Archive for the ‘ripplingpond’ Category

Education or National Healthcare

March 13, 2010

When people are sick they go to the doctor and when they need education they go to a teacher. The difference lies in the treatment plans and the way we pay for these services. Healthcare is considered by some to be a right, just as education is. Well for those who think a national healthcare system would guarantee that right, think again. If education, a long standing right can go down the tubes then so can healthcare.

The economic storm has caused the levy to burst open and monies funding education have spilled uncontrollably down into a deep chasm forming what amounts to an abscess festering like an untended wound. It is too raw to heal without help. If only you’d been able to buy educational insurance maybe your child could be guaranteed the education they deserve. Unfortunately no such options exist.

With all the fuss about the healthcare crisis and all the debate about insuring the uninsured and making healthcare available to everyone it seems to me, the whole preventation has been overlooked. Education is all about prevention and therefore I would like to state that without adequate education our society will be too sick for ANY kind of healthcare system to redeem.

Now what? We grasp for purchase in the spinning vortex of political rhetoric. It is sucking the life out of education, public safety and the general infrastructure of society. I think the only thing national healthcare can offer the public now, is unlimited refills on pain medication to make our economic future more palatable. Put your money where your mouth is, US Government, and stop telling us that we need to accept your bitter pill of healthcare reform. No amount of healthcare will stem the education crisis, and without education what hope do we have for an employable workforce or a viable future? EDUCATION IS OUR BEST PREVENTATIVE STRATEGY. EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN IS OUR BEST INSURANCE POLICY.

For a well researched comparison education and healthcare models refer to this post

Plausible Digital Disasters and Media Mayhem

May 6, 2009

We live in a world with rapidly eroding barriers. The barriers separating the adult knowledge base form a child’s knowledge base are surprisingly thin. When the internet first posed a threat to my own children in the form of obscene material, I was all for censorship and lock down systems to help them avoid being subjected to reprehensible material available in Pandora’s box, the world wide web.

Knowledge is power and the more kids have access to detailed information, the more likely they are to share their knowledge with peers. I don’t think sheltering is such a wise idea anymore. Perhaps opening up a little would lead to actively teaching web decorum, responsible digital citizenship and more importantly how to determine fact from fiction. We need to give the students coping skills and ways to handle objectionable material in the primary years. But we as teachers must be equally prepared to handle objectionable material. Consider this scenario.

Are you prepared for this? A parent or students brings in their own camera/phone to use in school to help photograph the class party. It seems like a good idea until you place the SD card into the computer, and along with pictures of the class party, you see previously photographed pictures that don’t belong in school. What would you do? Are teachers prepared to handle this all-to-realistic scenario? Don’t kid yourself. Not only can it happen accidentally, it may actually happen intentionally.

We can’t expect to completely sanitize the schools simulating an ICU-for-learning when the kids do not have the same kinds of life support systems available in their own homes. How in the world can we prepare them for the real world if we present an unrealistic version of reality in school? Students at home use youtube, google and many have digital cameras, phones and email accounts but they are completely restricted in school. I know we have to provide a safe environment but the real world is anything but safe when it comes to media. Exposure to adult content acts like strong UV rays penetrating a child’s skin and laying the groundwork for future melanomas or in this case, what? Future abnormalities? Do we offer some kind of media sunscreen to mitigate the potential long term damage or am I overreacting?

The internet is only one of the many potentially hazardous mediums and like Oleander, it is both captivating and to the uninformed, may also become deadly. Children listen intently when they are offered knowledge they consider to have street value. In other words, if it’s worth sharing with their friends then they will hang on every word. Consequently they hang onto some of the juicier bits of conversations in TV shows, youtube clips and they look for words of wisdom from kids a year or two ahead of themselves in school. This is all part of the school sub culture of kid exchange. It’s a big reason some parents insist on homeschooling. Parents cannot control what comes out of another child’s mouth, they can only control their home environments.

Adult programming is often aimed at young children. I wonder, don’t these people have children? What are they thinking? I don’t get it. Cartoons about families who have a babies and a dogs are kid magnets. Consequently, the quirky humor of complex pop culture parodies are becomming the background knowledge our students are bringing with them into the classrooms. Does it have any redeeming value? I just see kids using it as a model to get away with offending friends or hurting feelings in the guise of humor. Is it OK if you just mean to be funny? Sounds like blaming the victim if you ask me.

