Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Frozen Water Crystals in Church

I love my pastor, Rob Bell, because he always challenges in relevant ways. He showed pictures of Dr. Emoto's work demonstrating how thoughts (words written on paper and taped onto glasses) affect the patterns of frozen water crystals. This clip shows some of them.

Clip is at

The logical, skeptical part of me has trouble comprehending this, but it demonstrates the power of thoughts. We all have had feelings where we can sense a tension in the air between people even when no words have been spoken. My wife has an incredible sixth sense about people and situations. Dr. Emoto's work possibly shows the science behind those feelings.

As a teacher who is getting very excited about Web 2.0 teaching and tools, I have been following many conversations on blogs and on twitter. I am excited as I change my teaching style through the new tools available. I was also considering the TPACK model as shown to me by Matt Townsley here. We were tweeting about the importance of curriculum and pedagogy driving the proper use of technology and not vice-versa. As many have argued, it's not about the technology.

I could not help but think that with all of the excitement in blogs and twitter about the new tools, we always need to focus on the students first. The old cliche "they don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care" still rings true. The water crystals reminded me of this again. Our students need our positive thoughts and verbal encouragement as much as they need the "new tools". Take time, especially now in the crazy end of the year, to positively affirm all the good you can find in every student.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

After the Call

I finished the Skype call with Linda Lowery and Richard Keep, wife and husband. Linda writes children's books with Mexican themes and Richard illustrates them. I helped a 6th grade Language Arts teacher facilitate the call. The students prepared questions and learned about Mexican culture and why Linda choose to be an author. The students really enjoyed talking to them in live time while they were in Mexico.

My opinion of the Skype call was that it worked great. I projected their image on a large screen with my LCD projector. We had good audio and video feed the whole time. The students were a little bit shy. I think with more experience they would be more natural with it. I would like to try some kind of backchannel next time. I will have to find a platform that is not blocked or get IT to unblock it. The greatest part is bringing experts into the room from around the world. The sky is the limit with Skype!