Saturday, October 29, 2011

at long last: hello #multiliteracies, #POTcert11, #CMC11 & #change11

Finally! Today is the day I break the block, stop procrastinating and MOOC blog. So long, too much territory to cover.  I won't even try. Even so, it is still long enough to invite procrastination. 

I started impressions in 750words, an online writing application to develop the habit of daily writing. The purpose is just to write, get started writing and keep writing, with no other purpose ~ certainly not create blog posts, create documents, answer mail and so on, but the morning word dump gets me started.

Quick take on current state of my mooc activity at this point: if I had a compelling reason (i.e. credit, professional development, to add to CV) to or cared about optimum keeping up, I'd be in a drowning panic. I'm not though. Each mooc is a different gem, a view through a different lens that I'd rather not set aside in order to meet recommendations set by someone else.

Sure, I'd like to be getting more done but this is not all I am doing, not even all I am doing online. Try six+ blogs, four Facebook pages (in addition to profile and a number of groups), a bulging feed reader (even the filters have filters), four pages, three Pinterest boards, four Twitter lines (unsuccessfully trying to hand off local farmers market one), a NetVibes aggregation page and a static web page. No surprise that neither of the last get enough maintenance time. Moocs enrich and inform the lot.

That aside why am here? Orient, declare, network, cluster, focus and all that jazz?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Complexity, self-organization, #Change11 etc

 Even if not specifically designated as such, thoughts on navigating chaos, an ongoing Multiliteracies consideration, shine through. Besides relevance, this sharing-as-post gives me the opportunity to a) post by email to posterous; b) autopost to CLW; c) get in the habit of using Diggo features; d) comply with MOOC tool building mission, even modest tools with less bling and glitz (and thankfully requiring less bandwidth); e) participate; f) contribute, however modestly, to artifact creation; g) and surely more


Complexity, self-organization, and #Change11: reactions to Siemen's presentation on online courses - michael sean gallagher

    • presentation from George Siemens on Self-Organization in Online Courses (embedded below) that addressed some aspects of learning complexity (through the context of a MOOC)
      • we need to sift through the chaos to create signal, perhaps even a pattern language
        • I liken this process to language itself and the alphabet. The alphabet developed to take a series of meanings and weld it to one symbol (a process more pronounced in Chinese and ancient Egyptian perhaps) that everyone might recognize and accept.
          • It reduces the complexity, yes, but more importantly it provides a starting point for a common process. Without it, we would be lost in theory. 
            • The same holds for learning to some degree. We look for structure, but if none exists on sight, we combine things until some structure emerges. That structure can be represented in a single symbol, but its foundation might shift as new understanding emerges. Occasionally, there is need to ditch the symbols or invent a new one altogether as emerging learning dictates. That is a healthy and complicated process. The MOOC captures this process a bit and adheres to an open structure to allow pattern language to emerge, a shared vocabulary, a knowledge construct (however ephemeral).
              • Feedback as friction as forces interact. A spark, a collision, waste, and occasionally a nova. A big (learning) bang. This makes me think a learner's responsibility (among many others) is to be open to this collision of actors, agents, feedback, waste, noise, and then, ideally, pattern, understanding. The only way out is through.
                • Disturbing- an ontological disturbance, an unknown, an uncanny sense of veering through uncharted, potentially treacherous waters. It is a good place to be as a learner, but it requires a strength and confidence that only an empowered learner could put forth. But in that disturbance, that mess, there is the friction, that meat-grinder of understanding.
                  • This is learning as curiosity and sometimes it can be quite scary. 
                    • Often we seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge (anyone subjected to my endless banal history lessons will understand this), but I do believe that most learning is action oriented. To learn not only to get a job, to live in a world, to subsist, but rather for acting as best as we can. For improvement, for progress, for self-actualization.
                      • self-actualization (the development of self) can only be realized through sharing, group interaction
                        • disaggregated, emotive, functional machine of interaction. One that has to be tinkered with constantly. 

                          This message was sent to you by Vanessa Vaile via Diigo

                          Posted via email from Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments

                          Sunday, September 18, 2011

                          Multi(ple): literacies, tasking, connecting, networking #MOOC/s

                          Would that be multimoocquing (or however spelled)? I favor qu for the hard c. Getting ahead of myself (we can do that here), I came across "Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy" in CMC1l readings for week. The article struck me as MOOC and Multiliteracies relevant even if it uses the word "collaboration" too often. Call it coollaporation and let it be, let it be ...

                          Saturday, September 10, 2011

                          Basic Blogging, #potcert11

                          Explaining how to get started blogging was on my mind before this course started: a friend asked for help with basics. I assumed (and we all know the cliché about how that breaks down) everybody taking the class would already be a blogger. So I thought, why not revise and repurpose for the class? Too basic, just ignore it: filtering practice.

