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Too Good To Print

I just ran across an interesting story about photographers having trouble getting prints made of their digital images. It seems like most photo labs (even places like Wal-Mart) have policies against printing images that are from a professional and could be copyrighted.

With digital cameras getting better and with more photographers using photo editing software, the line between amateur and professional starts to blur. On one hand, I can see why professional photographers need protection. They have to make a living and selling prints is part of that. On the other hand, this story points out how copyright laws are coming up short in the digital age.

Capacity for Math Collaboration

WWW Interactive Mathematics Server
https://webwork.math.ohio-state.edu/wims/

I'm working on pulling together math resources that are freely available on-line. My goal is to expand on the work that's happening at wikibooks.org, and create an open content, on-line math textbook/resource center for algebra. There should be text, video, worksheets, interactive activities, math tools, forums and exams all maintained collaboratively by math teachers and students around the world.

OurMedia.org Global home for grassroots media

I stumbled across a fascinating web project at Ourmedia.org. I'll quote directly from their published mission:

Create. Share. Get noticed. That's what Ourmedia is about.
Ourmedia is a global community and learning center where you can gain visibility for your works of personal media. We'll host your media forever — for free.

Video blogs, photo albums, home movies, podcasting, digital art, documentary journalism, home-brew political ads, music videos, audio interviews, digital storytelling, children's tales, Flash animations, student films, mash-ups — all kinds of digital works have begun to flourish as the Internet rises up alongside big media as a place where we’ll gather to inform, entertain and astound each other.

Leadership Capacity

My word for the day is capacity.

Defined as: Ability; power pertaining to, or resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent; possibility of being or of doing.

I just got back from a four-day field study with more than half of our school. The trip was designed as a bonding time and it was a great success. The capacity of the school has increased as a result. How did that happen? One teacher in our school had a vision for bringing together the seniors and juniors to form a leadership team. This team planned events, worked with groups of younger students, modeled positive behavior, gave out lots of hugs and showed us that kids can do great things if we expect it of them.

Reflections on 9th grade math...

Today I finished 12 weeks with a basic skills level, 9th grade algebra class. I had 24 students with a wide range of abilities. Our classes at Riverdale High are usually around 20 so this class felt large. I asked the kids to reflect on how they did this term today so I'll do the same.

Right away I have to say that I love teaching and this class was no exception. It was tough, challenging, rewarding and I only had mixed success. I know of no job that offers a challenge so tough, demands so much skill and offers many fleeting glimpses of accomplishment to keep you going. Teaching is hard. It's hard to be a great teacher. I've taught for 23 years and this class required all my craft skills, tried me to the limits of my patience, offered me the joys of watching kids learn and the sorrows of seeing some give up. At the end of the term, I can say I'm a better teacher, a worn out teacher and I know I could do it all again and still love it.

Tappedin.org Virtual Campus for Professional Development

I want to tell you about a cool place called Tappedin.org.

Tappedin.org “Tapped In is the online workplace of an international community of education professionals. K-12 teachers and librarians, professional development staff, teacher education faculty and students, and researchers engage in professional development programs and informal collaborative activities with colleagues.”
-- About tappedin.org

Imagine if your school had offices for all the teachers and staff. Imagine that your schedule included research time, time to meet with colleagues, time to learn and share with master teachers and time for conferences and workshops. Tappedin.org is the place where this all happens. Did I mention the hot tub?

FOSS - Free Open Source Software

Craig James published an article that explains how free software development works. It's called the Care and Feeding of FOSS (or, The Lifecycle of Software Technology).

For years people have asked me why developers work so hard to create open source software. I had lots of answers but none seemed to satisfy. James hits it right on the spot in his discussion of natural lifecycles for software.

  • Stage 1. Invention

  • Stage 2. Expansion and Innovation
  • Stage 3. Consolidation
  • Stage 4. Maturity

You should read the article to see how he describes each stage. His main point is that capital investment drives new software invention but as software matures it moves into the open source domain. It makes sense. Who would contribute money to any company about to create a new word processor today? Instead we see programs like AbiWord and OpenOffice taking the place of MS Office.

Stranger A Day - 2004

Roark Johnson is a photographer in Chicago. Since January 1, he's been taking photographs of strangers and posting them on his photoblog.

The photographs are compelling and even though these ARE strangers there is an comfortable familiarity about the faces in his images. They are all of us. I started looking and I couldn't stop. I keep going back to the site to see more.

Web Based Collaboration and Publishing Tool Set

Last year I spent some time with other educators thinking about the perfect web tool for education. If we could invent it, what would it look like?

We invented the TappedIn.org web site. It was really there the whole time but we just didn't know about it. It's a virtual learning campus complete with classrooms, offices, chat rooms, meeting rooms and libraries. There's even a hot tub for after-school soaking. I'll write more about TappedIn.org later this week but first I have to tell you about the other tool we invented.

Once we completed our virtual learning we needed a way to share our results. Imagine a web site that is half blog and half newspaper. Imagine being able to post text, images, video and files via the web and save snapshots of your progress as you go. We imagined it but the folks at the Knowledge Media Lab, part of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning actually created it. It's called the KEEP toolkit.

First Blog Post

This is my first entry to blog.pnelson.us. I'm still configuring the site and making things look cool. So right up front here's what's important:

You are welcome here. I mean that. I'm glad you found your way to the site and I hope you'll enjoy yourself.

I am thankful. I mean that too. I think being thankful gives one a realistic view of the world, especially when terrible things happen. This Christmas weekend, over 40,000 people died when an earthquake induced tsumani crashed into the shores of several Southeast Asian countries. I grieve for the pain and loss these people are suffering but I know that there is hope for life after life. This hope makes the tragedies bearable. Read more from a selection from Pilgrim's Progress...

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