Information will breathe in and out of us!

Information in Bb 2.0 is one of the coolest things I have come across – appropriate for the ‘rethink’ time of the holidays!  Play any or all of these videos  together, start them at any time, in any order to create your own collage of user experience.

Be sure to play the 3rd down on the left: ” information will breathe in and out of us”

Information
By Daniel Donahoo (2009)

she closes the lid
and unplugs the device
no bigger than her thumb
from the computer.

My lifes work, she says. But, it isnt her lifes work.

You see, we store information like an Escher painting.
It shouldnt all fit in there. But, it does.
And every day we manage to fit more and more into smaller and smaller spaces until one day
she says,
we will be able to fit all the information the world has
everything that everyone knows and believes and dreams
into nothing.

It will all be there. Stored and filed.
Tagged with any keywords you might imagine.

Our hard drives will be thin air.

They will make nanobots look like elephants.
And elephants will be in there too. Tagged. Accessible with search terms
like grey, ivory,
and the largest land dwelling mammal

We will process away at nothing and understand everything.
We will think of a word and the information will slip in, not through our ears or eyes
but straight thorough our skin. Information will breathe in and out of us,
permeate our skin.

Our knowing will be as deep as it is wide.
You see our work here is to learn so much,

to be so full of knowing,
that all there is left to do is unlearn.

Humanity must get to a point where we let go.
We leave the useless ideas and the spent ideologies in the recycle bin.
like an adolescent brain shedding neurons.
like a snake slithering from its old skin.
like an old man who has come to understand so well the point where reality meets the intangible that he is able to decide which breath will be his last. And, he will enjoy that breath more than any that he has taken in his entire life.

And, her lifes work is more than a four meg flash drive.

My lifes work, she says, is the impact that this has.

This is not about what I produce. It is all about what others receive.

How far would you run?

The Marathon des Sables run for charity (MDS) (Marathon of the Sands) is a six-day, 254 km (156 mile) ultramarathon, which is the equivalent to five and 1/2 regular marathons. The longest single stage (2009) is 91 km (55 miles) long. The event is held every year in the southern Moroccan desert. It is considered the toughest foot race on Earth.

Tom Armstrong, one of our energetic young teachers at St Joseph’s College, set out on this race, to raise funds for his chosen charity. He made it!! and raised nearly $10,000 in the process to help change lives for children in a village in Africa.

All sorts of mischief!

We’ve finished the first term of our academic year for 2009.  There is so much to share, and so much to write about – but it is going to have to wait. Next term is going to be just a little bit easier!!  Why?  Well we’ve been up to all sorts of mischief!!

Here’s what’s been going on:

The library renovations will be closer to completion – furniture will arrive, new desks with power and data will be installed, couches, ottomoans and other fun things!!

Our conversion to a new library management system will also be complete – and we will switch to RFID for security and organisation of our resources. Excellent!!

We’ll also commence our Accelerated Reader program (for guiding essential reading) with the Year 7 students.  We’ve been busy buying books and getting our library collection organised for this!

We’ve put half our Fiction collection into Genres!!  more on that later too!

Is that all – no way!!  I’ll save the best till I am back from holidays. Yes, this time I AM having a holiday -  I really am. I’m not even taking a tiny laptop!

In the morning I head off for New York City, then Budapest. Worlds apart and worlds of fun.

Happy holidays to all the folks in Australia!

Ada Lovelace

I have no time to write a blog post..but I must register my contribution to Ada Lovelace Day – something new in my repertoire!

March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day – and since I figure it is just past the 24th in some parts of the world, I am not too late! Ada Lovelace Day is a great chance to  honour women who excel in technology environments. For me this is important as I know what a ‘bashing’ we can get for our views and inputs at times :-)

Ada was clearly a wonderful innovator, and visionary thinker. I am sure there are many many of them in the world, though it’s magic when you know someone personally.

Janet Clarey has a fabulous list in her post Role Models in Educational Technology on Ada Lovelace Day. I found some new people for my PLN.

But wait – what about my special mentions? People who have had a significant impact in my life?  I am going to stick to Australian women – next year – the world!

The person I encountered via the intrawebs, and then met in real life, and who  inspired me to think big and go virtual was of course our very own Jo Kay (aka Jokay Wollongong).  Founder of Jokaydia, she is a design, educational technology and virtual worlds magic woman who we could never do without.  Thanks to her we have the wonderful Islands of Jokaydia, which provides us heaven ‘in world’ for all our professional fun and learning needs. Click here to teleport to the jokaydia Landing Point (SLurl).

Not long after I encountered Jo Kay in my learning journey, I also had the good fortune and injection of inspiration from another Australian researcher who specialises in Digital Identity and Virtual Worlds.

For her day job, Angela Thomas (aka Anya Ixchel) is a senior lecturer in English and Arts Education and her research interests include digital cultures, new media literacies, multimodal semiotics and digital narratives. Don’t think she stops there! Check out her books, her research, her developing virtual projects – and if you are lucky catch her for a little virtual shopping or second life experimentation.  You really should visit Angela’s Virtual Macbeth project too!

