Surviving and Thriving Online – 2011

Today I had the pleasure of addressing the class of 2015 at St. John’s College High School.  The main message was around using the Internet to put your best foot forward, even while other data is growing around you.  There are so many ways for students to use the Internet to start building a strong online persona.

The presentation is hosted at and the links used are on my Diigo list.  Feel free to use the presentation which is Creative Commons licensed.

Creative Commons License
Surviving & Thriving Online 2011 by Pat Sine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Accelerated Reader + Amazon = Shelfari

I’ve always been an avid reader, but it runs in fits and starts. Lately I’ve been using a site called Shelfari that works for me like Accelerated Reader works for many middle school children. When I put books on my shelf, I get that same boost and sense of accomplishment that motivates many kids to pile up points in AR.

Combine that with the reviews and discussions and you’ve got a more personable version of Amazon. Depending on the book, you’ll get lots of good advice on what to read next and why this book is better or worse than another. The only drawback is that the numbers on Shelfari are so much smaller than Amazon.

In all, this is another tool that makes the Internet a community of like-minded folks.

1000's of Learning Professionals on Twitter

Today one of my colleagues sent a link to “How One Teacher Uses Twitter in the Classroom,” the story of University of Texas at Dallas History Professor, Monica Rankin’s use of Twitter. The included Youtube video has a number of interviews with students describing why this is a such a useful tool.

Even better, though was a link in the post to Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning Professionals (& Others) on Twitter. What a great selection of folks to follow to understand more about how the world is using this too.

Advice from Google

Today is the last day of a 2 week graduate course I’m teaching. Right now, it’s 10 minutes before the "final" presentations. The students are clicking away and consulting with each other. They are using technology and collaborating, so I feel happy!

Meanwhile, the Google blog has this to the point post today, Our Googley advice to students: Major in learning.
This is a great finish to a class that started by looking at the now-classic "Shift Happens" and then a wander through The World is Flat, Everything’s Miscellaneous, and Rainbows End.

Hopefully, they will all remember that while most of the tangible things I taught, they learned and we discussed will be old news by September, the core value is to continue learning and to inspire that in their students.

Thanks to Google for adding to my class!

And then keep on challenging yourself, because learning doesn’t end with graduation. In fact, in the real world, while the answers to the odd-numbered problems are not in the back of the textbook, the tests are all open book, and your success is inexorably determined by the lessons you glean from the free market. Learning, it turns out, is a lifelong major.

Think…Work Hard…Enjoy: My Rubric

I’m now two days into my graduate class for the summer, K-12 Technology Integration. I’m also part of the team on a 6-week program for inservice teachers to learn about how science and math are done in the lab and how that might inform what they do in the classroom, the NISE-RET Program.

Yesterday and today, I’m doing about 6 hours each day between the two groups and it got me thinking about what I’d really like them to walk away with. So, here are my 3 personal objectives every time I teach.

  1. THINK – Did the participants think about things that they had never thought about before? Or think about things in a completely new way because of their experiences? (This one is a short- and long-term goal so I’d like this thinking to happen in class, that evening, three months from now, etc.)
  2. HARD — Did the participants leave thinking they worked hard? I truly believe that learning new things is hard. That’s not bad at all. Witness the energy that people put in to learning about their hobbies or sports or new video games. I hope that participants realize that hard doesn’t equate with bad and that true learning usually is hard at some level.
  3. ENJOY — So the third one is a bit of a twist on things. Once participants figure out that they are thinking differently and that they worked hard, I hope they also realize that they enjoyed the experience.

If all three of these things happen in our classrooms, life-long learning is possible. Participants (adults and kids) can begin to internalize and manage their own learning and seek out new opportunities.

The dirty, little secret is most of our classrooms is that what we teach on any given day probably doesn’t matter much. (Take a look at the Fr. Guido Sarducci 5-Minute University.) But the experience everyday in the classroom does matter and that’s what I hope happens when I teach.