Quotations of the Week

Careful. We don't want to learn from this
Calvin and Hobbes

Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
Franklin P. Adams

Nver discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.
thomas A. Edison

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
Calvin and Hobbes

Some days even my luck rocketship underpants won't help
Calvin and Hobbes

Scanning vs. Seeking - how we view content - a visual example

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

Monday, April 14, 2008

The real final thoughts

Kaira has gone back to sleep and I am back at the computer (can’t wait for the teething to be over – this is week 4 of hourly wake-up calls…).

I have to clarify that I don’t mean to sound negative about these tools. I see a lot of uses for a lot of what we looked at over this semester. I love the possibilities that are out there and I look forward to my class recording their radio commercials next week using audacity (if the IT guy has time to finish my lab – short staffed right now) I am in the process of starting a blog for two of my courses and have been converting some of my assignment to PDF format so I can post them on the site for student access.

I love the fact that these tools are “free” (I have already ranted elsewhere how I don’t really feel these site free… yes, they are monetarily ‘free’ but I think that is a very narrow definition of cost but I refuse to get involved in this rant again and will leave it there). Meaning my overstrained school budget isn’t getting hit by the cost of new software, that students have access to it from wherever, that a lot of the programs allow people with varying experience with computers success in the what they create/publish.

I love how easy google notebook makes it to collect information (if not to process it) and if I could ever get the toolbar installed at school (won’t because it comes – according to the IT guys- with too many issues and just won’t be happening) it would be even a great asset to me in the classroom.

I love how You Tube has videos that I want to share with my classes easily accessible and now that the school has given teachers’ permission to access any site they think is appropriate (don’t tell the students though as it is supposed to be a secret that I can get to YouTube etc…) I can on pretty much a spur find something that we are talking about and share it with the class. For example the other day we were talking about ad campaigns and I was mentioning one that I thought was horrible and rather than try to explain the bad ad by Quizno’s I found it…. would have posted it here but my blog is on strike when it comes to videos (ahhhh…. The joy of technology). Search quizno rat and you will know what I am talking about.

I am excited about trying new things and rethinking what I have done in the past. For me two things have to be answered in my own brain as I continue down the web 2.0 highway…

What am I willing to barter away in return for use of these tools?
How can I learn and use these programs without creating a bunch of litter/clutter/garbage that others will need to sift through looking for items to add to their personal collection of information?

Final Thoughts for now

I have lived most of my life on Vancouver Island and have seen many changes with the landscape. When I was very little I can remember going to the West Coast and camping on Long Beach. Nobody thought anything of preservation or how the landscape was being changed by our actions. We camped directly on the beach and if firewood was needed logs were hauled from where they could be found. I remember cousins collecting starfish and sand dollars from the beaches as well when they came to visit so they could take them home.

As I grew older it became more apparent to those that be that the beaches couldn’t handle the onslaught. Beaches that, when I was little were covered so thickly in sand dollars that you couldn’t walk without stepping on them now have very few. When I took campers to the beaches we talked about leaving everything where they found it and in better condition than what they found. We encouraged them to take memory souvenirs and photos to remember the beach.

I kind of see the internet as this a new landscape that more and more are truly discovering and starting to take an interest in. Where when I I was little going to the west coast of Vancouver Island was all on dirt logging roads and took a better part of a day now can be reached in a few hours. It is covered in resorts and although it is located in a rainforest actually experienced a water shortage a couple of years ago due to usage (and a lack of rain).

The internet is a more accessible space than space to explore and it is easier and easier for all to use. Where when I first used the internet one had to learn HTML to post anything on it now a person simply has to fill out a template and voila… it is posted.

The result though is the same in some respects to the physical landscape that we exist in. As more and more people find the appeal in the landscape the more and more ‘stuff’ begins to exist on the internet. The more stuff on the internet the harder it can sometimes be to find the things that make the original landscape so appealing.

With the amount of traffic this new frontier is attracting the other inevitable of more and more taking up residency is the growth of litter that is now surfacing on the internet. I think about the number of accounts, pages, documents, photos, etc that are now floating (and I don’t mean literallyJ) online from my use of sites for this course alone is staggering to me. Before this course if I googled myself I might get five results if I was lucky… now… well… let’s just say I have created a bunch of garbage in my quest to get somewhere.

Right now we talk about the internet being limitless and I sometimes wonder how limitless is it?

slightly different part 2

Okay, the last blog wouldn't let me save another video... here is my second attempt at the common craft video UGH!!! It won't post... I will come back to it later although I think everyone has seen it by now...through at least one other person's blogs...

Anyway, after we have looked at wikis I thought we would need to have some discussion as a group on what we would tackle next...

Blogs (won't even attempt the video for this one right now) would be my next choice if I had say and one of the documents that I share is Blogs in Education which I found looking for something else. Not only did it turn out to include a nice summary of what a blog is, how to set one up, uses for blogs but it also inlcuded a nice list of sites to visit...

For all our discussions in this web 2.0 group I would like to keep guide the discussions with 4 basic questions
1. What is (fill in the web 2.0 tool of your choice)?
2. What could I use it for in my classroom?
3. How would using it benefit me/my students/the learning community
4. Could the lesson/activity be done without web 2.0 (does it have merrit as an educational experience without the tools of the internet to make it snazzy - need to word it simpler somehow)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

slightly different part 1

If I was planning to do a professional development session with my colleagues in the next while on web 2.0 tools I think i would like to set it up like a book club and call it a web 2.0 club.

