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grouchal 08-24-2007 04:17 AM

Moving Forward
As seems to be clear any discussion that is lead by technology and implementation rather than a problem is going to flounder.

I think we should first focus on a subject area - and then try to find a target audience age or skills level (for example beginner etc).

Once we have both of these we can then look at the kind of problems that people face in that area at that age - this may in turn make us review the choice of subject as others may be more or less challenging. In turn we will probably review the age range of teh audience and the experience we are trying to tackle.

Once we have that then we should look to take what we have learned and the solution to that problem and see if it is more broadly applicable.

Here are a list of subjects to start us off (I'm British though and you may other names for them in the US).
  • Maths
  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Religious studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information Technology
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Community Studies
  • Citizenship


BobofBobs 08-24-2007 01:08 PM

Despite being a self-declared "Science/Math" person, I am heavily interested in what grouchal termed "Community Studies." Combining this with "Citizenship", Geography, and perhaps Religious Studies would be something genuinely good for the world--connecting people, breaking down barriers.

There are two main components to this project: people and technology. The question is, really, "How do people relate to each other?" By doing an inter-community thing, we would directly address the issue of relationships.


Frieda 08-24-2007 07:39 PM

well, given the deadline, i think we need something that is:

- simple (as in not containing large amounts of data)
- easy to build

unless we're allowed to submit plans and concepts? :confused:

Booalready 08-25-2007 03:16 AM

Here's a good target.

Here's why: Not a class in session yet and I have already been asked to teach an additional after school "credit recovery" class. Not in session and they've already failed it seems.

These kids, they don't learn the traditional way. I already know who they will be. Kyle. Cannot write to save his ass. Throws stuff if he has to and people treat him like a child because of it. He feels that you know? But in the end of last year, I did not listen to advice and brought my new toy to school to see how he would play with it and he composed a video essay from filming (I took the film he directed me to take), learning the program to put the clips together. He added all the fancy stuff and taught me how to do it myself. He did it all in three weeks. In school time that means he went from nothing to basic mastery in . .. .(doing math just a sec) 16 hours. There's some extra time there from a normal period schedule because the kid hung out at my door until I agreed to let him work on it during his lunch.

Here it is on the ORG with his permission. It's not Spielberg, but it's an essay, it's cohesive and I can tie all but one strand to it: writing. (If I can get him to write a story board for it and then put it in sentences then he can pass the awful effing tests and graduate.) I think it's called scaffolding but I don't care. Can you imagine what he could have accomplished with a more tech adept teacher? I can and it is killing me. The people here seem to have ideas like gems I cannot reach to give to these kids!

He is only one example I have hundreds. They are everywhere and they are being failed by education as it exists today. Kyle is coming back by the skin of his teeth because he's 18 and has exhibited "little or no desire to show that he can learn," so I have been told. I tend to disagree. Don't you?

Finding these kids, who would LOVE to learn in a digital environment and would work for it is not too tough (and you wouldn't need many to demo the environment). Most of the ones I know are either incarcerated, enrolled in GED courses, or attending after school credit recovery classes (all public schools have their version now because of something called AYP and because the kids are worth it. And schools would likely be keen on help too. Assistant principals are the people to contact for candidates.)

English can be paired with anything and is a natural fit as both audio, video and text (and things I don't know about too) can be used in a digital learning environment. Pairing it with tech would be innate to the environment as would citizenship (that's rules right?) but also pairing it with sciences is downright sassy and plays to the learners' real world apps.

I read Innovation again and again. They want environment in front of content.

A digital learning community: a school.

The idea I posted earlier is wordy. But if anyone has the skills to make that environment or something like it (and communicate a timeline and budget), it might win. It's a match for the grant and more. It could use all the new tools and toys that have already been created for schools. There are so many just links away.

I withdrew because I was intimidated by things I do not know and used work as an excuse, but then I went to work. And I am writing this now not because of what I know, but who I know. I know Kyle. I had to give it another shot.

If you all decide to go another way, I wish you the very best of luck. And if anyone maintains interest beyond this point and wants my help such as it is, I will find the time.

BobofBobs 08-25-2007 04:28 AM

Okay, let's do it. Enough of this brain crack. Let's move from 0 to 1, and start to flesh out possibility. Booalready is right--there are kids who not only would benefit from technology-aided learning, but need it. We have a chance here to change people's lives forever; let's use that opportunity. Make the world a digital earth sandwich of information--feed everyone knowledge with a piece of ourselves. A platform where people can go and learn from the best, from the people in the know. Technology is a lever; we have to supply the fulcrum of direction and cohesion. The Users are both the lifters and the lifted; everyone becomes more awesome in communal learning.

0 to 1, people. 0 to 1. Fill in the first number of the Sudoku puzzle.

grouchal 08-25-2007 05:21 AM

Language aquisition it is then?
Language acquisition it is then - I guess we are assuming reading and writing in that case.

As I mentioned in the original post - our journey may well take away from our original subject choice - so please stick with this choice so that we can enjoy going forward for a bit.

