Showing posts from 2009

Sheer Brilliance!

Good examples of great design that have me stoked this week. In the constant effort to improve my own work and provide great examples for students, I find myself often on the look out for good design examples.  I’ll be giving a shout-out to everything from my church’s new web site to the new Themes and Styles available in MS Word of all places. LWCC York's new FAQ page The sheer brilliance here comes from the amazing use of awkward silence.  Just click on the page and enjoy for 2 or 3 minutes.  This isn't simply a brilliant concept rendered with great design and amazing flash coding, it's also a great example of fabulous video editing. Wow, that's a lot of positive adjectives... I hope I have some left for the rest.

Bad Hair and Word Art

Drawing a connection between faux pas in fashion and in print design to help kids “Get it” when it comes to their documents. Microsoft Office for once is not promoting terrible design.  The core applications in suite now contain new Themes and Styles that make it easier to use really sound design techniques.  Unfortunately, the majority of twelve-year-olds do not see the value of this and would rather make their documents look like a gypsy’s nightmare.  Fortunately, many of our middle school students do have an obsessive concern for fashion, and this has been the key to unlock design greatness.

Cheers, Jeers, & Tsuki

In a post totally unrelated to any mentioned in my Monday mash-up, I must declare: Cheers for Mr. John Pontolillo , 20, of Wall, N.J!!!  Jeers for the Baltimore city police for detaining him. Back Story So my local news just carried the first paragraph: A Johns Hopkins University student armed with a samurai sword killed a man who broke into the garage of his off-campus residence early Tuesday, along with a comment that police were still investigating the student.  I decided to give this the benefit of the doubt, but then I read the above article.  Mr. Rice, the suspect / victim apparently has quite a record including many recent incidents where our criminal justice system failed to get him locked up. Reaction All I could think of when I read this story was character, Burt Gummer' s line from Tremors . ...Broke into the wrong [darn] rec room, didn't ya?... Again, bravo John Pontolillo!!

A Miscellaneous Monday Mash-up

Wow... so I haven't posted for awhile, and I'm beginning attribute this to my lack of inspiration for one singular coherent topic to write about.  Of course, I also have so many topics I'd like to talk about that the task of covering them all seems monumental. Additionally, I'm a bit unmotivated by the readership stats I've seen since moving here from Edublogs .  My blog at Edublogs had 100's of hits per day from all over the world.  I moved to Wordpress essentially because Edublogs took on ridiculously un-blog-like advertising practices to try to cover costs.  I feel that I am no longer accessible by the education community, but at least all the links in my posts are MY links and not some advertiser's links. Today's "Miscellaneous Monday Mash-up" is really an attempt to run through a quick list of those things on my mind for this coming week, and whether or not any or all of these topics become full-grown posts depends largely upon my week. To

Helping Teachers choose a Good Blog service...

Okay so I'm facilitating a workshop on blogging today at my school, and I'm struggling to recommend any one Blog site.  They all have good features and bad, depending on what you want to do. Edublogs I used to simply recommend , but due to it's new advertising practices, it's difficult to endorse. Okay, I understand.  Edublogs needs to make money to keep their servers running, but there are various degrees along the spectrum of supporting oneself and selling out.  Edublogs has sold out.  An appropriate banner ad or two is expected on most free web services, but embedded advertising links??? Will Richardson , whom I respect greatly, defines real blogging as, Links with analysis and synthesis that articulates a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with potential audience response in mind. If this is the case, and links are an integral aspect of the connective writing process known as blogging, then what is one supposed

PBL, Creativity, and the Contextual Reality

An Authentic Curriculum As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am working hard to develop a curriculum that “ Get[s] Past Teaching Apps [and helping students] Build and Use a Student Technology Toolbelt “ (Cool Cat).  This focus is defined in my curriculum in terms of  students’ technology fluency , which is defined in Cool Cat’s post as: the ability to determine and use the appropriate technology tool(s) for the task at hand in a manner that allows seamless transfer of created objects and documents to flow easily between the selected tools without outside intervention. I also want students to be able to think critically and solve problems within a computing environment since things keep changing. As Cool Cat notes and Karl Fisch supports, “We cannot fathom what the future holds for them but we know what it won’t hold: It won’t hold the software that we taught them this year in its present fashion.”

That's the problem with streaming media...

Okay, So I feel like I'm always ranting.  I go forever without posting, and then something annoys me, and I go off. I'm really sorry about that... really... I am.  Sometime soon, I'll write a non-ranting post.  Today, however, the Juvinalian Muse is upon me. The Quest for Authentic Instruction & Fluency Building In designing my current curriculum for CIT, I was heavily influenced by Cool Cat's post, " Get Past Teaching Apps: Build and Use a Student Technology Toolbelt ".  I am particularly interested in building my students' technology fluency, which is defined in Cool Cat's post as: the ability to determine and use the appropriate technology tool(s) for the task at hand in a manner that allows seamless transfer of created objects and documents to flow easily between the selected tools without outside intervention. I also want students to be able to think critically and solve problems within a computing environment.  I focus quite a bit on teaching

Great tools for teachers... that I can't always use...

Collaboration: Okay, let's face it.  The world is moving toward more and more online collaboration.  We need to prep our students for this.  One project I currently have simmering on the back burner is a "design team" project where student groups would "meet" online with clients to discuss the design of everything from logos to web sites.  The ideal tool for such an undertaking is This tool is ideal for real-time online meeting, sketching ideas on the whiteboard, uploading sample files and presentations, and even sharing screens.  It's even free.  The problem is, it doesn't work on our student workstations...  It's fine on my workstation and most of my colleagues.  My students, on the other hand, always get "invalid ticket" errors.  I swear this is deep freeze, but I can't get anyone to believe me. Here are some other possibilities that may not already be on your radar because they haven't been mentioned i