Monday, August 27, 2012

Surrounding Myself with Excellence

I love the idea of surrounding myself with excellence whether it be experts in pedagogy, school technology, good cooks, and master gardeners.  The idea is - excellence breeds excellence and though it doesn't happen through osmosis, somehow the mere idea of being in the presence of excellence transcends and I start exhibiting behaviors that suggest I'm getting a bit more capable of the task at hand.

Joining and participating in the Flat Classroom Teacher Certification Course is no exception to the above.  The leaders, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, are exceptional educators bar none.  Their work in global collaboration over the years has brought more teachers and students together in a meaningful way that embodies what "flattening the classroom" signifies - kids working together from all parts of the world on relevant topics.  But it goes beyond these two women.  The cohorts in the group bring experiences and knowledge I've not encountered.  They are smart, creative thinking people and I'm surrounding myself with them because I have so much to learn.  And the book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds is well worth the read, everything you wanted to know about flattening the classroom and more.

This week I'm busy relearning Netvibes to serve as my RSS for the course and rethinking about what it means to connect with others and flatten the classroom.  I'll work outward.  The first step to flattening a classroom is to remove the barriers of the classroom walls and school walls so that the student classroom is a large community, interacting and collaborating with one another.  Whether the communication is global or from within the same city need not matter at first.  The idea is to cross the barriers and create communication and collaboration in learning where, before the flattening, there was none.
From there this larger community develops relationship and works toward common goals.  I like the term Alan November uses - Digital Learning Farms.  A flat classroom is similar.  The flat classroom is the farm and everyone on the farm works toward the success of the farm.  Everyone has a job to do and without one job being performed the overall goal isn't quite met.  Everyone needs to come together, work hard, and see their work matters.

But it gets better than just my description. Yvonne Caples, one my cohorts in the group writes:
For me, ‘flattening the classroom’ and ‘flat learning’ are about utilizing technology to  expand the audience, the connections, the activities, the outcomes and the learning landscapes to make learning more meaningful, efficient, collaborative, and representative of the flattened  work environment that students will enter in their future.  Read more. 
Wow!  That's what I'm talking about by surrounding yourself with excellence.  And Yvonne's comments echo the others'.  It's really cool being part of an amazing group.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Diigo Posts (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Diigo Posts 08/11/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Diigo Bookmarking Service on the iPad

I've written about the powers of Diigo before on this blog.  Diigo is a web service that allows you to collect and highlight and remember the information that you want to across the web.  Things haven't changed as it is still my favorite bookmarking service.

But now, with an almost daily use of the iPad, I'm doing more and more browsing on Safari and I don't want bookmarks in two places.  I've been using Diigolet for iPad and it does a terrific job of easily saving bookmarks to Diigo.

Diigolet is a little java script that allows a user to access their Diigo toolbar from Safari on the iPad.  Installing diigolet is a fairly simple process and will be worth every second.

  1. Open the Settings icon on your iPad and choose "Safari" in the left navigation menu.  Set Always Show Bookmarks Bar to “ON.” Set JavaScript to “ON.” Set Accept Cookies to “From visited.”  
  2. Go to and sign in to your Diigo account.
Installing diigolet to Safari on your iPad
  1. Click the action icon in Safari. This is the small rectangle with the arrow.
  2. Select "Add Bookmark."  Make sure you have selected to add this bookmark to your Bookmarks Bar.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Copy the following code:                                                                                                                javascript:(function(){s=document.createElement(%22script%22);s.type=%22text/javascript%22;s.src=%22;document.body.appendChild(s);})();
    1. Select the Bookmarks icon in Safari.
    2. Select Bookmarks Bar and tap Edit in the upper left of this window.
    3. Choose the bookmark you saved in the above step.
    4. Change the name to Diigo Toolbar or something similar - I used Diigo
    5. Delete the URL shown and paste the new code that you copied in step 4 (press and hold, then release, then tap “Paste.” 
    6. Hit “Bookmarks Bar” located in the bottom top left corner to go back.  Click “Done” located in the top right corner. Click the bookmark icon to make it disappear.
    That's it!  You should now be able to visit a website and tap the Diigo Toolbar Bookmark in your Bookmark Toolbar on Safari and save to Diigo.  You'll see this image pop up and you can carry on as normal saving your websites to Diigo.  Try it by saving this blog entry.
    Lorenzo Orlando Caum posted a great Vimeo tutorial on these steps.  His easy to follow, written instructions may be found on his blog.

    Enhanced by Zemanta

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    My Digital Backpack

    We've had quite a bit of conversation lately on our Summer Institute discussion about learning Web 2.0 Tools and changing technologies.  The topic got me thinking about my digital backpack and how I navigate through the many tools inside.
    Change is constant and I have learned to count on this each and every day, like it or not. There are good tools and there are "distracting" tools and the more I investigate the more I learn the difference between the two types of tools for my needs. This will be different for everyone and that's why it's important to offer a "backpack" of tools instead of just a handful.
    Sometimes a tool I really like and used well get's lost and I'm forced to find a replacement. This isn't easy and I get frustrated, but moving forward is necessary.   My backpack (or toolbox) is in a constant state of flux.

    A few days ago a member of EdTechTeacher posted, Back to School App-Pack article on his blog.  I loved the graphic and wanted to share it with all of you.

    Enhanced by Zemanta