                          Blogging is not that different from writing email. The compose screens are very similar. Instead of emailing to designated addressees, you publish - send it into cyberspace. A number of blogging platform offer post by email, making blogging even more like email. Compose in your email program and save in drafts. Alternately, you can compose in a word processing program and then copy paste into the message screen. Use WordPad and save to rtf because Word has too much hidden garbage code that may not transfer well 

                          Explanatory stuff + links below the fold. Looking over a few blogs about teaching and in your subject area will help you get a feel for blogging and the possibilities. Best advice: just do and figure out the details as you go along. Ask questions: anyone you know who blogs is part of your learning network.

                          Wednesday, August 31, 2011

                          Comparing MOOCs

                          ~ no two alike, about how they evolved and extending the comparison / discussion to large open courses such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare and Stanford’s Massive AI Course, by Michael Atkisson at Ways of Knowing, briefly excerpted with exhortations to click through and read the entire piece + bibliography. Size matters but is not everything, nor, according to some, is it even the most important element, which might (my best guess) be interactive, distributed networks operating according to connectivist principles. I've been told before by mooc-urus that I was wrong so could be again.

                          What is a MOOC?

                          Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are large-scale online courses (in the thousands of participants) where an expert or group of experts from a particular field both 1. create the large draw to the course, and 2. facilitate a multi-week series of interactive lectures and discussion forms on critical issues from that field. Participants are expected to self-organize, to share and discuss the course material, and to create and publish new artifacts that represent their learning. Additionally, MOOC participation is recorded and published openly so that those who come upon it later may follow peripherally.

                          Where did MOOCs Come From?

                          This is best answered in the words of David Cormier and George Siemens,
                          “The term was coined in response to Siemens and Downes’s 2008 “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” course. An initial group of twenty-five participants registered and paid to take the course for credit. The course was then opened up for other learners to participate: course lectures, discussion forums, and weekly online sessions were made available to nonregistered learners. This second group of learners–those in The Open Course who wanted to participate but weren’t interested in course credit–numbered over 2,300. The addition of these learners significantly enhanced the course experience, since additional conversations and readings extended the contributions of the instructors.” (2010, p. 32).
                          Since 2008, several other MOOCs have developed....

                          What is a MOOC Experience?

                          The scale of interaction among MOOC participants is like that of massively multiplayer online games, such as World of Warcraft, but where as in the gaming environment large numbers of people come together online to play, self-organize, develop skill, strategize as a group, and execute strategies, MOOCs, on the other hand, facilitate learning about or the development of a particular knowledge domain at a participation scale ripe for diversity....Other ways to experience a MOOC are to lurk or to follow the course after-the-fact.... there were lots of ways to participate... I thought it was remarkable how much I felt that I was there in the class....felt immersed through my after-the-fact peripheral participation.

                          Is MIT’s OpenCourseWare a MOOC?

                          The short answer is no. I again point to Cormier and Siemens:
                          “In an open course, participants engage at different levels of the educator’s practice, whether that be helping to develop a course or participating in the live action of the course itself. This is distinctly different from the idea of open in the open content movement, where open is used in the sense of being free from the intellectual property stipulations that restrict the use and reuse of content” (2010, p. 32).
                          Though MIT’s OpenCourseWare is revolutionary, making content publicly available is not enough because it only focuses on the content.... MOOCs seem to differ from Stanford’s classes in these principle ways 

                          (now read the entire piece online, bookmark it, save the bibliography)

                          #POTCert11: Introduction

                          Here's my introduction. Now that I am not teaching classes and sending out or posting obligatory welcome notes, I no longer had an appropriate bio on file. Writing a fresh one took a bit longer than expected, evoking the inevitable bout of self-reflection about identities. The result may be both too long and not long enough. My 67th birthday was just a week ago: a lot happens in that many years, some lived in interesting times and places, some of it even pedagogically relevant. 

                          I moved to Mountainair NM from Davis CA at the beginning of 2000. Mountainair is a small, rural community in central NM. Although remote in being relatively isolated and not suburb distance from a significantly larger town, it is not a long a drive from much larger and better known Albuquerque or even Santa Fe. There are historic buildings, notable examples of wild folk art, pre-Columbian and Spanish Mission ruins, a small arts community, a bank, a gas station, a grocery store, a volunteer run community library, a blinker light, ranchers, developers selling the Old West mystique, even a gated (mostly) SoCal exurb and all too soon, our very own Dollar Store. I live alone, have cats, two very large hairy dogs and, until a few years back, took in two retired Welsh mares I bred in another life time, yard ornaments.

                          After living in the Lafayette LA area for 25 years straight after returning from eight years residence overseas, I headed westward ho to study Comparative Literature at UC Davis. Since then I've taught composition, English literature, World literature and Classics in translation, Spanish, ESL, developmental writing and study skills as well as directing a local family literacy program and teaching in after school programs. I've taught hybrid and online since the mid 90s ~ public, for-profit and as a volunteer. 

