Welcome to the best Crew in the World!

So here I sit and what great speech will I give you for day one of your junior year at CBHS? I’m not quite sure but here are the top five reasons why I love being a Crew leader:

5. adolescents keep it real 24-7 365;

4. there is never a dull moment in Crew;

3. as I encourage to see that you think for yourselves, you help me do the same;

2. this is the best school in the planet and I am honored to teach and learn with you all;

1. as Crew members you pretty much have to listen to my jokes!

For day one, watch lets go around the world a bit with Matt

Here is a link worth checking out on Dancing Matt

If for some reason you are still reading check out my nascent (adj.-beginning to exist) wiki

What the blog?

Just for kicks I’m playing with Pixton. In the unlikely event that you enjoyed this comic, write me and tell me all about it. I think they have some utility with students yet would love to hear about how others have used them in schools. Admittedly, my comic is loosely associated to common humor parlance and specious in the out there writings of established writes. Its summer what the heck!

There are many questions in the digital world. I close with truths I would share if I were sitting around the camp fire with my inner children and the spirits of those that came before me: I focus of letting it be easy; I soften to the way of allowing; I see the best in me; I will teach by modeling the way we need to be with each other and yes I will play with technology and be at peace with my desire that someone comments on the this post.

iweb infinity

I suppose web 1.0 was all about information output. Web 2.0 denotes a two way street of information. New York Times journalist John Markoff describes web 3.0 as the intelligent web. Also known as the semantic web, wikipedia claims web 3.0 will include tools such as “Resource Description Framework (RDF), a variety of data interchange formats (e.g. RDF/XML, N3, Turtle, N-Triples), and notations such as RDF Schema (RDFS) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL), all of which are intended to provide a formal description of concepts, terms, and relationships within a given knowledge domain.”

Three things are noteworthy in all of this: (1) I don’t know where the web is going, I’m not sure where we are right now and the future of digital products and their marketing hold great satire potential.

(1) Where are we going? I never understood how a record player worked and don’t have the faintest idea what web 3.0 will be all about. Friends assure me that it will feed me warm meals and mange my relationships while I sit at my laptop.

(2) Where are we now? To study the digital divide, I spent a few minutes looking at homeless bloggers, which leads me to this question for the following bloggers: Which side of the digital divide are these folks on?

Anya Peters’ story, know as the wandering scribe, demonstrates the socially transformative power of the web 2.0 world. In Peters’ words, “it was a blog and the people from around the world that came to read and give me encouragement on it every day, that literally saved my life in the end.”

Kevin Barbieux, the homeless guy, writes, “Justice is a thing to strive for, and ideal to consider when determining another person’s fate. But there is no real thing as justice. The successful people of the world know this, and so they do not wait for justice to set them free from what ever bondage they may be under.”

Is justice worth seeking? can blogs create social change? An unknown writer at techlearning.com questions, ““Do you think students in our schools should be blogging? I absolutely DO. Not only from a literacy development side, but also from an identity search and “human voice” side. What do young people you know care about? What do they want to change? What are they doing about those issues?”

I could not agree with these sentiments more. The need to use the two way (more like a thousand different roads coming together at one digital intersection…..) traffic to address issues of social justice is paramount. I also wonder who has metrics on the digital divide and knows it rate of growth.

(3) Caution: satire ahead

I close with satire in an attempt to forecast a little bit more about 2020. So check out my post from August 10th, 2020. More accomplished writers could make this satire work, but here were my ideas: Hendrix wired in the sixties is the 2020 customer, the Pipes interface is one of the products in the iWeb Infinity package; the machine depicted in The Sneetches is the web 3.0 super computer and someone could name the 2020 equivalent of the money making “fix it up chappie” that runs off with the Sneetches’ money. I offer this question to my half-baked advertisement below:   Don’t you want to install the iWeb Infinity system now?

