Friday, May 30, 2008

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

I grew up in what used to be Canada's Motor City, Windsor, Ontario, just south of Detroit, Michigan. (Check a map for this geographic quirk!) At that time, Lee Iacocca was a mainstay in any news related to the auto industry, and though I've been out of touch with his post-retirement life, he remains a passionate leader.

Just this evening I started reading Iacocca’s “Where Have All the Leaders Gone?”. In the opening chapter, Lee highlights the need for leaders who have what he calls the 'Nine C’s of Leadership':
Curiosity, Creativity, Communication, Character, Courage, Conviction, Charisma, Common Sense, Crisis Management…. Who can argue?

I have to tell you that for an 82 year old, he writes (dictates?) with spunk! Although his motivation is to light a fire among citizens of all ages and to encourage the selection of effective leaders, the liveliness and passion in his writing speaks convincingly of the types of leaders that are required in education at this time of educational transformation.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Five Movies that Scared Me as a Child

These five movies are very vivid in my memory, and what they have in common is that they each had at least one moment that made it difficult for me to sleep.

1] Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: That 'childcatcher' still gives me chills!

2] The Ghost and Mr. Chicken: I loved 'Luther' but those garden shears in the throat were freaky!

3] The Birds: That poor guy's eyeball hanging out... Yikes!

4] Poltergeist: Where should I start?! The slimy goop covered child; the kids creepy voice on the TV; the cemetery surfacing in the yard... Even the title freaked me out!

5] Mary Poppins: OK, not really, but I love this trailer, recut as a horror film!

What movie moments haunt your childhood memories?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Innovation is Possible... in Staff rooms!

Innovation exists in the meeting of minds!

With Twitter misbehaving of note, I was lucky enough to chance upon a few tweets late in the afternoon, that drew me to an engaging conversation that was being hosted by a number of fellow Canadian twitterers, bloggers, and podcasters who were lucky enough to be invited to Microsoft's Innovative Teachers Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

I captured 100 seconds of the discussion, and have shared it below so that you can see what true innovation is: Teachers, meeting on their own time, to engage in rich professional dialogue. Clarence Fisher acted as host of the impromptu gathering to discuss issues related to the question: "Is Innovation possible in Classrooms"

Beyond the richness of the discussion, this experience offered a rare opportunity: the chance to participate in a 'staff room' conversation with Clarence Fisher, Ben Hazzard, Joan Badger, Darren Kuropatwa, Chris Harbeck, Kathy Cassidy, John Evans and those on the back-channel including Alex Couros (until he had to board a plane), Jen Jones, Dean Sharesky (on screen as co-host), David Jakes and others.

Whether or not innovation comes to classrooms any time soon, one thing is for sure: Innovation in staff rooms will have to happen first. Today, I was lucky enough to witness first hand, what an innovative staff room might look and sound like!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What goes well with Salty Chips?

A teacher cannot live on 'salty chips' alone. Once the availability of technological tools can be guaranteed, teachers need to be engaged in ongoing professional development. Such PD needs to be ubiquitous, ongoing, and customized.

I've often wondered how we can succeed in harnessing the latest attendance software; or in implementing new report card software, yet we fail to make meaningful use of most available e-learning tools. There are ways to ensure that professional learning is appetizing.

Entrust teachers to bring forth their own agendas. Teach teachers the skills that they are interested in learning.

Provide training throughout the school day/week/month/year. Waiting for system-wide PD days is not enough.

Ensure common 'planning time' among teaching colleagues. This will allow educators to engage in meaningful, ongoing dialogue about how to engage learners with evolving technologies.

Provide planning time in large blocks rather than in small chunks. We need to get creative with scheduling. Small chunks of time are good for little more than grabbing a snack; making a phone call; checking the news of the day; running a few copies; marking a few papers...

Encourage teachers to mentor one another. There are niche experts everywhere. For example: If one teacher knows how to get digital images from a camera - to a computer - to a student's media project, then there is no reason why that expertise can't be shared.

Recognize teachers for using present day tools.
Share 'good news' technology stories in your school or board-wide newsletters.

Make optional training ultra-convenient.
Provide sessions close to where the teachers work... in their classrooms; or at the nearest resource centre/computer lab. Offer 'at the elbow' support before school; at noon hour; and after school.

Be open to having students attend.
Consider allowing teachers to be accompanied by student-assistants. If a teacher has a classroom ally that can help in setting up or using the tools, they are far more likely to be used.