                          Retired now, I occupy myself online and with words, blogging, keeping up with far flung friends and family, following wide spread interests, community networking, curating social media content for fun and other projects that occasionally intersect ~ and still volunteer teach ESL online. This past year I added open online courses to the list. None have been for credit, nor all completed, but I still get a lot out of them ~ and keep coming back for more. Each time I get a better sense of the format and feel for the potential of distributed networks. 

                          It's a whole new learning culture, very likely a game changer, but one I feel like I've been waiting for all along.

                          Wednesday, August 24, 2011

                          Diigo: done did it

                           or Adventures in Diigo-Land: not that much of adventure since I already had a Diigo account that I use some but less than Delicious, which is faster, especially with marklet plug-in. The speed bump was lost note with login information (geriatric hard drive melt down) and forgetting which email account I signed in from. I'd say try not to have systems problems right when starting a course or project, but that's not something we have control over. Too bad.

                          I should use Diigo more and have been inching up on it, a bit more each online workshop, class or MOOC that calls for it. Inching is my approach of choice for assimilating apps ~ minimizes frustration and keeps long term memory from going out on strike for unfair working condition. Turbo-techno-teachers might bear that in mind dealing with students new to the tech they themselves take for granted.

                          Diigo won't supplant or completely replace Delicious but don't doubt it will find its place in the Repertoire of Useful Performing Apps. This round I'll use the sharing tools more and maybe just maybe explore it for quick & easy blog content posting. With the gang of blogs I have, I'm always on the lookout for that.

                          Tuesday, August 23, 2011

                          Into the #MOOC again

                          ... but you never enter the same MOOC twice.

                          Adding the blog right off as part of the enrollment process put the feed right out there. Will that encourage regular blogging or blogger's block?

                          My own MOOC-blogging reticence puzzles me. I run a gang of blogs and generally post to about three a day. That's not counting affiliated twitter accounts and Facebook page. In other words, I've danced at this party plenty of time before, in front of both friends and strangers, so why be shy now? Maybe regular assignments are what I need ~ just like setting realistic blogging goals as New Year's resolutions.

                          Pedagogy First!

                          Here I am, working my way through the POT list:

                          • already in the FB group
                          •  just filled out form
                          • waiting for password to add feed
                          • already in Diigo but need to join mccpot group
                          • finish reading syllabus (e.g. practice what we preach)
                          • writing that 1st blog post right now
                          • and then the Howdy Y'all blog post 
                          • on FB too

                          I am particularly pleased to have learned how to create a feed just for a single tag or label. Good news for a schizo multiple strand blog like this one. Although I've used this blog for a number of online workshops or courses with blog requirements, that is not it's primary purpose, especially between times. It started out being about the intersection of computers and the internet with teaching language/s and writing. Multiliteracies didn't take it OT, but MOOCs about teaching online have been a stretch. Both functions have suffered as a result. From the sidebar:

                          ABOUT ~ Writing includes email, blogs, wikis, genres less bound to but still involving computers. Web 2.0 collaboration, interaction, feedback, tech tools and apps that enhance the writing process. The blog started as part of an online workshop about teaching writing, with ESL instructors the intended audience, but has now gone beyond that and other boundaries. What happens to language when writing and computers collide? Or writing when language and computers meet up?
                           Maybe I should write separate learning objective (per previous post) for each MOOC, including past ones with self-evaluation (eek). Learning objective should keep writing component in mind. I still intend to get to the Digital Divide too.

                          Saturday, August 20, 2011

                          Writing Learning Objectives

                          This handout from the Penn State Learning Design Hub looks useful if  occasionally wordy and too obvious in places: it could do with streamlining lest it turn into another way to generate interminable reports. It smacks of one of those QM things too. As a recovering writing teacher, I'd start with a very short statement of purpose (aka thesis statement) and then one sentence each for each of the basic questions. A short paragraph and a mission statement. The biz folk have it right about keeping those short. 

                          Rationale: Writing clear course objectives is important because:

                          • Objectives define what you will have the students do.
                          • Objectives provide a link between expectations, teaching and grading.
                          Basic Information

                          Questions you need to think about
                          Who are your students? Freshman? Senior? A mix of different prior knowledge and experience?
                          Is this course a general education course or a course required for the major?

