May 08

MetaTrends, EdTech, and the Changing Role of Educators

I came across a couple of great thought provoking things yesterday, all come from Twitter friends – @gsiemens, @Larry_Pixel, and @lparisi.

First up, George Siemens shared his presentation from the Pacific Northwest Higher Education Teaching & Learning Conference in Spokane, WA. When thinking about where all of this digital connectivity is heading and what it means to teachers, it’s sometimes difficult to grasp just how much information is out there. George’s slides gave some much needed perspective.

And speaking of the Big Picture View, Larry Johnson of the New Media Consortium is seeking our help tagging relevant information about the MetaTrends in technology that they have seen running throughout the Horizon Report series, which takes a look at practices and technologies likely to impact education in the near to mid-term time frame.

Horizon MetaTrends

The data from these reports have shown some emerging metatrends, which Larry lists as:

* communication between humans and machines tags: hzmeta + humanmachine

* the collective sharing and generation of knowledge tags: hzmeta + collectiveknowledge

* games as pedagogical platforms tags: hzmeta + games

* computing in three dimensions tags: hzmeta + 3d

* connecting people via the network tags: hzmeta + connectingpeople

* the shifting of content production to users tags: hzmeta + user_content

* the evolution of a ubiquitous platform tags: hzmeta + ubiquitousplatform

Have a peek at the wiki and start adding your delicious tags to help with this effort.

Finally, Lisa Parisi sent out a tweet last night about a live podcast show called Teachers Are Talking hosted on the EdTechTalk site. I’m a big fan of listening to good podcasts while I’m working, they’ve pretty much replaced live radio these days, and these podcasts are directly related to my work.

(I’m listening to EdTechWeekly#74 as I type this, have a listen..)

Yesterday’s TAT episode had K-12 educators discussing their experiences with using blogs in the classroom, everything from how to implement a safe system to fears and worries that they have, as well as parents and administrators. Since I work in higher ed, it was good to hear the perspective of folks in the K-12 arena. The archive isn’t up yet, but check the Teachers Are Talking feed to subscribe to the podcast.

Thanks to my twitter buds for keeping me thinking…

Mar 08

Reading: Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

Finally getting a chance to read Joseph Jaffe’s Join the Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community, Dialogue, and Partnership. It got buried in a stack of stuff during the Great Living Room Baseboard Debacle and only re-emerged this weekend following the Great Excavation Of The Spare Room.

I’m not in the marketing game and didn’t learn what an “affiliate” was until Twitter, but I’m thinking that there may be lessons for educators in here somewhere. I caught the tail end of a CSPAN broadcast the other day where Science Professor SoandSo was talking about how badly academia has failed to “market” the value and meaning of scientific research and education as a whole. When surveys consistently show that some unbelievable percentage of Americans don’t understand that evolution happens and that the natural selection part is the _theory_, you have to agree with Science Professor SoandSo. We’re doing something wrong, clearly!

I met jaffejuice through Twitter ages ago, it seems, and took him up on his offer of a free copy in exchange for an honest review, so it’s about time I got to it. Will let you know how it goes and hopefully I’ll find some good insights that might be of use to the educational community.

Dec 07

The Story of Stuff

Where does stuff come from, how does it get made, where did all this CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME madness come from?

This might be the best online video I’ve seen all year.


Dec 07

Eight Things Meme

I never do blog memes, but when Hamlet Au of New World Notes tagged me, I had to give in.

If you’ve somehow escaped this one, here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

And now eight random things about me..

1. I grew up on a horse farm and lived in a log cabin in the woods. I’ve bailed hay, chopped firewood, milked a cow, and hand farmed gardens that were bigger than most people’s lawns. We had an outhouse and carried our drinking water by hand from a natural spring out in the woods. We had a zillion cats, and dogs and horses, cows, chickens, and even some goats once, and with 90 acres of fields, woods, and creeks to play in, and an endless supply of books (not so good TV reception out in the sticks back then), I think I had a pretty good place to grow up.

In fact, urban and suburban life still seems unnatural and crowded, yet isolating and lonely to me. It seems like you should know everyone within a few mile radius of where you live (even if that isn’t really feasible in a city) and that kids were meant to run and play for hours at a time unsupervised (even if they do get hurt). Seventeen years after leaving the country, I’m still trying to reconcile all of these contradictions for myself, and it’s why I bought a house right next to a huge, 1500 acre park – it’s the closest I can get to the country without having a ridiculous commute.

2. My first SL avatar was Mara Brightwillow, and I remember being totally befuddled by the navigation interface – especially flying. The first resident created object I remember seeing was a giant hair spray can. (!)

3. I bumped into Emilio Estevez (literally) at a farmer’s market in downtown Minneapolis. I nearly dropped my bags and by the time I realized who I’d run into, we’d already exchanged excuse mes and he was gone. I was quite crushed considering I’d had a crush on him since.. what was the name of that ice skating movie?

4. I made it to the national spelling bee rounds in 7th grade and lost on the very first word of the very first round – xenophobic. I spelled it with a z. What a bummer that was.

5. I’ve been a priest or cleric in every D&D or RPG game I’ve ever played. Something about saving the hero’s ass at the last minute.. Actually, I think it comes from the early days when video games were largely single player. My brother was the type to open the box and go right for the controls, while I dove for the manual and bossed him around. He was the fighter, I was the planner, and when we got to multiplayer games, the hoarder of potions since he always wasted his. It ruined me for soloing ever after.

6. The only book I’ve ever seriously attempted to read and couldn’t was Infinite Jest. I don’t know why, all my friends liked it, but the second I open the cover my eyes glaze over. Maybe I should try again, it’s been a few years since the last attempt.

7. I once gave a tour of SL to a bunch of educators with no virtual pants on. I could see them on my client, of course, I still don’t know how that happened, but about 15 minutes into the presentation someone asked me if I was supposed to be wearing something on my bottom half. I’ve never been so grateful for virtual underwear! Taught me to always check with someone else to make sure my avatar is rendered properly before a presentation. That’s something they don’t teach you in Presentations 101.

8. Speaking of dumb things, I once ran over my own foot with my own car all by myself. How is this possible, you ask? Well, it takes the right combination of gravity, slope, long black coat, and idiocy. I’d left my headlights on over night and was late for a meeting (of course) and so when my neighbor offered to give me a jump, I was in a rush to get things moving. I decided to push the car down the driveway myself so we could hook up the cables, and while he was moving his car into position, I opened the driver’s side door and was steering with my left hand and pushing on the door frame with my right hand. What I didn’t know was that my flat drive way wasn’t actually flat at the end, and as soon as I hit that little slope, wow the car started moving at quite a clip. Before I knew it, the long black dress coat I was wearing got caught under the front tire and then I was trapped. The car didn’t actually run all the way over me, it just drug me along for a good while, grinding off shoes, tights, and flesh until it came to a rest at the bottom of the hill. Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.

All things considered I was quite lucky, broken ankle and the proverbial “it’s just a flesh wound!” that eventually healed over. The only thing more painful than the event itself was having to explain what happened every time someone asked while I was on crutches. Moral of the story? Pick one: Don’t wear long loose clothing when working with heavy machinery. Don’t be in such a rush that you do really dumb things. If you hurt yourself in a dumb way, think of a good cover story before word gets out that you ran over yourself with your own car, yes really. *sigh*

And there you have it, eight things you probably didn’t know about me.

There are a bunch of people I’d love to tag, but I don’t want anyone to feel obligated either, so if you’re reading this and have a blog and haven’t been tagged yet, you’re now IT. Link back here and I’ll post a follow up to your site!