Rather than meet for the a half day session or even a full day session I would like to set it up for a weekly hour (or monthly hour or two) group session with a topic to guide each week and have the particpants help develop the content (which we of course would share on our group wiki)

Our first session would be a discussion of what is Web 2.0

sites and articles that would be of use include:

wikipedia's definition of web 2.0

Maybe watching this commentary on Web 2.0 and maybe this video as well
To look at what web 2.0 tools might look like we could look web design from scratch
I also like this article by O'Reilly

Next, because I thought we would create a group wike to keep track of our learnings, useful cites blogs, definitions etc... I thought it would be good to look at wikis
Of course we need to start with a video (visual always good) and I find that I like the ones that common craft creates
and I find that I like O'Reilly's articles so here is one from him on What is a wiki
Of course if we are looking at wikis we should look at wikipedia's definition

Social Media Addiction Rap

When I saw this on a Digg podcast thought I had to find it and share it with you all:)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Not alone

The nice thing about blogs when supporting one's own attempts to learn about things like Web 2.0 tools is that even though you are alone at your own computer mucking things up as you go along. There is someone out there willing and wanting to share his/her own attempts at using tools and sharing the ups and downs of the journey. I don't feel so completely useless when I read that someone else has caused a major security issue on his/her computer as well.

Personalities emerge from the authors of blogs through both what they write, how they write, how they present it and of course what else they share on their blogs. Blogs allow for way more way more freedom in style of writing and because of that don't come across as daunting or impersonal as more formal writings on the same topics.


I have said it before I have to say it again. I find reading blogs difficult. Blogs are like the tv show that you have tried getting into because everyone else is watching but since you missed the first couple (or hundred) episodes it is hard to figure out what is going on. No wonder that the show Lost in its first season spent half the time repeating the first few episodes trying to help potential viewers understand sort of (well, not really) what was going on.

Not to say I don' appreciate what is going in in blogs or what people have to share. I just feel lost trying to get into the loop of the conversation that the author of the blog is having. I feel lost on where to try and start in the conversation and spend a lot of time reading backwards trying to get to a point where I can get reading forwards again.

this has got me thinking a lot about how I would use a blog for my classes. I am starting to look at how I could create a blog to summarize what we did in class on a particular day, share the assignments that were given, have students share difficulties, answers they found to things. Samples of items if possible. I could post notes that i provided in class as well as links to assigment sheets. I really like the idea of doing one and hope to start with the second term of this semester for at least one of my classes.

The reason I am currently waiting is, well, one, I don't have a lot of time right now and more importantly. I want a clear starting point for my students to have. Some of the blogs I have been visiting have been in existence forever and I have been trying to look at them for personal meaning for a few weeks. hard to digest that much information in such a short time.

Personal meaning/interest is also important for the reader of the blog. My students will go to my blog because they will (hopefully) have an interest in what is being shared and see it as being beneficial to their own learning when going to it. It will support what they are doing in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

To accept or not accept, that is the dilema

Every while I get requests from students for me to add them as a friend to facebook. Impressed that they find me to begin with because the email I use for the program isn't the one I give to them and I don't have a photo up that shows it is me. (If they use the email I use for my classes for a search they get Bob Builder (Before I created an account I created a fake one to test the program out)

I always ignore these requests and students ask me why? A part of me thinks it would be neat to get to know them on a different plane and another part me doesn't think it is appropriate. there needs to be line drawn somewhere between my personal and my professional life. My facebook account is pretty boring. I don't post much (don't go there very often). I have a bunch of stuff put on my funwall that I am always deleting. I think it best summed up by saying that there is a bunch a stuff about them that I don't need to know about and the same goes the other way.

When students ask me why I ignored there request I just let them know I am waiting till they graduate and then will happily add them.

social networking

The bell has gone to mark the end of the day and I am again borrowing a laptop for my attempt to get this done. If I had been smart I would have just done this in a word document and copied it into this.... (note hand smacking my forehead for just thinking of that).

I am torn about social bookmarking. For one, I feel for many sites like Facebook become about the numbers. I am apparently very unpopular as I don't have many friends nor have i sought any out. Some of my friends on the site have over 300 friends and I think I am more of number to a couple than anything. Many people, once I accepted the friendship and a token message or two have been passed have not been in contact. Part of it is me because I am not overly interested in sharing nudges, drinks and the message board drives me nuts as I am constantly deleting posts from other people. I thought it was bad getting forwards from people in my email.

There are some great things about the site. I like the fact that it helps me keep connected with a few people where i normally don't have interaction past the annual Christmas letter (which I still have to mail from this last Christmas). I play a couple application games with a couple people.

School wise I have seen a couple of good uses this past year. One of my yearbook students put out a message to a current ND group asking for photo submissions for this year's annual. Students could also share photos to be used on Facebook. I didn't like the fact that students were sharing something online which others could see and it was linked to the school. But I appreciated the communicating the message. Unfortunately the photos the student colllected were not a high enough resolution for us to actually use.

This attempt got me thinking about how a school could use Facebook. Why not have a school form a group and use it to post announcements, upcoming events, etc. Students don't listen to the daily announcements. Maybe this would be a good place to reach them.


Don't tell anyone but I am accessing this from work. I feel like one of my students trying to get away with something on the computer. The person next door to me has a laptop and can access wireless. I am borrowing his computer during my prep to get this done.

This has been a heck of a week in terms of computer access. It has really brought to home how much I rely on being connected online. Our internet connection to our house was down for three days and the connection since has been tempermental. Apparently our provider is experiencing as they technically put it "glitches".

That explains my ability to access but it doesn't explain my loss of blogs (as I pause to hit the save now button). Last week one blog went missing and I thought to myself, oh, I must of hit not save instead of save (okay, I am now getting a message saying my save attempt failed - it's retrying). Anyway, now that I have explained that let's get on with social networking.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm in trouble with this one

Okay, I have to say, I am excited and terrified with multimedia sharing. I am excited because I see a lot of possibilities with what I am doing in courses currently and how easily I could use a program like jumpcut (if I actually had permission to access the site in my lab) I am also terrified with multimedia sharing foremost because I can see myself getting caught with playing way too much and having fun that I will never get anything done. I am already having a hard enough time not getting pulled to the side as I look for things online and finding something unrelated that grabs my attention. How am I going to survive a program that encourages me to easily incorporate images, music, audio and video recordings. Not only do I have access to my own files but those files that are public.

