Feel free to look around, but I have moved to a new blogging platform. Most of my posts going back to 2005 have been transferred there.

happy holidays ... from our home town to yours!

hoboken arial 5x7.jpg

Sick knot just got a little tighter

First this ... now this ... wow ...

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LinkedIn: The Facebook for Professionals

I just spent a few minutes checking in on the LinkedIn web site - sort of a facebook for the working world. I had signed up as a member several months back, but didn't really "get it". Then, I saw the company featured this month in both Business 2.0 and T + D magazines, so I took another look.

In a nut shell, you set up a user ID and add your professional profile. You then seek out and link to other registered colleagues and begin creating your professional network of co-workers, clients, etc. The idea is that your professional network can blossom based on the old fashioned "friend of a friend" good word of mouth concept. Through existing and prior professional relationships, you can reach new professional contacts.

Good in theory, right? No clue if it actually works, but the folks at Business 2.0 seem to think it has some merit and the site's registration has doubled from 4m this time last year to almost 8m now. I searched under "instructional design" and found oodles of contacts in the NYC area. Who knows? It may be work a closer look?

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Drupal Academy: Update

New resources have been added to the Drupal CMS Academy web site!


RSS on Steroids: xFRUITS

xFruits takes RSS to the next level. The site provides the ability to do the following hosted wizardry with RSS feeds:

  • Create a single RSS feed out of many
  • Change a syndicated feed into a web page
  • Create a mobile friendly page of your RSS feed
  • Post to RSS from e-mail
  • Convert recent RSS content into a PDF - see my site's RSS feeds

  • Create an e-mail alert from an RSS feed
  • Create an OPML file from several feeds

  • Create a mobile friendly page of your OPML

Off the top of my head, I can think of a bunch of great instructional uses. How about aggregating class RSS feeds into a .pdf printout? Or pushing your RSS content out to students cell phones and e-mails

Media Guide: Tools for Teaching and Learning

See attached - round up of basic media tools - oldies, but goodies!

RSS Aggregator:


Drupal Help: Live Web Session Scheduled

All the talking and planning is behind us and we are ready for Drupal CMS Academy lift off! Check out the new and improved Drupal CMS Academy web site!

The Drupal CMS Academy is a collaborative learning environment
created by and for you. Want to know more about the Academy? Browse the
new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) guide
to get answers to the most common questions about the Academy and what
it means to participate as an Intern. As an Academy Intern, you will
receive help achieving your Drupal related performance goals as you
help others in the community meet their Drupal web design objectives.
Whether you are new to Drupal or you are a seasoned Drupal veteran
(with the scrapes and bruises to prove it), your participation is
welcomed and appreciated! 

Ready to learn Drupal? Join the Academy!

The months of talking are over! Drupal lovers ... start your engines!

Welcome to the Drupal CMS Academy! Like our fellow Academics at The Webcast Academy, we provide a collaborative learning environment for those interested in learning how to use the Drupal content management system. The Drupal CMS Academy supports learners as they maximize their performance in the installation, administration and customization of a Drupal web installation.

Check out the Academy Intern Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to learn more about the Academy and what it means to be an Intern. If you are interested in becoming an Intern in the inaugural session at the Drupal CMS Academy, please register as an Academy Intern. See you at the Academy!


Join me at Baruch!

Beginning in January, Baruch College in Manhattan will begin a new instructional design and corporate training program within the Continuing and Professional Studies division. Joanne Tzanis is heading up the effort to get 15 courses up and running for the winter / spring 2007 semester - see also page 12 of the .pdf course catalog. I will be involved in the following courses:

  • Effective Facilitation: Teaching Not Telling (IDC0004)
  • Teaching in Blended and Virtual Classrooms (IDC005)
  • Teaching and Learning with Technology (IDC0015)

See you at Baruch!

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Learner Motivation and Disposition: Part of the code?

The old blog has been silent lately. It is because I am stuck - driven to distraction, so to speak. Looking back at recent blog posts, I see that I am clearly trying to crack a shared code within seemingly separate and distinct learning and instructional theories. After reading and hearing my ramblings about dynamic, personalized, coproduced, blah, blah, blah learning and instruction, a few people have raised the possibility that these learning and instructional approaches will only work for motivated self-starters - you know, the traditional "early adopters". If so, then the learner's disposition and level of motivation determine whether a less structured and more learner driven instructional model will "work"? Are these factors really part of the code?

