Category Archives: nextgenteachers

Academic Aesthetic 149

New Year's ResolutionThat’s right, I’m podcasting again! And how about that, this isn’t even a horrible recorded-in-the-car-using-a-cell-phone-cast, either!

I won’t speak for everyone, but for me December is a time to look back on the past year and ask “Where did the time go?” Of course it’s also a time to look forward and ask “Wait, I have to do all that again?” Then you get to sit down, eat a Christmas cookie, and say “I’m getting too old for this!”

…ok, I added that last one this year, since I turned 30. And now everyone who’s older than me can laugh at how the young guy thinks he’s old. Go ahead, it’ll relieve some stress.

But seriously, as I look back on this past year I really slacked off on being a content creator. Compared to the year before I barely podcasted or blogged at all, and my Flickr photo postings have been sporadic, at best. This new year, my resolution is to fix that.

You could say this episode is an early start on just that, but I need to set up a regular schedule again – and this time, I need to stick to it. Maybe even record shows early so I have a backlog in case of emergencies. We’ll see.

LogoT20.jpgI’ve also tweaked the Teachers 2.0 Twitter account to make it, in my opinion, more usable. I used to set it up so that any time someone saves a link in and tags it “teachers20,” it’ll show up as a Teachers 2.0 tweet. The only glitch is that it has to be a NEW link – going back and adding the “teachers20” tag to old links won’t make them show up on Twitter. Of course you can still write something a little more in depth and post it on the Teachers 2.0 Ning site, and that’ll show up in the feed as well. I’m hoping that since we now have well over a hundred members we’ll start to see these services used a little more often.

I have a lot more to say, but I still like the format of a short and sweet podcast, netcast, or whatever you want to call it, so I’ll just hold that over until next time. Hey, now I won’t have to brainstorm a new topic!

Until next time, stay subscribed, fare thee well, merry Christmas, and happy holidays, everyone.

DVD Sub Plans

Math on the TVI know what you’re thinking: DVD sub plans? What am I, nuts?!

Well what if the DVD isn’t some Disney movie you got from Blockbuster the day before? (This happened to me more than once when I was a sub years ago.) What if the DVD relates directly to the curriculum the students are covering in class?

What if the DVD was created by you?
If I was in a position where I would actually have a sub when I took a day off, I would definitely do this. (I’m more of a resource person than a classroom teacher. If I have a day off I just reschedule my classes)

I think the best part about Mr. Meyer’s aforementioned (aforelinked?) blog entry is that he doesn’t make it too fancy. Yeah, yeah, he uses Final Cut Pro, but Lawrence Lessig does the exact same thing with iMovie. That means anyone with an out-of-the-box macbook (or iBook, Powerbook, or Macbook Pro) can do this with very little effort.

This isn’t technology that we can think about using years in the future, it’s technology that we can use tomorrow. (Or Monday, rather, since tomorrow’s Saturday.)

If you want to get your more technophobic teachers to buy into using all these wonderful toys, this is one good way to do it.

Follow Up On My Rant

Now I’m not saying that they read my little rant about their last newsletter (although who knows?), but this month’s Discovery Education Streaming newsletter’s survey question involved writing a sentence rather than selecting a single choice.

Oh, the question? It was:

How would you describe in one sentence what Discovery Education provides the education community?

A much better way of doing it, I think.

I think I need to blog more.  Writing reactions to things is OK, but writing more than one post that reacts to a newsletter most people can’t read (I looked for a version on their site and couldn’t find it in the short time I had to search…) is a little, shall we say, redundant?

More to follow, on different topics, I hope.

Not enough answers

12:00 flashingDiscovery Education Streaming has a monthly newsletter that (I’m assuming) they mail out to all the DEN members. This month’s newsletter seemed rather brief (perhaps I’m just confusing it with a different monthly email from Discovery – one that had Steve Dembo‘s picks in it), but the thing that got me was a survey question near the end:

1. Which statement best matches your relationship with Educational Technology?
*I have it working right now, so don’t touch anything.
*Blogs, RSS, Web 2.0, Wiki – that’s what I do before school starts.
*My VCR still flashes “12:00,” but it works just fine.

There you go- that was the only question, those were the only answers.

When I’m teaching, I’ll often have kids ask me “Can I go to the bathroom?”

My answer is usually along the lines of “I don’t know. Can you?” Then in response to their confused expressions I tell them “You have to ask the right question to get the right answer.”