                          The A.B.C.D. method
                          The ABCD method of writing objectives is an excellent starting point for writing objectives (Heinich, et al., 1996). In this system, "A" is for audience, "B" is for behavior, "C" for conditions and "D" for degree of mastery needed.
                          • Audience – Who? Who are your learners?
                          • Behavior – What? What do you expect them to be able to do? This should be an overt, observable behavior, even if the actual behavior is covert or mental in nature. If you can't see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it, you can't be sure your audience really learned it.
                          • Condition – How? Under what circumstances or context will the learning occur? What will the student be given or already be expected to know to accomplish the learning?
                          • Degree – How much? How much will be accomplished, how well will the behavior need to be performed, and to what level? Do you want total mastery (100%), do you want them to respond correctly 80% of the time, etc. A common (and totally non-scientific) setting is 80% of the time.
                          follow the link below for Examples of Well-Written Objectives (or at least one the authors of this handout consider well-written ~ badly written objectives can be as informative, how not to guides)

                          Tuesday, August 16, 2011

                          Changing HigherEd one MOOC at a time

                          The links + excerpts below, although not about MOOCs relate to them and especially #EduMOOC Week 8. They are reactions to higher education disruptions and changes from various (and conflicting) perspectives on the future topography of higher ed. I recall, perhaps imperfectly, a comment by Stephen Downes on disaggregating courses and credits as the only way to keep learning open and certification available. That made sense to me, even though I immediately recognized the authority (and thus power) to bestow credits as a line in the sand issue not easily resolved. 

                          I was not wrong. Judging by the academic blogosphere's reaction to Stanford's open course experiment, WGU encroachments, charter universities and other tech transgressions, I may even have underestimated the reaction.  

                          Resistance to technological change does not fuel the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education and supporting blog Restructuring Public Hi Ed directly. However, it plays a major role as threat to the campaign's preservationist stance and stated purpose of educators having a voice in higher education changes. My own experience tells me they could have a voice in MOOCs and learn more about the unknown by listening to others with an open mind and the free exchange of ideas across the full spectrum of higher ed stakeholders. Nothing runs counter to the Campaign's basic principles.  

                          In the following collection of reactions and opinions, Stanford's "is it a MOOC or isn't it," moderately massive but not open online courses (i.e. IT courses at SFSU) already being taught online, and Western Governors University are neither MOOCs nor representative of their connectivist foundations. MOOCs (and distributed networks) could be the solution to problems (e.g. authentic interaction) the others still present. 

                          How then would a judicious application of MOOC and connectivism affect each of the following cases? How would it address concerns for the profession voiced by educators? 

                          Wednesday, June 22, 2011

                          More Online Teacher-training opportunities

                          In addition to the eduMOOC2011 (Massive Open Online Course) starting June 27 and recently blogged ("Online Learning Today... and Tomorrow") on Computers, Language, Writing:

                          via Emerging Education Technology by K. Walsh on 6/19/11

                          Interested? Which of these topics and time-frames would you prefer? I'd like to offer a free online workshop for teachers (and anyone else who is interested) this summer. I'm planning on...
                          [Please click on the post title to continue reading the full post]

                          Note: most of the materials in both courses can be accessed asynchronously and without a high speed connects. EduMOOC2011 audio files and asynchronous live sessions will be archived for later listening/viewing

                          Monday, June 20, 2011

                          eduMOOC: Online Learning Today... and Tomorrow

                          Highly Recommended: take this course as an overlap with / followup to StudyCom's Online Teacher Training Course. Also tagged for and bundled with ELT Online. If you've never taken a MOOC or Massive Open Online Course, you are in for a surprise a treat and/or a real eye-opener... an educational experience to say the least. Watching the two (linked and on the page) videos , What is a MOOC? and What is 'success' in a MOOC? will help prepare you for the actual course.

                          "The Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield welcomes you to a Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) on “Online Learning Today...and Tomorrow.” It will begin June 27, 2011 and run for eight weeks. It is totally open, free, and collaborative. It can be totally asynchronous, or those attending can join in weekly panel discussions with experts in various aspects of the topic. This is an active and growing resource and networking center on the topic of 'Online Learning Today, and Tomorrow.' You will have the opportunity to meet many people around the world who share your interest in this topic."

                          Weeks 1-8:

                          Sunday, June 19, 2011

                          another experiment - learning to teach

                          ... but related to the CLW purpose (see sidebar). StudyCom (David Winet) is offering a Teacher Training Course. The focus is teaching ESL but, not unexpectedly, with the primary emphasis on real time applications using technology requiring a high speed connection: conferencing, Second Life, etc.  Here's the course description:
                          If you are an ESL teacher or planning to become an ESL teacher, join our new teacher training course Saturdays at 3 pm GMT in Classroom One.
                          Enrollment is limited to bona fide ESL teachers, TEFL/TESL graduate students or students enrolled in TEFL/TESL certificate programs. The course will deal with all aspects of ESL teaching, with an emphasis on online teaching, including mobile.
                          The course will be free but enrolees must attend regularly and do assigned homework and tests.
                          I'm in the process of trying to tease a syllabus out of the above plus a few notes. Basically, the course focuses on the famous (or would that be notorious?) four skills: understanding, speaking, reading, writing. The structure suggests that writing and perhaps reading could get shorted.

