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.
Plato

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 lo videook 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.

Lost

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.

shhhhhh

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.