Year One Archive

A summary of my first twelve months behind the wheel of “nashworld.”  Thanks for coming.  I hope you find something here worth your time.  Feel free to drop a line if so…



Collaborative social media: How do you do business? This one includes an examination of a video showing electronics retailer Best Buy’s embrace of social media within its corporate culture.  I also draw parallels to the use of collaborative social tools in my school this past year.  What level of “mainstream” is needed before these skills are taught in school in some widespread fashion?

A TPACK video mashup! This article is a guest post by Dr. Punya Mishra of MSU.  The post features a brief discussion of the TPACK framework, a mashed video response by Punya, and a solid assertion that technology introduced into education changes everything.  This was my first guest blogger and I am still thrilled that Dr. Mishra took the time out of his busy schedule to do this one for me.

Ready To Set Sail! A short introduction to my marine biology program which features an on-site field study along the coral reefs of Andros Island in The Bahamas.  Our mission and basic details of what we do are outlined here.  This one was written on the eve of departure for the field study.  Also includes the introduction of a guest blogger during my time in The Bahamas.

Tree-Dwelling Octopuses Prompt Media Literacy Discussion What do the concepts of biology, media literacy, and April Fool’s Day have in common? Potentially… quite a bit, in fact.  This piece features a spoof site on the “Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus” and its examination by my students who tracked their thoughts publicly in an online discussion forum.


“It’s Not About The Technology” Our school’s mission really isn’t about the “technology.” I think most of us are starting to come to that realization.  This post is an attempt to refocus the conversational terminology away from the “tools” of the job of educational reform, to the meat of the issue.  I propose using: “21st Century Learning Initiative” as opposed to “technology integration initiative.”

A Synthesis Blogging Whitman This is one of those posts that started off to be really simple one and then something much better happened along the way.  Taking a look back a DailyLit, a webservice that delivers daily text via email or RSS, I discovered a really interesting thing in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  Apparently Darwin’s seminal work influenced an addition I had never before noticed.

All the top education chatter Blogging has made me a more reflective and connected professional.  This post gives some simple steps to integrating the reading, and then writing of blogs into your life.  A feature of this one is Alltop- a really cool little aggregator site that puts all the top blogs on any given topic easily within a click’s reach.

The Octopus Gets Due Respect After the previous post, I felt compelled to feature a really super children’s book.  This one is an example of a “counting” book that doesn’t feel like one.  It is so wonderfully integrated with science concepts, beautiful artwork and rhythmic lyrics, that you’ll scarcely realize the numeracy embedded.

Attack of the Septapus -or- Why are you doing this to my kid? Where do scientific misconceptions come from?  Another in the recent thread of visualization posts.  Here I take a close look at a really horrible children’s book.  The bottom line:  this book on “numbers” portrays a seven-legged “octopus” on as the page seven illustration.  Ugh.  Check it out, this one will either make you laugh or make you mad.

The Power of Visualization? Examples of visualization done really well, and really poorly all in one post.  Includes another brief look at the TPACK framework, visualization strategies, and an examination of a bizarre depiction of visualization tools transposed into a “periodic table.”


A Synthesis of Art & Science This post is a simple celebration of student work.  Miss Jennifer, a student of Stacy Baker’s biology class (of Edublogs fame) crafted not only an excellent blog post, but a powerful song and performance to tie everything together wonderfully.  I know you’ll appreciate her video performance here.  A great example of how technology can facilitate synthesis across disciplines and learning styles.

Connectedness Has Colleague Seeing Pink The connective power of the read/write web and powerful personal learning networks is evident in this post.  Features the text of an e-mail from a friend of mine who was able to connect her students to a really great program -and even do an interview with a Canadian radio station in the process.

Trolling my PLN For Edtech Vision My personal learning network really stepped into this one for me.  This post was a request for suggestions for study within a district-wide task force I am a part of.  At the time of this summary there are 40 comments full of good wisdom.  Here are suggestions on what to read, who to talk to, what conferences to attend, who to bring in to consult, and more.

What does the “Information Superhighway” really look like? A discussion of what 21st Century classrooms do look like, and or should look like.  A brief but interesting poster study is featured.  Wow, what a goofy, off-point poster it is.

The Educational Remix- At Odds With Copyright? This post is a synthesis of ideas presented in several earlier posts.  Here, I take a look at one slice of the potential evolution of copyright in today’s remix culture.  Included is a video that began using Keynote as a storyboard, exported a .jpg, and mixed in Animoto.  The final is a remix of a graphic novel, original art, and Iranian folk music.  Where is your comfort level in terms of copyright with regard to education?


Working Toward Classroom Relevance With Video This was inspired by Stacy Baker’s work using Animoto to create engaging, short video clips that serve to generate interest, tap into available background knowledge, and market upcoming content.  What I saw as only a cute diversion for a time, I now see as an increasingly valuable tool.

