Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Recording Again!

Dan here:

We're at it again on a Friday night before yet another storm drops 37 inches of snow on our front yards. Oh well.

This has been a fairly exciting week around these parts. The show has had a huge upsurge in downloads, we got a sweet mention on Geek!Ed, and I've been quite the revolutionary this week.

We'll talk about all of this, about the MEA's touting of the TeLL results, about Google Apps, about candy, and about American Elves. Actually, it's just one American Elf.

Oh yeah, the topic! This week we're talking about being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Episode 8 We Don't Need No Stinking Credits

Show notes:

Discussion: @ 2:21 minutes
Jeff n' Dan discuss the proposed changes in the Graduation Requirements in Maine. Here's a link to the video introduction by Commissioner Sue Gendron. We recommend that you watch it and leave feedback at the DOE's website.

Tech Talk: @ 45 minutes
Jeff Reviews some Wiki sites. What are they and why would you use them.

Media Integration: @ 51 minutes
Dan discusses three country songs and their use in the classroom.
Brad Paisley's "Online"
Montgomery Gentry's "What Do You Think About That"
Taylor Swift's "I'm Only Me When I'm with You"

Book Talk: @ 57:20 minutes
Dan reviews the book The Realm of Possiblity by David Levithan.

Didya See?: @ 1:02:25 minutes
SAD 58 misses an exception to regionalization by “This much” (Source: Sun Journal)
What’s the Beef with the School Lunch Program?

Music in this week's episode comes from Penmachine Podcast. “Meltdown Man” intro music by Derek K. Miller.

Listener feedback is encouraged. Contact us at or leave us comments at
This episode was recorded Feb 23, 2008.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taping Again -- This Time on a Saturday! We Have No Lives!

Dan here:

It's 9 o'clock on a Saturday. While other thirty-somethings around the world are going to swank bars and getting the skinny on the SNL afterparty, Dan and Jeff are recording this week's episode.

We yap at length -- and with great vigor -- about the proposed changes to graduation requirements.

Jeff is gonna talk Wiki, I'm gonna talk country music and high school relationships, and we're gonna point out some of the peculiarities of the last week or so in Maine education.

We're about halfway through the recording right now and I'm thinking this could well be the most disturbing episode yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Newly Proposed (at Least Publically) Maine Graduation Requirements

Dan here:

So this week I saw a news story run on one of the Portland networks (probably WGME, but it could've been WCSH) regarding Commissioner Gendron's presentation of proposed graduation requirements and new Maine Learning Results.

Here's the site to explore -- look in the sidebar on the right. There's a video, some documentation, and a link to a feedback tool. And that's the big reason why I'm posting this.

Love it or hate it or land somewhere in the middle, by all means, say something. Too often educators, myself included, complain without ever expressing it to the people who need to hear it. And be specific. It's nothing novel to say, 'It's too much,' or 'I hate the state department gettin' messin' with my affairs.'

Myself, I'm looking at the 2010 mark and thinking, 'In the incredibly volatile climate of consolidation and the subsequent budget and staffing reforms taking place, high schools are expected to now change the way in which students are held accountable for graduation? Is this really practical, efficient, or effective change-making?"

I've gotta study the proposed changes a bit more before I get on too much of a rant, but certainly I cannot see the benefits to having such an accelerated schedule in light of everything else going on.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Episode 7 Learning Online

Show notes:
Jeff n' Dan discuss the benefits and pitfalls of online learning environments.

Tech Talk:
Jeff Reviews some free and easy Course/Learning Management Systems

Media Integration:
Dan discusses “Curse of Curves” by Cute is What We Aim For.

Book Talk:
Dan reviews the Minx line of graphic novel from DC comics. Including The Plain Janes & The Re-Gifters

Didya See?:
Regionalization Meeting in Western Maine with the Rural Caucus
Baldacci fights plan to cut school aid (Kennebec Journal)

Music in this week's episode comes from and Penmachine Podcast. “Meltdown Man” intro music by Derek K. Miller.

Listener feedback is encouraged. Contact us at or leave us comments at
This episode was recorded Feb 15, 2008.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Night Recording!??! What?!?!

Dan here:

Circumstances have dictated that we record this fine Friday evening. Yes. Stunning. We don't have anything else to do on a Friday. Yeah. Awesome.

Actually, I think it's shaping up to be a pretty decent episode with a focus on the online classroom and learning management systems. We talk about the pros and cons and some of the options available out there to educators who want to try integrating such into the classroom.

We also yap about using music in the classroom via Cute Is What We Aim For's "Curse of Curves," and my love for the DC Comics MINX line of graphic novels including Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg's The Plain Janes and Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, and Marc Hempel's The Re-Gifters.

