Tuesday, June 26, 2007


WebQuest.Org: Home

Yeah! WebQuest.org updated their site. It's much easier to navigate now. Unfortunately, this might mean that I have to change some of the links I have to these materials :(


Tech Teacher: Cut Through the Web Noise | Edutopia

Tech Teacher: Cut Through the Web Noise | Edutopia

This is a timely article from edutopia on using RSS to keep up with all that is on the Web. It's not as in-depth as what we are doing, but seeing it written in different ways could help your understanding.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Prometeus - The Media Revolution

YouTube - Prometeus - The Media Revolution

These are fun videos. It's like mini-science fiction documentaries. This is just for fun, but I think that you'll like it.

This is another video that predicts global domination for Google, through the purchase of all competitors. Like I said before, these are fun, but hardly believable....though, who knows?


How To: Use Social-Networking Technology for Learning | Edutopia

How To: Use Social-Networking Technology for Learning | Edutopia

Nice article in edutopia about using social networking for learning. It's always good to hear some good suggestions rather than just, "Shut it down!" :)


Ning: A Social Network for Adults | Edutopia

Ning: A Social Network for Adults | Edutopia

I've been hearing a lot about Ning lately. I might even try to incorporate that into class, if possible, this semester. This is very similar to listservs in the topics covered, but the tools and groupings are more similar to other online social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

I just recently joined. See MY PAGE. This is for the "Classroom 2.0" group that I joined.

Ning isn't just 1 social network. It is a platform for creating your own social networks build around your own interests. You could even do one for your classes that will keep students connected to the class beyond the boundaries of a single semester or school year.

Check it out and see how you like it.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Not to Use MySpace in the Classroom | PBS

PBS Teachers | learning.now . How Not to Use MySpace in the Classroom | PBS

This is the story of a very unfortunate (and somewhat ignorant) teacher in Maryland. While many folks keep personal blogs (MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, or elsewhere), they have to understand that these are largely public entities. Even private sites are only a copy and paste away from a jaded friend releasing your thoughts to the world.

My father is the Don of my family, but none others that of know of. However, he had good wise guy advice for me years ago. Don't record it unless you want the world to see it. This has served me well over the years, particularly when you consider the amount of digital communications I've dealt with.

Remember that for this class and beyond. If you are going to do something that you don't want traced back to you, use a pseudonym. I use danielcraig for just about all of my public accounts and I also have some anonymous accounts for when I want to vent or otherwise put myself out there in a compromising position.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Welcome to CALL summer 2007

Hi Folks,

Welcome to the CALL Class blog. I'll use this blog primarily for posting reviews and "how to's" of technologies and resources that I find useful for language teachers. For the first few postings, I'll cover some of the sites that we are using in this course including Moodle, Blogger, & Wikispaces.

Your role as a reader (and student) is to read the postings, check out these technologies, and comment on my postings. Comments can range from, "that's great...." to "how do I..."

Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, June 11, 2007


This course will utilize two sets of blogs: class and student.

The first is the one you are reading right now. This is what I have termed the CALL Class Blog in most of the course documentation. This blog will focus mainly on describing the technologies that we are going to use in this course. There will also be postings on concepts in the class and, most importantly, links to other resources (mostly other blogs) that are discussing important topics in the field.

Student blogs will be ones that you all maintain as part of the general participation requirement for the course. At minimum, you will be required to post critiques of Web/Software resources and readings (see schedule in Moodle). I would also hope that you'll go beyond these requirements and use this space to reflect on your learning in this course and to collect, reflect, and begin a discourse on the use of technology for your context and beyond. I know that this is probably too much to ask for a summer course, but maybe you'll be inclined to continue these after this course ends.

After all this talk about blogs you may still be asking, "What the heck is Dan talking about"? Good question. I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself in this regard.

Even if you do not watch TV, listen to the radio, or read newspapers, you have likely heard of Blogs. You may be asking yourself what this mysterious entity is that got Trent Lott to retire, Dan Rather's mistakes exposed, and even announced the birth of your nephew?

History of Blogs
Weblogs have been around for years. According to Wikipedia the first use of the term Weblog was made in 1997 on The Robot Wisdom Pages. This site is a collection of commentaries on personal and professional issues most of which relate to news articles or other postings on the Web. The Weblog peterme.com is credited with shortening the term to Blog in 2002.
Blogs have since taken on different meanings to different people. For some a Blog is a set of Internet technologies that manage the history and "business" of Blogging. Most Blogs include features for posting messages, commenting on posted messages, and archiving messages and comments. Others would contend that Blogging is a socio-technical movement that shifts the power of large media organizations to individual citizens. Both are right.

What Do Blogs Mean to Educators?
Blogs can serve many roles in education, limited only by your imagination. Blogs can act as a virtual collaborative space for teacher and students to interact with each other and the greater world. Blogs can be used to store and develop e-Portfolios, encourage peer feedback on writing assignments, or simply hold ongoing discussions with the class members or even the world. Much of this has been possible for many years, yet the focus on Blogging and Blogging technologies has given educators the ability for inexpensive (or free) and relatively easy ways to accomplish these tasks.

Extensions of Text-Based Blogging
While blogging is largely text-based, there are many extensions of this concept with other media (or combinations of media). Podcasting (audio-based blogging) is the most popular of these "other media" blogging options. Named for the ubiquitous iPod mp3 player, Podcasts are very popular and have even been integrated into iTunes (the Apple audio software that does many things including the management of files on the iPod).

