Off to a good start

  Today was great.  My day started out with my computer “ringing” me because I was being invited to join a Skypecast workshop that Clay Burrell was conducting from Seoul. Pretty neat way to be woken up!  (I must be turning into a total geek 😉 ) Then at school today, I assisted our principal in setting up equipment for a presentation she did with our new teachers, which was forward thinking and enthusiastic.  I was thrilled to realize she was using Karl Fisch’s video […]

It’s all in the discussion

  In a workshop at our campus last year, Will Richardson rightfully(and insightfully) pointed out that one of the most fascinating aspects of  Wikipedia lies in the discussion tab. It’s not just that wikis allow us to create websites where we can add links easily, but that they have a “comments” or discussion area, where the joint creators of the wiki can hold debates. In today’s Wall Street Journal article, “Forget the Articles,  Best Wikipedia Read Is Its Discussions” Lee Gomes explores some of the passionate, esoteric, behind the […]

Removing the barriers

One “techie” tool that has got me jazzed this summer is Skype.     If you haven’t used Skype, it allows you to “phone” or “conference call” others from your computer to anyone anywhere;  it also has a chat room feature which you can use along with the conference call or separately. Some great features include the ability to log or bookmark the chat or call, so that it can be read or heard later, for your own reference or to share with others. In the last couple of […]

Seeking first to understand

My kids roll their eyes in mock dismay at the mere mention of Stephen Covey, but one of his principles which I cite the most is to “Seek first to understand,” rather than to be understood. This principle is floating through my head this morning as I read through a stream of blog posts about including student voices more in education–whether at the NECC conference or other conferences, or in the educational blogosphere, or in schools in general.  Scott Schwister, Karl Fisch, Clay Burrell, Scott McLeod, and Sylvia Martinez have all […]


  Happy Earth Day!   Wangari Maathai, who instituted one of my favorite “green” projects, the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, has a new book, Unbowed, about her experiences as a tree planting project turned into a democratic movement in her country.  I first learned about her efforts from the film, Nobelity Project, which is the inspiration of Austin author Turk Pipkin and his wife, producer Christy Pipkin, who traveled the world (with their school age daughters) interviewing Nobel Prize winners about their recommendations and hopes for the future.  The film is fascinating. As Desmond Tutu points out in […]

One small thing

Doug Johnson at the Blue Skunk blog has re-posted a heartfelt commentary that he wrote after a devastating school shooting in Minnesota two years ago.  In “The Need for Community” he comments: “In our efforts to improve our schools and reduce school expenditures, extra-curricular activities are often first on the chopping block. Politicians and taxpayers see music, arts and athletics as superfluous. The “basics” are reading, writing, math and other purely classroom pursuits. Guidance counselors, teacher-librarians, coaches and club sponsors are nice extras only tangentially related to […]

Bringing the “outside” in

What am I doing writing about the SXSW Interactive, Film, and Music Festival on a blog about libraries and education?  (Well, first off, because we won FREE wristbands to attend the SXSW music festival–thanks KGSR!)   But also, as I’ve been using the SXSW website and reading articles about it, it’s fascinating to see how technology is woven into the fabric of how communication happens at the conference. And I bring this up here because our students and recently graduated students from around the world attend this event, […]

Want to give your two cents worth?

Will Richardson has been struggling  quite a bit lately about how to bring about changes in education that better reflect the sort of connected world that our students are growing up in. Then yesterday, he got an email from Senator Lamarr Alexander’s office asking him (as a blogger) to join a conference call today about the America COMPETES Act, which has been cosponsored by several senators on both sides of the aisle.   So before the call, Will is seeking input from educators about the Act, which provides funding for national […]

We’re back…

We have returned from our site visits tonight and there is a lot to absorb!    I was reading a new book, Wikinomics, on the plane, which is about how the new collaborative and connective nature of the web is changing our culture. To me, that is what the site visits were all about.  We’ve made connections with all kinds of different schools and teachers in another part of the country, and they are connections we can draw on to bring new ideas into our school, and the other […]

Saying “yes”

Will Richardson talked about friction points caused by new technologies and the rapid pace of change.   When I heard Lawrence Lessig talk at U.T. about copyright, he was talking about how innovators created this new system of copyright because the law wasn’t changing fast enough to meet the web 2.0 environment. As I sat there listening to Lawrence Lessig in the auditorium at U.T., I noticed how many students in the audience had their laptops open, listening, taking notes, but also browsing, chatting,  and checking email, and […]