Learning2gether with Earth Day


I have just celebrated Earth Day with the usual suspects in a convergence of small pieces loosely joined, and I blogged about our part of the program here:

Where I teach, I had each of my students make a Prezi presentation starting with a motto (the topic of the current unit in our textbook Viewpoints) and then develop that into a message or slogan for the environment.  Their Prezis are linked from this page:

I told the students that they would be a part of an annual movement of students worldwide based around Earthbridges <http://earthbridges.net> who get hundreds of their students together each year to commemorate the event and stream much of it live. 

This year April 22 was on a Sunday, which was a problem for schools in much of the world, but here in UAE we teach on Sunday, so we added our contribution to that movement under April 22, “the Real Earth Day”, here:

The Earth Day event coincided this year with Learning2gether, the online professional development effort I coordinate and engage in on Sunday of every week. Thus, I invited my Earthbridges colleagues (whom I’ve met only online) to join us and talk about their history of Earth Days on Earthbridges. We made a live recording of our contribution and archived what we did here:

I created a Prezi to show how the whole thing came together:

As Learning2gether gains traction, I am invited to give presentations on the topic; e.g. at the last TESOL Arabia conference and again in Philadelphia at the International TESOL Convention, both in March of this year. The TESOL Arabia presentation was simulcast in Second Life, as you can see from one of the screenshots here: 

I wrote an article on Learning2gether for the International TESOL Presentation and put it here, along with the more recent slide show of the presentation itself

The core concept of Learning2gether is collaborative learning, and Earth Day is a golden opportunity to bring this kind of learning home to our students.

April 22 next year will fall on a Monday and I invite you to be thinking from now about how we might engage our students in learning from one another globally. In order to effectively work in this manner with students, teachers need to gain some personal familiarity and experience with social, collaborative learning, or with any new tool or medium before they can become comfortable with using it with students, so any steps we can take in that regard are worthwhile.

That’s what Learning2gether does.  You can become involved at the following links.  See what’s happening next Sunday and what we’ve done already:

You can claim a Sunday spot if you wish, share your expertise, and help us all learn together.


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Rethinking Multiliteracies

I’m about to start again my multiliteracies course but I’ve been giving it a major re-think in light of some of the awakenings many of my colleagues and I have undergone this past year.  One of these has been the awakening prompted by Nicholas Carr and his suggestion that Google is making us stupid, explained more thoroughly in his book The Shallows.  Another influential book making people think through critical multiliteracies is Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble. Yet another awakening has been the re-envisaging of learning environments around networks that has been developed over the past three years by educators participating in and reflecting on MOOCs.  A MOOC that is going on right now is called EpCoP MOOC, a study of e-portfolios, which is yet another topic gaining increasing acceptance lately, and which I’ve already started incorporating more overtly in my multiliteracies courses, as Me-Portfolios.

The Shallows

On August 5, 2011, the NPR On the Media program hosted by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield recorded a live event on the question of whether the internet will deliver us or destroy us: http://www.onthemedia.org/2011/aug/05/ .  The second segment of that event starts out with a cute song that I spliced out of the mp3 file I downloaded from that URL.  Maybe this piece can create a light mood for my newly conceived multiliteracies course:

However, on to meatier matters. Earlier in the show Brooke and Bob had been holding a debate, the kind where each debator is assigned one side of the argument (and then later in the program they reverse roles, so in these segments they are each acting their assigned parts, sometimes with exagerated sarcasm). Bob brings up Nicholas Carr as indicative of the Internet’s tendency to send us off into shallow multitasking directions seemingly at once, to the point where we lose our very ability to think as deeply and reflectively as our counterparts in previous literary eras. 

Brook Gladstone solicits Kate Hayles to speak about hyper-attention where people, especially young ones, are adapting to the presence of so many stimuli in their media environment (http://media08.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/my-article-on-hyper-and-deep-attention/). I alluded to this in my blog post entitled the Narrows and the Shallows: http://advanceducation.blogspot.com/2011/08/narrows-and-shallows.html (the narrows is what David Weinberger says we risk if we do not expose ourselves to information proliferating on the Internet).

Yes, it goes without saying that our brains change with every new learning experience, but Brook’s conclusion also is similar to mine, which is that these changes are developing what we already are, not making new humans out of us: “I’m just suggesting that this new technology just makes us more of who we already are. If we’re lazy, well, then we have all these opportunities to steal and cut and paste, and if we’re hedgehogs, we can just burrow, burrow deep without end.” Television didn’t make a generation of kids lazy, it simply gave lazy kids an opportunity and a means to escape what they were trying to avoid, while people like Clay Shirkey did not succumb totally to the lure of Gilligan’s Island, but obviousy found time to develop themselves in ways that would express the full potential of what they in fact were. In Shirkey’s case, judging from his writings, the Internet was a critical tool in that development.

Here’s the complete transcript of this segment on Personal Impact of the Internet:

and the audio relevant to this discussion:

Here are the other two transcripts from this broad/podcast episode:


The Filter Bubble

Brooke Gladstone sums the Filter Bubble up nicely at the start of her interview with Eli Pariser here: 

“Does the Internet cocoon us with likeminded people or do the hours we spend online expose us to more points of view? In his new book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You, author Eli Pariser contends that the Internet is actually forcing us into echo chambers, that it looks at our Google searches, our emails, our Facebook posts, studies the links that we click on and decides what we want to know.”

This is another train of thought that would be fun to develop and keep in mind as we progress through the four weeks of this TESOL PP107 Multiliteracies course.



The first MOOC that called itself a MOOC took place in 2008, and since then there have been a dozen or more. Participants in the recent EduMOOC started developing a wiki page on the topic, which you can find if you search on the expansion of the acronym, Massive Open Online Course 

It’s rare that I can find time to participate fully in MOOCs but the whole point of MOOCs is that you learn as much as you like of something in your own time and at your own pace by taking advantage of an opportunity to learn not only acknowledged experts in the field but from hundreds and thousands of other expert peers like yourself. My participation in EduMOOC resulted in a paper in the form of a Google Doc, which I presented in PowerPoint format in August 2011 first at the University of Oregon and then at the Moodle Moot Virtual Conference online event organized by Nellie Deutsch. These left the following artifacts available online:

As relates to the multiliteracies course, I explain in these links how I have been organizing my course along MOOC precepts almost from its inception in 2004. Accordingly I have decided to break the upcoming iteration of the course along the lines of the subject headings of one of Dave Cormier’s three excellent videos on MOOCs, “Success in a MOOC” (all three videos can be linked from Leigh Blackall’s page: http://leighblackall.blogspot.com/2011/01/networked-learning-explanation-made.html).  

