The Ukulele Project

This post was last updated on June 9th, 2012 at 05:13 pm

Another gem from the Spark podcast. Listen to this 3 minute story about the Ukulele Project.


There are so many powerful ideas packed into this story.

  • Geography is largely eliminated from the learning equation. These stories continue to emerge from isolated communities that realize there are opportunities to be found and are willing to find them.  Isolation may be the mother of invention when it comes to connected with others.
  • The teacher's recognition that there may be others in a better position to teach his students is key. The teacher became the network administrator in providing his students with other experts.
  • People want to share. The fact that other ukulele players flocked to provide instruction and share their passions continues to be the theme of the social web.
  • Music matters. While not a direct message in this story, research is clear about the value of music in learning. Learning an instrument requires complex thinking.
  • Modeling how to learn. These students have been given a powerful lesson in teaching themselves. Having access to a variety of people/resources will serve them well in their future.

I think I've Read the rest

Control is a Worthless Pursuit

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

On first reading, this story from a Wisconsin school district, bugs me. The district is planning to ban any communication between teachers and students on social networking sites and instant messaging services.  I realize there are two sides to every issue but to me, this represents so much of what makes school irrelevant for students.

“There is absolutely no reason that any teacher right now should be on Facebook with their students,” Thompson said. “You cannot control it.”

Control? When will we realize that the type of control some schools are still clinging to is over? Read Pesce’s article for more thoughts on that.

Social networking services are implicitly interconnected, and Thompson argued that unintentional communication between student and staff members could too easily occur.

That’s the point. The ability for teachers to connect with students in whatever space works for them has to be seen as a step forward.  Not every teacher is comfortable with a relationship that extends beyond the classroom. But many are and they shouldn’t be prohibited from that. It may not be via Facebook but goodness knows there a gazillion other spaces and … Read the rest

When technology bites back

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

I listened to this podcast last summer but I think the ideas and shifts discussed are worth sharing. Danah boyd and Marc Fisher discuss a couple of issues. First, the implications of student publishing and their perceptions of privacy and communication. The second half of the discussion focuses on teachers and how they choose to be connected to their students.

The complexities of these topics imply more problematiztion rather than definite answers.  The desire for educators to have clear cut responses and answers to a shifting society is becoming more and more moot.  Technology continues to raises at least as many questions as it does answers.

Original Photo: danah boyd at HHL08 by Ewan Mcintosh the rest

You should be listening to Spark

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

My new favourite podcast is Spark. Spark is a podcast about technology and culture. Nora Young features intriguing guests and topics that are so relevant to learning and life. Here’s a couple of stories from recent episodes that has me thinking:

There’s tons more good stuff included in each 27 minute episode. Each show has 4 or 5 stories with extended interviews if you are interested. The format is great, the topics engaging and often leaves you with more questions than answers. Add it to your ipod. It’s time … Read the rest