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly ...


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More Fuel: Self-Directed and Customized Learning

I made a big omission earlier this week in my post about the blogs I regularly read. I forgot to mention Christian Long's blog Think:Lab. So often, I share common curiosity with the topics he covers in his blog. Today, his post "A school by any other name" sparked something in me. I have been thinking a lot about learning and instruction topics that dance around his central self-directed and customized learning themes. His post and the linked Teacher Magazine article "Don't Call It School" raises a lot of questions for me (the fuel to my own learning fire), but I can't add much in the way of commentary. I've been living in that frustrating realm for awhile now - the "there is something here, I just can't articulate it" realm. What is good is that realm usually leads to some degree of personal learning and awakening, so I'll just relax and live here awhile longer ...

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Any Gatekeepers at Cappuccino U?

Jane has done it again! She provided me with my morning dose of inspiration by linking us to a free e-book - Cappuccino U. As I have posted on recently (here and here), there is (to me anyway) a common thread connecting discussions about informal, networked, emergent, coproduced, dynamic (or whatever the word of the day) learning that focuses on an engaged, active and empowered learner in control of his or her own learning destiny. Cappuccino U is a quick read that reminds us of all the ways there are to take control of our learning from the comforts of our local coffee house.

Edublog 2006 - Nominations Open

As was announced last week, nominations for the 2006 Edublog Awards are open. Why is this exciting? Because it means an introduction to more really thoughtful people! I currently aggregate 237 edtech-ish feeds (some more ed than tech and vice versa). I found out about a few of these blogs during past Edublog Awards. Each day, that brings some 150 posts into Bloglines for me to browse. While I skim through 90% by just reading the title and a few lines after, there are a several blogs that I get excited to read. By the way, posting frequency is NOT an important criterion for me. I would rather read a few thoughtful and inspired posts a week (or month) than be force fed a daily dose of self-righteousness. For me, the inspiring bloggers not only separate the wheat from the chaff, they also passionately reflect on their interests - no matter who (if anyone) is reading. So, here are several of my ed + tech favorites that fit the bill:

Performance Improvement vs Learning

Performance improvement is generally the intended outcome of learning, right? So, why do we tend to address them separately? People are far more likely to ask me if I am learning a lot in school versus whether my performance as an instructional designer is improving - which should be the desired outcome, right? However, I haven't jumped on the "performance improvement" wagon myself and I'm trying to figure out why. Everything I have read so far regarding performance improvement makes sense, but I can't shake the perception that it applies in a transfer of knowledge / work setting context. Anyone care to share your opinion?

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The New Electronic Hanging Chad

I headed off to my local polling place bright and early today. With only a few choices on the ballot in this mid-term election, casting my vote was a quick process. Unfortunately, figuring out how to use the electronic polling machine was the hard part!

Envision walking into a booth and facing a giant paper poster written in what appears to be Spanish - I swear that there were more Spanish words than English words on the poster! Being the try first / read instructions never kind of person, I started hitting buttons on the small key pad under the "poster" to record my vote. When nothing seemed to happen when I punched the keypad, I pulled back the curtain and asked the assistant what I was doing wrong. He reached around the curtain and pushed directly on a name on the giant paper poster and a lighted check mark glowed from under the paper next to the name. As I was likely only one of the first 20 people to vote, he was still able to restrain an eye roll. However, every person ahead of me (including my husband) asked for assistance, so I am confident that he will be (or should be) giving out the same instructions to every voter in my voting district.

