Saturday, April 28, 2007

Global Blogging

Graham has posted some interesting comments.
However, I am saying that if we truly are a global community, and if a blog can truly be an international forum (an international classroom, if you will), then participants in that community must make a conscious effort to avoid ego-centric references to their own particular culture - for a world-wide culture is what we must become. I’m not sure if most current participants in the blogosphere truly understand their role in shaping the future. It seems to me that as participants in this global forum, we are all forming the international culture that will eventually be called “school”.

Kids that have blogs whether egocentric or not are more worldly than their friends who don't blog.

Sharing cultures, different life experiences are expanding their horizons. I look at Clarence Fischer's Class way up north in Snow River. His students have a better understanding of what is happening in the world than many of my "city" kids.

Collaboration and openness will provide classes with new and valuable experiences that should if used right create powerful students with worldly experience.

As educators let's work hard to show the openness of the blogosphere and share in each others uniqueness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A work in progress

I am exploring different wiki's again. Right now I am using pbwiki to create a site for a school initiative on Rational numbers. They say they will double the storage space on the wiki if I talk about pbwiki. I like the new editor and it is alot easier to use that before.

We will see how this goes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pay Attention Video

Thanks Wes for the post.

More evidence that my unproject could be a way to go. Students like doing this work. They will work digitally. We must be ready to give them assignments and projects that make them want to work.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Think before you post

Here is a great video from youtube. I found it reading Miguel Guhlin's Blog

This should bring the point across to students about thinking before they post.

Did You Know...Unproject

There is a recent "Did You Know" mashup.

Original Video created by Karl Fisch, and modified by Howie DiBlasi. -Modified for Florida Educational Technology Conference. 21st Century Learning ,Global Economics and The Information Age. Technology Information & Global information- Developed for Educational Presentations...

I like the last few minutes of this movie and for what it says about todays students.... and educators.

My recent experience with students and letting them have control over their product makes me firmly believe as I paraphrase David Warlick

Students need to be amplifiers of knowledge not mirrors reflecting back what we teach.

My Unprojecthas proven to me that students desire creative freedoms and want to use different ways to get their information across.

If you can't tell... I am still riding the wave of success of the unproject. I will do more of them in the furture!!.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Unproject Student Reflections Vol. 1

Reactions to an Unproject
The unproject was an assignment that had little structure. Most if not all of the work was done at home by groups of students. They used the knowledge of Web 2.0 applications to create a finished work that explained FRACTIONS. As with most projects some kids fly and some never get off the ground. This project offered those who just wanted to "taxi on the runway" or those who want to fly opportunities for success. This is a great enrichment activity for students. I hoped to not limit the creativity of students. I think I succeeded.

I asked the students to reflect on their UNPROJECT in thier BOB's or blogging on blogging. These are blog posts that reflect on the unit which has just passed. Here are a sample of responses.

1) Did you like the unproject?
  • Yes, I like the unproject because you got to do whatever you wanted to do for 10% which made it awesome because you did have to do a certain thing, you could just do what you were the most comfortable with.
  • I did like doing the unproject because it was fun doing it and i got to show my "CREATIVE" side.

  • Yes, I really like doing our un-project because we didn't have specific rules and instructions to make or do our project. So we were free to do anything that we wanted, like a movie, a song, a game and more! I think that this un-project was fun because my partner and I got to choose what kinds of projects that we wanted to do that was comfortable to us.
2) Did the unproject make you work harder than you usually would ?
  • Yes, it made me work harder because we had to do something other than some paper work.
  • The good thing about it is there wasn't any writing to do, it could be whatever you wanted pretty much.
  • Hmm.. the unproject did not make me work harder than i would in a project because we had the chance to choose what we want to do with our project.. not the traditional powerpoint, photostory, etc.
  • Actually yes it did. But i work harder then anything when I work on computer because thats what I mainly do at home anyways so i can just work on something and still chat on msn while working :D.
  • This un-project did kind of made me work harder because sometimes I was trying to get our project to look like something that would satisfy me and I had to do a great amount of tries to get the right ones but overall, it was fun to do and I didn't think it was hard.
3) What did you like best about the unproject?
  • What I like best about the unproject was how Jeff and I got to act things and make our own movie about fractions. We had some pretty funny times haha.
  • The thing that i would of thought was the best of doing the unproject was that we got to choose the partner I wanted and the way I was to show our topic.

