of the bus. Unfortunately, the front seats are usually taken by this time and they usually end up sitting in the middle of the bus.

The teacher as tech conservative’s preference is to avoid change at all costs. They are the individuals in the very back of the bus. They’ll try and move up a few seats after everyone else is onboard, but they will do so unwillingly and under duress. However, once they move up a few seats, they are so far back that they can’t see where the bus is going. As a result, they never tap in to the real potential of technology and their teaching suffers, as does student learning.

The teacher as tech laggard can best be described as the stubborn horse. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. These are the teachers who say, 'This is bad news. It won’t work and we don’t need it.” In the South, they live by the philosophy, “If it ain’t broke, then it don’t need fixin.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, these teachers never get on the tech bus at all. In fact, they miss the tech bus on purpose out of stubbornness and fear. Most of these teachers shouldn’t even be teachers in the first place.

In closing, I’d like to think that I am a tech visionary. Unfortunately, I most likely fall in the tech enthusiast category. I’m passionate about technology and it keeps me out of my seat. I guess this is something that I will have to work on in the future for the sake of my students. After all, standing in front of the white line on the bus is against the rules. If you’re an educator, are you on the tech bus? If so, where are you sitting?

William Bishop (Bill)

Friday, December 15, 2006

In Response To: Teachers Not Blogging (Says Me)

Yesterday I highlighted an article in EDTECH magazine by David Warlick and today I came across a blog post by Will Richardson about David’s article. Will’s post sparked the neurons in my somewhat limited cerebral cortex and I found myself asking the following, “What is educational blogging?” Will clarified this for me with the following points:

“Blogs are powerful communication tools. Blogs are powerful publishing tools. But blogging (the verb) is still much more... Blogging, as in reading and thinking and reflecting and then writing, is connecting and learning, neither of which are discussed in the article.”

I don’t think David meant to overlook the importance of blogging as a learning tool in his article, but he did. However, In David’s defense, the purpose of his article wasn’t to promote educational blogging as a learning tool, it was to promote safe and responsible blogging practices in our schools.

Nevertheless, Will’s ending premise makes a powerful point for educational bloggers. Will contends,

“I’m just asking the question: how are…teachers modeling the use of blogs to learn not just to teach?”

After thinking about Will’s question, I reflected on the way I am using my class blog and I found it to be lacking. I’d like to sit back and make excuses about being newbie, but I won’t. Instead, I am looking and will continue to look for ways to improve the class blog for my students. For example, I plan on making blogging more efficient for my students by setting higher standards for feeling, thinking, and writing. Blogging is more than just a platform for teaching. Blogging is a platform for learning. Hence, we have to move beyond posting, journaling, and begin blogging. Like Will, I too expect more…

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rules to blog by!

Educators that blog should always blog responsibly and conduct themselves in a professional manner. As such, David Warlick has an insightful article in this month’s issue of EDTECH that highlights safe and responsible blogging practices entitled, “Blog Rules”. This article is a must read for current and aspiring School Administrators, as it lays out some ground rules for teacher blogging and student safety. Once again, we get our 2 cents worth of Warlick Wisdom. Thanks David!

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tappedin, taps you in!

I went through a session tonight with Michael Misovec from at Tappedin. The session discussed their site and enlightened me further on the usefulness of wiki’s in the K12 setting. Thanks Michael. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization service sponsored by community entities, volunteers, and advertisers. Together, they provide over 100,000 free Wiki web pages designed for educational purposes. It's Wiki fast and easy to create your own web pages at On the surface, the potential that offers K12 educators looks great. I plan on utilizing the site ASAP. I will blog about the organization and the services after I have a feel for the site.

Michael Misovec is the President of Helping Students Education Corp. and he seems to be on top of his game. With Michael at the helm of the organization, I am sure that Helping Students Education Corp. and will be a big success. I look forward to a follow up session about the wiki at tappedin in January. I hope I can make it! Once again, I’d like to thank Michael for taking the time to highlight his organization for others and myself. In addition, I’d like to thank Tappedin for providing a place where educators can tap in to educational resources.