Offer incentives to participants! Salty chips in the form of classroom technology is highly motivating, but don't underestimate the value of fresh fruit, cold drinks, and cookies in creating a welcome learning environment.

Photo Credit: Michael Young

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Salty Chips & Professional Learning

You can lead a teacher to PD, but you cannot make him think. How do you whet someone's appetite for professional learning related to the use of present day technologies?

In engaging teachers to use new and evolving tools, educational technology leaders need to provide 'salty chips' in order to get them to 'drink in' the technology. How will educators be engaged in learning new skills, when they can more easily 'always do, what they've always done'?

If educators are provided with reliable access to salty chips, they are going to want to continue to drink. My opinion is that the best way to engage teachers in using technology, is to provide ongoing access to efficient, available, 'always on' technology.

Chalkboard 2.0: Examples of Salty Chips!

The Interactive Whiteboard
: A great many educators that have been provided with a SmartBoard or Mimio, have forced themselves to make use of it. For many, there is no turning back to traditional chalk.

The Data Projector
: With most classrooms or departments sharing access to too few projectors, portable technology is not as effectively integrated as are permanently mounted machines. This is the one purchase I would make for myself if my board, parent group, or school couldn't provide ongoing access.

The Notebook Computer: If educators had ready and available access to their lessons, bookmarks, and applications (both at home and at school), then the tools above would be leveraged more regularly and more effectively.

Differentiated Access to the Internet: If educators can get to sites they want to get to, without having to jump through hoops for approval, they are far more likely to engage students in the use of a wide range of alternatives to chalk.

Access to Engaging Software: In Ontario, we are lucky that a partnership among educators, vendors and the provincial ministry of education, called OSAPAC, endeavors to provide access to the best software available. In addition to these tools, some tech support teams need to be more supportive of teachers requesting access to networking tools, Web 2.0 applications, and niche software.

Chalkboard 2.0 is only one part of the solution!

Any of the above tools comprise but a fraction of what school boards can do to engage educators. Each of these new chalkboard tools can serve as a rich medium for interactive exploration, BUT, without adequate time to learn and practice using these tools; and without modern examples of how to use these tools to engage in authentic, collaborative learning experiences, we'll be no further ahead.

Up next: What goes well with salty chips?

Photo Credit: Maiylah

Out of this World!

Watching Phoenix landing near the poles of Mars via 'SpaceVidcast' is something that was possible on Sunday via the MarsPhoenix feed on Twitter and

Would this learning experience have been available in classrooms... on short notice?

7 Minutes of Terror - The Phoenix Mars Lander from SpaceVidcast on Vimeo. And Clarence Fisher reminds me that the Wikipedia Entry is now up-to-date.

Photos, Twitter Feed, and a Teacher 2.0 Podcast on the event are also available.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Shoes Stay Tied!

Are you still tying shoes the way you were taught as a kid? It may be worth finding a better way...

Now on YouTube, this method is a surefire way to make friends with your favourite kindergarten teacher! If you want to encourage folks to try new lacing strategies, you can't beat Ian's Shoelace Site.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Five Reasons to Love a Loonie

* Note to the non-Canadian world: Loonie is the slang term for a one dollar Canadian coin.

1] When you have enough loonies in your automobile ashtray, you can be a big spender, splurging for a an 'iced cap' at Timmies;

2] A loonie will buy you a great song like 12:59 Lullaby by Bedouin Soundclash on iTunes;

3] You can spend a loonie in more places than you can spend Canadian Tire Money;

4] The loonie is cute enough to have a great nickname!

5] The loonie buys as much as an American dollar (at least today it does!);

Are there more great things about the loonie?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are you a Cruise Director?

Recent posts by David Warlick, Andy Gibson, and Ewan McIntosh are all reminding me of a problem I have with the teaching profession: namely, the job title!

Usually, it is the layout and tools of the traditional classroom that reinforces the model of education I've come to resent: 'one where information is transmitted from teacher to student'. But, even the very word 'teacher', implies that one is responsible for the transmission of knowledge to the other. It almost makes me want to jump ship!

Extending the metaphor: If your classroom were a ship, with the students as passengers, what role would you play? The ship's captain? A steward? Chief purser? The navigator? In the best case, educators are co-learners who can model learning on a daily basis, while providing engaging experiences for their clients. With many pre-determined destinations, I suspect that the best teachers will play many roles, not the least of which, would be that of 'cruise director'.