Granted, there’s a big difference between a 3rd grader who doesn’t know the difference between “can” and “may” and Discovery Education – but in both cases I don’t think they’ve asked the right question. Or, more accurately, I don’t think they’ve provided the right answers.

ConfusedI know a lot of teachers who could look at that survey, answer it, and move on without wondering about it at all. Four(?) years ago, I would have proudly selected the second answer. (At the time I didn’t think it was a good idea for students to be given blogs as school assignments. How wrong I was!)

But I’ve gone beyond that. I do have students using wikis, blogs, and all kinds of cool stuff in the classroom. When new ideas come out, I want to hear about them and try them out. I’m not saying this to pump up my already over-inflated ego, because I know there are others like me who are pulling it off even better than I ever could. (I’m looking at you, Mr. Eric Langhorst! Let us know how those new iRivers work out.)

So you see, my problem with the survey question is that there’s no answer I can pick that fits what I do with technology, and I know a lot of people who are in the same boat.

Maybe I’m not Discovery Education Streaming’s target audience, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t think this was worth a whole blog post, especially one as long as this one’s becoming, if I wasn’t seeing this all the time in education. I’ve had more than one employer over the years, and in most cases they were more than happy to get you up to a level that allowed you to copy, paste, and find Microsoft Office on your hard drive. “Advanced” classes showed you how to input pictures into a word document. (I actually attended one of those, and will speak no more about it other than that the presenter asked me how to open PowerPoint.)

And true, a lot of digital immigrants need classes like that – but that’s just the starting point and if we don’t go on then our students will surpass us in the “how-tos” without ever learning the “whys” or “shoulds.”

PUWT ConferenceI suppose that’s another reason why I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Powering Up With Technology conference. There I’ll find educators on every level of the technology spectrum, but we’ll all have one thing in common.

It won’t matter if our VCRs are flashing 12:00, our current tech is working, or we love to use blogs, wikis, rss, and more outside (and inside!) the classroom.

Every single one of us at that conference will be there because we want to do more.

Build My Presentation!

bwcamera.gifAs I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be presenting at next weekend’s Powering Up With Technology conference. My topic of choice this year involves using cameras in the classroom.

Any classroom.

Now I’ve used cameras to help me teach all kinds of subject areas, and I have ideas for even more ways to use them, but I also know a lot of you have used digital cameras in your classrooms in ways that I haven’t.

So I would like your input. If you have a moment, please check out my Digital Photography in Any Classroom wiki and see what I’ve left out.

I’m not asking for you to complete everything, of course, but if you have a lesson idea that worked well I’d love to hear about it. Hey, if the results of that lesson (or at least an example) are posted online, why not just add in a link to wherever they are?

I fully intend to continue editing this wiki up until (and including) (and past) the day of my presentation, but I would love to stand up there and tell my audience that the resource I’m providing was not just written by myself.

I’m in!

Just got this in my email today, and I’m very, very happy about it.

Aaron Smith

We are really looking forward to your presentation at the Powering Up With Technology Conference on Saturday, November 17, 2007. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. You are scheduled to present Digital Photography in Any Classroom in Classroom E 314 from 12:15-1:15. A computer and projection device will be provided in each room. You will also receive a continental breakfast and a complimentary box lunch.

This year our conference will again be held at Northwestern High School, 7000 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, 301-985-1820. Northwestern High School will be available for a trial run Friday, Nov. 16th from 5-8pm and for set up Saturday Nov. 17th from 6:30 am.

The conference schedule on Saturday, November 17th:

7:30 – 8:15 Registration
8:15 – 9:15 1st Concurrent Session
9:30 – 11:00 Introductions & Keynote Address
11:15 – 12:15 Lunch & Vendor Walk
12:15 – 1:15 2nd Concurrent Session
12:15 – 2:30 2 Hour Hands-on Session
1:30 – 2:30 3rd Concurrent Session
2:45 – 3:45 4th Concurrent Session
4:00 – 4:30 Prize drawings in the Auditorium

A hospitality area will be set up in the Media Center where coffee and light refreshments will be available and materials may be stored.

This year, we would like to make conference handouts and presentations available online after the conference. If you would like your materials posted, please email them to PGCPS.PoweringUp [at]


Exit Beltway at New Hampshire Ave/Rt. 650, South, towards Takoma Park. Continue on New Hampshire Ave. to Adelphi Rd. and turn left. Continue on Adelphi Rd., cross University Blvd and pass the University of Maryland. Continue on Adelphi Rd. to school on the right.

