Visit The EDM310 Alumni Blog Amazing! An Alumni Blog! Thanks to Jackie Gorski and all of her co-authors!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thank You!

Thank You!

Remarks by John H. Strange upon receiving the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning, College of Education, University of South Alabama
April 29, 2011

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dean Hayes for the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning. My daughter Katharine said to me “Oh Dad, you are the only one there old enough to get a Lifelong Learning Award.” Of course she is also the daughter who asked me about a painting I had bought “Dad, how drunk were you when you bought that?” Now I find the award especially meaningful since I am a firm believer in the proposition that Learning Never Ends and I am constantly saying “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” And I might note that “Let’s” is plural! Learning is a joint venture.

As I thought back on all that I have learned since I began reshaping EDM310, it is clear that my continued learning has been a joint venture, that it has benefitted from many people. Jamie Lynn Miller and Poppy Bednorz taught me how important is is to say thank you as they did with their great movie EDM310 for Dummies. Now I get a chance to publicly thank them! So I again thank you Dean Hayes, Jamie Lynn and Poppy. Tonight I would like to give thanks to everyone who has helped me learn what EDM310 could and should be. The list is too long and the time is too short to do that, however. I will have to do the best I can. In so doing I will identify some of the central ideas I have tried to incorporate into EDM310. My thanks to each individual will be cryptic and lacking in details. I promise will write an extended blog expanding on what I have learned from each. Those of you here tonight who teach undergraduates will recognize many of the names.

I start with

William Chamberlain who teaches 5th grade in Noel. Missouri. He taught me how important commenting on blogs is, and he insisted, along with Angela Rand, that I use Twitter.
Room 10 at Pt. England School in Auckland New Zealand taught me how important Skype could be in learning.
Kaia, a three year old in Dubai, along with her father Jabiz, taught me the power of blogs in connecting diverse groups around the world.
Dillon Rogers, a USA student, thanked me for the freedom I gave her in class and now I thank her for demonstrating how important freedom can be in furthering creativity.
James Fawcett convinced me of the importance of movie making as an educational tool.
Paula Casallo would enter EDM310 for almost the entire semester saying “I hate technology.” Yet she taught me that people can change their minds about technology. Paula is creatively using much of what she learned in EDM310 at her school where is now a librarian
Jackie Gorski demonstrated that the alumni of EDM310 really do want to continue to be involved.
Stephen Akins helped me understand the power of being quiet, or even silent. I bet you are questioning whether ever happens with me.
Allie Howell encouraged me to understand the power of enthusiasm.
Joe McClung and Jarrod Lamshed demonstrated that sharing with others is an important learning objective, whether you are in Arkansas, Australia or Alabama.
G Tashbin insisted that we could create a true learning community, and with the help of the EDM310 Lab Assistants, we have!
Dorothy Burt revealed to me what an entire school can do when it fully embraces technology as is the case in New Zealand at Pt. England School.
Paige Baggett continues in her efforts to teach me that change can and does happen without messy revolutions.
And Anthony Capps has taught me how important it is to leave an academic trail worth Googling, how powerful reflection is, and what great teaching can be like in the 21st century.

There are many more people I should thank, but my EDM310 students as a whole have taught me the importance of being brief. I quote them: “One hour, six minutes and 42 seconds in a video we are supposed to watch? And then write a blog post about it? Get real Dr. Strange. Seven minutes at the most.” OK, they all took back those words after listening to Randy Pauch’s last lecture. But this is not my last lecture. So my 7 minutes is almost up.

My thanks to everyone, whether I mentioned you or not.

And now my talk.

OK. Don’t worry. It is included it in the 7 minute limit.

I want to thank 3 people for helping me with my talk: Bailey Hammond, Steve Jobs and Stuart Brand, originator and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog:

Bailey Hammond answered the question I posed last week to my students in EDM310: What assignment did I leave out of EDM310 this semester that I should have included? Then complete that assignment. with an assignment and a question:

Her assignment - Watch Steve Jobs’ 2005 graduation talk at Stanford which he ended with an admonition he read in the final issue of Stuart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog: "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

Bailey’s question: “What does ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’ mean to you and how can you apply that to your future as an educator?”

The short version of Bailey’s answer to her own question was to keep learning, don’t be satisfied with the status quo, take risks, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be open to inspiration coming from the oddest of places (no, she didn’t say the Strangest of places), leave your inhibitions in the dust, don’t take any day for granted.

She ends her post with the lines from the song I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack,
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder./
You get your fill to eat/
but always keep that hunger...
I hope you dance.

And so I ask you “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” What does that mean to you as an educator?

