Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Scary: Geo-Stalking via Smartphone Photos

I came across this video on the blog Dangerously Irrelevant, and thought you all needed to see it. Hyper-awareness is the new black...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Connected Learning

Over the last few years, I've realized that tablets in and of themselves turn out to be about 5% of the change challenge. The other 95% is managing the BIG Shift in teaching and learning. Below is an infographic that does a great job of summarizing one of our goals through tablet learning, which is increasing connectivity.
Connected Learning

Monday, August 19, 2013

How Can I Control My Kid's Smartphone?

By YUN-HEE KIM. [smartfone0729] Reuters.
A Nokia N9 smartphone.
This is a post from January of 2013 and I'm re-posting it for our 7th and 8th grade families who are a part of our inaugural Tablet Learning Program this year. 

Please also check out a post from February 2013 outlining the new paradigm of communication for our students in the digital world. 

I recently spoke with a mom who was concerned about smartphones - essentially mini-computers in the hands of their 12 year old.

What rules should she put in place?

How can I control what he/she sees?

If I don't like what I see, can I talk to the parents of the child who sent it?

What is the school doing about it?

In a much earlier post, I talked about the Internet as the Virtual Wild West and some of the strategies to try and infuse your family's values into the vacuum. Smartphones provide another layer (or thousand layers!) to the equation. I have some other thoughts from an earlier post that may help shed some light on the topic.

I thought I would cull some resources here for you to read that outline some good approaches to the smartphones that are being taken by families.

  1. This article from theonlinemom.com does a nice job of outlining the basic questions to be asked if you are thinking of purchasing a smartphone for your pre-teen: The Smartphone Generation
  2. This is a good resource from the cyber security perspective about ground rules for teens: Set Ground Rules for Your Teens and Their Smartphones
  3. And my favorite: The iPhone Contract

Friday, August 16, 2013

iPhone Pictures That Will Blow You Away

Alaska, 2006. Digital camera
In 2006 I was lucky enough to earn a grant to Alaska in order to create a unit for my 4th grade class the next fall. I remember borrowing my wife's new digital camera, which was top of the line, small, and lightweight. I was amazed at the crispness and quality of the pictures. My father, who joined me on the trip, used a disposable camera, which he thought was the pinnacle of technological advancement at the time: "This is great! I just take it to Rite Aid, hand it over, and pick up my pictures. It can't get any easier."

Well....6 months later the iPhone was introduced. Today, smartphones take incredibly detailed photographs and put my wife's digital camera from 2006 to shame. Which brings me to my point.

While reading through my Twitter feed, I came across a post on the iPPA (iPhone Photography Awards) from the blog SLR Lounge and had to share it. It brings to mind, once again, how far the technology has come in such a short time. Here is one to whet your appetite:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Interactive Books

The fully interactive book is here...or it was for a brief moment. Mike Matas, a former software designer at Apple created a platform on which a book could be completely interactive through video, pictures and infographics. They had even published their first book, Our Choice by Al Gore. Then Facebook bought the company and the technology - too bad. Here is Mike's 4:30 minute TED Talk from 2011.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I found this video of a 13 year old named Logan LaPlante which outlines his approach to his own education. He bases his approach to schooling on his pursuit of happiness, which, as he outlines, needs to fill eight buckets*:

  1. Recreation
  2. Time in Nature
  3. Religion/Spiritual
  4. Diet & Nutrition
  5. Exercise
  6. Stress Management & Relaxation
  7. Service & Contribution
  8. Relationships
The best part of this talk is that without knowing it, Logan has made the case simultaneously for The Big Shift and the way Canterbury provides a whole child education. Check it out:

*"Lifestyle and Mental Health" by Dr. Roger Walsh

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not Fair!

I found this video this morning on the blog 2¢ Worth and couldn't resist the comparison to middle school students. Plus it's really funny.

Fairness, or at least the perception of fairness, becomes a driving force in the lives of adolescents and nowhere does it come to the surface most than in middle school. One of the greatest tensions for middle school students is balancing this incredible urge to be an individual and treated uniquely, and demanding that everybody be treated the same. The black and white approach becomes grey over the four years they spend with us, and that in and of itself may be one of the greatest accomplishments a middle level educator can claim.