I posed a similar question in my class discussion and got "feedback" that I want to hang onto. Blogs are often tauted as a means for commentary and assessment. Yet, the benefits of blogging for the sake of journaling or personal reflection can become lost in the process of seeking feedback. While I am motivated by the eyes that may one day read this, I was reminded that there are other reasons - beyond seeking feedback - that make blogging a "meaningful" pursuit. Therefore, to answer my own question . . . "yes" and here is why . . .
My original proposal to the class:
"...what makes a blog more meaningful than a personal learning journal is that the output is shared (and potentially assessed) within a larger community. When we were introduced to writing our own blogs at NYU, we were also given feeds to other “edubloggers” via a blogroll provided by our instructor. We set up accounts on Bloglines.com to track the posts of other professionals in the field. What an eye opening experience! I was amazed at the care and thought of those who regularly maintained blogs about their professional experiences.
Job Aid for Online Learning
In a 2004 Sloan-C report created by Karen Swan, Kent State University and the Sloan-C Editor for Effective Practices in Learning Effectiveness, Relationships Between Interactions and Learning In Online Environments provides an overview of research "about interaction online and its implications for practitioners". The report (effectively a job aid for those who teach or design in an online learning environment), highlights research findings regarding learner interaction in an online learning environment and the corresponding implications for those responsible for creating and managing it. Some examples include:
Interaction with Content:
Listable is an interesting browser based social bookmarking tool that goes a step beyond traditional tagging. Users have the ability to create "lists" made out of combinations of tags. There are some interesting popular lists, including the popular "Complete List of Web 2.0 Products and Services" made out of "web2+internet+blog+apps+online. Feeds are also available, including a Popular Lists Feed.
UPDATE: We are just winding down from the largest snowfall in NYC recorded history - 26.9 total inches! Not to mention that it took a long time for it to stick last night as we were coming off such a warm January. Here are the details!.
From earlier today . . . 23 inches so far in Central Park at 10:30 a.m. and it is still snowing! Blizzard warning until 4:00 p.m. We're already at the second largest snowfall on record. Yippee! Out to play in the snow . . .
Linked here is an Educause article entitled "Engage Me or Enrage Me". Lately, I have been drawn to reading articles like this about educating the so-called "Net Generation". Like others, this article makes a case that we need to edu-tain these students. The main premise of these articles is that education (in this era of the Xbox and the iPod) needs a complete overhaul in order to engage students so that they are no longer "bored" with school. In this article, the author states that there is a group of student who are "...convinced that school is totally devoid of interest and totally irrelevant to their life. In fact, they find school much less interesting than the myriad of devices they carry in their pockets’ and backpacks. These kids are used to having anyone who asks for their attention . . . work really hard to earn it. When what is being offered isn't engaging, these students truly resent their time being wasted . . . The motto for this group? 'Engage me or enrage me'."
Open Source Mac - Free, Open-Source software for OS X is a site dedicated to open-source products for the Mac (my "other" computer). Maybe with these tools, it will be my "main" computer? Tools range from browers, RSS aggregators, WP, plus other nice finds.
There has been a lot of press lately about the Net Generation. Educause published a series of articles on Educating the Net Generation. I began reading the series with an article from a student's perspective.
Unfortunately, after reading the article, I do not have a clear understanding of the problem nor the author's suggestions for a solution. While I do believe that teachers have a responsibility to find every way possible to reach and engage students, I feel this article puts to much emphasis on how education needs to change in order to accommodate a student’s short attention span (a problem that is in no way the sole domain of the Net Generation).
For the past several months, I have accumulated links and trial software relating to various types of collaboration tools (some desktop applications, some Web based). This week, I had the opportunity to gather my thoughts on these wonderful new technologies. I documented my observations in a media accumulation and review "reflection paper" that assesses how a teacher in an online or distance education setting could use some of these collaboration technologies as a means of providing teacher feedback.
I have gleefully embraced many new free internet based storage solutions and applications, including Flickr, Blogger, Writely and Furl. I have also touted them as signs of the revolution that will move us from reliance on our desktops. However, in the spirit of learning from mistakes, here is an example of what can happen when we rely so heavily on free internet applications and file storage that we don't own or control.
