Getting ready for Lake Geneva

This summer has been busier than anticipated. Since the grad school courses wrapped up, I spent some time checking out the digital support materials for information presented at ISTE this year. While disappointed that I didn’t attend this year, there were some interesting sessions in the “Video on Demand” section and some supporting websites with excellent resources. One of my professional goals is to attend ISTE 2012 with 9 members of our faculty.

The past week or so has been focused on preparing presentations for the Lake Geneva Technology Academy. Designing presentations is interesting, picking the style of presentation is, at times, difficult. My personal preference as an attendee is to sit and listen, take notes, think about what is being shared, let my mind drift on how I could use the new webtools, or who I could share them with. If I am interested in learning how to use  specific tool, I like the workshop-style, walk me through with a hands-on learning opportunity. Earlier this summer I was reading a blog post (please forgive me I can’t remember which one) and the author was reflecting on how she (I remember it was a she) preferred to discuss, be an active part of the discussion and she would choose the participatory session over presentation.

The Google Geography (Maps and Earth) session I’m assembling is workshop-style. We will explore some sites including Dr. Alice Christie’s Google Treks for Google Maps, Google Lit Trips and Real World Math for Google Earth (of course we’ll use the .kmz files in Google Maps too, very cool), and then work on making our own tours in both Google Maps and Earth and customizing placemarks by embedding video, images and other creations.

The wiki workshop is a combination of instructor-led introduction, hands-on workshop practicing wiki skills, and group discussions on applications for wikis in the curriculum.

Finally, there is a Web 2.0/Webtools session. Last year the group informally voted and wanted to see as many tools as I had time to show them and didn’t want to discuss during the session how to use them or deep discussions on how to embed them into the curriculum. I intend to ask the audience for their preference. We will be the last 3-hour session at the end of their week-long workshop. Wow.  I created a Livebinder for the session. I believe it has 90 some resources categorized under an “ABC” theme. The notebook isn’t quite ready for full public access in the Livebinder community, but if you would like to see it, click here. The access code is: etlabcs  The URL sharing page is having an issue as Only2Clicks doesn’t seem to be letting me share a public page by URL at the moment (frustrating). I like Only2Clicks, but if I have to, I’ll try 3x3Links, they seem to be basically the same thing.

On to the handouts. I would like to finish them tonight so tomorrow can be the Twins game and then a drive with little to no work on these presentations!! 🙂

Stay cool!




The Music Industry and Technology

Technology changes just about everything. How is it changing the music industry? For years the profits of the music industry have been a topic of mainstream media, sites like Napster (historically) and Limewire let users share files with reckless abandon, and still my students smile and look to the floor at the onset of a discussion about ethics, music and file sharing. The Supreme Court has weighed in and lawsuits continue. Obviously technology, P2P capabilities and the ease with which files can be shared have had an effect on the music industry.  But how has iTunes changed the music industry?

According to this piece in Engadget, iTunes has killed the music industry. While I disagree with that, the article did make me think about an interview I hear this winter on NPR. The interview was unplanned as a scheduled guest was not available (I searched for it but to no avail or it would be linked here), but the discussion turned to how iTunes and the ability of everyone to download their favorite songs. The discussion focused on how artists once designed albums to be stories and how that is not as significant when people download only certain songs from an album, some people may never download an entire album. I had never really thought about that before.

Does it matter in education, perhaps to students interested in the music industry; otherwise, maybe it is just interesting and I’m on spring break and was thinking about it. Either way, I doubt Lady Gaga is complaining about iTunes…

Will We Get Out?

One of the old Soviet Union guidelines Kazakhstan has kept is that within five days of arrival, all guests of the country need to register their locations with the government. Apparently most hotels do this at the front desk, but not ours. Originally it was thought that the Sanitarium would do this for the residents of the former CIS countries so it was only the coordinator, the three presenters and I would need to worry about getting this stamp, but now it has been learned that the Sanitarium doesn’t register anyone so there are 16 of us who need this stamp. The plan is to have someone from the Actuarial Society of Kazakhstan take our passports somewhere and get the stamp.  Why do we really care? Oh, did I not mention that without that stamp we can’t leave Kazakhstan?  Tim was told not to worry, they are looking for 400 more actuaries in Kazakhstan.