Internet Users: Searchers or Surfers

Does Internet based content find you or do you find it? There seems to be two types of Internet users: 1) searchers and 2) surfers. Searchers seek information. Surfers seek inspiration. While a searcher can sometimes be a surfer and vice versa, searchers say, "Need it? Google it", and surfers say, "I Stumbled on it" or "It appeared in my feed reader". I came to this realization when someone mentioned to me that
he just searches for stuff on the Internet when he NEEDS it. How 1996, I thought! However, I began to think about what I do with all of that content I collect as a die hard surfer. I came to the realization that lately I haven't actually tried most of my "finds". Instead, I usually dump them into my del.icio.us folder to try at a later date. In my quest to find the latest and greatest edtech "inspiration" (see EdTechWeekly), I have found I am at an Internet surfing tipping point - too much of a good thing, as they say! Content aggregation overload has caused a disturbing ailment- content paralysis! I'm at a strange place where the act of surfing for content has disrupted my enjoyment and use of the content I find. So, I'm going to take a cue from the searchers out there and "step away from the aggregator" for a few days. I can still turn to StumbleUpon if I need a "fix".

Drupal CMS Academy Community Session #8

Drupal CMS Academy - Live Web Cast #8

Join us on Monday November 6th at 9:00 p.m. ET (North America)

Click here for Global Times

Please join us at the Drupal CMS Academy for our weekly live web cast as we share our latest and greatest Drupal tips and tricks!

Drupal: Join us at the CMS Academy tonight!

Drupal CMS Academy Community Session #7

Join us later today - Tuesday October 31th at 9:00 p.m. ET (North America)
Click here for Global Times

Join us for more Drupal "tricks and treats" at the Drupal CMS Academy! We plan to gather around the new Drupal chat room and WebHuddle and tell spooky stories about system glitches and goblins! We hope you can join us!

Drupal: Bill Fitzgerald on 21st Century Learning

Be sure to catch the recording of today's 21st Century Learning podcast with Alex Ragone and Arvind Grover. Bill Fitzgerald (of funnymonkey.com and OpenAcademic fame) covered some interesting Drupal territory, including the following:

Update: Rhizomatic Dynamic Agile Coproducing blah ...

Add to my mixed bag of ideas this paper #92: Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge by Stephen Downes that is the subject of discussion this week on IT Forum and addressed in this recorded presentation. Interesting to consider both the common and divergent themes . . .

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Rhizomatic Dynamic Agile Coproducing blah, blah ...

Rhizomatic, schrmizomatic . . . all kidding aside, I had a fun time chatting with Dave C. yesterday during the Worldbridges Webcastathon - yes, on the Worldbridges network ... the home of EdTechTalk.com! Dave has posted some interesting thoughts on his blog that dance around some loosely joined thoughts I've been hearing and reading about including:

  • Designing Coproduction Experiences: In one of my instructional design classes, we are using a book (Creating Do It Yourself Customers - The Coproduction Revolution) written by my professor which centers on the design of what he terms "co-production" experiences. A central focus of the book is that if we want customers (or in the context of our discussion last night - learners) to achieve excellence as they take on roles in a co-production experience (like the Drupal CMS Academy), we must carefully contemplate the learner's "vision (goals / feedback), access, incentive and expertise" within the design. The book provides in-depth analysis and guidance regarding these themes.
  • Engagement and Coproduction: The online book "The Journey to the Interface" addresses similar themes.
  • Dynamic Personalization: I found the link to the online book noted above from a link to link in Josie Fraser's post about "Personalisation" - or as we say on this side of the pond "Personalization" - addressing "the active participation of citizens in designing services".
  • Informal / Emergent / Incidental Learning: Last week, I was introduced to a blog by a graduate student at the University of Georgia. I was told by her colleagues that her research interests are in online informal (emergent and incidental) learning. I look forward to learning more about her research.
  • Agile Instructional Design: See my post from a few weeks back about Peter Rawsthorme's Agile Instructional Design ideas.
  • ...and my ongoing obsession with Drupal as my Personal Learning Environment.

So, what does all this mean? Are there relevant connections among these themes? Well, I haven't got that figured out. Has anyone else? However, these ideas taken in whole seem to point toward instructional design focused on a common goal: creating dynamic learning environments focused on active learner participation! Whether we call the recipients Rhizomatic Dynamic Agile Coproducing Emergent Learners or not, I for one am happy to consider myself one!

