Friday, January 24, 2014

Moving Away from "Teaching" Toward Empowering Students

Vicki Davis is a Cool Cat Teacher.  Actually she is THE Cool Cat Teacher.  You may have heard of her blog,  It is the most visited education blog followed on the planet. 

Fortunately I had the opportunity to meet Vicki a few years ago and become good friends over the year. I am in absolute awe of her as a teacher, blogger, educator, motivator and organizer (do you know that she has over 100 people come to her house for Thanksgiving and she LOVES it!!!)

One of Vicki's latest projects is her Every Classroom Matters Podcast through the BAM!RadioNetwork. Vicki uses this podcast to interview a variety of educators from around the world about their areas of passion. These 10-minute interviews range from 21st Century Learning to Financial Literacy to Empowering Students.  Fascinating stuff.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Mrs. Davis.  She asked me some interesting questions about my teaching philosophies and practices. She wanted to know about how I interact with students and what happens in my classes. In listening to the interview, it turns out that she didn't have to ask me too many questions at all because I just kept talking . . .

Anyway, here is the link to the interview.  I would suggest that you click on the iTunes link to listen to it.

Listen to the podcast by clicking below: 

It is #6 in the iTunes list. They named it "Steps away from Teaching . . . "

Moving Away from "Teaching" 
Toward Empowering Students
Audio Interview with Dr. Z

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Has the Knowledge Navigator Come True with Siri or Her?

Way Way Way back in the late 80s, Apple had a vision for computing called the Knowledge Navigator.  This dream had a certain 2001 Space Odyssey HAL aspect to it because you, the user could hold a discussion with your computer as it helped you solve your problems.

I was watching an old 12-minute Apple video called the Knowledge Navigator (1987) where a professor is working with his DynaBook to plan his day. (The DynaBook is a laptop conceived by Alan Kay in 1968.) Wouldn't it be wonderful to have this type of interaction with your computer?

Did you notice that the professor said that the article he needed was 5 years old?  When his DynaBook found it, it turned out that that article was written in 2006.  Add 5 years to that and you get 2011. That's not very far away from today. Are we actually living that today?

I have been exploring the many faces of Siri on my iPhone. I have been amazed about how I can ask Siri to set an alarm, search for a recipe, add an expense to a specific note, make a call to my wife, but I was BLOWN AWAY by some of the options I found when researching this post.  Here are some of the requests you can ask of Siri: (Found these at
  • Show me the roster for the Giants
  • Did the University of Northern Iowa win last night?
  • What does the rest of my day look like?
  • Where is my next meeting?
  • Move my 3:00 meeting to 4:30
  • Tell my wife I'll be right there.
  • Open Facebook
The one that really knocked me on my ear was when I said "Phone my wife, Kathy Klink-Zeitz." Before Siri made the call, she said "So Kathy Klink-Zeitz is your wife?  I will make a note of that." Ever since, I don't need to mention Kathy's name.  Just need to say "Phone my wife."

This is VERY close to what we saw the professor doing in his office in the video above.

I just saw the movie, "Her", where a whole operating system is blessed with artificial intelligence and a specific human (Theodore) falls in love with his computer because she (Samantha) is listening to everything he is saying and responding.  Is this our destined future?  How will education be affected by such a system?

Imagine an interactive system that would listen to the voice of learners and provide learning opportunities (notice that I didn't say "Instructional Programs" because it can be SOOOO much more) that will fit our learners' needs.  This doesn't mean that these systems would give the answers.  It just means that it could provide additional challenges and scaffolding as necessary.

What do you think?  Where is this all going?  

Have we achieved the Knowledge Navigator level or is there far to go from here?


Monday, January 06, 2014

What Happens in the Internet in a Minute?

We all know that the Internet is a busy place.

It is difficult to comprehend that 1,407,724,920 people use the internet each day.  Sometimes it is necessary to reduce the frequency of activities down to a more understandable level of a single minute.

What really brings it home is an Info-Graphic like the one below. This image is filled with content that you might appreciate on your own or use them to amaze your students or your next keynote audience.

 Click on the image to enlarge it.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Send Dr. Z a VoiceMail

I was just reading a posting by my friend, Vicki Davis (AKA CoolCatTeacher). She was mentioning that she had been having a lot of fun with her readers sending her voicemail through her blog.  She was using the SpeakPipe voicemail gadget.

Seemed like a lot of fun so I just installed it on Dr. Z Reflects as well.
Look to the right you should see a black tab that says "Send Voicemail".

Click on the tab and you follow the directions to send me a voicemail.  I would love to learn what you would like me to share on Dr. Z Reflects.

Have a wonderful New Year and I hope that have been able to spend the holidays with those you love.