I have an observation experiment for you:
Try a 'ship's captain walkabout'. Tour the decks of a school as an observer, while limiting your attention to the feet of the 'passengers'. Take my word for it... and just try it. I suspect that in a given tour, your observations will tell you much about how engaged (or disengaged) the learners are! If the feet are active, I suspect that there is a good chance you're looking at the classroom of a cruise director and co-learner.

Too Funny! True oral exam stories are shared on tonight's 8 minute episode of the Teacher 2.0 Podcast: "Tale of the Tell-Tale Toes".

Photo Credits: Savannah Grandfather, Billie/PartsnPieces

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Classroom 2.0: Intentional Workspace Arrangement

Have you ever intentionally designed your classroom learning space?

After revisiting Dean Shareski's interview with Clarence Fisher, I've found myself thinking about how the layout of a classroom speaks loudly about the types of learning activities that take place within the space. Just as a restaurant has tables arranged for intimate conversation; a doctor's office has chairs arranged for private contemplation; and an auditorium focuses attention on a public performance; your classroom is arranged for.... what?

While we may be stuck with the rigidity of the desk, the layout of a classroom is largely left up to the inspiration of the teacher. In organizing their classroom furniture, I wonder how many teachers consider arranging their desks to maximize the effectiveness of collaborative experiences. My suspicion is that many teachers, in the name of 'classroom management' arrange their rooms to minimize opportunities for interaction.

With that, I'm venturing to share two distinct desk layouts that I use in my own teaching:

The first is the adaptable, double horse-shoe: The inner circle and outer circle allow students to participate in discussions with the entire class, or to focus on a large group activity/speaker/presentation. When the inner desks are rotated 180 degrees to face the outer horseshoe, you have instant tables formed that can be used for partner work, or small group activities.

The second simple group organizer I've used I call the 'awk-quad': Each quad is comprised of four desks, clustered, with two desks facing one another, and the other two facing in a common direction, but sandwiched onto the side of the opposing desks. Though awkward, this grouping allows for group discussion or partner work and with limited stress on student necks, provides a clear line of sight to centralized classroom activities.

Care to share your desk/classroom arrangement?
Although I feel guilty about asking the audience to participate... I think that learning should be conversational, so I'm inviting educators to share photos and rationale for the arrangement of their classrooms. Simply post a sketch or photo of your learning space on Flickr, or on your blog, and give an explanation of why your learning space is so designed.

In sharing your 'intentional workspace arrangement', you can link back to this post; or you can use the comment space below to link out to your photo and explanation. Who knows? This could be even become a meme of sorts...

Sue Tapp's response to the interview noted above, reminds me that VoiceThread offers an effective way to share a classroom story:

The Teacher 2.0 Podcast that spawned this idea is now available.

Photo credits: Piero Sierra; dc John

Monday, May 19, 2008

Create a Custom Search Engine

I have the feeling that educators will find many uses for Google's 'free' Custom Search Engine tool. Here are but a few ideas:

1] Have Google index the content of PDF, RTF, or DOC files by placing these in a web folder; and create a custom search that is limited to this folder;

2] Provide students access to a search engine set to scour specific resources that you update for specific grades/subjects/projects (e.g., general Craig Nansen's K-12 resources)

3] Add a custom search engine to your blog, wiki, or podcast page.

Do you have any other ideas?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Minimally Invasive Education

If we get out of the way, even crows can learn!

It's been over 8 years since Sugata Mitra first made a computer available to the people of the slums of New Delhi, in what has become known as "The Hole in the Wall" project. Did we learn anything? The children did. With no formal training, they learned about computing and taught one another numerous technology skills that are reviewed in this Interview from the year 2000. The catch, the technology was compelling!

And now comes an example from TED, where Joshua Klein has demonstrated that even crows can learn and teach one another... especially when the results of the learning are nourishing!

Far be it for me to suggest that we abandon teaching and leave students to their own devices. Rather, let's be minimally invasive in allowing the learning to happen, but maximally invasive in ensuring that the problems we present to learners are relevant, compelling and appetizing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back-Channel Learning at TLt

Imagine a classroom, where at any point in time, the students can interact with one another about the material being presented (or where they can engage in discussion on more important topics!). A place where 'speaking during the lesson' is not only allowed, but encouraged... This is the essence of the classroom for remote participants at TLt Summit 2008 currently taking place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Although I've been a virtual attendee at a handful of distant conference experiences this year, the TLt event has been at least as memorable as Educon 2.0. In parachuting in, I'm coming to value the back-channel discussions at least as much as the presentations. Even though the parallel discussions are disorganized and random, it is easy to see how a conference could take advantage of this technology, engaging both on site participants, and remote educators.

