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Showing posts from November, 2008

Thing 14

Include your Delicious username in this blog post so that others can view the bookmarks that you have chosen to share. Then reflect on how you think social bookmarking can be used in your teaching. Does Delicious seem to be a tool that can enhance your productivity?

My Delicious username? Surprise--NotHamlet. Will I use this in my teaching? Hmmmm. . . I guess it could have some uses if you set up a course specific list, say for Mass Media. But you run in to the double-edged sword of filters in the school district and students without computers. You could make the option of accessing sites at a library, but this seems all too complicated. It would probably take some major planning to work properly, i.e. start on summer vacation.

Can this enhance productivity? I'm not sure that is a category a teacher needs to be concerned with. For now, all it means is not relying on my memory if I'm not using my home computer.

Thing 13

Share your thoughts about tagging. Is tagging a useful way to organize your digital resources and why? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages? What is important to think about before assigning tags to bookmarks or other Internet content?

Here we go again. More stuff. OK, back off, Martin. Organization is a good thing. So, sure tagging and bookmarking can be good, but this social bookmarking reminds me of cell phones. In an emergency the phone can be very handy, but generally people and their cell phone habits annoy me. Back to Delicious: do I NEED to access all my websites on a different computer? I know the URL of most of the sites that I regularly visit. Do I need to outsource that task? There seems to be a bias against memory here--something Neil Postman warned about in his book Technopoly. Memory is a defining human feature (unlike animal memory)and to constantly rely on devices to be our memory is a bit dehumanizing. Granted, we can't remember everyt…

Goat Man becomes God Man

Louis Markos' From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians should read the Pagan classics presents a winsome case for shadows of Christ present in ancient Greek epics and tragedies. While you may not agree with his interpretations, Markos has a wonderful handle on the literature and makes a pre-Christian case for everything from The Iliad to The Aenied. This is strongly recommended if you A)would like a good, albeit biased introduction to the founding stories of the West or B)would like to see what makes Bob Dutko apoplectic. Either way, the reading is great fun.

Cradle to Cradle Consumption

Tonight in my Restoration Ecology class we were discussing (among other things) William McDough's paradigm shift of Cradle to Cradle design replacing the Henry Ford paradigm of Cradle to Grave.
I wondered, aloud to my class, if simply moving from one industrial model to another wouldn't create it's own set of problems. McDonough doesn't seem to see anything wrong with consumption, provided the end life of biological products can enter the carbon, water, nutrient, whatever cycle with no waste. Still, he hasn't dealt with endless consumption. But, maybe in this model, that isn't a problem. Yet, as promising as it is, it still makes me feel uneasy. Anyone else?

Thing 12

Review the widget you selected. Are you getting comfortable with embedding code? Do you belong to other online communities? Are relationships formed online as meaningful as face-to-face relationships? Why do you think MySpace and other social networking sites are so popular with kids today?

I posted a Michigan flag near the bottom of my landing page. I don't know if I'll keep it--it's a bit clunky and doesn't fit with the design of my page very well (neither does my counter). Additionally, it's made me a whore for Google as you can click to open Google ads on a tab.

This exercise seemed like busy-work to me. How does adding a widget add to my page besides more clutter? Maybe there is something more to my liking available, but as much as I adore The Simpsons, I don't think a "Simpsons quiz" widget will make my blog any better than it is.

I realize I'm pretty critical about this 23 Things project--but I think that's a good thing--most of the …

Thing 11

What do you like / dislike about leaving comments? How did you feel when you received your first comment? Why do you think commenting is so important in online communities? What might this mean for students who share their writing online?

The only thing I dislike about leaving comments is when some glitch occurs and my post that took 5.5 minutes to write won't post.

When I went online with my blog in July of '07 my first comment was from some stranger. While her words were positive and encouraging I was a bit pissed because none of my friends or acquaintances posted. To this day, I still have friends who have never posted a comment on here. It's a bit narcissistic, but I want to know what they think. That's why I write. Well, I also write because of some strange compulsion to tell a story (with fiction) but yes, there's that painting of Narcissuss hanging here too (how do you spell his name?).

Commenting is important because feedback is important in thinking …

Thing 10

Why did you select it? Were you also able to download a video?