Brakes, Gears and RSS


Bikes without brakes and gears, know as Single-speed bikes have made a come back. I’ve been told they require the rider to make their way around the streets and trail old school, using instinct and quick twitch response rather than the overly cautious and limiting  brakes and gears of modern brakes. I interpreted David Parry’s writing on Blogs for Learning regarding the technology of reading and writing in the web 2.o world to mean that students need to effectively use brakes and gears before they can read like bike riders without gears or brakes.

If I had a dollar for every adolescent who raced into and out of web research without making meaning, I’d be able to feed the world. Students who are capable of reading often never get beyond scanning text. I agree with Parry’s view that RSS ( “Rich Site Summary,“ or ”Really Simple Syndication“) can teach students to slow and focus their reading. Specifically, when students scan results from specific feeds from multiple news sources (on topics they’ve determined with the support of their peers and teachers) they have a perfect opportunity to get beyond the click and skim web reading (or riding in association) and settle into to deep, close reading that will continue to be the cornerstone of metacogntive reading comprehension (kids knowing when to read fast or slow). There still a place for those slow rides up steep hills in a low gear!

RSS 101
Step 1, get a gmail account; 2. play with watch google reader; 3. watch and learn as the web reader (empower by RSS technology) brings specific topics all the time. Its like googling i in quotes 24-7-365. This helps kids read news they seek and avoid the stab in the web research so common for today’s adolescents.

RSS stands as just the kind of tool to empower digital native students to make improvements in the hyper-changing world. Once integrated into professional learning for teachers and used in our schools, the speed of RSS can assure that students go slowly, reflect while researching and, continue  to read closely and make meaning.

What if we listened?

Karl Fisch’s blog, The Fischbowl provides a great history of tech-phobia in schools in the US. Here is a review of the most dreaded going to ruin the kids advances that leading leaders in education have complained about from the last four hundred years: slate, paper, ink, store bought ink, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, calculators, calculators in middle school, graphing calculators,  internet, web page, email, network drops for all teachers, LCD projectors, lap tops in high school, grades on the web, wireless networks, cell phones, iPods. Fisch ends  with a rhetorical question: what if we listened? If we listen to the technological change nay-sayers, we wouldn’t  have made it out of the caves of  Lascaux how ever many thousands of years ago.

If we in American public education continue to drag our heels and cover our ears like children we’d better start learning to speak Hindi and Chinese. The wheels on the bus go round and round and the world is flat. Kids still need to hand write and turn pages, yet to deprive our students of the tools of connectivity and choice that a web 2.0 paradigm offers, we might as well start handing out eighteenth century slate for students to address global climate change, the digital divide, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and commercialism. We must be able to join them on line if we hope to invite them to unplug and hike in the woods or solve world problems in a way that will be a magical hybrid of Plato’s logic and the ease of jotts and blogs.

Why 18th century schools can’t use blogs

Jeff Utecht sets the record straight on the possibilities of education blogging. He writes, “if you do not bring the conversation back into the classroom, they are no different from assignments written on paper”. Time is a constant constrain in the classroom and possibly I reason why blogs are being used in limited short term applications. Yet Utecht’s comment highlights the need to create writing prompts on enduring themes over the course of the year. All class should have curricular cohesion and blogging is a great way to sustain a long-term conversation between students and students, students and teachers, and the class members and communities that can be brought into a blog discussions. Utecht does well to state that blogs are a great new tool and the enemy is the eighteenth century operating system that continues to guide most public schools in the United States.

Seeing the best in all things

On the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus room 405 in Bailey Hall was kinda like the world. Most of the room was not online as seen above. On the other side of the room, I was among one of ten adults learning the ways of Web life 2.0. I’m a blogger looking at the empty seats to my right thinking of Tim Ferriss‘s Four Hour Work Week and the digital divide as I seek out my interests in and out of the classroom.

In my nascent blogging (like right now!) I seek clarity on Thomas Pynchon, simultaneous Sunday morning kundalini yoga sadhanas, peer tutoring, and teaching integrated mathematics to high school students with learning differences. Additionally I am honored to teach English language learners who add African culture to the not your average scene at Casco Bay High School.