Thank you, Steve!

The world  lost a true visionary on Oct. 5th with the passing of Steve Jobs.  Yesterday I took one of the apple stickers that came with my new Imac (yippee!) wrote “Thanks Steve” and put in on the window of my classroom door. Why? Students entered my room, saw the Apple apple and wanted to know what it was all about so I shared this video with them.  I think it is important for students to understand that it took some real “out of the box” thinking by a bunch of visionaries to get us where we are with the use of technology.  I told them a story about my elementary school Macintosh computer experience in 1981: 275 students, two computers, students signed up to use a computer for 15 min./ month.   Computer use in my school in 2011: 300 students, completely 1:1, students use computers all day/everyday and some bring them home to use as well. One of his best quotes:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Evaluation of Partnership for 21st Century Skills

I am impressed overall with the mission and framework outlined on the “P21.org” website.  I could not find much that I could not agree with however I noticed that items listed under “21st Century Support Systems” are not all realistic give todays current financial situation and how this has affected many schools.  The item Allow equitable access to quality learning tools, technologies and resources sounds like a great idea but how do school districts make this happen?  True there are state and federal grants out there for just about anything these days but allowing equitable access to any educational resources seems to be a definite challenge faced by educators and school leaders.  One criticism I have on the information I found that relates to my state and “Route 21” is that it is four years old.  That’s like 20 years in terms of  technology change.  My state needs to get updated info. on the current status of this program.

Google Doodle for Jim Henson’s 75th

I consider myself fortunate to share the same birthday with one of the most creative minds of the 20th Century. Who? Jim Henson of course. The “Muppets” Master would have been 75 on September 24 (me, only 40).  In celebration of this event Google and Henson Company collaborated to make a doodle that users can make their own puppet show with. Here’s the link to the YouTube vid:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwKVnrLCkuk&feature=related and here’s an example of what users can do 

Applications for learning

Are you using puppets and/or puppet theaters in your classes?  Do you see an application for this in reading, foreign languages, etc?

My students use puppets and a small puppet theater for short videos in the target language.  Using the program PhotoBooth or iMovie they can make creative backgrounds (talking in front of the Eiffel Tower or sitting on a roller coaster) and have these skits be funny, interesting and visually appealing, oh yeah, and they’re speaking the language the whole time!

CEPARE and Maine’s 1:1 Laptop Program

I just saw a great presentation from the people at CEPARE (center for education policy, applied research and evaluation). The presenters were David Silvernail and Kika Stump and it focused on the research they have done identifying high achieving and more efficient schools in Maine. Here’s a link to their site http://usm.maine.edu/cepare and here’s a link to a recent article on the evaluation of Maine’s Laptop Program http://usm.maine.edu/cepare/middle-school-one-one-laptop-program-maine-experience that I found on their site as well. I’d like to hear from Maine educators on what exciting things they are doing with laptops in 1:1.