Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The future of Desktop it a thing of the Past?

When I was first asked this question, my get reaction was a resounding "yes"! With all of the other tools out there, why would ANYONE ever use Adobe or MS Word? However, in completing some recent work for classes and private contractors, I am backing off of that resounding "yes". I think that there will be changes, but I do not feel that DTP will go away. True, there are a plethora of on-line publishing sites that are independent of the PC/Mac debate. That being said, the need to type and print will never go away, especially for those old-school teachers like me...I love technology but do not always trust it. If nothing else, DTP products will still provide a backup in the event of computer crashes or power failures. DTP will, I feel, remain a viable tool for kids to use to display certain understandings of topics and concept attainment. See this article for more on this discussion.

Multi-Media Tips

Having looked at presentations by Bill Gates, Garr Reynolds and the like I see now where some, ok many, of my created-for-the-classroom presentations were way off. They were busy or distracting with graphics and transitions. However, what happens to middle school kids if all information is put onto the screen at one time? How do we still keep kids from reading ahead while still maintaining integrity under the tenants of CLT? Moreover, how does one know when it is appropriate to give note sheets? Does this not encourage kids to read ahead and not pay attention to the verbal message? Just some random thoughts and musings....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Teachers and the Technology Gap

I just finished reading a blog post by David Warlick where he was amazed at the enthusiasm that he felt from teachers in Colorado and Hawaii, even though the school year has just ended. While I am a bit surprised by their willingness to listen and their excitement (I personally am exhausted), I fear that the gung-ho attutude may be short lived. See, the problem, in my mind, with implimenting technology and "toys" as Warlick put it, into the classroom, more often than not is not the teacher. It is a short-sighted school bored (not a typo), a misguided principal or state big whigs with eyes on test scores instead of real learning. The money to purchase new equipment is not there thanks in large part to Pres. Bush and his cuts even while force feeding us NCLB. I was laughed at when I proposed, that to save network space, we issue each kid their own flash drive. It would work, but the money is not there. Every time I hear about a new technology proposal being shot down or tabled due to money, I can almost hear the Emperor from Star Wars VI say, "Now, you shall pay the price for your lack of vision".

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cognitive Load Theory

The tenents of CLT need to be shared with staff, young and old. This will assure that all are aware of the need to take an audience into consideration when making presentations to an audience of any type.
I think that the presentation that I will use is one where slides are shown as a before and after. Download a few slide shows from google or slideshare and edit them through the CLT lens. By showing the differences after making changes to fall in line with the ideas of CLT, perhaps some will see the differences and adjust their presentations accordingly. Technology used in education to present information, to adults and kids alike, need to be ulilitarian. In other words, if there is no need to have the fly-in, the graphic or the fancy background, then do not include it; especially if the pretty takes away from the meaning of the slide. The graphics in a presentation is not the reason for the presentation; the content of it is the reason.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting into the groove...

I have been looking at presentations that I see in a new way. I am trying to see them through the CLT (cognitive learning theory) filter and am having issues with the busy-ness of some slides and videos. Even the ones from United Streaming seem to be loaded and assume lots of prior knowledge. So my question is this, where do you draw the distinction between too high a cognitive load and having to assume some prior knowledge? Isn't some prior knowledge required to derive new knowledge from presentations? So if I show a slide on the periodic table, am I to assume no prior knowledge at all? Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Now I know that this is not due until week 5, but I wanted to play around a bit and add this funny comic. In the Cohort, Scott and Demetri included, who can state what is funny about this cartoon (note the source in the cartoon itself) and why I use it in chemistry presentations...


Another hot one today in the Old Line State.

Having had a chance to digest the content from yesterday's class, we are in for a ride! New toys and tools and new teams! I LOVE the tool (Skype?) that connected us to Tenn remotely I wanna learn how to do that!

Monday, June 9, 2008

First night

Wow....TONS of information tonight; most of which is rather easy to use. I have a blog for the class and am now using iGoogle and Google Reader. I have set up a delicious account and gotten a refresher on aggregator and RSS feeds. Lots of cool stuff. Still worried about the "you are going to need help" comment from the HCPSS web guy. I have secured the use of a flip video camera and now have to get my scanner working again. Busy and productive night!