Who Said Anything About Technology? The BLC Experience

Imagine this: Take a dozen or so people who spend much of the personal and professional life immersed in technology put them together for three days and guess what they’d spend most of the time talking about. If you said technology or computers you’d be wrong.

BLC featured 600 educators from around the globe focusing on learning. That’s what the discussions in large part focused on. I was privileged to be able to spend time with the likes of Barbara Bareda, Bob Spankle, Sharon Peters, Ewan Mcintosh, Darren Kuropatwa, David Jakes, Joyce Valenza, Will Richardson, Trevor Smith, Chris Lehmann and Christian Long. These folks all represent passionate thinkers and educators who at almost every turn will speak about making learning better for kids. While they worry and lament about bad teaching and schools, they truly are excited about the possibilities.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Bob Sprankle…Podcasting with a Purpose…you don’t miss a chance to hear arguably one of the founding fathers of educational podcasting. Bob and Tony Vincent likely represent the finest example of how to use this powerful tool with kids.
  • Darren Kuropatwa…Darren and I have done
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The next step in Mapping Mashups

As I prepare for my session at BLC, I’m on the look out for great ways to enhance the google earth/map experience. No doubt there are already a vast number of phenomenal ways to add rich content to place, but I’m still waiting for the ability to embed video. Yes, we can link to video and have it play in a browser but somehow that leaves me a bit disappointed.

I came across this site via my del.icio.us feed thanks to Quentin.  (If you don’t already have a del.icio.us network you subscribe to, go do that now).

This is some type of  mashup that does embed youtube videos but at present, it’s not open for others to add their own content. If I knew something about API’s I may be able to take advantage myself. I does appear that the inclusion of video is not far off. Maybe it’s already there and Tim Lauer just hasn’t blogged about it yet…I doubt it.

[tags]googleearth,googlemaps,video,mashup,timlauer,quentindsouza,del.icio.us,blc2007,blc[/tags]… Read the rest

Google just keeps getting better

Anyone who has read my blog regularly knows how I feel about Google Earth. It is all that and more. I spent an hour today listening to Hall Davidson and learned a few more tricks to add to the toolbox.

Just now I found out that Google Maps now offers online mashups that are incredibly easy to create.  Made this map in about a minute and easily embedded flickr images.

I’ve decided to offer some sessoins in our division for teachings interested in developing content and learning opportunities for students. I truly believe every teacher needs to be able to use this either to use existing files and resources or create their own. I’m considering 3 half days over 3 weeks to help teachers develop this for a variety of classroom purposes.

In addition, I’ll be presenting at Alan November’s Building Learning Communities this summer in Boston. Although my session is called, “Moving beyond the WoW factor…” that’s going to be tough. I’ve been using it since its inception and I still am awed.… Read the rest

Using a bunch of stuff to make a great day

Last week I got to spend 3 full days learning all about Palm(R) handhelds and the wonders of one to one computing. Very cool and the possibilities continue to mount.

I scheduled my flights to insure I was able to spend a full day in San Francisco. So Saturday was my day to enjoy the city by the bay.

Being a small town boy and never having been to San Fran, I wanted to make sure I was prepared for the day and get the most out my time. So early preparations began with many tours using Google Earth.  I created a folder of all the major sites that included, transportation, hotels, sights, geocaches and more. Next I downloaded the BART schedule to my Palm® TX so I knew exactly when and where to catch the train. I also downloaded several geocaches into my device as well as a tourism application for San Francisco.

Arriving on Saturday morning at the corner of Powell St. and Market, I hoped on a cable car and headed for the Fisherman’s Wharf. I walked around a bit and decided to go after my first geocache.  I headed away from the water and was quickly … Read the rest

My personal tour of Shanghai

Using Skype, I dropped a quick compliment tonight for Jeff Utecht on using his screencast for a workshop I did. What ensued was a lenghthy exchange of ideas and for me a personal tour of the city of Shanghai where Jeff resides. Using Google Earth, he and I shared a little bit about both of our worlds. Early into the tour, I happened upon one of the schools Jeff works at and then he kindly sent me a couple of .kml files to provide some context to his world. I knew nothing about Shanghai and still don’t know much but he was able to point out some key landmarks and provide a nice overview of his city. For about an hour, he willingly offered some insights into his life and city and answered all my questions.

This to me typifies why connections are so critical. Is this information available online? Mostly, but having a personal tour guide was much more relevant and engaging. The awareness I now have will no doubt lead me to more interest in his city. Was it the extreme distance between us that made it so engaging? Partly, but also Jeff and I share many of … Read the rest