Category Archives: Noteworthy blog

Bloggers who make a difference

Harley is one of my favorite bloggers. He puts a lot of joy in classrooms and really gets kids actively engaged in learning. Recently he posted about the process of making maple syrup for a group of fifth graders in Georgia. He had read some of the analogies that the fifth graders were creating and he incorporated that into his post. What great reinforcement for these kids! They got to think and apply their learning in such a fun way and many of them tossed analogies back to Harley. Harley’s first post brought 53 comments from the students and his second post now has 41 comments! I’m betting we will see even more comments. Plus many of the students went on to create their own posts as they excitely shared all that they were learning. Wow! Talk about connections!

I love blogging with kids! I love the connections, the joy, and the thinking that abounds. Just think of all the neuroscience that is getting applied here:

Making it relevant….

Harley made the lesson personally interesting and motivating to the kids.

Giving them a break….

Blogging like this gives kids a break from the normal routine and it was a pleasurable activity that reduced stress and let them experience novelty.

Creating positive associations……

Kids developed associations by practicing creating analogies with a positively reinforcing strategy. (See Fifth Grade Webwriters Are #1)

And the best one, allowing independent discovery learning! These kids will no doubt remember and understand this experience becaue they had a part in figuring it out for themselves. There were choices of places to go to learn and they got to use their imaginations in the process.

Harley is not only a great blogger but has the makings of a neuroscientist too! Thanks Harley for putting all that joy into learning.

I also owe a tremendous thank you to Lani whom I had the good fortune to meet through a comment on one of my classroom blogs back in 2005. We have collaborated and learned much since that time and she personally has put a lot of joy into my learning and reflecting. Lani truly makes a difference in the lives of many….

Making Comics

comics.jpgThis really piques my interest. I read about this on Boing Boing. Scott McCloud will be home-schooling his kids by producing a blog and a series of podcasts and video podcasts documenting their travels. He is taking his family on a one year cross-country tour as he promotes his new book, Making Comics, by giving speeches.  Each family member is going to blog about the trip on Live Journal. They’re calling their podcasts Winterviews.(after the youngest daughter, Winter) The daughters are researching some of the comics people they will be meeting. They will be interviewing and presenting. There’s also a webcast of Scott and Sky (his other daughter) talking to Henry Jenkins’s students at MIT about this. It sounds like a good book to use in classrooms and this venture should be most interesting to follow. Here’s the official tour blog and maps of the journey.

Read “dangerously irrelevant”

I’m really enjoying reading Scott McLeod’s blog, dangerously irrelevant. I love that name for a blog! A section of his About Me reads:

I believe in the transformative power of technology and its ability to empower individuals in ways that were unimaginable a mere decade ago. I believe that schools are approaching the point of dangerous irrelevance when it comes to preparing students adequately for their digital futures. The pace of change in schools is too slow and the pace of change in technology is too quick. I am a strong believer in public schools, but we need a new paradigm. My work focuses on the leadership necessary to effectuate this new, transformative paradigm.

We need more blogs like this! In his post today he recommended the reading of Freakonomics, He pointed to a website associated with the book and provided to a link to the blog of the authors, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. He was talking about one doctor’s efforts to improve hand-hygiene compliance and techniques that were used to effect change. You must read the post to find out how they were successful in changing the behavior. This statement in his post really got me thinking.

Dr. Bender said, “With people who have been in practice 25 or 30 or 40 years, it’s hard to change their behavior. But when you present them with good data, they change their behavior very rapidly.”

Scott went on to pose this question “what kinds of ‘data’ (broadly conceived) can we present to teachers that would compel them to change their behaviors and to integrate technology more into the teaching and learning process?

He ends the post with What other data can you think of? Are there other “frightening” images we can use to “scare” teachers (and administrators, for that matter) into changing their behaviors?

That got me thinking some more. Maybe we don’t need “frightening” or images that scare but images that are truly compelling in one way or another. I wish we had a collection of really good photos somewhere that could be used by students and educators for such activities. I’m talking about ones like you find on Flickr.but housed where students can freely search. I’m talking about dynamic, thought-provoking photos that can be used to make points but are very appropriate for classroom use. I wish someone would start such a site just for educators to use in our classrooms. Wouldn’t it be great if they had them available in different sizes, links to sites that let students do creative things, etc. Good visuals are really needed and of course I want this all free for educators. There’s a lot of power in the use of photos.

Update: Scott pointed out on a comment  that this post was guest blogger Jon Becker’s ! Sorry I missed that but it’s nice to know  that not only Scott’s posts are good but he has great guest bloggers, too!