Muscle Memory

Muscle memory helped me "school" the younger generation this weekend. On Saturday I picked up the latest installment of the "Mortal Kombat" video game series. My stepsons and nephews were pretty excited and quite certain they were going to mop up the floor with the "old man". Little did they know that I had spent quite a bit of time in my youth playing the original game and that the latest installment of the series brought back some of the classic characters with their signature moves. I was amazed at how my hands were able to recall all of those previous hours of "practice" and allowed me to easily dispatch the younger generation. Sometimes being old isn't all that bad.

Emotional Intelligence

We Had a great presentation today on Emotional Intelligence (EI) at the Learning Technology Leadership institute. The two primary characteristics of EI are Personal (understanding oneself) and Social (empathy and political awareness). It made me think about successful projects and collaborations I have had in the past. I may not have been aware of it at the time but these interactions required the ability to traverse various emotional landscapes in very short periods of time. It amazes me how truly complex human interactions really are!

Technology and Education

We are at a crossroads with technology and education. Technology enables all of us to have immediate access to information and allows us to connect to virtually anyone in the world. It is important for the student of today to be equipped to navigate these technological landscapes.

It wasn't all that long ago when information dissemination required and expert to deliver it to a novice. Now, with the internet, anyone can find information about virtually anything. It is extremely important that we all learn how to think critically about the wealth of information at our fingertips. It isn't enough that I can "Google" an answer to a question. I need to be able to "Google" and understand if it is a


answer to the question. I think that education will need to focus more on teaching students information literacy so they are well equipped to function in this "information overload" society we all live in. In order to do this the technology must be infused with the classroom. All students should have access to the web in classrooms in order for information literacy to become part of the classroom experience.

The ability of technology to connect us to virtually anyone in the world is extremely powerful. If I were a student today I could have connected to people interested in and teaching Anthropology from all over the world to help me build a wonderfully rich Personal Learning Network. The ability to connect and network with others that have similar interests can really benefit a student through their educational career; they could be resources for papers or provide access to a wealth of information. It is important now, more than ever, for students to take advantage of this ability to connect with others to help further their educational goals.

I think this is an incredibly exciting time to be a teacher and a student. The ability to access a wealth of information and connect with a wealth of resources makes me wish I could be a student again. Who knows, maybe I is never too late!

Photo courtesy



Crowdsourcing, according to Wikipedia “is a neologistic compound of "crowd" and "outsourcing" for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an "open call" to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.” This act of outsourcing a crowd can be used for many different purposes. The use of crowdsourcing can have both positive and negative effects, but if used in an appropriate way it can be very powerful.

The article “10 examples of how crowdsourcing is changing the world” from The Social Path contained examples of how crowdsourcing can have an extremely postive impact. The author describes 10 different sites that use crowdsourcing to help with a variety of tasks like scientific research, marketing products and assisting with various projects. The crowdsourcing efforts to assist with scientific research are extremely powerful and can have a tremendously positive impact in the world. Harnessing the power of potentially millions of people can help further research much quicker than any supercomputer. This type of work has the capability of saving lives ( or helping us all have a greater understanding of the world around us (BioMapping).

The Seattle Times article on the use of Google Wave to assist in the investigations of the Lakewood officer shooting described an interesting use of technology to help solve a problem, but had the potential for some very serious negative repercussions. The amount of real-time information regarding the suspect and crime available to the 500 Wave participants was astounding. Fortunately the participant level was quite low. Once Google Wave, or other tools like it, hits mainstream and is available to anyone this kind of journalism has the potential to lead to some serious problems. People interested in swift justice and prone to vigilantism would have location and suspect information at their fingertips. Criminals could take advantage of areas that are temporarily chaotic because of events relating to another crime and would have information for ideal areas to target. It will become very important for media and law enforcement to use these connecting tools in a responsible manner so that their use doesn’t cause additional harm.

Crowdsourcing has tremendous potential to have a very positive effect on the world. Since these connecting technologies are still relatively new it will take some time and practice to ensure that they are utilized in a responsible manner.


The readings this week illustrate the ability to utilize connections for creativity. In the case of “Dancing To Connect To A Global Tribe” Matt Harding physically connected with people during his travels which helped him create a much larger tribe or network. The participants in the “Silk Road Project” leverage their connections to create art and music. I especially liked the use of indigo dye to teach students about the history and use of dyes. “The Mother of All Funk Chords” and “The Butterfly Jig” I thought were good examples of people using technology to connect with others for the purpose of creating a unique musical mashup. Each reading showed different ways that people connect (physically and technologically) in order to create.

Wake-Up Call

My Auntie G. and Uncle G. were creative when setting up the speed dial on their cell phones. For instance, when they want to call home they just choose "Anybody Home" from their speed dial list. I am also on their speed dial list as "Andy", which puts me just above their home in the list.

Occasionally, at odd hours we will get a call from one of them and depending on who calls and who answers we may get a "Hi honey" or "oops, wrong number" which causes a bit of confusion on our end. This morning we received one of those calls.

After the initial confusing call my Auntie G. called back to let us know that it was her that had called. She was calling Uncle G. to let him know that she saw a funny bumper sticker on a Smartcar. It read "Actual Size". Donna and I got a good laugh and are now anxiously awaiting our next wake-up call. We may be startled when we get the call, but then it ends up putting a smile on our face the rest of the day.

I love my Auntie G. and Uncle G.!

Sometimes I Feel Like a Noob

We have a handful of faculty on my campus that are interested in learning everything they can about every piece of technology that we have available in my department. I am extremely happy when I get the opportunity to interact with them.

Yesterday I had one of these opportunities and the instructor wanted to delve into the inner workings of Blackboard. Now, I have been working with Blackboard since version 5 and can get around the system with relative ease. But when she started asking about features of the Early Warning System and Manage Chalk Title I started to feel a bit like a noob. This wasn't a bad feeling because I like to learn new things and play with tech, so it was actually quite fun.

My typical strategy, when it comes to technology, is to play around a bit with the tool first and then show faculty/staff/students. Now I am thinking it might be more fun to bring in a new tool and learn together.