Saturday, July 19, 2008

Learning preferences

As I'm thinking about my 15 year old son taking an online math course (geometry), it led to thoughts of how people learn best. Personally, I love online courses, having taken at least 20 throughout my undergrad and graduate degrees. It was not, however, the best learning environment for Devin.

It's tough to try to learn a new math without the benefit of interaction, as pointed out by my friend Joe. Part of the learning process is listening and asking questions, as well as answering questions for others. It is surely a benefit for Devin, though, because if you can pass online geometry then you can do algebra 2!

I began thinking about how I learn best. I think I prefer a set of basic rules, then I use that framework to solve a problem. This works great in math, which is all rules, and English, which is greatly dependent on mechanics. Not so much in history, which is maybe why I didn't like the subject as much.

How do others learn best? I'll be taking advantage of one of the many multiple intelligence surveys out there to ask my 8th graders how they feel they learn best.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Today was the first day of the AVID Summer Institute. I was delighted to see friends from my school, friends from other schools, even an intern from our science department that is a teacher now.

AVID is a program with a mission. Paraphrased, AVID strives to make college a reality for the forgotten middle. So many federal programs are focused on moving up the lowest 25% of students, and the top 25% will likely continue being the top 25% without much work, that the middle quartiles seem to be forgotten, just drifting along with no one to bother them. (The AVID literature spoke of the "extensive" gifted programs as well, however anyone that works with the gifted knows that they are possibly the most forgotten of all when it comes to meeting their needs...but I digress).

One of the key features of AVID is to equip kids for college by teaching them organization. HERE is where the rant comes in, and here is where I will collect my thoughts before petitioning our principal. As we dove into our clunky AVID manual, we were instructed to place sticky notes on pages 45, 64, 83, etc. We were told to highlight the fourth line of page 93, and underline the main point of page 128. We were told to take notes on the pages of our books. We were asked to fold our into the pages of our (did I mention clunky?) manuals so that we could find them later.

As I was sticky-noting, I found myself wondering about the sticky-notey-ness of the future. When our middle schoolers begin their college careers, will they even have textbooks? Will our then 20 year olds carry paper notebooks? Will they even hand in sheets of paper? My guess is no. According to Educause virtually ALL college students own both a computer and a cell phone. Almost 75% of computers owned are laptops. Further, 36% of students own TWO computers.

The organization that we need to teach our students is NOT sticky notes and highlighters, it's files and font.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We are the people our parents warned us about.
- Jimmy Buffett

I come from a long line of early adopters in the use of technology. Of course, it's all from my mother's side. My mother always had an interest in computers. She was online in chat rooms since the early 90's. (She even fell in love online in 1992, and moved to New Jersey for the relationship!) My grandmother has long been interested in computers. I remember programming in BASIC on the Apple IIc in 7th grade. What the heck could I possibly have been programming?? "Grammie" has had a new computer every 2 years or so since then. Grammie has long been a social networker as well, being a very active member of the PAL's club, a nationwide network of create-a-card experts. She has even traveled to conferences across the US to meet fellow PAL's. I hear that my great-grandmother even harangued my Grampy into buying a new-fangled tele-vision set.

Why am I thinking about this? I was just thinking about who at my school might be interested in blogging. I'm coming up with a big fat NOONE. Well, the technology teacher might blog already. Other than that.....mmm, no one. We have some brilliant teachers. Brilliant!! I am not sure how excited they would be about adding technology into their classes. I plan on doing some professional development, where teachers can choose to learn more about Web2.0. With so many other 'new ideas' in education, I'm not sure I can convince them that this trend is not only here to stay, but it will be growing grander and more extensive every year.

Conclusion? I better find them some good stuff, and not what their grandmothers are used to.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kids today...

My son is just pushy! I know I shouldn't let him get his way, but you know how soft parents are today. At the his request (and those of his goofy friends), please enjoy the "Here Fishy Fishy" Sesame Street episode. Aparrently "fishy" is the new "buttah".

More educational content to follow soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Going old school

Remember Sesame Street, the best kid's show ever?? I love it when I'm somewhere and a stranger or friend know the same episode. (How would they know?? Maybe I was counting to 12 for the Lady Bug Picnic..I don't know it just happens!) Below is one of my favorites, that was also a favorite of a Science Center volunteer.

BTW I'm looking for the video clip with "It's the plumber, I've come to fix the sink," so if you've seen it drop me a comment!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Speed Matters

Below is a speed tester to tell you how fast your internet connection compares to the greater global world. I had no idea I was so slow! Or that Japan is so fast. What is it about Japan that makes them always on the cutting edge of technology and gadgetry? And, is the United States comparatively slow internet connections a result of the vast emptiness in some of our more rural areas? Either way I would like to see what a download rate as fast as Japan's would be like.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Check out Wordle! This site imported my tags and automatically arranged them into a cloud. I think my cloud is gorgeous! I'm also glad I didn't save more astrology and tattoo sites :)