I look forward to a very successful conference.

If you have any additional needs or concerns please contact me at: Christo.Fuller [at] or 301-386-1608 ext. 2250

Christopher Fuller
Conference Chairperson

Academic Aesthetic 148

A lot to say, but not a lot of time to type. This one’s a low quality car-cast done on my way home this afternoon.

Show Notes:

Yeah, I’ve been busy.

Box? What box?

ProcrastinationTo start, I need to apologize to all of you, my loyal readers, for going “AFK” for so long. (I’m surprised you’re still here, but far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth.)

The truth is that I have been procrastinating (a bit), but I’ve also been diligently working on other projects at the same time – ones that did in fact wear me down and/or lower my creative potential. Those projects aren’t done, but I’m ignoring them for a half hour or so.

I owe you that, at least.

I also had the bright idea of recording this as a podcast, but so far every time I was inspired to do so I either did not have the time, was in a public place (odd that a ham like myself gets nervous about such things), was in an environment that provided too much background noise (don’t ask about my car – please), or a combination of all of the above.

So here you go. We’re caught up to today, so let’s move on.

Cardboard BoxLately I’ve been thinking a lot about boxes, most likely because of my recent move. As most of you know, moving requires you to scrounge a lot of boxes in which you can place everything you own so that you can move it from point A to point B.

Since my wife and I are both packrats, that adds up to many, many boxes.

When we started we had a system – a box for linens, a box for winter clothes, a box for books (ok, that was more like ten boxes…), and so on.  We had everything categorized.  Of course it didn’t end that way, but that was the plan.

So why am I rambling on about this?

Boxes in a boxBecause schools are boxes, too.  Every day I walk into a school (box), step into a classroom (box in a box), and teach a subject (box in a box in a box).  Thankfully the Interrelated Art program I’m in requires me to teach art lessons that reinforce other subjects.  Through those I get to poke some serious holes in at least some of the boxes … but the boxes are still there.

I’m not the only one thinking of boxes either, as shown in this chat log from a recent webinar.  I’m ending with this, because I was a participant and I think it says what I’ve been trying to say.

from Teryl Magee:
Ahh…losing time or thinking outside the box?

from Diana Laufenberg:
what if there is no box?

from Teryl Magee:
No box might be nice depending on how you look at it!

from Teryl Magee:
Agree Tracy!

from Jenny Vreeland:
It’s what many teachers are afraid of.

from cathy masse:
There is often not enough technology available for all students and staff

from Aaron Smith:
Some people, finding that they are outside the box, then build a new one for themselves.

from Diana Laufenberg:
hence the DEN?

from Marie Coleman:
we often do set up limitations on self!

from Teryl Magee:
Ohh…deep thinking Aaron. Then I guess we step outside that box again!

[some conversation cut out to maintain the illusion of brevity] 

from Aaron Smith:
Teryl, the box is a comfort zone. I wouldn’t destroy it if they need it, but I would install lots of windows and a really big door.

Academic Aesthetic 147

(Note: I’ve just spent far too long trying to get this audio to NOT sound like a chipmunk on a coffee spree in the flash player.  The result is … less than perfect, but at least you can tell what I’m saying.)

Here’s a big important question: A reputable company with a product for educators has asked to sponsor my show. Should I say yes?

I have mixed feelings about this, since it would be advertising but on the other hand I’ve heard other edu-bloggers and edu-podcasters say nothing but good things about this company. I can’t say more for fear of biasing your responses.

I can say that if I say yes, the sponsorship will include a graphic on the site and an audio clip in the podcast. However, the decision is up to you, the loyal listener After all, if you’re reading/listening to this then you stuck by me even after over a month’s hiatus. Feel free to comment on this post or email me.

Academic Aesthetic 146

wowhippo.gifThe rumors of my demise … yadda yadda yadda.  No video this time, just an unedited monologue recorded with my newest gadget (see below).

  • Sorry for the delay.  I blame end-of-school-year-hassles, a trip to PA, a new apartment, and something else.
  • I have a new toy: The Creative Zen V Plus!  I used it to record this podcast, as a matter of fact.
  • Alas, Creative doesn’t make any software or drivers that make the Zen V Plus Mac compatible.  Fortunately, these people made an open source program that gets the Zen onto my Mac!
  • It’s easy to censor yourself.
  • When you post a link, you have no control over that site.
  • You’re not just linking to that site now, but 3 months from now and 3 years from now.
  • Where do you draw the line?