Changes are Coming … Slowly

So I have been spending almost all of my time over at my other blogs — mostly at the blogs@pgsit. Now that the Governor’s School has ended, it is time to get back to this site. I have to admit I was getting set to post this over at my Learning & Innovation site, but my hosting company’s servers are down (yet again) … tangent here, but I was just getting ready to set my wife up with an account there for her new WordPress blog … she is on at the moment, but has just recently been invited to join a larger blog network and is ready for the features something like WP can offer. Sorry about those details. On to my thoughts …I am starting to notice some nice traction in the use of blogs and podcasting in education. I have written before what I think about the use of blogs as communication and community tools (I’ll give you a hint … I like them), so I will just point you to those comments. In today’s New York Times, there is a piece in the Technology section titled, New Tools: Blogs, Podcasts and Virtual Classrooms. The piece, written by Ethan Todras-Whitehill, talks about the growth of podcasting and blogging in the classroom. It is amazing to see the pictures of the kids producing the Room 208 podcast. It really shows you how powerful all this stuff is. I saw something the other day from some website about how tired they were hearing about podcasting … this isn’t a direct quote, but it was something like, “podcasting is stupid because it is just a fancy name for audio on the web.” Even if I do share a little bit of the same issue about the whole “audio on the web” thing, I feel as though the podcasting revolution has allowed teachers to get really creative with what they ask of their students. Even though blogs have been around far longer than podcasts, the whole podcasting thing has really highlighted the importance of having a publishing system that can carry your voice (literally and figuratively) out on the RSS feed. If you can’t figure it out, that is what is so amazing about this stuff — its reach.

I had my students do a ton of podcasting this past five weeks at PGSIT — with varying levels of quality and interest. What was very apparent however was that when the things they were podcasting about made sense to them, they really got into it. When I read the Times article, this one quote jumps out at my and rings true …

“I want to give these kids the tools to say, ‘Hey, my voice is important in this world,’ ” Mr. Arquillos said after the yearlong experiment. “This blog helps me do that.”

To me that is good stuff. There was also a quote in there that just drives me crazy — political ramblings aside –

“Still, some educators are not completely sold on the value of interactivity. “If interactivity becomes the fundamental basis of the educational process, how do we judge merit?” asked Robbie McClintock, a learning technologies expert at Teachers College of Columbia University.”

If I were at my personal space, I’d have more to say. At any rate, if you read the story, you’ll see why it drives me crazy in the next little paragraph.

Moving on … speaking of changes, you see that mouse Apple released? I can’t believe they invented a four button mouse! Who woulda ever thought of that? Sorry … of course I’ll buy one … but I won’t like the name — ever. Well, its good to be back and its good to have some time to focus on this space.

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