Final thoughts on a wiki

I really like the idea of building a wiki with a class. I think that is it is important that whatever is created though has to come across as being unified. When I look back at the wiki for Korat's article and the other wiki's from assignment two I feel there were two stages that each of the wiki's face.

the first stage where the partners created the wiki, set up the pages, included the summary, edited the look etc. seems to me (and my very limited experience with wikis) to be the real experience of building a wiki. We worked to create a solidified look to the wiki. The collaboration didn't have ownership and it was about the end result.

The second stage is where participants added thoughts. To me this seemed to move away from creating a shared understanding to a listing of thoughts. It didn't feel integrated. It seemed we had simply moved from posting on the discussion board to posting on the wikis.

I think if I did it again I wouldn't pose questions but instead pose beginning statements and have participants expand and develop the statement with no ownership and the understanding that the existing text was there to be edited.

I felt that when I went to other wikis or even back to my own I didn't know where I should write. Should i add my comment at the bottom of the list or should I insert where I felt my comment fit. I felt uncomfortable with the process and felt more like I needed to add something new and different rather than something real and authentic. It didn't feel like a shared understanding but a shared posting site.

I need to work it out in my head a bit more but I do plan to use wiki's in my classes in the near future. As I stated in my reflection I think to help me start I am going to use teh stages of a webquest listed in Allan and Street's article as my foundation. so that I have a starting point to go from there.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wikis - LTCWiki

Wikis - LTCWiki

What a weekee for a wiki


This week has been the end of a fight for a cold, just to have my son get the cold, to my daughter getting a whack of teeth in at once, to trying to meet a yearbook final deadline (so not going to) and with a great partner creating my first wiki. Now we are just waiting for somebody, anybody to respond to our wiki ... here is our address just in case people missed it on the discussion board http://koratchat.wikispaces.com/ ... We are on day three of our posting and nobody has come to it yet. When I asked Linda what she though she aptly compared it to inviting everyone to a party and having no one show up.... well, hopefully everyone will just arrive late:) It is a boring article though.

We ended up using wikispaces. Linda suggested it as she had created a space there and it seemed at the time as good as any. After seeing the PB wiki site I now fully disagree. I played with wikispaces in my own account and tried setting different colour settings and background and none of the stuck. In our joint account I found that once pages were named I couldn't go back and rename them. I also found that rather than making a different page the homepage, I had to cut all the existing information off of the original one, and paste it to a new page. The navigation bar was awkward as well.

Collaborating for the wiki was fine and working online worked quite well. Linda and I mostly communicated through email and discussed changes that could be made. Our article was very, very dry and I don't think left much room for disagreement for key points etc. I wish I had found the article more interesting/inspiring but instead I found myself unsure that it was the right article that I had read and actually went back to see if it was a different article by Korat that we were supposed to have read.

My suggestion in the future for this assignment would actually to have the class as a whole to create a wiki... maybe even creating a group definitin of Web 2.0 and its place in the learning environment. Different individuals could be in charge of different pages and facilitating the development on those pages. I think it would be more of a collaborative effort and it could be facilitated throughout the entire course... I don't know just a thought.

I see lots of possibilities for wikis in the classroom and am thinking that I might try to incorporate one into my marketing class for the remainder of the semester. I definitely won't use wikispaces though. Most likely the PB site (which I also liked for lack of advertising). I can see creating a group definition for "What is Marketing" and having students define elements of the 4Ps as well. I like the idea that students can work together to create a personal and meaningful definition. I wonder though if a different format would encourage different people to take part in the conversation more. I know that in the classroom when we have group discussions generally the same five people speak their opinions while the rest wait for these five to share. I wonder though if the same five would continue to voice while the rest wait. Having people see that their word is recorded and it is easily visible who contributed what might force some people to have a voice who would rather be passive in the process.

I think I can see pretty much every subject area using wikis to share learning, and enriching understanding. literature circles, book discussions, math help, biology terms, art concepts, health and fitness... Wikis definitely would allow students to take ownership of learning.

As an aside, I was please to find that many of my students don't see wikipedia as the end to all answers. they are very aware (as a majority) that they are created by individuals and are subject to flaws. Most use it as a starting point for research or a quick search for something they think they know and are looking for verification.

I am about to have an 18 month old assistant typer so I better end this 21
31654 4/*dfbefore it gets t3
3 31
too bad

Sunday, March 2, 2008


thought I would keep it close to home and look at a couple of sites that exist within my own district. One I think is pretty good and the other... well, it's a great school! and what goes inside the walls is not demonstrated by the site.

The first site is by John Barsby Community School and from the opening page, it attracts the user and has many things to hold the user's attention. It is useful not only from a student's perspective but also from that of parent and a teacher.Tons of useful sites are listed here with great little summaries to help make choices. I started clicking on links to see the actual sites and came to a huge problem. The problem with this site is that it hasn't been kept up... a little investigating shows many things haven't been changed since 2003... 2005.
The second site is NDSS (Nanaimo District Secondary School)... this is where I teach, and other than the opening links on the main page, I have to admit I don't bother going deeper very often... Students designed the site for a course and it is maintained by a teacher in the school. There are tons of sites listed through the site but it lacks organization, purpose and well, appeal. Unless students are directed to go to a site they avoid using it and as one student let me know, they still just google for the site, faster and easier to get to than scrolling down a really long list. While it is really not user friendly in appearance, at least it seems more up-to-date when trying to access sites.

