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The Tango Lesson
Friday, February 24, 2006
Ore : 9:00 AM

At the end of the day, there is only one way to dance tango: the way YOU like to dance it. And there is only one style: the one YOU choose to be your style; because a tango dancer never copies, never imitates, never conforms to an established pattern, never follows the trends, never talks about his dancing. A tango dancer dances .... out of a finite number of recognizable body positions for the couple, it is possible to improvise a countless number of patterns, steps and figures.

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 9:00 AM | Permalink | 1 commenti | links
The Three Steps of Tango
Monday, January 30, 2006
Ore : 8:50 AM

One of the understated facts of dancing Argentine Tango is the availability of four feet and four cardinal directions where the couple can move. Simply put, there are only three steps in Tango: the Side step, the Forward step and the Back step.

With these three steps a couple could dance in straight lines or in a box, going forward, sideways, backwards, sideways, etc., etc.

What is a Blog?
from The Weblog Project
Blogs are ...

Let's start with a demo ...

Pre-Cal 30S (Fall '06)
Pre-Cal 40S (Fall '06)
AP Calculus AB (2006-2007)
Pre-Cal 20S (dormant)
Applied Math 40S (dormant)

The Big Picture ...

How Will I Orchestrate It This Time?
The Next Movement

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 8:50 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
New Views in Education

Ore : 8:40 AM

New views in education are adding pressure for course reformation. This chart details some of the transitions instructors are making with regards to learning (changes that are much more difficult to accommodate in a course model, than in a community model):

Lecturing on factual information

Working as an individual

Teacher was the primary source of knowledge

Teacher and print media served as the primary means of communication

Learning was separated from the rest of the community
Guiding, motivating, and facilitating

Valuing working together

Many rich sources of immediate knowledge

Learning using a vast variety of media including the Internet

Learning now occurs globally

(Gubbins, Clay, & Perkins, 1999: source)

Nicholas Negroponte describes his $100 laptop initiative as being motivated by three basic principles:
  1. Use technology to learn learning, not to learn something
  2. Teaching is one but not the only way to achieve learning
  3. Leverage children themselves: bring them more into the equation to do part of the teaching (peer to peer, peer to teacher)

It's not about the technology ... it's about the pedagogy these new technologies facilitate.

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 8:40 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
What is a Learning Ecology?
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Ore : 12:52 AM

Blogging, both personally and professionally, always brings to mind three metaphors for me: conductor, choreographer and gardener ...

An ecology is an environment that fosters and supports the creation of communities ... A learning ecology is an environment that is consistent with (not antagonistic to) how learners learn ... The Instructor plays the role of gardener.

What are the needs of a learning ecology?
Learning/knowledge is more than static content. It's a dynamic, living, and evolving state. Within an ecology, a knowledge sharing environment should have the following components:

  • Informal, not structured. The system should not define the learning and discussion that happens. The system should be flexible enough to allow participants to create according to their needs.

  • Tool-rich - many opportunities for users to dialogue and connect.

  • Consistency and time. New communities, projects and ideas start with much hype and promotion...and then slowly fade. To create a knowledge sharing ecology, participants need to see a consistently evolving environment.

  • Trust. High, social contact (face to face or online) is needed to foster a sense of trust and comfort. Secure and safe environments are critical for trust to develop.

  • Simplicity. Other characteristics need to be balanced with the need for simplicity. Great ideas fail because of complexity. Simple, social approaches work most effectively. The selection of tools and the creation of the community structure should reflect this need for simplicity.

  • Decentralized, fostered, connected...as compared to centralized, managed, and isolated.

  • High tolerance for experimentation and failure

(George Seimens: source)

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 12:52 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
My Tango Begins - Being Forward
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Ore : 10:58 PM

Being forward
I post material from various websites that:
  1. illustrate concepts we've been learning as animations and/or video or static photos

  2. have online lessons/reviews of material we've covered in class

  3. have interactive online quizzes that give kids an opportunity to test their skills.

(see this sample post: Pop Goes the Weasel)

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 10:58 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Again - Being Forward

Ore : 9:07 PM

Being forward — The BOB Post

Each student has to write a reflective post about their learning at least once before each test. It's worth one mark on the test. The parameters of this "reflective post" are detailed in a post to the blog called Blogging On Blogging.

Powerful Examples
A Little Something to Read

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 9:07 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Step Aside - Students Lead
Friday, January 27, 2006
Ore : 10:20 AM

Step Aside
One student each day is the class scribe. This is worth 5% of their class mark (like a participation mark), everyone who writes a scribe post gets their marks -- non-blogging students don't (it's their choice).

