We are starting to get there.....

My goal with blogging is to try to flesh out ideas, cause people to think, and generally process my own thinking. But in this post I just really wanted to share this new tool from Mozilla Labs. I won't say anymore. Just watch:----UBIQUITY

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

All the extra connectivity could potentially be a security nightmare. But, I'm willing to "take one for the team" and try it out! :-) If it's as easy as the demo looks, things could get a whole lot more interesting.

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Like a fly drawn to the flames....

What's more intriguing than a "cult classic" video on YouTube? How about a live event with all your favorite YouTube "celebs!" I've been fascinated by the YouTube Live event that took place Saturday night. If you are a hardcore YouTuber, you would have appreciated all the inside jokes, videos, personalities, and dreams come true.

I only watched about fifteen minutes live, but enjoyed several clips the day after. According to the blog Digital Media Wire: " the show had about 700,000 simultaneous viewers at the peak of the event, according to NewTeeVee, and clips from YouTube Live have been viewed an additional2,5 million times in the immediate 24 hours afterwards." That's a lot of viewers! I wonder if my religion unit last week on the prophet Isaiah would draw that much? Probably not...

For me, the best performance came from a young man named FunTwo. He had been posting videos of himself playing guitar for a year or so... and he is REALLY good. During the live event he got the opportunity to play with metal, guitar legend Joe Satriani. What endears me to this story is that a young Korean kid goes to school in New Zealand, uploads videos of himself playing and is now jamming with a guitar virtuoso on a live international event.

I wonder talents our kids have hiding inside that the world is waiting to hear from? What thing are just swimming around in their heads waiting to get out? And what are we doing in schools that help students develop those skills?

I'm sure we can all do with a little less Fred, Charlie the Unicorn, and Will It Blend, but the one thing we should never do with out is providing opportunities for our students to be creative and inventive.

Just a thought...

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iBrain--Are we losing interpersonal skills?

I'm about half way through an interesting book called iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan (Thanks to Dave Black for mentioning it in a Twitter post).

Was intrigued to read that the technology revolution isn't the greatest thing to have happened to the human brain since sliced bread! The first six chapters outline volumes of research from universities, organizations, and foundations regarding technology use and its effect on the human brain. Frankly, the book puts forth some information that sounds a bit troubling. 

Hearing that technology use by young children causes underlying symptoms that are consistent with autism is very unnerving information to a technology coordinator. I've spent my 11 year career convincing teachers, administrators, and school boards that the computer and other technologies are such transformative tools that students shouldn't learn with out them!  Now brain research is telling use that we are causing autism, aspergers, ADHD, and ADD! Has our pendulum swung too far to the side of technology use, away from face to face interactions that we are raising up a generation with under developed interpersonal skills (making and maintaining eye contact with individuals; recognizing, analyzing, and deciphering body language cues; able to delay gratification; generally being a "people person")? 

Mind you, this research isn't based on anecdotal evidence and surveys, it's done by observation and repetition within the context of a PET scan or fMRI (functional MRI--where they can scan the brain in the process of working). That's hard to argue with.

Despite all the negatives, I'm not ready to to hang up the proverbial cleats yet!. The authors do go into great detail about the positives of the digital/media revolution, but they have strong words of caution.

 The book is not anti technology, but it brings up many great points that all teachers, parents, and concerned citizens should be aware of. The number one finding: BALANCE! 

God calls us as Christians to lead a balanced life! 

After googling "Living a balanced life" bible I stumbled on a blog post titled, "Living a Balanced Life" at http://everysquareinch.blogspot.com (Couldn't find the authors name to go with the blog).  More interesting than the blog itself where the comments.  Most of them revolved around the idea that balanced living is a matter of knowing God. Knowing God is tantamount to having a balanced life. The Bible doesn't spend much time calling us to live a balanced life, but rather calls us to know Christ. Isn't that what Jesus busted Martha for after her questioning of Mary? (In case you forgot the story)

SO.....here is what I'm taking away from iBrain so far:
  1. Technology is physically changing the brain in ways never before documented. The neural circuitry is physically being altered.
  2.  It's not always being altered to the best outcome of our society. Many of us are no longer developing the social, life skills we need to be successful (HOW you say something is just as important as what you say)
  3. We will never get away from living in community with one another. Not just a network, but a community (I think a community carries with it a lot more baggage than a network...the theme of another post). We need certain skills to function together in a face to face community that technology doesn't teach us.
  4. We have to help students learn to do both: Be learners in the technological/media context as well as interpersonal.
I'm excited for chapters seven and eight because they outline what we can do to help our brains balance a tech heavy load and bring balance! We'll see how this shakes out!

Photo used under a Creative Commons license:
alles-schlumpf, "alles-schlumpf's photostream." FLICKR. 10 SEP 2008. 24 Nov 2008 .       


As a student, I hated writing. I don't know what it was, but I've always had trouble putting my thoughts down in a timely manner. If you haven't noticed...or maybe you have...there hasn't been a post on TECHILC since September. It looks as if nothing has changed.

With that being said, there are 15 posts sitting in my account unpublished, waiting to be either finished (because drafting them took so long) or deleted. I've just been having trouble "pulling the trigger," so to speak, with the publish button! Does the article say exactly what I want it to say? Is everything worded correctly so as I am not misunderstood. Could I say something that could come back and "bite me." The saying that keeps coming back to me is:

Tis' far better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are fool, than to open your mouth prove them right!
Besides the nefarious spelling, grammar, and usage mistakes that I'm prone to make, there just the feeling that I don't want to come off sounding like an arrogant fool, which I'm sure I do every now and again...or a lot! Now I'm beginning to understand why some of my students hate to write.

Maybe there is some unconscious fear in publishing? Is blogging really just my thinking in a public place? Am I OK with that.....? Bob Sprankle addresses this issue with a Techlearning blog article, "I'm Still Rezzing"
Like it or not, much of our lives are now like those walls, whether by choice, or by chance: open to review and examination on the Internet.

On the positive end of the spectrum, an example of this may be how many of us are now learning in public in ways that were never before possible, through tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc. Though this approach of putting your learning out there for all to see can be daunting and challenging, I firmly believe the rewards are enormous. As a personal case in point, I believe that I am a better teacher by reflecting on my practice in public, opening up my professional development to a larger network of participants ---my learning network--- for feedback, challenges, and even accountability.
If that's the case...well, I'll just have to start pressing the Publish button again!

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