Virtual Libraries

By now, we are all familiar with Joyce Valenza and her following thoughts.

Today's school libraries must meet student needs as both a physical and
virtual space. Existing both offline and online, they must offer
around-the-clock access as well as instruction and guidance that support the
face-to-face interactions of students with librarians and classroom
teachers. Although students are often technologically proficient, they
little about technology as it relates to academic research. The school
virtual library and library staff can guide learners through the data maze with
customized, user-centered interfaces that create order as they offer
instruction. From a library homepage, users access search engines,
databases, references, and general library information. A virtual library
can also become an integral part of the instructional culture of the school.
Serving as a school's instructional archive, the site shares collaboratively
developed lessons, WebQuests, rubrics, handouts, and organizers


In her article The Virtual Library, Valenza goes on to say.

Designed and maintained by scbool libraries, vinual libraries are multipage
online resources devoted to the needs of their specific leaming communities.
From a home page, users access search engines, databases, references, and
general library and school information.

When I first listed to her manifesto podcast, I thought she said librarians should be available around-the-clock and I thought that was nuts. Thankfully, it being a digital recording and I had the ability to go and read the transcript I was no longer left thinking she was nuts. It also got me thinking how vailid her words were.
Students are learning in a different world than I did (which I am realizing is longer ago than I would like to remember). They are learning in a world that breaks information down into little pieces and a world that allows them to listen and relisten, watch and rewatch what they want with ease (well, relatively, for them being a technological age they seem - as a very general statement- have more problems on the computers than I do - mind you, they are all very adept with their cells and ipods).
Students have incredibly busy schedules and many are juggling school, extra-curricular, external courses and for some, even families. Learning has to happen at various paces to accomodate this learning . Not only are students busy but their parents are busy too. Face to face contact with many parents is non-exist at our school, conflicting work schedules is one of the largest difficulties I see virtual libraries as a great way to help extend the learning beyond the walls of the school and help validate what is going on within.

Many have pointed at teachers are no longer the experts. A student can go online and find out more information about a subject than a teacher can know. Doesn't it make sense then that teachers redefine their role from being the 'expert' to being the guide. Assisting students through selection of resources, sites and knowledge.

Valenza in "Open the doors and let'em in" suggests going even further by having students help create the virtual library that serves themselves and others. What a great way for helping create a learning community. The ideal of schools. I wonder at our schools whether some of the stuff would be permissible in sharing/posting knowledge, student works etc. Grade 11's and 12's are able to sign their own permission forms to have things posted online but grade 8's - 10's have to have parent consent forms on record (every school year) to allow for images/information/work to be published outside of the school's walls. A virtual library definitely extends beyond the school walls.

Somewhere I have to find time to help develop our site... It is disasterous and an informal pole with my students demonstrate that rarely do they past the school's homepage... more on that in to come

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Okay, it took less time than last time to post my cast and I am so proud of myself. I know that I am not a story teller and I am at the beginning of the editing road but I did it!!! If you saw my grin right now. All I know, is I am a bit more keen about this whole thing than I was last week after six hours of trying to post!

I created my video using Window's movie maker and used audacity to create the sound bites which I imported. I felt pretty knowledgeable yesterday when after I had created my sound bites in audacity ,that the instructor had downloaded for us to use, and pointing out that for translating the files into Mp3 files that we needed to download the Lame program... Just think, a week ago I knew none of this.
Now if only I could get some of the lingo down...
Okay, maybe the second time is the charm
Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

latest attempt

I went to a workshop on video editing yesterday and happened to have these characters to a felt story with me so I used them to practice what we were taught. Thought I would try a video podcast... wish me luck. I can't remember how I got the pig story up.
Here is Gulp, Gulp, Gulp

Sunday, February 17, 2008

According to Podcasting 101
"In September 2004, when podcasting was in its infancy and a Google search of
"podcast" brought up only 24 results, Doc Searls of IT Garage said,
will shift much of our time away from an old medium where we
wait for what we
might want to hear to a new medium where we choose what we
want to hear, when we want to hear it, and how we want to give everybody else
the option to listen to it."3 Indeed, more and more we want information when we
want it-whether it's TV or radio programming or other information. We don't want
to wait. Podcasting gives the end user one more option for information access at
the point of need."

This is so true. I look at my own house for example. We haven't watched television the way the cable company has programed it for at least five years. Everything is recorded through the computer and we watch it when we want to over whatever period of time is convenient. When I purchase most of the music I buy, its online after I heard a song I like and I have gone online to hear more. I was complaining the other day about my mp3 player because it wasn't big enough. Apparently 400 song options is no longer enough (although when I got I swore I never would use that much)

I like the idea of podcasts and appreciate that I don't have to miss Stuart Maclean on the weekend for the 100th weekend in a row and I can access it online and listen to it at my leisure. I think it is cool that public librarys provide auditory copies of books online that I can download and use for a period of time. I even see the educational benefits of using podcasts to suport learning. (even though I was hating it as I tried to do such as simple task as posting mine to my blog)

Here are my thoughts on the tips provided by the article:

1. Gather the required hardware and software. Different configurations will
work, but the easiest is a computer with a microphone and speakers and an
application that records sound. The computer's microphone can be built in, but
for better quality, use an external microphone with a USB connection. The
sound-recording application can be a simple digital audio recorder or a
podcasting software application that allows editing and the addition of music
and sound effects. (see the Podcast Recording Software sidebar on page 20.)

This part was relatively easy. I ended up using audacity to record my podcast as was suggested by a couple of sites I visited as well as the making a podcast site that Elizabeth shared. Other than the fact that I had no idea what most of the buttons in the program referred to I was able to recognize the record, stop, pause and rewind butttons.

