Monday, August 10, 2009

Artists & Technology

Been totally out of the blog loop for so long that the world just might blow up if I blog two days in a row. Guess I'm testing fate...

I'm posting a project I did for my graduate course in Technology, Leadership & Ethics at Chestnut Hill College. It's rather long (my total presentation took almost 40 minutes). Click on Shakespeare, then move clockwise...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Creating Textbooks

Just read Signs of a Significant Disruption in the Traditional Textbook Model from the online THE Journal. Apparently the Indiana DOE thinks the offered Social Studies textbooks are not "interesting [or] engaging." So they are changing the definition of textbook (!) to mean any "systematically organized material" and that now includes multimedia and internet materials, whether (and this is my favorite part) "packaged for them or packaged by them"

Yay!! Teachers may create their own materials! Well, truthfully, we all do it anyway. I have not ever been totally happy with everything provided for me and my classes by any textbook. In the past two years, I've actually broken away from the math textbook, though mostly for self-serving reasons (I don't have enough for my classes and they are 9 years old and shredded).

I can align my units and lessons with the state standards, compensating for individual weaknesses and playing to strengths. I can find materials online, I can adapt and create materials with the help of free internet resources (my students and I love geogebra!). I can drop in and out of online instructional resources (eNLVM, for one) and collaborate with other classes (see the Math Survey project here) .

So, even teachers can (and should?) operate at the level of "creating" in Bloom's Taxonomy.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Creationism 101

I've been consumed with the "new" Bloom's Taxonomy that places "creating" at the topmost level. I've had this idea, for more than 10 years, that helping children learn how to create should be a goal at all educational levels, maybe most importantly before school even starts.

Bear with me here. I taught in three schools in Philadelphia with more than 98% of students receiving federal free lunches. I had a very sweet eleven year-old in a fourth grade class. Her mother came in to the school office halfway through the school year, bringing a nine year-old with her. She had decided that it was "time for S to learn stuff". S had never held a crayon, never seen scissors, never been allowed to touch a pencil. By the end of that school year, I learned that very few of my students had crayons at home. They loved coloring books, adored origami, enjoyed the art projects I dredged out of my grade school and Girl Scouts memories. They glitter-glued, they poked holes in their fingers sewing beads and sequins - even the boys!

I've since wondered whether learning the joy of creation would improve their later education experience? Creating is an optimistic act. Creating implies confidence that there is a future. Creating is the opposite of destroying. Creating is hard. Creating is risky. Creating needs recognition, not for the product, but for the effort, for the risk, for the future of us all.

So, this summer, I will be searching for an agency that supports pre-school programs. I want to contribute, buy, raise funds for art supplies. Crayons, fingerpaint, lots of paper. Maybe what I want to do is provide a art-kit along the lines of board-books. Sort of rif with crayons.

So, this is why I'm stuck on the "creating" thing. There are other ideas tied in with this. Hopefully there will be others helping me tease these ideas apart.

@fisher1000 just started a wiki, a "visual Blooms" at to talk about how technology fits into the taxonomy...