Other trends include video blogging, mobile blogging (really just indicates that the blog is updated/customized for viewing on mobile devices like cell phones), picture blogging (many people use Flicker for this--I don't use this as a blog, but here is my site http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielcraig), tablet blogging (using Tablet PC's), Flash blogging, and so forth.

Further Readings

Educator Blogging Sites

Free Blogging Services


Many of you have likely used either Oncourse or OncourseCL. These are the default course management systems (CMS) for Indiana University. I too have used both of these and I have found them both severely lacking.

OncourseCL is the newest incarnation of the IU CMS. It has a number of really useful functions, but there is one major problem with the application. The discussion forum functions (there are actually 2 in this system) are terrible. Aside from reduced functionality over the previous application (Oncourse - original), the discussion function in OncourseCL is terribly slow.

I used OncourseCL with an online class last semester for the first (and hopefully last) time. It was a nightmare.

First these reasons, I have chosen to use an outside system (hosted on my own service) called Moodle (http://moodle.org). I used Moodle with an ESL methods course that I taught in fall 2005 and it worked great.

I think that you will find this a pleasure to use, once you get the hang of it. We will be using numerous functions build into Moodle. Primarily this space will provide discussion forums, group chats, and miscellaneous documents (readings, Web pages, and wikis) all wrapped up in a neat package.

However, you will also notice that we will not be bound to Moodle. We will be using numerous, free, online applications that will both provide us with opportunities to interact and will give you practice in using these technologies in an educational context.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


What in the world is a Wiki?

This does sound a little strange, doesn't it? For an indepth description of Wikis, see the Wiki entry in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki).

The Wikipedia entry is a little verbose, however, so I'll give you the simple explanation here. A Wiki is basically a Web page (or site of connected pages) that anyone (or at least permitted users) can directly edit. Most are set up pretty much the same. There are a number of "tabs" on the page, one of which says "Edit". Clicking on this tab will open a text editor. This editor is pre-loaded with the text that currently exists on the page. You can edit this text and add more of your own. Then you click "Save" and the page then displays the entry with your changes.

I find that collaborating in this manner enables uses to create a page that represents consensus of the users. Adding, editing, and even deleting other users' works is difficult at first, but once you are used to and understand the process it is very effective. The finished product (not that it's really ever finished) is usually a piece that reflects not only the groups' understanding of a concept, but also can reflect the process that the group went through to get there (most Wikis also have a "history" tab that tracks all changes).

You will notice that I used Wikipedia quite a bit these days. While there is a great deal of debate as to the benefits and drawbacks of using this resource for research purposes, there it no better provider of information on current technologies and trends that Wikipedia. I often use Wikipedia and Google as jumping off points for any information gathering that I do.

How will we use Wikis in this course?

We will using two separate Wikis in this course: Moodle and Wikispaces.

Moodle has a build in Wiki that we will use for numerous purposes. I will use it to post course requirements and descriptions. You will notice that the assignment descriptions are in a Wiki. These can only be edited by the instructor, so it is probably not the best use of a Wiki, but it is an easy way to post and edit a Web page. The second use of Wikis in Moodle are ones that you will be editing. I keep these in Moodle because they contain personal information such as contact information, links to your student blogs (see the blog entry below), your MS Messenger account information, chat meeting times, group assignments, and so forth.

We will use Wikispaces (CALL Class Wiki) for more public works. This includes an assessment activity late in the semester as well as a list of CALL resources that we will keep as a class (an extension of the Website/Software Evaluation assignments). These assignments will give you the opportunity to work with and collaborate using a Wiki.

I chose to include an external Wiki (in addition to Moodle) because I wanted you to have experience using a Wiki service that you can use with your own classes. Wikispaces is a free service that can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. The same is not true of Moodle. Similarly to the student blogs that you will keep, this makes your work public. Publishing your work in this manner makes you an active participant in the field, which will hopefully ease your transition into the CALL community.

Five Flashcard makers online

Virtual=Real: Five Flashcard makers online

Thanks to Elizabeth Hansen-Smith reporting on a posting by Larry Ferlazzo.

This is a list of online flashcard makers. For many reasons, I would say, "why bother?" It seems that this is just a prime example of needlessly taking the physical and putting it online.

However, like many online services, the benefit is largely in the portability of the "cards". I, for one, have hundreds of Korean flashcards (traditional notecards). The problem is that I couldn't possibly carry these around with me. However, I have a computer connected to the Internet just about everywhere I go. Faced with a little free time, online flashcards would be a great, productive way to fill that time.

Some of these allow sharing (i.e., Web 2.0), which would be beneficial both for sharing your lists and for viewing what others are studying.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Net Neutrality - Plain English

Net Neutrality - Plain English

I'm obviously on a video roll today :) I think that this is the same guy behind the other videos. This one is a very different format (TV news editorial), but just as effective.

For those of you who don't know about Net Neutrality, this is a good explanation. I won't get too much into it, because I don't want to politicize the class, but this is a good (very biased) introduction.


Wikis in Plain English

Wikis in Plain English

Another video by the "Plain English" folks. This one is about Wikis. While I'm not sure that this approach makes the concept easier, it's nice to watch :)


Video: RSS in Plain English

RSS in Plain English

This is a neat video explaining what RSS is and what it's good for.