Friday, July 29, 2011

Episode 122 - Looking for the Oregon Trail

It’s Friday, July 29th 2011 and welcome to episode 122 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This month we have a couple of special segments to share with you, first I have a debriefing with Brian Poulter, we had Brian on the show a couple of episodes ago back on Episode 120 when he was about to leave on a motorcycle trip to follow the Oregon Trail. Brian is now back from his trip and has some interesting stories to share with us.

Right Click Here to Download MP3
(33 minutes 43 seconds)

Following the Oregon Trail segment I will have an interview with Dr. Cindy Rich from the Teaching with Primary Sources grant here at EIU who I have invited back again to share more about digital resources available from the Library of Congress. In talking with Dr. Rich after last months show we thought we would try to make a new recurring segment called Teaching with Primary Sources to incorporate into the TechTalk4Teachers podcast to share the many things made available to teachers from the TPS grant.

So once again we have a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Looking for the Oregon Trail

In the End

Tragedy Strikes

Picture of Graves with Mt Hood in Background

Teaching with Primary Sources

EIU Teaching with Primary Sources Website

Library of Congress

Library of Congress Site Update Sheet

Kitten on the Keys Music

Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology Pick of the Week this week is a TED video by Matt Cutts. Matt gives an excellent talk about trying something new for 30 days. When Brian Poulter and I talked about Oregon Trail trip we threw out a challenge to you for trying something new over the summertime and sharing that experience. Brian also mentioned that he would be doing another photo a day experience this fall. I believe as educators we must constantly sharpen our saws and hone our skills to make us better educators. Becoming stagnant and stuck in a rut is a death knell for an educator.

TED Talks Homepage

Having a time of purposeful practice is absolutely necessary in order to improve any skill. The only way to achieve that is with commitment and focus. You can read and dream all you want but the effects of actually doing something is the only way to improve, there is a price to pay for getting better at something. Since education is all about constant improvement, by learning new things we need to consciously make decisions about what area of life we would like to improve.

I have provided a link in the show notes to the TED talk by Matt Cutts about such taking a 30 day challenge.

Learning takes time and repetition and it turns out that focusing on something for 30 days provides just enough time to create new habits (or break bad ones).

If you are not familiar with the TED talks you should really check them out. There are nearly 1000 videos of some of the worlds best and brightest thinkers at the TED website where videos of short 20 minute or less presentations are available about what the speakers are passionate about.

Here is what the TED website says, “TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design”

So, if you have a little extra time this summer and have not yet experienced TED Talks, or even if you have, I encourage you to visit the TED website and do a search on whatever topic of interest and sit back, watch, and be inspired.

That wraps it up for episode 122 of TechTalk4Teachers. I want to thank Brian Poulter and Cindy Rich for being guests on todays show. Show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at To leave a comment or suggestion, please send an email to or leave a comment on the Tech Talk for Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom. Keep on learning…