Part of the attraction for me is that this event has attracted the attention of many from the Twittersphere, including a number of well-known Canadian edu-bloggers, and I find myself wondering what might happen if facilitators or co-hosts were to become more actively involved in prodding online participants to consider key questions/issues.

Earlier this year, I shared the story on SlideCasting 2.0 that has the potential to extend discussions and deep thinking beyond the timeframes of a given lecture; This week I've learned that even 'off-topic' discussions can be very enriching for participants!

Sample Back-Channel Chat from Stephen Downes presentation.
The Teacher 2.0 Podcast episode on this topic is now available.
Photo Credits: "Jen sets up the UStream" and "Audience" by Dean Shareski

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Think Outside of the Driveway

New thinking is sweeping my neighbourhood, and it all started only a few days ago.

I happen to live an a neighbourhood with many double driveways. One of my neighbours who I've known since I moved in 9 years ago, has begun parking 'differently'. With teenaged children, and multiple visitors, it is not uncommon to see four or more cars parked at his home, with his car 'boxed-in'. Although the standard double driveway holds at least four cars, access to the roadway is restricted to the cars parked at the tail end of the driveway.... Until now!

This past weekend, Doug and his family adopted 'angled parking' with one driveway lane used as a true 'drive-way, and the other lane as a 'park-way'. Driving down my street this evening (a scant two days later), I passed three more homes adopting angled parking! The result, any of up to five cars can drive in or can back out to the road (four from the driveway, and one from the garage of the driveway lane)! No more key shuffling to free boxed-in automobiles!

The trap that is 'the four cars in a driveway puzzle' is in many ways similar to the stale thinking that holds sway in many 'traditional' classrooms. We always do, what we've always done, without thinking of alternate possibilities. But, as evidenced by the fresh approach to parking in my neighbourhood, once a new idea is proven to work, a number of folks will follow the trail that's been blazed.

When daylight happens upon our street, I'll be taking some more photos, as this is a metaphor I'll be sharing in my next workshop. Is it possible that this form of parking is already popular elsewhere and that I've never seen it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Take Ownership of Your Identity

Who Are You?

Let me qualify that... Who are you to someone who Googles you? Educators may not realize this, but most of us have likely been Googled by students, parents or other educators!

In many ways, your participation in discussions within the blogosphere, and your presence on social networks, comprise your personal/professional portfolio. Recent posts by Doug Peterson and Tim Hawes have recently reinforced for me what I've been recommending for teachers for a few years now: "You need to have an online presence!"

Last week, the Globe and Mail reported that a Manitoba high school student was charged with 'impersonating his teacher' after he "allegedly set up a Facebook profile in the teacher's name, complete with a photo and biographical details."

Even though impersonation contravenes Facebook's terms of use' in which users agree NOT to "impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent yourself, your age or your affiliation with any person or entity;", this type of activity is surely taking place within thousands of profiles.

What's a teacher to do?
Be proactive! Take ownership of your identity!

1] Google yourself on occasion, to see what your online resume currently consists of. (You might also consider Googling your children or others who are close to you...)

2] If you don't have a Facebook account, get one! You don't need to use it, but include enough information in your profile to ensure that you are the 'real one'. You might also want to register with other popular social networks.

3] Consider buying a personalized domain name. You don't have to use it, but if you have a domain that is, you are ensuring that on one else takes your online identity. Who knows, it might even spur you towards creating a real 'online portfolio'. Getting a domain name is easy and inexpensive, and can do great things towards enhancing your online presence. If you're interested, check out,,, Yahoo domains, or another service.

4] Develop a personal website. Start small by having a personal web page that you can use to post resources or ideas. A wiki page (at a such such as Wetpaint); or a personal blog (at a site like can be very easy to set up and to update. You need not know HTML or complex coding, and you can easily redirect your domain name (see #3 above) to this personal page.

5] Demonstrate your professionalism to parents who may 'look you up online', by participating in meaningful professional discussions. To do so, you can either make regular posts on your own blog, or you can comment on the blogs of others in the edu-blogosphere. Note that anything you post to a blog will come up in a web search, provided you use your real name on such a post.