2. Decide on the content. Its quality will keep people coming back for more installments. If it's part of a series, create a template and choose theme music to increase listener recognition and to maintain consistency. Create engaging text with an appropriate introduction, breaks, and a conclusion. Also, consider additional features. Music or sound effects can signal a page
turn, generate interest, and keep listeners engaged. Use accompanying images, album art,
outlines, or notes if the software allows it. You must also make sure you're copyright-compliant. When incorporating music or images into a public podcast, you must request and receive rights to use those songs and images. Or you can use items that are in the public domain or that have already been licensed for noncommercial distribution. If you're making the podcast for curricular use at the school and not for publication, follow fair use guidelines as outlined in Digital millennium Copyright Act.

Content was hard. Finding something that was worth recording and sharing was difficult. Trying to find something that I felt comfortable with reading was hard. Determining if I was allowed to share the story was harder (still not sure if it was okay that I verbally shared story) and knowing that a goal was trying to create something that people would want to come back for more of was even harder. If I was providing information for one of my courses that students had to access I could see them having to come back if not wanting to.

3. Practice. For instance, practice speaking until you're confident and the
session flows smoothly in a natural, conversational style. Practice adding music
and sound elements until you're comfortable with moves and transitions.
I practiced alright. I practiced enough that I was at the point where everything starts to sound horrible. i had planned on incorporating pings to indicate a time to change the page but I couldn't even keep character voices straight. All I could think of as i made new copy after new copy was an answering machine message I recorded awhile back that sounded completely mechanical because I had reheased it so many times. In the end. I got my son to sit next to me and I read it to him. He doesn't mind that I forget which voice goes with which character. (I bribed him with a valentine sucker to keep him quiet for the recording)

4. Record the podcast. Use software that generates an MP3 audio file. Following
instructions that came with the software, add and mix text, music, and sound
I think I would like to continue playing with the program so that I feel comfortable enough to add other dimensions. I think this would improve interest, create drama and of course a richer experience for the listener. Next week I am attending video editing workshop... maybe I will learn a few things that I can transfer over to this.

5. Test the podcast. Listen to it and share it with peers. If you don't like what you hear, redo all or part of it until it's the best you can do. Students are often motivated to excel if they realize a public posting of their podcasts means that people from all around the world could be listening. (Be sure to follow your school's privacy guidelines for student safety.)

My son liked it and I think he's a pretty good judge. He likes listening to stories while he reads and while I know there are hundreds before me who thought of this I thought I might try and record some of his favourite stories as podcasts. He could listen to them in the car on road trips. I can't read in the car without getting sick and he loves it when people read to him.

6. Publish the podcast to share your good work. Link the audio file to a Web
site with an RSS feed15 so people can subscribe. Or simply link the file for
manual download. (However, it's then considered a linkrf audio file rather than
a true podcast. ) Submit the audio file for public posting on a podcast
directory service such as iTunes Music Store, Podcast.net, OurMedia.org, Podcast
Alley, or PodcastPickle. Test the access to make sure it really works.

Okay, I am not even sure if I got this part right but I ended up using podbean to host my podcast and then added it to my google reader program. I found linking this to my blog horribly hard and it made me rethink wanting to ever do it again. I understand that blogger is not the best site when it comes to linking podcasts though so will hold off on my complete banning until I practice some more.

7. Promote the podcast. Advertise within your school community and encourage
parents, students, and teachers to subscribe. Students can be the best
word-of-mouth promoters, but the quality and timeliness of the podcast(s) will
be what keeps subscribers coming back for more.

I think I will keep my promoting to a very minimal amount. For now, it will be an EDE545 thing.. who knows maybe I will take a course in storytelling next and become a sensation in the podcasting world for telling children's stories (ha)

8. Evaluate and learn from your mistakes. Be prepared to adjust your template or
make changes to procedures for future podcasts. You want the end product to
be the best that you can make it

I have evaluated and I have learnt. I have learnt that I like the voice in my head much better than the voice that is out there for the world. I have learnt that microphones can catch a lot of unintended noise. I have learnt that it is best to record when the 18 month old is no where in the vicinity of the computer. Make sure that the pages of the book you are reading are not sticking together so that it is much simpler to turn pages. I have also learnt that i need to learn how to edit so I don't have to read the story over and over till I don't make any mistakes (I can't do it without at least one slip up). By accident I learnt how to layer voices and that has made me think it can't be too hard to add music next time I try to make one... now if only I can figure out how to post them in a less horrible way.

maybe pigs can fly

okay, one of my posts has disapeared and the podcast that I posted an hour ago miraculously started to work... When I finally gave up and went upstairs to read to my son i was cursing podcasts and whomever thought they were a good thing. I came back downstairs to find my computer refusing to work. After a restart I came back and added my podcast to a different site (account number 200 for this course) and shared it as a feed. Then I went to look at my blog and clicked on the pigs link to check what the error message was so that I could start working on fixing it and no error message... I am not even going to try and figure it out... just hope it keeps working


Just noticed what the word of the day was for my blog and and feeling that its definition is apt for how I feel about podcasts at the moment. I have been able to add my podcast to my RSS feed which I have now shared... am still trying to post it in a cleaner way but at least I am sharing it somehow.

