Monday, June 30, 2008

Fruitlands at NECC?

Right now, many of the coolest people I know are in San Antonio at the NECC conference. In a Pink Floydian way, I wish I was there, but NECC being a K-12 gig, the college doesn't cough up the coveted ticket stash or room and board for such events. I feel like the only kid in the hood that didn't get to go to summer camp. Fortunately, because of the technology - I will be ing with a group of wicked cool educators on Wednesday.

So, I watch with my binoculars...using RSS...among the posts I read, Wes Fryer's blog has been very helpful in my quest to keep up! year will be different.

Like may others, I am following the conference via my RSS tab. I am convinced that my friend, Vicki Davis, does not sleep. I am also convinced that I have no idea how big NECC is as an event. Tons of stuff seems to be happening. But, in a Transcendental way, some things seems to be intellectually edifying but falling flat in practice (like the Transcendental communes "Fruitlands" and "Brook Farm").

Among the things happening, I guess Pearson Ed (the textbook publishers) showed up to do some filming. Some folks got their britches in a knot, and some folks think it is uber cool to be caught on film.

Since I am not there, and I don't know the whole story, I won't comment much. But, Pearson IS, indeed, a PROFIT company. So, you should expect that they will use that video in a PROFIT venture. For people like me (ya know, those Edupunks who denounce profit-based learning), I would be in the britches group. We give all of our material away under the spirit of collaboration; for a company to come in and capitalize on what we deliberately choose NOT to capitalize is wrong. The folks that set up edubloggercon should have thought about the implications, and they should have made the plans known to folks ahead of time.

This wasn't the only instance of things gone strange, though. Apparently some person took a photo and another person used the photo on his web page without citing the source. People still don't get that Creative Commons is a BRIDGE means you can USE it but ya still have to tell people where you GOT IT. Now, if I send up images, I expect that people will not use them right because they haven't a clue. But, the folks in THIS case are well versed in CC issues.

Now, the big deal is that APPLE IS NOT IN THE HOUSE! (Well, they are giving presentations, but they totally skipped out in the vendor area). Wes Fryer does up a nice post about it here. Apple is losing mega steam (IMHO). They skipped out on THE LAST THREE conferences I attended. Not only did they SKIP...they didn't tell anyone! Google also skipped out at Innovations. Perhaps Apple doesn't need educators? Well, that is fine...Dell and Gateway go to everything, and I am happy enough to look at their products (BTW, Apple, I don't get out much, so I doubt, highly, that I will get around to your store...). Isn't it interesting that the apples were ALSO bad at Fruitlands??????

But, to end on a high note...Smashing Magazine is an absolute JOY to read. I love their wallpapaer collections, and you will, too. Go there!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Learning 101

This summer is flying by...I can't EVEN believe it is almost July!

The packing/sorting/cleaning process is just as daunting as ever...and the large dumpster in front of the house is nearly full. In many ways it is bittersweet...this house has needed a good cleaning for at least 40 years, but cleaning it reminds me that my parents are no longer together, and that I am moving on and away from my childhood home (yeah, yeah - most of y'all did that YEARS ago).

We are finding some interesting things, though. I think The Boss said he found 14 buckets of screws. I am hoping there is nothing Freudian in that collection.

Meanwhile...upstairs...I am responsible for the kid camp. Moustache Man has taken a serious liking to James Bond and Westerns. Sharpie Boy loves to watch dominoes and dinosaurs on "Tube Tube."

In order to keep myself sane (?), Eloise, Daliah, and I have been volunteering for the Ramapo Island group (Peggy Sheehy, BernaJean Porter, et al). Peggy sent out an SOS on Friday night - - apparently her students had worked on a project that (seemingly) was not going to be built on the Teen Grid. So, she wanted to have it on the AG, and had no space for it and no one to build it.

Well. You know Literature Alive! staffers can't leave kids out there in the just jumped in and said, OK, we'll do this. Eloise, Daliah, and I are like a well oiled machine. Each of us does a different thing, and we work very well together. Daliah, for example, is our detail girl. She made a lunch line that would set anyone to shame. Eloise, the Goddess of Scripts, did all sorts of crazy things with scripting. I worked on content and playing with the media. All in all, we finished the build over the weekend, and were rewarded with happy faces on the kids.

The project, one built around Robert Frost's famous poem, The Road Not Taken, is amazing. The kids did a lot of work with storytelling goddess, BernaJean Porter, and their teacher, Peggy Sheehy. They made little movies, they made audio clips, they did EVERYTHING! There was no way we could let all that work fall to the floor.

Meanwhile, my students at LCCC worked on building Fruitlands - the location of Bronson Alcott's communal experiment. This build is the foundation of a project that will start in a few weeks - The Blithedale Project. Students at DeSales will recreate Nathaniel Hawthorne's text in SL.

So, we are busy, as usual.

But, that isn't the focus of this post.

Within the web of all of this activity, Eloise has been teaching me how to use my brand spanking new photoshop. Being a student again is really frustrating. I have in my head what I want something to look like, but it is hard for me to create it in Photoshop.

Eloise is a really patient teacher! It is good to be a student again; it reminds me to take steps and to foster step taking. Anywho...the images you see around this post are my first attempts at creative genius. Thanks, Elo!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Kevin Honeycutt Fan Club

Many thanks to Wes Fryer for posting this link to Kevin Honeycutt's Keynote at the TTT conference.

Kevin is a wonderful speaker, and he and I share a lot of the same youth experiences with education. In the height of feeling washed out and burned out, I needed to hear Kevin. The best line:

If you want to find the best teacher in any building, find the one in trouble.

That made me feel a lot better.

NMC 2008 Summer Conference

Here is a link to my NMC presentation at Princeton: Rez High the Virtual Rooftops

If you want to access the wiki, it is located here.