Archive for October, 2008

RE: Network Challenge @ Durff’s Blog

October 27, 2008

mrsdurff at Durff’s Blog issued this challenge today:

“I challenge you to find and listen to a podcast to which you have never listened. You can find podcasts for free in iTunes, at NPR, or Podcast Alley (to name only a few places).  Then blog about the podcast on your blog. That’s it! Pretty simple, but can you do it? Will you do it?”

I will do it!  And I did.  And I’m very pleased with the results 🙂  I’ve been listening to podcasts for several years for pleasure, but only recently have I listened with my ed tech ears.  My personal computer’s iTunes podcatcher regularly gathers episodes of This Week in Tech, MacBreak Weekly, Security Now, and other shows in the Leo Laporte lineup.  I also listen religiously to This American Life, Car Talk, Radio Lab (when they get around to releasing new episodes), and Fresh Air from National Public Radio.  In addition to my own podcasts, my work computer regularly brings down the last remaining episodes of the SMARTBoard Lesson Podcast, The Teachers’ Podcast, and everything David Warlick comes across.  

So I took a copule of minutes after class today and came across Geek!Ed!  By their own admission,

“Geek!Ed! is a frequently-weekly netcast produced by five geeks (and occasional guests) from Pinckney Community Schools, MI. We’re geeks ineducation who aregeeked about the impact of technology on education.”  

Having completed 118 episodes to date, these geeks are not podcasting newbies by any means.  Within seconds, it’s obvious that they have an excellent rapport and are comfortable being recorded.  The newest episode mainly dealt with a 14 year old in their district who had used her mobile phone to distribute inappropriate pictures of herself to other students in the district.  They spoke about how the district was handling the situation, how the media had blown certain aspects of the story out of proportion, and how teachers there were seizing this teachable moment and making the most of it.

As soon as I finished my first episode, I subscribed and started downloading back episodes.  I’m almost finished listening to episode 117 now, in which one participant is reporting in using a skype/speaker assembly.  I certainly look forward to catching up with the 100+ episodes of this program.  It’s a keeper!

Thanks for issuing the challenge, Mrsdurff.

Blogging the Revolutionary War

October 27, 2008


Thanks to flickr user John-Pa for use of this photo.

Fog of War

I recently had a visit with the chair of our humanities department about possibly incorporating some technologies into one of their history units.  We came up with a writing activity based on the following question:


If blogs existed during the American Revolution, what would the historical figures have written?


The exercise will require each student to adopt a role.  Some will be named figures such as Benedict Arnold while others will just be “shop owner” or “widow.” 

The students will research the period and the people that they are studying, and they will be required to blog and comment, in character, for a period of 1-2 weeks.  Each blog posting must be an original work by the student based on evidence found during the research period.

We’ll keep you posted on how this little experiment goes.

Cool Tool – Foxit PDF Reader

October 25, 2008

Just a quick weekend post.  I use Foxit Reader in my computer lab rather than Adobe’s genuine PDF reader.  For a teacher who also manages/maintains lab computers, Adobe Reader is just too much to keep up with.  Foxit is small, quick, and it doesn’t ask to update (too much).  My students like it because it lets them open PDF files, add annotations to them, and print them out.  The free version won’t let you save those annotations, though.