Dave says that success in a MOOC involves 5 phases:

  1. Orient
  2. Declare
  3. Network
  4. Cluster
  5. Focus

It seems appropriate to make the first four phases the topics for the four weeks of the TESOL PP107 multiliteracies course.  The last phase, forcusing, can be a follow-up activity that should follow logically if the course is successful.  In the EVO rendition of the course, it will be the topic for the 5th week, as outlined at 



Another thread that will run through the course is the Me-Porfolio aspect. This section pretty much replicates what I said about Me-Portfolios in the Google Doc referenced above. First of all, I need to make clear why I evaluate participants (pass or did not try) on their Me-Portfolios.

I have started referring to these sets of linked artifacts as “Me-Porfolios” to draw attention to their constructivist / connectivist nature. User choice in material to be covered makes it logical to encourage participants to adopt Me-Porfolios in
  1. specifying their own course objectives and outcomes as they orient in the course; 
  2. presenting their individually tailored plan of achieving those objectives, and; 
  3. documenting their accomplishments through an online portfolio linking to deliverables prepared in showcasing those outcomes.

As per the most recent rendition of the multiliteracies course:
Some references:

  • Videos and articles on e-portfolios from EpCoP MOOC: https://sites.google.com/site/epcoplearnspace/ct1/Subject1
  • K12 Online Conference 2009 | Googlios: A 21st – Century Approach to Teaching, Learning, & Assessment:http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=478. Abstract: “This presentation sheds light on a model that demonstrates relationships between emerging tools and learning theories and between Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), and ePortfolios. By using Google Sites as a main dashboard that “mashes up” multiple Google Apps like Blogger, Youtube, Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Docs, and iGoogle into an ePortfolio, students can build and organize their own Personal Learning Environment (PLE) simultaneously with “building bridges” through their Personal Learning Network (PLN)–all while supporting e-portfolio authentic assessment.”
  • Graham Attwell, E-portfolio Development and Implementation, http://blip.tv/file/300988
  • Dr. Helen Barrett, Electronic Portfolios and Digital Storytelling for lifelong and life wide learning,http://electronicportfolios.org/. Dr. Barrett’s work has considerable depth; consider:
    • An excellent interview with Robert Squires June 18, 2010, on Instructional Design Live: http://edtechtalk.com/node/4791
      • Here she says that ePortfolios should have the characteristics of ownership, purpose, and process
      • In other words, ePortfolios are property of the creator, done authentically, and never completed, something students will want to maintain intrinsically
    • Other of Dr. Barrett’s links:
  • Two articles by Trent Batson, http://www.trentbatson.com/
    • http://campustechnology.com/articles/2008/04/eportfolios-hot-once-again.aspx – “The learning management system may seem like the quintessential academic technology application, but instead the ePortfolio is. Both will be transformed by the distributed nature of the Web (data and functionality residing in multiple places), but the learning management system will start to lose its identity as a unified system when it is distributed to operating system functions or Web functions, while ePortfolios will retain their identity even when distributed because ePortfolio is glued together and its development guided by learning theory. … ePortfolio is the learning technology of this age.”
    • Particularly points 7-10 in “Ten Rules of Teaching in this Centuryhttp://campustechnology.com/articles/2010/09/15/10-rules-of-teaching-in-this-century.aspx
      1. Re-examine and adopt the move from teaching to learning 
      2. Re-visit the accountability measures on your campus 
      3. Make a corollary change in assessment 
      4. Insist on teaching only in technology-enabled classrooms
      5. Make sure your students have technology management tools of their own 
      6. Insist on faculty having management tools for their own professional development 
      7. Do not discard the lecture or class discussion approach when appropriate, but use it primarily for the purpose of helping students address the essential problems of the course: Use lectures and discussions to help students to make progress in their projects and therefore to build their course portfolios.
      8. Make sure your students have a digital repository of some sort–a portfolio system, a wiki, a blog, a Web page builder, a place to store and manage the evidence of their active learning.
      9. Require your students to interpret their collected online evidence at regular intervals and, finally, in capstone Web presentations. 
      10. Make the collection of evidence the primary work of the course. In other words, students should be graded largely or entirely on their final portfolio for the course. In a learning-centered course, the portfolio is the sine qua non.
These suggestions require that educators become aware of the paradigm shifts required of them and of knowledge workers in general as we all adapt to the 21st century in which we find ourselves. I count ten such shifts in my article:

Stevens, Vance. (2010). Shifting sands, shifting paradigms: Challenges to developing 21st century learning skills in the United Arab Emirates. Chapter 20 in Egbert, J. (2010). CALL in Limited Technology Contexts, CALICO Monograph Series, Volume 9. pp.227-239. My last draft version of this article can be found online here: http://tinyurl.com/vance2010calico.
Accordingly, I made e-portfolios a part of my course for the first time as a stated assessment tool the last time I taught the PPOT course in September 2010.
When I tried this on students initially, they were hesitant and confused over what was expected of them when I asked them to create e-portfolios.  It was anything but straightforward to convey to them that these portfolios are not for me, they are for them.  It’s a break from tradition for a teacher to say, ‘I’m not really evaluating you on this, you are evaluating yourself, I’m only insisting that you go through this process.’  Accordingly I was constantly fending questions that were variations on ‘what does the teacher want this to look like?’
Eventually in this last course I decided to model what an e-portfolio might look like by creating a portal that would link to participant work on their e-portfolios. This portfolio of portfolios modeled one possibility for them and helped us to identify successful examples of e-portfolios as theirs became all linked in one place here:
Readers of this article who feel they’d like to get in there and experience a MOOC while exploring the relationship of e-portfolios to MOOCs, can avail themselves now of an opportunity of prime relevance to this topic, EpCoP, an e-Portfolio and Communities of Practice MOOC, is running through August and September this year 2011.  This MOOC is a ‘lite’ version, with only a few hundred participants enrolled so far, but it’s been gaining traction.

The EpCoP MOOC course is proceeding through 7 levels:

  1. Establish an understanding of e-portfolios
  2. Decide on a purpose of your e-portfolio: 
  3. Find a space for your e-portfolio
  4. Gather evidence of your learning at your e-portfolio  (from Sept 1, 2011)
  5. Determine how you will engage in reflective practice
  6. Decide on who to share your e-portfolio with and refine your collections
  7. Reflect on and evaluate your e-portfolio


EpCoP MOOC is taking place in these spaces:

Visit EpCoP MOOC


A course syllabus emerges

The course as it has evolved so far has patterned itself first on Stuart Selber’s triparite breakdown of the topic of multiliteracies (http://prosites-vstevens.homestead.com/files/efi/papers/tesol/ppot/syllabus.htm), and more recently on Mark Pegrum’s five lenses through which to view digital technologies (http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com/w/page/10972809/Syllabus_Outline2010). It is still useful to view our current course content through the warp and woof of these threads while incoporating the new directions that a study of a topic whose nature changes with each new development must obviously take.