Yikes! What in the world can we do? How can we reconcile the benefits and responsibilities of protecting our children, as compared to the equally important role of preparing them to become well informed responsible citizens and future leaders? in my own mind. I know that allowing children to participate in online media creation is one way to get them to realize they have equal power to create, challenge and persuade others. Perhaps this approach will make students better consumers of media affording them with a modicum of protection from fictitious an faulty messages along the way.

Listening to a New Voice, Springs Alive Uganda!

March 30, 2008

It is with great pleasure I announce the new blog, Springs Alive Uganda. As many of you know I have posted several times about my friend Martin Sebuliba and his vision for peace, wellness and education for the disenfranchised children of Uganda. Martin has limited access to theSprings Alive Students internet due to the high fees charged at internet cafes and the lack of electricity and no internet signal in his rural village. I offered to set up a blogger account for him so that he and members of his community could type off-line and then simply make their posts quickly and inexpensively when convenient.

If you use the internet regularly as I do, then you will understand how time consuming it can be to try and figure out how things work, or even to do research online. By providing technical support I can be an advocate for Springs Alive and I am blessed to be able to help. Martin is working on creating a logo representative of his community and their goals which begin with the children and feed into a larger picture of a healthy, self sustaining community in the future. They will need lots of support to make this dream a reality. Track their successes and struggles by listing the Springs Alive Uganda blog on your blog roll or by subscribing to the feed. Your comments and questions will be welcomed. You will witness firsthand the hopes and dreams emanating from a small village in Africa. Tell everyone you know, you are listening a new voice!

Why Tuesday Night is My Favorite

November 7, 2007

You may be saying to yourself, I know why, Lincoln Heights, Biggest Loser or Beauty and the Geek! As far as I’m concerned, those shows have nothing on Cathy Evanoff’s Making Connections or WOW2.0’s Women of the Web. I get such a rush from the fast-paced drama, excitement, back channeling and scintillating technological tidbits that I just can’t wait for Tuesday night. I know at first it is hard to conceive of a live interactive webcast involving some 60 people in the chat and 5-sometimes 8 in the live streamed conference but it beats asynchronous TV any day.

Last night was particularly exhilarating. First Cathy E. an award winning edtech educator hosted an innovative experimental show featuring uStreamTV. Jeff Lebow, Webcast Academy founder, his bio which I snagged from the TESOL conference site:

Jeff Lebow

external image jeff4.gifJeff Lebow’s educational career has included teaching 3rd grade in New Mexico, ESL in Thailand & Korea, and Computer Assisted Language Learning in New Hampshire. He founded Worldbridges in 1998 and has been experimenting with live, interactive webcasting and collaborative community building ever since. Worldbridges met the Webheads during EdTechTalk#1 in 2005, and the EVO2007 Webcast Academy session was only the latest in a series of webcasting adventures that have resulted.

During our meeting Jeff was able to host at least 5 streams simultaneously and feed them into the edtechtalk page in a single embedded window. He is quite simply a magician. Cathy E is very technologically adventurous and infuses her audience with confidence. In new age jargon I felt like my being was vibrating on a higher plane after the show.

An hour later and somewhat subdued and philosophical I joined the Women of Web 2.0 group who include: Sharon Peters, Jen Wagner, Cheryl Oakes and Vicki Davis. The special guest was Melinda Miller – The Podcasting Principal. Upwards of 50 people, fingers flying in the chat room while the talk begins. Melinda is redefining what it means to be a principal by modeling a feet first approach to experimenting with new forms of communication to enhance community. She is full of surprises. For example, she made a very personal announcement via her Meez character which is embedded in her blog page for her staff. By changing the background of her avatar she provided a clue to baby news. Can you imagine a leader so dynamic and spirited? Well actually, my own principal could give her competition when it comes to the element of surprise. I think random acts of kindness started with him because they come so naturally. But back to Melinda and the WOW ladies. The banter over their Skype conference call is witty and personal. I’d liken it to the view only without the political barbs. It’s kinder and gentler but manages to pack the hour with more content than you imagined a brain could hold. Fact is, you can’t hold it all so you have your tabbed browser set up and your delicious tool bar to capture any of the amazing links they mention.