Jeff will have all the great links (they keep growing as we record) in the show notes when we post it proper.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow Days and Consolidation

Dan here:

So, all these snow days have got me thinking, 'What's gonna happen when we have mega-districts? How will it be decided which towns send their kids and which don't? What about students who will be attending the consolidated high schools that will inevitably grown from the restructuring?"

There's some interesting discussion happening over at the Learning in Maine blog about how to wrangle with snow days.

In a short amount of time hunting, I've turned up nothing that answers my questions above, though. Any help, folks?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jeff's Delicious

Jeff Here:

Just thought I'd provide a link to my delicious bookmarks to our listeners in case you wanted to see what I find as soon as I find it or browse what I've already bookmarked. Everything in my list has some educational focus and I tag all of them.

Give it a gander.

Oh, by the way, the apostrophe in this post title indicates possession, not the contraction for "Jeff is.".I could see how that might change the meaning significantly and be rather embarrassing for yours truly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Episode 6 If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Show notes:
Jeff n' Dan discuss a listener question. If you could do it over again, would you go into teaching?

Tech Talk:
Jeff Reviews some tools keeping your bookmarks online

Media Integration:
Dan discusses King of Kong: A fistful of Quarters from Picturehouse films, a documentary about competitive video game playing.

Book Talk:
Dan reviews Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham. A novel about a girl who loses her arm to a shark.

Didya See?:
The focus on Education in the US Presidential Campaign... huh, neither did we!

Music in this week's episode comes from Penmachine Podcast. “Meltdown Man” intro music by Derek K. Miller.

Listener feedback is encouraged. Contact us at or leave us comments at
This episode was recorded Feb 10, 2008.

Recordin' Right Now, Friends

Dan here:

Before we go caucus (big shock, Dan & Jeff are Democrats -- booga!) we're getting together to record Episode 6. (Jeff wants everyone to get out there and caucus today -- though I think it may be a bit late for that.)

We had a plan for this week's show, but after getting a very intriguing comment on the blog, we decided to put off our conversation about politics and classroom for another day and take on the question posed by our listener.

Anonymous posted: "Not related to this episode, but a more of a general curiosity to both Dan & Jeff, and anyone reading this:

If you were an individual making the decision to go into education, knowing what you know, and having the experience that you have; would you make the same decision? why or why not?

Also what would you advice be to someone facing the same choice?

Sorry if this sounds like a test question, but you will be graded on the completeness of your answer; and I will be checking your sources (no I will not accept Wikipedia as a valid source)"

Brilliant question, Anonymous. Our answers -- at least, today's version of our answers as I freely admit my feelings on this matter seem to change with the tides -- reside firmly at the core of this episode.

Of course, we'll also have Jeff offering up some great tech tools, this week devoting time to online bookmark collecting and organizing applications. And I'll be sharing my book talkin' thoughts on Kelly Bingham's Shark Girl and my media integration notions on the documentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

With any hope, there'll be some great listening ahead.

(Oh, and Jeff's formal show notes will have the links for everything we talk about.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Episode 5 Competition in the Classroom

Show notes:
Jeff n' Dan discuss competition as a motivational force in a classroom. When and in what ways does a sense of competition harm/help?

Tech Talk:
Jeff Reviews some tools for debate and discussion (Debatepedia)

Media Integration:
Dan discusses the PBS Frontline Series and website

Book Talk:
Dan Reviews Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson, a book about how TV, movies and video games actually make us think!

Didya See?:
Lots here this week.
TeLL survey results
UMF offers a Master’s Program in Education
DOE changes funding for needy students
Forums for the new MLRs and graduation requirements. See Sue Gendron’s video courtesy of Jim Burke’s Learning in Maine blog and Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting.

Music in this week's episode comes from and Penmachine Podcast. “Meltdown Man” intro music by Derek K. Miller.

Listener feedback is encouraged. Contact us at or leave us comments at
This episode was recorded Feb 2, 2008.

We're Recording Right Now!

Dan here,

We're back at it this morning after a brief hiatus. (The WGA was threatening to picket my house if we didn't come to an agreement with them before the next show. Oh, thanks Dave Letterman for the assist in making negotiations flow smoothly. The fruit basket is in the mail.)

This episode will cover some of the goings-on across the state since we last got a chance to rant, as well as our usual tech, media, and book integration recommendations. I'll yap about Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You (his blog is here)and PBS' Frontline, while Jeff will sling Debatepedia and Chinswing at ya along with FrictionTV . And we'll tangle with the philosophical question of competition in the classroom.

And here's the links for the 'Did Ya See' articles. (MLR meetings, disadvantaged student funding, UMF Masters, TeLL participation.)

Today's show will be recording using a Snowball mic on loan from one of Jeff's fabuloso colleagues. Our listeners may not notice any difference in quality, but dang ain't that thing pretty to look at.