Friday, December 30, 2005

Top Ten Top Ten Lists of 2005

Finally, here's my last Top 10 List.

The Top 10 Top Ten List which highlights the best Top Ten lists of 2005,

Top 10 lists are a staple of a culture obsessed with ranking things,
yet in recent years the ubiquitous best-movie, -book and -music lists
have become so baffling it seems as though their only goal is to
eclipse the Top 10 lists of other critics. Still, lists can tell us
much about ourselves -- our obsessions, anxieties and passions. Our Top
10 List of Lists hopes to capture the essence of 2005 by compiling the
year's most superlative, truly notable, absolutely blue-ribbon cultural

My personal favorite list,

#3 Top Ten Global YouthSpeak Words

10 S'up

9 Brill!
In the U.K., the shortened form of "brilliant!"

8 Fundoo

In India, Hindi for "cool."

7 Fully

In Australia, an intensive, as in "fully sick."

6 Bizznizzle
"business" Snoop Dogg/Sean John, as in "None of your bizznizzle!"

5 Props

Cheers, as in "He gets mad props!"

4 Mad

A lot, as in "She has mad money."

3 A'ight

All right, as in "That girl is nice, she's a'ight."

2 Mang

Variation of "man," as in "S'up, mang?"

1 Crunk

A Southern variation of hip hop music; also meaning "fun" or "amped."


Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Top Ten Games of 2005

Top Ten Games
(As ranked by my son)

10 Midnight Club 3

9 Age of Empires 3

8 Fight Night Round 2

7 Battlefront 2

6 Need for Speed Most Wanted

5 World of Warcraft

4 Call of Duty 2

3 Madden 06

2 Halo

1 Halo 2

My son Craig is a 19 year old, big time gamer. He has an Xbox 360, 2 Xboxes, & an Alienware gaming computer. He games on Xbox Live daily and I’m amazed at the number of people, of all ages, online, from all over the world, at all hours of the day.

He's a member of a clan and checks his stats on Bungie online regularly.
Communication is a must, they send text messages and game invites through the system. Gamers use headsets to send voice messages or even talk live to their friends and foes. Multi-tasking is required for victory. The only motivation is to win so they can level up, earn virtual medals or gamer points. Their language is typically brash and raunchy and the content is usually brutal and vicious.

Hey Marc Prensky, how do we channel this enthusiasm for gaming for good?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top Ten Books of 2005

My Top Books of 2005
(some are not new)

10 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis
I had to reread this one before I saw the movie.

9 The Five Regions of the Future
Joel Barker
Saw Joel in Philly, very interesting look at the future.

8 God is Closer Than You Think
John Ortberg
God is really closer than you think.

7 Why Men Hate Going to Church
David Murrow
Pastor Lance did a sermon series on this book, makes a lot of sense.

6 Blink
Malcolm Gladwell
Saw Malcolm in New Orleans, I knew I'd like the book immediately.

5 Blue Like Jazz
Donald Miller
Nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality.

4 A Whole New Mind
Daniel Pink
Hope for my lacking art skills.

3 How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth
Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart
I taught a class on this book at church, changed the way I read the Bible.

2 The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
I know I’m late on this one, but if you haven’t read it you’ll want to before the movie.

1 The World is Flat
Thomas Friedman
I have a regular reader of this blog from India…The world really is flat!

What books do you recommend I read in 2006?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Top Ten Tech Tools of 2005

My Personal Favorite Tech Tools of 2005
(These aren't necessarily new)

10 Quizdom Personal Response Clickers
I'm not sure I'm sold on the idea yet...but they do offer engagement.

Califone Presentation Pro Speaker PA 300
Laptop speakers just don't work in a large group.

Casio Exilim Digital Camera
My personal favorite digital camera. Small and power in the same package.

Keyspan Presentation Remote
You can even use it while in your pocket.

Smart Board 660 Interactive Whiteboard
These have been around for years, why didn't I use one before?

AVerMedia AVerVision D-cam
Now everyone can see the "show & tell".

Hitachi Multimedia Projector
I've always loved a big screen TV. D-cams and interactive whiteboards don't work without this piece.

HP Compaq nx 7010
I use this laptop daily.