When Pigs Fly

My son picked the story for me to read for this podcast and I can't say enough how aptly the title lended itself as I tried for way to long to get this thing posted. I think I may have to come back and tell you all the great ways (well, at least I thought) for how to use podcasts but for now, I have to walk away from this before I completely lose it... so for now, here is my podcast. hopefully... When Pigs Fly

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why people like me should sometimes not have control of a computer

In our house my husband keeps care of the network (sad but true -with only two computer users in the house we have 4 computers-even our television runs through the computer and don't even get me started on trying to figure out the remote that goes with this- He went away for a few days a couple of months ago and I never did get the sound to work). He likes tinkering and upgrading video cards, adding memory, changing configurations and whatever else one does that I don't understand, and I, well I like access to working computers that I can take for granted as being things that will work...
The unspoken rule is I don't mess around with settings and he always makes sure that at least one computer is up and running while he does his tinkering. Well, with this program I have started doing a few thing. Mostly saying yes to prompts from the likes of Google asking if something can be installed. My theory being, well, its got to be okay to do this... the course expects us to try these things, what's the worst thing that could happen... Not being knowledgeable about how things have been set up. I have managed to let the Google toolbar take control of some of the settings, and its screening program take precedent over the software my husband has in place. I have managed to create conflicts between programs that I don't understand and Jeremy just asks, 'what have you done/downloaded now?'. Somehow with my exploring I have created a wee bit of mess at our house and the new unspoken rule is ask before I do for the sake of his sanity as he tries to fix things that I have unwittingly done. Having to watch him fix things after I come up to him and say..."______ isn't working" and then me asking "when can I have my computer back" has got me thinking. No wonder the IT guys want to limit what the network users at schools can do. If I can make such a mess in a few weeks think what a whole school could do. Access to programs is important but so is setting up things in a way that allows access but sanity to the system that is trying to support it. Well, I better go and make the trek back home... I am currently at my mom's house using her computer as ours, well, hopefully Jeremy is having fun tinkering with it:)

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

I found this video very helpful in understanding and finding use for social bookmarking.

I get it...sort of

According to Wikepedia, Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. Uses of social bookmarking are highlighted in 7 things you should know about social bookmarking by educause which indicates that social bookmarking is important because "Activities like social bookmarking give users the opportunity to express differing perspectives on information and resources through informal organizational structures. This process allows like-minded individuals to find one another and create new communities of users that continue to influence the ongoing evolution of folksonomies and common tags for resources. "
Online Learning and Teaching in an INformation-Rich Context identifies that "information is the principal ingredient of much learning." It is important that we are able to find, keep track and sort information. Programs like del.icio.us provide a template on which to do this.

I see the benefits of del.icio.us... sort of (can't remember how to spell it ever though- where to place the periods keeps throwing me off... have to bookmark it). I used to be a favourite saver. If I thought a site had any merit I would add it to my favourites so could easily access it Everything was neatly saved in a course/subject appropriate folder renamed so that I could quickly remember what was so great about the site. Now though, I have come to find that I can google a site quickly with a couple of key words and I don't have to save them. Addresses I use all the time have become like phone numbers and I just access them without thinking about it. Other addresses I like to use I know are posted on specific websites and I can just go to them if I can't remember.
I think i have gotten to this point for two main reasons. The first is work. At work, there has been a problem since an upgrade (about two years ago) and since then my favourites have been wiped out and if I save one as soon as I shut down my computer the favourites go with it. I know I could get the IT guy to fix it very easily but I always forget to ask because it didn't seem like a big deal and I got into the habit of saving addresses on my thumbdrive and accessing them from there. The second reason is that my husband is bit of a techy and has a tendency of resetting all the computers in the house on a regular basis. He generally forgets to save my favourites as part of the backing up process so I just stopped using them.

Del.icio.us is the main program that I have trying to use. At home and at work I need to have two internet windows open though to use it. I can't save the shortcut tools on either computer without running into an error. At work I don't have access to changing/adding to the toolbars and and at home... well, after my google toolbar fiasco I am working without the buttons. Looking at other peoples suggestions on the site I have quickly found a few sites I want to look at more and have been sidetracked a few times using these some of these sites features.

I can see using Del.icio.us to create an online catologue of useful sites and I think it is great that it has the ability to be open to others in the subject area as myself. The hardest part about teaching in an area that no one else teaches in a school is that you are constantly working on your own to create meaningful learning opportunities for students. Searchin online for useful information can be time consuming and because the subject is quite specific it can be fruitless. Working together to search the masses of stuff available online helps everyone and I think can actually bring enthusiasm back to teachers who are tired and possibly frustrated with trying to get through it all.
I like the idea of creating shared sites with students and have them share what they have found as well. I wish there was a feature that would allow certain sites to be shared with specific people and not others. For example, I might want students to see sites of interest to subject areas, and friends to see sites that I think are fun on a more social level.

the nice thing about this too is that rather than have to update website links on a shared blog, on a website and whatever else one is using to share. One could have a single link to a person's del.icio.us account and manage links from there. I don't know about anybody else but I am getting bogged down with trying to make sure everything everywhere is current.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


this is the video I meant to share regardign sloths...

Gorilla Librarian

Being a Python fan had to share this 'candidates' desire to be a librarian...

YouTube - Sloth

My son thinks sloths are pretty cool. Searching You Tube found some neat home videos as well as more informative ones.

YouTube - Sloth

You Tube and me

Well, I can say I have wasted a huge amount of time wandering around the You Tube site viewing things I wasn't really looking for but it was there and I ended up looking at it. It was very easy to become side tracked and begin watching stuff that I normally wouldn't spend time watching. Jason in his blog Unsought Input identifies these three uses for You Tube

1. Making it incredibly easy for users to contribute videos

This is true, all one has to do is create a user account (free) and upload till their desire to share is content

2. Making a central location to find video clips, with lots of good ways to find them (browsing, searching)

Again true, most people I know, who are looking for something go to you tube and search and... voila... maybe a few similar things pop up but if the video you are looking for is there you will find. When I was looking for the hippo commercial that I posted (which also was extremely easy to do) all I searched for was house hippopotamus commercial and I was directed to about 10 different copies of it. Downloading videos is also very easy... click of a button and there we go again.

For my marketing course, I find this site helpful for finding commercials that I want my class to watch as good examples of advertising, to look at the different tools that advertisers to use and for students to look at how advertisements change as products move through the product life cycle."

