NCLB – told the way it is

I try not to rant too often in my blogging, but Wes Fryer said exactly what I was thinking during the State of the Union.

Starting with this paragraph:

NCLB has nothing to do with empowering parents. Instead, it is all about discrediting teachers and schools, and encouraging parents to distrust public schools and the educators which serve children within them. It is, of course, absolutely true our schools are filled with “boys and girls with dreams.” Sadly, the fear-dominated environment encouraged by high-stakes accountability achieves the OPPOSITE effect of providing “a decent education” for our students.

you must read the rest.

Yale joins the Open Course list

Cross posted from SharonsShare

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.

This can be such a boon to those students needing more, but living in remote areas. Technology can be the leveler to give them the challenge the need. There are courses in Astronomy, English, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology and Religious Studies.

Thank you Yale.

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Essential Learning Functions

I am always searching for something to support what I intrinsically know – technology is a necessary tool essential to learning today. Comments on these:


Here’s an overview of eight essential— and enduring—learning functions to guide your project planning.

1. Ubiquity

Although ubiquity is not a learning function per se, it is an overarching and desirable quality of tools that support project-based learning. Anytime- anywhere access to information, Web-based productivity tools, and multiple communications options are especially suited to project-based learning.

Examples: portable computing devices, mobile phones, wireless Internet, Web-based mail and instant messaging, portable productivity with Web 2.0 applications

2. Deep Learning

Go beyond “filtered” information where meaning is made by others and help students find and make sense of “raw” information on the Web. Higher-order thinking is engaged when students have to analyze primary sources and digitized artifacts. They take learning deeper when they are asked to navigate, sort, organize, analyze, and make graphical representations in order to learn and express learning. Learners can interpret and make visual displays of the data they mine or collect with Web-based tools such as spreadsheets, relational data-bases, and chart and graph creators.

Examples: digitized versions of primary sources such as the American Memories Project (, or rich databases of real-time data, such as Worldometers (, with tickers continually updating data about world population, carbon emissions, hunger, and more

3. Making Things Visible and Discussable

A picture is worth a thousand words, and making thoughts and ideas visible and sharable is the first step in getting the conversation going. Digital tools help students conceptualize with mind maps; see things that are too big or too small or too fast or too slow for the naked eye; examine history through digital artifacts; express ideas through photography and multimedia; and conceptualize with graphical representations, modeling, animation and digital art.

Examples: Google Earth and other Web-based mapping sites, Web cams, photo-sharing sites, visual manipulatives, and modeling software

4. Expressing Ourselves, Sharing Ideas,Building Community

As the World Wide Web evolves from an information medium into a social medium, opportunities for expression continue to grow. Students using MySpace and instant messaging are accustomed to these forms of personal interaction. Imagine thparallels in school and ways students can use the Web to express their ideas and build society around shared interests.

Examples: class Web sites, blogs, wikis, and virtual worlds such as Second Life; tagging Web content and sharing tags with others

5. Collaboration

Tools abound that help us learn and teach together. Use exchange services to find experts or fellow learners. Use shared Web applications to plan and write together. Plan virtual experiences that allow learners to “meet” across distances. Use survey tools to take the pulse of the community.

Examples: wikis, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, podcasts and webinars, voice-over Internet protocol services (e.g., Skype), survey tools

6. Research

Internet research puts information literacy to the test. Quality directories, search engines with filtering, a variety of bookmark tagging tools, and citation engines help students make sense of and organize what they need from the ever-expanding Web.

Examples: ASK for Kids (, social bookmarking (e.g.,,, Citation Machine (

7. Project Management

Projects require students to manage time, work, sources, feedback from others, drafts, and products. A simple folder on the district server or a workspace in the school’s learning management system may suffice, but consider Web-based homepages or desktops that give students a space to work and associated tools (calendars, to-do lists) to help them plan and organize. They can get to their homepage from anywhere at any time.