4) What would you change about the next unproject?
  • I wouldn't change anything about the next unproject because it was so fun and you got to do whatever you wanted. It was awesome.
  • thing i would change about my unproject was to film a scene at school, outside, or even at the mall. I would like to make it like that "street magic" thing you see one tv and go up to complete strangers and ask then to tell the kids at our school something about fractions.
  • I would change the quiz , the quiz was a bit difficult to make because you got one right answer, then you have to make up some other possibilities and its just hard cause its a smile question. So if i had the chance to i'd change the quiz and make like a game or something.
  • The best part about the un-project that I liked was that we got to choose and do any kind of project that we wanted and that we could do anything for our project so that I didn't really have to worry that I am going to lose some marks because I didn't follow the instructions. Also, another thing I liked was that I got to show my creativity in our projects.
5) Did the unproject make you learn more because you were doing a different type of project?
  • It kind of made me learn more because of how some people explained how to do certain things which made it much easier for me to learn about and I caught onto things a lot quicker.
  • Yes, the un-project did make me learn more because I learned how to use something called "spresent" and that I learned how to use it's gadgets and make a whole new thing that I new I couldn't even make.
Some Students chose to answer in paragraphs.
  • I had fun and I liked the unproject that we did. My partner was Paola. The unproject wasn't hard for me at all because all we did was explain mixed, proper, improper and equivalent fractions, and we also had to explain how to convert mixed fraction into improper fraction and how to convert improper fraction into mixed number. We also had to make a lyrics and we had to sing it, but it make me work harder because we had to use recorder and stuffs and we also did the project all over again when we had mistakes. The best thing i liked about the unproject was when we sang and rap. That was really fun because I went to Paola's house to record and watch, eat, and chat. I would add more informations and take the project more seriously and have more pictures too if we're going to do another unproject like what we did before about fractions. This unproject didn't really made me learn more because all we did was explain the different kinds of fractions, that's all, but one thing I learned was how to use the COOL EDIT because that's where we recorded our song.

  • We had an unassignment project that was unassigned to us and i chose the shawn as my partner. We worked together on it everyday in the break, we stayed up at night, talked on the phone all day and so on. For me... I don't want to put this into harsh words or anything, but i personally don't like projects or assignments and especially unassignments. The unassignment project was just like other projects i've done... it did make me work harder because i'm a procrastinator, but otherwise, it wasn't all that hard. The thing i like about doing the project is i got used to using this graphics program called Adobe Photoshop... i always see my brother use it... i guessed with the designs it carried, it can make my project creative. The thing i would change for the next unassignment project is the selection of the choices we had to choose from. I would like to create a video with friends. The unassignment project didn't really make me learn more, because i explaining what fractions are aren't all that hard... i was born with a fraction on my head. It did make me learn how to use other wikitools and picture programs.

  • I had fun with doing my fractions assignment. My partner was Sarah, and I think we really worked hard as a team. We made a PowerPoint slide show for our project. The project really made me to work more harder than I usually would. If Mr. Harbeck didn't assign the project, I would have been fail the tests that we had during this unit. The best part of all was to make a slide show. The bubbleshare didn't work so I used instead, and it turned out really well so I think it was the best part. If I have another chance to do this project again, I'll write the information more specifically and will have more pictures and questions to explain more. This project made me learn more too.
These are real student voices. I have not made any edits to their words. I will add more here later as more BOB reflections roll in. I think you can see that the students enjoyed doing this project... no I mean UNPROJECT. Take a risk and create one too.

An Easter video

Sometimes you need to mix in family to a personal blog. Plus I get to practice making movies using I-movie.

Enjoy the show

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I Think they might be getting it

This is what the Spresent - Web Presentations "Official Spresent Blog" had to say about an Unproject. Julie and Charmaine You have uncovered some true magic with your presentation. Wait till the rest of the classes have a chance to play with this killer web app.