                          Bridging the Digital Divide

                          I couldn't resist replying, questioning the total absence of accommodating those of us on the other side of the Digital Divide. Then (presumably) a StudyCom group member) wrote me asking about training for teachers who did not have high speed connections. So (cutting further DD discussion and thus to the chase) here I am. I rejected the "offer" to teach a "low bandwidth" version (after having asked for audio files and transcripts of live sessions such as those provided at recent MOOCs) but allowed I would moderate a group if one were set up; curate, organize, archive materials; answer questions (and maybe post a few).

                          As for the Digital Divide (or Digital Inclusion), the subject is too important to dismiss with a brief mention, so I'll come back to it. Low tech, obviously, would be a chalk or white board (or even a vinyl shower curtain on a school room wall). I'm aiming for a middle ground: let's call it mid-tech (in between high and low tech. Free and easy to access on lower bandwidths.

                          What would that include? Quite a lot really: email, email groups, bulletin boards, blogs, wikis, web pages, interactive exercises with minimal flash, social media. Non internet technology might include radio; audio tape or CD player; projector; TV; VCR or DVD player.

                          What do teachers learning to teach need to think about? Everyone should make his or her own list. Here are some points I've come up with. What would you add?

                          Age and level of students, their learning styles, your own teaching style, class size, previous learning experience, strong and weak areas, what students are expected to learn, what tests or specialized training they are preparing for, any conditions that would interfere with learning, setting (classroom, computer, mixed online and face to face), facilities, connectivity and computer access, teaching materials, workarounds. This last is when you have to make do, work around not having optimum teaching conditions or resources: make do with what you have.

                          Sunday, June 5, 2011

                          PD: Education Webinars from Learn Central

                          Live Interactive Webinars: Public & Free ~ free professional development online ~ DIY
                          Network Email
                          Charting the Course of Teaching and Learning in a Networked World

                          A message to all members of The Future of Education

                          Below are this week's public, free, and interactive Webinars through, the social learning network for education that I work on for Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate).

                          The time of the events below will show up automatically in your own time zone when you are registered in LearnCentral and when you have chosen your time zone in your profile, or you can check the new event time converter on the event page. Event recordings are posted and available after the events if you aren't able to attend them live. If you are looking for an easy calendar import / RSS feed for these events, you'll now find a link on your calendar page or the calendar page of specific groups!

                          We hope you will consider hosting your own public webinars using the free LearnCentral public room--instructions are available by joining the 'Host Your Own Webinar' group on the main announcement tab (

                          Thanks for your attention, and see you online!

                          Steve Hargadon

                          ECN Weekly, 6.5.2011

                          ~ excerpted... an online community and excellent resource for English teachers: join and subscribe to the newsletter online 

                          Network Email
                          Where English teachers go to help each other

                          YA Lit and the WSJ
                          An article in this week's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) titled "Darkness Too Visible," has inspired a heated discussion on the ECNing and beyond.  To which several, including the Goddess of YA herself Teri Lesesne and YA author Jackie Morse Kessler responded with incredible blogs. Paul Hankins got a conversation going on the ECN, which you can read by clicking here. The WSJ article is a relative of a now relatively well-known essay some years ago by Francine Prose titled "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read," which appeared in Harpers. You can read that essay by clicking here

                          Visit English Companion Ning online 

                          Friday, April 1, 2011

                          Teaching Carnival 4.8

                          (Blogging) carnie barker ProfHacker at The Chronicle welcomes you to Teaching Carnival 4.8. I've seen other blog carnivals, including more than a few teaching ones, mostly subject and K-12, but somehow missed this one. Fits right in with writing/blogging about teaching, computers, languages, writing, MOOC, multileracies. Other carnivals feature teaching blogs for K-12 and ESL/EFL/ELL. Visiting a carnival is good way to check out teaching blogs and pick new ideas.

                          ProfHacker has become the permanent home of the Teaching Carnival, so each month you can return for a snapshot of the most recent thoughts on teaching in college and university classrooms. You can find previous carnivals on Teaching Carnival’s home page.

                          Technology in the Classroom

                          • Shaun Huston at A Weird Fish experiments with using Storify in the classroom. With many of the same capabilities as a blog, Storify offers unique opportunities to facilitate student learning.
                          • Kathryn Crowther, writing for TECHStyle, a forum for digital pedagogy hosted by Georgia Tech, has some suggestions for Steampunking your pedagogy. Also for TECHStyle, Leeann Hunter describes the semester wrap-up of some collaborative work in her classroom
                          • The Worst Professor Ever also weighs in on digital pedagogy. She’s good for some bummer thoughts to harsh your digital humanities mellow. After that, she takes on the question of what Blackboard can’t do for you.
                          • Gordon Watts describes some of the possibilities inherent in the move to digitize ever-larger portions of our books.
                          • Finally, Richard N. Landers at Neo-Academic considers the correlation between Twitter, student engagement, and grades and asks us to consider the relationship between succeeding at a learning game and enjoying one.
                          [Image by Bill Wolff and used under the Creative Commons license.]
                          This ProfHacker entry was posted in Teaching and tagged  (in case you want to find more of them right here) Posted via email from Mooking About

