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.
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?
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.
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+?
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.
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.
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.