The Up-Goer Five in Education

Guest Blog Post:
Hello all! I am a Biology teacher currently masquerading as an English teacher in South Korea. Since I don’t have much in the way of experience teaching English—much less English as a Foreign Language (EFL)—I am taking some online courses to improve my teaching skills.

When TechI discovered The Up-Goer Five on Nik’s LearningTechnology Blog.

Users are challenged to explain a complex idea using only the ten hundred most used English words. The program identifies any words that you use which are not simple enough.

Here's an example.  Can you guess where it is?  " I live in a big place with one people group that is not my own. The big place I live in is broken in two parts because the two parts were fighting. I live in the lower part. People here are nice. "

Met EdTheUp-Goer Five could be used either to help English Language Learners (ELLs) explain an idea using words that they are familiar with or with non-ELL students to show how difficult it is to express complex ideas when you don't have the proper words. Sites such as these can expose educators to new ideas and give them tools to implement the use of these ideas.

Go ahead and try it! Leave your definition in the comments so mine won’t be lonely. 


The Teachers Should See This: Let Them Own It

My class watched Alan November’s TEDxNYED and had an engaging discussion on it.  I pulled out a few of the main concepts and quotes they selected to discuss.  My young guest blogger then helped me create the below video using Camtasia and Flickr Poet. Enjoy!

With all of this whirling about in my brain, I enjoyed a Seedling book talk on chapter 2: “Students as Tutorial Designer” of Alan November’s book, Who Owns the Learning?  Here’s a link to their chapter 1: “Welcome to the Digital Farm” book talk.  It's all good stuff!

Can you guess what’s next on my ed tech reading list?  Happy watching/reading!

(This post was co-created with my young guest blogger.)


Online Education Book Clubs

Books bring thoughts to life, create shared vocabulary and concepts, and often act as a change agent.  A natural progression of reading something that opens up new ways of thinking, just plain makes you mad, smile, question, etc. is to share and discuss with others.  We are all watching the digital age of books evolve around us—pretty cool potential with augmented reality and transmedia tapping into multiple senses and spaces.  We are questioning the future of textbooks, publishers, and entering a new era when authoring for an authentic audience is easier than ever.

On the Path by h.koppdelaney, on FlickrThis blog has touched on all of these topics.  (See links at the end of this post.)  For some reason, I haven’t put much consideration into online book clubs.  If you are like me and need a starting place, here’s one from Steve Hargadon.  The next paragraph is a regurgitation of some of Steve’s email he sent out on Classroom 2.0.

Check out Steve’s new BookClub20.com  It is a wiki for sharing and finding book clubs and more in education.  Steve has started two of his own book clubs in Mightybell “spaces”  (an interesting space I’ve been considering for classroom use).  Steve’s book club choices are Seymour Papert's Mindstorms and John Dewey's Experience and Education.   It is interesting how Steve is taking it a step further by layering technologies.  On March 14th and April 11th, he will hold discussions in the Blackboard Collaborate live as a part of his FutureofEducation.com.  There are plans for more in the future if these books don’t strike your interest.  While you are exploring, take a look at Book Club 106. Google Hangouts is one of its components.

As I think out loud here, I can see potential in online courses for discussing chapters of assigned texts in this type of Mighty Bell "spaces" organization.  I can see the potential to facilitate hybrid book or video discussions.  Hmmm... there are many possibilities awaiting exploration and application. 

I’d love to know if you are a part of any online education book clubs and where this is headed in our schools and libraries.

Happy reading and book clubbing!

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic Licensepicture by h.koppdelaney