Examples: Netvibes (, Protopage (, Google IG (

8. Reflection and Iteration

Deep learning happens when you examine your ideas from all sides and from other points of view. Reconsidering and reshaping ideas to bring them to high polish is the difference between yeoman and masterful work. Tools that support reflection and iterative development give learners the opportunity to shape and revise their work, and expose it to the critical feedback of others.

Examples: blogs (,, many other free blog services) and wikis (

This is an excerpt from Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss in their upcom-ing book Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age, to be published by ISTE in November 2007

Need an ultra-portable

I am in the market for an ultra-portable laptop. There are several criteria however:

— must have a keyboard sufficient to touch type blogposts

–must be able to connect to a projector for presentations

–wireless although bluetooth optional

–can be linux (preferred), but would go with Windows (or even MAC)

–maximum of 12″ LCD screen and would like <=3.5 pounds

–battery life as long as possible-actually have seen some at 2 hours 🙁

–built in cam-corder / mic would be nice for video-casting or skype-casting

I am so tired of lugging around the units I have. Getting too old for the weight.

I have been searching – but, just can’t find exactly the ONE. Some of my latest thoughts (reviews from

Averatec 1579 1.06GHz Intel Core Duo Ultra Low Voltage U2400
1GB, 667MHz DDR2
120GB 5,400rpm
Intel 945
Intel Mobile Express 945GM
Windows Vista Premium10.5 x 8.1 x 1.5 inches (diagonal)11.1 inches

System weight / Weight with AC adapter [pounds]
3.4 / 4.2 pounds

Lenovo 3000 V200

2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300
2GB of 667MHz120GB at 5,400rpm
Intel GMA X3100 (integrated)t
Mobile Intel Express 965GM
Windows Vista Business

Dimensions 12 x 9 x 1.3 Screen size (diagonal)
12.1 inches

System weight / Weight with AC adapter
4.3 / 5.0 pounds


from Asus

not sure which ASUS are really available in the states

12.1-inch, 3.3 pound U6S laptop, in this case shrinking things down to an 11.1-inch WXGA display and a mere 2.2 pound carrying weight (albeit with only a 3 cell battery). Otherwise, you’ll get an Intel Core Duo ULV7500 processor, up to 2GB of RAM, a 100GB hard drive, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, with an external DVD burner thrown in for good measure. A nine cell battery is also available for those that actually want to get some work done, with it apparently promising upwards of six hours of running time from Engadget


Educate not Block

I was just taking a 5 minute free time to check out some of my “back reading” when I came across an article in Sept. 2007 eSchool News about students’ web safety.

The article describes a bill in the Senate, “Protecting Children in the 21st Century”, which require eRate schools to educate about appropriate online behavior! I was excited to read that it does not state to block, but to educate. It would direct the FTC to promote a nationwide public campaign to promote safe use of the internet by children. Also part of the bill is a requirement for the Commerce Dept. to establish an Online Safety and Technology Working Group. Finally a requirement for ISPs to report child pornography.

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In my opinion this is an approvement on DOPA – your comments are welcome

Evolution of the Web

We are starting to get a handle on the 2.0. Now along comes the Semantic Web (3.0).
Here are how some “visionaries” are describing this next step:

“Semantic Web” technology is to let computers understand the nuances and relationships in information they encounter—in a way, say, that a human knows the difference between a baseball batter and cake batter. Nova Spivack of Radar Networks

EVolution of the Web – from

The recent launch of, the first application of the semantic web engine being developed by Danny Hillis’ new company, Metaweb.
Metaweb has slurped in the contents of several of the web’s freely accessible databases, including much of wikipedia, and song tracks from musicbrainz. It then turns its users loose on not just adding more data items but making connections between them by filling out meta tags that categorize or otherwise connect the data items, using a typology that can be extended by users, wiki-style. “reminds me of 7 degrees of separation being brought together”

“a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines.” Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
It seems even more addictive than that old Read/Write stuff….


Back from NECC and totally refreshed. The sessions were awesome and I blogged a few. However, the bloggers Cafe and the Open Source lab took a lot of my time. It is great to be emersed in technology and to be able to discuss paradigms and visions. Next year – San Diego.

I have started a new Ning site – hope many of you will join.