An Outstanding View

President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address
President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address
Click on the picture, then double click to zoom in.
What do you see in this picture? What else do you see?
How are the people in the picture like you? How are they different?
What do you know about this? What would you like to know?

Plants in Action!

Bee on a flower


  1. Make a claim about the topic
  2. Identify support for your claim
  3. Ask a question related to your claim


TubePrompterCarrying on in the theme of “Builder” Tools and scaffolding higher order thinking, this month’s new addition is the TubePrompter, an interactive page to facilitate “Learning 2 Look” activities using the wild richness of YouTube. Besides eliminating all the distractions inherent in the YouTube site, TubePrompter also offers ten different scaffolds to help groups of students learn through close looking. Simply copy the “embed” code for a YouTube video and paste it into TubePrompter, then click the “Learn 2 Look” button to open a new window with your chosen video embedded and a raft of prompts designed to inspire student thinking.

See the newly updated Web site:

Easily embed videos from sites like these into a clean Webpage frame with 10 Looking Prompts only a button-click away (see the Prompts frame). 

YouTubeCNNTeacher TubeABC ForaVimeoDailyMotionmetacafeBlipTV

AIS – New South Wales

Tom has the pleasure of working with Kindergarten – Year 2 teachers today. The Association of Independent Schools is holding its Fostering Learning in a Digital Era Conference.  Tom has prepared a keynote and this supporting page of resources for the day.  Let me know what you thought!

CEQ•ALL for Ultranet Coaches

It’s been great to meet with Ultranet coaches from across Victoria. Here are a few key documents related to CEQ•ALL.

clipped from
CEQ•ALL Rationale & Lit ReviewWhat happens when students are left to their own devices? Many students, well-trained in “playing school” see free time a chance to good off, to escape the boredom or avoid the stress. CEQ•ALL provides a research-based, common sense approach to guiding personal learning to maximize intrinsic motivation, achievement and sophisticated thinking. In other words: to enjoy life.
CEQ•ALL Self-Assessment GuidePeople can use this to gain feedback on how they might support or work against developing their own joy of learning and achieving.

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MySpace Twist Prompts Suicide

The Web is abuzz today with the tragic story of Megan Meier, who committed suicide a year ago, but whose story is now being told by her agrieved parents. Full details (and 76 pages of readers’ heartfelt comments) are online at the St. Charles Journal. I’m the first to caution letting one story represent all online issues, but this is a tale about failures in understanding, communication and compassion. Sharing this story within families might encourage a child who is being victimized to reach out so that those around can respond with love and support.

Interesting Bits from 2006

G’Day Fellow Year-End Revellers,
In the spirit of re-capping 2006, I’m weighing in with quirky twists that I think portend the end of “school-as-we-know-it.” Certainly the biggest story of 2006 is the emergence of Web 2.0 (audio discussion) and the flourishing that followed Tim O’Reilly’s What Is Web 2.0.But I like to get a feel for the littler moments within the grander sweep to sense which way the wind might be blowing for education. With that in mind here are my top five interesting bits for 2006.1) Early in the year the Wikipedia vs. Britannica battles began. The skirmish was well-documented with a little fudging room on either side of the debate, but the key point for me was not the 162 versus 123 flaws in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively, but that within a week, Wikipedia’s errors had been corrected. How long before the next edition of EB?

2) Biting the hand that feeds them… When a UK security firm discovered a high frequency tone that drove away teen-aged loiterers, the teens turned the annoying sound into the Mosquitone, a ringtone that only youths can hear. When asked what schools should do about the scenario of kids phones going off in class and teachers not being able to hear it, one said, “hire more young teachers.” Ouch, but true?

3) Corruption as a sign of maturity… Most commentators are anointing You Tube as the big story of 2006. I’d point to a sign of its maturity even within its short lifetime. As Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth gained traction world-wide, a PR firm working for energy producers got caught when they used YouTube for “Astro Turf”, the false presentation of what appears to be a “grassroots” up-rising. To me this is just one more padlock on the gates of the Factory School. Inquiry always trumps “information.”

4) Mashup as Art… Another popular sensation this year has been the emergence of Mashups. The most well-known examples often include Google Maps and other databases (wikis, classified ads, etc.). One that is close to my sensibility is Jonathan Coulton’s “Flickr”, a song that seems to begin like any other alternative folk song and then morphs into a post-modern collage of images drawn from people’s Flickr galleries. Here’s the kicker for education: what grade would you give this song if a student turned it in?

5) The New WWW & addiction… Finally, I’ve been predicting / watching the development of new forms of addiction as we enter into an era of the New WWW (Whatever, Whenever, Wherever). An archetypal example this year wasn’t when a hardcore World of Warcraft leader abdicated, but the 234 pages of heart-wrenching comments that followed the post. No wonder some call it “World of WarCrack”. Our task isn’t to bemoan, but to model what it means to be happily human. Not always easy, is it?

That’s it for me. I hope you all have a great holiday season and a terrific 2007.


(this post was cross-listed on the InfiniteThinkingMachine Blog)

It must be that time again…

At the risk of sparking a PC/Mac flame war, I thought I’d point to a couple new models. The [H] with Dell innards and the Pumputer 1.0 (a Classic…).  Okay, so maybe it won’t start a flame war, just a couple candles to make the eyes glow…

As an Aussie transplant, I bring the undeard of pumpkin pie Down Under, so let me share a terrific soup recipe for those in the US:

Start with what we call a Jap Pumpkin (AKA winter squash)

In a large soup pot:

  • sautee one onion, three cloves garlic, chunk of finely chopped ginger root
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Add a quick pour of dry cooking sherry (gets the above nice and soft)

Attack the pumpkin:

  • Scoop the seeds and cut off the skin (easier when halved or quartered)
  • Chop into chunks
  • Add to onion, etc. and sautee/stir fry a bit to bring out the flavor
  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover about 1/2 the mixture
  • Boil, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is soft.
  • Use one of those hand blenders / whizzy sticks to puree
  • Add a can of coconut cream (lowfat?)
  • Add water to desired consistency
  • Add seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, dash of cayenne, curry powder)
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