46 posts categorized "May 2006"

May 30, 2006

Students blogs in need of comments

Sometimes to build audience for your students you need to put the word out quickly. This is a request for some great primary school writing to be commented upon. The blogs are based up in Aberdeen with teacher Andy Watson.

Some primary 7 pupils in Aberdeen have been posting stories and poems on their blog. They would like to have more comments from other schools.

    If you go to http://www.abernet.org.uk/wp/ you’ll see the Primary 7 blogs.

As you’ll see, some stories don’t have any comments at all so if your pupils can spare the time to add comments they’d be much appreciated.

    If you would like our children to comment on your blogs, just ask.

    Looking forward to reading your comments.

Update: Jim Wendzloff reminds me of a listserv that educators can use to submit requests for audience for class blogs. You can submit requests over at this 'visitmyclass' blog.


May 29, 2006

I need 1000 euros to speak - methinks not

This is a story about why online conferences are really not that bad. I was thrilled that the EuroCALL committee invited me to speak about new technologies at the Computer Aided Language Learning conference in Granada, Spain, this October. For the past few years their programme has read much the same way as 10 years ago, with a concentration on research-led projects, tried and tested, but a little backward in nature. To invite someone to present on his action research on blogs and podcasts in the language classroom is a big move in the right direction, and I thank the committee for offering that chance.

But I can't go.

As with some other academic conferences, there are many, many costs which have to be footed by the speakers themselves. I can't help but feel that if you invite people to speak at conferences then you fund their spot (I do when I organise a conference). As I am likely to be moving on, my secondment coming to an end this July, it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to commit to paying for this great opportunity before the May 31st deadline. I don't hold that against them, to be honest, when you consider the costs.

So what are the costs?

  • Conference registration:   370 euro
  • Accommodation 3 nights:  180 euro
  • Travel to Granada:           350 euro

So the best part of 1000 euros will buy me 30 minutes to share what I can / have shared on my blog, for free. Methinks not. Should conferences such as EuroCALL, where ICT is at the core, not accept remote contributions? In order to get into the research journal do we really have to pay our ticket first? I know that networking is a main goal of these conferences, too, but is this not an expensive price to pay for the priviledge of sharing a vol-au-vent with a bearded professor or two?

May 25, 2006

eLive 2006 on tap

If you want to get the whole run down on eLive 2006 then John has set up a great RSS-run page that brings together any items tagged eLive2006. Photos, text and links. Thanks, John, saves us a lot of time.

118 New Blogs in 118 days

Mesideon_2 I bet AB wishes SETT was in December and not in September. If our ScotEduBlogs meetup manages to get this to happen, 118 blogs in the 118 days run up to the next meetup, then it will have been worth every glass of house red and slice of duck. And as I've said in a comment, if there's one region that can get blogging to that degree, it's Argyll and Bute - unless East Lothian gets there first ;-)

BTW- even his photo is entitled mesideon (go on, hover your mouse above it). I think the blog title should change from Where is AB to MeSideOn, 'cos that's what we're calling him now ;-)

May 24, 2006

Don't go onto Second Life again, Ewan...

Originally uploaded by Edublogger.
Will is worried for me. I am truly getting addicted to SecondLife. But, hey, we're hbaving a great time at the ScotEduBlog meetup. Shame some of our US and Canadian friends cannot be here, too.

ScotEduBlogs Meetup -85 minutes

ScotedublogmeetupThis event has really had a great buzz to it. The buzz will continue in 85 minutes as we head off to the Jolly Judge and Daniel's Bistrot for some Beer, Bordeaux, Blogs and Food (couldn't get the illiteration there).

A nice wee crowd coming along already. If you can make it please do. Details on the ScotEduBlog meetup wiki. If you can't make it then join us online at the eLive Flickr photo pool (tag your photos elive).

RSS: The New Killer App for Educators

Image000 Really looking forward to hearing Will do this explanation of the uses of RSS and how it's opening up our information world. I use RSS and think I get it, but know that I'll be learning something new from Will, just as I did in his keynote this morning. The Virtual Handout is on his Weblogg-ed Wiki. Let's go...

With 1.2 million posts a day how can we keep track of all that potentially useful information (and not bother with the stuff that doesn't interest us?). Technorati is the starting block to look for info on blogs. Why blogs? Because blogs give a lot of access to teachers, potential collaborators or experts. How best harness these people beyond searching for information on blog search engines such as Technorati.

RSS = bringing everything together = Really Simple Syndication

RSS is all about connections, bringing the content to you instead of you having to revisit old websites to pull content. Visit once, tell the site you want that content when it changes, and it comes to you. Two parts make up RSS.

1: Feeds
Feeds bring only new content

2: Aggregator
The aggregator collects the new content until you are ready to read, watch or listen to it.

If you are wanting to give students blogs to use in class then RSS is an essential classroom management tool: how else are you going to keep track of everything that has been written and ignore the pages where nothing has been written? RSS might sound like it's encouraging you to get into even more information - and you already have enough to get through - but it also gives you more control over all the information you are consuming. More info, more control.

Here's a good tip to see if something you read has a feed. Does it have an orange XML button? Who knows? I know mine can be a bit hard to find. But running a search in Google for your favourite site and adding the word 'RSS' will reveal that to you. Here's a Scottish example.

When you click and find that orange button copy it's address (i.e. RIGHT-click it and copy link address). Now what do you do with that address that you copied? You need to pop it in an aggregator.

