April 2011

I’m good at missing important events. It happens every year. This year, it was National Education and Sharing Day. In 2011, the date was April 15. The day commemorates the work of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Maybe I can be forgiven for missing the date. It is celebrated on 11 Nissan according to the Hebrew calendar which doesn’t coincide with the Gregorian calendar we use in secular America. The date is different each year on the calendar I look at every day.

Nevertheless, I’m celebrating. I’ve made a graphic to encourage sharing beyond one day. One day of sharing isn’t enough, you know.

Right click the graphic to save it to your own computer. Modify it as you see fit. That’s part of the deal, too. It is shared with no restrictions.

It is posted at openclipart.org, too. You can find my graphics on the site by searching for “runeman”. Search for graphics by other key words, too. Holiday graphics are always popular. If you are looking for an easy way to do your own graphics, look at Inkscape which generates images that can be easily resized. Modern browsers like Firefox 4 handle the scalable vector graphics (SVG) easily. Openclipart.org is a repository of graphics for all occasions. Anybody can get an account to post graphics. The graphics are usually original, like mine, but may also be reissues from other public domain sources. By being released directly into the public domain, our shared cultural commons grows with every donation made.

Teachers are always on the lookout for good graphics to use in handouts. Public domain images are perfect. They are freely shared, allowing unlimited reuse. Teachers can confidently put the images onto worksheets and Web pages without any concern for infringing copyright.

Here’s a sample:

Exemplary Sharing

All Filler No Killer

Last Monday at the Norteast Regional Conference on the Social Studies, sixteen social studies teachers attended a working session about some online “cloud” tools. The session ran the full day and was designed to give the participants a chance to explore. It wasn’t a “presentation.” Each person got the chance to sign up for a mailing list, Twitter for a professional learning network, a blog, a wiki, collaborative note-taking and Google Docs. Each person made choices and spent time actually working. It wasn’t listen-and-learn; it was playful exploration.

People enjoyed active, differentiated professional development. By making individual choices and doing real exploratory activities, the participants took away more than notes and a handout.

The presentation and handouts are available. The materials are free to reuse and modify under the Creative Commons Attribution license. I would love to hear about any use you make of them.

Next year’s conference is going to be held again at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge Massachusetts sponsored by the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Social Studies teachers of the Northeastern part of the United states are gathering in Sturbridge Massachusetts for three days this coming week.

The conference happens every year. NERC 2011 has the topic:

Defining Moments:
People, Places and Events

I’ll be there doing a presentation on Monday and providing general tech support Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you are there, stop to say hello.


Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts is the place for lovers of GNU/Linux this Saturday, April 2, 2011 from 10:30 to 3:00. An enthusiastic crowd is gathered to hear speakers and share in the spirit of open source.


11am Jon “Maddog” Hall
“GNU/Linux in Education, Government and Business.”

12pm Matt Lee
“Why Software Should Be Free.”

1pm Roberto C. Sanchez
“Getting Stuff Packaged for Debian.”

2pm Jarod Wilson
“Intro to GNU/Linux Home Theater PCs”