Monday, December 31, 2007

That's a Big Ten-Four

Scott Elias's latest post uses NASA phrases to describe parental interaction with a tired child.

I thought it might be fun to use a similar technique and apply CB lingo to in my last posting of 2007.

Although I've read blogs by many good neighbors [fellow drivers/bloggers], I apologize for the times I've just been readin' the mail [just listening - not actively talking/commenting] and promise to be more interactive in 2008. I don't want to be an alligator station [all mouth and no ears: a person who likes to talk just to hear himself]. You are all ACEs [important] to me.

I'm also hoping to expand my technical skills, moving beyond being just an appliance operator [non technical person who knows how to turn the rig/computer on, and that’s about all].

NECC 2008 will be my chance to experience some bean house bull [trucker/blogger talk exchanged at truck stops/meetings & conferences, eyeball-to-eyeball/f2f] with many of the people who make my cyber universe so vital.

I wish everyone in my ever-expanding PLN all the good numbers [best wishes]. Have a great happy happy [New Year]!

"Hercules" by Cubwolf (Dave Smith)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Everything I Need to Know About 21st Century Skills I Learned from Tina Turner

"What do we do with our lives

We leave only a mark

Will our story shine like a life
Or end in the dark

Give it all or nothing"
Tina Turner, We Don't Need Another Hero

Be Flexible in a Changing Environment/Never Be Afraid to Re-invent Yourself
Tina Turner is a singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. After her professional and personal life hit rock bottom, Ms. Turner engineered a stunning solo comeback to achieve international stardom.

Have a Global Outlook
While her career languished in the States, Tina Turner continued to sell out venues in Europe and other parts of the world.
She has become the "face" of the National Rugby League in Australia and New Zealand.

Although she now limits solo appearances, Tina Turner has teamed up with various musicians (Phil Collins, Herbie Hancock, Santana) on recordings and contributed her voice to numerous charity concerts.

Be a Lifelong Learner
Tina Turner has risen from poverty to spectacular success by intelligently assessing her options, studying her chosen field and carefully orchestrating her career moves.

"Tina Turner" by Rob!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Old Knowledge

Master Po: [after easily defeating the boy in combat] Ha, ha, never assume because a man has no eyes he cannot see. Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Young Caine: No.
Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
Young Caine: [looking down and seeing the insect] Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Master Po
: Young man, how is it that you do not?
-from the TV series, "Kung Fu"

There was an interesting exchange recently between technology guru and visionary Clay Burell and a young, articulate up-and-comer, Arthus regarding the value of content knowledge.

After receiving a mediocre score on an interactive geography quiz, Arthus remarked
"I’ll leave the geography facts to Google. I’ll do the thinking."
Clay responded,
"I don’t buy your 'geographic facts are unimportant compared to real thinking' implication.

Geopolitics, regional wars, and a million other things start with knowing where places are, what places surround them, the history of relations, the resources, etc etc.

That fact-base takes time to stew and congeal into a worldview and theoretical base... Foundational knowledge of facts is a prerequisite for nuanced thinking "
Arthus countered
"Ah… but I have the sense to Google something before I pretend to know about it."
A seemingly innocuous exchange, but it reflects two distinct schools of thought regarding the object of education: should we modify curriculum in favor of outcome-based education? Is it enough to possess the skills to access information or does content-based learning still have value? What do students need to acquire in the educational system to become successful adults? Should schools focus on skills and process?

What does a successful learner look like?

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information." -T. S. Eliot

"Reflective grasshopper" by Cowboy Dave

A Very Merry E-Christmas

"For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home." -W.J. Ronald Tucker

Many of the gifts exchanged in our household this Christmas had a technical or digital component.

There was a selection of books (from a Jane Austen mystery to a home improvement manual); the requisite sweaters, scarves, and socks; food and beverages enough to ensure jolly times for days to come.

But there were also the connected "toys": my MacBook, my husband's digital camera, a new phone with answering machine, a DVD player, wii accessories galore, a printer, and a GPS system.

Rather than fracturing the family, these tools bring us closer together as we set them up, learn their idiosyncrasies and use them for communication, collaboration, and just plain fun.

Our skills range from basic to professional grade. Within our ranks, we manage to differentiate for, and accommodate, a very mixed group of learners.

In our various ways, we move with inquisitive minds into the future.

"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And wild and sweet the words repeat...

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat. Of peace on earth goodwill to men." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yesterday I heard "Oh Holy Night" on the radio and was immediately transported back to a Sunday afternoon in late December, over 45 years ago.

Every adult parishioner, each student from the school (grades K -8), all members of the elementary and high school choirs, gathered for a program of traditional and sacred music.

Jimmy Maguire sang a solo in his soaring Irish tenor; the senior choir contributed a cappella Latin hymns; the entire congregation thundered forth "Joy to the World".

