Saturday, November 24, 2007

Young warned over social websites

Young warned over social websites

These articles drive me crazy sometimes. A really valuable message is couched in fear of online social networks.

These same problems exist in every electronic medium. There is a persistent record. We will very likely see old Facebook videos used as evidence against Presidential candidates 10 or 20 years down the road, but we are more likely to see something pulled out of the Internet Archive well before that happens, since that is where the evidence exists on the pre-Facebook/MySpace crowd.

To say that this is a problem with online social networks is just ignorant. This is a problem with ALL form of publication (the Web is just a big publication machine).

We need to educate learners (of all ages) on how present ourselves online. We teach our children how to say please and thank you. We teach our children not to talk to strangers. We even teach our students not to run around naked outside. How about teaching children to respect others in online interactions, not to give out identifying information to strangers, and no to post potentially embarrassing materials online!

This is obviously not common knowledge and the blocking of these sites just removes the possibility of addressing these issues in schools.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Human Brain Cloud: Play

Human Brain Cloud: Play

This is very addicting. I assume this will be the case for anyone interested in language. It's also a fascinating project. All you do is enter the first thing that comes to your mind when you see a word/phrase. The connections that brings to light are very interesting.

I wonder it this data would be made available for teaching language. Just think. The greatest number of responses would likely signal words/phrases that should be taught together. This is a new form of corpora analysis.

Give it a try.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! - Turkey singing "I will survive" parody

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Motivational Monday: This Turkey will Survive!

Thanks to Vickie for this video.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends in the States.


Wisdom of Crowds on the Pitch: 50,000 Fans Acquire English Football Club

Wisdom of Crowds on the Pitch: 50,000 Fans Acquire English Football Club

Not that I'm a football fan (soccer for those of us in the States), but this post really spoke to me. Not as in the wisdom of crowds approach that the author took, but rather in how these fans were able to collectively raise money and buy (influence) a sports team.

The stock market has worked this way from its inception, yet has only really benefited the wealthy. Us average Joe's might be able to buy stock, but not enough to make a difference in policies, approaches, or other decisions. What if this approach took off for the acquisition of majority shares of companies. I don't realistically think that this would work with many companies. The wealth of the world is really in the hands of a few. However, imagine what could be done by just moving one or two big companies.

Mircoloans and micropayments have found a place in the global economic, what about microinvesting? Small investments could add up to lots of power for funds of this sort. Whether driven by profit motives or special interests (Green, perhaps) small investments by large numbers of people could cause significant movement in the corporate world.

I don't really see this as a viable option yet, but I think that its time will come. With raising standards of living in many countries around the world and with greater Internet connectivity, there will soon be both money and information distribution necessary for a movement like this.

Just an idea I'd like to float. It has little to do with instruction, but does focus on a changing society that will look at everything from investment to education differently.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Skypecasts as a mediator of authentic communication - ALAK 2007

Just got back from a wonderful conference. The Applied Linguistics Association of Korea (ALAK) put on a great show at Sookmyoung Women's University today.

Jungtae Kim and I participated in the CALL Fair. We put together a little presentation on the use of Skypecasting in language learning. If you have used Skype, you know that it is a great program, but have you used the Skypecast function? Most people haven't, but it has great potential for autonomous learners and even more formal classrooms. Take a look at the presentation and abstract below. Then follow the link to a quick video on setting up a Skypecast.

Of course, I have to be completely honest. Skypecasts were down today and even last night when I recorded the video. They have been down a lot lately. However, I'm sure that they will be back up and running, but even if they are not there are a few similar sites out there that can be used in a similar manner.

Here is our presentation.

Here is our outline.

Here is a link to a video that we created on creating Skypecasts: Video

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Walled Gardens are dead!

Walled GardenI got a little carried away in my presentation on Saturday at the KAMALL/KSET conference. At one point, I declared, "Walled Gardens are dead!" While I really do believe this, I should know better than to say it that way. Luckily, nobody called me on it during the presentation, though someone did afterwards.

The reason that I shouldn't have said it like that is that it's impossible to defend and it's not true. There will always be walled gardens. Organizations will always have some sort of closed system for the sake of security, either of the data or of the participants. It's a wild world out there and I can see the need to keep student data in a closed system because it really can be used for nasty purposes.

However, this doesn't mean that the concept isn't dying. There are surely benefits for users with technologies (or services) can play nicely together. More and more, people are providing their content to the world. Whether this be videos, pictures, or ideas, users expect to be able to share this content with the world and set restrictions themselves (not the organizations/services).

I might be an idealist, but I think that ideas should be free (as in free beer AND as in freely expressed). We have both a right to benefit from the sharing of information (instructional or other) and the responsibility to share information that we possess.

