Archive for the 'Podcasting' Category

Is Web 2.0 over complicating things?

Technology allows me to be an ‘on-the-fly’ sort of tourist. I don’t have things planned out before I get to a destination like my parents did. They had travel agents who got them packaged tours where everything from morning wake-up to afternoon snack and evening meals were all scheduled on a daily plan. I shudder to think of enjoying travel in this way. I might read extensively about a place and it’s neighborhoods before I go, but if I know that I can have Internet access when I’m there, I pretty much leave it up to the moment. When we were vacationing in San Francisco, I did my usual thing… went straight to Google maps and searched for places that I wanted to see or needed to visit: food, shopping, neighborhood historical spots, or the nearest Rite-aid to buy a replacement pair of pantyhose. When I was searching for eating places and boutiques, I noticed that a number of places had websites. A number of restaurants sounded good, but they just had too much ricketa-racketa (flash) on their websites. Come on! I just want a menu… or maybe even photos to look at. I want to know what you’re store, business or restaurant has to offer. A few sites required me to download a plug in. Others sites seemed like some design nightmare similar to some conceptual art experience designed by an irritating esoteric character from Nathan Barley. Worse, important information like ‘store hours’ or a phone number was often hidden under some cryptic heading other than the obvious ‘about us.’

Nathan Barley's Website -Bells and whistles and too much junk

I actually thought if their websites are this pretentious, then they must be pretty annoying. Ergo, I didn’t want to give them my business. The funny thing is some small mobile devices don’t play Flash very well. Often the information I needed could just be on a list. Yes, from a consumer’s point of view the web needs to be simple and easy to use. As Jakob Nielsen put it:

“Most people just want to get in, get it and get out….For them the web is not a goal in itself. It is a tool.”

Pushing bells and whistles or other advanced features may be too much if you’re forcing them on users. On the other hand, people should be restricted to just using the ‘tried and true’ methods. Mr. Nielsen argues that focus on Web 2.0 development and applications is causing many website builders to forsake good design. But I think there’s a growing market/audience of people who know how to take advantages and use the newer web technologies. To be fair to these pioneering web developers… they’re still trying to figure out what works and how to make it work well. Though many business successes have demonstrated the power of social networking through blogs, wikis and social networks/online community. A product or service can take off if a few connected users or mavens start talking about it on the web.

From a web educator’s point of view, the web has great potential to bring people closer together and these tools are more than just ricketa-racketa. Also, users can work collaboratively to develop content from written text, to music, podcasts. They can even build on concepts and enrich discussion with video sharing.

If you read this article… Nielsen sounds kind of like (excuse my words) an old fogy… who predicts that people’s use and behavior with and on the Internet will not continue as they grow older. He predicts that Internet use will go down as people age. For the sector of society who will become more involved in the ‘creative’ and ‘technology’ economies this will not be the case. And, of course their use of the technology will change because technology changes. Something just tells me that Mr. Nielsen or his perception and vision of things is sort of …. stuck. Maybe things will be this way for me when everyone is plugging directly into USB (or some kind of electronic) ports or even buying cyborg bio-add ons… I just won’t get it or understand. (Of course, you know I’m joking about the cyborg thing… well sort of).

Notes from the TCC – Learning Times Conference Day 1

TCC Worldwide Online Conference is a virtual conference for online educators. The global team that puts this conference together has proven yet again that it is possible to effectively run a virtual conference. Each year their preparation and translation of face to face activities into rich virtual experiences improves. I highly recommend this conference to anyone in education who wishes to glean from the pioneering experience of those in online distance learning. For the next few days, I will try to include my notes from the talks, papers, experiences and demonstrations that I thought were most valuable.

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PAPER: Videoblogging in Education: The new wave of interactive educational television

Rebecca Meeder, Educational Technology, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, USA,

This was an excellent presentation/sharing. Rebecca Meeder provided a terrific introduction into the world of video blogging and how educators from elementary, secondary and higher education.

