He if you can think it, you can speak it!

Ran across this post from Stephen Downes about a device that can capture nueral impulses sent the vocal chords and interprets them according ot 150 preprogramed words that are then retransmitted as speech. So...if you think about saying it, the computer will say it! It's obviously in its infant stages, but how cool is that? The below video was taken from a recent Texas Instrument conference in Dallas this year. Created by a company called Ambient, it has tremendous promise for those suffering with ALS or other degenerative diseases that affect the vocal chords.

But....like all good inventions, it's a bit depressing to think about how our depraved world will misuse this one! For example, I was really excited when the MS Surface computer came out. I was telling everyone how cool that would be to use in the classroom for virtual math manipulatives, painting, photograph, etc. Then in a comment on the video some guy wrote, "They say there is a camera underneath the surface that reads where your fingers are on the screen(?)....so does it record your fingerprint(?), is that fingerprint sent to some database?Who gets hold of that info? Seems your movements can be tracked 24/7 if you keep using these things." Wow...thanks for ruining that invention for me dude!

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One of the areas schools have tried to stay away from, and churches for that matter, is doing business with people, like a business. I've heard many a congregation member scream, "This isn't a business, it's a church!" Especially when it comes to the matter of internal infrastructure, money management, and the effective distribution of resources.

Now we could debate the merits of having congregational meetings every other month versus utilizing an administrative board to make decisions. Or how much oversight a school board should have over an administrator. Many of you could probably argue one side or the other very eloquently.

I do think however, teachers could learn a little bit from the executive world about how to run their classrooms. I know it's a pretty bold statement, but one that I think deserves a little fleshing out. This is especially true when utilizing technology to reshape "teaching" for the 21st Century! As the Ed. Tech. community spends time and energy focusing on how to prepare students to be 21st century learners, we should be equally on task (if not more) talking about what do great "teachers" in the 21st century look like. Because it's those 21st century teachers who are teaching, facilitating, and mentoring our learners.

Below is a link to an interveiw with J.P. Rangaswami from the FASTforward Conferene (a leading business and technology conference here in the US). http://www.fastforwardblog.com/2008/02/21/jp-rangaswami-cio-british-telecom/

I especially liked his ideas about control. The same thing could be said about classrooms. Innovation shouldn't be seen as a loss of control, as long as it achieves it set goals. Because a teacher's classroom is a little more noisy and more inquiry-based, doesn't mean she's lost control. On the contrary, there may be more "control" their than the average person recognizes.

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Spring Break!! AAAHHHH......

Most people revel in Spring Break...or any break for that matter, but I often spend my breaks catching up. While I've been working in the classroom there are blogs not getting read, or when I'm participating in my personal learning community, there is school work that needs attention. It's a labor of love!

Having online A.D.D doesn't help either. There were 364 new blogs sitting in my reader waiting to be skimmed and I've only managed to get through FOUR before stopping to add a FeedJit widget to my blog and waste 30 minutes clicking on links. Some 147 of the posts are from Stephen Downes OL Daily feed and I'm afraid to start reading them for fear of spending two hours listening to a conference sectional on Connectivist learning theory (of which I am believer in).

Skimming...a skill that has become really helpful! Or should I call it: hunt, kill, and devour. That's how I've been consuming most of my information lately. Let me search for what I want, skim it for key words/facts/points, and then move on. I've even noticed that my online research skills work in the REAL library:
Over this summer, we will to have to refinish our back deck. It is a massive beast, and neither my wife nor I are looking forward to it. The main problem is that it has some boards that are badly in need of replacing. Not a problem, I built the deck on my last home, how hard can this be? The problem is, the decking is made of 2x4's standing on edge. How do you replace a board that is nailed horizontally to five other 2x4's? No Sweat! I'll go online and surely there is a contractors forum or google/yahoo usergroup for this kind of stuff; I'll us my "expert search" techniques and have a plan formulated so that on June 1st, we are ready to go. Wow...can I tell you that I couldn't find squat about "on edge 2x4 decking." After trying every search term, term combination, term variation, I gave up. The stark realization was that I didn't have the vocabulary skills needed to even begin searching. Without proper terms, search was useless. So I did what I hadn't done in about 15 years....I went to the public library! To make an already too long story shorter, I spent 20 minutes finding the books I needed and about half that time skimming their indexes (which by the way where useless), tables of contents, and pages for topics, keywords, and pics that would give me somewhere to go. The only thing I got was the phrase "on edge." Which was not previously one of my search terms.
The point of that story was how the online skill of skimming content transferred over into the print media. I shouldn't have been suprised, but I was none the less. That skill for me is turning out to be so valuable and the worst part is that I can't quite figure out HOW I developed it (other than just shear volume and time)? Could students be taught to duplicate it? How many wasted hours will students spend trudging through hoards of junk just to find one nugget of truth only to find it isn't really the truth? This sounds like a very real and strong connection between study skills and literacy skills.

Well...with those blogs staring at me, I had better get reading....or should I say...skimming :-)

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Sorry the RSS Worksheet!

After setting Google Docs to publish my "are you paying attention" worksheet to my blog, it dawned on me that wasn't a great idea. There are 22 people reading my blog...or listening to my non-existent podcasts...that will look at the worksheet and go "what?" Sorry about that! I had not yet published to my blog from Google Docs and wanted to give it a try. Thanks for your patients.

On the non-apologetic other side, the video is great to use with Middle School kids as an introduction to Copyright, Fair Use, and Public Domain. I originally got there from Wes Fryers PBWiki Copyright page.

The video was created by Eric Faden of Bucknell University and is posted on the The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) website from Standford Law School. It uses scenes from Disney films to tell the story of copyright. How ironic because Disney is most likely the worst business in America when it comes to safe-guarding intellectual properties.


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Copyright and Fair Use--Thing for students to think about!


Copyright Definition:

Copyright is a __________ fixed _______ ________in some form that can be ________ or heard

Only the ______________ _______________ has the right to __________ their ____________.

It is _____________ to use a coyright work without being granted ____________ by the

___________ _____________.

Anyone who threatens the copyright of an owner has __________ _________ __________.

You'd better be able to __________ for that copyright ______________.

What things can be copyrighted:





you CAN NOT copyright an _______

Culture thought it would be __________ to limit the power of a _________


You can only __________ the _______ an _________ takes.

Copyright Duration & the Public Domain:

A copyright only ________ for a fixed amount of _________

For example, a copyright may originally last for ______ ___________

The ________ thought that would be long enough for a copyright _________ to make _________ off of their work.

After _____ years, that copyright work will enter the __________ _________.

Works in the _________ _________ are free for _________ to use!

The ________ _________ is essential because our culture created _______ ideas by building on earlier works.

So the public domain is necessary for a living thriving society.

Unfortunately, copyright law is getting longer and their seems to be no limitation on how long a copyright can last.

Currently, a copyright lasts a _________ plus __________ years

A company's copyright can last over a __________ years

Fair Use

There are ____________ on copyright law.

Fair use are limitations on copyright.

You can ____________ a small amount of copyright work for __________________, ___________________, ____________,

and _____________________.

Guidelines that demonstrate fair use: the ______________ of the work borrowed, _____________ you borrowed,

_______________ ________________. doesn't change the original works value in the _________________.

Fair use is not a right, only a legal, defensable position.