William Bishop (Bill)
Technorati Tags:

Ms. Dewey: Beats Google Hands Down

Ms. Dewey is cool! If you don't go, you will never know. Will Richardson pointed this site out in a post entitled Google is Just Too Boring and as usual I agree with Will...Check Ms. Dewey out!

echnorati Tags:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

(FOSS) How Suite It Is: Open Office 2.1 Released

Free open source software is definitely on the rise. Open Office 2.1 has just been released and promises to be a significant improvement over all other versions. Open Office 2.0 wasn’t bad and now with the improvements Open Office may actually give Microsoft Office a run for its money. Wait, Open Office is Free Open Source Software. I guess money isn’t a factor after all. Isn’t FOSS cool?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Moving students beyond the 20th Century

I just finished reading a short post at Weblogg-ed by Will Richardson and it suggested the following to help move schools beyond the 20th Century practice of isolation.

1. Teach kids more about the world.
2. Think outside the box.
3. Become smarter about new sources of information.
4. Develop good people skills. (Communicate, collaborate)

Well, it seems that this is exactly what I have been trying to do with my Spanish students. We are currently using technology as never before and the students are starting to think on their own. We have a blog, a wiki (private), a website, and soon we will be using moodle if all goes well. We just have to work all of the bugs out with our IT people. But it looks promising. Are we doing everything perfect? No! We are making our fair share of mistakes along the way, but we are thinking outside of the box and moving beyond the 20th century.

As a matter of fact, our latest assignment was a Web Quest on the 21 Spanish Speaking countries and it seems to have been a success. We spent two days in the media lab and developed presentations for the classroom. Each student was required to pick a country, research the country, and develop a presentation with 10 specific slides. The slides ranged from geography to food. Now the students are presenting the presentations for their peers and we are critiquing the slides in the true spirit of Presentation 2.0. As such, I think we are addressing the four points suggested by Will Richardson. I am more than pleased with the assignment, as are my students. Moreover, we are going to pick out the best presentations and add them to our wiki for future reference.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Literacy Project

A great find for P-8 teachers, maybe even P-12 teachers. I’d love to take credit for blogging about this resource first, but I found a post about it at another Educational technology blog, “CUONLINE”. Nevertheless, I thought I’d highlight it here as well. Enjoy!

The Literacy Project is…“A resource for teachers, literacy organisations and anyone interested in reading and education, created in collaboration with LitCam, Google, and UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning. Find books, articles and videos about literacy, or start your own literacy or reading group!”

Picture from The Literacy Project
Technorati Tags:

Google returns to school to bully Microsoft.

While Microsoft is asking K12 schools to dig deep into their pockets, it seems that Google is passing out generous gifts to the next generation of computer users. Allow me to elaborate. According to the Associated Press, “Google Inc., a company synonymous with searching the Internet, hopes to define far more of the world's computing experience with a helping hand from schoolchildren. For several months, it has been giving away to all takers an online word processor, spreadsheet and other programs that can perform tasks usually handled by desktop software. Offering a convenience that worries some privacy experts, the programs automatically store everything in Google's vast data centers so the information can be retrieved on any Internet-connected computer.”

Beyond the privacy issue, the idea of an inexpensive solution to Microsoft’s over priced 2007 Office Suite may make K12 superintendents smile. Microsoft is asking K12 schools to pay a yearly subscription to lease their 2007 Office Suite rather than buy it. The lease for the average K12 School for the software will tally up to about a six-digit yearly figure. Most K12 superintendents view Microsoft’s lease proposal as a budget buster and are looking for alternatives. Some systems are turning to Open Office, and now Google has arrived to save the day. Ironically, dear ole granddad used to say; sometimes it isn’t how you get on the wagon, but when you get on the wagon that makes all the difference. So, I guess the real question is…Why Excel When You Can Google?

William Bishop (Bill)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Network Neutrality is safe for now: HR 5252 is dead!

Like most average Joes and Janes, I didn’t realize that the Internet was in jeopardy until just the other day. It appears that Senator Ted Stevens was pushing HR 5252 referred to as the Telco bill. The Telco bill would have ended Network Neutrality and would have sent America spiraling into what I perceive as a modern version of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Maybe the term spiraling is a little harsh, but the bill, had it passed would have definitely clogged the pipes of the Internet.
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to see that the 109th congress saw fit to kill the bill. Network Neutrality has been part of the Internet since its inception and it should remain as such. Anything but Network Neutrality is an infringement on our freedoms and the American way of life. As a matter of fact, since the bill was killed, I feel like the munchkins from the Wizard of Oz after Dorothy’s house crushed the wicked witch. Maybe, I should put my ruby red slippers on and sing the wicked bill is dead!

