Curious David

Pondering my Vote (for Top 100 Learning Tools) (Part 1)

Embarrassed by my failure to vote in local Wisconsin elections yesterday, I am pondering my vote for Jane Hart’s annual Top 100 Learning Tools. This semester I have made the time to examine each of the tools listed, committed myself to extensively investigating the usefulness to me of ten of them, and encouraged my student research students to incorporate those they found most useful into their Pioneering a Virtual European Cultural Experience Project. Concomitantly I continue to search for the right balance between life on the net and disconnecting through making time for off-line reading, reflecting, relating (interesting typo: “realating” as opposed to “virtual” relating) , and writing.  I must that confess my writing while NOT using a computer has become a rarity. At the top of my short-list of reading this summer are The Googlization of Everything:And Why We Should Worry), To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

How do I go about defining my “top 10 learning tools”? One answer is to identify which of the tools I use most often. Put another way, which tools have become so part of my academic life that I don’t notice their importance to me unless they are inaccessible? These would clearly be 1) Twitter (which I have finally discovered how to tame and put to use), 2) WordPress (to which I have converted), 3) Skype (about which I have much yet to learn), 4) Facebook (which I may soon abandon), 5) Diigo —through which fellow educators—especially K-12—continue to teach me), 6) Microsoft Word, 7) Ted (which amazes and inspires me—but which also often mesmerizes rather than encourage interaction), 8) my Ipads (and my increasingly expanding  library of apps with unknown half-life), 9) Google Chrome (though I migrate across five or 6 different browsers depending upon the browser default of the computer I am using) , and 10) Survey Monkey.

Which learning tools are most likely soon to join the category of essential (and “invisible) to m ? My guess is that some of them be identified through the experiences of my students and others as I complete three  research projects this semester (answering Jane Hart’s Top 10 challenge, completing my instructional/mentoring role of the Virtual Cultural Immersion Project and completion of my review of all the apps I’ve accumulated on my Mac and IPads).

I’ll address each of  these issues soon in subsequent posts.

Still pondering; always learning. Your comments and feedback are most welcomed.

David



Curious David

Invidious comparisons – Be it ever so humble?

Invidious comparisons – Be it ever so humble?

An interesting link purportedly allowing comparisons across countries. How useful do you find this?

How useful are these kinds of comparisons?

What is missing?

Curious David

Putting “Global” into the Context of the Whole Universe as We Now Understand It…

Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Music is a bridge across cultures and across the world: Cloudburst

Global Education

The global language of influence – University World News

How important is mastery of a language other than your native language in the world today?

Australia has recently chosen to give all Australian students access to at least one “priority” Asian language (see below).

The global language of influence – University World News.

Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Building Bridges Kindergarten through 99+

My mother was a first-grade teacher; my sister taught in high school and college. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were high school principals; my sister-in-law taught in elementary schools. I have a long-standing interest in building and crossing bridges that connect teachers and learners of different ages and from different cultures. I continue to discover and marvel l at internet tools that facilitate “learning without borders.”

While I blogged for a year at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online as “Curious David” one of my most valued colleagues in learning was a middle school teacher (thank you Pamela, for all you taught me). I find considerable value in monitoring the blogs of Richard Byrne, Steve Johnson, Larry Ferlazzo, and of course the ubiquitous Jane Hart.

Recently I have begun investigating the capabilities of epals and edmodo as tools I might use to reduce barriers between learners from different cultures (including academic cultures) and different ages.  The payback has been immediate both in developing of new virtual friends and of being impressed at the amazing kinds of learning experiences our children are being introduced to.  I am becoming quite impressed by the teaching/learning capabilities of learnist.

What bridge-building tools have you discovered that can promote collaborative leaning across cultures—and across ages Kindergarten through 99+?


Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Musings about Virtual European Cultural Immersion Experiences

Sunday I had a wonderful Skype session with my nephew, Andrew Bowman and his family now living in Switzerland. The video was crisp — he was using an IPad mini and I was sitting by my MacBook Pro. The sound was clear and the technological glitches were minor. I still need, however,  a few more practice sessions with some old and new international friends (Thank you, Irma Milevičiūtė, for your patience, kindness, ideas, and assistance as I begin learning through Epals about the wonderful work you do in beautiful Lithuania!).  I still need to master how to record Skype sessions and to practice embedding such conversations into blogging software such as WordPress. I’m also eager to compare Skype with other Skype-like video conferencing tools (e.g. Google plus hangouts and Oovoo).

I’ve rediscovered Curtis J. Bonk’s book The world is open and I am pondering to what degree I want to infuse my courses with global awareness and connections before I retire—or afterwards!

Here are some incipient thoughts I am exploring.  I welcome  YOUR thoughts and reactions—especially those of you living in other countries.

  • I see a need and many opportunities to increase global awareness of my students  through the use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine. I was thrilled last week when one of my student research collaborators in the “Pioneering a Virtual European Cultural Immersion Course” project  Phoumany Phouybanhdyt alerted me to some of Carroll University library’s global news resources  she had learned about in  her  World Politics class.
  • I’m very much interested in investigating how I might become a member of (or associated with) Etwinning.  My thanks to student research collaborator Catrina Duncan who first brought this potential resource to my attention and to my new and old European friends Irma Milevičiūtė and Reidar Ommundsen who pointed me in some directions on how to join.
  • I’m debating the value of incorporating Kiva or some such international charity/ service component into the classroom to reinforce global compassion.
  • To what degree should I explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being?
  • How essential (and what degree of mastery is essential ) for our students to learn  non English languages? What should be the role of tools such as Google Translate and  Livemocha?  I am always humbled at the mastery of English of my international friends and embarrassed at my own failure to master the basic elements of their beautiful languages.
  • Does it make sense to incorporate into my courses, where appropriate,  cultural universals such as musiccusine, sports, and literature?   So much to think about, but I enjoy thinking—and I welcome your thoughts in particular about what are ideally the key elements for an international cultural immersion experience. Looking forward to your comments.
Miscellaneous

Reaching Out Internationally

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I’m becoming quite excited about this research project with my S-Team students which involved their creating a “virtual” European cultural immersion experience. So far we have created a Wiki on Wikispaces, built a Ning, and begun to establish international contacts. I’ve discovered, through Epals, tremendous global education resources and made a new Lithuanian friend who has already taught me a lot and reinforced my belief in the kindness of people throughout the world. Tomorrow I try Skyping to Switzerland!

So much to learn—together.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

Is it time for me to graduate from TypePad to Word Press?

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I’m beginning to find myself handicapped by the limitations of TypePad and motivated to explore the additional “power user” features of Word Press. Thanks to Jane Hart for extending her Ten New Tool Challenge and her blog software comparison activity for nudging me into this transition.

Miscellaneous

Stop the Internet—I want to get off!!!

From time to time I disconnect, disengage, from seemingly always being online. It is easier to so do during the summer, since I opt NOT to teach or commit myself to grant work during that time. As author Naomi S. Baron acknowleges in her thoughtful book Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, one needs to be alert to the personal, cognitive, and social consequences of “24/7” connectivity.
Is Google making us “stoopid” (sic) or smarter? How can I ever find time to explore, evaluate, improve the 3000+ learning tools which Jane Hart has alerted us to? How can I avoid being pushed off the edge of the “Edgeless University?”—-or should I resist?
I resolve these questions by stepping back, engaging in intense physical activity, reading widely, and consulting the Newf!

 
On the Internet No One Knows that You are a Newfoundland.