Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Formats include: Flash, MP3 and QuickTime (so you can carry it with you on your iPod).
If you know of any other good resources, please send them my way. Students and I are working on a "Online Resource Wiki." We are looking solely at free content at this time.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Powered by Jott
Monday, December 03, 2007
For students looking to gain further insight into topics or to learn new concepts, this is a great option. I have lots of courses I want to take. ;) I am glad that MIT views education as open source.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sorry if you get tired of me ranting and raving about Google's applications. As I had previously thought, Google entrance into the mobile market is happening before our eyes. And the answer is "yes," I have been drinking the Google Kool-aid.
Thus far, I have used Gmail, Picasa and and Google-411 "on the go." For schools and nonprofits, they should seriously consider ditching Microsoft and using these, in my opinion, great products. Did I mention, Google's products are free (unless you upgrade storage space). Remember how Google makes their money, off of advertising. The fact that you will be viewing advertising should be weighed when making the decision. Another plus, the programs update automatically, since they are web based. At this point, if I had to pick between getting a really nice laptop or a mobile phone, get the phone. It is about time America goes mobile, since we are far behind Asia and Europe (that I know of).
This is of particular interest because people will be able to organize everything web based on the go (Google's Mobile Blog). No more hauling your laptop everywhere. If you want to see what Google programs are already mobile, click here.
As a side note, notice that the mobile version of these web based programs has a different web address. This is because a phone and a computer access different networks. Although many new phones come with Wi-fi capability, when you are on the go, you rely on the speed of your cellular carrier. All of these options can get confusing, but here is a quick video about how your phone connects (it is outlines a new product: My Location)
Monday, November 26, 2007
While this currently costs $400, it is sure to get cheaper in the near future. This product truly makes me feel like I am living in the age of the Jetsons.
To be fair, check out this review by Media 3.0:
Looks like you might want to wait until the 2nd generation readers hit the market. ;)
Monday, November 19, 2007
The following lesson is entitled: "Visions of the Future of Education". You can embed their lessons like this one:
Seems to be a great fit for Project Based Learning, being that teachers and students can view and even contribute content with Brain Honey's tools.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Another Google epiphany this morning. I am have been playing with embedding calendars into web pages and blogs using simple html code provided by Google. When a user is viewing their calendar, they can go to "settings" to see the code needed for embedding. Additionally, users can create separate calendars from their personal calendar and choose to make them public or private (by invite only).
For instance, you can check out my son's Hockey Team Blog, where I put their schedule in Google Calendar for all to see. While this is an experiment, I thought it would save time and convenience to have all the information in one place, rather than sending out piece meal emails. I can see this feature as a major tool for schools. The calendar automatically updates on the blog or site if updated or changed by the account user.
This ability allows left brained people like myself to stay organized. With Google's eventual mobile phone applications, all you will need is a cell phone to stay uber organized. Users can also choose to have event reminders sent to their email or mobile phone.
The follow video is a bit blury, but the audio is informative. If you want to check out more info, you can do a search for "google calendar" or check out the Google Calendar Home. If cost and convenience are two priorities, check it out.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I came to some personal realizations, thus opinions, the last two weeks about testing.
- Tests truly are written for white, middle class students (the monoculture phenomenon)
- It doesn't seem possible that the test scores of ESL students can be valid
- Snapshot (versus longitudinal) testing is simply a waste of time
- More and more teachers must feel the need to teach to the test
- If the time spent administering all the tests was put into another initiative, like peer mentoring for instance, it may be a better use of time by all
- Testing may or may not correlate with the student's potential
A bit synical, I know, but I had to get that off my chest. :) Now, do the best you can.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The nugget that I came away with is that as a state and nation, we need to start putting much more money into early childhood for all families. The rate of return on this investment has the potential to money later in life. The "birth to 5" initiative is one that I am fully on board with. Birth to age three seems to be the most pivotal years in a human being;s development, yet we don't invest anything when compared to what we spend on K-12 and Post Secondary Education.
