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What is your school doing “with” cell phones?

No I don’t mean what is the administration doing “about” all those cell phones in students’ pockets/purses/knapsacks.

Has your school considered embracing these nearly ubiquitous bits of technology?

PC Magazine (sadly now just a digital edition) has an interesting article “One Cellphone Per Child”  about how common cell phones have become and suggesting that the mobile tool may be a potentially useful tool for education.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2344283,00.asp

You may also want to follow up with sites like mLearnopedia.

http://mlearnopedia.com/

On the other hand, is this just a pipe dream? Have you seen the revolution caused by computers in the classroom? Don’t your students still mainly sit in desks and focus on one member of the teaching staff for 30-45 minutes at a time?

Well, okay. What if you want to know more about the technical issues of making the cell phone internet connection? In that case, you might be interested in reading the overview about Kannel, an open source project to provide the gateway services for messaging and internet on cell phones.

http://www.kannel.org/overview.shtml

Then your administrators and tech staff may want to find out more about cell phone repeaters and signal enhancers with a good internet search on those terms.

Have you set up your May Pole for recess today?

I’ve been out of town.

Pennsylvania, Scranton area. Got the chance to see the “Ninth Wonder of the World”, a viaduct train bridge over the Tunkhannock Creek in Nicholson, PA.

I didn’t take my computer, and didn’t think about the blog or email. Freedom isn’t always about free software.

When somebody else does a good job, congratulate him/her.

When somebody else does work so you don’t have to, thank him/her.

When somebody writes a post you envy, point others to it.

J.J. Macey has given “us” a list of reasons to tell a boss about why to change to Linux. The reasons apply to education settings.

http://jjmacey.net/blog/?p=291\

The Massachusetts Department of Education has spent much of the last several years organizing, promoting, developing and expecting schools to use the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. To students, teachers and administrators of the state, that comes as no surprise. Sometimes it is not easy fitting nationally developed textbooks into the mix.

Well then, “Just design your own curriculum; write your own textbooks.”

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

Textbooks are the product of professionals!

Well, teachers are professionals.

I couldn’t do it alone.

There’s some good news. You don’t have to do it alone. The Internet has provided us with the resources to use. There are several groups of educators that have started the process of producing open source materials specifically for use in K12 classrooms.

You can pull together pieces from many sources, tweak them to your satisfaction, get them into shape for your students. Do it step-by-step. Don’t rush. Start with one lesson plan. Test it with one class. You do that anyway when you do a lesson with a textbook somebody else decided you should use.

Okay, then where should I look for these resources?

I certainly don’t know them all, but here’s a short list of places to begin.

Curricki – http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/WebHome

Open Curriculum Project – http://wiki.bssd.org/index.php/Main_Page

OpenPlanner – http://www.openplanner.org/about

WikiTeach – http://www.wikiteach.org/

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Share a story of your efforts with us.

Thanks.

There’s a new list of FOSS and freeware from a school in the UK.

Actually I heard about it because I am on the Open Source Schools mailing list, and the group there is very active. Open Source Schools is based in the UK where many schools have begun to make a real commitment to using FOSS as a regular part of their teaching.

http://www.bradfordschools.net/curriculumict/index.php?option=com_bookmarks&Itemid=242&mode=0&catid=-1&search=*

You use a word processor sometimes, but do you use the drawing tools of your office suite?

Our Curriculum and Lesson Plans page now has the link to a file that will help you teach the skills to your students. Of course, you want it NOW! The link is here, too.

http://www.runeman.org/mosssig/openoffice_draw_skills.odg

The file is the practice for the ButterBox Project which can also be downloaded from the Curriculum and Lesson Plans page.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the effort to control copying and sharing or downright piracy. It was once very common for PC game software, and it is currently the rage in music (think iTunes) and movies (think MPAA).

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management

Cory Doctrow is an author who generally gives away his work while also selling it. He is not a fan of DRM. You might be interested to read this post by Cory Doctrow from the blog “Boing Boing” about the childrens’ book The Pig and the Box which is about sharing vs. DRM.

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/01/28/pig-and-the-box-anti.html

You might also like to examine the site from which the book may be purchased AND from which it may be downloaded in PDF format (free).

http://books.1889.ca/pig_and_the_box

Be sure to click the “Home” link after you check out The Pig and The Box. There are more books with similar themes. I love the one about the crow.

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