During our little weekly discussions at EdTechWeekly , we've joked a fair amount about Google (Big Brother) gathering up all of our personal data to take over the world. Today, I ran across a new "feature" (?) of Google Reader that displayed my recent blog reading habits. While it provided me with several moments of shock and awe (I read HOW MANY blog posts in the last 30 days?), it also did a good job of illustrating how Big Brother can (and does) gather, track and log our online habits. Did I get a bit of a sick knot in my stomach after seeing the data they collected? Yep. Will it change how I use Google products? Nope.
Here is a snippet of some of the data they captured about me this past month:
All fears of selling my soul to the Google devil aside, Google Reader is good (ok ... pretty darn great). As a long time Bloglines gal, I haven't checked by blog roll there for months. Tonight, I found another reason to justify the switch. Google Reader has a little toolbar widget (under Settings / Goodies) that allows you to stumble on to the next post in the feedreader (think StumbleUpon) and what makes it great is that you go directly to the original blog. This is a great alternative when you want to catch up on the full content of your favorite blog or just to see the post in greater context. Cool.
This one will require further reflection, so I'll save it ... an excerpt from one of my professors during a recent discussion:
"This thread illustrates classic "nitpicker" logic. The solution is supported/attacked, primarily on the basis of personal bias (one's perceived learning style), which eventually leads us into an unwinable stalemate. This post begins to provide the conditions and outcomes we need to evaluate the choice of instructional strategy. To extract yourself from this kind of trap, you must use Reigeluth's prescriptive Conditions/Methods/Outcomes model as the basis for your logic and negotiation position.
In other words, your argument would refine the conditions: If I had 18-24 year old novices taking an e-learning class on the topic of dance styles (condition); refine the outcomes: my desired outcome is that they could 1) recognize a Tango (cognitive) and 2) appreciate the beauty of the Tango (affective); logically link to the ideal method: then perhaps the most ideal instructional method would be to show the video as an example of a Tango. Similarly, both the video and the animation would be worthless if the conditions stated an instructor-led course with no media display device in the classroom (obviously). "
FLUX is a new blog hosted by Futurelab, a UK based nonprofit focused on learning and technology. The blog is produced by a panel of writers who contribute to "articles, projects and resources". The Futurelab web site is packed with great learning and technology links and resourses. I recently received a free print copy of Vision, a learning based magazine, that is also available in pdf download. Good stuff.
Just a quick post from the road. Had a great time at the bowl game (and in Savannah and St. Augustine). Testing out the blogging ability of my PDA. Works great!
technorati tags:5 Things
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?
New resources have been added to the Drupal CMS Academy web site!
xFruits takes RSS to the next level. The site provides the ability to do the following hosted wizardry with RSS feeds:
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
See attached - round up of basic media tools - oldies, but goodies!
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!
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!
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:
See you at Baruch!
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?
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 ...
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.
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 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?
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.
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 - 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 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!
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:
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 . . .
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:
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!
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!