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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just About the Coolest Thing Ever

I saw this a few months ago and it stunned and fascinated me. It is a demonstration of a new technology called “Photosynth,” a product from Microsoft Live Labs, created by researchers from the software company and the University of Washington. Truly spectacular, especially if you’re a digital photo buff. You can find out more about Photosynth here.

Now, this particular “TED Talk” leads me to another of my favorite sites... definitely a place to visit  if you’re ever hankering to have your mind blown by the creativity of other people. Visit and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.

From their site:
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shift Happens

The video that started it all... Originally titled 
“Did You Know?”  this one has a long and growing story, which you can find out more about at

I began doing some basic research this summer on the current state of educational technology. I wanted to get an idea of “what is going on out there.” Time and time again, links kept pointing me back to this video, which began as a staff training “conversation starter” in 2006, and blossomed into a full-fledged worldwide internet sensation. The two gentlemen responsible for the original concept can be found online as well... Karl Fisch (@ the Fischbowl) and Scott McLeod (@ Dangerously Irrelevant).

One of the terms you will hear thrown around a lot these days is “Web 2.0,” which refers to the idea that the Web has entered a new phase of use for the world at large.  The internet is no longer a place to just get information, but a place where information is created and shared. Being “online” is a much more interactive process these days. For example, this blog allows you to leave comments and interact with me! We can get our conversation started right here and now, just by reading and sharing ideas.

Anyway, Web 2.0 is just one of the ways our world, and the way we prepare students for it, is changing. A shift is definitely happening. Are we ready for it?

From the shifthappens Wiki:

Because we are educators in the United States, our experiences and perspectives are going to be somewhat America-centric. However, we believe that the themes of Did You Know? are global in nature and apply to schools and children around the world. We want all children to be successful. We do not view the growing importance of India and China as negative but rather as additional opportunities for everyone in the world. We do not mean to gloss over the very real issues that countries such as India and China face, and we recognize that globalization and "flat world" factors have downsides just like other societal shifts. We prefer, however, to focus on the positive benefits and on doing what we can to help children learn and grow so that they may become successful digital, global citizens.

What do you think?