Just a few thoughts... Read for yourself and hit me back for debate. If you have other good resources about educational programs that work, you can send me a comment below this posting.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Additionally, you can check out some more of what Google is up to with its upcoming Gphone. The buzz seems to be at a frantic pace as of late. You can read more about the Gphone at Last 100 Blog. Wikipedia is already buzzing with an explanation of this phone. That's right, Google Calender, Docs, Maps, along with Google's other web based services (nickname GoOffice) will be available on your phone. Rumor has it that it may even be free, with users viewing advertisements as a trade off to paid cellular service. With all of Google's services, there isn't much a person will need a laptop or desktop for. Count me in.
Google is making a big push in many facets of the technology world. Many are scared that they will turn into the next Microsoft. While I am skeptical of large corporations, Google has a different business model (Wikipedia link). It is hard to argue with Google's price to consumers, which is free for many of their products, since they generate revenue from advertising.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Special photo credits go to Rose and John. It was an awesome time to chat about our school community and project based learning.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
A Vision of Students Today
With a response by: Academia 2.0
Friday, October 19, 2007
For the National Public Radio story and audio, click here.
I got news that Minnesota New Country would be featured on "All Things Considered" today at approximately 4:37 p.m. Yes, thanks to my former co-worker Jim, I was anxiously awaiting the story about my former school. For me, this environment caused me to look at who I am and become a better person, along with becoming a better teacher.
As Larry Abramson of NPR points out, advocates for project based learning and different educational environments aren't claiming to be the sole answer to America's educational crisis. Rather, New Country offers and choice option for students in that vicinity that may have lost hope in their former educational environment.
One of the luckiest days in my life is when I walked into New Country for a clinical at MSU, Mankato. It felt like home. I still feel welcome every time I go back to visit. I am a bit nostalgic looking back on all of the stories that have driven me towards my goal in life as a kid; which was to make a difference in the lives of others. I have tremendous respect for the staff and students at Minnesota New Country. As a staff member at MNCS, we often laughed about the fact that people traveled so far to see us in action, when we had the same struggles that many organizations face. People are looking for answers and stories of success. The lesson here is that it is a fight to change convention.
I miss working at MNCS because we truly were a team (as is the staff I work with now). I hope that staff and students at the school realize how special the community is. I can't even count on two hands the number of inspiring people that I had the pleasure to call colleagues in this special environment.
The coolest thing that project based learning has to teach is that motivation and self awareness comes from within, for both students and teachers. Their is no secret formula to unlock what motivates all individuals.
Bless the innovators (including those who dreamed of MNCS and its new way of embracing learning). I believe in educational experimentation and MNCS' modo: "Learning by doing."
Monday, October 15, 2007
Time for me to admit to being naive. After teaching for two project based learning establishments (Minnesota New Country and EdVisions Off Campus) for the past four school years, I have been overly bias to PBL schools, especially high school. Understandably, I haven't gotten out enough into different educational circles. Recently, I have had the chance to mingle with the staff and students from Hiawatha Leadership Academy in Minneapolis. It has done wonders for me to step outside what I know.
Hiawatha Leadership Academy has done a remarkable job of getting the word out, enrolling over 200 students in their first year. They did this the grassroots way by hitting the pavement. The challenge of opening a school is truly a remarkable effort.
This extended day program involves an intense commitment from their staff. Hats off to them for taking on the challenge of tackling the achievement gap among inner city students.
If interested, check out articles by Minnesota Public Radio and the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
As an educator and citizen, I think it is important for students and teachers to discover their optimal learning environments. One of the main reasons I am such a big fan of charter schools is that they seem more willing to take risk and experiment with different ways of delivering education. Personally, I wish that I would have had so many choices when I was a student four score and seven years ago.
Getting ready to turn on the heat,
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Thought I would fill all of this serious, education/technology talk with a little personal information about our newly acquired Nintendo Wii (still tech related, I guess).