Photo Credit: Steve Mishos

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Are you a Superlearner?

Eric Davidove's video has helped me to recognize many of my online colleagues as 'Superlearners'.

Teemu Arina sees the original concept of 'superlearning' as very much a one-way, school 1.0 phenomenon. In referring to the original concept, identified in the book by Ostrander and Schroeder
"...superlearning as a concept is so school 1.0, where you acquire as much information as possible, so that you can reproduce it in various contexts…and bore yourself to death in the meantime."

But I see many elements of networked learning in this revised application of the word that applies directly to many of the learners in our classrooms today... teachers included!

Note: The original post has been edited based on information provided by Teemu Arina. As I can't seem to locate a strikethrough tool on Blogger, I've italicized the updated information. RL.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fore Great Things about Golf!

1] In order to play well, you focus on golf exclusively, while the rest of reality goes into hibernation.

2] Playing in the early morning or early evening amid sculpted nature is pure bliss .

3] Golf is all about Karma... you end up somewhere based on your actions alone!

FORE] When golf approaches pure Zen, your score doesn't even matter.

Photo Credit: Annais Ferreira

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Educator's Diet

As an instructor, there is nothing more satisfying than an engaged audience; and nothing so frustrating as an indifferent one. When it comes to professional development in ICT, technology leaders are doomed to 'serving' both audiences.

Although we would rather spend our time supporting those 'hungriest' to learn; all educators need sustenance.

Consider food as a metaphor to represent engagement in learning about ICT:

1] All teachers need technological nourishment on a regular basis;

2] You can't force-feed learning about technology;

3] A rich menu, will allow educators to choose according to their dietary needs;

4] The hungriest educators, should be invited to return to the buffet;

5] Even if someone says they aren't hungry, they need to choose something to eat;

6] Occasionally a fast food meal is very satisfying, but 'fine dining' in the form of conferences, should be budgeted for on occasion;

7] It is very challenging to dine without the proper utensils;

8] Taking time to talk/network while dining, helps participants to digest the contents of a meal;

9] A balanced diet is important;

10] Dining with the entire family (staff) can be a great community-builder.

Whether or not teachers are interested and motivated, the need to learn about evolving tools will be continuous. Just as the body needs constant replenishment in order to function, so too, an educator needs intellectual nourished in order to adequately meet the needs of his/her students.

Photo Credit: stephendepolo

Wisdom of the Collective

What's the most important thing you've learned from your Personal Learning Network?

"If I'm struggling with something, chances are someone else is too! Seeing others take risks helps me take them more confidently, too."
Adrienne Michetti

"Regardless of how boring the material that you have to cover might be, using web 2.0 tools makes students active participants in the education process. I am getting so much more feedback through the blogs, email, and classroom response systems than I ever did with asking a student for an answer" Brian Licata

"...I've learned that there is an on line community there to support you in whatever way you need at the this very moment. You just need to take a risk and ask." Elona Hartjes

"...My PLN supports my learning in many different ways. I can propose an idea and get feedback, or I can explore others' writings to get a different perspective. That's at the conceptual level. At the tools level, I can get help on a specific tool or I can learn about new tools. And when I need some information about a topic, I turn to my PLN for the information directly or pointers to where it can be accessed. My learning is deeper and richer because of my PLN." Cindy Seibel

"The most important thing I have learned from my PLN is I cannot keep up or stay current on my own. I can benefit from other educator's experiences at the click of a button so I don't have to read it all or do it all myself. My favourite phrase is "We not me"" Doug Sadler

"...I've learned that a PLN is absolutely critical for me to keep up with things going on in education. I simply cannot wait for the "guru" articles & books to be published because things are changing too fast. But I can learn a ton from people who are sharing via blogs & podcasts. For the first time in my teaching career, I don't feel totally isolated in my job. My PLN has been a life-saver (and a sanity saver)." Kelly Ady

"Start slow it can be overwhelming. Don't lurk, participate. Be willing to contribute and don't get bummed if you don't get a response. It will take some time." Paul R. Wood

Add your wisdom, or follow the link and scroll down to reflect on the thoughts of others.

Photo Credit: Stephen Downes

Monday, May 5, 2008

Leading Learning

Leading Learning is underway, with plenty for the attendees to consider.