Treo 650 Smartphone
Phone, calendar, & camera plus the internet anywhere I go.

Audio Enhancment Sound Field Systems
The only tool on this list that has solid research connected to student achievement.

Missing but not Forgotten:
Digital Video Camera
Kid Witness News rocks!
Wireless Access Point
Connectivity baby!
Listen to podcasts, music or books on the even video.
Garmin Etrex GPS Receiver
Geocaching "Where you are the search engine"

What's your Tech Tool of the year?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Top 10 Map Apps of 2005

My Favorite Map Sites of 2005

10 Google Maps (Local)
In some areas you can see you own house!

9 Virtual Earth & Windows Live Local
Special Birds Eye view...Spectacular!

8 A9
Amazon's photos from a van of selected areas.

7 NASA Worldwind
Great for scientific data!

6 Frappr
Start a group and start mapping

5 Your Gmap
Make a map for your website.

4 USA Photo Maps
Topo & Satelite comparisons.

3 Flash Earth
Neave Labs are awesome!

2 Wayfaring
Cool way to tag pictures to a map.

1 Google Earth
Still simply the best!

What's your favorite map app?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Top 10 Applications of 2005

Here's my list of my 10
Favorite apps from the year!
(in order)

10 Web Sudoku
Sudoku has exploded in bookstores; I enjoy this free online version.

9 Gmail
Google’s Gmail has a fantastic, simple to use interface.

My favorite social bookmark & tagging place.

7 Flickr
Digital pictures stored and shared with ease.

6 iTunes
I have replaced Windows Media Player with this simple MP3 player.

5 Bloglines
I canceled my subscription to my local paper and now read it on Bloglines.

4 Google Earth & Google Maps
Maps & satellite images… neato!

3 Wikipedia
My first source for information!

2 Mozilla Firefox & Thunderbird
Goodbye Internet Explorer & Outlook!

1 Bible Gateway
Scripture online--all in the language or translation of your choice!

What did I leave off?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Top 10 EduBlog News Events: 2005

Dave Cormier put together this list of
2005 Top Ten EdBlog News Events

Source: Dave's Educational Blog.

10 Blackboard takeover of Web CT

9 Moodle @ Athabasca and Open University.

8 Web 2.0 Read/Write Web

7 Open Office 2.0

6 Censorship & Moral Panic re: MySpace, Facebook, & Teen-Blogging

4 MIT & the $100 Laptop

3 Wikipedia

2 Firefox

1 Browser Based Apps (ie. Writely & Odeo)

No dispute from me on this list.

I might add the U.S. Discovery of the"Flat World".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What's the Difference?

....between Discussion Boards, Blogs, & Wikis?

David Warlick offers this simple difference:
Discussion boards [a.k.a. forums] are about collaborative idea building. It is a conversation where the goal is to build new knowledge by stacking student ideas, insights, and perspectives on top of each other.

Blogging is about idea publishing. It certainly has the idea building, conversation element. However, what is central to the activity is for a person to write a well thought out (with the exception of my blogs), compellingly constructed document. It's about publishing. However, the interaction, commenting, and cross-blogging all happen and are instructive in exactly the same way as discussion board.

Wikis are about collaborative document building. A group of students work together to construct an effective study guide for their next test, as an example.

Source: WWWEDU
Richard Kassissieh at KassBlog talks about his schools use of Discussion Boards, Blogging, & Wikis. His school uses all 3 while we are just beginning to get our feet wet with Blogs.

I was particularly interested in Richard's reflection on his school's experience with blogs and their lagging success as compared to the other tools. He states:
More students have to spend more time thinking and writing in order to build a blog community, and your blog won't even get noticed until you have written powerfully and long enough to make an impact on other people.
So why haven't Blogs, Wiki's and Discussion Boards caught on here in Puyallup? or have they?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

10 EduBlogs to Read

According to 3,268 voters these 10 EduBlogs were voted the best of each category.