So when people ask me how I know so much about technology. I tell them it’s all how you spend your Tuesday nights! Catch me in the next Tuesday chat with Cathy Evanoff or WOW2.0, I’m sendkathy.

Visit me at NECC on Monday or Tuesday

June 22, 2007

I will be attending NECC this week and look forward to meeting any readers who will be in Atlanta for this big event. Here is my schedule:
Creative Podcasting for the Elementary Set
[Birds-of-a-Feather : ] (41503414)

I invite all those who are interested in using podcasting in the classroom. You may be interested in enabling your students to become podcast producers or perhaps you want to incorporate podcasts as part of a critical listening skill builder. I have had queries from High School teachers and I welcome anyone interested in podcast curriculum integration. I know most about the k5 level but chance are, you will meet up with someone else who understands the needs of your grade level and you can collaborate. The important thing is to build a support network and share ideas to take back to the classroom in the Fall.

* Scheduled:
o Monday, 6/25/2007, 4:45pm–6:15pm
GWCC Innovation & Creativity Lounge

Podcasting, Professional Development, and Curricular Content
[Poster : Traditional] (41504857)

* Scheduled:
o Tuesday, 6/26/2007, 1:00pm–3:00pm
GWCC Level 5, Galleria 37

I have posted a podcast version of my Poster Session presentation to my classroom podcast site: small voices

The actual Session will not contain audio, rather my mp3 will be playing a variety of actual professional development adio podcasts. Each session has a different objective. The Birds-of-a-Feather is geared toward podcasters and would-be podcast producers who would like to compare notes or ask questions. The Poster session is intended to help persuade teachers to spend some of their valuable time listening to professional development podcasts in order to enrich their classroom curriculum using edtech.

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Podcasting Homework to Students

June 13, 2007

Allanah never ceases to amaze me with the creativity and simplicity she uses to come up with ideas for podcasting. Allahnah BadgeWho would think that a bad cold might turn into a podcast? Listen and watch her most recent post and once you’re hooked, here is the player for the rest of them! A visit to Allanah’s page is like a visit to New Zealand. It’s an adventure.

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Friend or better still . . . foe

June 11, 2007

Future of Education, unconference link

When is foe better than friend? When foe is the tag for the Future of Education unconference held last week. I was on vacation and unable to participate live but the conference map clearly illustrates the global-breadth of the unconference attendees. Below is a clip from presenter Jay Cross. Just reading this paragraph should give you the sense that interactivity and conversation are essential elements of this conference. You will not hear or detect any hint of monologue, diatribe, lecture or any other form of lopsided conversations. This isn’t an unloading of acquired knowledge but rather a synthesis and building of something unexpected and new. It’s open and it’s exciting.

The depth of this unconference can fairly be measured by close examination of the international session-leader list, which I invite you to do, and by observing the distinctive leadership style of unconference director, George Siemens of The University of Manitoba in Canada. Thanks to an elearning partnership with Elluminate Live, all of the conference speakers and interactive chat room conversation was captured and is available at the click of your mouse. The best part is that although you may have missed the live sessions, you may participate in real time with followup conversations in the forums.

George Siemens is reaching out to the world. His approach to online learning is the epitome of the connectivist philosophy he espouses. He lives and breathes connectivism and it is contagious.

If you enjoy thinking out of the box and long to be connected to a global educational network, then you really owe it to yourself to listen and learn. I will warn you, however, that the adrenalin rush of experiencing this unconventional open access to knowledge is as whimsical as watching new cloud formations take shape, it may become habit forming! Whether or not you agree with or take issue with some of the revolutionary ideas discussed in The Future of Education unconference, please blog about your thoughts and add to the formation of knowledge.

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Presenter: Jay Cross
Education is empowered as never before. Web 2.0 connects people the world over and encourages active participation. Incoming students have no fear of technology and are self-reliant “entrepeneurial learners.” Let’s blend these elements and brainstorm the possibilities. What will globally interconnected education look like? David Snowden’s remarks on brain plasticity in children made me want to get every six-year old a phone pal with whom to speak another language. Each one teach one. Reflect on this, and come prepared to share your ideas.

