Friday, October 23, 2009


It's been a long couple of weeks; we're definitely into the fall weather with the rain and the gray and the outrageous behavior and the cranky. (That would be outrageous behavior on the part of the students, with me playing the part of Cranky, but you probably knew that.)

Two things happened in the last couple of days that made me feel great.

One, it feels good to know where to find what you need. A friend of mine is doing some teacher professional development. He's been looking for examples of great technology use across the curriculum, specifically looking for a high return on the time invested. I brainstormed a few ideas with him, but it's been a couple of years since I've really thought about this topic, so while I still find it fun to think about, I don't have a lot of great fresh ideas.

Last night I decided to invest an hour to see what I could find. I started with twitter, and thankfully, @dougpete had just posted the link to his daily links blog post. Even if I didn't already adore Doug, he's now my short-term personal hero because his blog, Off The Record, is a treasure trove of resources. I was able to compile a bunch of ideas for my friends just by stealing from Doug. (Thanks Doug!)

Incidentally, the very, very best thing I found was the Learning Science community. WOW. It is a collection - with annotation - of great resources for learning science. From tools like a huge stopwatch applet to online, video-enhanced games about stoichiometry to an interactive model ripple pool, it is awesome.

Second, it is fun to feel smart. Yesterday I briefly hosted a woman from Citizen Schools who wanted to know more about my school. The way it worked out, she observed part of my class rather than just getting the tour-and-discussion. The kids are working on digitizing color pictures, so she asked about it. I ended up explaining digitizing, run-length encoding, compression, and number systems to her. I feel kind of bad, because I should have been giving her an overview of what the school is about, which is not really run-length encoding, as you might guess. But I surprised myself with how much computer science I know. (Stop laughing.) It was fun. I think it was even fun for her.