Bryan points to Online Social Networks 2005, an online, asychronous conference in 3 acts. Worth signing up for the keynotes alone, but Bryan is heading up a panel on blogging in the education world that's also of interest. Grad students and other pennypinchers note, the early bird registration fee of $35 ends tomorrow!
January 2005 Archives
Internet searchers are confident, satisfied and trusting – but they are also unaware and naive.
Interestingly (though not surprisingly), this finding extends to college-age students, despite the best efforts of many institutions to provide a grounding in information literacy. Although relatively sophisticated at finding information, younger surfers are less critical of their sources, are less aware of how a search engine works ("72% of internet users under 30 years say engine are fair and unbiased"), and tend not to look at a variety of options before choosing one. You know, I wonder if this doesn't have something to do with the whole in and out of school tech practices thing. Students use search engines heavily in their personal lives, for a variety of things, so it makes sense that when we ask them to look at their search engine use in a more critical (read: academic) light, it doesn't seem worth it, because they already 'know how to use it'.
EDUCAUSE's National Learning Infrastructure Initiative is holding a spring focus session on emerging technologies for teaching and learning that will examine blogs, gaming, and instant messaging, among others. Looks interesting - they're focusing on "emerging learning practices enabled by new technologies as well as alternative pedagogies" as well as the student perspective - how to figure out what students are doing with the technologies and what their needs and expectations are around the use of things like social software in a classroom context. Though they do bring out the "students are driving this change" card, which I'm a bit skeptical about - yes, students are using the tech on campus for their own social and communicative needs, but are they banging on the doors of their professors to have it incorporated into the curriculum, to be used as teaching tools in the classroom? Not in my experience, thus far, but that's another story.
Speaking of NLII, Barbara and Hector presented Beauty and the Beast: Bringing Blogs into the Higher Education Classroom in a session at the recent NLII Annual Meeting. They asked participants to reflect on two questions, and post their reflections on Hector's blog: "Do you have a vision of where social software fits into learning?" and "What is it that you need in order to understand the integration of blogs into the learning?" The responses are an interesting read.
Well, I really do like my new Bluetooth mouse, a BTMouse Jr. from MacAlley. It's small enough to carry around, the action is nice, two buttons and scrolling are great (why Apple steadfastly continues to refuse this convenience, I don't know)... but I'm having one, really annoying issue: the mouse loses its connection with my computer whenever it goes idle. Not when it goes fully asleep, mind you - even before the screensaver kicks in. Now, I have the screensaver set to kick in after 15 minutes, and so in the course of the day I found myself having to go through the whole Set Up Bluetooth Device interface way more often than I cared to. I was hoping to set it up once, and have the computer automatically recognize it in the future. I have the latest Bluetooth software and firmware installed... I think the issue has something to do with the fact that Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer is not check-able in my prefs. I've gone through these steps on the Apple support site, but no soup on getting the check box to activate. If there are any Mac gurus out there, I'd appreciate any advice!
In the emerging era of the blog, experts believe the Internet will bring yet more dramatic change to the news and publishing worlds.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no change and 10 being radical change, survey takers predicted that news organizations and publishing would undergo a mean change of 8.46. Education, incidentally, gets a score of 7.98, with an emphasis still on distance learning.
"No, you see, it's funny because it's TRUE. And it's TRUE because by the end of the cartoon the ant has succumbed to the contradictions and hypocrisy of these pedagogies being discussed at institutions where they are not implemented in the SLIGHTEST because the crushing weight of institutionalization perpetuates only ideas which have been systematically hamstrung until they are only of use for the maintenance of the bourgeoisie, and also he has drunk of the poison cup of ClassWeb and PowerPoint, and you see the ant has DIED meaning he is an EX-ANT you can see he has his LEGS in the AIR and boy do I sympathize.
