The Hacker Culture as Seen From 1984

Hackers in 1984This is a really fascinating look at what the earliest pioneers in personal computing thought about the “Hacker Culture” (and how the term originated) and what lies at the heart of being both a creative thinker and a coder at the same time. Some of their thoughts still ring true 30 years later.

STEVE WOZNIAK: “I think the hacker drive represents the children in us. Children love to discover, explore, create something a little beyond what they could before. In school you have the courses that teach you the problem and the solution, whereas the hackers tended to be just bright enough to take the little starting points, the mathematical tools, and build up a solution of their own…They were intrinsically motivated; the challenge of solving the puzzle was the only reward. The rewards were in their head.”

BOB WALLACE: (author and distributor of PC-WRITE’): We give away source .with our product,and we haven’t found it to be a problem. We do what we call ‘Shareware.’ We give away PC-WRITE…When I started, I wanted to do a product and I wanted  to have control over it and I wanted to make a living. Not having a lot of money for advertising, I figured the way to distribute it was, you know, word of disk(!). Diskettes are a new medium that I don’t think people have realized how easy they are to copy and what that means, but it gives us a distribution channel.”

DOUG CARLSTON: (founder and president of Broderbund): When we were hacking around in the mid-’60s at Harvard, it was not the engineering students who were the hackers. It was the liberal arts majors whose only computer time available was if they gummed up the locks and snuck into the building late at night because they weren’t allowed to sign up for the stuff. You did everything by trial and error, because we didn’t have any courses, we didn’t have access to anything other than manuals, and as far as I’m aware the whole group of midnight programmers there were people who didn’t have any real functional use for what they were doing at all. So we called ourselves “hackers.”

Great read and thanks to Gary Stager for the share!

Great New Professional Development Offerings from the Adobe Education Exchange


The good folks over at the Adobe Education Exchange have been incredibly busy with some new professional development offerings geared for teachers at all grade levels. Keeping with the theme of promoting creativity in the classroom, Adobe is offering a ton of new training materials for use by teachers. You’ll need a free Adobe ID to enroll in these courses.

I especially like these self-paced workshops that address creativity in the classroom on a macro level:

And as you’d expect, you can also find product-specific professional development courses from Adobe as well, including lessons on Photoshop and Premiere Elements, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, and many others.

In addition to the self-paced workshops you’ll also find the complete listing of all the great live events that Adobe offers via the Ed Exchange as well as recordings of  past workshops offered by Adobe Education Leaders.

So head on over! If you’re an educator in Palm Beach County you’ll soon see some of these courses in use for workshops our department will offer that allow you to earn in-service points.



Learn the Pen Tool with the Bezier Game


One of the most challenging digital tools to learn how to use is the Pen Tool. This tool is present in many different drawing applications and its successful use takes lots of practice.

For a fun way to get your students engaged in learning how to draw with the Pen Tool be sure to visit the Bezier Game. Students will be faced with a series of challenging shapes that they need to duplicate.

The site is completely free and does not require a login of any kind.

Video tutorial: PS Elements

Creating an Interactive Photo Album with Photoshop Elements

Don’t you just love those “ah-hah!” moments, when you stumble across something you didn’t know while learning a new computer program? It might just be the geek in me, but I know I really love coming across new stuff that makes things more interesting and engaging, especially when it’s easy to do and easily translated into the classroom.

Such was the case recently where I was teaching a class on Photoshop Elements to teachers from around our district and we took a harder look at how albums can be used in Photoshop Elements to create coolio little Flash-based animations for uploading to the web or just watching in class. In this short episode from Palm Breeze Cafe I get to show the technique we used and walk through the process of making an interactive album. It’s great fun and an easy win for both teacher and student as it doesn’t require a great deal of technical skill to get awesome results.

Sir Ken Robinson Illustrated

One of my favorite education thinkers, speakers, and experts on the development of human capacity is Sir Ken Robinson. If you haven’t caught his presentations on TED or other locations you’re missing out on hearing some things that all professional educators ought to consider.

Recently I also came across the very cool RSS Animate series where popular speeches are illustrated with hand-drawn graphics. In the embedded video below you’ll hear another one of Sir Ken’s talks and see it come to life as the artists at RS Animate make his talk come alive. Worth every second of the 11 minutes it takes to view the entire presentation.

Thanks for the link goes to Karen Seldon. If you don’t subscribe to her weekly newsletter on educational technology–Tuesdays with Karen— you really ought to sign up!

Top Ten Tips for Teaching with New Media

Top Ten Tips for Teaching with New Media

One of my favorite web sites for finding out more information about the craft of teaching in a creative classroom is the site that the George Lucas Foundation has supported for many years–Edutopia.

Whether your are doing Project Based Learning, Science Inquiry, digital design, or video editing there are always great resources available for teachers at the site.

Now comes another great resource from Edutopia. A PDF guide called Top Ten Tips for Teaching With New Media. This is a free download and doesn’t even require the submission of an e-mail. Just click the link and go!

And what are those tips? Glad you asked. In a nutshell here are the things that readers of Edutopia recommend.

1. Break the Digital Ice: Get your students started with fun, engaging, and relatively easy-to-use tools such as VoiceThread.

2. FInd Your Classroom Experts: Don’t forget to enlist the help of your students!

3. Get Off to a Good Start: Be sure your students know where to find information for your class and how to access it. Edline is a big help for this in Palm Beach County Schools as you can create folders for assignments and much more. But start early and get your students used to visit for the best chance of succes.

4. Think Globally: Online lessons and resources make it easier than ever to get information about other places and makes it possible to collaborate with classrooms around the world.

5. Find What You Need: Need materials or other items for your classroom? Websites like can be a powerful tool for getting micro-grants.

6. Make Meaning from Word (Clouds): World clouds like those you can make at are a great way to see the connections between ideas and much more.

7. Work Better, Together: Collaborative projects can be more work to manage for the teacher, but they provide tremendous opportunities to reach those students who don’t always contribute to your classroom the way you would like.

8. Open a Back Channel: Twitter and Facebook allow you to build your own Personal Learning Network, but don’t forget other groups like Discovery Education Network and the Adobe Education Exchange. You can customize your classroom needs and stand on the shoulders of giants by learning from those how have blazed trails ahead of you.

9. Make It Visual: It’s easier than ever to use images and video to inspire your student’s curiosity, generate brainstorming, and engage diverse learners.

10. Use the Buddy System: Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from collaboration and shared problem solving. Teachers can take advantage of a variety of communication tools to share ideas and strategies with colleagues.

This is a great resource with some tremendous tips and valuable lessons learned. Don’t miss Top Ten Tips for Teaching With New Media from Edutopia!

Creating Miniature Movies with Photoshop Elements

In this episode from Palm Breeze Cafe I get the chance to show Lee Keller and Lee Kolbert methods for creating those quick projects that can be done even in a one computer classroom. Using Photoshop Elements and the Elements Organizer students can take that fourth or fifth step in the project process, combing their writing and research to demonstrate their understanding of an assigned topic by creating digital slideshow.

Projects like this can be done across the curriculum with careful foresight and planning and an eye on the learning objectives you’ve established for your students. Of course those components are required in any project-based learning experiences, but the value here is that the finished product provides that extra dose of motivation for your students as they create miniature videos that can be shared in multiple locations.