The International Edublog
2005 Awards Winners

Most Innovative
James Farmer: Edublogs

Best Newcomer
Konrad Glogowski: Blog of proximinal development

Most Influential

George Siemens: Connectivism: Learning as Network-Creation

Best Design
D’Arcy Norman: D’Arcy Norman Dot Net

Best Library

Joyce Valenza: Joyce Valenza’s NeverEnding Search

Best Teachers (tie)
Konrad Glogowski: Blog of proximinal development
Anne Davis: Edublog Insights

Best Audio
Dave Cormier and Jeff Lebow: Ed Tech Talk

Best Case Study
Thomas Hawke, Thomas Stiff, Susan Stiff, Diane Hammond
(YES I Can! Science team): Polar Science

Best Group
Rudolf Amman, Aaron Campbell, Barbara Dieu:

Best Individual
Stephen Downes: OLDaily

Go here to see the rest of the best including the margin of victory.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Wiki's are Wicked...?

Bob Sprankles students in Room 208 don't think so...although they feel its reputation was recently tarnished. Their last podcast includes a special segment titled, "Wicked Wikipedia?"

A recent study by confirms that Wikipedia does have inaccuracy and mistakes...however, the study further found that when looking at science, the same is true of Encyclopedia Britannica. And when compared side by side here's what they found:
... numerous errors in both encyclopaedias, but among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three.
The debate regarding Wikipedia's worth points to a greater need, informational literacy!

Room 208's 3rd & 4th graders are becoming experts on informational literacy.

Mr. Sprankle's students remind us that Wikipedia is simply another resource for information...for me, it's my first stop.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Principals & Treos

Principals in our district each received a Treo 650 last fall.

K12 Handhelds has some great links to teaching and principal palm applications.

Here are a few of the most interesting, although I have not tried them.



T Observe

Learner Profile to Go



Have you tried any of these products?
Do you have any other recommendations to get the most out of a Treo for administrators?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Smart Interactive Whiteboard

We recently added a Smartboard to the Pioneer Room which is our district's Meeting and School Board study room.

In order to use a Smart Board you'll need to have this software:

Smart Board Download

Click "Install Now"
Enter your email address and click "Submit"

The download will install the Smart Notebook softeware and it will add special Smart toolbars to your Word, Excel and PowePoint programs.

You're now ready to use the Smart Interactive whiteboard.

In our Pioneer Room you'll simply connect to the exisitng USB, sound, and RGB cables on either side of the room. Make sure your ceiling mounted projector is displaying your computer image, make sure your laptop is set to display to a projector...


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Just like Tom (Friedman) said...

...outsourced tutoring from India.

Tutoring is a $8 Billion market in the United States.

Times of India reported last August that two companies had begun to outsource their services to London, England & Santa Barbara, California.

The Delhi-based company Career Launcher is one example of online tutoring…looks like they have a relationship with Intel.

Another example, Educomp Solutions Ltd. formally Educomp Datamatics Ltd. has tied up directly with many U.S. schools for tutoring and more!

This market has expanded since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Has anyone tried these services?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Blogs are Bad...right?

Have you been affected positively or negatively, personally or professionally by the Blog or My Space effect?

Boston ~ The Boston Globe
"Principals of several Boston area middle and high schools are warning parents to rein in teenagers who are posting intensely personal information and, in some cases, provocative photos of themselves on a free Internet site. The students, principals have said in letters and even in calls to parents, could become victims of predators.One 17-year-old from the area posted photos of herself in her underwear on the website Several high school students in Newton included poses of themselves holding beer cans, while some Newton middle school students lied about their age, principals said.The creation of in 2003 and other similar sites in recent years has added another challenge for adults struggling to juggle safety concerns with teenagers' desire to explore the Internet. Internet safety specialists emphasized that parents should monitor teens' Internet use, but respect their space and warn them before checking their postings."

Chicago ~ Chicago Tribune
"A Chicago teacher's photo appeared on an adult Web site, advertising his "student/teacher" fantasies.Another city teacher used her blog this fall to write about the chaos in her elementary music classes, including details about students wetting their pants, writing suicide notes, pulling out classmates' "fake hair" and passing around marijuana.While these two cases drew the scrutiny of Chicago Public Schools, they failed for different reasons to meet the district's threshold for taking action--unlike the blogs posted by three boys at Taft High School. The students were suspended this week for posting obscene and threatening remarks about their teachers.Chicago Public Schools leaders walk a fine line when determining which online postings are protected by free speech rights and which should be punished as a threat to students or staff."

