Author Archive

Goodbye, Hello – Shuffling site content

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Given that (1) I am no longer actively involved at Walden School and (2) the name of this site (waldenschoolvt), it seemed right to pass this URL to Walden’s learning community. So I’ve moved the contents that have been here to a new home, also using Technology & Education Tidbits. I have asked Walden’s teachers to take over this URL. To move them to activity, I am going to start by gleaning out posts with less “oomph.”

I ask this site’s new owners to keep this post “until the end of time” as a trail for people who have links to content I originally posted at

Thanks, and stay in touch.

Sigurd Andersen [technology coordinator at Walden approx. 1999 (+/-) to 8/2012].

Categories: Site-Related

Empowering Girls

May 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I ran across two Washington Post articles this morning dealing with the empowerment of girls. The first is about a D.C. couple who have launched a web site called A Mighty Girl that identifies books and movies with girl-empowering themes. The second is about encouraging girls’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields.

Categories: Education, Gender

Library Guides

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

star I got a pointer to Spartan Guides, a treasure-trove of organized links to web sites useful in education. The home page lists the most popular guides. Each of the guides has dozens of categories, which then often break down to sub-categories. Each final page has lots of information. For instance, the New Tools guide includes Digital Storytelling and Google Docs and Apps among its nearly 50 sub-categories.

On the Google Apps page I’d recommend two downloadable Google for Teachers PDFs. The first includes info on uses of Google Maps, including Math Maps (has placemarks with related math questions identified by elementary grade level – Kindergarten through 5th grades) and Climate Change Data (has placemarks tied to current and historical weather data). The second has a section on building custom search engines which I may use to organize links to shareable images. There’s lots more than the few items I’ve mentioned here.

The library producing the above has a wiki page with yet more information. Many of the links take you to pages done by Joyce Valenza using Only2Clicks. These pages have a thumbnail of the relevant web page for each link. There are too may good categories for me to pick just a few. Have a look.

Rural School & Community Trust

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The Rural School and Community Trust ” is a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities.”

“The Rural Trust provides a variety of services—training, networking, technical assistance, coaching, mentoring, research—and materials to increase the capacity of rural schools, teachers, young people, and communities to develop and implement high quality place-based education.”

The site seems to get new material relatively infrequently. The information is accessible via targeted audience (administrators, teachers, students, etc.) and category (Funding/Grants/Scholarships, Networks/Groups, Place-Based Learning, etc.)

Social Media & Education

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Much of the text below is excerpted from Jane Hart’s web sites.

“Jane Hart is an independent consultant, speaker and writer. She is an internationally known specialist in the use of social media for learning and working.” I’ve linked to some of her “best of” lists elsewhere on this site; you’ll find a few similar links towards the end of this post.

“Jane … recently established the Social Learning Centre to focus exclusively on how to encourage and support the use of social media for continuous collaborative learning.” It includes a “range of special interest groups for ongoing, continuous updates and discussions on specific social learning topics.” If you’re interested in these groups, you’ll need to register at the site. I joined the groups “Social Media and Education”, “Google applications for learning”, “Google+ and Learning”.

Here are some recent collections she’s put together:

Social Learning: Key resources from January
Here is my pick of 10 articles about social learning since my last posting just before Christmas. I have listed them below in chronological order, and also added a short quote from each of them to give you a flavour of what each is about. If you want to read further articles you will find many more that I have saved in my 2012 Reading List.

Top 100 Articles of 2011
This is my 4th Annual Top 100 Articles list.
From nearly 500 links to articles, blog posts, slideshows, reports and (this year also) infographics that I saved in my 2011 Reading List, here are the 100 that I enjoyed and/or impressed me most in 2011.  This year I’ve added a quote beneath each link to give you a taster of what it is about.  As you will see  for me this year’s reading has not been about social media tools per se, but how they are impacting personal, professional and organisational learning practices and behaviours.

Top 20 Tools 2007-2011
Combined results from 5 years of “Top 100” lists. I found the ordering interesting. Twitter, top of the list for the last 3 years, came in 9th (was 43rd in 2007). YouTube, in second place the last 2 years, came in 7th. The top 3 places went to Skype, WordPress and Google Docs – all in the top 15 for 5 years running. In 4th place is Delicious, in the top 4 for 2007-2010, but dropped to 24th place in 2011.

Collaboration 1: Collaboration is the key influence in the quality of teaching

One of seven posts about collaboration and why it nearly always fails to deliver results, inspired by Morten T Hansen’s Collaboration. [I’ve pulled together all seven posts in a PDF, Collaboration & Quality of Teaching.]

The quality of the teacher is the number one factor in the improvement of an education system, collaboration is the key factor in improving the quality of that teacher.

Collaboration helps increase academic success, yet most collaboration doesn’t work. The Microsoft-supported ITL Research revealed in a large-scale study:

“Innovative teaching happens more in environments where teachers collaborate. In schools where teachers report more frequent collaboration with one another on teaching practices, innovative teaching scores tend to be higher… Teachers told us that collaboration can be an important mechanism for sharing teaching practices and for mutual support toward improving them.”

Anecdotally, this has also been the prime driver in the continued growth and success of the TeachMeet movement since 2006, and EdCamps since then, providing environments in which teachers, for whatever reason, feel comfortable sharing. We’ll explore over this series of posts what makes collaboration work sometimes, and fail others.

All highly recommended.

Brainology: Growth vs Fixed Mindsets

February 4, 2012 Leave a comment

The Mind/Shift site has an article titled Discovering How to Learn Smarter which discusses a longer Washington Post article about “fine-tuned praise.” They discuss the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who has developed Brainology, a program which helps students shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

When students have a fixed mindset, they believe their intelligence is just fixed—they have a certain amount and that’s that. This mindset makes them afraid to look dumb and curtails their learning. But when students have a growth mindset, they understand that their intelligence can be developed. Instead of worrying about how smart they are, they work hard to learn more and get smarter.


Categories: Education

Ask A Tech Teacher

December 15, 2011 1 comment

Jacqui Murray teaches at St. Mary’s, a school in southern California. Her sites are rather busy for my taste, but have lots of interesting links to content targeted to teachers and students.

She has a site titled Ask a Tech Teacher. Check the “Top Posts” (in left column) which include 32 Science Websites for Fifth Graders and 20 Great Research Websites for Kids.

She also has a wiki site for the school. Check the Favorite Links and Grade Level Standards (details how their school meets ISTE standards for 5th grade) pages.

She uses ProtoPage for grade-based home pages. It has lots of links, some interactive widgets, and more.