Cain (my son) and I have been dreaming of getting a Wii after talking with friends that had one. He wanted a XBox 360, but I told him, "son, lets hold out for a Wii." We walked into a Game Crazy and asked "Do you have any Wii's?" one random Sunday before we headed back to school. We assumed the typical "no," since we had asked many times before with "get real" like responses at many different retailers.
Thus far, we have had our Wii about 1 1/2 months and we love it. It is a addicting and a great stress reliever. There are all kinds of extras that come with it, too many to list. A couple include the ability to download most old Nintendo System games, as well as an Internet browser (cost's point = $). We only have the game the comes with the system, Wii Sports (Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf and Boxing). Cain and I both dig tennis.
If you get a chance to try a Wii, check it out. They are hard to find right now, but are quickly beginning to outsell PS3's and XBox 360's. The game play is more of what I was looking for.
And that concludes the video game portion of the program.
Enjoy raking leaves,
Monday, October 08, 2007
While I have spent some time playing around in Second Life, I feel like there will be much better possibilities ahead in future virtual worlds. SL (Second Life) is busy making its own improvements. I haven't tried out the new voice feature.
If you know of any worlds that you could personally recommend, leave me a comment. I may be looking at testing this out with interested students before the year is over. Web conferencing with students is nice, but being inside a virtual world, I feel, would be much more engaging.
This subject is of particular interest to me, because two years ago, I had two seniors (Rob and Seth) doing their senior projects on making education more engaging. They argued that they go home at night to play video games online, participate in actual learning and meet people from all over the world. Their ideas was to get education to be more engaging using technology. Two years ago, I thought this was still a long way off, but I was wrong. All we have to do now is reprogram those educators that proclaim that education = pain!
To a pain free, engaging education,
While being on the Community Building committee at EOC (with my esteemed colleague Mike), I have been racking my brain, thinking of ways for students to get to know each other. We have a school newsletter, this blog (which will get rolling, I promise), email lists and an instant messaging client. None of them seems to be fulling that social need to meet others.
In comes our very own social network, that I got free of charge from Ning. There are many early adapters. Students, as normal, have been much better beta testers than adults. I would divulge our address to join, but we are keeping it for our community only, which is the beauty of Ning.
My positives are many. Students are used to this environment and many have taken great pride in how their profile looks (using html skills from MySpace and Facebook). The main gripe I have so far is that I don't have a way to control passwords and usernames as an administrator. Students forget their passwords and come looking to me to help them, but there isn't much I can do.
It has been fun for our students, who live across the state of Minnesota to use a Web 2.0 technology for school related work.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Reason number 419, I am a Mac user, but use Windows on a daily basis (I have a Macbook Pro with an Intel chip). Instead of logging into the separate computer operating systems for documents or storing files in my email, I just save it in my Google Docs, and it is always there.
Being that our students use project based learning, Google docs has been effective as a checkoff tool. If I need students to get certain tasks done, I put them in a spread sheet and "x" off when they get things done. I just resend the spreadsheet (no attachment needed) in an email until they get it done. I have even trained a few students to keep me in line, telling me "give me an x, I have that done."
The cool new development is that Google has added a Presentation creation and upload capability. And, of course, it is web based.
Let me lastly say, in this post, that I am merely sharing my viewpoint and experiences with Google's products as and educator and a technologist. I do not receive anything currently if you click on links (although this is something I can do in the future, but Google is very peculiar about placing links in a dishonorable manner).
So what does this mean? Organizations do not have to pay expensive software fees that (cough, cough) some companies have had a "so called" unfair advantage in customers. No more Microsoft Office for those willing to take the leap. All of the Google programs allow the user to save things in many formats, including Windows formats.
