The Stick turns 3!

I told this story as my 10 minute TED talk at Learning 2.008. As September 19th was The Stick’s 3 year anniversary. The Thinking Stick turned 3 a few days ago and it’s hard to imagine that it’s been 3 years since I installed WordPress and just started writing. As I started looking back through those first posts I started thinking about the journey that this blog has taken me on. My first blog post was about a 5th grade classroom called the Polar Bear Class. The website no longer exists but this was my beginning into blogging. Talking about a class that was creating there own website. The website was not another subject, but was just what they did. It was apart of their classroom, it was a part of their learning. My first comment came on post #10. Made by a good friend who at the time was teaching in Dubai. It was at that moment that I realized people where reading, even if only my friends….people were reading. Post #14 Titled: Microwave Popcorn. One of the great first posts. Those of you that blog you know this post. The one that is going to get lots of comments. The post that will make people want to write, want to respond, want to engage in a discussion. The post talks about how technology works it’s way into our daily lives. How in 1982 I remember my father driving a combine in the Palouse all summer to save enough money to buy our first microwave and how today it is a part of every kitchen. My wife and I just moved to Bangkok, Thailand and our first major purchase…..a microwave. The post was great, well written, well scripted. Guess how many comments……0! Post #21 The Stick gets its first comment that is not from my friend Reece. The comment was left by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Little did I know at that time that Sheryl would become part of my learning network and over the next three years I would learn more from her about building virtual communities on the web than from anyone else. You see, The Stick was the start of our connection. Post #25 I recieve my second comment from someone other than my friend Reece. This one left by Dean Shareski. My favorite part of the comment was this: PS. Did you know your flickr zietgiest...

Read More

SLearning 2.008 Pre-Conference

Yes we try and make the Learning 2.008 Educational Technology conference a little different each year. We don’t just talk about changing the was we teach and learn, we try and model it as well. We don’t always succeed but it’s about taking risks and pushing ourselves as educators. We can not expect educators to go to a conference where we tell them that they need to take risks, learn something new, and reflect without us as conference organizers doing the same. We continue to try and do that sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding. We’ve already learned a lot this year about the hassle of trying to accept Credit Card payments. It’s not as easy as one might think and then put China on top of it and…well…let’s just say we took a risk and this time it didn’t pay off. But we learned something! We learned that Pay Pal is not the answer and that if we do continue the conference in the future we’ll have to rethink some things. We’re also rethinking how to hold a pre-conference. With over 150 teachers (at this point) flying in from all over the world for the conference during a school week we had to think about how we best utilize time. We wanted to run a pre-conference but found that many schools and educators weren’t willing to release teachers (or didn’t want to miss time with students) for a pre-conference day or two before the actual conference. David Gran one of the main conference organizers contacted Chris Smith who owns International School Island in Second Life. Together they’ve been working to create a SLearning 2.008 Pre-Conference not only for those who will attend the conference in Shanghai, but for all of you who want to participate virtually. Chris has created an amazing setting on International School Island in Second Life for our 3 pre-conference sessions. Below you will find the dates, times, and events. I hope you can make all three events, but I’d like to draw your attention especially to the third date, Sunday, September 14th. This event, one week before the “Real Life” conference will be an open forum for our Learning 2.008 Committee to meet and talk with participants. Note that this will be 9 PM Shanghai Time. Dates (Sundays) 31st August : Alan Levine (CDB Barkley); David Warlick (Suriawang Dapto) 7th September : Ewan McIntosh (Learning Loon)...

Read More

It's not about Web 2.0 it's about learning!

Today I had the pleasure of doing a short presentation for our IB Theory of Knowledge class. I was invited in to give a lesson on how knowledge is changing in the 21st century. My first thought was “How do I tell students knowledge has changed, when they already know that?” I set up 3 Skype accounts for students to login to and keep notes on. I did not want to only talk about how knowledge is changing I wanted them to experience it. To feel the power of collective note taking, the power of multiple perspectives on a subject or theory. The 3 Skype accounts where for 17 students making them anonymous. I figured that if they were  anonymous that the students would fell free to write more about what they were thinking, willing to take a risk and stretch their thinking. In the end the laptops didn’t have Skype installed (it’s part of our image but these were Science laptops and didn’t have the new image on them). But I did at the same time podcast the conversation (to be posted later) telling students that in this new world of knowledge, not only do you acquire it, but you then publish it for others to use as an information nod as well. I used George Siemens Connectivism Theory as a starting point and we went from there. I put together a little Wiki page for the students so as they do their homework assignment tonight they have the links that we talked about today. So here I was in the middle of teaching students about how knowledge has changed. How it is the connections that the Internet allows us to make that is changing knowledge and information acquisition, and at the same time thinking about the conversation that has been sparked by a recent techlearning post of mine. If you’re out of the loop on the conversation here’s a recap: 1. Fear Factor2. Teachers & Technology – a rant!3. Why teachers Don’t Use Web 2.0 – an historical perspective4. Why teachers Use Web 2.05. Stager, Logo and Web 2.06. Web 2 is Like Logo? And now this post. There are a lot of great quotes that I could take from all of these posts and they have all made me think. First off….logo? Seriously…I know the program was popular but I never saw it in school. I...

Read More

Recap of work

I swear I passed myself in the hallway today. The last two weeks have been a whirl wind but I wanted to take some time at 11pm tonight to actually reflect on the past two weeks and some fun and amazing stuff that is going on here. Last week I set up all 3 of my classes with a netvibes account (RSS reader). This week we started taking the first 10 minutes of each tech class to read through our feeds. We learned all sorts of stuff. A strange shark found off of Japan. Parents suing Myspace, we get the latest football and basketball scores from the guys and the girls give us the latest scope from the entertainment world. I allow the students to wonder away from tech in these 10 minutes although I always share something about technology to model what I expect. I see it as connecting, as gathering and reporting information. At first they were a little unsure about the whole netvibes thing. This week they are adding feeds left and right, reading, looking, interacting and today started responding to others. I’ve decided to do this backwards this time. Starting with RSS, then reading, then responding, then writing. It’s working I think as today every class asked me “When do we get our blogs?” so the interest is there. I did try and get the students registered with our WordPressMU installation today. But for some reason it wouldn’t let them register. There are 122 blogs registered at the site and I’m not sure what happened today. It said they had registered, but their blogs never showed up and the confirmation e-mails never came. Also over at our blog headquarters I successfully installed a plug-in that list the latest postings. So now when students go to the site, the latest 10 postings show up with the first 100 words. It’s fun to see an 11th graders post on the human brain, next to a 5th grade reflection of their day of learning. A great mix that I hope will see some cross river (our two campuses) and cross grade level comments. I also set up the 5th grade teachers with netvibes accounts and showed them how RSS works so they can easily monitor all 18 of their student blogs. They loved it and just kept saying how much of a time saver this was going to...

Read More