Bloglines is a free aggregator and now you can add that address to your bloglines account. There's a guide to using this part of RSS on the MFLE.

Now you can speed read posts without having to spend time going to that blog. If something really interests you then you could go to that blog and read the article in its original context. You can see very quickly if a post is especially worth reading by how many other people have referenced the post.

I really like the idea of using Google News to run a specific search from news from source x, y but not z, and then subscribing to that result. Whenever that source talks about that story I'll get it. Here's an example: Scottish education stories only from the BBC.

More soon...

Big questions on information literacy

What needs to change when our students can publish to a worldwide audience?

How does a teacher's role change when we can bring primary sources into the classroom?

How do we define literacy in a world where we must not only know how to read and write but to edit and create and publish?

Some answers.. Teachers need to be...

Content creators
Mentors to critical thinking
Change agents

Questions asked at the end of the presentation:

Does changing the way we teach make us lose power? How can we make changes when the system seems to be against us?
Small changes, little by little is the way to go. It's also vital to share what you're doing. A third element is discussing what is going on in your classrooms with new technologies. (Ewan's note: I'd say that by not engaging in these new technologies teachers are already losing power in the classroom. It's time to engage and be engaging with what is available rather than running away from it).

Will Richardson: What are the changes in the read-write web?

Img_1338 From closed to open
Content could be, should be, open and free. Take a look at the book I co-authored, Coming of Age: it took time, time is money, but everyone gave of their time to produce something which we thought was worthwhile. MIT Open Courseware covers 500 complete courses, including assessments and video lectures, and give it away for free. Anyone can get an MIT education - without the certificate - with all the quality of the course. Wikibooks is just another example of the real experts - teachers and students - writing their own textbooks for free, sharing their knowledge with the world in an open, free website.

Rip, Mix, Learn
We can take info from any number of sources and remix it. Take a look at H20, which I wrote about back last year. It even calls its reading lists "playlists". Take content you like, find a place to bring it all together, and publish your remix. (And just like the music industry, advertise it anywhere you can (bottom of emails for example)!)

From one teacher to many
Using something like 43 things you can find out about anything from people who, somewhere else in the world, have also found stuff out about that subject.

From sometime learning to anytime learning
We have to learn not to push information any more. We have to teach our students how to pull information that is relevant to them. They no longer have to take it from us anyway. With Google, they can access the world of information from their mbile phone, palm, PC...

From working alone to working together
"It's insane to make kids do their own work" Working together, finding and making connections, learning how to work in a collaborative world (because that's what's out there in the business world) is all that matters. And good things happen from collaboration. Just look at Wikipedia. If there's something wrong correct it. If there's a language the article is not written in, add it.

From an audience of one to an audience of many
I work for my worldwide audience or I work for the grade my lone teacher is going to slam on it? The answer seems simple - we want kids to be doing the former.

Students teach
Use the power of the blog, where everyone is on an equal footing to start off, to empower your students. Look at Dell Hell as an example of what happens when one guy gets annoyed by an abuse of a position of power.

From text to multimedia
We can, it's better, it's more engaging. Nuff said.

Syndication of what others are reading, doing, thinking. Save time and have things delivered to your computer.

From know what to know where learning
Knowing stuff is not important any more. We can find any information we want through the web,  through the web on our mobile phones. Why do we ban mobile phones from the classroom and the exam hall? Surely, in the real world, that's what they would do if they want to find something out. It's what I do when I want to find something out. Do I really need to be able to remember everything that I want to use now and then in my life?

New Internet Literacies for Teachers

"Blogging is the most life-changing experience I have had"
(I might have paraphrased this slightly, not wanting to incur the wrath of Will's wife, kids...)

But when you search for 'Will' on Google.com and Will Richardson comes up fourth suddenly the ease with which we can make an imprint on our world becomes clear.

Take another example. One Red Paperclip. Another blog. From one red paperclip, a photo of which was posted on his blog, Kyle has since July 2005 managed to get a year of rent-free housng in Phoneix, via a professional recording contract, a box truck, a fish hook and various other items. He's just swapped the house for a night with Alice Cooper. Hmm. Wrong move,  maybe. But by having an idea, an imaginative idea, he has now got TV crews and book deals coming his way. Heck, his imagination has got him a job.

Anime music videos provides another source of imaginative products, produced by young people. (I would add the videos filmed in SecondLife to that, too).

Old and new links
With just the old web there are over one trillion links to over ten billion pages. But the new reality is that anyone can add their own material in one click: through blogs, through wikis, through podcasts, through Google Earth, through Flickr.


"We are at a turning point in the technology industry and perhaps even in the history of the world."
Tim O'Reilly, May 2006.

Copyright and sharing

Will has just shown us the connections being made from and around his blog - you can find out what's happening on your own blog by using TouchGraph. But the only way you can share information is if it's free to share. This makes me think of LTScotland's sites and how, I'd hope, the material on them would become Creative Commons licenced in the near future. Is there a chance of that happening?

But for our students, they can show off their expertise. It might be publishing scans of written or drawn work they have produced, as Tess' Weatherbook shows us. It might be that they write creatively, part by part, until they manage to get their piece together, using the comments of others to better their writing, just as my mum's students did over at Progress Report. It might also be that  the students write a coursebook just by publishing their learning log in the form of a blog: take a look at Darren's students' scribe posts.

Computers haven't changed the world, but the Read-Write Web just might.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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