Chris Fritz's Blog – July 2009 Archive (8)

Motivating Students with the Time Bank Philosophy


I recently went to an informational session on Time Banks, where I got to hear about the philosophy behind Time Banking from its founder, Edgar Cahn. For those not familiar with the concept, Wikipedia's quick description of Time Banking is below:
Time Banking refers to a pattern of reciprocal service exchange which uses units of time as currency and is an example of an alternative economic…

Added by Chris Fritz on July 28, 2009 at 9:24am — No Comments

How Montessori Schools Evaluate Students

I think many of us feel the letter/number grade system is woefully inadequate for evaluating students and providing them with meaningful feedback. But what's the alternative? We have to evaluate students somehow - how else could we provide trusted certification to students for other educational institutions and employers? Well, a Montessori… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 21, 2009 at 7:42pm — 3 Comments

Ubuntu Linux: A Progress Report

Linux Magazine has just published a surprisingly balanced article comparing the latest versions of Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS X. Most of you are probably already familiar with Apple's Mac OS X, but Ubuntu Linux is still relatively unknown, despite being a solid, and free offering. The article celebrates some areas where Ubuntu excels while keeping a critical eye on its… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 14, 2009 at 8:20pm — No Comments

Managing Student Calls with Google Voice

I just got my Google Voice invite and have been doing a little experimenting with my students in mind. I decided to put the below widget on our class website, so students can call me if they have something urgent they need to talk to me about.

There are a few things I like about this solution:

- It allows students to get in touch with me without knowing my number.

-… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 10, 2009 at 12:04pm — 3 Comments

Confessions of an Emoticon User

I first started writing this a while ago and actually wasn't planning on posting it here, thinking not many would empathize, but then I saw a great comment by Grocheio that was pointed out by Ira Socol, so I guess I'm not alone! Here I go...

Do you ever use emoticons? In case you're not familiar with the… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 8, 2009 at 11:42am — No Comments

Rethinking Minimum Word Requirements

Anyone who's ever had to write an essay with a minimum word requirement understands the frustration of having to fill up pages with BS. I can understand why a lot of teachers impose these limits, but I don't think they have the effect we desire.

Desired Effect:

Students are thorough enough to complete the assignment.


The assumption we are making is that there is a specific, optimal range of words for discussing a topic and that we… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 7, 2009 at 8:30am — No Comments

An Old-School Way of Thinking About Twitter

I recently read an article on the Langwitches blog comparing Twitter to a large dinner party. I think this analogy is perfect. Just like at a huge dinner party, with so many people talking at the same time, about so many different things, you can't possibly keep up with every conversation at once. In fact, you'd seem like a… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 1, 2009 at 11:48am — No Comments

Surviving Google Reader with the 80/20 Rule

Some pretty heated discussion going on right now at NECC about Twitter (and also Google Reader, to some extent). I'll talk about my strategy for surviving Twitter later, but right now, I feel like talking about Google Reader (or any feed reading application for that matter) and how I manage to not feel overwhelmed.

I use the 80/20 rule. In the case of Google Reader, that means 80% of the value I get from reading feeds comes from only 20% of them. If you really think about it, I'm… Continue

Added by Chris Fritz on July 1, 2009 at 11:19am — No Comments


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