This table encapsulates the past course frameworks:

Selber’s aspects of multiliteracies:

  1. funtional
  2. critical
  3. rhetorical
Pegrum’s five lenses:

  1. technological
  2. pedagogical
  3. social
  4. sociopolitical
  5. ecological


Week 1 – In the orient phase we introduce some literature on MOOCs and e-Portfolios and have participants find or designate a space where they will anchor their Me-Portfolios for this short course

I’ll set up crowdsource spaces where participants can suggest tools useful for the course.  These tools include

  • Blogs 
    • Blogger with tabs, especially conducive to portfolio approach
    • Posterous is becoming one of my favorite blogspaces, so media friendly, and conducive to group work
    • WordPress is the choice of many
  • Wikis
    • My favorite is PBWorks
    • which I prefer over WikiSpaces
    • GoogleDocs is an excellent wiki for collaboration
    • Etherpad clones are great for classwork

EpCoP MOOC event – Tuesday September 6 01:00 GMT

Learning2gether event – Sunday September 11, 2011
Vance Stevens has made changes to the TESOL PP107 Multiliteracies course at http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com that he and colleagues have developed over the last several years, based on their experience and what has been learned from facilitating about a dozen iterations of the course.  In particular the course is more overtly rooted in the MOOC paradigm (where MOOC stands for miniscule open online course) with distinctly connectivist attitudes.  Assessment is done by what I call Me-Portfolios.  Accordingly we will try to make the course weave itself to some extent with what is happening the the EpCoP MOOC (the E-portfolios CoP MOOC running through September). I look forward to discussing the rationale for the course with participants or with anyone interested.  The event takes place at 13:00 GMT in Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate) http://home.learningtimes.net/learningtimes?go=273662


Week 2 – By now we suggest that students declare their interest and intentions in the course through their Me-Portfolios.  This declaration should include a statement of what they expect to learn or gain from the course and a statement of how each anticipates accomplishing the stated goal.

Digital storytelling and relevant Web 2.0 tools can start to be introduced here. Participants are likely to already have their favorites, so again a crowdsourced document will be useful:

    EpCoP MOOC event – Tuesday September 13 01:00 GMT

    Learning2gether event – Sunday September 18, 2011
    This week we join in progress SLanguages 2011 – 16-18 September 2011 http://avalon-project.ning.com/events/event/show?id=2244249%3AEvent%3A24324&xg_source=msg_invite_event 
    Website or Map: http://www.slanguages.net
    Organized By: Heike Philp aka Gwen Gwasi on EduNation and AVALON Learning Islands

    Week 3 – In the network phase, participants find each other’s Me-Portfolios and make comments.  Their own posts should be documenting how they are achieving the objectives they declared in Week 2.

    Tools that will assist here are feed readers and social bookmarking sites.

    • Social bookmarking
      • Delicious and Diigo
      • How to use both at once
    • Feed reading
      • Google Reader (everyone should set up their own)
      • Other uses of RSS
        • Pageflakes, Netvibes, and similar
        • I’ll think of more
      • Tags
        • Tag games
        • Spezify, Addictomatic, and similar

    EpCoP MOOC event – Tuesday September 20 01:00 GMT

    Learning2gether event – Sunday September 25, 2011

    In the second of  the new embedded series organised by Dennis “Osnacantab” Newson: Webheads in Second Life, Jeff Lebow will run an informal workshop on filming/recording in Second Life demonstrating the online program screencast-o-matic http://www.screencast-o-matic.com  he used for recording Graham Stanley’s recent inworld talk.. The event takes place at 13.00 GMT at Webheads H.Q. EduNation, Second Life, 


    Week 4 – At the cluster stage the Me-Portfolios are getting fleshed out with artifacts documenting how knowledge is being created and developed. At the end of the week participants will be expected to present their portfolios at a synchronous online event or leave a recorded screencast of their presentation embedded in their portfolio, or both.  

    Tools needed will be those relevant to this goal.

    • Synchronous presentation tools
      • Elluminate
      • WiZiQ
      • Big Marker
      • Big Blue Button
    • Screencasting tools
      • Jing
      • Camstudio
      • uTiPu

      EpCoP MOOC event – Tuesday September 6 01:00 GMT


      Learning2gether event – Sunday October 2, 2011, 12:00 to 15:00 GMT

      This is graduation day for this round of TESOL Principles and Practices of Online Teaching courses. Participants in PP107 are invited to show and discuss the portfolios they created for the course.

      Twitter comments

      View on screencast.com »


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        Having F.U.N: Frivolous Unanticipated Nonsense

        I didn’t realize you could “favorite” a tweet !?

        View on screencast.com »

        The link in the tweet points to:

        Speaking of having F.U.N. with Web 2.0 tools, this post was made with a Jing screen capture uploaded to screencast.com, and the URL for the screen capture was then emailed to Posterous.  The URL then translated into the image that you see above, all done pretty seamlessly through Posterous.

        Another nice thing about Posterous is that subscribers to this blog get a notice of this posting in their email, and they can comment on the post simply by replying to the email (and the comment will appear here, want to try it? 🙂
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        Just curious if anything will come from this attempt to reach Danny Silva

        View on screencast.com »

        Links refered to above:



        Success! Danny responded to the message I sent him
        (and he gave me permission to post it here):

        View on screencast.com »

        In subsequent interchange we decided to work via a wiki. Since Danny is a Google Educator, a Google Doc seems the logical choice. We can post our questions there and Danny can answer them or point us toward the answers.

        I’ll set that Google Doc up and link it from here.

        Never doubt the power of a PLN!