3. Giving the Internet a way to link to videos, and giving television clips a way to exist on the Internet.

While deciphering the wording of his third point took me awhile, I do see what he means. Many people today don't have time to watch reams of television, or to fast forward through what they taped to get to the pieces they want. You Tube and other sites allow for this. Sparknotes may give the gist of a novel but You Tube allows this for television.

You Tube also allows for the everyday person to get what they want to share out there for the public at large. Students at my school have made postings of themselves animation they ahve created, playing in bands, singing, taking part in the sports they are involved in, acting and the list goes on. These are the positive things that they have done. On the negative side, fights have been recorded and posted.

I appreciate the fact that YouTube has a policy regarding what they consider appropriate but all one needs to do is have something out there for a very short period and it can be past on and distributed before somebody clicks the link indicating that the content is not appropriate.

As a teacher looking for things to support my students learning I found Teacher Tube more useful. It was as easy to use and the content that came up seemed more useful in general than what I mostly found on YouTube.

Before going to use any of these sites I think as Friessen points out (in A practical guide to contemporary literacy) it is important to know what one is looking for and if it is appropriate to the assignment otherwise " can mean a lot of wasted tme for students who are looking in the wrong places for information." Having students in my marketing class look for commercials to analyze YouTube has a lot of use. For students who ae looking for information on how the debit/credit system works in accounting... YouTube is not the best fit. Subject, topic and purpose I think are all important things to consider before going to look for video clips. I did find YouTube good for finding

Regardless of what is going on I think it is important to also do as Friesen suggests which is provide "structure and guidance". With the abundance of informaton available online through sites like YouTube I think it is important that exists. Even as I wrote this and looked at the site to see what I could see/find. I got sidetracked more than once...

The one thing I do wonder is how much multiple students ( I think about at our school where there are over 250 computers to be accessed), looking at videos/downloading, etc would effect the speed of the school's network. I already know that during blocks (when yearbook/graphic/video production/32 studio are in use the network gets bogged down.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


While wandering online (too tired to surf) I came across this and it made me chuckle.
The User Is Not Broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto. Some of you have probably read it. I haven't.

I don't know about some of you but I am starting to feel like blogs are like a long standing soap opera/television series that if you haven't been watching for awhile or started with it from the beginning, you are hopelessly lost. Reminds me of the Twin Peaks day... never did understand that show and all I did was not see the first episode.

One of my favourite commercials in regards to visual literacy

I love this video in how it shows how scale can be manipulated and images can be combined to create new ones.

House Hippo Commercial

What doesn't Google have?

It is exam week this week so I have had a bit more time to explore some things. One of the things I have been doing is looking at things that I might be able to use with my classes. I have been thinking that maybe I could explore wikis with my marketing class but before that I have to get permission from parents or something like that so in the meanwhile I have been exploring Google.
Two offerings are the notebook feature and the document creator. Nice thing about them is that students can have access to files regardless of where they are.
The notebook allows them to attach web adress, pictures and so on. they can also tag information for future reference. I think i might even use this as an option for students in my planning class for journaling. I have a goal for the classes this semester to use less paper... this might be a great way for students to do so and still have easy access to notes... problem will be typing speed for many... ugh, even thinking about it.

The documents maker that Google seems neat as well. Students can import and export files including spreadsheets. I teach spreadsheets in one of my courses next semester and it seems lik a good way to allow students an easy way to take things to and from school without emailing and using thumbdrives. Might even have students do a couple of assignments using the program rather than Excel.

I plan to at least show these to students and give them the option of using it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I see, I do: Understand a thousand words

We are such and image based society. In reading the articles regarding visual literacy I had my head nodding over and over again. I teach a marketing class and we look at how advertisers use images to sell products. What are they saying with the choices they make to show product, scale, colour, use of lines and on it goes. It is so important that students have the tools to understand what is being said in an image and why it is being said. I think we often take what is being shown in a photo for granted and don't look at all the messages being shared. We take it for granted that advertisements are every where. It has become a part of our culture.

For our first blog post we were to look at a photo sharing site and in my exploration I came across this photo that i plan use next semester with one of my classes. I love how much this image says in a way that an article or my talking could never give justice to.

After posting way to long of a post

I realized I forgot to add that I could see using Photobucket (or one of the other photo sharing sites) as a place to collect images that students could use for projects. For example, my Planning class does a risk assessment activity where they view images and look for possible work dangers and then determine ways to make the work environment safer. If I posted the images online then students could work on the assignement regardless of where they are. Mind you, students can still do this if they copy the images to a personal thumbdrive or email me a request for copies.

I'm already in trouble

Before I jump into anything I like to read the fine print and before providing information online I really like to read the fine print. I am having a hard enough time writing my blog online because the information is public and is out there for whomever to read. Posting my own photos or further, posting my students photo/work through an online system poses even more problems for me. At least when I write something I am conscious (mostly) of what I am saying with the words I chose to put on the screen. I am aware of the font and choice of colour I chose to give my message. (having even doing this puts more emphasis on a sentence than was originally intended)

Images provide so much more that may be unintended. I let people know purposely or not what type of clothing I prefer, where I spend time, possibly what my home looks like and other information that is in the background that I haven't even thought of. Our eye works way more selectivey than the lense of a camera. When we take a photo our eye focuses on the subject we chose and selectively ignores everything else. The lense of a camera doesn't It still takes clear pictures of other things. In the olden days when I would take photos with film and get it back I was always surprised by what else was in the photo I took. It wasn't what I intended to share. I remember this one photo of my university graduation it was a group shot of my friends. In taking the photo I didn't realize in the background there was somebody mooning the camera. When I got it back I was shocked and then I wondered, "who's is that?" Now I could just PhotoShop it out and have a great photo. I haven't though. Somehow the naked bum has become part of the memory.

