Saturday, January 31, 2009

tt4t_072 January 2009, What a month

It’s Saturday, January 31st, 2009 and welcome to episode 72 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. January 2009 has been an extremely busy month here at the Instructional Technology Center with another new semester started, a new computer lab installed, and a new set of laptops setup and delivered to our Student Teaching coordinators across the State of Illinois. Add to this the inauguration of a new President of the United States and the impeachment of the Illinois Governor and we definitely have a month to remember.

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We are currently working on departmental computer purchases within our college but we still need to deal with the older computers that have recently been replaced. All the older computers need to have the hard drives wiped to remove all data and then prepared to be re-deployed or surplused. Dealing with older computers is another one of those hidden costs of supporting technology that requires time and resources to complete and goes on behind the scenes often unnoticed. It is a good feeling once the replacement cycle has been completed and all the old computers are out of the storage room so we can be ready for the next round of technology purchases. The cycle never ends as new technologies continually develop and the old must make way for the new, such is the cycle of progress.

Back on Episode 54 of TechTalk4Teachers I offered a lesson about higher order thinking skills using Wordle. On that episode I made a Wordle word cloud of John McCain’s Republican convention speech and Barack Obama’s Democratic convention speech and compared the two word clouds.


As I listened to President Obama’s inauguration speech earlier this month I thought it would be interesting to compare then Senator Obama’s convention speech to now President Obama’s inauguration speech. How do you think the two would compare?

The inauguration speech was definitely a different tone than the convention speech. The inauguration speech was much more somber and business like due to all the troubles the American economy is facing. I have provided a picture of each speech as a word cloud in the show notes if you would like to see the comparison. Do you think you could identify each speech based solely on the word cloud? Take a look in the show notes to see.

Click on image to enlarge.

Compare and contrast is a powerful learning strategy to get students out of the rote memorization of facts mode. This gets students above the standard knowledge, comprehension, and application levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy into the higher levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Teachers are always searching for effective lessons that can prompt higher order thinking skills and comparing word clouds is yet another tool teachers can use to help students think about important issues at the higher levels.

Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology Pick of the Week this week is the latest version of a report that I also made my Technology Pick of the week last year about this time of year.

Episode 26

Every January the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative produces a report that provides an overview of up-and-coming educational technologies and their impact upon higher education. The report looks at recent technologies and projects out to five years down the road. It is definitely worth your time to read this report and is recommended reading for anyone interested in educational technologies.

The name of this report is called the Horizon Report and the 2009 version has recently been released. A link is provided in the show notes to the website and the PDF version of this report.

Horizon Report 2009 Website

Horizon Report 2009 PDF Version

This report is licensed with a Creative Commons License and is free to share with others provided you do so in its entirety.

I did see something missing from the report this year, namely the impact netbooks have had in education this past year. It is possible that the authors consider netbooks to be in the mobile category or classify them as part of cloud computing but I believe netbooks deserve a category of their own in this report or at least a mention. We shall see if netbooks make the list in the 2010 version of the Horizon Report next year.

That wraps it up for episode 72 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you have a comment or suggestion please send an email to or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

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