Saving the world… with my iPhone? What do problem-based learning, sustainability, seafood resources, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, social action, and the iPhone have in common?  Check this post for enlightenment.  Included are links to nearly all supporting files for this problem-based exploration of seafood (and this planet) sustainability.

Connecting Biology Educators Worldwide An introduction to The Synapse, a professional learning network for biology and life science teachers worldwide.  The Synapse is a social network on the Ning platform and is one of the hubs in my PLN that I actually built from concept up.  As you’ll see, I also pulled in some really smart folks to help me.

Leadoff bunt in the first inning?  Not this guy. My feelings about the huge need for relevance in the classroom… from day one.  How do you begin the school year-  slow and safe, or do you swing for the fences?  Includes a bit about the role of a facilitator as well as a jab at the pedagogy of pacing guides.



Image fun from 2008 & BigHugeLabs! A ton of fun with online (and offline) imaging software.

Gifts On A Dark December Day A bit of verse from Galway Kinnell is highlighted.  His poetry was a gift from my wife, and a suggestion from Dr. Doyle, the “science teacher.”

My Daughter’s Favorite “Gift” A Christmas Eve post discussing the super online reading software at Starfall.  However, the real punch in this one is not the piece itself, but the discussion in comments below.  Where do you fall on this debate?

Writing online: what really changes? An action research project to determine how writing may change in online environments as opposed to more traditional approaches.  Raw data, -as well as a solid examination of it- is included.  Data suggests online writing environments as a potentially powerful tool for summarization.

Out of the mouths of… Google? A goofy, “stupid things found on the web” post about something I ran across on a Google AdSense ad.  Also a bit about ad removal for Ning networks when used with students for educational purposes.

reawakening A poem inspired by the birth of our baby daughter, and some slideshow images of our newest little beastie.

Inspire first, Instruct Later Instruct.  Encourage.  Empower.  Inspire.  This is one of my favorites.  Here, I discuss Fogarty’s “four roles of a coach,” and what I like to call “arriving in the classroom on day one- brush in hand.”  There is a bit about blogging, coaching, teaching, cycles of life, and family.


Your ideal writing space? How does physical space influence your writing?  How do you compose?  Do you do this on paper?  On a screen?  In your head?

Giving Thanks What else am I supposed to do on Thanksgiving?  Includes some gorgeous images of my girls-  yes, I do say so myself.

Where are the seeds in an orange? A piece that confronts the fact that today’s children are the first to become truly divorced from their food supply, and nature in general.

Goal Directed Exhaustion is OK A response to a particularly excellent and timely post by Michael Doyle.  Here I discuss the need for social intimacy and listening skills for all.  Really listening.  Not those 30 second pauses where you wait your turn to talk… but really listening.  The best thing about this post:  within I officially nominated Doyle for “Best Teacher Blog” in the 2008 Edublogs Awards.  His initial response in the comments is golden.

How do you spell constructivism? The many flavors of constructivism are discussed in this one… inquiry, PBL, workshop… you name it.  The role of direct instruction, erring on the side of deep student engagement and learning as opposed to “curricular coverage,” creating an environment for open inquiry, and consulting with a coach are all explored here.

Increasing Our Level of “Vitamin A” A call to action for administrators… to both become tech savvy, and to provide strong support from the top to see that this very same thing happens for all of our staff and students of all levels.  I also make a pitch here for the role of social media in the professional development required to make this happen.  Another post highlighting Mishra & Koehler’s TPACK framework.

And what do we teach our children? Still one of the mor epopular posts on the site.  This show what happens when you simple share a powerful quote from a powerful person.  Check it out, to find my most favorite Picasso quotable.

The Art & Science of Questioning (ok, mostly the art) A tale of coaching teacher/student questioning in the classroom.  Well, that and introducing the comic strip software, Bitstrips.  Learn a micro-coaching strategy.  Learn an engagging little piece of online software.

Take That, 20th Century President Obama’s historic election, the effect of technology and online environments on writing, and a shameless self-publish.

Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you get so smart? Day 2 of the Dembo 30D2BBB… all about data.  This was the first time I had really analyzed the traffic on my blog.  It is fun to loook back at this post and compare the traffic on the site today.  Wow.  Tons of information here on what various types of analytics trackers can tell you about your work on the web.

Assignment Number One: “About” Me The first “assignment” from Steve Dembo in the Thirty Days to Being a Better Blogger series.  This was the first time I had concentrated on the About page.


How do you bookmark a pumpkin? One of my favorites.  This is simply relating a word-of-mouth story.  However, it is so on-target toward the theme of this blog.  And hey-  how can you really go wrong with an “out of the mouths of babes” post?

Textually-Challenged Love A quick one with a point to a TED presentation by Rives (A story of Mixed Emoticons).