The Mechanics
The Assignment
The Scribe List

The Evolution
First Scribe
Later(?) Scribe
The Editor's Initiative
The Scribe Post Hall of Fame
Scribers Guide to Scribing
   Pre-Cal 40S students speak
   Applied Math 40S students speak

The Benefits
  • medical school paradigm, deep thinking
  • the textbook
  • insight and focused feedback
  • responsibility, ownership, high expectations, sense of community
  • when they're away

More details about The Scribe Post.
More details about The Scribe Post Hall Of Fame here, and here.
(picture source)

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 10:20 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Step Aside - Students Speak

Ore : 9:45 AM

Step Aside
Chatboxes introduce another level of functionality and interactivity.

More details here.

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 9:45 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Being Forward, Step Aside del.icio.us

Ore : 8:55 AM

Being forward, Step Aside — a little two step — OLÉ!
A del.icio.us idea

See it in action
Pre-Cal 20S
Pre-Cal 30S
AP Calculus AB
Pre-Cal 40S (Winter '06)
Applied Math 40S

More details here.

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 8:55 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Step Aside Our Digital Story
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Ore : 11:20 PM

Step Aside
Our Digital Story - The Process and the Product

More details here.

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 11:20 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Know When to Back up

Ore : 10:42 PM

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 10:42 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
La Marca

Ore : 9:07 AM

La Marca
The subtle delay between the motion of the dancers is what creates the much sought after feline elegance of the dancing couple. You can't walk like a cat because you only have two legs. An embraced couple, combining both sets of legs can.

In essence, understanding the concept of "I move, then he moves," if you are a woman, or "she moves, then I move," if you are a man, is a significant step towards developing the natural sway and sensual motion characteristic of the Argentine Tango.
Sunday FundayThink Again!
connected slide
hare and hounds
swan's room

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 9:07 AM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
Step Aside (Away)
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Ore : 11:25 PM

Step Aside
When I’m Away

Class Online
Give the substitute la marca

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 11:25 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
A Position of Strength - Issues...

Ore : 10:32 PM

A Position of Strength
The position where one leg is slightly flexed with the foot completely on the ground and the other leg is elongated with the heel off the ground is perhaps the one most likely to be in use most of the time while dancing. Should somebody enter the room and take a still photograph of that position, it would be impossible to guess whether the dancer is in the process of stepping forward, stepping backwards, or in the middle of a left or right hand turn.
A Position of Strength
  1. The First Post - study skills

  2. Classroom/Blog Policies (3rd post)

  3. Letter to Parents

  4. The Power (Fear?) of Transparency - Learning to Swim

  5. The Conversation Continues ...
    Wesley Fryer hosted a Skypecast on July 11, 2006 with over 20 different teachers from all over the world. The topic was The Pros and Cons of Educational Blogging Options. They "discussed issues of content control, both with student writing (how grammatically correct it should be or permitted NOT to be), how open commenting can positively affect student motivation to write and write well, what happens to classroom blogs at the end of the year, if teachers should introduce students to other social networking environments beyond a protected classroom blog, what blogging tool might be best to start with, and more." Well worth a listen (1 hr 35 min 39 sec). They also started a wiki to support the ongoing conversation.
Pablo Pugliese:
"the Tango begins with the posture and finishes in the legs". There is an anatomical and a psychological reason for paying attention to posture. From an anatomical point of view, finding a comfortable embrace helps the enjoyment of the dance.

The psychological aspect involves a positive winning attitude. The dancers must believe they are the best they can be.
(more details here.)
(picture source)

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 10:32 PM | Permalink | 0 commenti | links
What if your blog was gone?
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Ore : 8:53 PM

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.
~William Stafford
Let's say you develop a well entrenched Online Learning Environment (OLÉ!) for your classes .... then one day .... the blog is gone ....

That's exactly what happened to Konrad Glogowski and he wrote about it in a post on his blog called Tools Interiorized.

The reactions of Konrad's students were remarkable. I asked my students to respond to these two questions:
      »Is our classroom blog valuable to you? If yes, how so?
      »How would you feel if our blog suddenly went offline and couldn't be recovered?

They left their answers in the comments to this post .....

(Thank you to all my students who volunteered to help out with this. And don't worry, our blogs are safe and they're not going offline.)

posted by Darren Kuropatwa at 8:53 PM | Permalink | 18 commenti | links