Monday, July 31, 2006

Who talks most in class?

If you're a teacher, let me know if this sounds right. When it comes to the types of talkers in class, I've noticed three different types: quiet/reserved students, chatty students, and students who dominate class discussions. So in my class blog project this year, which students do you think "talked" most online? Who had to most responses to other students' writings?

Turns out the students who tend to contribute most to whole group discussions responded most online. The students who responded least were the chatty ones (students whose in-class interaction was usually off-task and with their neighbor). Anybody have any thoughts on that?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

mine entrance

mine entrance
Originally uploaded by 6 Sloans.

Me and the boys outside of an abandoned mine entrance in Montana's Beartooth Mountains. The mine went back about 150 feet. Some animal had made beds out of sage and pine needles in a couple of places; it smelled really good actually. We also found a dead kangaroo rat that was still pretty fresh.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that it was a little eerie, especially when we turned off our lights. There are abandoned mines all over the West. At the risk of turning this post into a bit of a Public Service Announcement, I do think that if you're going to go into an abandoned mine, you should be aware of the potential dangers.

Caves are pretty cool places (no pun intended). While this wasn't technically a cave, it reminded me of spelunking. They appear often in mythology and literature. What's your favorite underworld place – real or fictional?

Monday, July 17, 2006

podcast tutorial

Teaching something helps me learn it better myself. Here's a link to a tutorial I did about how to make podcasts.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What I'm doing on my summer vacation

Okay, I've got some domestic duties. For instance I painted a room in our house, cut out a window that had been paneled over, and am growing a pretty wicked garden this year. So I'm no slacker around the house.

But one of the things I really look forward to is recording with Ben Moffat and Zack Sloan. We have a band called Cicada. I host some audio files on my school's server. Here's a link if you want to listen to "Summer Swims" one of the tracks on our newest CD. I haven't quit my day job yet, so we can only get together a few precious summer days. But we have a lot of laughs on those days.

I've also begun an online memoir (using Flash). Here are links to the first two chapters. It's the first part of the last time I made it to my parents' house where I grew up. They were moving out and it was also, coincidentally, my high school class 20-year reunion. Watch these and let me know what you think.

What I learned this year

The beauty of teaching is that you can make a living by learning. Every day during the school year I wake up, make a latte or two, whip up some lunches for the fam, strap on my laptop bag, and walk the half-block to my school. Then I get to help teens (and me) along the path of self-actualization. It's a simple existence, but I like it. This year I learned more about human nature, but for this post I'll limit it to what I learned in the tech world that's actually helped my teaching. Specifically, one of the things that I think has a lot of potential for improving education is online collaboration.

One of my classes participated in a PBwiki project. I'll do more with that technology and more wiki collaborations with other schools next year. In the very near future more schools will be collaborating more often, and I can't help but think that the world could use a little more education -- a little more peace, love and understanding these days. Since we did that I've thought more about the people who are creating those online collaboration places. Writely is getting a lot of press these days, but what about Writeboard or ZohoWriter? Does anybody out there think one of these three is the best? Or is there another one that I've overlooked?