For related information see the following:
Huge victory for real people
David Warlick’s post

Friday, December 08, 2006

Technology Literacy: What teachers need to stay in the tech race.

Over the past 20 years technology has moved at such a rapid pace that it has left most teachers behind. Of course, the U.S. government’s answer to teaching and learning is NCLB, when it should have been NTCLB (i.e. No teacher or child left behind). For some reason or other, the government often forgets about teachers and the important role they play within society. However, recently the missing T of NCLB is starting to be recognized and various organizations are trying to help teachers with technology.

One organization that seems to be on the cutting edge of helping teachers help students through technology is the Alabama Best Practice Center and its 21st Century Leaning initiative. Another entity available for teachers is a Web-based learning environment created to transform teacher professional development called Tappedin. Both of the aforementioned provide a wealth of information and opportunities for teachers to become tech savvy and stay in the tech race.

What do teachers really need to know to be considered tech savvy and stay in the tech race? To stay in the tech race teachers need at least 20 technology skills, maybe more. What are the skills? I found the following article entitled, “20 Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have”, and I couldn’t agree more. If you’re an educator you should definitely take a look at the article. Not only does the article outline the 20 technology skills every educator should have, but it also provides numerous links for learning the skills. Enjoy!

William Bishop (Bill)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Google Tools: Aren’t they great?

When people think about Google they think about searching the web, but Google is so much more. Google provides a number of Google Tools in lieu of their number one search engine. For example, they have Google Earth, Blogger, Sketch Up, Google Apps, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Checkout, Google Mini, Google maps, Google language tools, and much more. Clicking HERE will give you access all of these tools.

One of my personal favorites from Google is the Google language tool. Utilizing the Google language tool I can search by language, country, and subject. I have found this tool to be more than worthwhile for the foreign language classroom. Additionally, like Alta Vista’s Babel Fish, the Google language tool allows me to translate text and entire websites from one language to another. Try it out!

William Bishop (Bill)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

News Flash: Patrick has a blog!

Patrick has a blog!

No, I’m not talking about Sponge Bob’s starfish friend Patrick. I am talking about the tech guru of our time, Patrick Crispen. One of my first blogs highlighted the infamous net-squirrel and his website and his co-authored website the Internet Tourbus. You can read that post HERE. Of course, that post was written shortly before Patrick decided to give in to the peer pressure and create a blog of his own. Way to go buddy! With Patrick blogging the world will get turned upside down, inside out, and ultimately reformed. I particularly like the title of his blog, “Warning: squirrels”.

What I’m upset about is that no one informed me that he had established a blog. That’s the way it is with technology and blogging. You look away for a minute and you’re lost. Nevertheless, with Patrick blogging, I’m sure that even us blind squirrels will find some golden acorns in the form of technological tips. Thanks Patrick! To check out his blog Click Here.

Patrick Crispen is the Instructional Technology Coordinator at California State University in Long Beach and a graduate of the University of Alabama and some other University in Calafornia.

P.S. Patrick…thanks for the post about IE 7. I learned how to use the new menu before I found that file bar or your blog. Also, do you think IE 7 resembles one of the open source browsers floating around the NET? Hint: It's foxy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Risk Maps Available for Google Earth

Attention Google Earth Aficionados: Risk Maps Available

Today I was doing some research and playing with Google Earth when I came across some impressive maps at Maplecroft. Maybe you all were aware of these awesome maps, but I was not. Maplecroft has a number of risk analysis global maps tailored for Google Earth with detailed country information. The Maplecroft risk maps highlight key social, economic, environmental and political issues and their significance to business and society. Therefore, utilizing Google Earth, it is now possible to view Maplecroft risk data on an interactive globe. Moreover, the Google maps at Maplecroft are highly functional visual aids for a variety of K12 disciplines. Other posts about this topic can be found at the Google Earth Blog and at Digital Geography.

Google Earth risk maps by Maplecroft include: AIDS, hunger, education, avian flu, natural disasters, poverty, financial debt by country, and more.
How can the risk maps be used in the classroom? When teaching preventative measures, a Health teacher could use the AIDS map in Google Earth to highlight the disease on a global level. How cool is that for a K12 visual aid?