For this assignment I decided to look at photobucket. When I set up Facebook this was one of the applications that many of my friends (well, the few that I have added to the service) were using. Unlike the majority (as doug Achterman suggests in Surviving Wikipedia) I do read the terms of agreement and the disclaimer before using something) and first I am sure I wouldn't want to make my photos public (many of the photos I take are of my children and I don't that out there). If photos are made Public then you are giving license for all to use/enjoy in hopefully an unaltered form but you are also providing Photobucket with certain rights to the images.

Photobucket has an age requirement for using its site (14 yrs of age) or at least posting photos to the site. This limits children from using the site to share their work/projects.

I found it quite interesting perusing the site and random searches for information (including my hometown) produced some quality photos admist a bunch that we'll just say weren't. I even found some visuals to use in my marketing class next semester. I also found similar images using general searches using google and yahoo. I liked the fact that one doesn't have to be a member to browse images and copy images.

It appears very similar in use to other online photo image sharing sites and I can see why some choose to use it. I am using the all important information literacy tool of filtering and am choosing that the site isn't for me and I don't want to use the site. I am fine with emailing specific people photos that I chose to share. I can attach notes to these files to tell the story of the photo and I like the fact that it is a personal email to someone rather than a public statement.

I admit, I have used online photo imaging programs through future shop to make cards, wal-mart and shoppers drug mart to print copies of photos for frames, albums and family. Once I have printed the copies I want I generally delete the files online.

I think that for me being a browser of online photo image sharing sites is much more comfortable than being a provider. this might change in the future. I think I would also encourage students to read the terms of agreement before using a site and I would have them answer the question. Why do you want to use this program. What are the benefits of using it? What are the cons of using it. What are you giving to the provider in return for using the site. (the biggest thing here is information and of course an audience to their advertisers).

I also wonder about the rights of others that might be featured in the photos one posts to such sites (especially publically). I have a friend who is a coach for his son's hockey team. He is having problems with a parent of one of his son's hockey teammates. This parent is using online video sharing and photo sharing services to promote his son's hockey playing abilities. The problem for my friend, and some of the other parents, is that their children are also in these photos and they have given consent for their children to be there. These children are under ten years old and one of them is not supposed to have any photos publically shared for security reasons.

As a teacher, I don't think I could require students to share work on such sites. I would let them know of the options available to them and to look at the questions I posed above before using the site. legally, I don't know about sharing student work for all to see, at least I would know I wouldn't want student names and personal information shared. A big question for me is how do I use this technology without compromising my students privacy rights and parents trust that I am looking out for their best interest in the learning opportunities I provide.

Is it more important that I use these programs to celebrate students work and to provide them ways to showcase or to help students understand the uses of these programs and to help them make informed decisions on whether or not to use the sites. For me the later is more important. I have never taught a student on how to use their cell phone but they are all very able to use the multi-functions provided. I have though discussed with students etiquette surrounding use of phones, privacy issues that need to be considered, cost options of using phones, companies, services.

For some reason the fact that these programs exist online and are free to the general user makes many think its nothing to use the post, post personal information and share. the idea of selectively chosing to use a program or not is rarely considered. It seems more like people are chosing which one. With all of this being said, I am chosing not to personally add/use one of these sites at this time. Who knows, like the cell phone I am may be a convert one day but having read through the information, I am making an informed decision ( and albeit mark costing) decision not to.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Okay, all of my reading on how to create a blogroll was useless. I managed to finally do it by randomly pointing and clicking and saying to myself.... "what's the worst that could happen?" Proof yet again to self that technology is sometimes best learnt by taking risks and not being taught... mind you that depends on the type of learner one is... Now I just have to go back and change my colour scheme again because I don't want to try and change the colour of my blogrolls now that I successfully added them.

Frustrated by my own attempts

I know what my students feel like at school constantly reaching the blue screen with the gigantic stop sign indicating that for whatever reasons the site they are trying to reach is not appropriate for school time.
I got it today trying to access my blog so I could write my thoughts about the usefullness in the school setting. I have students journal everyday in two of my course and immediately thought it would be a great place to have students write and to do reflections on course content.

Downside at our school is that blogs are not seen as appropriate use of computers. More so with legality issues than educational issues. For everything we want to do online with our students needs a written consent from the legal guardian of the child. I use an online grading system with my classes and before I can use it I have to get written (preferred) or verbal approval from all of the students parents. This can be a nightmare but I see the benefits of students being able to access their grades and assignment descriptions at any time worth the hassle.

Question for me is... "are blogs worth the hassle?" Real answer is that I don't know. I see the benefits of providing a way for students who are uncomfortable to participate in the classroom setting to have a voice. It also implies that if a student doesn't say anything they were not particpating in the conversation. At the same time I see added pressure on students who feel the need to write the perfect response/answer in a posting... as this is more permanent and people are able to go back much easier than what was said in class.

In the end, the question has to be does it support the learning or are we just trying to fit it into the learning so we can boast of using technology in the classroom.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

An Introduction

My name is Elisa and I am a new blogger. I am also, admittedly, a reluctant blogger. Having said that i think it is good to go outside comfort zones and try new things.

the name for my blog a-min-e-blog comes from my family nick name "Mini-E" (I am by far the shortest one). I thought that since this was going to be my small contribution to the world of blogging I would create a mini blog... hence min-e blog (which without the - indicates its mine:) )

I chose to use blogspot because when I did a google search for blogging this one came up first:) Not a great reason but there has to be a starting point for everything. Its taken me awhile to post anything because I got caught up with trying to figure out an easy way to get rid of the star on the template that I chose and replace it with an e... still working on it but realized that time was past and I hadn't provided this yet... oops... will ty not to let it happen again.