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        Earth Day at Aqabat Talhat, Oman, April 22, 2011


        Each Earth Day my colleagues in education and I around the world mark the event through some gesture of appreciation toward the planet.  For the last two Earth Days I’ve participated in globally webcast round-the-clock events going for 24 hours as Earth Day hits each time zone around the world. These events are organized informally through a wiki, and in these two years I have brought students where I was working at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi in touch with other student participants in the event, and left artifacts marking the occasion online as follows:

        Earth Day 2009

        Earth Day 2010

        On the occasion of

        Earth Day 2010, I again made students at the

        Petroleum Institute a part of the world-wide Earthcast 24 hour webcastathon conducted each year

        by http://earthbridges.net. Numerous URLs

        were generated in conjunction with this event:

        Video streaming by Ustream

        Earth Day 2011 was not so easy to set up as an earthcast this year. April 22 fell on a Friday so there were no Earth Day celebrations at the PI. Furthermore, this Friday happened to be the Good Friday before Easter Sunday so many schools that would have normally participated in the event around the world were not in session. Consequently, a Voice Thread was set up to accompany the webcast:



        However, since Friday is the normal weekend in the UAE, my friends and I in our running group the Wasps Hash House Harriers were free for the weekend, so we decided to do a good deed on Earth Day, in a spot with the beautiful view shown in the picture at the top of this posting. My friends are pictured here:


        This spot is called Aqabat Talhat and for centuries it was an important pass connecting the Batinah coast in Oman with the 2200 meter high Saiq plateau in the scenic mountains of Oman.

        When I first arrived in Oman the Saiq plateau was inaccessible by car unless one was able to secure a pass from the ministry of interior to be allowed past the military checkpoint on the only dirt track leading up the mountain from Birkat Al Mooz, and that pass was never granted to tourists. The reason this stricture was in place was that Saiq had been involved in an insurrection against the then-Sultan of Oman, Taimur.  The British SAS had hiked up the mountain and helped quell the rebellion, and when I arrived almost 30 years later, the only way up there was to follow in their footsteps.  As my friends and I found out, it was ok to BE on the mountain, the only thing forbidden was to be in a car at the checkpoint going up. Consequently in the years 1985-1995 I made many hikes up from various places around the mountain that you could drive to over rough tracks in order to hike the rest of the way up to the Saiq plateau and explore the area on treks lasting days at a time. 

        One of the best of those walks was the one up from Hijar at 900 meters in Wadi Bani Khurous up to Aqabat Talhat at 2200, which on April 22, 2011, I’m fortunate to be pointing out here:


        I’m especially fortunate because I didn’t have to walk up.  At about the time Bobbi and I left Oman in 1995, the Saiq plateau was starting to undergo long-overdue development, with the result that there is now a system of tarmac roads there, and free passage past the military checkpost, which still exists, but only to ensure that visitors have 4×4 vehicles, due to the need to gear down on some stretches of the steep road.

        The last time I came here with my family last January, we hiked in from the small town of Rus at the end of the tarmac road from Saiq and sheltered for the freezing cold night in the stone structure constructed long ago from rocks found in the area, which still stands sturdy to welcome those who at one time could reach it only after an arduous trek up the mountain from Hijar. On this visit we found that previous visitors had come in a large group (possibly military on exercises) and left their trash lying around, mostly empty blue metal cans of Pocari Sweat and discarded Tanoof water bottles.

        On that visit I resolved to return to this once pristine spot with plastic bags and haul out the mess. I proposed to my running group that they join me and in the end we had eight of us with the time, energy and inclination to commit to hiking in for a clean-up.


        What we actually did was to build a fire there and dispose of the plastic into the clear blue air.  I realize that might have created a perterbation in the ozone but at least it got the stuff off the land.  We gathered the cans and crushed them and put them into the garbage bags we’d brought, and hiked them out again. 


        We had planned this as a day trip, and without packs full of food and warm clothing and extra water we were able to move fast.  I had told our group to prepare for a 3 hour trek each way, anticipating that there might be children with us.  In the end, there were only the fit and sturdy. Traveling light we were able to get in and out in half that time.  It’s a great short walk.  There are places you can go from Aqabat Talhat if you want to extend your visit.  But on this trip we just hiked to the pass with the panoramic view and left it much more pleasant for the next set of visitors.

        It’s hard to imagine what was in the minds of those who had left all that garbage around on their visit, but at least the blight they had left for others was removed in our gesture for Earth Day 2011.

        These pictures were all taken by my son, Dusty Stevens

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        Aggregating content around a “class tag” (using Delicious)

        View on screencast.com »

        I’ve been meaning to create this blog post ever since the first leg of my flight home from TESOL New Orleans, when I sat by chance next to a fellow conference-goer and shared insights about distance professional development all the way to Chicago.  Our conversation touched on how Jenny, whose job entailed helping teachers where she worked in Alaska keep up to date, managed to connect them in online professional development.  We mentioned a lot of sites which we both thought we’d like to recall at a later date.  Once we landed, we both had time to kill, and I was invited to join Jenny and her colleagues at their departure gate (my flight wasn’t for hours!).  While there, we had a “class” or seminar to recap what we had shared about online professional development.

        When I have a class, or any online or blended event for that matter, I like to set up a tag for it.  Tags are a good way to crowd-source communication with one another.  For example, if your friend posts a picture of you on Facebook, your friend lets you know about it by tagging you in the photo.  You are informed that you’ve been tagged, but not only that, anyone with permission can search Facebook for all photos with that tag; i.e. all photos of you on Facebook (as long as you’ve been tagged in them).

        Similarly, when I am teaching a class, I will create a tag for that class.  If we have a class party (or if participants take pictures of each other interacting colleagially at a conference) we can upload photos to Flickr with that class tag and they can be found there aggregated around that tag.  If I find a URL I want my class to see I can tag it in Delicious with the class tag, and so can anyone else in the class.  That’s because if you preceed a tag with http://delicious.com/tag/ <– and put the tag after the slash/ then anyone who tags a site with that tag can call the others’ attention to the site when it appears in the listing of links created at that URL by anyone anywhere using Delicious who has tagged a site using that tag.

        Obviously you don’t want a lot of clutter to appear at that link, so you need to pick a tag that isn’t being used.  You can test this by trying the URL out. For example, for a class I am teaching in the spring of 2011 I might create a 2011s030efl, or something that it would be very unlikely for anyone else to co-opt.  You want this tag to be mnemonic, but also unique to just your event. If you test out http://delicious.com/tag/2011s030efl and get no hits, then that tag is yours, and only yours. (And you’d be surprise how well students can remember tags like this that look cryptic but have intuitive logic to them).

        For our class in Chicago airport, Jenny and I settled on the tag vance-chicago.  Then we went online and showed each other links.  As we hit the links we tagged them vance-chicago. And you can see what we came up with here:


        Later I went through and edited the tags by adding more tag descriptors to the sites in addition to vance-chicago and embellishing the notes to tell why we selected those tags.  Now when you visit that link you get a “student’s” view of what such a list of links should look like. 