What audience are we talking about?

Primary school early learners

Adult learners

Learning impaired

And roughly what age range? (Does it matter as we are working on a solution).

Booalready 08-25-2007 12:10 PM

It doesn't matter about the content. There are these things, assessments. They are already written and only need revising to address the digital community, usage, and skill set acquisition parts. And of course amazing and creative people to present the the initial material and then work the lesson through as learner/guide/resource person (better than teacher and addresses the grant).

Google "universal themes" than you will knock into a bunch of interdisciplinary ideas. Doesn't matter if they are for elementary age or retirement. A class has multiple skill levels and kids will have their own space and their own levels of progress within their proofs of mastery. All someone would have to do is figure out how they want to present it and what they learners to learn (authentic tasks) and how they will assess that learning. Certainly, content development should go along side other things but without the space it's moot.

The most important part, the part this idea cannot go forward without.


If those special talents are not present then the only way I can see it move forward to the content stage is to use an existing environment with hopes of finding someone to make a custom dedicated environment later.

There is one that can be altered to the purpose but I do not know if simply using someone else's created space to carve out an learning environment will fulfill the grant. Is it cheating to do that?

If it is not, using Xanga and employing these features: Friends lock, protected posting, blog rings subscriptions along with the normal blogs space features would skip the timeline ahead for content creators and they could go there and begin figuring how and what to present as well as how to use the space.

This would free content creators to work individually or in smaller groups. And the more variety of content the better to figure out what works well and appeals to kids and what doesn't. If anyone needed help creating evaluation tools, there are several people here who could team up for that process and have it knocked out and written up in hours.

Also, there is a wiki bank of presentations that could easily have assignments for mastery attached to them too. And one hell of a charismatic presenter. If someone wanted to focus on the assessment and evaluation stuff alone, he or she could use a public post from The Show, add the assessment as a follow-up activity, describe the learning goals of it, and pow, a kick ass lesson.

Permission is needed no? I'm not sure i usually just ask forgiveness.

Xanga mostly free but there's ads. It's not accessible from schools though. So in order to have volunteer learners give input, they would need outside access.

I have some ideas about how to get the learners, and their skill levels are super varied. I advise the Anime Club. They have at risk among them and they usually have access at home. Certainly others have ideas about that.

Really, if you wanna. I can create and outline of areas to address and people who have killer ideas about content could begin/continue whooping ass.

And the grant writing could begin and it needs to begin right quick because whomever is doing it has timelines to address and present as well as evaluations to describe and write 1000 words to explain it all.

It will seem limited in scope at first but the implications are enormous and the space would evolve to encompass all types of learning and learners eventually.

Booalready 08-25-2007 12:19 PM

I will set up a few accounts over there and post the usernames and passwords here to illustrate a bit. Actually, seeing that might be the crucible that nixes or advances the idea for people.

I was going to do it on my own anyway later, but since it's a grey day here, I will dedicate today to it.

But really, if someone here has the skills to create the space and wants to. Speak up, I'll bake for ya.

Booalready 08-25-2007 06:13 PM

A mock learning environment
There are four pages on Xanga.

The usernames are:


All the passwords are: duckie

I secured the pages using "friends lock" in the privacy section of the account information. If you aren't logged in as a friend of one of the accounts you can't see the pages. They aren't anything special, they are just examples. Comments and mock community building present and there's a video on one of them with a mini sample lesson of sorts with sample objectives and sample eval description. All pretty rough.

I chose that space because of the tools available on it. It seems easy enough to use for natives and immigrants and allows for multiple levels of communication. Still, it's only to get across the idea of the thing.

If you want to see the pages log into one and look about. There are several ways to get to the others at just a click. If you want to play with them go ahead. They can and will be deleted when I remember to do it anyway.

brightpearl 08-26-2007 03:12 PM

I was rooting for language acquisition. :D
I'll check out Xanga....thanks boo.

Booalready 08-26-2007 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by brightpearl (Post 359815)
I was rooting for language acquisition. :D
I'll check out Xanga....thanks boo.

Oh it could be language acquisition hardcore both ways direct instruction and through immersion in the environment. And you could easy peasy write those objectives and eval descriptions. How cool would it be to finally be able to include people who don't use language the same way and do it without stigma?

I read that Second Life was going to start an ESL school. You know that puppy's going to fly. ESL and other languages including computer ones can be taught and practiced (and mastered). That is killer content! (And likely a voluntary prerequisite for other learning projects.)

The content of the "learning community" can be almost anything, just has to have some articulated objectives and work to connect learners using teh tubes and whatnot.

Just need the place.

BobofBobs 08-26-2007 10:53 PM

I'm....partial to Classics, seeing as how I study. Dead languages are just that much more fun! Would there be room for a primarily written language like Latin in there? I could actually whip up some spoken Latin guides... hmm....

So, just for my personal clarification: what is the difference between learning and language and acquiring a language? Does 'acquiring' imply some...intuitive fluidity?

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