Importance of Video Blogging- Rise in educators who are using this medium.

<My note: students are using this medium to interact and communicate with each other>

Some Questions for Research

  • How does video blogging influence students with diverse background?
  • Connect learning in and outside of the classroom

Some resources with data:

  • Cofield, J.L. “Effectiveness of streaming video in web based instruction”
  • Sawa, S.K. Online vs. traditional: A comparative analysis of student grads in an online and traditional f2f environment
  • Le Blanc, G. Student and faculty survey reveals attitudes to streaming video.

Examples of Educational Video Blogging:

http://room132.com

Teacher gave weekly updates on what his students were doing in the classroom. Teacher shot from ‘nose-down’ to help students maintain their privacy.

http://speakingofhistory.blogspot.com/

Teacher has students to set up audio blogs where he podcasts on class materials. Students can comment on podcasts and interact. Note: this method can be applied to video blogs as well.

Privacy and Identity à Teacher made sure that students used pen names.

Http://bicycle-sidewalk.com/

Video blogging for ESL students in Japan. Uses videos from himself and other video bloggers to instruct students in English language… exposes the students to what English speakers sound like and also expose students to American culture.

Johnny Goldstein: http://jonnygoldstein.info/bx21

Another prominent video blogger. Taught over 100 Bronx highschool students how to video blog and share things from their varied perspectives.

http://www.youtube.com/user/mwesch

Mwesch (Mike Wesch). Had his students create video blogs… do an ethnography. They got a lot of responses from other on their experiences with video blogging.

Check out the video from this site “A vision of students.”

Good Practices for Video Blogging:

  1. Video length – average video length should be 5-7 minutes. Human attention span. <my note: also video size should be a consideration>
  2. Addressing Accessibility – Need to make sure video is available in a variety of formats (DVDs, or provide alternate way to access via library or school computer labs.) One teacher used subtitles in videos for some students
  3. Video blogs address differentiated learning styles: Auditory, Visual, Textual, Media Richness Theory (Need to learn more about this-> A variety of media works better for certain tasks than others). Some videoblogs can help students keep up with learning in class.
  4. Addressing multicultural education: Allows students to share different perspectives based on their own experience and background. Allows all participants to compare viewpoints and cultural perspectives.
  5. Identity vs. Privacy –
    1. Langhurst – Virtual Book Club discussed content in text communication/chat they can participate in active learning.
    2. Use Pen/Screen names so students can remain anonymous
    3. (Use consent forms)
    4. Comment moderation from teacher is necessary – view students comments before it is posted/ prevents flaming.
    5. Film students from nose down.
    6. Make posting optional (do not force)

Invasion of the Video Mashup

An internet video mashup is just a re-mix of of video and audio content which is shared on the web.

Future tense has a great brief podcast on the trends of video mashups (1/3/2008). Notably it features the idea that much of the re-mix of content from films and music may eligible for ‘fair use‘ law protection. This makes sense since re-mixing content to express a new or different interpretation doesn’t mean that people are using the content as it is for ones own gain. This is a potentially touchy topic because on one hand we want people to re-mix and re-interpret content because it facillitates change and progress; on the other hand, taking and using content from those who worked hard to create it doesn’t seem right if someone else profits from it. Though I doubt that anyone has made any money re-mixing Soprano episodes.

Though I wonder how many legal departments and copyright lawyers must have their wheels running on overdrive right now trying to figure out how to nip this movement in the bud. Is it too late to do that? Large numbers of teens have made re-mixing of content to their own interpretations a way of life. This is simply how they react to the content they see. I think it’s exciting… because you can interact with this content in ways that you could not in the past.*What does this mean for copyright law in the future?

