Monday, June 23, 2008

tt4t_043 A unique flower and NECC 2008

It’s Monday, June 23rd, 2008 and welcome to episode 43 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This week I would like to highlight a use of technology that is currently being used by our Eastern Illinois University Biological Sciences department to share a very rare event.

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Over the past weekend the blooming of the Titan Arum plant occurred. What makes this event so special is that this plant is only found natively in Sumatra and that it blooms only one time every six and a half years! I was able to see the opening of this bloom in person this weekend at the EIU Thut Greenhouse and it really makes you feel special to witness this event with your own eyes while standing less than three feet away from the plant. Once the blooming begins it takes only a few hours for the plant to fully bloom.

Links are provided in the show notes explaining the life cycle of the Titan Arum along with photographs and a live webcam streaming video of this rare event. You will also see photographs of all stages of the blooming of this plant with plans for a time-lapse video of the blooming process in the near future.

Titan Arum website info:

Photography and Live Streaming Webcam information:

EIU Virtual Garden Website:

Thut Greenhouse Webcam

Here is a little background information about this unique plant. The Titan Arum plant begins as a tuber that can weigh over 200 pounds! The other interesting property of this plant relates to its common name of “Corpse Flower”. The flower puts out a powerful odor that is said to attract its pollinators. The smell has been compared to a "rotting-fish-burnt-sugar" scent and is strongest at night. After blooming the spadix of the plant heats up to approximately the temperature of the human body and this is thought to help disperse the scent for beetles and flies that serve as pollinators. This really is a most unusual plant and I encourage you to visit the links provided in the show notes to learn more about this fascinating plant and its life cycle. This information would make for a great science lesson when you get back to class this fall. All of this sharing is made possible by technology!

While virtual viewings and virtual field trips let you experience events that you might not otherwise be able to experience there is still no substitute for the real life experience of being there.

We recently had a discussion in one of my weekend classes about virtual field trips and how they are increasingly being used to offset the cost of real field trips that are becoming less common due to the high cost of fuel. New technologies at least allow the possibility of experiencing events that would otherwise be beyond the reach for many students. However, in my opinion, students still need real life experiences, especially for those children who may not get the opportunity to visit other places because of their home situations. Many of us in the technology field commonly experience virtual events and virtual trainings to help us keep up with new developments in our fields and are quite comfortable with this format. We must however remember that while the virtual experiences can be beneficial for our students, students still need to experience real-life events.

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My technology pick of the week this week is the NECC website.

NECC 2008 San Antonio Link:

A reminder that the National Educational Computing Conference better known as NECC in now one week away and will be hosted by the city of San Antonio, Texas. If you are planning to attend NECC and would like to meet up at this event please drop me an email and we will see if we can arrange a time and place to meet while we are in San Antonio. I am beginning to finalize my NECC schedule and like all the NECC attendees there are so many sessions to choose from that making a decision as to what sessions to attend is difficult.

Last year at NECC the update for the National Education Technology Standards (NETS*S) for Students were presented. This year the update to the National Education Technology Standards for Teachers standards (NETS*T) will be revealed on Monday, June 30th.

NETS for Teachers (2008)

That wraps it up for episode 43 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes for this episode are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at just click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you would like to make a comment or suggestion please send an email to or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. I do not know if I will have a podcast episode next week as I will be on the road but I do plan on gathering lots of information while attending NECC to share with you in future podcasts so stay tuned. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

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