Have you heard about “5-50 rule” from the Daily Source Code? “In 5 years, 50% of the Web content will be created by the users of the content”.
Like YouTube did it for video.

“Education 2.0″ - could mean education content created by students, for students.

Here is a great story and example of the future: Great Unproject
“But here was the kicker for me. For months I have been trying to find an application that will duplicate much of the “button power” of powerpoint. I have had little luck. That was until Charmaine and Julie turned in their project. This was there background information. It is nothing less that …… words do not describe it.

They found an application called spresent. It is the killer application I have been looking for. Students when left on their own can create some amazing stuff. ”

Yes, it is amazing. It’s a class and a quiz in one presentation.
Check it out here

I think they "will" get it when students who use this software are beta testers!! Thanks spresent for making an application that enriches the learning of my students

Thursday, April 05, 2007


In previous posts I have written that I love teaching and I love teaching where I teach. My school is fantastic. We have a great staff, great administration and most of all GREAT STUDENTS. Don't get me wrong. We have those "special" students just like everyone else but WOW I teach some really great students. Never do I go into work with a frown. I go in thinking where will we go today!! Enough background hoorays now for the real reason for posting.

The unproject's deadline was today. Though I am not a real stickler for deadlines most projects were completed. Well most projects completely amazed me and I even had to get an Educational Aide to stay in the room for 10 minutes while I went and told anyone who would listen what these 13 and 14 year olds have created. Kids never stop to amaze me.

The unproject came out of a conversation I had with Darren. He was coming up with an idea for his high school students to do a project and become "experts". he called his project Expert Voices. I was anxious to participate but he wasn't ready in time for my project to start.

Darren since our meeting has created a blog for his students to post to with their Expert Voices.

Out on my own I went and created a project or an unproject. The unproject was to have as few rules as possible. The only teacher driven information I wanted from them was a simple wiki page explaining one of three fraction topics. The second part of the unproject was to do something, anything and show me your expertise on fractions.

Topic 1 What are Fractions?
Topic 2 Adding and Subtracting Fractions
Topic 3 Multiplying and Dividing Fractions

It is interesting because I gave a 5 week timeline to do this project. This included the week we take off for spring break. No school time was devoted to doing this work. It was all done at home. Yes that is right HOMEWORK!! I knew that there would be a big rush during the last week and many of the students were busy doing some finishing touches on their projects this week.

Most students that were going to do the project were completed their background information wiki by the end of the 3rd week.

This brings us to today and the look of disbelief on my face. I have had some AMAZING work handed in. The students without any prompting or pushing on my part have created some of the most amazing projects.

A story about fractions using The Sims.
A movie about fractions using The Sims.
Songs about fractions.
More Songs about Fractions.
Games Games Games about fractions.
Movies about fractions.
Amazing wikis with bubbleshares, and so much more.

But here was the kicker for me. For months I have been trying to find an application that will duplicate much of the "button power" of powerpoint. I have had little luck. That was until Charmaine and Julie turned in their project. This was there background information. It is nothing less that ...... words do not describe it.

They found an application called spresent. It is the killer application I have been looking for. Students when left on their own can create some amazing stuff.

Please comment on their wiki's at spfractions. These kids deserve to know that their work is being seen and appreciated by an audience that is larger than myself.

I would like to thank Darren and Clarence who have already started the Ball Rolling. Thanks guys. This has been a terrific day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hi everyone I am home!!

Phew Back form a fantastic week of vacation. Sedona was AWESOME. Jackie and I had a great time relaxing and running the trails. Well it wasn't really running because every 5 minutes you went WOW THIS PLACE IS BEAUTIFUL. I know that I will be busy over the next little while with the unproject and I created a little wiki of my vacation.

You will find some movies... imovies made on a mac then converted into something uploadable on Google video and some bubbleshares.

Ah work tomorrow... wait till the world sees a rested Harbeck!!

To top it all off I swear I say Will Richardson at the Minneapolis airport. Ah I was too shy to ask. Though the hair is a dead give away!!

Enjoy my show My Sedona Vacation.

Talk to everyone soon.