The Internet Turns 44 Today!

Born on October 29, 1969

From the Computer History Museum:

On the evening of October 29, 1969 the first data travelled between two nodes of the ARPANET, a key ancestor of the Internet. Even more important, this was one of the first big trials of a then-radical idea: Networking computers to each other. The men who symbolically turned the key on the connected world we know today were two young programmers, Charley Kline at UCLA and Bill Duvall at SRI in Northern California, using special equipment made by BBN in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The development of the ARPANET, which had no commercial application at the time, underscores the power of coordinated basic research and the importance of that research to our society. In the 1960s, computers were not interconnected and most were not even interactive. A few research groups were looking at the potential of networked computing and how distributed systems might be used as information repositories and collaboration tools, but they were hampered by a huge obstacle: they lacked a network to weave their projects together.

— Bill Duvall

Can you remember a time without the Internet? And how about all of the changes that have occurred in the short 44 years since it was born.


3D CAD Dentistry

3D CAD Dentistry

“When I went to Dental School I never thought I’d be a CAD programmer”

said Dr. Marxen smiling.

As someone involved in educational technology, who writes about disruptive technologies in schools and society, there was something fascinating about my trip to the dentist today..

Less than two hours start to finish I received a new crown, as new technologies turn an old 2 WEEK process into a routine office visit. Amazing.

My Visit- A brief overview:

They used a special camera/measuring tool to image the teeth–a small wand that clicked with an image of each tooth surface. Afterward, the computer displayed a three-dimensional build of the area that looked like a detailed topographic map.

The dentist then rotated the image to inspect all the adjoining surfaces, then aligned the top and bottom teeth which included the new, virtual crown.

The technician (thank you Carol) outlined the area for the new crown on the computer much like one would use the lasso tool on Photoshop, before using a blur-like tool to remove high spots that were clearly, brightly colored on the computer image of my new crown.

After adjustments were made on the computer, the tooth was sent to the 3D milling machine in the next room. (see video below)

Eight minutes later the tooth was made. Next, it was hardened and baked white in a small kiln at nearly 900 degrees. After it cooled, sealers were applied before being cemented into place.

Dr. Marxen feels really good about the exacting nature of the technology which creates 3D manipulable images that easily allow him to see the fit around all surfaces and match in biting surfaces, prior to “printing” the crown to his Sirona Cerec 3D milling machine.  He likes the ability to maximize the time in one appointment to minimize invasiveness, reduce repeated trauma in the area of the jaw, and the safety in securing a crown immediately for protecting the affected area.


Power, Potential, and New Learning

Consider the power and capabilities of 3D printing & milling as CAD capabilities become more cost-effective and extend to other industries & institutions. How will this technology change our world?

Consider these recent news highlights:

Implications for Education?

I find the realization of this once science-fiction technology–that is now a reality, to be fascinating:

  • What will students of the (very near) future need to learn?
  • What kinds of skills and trainings will future workers people need to have to be successful in their chosen careers? Dr. Marxen didn’t expect to be a CAD programmer and now this technology has increased the effectiveness and efficiency of his practice.
  • How will values be shaped when you can create anything you’re able to conceive?
  • And alas, how will we deal with the many lawsuits/patents/hacks that will occur as the ability to imitate and own items we ‘manufacture’ at home?



NOTE: The video was taken from my cell phone (Note 3) during my visit (that’s my crown in the machine!) and edited using AndroVid Pro while sitting in the dentist chair–prior to uploading to YouTube (which took longer than finalizing and securing the crown).

[Unsolicited shout-out] If you’re in the Washington/Eastside area:
Advanced Care Dentistry
13515 NE 175th St, Woodinville, WA 98072
(425) 483-2442

educational thought leadersThank you to for including me in their recent blog post (August 5, 2013) titled 5 Questions for 5 EdTech Thought Leaders

The article contains answers from four other educational thought leaders:

Following are the questions that were posed to us and my answers:

In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing happening right now in digital learning?

Individualized and personalized learning that is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week from mobile devices.

Technology versus textbooks: will there ever be a winner?

I don’t believe published paper text books to be a sound investment when there are dynamic and interactive digital options that can always be easily updated. While I may personally prefer the freely-available openness of the Internet and its vast array of resources, I understand the need for grade-level appropriate, self-contained, subject-specific digital texts. That said, I worry about student families and institutions being beholden to expensive publisher costs for eTexts.

What’s going to be the next big thing in educational technology?


If you could give one piece of advice to teachers about to integrate technology in their classroom this fall, what would it be?

Don’t hesitate because you think you have to be the controlling expert. Start small and learn alongside your class. Most importantly: Have fun!

What’s your best kept EdTech secret?

If there is an “EdTech secret”, it’s that people are the most significant ‘technology’ and that learning occurs best when powerful connections are made. Technology is simply a tool to help teachers extend their reach and for students to access content, investigate, share, and produce demonstrations of their understandings.