We walked home in the deepening evening to sip hot chocolate and dream beside the Christmas tree.

My beliefs have matured, possibly; changed, certainly. The music has stayed with me as a continuing comfort and delight.

"Adeste fideles, laetit triumphants, venite, venite in Bethlehem!" -Adeste Fideles (Oh Come, All Ye Faithful)

"You are the music while the music lasts." -T. S. Eliot

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Welcome to My World....So Far

NJ Tech Teacher shared a site that lets you map your travels.

For a visual learner like me, this graphic serves as an easily scanned reminder of the deficiencies in my world travels. Although I've expanded my virtual horizons considerably, I still fancy exploring in real time some of those cities, countries, and continents upon which I have yet to set foot. I have seen "...the glory that was Greece, And the grandeur that was Rome." (Edgar Allan Poe, To Helen); I want to see more.

create your own visited country map

I've done a bit better when it comes to U.S. travel, but there are still quite a few states I haven't visited yet.

create your own personalized map of the USA

“I cannot rest from travel; I will drink Life to the lees.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

"Suitcases" by Malias

Do Do, Re Re, Meme

Bead Letter E V E coloured card disc letter n

I was tagged for this meme by Ms. Whatsit. Although I've done similar lists before, I'm never averse to talking about myself, so here goes:
  1. I can snap the fingers of my left hand, but not those on my right hand
  2. I was born in Uncle Sam's home town, Troy, NY
  3. Both of my parents saw active duty in WWII. Mom was in the WACS (France and England); Dad served as a navigator in the Army Air Corps (India/Burma)
  4. My favorite dance in high school was the Bristol Stomp
  5. I don't like mustard and put mayonnaise on my ham sandwiches
  6. My first clear memory is of the bears in the San Diego Zoo
  7. I cried throughout the movie "Rudie"
Pass it on, Life as I Know It, nickhereandnow, A Keeper's Jackpot, the cloudy dreamer/stacy, And another thing, Techno Tuesday, and Slam Teaching.

Here are the rules:

- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
from Diane & Tim and Family

Saturday, December 15, 2007


“With only one life to live we can’t afford to live it only for itself. Somehow we must each for himself, find the way in which we can make our individual lives fit into the pattern of all the lives which surround it. We must establish our own relationships to the whole. And each must do it in his own way, using his own talents, relying on his own integrity and strength, climbing his own road to his own summit.” -Hortense Odlum

In her latest NeverEndingSearch blog posting, Joyce Valenza asks "So, what's your own top edtech story of the year?"

For me, it's always been about people. My career history reflects this orientation, as I moved from social work to public library work to teaching, with some interesting stops along the way.

All of our education and/or technology investigation, promotion, instruction should ultimately reflect back to the needs and desires of our target audience: our students. Not the district, Board of Education, staff members; not the state or federal government; not the business world...but the people of all ages who rely on us to guide them and facilitate their learning.

We are preparing them for a life which includes, but is much more than, a career. They need to understand how the world they inhabit operates on all levels: culturally, socially, technologically, politically, morally.

My top edtech story has to be the launch of Students 2.0. Their voice is getting stronger. Are we listening?

“Human relationships always help us to carry on because they always presuppose further developments, a future—and also because we live as if our only task was precisely to have relationships with other people.”Albert Camus

"Happy People" by panchiluli

Pimp my wrist

My daughter-in-law is now making custom beaded bracelets. Guess who suggested these designs!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Death be not proud

"Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so..." -John Donne

Today I watched the video of a man giving his Last Lecture. For most college professors, this would the opportunity to deliver a defining philosophical statement. For Randy Pausch, it was the chance to say good-bye.

Professor Pausch is 46 years old, and he is dying of pancreatic cancer. His upbeat and inspiring speech was meant to challenge his colleagues and students to "move on" without him. It will also serve as a legacy for his young children.

Today I read Terry Pratchett's open letter to his fans announcing that he has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. A best-selling British fantasy and science fiction author, Pratchett remains positive, saying "I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet".

These two men personify courage. They are moving forward with dignity and grace.

“Death is the last enemy: once we’ve got past that I think everything will be alright.” -Alice Thomas Ellis

"Snowdrops Thorney Abbey Graveyard" by wit


As our universe expands, so does our language.

My cyber buddy, Cathy, asked who would be the first to blog about the addition of "w00t" to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The term is, in fact, the Word of the Year for 2007.

So my answer to Cathy is: Me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stars were with me most of all

“But stars were with me most of all. I heard them flame and break and fall.” -Fannie Stearns Davis

The quotes came first this time. They seemed melancholy to me, whispering of change, illusion, loss.

My life has been all about change this year, as I rush headlong into a series of new adventures: feverishly reinventing myself professionally, moving towards retirement from my current career, coping with the very real challenges of growing older in a world so different from the one into which I was born.

