Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Maine is on the map!

Maine now has Streetview enabled in Google Maps. If you haven't tried it, check it out. Below is my school. You can get an idea of how to move around. Too cool!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Is Your Web 2.0 Recession Proof?

While the current recession affects all parts of the economy I think it's going to really hit Web 2.0  hard. Many of the services that we've all come to rely on have been living on Angel investors and VC capital and have never found a way to make money. (I'm looking at you Sandy.)  That 'Easter egg' hunting we all do for the next cool web tool is going to get a lot harder. 

Now, I'm certain that long term this will simply be a lull and we'll press on, but has this reality influenced the tools we've selected to use? What do you do when your Web app of choice up and walks out on you? (This especially worries me with those I've pushed others to use the tech and it goes away.)  Of course to live with technology is to live with change, but if you have students work on a project for an extended amount of time and the tool they were using is discontinued, it's a hard thing to take.

 Vicki Davis and her students are going through this right now with Google's Lively. I don't think Google pulled Livelry because of money, but it's going away nontheless.  I love how the students are using this set back as a learning moment and suggesting to Google reasons and ways they could keep it going. I wish them luck and hope it works. (BTW the easiest place I've found to track the next company to go is: http://www.techcrunch.com/tag/deadpool)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Being Thankful

This week our eighth graders took part in an immigration unit. They were randomly split into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class citizens and had various things happen to them depending on their class. 1st class students sat in the front of the class, were first in line, etc. while 2nd and 3rd class had fewer perks 'deported' from free time back to the work room. You get the idea.

The whole experience was to have the kids get a better understanding of how influential the class structure has been in the United States. Students joked with each other about where they sat in the class and so forth and everything was going fine until lunchtime.

At lunch the small group of 1st class citizens were treated to pizza, soda and cake, they sat with each other and had a great time. The others had the regular school lunch, and if looks could kill . . . I hadn't seen these kids get that emotionally invested in anything so far this year. There were some who were really, REALLY mad. Back in class we talked about it, and their biggest complaint was how unfair it was. That some students, randomly mind you, were allowed to be selected for the 1st class life.

So, teachable moment. We talked about fair. What is fair, and how in almost every conceivable way, globally they would fall in the 1st class category. Not because of anything they did, but the freedoms and opportunities available to them.

Radiohead "All I Need."

I showed them this video by Radiohead and we discussed what's fair. And how, in this new flatter world, they will be in direct competition with these kids if there is any way they are able to get out of that life. Hopefully, my students not only become thankful for what they have, but will also become mindful of those who have not.