Sunday, April 30, 2006

My brother Marlow

My brother Marlow just showed me his MySpace. Was cool to get to know him a bit more through it! He was born when I was 9 and has lived pretty much all his life in the UK. I met him once when he visited Australia, and hope he'll come and visit Sunshine and I in NZ this year.

I was blown away by his Space. Listened to all his music, watched an excellent video he had things to do with, and checked out his friends... Dunno how much he'll put into his Space from here, but I hope he does more... I'd like to see more into his life, and get shown through MySpaces a bit more through him.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

The edu poet in our midst - E is not for Eccie: Alex read aloud at TALO Swap Meet's Pub Poetry night

I just had to copy paste a comment made by Alex Hayes in a thread he generated on ePortfolios, following Graham's exploration of the issues. Apart from the hypertext conversation we are having as being an intense example of how edublogging in Australia is really coming of age, I just want people to see how poetic Alex can be with his edublogging.

I see us all in a darkly lit pub, on cool September night for the TALO Swap Meet in Dunedin this year, smiling over drinks as a local big guy belts out Alex's words MC style just for old time's sake. It will feel great to raise a toast to Alex and Graham afterwards as we enjoy the warm after-glow of the profound performance. So read on, and picture our half pissed, burly bloke performing Alex's words, in jaggered stops and starts or spitting rage - for a large audience of raucous edubloggers... Ok, if modern day punk rock is not your cup of ... tea... then we could balance it with a lovely acoustic version as well I'm sure ;)

alexanderhayes said...

Hi Graham.

Getting good stuff online is for some ( Marc and co.) the synthesis of what they do best as educators, futurists and philosophers offline.

I'm aware that much of the online repository repetoire is as permanent as a suppository. Click - gone.

I respect their position, their enthusiasm, their professionalism and ground-breaking anecdotes but I must admit I often read through current papers and think, " what have they actioned in the edu-political persuasion arena that's making and taking educator and management newbies into the next learning ecosphere ?"

I often follow gospels for the entertainment value and more often than not I am asked to leave the congregation.

I reflect on a few years of working with students of all ages ( including adults )enabling them to get good stuff online only to discover that their attitude to such modality - content shape shifting ( of which I pushed as gospel ) befitted that of of the arcadian pursuit they first sought to flee !

Evidence, outcomes, quality assurance, professional standards, interoperability and other key facettes of their e-portfolios fell flat when they could find no way to port their wares seamlessly across the curriculum as it failed to provide the means to do so.

I was no more than the person that manifested itelf regularly for the students to vent their frustrations with / on. I was awarded a coffee cup for my birthday once that said, " dont ask me...I'm just the teacher".

How true.

Nothing has me prepared for organising the desired flash mob, ditching encyclopedias for flash sticks, pummeling overheads into paper planes but I have got a fair idea now that the 'portfolio of evidence' I sought and still seek to enhance students prospects with must not juxtapose their need to communicate. The checklists are long since buried but I sure as hell can hear their voices in the street and see them raising their kids with some snippet of my confluence jammed in their still supple cerebelums.

As Prof. David Hargreaves once coined " for all the countless millions we have spent on ICT's in the last decade it is amazing that we failed most at realising one element of the acronym - communication. "

It's a vital ingredient and I spare many a salient thought for those have trouble doing so...whether but position, fault, lack of integrity, nonchalance or plain ignorance they plunder the paypacket purse and show shit for their endeavours.

In my opinion Graham, e-portfolios dont look like anything.

I'm happy for you to call what I'm doing whatever it befits for a positive purpose and for you to ditch a few stones against Leigh and my blogging window panes.

I'm sure the resultant cacophony of sound will assist those seeking a human face to our otherwise convoluted ed. geek speak.

I liken the formative and academic pursuit of collating, uploading and aggregating my blog posts, interactive writing and mobile blog data as none other than fornicating with naive catalytic elements in a reactive soup of electronica.

E-portfolio for me is the conversation we are already having.

I have designed a hundred 'pack-n-e-go's' and none do more to action change than my zillion online spaces/places and an ever present and accountable offline one.

I've got a 180 GB e-portfolio and it aint worth jack...well.....maybe....I'll show you one day.

I call Sydney home however the tendrils and threads and hyperlinks and trackbacks place me everywhere at once and nowhere at any given time. Gets kind of confusing but thats what educators are renowned for.

How do we prepare students and educators for the shapeshifting of the emergent mobile network ? How do e-portfolios ensure a learners security when the very institutions that govern their creations make independent thinking difficult or nigh on impossible ?

Dreams of the perfect e-portfolio are, as you say a responsibility of the educator, to raise in the conciousness of the student, to foster / nurture a reasonable take on documenting teaching and learning et al. but in my opinion the implementation of such a model means we must now be ready to discard more than we dispense.

I often cite Chrishnamurti (Snr.)who asks of anyone who knows of any education setting anywhere who's core is anything but indifferent, resistant to provide for the real needs of learners, protecting self interest and upon change implementing policy and procedure to prevent it's own demise.

" Does this make any sense? " Too bloody right Graham !

When do you begin mobile blogging ?

12:04 AM

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Really not asking too much!

I was up last night thinking more about the difficulties we all have trying to convince others of the benefits blogs, wikis... web2 ... a networked learning is and could still have for learning in general - in particular I was thinking about the 2 most common arguments I hear from those offering resistance:

1. Our teachers don't have time to learn a new thing, especially not buz words and hype
2. Show me evidence that this will help my students learn

I see red when these 2 statements are uttered. Especially when uttered by teachers who are already practicing some form of online teaching - usually through an LMS or other sort of small fry content and communications management system.