But alongside these wonderful women, I have also come across a host of others that have also greatly inspired me. I would love to share pictures for all of them with you. Not going to happen!

So here are their names and links to their work. They are no less important to me, and I count them all as friends and  sources of inspiration. Thank you to you all!

Kathryn Greenhill at Librarians Matter, superb  emerging technologies librarian

Frances Manning at HFS Conversations beating the drum at her school

Marita Thomson whose  StoryLines I love!

Kerry Johnson, that inspiring new Australian at Neotenous Tech :-)

Julie Lindsay, that wonderful Australian abroad  at E-Learning Journeys

Danielle Miller, CEO of  Enlighten Education, creating shiny girls at the ButterFly Effect.

Suzette Boyd,  of  Scotch College, who has inspired  the best every library website I know!

Beecroft bush in the holidays

January is a time to stay at home for us this year, but it’s still holiday time in Beecroft.  If you jump over our back fence you could scramble along the dry creek bed to meet up with the part of the bush at the bottom of  Day Road in Cheltenham (edge of Malton Road). Once at the bottom of Day Road, you  can walk down the bush track that connects to the Great North Walk which is a 250 km walking track that runs between  Sydney to Newcastle. Phew!

The Great North Walk was developed from Gary McDougall’s and Leigh Shearer Heriot’s proposal for a ‘Sydney to Hunter Track’, consisting of about 300km of walking tracks, submitted to the Australian Bicentennial Authority in 1988. I have been told that it incorporates a few convict tracks along part of its route, but I have only ever walked parts closest to home. It is estimated that more than 40,000 local, interstate and international visitors use the walk annually, either taking the challenge of the full 12-16 day hike or enjoying shorter walks of one or two days in different sections of the walk.

The bush is very solitary – yet you also meet lots of people walking or on bikes along the way.

Here are some mobile phone shots of the walk near home.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Google maps drive me mad!

I don’t usually drop a cartoon into this blog – but this time I give up! Sometimes ya just gotta laugh!

It’s the only thing to cope with the insanity at school driven by the latest upgrade to Google Maps in Australia.  Every student is perusing streets (and more) in detail.

“Oh miss, look at the skidmarks on that road”!!  Learning?  Depends on your perspective :-)

xkcd – A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.

Google images – or bust!

I’m constantly amazed at the lack of direction provided to students about the use, value, purpose and function  images into their work – including the notion of authentic creativity (i.e. ripping off other people’s work and presenting it as your own is not mashup – its trampling on someone’s work).

Well I won’t preach – no point. I see teachers constantly falling for presentation as if it somehow has translated into quality higher order thinking in the heads of students. Doing a google search for images, and dropping it into a powerpoint, and essay, an animoto, a machinima or anything, without some purpose behind it all teaches very little…AND it doesn’t even address visual literacy or creativity either.

So yes, there are places to find images..if that’s all you need.  See Find Free Images Online!

Doing a Google image search is also valid if the image found is demonstrating cognitive understanding in a visual way, and is also referenced back to the source.  For example, a good image from NASA, credited as such, adds value to a student’s compilation of knowledge and understanding of the topic being considered.

Unfortunately, what  I see too often is a pretty picture found, dropped into a title page or text, to ‘make it look good, miss’, not chosen to enhance and support the content being discussed and explored, and certainly not referenced back to the source.

So I suggest some of the following uses for Google image search – ways that support the cognitive engagement with topic and text:

  • If you want to know if a person is a man or a woman and the name doesn’t help, do a search for the name.
  • If you don’t know the meaning of a word, the pictures may help you.
  • Find what’s interesting about a site, by looking at the pictures included. For example: wired.com.
  • Type the name of a painter and turn your search into a randomized art class!
  • Discuss how images have been used in sites for key historical characters, and the message that they portray. e.g. try ‘Hitler’
  • Have some ‘keyword’ fun with Google Image Labeler. See how you go in two minutes, and what keywords you come up with to name your image!
  • Play with Montage-a-Google and focus on visual literacy!

Truth is nothing will stop teachers and students using Google Image Search. It’s easy.It’s here to stay.

Comes back to pedagogy doesn’t it.  Do you want pretty pictures? or do you want to help teach kids creativity, discernment, visual literacy – oh and ethics around the creative arts :-)

Back to basics!

Touring schools in Auckland, we learned lots of different things. I want to share our wonder at what we discovered about school shoes!!

We noticed kids running around in bare feet, and we kept noticing it and began to wonder what was going on……wee kids in the playground on the coldest day that Auckland had experienced so far this winter.

Simple. Kids don’t have to wear shoes unless its a school excursion or a sport event. So lots of bare feet at school. We even spotted some kids walking home in bare feet, carrying their shoes! This is something Australia could try!

Tweeting and twhirling

Do you tweet on Twitter?

Then you might like to Twhirl as well.

There are many little tools you can use for your Twitter conversations, but my twitter client choice for now is Twhirl. Are teachers twittering? You bet. Check out the first Twitter Mashup from sujokat (Sue Tap).

Looks good doesn’t it? Functionality is excellent.

twhirl.jpg