Thank you Bailey (and Steve and Stuart) for my talk tonight.

Thank you again, Dean Hayes for your support!
Thanks to all my current and former EDM310 students.
And thanks to you, my audience - for not timing me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

C4C #13 Cancelled

The C4C assignments are now complete. We hope you will keep on commenting, however.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mandatory Attendance Week of May 2

remember icon
Remember - you are required to attend your assigned classes next week May 2 - 5.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kelly Evans' Book Trailer Gets Noticed - By The Author

kelly Evans' Blog MAsthead
Ned Young, author of the book Zoomer, spotted Kelly's trailer that she made for EDM310 on her blog. He asked Kelly whether he could use the trailer on his blog and Kelly, not surprisingly, agreed. Take a look at Ned Young Studio: Zoomer book trailer.

Congratulations Kelly!

And how did Mr. Young know about the trailer so quickly? Probably because of Google Alerts. Google provides a service (free) which continually searches for text which you specify. I use it to search for "Dr. John Strange", "John Strange", "Dr. John Hadley Strange", "John Hadley Strange", "EDM310" and "EDM 310". I do not have Google search for "Dr. Strange" (too many comic books) or just "Strange". (You can imagine why.) Try it and see if anyone is writing about you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Visiting Lecturer Jacob Demonstrates Garage Band on the iPad

Jacob, a kindergarten student at Cottage Hill Christian School, joinedEDM310 as a Guest Lecturer and demonstrated what he had learned about Garage Band in three hours or so on the iPad.

Watch Allie Howell's video of Jacob's demonstration How To Use Garage Band on iPad.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Can You Help?

Brothers Blog logo

Mrs. Yollis just sent me another name and URL: Ryan

Can you leave a comment for Ryan as well as the student you are assigned this week? If so, many thanks!

Impact of Spring Break

Mrs. Yollis' class is on Spring Break this week. Parents moderate your comments so expect a delay!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mrs. Yollis and Her Class Thank You - C4K Available After 5pm Today

Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade picture

Mrs. Yollis' 3rd grade picture

I have received these emails from Mrs. Yollis' students. The students included links to their personal blogs. The links are now in the C4K #10 Doc. They can also be found in the comments for the post How To Make A Book Trailer.

Each of you has been assigned to one of the five students who left comments for EDM310. I have used two different posts for each student. Be sure you PROOFREAD your comment. As Jaden said, we "want quality comments." Note that the italics are his!

Read all of the comments below BEFORE you leave your C4K #10 comment!

From Hannah, Grace, and Adia

Dear EDM310 class,

We are Hannah, Grace, and Adia from Mrs. Yollis' third grade class.

Thank you for leaving us so many quality comments on our class blog. Mrs. Yollis viewed all of your comments, and since you have 100+ students in your class, our teacher admitted that she could not possibly get back to every single one. Some of us stayed inside during lunch for charting since it's Family Blogging Month, and most of the comments that we saw were from you!

The reason we have a class blog is...

•It's a great way to "meet" people around the world. An advantage is that we make new friends, and we also get to learn about their country, state, province, or territory.

•We get to also learn about different subjects such as quality commenting. Here is an example: If Mrs. Yollis posted about different quality comments, we would learn about how to write them.

•What we also learn from blogging is that it improves our reading and writing skills. For example, writing a comment on fads helps us with writing skills, and reading comments that other people write helps our reading skills.

All three of us have earned student blogs. Here is how we earned them...

•Good behavior in class.



•Good attitude in class.

•Sometimes, if you are one of the top three winners in Family Blogging Month, you earn a blog by your accomplishment, but this only happened with Hannah, Miriam, and Adia.

•Last but not least, amazing quality comments. (Not one, but a lot.)

We do encourage you to get a class blog if you become a teacher. It is super fun! Here are the reasons why...

•You can get a cute and adorable Voki. Grace's is Isabella, a dog, Hannah's is a girl, and Adia's is a girl also.

•You get a bunch of visitors.

•You get many comments.

•There can be fun and exciting activities on your blog. Here is an example: Adia has an activity called Babble of The Month.


Hannah, Grace, and Adia ♔

From Miriam (Victoria)
Dear EDM310 class,

My name is Miriam and I am a third grade student in Mrs. Yollis' class. Mrs. Yollis shared with us your comments and told us about your class blog.

We use a class blog to share with parents and friends about what we learn in school. Some kids who are good commenters were able to have their own blog.

I am lucky to have my own blog called Miriams Magical Moments.

I hope you visit.

Enjoy blogging,

From Jaden

Dear EDM310,

My name is Jaden, and I am in Mrs. Yollis' third grade class in California. I'm happy that I am able to comment with college-level students! When I look through your posts, I think I am going to learn a few new words.

