Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Recent additions to the themes of this blog have been moved to a new WordPress site.  The new blog “Beyond the Crystal Ball” will focus on preparing teachers and  students for the 21st Century, so the focus has been expanded beyond the original topics covered on this site.  To visit the new blog click on http://futurestudy.wordpress.com

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I just came across two blog posts  that deal in a thoughtful way with the impact of Web 2.0 technology on education and the world at large.

1.   “Not Natives & Immigrants but Visitors and Residents by Dave White presents this dichotomy in an insightful and useful fashion in terms of planning for distance learning with students.

2.  In another blog post, Rob Paterson takes a broader look at the evolution of society through a Web 2.0 lens in his commentary  “The Social Web – A New World.” He compares the current transition to an earlier period in United States history.

“I think that Web 2.0 is not just a set of tools but is more a label for a real “New World” that shares many of the characteristics of America in its more innocent years – post the Civil War.  If it was just tools, any one could pick them up. No I think that Web 2.0 is a place.”

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It’s difficult to keep on top of all the new technology tools that may be useful for both educational and personal purposes, but fortunately there are some bloggers to assist us in weeding through the possibilities.

The first list was compiled by Jane Hart of the Center for Learning & Performance Technologies.    Her top ten tools for 2009 include a number of interesting possibilities ranging from SlideRocket (an online presentation alternative to PowerPoint) to Posterous which allows you to create and maintain a blog simply by using email.

If ten new tools are not enough to satisfy your desire for new technology goodies take a look at Larry Ferlazzo’s 31 top educational Web 2.0 Tools for 2008.  Larry teaches English language learners at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.

Larry offers a number of  additional technology lists on his blog, including the best online learning games for 2008.  I found his number one pick “Play the News” to be a well designed critical thinking activity.

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A friend just sent a link to a presentation by computer scientist and visionary Alan Kay on the topic of predicting the future. It’s a great piece with a lot to consider. There certainly are significant implications in Kay’s observations in terms of education and the use of some of the technologies that are the focus of this blog. Here’s the link along with a few quotes of interest from the presentation:


the best way to predict the future is to invent it.

“Humans beings can’t exist without communication. It’s one of those basic human traits, and we’re always willing to pay more for a better communications amplifier.”

“McLuhan had a great line about the 20th century. He said, ‘the 20th century is the century in which change changed.’ ”

“In some sense our ability to open the future will depend not on how well we learn anymore but how well we are able to unlearn. Can you imagine a course at Stanford on unlearning? That would be revolutionary.”

“I think the weakest way to solve a problem is just to solve it; that’s what they teach in elementary school. In some math and science courses they often teach you it’s better to change the problem. I think it’s much better to change the context in which the problem is being stated. Some years ago, Marvin Minsky said, “You don’t understand something until you understand it more than one way.” I think that what we’re going to have to learn is the notion that we have to have multiple points of view.”

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