Girls are just as good at math as boys

Even though I worked in a tech-field company, I can’t tell you how many times I encountered women in meetings who would shy away from any tasks that dealt with spreadsheet calculations. Granted I worked heavily in training and human resources which seemed to be female-dominated. I often heard comments like: I’m not any good at math or I was always really bad at math, let’s have so and so do that. It made my skin itch. I wasn’t particularly skilled at it either, but I was willing to try to learn how. I actually learned that I had a love for using spreadsheets to calculate and and report out data visually. Used ratio and proportion calculations on a near daily basis to recreate objects to scale. When I was working as an elementary school teacher in the Ninties, I heard similar self-disparaging comments from women. It made me cringe because these were the same people who were teaching math to the girls (and boys) in their classroom. Some of those self-doubts, fears and inhibitions were probably rubbing of on those girls.

How many of those women had math skills that they applied in some of the other everyday tasks and efforts that they did in tasks and crafts that were/are traditionally thought of as belonging to female roles: Sewing, knitting, cooking? These arts used geometry, calculations, proportions, etc. What builds my ire up even more is that America is probably the only developed nation where the stereotype that women are less capable or adept at mastering math is so prevalent. Many researchers and math education experts are now saying that WE MUST STOP MAKING THESE SELF-DISPARAGING COMMENTS about our inability to master math. Saying these things in front of young individuals both male and female perpetuates the stereotype that women are naturally not as talented and capable of being skilled in Math than men.

I did have the opportunity to work with a few female middle school math teachers and they were absolutely inspiring. I had the good fortune to work side-by-side with a teacher who put a huge investment in the curriculum she chose to teach to her students. She chose one that not only helped her students see and interpret math in both their own lives and the real world, she worked in conjunction with the Science, English and Social Studies teachers to develop an integrated curriculum which had themed foci that the kids could relate to. Also, just plain and simple – she conveyed a passion for math and she served as a role model for the girls in her course.

Math Resources for Teachers and Parent of Girls:

I found some terrific resources for parents and teachers on ERIC. I also found an excellent podcast on NPR Science Friday on the importance of getting more girls interested and building their confidence in Math. The podcast features an interview with Danica McKellar actress and math spokesperson who authored a book designed to encourage middle-school girls to be more confident and resolved to learning math and succeeding in math. Danica sounds so passionate about the subject but what I really respect and admire about her is that she openly says… it’s okay to be a girl and show that you’re smart! (Funny, how in this day and age that this is still and issue).
Gender-Fair Math: A short overview of the crisis and issues surrounding the lack of female interest in mathematics. There are some really good suggestions for helping build girl’s self-confidence.

Add-Ventures for Girls: Building Math Confidence: a huge (348 page) guide for Junior High Teachers. I’ve only skimmed through the first chapters.
Encouraging American Girls to Embrace Math – NPR Podcast with interviews with Danica McKellar and Members of the Womens’ Math Olympiad Team

Danica McKellar’s Website – Check out the Section for the book Math Doesn’t Suck.

Biographies of Women Mathematicians

Our presentation on wikis and podcasts

The official abstract… of my presentation with Celeste Spencer.

Podcasting and wikis provide a vehicle for corporations to explore social and collaborative learning in a non-traditional manner, while including the major principles of adult learning theories. Wikis make an excellent collaborative tool for project communication allowing a team to conduct real-time content development with subject matter experts. Some of the benefits of using wikis this way include asynchronous collaboration between global teams and an easily accessible way for training developers and subject matter experts to work on content together. As a living project knowledge base, wikis provide a way for teams to collect and track collaboration from project inception to deployment and beyond. Podcasting is a convenient, easy, on-demand media tool that allows learners to find solutions or learn from the experience of others across the global divide. With minimal time and financial investment, podcasting allows for a rapid training deployment, experiential learning and the passing on of tribal knowledge.