In, erm, honor of Pres. Bush's re-inauguration today, I was going to write a snide post pointing to the stark differences between the celebrations in Washington and the situation on the ground in Iraq. Then I came across this editorial cartoon in Le Monde, which really says it all. Roughly, en anglais - about to put his hand on the bible in front of a crowd of people, our dear president says, "what's this? God didn't show up after all?"
I shall continue to display the black ribbon for the indefinite future. Or, the next four years, whichever comes first.
If every day is a new day, and every tomorrow can be a first day, does that mean that every day is a lifetime?
...anyway. The spring semester starts tomorrow, and it promises to be action packed. I've been hiding away in my room for the past couple of days, trying to take advantage of the proverbial calm before the storm. I'm excited about my classes, in a very nerdly kind of way, because they all overlap nicely with what are turning out to be my own personal research interests. I'm particularly psyched about Tech and Society, esp. since Ulises will be there too. (Ask him about ant & idea. I dare you.) I'm also doing an independent study to continue to analyze the data from my tech practices of liberal arts students research project. Other exciting projects are looming on the horizon, too. All in all, I feel like things starting to come together, which is both exhilarating and monumentally scary at the same time.
There are a zillion cool links and ideas coming out of today's meeting. One that I just wanted to throw up here: the Archinect School Blog Project. The list of participating schools is extensive and impressive. From their site:
We have recruited representatives from a collection of architecture programs around the world to maintain blogs documenting their experiences and discoveries from each institution during the fall 2004 semester. The goal of this unprecedented endeavor is to provide a voyeuristic view into the environments of some of the most intriguing academic institutions for architecture.
So, my trip to Vermont isn't all play, I've actually been a busy little bee. On Tuesday I led a workshop on computer-mediated communication (view wiki), yesterday I was the ringleader for an intro to social software in education workshop (view wiki), and right now my co-instigator and I are convening the CET's first ever social software users group (view wiki). The participants have been great, and we've had some very thoughtful conversations around designing communicative tasks using a range of cmc tools. Barbara Ganley, Middlebury College professor/blogger extraordinaire, was kind enough to give a best practices presentation. Afterwards, we had a great discussion in which I think we both really articulated the issues near and dear to our hearts regarding the relationship between technology and pedagogy - which is why I love chatting with her, she always challenges and clarifies my thinking. Barbara's thoughts are definitely worth a read:
The deeper into this classroom blogging I get, the more I cannot disentangle the pedagogy from the blogging--to talk about blogs means to talk about student-centered learning, collaborative knowledge spaces, constructivist pedagogy FIRST.
The only thing better than 6 inches of fresh power on the mountain is getting there early enough to have some of it to yourself. The skiing was amazing this morning, even if I did go through quite a little mini-ordeal to get there (circling Burlington airport for an hour, re-routed to Syracuse NY, rented a car and drove from there to Midd). New snow, blue skies, fresh air... my home may be in NYC right now, but my heart is in VT.
To slide into some metablogging for a moment: as many have noted, blogs were big in 2004, with ABC crowning bloggers as "people of the year." The latest Pew Internet blog study reports that the number of people reading blogs has gone up 58%, with the number of bloggers at a small though not insignificant 7% of Internet users. Yet with all this discussion of the role of bloggers in Internet culture and the implications of blogging for culture more broadly, it seems like some mass media publications continue to marginalize bloggers. I'm thinking of the NY Times in particular, which is one publication that I happen to read often. The first articles on blogs were of the "who cares what you had for breakfast" variety and focused on personal blogs; an article in the Times yesterday talks about flame wars between Republican and Democratic bloggers and includes the sentence "the blogosphere's tendency toward crackpot theorizing and political smack down could not be suppressed for long." Many bloggers swear that blogging has, in some way large or small (though mostly small), changed their lives - but this doesn't scan with a lot of the articles that I've come across. I'd love to do a content analysis of major mass media outlet coverage of blogs and bloggers over the past couple of years - what is the non-blogging public hearing about blogs?