I encourage you to read the original article for all of the insights from the above noted educational thought leaders. Follow them on Twitter and visit their web sites for outstanding information on educational technology and learning in the digital age!

Original eSparkLearning article: Educational Thought Leaders

About eSparkLearning — Their mission is to transform learning so it’s personalized, best of breed, engaging, and mobile; enabling students to succeed in school and in life.

In visiting China this past Spring, I was surprised to meet so many Americans whose job it was to teach English. I was interested to learn that these opportunities were in every industrial sector, not just in schools.

I stayed at an AirBnB in Shanghai, whose proprietor worked with business and government officials. These officials would review the news from the United States and his job would be to explain it to them in the context of their culture.

It felt like every American I ran in to was teaching English abroad and they loved it! They enjoyed the professional teaching atmosphere, the seriousness of their students, and felt they were compensated quite well. From corporations to pre-schools, schools and colleges, everybody reported the same thing.

Disney English

In fourteen cities across China there are Disney English Schools. I hadn’t heard of them before but  watch this video and be amazed at the combination of teaching English in a foreign country and immersive technologies!

About Disney English

With the culmination of over 70 years of published language learning materials, Disney has perfected an approach designed to appeal to a range of different learning styles. Teaching English in China using the Disney English Immersive Storytelling Approach (ISA) incorporates role plays, songs, movement, games and storytelling with the latest educational technology to fully engage students in a memorable and effective learning experience.

Aimed at students aged 2 to 12 years old, The Disney English Immersive Storytelling Approach is an enlightened teaching approach that blends Multiple Intelligences Theory and Experiential Learning with a strong emphasis on communication. Making use of imaginative situations which appeal to young learners, this unique learning environment engages and challenges young learners to not just learn a new language but to discover the fun that can be had doing so.

The Courses

Disney English in China have put together an exceptional collection of unique course material which feature Disney characters throughout and place an emphasis on natural English communication. They are backed up with an amazing array of supplementary materials to really bring the class to life, from flashcards, an entire room full of realia, song CDs, games, digital material, toys and comprehensive teachers’ guides. All this makes teaching English in China a really enjoyable experience and allows you to create truly engaging and effective lessons.

Each classroom is fitted with an interactive white board & digital presentation wall which are packed full of animated teaching material, helping to further enrich the student-centered learning environment.

Class sizes are small, no more than 15 per class, to ensure all students receive the personal guidance and attention they need to get the most from their learning experience.

Source: &


Teaching Abroad


TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
CELTA – Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults – a high level TEFL certificate.

TEFL -Teaching English as a Foreign Language

TEFL certification is designed for countries where English is not considered the primary language. TEFL can bridge the gap between an individual who is looking to learn English for the purposes of moving on to an English international university, and so is particularly versatile as it can be employed in many different areas, for many private institutions, education departments, and international schools found around the world.

TESL -Teaching English as a Second Language

The TESL certificate applies to regions where English is the primary language. For example, teaching English to someone who lives in the United States would necessitate a TESL approach.

It is often the case that a TESL teacher will have English as their first language, as they are usually found in those types of countries, but this is not always a necessary requirement. A TESL certificate applies in any English-speaking country, as there are many international students who attend public and private schools within these countries.

TESOL -Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

This certification is slightly different because it’s often what schools that offer adult English curriculums are looking for. It is also different from the above certifications in that, depending on the region in which you live, this certification can apply as TEFL/TESL, though it should be noted that flexibility is highly case-sensitive.

TESOL also constitutes the CELTA certification, which is the TESOL certification issued through CambridgeESOL.

TESOL/TESL/TEFL: Similar, but Different

In summary, TESL and TESOL are basically the same thing, teaching English as a second language. This means an instructor will be teaching English to people who do not speak English, but live in a country where English is a native or national language. TESOL means that you may also be teaching it to people who speak two languages, neither of which are English, and live in a country where English is a national language. TEFL is teaching english as a foreign language, to people who live in a country where English is not a national language.

More: Follow @ShellTerrell on Twitter

If you’re looking for additional information about TESOL, I highly recommend following Shelly Terrell ( on Twitter @ShellTerrell.

While I don’t know Ms. Terrell personally, she’s a social media delight and posts frequently on TESOL and teaching abroad.

Happy Travels!


image from:, no ownership implied

A video uploaded this week to YouTube by Microsoft Research Asia–via the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing Union University, shows (1)  visual recognition of sign language and (2) communication via an avatar.

A menu on the side shows icons for “ASL” and “CSL”, to which I’ll infer these are for American Sign Language and Chinese Sign Language.

Pretty amazing technology– See below.

Sign Language Recognition

The short video demonstrates four items of the Kinect-based programming:

1.0 Translation Mode
1.1 Isolated Word Recognition
1.1 Continuous Sentence Recognition
2.0 Communication Mode