As Miriam said, some students earned their own blogs. I earned my blog by writing quality comments on blogs and having good behavior in class. My blog is called Jaden's Awesome Blog.

I hope some of your students write quality comments on my blog. :-)

I have some advice for all of you. You should always check your comments before you press publish. Sometimes it might not say what you think it says. Your thoughts should be clear.


A Thank You from Tyler Rice


You really have put together something phenomenal with your EDM310 class. Your students are building a PLN and learning to use such a wide range of technology! More importantly, you are asking them to be reflective and introspective and I think that is the greatest gift a teacher can give!

I've loved reading your students' comments on my blog Wisdom Begins with Wonder. I'm not sure how I made your list of teacher blogs to read but I am honored.

Thank you,
Tyler Rice (@MrTRice_Science)

Thank you, Mr. Rice!

I will answer Mr. Rice's question as to how he made my list. Last summer Mr. Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain) called to my attention this blog post: Grading Moratorium: Tyler Rice on Joe Bower's blog for the love of learning. Mr. Rice's first sentences were:
I’ve wanted to abolish grading in my classes for a few years now. Grading has always been my least favorite part of teaching. I love teaching but I hate grading.

Now you know! A compatriot on grading!

You are not surprised are you? Well, maybe you thought there was only one teacher as strange as I in not liking grades! And I hope you will teach your students to be good at self reflection/evaluation when you become a teacher.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Make A Book Trailer

Anthony Capps has just completed two videos on How to Make A Book Trailer:

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Everyone is Thinking About Metaphors

It seems everyone is thinking about metaphors these days. My book writing friend Caroline Seebohm was visiting last week when the metaphor discussion began and made many contributions to my "metaphor posts." Today she sent an article by David Brooks Poetry for Everyday Life. I urge you to read the entire article. It will take from 3 to 5 minutes. But if you don't read the entire article, you should at least read a few of his reasons for believing that metaphors are important:
... being aware of metaphors reminds you of the central role that poetic skills play in our thought. If much of our thinking is shaped and driven by metaphor, then the skilled thinker will be able to recognize patterns, blend patterns, apprehend the relationships and pursue unexpected likenesses.

Even the hardest of the sciences depend on a foundation of metaphors. To be aware of metaphors is to be humbled by the complexity of the world, to realize that deep in the undercurrents of thought there are thousands of lenses popping up between us and the world, and that we’re surrounded at all times by what Steven Pinker of Harvard once called “pedestrian poetry.” 

From David Brooks,Poetry for Everyday Life, an op-ed appearing on April 12, 2011, page A25 of the New York Times (New York edition).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Metaphor Discussion Update

Tom Johnson looking the other way.
Pencil Me In: A Journey in the Fight for Graphite was published today in a
softcover edition ($10 from Amazon)and in a Kindle edition ($4). This book is based on Mr. Spencer's blog Tom Johnson's Adventures in Pencil Integration.

Here is an excerpt from Special Thanks in Mr. Spencer's book Pencil Me In: A Journey in the Fight for Graphite:
I would like to thank Alan Stange for all the formative feedback he offered from the first day I began this blog. I also want to thank Russ Goerend for encouraging me to continue with the blog when it had no real story arc...

Thank you, also, to Dr. Strange and the EDM 310 class who left regular comments, wrote reflections in blog posts and sent e-mails to me sparking in-depth conversations. Your feedback was immensely helpful through this process.

Blogs, comments on blogs and your EDM310 activities do make a difference. I thank you also!

The conversations continue!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Metaphors: What They Are and Why We Use Them

cartoon about sports metaphors
A Learning Opportunity

Most of you apparently did not understand that Tom Johnson’s post Don't Let Them Take the Pencils Home was a metaphor (as is the title of his blog Pencil Integration). But that gives all of us an opportunity to learn. In addition, several of you just skipped the comment on the Johnson part of the assignment. I (or one of the staff using my words) have left a comment on your blog if you skipped the Johnson assignment . An eagle eyed lawyer type in the class, however, has brought to my attention that I did not explicitly say, as I usually do, "post your analysis on your blog". Your grade has not been affected by this miscommunication; we have learned to be more explicit in our directions; and you have an opportunity to learn. So take advantage of this learning opportunity.

First - the Metaphor

The post you read is not written by someone named Tom Johnson. That is a pseudonym for John Spencer who also writes a blog which is assigned in C4T under his real name. The blog post in question is in a blog named Pencil Integration. This alerts you that when he speaks about pencils, he is actually talking about computers or technology in general. If you return to the post, copy it and replace pencil or pencils with computer or computers. Your reactions will be very different.

