Friday, January 22, 2010

A Wiki Adventure

I recently had the opportunity to get an iPhone. After using it for nearly a month, I have found it to be a great tool for me and supports my mobile life of working between 2 schools. Overall, it is a very impressive little gadget. One of the great things about the iPhone is the apps available to do various tasks. One commercial I saw for an iPhone stated there was an app for nearly everything. From my experience and searching the App store, it seems pretty true. At the same time, it can be a bit overwhelming.

A few months ago, I read a blog post by Jeff Utecht which referenced a wiki as putting something out there and just letting others run with it to see what develops. Another article I read this week discussed "crowdsourcing".

In an effort to sort through the many iPod Touch & iPhone apps, I started a wiki that is open to anyone to compile your favorite apps, a short review/description, and the price. We consume so much on the internet but perhaps this a place you can contribute. For some of you, you regularly interact with sites like this. For others, you'd rather stay away. What do you think? Why don't you give it a try and note your favorite apps? Be a contributor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Relevant Learning

School must find ways to engage students in relevant ways. A colleague recently pointed out this website which turns a variety of topics among many core subjects into rap music. It is called Rhythm Rhyme Results. Not only does it take concepts and information and put it to lyrics that can be recalled more easily, but it actually has different versions of songs at different paces and with blanks to allow the learning process and scaffolding to occur. You do have to pay for the service but the website says much of the music is available for download via iTunes or Amazon. I didn't listen to all the music but it seemed like a neat concept and innovative way to engage students. Perhaps it is worth checking out for something you are teaching...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


It is easy to get enamored with gadgets. Tech rumors abound with speculation of the iSlate or whatever they will call the Apple tablet. New software apps come out all the time. It is easy to dissolve into following the glitz and trends, losing sight of the goal. So what is the goal?

Well, that depends on you. If it is a hobby, then maybe the latest and greatest is for you because it's fun. However, may be it is about how technology can make you better. Better at what...well, anything. I like to see ways that use technology tools as just The other day when I was in a grocery store, I need a food item translated to Korean. My iPhone allowed me to download a translation app and get it translated immediately for the shopkeeper in the store. I call family members on Skype and talk on the computer without the cost of long distance phone calls. Those are examples of technology working for me. I have seen people lose hours of time to Facebook and other attractive but overall pretty meaningless surfing. (Please note: Facebook can have value--it is up to the user what the value is and how it is used so I'm not anti-Facebook.) Technology can be a distraction. The point is this...

If you are just following ever-changing technology and gadgets, you may be working for the technology. Let the technology work for you. Even in having fun, use stuff that benefits your life and others. Look for ways to benefit what you do or transform what you do. Let the technology work for you rather than vice-versa. I like the new shiny objects too but don't get lost in the hype.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

As we enter the new year, it is the time of lists and reflections. Check out the ads that show up on webpages or article headlines--best of this, worst of that, top 10 of 2009, etc. We too often omit the very important time of reflection in so many areas of our lives. Holidays and events like the new year help us remember their importance. As we embark on a new semester, I hope that you will reflect. To help you along, consider some of these questions:
  • What do I have to celebrate from 2009?
  • How have I been blessed in 2009?
  • Are my priorities in the right order and perspective?
Reflection is not relative to others, but at the same time, I can't help but think of my situation in light of others. I have food, shelter, heat in the winter, a retirement plan, toys for my kids, a great family, colleagues & friends that care about my well-being...I could go on. So many people in the world don't have even one of these things. I am blessed and I have much to celebrate. It makes 2010 look like a great year to invest in others and share so many blessings with others. I pray that I will be successful to do just that.