Examining the Social in Social Networks

Daily Show segment on social networks.

A nice break in the action for those of us seeking the social in our online education!

If no one reads your blog, does it have "meaning"?

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 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

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:

Listible - A Step Beyond Tagging

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

From Wikipedia to Digital Universe

From Wikipedia to Digital UniverseFrom Wikipedia to Digital UniverseI just finished listening to part 1 and part 2 of the February 8th EdTech talk podcast with Larry Sanger (an original founder of wikipedia) who is now part of the project.  Sanger discusses the project's plan to blend the power of a wiki with original content creation and editorial oversight by designated content managers, referred to as "stewards".  The overall goal of the project is to make stewards responsible for managing the content of the "portals" (or content types) that will "span tens of thousands of subjects".  Sanger makes the case that the Digital Universe is unique due to the:

Update: Snow Day!! LARGEST Snowfall on Record in NYC!


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 . . .

Odeo "Voice Message" Button for your Blog

How absolutely cute is this? [Odeo|htt://] (the podcast host started by the founders of Blogger) has added a fun little button that allows subscribers to add a voice mail feature to their web pages. I just added one on the right sidebar. If you have a mic, feel free to leave me a message. While this may just be a cute toy, it would seem to have some other useful applications, right?

Be a good girl, have a good time and learn a lot

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'."

Great Open Source Tools for Mac

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.

StumbleUpon! is great . . . It's just missing a little Furl.

I gave [StumbleUpon|] a try today. It is a tagging and social bookmarking brower based tool with a fun little Firefox toolbar. It looks to be a really easy way to save and tag your favorite pages. You can also "stumble" to pages on the same topics that have been tagged by others in the community. However, it does not appear to allow many options to take your tags with you (say to your personal blog) or a means to export / import to other bookmark tools. While an RSS feed is available to your "favorites" page, a combo of the key features of Stumble with the portability of [Furl|htt://] would really make my day!

Educating the Net Generation

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).

Feedback and Collaboration Tools

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. 

Poof goes the Internet

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. . .

Learning from a Role Model

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.

IST Professional Organizations

Thanks to Deborah Sacharoff for this expanded list of Professional Associations.

Sample, Taste, and Savor Some New Technologies

How did I miss this wiki on new technologies for education?!?  It made a "5" on my Furl rating.

IST Associations and Job Posting Links

Here is a list of various IST related associations provided by our instructor:

Instructional Systems Technology Association Web Sites:
* Association for Educational Communication Technology -
* International Society for Performance Improvement -
* International Society for Technology in Education -
* American Society for Training & Development -

Writely - The Web Word Processor

I've been working with Writely - an online web word processor - for the past couple of days. So far, it appears far superior to other writing collaboration tools (and wikis) I have seen. Beyond the word processing and wiki like functionality (spell check, comments, multiple save as options- to Word, a PDF, etc), it includes a lot of fun bells and whistles, such as document RSS feed functionality to allow the tracking of collaborator changes on your feed aggregator. Overall, the interface is simple and clean. As a (former?) Word user, I had a seamless transition to Writely.

Edublog Roundup

I'm sure this [post by Josie Fraser|] will be making the rounds as it is a nice little summary of the Edublog community.

AP Article on Online Education

Still more than a little lack of understanding about this new fangled online education stuff . . . [This AP article |] made the rounds today in most newspapers and online. Unfortunately, I can't say it did much to help the average Joe understand what an online college program is like or to explain what the advantages or disadvantages are for either the student or the school. Of all the issues surrounding a college online education, the fact that online courses may be drawing too many on-campus eligible students was highlighted by the author as a trend that "poses something of a dilemma for universities".

Thinking out loud: Where do I go from here?

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?

Presentation Help

Since it seems you need to learn Power Point about a week after you learn your ABC's , I thought I would share this blog I have been following. It is dedicated to the ["art" of preparing presentations |] I've sat through (and likely have given) presentations with Power Point screen overload and this guy breaks it all down to a simple and visually attractive result. Today, he has a [post on Steve Jobs |] (often regarded as the King of Presenters) at his recent Key Note at MacWorld. Just thought I'd share this information as the school / conference room would be a much better place if everyone adopted these techniques!

Griffin "TuneCenter" for iPod

"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.

Crash Course in Learning Theory

Seems everyone is posting about this Crash Course in Learning Theory post. 

"See" who you are talking to with Festoon.

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!

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!

How Stuff Works Press Release

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 . . .

"HowStuffWorks is an attractive investment opportunity due to its valuable content, loyal user base and capable management team. I believe this investment of growth capital should enable the company to execute on its growth plans and capitalize on the significant opportunity in online content," said Carl Icahn. Mr. Icahn's investment will allow HowStuffWorks to expand the breadth and depth of its content to address the rapidly growing audience searching for trusted Internet-based information. Our plan is to expand the scope of topics covered by the site, and to greatly enhance the depth of the proprietary content by integrating new resources such as objective product reviews, consumer opinions and price comparisons to the in-depth explanations found on Ultimately, the HowStuffWorks network will address all of the needs of information seekers, no matter where they are in the learning or buying cycle.

Blog Usability

As I posted in my Blogger account post about Blog Usability I was violating a lot of the top 10 principles. Let's see if this site is better?

Update to Drupal Web Pages

I've reconfigured Drupal today to act more like a blog. Maybe I'll be switching from Blogger?

Working with Moodle

As part of a course I took this summer, I installed Moodle, an open source Learning Management System. It took a few tries to load in on my server, but I now see it is part of the Fantastico suite on cPanel which makes installation a no-brainer.Όλα όσα πρέπει να γνωρίζετε για τις μουσικες σπουδες και παρτιτουρες
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