Thanks for stopping by!

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tappedin Synchronous Communication!

Tappedin Synchronous Learning!
This afternoon I participated in synchronous learning provided by BJB2 at tappedin. You can check out her blog at I learned a lot and I thought I would share the learning with you asynchronously. I hope you enjoy it. Also, I’d like to thank BJB and the other presenters at tappedin for providing the session and these links. Gracias…

Integrating art, literature, and some history…

Cool Flash Art and Literature:

Authentic Motivation:

BJB2’S Blog:

Art, Light, and Poetry:

Civil War Poem:

Civil War (Must Visit):

The Best! All disciplines more or less:

Teaching with art:




Earth Shots (Inspirational Pictures):

I know that this is asynchronous, but it's still cool!

William Bishop (Bill)

Image: 'Champ de Mars' by Jose Maria Cuellar as seen at EarthShots

Communication: Asynchronous or Synchronous?

Communication: Asynchronous or Synchronous?

not occurring at the same time.

(of a computer or other electrical machine) having each operation started only after the preceding operation is completed.

Computers, Telecommunications. of or pertaining to operation without the use of fixed time intervals (opposed to synchronous).

Online Examples: Email, Bulletin Boards, Forums, Blogs, and Wikis…

occurring at the same time; coinciding in time; contemporaneous; simultaneous.

going on at the same rate and exactly together; recurring together.

Physics, Electricity. having the same frequency and zero phase difference.

Computers, Telecommunications. of, pertaining to, or operating using fixed-time intervals controlled by a clock (opposed to asynchronous).

Aerospace. geostationary.


Online Examples: Online conferences, meetings, chat, etc.

Tappedin provides a wealth of online meetings for all types of educators. Join, login, and check out the calendar on the opening tappedin campus map page. It is located on the tab section (top left) on the tappedin campus map page. You can pick something that you want to attend synchronously and then attend at that time. Additionally, request to join groups by clicking on group folders that interests you. On the left hand side of any page you will see a list of options, one of the options is discussion. If you click on the discussion it will link you to the forum for that specific area where you can read and leave posts. My advice about tappedin is to start navigating the site and to use the conversation box if you need help. Usually, someone is available to help from 8am-8pm PST. A great tutorial for joining tappedin is located HERE.

Skype is another example of how individuals are communicating synchronously via the Internet. Moreover, groups are starting to skypecast the globe. Vicki A. Davis AKA the Cool Cat Teacher has a great post and video about Skype and skypecasting. Click Here to view her video. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried Skype as of yet, but it is on my list of things to do…Also, ironically enough, Vicki’s current post “Where we are going with chat” highlights a Techcrunch post entitled The Six Biggest Ideas in Chat and chat after all is the synchronous communication of the day…

Thanks for stopping by...
William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Jostens Renaissance Conference 2007

Last week the 2007 Jostens Renaissance National Conference location was announced!
Jostens Renaissance is proud to announce that the site for the 2007 Jostens Renaissance National Conference will be (drum roll please!) the luxurious Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa in wonderful Orlando, Florida! The dates for the conference are July 13-15, 2007.

If you don't know anything about the Renaissance program or process click here!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Police tap social networks!

Social networking web sites a frequent source of tips for school resource officers!

Once upon a time, school resource officers didn’t exist, but currently resource officers can be found wandering the halls of most K12 campuses wearing their police uniforms complete with a repertoire of tools (e.g. pepper spray, stun gun, handgun, handcuffs, knight stick, and radio). Additionally, resource officers seem to have recently added another item to their repertoire of tools, the Internet. Resource officers are now using popular social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, and Xanga to help thwart student related crimes. To learn more check out the article entitled “Police tap student sites to fight crime” at eSchool News.

Being pro technology, I am not against the above sites. As a matter of fact, I just joined one of the sites to see what all the hypes about. Maybe, I’ll write about that in the future. Anyway, initially these social networking sites were set up with the best of intentions. FaceBook for example was started at Harvard to help students create social networks, and it worked. Soon college students all over the U.S were using FaceBook to communicate and stay in touch. Nevertheless, like all good things, individuals started to post pictures that were inappropriate and turned a good tool into a bad one. As a result, most K12 schools block these sites because of they’re inappropriate content. This is unfortunate, but IT directors, administrators, and teachers have an obligation to protect students.