Drupal CMS Academy Community Brainstorming Session #5

Join us on Tuesday October 17th at 9:00 p.m. ET

Click here for Global Times

By popular demand, we are adding a midweek Drupal CMS Academy web cast session to the agenda! Please join us at the Drupal CMS Academy during the live web cast to continue our discussion about all things Drupal. We are moving forward toward our goal of kicking off the Drupal online collaborative learning environment and we would love to hear your ideas during this live planning session!

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Presentation: Slideshare

I don't care if you call it web 2.0 or a banana split, there are some cool Internet based tools out there! I've been having fun with slideshare (see my "Drupal as a PLE" slide show post). It takes a couple of steps to set up a free account that (for now) requires the added step of requesting an invitation. After that, you can upload your slides to the hosted site, share the link and embed it in a blog. There are also social networking components (kind of like YouTube, but for presentations) which allow you to tag your presentations for easy search by others. Per the slideshare blog, it looks like conferences are starting to use slideshare a means of sharing conference presentations. I wonder if there is a way to sync up the audio or video?

So . . . what did I learn at the conference?

I am really glad I made the trip to Dallas. I got a lot out of the experience. However, it was not necessarily the same kind of experience that I thought it would be when I was planning my trip to Dallas. I was prepared to gather and share resources and new ideas. In reality, that didn't really happen. What I found is that my blog roll provides a far better way for me to get up to speed and stay current on the latest and greatest in the world of education and technology.

Instead, I got to speak with some really inspiring people, validate several of my preconceptions and challenge what I thought I knew about the field. I leave feeling neither let down nor invigorated by the experience, but rather something in the middle. I am definitely inspired to further explore some of the ideas I heard about (mainly in side bar conversations) and I'm ready to jump back into it. For what it is worth, here are some of my take aways:

Distance STUDENTS have the perception problem

Enough about distance learning having a perception problem. I've seen enough in the last few days to know that there is plenty of effort going into addressing the "quality" of online eduction. A great number of presentations have been about research into the state and quality of online education. In fact, there was a panel of researchers talking about the quality of the research to study the quality of online education - I'm not kidding. I have heard MANY times that online course design ideas should be (and are being) used to improve the experience of f2f courses - how is that for turning the perception table?

However, what has given me a sick knot in my stomach are the side bar comments that reveal the perceptions about distance STUDENTS. When you scratch below the surface of seemingly benign comments, you reveal the real perception about who distance students "are". I have repeatedly encountered surprise and disbelief that I am a distance student attending an academic conference ... this from folks who make their living studying and teaching distance students ... so they must know who distance students are, right?

Global Learn Day - Tune in NOW!

Greetings from Dallas! I am sitting in my hotel waiting for two f2f local conferences to begin (AECT 2006 and Educause 2006) while listening to the live stream of Global Learn Day 10 broadcasting session from around the world ... proving once again that all things local can become global in just a few clicks! Here are the "instructions" on how to listen or participate in Global Learn Day. Check it out!

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Drupal as a Personal Learning Environment

Drupal CMS Academy Community Brainstorming Session #4

Drupal CMS Academy Community Brainstorming Session #4

Join us on Sunday - October 15, 2006

5:30 p.m. GMT global times

Do you have a Drupal site up and running? Are you thinking about jumping in to the world of Drupal? Please join us in our next* Drupal CMS Academy community brainstorming session. As part of ongoing CMS Academy planning, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of how to install and administer a Drupal site. We look forward to hearing your questions, suggestions and hot tips about setting up and running Drupal.

Skype + WebHuddle + IM = Free Breeze (Connect) = Skuddle-Chat

At IU, we use Breeze for our online synchronous "classes". However, I just attended an online presentation with the good folks at WorldBridges in which Skype + WebHuddle + text chat were used to create a pretty slick alternative to Breeze, now re-branded as "Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional" since the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe .... hmmm ... doesn't quite roll off the tongue does it? But ... I digress. This set up included real time voice, video and text chat with desktop sharing. I haven't seen the finished "recording", but it will likely be clunker than Breeze (I mean) Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional recordings given that the individual components will remain on separate platforms. However, for the money (free), it did the trick! Now, what to call it? Since Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional is already taken, how about skuddle-chat? I knew that MBA in Marketing would come in handy one day!

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