This presentation will discuss examples of how a training team designed and applied wiki usage to collaborate and communicate during a project. Emphasis will be on how to leverage the features and the ‘informal’ nature of wikis to both the training team and subject matter expert’s advantage. This presentation will also recount how an instructional designer utilized podcasting to leverage U.S. based management and technical leadership expertise. Experiences and key learnings of senior leaders were captured and provided in a ‘pull’ format to employees in 2 international sites. Emphasis will be on the benefits of collecting leadership expertise and broadcasting it to a wider audience allowing the listeners an opportunity to learn from leaders regardless of their physical location.

podsandwikis.pdf

(Ideally I’d like to post and .swf with audio of this presentation- considering my time and project constraints, I won’t be able to do this for a little bit)

Some other clever things I overheard at the SALT Conference

Some of these things we all know or are familiar with… but it’s good to hear them again:

  • Don’t call it “Mobile Learning”… (sotto voce) call it Distributed Performance Improvement
  • The people who are blocking technological change often hold the purse-strings in companies and organizations (some Baby Boomers… not all)
  • When trying to get people to adopt new technologies start SMALL… small groups, smaller nugget-like projects
  • Give people choices… if they don’t want mobile, podcasting, video, audio… let them print things etc

SALT Conference Lecture – Mobile Training Multimedia Training

I will be posting my notes periodically to the lectures that I attend at the SALT conference. Please note, I do not attend conferences for a living I just happened to be presenting at this one. I will post my lecture slides to this site as well as post and ‘audio-enhanced’ version later when I get the chance. Please note: as with the Distance Learning Conference notes, I will post my initial impressions and then later edit the post with a more detailed reflection.

Mobile Training

Presenters: Tom Held and Daniel Mika Govar

MetaMedia http://www.metamediausa.com

Terrific presentation!

These guys did a wonderful job of presenting a few examples of training application for both podcasting and mobile hand-held devices. Essentially, they had more experienced workers share stories (on video/audio) of accidents that happened as part of safety education. This delivery method embodies two things about mobile learning which are important to me:

1.) The content has to be real/and delivered from people/peers in the industry who are explaining real-life experience

2.)The content is reviewable when I have the time to access it.

The second example they shared was of a employee customer-service training program for a hotel company they contracted with which they shared with employees using the Sony PSP. Luckily the had the budget and were able purchase 200 PSPs. Here’s the wonderful thing about this training. They were able to deliver it to employees nationwide, without requiring them to travel to a face to face training. As the presenters noted this actually can help your training budget if you’re having to train to an audience that doesn’t stay in positions too long, therefore, the ROI for having them travel to face to face training is not so good.

I didn’t get to ask them this, but I would like to know if live-mentoring from more experienced employees was actually part of this training process. It’s one thing to provide the video and training via video but how can you get actually people with experience providing feedback.

Excellent Primer Materials on Web 2.0 and Math Blogging

Judy from “Hey Jude” has put together a great overview on Web 2.0 and Web 2.0 tools including (blogs, podcasts, social networking, wikis, etc.) here:

http://judyoconnell.wordpress.com/

It’s always nice to have quick reference for introduction for people who are unfamiliar with the terminology. She also has a number of embedded videos on the definition of Web 2.0 posted at this site. Check it out!

I was also perusing the links on her site and I found The Teaching Hacks Wiki which has a terrific overview of Web 2.0 vs. Web 1.0 for educators. There is also a section (being developed) that includes suggestions for applying weblogs/blogs in a classroom environment and provides suggestions per difference curriculum areas or disciplines.

I like the suggestion for using student blogs as a place to journal their reflections on the concepts that they learn.

An online math journal through a blog offers anytime anywhere access for students to access multiple students conversations around a particular concept. Educators can offer open ended questions to journal about, students can reflect on concepts that have been discussed in class and exchange ideas around those concepts. Students can regularly reflect on their own thought processes and share their successes and opportunities to rethink their own solutions in audio, textual, graphical or video format. Educators and students can model the appropriate use of mathematical symbols and vocabulary through a blog.

amathsm.jpg

Image from the Morguefile by Darnok: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=105605&

If you’re wondering how they can post mathematical formulas to the web on their blog other than writing them down and scanning them in. There is a Mathematical Markup Language which allows you to code for mathematical formals and notation to be published via the web. Though this may be hard to learn initially, there are some wysiwyg editors that can be used. I guess I would buy a cheap scanner for my classroom and have students scan in their formulas or diagrams to view via the web. All students therefore can share access to the shared formulas and either learn from their peers or help them solve problems that they are having difficulty with.

