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!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

YouTube and the Govenor's Race

I live in Illinois and we're getting ready to elect a governor. If you don't know, our last govenor, George Ryan, was just convicted (of lots of things) and is getting himself sent to prison for 31/2 years. Couple that with Chicago politics, and we've got one big mess in Illinois.

Anyway, one of the candidates is Judy Barr Topinka, George Ryan's former Treasurer. You can only imagine the television ads....

But guess what? You don't have to imagine them, because these adds are now on YouTube. Take a look if you have a chance-they just hammer Topinka, and deservedly so.

ABC News in Chicago downplayed the significance of these movies on YouTube because they claim that most YouTube viewers are of non-voting age. Well, guess what? They soon will be, and I'm not so sure their hypothesis is correct anyway, given the data we all saw about YouTube. I spend a lot of time on YouTube myself, watching videos of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan-stuff like that...

First it was blogging and its impact on politics, now its YouTube.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Are you ready for

I just got up and walked away from my TV. Couldn't take it. I was watching that made for television crap about the rebirth of New Orleans, and "When the Saints Come Marching Home...on Monday Night Football.

Why must the rebirth of a great city be declared with U2 and Green Day in "pre-game festivities." Doesn't that just scream America-and why am I thinking Wag The Dog?

How dramatic. U2 singing Beautiful Day. I wonder how beautiful the day was for the residents of the 8th or 9th Ward? And does the repair of the Superdome and the return of a football team really bring that much back to a city where the majority of the residents probably couldn't even afford the cost of attending a game, pre-Katrina?

Yes, the SuperDome is a much different place today, compared to the horrors following Katrina that took place there. But why did they even have to take place, in the first place.

Now the National Anthem is being sung. I'm as patriotic as the next, but the song sounds hollow, considering our inability to help those who needed it most, when they needed it most.

If you want a reality check, take a look at Brandonj74's photoset on Katrina if you want to remember what those people went through. And if you want Katrina terror in one single picture, take a look at Lake Burger King, 4 miles inland at Biloxi, with a single stop sign hopelessly pleading for it to stop....

Photo Credit
!!WaynePhotoGuy, “Moldy Toilet Paper.” !!WaynePhotoGuy Photostream. 14 Feb 2006. 26Sep 2006 <>.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Digital Diplomacy

Today I am announcing a new digital storytelling initiative called the Digital Diplomacy Project. Read about it over at the blog.

Sight Seen-Me Teaching

Today I taught four junior-senior classes how to use our Wiki tool within Blackboard.

They were bored after 5 minutes...even though the presentation took about 15. Not bored with me, but they got least I think that's what it was.

The interesting part...

They know about Wikipedia but they don't know that it is a wiki. Only 5-6 kids could out of four classes could tell me what a wiki was.

They didn't know how easy Wikipedia was to edit-I jumped on the school page and added some things, which they found interesting.

I showed them the pornographic spam that's on Jakeswiki (relax, its just links and I didn't click on any) to show them how wikis get vandalized. I also used this as a reason why we do our wiki work within Blackboard, among several other reasons.

I gave a student the opportunity to come up and add pages and content in each class, which they did easily.

The upshot, which will not surprise you: they didn't know about the tool, but had the affinity to rapidly assimilate it, and now 110 more kids know what a wiki is and how it can be used.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sight Seen...

Sight seen today.

A teacher demonstrating to his 5th period class a wiki page created by a group in his 4th period class about 20 minutes into 5th. He wanted to use the page to illustrate some mistakes the group in 4th had made regarding content that he had seen while they were constructing it.

He couldn't.

Someone in the group had already made the changes necessary to correct the mistakes.

That's cool. They're learning fast.

How soon?

The district that I used to work for is putting up a new high school and is in the process of soliciting names for the new school (the other two schools are named after local Native Americans). Perhaps I should submit a name...I've got a couple in about it, Charles?

Anyway, how long will it take for a some school's mascot to be nicknamed The Bloggers?

Think of the possibilities for cheers....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sight Seen-Non Sticky Instruction

I'll be presenting the keynote presentation at TechForum Texas in October-the title is Making IT Stick, and I'll be exploring how innovations become the way in schools.

So, I'm always on the lookout for material.

Today I walked past a photography classroom that had a box filled with student portfolios from the previous school year outside the classroom door. The portfolios were filled with the photographs the kids had taken the year before-obviously they were there for the students to pick up.

Several questions:

Does anyone still teach traditional film photography? Really. I'm serious. Why haven't we gone digital?
How come the kids aren't posting to Flickr? (or something else?). By the way, we are one of the few districts that do not block Flickr.

Why not show kids how to create a lifetime portfolio? Something that they can share with anyone in the world? Something that lives beyond the boundaries of a school year? Why aren't we showing kids how to be content contributors? Why aren't we taking advantage of the most authentic audience possible? And why are we still creating products for the refrigerator door magnet?

It will be interesting to see how many are picked up....