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"Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users, television took 13 years, the internet just 4 years, the iPod only 3-and what about Facebook? The current king of social media added 100 million users in less than 9 months."  What's next?  And how long will it take?

Throughout history, humans have (re)used local resources to create not only buildings and fortifications, but monuments, roads, and a wide variety of other structures. For countless generations, artists, composers, and writers have freely incorporated elements from local and distant cultures to create new visual, musical, and textual forms.  What effect has this had on issues like copyright?

In the Web 2.0 World, the open (re)combination of multiple media has become commonplace in many venues, practices that Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons and others, would characterize as emblematic of a 'Remix ' or 'Read/Write' culture. Indeed, from his point of view, “the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process."

In the recently-released Horizon Report 2008 - a joint publication of the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), six emerging information technologies and practices that are expected to significantly impact educational organizations are profiled: Grassroots Video, Collaborative Webs, Mobile Broadband, Data Mashups, Collaborative Intelligence, and Social Operating Systems.
What makes Web 2.0 different than the "other web" stuff?  The difference is in the interactivity and ability to change outcomes based on the the user decides to do.  For example, Quiz Board App is a jeopardy-like game.  Teachers can download the app and use it to design games for their classes.  The ability to configure something is easier with this type of web interface.  For a complete list of apps available on the quiz board site, click here.

Another Web 2.0 app is SkyTruth.  This app uses remote sensing to produce detailed consequences of a variety of human activities from oil spills to mining projects.  There are links to news articles, maps and trackers.

At Michigan State University they are exploring Rich Internet Applications for Language Learning or RIA.  There are links for ideas and projects as well as apps for worksheets and quizzes.  The idea behind RIA is to use apps as tools.  The same tool can be used by an advanced Spanish teacher, an introductory Japanese teacher, and a remedial ESL teacher. This is because the programs provide function, not content. Because all of these teachers might want to use the same function, the same tool can be used by any language teacher.  The most interesting idea was using the app DropBox to move work between students and teachers.  This app is free for up to 2GB of stored data.

Today I discovered a mistake on my test and instead of reprinting the entire test, I made copies of the corrected problem and glued it on top of the incorrect problem...some additional work for me, but less paper used in the end.  One of the students was particularly happy to see what I'd done...the others, not so much.  With all of the controversy surrounding climate change, it makes me wonder how much of what we teach about personal responsibility actually makes a difference.  In this vein, here are some online environmental games centered around ecology and conservation.

Planet Science  is a collection of games about the planet Earth that includes space and nature puzzles. If you want to design a new planet check out Nasa's Astro-Venture.

Clim'way is about helping the larger community reach some specific climate goals. You have to create a climate plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain percentage in a certain time frame. Your plans can include setting up alternative energy sources, reducing human consumption etc.  The best part of the is written in French to reinforce the global nature of taking care of the planet!

WebEarth Online is nature’s game of survival in a Web based world of great beauty and danger.

Games about composting and recycling include Vermi the Worm and Recycle City.

What tech blog would be complete without a cool for Sonogram.  This application is all about "visible speech" and is really a method to analyze voice patterns.  If you want to see how the sound waves look...explore Play a Piano.

"Digital natives" is not a new buzz-word.  It has been around for at least 10 years...yikes, has it been that long??  Anyway, there are some new ideas that are worth exploring.  For example, what implications are there for encouraging students to work together on a finished product?  Isn't that Wikipedia's basic premise....creating a body of knowledge from collaboration?  Or how about cultural knowledge...what do students know about, exactly?  Consider Helene Heggemann....

From an article in the February 10, 2010 New York Times..."It usually takes an author decades to win fawning reviews, march up the best-seller list and become a finalist for a major book prize. Helene Hegemann, just 17, did it with her first book, all in the space of a few weeks, and despite a savaging from critics over plagiarism."  Ms. Heggemann states that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” For more read on....

This phenomenon has been explored by University of Notre Dame anthropology professor Susan D. Blum in her book, My Word!  In her book, Prof. Blum attributes this more to a culture in which students are increasingly asked to collaborate socially as well as academically than to a desire to overtly plagiarize.  A review of her book explains it as "Those who want to understand the ideas in the book may want to note the title; it's no coincidence that Blum wrote about college "culture," and not "ethics" or "morality." And while she did use "plagiarism" in the title, she faults colleges and professors for failing to distinguish between buying a paper to submit as your own, submitting a paper containing passages from many authors without appropriate credit, and simply failing to learn how to cite materials. Treating these violations of academic norms the same way is part of the problem, she writes."

A recent NY Times article on digital natives also suggests that the problem is cultural.  "But these cases — typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism — suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed.  It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism."

Each year since 1998 Beloit College has released the mindset list to help their professors understand why some students do not relate to their stories or examples.  This year's mind set reminds us that most students starting college were born in 1992....too young to know about Dirty Harry, Czechoslovakia or J.R. Ewing.  For the complete here.

Final exam time always makes me either nostalgic for the olden days before computers OR grateful that there are so many cool tools for students.  Either way, I found these on a very interesting website, Make Use Of.


PinkMonkey is very much like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes, except that it has slightly more detailed summaries.


Known as the “worlds largest flashcard library” can create your own Flash Cards or study using the hundreds of pre-made flashcard sets covering a variety of different subjects.


LectureFox is a great place to go for free university lectures. Choose a category and see a list of lectures from various colleges, including MIT and Yale.


With PrintablePaper, you never have to worry about running out of “special” paper. As long as you have a printer, you can print graph paper, lined paper, and even Cornell paper. Download 400+ different papers, all for free.


Evernote is a note taking application. Get notes synced to the desktop, the web, and even your iPhone.

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This site is maintained by Upper School Technology Coordinator Theresa Reardon Offerman.


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