                          Friday, March 18, 2011

                          Annotating Text

                          At our school, we really push students to get comfortable and familiar with the idea of annotating academic text that they’re reading. That’s just one of several reasons why we don’t use standard textbooks much in our English classes, and instead use copied units from Pebble Creek Labs, the Write Institute, or ones developed by local universities. And we always have a lot of post-it notes on hand for when we aren’t using consumables. We encourage students to read text with a pen or highlighter in their hands.

                          This is why I’m really big on web apps that let you annotate webpages (see Best Applications For Annotating Websites).

                          This kind of annotation habit is a reminder and strategy for students to interact more meaningfully with the text, and makes follow-up work so much easier (unit projects, studying for tests, etc.). It’s a habit that they’ll find useful for years to come.

                          Annotation “prompts” include using the typical reading strategies (ask a question, make a connection, visualize by drawing a picture and writing what it is, summarizing, predicting, and agreeing/disagreeing) and highlighting a specifically limited number of words (to help students develop the discipline of not highlighting tons of them)

                          Not just for research, note-taking and studying but also helps reading in general by focusing attention on the text.

                          Posted via email from Academentia

                          Sunday, March 13, 2011

                          Facebook, News and the Future of Free Thought

                          I came across this article in my drafts file ~ over a year old. It's still interested and hardly obsolete. I still read most of my news as rss feeds on a Google Reader, although I now use Twitter more than I did a year and especially for fast breaking news. From casual observation, I suspect those using Facebook as their sole news source are not serious news readers, were not before Facebook. Then as now, they take the easy option: one stop shopping. Then it was one newspaper, usually local, with AP or UPI providing the news window on the larger world, supplemented by a weekly news magazine that told them what to think about the news. Media change; human nature does not.  

                          Where do you read the news? Your friends and colleague? Your students? What are your thoughts about internet culture and how it is changing the way we learn, read, acquire and process information (to turn it into knowledge)?

                          via ReadWriteWeb by Marshall Kirkpatrick on 2/3/10

                          The consumption of news -- that formerly-respected category of information outside of humorous cat and music videos that impacts hundreds of millions of peoples' lives -- could be substantially improved by new methods of subscription offered online. Unfortunately, that's not happening. Numbers from web traffic analysts Hitwise released tonight indicate that almost nothing has changed in 10 years when it comes to popular consumption of news online. The big portals and search engines, delivering their version of news, remain in control. That's bad for independent thinking and human free will.

                          If you were hoping that a new world of web technology would empower free-thinking people to subscribe to diverse sources of information and analysis about the world's news, then Facebook, albeit a little awkward as a news-reading platform today, may be your best hope.

                          On Monday we argued that Facebook's call to users to subscribe to news outlets on the social network could soon make it the world's leading news-reading platform. Hitwise picked up on that story and ran some numbers today. Their conclusion: Facebook already drives 350 times as much traffic to other websites in the "news and media" category (3.5%) as Google Reader does (.01%). Perhaps more importantly, though, Facebook, Google News (1.4%). and Google Reader together account for less than 5% of news sites' total traffic. The #1, 2 and 3 drivers of traffic to news sites? Google, Yahoo and MSN - portals and search engines where the editorial judgement is made by centralized algorithms and powerful front-page editors.

                          So Facebook is the web's most popular subscription-enabled place to read news; be it from links shared by friends or by becoming a Fan of news organizations like Facebook is now encouraging. That doesn't mean that Facebook is yet a better news-reading service than dedicated RSS readers are. But it has certainly caught on as a way to read news far better than dedicated news-reading software has. In fact, it may offer the only meaningful chance that the technologies of online self-publishing and simple subscription are going to change the world like they ought to.

                          According to Hitwise's Heather Hopkins tonight:
                          Last week, Google Reader accounted for .01% of upstream visits to News and Media websites, about the same level as a year ago. Google News accounted for 1.39% of visits and Facebook 3.52%. Facebook was the #4 source of visits to News and Media sites last week, after Google, Yahoo! and msn. News and Media is the #11 downstream industry after Facebook, receiving 3.69% of the social networking site's traffic. To offer a comparison, 6% of downstream traffic from Facebook went to Shopping and Classifieds last week and 6% to Business and Finance and 15% went to Entertainment websites (YouTube in particular).

