Monday, October 26, 2009


I love information. I read the New York Times each day (the paper version via home delivery) and check Twitter for feeds ranging from Edutopia and New Scientist to Lance Armstrong (one of my heroes) and various friends. I love new information because what I'm good at is synthesizing information and using it to help educate. Not surprising, I'm loving RSS feeds. What I love most about them is that I have subscribed to organizations that I like to get information from and with the RSS, I can get the specific information I like delivered directly to me.

I'm not a teacher and in fact, I'm not employed full-time so I have chosen feeds that are important to me and where I am going. I have been a producer of an event called the International Achievement Summit for the past 18 years. In those years, I have met and worked with outstanding achievers from all fields who have inspired me.

The first feed I'm following is from Tom Friedman, my favorite NYT columnist. I heard him speak several times for the Academy over the past few years including his thrilling presentation on The World is Flat when it was first published (see photo of myself with him above at the Achievement Summit 2007). That book and his presentation inspired me to pursue a path centered around education for the 21st century along with a panel discussion on education with his friend and another person I admire greatly, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson (President of Rensselaer Polytechic Institute). I recently watched a podcast of The World is Flat 3.0 created for iTunesU at MIT (Free Open CourseWare) in April 2009. Friedman is my compass point - helping to set the path for where I need to go if I want to make a difference. What a wonderful thing to have his commentaries now delivered directly to me!

Another source of inspiration for me is the TED Conference. I have watched several videos and love the new ideas and mashing of information from disparate sources. That is what the world is about today. So I'm following this.

I fell in love with Edutopia in the first month of this master's degree when I did a literature review on I see George Lucas at every Academy of Achievement event, but I had no idea he had created this fabulous organization until I started this program. I follow Edutopia on Twitter and now I'm following their RSS.

There are several other related sources I have chosen to follow in Reader to help guide me in my studies and work. These three are all news feeds related to education. They include NPR Topics (both Technology and Education), BBC News in Education (for an "over the pond" point of view), MIT World, Educational Technology and NYT Education. All of these combined give me a daily feed of new information on education to be mashed and used for the creation of who knows what.

BP3_2009111_PPT_11 advantages of using a blog for teaching

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:


Using blogging in education is how to mash things together. What is education? It is a process of learning, enlightenment, and knowledge. The definition doesn't say that education only happens in a classroom. Educational blogs are a way of breaking the walls down between the classroom and anywhere else. In the 21st century, that means also collaborating with others. The classroom is still an important place for discussion, but sharing can and should be done outside of the class.

Digital Native students are used to this collaborative culture for social reasons, developing the practice for use in education is a natural extension of the classroom. Duffy and Bruns (2006) described the use of blogs, wikis and RSS feeds as a "Conversation of Possibilities." Each tool has the potential to help a student write their ideas, relate incoming information to it, and have interaction with other students about concepts and ideas.

Richardson (2006) described how the use of blogging, wikis and RSS feeds can promote critical thinking skills, creativity, analytical thinking and has the potential for learning with access to new, relevant information. It is a combination of solitary work of writing and collaboration through the social interaction of commenting.

Blogging allows students to blog at a time and place of their own making giving them freedom to set their own learning agenda. Discussions started in the classroom can be expanded over time after there is a time for reflection by students and teacher alike. Everyone participates in the discussion. In this manner, education is extended outside of the formal classroom and becomes a organic part of each student's daily life rather than a task to be completed.

In short, blogging creates a student-centric learning experience where self-discovery and peer-to-peer teaching take the place of one-way teacher-driven lecture environments. Students learn to express themselves and they can monitor a change in thinking over time. (See Slideshare on 11 advantages of using a blog for teaching).

Image from Creative Commons


KanMakem: I am creative and I make things. I make things that organize and interpret and present in a manner that is more understandable. Why KanMakEm? Because that is me. Where did that word come in? I love skiing and I ski at Telluride. For anyone who knows Telluride, you have already got the link. There is a famous run there - double diamond - called KantMakEm. So in honor of My Favorite Place, I KanMakEm.

KanMashEm: As I said, I organize and interpret. I'm the classic liberal arts student. I graduated from Colby in Art and Biology, went to Parsons School of Design and have mixed all sorts of ideas in creative ways. Why KanMashEm? Because I can mash together ideas that create something new. Where did that word come from? Well, it obviously relates to KanMakEm. But why Mash? Well, because one of my favorite people to listen to is Tom Friedman and he talks about "mashing" ideas together in The World is Flat 3.0.

So there you go. Welcome to KanMakEm KanMashEm!