Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Life of a Digital Native

I saw this cartoon on Vicki Davis's CoolCatTeacher blog. It reminded me how different life is for our children (and in some cases, grandchildren) than it was for us. It used to be if you did something embarrassing you thought you would die if some of your friends saw it. Now the whole world can see!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

How My Reading Habits Have Changed

Larry Ferlazzo passed on the meme asking about what magazines I read, and how my reading habits have changed over the last year.

First of all, my reading habits have changed a lot! I was actually thinking about that today and wondering if I should be sad about it. I used to read books, especially literary novels. I think the last one I read was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which I loved. Now I have a couple of books started, including Snow by Orhan Pamuk, but I don't read extended texts the way I used to. I go through periods when I only read magazines, which I never used to do before. And the magazines I read have changed.

Larry mentioned the New Yorker. I used to read it, and my idea of a great vacation day is still sitting at the kitchen table or outside in the sun and reading the New Yorker from cover to cover, but I just don't have time to do it any more. I finally even quit subscribing. There are a lot of magazines I used to get that I don't get any more. The ones I still get are Newsweek, Cooking Light, and Wired. I love to see each one of them in my mailbox.

The magazines I read at work are Learning and Leading with Technology, and lately I've been finding good articles in Computers in Libraries (Librarians are getting into Second Life!)

There are tons of other publications that come across my desk and that I try to keep up with, including eSchool News. Also journals of professional organizations I belong to.

But the biggest change is that I listen to podcasts more than I read. I listen to TWiT and Buzz Out Loud to keep up with technology, and I just started listeing to EdTechTalk, a great podcast on ed tech topics. And then I listen to Fresh Air and This American Life, both of which I love, and a bunch of other ones about books and authors.

When I think about all there is to read, listen to, watch and learn, I want to quit work right now so I can absorb it all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


What a great conference! I didn't get to go to many presentations because of my own workshops and helping with the Electronic Village, but I thought the EV was really great this year - 3 labs, and busy all the time! Next year in Sacramento will be even better!

It really feels like we've turned a corner with technology. It's no longer a new, exotic topic that a few are enthusiastic about and the rest pay no attention to. There were 53 technology presentations, 26 related to adult education or presented by adult educators. Many workshops on using PowerPoint in the classroom, and on Audacity and other sound recording options for creating podcasts and various online listening activities. I would say sound was the big tech topic this year.

The evening presentation on the lost boys from Sudan was wonderful. What an incredible story those young men have - horrifying, but for those who survived, a true triumph of the spirit. It was inspiring.


I've been looking for ed tech podcasts to listen to while I'm traveling, at the gym, etc. Branka turned me on to this one, EdTechTalk. It's K12 teachers, not adult educators, but they are very enthusiastic explorers of technology, and host 5 or 6 shoes a week. You can log on and participate in their chat rooms during the shows, or subscribe and listen to the shows later. Lots of good information, references to other Web sites. It's interesting to hear what techie teachers are thinking about and experimenting with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CATESOL Starts Tomorrow!

Getting ready for my Web 2.0 session with Donna Price on 4/13. I only have 25 minutes, so have to really condense. It feels like so much has changed even since February, the last time I did this workshop. I'm showing Web2.0Slides, a slide show of over 1400 Web 2.0 slides. Gives some perspective on how fast this sector is growing.

Here are my workshops:

Using Technology to Transcend Borders
Friday at 11
Towne Room

TELL Interest Group Colloquium
(TELL = Technology-Enhanced Language Learning)
Friday 2:30 to 4
Brittany Room

OTAN Online Resources for ESL Teachers
Saturday at 11:15
Terrace Salon 2

Create Your Lesson Plans Online!
Saturday 1:30 to 3
Salon 4

Monday, April 09, 2007

Using Google Calculator to Teach Math

Here is a message from Margaret Rogers. Margaret is an adult educator and GED specialist in California who is also on the board of COABE. She learned about Google Calculator at a workshop at the CA Technology and Distance Learning Symposium. Google calculator isn't a separate tool, but a collection of calculations you can make using the search box. Here's how Margaret used what she learned:

I just wanted you to know that I did win the contest at my athletic club for National Nutrition Month by guessing the number of popcorn kernels in a plastic container. There were 7735, and I guessed 7188 using the skills you taught me with the Google calculator going from cubic inches to cups in a second! I won the container of kernels and a cool sweatshirt.

I also used the Google calculator to calculate some of the items for my Mathematics of Oil presentation for COABE. I was sharing it with my participants, and not one of them (26) knew about the Google calculator. I will be incorporating it into all of the math workshops I do from now on.

Thanks for your help.


Another Cartoon Site - ToonDoo

There seem to be a lot of these cartoon sites now. This one was quick and easy to use, and you can upload your own photos too.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Twitter: Take Two

Ok, I wrote a few days ago about Twitter that I don't get it - why would I want to get updates constantly about what my friends are doing? But...I got kind of addicted to twittering anyway. It's interesting to see what people are doing, people like Leo Laporte or Veronica Belmont, whose podcasts I've been listening to, and people like Jason Calacanis and Anil Dash who I know hardly anything about but I discovered them through looking at other people's friend lists, or at twitterholic which shows who has the most followers on Twitter.

These people post what they're doing, which is often flying somewhere or having sushi with someone, which is not important unless you're friends with them, but they also post links to their blogs, or blogs of others that they are thinking about, or links to conferences they are attending, and, following those links, I learn things.

Tonight, after a day of work on budgets and getting ready for CATESOL next week, and then a couple of hours of dancing, I came home and sat down to print my boarding pass, etc., and ended up checking my Twitter account, following a few links, reading about tags, about Ajax, about supporting the people of Uganda, and about the relationship between science and culture. I'm liking this! It feels like a time of intellectual ferment and development. These times seem to come and go in life. Maybe I've been missing that.

New Blog for ESOL Learners

Clarissa Ryan had a couple of students who were going back to Korea and asked her how they could keep improving their English. She started readableblog.com to share links with them for free online learning resources. She is just getting started, but I think this will take off. She has some good links to sites for creating cartoons, one that let's you use your own digital photos. Here is a comic strip she made with Comeeko.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

TeacherTube and MLoTS

Viral video is taking over the world, even the world of teaching! It seems like a few months ago we were talking about Barry Burkett's video of his ESL class posted on YouTube, and now suddenly there is such a proliferation of teacher-made videos! The adult education version, being developed by David Rosen and Friends, Media Library of Teaching Skills, is in its beginning stages, with two videos posted currently of an ABE vocabulary lesson. But there are plans to train teachers all over the country to videotape each other, and to enlist states to link their state adult ed standards to video examples.

Another example I found today is TeacherTube, a YouTube for teachers. It contains only teacher- and student-made videos illustrating the teaching and learning of many concepts in many different content areas. There is no reason that adult education videos couldn't be uploaded here. I had a technical problem that I have to figure out, my uploading video got timed out, but I'll try it again from home. It's amazing to see the energy and creativity that is going into this work!

Mainstream Media Picks Up on Ed Tech

A few weeks ago I posted about a story in the San Diego paper on ed tech in universities. This morning in the Sacramento paper there is a front page story on using technology in K12, featuring a high school teacher who uses Google Earth to have his students look at locations of Shakespeare plays such as Cyprus and Venice (Othello), and YouTube videos of Shakesperean actors.

It's encouraging that the mainstream media is picking up on ed tech stories. We need to work on getting adult education into the mix.