If my explanation doesn't work, just check out this video:
Thanks for reading/watching,
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By now, some people may be getting sick of my Google ramblings, but just in case that isn't the case, I have a quick story how Google is saving people money (I know they are getting richer, believe me):
I know a lawyer in the Brainerd area that used to pay $3000 annually to have his "web page" searchable on the site, www.findlaw.com. For the $10 sign up fee using Google, I will be making him a custom URL site that will more informative, give he and his employees email accounts, calendars, docs and spreadsheets, chat and a customized start page (all web based and accessible from any computer, whether a Mac, PC or Linux OS). That is right, $10 (not including paying me to set it up). In turn, I can teach him to update his page if he likes, and he doesn't have to worry about a redesign every year or so. Now, the sites don't have crazy Flash graphics or PHP, but they make him easy to find the first place people look, on the web. We will do some experimenting with Google Adwords (to see if we can get some additional traffic looking at his site (which I can follow with a web analytics product).
People think that I am really smart technology wise (I know I still have a lot to learn), but I have figured most of this stuff out playing around, using trial and error. I like Google products because I think that it helps almost anyone look technology savvy.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Virtual worlds are being developed as we speak. The game Second Life is gaining a lot attention, and I have been "in world" about five times thus far (Gary Gynoid is my character. I find it funny that there is debate about Second Life being a competent technology. Virtual worlds are multiplying daily. If you don't believe me, check out this review on all the different virtual worlds by categories.
As I often state, it is of great importance that we don't look at emerging technology with our "this is the way education has always been" glasses. Technology has already drastically changed the institution know as "school." And... will continue to do so. Student live in this wired world. A world that I think will eventually change the role of teachers.
Personally, I am excited for the future. Excited that my sons will be able to collaborate with a fellow student in China by simply turning on their computer. What's next? I will try to keep my ear to the ground.
Keep those minds open,
Monday, August 06, 2007
I can update you on a few of the things I have been up to, which pertain mostly to Google Applications. (Google Apps. for those in the know)
At the end of July, I did a presentation with Nick Ryan (a fellow teacher at MNCS) at EdVisions Summer Institute concerning collaborative technology. You can check Nick's thoughts out here. If you want to check out some of the web-based software we played around with, click here.
Additionally, Cain, Broden and I spent 16 days in Florida. While we were there, besides mowing lawns and enjoying utter relaxation, I build a website using Google Apps. for my friends Chris and Colin. You can click here to check out the simple site. For $10 I was able to buy the domain, build a site and get up to 200 web based (gmail) accounts, as well as a few other features. Put Outlook to bed I say. Of course I had to purchase http://www.aarongrimm.com also. ;)
Right now, I am having a lot of fun with Google Documents, which looks like a simplistic piece of software at first glance. I keep discovering new things you can do with it. The collaboration possibilities and ease of use for websites makes this a great discovery.
School is rapidly approaching, the summer is flying by. I will try to get back into the swing of things for the school year.
P.S. Enjoy this slide show made on Picasa of a day at the Water Park in Florida.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
You simply customize the gadget with your taste, then copy and paste the html code into your page.
Here is an example of a virtual fish tank:
Friday, June 15, 2007
"LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project."
All of the books are easy to listen to. You can download audio files to iTunes or as mp3's. Or, if you like, you can stream directly from the site. A teacher can now assign students to listen to Romeo and Juliet on their iPod.
I learned about this site from an emagazine that I subscribe to called: "Learn Out Loud." This is a mega site for audio books, podcasts, mp3's and video that can be used for education. The content is a mixture of free and fee based. Personally, I have been checking out the technology and politics sections.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
If you know me, you know I am not a big fan of Microsoft products. I thought, to be fair, I should let you know about their latest innovation, the coffee table computer. It will only be sold to companies, rather than individual consumers upon release late in 2007.
Now, I think it is interesting to note the look of this new device/piece of furniture (looks very Appleish to me). Also, Microsoft is supposedly making all the parts to outfit this device, rather than farming parts to the cheapest bidder (an Apple practice). I first heard about this device on NPR, but have since done a bit of researching. Pretty neat, even for Microsoft. I could see this being used in a school environment.
This video from Youtube is courtesy of: Phonescoop
I have had my Wing for over two weeks now, and I have to say that I like it a lot. I would like it even more if I didn't have to use Windows, being that I am a Mac person. I can't wait for the iPhone to come out, but I don't want to fork over the money, or pay to switch cell carriers.
