June Gloom is Ending

My dear friends in the Los Angeles area refer to the the seasonal incoming of the clouds as a “June Gloom“, but I think it deserves another name as this meteorlogical phenomenon really shields us from the intense sun and heat of the summer hot months which are quickly approaching.  July and August can scortch the goodness out of any creature if you stay out too long without sunscreen, water, and a ball cap; and therefore, I am looking to rename this cloud layer as I believe it produces more than gloom for us Southern Californians.  I dont’ have a name yet, but I would appreciate some suggestions such as the June Shield or the Fun Fog.So for an update on the last entry about fed apps for a smart phone, I have to admit that I really did not find the Library of Congress app of much interest or use to me because it provides only general information and really does not have the interactive attraction of our most popular apps.  In fact, I am beginning to get concerned about how the actual term app is being used among smart phone users.  The term app which is an abbreviation of the computer science term application is supposed to provide some form of functionality and not just show the web which itself is a web application.

I believe that an app should definitely not “reinvent the wheel” by showing the same information that I can already get from my mozilla opera browser.  An app needs to engage someone with some sort of application rather than presenting, redistributing, or giving information.  Yes, those are the easiest apps to design and create, and that is why both the Android markets and the Iphone apps downloads are inundated with apps that really don’t do anything.  Engaging apps that keep users involded such as Words with friends or Google Sky can really keep those users invested in the application and searching for new interactions and updates.

And therefore, this leads me to an answer to a question recently posed to me about educational technology.  How do I envision technology in education?  While a difficult question to answer, I do understand the importance.  I think it is time to apply technology to education in more than just a presenting, redistributing, or giving of information.  We need to create learning spaces that allow students to create, design, develop, test, debug, evaluate, and do over again.  Just like we need great apps for our phones that engage us we need to develop learning spaces that allow our students to be engaged in the above actions.

By the way, this is happenning at the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, CA and the Chandler School in Pasadena, CA.  Thank you very much for welcoming me into your schools and showing me excellent examples of technology in education.

Fed Apps for Your Smart Phone

I was recently cornered in a supermarket and asked to stop harassing those who don’t have emotional intelligence.  I was told that my blogs were unprofessional and misinformed and that I was using famous people in the media as examples just like the modern media that I abhor.  Before I could get angry, I realized that I actually had a reader of my blog so I said “now Mom, you know I really don’t harbor any ill feelings toward anyone; and yes, I will get back to writing about educational technology.”  You see, I just felt that the inundation of technology in people’s lives needed to be merged with the theories of emotional intelligence so that when people were finished using a technology that they could walk away with more than an entertaining only experience.So this leads me to mobile applications for your phone.  I was recently reading an article from InformationWeek about great federal government applications for your phone.  I learned about a NASA App that informs the user of launches and current missions by providing current photos and video, and I found that you could drive a simulated lunar rover on the moon.  I was intrigued by the White House App, but I feared it was too politically motivated.   I really liked the MEanderthal App from the Smithsonian that allows you to take pictures of yourself and convert your image to a Neanderthal, but I felt that perhaps I would ask my son to put that on his IPod.  I think I will also ask him to test out the U.S. Army News and Information as his smart phone runs faster than mine.

So what am I choosing to download and test on my phone?  I have decided to explore, analyze, and evaluate the Library of Congress App.  I sure hope I learn something during the experience.

Frames of Mind

I was just reading Frames of Mind again as I ponder educational movements and current learning practices. It is actually the Tenth Anniversary Edition which has an interesting introduction from the author who never expected its reception by so many educators.  In the introduction, I am once again impressed how Gardener eloquently questions what is genius by questioning the difference between a genius who has demonstrated excellence in various academic spheres and the genius who clearly aims to enhance one of his theoretically defined intelligences such as music, mathematics, or linguistics.Gardner‘s writings (and especially Frames of Mind) always lead me to think about the learner more than the system of education.  It reminds me that learning and how people learn should be valued far above what people learn and how much of it.  His Theory of Multiple Intelligences also helps me see that the process of how to learn should be valued as much or more so than achievement scores, various awards, and especially college acceptances.

I just finished my 22nd year in education, and I participated in perhaps my 40th graduation march as a faculty member.  Over the years, I have heard wonderful speeches from great students attending wonderful universities and/or moving to other schools; and I have heard eloquent speakers deliver addresses that are poignant, informative, and cautionary.  Every year though, I always notice as I survey the class that there is more to be said of a class, more to be heard, more to know, and a future of greatness not yet defined.  It is comforting to know too that a new genius will be discovered even though the genius does not know that he is.

Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences was recently purchased at the Simi Valley Library for 50 cent, and I am just an educator.

Emotional Intelligence Siting

I can believe it.  There is hope.  After a week of searching for “popular” stories covered by the media, there is actually a story that rises above the Facebook calamity, the Bieber Baby, and other quickly emotionally highjacked roller coasting movies.  Is it going to be boring?  I don’t think so.  It might be for the mainstream minded folk of today.As it states on the ABC News Web Site.

Kathie Lee Gifford had a very awkward moment with Martin Short on the Today show Wednesday, when she complimented him on his marriage, not realizing that his wife died a year and a half ago.”

This was certainly an understandable moment for emotional highjacking; however, what took place immediately afterwards and several days afterwards deserves praise and should be used as a teaching moment for our youth and the understanding of choices in the decisions we make over our emotions.

Martin Short chose not to correct Gifford on live TV, but he did so at the commerical break.  Choosing grace instead of fire, Martin Short prooved to a lot of people that we can still wait during difficult moments and choose a better response.  What insued later was a outpouring of justified apologies from Gifford, and the viewers could (I hope) sense a common spirit that lies in all of us.

We make mistakes.  We can apologize.  We can wait for the best way to discuss those mistakes.  Fast response is not the better, and hurtful speech can be an accident.

I thank you Martin Short, and I am glad that Kathie Lee Gifford is who she is.