                          We detailed on Monday a number of ways in which Facebook was already the best place for millions of people to read and share news, but when looking at these Hitwise stats it's important to realize that it's traffic that's being counted. So full feeds inside Google Reader deliver the whole story, whereas Facebook snippets require that readers click all the way through to the source site. None the less, a multiple of 350 is a multiple of 350.
                          Google News, the 2nd leading news reader according to Hitwise, made some nice changes this week around starring stories to track over time. That could increase its marketshare. But Do-It-Yourself subscription to diverse selections of news sources may be contrary to the contemporary human condition, as desirable as it may be. As web standards guru Jeffrey Zeldman said in an unrelated post this week about the closed nature of the iPad: "The bulk of humanity doesn't want a computing experience it can tinker with; it wants a computing experience that works." The same could probably be said for news about the world, and look where it's gotten us.

                          I'm not saying Facebook is a better way to read news than through an RSS reader. I'm saying no one uses RSS readers, even after years of their being as obviously life-changing as many of us know they are. Instead, people are beginning to use Facebook to read news. That's good, because platforms that encourage independent subscription instead of just consumption of pre-selected news are very important.

                          Facebook Could Be Our Only Hope (Online)

                          The big story is of course that the vast, vast majority (like 95%) of traffic to news sites doesn't come from news readers like Google Reader, Google News or Facebook at all. It comes from search engines and portals. Google, Yahoo and MSN. That's what these numbers appear to indicate. Sure there's a long tail of other sites like Twitter, Digg, HuffingtonPost etc. but it's hard to imagine all those other sources at less than 1% each are adding up to much in aggregate. (We've asked Hitwise and await their response.)

                          Hitwise reported in September that of traffic leaving Twitter, for example, only 3.4% of it went to News and Media sites.

                          In other words, consumption of online news may not really have changed much for almost anyone in the last 10 years. You, dear reader who probably came here from Twitter or Google Reader or Facebook (maybe Digg if we're lucky), appear to remain part of a freakishly small minority.

                          That minority may be disproportionately powerful, driving market trends (maybe) and running circles around information streams online (definitely), but the experience of finding out news about what's going on in the world may not be a structurally different thing for almost anyone else, as it is for us.

                          This is your news on portals

                          That doesn't bode well for the long-tail of publishers, small voices given volume by easy publishing tools online. The subscription tools to make those long-tail voices a regular part of our news life have arrived - but no one is using them. Except Facebook, in growing numbers.

                          Above: News outlets post to Twitter using RSS, manually or with applications like Networked Blogs

                          Facebook is the player to watch. Facebook - the dreaded privacy-violating, Farmville-drenched, closed-data, social networking megalith (which is also fun to use and great in many ways) - could be the web's best hope for transforming the world through the power of online syndication and subscription.

                          So what are you going to do, Facebook? Are you going to move news about the world to an honored and important place on the site, are you going to reverse your December move pushing Fan-page subscriptions irrevocably public (a hostile environment for subscription) or are you just going to post an occasional post to the company's blog about how you can use Facebook to subscribe to news feeds - through a tedious process?

                          I'm hoping Facebook will take this opportunity and encourage its giant nation of users to add subscriptions to diverse news sources to their news feeds of updates from friends and family. That could deliver a tangible improvement to the world's information landscape, like the internet was always supposed to do.

                          Monday, March 7, 2011


                          Indeed, almost a month between posts, of listening and reading more than "speaking" (CCK11 on Facebook excepted). There's a lesson there. There's always a lesson somewhere, everywhere ~ up to us to make connections, analyze the information, draw and apply conclusions, taking note but not worrying overmuch when conclusions don't match those of cohorts or even guides. Information, however, should not ramble too far off the reservation. Presumably, we are all working with the same or at least similar information. Conclusions will vary but, adjusted for purpose, perspective and other parameters, should not be wildly inconsistent.

                          Translated that means (among other things), briefly, not all of us are here for the same purposes and hence will not take away same resources, not use MOOC, analytics and connectivism lessons or data for the same purposes. My interests are not the same as administrators or IT managers. Theirs are not the same as mine. They may not even the be same as most teaching co-participants. None of the preceding takes listening to, following coversations, reading, sifting ideas and sharing resources off the table.

                          image from a connectivism wiki

                          Remember the admonition: follow according to your focus/interests and take what you can use. Share and collaborate with all, regardless of their focus. It's a network, not a group; networked, not hierarchical.


                          So where have I been coming from (not to mention where headed)? I am not an administrator, manager, IT designer. Retired, I am not even a full time educator any more. I remain a learner with PLN, a volunteer, an activist, a community networker and interested in both education and online learning as they applies to all of the preceding. 

                          And what am I doing with, how do I hope/intend/plan to use, all this? Can't say for sure just yet but creating public self-regulated learning programs for open community access is part of it. This grows out of community blogging and volunteer teaching ESL online. It is as nourished by IRL experiences and networks as it is by the online. 

                          Saturday, March 5, 2011

                          GeoTrio: another tool for your PLN

                          GeoTrio lets you create a virtual tour of just about anyplace on a map. You type in addresses or locations and easily create multiple “stops” that show the Google Street View snapshots of the area. You can also upload your own images.

