Monday, December 26, 2005

Second Blog Space

I'm testing out some changes and updates to my personal web site for blogging, podcasting, etc. Here is the link . . . hope to see you there!

UPDATE: I'm going strong on my Drupal enabled site. Come check it out!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MagneticTime: Written -> Spoken Word

Here is a fun little application that turns written word into spoken word for use on any .mp3 device. While they focus on the ability to "read" e-mails, one can think of all kinds of other uses . . . hmmm . . .

Friday, December 09, 2005 y.ah.oo!

Hmmmm. I've hung on to Yahoo! when I was "invited" to switch to gmail. While I may be "old school", I prefer the functionality of Yahoo! Mail. While Google is the darling of the internet (at least in seach where I use them all the time), Yahoo! keeps chugging away with social networking acquisitions like Flickr! and signalling they seem to have a clear idea of next wave to catch. Time will tell . . .

Virtual Canuck - Online End of Class Party

Toooo awesome! An Online End of Class Holiday PARTY - with podcasts and gifts of freeware and folks logging in from around the globe! I tip my hat . . .

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ponderance: iGeneration Course Utilizing Blog / Podcasts in the Edublog Awards

As we discussed in our NYU Online Course Facilitation course last night, several examples of courses being taught via blogs and podcasts are available for review on the internet. A handful have been nominated in the 2005 Edublog Awards, including Tama Leaver's iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture blog that I have been following for several weeks. As I mentioned in a prior post, I really enjoy following Tama's blogs (he has a few he participates on), including iGeneration, Ponderance and Tama's eLearning Blog on edublogs.

It appears the iGeneration course utilizes the iLecture system, "an enterprise media capture, publication and management solution" within the University of Western Australia. Note that the example of the video and audio formats features the ability to have RSS syndication for podcasts.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes by Jakob Nielsen

Looks like I have a poor blog usability score based on Jakob Nielsen's Top 10 Design Mistakes post. No author biographies, no author photo, mixed topics, forgetting that you write for your future boss, and having a domain name owned by a weblog service appear to be my biggest violations.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The MySpace Generation

An interesting profile of the MySpace Generation . . . we'll have to stay on our technology toes in order to find ways to motivate and inspire them.

Ponderance: PodWars

While the debate over "who created podcasting" has the same maturity level as a Chutes and Ladders game played by a few 5 year olds, it does provide insight into how history is retold and documented for the ages - as they say, history is almost always retold from the winner's perspective, rarely from the loser's side of things. If the facts about the PodWars can generate such heated debate (with a vast computer trail to gather and verify the "facts"), let's hope we always continue to be open to debate other "facts" about history from 200, 2000 or 2 million years ago.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Charlie Brown Tree

Originally uploaded by
Just taking a break from all that deep thought . . . Check out our Charlie Brown Tree (see the Empire State Building in red and green lights out the window?). The tree cost $25 at the deli on the corner. Going to walk by the Roc X-mas tree on the way to The Christmas Carol - and it is snowing tonight! Toss in some nog and we could be on a Bing Crosby x-mas special.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Personal Investment

Maybe I can blame it on my second cup of coffee this morning, but I'm all fired up to take a crack at evaluating JT's recent post regarding student participation level (personal investment) in blogs, free-form (or self-directed) assignments and the like. I have completed a lot of years of formal "education", but until I took an online course, I never considered the personal investment (time, motivation) I needed to make in order to maximize the benefits of education.

In hind sight, my prior educational experiences were a form of memorization of what was "taught" in lectures and in assigned readings that I would repeat back in the from of papers and tests that assessed my memorization of the material (not a whole lot of personal investment in that process, if you ask me). Based on what I've heard from fellow students over the years (Will this be on the test? How long does our paper have to be?), I don't think I am alone in believing that - for most students anyway - success in education lies in regurgitating a sufficient amount of teacher-spoon-fed information. Believe me, that formula got me through many years of school!

When I entered my first online course, I quickly realized that this formula for education was not going to work. I was going to have to expend a lot more effort "pulling" my education vs. having someone "push" it all to me. Within this process, I realized what it meant to make a personal investment in my education (more time seeking out information sources, more time spent in critical thought and evaluation, etc.). Without sounding too corny, like any investment, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Therefore, I think JT was too hard on herself in saying "maybe it's just my approaches . . ." that impact learners receptiveness to blogs and other exercises. Rather, I think what is required is a fundamental shift in how we all view education and the required personal investment (especially in online education). In the end, a blog is just a tool to enable personal investment. Making the tool available does not ensure its use. Like the ol' saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". If we are stuck in a mindset of "tell me what I need to know", we will never see the need or value of making the personal investment in self directed educational activities, such as creating a blog. Such activities require a lot more time, critical thought and evaluation than simply memorizing what is "taught" by the teacher.

I face this "tell me what I need to know" mindset every time I tell people I am embarking on an online Masters program. Without exception, I get the "how do you attend lectures?" and "are your tests open book?" type questions. This just reinforces for me that we are all geared to the idea that education is what is pushed to us during lectures and what we are tested on in exams. In explaining how online classes work, I usually circle back to some form of discussion of the personal investment aspects of the program (the self directed assignments and projects). However, in the end, most people just leave the conversation with a very confused look and little appreciation for this "new-fangled" approach to education.