I have argued with many people on whether mobile technology will rear its head in education, which I believe it will. Internet technology is creating more and more information on demand. Here is an example in France where people can learn English using their phones. I have heard that China is taking advantage of this technology too. Do a simple search for "learning english on a phone" and you will be amazed.
Mobile technology is another example of a technology tool that can radically change the way education is delivered. The problem I sometimes encounter in educational conversation is that people view current technology with past experience and past frames, rather than trying to be creative and say "what if...?" Although, I am hopeful and committed to seek out new ways of doing things. ;)
Questions? Let me know.
One of the current products of particular interest (although they are all interesting to me) is the Google Voice Local Search. Essentially, this can replace the service 411 that costs the user money. Although it is still in its experimental stage, I did find the top 8 coffee shops in St. Paul. It was a little rough when I asked for Dunn Bros. and they connected me to Dunkin Donuts. When I finally found my destination, I said "text message" at the end, and I was sent the address, phone number and Google Map URL of the location. On my phone, I clicked the link and was given a map of my new location. Pretty cool, especially since it is free.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Thinking of getting a blog going? I have used both Wordpress and Blogger, and I have to say I like them both. Both are free.. Wordpress is clean and allows users build sites that look professional. Blogger, Google's blogging platform is easy to learn.
There are many options now for blogging. You can now even buy web domains easily for $10/year through Google here. I recently purchased aarongrimm.com, but haven't done much with it yet. I guess I just wanted to say I have it. ;) The amazing this is, you can use that custom domain with your blog, so your address is personalized, rather than the blogspot address.
Hope you liked the post. You can check out Ruby's portfolio blog here.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
I think I owe a few catch ups. I guess I should confess about what has been keeping me busy, besides having two boys and being a teacher. I have been looking hard the use of virtual worlds in education. If you haven't heard of Second Life, look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself "Have I been living under a rock?" Also, there are two virtual worlds that I know of that are in development for academic purposes, the Croquet Project and Multiverse. All three virtual worlds are free to join, so play around.
Additionally, I also have been checking out Wordpress, which I have found to be an impressive blogging site.
There are a couple more performances, but I need permission to post them. Also, I will try to have the Senior Presentations up soon too!
Good day to you.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
After reading this, my brain has been going non-stop about the possibilities: Future Learning Environments.
This article not only broadened my mind as a teacher, but taught me history about the Wilson Campus School, located in my home town of Mankato, MN. For more on the Minnesota Experimental City, see this Wikipedia link here.
Not to get to philosophical on you, but I pose this question: What is a school?
My definition is quickly changing, but still centers around educating future citizens to think critically. Technology is changing things at a rapid pace and students are up to the challenge. As teachers, we need less of the status quo and more pushing the envelope. I am trying to keep my foot on the accelerator.
I should have a lot to write about after three days in New Mexico at the National Charter School Conference. I do, I do! Now I just have to find the time.
Here are some sessions I attended:
- Advocacy: How to Get What You Want Without Becoming a Bully (Antita Mendosa, Amerischools; Russ Moore, Seamless Education Consultants; Marta Reyes, California Department of Education; John Thatcher, Connections Public Charter School)
- Education Excellence Through One to One Computing (Brian Schmitt, NComputing)
- Toward Next-Generation Charter School Legislation (Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform; Phil Andrews, Charter School Solutions, Inc.; Sara Mead, Education Sector; Todd Ziebarth, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)
- Building a Taxonomy of Public Charter Schools: The First Step Toward "Apples to Apples" Research (Ginny Blankenship, Charter School Policy Institute; Ted Kolderie, Education/Evolving; Mark Van Ryzin, University of Minnesota)
- Race, Class and School Reform (Dianne Piche, Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights; Lucretia Peebles, Loyola Marymount University)
- Charter Schools and Unions: Can They Get Along? (George Fatheree, California Charter Schools Association; Steve Barr, Green Dot Public Schools; Jonathan S. Gyurko, United Federation of Teachers; Dan Quisenberry, Michigan Association of Public School Academies; Lydia Rainley, Center for Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington)
- Getting in the Political Trenches: Recruiting and Financing Candidates for Public Office (Jon Schroeder, Education/Evolving; Jim Griffin, Colorado League of Charter Schools; Ember Reichgott Junge, former in State Senator/former House of Representatives candidate; Andy Rotherham, Education Sector; Greg Brock, All Children Matter)
- Cyber Charter Myths and Realities (Barbara Dreyer, Connections Academy; Allison Perz, Ohio Council of Community Schools; John Watson, Evergreen Associates, Inc.)
