Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sunset at Waller Park

The sunset and long shadows foreshadow the long days ahead. They are brilliant yet unwielding and show that at least I am half way there!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Simulations and Microworlds

Educational gaming ~ WOW ~ literally World of Warcraft is it's own world! People like living in this other world. They can create who they want to be, who they want as friends,etc.... When they are done dealing with the character or life they created, they delete it and begin again.

"Simulations are the products that result when one creates the appearance or effect of something else. Games are contests in which both players and opponents operate under rules to gain a specified objective.

There are two types of academic games: simulation games and non-simulation games. Non-simulation games are those in which a player solves problems in a school subject such as spelling or mathematics by making use of principles of that subject or discipline. The other type of academic game is the simulation game in which participants are provided with a simulated environment in which to play. These games are intended to provide students with insight into the process or event from the real world which is being simulated.

It is the use of simulation games which holds the most promise as a truly dynamic educational tool." (Jerry Seay, 2007)

I remember reading about the computer simulations for leaders in an article recently. I wanted to see the actual simulations, not read about them. To me this was frustrating. The author could have put a feed in. Though I could not find the article "situated learning environments" in Sakai, I can fathom what it may be about. It this what university learning is about?

Reality for our students is not about thinking of gaming as a powerful tool for education. They are learning, but don't realize it. I love how standardized curricula are including Bloom's taxonomy and Gardner's multiple intelligences as preferred models in Australia. MicroWorld's are part of our curricula now, whether we like it or not. We need to embrace this new world of teaching using the ideas in this article on new smart boards. Our student's deserve it!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Teleconferencing is lonely...

When you feel like you need more social interaction check out JELLY!

Saturday, November 3, 2007



Resources are pasted all over the you know from the readings. All I can say is your moral ethics rule what you choose to do! Be safe out there!

Distance Learning Trends and Planning

Scott Howell, Ph.D., is an expert on trends and planning. Dr. Scott Howell speaks about accreditation and how it affects financial aid for universities. This is important because it does affect distance learning. Peter B. Williams ,who is now Dr. Williams, interests are in technology and distance learning. Nathan K. Lindsay is also interested in distance education. I bring this up because I always find it interesting to see if people keep writing about their interests as doctoral (or Master's) students. My interests have changed since my Master's research because I now work within different demographics of my student population. Many of the needs and issues are the same.

However, with technology and distance learning on the rise, my interests have changed from ESL to this technology topic due to the lack of technological resources in Santa Barbara county in school districts. Even though I pay almost $200 annually for 2 separate high school district bond measures (passed in 2000 & 2004), there is no technology plan (that I am aware of anyway) in place. I also pay $ 130 a year for the Orcutt school bond passed in 1999 and $120 a year for Hancock Community College bond passed last year. I am not complaining because indeed I voted for two of the bond measures to pass since I have lived in the county. I am an advocate for better educational facilities and we are in dire need for these improvements for our students. My complaint is that with no plan in place our generations of students will not be competitive in the world educationally.

This brings me to the point ~ finally ~ this article stresses the importance of planning for the future and these authors are right on! We don't just needs bonds for brick and mortar, we need them for distance learning facilities. My vision is that schools will have to be experts on certain content for advanced learners whereas their university or college (or even high school) will be able to broadcast one of a kind lectures from the experts in their field to the world similar to that in Baltimore. For elementary students, I still do not have a vision, but I am thinking along the lines of learning and social interactions activities combined. I strongly believe in learning styles and how they too will effect distance learning. We will always have the academia, the jocks, the artists, etc. and we need to have plans in place to accommodate them. These people are who they are because that is how they enjoy learning. If we can reach them doing what they enjoy, we may prosper instead of fall behind. We have many hurdles to jump! Policy, equity, access, organizational transformations, and leadership are just a few. As educators we must be prepared to jump high because it is no longer a choice - it is a necessity. Children need structure and when they come down after jumping their hurdles, I want them to land softly into well prepared curricula that will be beneficial to them as future leaders in the 21st century. This is what we must provide and we must become experts in distance learning planning or we will all be left face first in the dust!

Distance Learning

Distance learning is on the rise but it is not readily accepted by people. Roberts, Irani, Lundy, & Telg (2003) claim there has been a lack of systematic evaluation research focusing on distance education courses. Since this article Dr. Kelsey has research information currently in press regarding evaluating online programs. Dr. Kelsey teaches advanced methods in qualitative research at OSU. Dr. D'Souza from Wichita State was more difficult to find information about. I am assuming he still is Director of Research and Development for TRiO Programs.