        This technique can be applied to any event that resembles a “class”.  For example, on April 10, 2011, I conducted a session archived against that date at http://learning2gether.pbworks.com/2011spring. The purpose of the session was to talk about the ISTEK conference that had just taken place in Istanbul. The participants at that conference considered themselves a part of each other’s PLNs and they left artifacts of their encounters all over the web. 

        Our recap was with Nik Peachey, one of the plenary speakers there, who is always full of ideas for links and tools to try out. You can see/hear the recording of our Elluminate session here:

        Because I knew we’d want to compile a list of links, I suggested participants play tag games; that is, I asked those who visited any sites mentioned to tag them ‘istek11‘ in Delicous or Diigo. For the reasons mentioned above, I had done a search already in Delicious and come up with no prior links — well actually there was one link from Elizabeth Anne, who was also a presenter at ISTEK — so this tag was perfect in that any items with that tag would likely be ours).

        I’m not sure how you search Diigo (there is no obvious search tool at http://diigo.com) and I don’t think anyone created any tags with Delicious during the session, but after the event wound down, I went back myself through the presentation to find sites mentioned and to tag them (and annotate them) in Delicious. This was the result:


        So this is a URL where anyone who wants to can highlight for anyone interested any link they think should be associated with this event. This link points (at this writing) to just the links I put there, though anyone on Delicious can tag sites relevant to this event using istek11 and in so doing add them to this list.

        As you can see, this technique is useful in any case you would like to compile a list of links for a group of collaborators.  This technique allows you to manage or crowd-source that process.

        It will be interesting to see if others in the ISTEK PLN will treat this as an opportunity to crowd-source a list of links that might help them compile links associated with the conference, as I suggested in 140 characters here:

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        Just curious about visualizing social network analytics

        View on screencast.com »

        Here’s something my PLN brought me over morning coffee this morning.  Actually the one this morning was in response to something I’d posted before on a thread to TALO (Teaching and Learning Online) http://groups.google.com/group/teachAndLearnOnline.  Michael Coghlan started the thread by suggesting:

        Try going to http://www.google.com/s2/search/social#socialconnections while you are logged into a Google or gmail account!

        I followed up with …

        This is really nice.  Here’s something similar. 

        This is a podcast by Dave Cormier talking about a bit of software called Gephi.  http://www.edtechtalk.com/EdTechWeekly186

        If you’re interested in social network visualizations it would be worth listening to the first 15 min of the recording, where Dave talks you through the slide show about how he tracked his own network on Facebook and thereby distinguished the most connected from the least connected. 

        His conclusion is striking.  This kind of software can be applied to connections within a MOOC, where networking is essential to success in the course, and identifying participants who are not making connections early enough to intervene and perhaps help them get with the program.

        Roz said:

        i think it’s creepy

        And then Barbara Dieu contributed:

        Linkedin has a tool that does the same thing.
        What is interesting is that as I visualize these graphics , people I am connected to in Linkedin are not necessarily the same as in Facebook, Twitter or Gmail. Some networks may overlap but others are totally different.

        Indeed.  I like Dave Cormier’s take personally, these are all ways that, well yes, gather data on us and display them in such a way that they might be available to sinister forces, but ignoring such ramifications (is Google evil? Is Facebook?) they do provide us tools with which we can examine our own surroundings, and then act on those data in positive ways (let’s hope).

        In any event, the tools are out there, for better or for worse.


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        Collaborative writing using Delicious and Google Docs:Technology boon or bane?

        I have just given my workshop called Collaborative writing using Delicious and Google Docs at the TESOL Arabia Conference in Dubai Friday, March 11, 2011. As with all my presentations I put my slides and handouts online. This one is here: http://www.slideshare.net/vances/collaborative-writing-using-delicious-and-google-docs and there is a link in the slide show that points to the Moodle course which incorporates the materials I was presenting: http://www.pimoodle.org/course/view.php?id=69.

        <To access the Moodle course, no need to log in, simply Enter as a Guest>

        At the top of that course it says “TLL goes to TESOL Arabia” and right below that you can find my presentation handouts in pdf format. I made numerous copies of those handouts and brought them with me from Abu Dhabi to the conference in Dubai.

        When I proposed a 45 minute workshop, I assumed I would run it from an internet connected computer before a room full of participants also at their own internet-connected computers.But since I’m in the loop with the conference organizers by virtue of being active in the TA EdTech SIG, I knew that there was some doubt whether there would be Internet there at all, or even if there would be more than one computer in the room, so I conceived the presentation as if there would be no Internet and the participants would have no computers. Within a week or so of the conference we learned that there would in fact be wireless Internet in the room and that one of the colleges had contributed laptops, and so from that point I was able to assume I would be able to conduct an actual hands-on workshop.

        Still one never knows what connectivity will really be like on site at a conference in a hotel, so soon after reaching Dubai I went to the room where I would be giving the presentation. This was Thursday evening, the day before I was to go live. Using my laptop, I got online with no problem, so this was when I decided for sure that I would be conducting a workshop with Internet.  Also it was from that moment only that it seemed possible that I could broadcast live from my presentation.

        I never announce a live event anymore until I have actually established connectivity from the room I’ll be presenting from and the computer I’ll be using, and that night I was even able to arrange to get online from my hotel room, so when I finalized my slide show there I was able to upload it to Slideshare.net. That was when I decided to create a space at my Moodle course for my presentation materials (that Moodle course is unlikely to ever be used again with students at the institute where I developed these materials, so converting it to a presentation site seemed exactly the right way to seal development of the course). I uploaded all my handouts there, and before bed I sent word out to my network, my PLN, that I would attempt to go live from the presentation venue the following day.

        Actually, through another strange twist of fate, my presentation was given an hour and a half time slot though as I mentioned earlier the CfP form had solicited proposals for 45 minute sessions. At one point in time when it seemed my workshop might actually have neither Internet nor computers for participants to get their hands on, and I didn’t think I would need more than 45 minutes, I was nominated to be the featured speaker for the TA EdTech SIG at the conference. Had the SIG had its act together earlier we could possibly have invited someone truly worthy to come and give a featured presentation, funded in part by the conference organizers, but we were organizing organically at the time and the opportunity slipped. However as we were still entitled to put forward such a speaker, it occurred to someone that I might fit the position (plus I would require no budget outlay to encourage me to attend) and when I was nominated, we thought we might use the time after I had done with my workshop to talk about the EdTech SIG and show off its Ning at http://taedtech.ning.com.