When I was a child there appeared to be more permanence in the world. The difference between good and evil was clear. If one followed some basic rules, life was safe and stable. People worked hard and progressed towards a comfortable old age.

Was all of that perceived permanence and safety illusory? Or are there still constants, a few remaining rock-bottom certainties in which to believe?

I am blessed in my family and friends. The choices that life offers seem diverse and exilherating. And yet I feel the tears behind the laughter as the year draws to a close and the cosmos reels in its crazy dance.

"The countless stars, which to our human eye
Are fixed and steadfast, each in proper place,

Forever bound to changeless points in space,

Rush with our sun and planets through the sky,
And like a flock of birds still onward fly;
Returning never whence began their race,

They speed their ceaseless way with gleaming face
As though God bade them win Infinity..."
-John Lancaster Spalding, The Starry Host

"Neutron Star 2004 by NASA (NASA)" by

Friday, December 7, 2007

Students 2.0

"The secret in education lies in respecting the student." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There have been many discussions about "Student Voice" in the edublogosphere. Students 2.0 promises to be the real deal: a blog written and maintained by an amazing group of young adults, ranging in age from 14 to 17. Scattered geographically, they are united in their desire to examine and question the 21st century world they inhabit.

Their opinions might not jive with ours. Their outlook needs to be different from ours. We don't always have to agree with their opinions, just listen, interact, comment. But with respect for what they are doing and becoming at such a young age.

Congratulations to Anthony, Arthus, Dillon, Kevin, Lindsea, Nicole, Sean and Stacy. I won't wish you "good luck" because I know you'll create your own luck.

And congratulations to Clay for helping bring this all together. You've done us a great service.

"We really have a problem with perception in education. Technology is perceived too much as invasive to the learning and thinking structures. Technology is seen as basically a virtual reference book and type writer - no social aspects to it. Technology in school is something that is called upon when needed - to look something up or write a “final draft.” Instead, it should be seen as a constant companion, always there to socialize, share, research, and learn. Unfortunately, we are a long way from that. Before we even start leverage the possibilities of the web, teachers need to be comfortable with technology in the class room." -Arthus

"When I really come down to it, I think it’s that I like learning. Not math or science (well, I like technology and electronic gadgets a lot– just don’t spout numbers and expect me to stick around long) but I like things I can relate to and experience." -Stacy

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Back to the Future

“Next Saturday night, we're sending you back to the future!” - Dr. Emmett "Doc" L. Brown, Back to the Future (movie, 1985)

Inspired by Carolyn Foote's recent efforts to weed her collection, I decided to start scanning the K-6 non-fiction section of our Library Media Center. I haven't made it past 001.64 - computers. Two of the books on the shelf with this call number had copyright dates of 1985; the other volume was from 1983.

"I Can Be a Computer Operator" (Catherine Matthias, Chicago: Childrens Press, 1985) declares that "Someday soon everyone will be a computer operator. Everyone will need to know how to use a computer because computers will be everywhere. They will be in our homes and our schools. Someday soon there will be more than a billion computers in the United States." Ms. Matthias assures us that "very young people can learn to operate a computer" and asks readers "Have you learned to use your school computer?"

"A Look Inside Computers" (Paul G. Zomberg, Milwaukee: Raintree Publishers, 1985) explains the parts of a personal computer and makes connections between personal computers, educational programs, and game programs.

"Computers" (Ian Richards, New York: Franklin Watts, 1983) boldly predicted a future with "lots of computers...They will control all kinds of machines that will look after you and your home and family."

Matthias was just a bit off: according to the Earth Policy Institute, in 2002, the number of personal computers in the U.S. was estimated at 190 million. In 1983, only 10 million computers were in use in this country in home, school, and industry combined.

With the introduction of Atari, in the 1970s, and Nintendo, in the late '70s and early '80s, computer technology became an almost indispensable part of any household with children: it wasn't just for engineers any more.

Zomberg ("A Look Inside Computers") felt that "The uses of computers are limited, after all. They're limited by memory, size and programmers' imaginations. But those limits are being expanded constantly, as are the uses that people make of computers."

Richard ("Computers") anticipated the information revolution when he wrote "One exciting use of computer networks is to find out almost anything you want to know in your own home. You use a terminal to ask the central computer to show you the information on a screen."

Matthias ("I Can Be a Computer Operator") gave some career advice, "Would you like to learn to be a computer operator? If you would, start now. Play games on a computer. Learn how to solve problems on your home or school computer...You can learn how to make a computer work for you."

What has happened to the grand promise, the vision for the future that computers seemed to offer? We had all the components: the technical know-how, the eager public, the children who had found a cool "toy" and wanted more of the same. In education, at least, wholesale integration of digital devices is still a dream for the future.