So Why Did So Many of You Miss the Metaphor?

I don’t know.

Let's start with a few examples. I think almost all of you (if not all of you) understood the very first metaphor you encountered in EDM310: Mr. Winkle Wakes. No one, I don’t think, thought that Mr. Needleman’s video about a real person. When you watched Randy Pauch’s video you understood the metaphor of the brick wall and of Tigger and of Eeyore. If I had written “You hit the nail on the head” or just “You nailed it” in response to the six students who clearly understood and identified the metaphor, I am certain that they would have understood my metaphor. And probably all of you would have done so as well.

As part of my attempt to determine why you missed the metaphor, I discussed the question with a visiting friend (who happens to be an author of 14 books), my staff, and other members of the faculty. Here are some possible explanations:

Well, perhaps it was because you take this class and your assignments too seriously. Maybe I have scared you so much that you have lost your sense of humor. I hope not. Just this morning I closed a conversation with a student and before either of us had hung up I heard her say to a companion “He [meaning me] is so funny." Her sense of humor is intact.

Maybe because the metaphor was the basis for a longer post which had a number of messages contained in it. You deciphered those messages (anti-testing; anti-administrative interference in the process of teaching; focus on solutions not problems). But you did not (apparently) understand the larger metaphor despite the many clues that surrounded you. If I described a person as having a glass which is always half-empty you would probably understand I am talking about the person who focuses on problems. That that person is an Eeyore. If, instead, I had described someone as always regarding his glass as half-full you would have understood that the person was a Tigger type; a solution oriented person.

These are guesses We really cannot answer the question of "why not?". Why do you think you missed the metaphor? Even though we do not know why you missed the metaphor (if you did), we can try and develop a set of activities that will increase the likelihood that you will spot a metaphor the next time you encounter one.

Learning How to Spot Metaphors

Dr. Baggett pointed out to me that Daniel Pink addressed this issue in his book A Whole New Mind (pp. 138-140). Pink suggests that you keep a log of the metaphors you encounter for a week (p. 152). They may in things you read, comments made to you, movies you watch, or podcasts you listen to. Jot them down in a notebook, or on your iPhone or iPad. Note the context in which they were used. Here are some examples you may encounter: angel hair pasta; my cup runneth over; will the Easter Bunny leave you anything?; I took a trip with Alice to Wonderland; Puff the Magic Dragon; I could see the thunderstorm building within him; her smile melted my heart; she’s so sweet; I abhor burp back education; I’d kill for two free tickets to see Lady Gaga; I encountered my brick wall when I missed the metaphor but I will get over it; my car is a dream; she is the light of my life; the storks were busy this weekend and the University Hospital reports that Mobile’s population grew by leaps and bounds; he is a chicken. My guess is that all of you understand all of these metaphors and that you do so instantly. So we return to an earlier question of mine: why did you not get the point of the post of Tom Johnson? (Notice the intended pun in “point”?) Think about that.

Why Use Metaphors?

In the Fall semester Jennifer Inscore wrote "What is with the metaphor? Why not say exactly what you are trying to discuss? Why not put it into words that we all understand instead of a metaphor. If we are to be educators we should be able to speak to our students in a way that they all understand." I responded with this post: Jennifer Asked: Why Use Metaphors? Here Is My Answer . My post last semester is my first attempt to answer the question Why Do We Use Metaphors? Daniel Pink says that when you discover metaphors your world will become “richer and more vivid” and that you will be inspired “to create your own metaphors in writing, thought, or other parts of your life.” (p. 152) What do you think?

You might even do a bit of research to see what others say. But more importantly, I want your answers, not mine. I want you to think about why we use metaphors.

Special Assignment

In this post I have asked you to think about several questions:

1. Why did you miss the metaphor in Tom Johnson's post, or, if you "hit the nail on the head", why do you think you understood the metaphor and why do you think that others in the class missed the metaphor?
2. What metaphors have you encountered since I asked you to create a log of them?
3. What other things can we do as educators to help our students to understand and to use metaphors?
4. Why do we use metaphors?

Instead of Blog Post #14, answer these four questions as best you can. I hope to Skype Mr. Spencer and discuss metaphors with him. If that happens I will post a link to the conversation on the Class Blog. You will need to watch it to address the questions listed above.

Blog Post #14, which is replaced by this Special Assignment, is due Sunday May 1.

Comments on This Post

In the comment that you received on your blog post about Tom Johnson’s post I may have asked you to leave a comment here. That would be great, especially if you have anything to offer on why you missed the metaphor. But it is not a requirement. The Special Assignment specified in this post will suffice.