Welcome to CTRLALT DELIVER: The Podcast Episode 32. Where this week we look at outdated icons, Symbaloo for EDU, Russell Tar and The Pragmatic Mom.
In a great tweet from Scott Hanselman, he shares that “The Floppy Disk Icon means “save” for a whole generation of people who have never seen one.” In his article The Floppy Disk means Save, and 14 other old people Icons that don’t make sense anymore, he elaborates on that idea. In looking through the list, from Save to VoiceMail to Phone icons, he points out that the symbols used to represent them are all representative of outdated technology. From floppy disks to reel-to-reel recorders, they are not only obsolete, but obscure. I can say with certainty that the generation of children that I am teaching are not familiar with old tape recorders and have never touched a rotary phone. And although that is certainly true, one of the things that Scott does not touch on is that it really doesn’t matter. Much in the way that the little used @ symbol has become synonymous with email, by its definition, an icon is just an image that is a representation for something else. To the original tech generation they needed that graphic to make the transition into the digital realm. For this generation, they don’t stop and ask themselves WHY the phone icon looks that way, simply that it IS the phone icon. (On a side note, if they WERE to change the icon to look like a cellphone, there would be too much visual similarity to a calculator icon, so THEN where do we go?) Although the article was clearly written for the humor in it, it does bring up an interesting challenge for the future. When and where could we make the transition? Computer keyboards no longer NEED to be in the QWERTY configuration because of mechanical difficulties, but I don’t see the mad rush to transition over to anything else.
As we continue to look at icons and symbols, I want to take a moment to talk about Symbaloo for Education . If you have not checked out Symbaloo before, it lays out a grid of icons that makes it easy for you to organize and access your links for your Personal Learning Environment. Combining the easy access of the icons with a tabbed interface, you can create a home page for you and your students that is rich with resources. I have, for example, on my homepage icons for Prezi, Wordle, and Brainpop (along with a myriad of others). My next tab is Educational Tools like translations tools, SchoolTube, and Evernote. My final tabs are Reading and K-5 Math Tools. There is a mobile app in the works. I am looking forward to embedding this into my SmartBoard pages next year. Check it out.
This week’s KidLit Pick for Audible this week is Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham.
A perfect murder…a faceless witness…a lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth….and he’s only 13 years old.
Meet Theodore Boone. In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only 13, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served. Brimming with the intrigue and suspense that made John Grisham a number-one international best-seller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer will keep listeners guessing.
Our Audible Pick and KidLit Author of the week is John Grisham. Who would have ever thought that you would hear those words and yet, Grisham is not alone. He joins the ranks of Robert Parker and James Patterson, well known for their adult thrillers, that have moved over to the young adult side. Patterson’s Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life is about to have a sequel. Parker had been doing a Young Spencer series before his passing. With Grisham’s ability to provide rich insider details to the operation of the court systems, the Theodore Boone series (there are three books now) can provide a great way to get young readers to explore the complex situations that arise with our legal system. If your readers are ready to tackle something more hearty than the Hardy Boys, this may be a direction for you to go.
Read more: This week’s EdTech spotlight falls on Russell Tarr @russelltar History Teacher, author of ActiveHistory.co.uk + ClassTools.net; keen to share ideas / links with other web2.0 educators! Toulouse, France · His website http://activehistory.co.uk is certinly a rich resource for world history. As a Fifth Grade teacher in the US, where my Social Studies is dominated in the first part of the year with the American Civil War, it is going to be a great resource for studying conflicts on a more global level. His other website, ClassTools.net provides free, customisable flash templates to embed into blogs, wikis and websites. I have used the Random Name Generator in my classroom to pick the order in which students would present projects and the kids loved it. Check him out on Twitter and at both of his websites listed in my shownotes at modernlife.network
And now for our Spotlight on KidLit on Pragmatic Mom
OK. It is not really fair for me to just spotlight her in KidLit. Her blog, PragmaticMom.com is SO much more than just KidLit. But as she herself says, when she is covering education and parenting, KidLit just ends up slipping in there. Her post on bullying comes at a time where I am having some serious issues with my students at school and, of course, there she is to offer a selection of books like Trudy Ludwig’s Confessions of a Former Bully. Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter @pragmaticmom. You’ll be glad you did.