Sunday, May 25, 2008

Phoenix Lands on Mars ( )

Around 7:30 pm EST I saw a link on twitter pointing me to a link on the internet with live coverage of the Phoenix landing on Mars. Immediately I began channel surfing on tv looking for live coverage. While scouting out MSNBC, NBC, CBS.... I could not find any sign of this breaking news. Finally, FOX news showed portions of the story. Let me tell you about the internet coverage.

Spacevidcast used a medium called to stream the event live. Not only was I able to see the event, I was able to interact with the other 1,000 people also watching. People from all over the world were watching and chatting simultaneously! So, not only were people from all over the world able to chat with each other, the internet audience was also able to ask questions and get them answered by a scientist!

I had questions but did not feel comfortable voicing them in the chat room so I found one of my
KTI technology mentors online and skyped him my questions. We were able to chat and share the experience as well.

This is what web2.0 is all about! The internet is no longer just a read only medium, people can interact and create!

Fish! Catch the Energy & Release the Potential

For some strange reason I stumbled upon a quick read which really packed a punch! The idea of capturing energy intrigued me so I purchased it used from Amazon. The key concepts in the book are worth sharing, no, shouting! I will refrain from sharing the parable, besides I could not do it justice. This is one of those, "you just have to read it for yourself," things!

Here are four key concepts that anyone can implement, in their work and personal lives, in order to get the most our of every moment:

1. Choose your attitude. Not every task in life is enjoyable, but the attitude you bring to the task is paramount.

2. Play, and include others. By having fun and including others, the day will be more enjoyable. I can't help but draw a connection to Daniel K. Pink's A Whole New Mind where play is a crucial element in survival in this new age that he calls "The Conceptual Age."

3. Make their day. This book clearly pertains to the world of work, so making the customer's day is what is meant. I would like to broaden it to include the popular concept of performing a random act of kindness.

4. Be present. In this fast paced, multi-tasking world, it is important to give people the time and attention they deserve. I am soooo guilty of not doing this! When my son goes on and on about how we is going to use his play tractor to excavate the sand pile, I need to stop what I am doing and give my time and attention to him. This will help reinforce how important he is to me.

So, with these four nuggets of wisdom swirling around in my brain, I am going to look for ways, at home and at work, to implement these concepts! I would love to chat with anyone who has read this book or just hear what you have to say!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wikipedia, Teaching Kids to Think

There has been a controversy brewing in the academic world about Wikipedia. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales sends a message that Wikipedia should not be used for serious research. So, should it be blocked in schools?

Wikipedia has been unblocked in our district and, because of teacher request, is now blocked. There was mixed reaction among the high school faculty. Most were relieved because students are now forced to go beyond a google or wikipedia search for content. Many were frustrated because wikipedia was a good place to get the gist of something. They also liked that primary sources were often linked as well.

So, is it better to block this tool? What happens if they still insist on using wikipedia as their "one stop shop" for research? Or... this this an opportunity to teach students how to verify information, or how to utilize Wikipedia as a springboard to primary sources? Food for thought.

For additional background information on Wikipedia I highly recommend Wikinomics.
The book focuses on the concept of collective intelligence. What do you think?