George Siemens shared a thought-provoking presentation after the recovery of his operating system. I'm ruminating on the idea that educators have lots of work to complete before schools can experience a true renaissance. Beyond exploration and experimentation, we need to gather data to appease stakeholders prior to the implementation of 're-schooling' initiatives.

Ken Hudson (A.K.A. Kenny Hubble) shared his experience as the Manager of Academic and New Media Services in coordinating the creation of a 'Second Life' learning environment for Loyalist College in Ontario Canada. The "Light On - Light Through" podcast interview with Paul Levinson provides insight for those interested in learning more about this project.

Rodd Lucier (hey that's me!) presented 'Let's Ban Chalk' a workshop on how to engage the World Wide Web as a replacement for the chalkboard, including how to develop a personal learning network. A grateful nod to Lee Lefever of Common Craft for enlightening participants on how to 'be a good explainer'!

I couldn't resist podcasting about a few of my thoughts from Day 1.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Expanding Personal Learning Networks

Can you spare 90 seconds to expand your Personal Learning Network? If so, you can also assist other educators in developing new learning networks.

The skinny: I'm making a presenting on the afternoon of May 5th at Leading Learning and a key component of the workshop, is Personal Learning Networks. In order to assist attendees in expanding their own learning networks, I've created a PLN Survey whose results are immediately available to all.

If you can spare 90 seconds, check out the survey. After making a contribution, you can scroll down to see the responses to date.

If you can spare an additional minute or two, you can assist in expanding this project by taking time to tweet, blog, or podcast about this resource so that others can participate.


Photo Credit: Luc Legay

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How Many Twitter Tools Are There?

There is no question that Twitter has gained the attention of global web developers. Which, if any, of these tools do you use? The original. Twitter via Adobe Air on the desktop.
Twinga: Another Air version of Twitter.
Spaz: An open source Twitter client.
Twitteroo: Another desktop client. Who's tweeting via global avatars.
TwitterVision: A GoogleMaps mashup showing where in the world tweets are coming from. Also available: Twittervision 3D
TwitDir: A Twitter directory. In case you want someone to 'tweet-off' for a time.
Tweeterboard: Twitter stats like the top 100 Twitterers.
TweetClouds: Create a keyword cloud based on a user's tweets.
Twitterverse: The keyword cloud of the entire twitter community for a given time period.
Quotably: Tracking the conversations among a Twitterer's followers.
TwitterFeed: Automate feed updates from your blog to Twitter.
Pulse of Open Source: What is the open source community tweeting to one another about?
TwitPic: Share photos via Twitter.
TweetScan: Search any Twitterer or term to see who's tweeting about what.
Terraminds: Another way to take the pulse of Twitter.
TweetVolume: Check the frequency of a range of keywords within Twitter.
Twitter Fan Wiki:Collected quotes, apps and more...
Twitbin: A Firefox plugin.
Remember the Milk: Your todo list via Twitter.
TwitterTimer: Send yourself reminders at specific times.
TwitterNotes: Keep track of appropriately tagged personal notes and todo items.
PocketTweets: Twitter from your iPhone. (It will be in Canada soon...)
TinyTwitter: Tweeting from any java-enabled mobile device.
TweetMeme: What are the main themes of the moment?
Twitterbox: Twitter from Second Life.
FoxyTunes: Let the Twitterverse know what you're listening to or watching.
TwitThis: A way for visitor to your blog to quickly and easily tweet about your post(s).
TweetStats: How often are you tweeting?
24 O'Clocks: Twitter on a timeline.
TwitterPoster: A visual representation of the degrees of influence among Twitterers.

Although they were published well over a year ago, the following links are the most accurate representations I've read on the disruptive force of this microblogging technology, and the addictiveness of the Twitter engine.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Education Abandons Communication

I started thinking about how Twitter is very much a social networking tool for adults that is similar in some ways to MSN chat, and in other ways is like email. This thinking prompted me to a thought experiment comparing the adoption of tools used for communication:

(Creative Commons Licensed by Rodd Lucier)

While it's dangerous to generalize, I'm coming to a fearful discovery: "It's not that education fails to take advantage of technology; it's that education fails to take advantage of most forms of communication that cross time & space."

Common practice seems to be in the here and now, whether speaking to people who are present; or writing for people who are present. Although there are many exemplary learning experiences taking advantage of communications technologies, these exemplars are far less common than so-called 'traditional' learning experiences.

More detailed thinking on this topic is available on the Teacher 2.0 Podcast: Unharnessed Communications Technologies.