Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New test post

This is my new post

Monday, December 08, 2008

Change Blindness/Attention Blindness

Wow! I was just reading up on some research about attention blindness or change blindness.

This is some fascinating stuff!

I was turned on to it by the video study completed by Dan Simons that showed the people passing a ball around and you had to focus on how many passes the white t-shirt people made. You can see the video here: http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/media/dateline.html

You will want to read the description in the "basketball" section. Make sure you focus on how many passes the white team makes. Another good account of this experiment is found through the TED Talks (via Google video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g74hJAAg1Ks

Another researcher that is doing incredible things is Ronald Rensink. His work on change blindness is pretty cool. Play with the java applet a little while. It is incredible what a difference "time between change" makes.

My question...how does this affect school, learning, classroom management, content distribution?

My first thoughts take me to work done by Roy Pea that looks at distributed cognition and the power of your "surround". Dr. Pea did a lot of work looking at the systems and surround in an airplane cockpit. Think about your classroom surround.

Does is every change?
Is it used to help students learn different concepts?
Does is help set classroom culture?
What would happen if you moved a poster - would anyone notice?
Do you do your lectures from the same spot every time? Would it make a difference if you sat in a different location?

We had a kindergarten art teacher that had to miss one of the first days of school this year. The first time students come to art class, she needs to spend some time setting the rules and explaining what is in the room. She decided to make a video of herself doing it the first time and using that video with the classes that she couldn't attend. She noticed that the kids that watched the video of her, had a better understanding of the classroom than the ones that saw her live. It was enough of a difference that she ended up showing it even when she was there the rest of the days when introducing the classroom.

I have some theories as to why that happened, but to make the post a little shorter, let's leave that to discussion.

Any other ideas?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Orb Test

This is a test of another new system that hopefully will allow me to stream my own video from my personal machine.

Let's give it a try!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Classroom blogs


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

To teach typing or not to teach typing

I was recently reading/responding to an comment I read on Edutopia's website. Here's the comment:

The article is here
My comment is not yet showing up. I am not sure what their posting policy is. Hopefully it will show soon.

I also wanted to add some thoughts that I shared with many parents in the district I work in about our philosophy when it comes to taking valuable teaching time to teach typing. I have just copied the text below. Some if it may not make sense without the context of our district, but you should get the point. Here it is:

To Teach Typing or Not?

The question is a great one! So good in fact, that I have yet to hear a good answer in over 10 years of dealing with educational technology.

Here is what I know:

1) Typing speed and accuracy:

a. The ability to keystroke quickly, without errors, and without looking is a definite skill that helps students/adults become more productive in their work.

b. Is it a “necessary” skill? I have seen many people type using the hunt and peck method just as quickly as those that use conventional methods. The key to students developing their own method comes when they feel the “need” to get faster and more accurate.

2) What age is the correct time?

a. This is another question that has been hotly debated. No real agreement has been reached. Just because their hands are large enough to reach all the keys in conventional fashion doesn’t mean their brains are developed enough to begin put the information into functional memory.

b. This also brings up the debate about whether or not to allow students to keyboard at all without using conventional methods. If they don’t do it “properly” should we stop them from doing it all together?

3) Technology as a tool for learning:

a. For many years now, districts have had to choose whether or not “technology” was a tool, or as a class in itself. Should we have classes that teach only technology, or classes that teach subjects (i.e.: science) using technology?

Here are the district technology team’s thoughts so far on these topics:

We all agree that we are more productive because of our ability to keystroke with speed and accuracy. But, we are also aware that some members of our team don’t use conventional typing methods and are still very productive. They tend to be as fast as they need to be.

That takes us to the next question. We would love to offer courses/workshops on conventional typing, but when would we do it?

If we handled it at the Middle School, we run into a couple of issues.

1) A course like that, to be effective would need to be handled on a daily or at least A/B schedule. This course would need to be held in one of the computer labs which would essentially tie up one lab for just these courses. We have about 75% computer lab utilization with just teachers/classes using the labs for curriculum work. Would it be worth it to shut down ¼ of the computer access in the MS to teach typing? We have decided no, just as we decided years ago to no longer offer computer applications classes. Everything we do is predicated on the fact that technology is a tool to help us learn, not something that we need to learn in isolation.

2) Doing the course in the MS might be too late. Bad habits are hard to break! This goes for offering the course at the HS as well!

We have chosen to handle it in the 2-5 Elementary Building. This decision still has many drawbacks.

1) Students are only in their technology specials for about 24 hours throughout the course of the year. Even if they spent every day in the labs in 3rd grade doing nothing but keyboarding, it probably still isn’t enough time to become proficient.

2) As in the MS, the instructors in those specials focus more on using the technology as a tool to help them learn. They learn Powerpoint as a way to help show/share their knowledge. They learn how to use Word to create reports, stories, and essays. They learn how to properly search for information on topics they are covering in the science class. We feel each of these examples is at least as important and necessary to ensure their success later in school.

3) So…they do complete some work with a guided program in the 2-5 technology curriculum, but it is probably not enough to become an 80 word per minute typist.

What do we suggest to parents such as you who are concerned with their student’s performance? We typically send them to specific software programs that can be purchased for home use such as Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Or, there are many free programs that are engaging to students that are free online. A search on Google will provide many links to these sites. (http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Software/Educational/Typing/ )

I hope that it is clear that we have struggled with these questions for many years and have developed a solution that we feel is best for the overall district. We continue to stress technology as a tool to help us learn. As with many tools, the more you practice with them, the more productive they will help you become.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


This is a test for zoho. It was created and "published" to the blog using Zoho. Why would we continue to pay for Microsoft Office? I know that Office has more functionality, but those are mainly bells and whistles. How many of us actually use those features in our every day work environment. I think that we are almost to the point of "less is more" in word processing.

Zoho does provide some MORE. How about the ability to publish directly to your blog? What about collaboration with others. Need someone to review your document, just invite them.

Another great example of technology that changes the fundamental ways in which we write through direct publishing, easy editing through collaboration, and a virtually unlimited audience.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


YouTube is another one of those new technologies that will drastically change teaching...BECAUSE of the way it changes learning. I truly believe that all people love to learn. I am reminded of Seymour Papert in the Children's Machine.

He talks about a preshool girl that wants to know how a giraffe sleeps. He is able to look up the information in books, etc. but she is left to rely on him bringing the information back to her. In the book, he refers to hypermedia as a possible solution. Interactive, multimedia encyclopedias will allow her to look up the information without the ability to read.

YouTube is providing these truly multimedia experiences. In it's infancy still now, I am confident that the use of YouTube for true learning opportuities will expand. As for now...much of the stuff is just plain fun!

Check out this video...(part of the reason I am posting these is to practice embeding video into my blog)

Great movie about the trials of an individual working the "HelpDesk"

I will hopefully add more to this thought later...

Later thoughts (2-26-07)

Here is another video that has been pretty popular around the world. It shows the evolution of text and Web 2.0. Pretty powerful video.

It is called Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Side note: How many times was YouTube mentioned on the Academy Awards last night? Seems like professional video people also see the power of being your own producer.

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