Recently in Tech Literacy Category

"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.

This new generation of students has been the focus of workshops, employment seminars and books.  Even the commercials on TV have redirected their message to reflect this new "i" in, "I am a PC and Windows 7 was my idea."  In the most recent eWeek, author Larry Rosen (The Psychology of Technology AND Me, Myspace and I) talked about the challenges of teaching students who are constantly connected.   "Children born in the 1990s, dubbed the “iGeneration” by Rosen, live in a time of rapidly changing technology, in which they are constantly connected to a number of mobile technologies. Rosen said the “i” stands for both the technologies these students use—such as the iPod, iPhone, and Wii—and the individualized ways in which students use these tools.

“iGeners are growing up with portable technology. Literally from birth, these children are able to grow up using mobile technology,” he said. “But I also look at the little ‘i’ as reflecting the individualized culture—reflecting our needs and desires.”

Rosen said teenagers’ desire for individualized experiences is something they expect will carry over into their education. Jody Steinglass, president of Empire Edge, responded to that need when his company designed Adaptster, an SAT math study tool that differentiates and individualizes learning for its users.  Click here for the rest of the article....

One of the challenges (and ultimately worth many $$$)  of this "connectedness" will be to determine the method that will students access textbooks and other materials.  The publishing community has "jumped on the proverbial bandwagon" and aligned itself with either Amazon (in the form of the Kindle reader) or Apple (in the form of the iPad) but perhaps this more traditional format is NOT the eventual outcome...I remember the VHS vs BETAMAX tussle of the 80s.  The future of "e-reading" might just be Blio...developed by the Kurzweil Educational Systems, pioneers in assistive technology.  Read on.....

For those of you ready to is a collection of free online books and textbooks.

Another by-product of this digital lifestyle is the need for shortened language imposed by too-small keyboards and too-fast texting.  And, according to one California college prof, he is not ROTFL.  The controversy has raised questions reminiscent of the "ebonics" discussions and challenged the value of digital communication without thought to grammar or syntax.  The REAL challenge will be how to draw the line between spoken and written word....even as acronyms are replacing many times have you had to explain LOL?   More here.... 
Wikified Schools
Web 2.0 is not just for the classroom. The use of Web 2.0 tools can increase and improve communication, collaboration, and cooperation across all levels of a school or education organization.

This wiki, which is the companion wiki to the new book Wikified Schools: Using Wikis to Improve Collaboration and Communication in Education, was developed to explore the use of a wiki as a highly effective communication and collaboration tool that enhances the effectiveness of school or district leadership teams. Wiki examples will be explored and users will find a variety of resources including: basic wiki usage syntax, guidelines, and live examples of wikis being used by schools for development of school improvement plans and various other knowledge management purposes.

Most Teachers Don't Live There

Shelly Terrell is an English educator who also develops curriculum materials for a wide variety of  organizations. Her latest blog entry challenges us to use technology.

"No, I do not believe teachers who do not use technology are bad teachers, but this is what I believe….

  • If we are knowledge sharers, shouldn’t we continue to fill ourselves with knowledge?
  • If we want to inspire students to continue learning throughout their lives, then shouldn’t we continue to learn throughout our lives?
  • If we want motivated students who see learning as a journey, then shouldn’t we continue our journey?
  • If we want to motivate students to be the best in their fields, then shouldn’t we be the best in our fields?
  • If we want other educators to listen to our ideas, then shouldn’t we read about their ideas?
  • If we want support from our colleagues, then shouldn’t we support their workshops and projects?
  • If we want students to use digital media responsibly, then shouldn’t we give them access and show them how?
  • If we want students to not let technology overtake their lives, then shouldn’t we teach them how to balance themselves?
  • How can we teach balance, if we don’t have any social media in our diet?"
In this week's The Electric Educator, John Sowash complained that Google has made his life as a teacher MUCH more difficult.  In fact, he said, "We are in an age of information. Storing facts in our brains is a pointless exercise. In the era of the iPhone, any fact, statistic, or desirable piece of information is only a few clicks away."

When I was in college, we spent many hours analyzing Bloom's Taxonomy and designed hypothetical lessons that used the advanced skills.  What struck me about Sowash's blog post is that he also said, "The skill of the 21st century that will set people apart is what they can do with the information that is available to them. What new products, services, or procedures can be improved, created or derived from the information that we have? Knowing is not as important as using." 

This view was reflected recently when Jon Schroeder visited MPA and asked Spanish teacher Kari Kunze how language instruction has evolved over the last twenty years.  She answered by saying, "Language instruction used to be more concerned with being "perfect" or "right" but now it is more important to be able to communicate effectively.  Language instruction has changed to reflect this need."  Students must be able to use what they know in order to accomplish what they want.

Here is the proposed new Bloom's Taxonomy that illustrates the differences.


The Technology and Learning blog, TL Advisor, suggested that, "The Google it! mode of education today should force all educators to let go of the notion that we hold the keys to knowledge. Instead we are facilitators of knowledge. If a question can be answered by Googling it, then that question should not be the first question we ask."

Technology and Learning provides a template to help teachers google-proof their questions...but as one teacher pointed out, it still a matter of trust.  Maybe that's where our discussions as educators really begin?

Here are a few free resources available that you might use in order to help your students learn about plagiarism through evaluating their work. 

Grammarly gave me a detailed report with details for extra I knew there was a problem but not what it was.

Plagiarism Detect gave me several Google sources with the phrases highlighted but it’s kind of difficult to use.

Duplichecker was very easy to use and found sources the others didn’t.

Article Checker found evidence of plagiarism but did not give me sources.

University of Maryland site was easy to use and found my plagiarized source.

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Most of us are all too aware of spam and have become wary of offers that look "too good to be true."  However, digital scammers are constantly changing tactics to take advantage of inexperienced or complacent users. 

The newest attacks are using Facebook to "phish" for information.  According to Wikipedia, phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy website, blog or some other electronic communication.

Facebook is the fastest growing social networking website in the world with a million new users weekly and more than 200 million in all. The click-through rates on messages from friends are high, even if the contents of the message are somewhat out of the ordinary. Spammers know this and are taking advantage of the trusting environment.

For example, Facebook users have been getting messages that appear to come from friends with "hello" in the subject line and links inviting them to check out sites with unusual URLs like "," "" and "'' Clicking on a "phishing" message such as this one....


logs into one of the fake sites allowing scammers to take your e-mail address and password and then sending the URL to all your friends.

Since many Facebook users use the same passwords across a variety of sites, a successful phishing scammer could potentially gain illegal access to their accounts on other sites such as Web-based e-mail. That paves the way for still more attacks, as phishers can then use victims' hijacked e-mail accounts to compromise other websites and spread more messages containing malicious links.

Facebook has removed 11 bogus apps in the last few days BUT to safeguard yourself it recommends that you use an up-to-date browser that warns you if the site appears to be fake and
  • Use unique logins and passwords for EACH of the websites you use.
  • Check to see that you're logging in from a legitimate Facebook page with the domain.
  • Be cautious of any message, post, or link you find on Facebook that looks suspicious or requires an additional login.
  • Become a fan of the Facebook Security Page for more updates on new threats as well as helpful information on how to protect yourself online.

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


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