The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

On The Outside Looking In

A murder of crows. An army of ants. A chain of bobolink. A sedge of crane. A pod of dolphin. A flight of dove. A seige of heron. A band of Jay. A bask of crocodiles. A wisdom of owl. And my favorite-a bloat of hippopotamus.

These are all groups.

In the natural world, organisms have a tendency to group together for a variety of reasons. By grouping, organisms reduce the likelihood that any single individual will fall to predation. Grouping can streamline movements (think a flight of Canada geese, a school of fishes), and yes, improve communication. Grouping is natural and pervasive. It’s the way things work.

And there are groups all over the blogosphere.

The blog is one, so is the group over at the Infinite Thinking Machine.

Those of you that have read blogs for a while will recognize these names. Stephen. Will. Miguel. Wes. David, Clarence, Dean, Darren, Vicky, George, Bud. You know who they are without even me adding last names, don’t you? Would you consider these people a group? I would-this group is composed of very influential and knowledgeable people who have much to say, good things to say.

Groups can be formal, or informal, recognized by all or by a few...

Would you say any of these groupings limit anything? Any conversation-anything? The answer is no.

So here comes poor Christopher Craft with his notion of Next Generation Teachers. As you might expect, the notion of a group of educators 30 and under forming to discuss issues and providing leadership is met with some questions (read the rich dialogue in the comments section of this post), and even some pushback from Miguel, who offers this:

In the blogosphere, those who isolate themselves from the communion of bloggers ARE in hell.


Chris asks:

If this is going to work, why can’t it work easily? Is it really necessary to have all the discussion and back and forth we’ve had? Can’t we just put out a call for young teachers to come together and talk about what we’re doing in the hopes of connecting people?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris.

Why can’t this happen easily? Why can’t this happen without the discussion?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Chris where NOTHING happens unless it is discussed ad nauseum first.

Can’t you just ask the young teachers to get together and talk?

YES. Yes, you can, and you don’t need anyone’s permission. So do it, and don’t worry about what anyone says. Stop watching YouTube videos of preaching from on-high, and just think for yourself. It’s obvious from your posts that you’re capable. There are really no rules in all of this in spite what everyone wants to jam down your throat, so no blogospheric police will arrive to arrest you and put you in the blogospheric jail.

So, get started and have your say. Good luck to you and your group.

Technorati tags: nextgenteachers

Saturday, December 30, 2006

5 Things

David Warlick tagged me, so here are the 5 things you didn't know about me...

  1. Since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a fisheries biologist--education was never even given a thought, even though both my parents were teachers. To that end, I hold a bachelors degree in fisheries management from the University of Wisconsin-Steven's Point, and a master's degree in the same from the University of Georgia. I worked in the profession for several years (see #2 below) but a lack of jobs, coupled with the election of an administration that did not exactly favor environmental issues, ended my short-lived career as an aquatic biologist. I don't regret a minute of any of it, as I fulfilled my end of what I needed to do-it just didn't work out. That's life.
  2. I worked several years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Georgia and South Carolina. My job was to trap and radio track Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus-some as large as 300 pounds-the Savannah record is over 800 lbs!) and Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) in the Savannah River from Savannah to Augusta, Georgia. I will never, ever camp again-I've camped on enough shorelines and sand bars to last a lifetime. I've been chased by alligators, harassed by bobcats, and threatened by snakes (both poisonous and non-poisonous) in addition to being shot at by poachers. We would catch the sturgeon with large gill nets, open up their body cavity with a scalpel, and insert a radio transmitter, and suture them back up. Sometimes this was done at 2 a.m. and with an angry 300 pound fish in the boat, made for an awesome experience.
  3. I've taught over 2200 young adults biology in 15 years of classroom teaching at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois (10 years) and Downers Grove North High School (5 years). I had the great fortune of teaching with my Dad (Art Teacher) for two years before he retired-the kids referred to us as Mr. Jakes Sr. or Mr. Jakes Jr. or Mr. Jakes Downstairs or Mr. Jakes Upstairs (me).
  4. My future includes returning to the classroom from my administrative role (Instructional Technology Coordinator) just so I can get my hands on these new tools with my own kids.
  5. I'll retire in 13 short years, where I will undoubtedly head to the Traverse City, Michigan region, which is one of my favorite places on Earth, and where they produce 75% of the tart cherry crop in the United States (everything there has cherry in it, including bratwurst and cheeseburgers). It's also at the 45th Parallel, exactly like the wine region of France, so there are many vineyards and wineries. The water, pine, spruce and hardwoods, interspersed with the cherry orchards and vineyards creates an amazing landscape. If you ever have a chance to visit the region, don't miss Traverse, Charlevoix, Leland, Suttons Bay and Great Sleeping Bear National Seashore (watch out for cougars!). See my Flickr photoset, My Traverse City, here.

Tags go out to: Steve Dembo, Joe Brennan, Ian Jukes, Kathy Sierra, and my longshot, Mark Cuban

Technorati tags: davidjakes, stevedembo, joebrennan, ianjukes, kathysierra, markcuban, fivethings

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Photostory 3 Screencasts

I've finally finished the 11 screencasts for each step of the digital storytelling process when using Photostory 3. The screencasts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.