Some resources

 

Bridging the Tech Gap with Nice People

Via a search today, I just read this brief post on HBR from Tom Davenport from March: Why Enterprise 2.0 Won’t Transform Organizations.

He brings up a good point about:

Such a utopian vision can hardly be achieved through new technology alone. The absence of participative technologies in the past is not the only reason that organizations and expertise are hierarchical. Enterprise 2.0 software and the Internet won’t make organizational hierarchy and politics go away. They won’t make the ideas of the front-line worker in corporations as influential as those of the CEO. Most of the barriers that prevent knowledge from flowing freely in organizations – power differentials, lack of trust, missing incentives, unsupportive cultures, and the general busyness of employees today – won’t be addressed or substantially changed by technology alone.

Recently in a conversation I had at the PDX blogger dinner. I spoke with the Director of Product Marketing of Jive Software (sadly, I was not able to stay and see the demo of their alternative to Sharepoint. Any alternative to Sharepoint gets my attention). I noted that one of the biggest mistakes we make in project management is assuming that the tools (software, spreadsheets, web aps, etc.) will take the place of hiring good people, setting reachable goals, and building good relationships between team members.

Davenport is right. Technology won’t change things alone. But people can help, and especially ‘nice people’ who are passionate about what they do. When I think of really nice people like this, I think of Josh Bancroft. I used to work with Josh in IT at my former company. Josh has a real ‘can do’ (can’t believe I used that term) attitude about sharing what he’s excited about. He actually introduced a friend of mine and me into the worlds of podcasting and wikis. He was always excited about sharing his ‘geek’ knowledge, as he called it, with others and helping them learn and discover how to use Web 2.0 technologies. He inspired a few communities within the company that spawned new movements in applying collaborative technologies, some with some pretty impressive and cool results.

Davenport openly admits that he’s being a curmudgeon in regards to the potential of Enterprise 2.0, but Curmudgeons are important too. They force us to really take things into perspective. Though we should never let any resistance, negativism, criticism or cynicism shape our view or hinder where we want to take our imagination and creativity.

Though I disagree with Davenport on the matter of structuring of knowledge in the workplace. Structured information environments don’t necessarily need to limit or hinder the sharing of information. I can learn just as much about how to process a purchasing document in SAP or what the best transaction could be by networking with my co-workers and learning how they do things. That’s the problem with creating prescriptive or linear materials and documentation for tools like SAP instead of training people to ‘think for themselves’ or even learn from each other, you get people locked into automaton mode and you don’t build a workforce that can think on their feet, innovate or adapt quickly to change.

I have hope for Enterprise 2.0 despite everyone thinking that it is or was a big. Though still we have to let the curmudgeon in us rise up every now and then and question where we’re going. Sometimes questioning when done constructively can only open up new avenues or possibilities.

Somewhat to mildly related stuff:

PDX Bloggers Meeting, now I’m full of ideas… mostly babbling

So, yesterday, I broke out of my electronic bubble and went to meet other bloggers (and some podcasters) from the Portland area at a meeting sponsored by Intel and Jive Software. Imagine that this is the second time in this past month that I’ve gone out and met other bloggers. At some point I had to move out of this bubble because I have this human weakness which is I enjoy face to face contact and conversation. It really was a wonderful meeting and I thank Josh Bancroft of Tiny Screenfuls for posting the notice on it. It was really a sort of late/last minute decision to go attend, but I did and I really had a great time.