                          But that’s not all.

                          What really makes GeoTrio stand out is the ability to easily make an audio recording for each stop on the map.

                          In many ways its similar to Tripline, which you can read about on The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips (I’m adding GeoTrio to that list, too). Tripline is “slicker” and lets you grab images off the Web. However, it does not have the ability to provide audio narration.

                          Assignment for students:

                          Use this to plan a trip to someplace you've always wanted to visit or create a presentation to show your online friends about your home town or some place special to you.

                          Other: teaching, presentation, marketing, even site development tool

                          Posted via email from Meanderings

                          Saturday, February 12, 2011

                          The #writing Daily, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011

                          View current issue of The #writing Daily at

                          FYI ~ generates the The #writing Daily by auto-aggregating tweeting links by tag, in this case "writing," or list of tags. The application annotates and formats writing links as an online newsletter updated daily, back issues archived. Content covers creative, script, fiction, non-fiction, web, technical and other writing as well teaching writing, calls for submission and other writing related news. 

                          Look for other dailies by hashtag (#), i.e. The #poetry Daily, The #bookreview Daily, The #books Daily, etc... or create your own.

                          Wednesday, February 9, 2011

                          ANT links

                          Behind blogging your MOOC? Don't be bashful ~ just jump in anywhere.

                          ANT... for Actor Network Theory. I look at the acronym and think, "not another learning theory!" NALT. I could feel my eyeballs starting to roll back in their sockets, just like the reaction to analytics, just as confusing but not as useful. Persistently (and sometimes perversely) self-regulated learner that I am, off I went looking for more about ANT. See cross-disciplinary selection below, faves highlighted.

                          I'm not the only one wondering "why ANT?" My mind went on a different track to get to my own "ANT,OK" moment, taking me through a variety of familiar disciplines, several I would not have thought to ANT up. Making connections, get it. 

                          Reading that Greimas influenced LaTour made yet another connection, a major aha moment at that to connect or at least associate the Greimas Schema as a structural tool for viewing schematics of linked networks. Sometime back, I was trying to do the same for urban chaos as expressed in literature. I used the schematic to organize the jumble of seemingly contradictory metaphors for the city across multiple literatures (a comparatist thing) from earliest literatures through contemporary cinema, from the Aeneid to Bladerunner. Familiar chaos... 

                          Semiotics, semantics, semantic web, metaphors and more.

                          Posted via email from Mooking About

                          Book Review: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

                          Although not immediately relevant to specific topics, assignments, etc on any MOOC, massive or modest, that I am currently following (albeit in a distracted, scattered fashion), this review and its subject is relevant ~ highly "connectible" ~ to data, multiliteracies, connectivism, networks (virtual and IRL). 

                          Popular culture is another rich source of data about cognition, learning, social behavior, crowdsourcing and networking. Connectivism on the hoof. 

                          More on social media theorist Clay Shirky in his own write:

                          reviewed by Nabeel Ahmad — January 05, 2011
                          coverTitle: Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
                          Author(s): Clay Shirky
                          Publisher: Penguin,
                          ISBN: 1594202532, Pages: 256, Year: 2010
                          Search for book at

                          Citizens across the world watch an average of 20 hours of television per week, adding up to trillions of hours each year. The interest in this fact is not that we have this free time – or Cognitive Surplus, as author Clay Shirky describes – but how we choose to expend our most valuable resource. Shirky argues that our creativity and willingness to share in this connected world – the book’s subtitle, even on a miniscule level and especially through the Internet, can have great impact. Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age succeeds in getting us to think about how we can better understand this phenomenon by dissecting numerous examples and threading them together into a smoothly read piece.

                          Tuesday, February 8, 2011

                          Review: Educating Emergent Bilinguals

                          reviewed by Lynn Zimmerman — January 04, 2011
                          coverTitle: Educating Emergent Bilinguals: Policies, Programs, and Practices for English Language Learners
                          Author(s): Ofelia Garcia and Jo Anne Kleifgen
                          Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
                          ISBN: 0807751138, Pages: 192, Year: 2010
                          Search for book at 
                          For Garcia and Kleifgen the question: What’s in a name? is more than an existential question. In their book, Educating Emergent Bilinguals: Policies, Programs, and Practices for English Language Learners, they assert that how the question is answered not only gives a different meaning to the experience of people who are labeled in various ways as learners of English, but also has profound implications for educational policies and practices that impact them. Rather than using the “deficit model” of naming which has been the norm in the education of non-English speaking learners, Garcia and Kleifgen suggest calling them “emergent bilinguals.” This critical act of “re-naming” shifts the focus to the knowledge that they have and to the possibilities of bilingualism instead of focusing on their lack of English and the narrow goal of learning English.

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