Archive for March, 2010

Heavy-handed Filtering

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Computer FilteringSo what do two disparate things, the site of an atomic test and Herman Melville’s novel, have in common? They are victims of Internet filtering software that takes decisions for the acceptability of web sites out of teachers’ hands.

In an interesting conversation about Internet censorship in schools, Mitch Wagner brought up several examples, some of which I heard and none of which surprised me. In the mid-90s, I had several conversations about control over filtering with the founders of a new start up called BESS which is now, under the name of McAffee SmartFilter, the filter of choice in many school districts.

My concern was over the word “breast” which had been filtered at my school but caused issues when students were researching “breast cancer.” I thought those multiple uses of the same term had been resolved.

Now Mitch is sharing examples he has gathered that demonstrate the issues have not been resolved. When students hit road blocks when researching bikini atoll or Moby Dick then filtering has become heavy handed.

I’d be interested to hear from others about their school’s filtering.

New National Ed Tech Plan

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

 

Department of Education logo

Executive summary available

After countless hours of development and a huge amount of input, including my own two cents at a national summit in Washington, DC, we have finally developed a draft of the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP). A member of our EDMT Advisory Council, Dr. Barry Fishman, is also a member of the team that helped to organize this draft.

 

The two words that stick out for me in this document are “engage” and “empower” and I truly hope they mean it. This document sings the praises of personalized learning and lays out a vision of what education enhanced with technology might become. 

Give it a read.

MACUL get-together

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

MACUL season is upon us! Less than a week until the conference starts. On Thursday night March 11 from 6:00-7:30, we’d like to have an EDMT mixer at the Bull’s Head Tavern (http://www.thebullsheadtavern.com/), which is directly across the street from the Amway Grand Plaza. This will be an informal get-together over pub food and your beverage of choice. If you’d like to come, please RSVP to me (jmargerum@emich.edu) so I can grab the appropriately sized table.

Twelfth Night in Second Life

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Second Life (http://secondlife.com) has certainly changed since I visited last a few months ago. When I taught EDMT 592 (Virtual Worlds and Social Networking in Education) we visited a virtual model of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Globe Theater

The Metaverse Shakespeare Company (MSC)

As an aside, do I really need to write “virtual” or “model” any more when talking about Second Life (SL)? It seems redundant.

This evening I attended the premiere of the newly updated run of Twelfth Night in sLiterary’s own Globe Theatre.  The SLURL for the theatre is http://slurl.com/secondlife/sLiterary/3/10/26.

Oyama Maroon

Oyama Maroon (McVey) early for the show.

According to the coordinator for the production, Ina Centaur:

For Twelfth Night, Act 2, our three technological innovations include the usage of physics, moving automatons, and visual illusion on the virtual stage. You’ll see physics on-stage, in both built-in and scripted forms in our apple catches in Scene 3, and wilting rose motif in Scene 4 and, in the crawlspace of Scene 3, you’d see prim-based automaton actors in the form of rats!

view of the stage

View of the stage with curtain closed