Connecticut ~ Boston.Com
"A New Britain High School drum major has enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut after he was disciplined for posting a profanity-laced entry in an online journal. Daniel Gostin, 18, a senior, was stripped of his drum major position, given an in-school suspension and barred from participating in music-related extracurricular activities and performances for the remainder of the year."

Are blogs bad for schools?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Digital Natives

Marc Prensky coined the term Digital Immigrants and Digital Native.

I listened to Marc Prensky’s fantastic keynote titled, “Engage Me or Enrage Me” at the NECC conference last July. I recently listened to Bob Sprankle’s Bit by Bit podcast which captured Marc’s similar keynote at the Christa McAlliffe Tech conference.

It inspired me to post these notes, mostly for my future reference, although you may find them interesting too.

About Digital Natives Marc says:

By the time the digital natives of today graduate from college at age 21 the average native will have:
  • Played 5,000 – 10,000 hours of video games

  • Sent 250,000 – 500,000 emails & IM

  • Spent 10,000 hours on their cell phone

  • Watched 20,000 hours of TV

  • Watched 500,000 commercials

  • Only 2,000 - 5,000 hours will be spent reading

This is the same generation that currently
  • Downloads 2 billion ring tones every year

  • Downloads 2 Billion songs a month

  • Sends 6 Billion text messages a day

About Digital Immigrants Marc says:

  • Digital Immigrants leave a foot in the past…Our digital immigrant accent…

  • Immigrants print out their emails

  • Email itself is starting to become an immigrant accent

  • Immigrants don’t have and perhaps resent instant messenger

  • Immigrants don’t go to the internet first

  • Immigrants expect “perfect” instead of “good enough”

  • Immigrants think handwriting is important.

  • Think “real life” only happens off line.

  • Think learning is work.

I have a lot to learn about the Native language.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Audio Blog Test

Welcome to PEP Tech Talk

Friday, December 09, 2005

Work hard, Play hard!

Lisa, Jeanne & Char on the waters under the Narrows bridge. Sent via my Treo 650. It was a great night for a cruise on Deanna Keller's yacht.

What a lovely group of educators!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Where in Washington?

Today we had 2 classrooms from our district participate in the Where in Washington Video Project.

Awesome! Amazing! & Outstanding!

"This interactive, collaborative project features classrooms presenting, researching, and communicating about geographic locations within Washington State. Classrooms are connected through their school districts to the K-20 videoconferencing system in Washington which enables them to engage in state-of-the-art collaborative videoconferences within Washington and throughout the world."

Today's event, hosted by Jeff Allen from Olympic ESD 114 was a huge success and will be remembered for quite some time by the 50 some 4th grades from Puyallup. Jill Hanson & Carrie Brummer's students from Hunt Elementary came by bus to our district office with their scripts, laptops and resources to wow the state with their geographical brilliance!

It was fun to watch the excitement of engaged learners!

Kudos to Brenda, Will, Betsy & Jer for providing a fantastic experience for all!

Birds Eye View...Cool

You need to take a look at Microsoft's attempt to keep up with Google...Windows Live Local.

These pics are taking from an airplane, not a satelite. They are limited to just a few major cities..but Seattle is one of them.

Check it out...It's worth it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Day of eLearning

Anne Allen & Conn McQuinn did a fantastic job of hosting a fun day of exploring eLearning @ Puget Sound ESD 121 .

I first started with a demonstration by Ryan LeClaire and his Cyber School in the Peninsula SD. They hire a .4 cert to manage their 8 Cyber classes.

Next was Rob Howie a .2 retire/rehire teacher from Monroe SD. He manages 30 - 40 kids and their online learning using Apex. He had used for 3 years and switched to Apex because it was "better and cheaper."

Tony Benjamins talked about School Messenger, a parent notification product that is able to call or send emails to parents.

Kim Scacco-Morton from Yakima demonstrated how she uses the A+ nywhere system with her students. Although she was very knowledgeable and enthusiatic, this was the most difficult product for me to grasp of the day.

Martin Fromme demonstrated the new comotiv communication tool. It is a glorified chat system for grown ups and seems to have some fantastic possibilities for on-line file editting.

