Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Conversation With Ken Shelton - DEN Star, ADE, GCT

Ken Shelton has been a part of my PLN for more than a year. We met at NECC 2009 and had some great conversations about PLNs, teaching, and the role of technology in education. Ken is a DEN Star educator, an Apple Distinguished Educator, and a Google Certified Teacher. In this video Ken explains how teachers can go about becoming a DEN Star, an ADE, or a GCT. What I think we can all learn from Ken is that if you're interested in furthering your professional learning, there are many great opportunities out there that you can advantage of.

I had some trouble recording both of our faces on the screen and there was an occasional lag between Ken's voice and face. The important part is what he says, not the visual quality.

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Alliance of Civilizations Media Literacy Clearinghouse

The Alliance of Civilizations is an organization of the United Nations. The Alliance of Civilizations has created a resource center for locating educational resources on media literacy. On the Alliance of Civilizations Media Literacy Clearinghouse you can search for resources by topic (media literacy, media policy, or youth media), by language, or by country.

The Alliance of Civilizations is currently accepting submissions for the Plural+ Video Festival. The Plural+ Video Festival is looking for students to submit videos about their experiences, thoughts, and ideas about the issues of migrant inclusion, diversity, human rights, and creating social cohesiveness. Click here to find all of the details about the Plural+ Video Festival.

Applications for Education
The Alliance Civilizations Media Literacy Clearinghouse could be a good place to find resources for teaching media literacy. The Plural+ Video Festival could be a good way to get your students thinking about what elements are necessary for a harmonious community.

A Short Geology Lesson - And "24/7 Learning"

Inspired in part by Wes Fryer's recent post comparing print and digital reference materials, this morning I searched Watch Know for videos about New Zealand. While I didn't find anything comprehensive on the political history of New Zealand, I did find an interesting video on the geological history of New Zealand. The video is embedded below.

In The World Is Open Curtis Bonk talks about the diverse, on-demand, learning opportunities that are made available through the web. What I did this morning in searching for videos about New Zealand demonstrates the availability of on-demand learning opportunities. I read Wesley's post, thought to myself "I'd like to know more about New Zealand," jumped on the Internet, and in minutes I had learned a short lesson about the geology of New Zealand.

Now compare my learning experience this morning with the same scenario fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago I was fifteen and didn't even know anyone who had an Internet connection. If I had read an article in a magazine that mentioned New Zealand I would have had to go to the local library, during their open hours, and hope that they had a book or two about New Zealand. I grew up in a fairly large suburb that had two large public libraries so I probably would have been able to find information about New Zealand. But what if I lived in a rural town, as I do now, that only has a very small library? I may have had to wait days, a week, possibly longer to get some books through a library loan. As a fifteen-year-old I didn't have that kind of patience and I don't know how many fifteen-year-olds do. Fifteen years ago the experience I had this morning wouldn't have been possible.

So then, because our students have nearly 24/7 access to information, how has our job as teachers changed? I'm especially interested in the perspectives of those you reading this that could have been my teacher fifteen years ago.

Out of the Wild - Exploring Life On Earth

Out of the Wild is a BBC feature that highlighting the explorations and discoveries of expeditions exploring unique nature sites. Each expedition explores the unique plants and animals of an area. The expeditions also examine the effects of climate change on each area.

Out of the Wild links to separate pages for each expedition. Follow the pages to learn more about each expedition's work.

Applications for Education
Out of the Wild could be a useful reference for students studying topics related to environmental science.

Firefox Plugin for Filtering Profanity

Once again Tekzilla has a great tip for educators and parents. In the video below will learn about the ProCon Profanity Filter plug-in for Firefox.

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Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How to Block Scripts in Firefox
Least Restrictive Environment for Educators
Kido'z - A Kid-Safe Browser