Archive for the 'Podcasting' Category

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:

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.


Image from the Morguefile by Darnok:

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).

Media-rich can = learning bonanza (so can teaching from the child’s environment)

I tend to learn better and have things sink in deeper when I see real-live examples of things. Call that a failing of my generational learning style.

Now, I happened to wander over to Allanah K’s podomatic site, and I was able to see some examples of students learning using web media such as podcasting and blogging that were inspirational. It’s really nice to see children being stimulated to learn or even apply what they learn. They are being encouraged to engage in web media-rich environment and even reach out to people all over the globe, and therefore learn from them. I believe in America we are so bent on teaching to tests (due to political influences and the obsessive desire to quantify learning via numbers and stats) that it’s difficult for teachers to have the freedom or ability to use new media to teach.

I recently debated with a boomer member of our family over the need for students to learn the old-way… the rote way at our “4th of July” gathering. He insisted that the reason why they pushed the testing is because of the experimental failures in education during the 70’s and 80’s. So we need to make sure that student’s learn the basics. I replied “…and then what…?” I said, failure aside, the testing is doing more harm than good because you don’t have rich curriculum which creates a learner who can successfully think or think creatively.

Being creative isn’t just about being spontaneous and helter-skelter. It’s not just about being free-form and spirited and unconventional. Being truly creative requires discipline. But we can’t even begin to marry the connection between discipline and creativity when we are teaching to tests. I love to learn, and sometimes I have to push myself a little harder in the motivation area than say a seven year old, but I realize that if I don’t put my 2-3 hours a week of learning Flash Action-scripting, I’m never going to be able to make the things I covet on other people’s websites. (Though I may never make them perfectly, at least I’ll understand what went into making them). If I learn from others and try to apply what they learned, I may make something good or I might help myself and others make connections into what they wouldn’t have seen on their own.

If the US wishes to truly take advantage of the creative economy we are really going to have to get our butt into gear and make sure our children are learning to be creative, and think creatively. More we have to wash ourselves of this notion that creativity is for ‘free-spirited’ social anomalies. My greatest fear that this drive to test will continue to hinder us. Testing was there when I was in school and I fear it will always be there, but I suspect that over the decades schools and districts have learned to “duke their stats” in order to survive. That’s human nature – play the game (and cheat at it if you must) in order to win/survive.

An excellent example of a school applying Web 2.0

Wonderful stuff! A New Zealand teacher, Allanah King, explains her and her classroom/school’s journey through the world of web 2.0 (social tagging, blogging and podcasting).

It’s just a reminder of how rich learning can be with technology and using the web. Now how could the powers that be choose to limit this? In this example, each classroom had a blog and students could post news and responses to what they were learning about. A natural network of collaboration was set up because students could post comments to each other’s blog postings.

I love how the students got to watch the Clustermap of their blog to see who was looking at their site. It would be a great segue into a geography lesson.

Download: Posted by AllanahK at

Great guidline for creating podcasts using Captivate

Silke Fleischer authored a great article on using Captivate for creating podcasting. The article provides great tips including recording screen size settings and how to help viewers see mouseover cues when you are creating a software demo. I have tried using SoThink software for converting .swf files created in Captivate to podcasting format. It works pretty seamlessly.

A couple things to remember when developing for podcasting with Captivate:

  • Remember not to use click boxes, input, or anything which requires end user interactivity. After podcasting is suited for lecturing format
  • Record your audio files separately using Audacity or another audio recording device. You may be able to reduce the file size of your output
  • Stick to creating visual podcasting content in small chunks again Captivate tends to create hefty files.

Mobile learning: Adobe Captivate content on video iPod devices

Choosing/Designing great interactivities for e-Learning

Lately, I’ve been challenged to think of better and sensible ways of bringing learning experiences to people online. I found some great resources recently for designing great e-Learning taking into consideration proper learning intervention selection (instructional design) and web accessibility.

From my past experience, it’s always been good to start with Gagne’s Nine Events for learning. The link below provides a good example of how to apply Gagne’s Nine Events to an e-Learning.

For me one of the greatest challenges I’m facing is translating or explaining what’s possible and feasible for online training to folks who are primarily focused on designing face to face training or for people who are used to authoring learning materials for the printed page. I started brainstorming some additional possibilities to add on to the Gagne Nine for eLearning. It’s just a start… I’d like to think that there are additional possibilities and we can stretch our imagination to see what’s really possible. If we really want to help ourselves out we should start by looking at how people learn naturally first. Then look at what people are actually doing today in the real-world with the help of technology. Again, it’s all about making connections.


I actually was able to post a “handy decoder ring” or matrix of possibilities for online learning solutions. It’s not complete or comprehensive, but it’s a start.

Gagne’s Nine Events

Possible solutions/applications

1. Gain attention
  • Story
  • Flash/Captivate visual
  • Video story or scenario
  • Animation
  • Cartoon
2. Inform learners of objectives
  • Presentation slide with audio clip
  • Avatar relating course objectives
  • Video cast or podcast of instructor introducing the objectives
3.Stimulate recall of prior learning
  • Captivate, wiki page or blog for course (asking participants to post their own experience regarding the subject/topic being treated)
  • Students post brief podcasts
4. Present the content
  • Audio visual presentation (Flash/Captivate)
5. Provide “learning guidance”
  • Synchronous meeting online (Adobe Connect, Elluminate) including speaker/participant access to audio sharing/microphone.
  • Use of online chat for “Office Hours.”
  • Question and answer/discussion thread
6. Elicit performance (practice)
  • Captivate performance based test
  • Discussion thread
7. Provide feedback
  • Synchronous meeting online
  • Wiki/blog where instructor and peers can post comments to students work
8. Assess performance
  • Interactive quiz or test
  • Self-survey or assessment or skills
9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job
  • E-Portfolio or project either individual or group work. Portfolio judged by instructor.
  • Students build blog site and interact with live responses


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