Finally, the best presentation of the day came from Aimee Miner from Shoreline SD. This is a product Puyallup should buy!

All in all, the showcase was well worth our time. Betsy Fletcher, Jeremy Tvedt, and Nina Williams also saw presentations on Cognitive Tutor, ePals, Orchard, Weatherbug, Facts on File & Quizdom. In the end, as always, I had a great time just hanging out with my team, they are awesome!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

eLearning Showcase

Headed to Renton, WA and the Puget Sound ESD eLearning Showcase today.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Flickr for Picture Sharing!

Flickr is my favorite site of the day! I have been downloading and storing my pictures from my Treo 650 with ease. I have also create this slick Flickr badge to display on my websites (look for it on the right of this page.)

I'm also able to easily post pics in my blog (see previous post) or to my map.

Makes sharing pictures with the world fun!

How about you what's your favorite picture storage and sharing method?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sample post from Flickr

Originally uploaded by GEM's.
This pic posted from Flickr. Simple as pie.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It Takes 15 years to Make a Scientist!

The Quiet Crisis....from Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat
The Numbers, Education & Ambition Gaps.

There were 2.8 million BA degrees granted in the world in 2002:
1.2 million were from Asia
830,000 were from Europe
400,000 were from USA

S & E BA degrees Proportionally
60% of all degree in China are S&E
41% of all degree in Taiwan are S&E
33% of all degree in South Korea are S&E
31% of all degree in USA are S&E

Specifically in Engineering Proportionally
5% of all degrees in USA are Engineering
25% of all degrees in Russia are Engineering
46% of all degrees in China are Engineering

Foreign Born S & E USA Grads over 10 years (1990 – 2000)
BA 11% to 17%
MA 19% to 29%
PhD 24% to 38 %

Specially in engineering
Universities in Asia produce 8 times more graduates than the USA

YIKES this cause for alarm?

My Space

Any principals reading this blog?

What do you think about this post in the Wall Street Journal regarding a suspension using MySpace as evidence?

Laura Iacovacci, a 16-year-old junior at Paramus High School in Paramus, N.J., was suspended last month after teasing a classmate during school and implying he was gay. While at home on her suspension, she posted some comments on MySpace -- including a post in which she commiserated with a friend who was paired with the boy for an activity in gym class. "Poor u … not fun not fun," Ms. Iacovacci wrote on the page. The comment has since been deleted. Ms. Iacovacci said that when she returned to school, she was called to see the principal, Lina Gudelis, who showed her a fat stack of pages she had printed out from MySpace. Ms. Gudelis suspended Ms. Iacovacci for three more days. She wrote in a letter to Ms. Iacovacci's parents, "Please be advised that should Laura continue to participate in harassing behavior, either verbally or in writing, including websites, she will be suspended and may be transferred out of the classes she shares with the recipient of the harassment."

What would you do?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

School Performance Mapping

School Performance Mapping

This is a great example of the interface between Google maps and school accountability.

This visual may have stronger impact on real estate sales then on improved student performance.

In particular, look at the sea of red in LA...Yikes...They have their work cut out for them.

Anyone readin this from a Cali school on the map? What do you think?

Here's the info found on their website:

School Performance Maps provides a "bird's eye view" of public school performance, based on test scores, currently with coverage of California and looking to expand to other states in the future.

Performance Data

School performance data is from the California Department of Education, Academic Performance Index. The 1-10 numbers represent the statewide rank of the school, from lowest to highest. On this site, the ranking is the rounded average of the rankings from the last 3 years of API base reports. Schools must have a valid API state rank in at least 2 of the last 3 years to be ranked here.

Geographic Data

Locations of most schools are from latitude and longitude information ("geocodes") included in the California School Directory data file. Other school addresses were geocoded using, Google Maps, and Yahoo Maps. Accuracy of locations varies. Where multiple schools have the same address, some of the marker locations are adjusted slightly to reduce overlapping. You may need to zoom the map in to see markers that could be hidden behind others. Proximity of a residential address does not indicate inclusion in a school's attendance area; contact the local school district for attendance eligibility information.


The information displayed on this site and software incorporated in this site are provided for your use with no warranty of any kind. No personal information is collected on this site.

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