Above: Ted Kolderie accepting his award. Below: Photo opp. with D.J. Howard Fuller.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
As if Google needs me advertising for them... They are amassing an impressive line-up of free web based software thus far:
- Gmail - email (separate from the below accounts) - has built in IM for fellow gmailers
- Blogger - blogging software
- Calendar - links to gmail and you can share your calendars with others.
- Docs and Spreadsheets (with presentation software soon to follow) - allows you to save to the web in your account. You can collaborate and let others view your document using a web address.
- Notebook - can take notes in a web based environment
- Orkut - extensive social networking program
- Page Creator - easy to build websites with templates built in
- Picasa - online photo editing (easy for embedding using html)
- Google Talk - instant messaging, video chat and allows users to leave voicemail in place of text (while still an email message)
- Google Video - includes searchable videos from YouTube being that Google bought the site
What does this mean?
In my opinion, Google will make it possible to ditch expensive operating systems like Windows and Mac make that we all pay big bucks for. All a person will need is a web browser and a connection to the Internet to do all the things Windows and Mac make you pay expensive licensing fees for. Google is truly cutting edge and will hopefully save us all money.
Last school year, I had two students (Rob and Seth) base their senior projects around much of Mark Presky's ideas and opinions. The students would make comments like "Why doesn't education use gaming?" and "Why don't my parents understand why technology shouldn't be feared?." The concept of both of their projects was to prove to my previous school (Minnesota New Country) that kids need to be surrounded by technology for them to be engaged in learning. I can honestly say that I learned as much, if not more than my students from their work. (It is important to note that technology is a tool and doesn't replace content) More technology doesn't scare me. Does it scare you?
It is hard to argue that the Internet, as we know it, is changing quickly. We are going from the information age to the networking age. It is now possible to collaborate with people around the globe, as long as they have an Internet connection. Education is changing as we know it too. Experimenting is taking place and the "traditional" ways of delivering education will surely change.
This is a wordy entry today, but thanks for sticking with me.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I had the pleasure to meet the editor (Tom P. Abeles) this morning at a discussion on "Rethinking Public Education," but on by Growth and Justice.
It was a worthy discussion that brought together voices from all over the education community.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Even if you don't go to EOCHS, feel free to share.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
What other technology would you like to see in education? (feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the post).
Just for fun, check this out:
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
See in you cyberspace,
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Although this website will not get you a degree, you can use this site to study topics that you need to delve into for graduation standards. The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) website is part of the open source movement, to make information available to all. There will be more to follow about cool open source sites.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Please take some time to fill out this survey for our sponsor, Volunteers of America. Copy and paste these questions into a Word document or an email and just fill in your answers. Please let me know email@example.com that you completed the survey.Completed surveys can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(If you show your advisor this completed survey, you may be able to get lifelong learning credit if you discuss)
· What kinds of learning activities take place in this school? Describe a typical class.
· What are you learning?
· How responsive are teachers to student needs?
· Can you share some samples of your work from different classes?
· Why are you attending this school?
· How is this school different from others which you have attended?
· What are the most important things about this school?
· Do you feel safe in this school?
· In what ways do students have ownership of the school?· Name one thing you like and one thing you dislike about the school.
While checking my email this morning, I ran across this site that seems quite interesting. I am going to play around with it, but I wanted to share it. Write ToMyBlog is a free web based word processor. You can do all sorts of fun things with it, copy the html code and paste it into your web site or blog.