The First Shovel

When I was early in my teen years, a neighbor hired me to do some construction which amounted to digging ditches around a house to relay drainage pipes. After the first few shovels of dirt hit the small pile, the immensity of the task ahead of me became glaringly apparent. As a young teen, this was no big deal; in fact, it probably served to blow off some of that excess energy. Where did that stuff go?

Walking away from #edcampbos, I was energized in the way only good professional development can. I haven’t made my way through hardly any of the copious resources put out by that day of collective sharing, learning, and teaching. The one area I have started to make some movement on is the education bloggers group on Facebook. I managed to get two docs in that group organized a bit, to follow all of the Twitter handles, and to subscribe to all of the listed blogs. My goal after this blog and my other is to settle in with my iPad and get some nice reading done while I work on a scanning project that gets amazingly tedious without another task to occupy my mind.

Unlike my youthful experience with shovel and mattock, this project is something of my own choosing, and it excites me. There is a lot of work, none of which is critical, but all of which I want to do. It is just a matter of selecting where to dig in for greatest effect because I cannot do everything I see to do already. I am sure as I get going, the scale of opportunity will only increase.

Johnny Apple/PC Seeder

In some ways, my job is akin to the folk hero who carried apple seeds across this nation. Cultural and historical critique aside, it makes a good title for a post, and I do have to plant seeds of ideas into the minds of the people with whom I work. Students, of course, are fertile ground and love the opportunity to interact with technology. Teachers run the gamut from enthusiastic to somewhat resistant to growing and nurturing their technological skills and knowledge.

One recent errant seed caught root. My mom is starting her own blog! I love it. She reads pretty much everything I post on blogs or facebook (I don’t think she has a twitter account, yet), and she is the most persistent commenter on my content. Usually this comes from Facebook to which I push all of my blog posts.

Yay Mom! (I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader.)

Many Eyes

A while ago, I read about the data visualization site run by IBM called ManyEyes. It has many different data visualizations from which to choose, many data sets already uploaded, and the ability to upload one’s own data sets. I meant to come back and play with it long ago, and I finally did just that.

I entered a week’s worth of Technological Ontogeny blog posts into the data field and looked at each of the data visualizations for plain text. Beyond the simple word cloud there was a tag cloud, a phrase net, and a word tree. I started with the word cloud, reminiscent of Wordle, and moved on to the others.

From these quick examples, I was able to identify some common words and phrases that I am using. I think this would be an excellent tool in the language arts classroom.

Favorite Sources

I think my most favorite source of new ideas, tech tools, and inspiration is Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog. Some other sources I also draw from, in no particular order:

These are just a few of the feeds in my Ed Tech folder of my reader. There are also folders to Technology, News, Environmental, Parenting, Boston Kids Events, Friends and Family, and Hobbies.
What are your favorite blogs to read?

Tools: Blogging App

In order to maintain these new blogs as well as dedicate myself to adding fresh content to my old blog, I have started using Blogsy, a blogging app. It is a bit rough around the edges, but it is a very nice tool. It lets me post to Blogger, WordPress, and Posterous with the next update adding many more platforms.