I love how the researcher's in the Student Motivation article used Creswell, Yin, and Merriam. I have not heard of ATLAS.ti...has anyone heard of it who is reading this blog? If so, please fill me in. I have not heard of Patton or Stake either, yet I would not have heard of the other three authors if I was not enrolled in the JDP.

Still, this is so interesting because we have the same issues arising in the JDP that were problems in their research.
"Faculty members felt bothered by having to ignore the on-campus students' needs while meeting remote students' needs, or vice-versa, or dealing with technology failures." This is unfortunate because it is difficult that all students' needs be met. I do not agree with the faculty member who stated that in class students should get preferred treatment. Each and every student is important. Do the distance students feel less important? They should not. They pay the same fees, attend the same lectures, and write the same papers. If anything, I feel the distance learners are somewhat at a disadvantage because they can't have the feeling of the camaraderie that in class students feel. Nonetheless, I do not believe they are shorted academically and we still have social meeting times.

I love that
"the case study pointed to several questions for future research. Are distance education students really interested in interacting with other students enrolled in the same course? Do faculty members have enough training and expertise to modify the curriculum and methods of instructions to suit distance education needs? Does evaluation of such programs lead to an improvement in the program? " The answers seem clear - yes, students do want to interact; no, faculty members do need more training - this is new to them too!; Evaluation always gives time to reflect and hopefully improve. I can't wait to read Kelsey's new research!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Constructivist Knowledge

These readings are very important to consider for integration into the symposium content. It is easy to visualize content using the databases, spreadsheets, and iWork. I have used Lotus, Access, Powerpoint, Excel, and Word many times over the years for work projects and personal use. I can't wait to try the new iWork because I love the drag and drop feature. I am saving for my MacBook Pro right now so I can get the works (@ $2500). Spreadsheets are extremely useful for visualizing written work, say, like a dissertation. SPSS is a good tool but I actually used Excel to integrate graphs, pie charts, and other organizational data for my action research thesis at Poly SLO. Numbers, Keynote, and Pages are similar to Excel, Powerpoint, and Word, respectively, yet have differing qualities. I am unsure if there is a similar software paralleling Access.Not many people really program access databases because they are a little more difficult to learn. Access is awesome though because you can create surveys and such for qualitative data tracking rather simply. The iLife for Mac looks really cool too!

I really like the idea of Mindtools. That could be a possible symposium topic. Use of "critical thinking tools that engage and facilitate cognitive processing sounds" and "amplify and reorganize mental functioning!" Sounds just like what we need to motivate and further recruit professional leaders. I can definitely use some help reorganizing my mental functioning, especially now that I am working at the elementary school mornings and the high school afternoons.

I visualize constructivist knowledge analogous to Hak here generously handing out his bananas at UCSB. We learn by peeling each banana off the bunch as if we are scaffolding knowledge to each one of us who pull from the bunch. What we have left is a little nub that then holds our knowledge together. Then as we grab for the next bunch, we scaffold more and more knowledge until we have a bunch of little nubs representing modules of integrated knowledge that we leaders then spread like seedlings to all the little bananas of the world to consume voraciously because they hunger for this e-knowledge. I know it's late...but you all get the idea! Can't wait to hear your theories.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Safari Montage Live

I absolutely love SML! Not to mention the 90 minute drive and the twenty bucks for gas...I was even able to see the rest of the game. That's not the real reason why though. It's the type of technology we need to present to our audience. Like Vicki said, it has real world solutions. If you have never been to an IEP meeting we will be happy to explain it to you. I would rather go to the dentist. Thank you Patrick for facilitating this evening's class.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


There are many references in this weeks readings to wired students. I think we need a new magazine named WI-FI because many technology gadgets are not even wired anymore, they are WIRELESS with Bluetooth, etc.! A student can study at Carnegie Mellon's University Open Learning Initiative (OLI) with a wireless laptop. In the Wired article it states that even preschoolers can use computers and it's true. They are net savvy and that is why studies and frameworks are beginning to pop up into our curricula. "Technology in our blood?" A new series depicting space characters like those in Star Trek or Star Wars comes to mind.

