Prezi: David Warlick Was Right.

I know that many people have blogged about Prezi, the cloud based presentation tool. I first learned about it from David Warlick, back in May 2009. I must admit, it has been life changing (well, at least classroom changing).

I just wanted to post a presentation that I recently completed for my grad class. The topic was any multicultural issue that we wanted to address. So, I made one up... [Un]education - or, the lack of worldwide education. Enjoy, and be sure to check out Prezi.


Bad Habit

So, I am still trying to decide if having the ClustrMaps widget on my blog is a good idea. I have formed a terrible habit of checking it regularly (more than once a day even though I know it only updates once every 24 hours, yikes!).

However, I then refer to the likes of Andrew B Watt (998 visits this month and counting...); Shelly Blake-Plock over at TeachPaperless (59,077 hits since May 09... what!?); nashworld and his great commentary (7,378 in just under one year); and one of my faves David Warlick and his 2 cents (30,143, don't know since when, but something to shoot for nonetheless!)...

... and it is hard not to compare. My meager blog rings in at a whopping 366 visits since Sep 2009. So, is this a bad habit, or just motivation? I'm still trying to sort it out.

More to come...

Mike Meechin, M.Ed.


What's the Answer?

That's the question left in my mind after reading two great pieces today. First, my dilemma... the technology people in my district are battling the use of any classroom 2.0 technology they cannot control. 

This leads me to the piece written by Karl Fisch over at the Fischbowl, Google Apps for Education: Is It the Right Choice for Our Students? He questions whether school control over technology applications is the answer, and brings up some great points while doing so. 

"If we want them to be safe, effective and ethical users of the Internet, let's not create a semi-walled (and only temporary) garden that limits their ability to learn, create, publish, distribute and interact. How about instead of spending all this time and effort setting up and managing Google Apps for Education, we spend it teaching our students how to responsibly use the full suite of Google Apps themselves?"

Fisch brings up what I believe is the answer - hold ourselves responsible and educate ours students on the proper ways to use and manage these new technologies. This is what they'll be doing - or are doing in the real world anyhow.

What I envision is giving our students limitless free web 2.0 technologies and teaching them how to use them responsibly in productive manners. This would lead to them being able to create without the walls that Fisch discusses. After all, I think that we are all outside-the-box educators.

A great example of what is going on that I envy is Shelly Blake-Plock's work with his 9th grade students. Shelly writes TeachPaperless, and blogged about his new project here. You can find his class blog, called the Western Civ Project here.

So... back to my question - what is the answer?

In the next week I will be meeting with the head of our county's technology initiatives (hoping to influence an answer) and I would love some more thoughts... any ideas? I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

More to come...

Mike Meechin

flickr photo by Max F. Williams


Researching 2.0

A few weeks ago, Richard Byrne over at Free Tech for Teachers, posted a great piece [Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research] on the use, reliability and validity of Wikipedia. I was inspired  by the post and replicated the activity in my classroom this past week. I presented the lesson as a challenge to the students. I am a teach-against-the-textbook educator anyhow, and challenged them to challenge the text. We also explored the validity of the Wikipedia articles they were researching.

I also took Byrne's advice and followed up with a GoogleDocs assignment. Using GoogleDocs Forms the assignment was so easy to assess. This truly was a great piece of web 2.0 technology to bring into the classroom.

The assignment turned out amazing. We discussed how my student's teachers were slamming Wikipedia in their classes. I was surprised at how their teachers were telling them no Wikipedia, but giving them no direction on where else to go on the Internet. This is where I know that I fall behind other educators. Often we assume that our students (especially high school level) know how to research. However, when we take away one of the best pieces of information, at least a starting point for research, where will they go? This is a question that so many of my fellow bloggers are addressing with new classroom 2.0 technologies.

What's your answer for where students should go to research?
Click here to link to the Google Form that I used to assess my students on this activity.

More to come...

Mike Meechin