Clif’s Notes on Education and Technology

We Didn’t Start the Fire: A Brief History of the U.S.A.

Scott Allsop has taken Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire and created an educational video that depicts all the historical events that Joel sings about. Tracey Osborn uses Allsop’s video and takes it even further. Osborn created this webpage that provides the song’s lyrics and hyper-links all of the historical events metioned to related online resources. Wow!!! I could see some kids just going crazy with this kind of activity. You know they’ll even do this at home and come back the next day still talking about all the history that they’ve absorbed.

You can watch the video here…

…or you can also view/download this video (and many other great videos for use in the classroom) from the awesomely cool

What impact do you think this kind of lesson would have?

Throwing Out the Welcome Mat

Welcome Mat

I’d like to welcome all the students in the instructional design and educational technology courses that are going to be making use of this blog this semester. I know we are likely to have students from Union University, Ithaca College, University of Georgia, Harding University, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Freed-Hardeman University, University of Mississippi, and University of Memphis. I encourage each of you to jump in and become active participants in our blog community as you have a lot that you can share with us. I also hope that you find this to be a useful resource that you will continue to use beyond your class.

All the best,

Demo of an AMAZING New Technology

Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology) creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo…Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images.from TED Talks

The potential implications this kind of technology could have on education are mind blowing. Off the top of my head I can see connections to math, science, geography, art, architecture, photography, mass media and communications, and language arts just to name a few. Then there’s the unbelievable potential for semantic mapping/concept mapping. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts about this. Please leave your response using the Comments link below.

Provocative Quote

“We would never consider teaching children to read without also teaching them to write. In the same manner we must teach our children not just to read electronic media but also to create digital media themselves.”

–from Ann Bell’s new book Creating Digital Video in Your School


I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on Mrs. Bell’s claim. Please share your response by clicking on the Comments link below.


Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize — much less cultivate — the talents of many brilliant people. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says. — from TED Talks

Do you agree or disagree with Sir Robinson’s assertions?

The Crisis in Darfur: A Mini-Lesson that Teaches So Much

I challenge you to complete this mini-lesson and consider the questions below.


  1. Watch this news special about the crisis in Darfur.
  2. Play Darfur Is Dying, a quick mini-game that simulates aspects of daily living in this region.


  1. What is your reaction to this information and simulated experience?
  2. What, if anything, did you learn from this lesson?
  3. How might this activity be integrated with teaching and learning?

Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is located in the former Lorraine motel in Memphis, TN where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. I’ve visited the museum several times in the past year and I’ve been trying to blog about my experiences. I’ve been working on this post for four days hoping to find the words that would fully describe the impact of these visits as they have been profound and moving. However, I feel like my efforts to describe my experiences in words only diminishes their impact. What I can say is that I strongly encourage you to visit the museum the next time you are in the Memphis area. I assure you it is worth the trip.

Photo by Clif

Photo by Clif

Image from History Cooperative

Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ve been tagged by Neil Hokanson to participate in the Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Me meme that has been making its way around blogdome.


  1. Post these rules before you give your facts.
  2. List 8 random facts about yourself.
  3. At the end of your post, choose/tag 8 people and list their names, linking to them.
  4. Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.


  1. I grew up on a farm.
  2. I greatly prefer fishing over hunting.
  3. I’ve been to both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open twice.
  4. The summer heat is miserable. I prefer the weather during spring and autumn.
  5. Church camp is always one of the highlights of the year.
  6. I cheer for the MSU Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, and several tennis players.
  7. I would very much like to visit the Andre Agassi College Prepatory Academy.
  8. I hope we soon have a cure for cancer. (Please consider supporting these efforts: The Breast Cancer Site, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Live Strong, Susan G. Komen)