Perhaps they prefer the to post their personal and social ills globally and it does not seem so shocking. The Science News article was not shocking to me. I know that teenagers are cutting and it can be in your own home. Trust me I know. It really escalated when the low budget movie THIRTEEN hit the theaters and rental outlets in 2003. Right about the time adolescents of the 21st century could be persuaded that cutting helps relieve the pain of growing up in a dysfunctional world where they were caught between chalkboards, whiteboards, and computers. For these students, parents didn't discuss teen differences like on Leave It To Beaver , when trouble brewed. It's no wonder the NET GENERATION today have a hard time finding themselves. It's not ego or ID. It's internet! Thankfully though, on a positive note from the article, leadership skills and better readers come out of these social networks. Beaver or the Nelson's probably would not have paid to browse in a Net Cafe...they solved problems the traditional way. Parents have a much harder time overseeing their child's internet use. Kids know how to hide their tracks by erasing history and other techniques. They can also bypass passwords and hack into other computers for free net use and plain nosiness. Some hack for criminal use. Look how fast the kid who broke the iPhone code did it!

To top it off the Net Gen can get free iPods, Blackberry's and tablet PC's for going to college. I want to go to THAT COLLEGE! So trendy, pretty soon I predict we will be seeing Abercrombie & Fitch personalized PC's. All the talk about justification for cutting class ~ how can a teacher or professor compete when the syllabus and assignments are posted! We can't say they are not turning in their work...they are! And the motivated ones are learning faster, so they can get to the stuff they really want to learn about. We still have the procrastinators too. Instead of the dog eating their homework they say the internet went down or their iPod had a glitch. To my point in my last blog. Who wants a robotic Tiny Tim? Are we becoming so digital we are becoming dehumanized?

Friday, October 12, 2007

21st Century Literacy

Who wants a robotic Tiny Tim? Continuous cycles of learning, global awareness, and interactive communication...whatever happened to that old hometown feeling of closeness to your neighbors and family? This is a different type, a global feel of belonging to the world. Adolescents no longer feel that they have to get into a certain college to spread their roots and get out of their boring hometown just to find out that they actually will miss their hometown. I know, I know...mushy, mushy. But really, as long as kids and adults have access to technology, they will always feel close to home. As Hak recently discussed with me, he can hear (and even see) his family in Hong Kong by talking to them on Skype.

We need a new film for the 21st century - The Wizard of Oz has been remastered and It's A Wonderful Life (oops, should it be world? ) is so old it is out of copyright and can be viewed on the internet by anyone. Will these still be classics or will our children have new classics that will be watched in holographics (like Danielle suggested and like Oz was meant to represent so long ago) right in our own rooms?

Kids still feel the pressure of SAT's and other intelligent tests, but now it's a global pressure! So many definitions of literacy! I even feel like the wealth of knowledge available is mind boggling, especially when I take in other points of view. How do we narrow this down for students to focus? Learning styles, aspirations, and a million other choices to make to gear the century in the right direction. We need to start thinking ahead to the 22nd century at this rate. Wait! Slow down. I want to go back to my hometown.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Keith Lew and Apple

I also did some research on Keith Lew. Here is a link to the 2006 isummit attendees that reflects his photo. Just as wee were beginning the JDP!
I love the site that Apple piloted. I love to empower people.
Good reading! I know, we don't need any more....

Don Zundel and McRel

As you all know I love to research. My research regarding Don Zundel (next weeks guest speaker) brought me to this interesting blog on Digital Crosswalks.
I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I also found another blog...
He is noted on Naymz, Zoominfo, as well as an e-school conference in 2002.
Additionally, he published his leadership conference photos on Flicker.
I thought you may like to know Don Zundel's work and leadership activities before we meet with him. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Participatory Culture

Although we are a little late for developing a proposal for this competition it will be interesting to see what ideas are proposed. It's too bad we didn't see it sooner, sure could have used the money...and they could have used our ideas!
According to the article, teaching new media literacy skills so students are competent in using affinity spaces presents the three core problems: participation gap, transparency problem, ethics challenge. I may have it wrong but these seem to be the same problems educators currently face and have faced throughout the history of the public school system. I think the challenge is to rethink these issues, contemplate about what strategies have previously worked with regard to participation, ethics, and transparencies, and then discuss a plan that we can get buy in to - with the obvious rewards and incentives - and get the plan to the right people who can help the innovative thinkers create policies that enable educators to set the plans in motion before the next phase of technology rains on our parade. Perhaps that may already be the case?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saddleback Caterpillar

If you see this critter, don't touch! Its many spines are capable of delivering a sting you won't soon forget. The saddleback caterpillar's hollow quills are connected to poison glands beneath its skin, and the pain and swelling from contact with them can rival or surpass that of a bee sting.

The saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) is the inch-long larval form of a fuzzy, dark brown moth. In this crawling stage, however, its coloration is vivid: in the center of its bright green "saddle" is a purplish-brown circle. The critter can be found mostly on deciduous trees and shrubs as well as corn and grasses in midsummer to early fall.