        It was THIS time that I had in mind for our live presentation. I didn’t think I would be able to conduct a workshop tethered to a headset on my presentation PC. But for the latter part of the show, where we would talk about our plans for the TA EdTech SIG I thought it would be marvelous if we could bring in other voices from around the region to speak to our local conference-goers, and give them the sense of connectiveness with peers at a distance. So when I made the announcement, I told people we would be online at 7 a.m. GMT, one hour into a workshop that started at 6 a.m. GMT and would last till 7:30. In other words, the live participants would be the last part of the show. I even prepared a blog post on the philosophy behind such an occasion, and the LAST thing I did the night before was to publish my post, cleaned up but still incomplete, but tightly wrought with regard to the arguments I intended to make: http://advanceducation.blogspot.com/2011/03/transforming-learning-with-creative.html

        So Friday morning I was at the presentation room an hour early and getting set up, rearranging the room according to my needs. The table I would be using was tiny so I requested a larger one. The datashow projector provided for the event seemed to be running on a 40 watt bulb; the screen was in effect illegible at the back of the room, but there was nothing to be done about that. I was asked if I would need speakers for the PC, and since I was planning to have voices join us from cyberspace I said yes, and someone went to get some.

        I got my powerpoint up in Slideshare, opened my handouts in pdf, and in yet another window launched the Elluminate presentation room we would be using. I tweeted what I was doing in a last-minute 140-character call for participation. Someone brought the speakers and we ran a sound check on some music that comes with Windows in the music folder. By then participants were arriving, and they took their places to the languid rhythm of Brazilian samba.

        The presentation began, participants appeared suitably rapt as I explained the philosophy behind what I was doing. The philosophy is something I’ve worked out well in my mind, and it makes sense to audiences. I explained however that it was another matter to teach in this way to students, let alone write those materials in a way that teachers who were unfamiliar with the tools, Google Docs and Delicious, would be able to teach from them. The materials would therefore have to teach the teachers as they taught the students.

        This part is a little complex but I turned to the point in my workshop where I would get the teachers to follow me in what could be complicated for some. They would have to form groups, create a Google document, share it with one another and with me, write something there, publish the document, create tiny URLs from the publication link, and then tag the published work in Delicious using a tag I would provide, which would allow anyone to aggregate at one URL all content created under that tag.

        I had all those windows open on my computer and I was just about to start showing them what to do when suddenly the datashow projector went blue. I saw quickly that this happened because my laptop had gone into sleep mode and now that it had got my attention I could see it had done that because the power light was not on, meaning it had been running on battery all that time. So I excused myself and got down on my hands and knees and crawled under the table where the drapes on the table were concealing the real problem. When the workers had brought the speakers they had needed a place to plug them in, so they had created one by unplugging the charger to my laptop.

        This could have been a momentary hitch except that the wiring was done with supermarket adaptors so when I removed the plug for the speakers and plugged in the power cord for my laptop there was a surge that knocked out power to the projector and also to the router, so that suddenly not only had the laptop and projector died, but the room was without Internet.

        Phillip Towndrow, who was present at the time, complimented me later on how smoothly I responded to the sudden change in circumstances. It wasn’t that difficult actually since I had prepared my presentation from the outset with no hard, fast assumption that there would be internet or even computers there for each participant. My PowerPoint was in fact a set of screenshots showing each step in the process, and my handout was a printout from this presentation. So when it became evident that the show would have to go on without technology, I was prepared for that eventuality. After an initial search for tech support, I simply asked participants to follow their handouts and took it from there.

        Now here’s the interesting bit. Many asked me later how my presentation went after the total tech breakdown, and I said to me it seemed to go very well. Those present also said, to my face at least, that my presentation was a good one. Why would this be? Interestingly, as soon as the computers went down, gone were the distractions. The squinting at the dim screen behind me stopped. The multitasking diminished. I no longer had the need to navigate the multiple windows on my desktop, with screen real estate confusingly constrained by cramped resolution when the datashow was attached, and further reduced when I put in a magnifier to compensate. Whatever, I didn’t have to deal with what people couldn’t properly see anyway, or ask them to page forward with me in their version of the slides at http://slideshare.net/vance. I simply held up my copy of the handout and said, here at step 3 you’ll see this, and at step 4 this will happen. Though I had to ask them to imagine what they might see on their screens if they actually followed those steps, all were focused with me on the handout. I couldn’t actually show them until at the end connectivity was restored, and then I could open a Google Doc and show them the interface and history and show them how a set of Google Docs could be aggregated in Delicious around a class tag.

        So I thought it went well, perhaps better than if I had tried to lead them in synch hands on, with half of them getting lost, some not paying attention. My only regret was that when I finally got reconnected with Elluminate, we found that Graham Stanley had tried to join us but was no longer responsive. Later he tweeted me at his end that he had had a computer freeze as well.

        That’s technology. Some might think we’d be better off without it, but it’s only through trial and working through error that pioneers can blaze trails that others can follow and establish the trail as a mainstream superhighway.





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        Promoting critical, spacial, lifelong learning skills in mature students of science and technology

        The other day I was sitting in a meeting of a research committee at my workplace.  The committee has only recently been formed and is at the stage where members are discussing their ideas vis a vis institute requirements, and at the moment one of these is accreditation by http://abet.org. ABET generally emphasizes criteria such as higher order and critical thinking skills, “understanding of the need for and an ability to engage in self-directed continung professional development;” and an understanding of cultural awareness, ethical responsibilities, and respect for diversity.

        In this meeting those present were discussing how to break away from largely didactic teaching practices to incorporate those which get students doing things, engaging with visualizatons, and interacting with the teacher and with one another.

        Second Life

        As I have done before on occasion I wondered aloud why an engineering program such as ours had no presence in Second Life (or a comparable SIM, though SL offers a highly developed range of options).  This is an environment where users build their worlds, and there are many instances where students have learned to script and create their own such worlds for a wide variety of projects.  For example, there would be opportunities for engineering students to model architecture, refineries, oil platforms, and oil reservoirs themselves.  They could create laboratories where they could walk inside of molecules or conduct physics experiments with dramatic results, or play with intriguing mathematical constructs. I mentioned my own interest in virtual simulations, but my purpose here is not to argue the point but to document what I know about Second Life and its use with students in the UAE.

        My first published study of educational opportunities in Second life was: Stevens, Vance. (2006). Second

        Life in Education and Language Learning. TESL-EJ, Volume 10, Number 3:

        http://www.tesl-ej.org/ej39/int.html. There I documented what I had learned about SL and concluded that SL had “caught the imaginations of

        many who see in the depths of their computer screens how their work can be made

        more enjoyable, productive, and interactive in the course of encountering

        others attracted to 3D virtual spaces. One certainty is that Second Life is

        having an impact and making a difference now, and that it has already altered

        in interesting and positive ways the shape of upcoming developments in

        technology used for education.”

