March Is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month

Loving Librarian and Media Specialist Surprised on TV #aaim14


Kirby Thomas is a librarian and media specialist at McAuliffe Elementary School in Broken Arrow, OK. She was named Teacher of the Year last year for the love and enthusiasm she gives to her children. Ellen DeGeneres has been spotlighting school libraries on her talk show Ellen, and recently surprised Kirby and the McAuliffe students and faculty with a bookmobile filled with books and iPad minis, a check for $25,000, and $75 gift cards for each of the 700 students at McAuliffe Elementary, a Title 1 school.

Enjoy watching this touching moment in the video below.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Image Source:

Photo Chat: The View from Here #edchat #edtech #idt7078 #viewfromhere

As I mentioned last week I started teaching a 7-week graduate seminar, Learning with Web 2.0 and Social Media. We are having a lot of time investigating how current and cutting-edge technologies can facilitate learning and promote thinking and creativity. To provide an immersive experience related to the course content the class is housed in a Google Site and the bulk of our social interactions is being supported by our Google+ community. We are already deep into the ideas of teaching for understanding and visible thinking, while developing a strong understanding of Web 2.0, social networks, and social media.

Throughout this 7-week learning journey I’ll be requesting your assistance in helping make this a rich experience for the teachers and instructional designers in my class. Today I’m asking you to help me showcase the “fun side” of online networks and social media. Below is a photo that I shot using my iPhone. It depicts the view from my current location. Would you please take a similar photo and share it using one or more of the following strategies?

  1. Post a link to your image in the comments of this post.
  2. Post a link to your image in the comments to this Google+ post.
  3. Share it via Google+, Twitter, or Facebook and tag it with #viewfromhere.

View from Here

An Especially Beautiful Version of Pharrell Williams’ Video, Happy

World Down Syndrome DayHere’s another remake of Pharrell William’s video, Happy. This one is especially beautiful as it’s a celebration of World Down Syndrome Day (March 21st). Lance Ulanoff, aptly describes the experience of watching this video.

“Watching people dance to almost any song is usually a happy experience. Watching those living with Down syndrome dance to the snappy beats of Pharrell’s soon-to-be-played-out “Happy” is something approaching joy” (Source).

Learning with Web 2.0 and Social Media #idt7078

IDT 7078I’m very excited to be starting another learning adventure with graduate students here at The University of Memphis. For the next seven weeks I’ll be teaching IDT 7078: Seminar in Instructional Design and Technology. This semester’s topic is Learning with Web 2.0 and Social Media. Many of you may recall (because you were active participants) that I previously taught this course with a similar topic (Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0) in the Summers of 2008 and 2009. In both of these instances the students collaborated to publish the first two editions of the ebook Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0. Their exemplary work earned nominations for the international Edublog Awards (2008, 2009).

I also offered this course during Spring 2013 and the seminar topic was Learning with Web 2.0. It was the first time that I’d incorporated my work from Harvard, the idea of making thinking visible with technology, into a course. It pushed everyone’s ideas about thinking, learning, understanding, and technology. This experience as well as the work and research I’ve continued to do in the past year have resulted in the development of the class that starts today.

This semester’s class promises to be another outstanding experience for all of us. It has been designed utilizing some of the best practices and student feedback from the earlier offerings, and now incorporates many of the innovations in technology that have been developed in recent years. As we consider all the “cool” technologies and social media we will always keep the focus on their contributions to learning. These technologies can help us go a long ways in making thinking visible.

It’s going to be a different sort of experience and a wildly fun journey into learning. We invite you to join us!

hgsepzfol #hgsepzfol

From Trash to Treasure (A Must-See Video)

Clarinet Made from Trash

The following trailer is for a documentary about The Recycled Orchestra, a “group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. It is a beautiful story about the transformative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution” (Source).

“People realize we shouldn’t throw away trash carelessly.
Well, we shouldn’t throw away people either.”

Did You Read to Your Child Today?

Did You Read to Your Child Today?

Image Source: Parenting4Tomorrow

In Remembrance

World Trade Center, Ground Zero

I thought we could use the Comments section to share our thoughts, reflections, hopes, etc. on this day of remembrance. You can also review some of the comments that you left when I did this here on the blog in 2007. I’ve also re-posted a message below that I left in the comments section of my September 11, 2007 post. It still articulates my thoughts and feelings about this day of remembrance.


(Repost from 09/11/2007)

It’s just past Midnight, making it now September 12th. I’d like to thank everyone that has shared on this post. It has been helpful to me to be able to read your comments. I identify with much of what has been said here so far. Although we all lead very different lives and differ in age, profession, political and religious beliefs, have different family responsibilities and live in very different parts of the world it is striking to see that 9/11 impacted all of us in very similar ways. Like a couple of you have mentioned, I also have a tough time trying to articulate my 9/11 experience. I remember it all in great detail and I know exactly how I felt and still feel about it, but for me those memories and feelings don’t easily translate into words. It has really helped me to see many of you articulate your memories and feelings here, because it seems it was a commonly shared experience for all of us, and because of that I realize I don’t have to describe my experiences to you. In an unspoken way we all just seem to “get it.” I find a level of comfort in that.

I don’t mean to cut further discussion of this post by leaving this comment. I encourage others that come here after me to feel free to share with us. I think we’re all likely to keep an eye on this discussion thread.

With great gratitude to all that we lost and to all that are still hurting…

All the very best,