I stumbled on this story today that made me consider how I will use these services in the future. I am not a member of the Yahoo! Group in the story, but as a member of another Yahoo! Group, it does give me pause. It has certainly reminded me of the "here today / gone tomorrow" potential of any of these wonderful free tools. Where possible, it makes sense to backup content to the lowly desktop. I have already made several copies of my Furl data as I would lose hours and hours of internet surfing if I lost my account. While the ol' desktop may not be flashy, for now, it is more dependable. . .
This morning, I was asked to contemplate a positive role model. I thought I'd share my observations.
In a prior job, I used to comment that my boss was a “Teflon Don” – nothing bad would stick to him (and I mean that in the most positive light) and he could get away with things with his superiors that no other manager would dare try. I often wondered what it was about him that gave him those powers over his superiors . . . but, before long, I was doing everything I could to try to emulate him. Here is one quick example.
Every year, we would have to write a new business plan for our unit. Other managers would struggle with a back and forth process with their bosses with long drawn out reports with pages and pages of narrative and graphs and scenarios. My first year on the job, I asked to see a copy of Teflon Don’s report from the prior year. I was shocked. It was one page long in a Word table with three columns (1: Where We Want to Be; 2: Where We Are; 3: What We are Going to Do To Get There). Under the first column, he listed the top 5 things that were vital to the success of our department. The next column assessed if we were at a stage to reach that desired successful state. Finally, the last column listed the resources or changes we needed to make to achieve this success. I was dumbfounded. In a single page, he summarized exactly what needed to be done in the next year. It is important to note that his summary did not lack detail. He had all the important points like sales targets and staffing needs, but the detail didn’t get lost in the minutia of a 15 page report.
Thanks to Deborah Sacharoff for this expanded list of Professional Associations.
How did I miss this wiki on new technologies for education?!? It made a "5" on my Furl rating.
Here is a list of various IST related associations provided by our instructor:
Instructional Systems Technology Association Web Sites:
* Association for Educational Communication Technology - http://www.aect.org
* International Society for Performance Improvement - http://www.ispi.org
* International Society for Technology in Education - http://www.iste.org
* American Society for Training & Development - http://www.astd.org
Everything I have done on my web site, I have taught myself (scary - and it shows!) I have tried to learn the basics of Dreamweaver to create a few simple intro pages. Also, I have taken advatage of provided HTML "cut and paste" to integrate things like Bloglines blog roles and Furl Bookmarks. I have even loaded some wonderful Open Source CMS products on my server including Moodle (I love it!) and Drupal (I really love it!). So, here I sit trying to figure it all out. Where do I go from here?
"Attach TuneCenter to your television and stereo for viewing photos,
watching video, listening to your iPod music library or internet radio.
With the included 14 button remote, TuneCenter turns your iPod into a
complete Home Media Center. Just dock the iPod into TuneCenter, and let
the entertainment begin."
Looks really nice at $99 - who needs a DVD player / CD player / Receiver (now iPod offers one)? Cool.
Seems everyone is posting about this Crash Course in Learning Theory post.
When I get some time after the holidays, I want to give Festoon a try. It is a free application that works with either Skype and Google talk to allow you to see the others on your call. It also appears some degree of application (or at least screen) sharing. Fun!
ross simons rocks!
I had an awesome experience with this retailer over the holidays! Not only did they offer free express shipping right up to the 22nd, they assisted me in amending the shipping address after the order was placed due to an error on my part. Can't say enough nice things about them!
Big news for my brother and his company! The press release was just issued by HowStuffWorks today announcing that "entities owned by Carl Icahn have made a significant investment of growth capital into the company." The press release goes on to say . . .
Along with blogs, there is a lot of excitement surrounding Content Management Systems (CMS) - basically a suite of features that allow sharing of thoughts and ideas, as well as team collaboration. I have spent some free time lately exploring what is out there in hosted sites (similar to this Blogger.com site) and tried out various wikis, discussion forums and CMS platforms.
As my interest level intensified, I made attempts (usually unsuccessful attempts) to download free open source CMS programs to my own web server. Given that I am completely "self taught" (with not a very knowledgeable teacher), I did a whole lot of trial and error (lots of error). As I don't know anything about programming terminology and just a little about reading / writing html, it was quite an effort. While most of the sites offer download "help" and forums (with quite active participation), I really don't know enough to know what I don't know or how to begin asking what I needed to know (that's a mouthful).