Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where do Good Ideas Come From

Another look at creativity or in this case "Where Do Good Ideas Come From?" A very well done video on illustrating Johnson's take on creativity.

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Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Where do good ideas come from? Places that put us together. Places that allow good hunches to collide with other good hunches, sometimes creating big breakthroughs and innovations. During the Enlightenment, this all happened in Parisian salons and coffee houses. Nowadays, it’s happening on the web, in places that defy your ordinary definition of “place.” In four animated minutes, Steven Johnson outlines the argument that he makes more fully in his soon-to-be-published book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. The video is the latest from the RSAnimate series.


John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

A very interesting video of John Cleese sharing his ideas about where creativity comes from. Although not aimed directly at educators, his thoughts are well worth the time to consider as creativity is what all great teachers hope to accomplish--for themselves as well as their students.

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John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

British actor John Cleese is best known for his comedic talent as one of the founding members of Monty Python, which makes his intellectual insights on the origin of creativity particularly fascinating. This talk from the 2009 Creativity World Forum in Germany is part critique of modernity’s hustle-and-bustle, part handbook for creating the right conditions for creativity.

“We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.” ~ John Cleese

Cleese advocates creating an “oasis” amidst the daily stress where the nervous creature that is your creative mind can safely come out and play, with the oasis being guarded by boundaries of space and boundaries of time.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amplify’d from How to Help Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom--My Thoughts

The 5J approach has some valid observations. I agree with numbers 3, 4 and 5--just in time, just in case, just try it. However, I strongly disagree with numbers 1 and 2-job related and just enough. My view has always been to successfully integrate technology into education, one must learn the technology. Technology is the only area where it is okay not to know what you are doing and then attempt to teach it or integrate it! I am not saying that teachers as a whole need to become experts, but from my experience, there is no danger of that happening. Increased comfort as a goal as opposed to proficiency is tantamount to starting a project and stating "I have no plan to become very good at this!"

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How to Help Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom

The 5J Approach

By Mary Burns

Recent reports (from The Chronicle of Higher Education and Walden University [PDF], for example) point to teachers' continuing difficulties integrating technology into classroom learning. Despite access to technology and despite the fact that novice teachers are entering the classroom with far more advanced technology skills than their counterparts of an earlier age, only 39 percent of teachers report "moderate" or "frequent" use of technology as an instructional tool (Grunwald Associates, 2010).

This limited use may have multiple causes: Teachers may be overwhelmed by demands of testing; they may not see the value of instructional technologies in their particular content area; they may work in environments where principals do not understand or encourage technology use; and the types of software most helpful in instruction are not always the types of applications students know how—or want—to use.

Teachers do use technology—for administration, personal productivity, and displaying content (via projectors and document cameras)—but not so much as a student learning tool. Why?

After 25 years of incorporating technology in the learning space, we still may not have figured out how to do technology-related professional development that helps teachers use computers as part of the instructional process. After 25 years of having computers in schools, we still lack an approach that ensures teachers truly understand the benefits and appropriate uses of computers for instruction and that teachers actually use technology as part of teaching and learning.

The overall approach, sequential and cumulative, is grounded in two basic premises. First, if technology is used as a teaching and learning tool, tied to curricular goals and assessment and embedded within strong instructional techniques, it can promote better instruction and greater student collaboration, enhancing student learning. If not, it can't. Second, professional development can promote quality technology integration and learning by minimizing the importance of computers within professional development and concentrating instead on the core areas of teaching: content, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and classroom management.

According to the 5Js, technology-related teacher professional development should be:

  • job-related, focused on the core competencies of the classroom, not technology
  • just enough, emphasizing increased comfort, not proficiency, with computers and management of limited technology resources
  • just in time, meaning teacher are provided with skills as and when needed
  • just in case teachers need to plan for contingencies
  • accompanied by a "just try it" attitude, wherein instructors apply both pressure and support to compel teachers to use what they've learned.


The teacher's primary role is to help students understand particular subject matter. Everything else is secondary. Therefore, the focus of any computer-related professional development should not be on the technology itself, but on how computers can improve performance in these core areas of the teacher's "job."

Just Enough

Teachers don't need to know everything about a particular piece of software. They only need "just enough" to help them complete a curriculum-related or instructional task. Anything beyond this is wasted effort.

"Just enough" focuses, not on proficiency with technology, but comfort using technology within a curriculum activity.

Just in Time

The third 'J' is a truism in the field of professional development. Professional development should support teachers' learning just in time — when they are ready to both learn and apply what they've learned with students.

Just in Case

This fourth 'J' therefore focuses on helping teachers address these control issues by adopting a just-in-case attitude toward computers. This approach focuses on carefully planning the classroom activity. By remembering that computers are just one of many learning tools, teachers can reduce their chances of being caught unaware when computers fail technically or instructionally.

Just Try It

Central to change is action, and this is where professional development often breaks down. "Just try it" is the most important 'J' principle of them all. Without application in the classroom, professional development is a waste of time, money, and effort.

Third, technology professional development should de-emphasize the importance of teachers' expertise with software and hardware (Just enough) and emphasize teachers' comfort and confidence with computers. Over the years, I've found it helpful to encourage teachers to envision themselves as project managers who set up the activity, with students as "technicians" who delve into the intricacies of the software.

Only when these five 'J's come together in a systematic way might the story of technology-based trainings have a different ending.


Computer lab rules and procedures illustrated 2010

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We're going to need a bigger bowl! Fisherman catches massive 30lb 'goldfish'


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We're going to need a bigger bowl! Fisherman catches massive 30lb 'goldfish'

The orange koi carp weighs 30lb - the same as an average three-year-old girl - and is thought to be one of the largest of its kind ever captured.

What a whopper! Angler Raphael Biagini got the surprise of his life when he landed this gigantic koi carp on a fishing trip to France. At 30lb it's thought to be the largest of its kind ever caught in the wild

What a whopper! Angler Raphael Biagini got the surprise of his life when he landed this gigantic koi carp on a fishing trip to France. At 30lb it's thought to be the largest of its kind ever caught in the wild


Monday, September 6, 2010

The Best TED Talks To Make Use Of Social Media #edtech

Do you need some inspiration? Do you need to hear the experts talk about how best to take advantage of the Internet and particularly social media? Then this is the place! It might take you a while to listen to them all, but it will be well worth it.

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The Best TED Talks To Make Use Of Social Media

Lalitesh Katragadda: Making Maps To Fight Disaster, Build Economies

Ethan Zuckerman: Listening To Global Voices

James Surowiecki: When Social Media Became News

Matt Ridley: When Ideas Have Sex

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History

Seth Godin : On The Tribes We Lead

Howard Rheingold On Collaboration

Hector Ruiz On Connecting The World

Yochai Benkler On The New Open-Source Economics

Gordon Brown: Wiring A Web For Global Good

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