        A year later at the METSMaC conference in Abu Dhabi, March 18, 2007, I gave a talk on the potential for education of

        the MUVE Second Life in an oral

        presentation entitled “Second life and online collaboration through peer to

        peer distributed learning networks”. The draft of the paper I

        submitted for the proceedings can be viewed in browser-friendly HTML here:


        and the published version is here:

        http://www.homestead.com/prosites-vstevens/files/efi/papers/metsmac/Stevens-METSMaC-2007.pdf. I had given a similar presentation at the TESOL Arabia Conference in Dubai the day before, and an annotated rendition of the slides presented at this talk appears here:


        The following year I was invited to consolidate what I had by then discovered in my explorations of Second Life in a paper published in The Linguist: Stevens, Vance. (2008). “Class of the future: Language

        learners can now meet up with native speakers in their home country, without

        leaving their computers. Vance Stevens enters the virtual world of Second Life.”

        The Linguist (June/July), pp. 18-20. Available:


        To prepare this paper I took notes at http://sl2ndchance.pbworks.com/. At the time I had attended a conference held in May 2008 in (and about) Second Life at http://www.slanguages.net/ (the link now goes to the 2010 event, but there is an archive). There was a very interesting presentation at this conference by Chris Surridge and Mark Karstad on a project they had been working on with the young ladies at Dubai Women’s College, which had given them the opportunity to create and learn in a virtual mock-up of a Dubai virtual campus, as reported in a Middle East technology newsletter from April 2008: http://www.itp.net/517605-dubai-womens-college-opens-second-life-campus. The slide show of their presentation highlights the cultural but also the learning aspects of the project: http://www.slideshare.net/slanguages/microsoft-power-point-conservative-societies-considerations-from-the-middle-east.

        I suggested at the meeting that working with our students in such an environment might engage them spacially and on a critical thinking level, as had been shown at Dubai Women’s College. I think that a project in Second Life would not need to be conducted by a SL expert, but only by someone who was willing to learn alongside the students.  The students would learn what was necessary to build the world from available resources (including peers and mentors encountered in SL) and from each other, with the guidance of the faculty member chosen to lead the project.

        Meanwhile, just tweeted: http://twitter.com/VanceS/status/38093410275565568


        The interview was part of the http://village.grouply.com EVO session and was recorded by Heike Philp February 9, 2011 via an audio / screen-sharing bridge between Second Life and Adobe Connect. The link to the Connect recording is:




        What I had already proposed prior to this meeting had been meant to address the lifelong learning and communications portions of the ABET criteria, which I have been involved with through my work with communities of practice and personal learning networks throughout the past decade.

        My involvement with such communities is a very long story. One of my articles concerning that involvement which has received positive feedback from peers is this one: Stevens, Vance. (2009). Modeling Social Media in

        Groups, Communities, and Networks. TESL-EJ, Volume 13, Number 3:


        This ongoing involvement in communities practicing online professional development has led to my giving an ongoing online course in Multiliteracies, sometimes as part of the TESOL Principals and Practices of Online Teaching program http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=664&DID=2642, and sometimes as a community service component of the EVO, Electronic Village Online, annual professional development sessions based at http://evosessions.pbworks.com. The “Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments” course has been lately developed through a wiki maintained at http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com.  As can be seen from the syllabus at that wiki, the course is run through the MOOC concept, and uses ePortfolios as its only assessment tool.

        MOOC means ‘massive open online course’, although I argue that the idea scales down to ‘mini’, or ‘miniscule’.  The idea is that the materials in such a course are online and openly accessible, as is famously the case at MIT; the benefits of participating in such a course as opposed to simply consuming its content are interaction with a professor and other students, and the social network of peers and other learners with similar interests that participants derive from such a course.  Participants are expected to orient themselves in the open environment, declare their interests to other participants, network with others in the course, cluster into breakout conversations, and then focus on what will be their main ‘takeaway’ from the course. 

        One means of demonstrating focus is maintenance of an ePortfolio, where participants define their learning goals with respect to the course, document their progress in meeting these goals, and post certain deliverables that indicate achievement of some aspect of these goals. 

        For my own Multiliteracies course I’ve been using the MOOC model as outlined in this document:

        McAuley, Alexander; Stewart, Bonnie; Siemens, George; and Cormier, Dave.  (2010.) Massive open online courses: Digital ways of knowing and learning, The MOOC model for digital practice. Created through funding received by the University of Prince Edward Island through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s
        “Knowledge Synthesis Grants on the Digital Economy.” Available from http://davecormier.com/edblog/wp-content/uploads/MOOC_Final.pdf.

        The 4 videos mentioned in this document are embedded at various places in the Goodbyegutenberg syllabus. 

        Hazel Owen worked for a time at HCT DMC and recently gave a plenary on ePortfolios entitled “Web 2.0 ePortfolios that work for both students and educators: Strategies and recommendations.”  It’s handout (online in Google Docs) is chock full of resources and includes a diagram showing a mindmap of ePortfolio affordances: https://docs.google.com/View?id=dcqj5jv4_102mgfgjngp. The podcast site for that conference has numerous presentations on ePortfolios well worth listening to: http://talkingvte.blogspot.com/search/label/ves09; for example Allison Miller’s presentation on Current VET initiatives and e-portfolio national directions, http://talkingvte.blogspot.com/2009/11/ves09-setting-scene-current-vet.html.  Allison Miller coordinates ePortfolios for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework and helped organize a conference on the topic last year: http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/content/e-portfolios-australia.

        Addition rationale for use of ePortfolios is given toward the bottom of the syllabus here:


        I elaborated on the affordances of ePortfolios for promoting some of the skills mentioned above in a blog post for the course here: http://multiliteracies.ning.com/profiles/blogs/week-3-wrapup-miniscule-open

        I point out that ePortfolios are an excellent way for mature 21st century learners to track and reflect on their learning goals and accomplishments. Among the many affordances of eportfolios that make them ideal tools for mature learners to perform self-assessment, and even for institutional assessment for such learners, are:

        • They motivate students/participants by providing global audience (Let’s use the term students here to suggest that you might apply these principles and techniques not just to this course but to your own classrooms)
        • Hence students spend more time perfecting them for peers than they do for a teacher
        • Thus they encourage global perspective
        • They are connectivist
        • They introduce learners to social networking, concept of networked learning
        • They fit well with MOOC philosophy
        • They invite dialog, conversation (clustering)
        • They are constructivist
        • They encourage reflection
        • They encourage learners to set their own goals, propose learning strategies, document milestones, and present outcomes
        • They are owned by learners, not by institution 
        • They are sometimes maintained by learners after a course ends
        • Thus they carry over into lifelong learning
        • They carry over into real life (as cv’s for example)
        • They help make learners aware of their personal web presence
        • As assessment tools they are formative

        I made this list for a presentation I gave on this topic on January 30, 2011, recorded here, in Elluminate:

        Although current curricula at the PI lack scope for such models I believe the conversations we have had in the research committee meetings so far have been pointing generally in this direction.  I have in my own materials development at the PI been aiming at this target by introducing students to social bookmarking using Delicious and collaborative writing using Etherpad clones and Google Docs.