Fortunately or unfortunately, most students have these sites set up at home. If the students are using these sites carefully with tact, then they can be great learning tools. However, often students are not using these sites appropriately or tactfully. What types of negative actives can you find on FaceBook? Often there are pictures of under age drinking, drug use, and vandalism. Additionally, libel cases have been filed in some areas due to cyber bullying. Hence, parents need to check on and stay abreast of their children’s online activities on a weekly basis…
William Bishop

Creating a nexus of learning!

I found a great article by David James Clarke IV of toolwire entitled, “The nexus of learning: The intersection of formal and informal learning”. As a result, I began to ponder the relationship between emergent technologies and learning. As such, the following thoughts transpired. Is my thinking fundamentally sound, or fundamentally flawed? You decide!

Learning and the by products of learning are not conundrums. To the contrary, with current emergent technologies, creating a nexus of learning should be fundamentally unproblematic, yet as educators we often fail. Why? Fear! Many educators fear technology and change. Therefore, they refuse to implement emergent technologies into their classrooms. For example, many educators will make excuses rather than attempt implementation of new technologies out of fear. Aren’t educators aware that all individuals learn in different ways? Some learners are auditory, others are visual, and most of us are kinesthetic or experiential learners, yet educators often fail to reach or teach kinesthetic learners because they are afraid.

How can educators reach and teach kinesthetic learners? They can reach and teach kinesthetic learners experientially by learning and applying emergent technologies into their classrooms. Yet day after day, week after week, and year after year, many educators will remain in their safety zones and in turn fail to reach or teach their kinesthetic learners. Moreover, in the end, these educators will throw up their hands once again and blame the student for what is ultimately their failure. Isn’t it time to implement emergent technologies into our classrooms for the sake of all learners? After all, Confucius said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” Experiential learners can be reached through emergent technologies. Actually, it may be the only way to reach and teach these learners…

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Friday, December 01, 2006

Shift happens!

Shift happens!

What is the true meaning of “shift happens”?
The term “shift happens” refers to the work of Khun (1962) and the ideology of a paradigm shift. Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and fathered the concept of a "paradigm shift" (p.10). Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another". Simply stated, a paradigm shift is moving from the way it has always been done due to an “aha moment” or insight that dramatically changes ones way of viewing and doing things. Kuhn states that, "awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes of theory" (p. 67). Shift happens!

Why am I blogging about shift?
Because it happens or at least I hope it happens. Educators, technology is upon us and we can either embrace it or run from it. The choice of implementation is ours, as will be the results.

What is causing this shift?
Emergent technologies and Web 2.0 is causing the shift. The old archaic way of doing things must be left behind if we are to educate our students effectively for the 21st century and beyond. Educators and administrators have to get with the shift!

How do we embrace the shift?
Like Lewis and Clark, we have to start exploring and mapping the unknown by utilizing new technologies like blogs, wikis, podcasts, and moodles to create and maintain online learning communities for our students and teachers. A more precise example of the paradigm shift that is upon us can be found at a blog entitled “The Knowledge Tree” under the topic of Blogs and Community – launching a new paradigm for online community?. Nancy White submitted the post. Nancy is a well-known and highly respected e-facilitation and e-community specialist. Based in Seattle, USA, Nancy works internationally through Full Circle and Associates on a broad range of community development and facilitation projects. Additionally, 21st Century learning and Alabama Best Practice Center has some great presentations to help educators make the shift Click Here!

I’d like to thank Will Richardson for the term shift happens. I was reading his weblogg-ed blog and I stumbled upon his post about 2020 vision and he mentioned the term shift happens. What a great term! Also, before reading his post I hadn’t thought about this years kindergarteners being the class of 2020 or that we need 2020 vision to educate this group. However, if we are going to educate the class of 2020 and prepare them for the future we have to make a shift through emergent technologies. Isn’t it great to be alive today!

Reference: Kuhn, Thomas, S., "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Second Edition, Enlarged, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970 (1962)

(”Eye HD” photo by Gabsriel)

Thanks for stopping by!

William Bishop (Bill)