Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plugging Freetech4teachers Blog...and the Google Guide for Educators

I have found the Freetech4teachers Blog to be a bit overwhelming with the amount of content posted there regularly. However, I suppose information glut can be a good thing at times and the key is to skim and read sporadically rather than hitting every post. At least, that is my advice.

Richard Byrne has really done a good job of compiling resources. I particularly like his work to put together a guide to the Google tools available to teachers. With so many schools running Google Apps, this is a great resource for educators around the world.

I encourage you to peruse this blog. Tons of helpful resources are there. For example, Freeology offers printable resources like graphic orgnizers for teachers (see Byrne's blog post for more details). You can find virtual field trip resources and even links to tutorials like Mac for Beginners.

Make sure you are taking some time to explore the many tools available on the web to help students learn and make this type of professional reading part of your regular diet.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Inspiration from Joseph Linaschke

As we journey through life, we come in contact with phenomenal people from time to time. From my experience during the Apple Asia Distingushed Educator (ADE) training (#ade2010), I found Joseph Linaschke (@travel_junkie) to be one of those people. He is super-talented in a highly competitive and high skill field. During his time at Apple, he worked extensively with the development of Aperture, the professional grade of iPhoto, among his other projects. He currently runs and appears regularly on the This Week in Photography (TWiP) podcast.

He spent several days with our group, giving us photography tips, Aperture tips, and just generally spoke about many of his experiences. He has had a camera on his shoulder as long as he could remember and his experience and expertise shows. As I watched him interact with members of our group, he was unassuming and easily engaged in conversation. He engaged in the experience with us and helped us meet some of our project goals during the week. Some people that are at the top of their field come off as in a way that makes their work seem untouchable--never attainable. Joseph made it reachable for us...he encouraged us to give it a shot. I love photography and it is a growing interest. My level is low and interacting with someone at this high level could have easily discouraged me. My experience this past week inspired my creativity and motivated me to remove any limits I may have placed on myself.

As educators and leaders, we want to do this daily. Whether it is our students or colleagues, it is not about us. We want to inspire others to dream bigger and be better as a result of their interaction with us. I would venture to say that many ADEs will take away thoughts and tips that Joseph never intended to impart to us. That is part of phenomenal people--one walks away from the interaction getting much more than intended and the impact of the interaction lasts much longer than the time frame in which it actually occurred. For me, the 5 days will continue to extend by my reflection on how my interactions will impact others on a daily basis and how I can inspire the creativity I desire in others. And the beauty of a 2.0 world means that this may be done in person or in tools such as this blog. How about you? Do you inspire those around you to greater things?

Joseph took some of us on an optional photowalk around our hotel near the Singapore Merlion. Although I didn't have my Nikon SLR with me, I did take these with my older Sony H2. Thanks, Joseph, for the tips and inspiration!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Youtube Debut

If you are searching for videos, the first place most people go is Youtube. What will you find if you search for TCIS or GSIS? For Taejon Christian International School, you might find an old dance contest or a cheerleading video posted by some students, maybe even something that has nothing to do with our school. For Gyeonggi Suwon International School, you might find some training videos or some students making a newscast.

We want to promote our schools and make some of our media about our schools readily available so others can see the fantastic work our students are doing and the learning environments our faculty are creating.

We are debuting a TCIS Youtube account for the first time with a slideshow that will be embedded on the new Daejeon Techno Valley (DTV) campus blog. Subscribe to the channel to see future videos.

Thanks to some of my forward-thinking and acting colleagues, GSIS has been posting student work and activities on a Youtube channel for some time. We will continue posting media of student events here and letting people know what we are doing on this channel. We have also created an official GSIS Youtube channel and we hope to add some video content to it soon.

Check out these Youtube channels and see the learning taking place at TCIS and GSIS.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Missing the Boat on 2.0

I recently read this post on the Google blog. It is titled "A Serious Threat to the Web in Italy."

The short version...some school bullies beat up an autistic schoolmate. They posted the video to Google Video. Google was notified and took it down immediately...within hours of its original posting. A public prosecutor in Milan indicted 4 Google executives, none of which had any direct link to the Italian posting. A Milan judge convicted them. Needless to say, Google is putting its full weight into a defense and appeal of the decisions.

As I read this post, it was clear to me that some of the key people from the Italian justice system fail to understand the nature of Web 2.0 or our current world. We have to understand our context and so often those around us fail to realize the reality we live in. We live in a world of not just consuming media but producing it. A weakness of this environment is all the junk that is produced and put on the web. Thank goodness for the many companies that take down illegal or inappropriate content. However, to say they cannot even allow these posts to exist and to hold them responsible turns the focus from the real issue...changing the deviant behavior that produced the content. Are we working as hard to prevent the bullying of an autistic child as we are to limit the medium that allowed them to share their work?

If you take away one sharing option, another will rise up like the Hydra of Greek mythology. It's too late to stop the prevalence of transparency and posting of content to the world. We need to do everything we can to instill morals and ethics into our producers of content. It's a never-ending imperative and we will never get it perfect--but we must try.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Deep Breath...Cannonball!

SPLASH! My 3 year daughter has decided she loves to do cannonballs into the pool. She is pretty hilarious. She yells and takes a big leap, coming up smiling (most of the time). Because her sister wears goggles, she insists she needs them too although they do not keep out much water. We recently went on vacation and it was great to get our breath and just enjoy being together as a family and relax, mostly screen free for almost a week.

Life gets busy and we need balance. We need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually among other components. At different points, it is easy to focus too much on just one component and ignore the others. We should strive for balance. We preach it to our students, and we need to model it ourselves.

My brief hiatus from my blog has been a chance for me to catch my breath as we move towards the spring and end of year push that happens annually in schools. If you need a breath, take it. We all need to breath.

And after some refreshment, we can jump in and move ahead...Cannonball!