Many teachers are walking the walk. They are putting their ideas in terms of lectures, activities, lesson plans, and so forth out there for public consumption. This can only benefit other teachers (and learners) who can incorporate these ideas and products in to their instruction. In this way, the sharing of ideas has moved (or is moving) from the break rooms to the ether Net. These ideas are them being collected from the ether, organized, and re-shared with others. This is where services/technologies like blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, and others come in. They enable anyone to collect, organize, and re-distribute these ideas (content) in any way they see fit. We then develop connections with these re-mixers of ideas, which forms our personal (learning) networks.

There will come a point when the walled gardens simply can't compete. They will be (or already are) relegated to spaces with a minor impact on learning/working/playing and will be seen as just another place that users have to remember to go to get the occasional message or tidbit of institutional treasures (information that can't be shared).

Call me deluded, call me a dreamer, but please call me :) Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


My Apologies

Hi have to apologize to those who expected to see a posting on the survey that I conducted a couple weeks ago on Teacher Overload or technology use by educators. I have been really busy with 3 presentation and a workshop this month. I do promise that I'll get it out ASAP. The last presentation and workshop will be on Saturday. I'll have a little extra time to filter through the data at that time.

Again, sorry for the delay.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Deliver Individualized Instructional Resources to Language Learners

Korean Association for Multi-media Assisted Language Learning (KAMALL) 2007 Conference

Below is a copy of my presentation for Saturday, November 10 at Korea University in Seoul, Korea.

Here is the presentation.

Here is a copy of the presentation slides with my notes (.pdf file via Scribd)

Here are the files associated with this presentation.

Don't know where Korea University is? Here's a map.

View Larger Map

Please, let me know if you have any questions. Leave a comment here and I'll be sure to get back to you.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Play Web 2.0 Truth AND Dare

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: Play Web 2.0 Truth AND Dare

Vicki Davis passes on some great resources and often adds unique insights to them. This is one of those postings. I'll embed the video below, but I encourage you to check out the link above to see her questions. They are a great conversation starter.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

TESL-EJ June 2007 -- Pedagogical affordances of syndication, aggregation, and mash-up of content on the Web

TESL-EJ June 2007 -- Pedagogical affordances of syndication, aggregation, and mash-up of content on the Web

Good article on how syndication, aggregation, and mash-ups can be used in education.


socialmedia » A-Z of social media

socialmedia » A-Z of social media

Here is a growing wiki glossary of socialmedia terminology. Great for the newbie and expert. Always something new popping up here.


Commoncraft " plain English" videos

Commoncraft has a series of " plain English" videos that are great. I'll embed some of them here.

This one is about social networking. This is a fundamental concept that you should understand.

This one is about RSS, which is the most popular standard for XML syndication.

This one is on social bookmarking, which will be central to my presentation.

This one is on using Wikis.

This one is on using Google Docs.


Web 2.0 Workshop

Web 2.0 Workshop by Vicki (Cool Cat Teacher) Davis

This looks like a really great workshop on a large number of topics regarding the use of Web 2.0 technologies specifically in education. It is organized into a series of short videos that can walk you not only through the technologies, but also the rationale behind using them.

The videos are free for now, but I'd get in there fast to take a look before they disappear.


Tag the Network: An Introduction to Social Bookmarking

Tag the Network: An Introduction to Social Bookmarking

This is a great wiki on social bookmarking. Being a wiki, it's never really finished. Check it out and, if you feel like it, add to it. It still needs to be filled out a little.

Loading the IUCALL in preparation for KAMALL 2007 presentation on Saturday

I'm going to try to front load IUCALL with as many good resources on Social Bookmarking, Syndication, Aggregation, and other such Web 2.0 technologies as possible before my presentation on Saturday. I would like to use this to educate the general public, but more importantly, the people who came to my presentation (or those who view the PowerPoint and notes) that I'll put up here later.

The process that I'm going to lay out is relatively easy; however, there are some difficult concepts that have to be learned before truly understanding what this means. I don't just mean understanding what my presentation and proposed approach for delivering individualized content are all about. I mean what the Read/Write movement is about. I find that one has to experience what this is about before truly understanding it.

Therefore, I am going to load this blog up with tutorials and other informational resources that can be looked through before, after, or during my presentation.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Educating the Dragon » Blog Archive » Look out Mrs O’Malley! ….detour ahead

Educating the Dragon » Blog Archive » Look out Mrs O’Malley! ….detour ahead

This is a great example of how, with the right equipment AND the right methods, a teachable moment can become more teachable. How many times have teachers glossed over this difference or simply stated the first thing that came to their mind (often wrong). With the tools at your fingertips, there is no excuse for not checking it out immediately. The teachable moment is IN THE MOMENT, which is where it should be.

I understand that it has always been possible and good teachers have always encouraged students to go figure these things out at the library or through other research. However, when you remove the immediacy experienced here, you remove much of the motivation. Many people bemoan instant gratification and today's technologies that urge it on. However, this is how the world works. We address our needs when they arise. When it's no longer a need, it's off our radar.

Cheers to Simon.