Category Archives: Uncategorized

The web will never replace human interaction

Restoration… Hagia Sophia scaffolding

Originally uploaded by annpar

Every day I’m reminded of the importance of the human presence behind the use of technology in teaching and learning. We need the good old-fashioned teacher to support the resource-based and student-centred learning more than ever. Before, during and after the research or learning process, we need, more than ever, the educator to explain, inspire, moderate, explain, encourage, supplement, support, explain …   Otherwise the joy and understanding will go right out of the student’s assignment and the student will loathe the assignment and loathe learning. These are my thoughts as a teacher, teacher-librarian and parent.

Here’s what someone else had to say  – scroll down to the halfway point.

It’s not a dichotomy – the old fashioned teacher and the 21 century teacher – it’s the same teacher.

#18 Grow knowledge


Originally uploaded by tsheko

I’ve planted my wiki seeds and I’m waiting for them to grow. I know it’s winter so I’ll have to be patient. Once the exams and report writing are over, I’m hoping to see the miraculous organism taking shape and increasing in size. My art wiki is in its formative stage. I’ve started the growing process by adding pages within topics and raising questions for discussion, I’ve emailed art teachers within and without my school, added a couple of artists and brilliantly creative people for a bit of spice, and it’s just a matter of time before the living organism I call my wiki starts to mutate. My wiki will be a classroom without a room, a global community of critical readers, bravely discerning correctness and relevance of information, sculpting information into knowledge. It’s just a matter of time…

In his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson imagines the possibilities of the wiki in the classroom – students could create book report wikis, what-I-did-this-summer wikis, brainstorming wikis, poetry wikis, notes-from-class wikis, year six wikis, history-of-the-school or community wikis, formula wikis, wikis for individual countries they might be studying, political party wikis, exercise wikis… and so on. As Richardson says, wikis are ideal for ‘whatever topic might lend itself to the collaborative collection of content relating to its study’.

If the blog fits

Perfect Fit

Originally uploaded by riverxan

The search for the perfect blog …

Now it’s easy to keep the blogs you want rolling in.  With a little help from Google blog search.

Not only can you do an advanced search for a blog using keywords of your choice, but you can also create an email alert for these blogs, add a blog search gadget for your Google homepage or subscribe to a blog search feed in Google Reader. You can even limit the search for blogs created in the last hour, last 12 hours, last day, past week, past month.

Just thought I’d let you know.

a small matter of perspective

Here’s an example of the way Facebook can broaden local perspective.

My older son is currently doing Year 12 IB (International Baccalaureate). He joined an IB related Facebook group (You Know When You’re in IB When …) , and read that northern hemisphere IB students had already finished. Thinking that he could attract some pity, he wrote that his end of the world had 6 months of IB to go.  Here’s his post:

Sasha Sheko (Ivanhoe Grammar School) wroteon May 15, 2008 at 9:29 PM

That’s right… You guys are done but us people in the Southern Hemisphere (i.e. Australia) have six months to go.

The response from an IB student in Lebanon took him by surprise:
(I had to conceal some language)

 Post #3

Omar ‘Boobass’ Boubess (American Community School Beirut) wroteon May 18, 2008 at 9:50 AM

holyy sh* so u guys take the november tests?? goodluck with that…if this could make u feel better there was a civil war here in Lebanon and we still had to make our way thru all the shellings and rpg’s (<< yes f*ing RPG’s) and get to school to take the test.. god bless IB 🙂

Yes, Omar, you win….

Shock reflection

Without warning a few minutes ago, I took one of those surprising memory trips that you’re not prepared for – the Proustian type – where something (smell, taste, tune) triggers a zooming back in time, recalling these experiences. But in this case it was a multiple zoom .  Reflecting about Web 2.0, and the alarming acceleration of technology in teaching and learning, I was transported backwards through all the stages of writing tools.

Some highlights (lowlights in some cases):

using dinosaur computers whilst translating German engineering content for a pneumatic tool company (memory: losing a whole day’s work regularly);

thinking that whiteboards were fantastic – no dust! (and then accidentally writing on the smartboards with normal marker with the whole class screaming in horror)

getting excited when I purchased an electric typewriter with a corrector ribbon!

getting red and black hands replacing a typewriter ribbon;

the excitement of my first ball-point pen;

slurping up ink from a bottle with my new fountain pen (and needing much blotting paper; remember the blue stain on the inside of the middle finger?)

(here’s a dinosaur:) starting off the day in grade 1 by drawing (or trying to draw) a perfect circle with chalk on a little blackboard and never being picked for display of most perfect circle.

And now for something completely irrelevant…

  1. Arezzo, Italy
  2. Ravenna, Italy
  3. Venice, Italy
  4. Blaubeuren, Germany
  5. Lausanne, Switzerland
  6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  7. Jordanville, NY, USA
  8. Redding, CA, USA

Why have I put this cluster map in you ask? A colleague was telling me she wanted to insert a cluster map (not travel) as a widget but that it wiped out the other things in the right hand column. I just wanted to know how to put one in so I made a new post.

I visited these places soooo many years (decades) ago. I haven’t actually stepped out of the country for so long. Really, it’s time to go again..

Things haven’t changed (much)#21

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Watch this government career film from 1946. Yes, the librarian's world has become a different place, but some things never change. Do you recognise the young man with the wide-eyed, hopeful face, confident that the librarian will make his book magically appear. 

Notice that all the librarians are women but the administrator is a man. 

Have a look at 11 other library YouTube videos

Brave new world

The title of Huxley’s Brave new world derives from Shakespeare’s The tempest.

I’m starting off esoteric to create an initial aura of mystique, but I suspect I’ll tire of this and drop the charade.

I’m using the ‘brave new world’ theme loosely – since I am not implying that our cohort is a hedonistic society, deriving pleasure from promiscuous sex and drug use (Huxley), nor that we are exploring the theme of art and illusion (Shakespeare) – but in the sense of blogging and Web 2.0 applications being new, and in the sense of me (us?) being brave by embarking on the journey.