Friday, May 23, 2008

Web 2.0 Student Success

Char Gore and I are creating (and co-teaching) a class for summer and fall called "Student Success" or something generic like that. It will go through the curriculum committee again with something more descriptive maybe. It is a credit only, two unit course that will be multimodal which means that the students can take it completely online or come in once a week to the lab where we will be basically doing a workshop. The whole point of the class is to give new Health Information Management students the tools to succeed in college and in real life by introducing them to the tools to manage their work, manage information, and to build communities. The class is based on the "15 Minutes" article by Stephen Abram who has a particularly useful blog. There are no papers in the class. It is portfolio assessed. The students start a blog and learn about new tools each week and embed and link to those tools in their blog and write (or record/podcast/film) about what they found helpful or difficult. They will also look for other tools like the ones we recommend and evaluate them (free research for the next iteration of the class). At the end of the class, they will have a portfolio of tools and a network of colleagues. Our goal is to eventually bring the class to the whole college. It serves as an introduction to the our learning management system and Elluminate as well.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This is my test of SketchCast. I got an e-mail from Cable Green, the eLearning Director Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges. He often sends out emails with new tools. I love that web 2.0 is figuring out how to get voice on the web so quickly. I see good things in SketchCast's future. Aspirat primo Fortuna labori is never truer than with Web 2.0 start-ups: they get a lot of initial atttention and then they either flourish or fade depending on how they respond to user feedback and more importantly how people use their product. I am all for anything that puts voice and images together on the web quickly (and for free). I would like to see more drawing tools: shapes and lines -- I would love to be able to do voice annotations on a concept map and to share it easily.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How Second Life Affects Real Life - TIME

How Second Life Affects Real Life - TIME

One of the more remarkable things about this article is that it is appearing in Time Magazine. I like seeing this in the mainstream press. The article looks at research at Stanford that explores how a person's avatar can effect them in "real" life. I am glad the behavioralists at Stanford are catching up. A great description of this process is already found in Carl Jung. One of the reasons that I think teaching works in SL is the phenomenon of projection and transference.

"The possibilities are — virtually — endless. Inhabit buffed-up versions of yourself to lose weight, cuter versions of yourself to gain confidence, or older versions to start putting money away for the future (that last one is being studied at Stanford now). "The most stunning part is how subtle the manipulations are and how difficult they are to detect," says Bailenson, "but how much it affects real life later on."

This research really holds up. Ever since I created an avatar in Second Life, I just get better looking everyday.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spike Lee and Nokia team up for film - International Herald Tribune

Spike Lee and Nokia team up for film - International Herald Tribune: "Spike Lee and Nokia team up for film
By Laura M. Holson
Published: April 24, 2008

Who says cellphones are good only for talking? Today they are bringing together two unlikely brand names: Nokia and Spike Lee.

Lee, the director, is teaming up with Nokia, the cellphone maker, to direct a short film comprising YouTube-style videos created by teenagers and adults using their mobile phones.

By hiring Lee for the project, Nokia is seeking to combine the populist appeal of user-generated content with the power of a famous director's pedigree. The film will have three acts, each three to five minutes long, with the theme loosely based on the concept of humanity."

Friday, May 02, 2008

2008 Pacific Northwest Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference

I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 2008 PNHETL Conference in Spokane. George Seimens was the plenary speaker. It was really good to hear him speak. It cleared up a lot of questions I had about his book. He had a section that talked about objects containing knowledge. And now I think he means the information in context of the objects use. Our philosophy instructor who came with us was politely quiet on the subject. I think Seimens is one of the most important writers in education right now because the field has gotten pretty calcified. He is a revolutionary and a catalyst. He eschews the typical layers of research references (although I consider him widely and well-read in the field) and actually gets down to describing what is happening in people's lives in our relation to information and what is happening in education.

Like his fellow Canadian, Stephen Downes, Seimens seems uncomfortable with virtual worlds. In his opening plenary, he made comments about how SL was "empty"; there is no one there. Downes also makes this comment. If you come to a brick and mortar college at 8:30 P.M. on a Friday night, it too will be empty, but we don't get rid of the school. Second Life is only really useful when there are people there. That is the whole point: it is actually a suite of communication tools that allow people to interact with one another and their environment in some very significant ways. His closing plenary included the statement "We do not need Second Life to provide games in the classroom" misses the point of using SL entirely. Educators in SL, and yes, there are thousands, do not see it as a game, but as a way to increase the interaction between the instructor and students, students with one another, and the students with the content of the course. Seimens did call it one of the more innovative uses of technology at the conference. He also called for administrators to support the innovators on campus and to reward their failures (that is authentic attempts to move technology and info management forward that do not always have buy-in).