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

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