Conference resources (for those unable to attend the session, or those wanting to share with colleagues):Attendr:
Pageflakes link:
Twitter site:
Conference Podcast feed:
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Are you a listener or a producer?

May 29, 2007

Join my ning and tell me about your favorite Professional Development podcast and or any podcasts you have used in your classroom to enrich the curriculum.

I have been creating podasts for a little over a year now. I started with audio only and my most recent posts have been all video. You might even call them vodcasts. In truth, I prefer the term “educast” for any audio or visual media created by a non profit for the purpose of informing teachers or students, or for the purpose of creating an opportunity for refelction of an authentic student-centered project.

One thing I have discovered is that there are those who produce “educasts” and then there are those who simply listen or watch. As in blogging, the writer and reader are equally important. After all if a person blogs in the forest, if there is no one to read it, did thery actual say anything? Well, you know what I mean! Audience and Performer have a symbiotic relationship. It is this relationship I’d like to explore.

At NECC this summer I will host a Poster Session. The purpose is to introduce people to the possibility of using educasts for professional development and for curricular enrichment in the classroom. It occurred to me that not all people want to become podcasters, just as all people have no desire to climb Kilimanjaro, but there are people would like to read about those who have made the climb and learn from their experiences.

Educasters produce content with an audience in mind. Take EdTech Talk . They have over 70 episodes and numerous examples of what schools are doing with technology to benefit students. This kind of professional development is cutting edge. You can respond to it, interact with the producers and add to it from your own experiences. The trouble is, you may not be familiar with this great resource.

How do people find out about educasts available for professional development or curricular engagement? Come to NECC and visit my Poster Session. I will show you how to find your way around podcatchers, itunes and more. You will leave with a list of some great resources and links to each one of them.

So if you haven’t explored the world of educasting stay tuned, and if you are a veteran listener or podcaster please share your insights via

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I love it when people take the initiative!

May 7, 2007

Fellow Creek View teacher Daniel Hodge, 1st grade, has initiated an edublog! I couldn’t be happier. An early adopter, he was the first to produce his own podcast after my Spring training last year. His podcasts are exceptional. They are both creative and standards based. He knows how to bring out scholarship in his students. I can’t take the credit for the quality just the opportunity to open a door to the new medium of podcasting.Daniel is very talented and devoted to education. This blog promises to produce insights into education that may never have been put into words. Daniel’s perspective, philosophy and style show a man who thinks with a “Whole New Mind”. He embodies the principals of reflective teaching. Welcome this new entrant into the edublogosphere!

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Authentic Evaluation

Last week the Superintendent of Schools stopped by for a visit. My principal contacted me by phone about three days before she was due to arrive to let me know that he would like to have her stop by my classroom to observe me teaching. Now, as we all know when company is coming over we make a big-to-do about preparing for their arrival. I am no different, so I spent hours searching through pictures that I have saved on my computer that I could publish. I also made sure that I planed extra well for the lessons that I would teach that day so that everything would run smoothly.

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Down to Earth and Kid Friendly

May 1, 2007

GA State Superintendent of Schools paid a visit to Creek View. Kathy Cox exudes warmth and genuine interest in students. As she toured the building she didn’t sit complacently to observe teaching, rather she acted as a catalyst and participant in student learning. She is a former high school teacher but it’s clear that her passion for education still rubs off on all she meets.

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itunes pic
Georgia State School Superintendent Mrs. Kathy Cox visited Creek View Elementary on Monday, April 30. She was introduced by Principal Trussell and student anchors over the Cheetah Channel News. Mrs. Cox made her way around Creek View in the company of her two assistants and our Assistant Principal Mrs. Betty Swanson. This brief clip shows Mrs. Cox in Ms. Shields’ kindergarten, and a 1st and 3rd Grade classroom. The 1st grade teacher is Heidi Holcomb, 21st Century Classroom Coordinator and Mr. Robert Theriault who teaches 3rd grade and is also a 21st Century Classroom educator.

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