The Biggest Windbag… in 140 Characters or Less? A review of a really fantastic lexical analysis of the presidential debates-  as well as a connection to how Twitter brought this information to me first.

Blogging: Building Bridges Within The Brain? If the act of web surfing might keep dementia at bay, then blogging might just allow your brain to outlive your body.  Will Richardson posted a comment here, and at the time I thouht that was pretty cool stuff sicne several of us had read the book.  This is a post all about connective writing.


How might technology provide a scaffold into poetry? A post about the online read/write site: PicLits.  PicLits says it is “inspired picture writing.”  Included in the post are two delightful samples that I did on the sight, as well as my opinion that this would make a nice step up into appreciation of poetry especially perhaps for middle school age boys.

Get Your “Daily Dose” of Literature in 5 to 20 Minutes An article about that highlights its potential use in generating text to be used in our building’s comprehensive literacy plan.

Give Slideshare a Chance to Transform This one highlights the online presentation tool that is to PowerPoint slideshow as YouTube is to video.  The post is based on the notion that putting podcasts, screencasts, or other presentations online… might just free up time to do some really in-depth exploration in class.

Bringing it all Together: TPACK Outlining the TPACK framework by Mishra & Koehler.  This post includes video of some of our environmental science students who were using technology to monitor the health of an urban stream.


Storm of the Century? -An Interesting Use of Ning Hurricane Gustav.  Post outlines a Ning network used to inform about the impending storm and then to support residents in the aftermath.

A Window Into Constructivism The story of how a a toddler learns about the world around her… how Delaney learned about the concept of transparency.


The Blue Nowhere – A worthwhile thought exercise on the “what if” level My final post over the novel.  Ugh.  No, this book didn’t scare me.  Please.

The New Collaboration About connecting in person with folks around the globe at NECC 2008.

Looking At Student Work With A *NETS-S* Lens Live from a panel discussion at NECC 2008 in San Antonio, Texas.


Cutting Edge ‘Til The Very End This post was put up to commemorate the death of comedian George Carlin.  The embedded video (“Modern Man”) goes a long way toward proving his brilliance.  Rest peacefully.

The Importance of Being Tech Savvy Another chapter review from Quinn’s “Ethics for the Information Age.”

The Good & Bad Inherent In Privacy A review of “Ethics for the Information Age” by Michael Quinn.  This post examines the chapter on privacy.

The Blue Nowhere: An Ethical Inquiry A review of the movie, “The Blue Nowhere.”  No-  don’t go rent it.  It is an impossible-to-believe thriller.  One that was required reading for an “Issues & Ethics in Technology” class.  Yes, seriously.  It scared the daylights out of most of my poor classmates.  What a joke.

A Cooperative Resolution? An interesting example of the evolution of copyright.  This post features YouTube policies, Animoto, and the recording industry.

ANIMOTO! A post pointing to Animoto, the innovative online video-creation software that is free for educators.

The “School of the Future” Circa 1998 Sorry for the sarcasm.  I was required to read an article about the “school of the future” with no explanation whatsoever…  and it was written ten years ago.  I could see value if this were an exercise in looking back.  It wasn’t.

The E-rate Is Coming! Or rather, “was” coming.  Article review for class… again.  This exercise was a review of an almost fifteen-year-old article.  And no… this was not a “history of technology” class.

Where is the “Glitz?” Another article review post.  Meh.

Purposeful Perpetuation of Misconceptions, or Much Worse? Another review for my technology class.  This was such a joke of an article.  I wanted to break something after writing it.  Does any of this explain the avatar?  😉

How Teachers View Technology Another review of a terrible article for class.  Wow.  This was a very dumb article to review.

Adding. Integrating. Transforming. This post begins a series of bizarre posts that are reviews of largely ancient article on educational technology that I wrote in completion of inane assignments (hoops) doled out by the teacher of my “Issues and Ethics in Technology” course.  This was a low point in my graduate education.  The course was delivered online and was a series of examples of worst-practices in online education.  The guy succeeded only in frightening the daylights out of 95% of the teachers in this class.  Horrible.  So yeah-  these are somewhat angry at times.

Driving In A Flattened World This was really a test post.  I did this after a new car purchase to illustrate the power of linking text for folks who had never done such a thing before.  Therefore, it is link heavy.  Notice that this, and most all posts from June are imageless.  This is a far cry from my style today.


*Not one post in May, 2008. Not one.  What was I thinking?  This was when I was first creating Virtual Southside, which would eventually become our school’s staff development network.  This blog had not yet found a purpose by that time.


Post number one. This one is obvious, right?  What is interesting is that this post was made when I still had the intention of creating this as a group blog for PD at my school.  I eventually moved that over to the Ning platform, and repurposed this site as my individual blog.

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