If you have the misfortune of a too-close encounter with the saddleback, wash the area immediately with soap and water, and apply ice to help relieve pain. If any spines are still embedded in the skin, adhesive tape may be useful in removing them. The burning pain and discomfort can last for several hours. People with allergic reactions or who have a sensitivity to bee stings should contact their physician immediately.

Courtesy of HGTV online

This is for is not a tree octupus!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Patrick Gregston

Looking forward to next week! As I said I have been doing a little research too!

Horizon Report

Technology is moving faster than this report. The adoption time periods seem to be forecast slower than the events actually happen. Social networks went from a forecast of 4-5 years in 2005, to a forecast of social computing in under a year in 2006, yet social networks appear in under a year again for 2007. Everything in the 2007 report is already here! Is everyone using their folksonomic tools yet?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Digital Print

Have I left my digital print anywhere yet? I started programming FORTRAN in the late 70's when some of you were just being born. I received my AS in computer science and decided then I wanted to teach computer language. I had to at least get a Master's for that. My path led me to teaching but I have yet to teach technology (PLATO doesn't really count - neither does the little turtle I taught elementary students to move around the screen - I have forgotten the name). What I really want is to teach students how to use technology to their advantage. I wanted to give them an edge up, but now they are explaining things to me; how lost am I really? Well, I can keep up with the average Joe. However, I am still searching for my embellishment on the world. Will I ever find my niche? Stay tuned to see...

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Being Digital"

Photo of Nicholas Negroponte, courtesy of Nicholas Negroponte's website

The digital divide is rampant amongst our schools! This article underpins my belief that students need adequate access to technology tools in school. The 21st Century allows for vast amounts of knowledge to be explored. How is it possible for teachers and administrators to narrow down this knowledge into workable ideas?

It is apparent that collaboration is a leadership skill. In accord with Negroponte, I believe schools in digital harmony will not be subject to the digital divide. Further, as Negroponte suggests, "a new generation is emerging from the digital landscape free of the many old prejudices." This suggestion creates an ideal scenario with which to utilize Negroponte's four powerful qualities of decentralizing, globalizing, harmonizing, and empowering. Perhaps, then in an idyllic digital world prejudice and dissention will be only a history lesson where students can learn about the tribulations of 20th century school violence in a field trip to a museum similar to the Museum of Tolerance.

Student's today have grown up in a multimedia age. Some have surpassed teachers' and administrators' knowledge regarding browsing such as the imaginative agent-based systems mentioned in the article. This is particularly true when it comes to online digital gaming. Massively Multiplayer Online(MMO)gaming is all the rage right now and is a competitive market. Games such as World of Warcraft, where players subscribe to a monthly or yearly gaming world, is one such example of MMO gaming. I admit, ashamedly, that I do not know how to play these games myself. My son tried to teach me but my gaming skills are second to nil.

Just imagine the possibilities in Special Education, English as a Second Language instruction, and many other school intervention strategies when students conquer the realm of the digital divide! Their self esteem gets boosted, test scores go up (which makes administrators happy too) and many windows of opportunity open up for all students. On top of that, the prejudices that have divided regular education and alternative education could completely dissolve. We owe it to our future leaders to digitalize education so they can be prepared to conquer the world.

Reshaping the Classroom

Collette said it all when she commented that "they [kids] are already connected." This is why I strongly believe in learning styles to engage students. I give each one of my students the VARK test at the beginning of every semester. This helps the student, as well as the teacher, diagnose any difficulties in learning. The VARK tests for Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic learning styles. For instance, if a student is having trouble in Geometry he may have a low visual learning preference. Another example is a low Read/Write preference for a student having difficulty with writing essays. The VARK website has the questionnaire that will help students acknowledge their learning styles. It also allows students the study strategies connected to their learning style to assist them with study skills.

However, there are many other types of learning styles that even Gardner updates periodically, such as the natural learning style. Yet, I have not heard of a technological learning style, but I do believe that the majority of my students prefer learning through wireless technology (or even wired). I have indications in the VARK test whereas each and every high school student I have tested always answers the question: "You are planning a holiday for a group. You want some feedback from them about the plan. You would:" with this one possible choice, "phone, text, or email them."

Therefore, in agreement with Collette, I also envision a wireless classroom whereby students have paperless courses and tote laptops and iPods. In fact, with this course I do believe Dr. Faverty has started a trend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


This is the beginning of the Fall 2007 quarter of the JDP. This is my second year of residency at UCSB/Cal Poly SLO for the Ed.D. degree. I look forward to this quarter and beginning my dissertation...