The wonderful thing about bloggers is that they are often curious people who search for things, connect things and see endless possibilities. They are also people who can evaluate things with a critical eye and ask questions like, “What does this mean for us? How will this affect us? Where can we go with this?” It’s wonderful being in a room with people like that because you come out of the room just bursting with ideas. I’m becoming convinced that the ability to make connections like these is the fuel for a truly creative economy. There was so much I learned from others this night I can’t possibly post it all here.

The twittering outside my head

Twitter was a regular topic in the conversations I took part in. Now I may be sympathetic to or understand the appeal of communicating snippets of your day to people in the form of actions and thoughts (Jane from Jane’s E-Learning Picks actually gives a succinct description of Twitter). There’s still something that freaks me out about being this transparent, even if I am choosing the people I share with. In a conversation someone noted that Twitter doesn’t really work unless you have a group of people you’re sharing with. Later, it occurred to me that I use Twitter, but just in my head all by myself. Sort of like it that way actually. I share my thoughts periodically in my blog, but somehow I like the idea of being an independent entity jumping on and off (social) networks.

The internet is making us psychic…NOT!… not?

Jessica (from OnPR ) noted that she read somewhere that Twitter is actually rendering its participants a little psychic. People could actually relate anecdotes or jokes that someone else might tell at the end of the day before that person could say it because they were privy to the snippets of their thoughts or actions during the day. This reminded me of an article that April shared with us earlier that day on how the internet may be causing some people to become prescient. The example cited is the posting on Wikipedia about the murder of Christopher Benoit’s wife 14 hours before they found her body. The article argues that the increasing transparency provided by the internet provides people with so much information that we can make better assessments and predictions about things:

…the increasing transparency that technology is continuing to create in the previously much denser information world is, among other things, creating situations where we can figure lots of things out that we just could not have figured out before.

Both this and Jessica’s point makes sense, because simply the more data you have, the better your guesses will be. Therefore, your guesses being fairly accurate, it may seem that you can somewhat effectively predict the future. Let’s not get overly excited here, it’s nice to be aware of this, but my gut feeling says we shouldn’t bank on using this ‘super-power’ too readily. It gives me a bad feeling, the way the Nazi’s and Fascists zealous infatuation with some sciences gives me a bad feeling.

Translation is hard even though the world is flat

I spoke a bit with Audrey (Life of Audrey and Dyepot, Teapot) and we started talking about using translators to understand what other bloggers are saying in different languages. She noted that Japanese was very hard to get because the structure of the language was different. I noted that languages like German may have a different meter and sound a little funny when translated mechanically. Though anything even the thoughts in my head can sound funny when they’re translated mechanically. More the sentences in German seem so long and contrary to the abbreviated writing styles I was brought up to appreciate. I had to stop and think… I wonder what English sounds like to the Chinese when directly translated into their language. Although we may still have difficulty understanding each other’s spoken/written language, does it make sense that eventually on the Net people my generate their own language to compensate. It’s probably happened on some rudimentary level in chat with acronyms. But even the commonly used ones are still English based.

With an ‘increasingly’ infinite and scary universe of knowledge we live in we need some guides …. How about some Muses (upgraded for the 3rd Millennia)

There’s been a lot of talk about how we now have access to so much more information via the internet and through social connections and sharing via the net that it seems like we need some guidance and inspiration on how to live in this new age of seemingly infinite possibilities. Later that evening after the dinner, I thought of the 9 muses in Greek Mythology. However, their subjects although still somewhat relevant seem to need a little upgrading. For instance Terspsichore the muse of dancing could become the muse of movement arts… her role is increasingly important because the ‘flatting of the world’ and the sedentary nature of life is causing my/our behind(s) to grow larger. We need to have rediscover our relationship with our bodies to stay healthy and whole. Thalia the muse of comedy could become “the muse of self-reflection over our fumbles and mistakes.” Clio the muse of history could take on the musing of Urban Legends and Pop Cultural history… she might even become the Muse of Marketing (sadly).


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