        I’m slated to give workshops on these materials in March this year at the TESOL Arabia conference in Dubai and a week later at the International TESOL Convention in New Orleans.  I’ll put links to those presentations and to these materials here when I’ve got them ready.

        I had been hoping to experiment more along these lines if given the opportunity, and I hope the direction that the research committee is setting will provide opportunities for materials designers at the PI to venture further toward meeting ABET criteria, which coincide with my own teaching philosophies in creating curricula for students that will challenge them and get them thinking socially and collaboratively in conjunction with networks of other learners.



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        Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online, class #1

        I’ve started a new professional development course at the PI called Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online, http://tinyurl.com/esppdo. Its impetus is ostensibly to help teachers in the Intensive English program familiarize themselves with the tech tools that are being taught to the students there by their computing teachers, according to materials that I, as one of the computing teachers, am helping to prepare.  These tools are, in particular, Delicious and Google Docs, but in facilitating the course it is hoped that needs for other useful tools will emerge, and we can include those. 

        Accordingly an email was sent out to all of PI including all the students here that the course was on offer. The inclusion of students turned out to be a good thing because at the first class there were no teachers present.  Instead 4 guys showed up, two graduates and two undergraduates.  One couldn’t stay, but the three who were there seemed appreciative and keenly attentive throughout.

        The “Plan”

        As noted above, I was expecting to be flexible with the program,and for this reason I had only prepared the first lesson. I had prepared printouts of two articles which discuss what teachers should know in the way of digital literacies:

        • Stevens, Vance. (2010). Writing in a multiliterate flat world, Part I. Multiliterate approaches to writing and collaboration through social networking. Writing & Pedagogy, Vol. 2.1, pp.117-131.
        • Stevens, V. (2010). How can teachers deal with technology overload: Reader response to Allan, J. (2009). Are language teachers suffering from technology overload? TESOL Arabia Perspectives 16(2), 22-23. TESOL Arabia Perspectives 17(1), 22-23.

        The first is a handout of an offprint I’ve been sent, but the second is available online at: http://multiliteracies.ning.com/profiles/blogs/how-can-teachers-deal-with

        My plan was to start the teachers on the Web and Internet search materials I created for our Computer Literacy course.  The materials I have created follow a three-step approach.  The first step is familiarity with the tools, the second is content creation with the tools, and the third would be to enable creativity and critique with the tools in question. 

        This Web and Internet Search course adheres to the first step in the process.  It is a set of materials created to be done by teachers and students together with no need for anyone to have accounts for the tools tested. Rather, Web search is done with Google, which everyone is familiar with already, but then participants are shown searching with Delicious, Twitter, and Spezify at http://spezify.com.

        Adapting the Plan to Class #1

        Because those present were not the audience I was expecting I felt my way by dialoging with the three guys about what they knew already about Google and search, and then I used as an example a search on Creative Commons, and we landed on http://creativecommons.org/. We had a look at the way you could blend licenses to copyright your work to be shared from the menu of restrictions: attribution, share-alike, non-commercial, and no-derivatives.  We discussed why people would want to share their work online, and I noted my preference for the Attribution Share-alike license here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

        We looked at Creative Commons in the context of http://slideshare.net/vances where I found one of my slide shows where @All Rights were reserved, and I set this one to the Creative Commons license above.  We talked about finding images on the Web and whether or not we could use them in slide shows we created and posted to Slideshare.  We used http://images.google.com to browse for images on a topic suggested by one of the guys present and found a set which we weren’t sure if we had rights to.  So I showed them in advanced Image Search where you could filter the results to give you only CC images. We found an image and checked, and sure enough, its owner had specifically given us the right to share it as long as we attributed the source.

        View on screencast.com »

        Having nailed the concept of sharing online by specifically granting license to do so, we moved to Delicious, where the guys all signed in with their Yahoo IDs.  We discussed the concept of tagging and how it can be used in project management; for example how I can get a list of all my students’ Delicious accounts by having them each visit their bookmarks and tag the page with a unique tag, like this: http://delicious.com/tag/comp020pi04me. But we were there to do one thing mainly.  In order to benefit from use of Delicious as a “social” bookmarking site, you have to specifically set your bookmarks to Public Domain, or to one of the Creative Commons licenses offered.  So I showed them how to visit their Settings in Delicious and set their RSS Fees Rights/Licenses to Public Domain:

        View on screencast.com »

        What might happen in Class #2

        This was where we left off after an hour.  The next class will have totally new people in it so the program will be as planned for the first.  That is, we’ll have a look at the Web and Internet Search materials, chapter 4 here:

        I think for the teachers, there’s plenty of material there, but if there’s time (or next time) we’ll start on Delicious here:

        Somewhere in here we will start to transition from the first step in the 3-pronged approach (familiarity) to the second (content creation) and get Twitter, Yahoo (for Delicious), and Google accounts (for Google Docs).

        There are other things we could do.  It would be fun to experiment with writing collaboratively using http://docs.google.com and one of the Etherpad clones. That is we can look at the particular affordances of each in a synchronous classroom environment and then compare those with an asynchronous task using a wiki to see which would work for given assignments.

        We can also look at the many ways that Delicous can be used to manage classroom communications through tagging.  And we can develop this thread through further exploration of Tag Games: http://braz2010vance.pbworks.com/TagGames

        Here we usher in our Introduction to PLN, with some consideration of whose microblogs to follow.  The following are given here: http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com/2010Sept_Week2

        EdTech Podcasts are invaluble for connecting with a PLN and keeping abreast.  Here’s a great resource: Ed Tech Crew’s favorite podcasts (a LOT of them, and good ones!)

        We could add to these activities by using them as starting points for further exploration, and this in a sense is my design for the course, to get started in certain directions, and then as we did in the first class, branch out in tangents as we feel is appropriate, and finally record where we went here and/or in a wiki somewhere.

        If you’re coming to class #2, this should give you some idea of what to expect.


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