On my previous post I knocked YouTube--and I stand by that knocking, but I did say there were some worthwhile things on there. Here is one of them; I discovered this in the summer of '07 on two different blogs. While not a perfect fit for the idea of localism, it certainly is a jeremiad against globalization. A British group bemoaning a loss of their culture (oh, yes, it is rich with irony, but these aren't imperialists). Enjoy.

I tried a couple of different videos to download including this, but to no avail. Zamzar is interesting and could be useful for the classroom, but I kept getting "file has no extension" error messages. I'll have to try again.

Thing 9

What do you like or dislike about YouTube? Did you find videos that would be useful for teaching and learning? Is YouTube banned in your building?

Oh, please! Community, she says? I'll admit that YouTube has some nostalgia factor going for it, but the fact that people can post comments and upload video does not make this a community.

What's wrong with YouTube? For every entertaining or fascinating piece you can find on the site, there are 56 narcissistic, banal, or vulgar clips to "enjoy." Which is somehow just like the web, funny how that works.

On occasion, there are some worthwhile things to be shared in the classroom, but I have to answer the last question in a ringing affirmative. The better question is: What isn't banned in your building?

YouTube: mirror of 21st Century America.

Becoming Flexitarian

I'm not a vegetarian, nor do I (at least at this point in my life) forsee that ever happening. However, in trying to be more stewardly and follow other expressions of the Christian tradition, I have tried with limited success to eat vegetarian on Wednesdays (this in trying to emulate the Orthodox practice of vegetarian meals on Wednesday and Friday). One meal without meat (I do have two meatless breakfasts in my three-breakfast cycle) is a good thing for animals and the planet. Especially after a trip last night to the carnivorarium that is Gaucho in Northville.

So, I decided to buy a good vegetarian cookbook to offset the "mostly meat" ones that I do own. After a short browse in a bookstore, I purchased Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

I haven't moved past page 7, but I am planning on preparing a White bean soup for the 19th. His introduction is good, I don't agree with all his opinions, but I did appreciate this following list:

8 In…

Thing 8

Which of these tools intrigues you and why? Was it easy, frustrating, time-consuming, fun? Share some of your ideas for using the images you can create.

An interesting toy (or toys). Do these enhance learning? Maybe if the class is graphic design, but c'mon, really. Students get caught up in the damn title page and spend half an hour on their font when the actual content is what really needs the work. It isn't that I'm totally opposed to this stuff, it has it's place, but how do mash-ups enable students to master algebra, or the Abolition movement, or misplaced modifiers? I know no one is claiming that these will, but its the steady accretion of this little tool and that feature that appear to place a wedge between print culture and image culture. Again, these are not the end of Western civ., just the bells and whistles that distract us as the gates begin to crumble.

As far as this image goes, I used to monkey around in a darkroom, back at OCC--shout out to Rob Kan…

I voted

Even for president, which I didn't think I would do. I didn't realize Michigan had a write-in slot, so I wrote in the name of one of the wisest living Americans today: Wendell Berry. Both major party candidates had a few things to recommend them--Obama actually mentioning that there is a problem in our food system; John McCain saying that ethanol subsidies are not the way to go; Obama proclaiming that the educational system will only work if parents get their act together; McCain appearing to be pro-preborn child. Beyond that there wasn't much different for me. Neither candidate was going to change policy in Iraq radically. Neither candidate talked much about responsibility and sacrifice on the part of all Americans for the economic tar pit. I did not want to choose the lesser of two evils or hold my nose and vote for someone. So, I went for wisdom. A futile choice, yes, but statistically so was any other choice for president.
My one horse I'm betting on? The d…

Thing 7

Think of ways you may be able to use Flickr in your classroom and share your ideas. What issues might you face?

Last year in American Lit. about halfway through Of Mice and Men (after much searching and avoiding the district filter) I found online a collection of Depression-era images. I used my smart board to project them and I trust I gave my students some visual reference of the time that the book was set in.
If you have a time machine you could travel back to say, Pontiac's Rebellion or a November day in Dallas in the early 60's, take your pictures and then upload them to Flickr (which I haven't tried to access at school yet). My district doesn't have enough funds for a time machine (I hear Bloomfield Hills is obtaining one), but I can see using this for prompts for writing--find an interesting image, and have students freewrite while viewing it. You could also use it for some biography/memoir projects, geography/culture--I don't know, the possibilities aren&#…