I think it needs to be stated loud and clear that with networked learning we are not asking all that much really. We are not asking teachers to learn HTML, CSS, Flash, Dreamweaver, or any other highly complex content production skills. We are not asking teachers to understand SCORM let alone ideas of sharable learning objects. We are not asking teachers to use freaked out, unusable, cobbled together LMS, DRM - CMS, SMS, or what ever content and communication system we say goes. We're not even asking teachers to Bobby Check everything they produce! All we are asking is that teachers come out into the open, or "step into the light" to quote Stephen, and learn how to use the Internet the same way as everyone else is using it now.

By doing so we believe teachers will rediscover the relevance in their topics that their students need and crave. By doing so we believe teacher's live's, attitudes and moral will improve. By doing so we believe teachers will discover ways of integrating those "distractions" such as mobile phones, MP3 Xbox, PSP and television players and laptops, into their classroom activities. By doing so we believe teachers will learn how to communicate better in our digitally networked world.

I don't think we are asking too much really.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Steven Parker witnesses the revolution while we sit on our hands

A nice post by Steven Parker testifying that the socially networked software revolution is indeed gripping parts of Australia's young folk:
As soon as The Veronica's came on stage, on and up went around 100 mobile phones... Lisa (one of the Veronica's) posed questions to the audience..... Who has a mobile phone!?', followed by 'Who'’s on MYSPACE?’. The crowd overwhelmingly screamed back "Yaahhh!!" with 100's of mobile phones aloft!!
Steven then went on to rightly say:
One could see that as more people (at a younger age) move to embrace this new way of experimenting with technology to 'make a connection', and with the rapid development of these Web2.0 technologies the need for mainstream teachers (primary through to tertiary) to be aware and get involved to understand it's application to utilise in pedagogy is NOW.
Comments from the Van Guard of Australian educationalists working with socially networked software models expose some things that educational departments in Australia should be ashamed of.
Too bad that in DET NSW if you want to check out The veronicas myspace you have attempted to access has been classified as Custom Deny_NSWTAFE. ACCESS DENIED!!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is anybody out there? there? there? PLE-ase

Derek Wenmoth points to a new Podcast being put out by Graham Attwell with an episode on the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) thinking about whether they are even needed. Basically Graham is restating what has already been said to death here on many occasions.

I was beginning to think no one was out there on this one. I mean I have really shouted out before about LMS, ePortfolios and PLEs, and how I think they are a great waste of time! Google search on my name and you'll see its what I stand for, like it or not. - but I don't get the feedback, or any sign that any one's listening... apart from a Google search result... but enough of that winging guff, perhaps I should be happy that this podcast is enough, perhaps I should reflect on the way I say things and that being a possible reason I don't get come backs. Perhaps the fact that Derek has taken notice of it is enough of an indication that the word is spreading.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Nicely put Teemu

I am really enjoying the contributions Teemu Leinonen is making to the edu speak, he's a lone voice in my bloglines, feeding in from non English speaking Europe... wish I had more, wish I could read other languages..

Not only has Teemu's MobilEd project rocked me, but his philosophical statements ring bells for me too. Being Finish, English is not his first language, but I doubt that that's what makes Teemu's insights unique - its his principles of free and open exchanges, free and open learning, and the bold way he articulates those principles... its just so.. nothing like what I commonly hear from my piers. And now this response to the concerns some teachers have about sources like Wikipedia not being reliable:
As a conclusion, Wikipedia is not really there for educators, news papers or fact seekers to refer as a truth. Wikipedia is not really about teaching facts. ItÂ’s about conversations. A wiki page is inviting for a change. ItÂ’s never ready, itÂ’s never a truth. It has a discussion section for seeking a common ground. Wikipedia is our greatest gift to education, because it makes us understand that facts are constantly shifting based on open conversations.
I really hope I can find the money to fly Teemu and others to Dunedin for the TALO Swap Meet and tour to EFest.. Just having these people in the same physical place for a small amount of time is sure to spark some change down here in the South. Aparently it worked in Washington (para 11).

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Friday, April 14, 2006


A quick look at PBwiki

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A quick look at

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Black Web Login

A quick look at logging in to Black Board courses at Otago Polytechnic

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Black Web Announcement

Quick demo of making an announcement in Black Board

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Adding pictures to blogger

A quick look at two ways to add pictures to your blog using blogger. After you've finished here, check out this screencast about Flickr.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

God Darned Yahoos!

Anyone else noticing who bloody slow Flickr and is these days? Wouldn't be anything to do with those yahoos and their servers would it? Isn't this all our local IT guys need to say, "see, we told you so! You can't rely on Google and Yahoo, you should rely on me, Sam and our Microsoft servers instead!"

Luckily I don't put all my eggs in the one basket, but I need to do better. Mike Coghlan is using BubbleShare for his pictures in a nice way, creating an audio visual slide show, then copying the code and displaying it in his blog.

Now that those Yahoos are ruining my joy once again, (and they're not the only ones either - Bugger has let me down twice in the last 2 weeks, at crucial moments of needing to prove to others its worth :) I need to diversify more, break my lock ins and use more variety.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CamStudio screencasting web feeds

A quick look at how to use web feeds, specifically looking at using Bloglines to subscribe to a Blog feed and a tag feed, nothing new to most of us, but what's new to me is this free and open source screen recording software CamStudio! (how strange that the screencast on how to install CamStudio was down with Camtasia...?) Anyway, I'm pretty happy with CamStudio. Thanks Dennis, another valuable contribution in the TALO eGroup.

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Web Feeds

A quick look at how to use web feeds, specifically looking at using Bloglines to subscribe to a Blog feed and a tag feed.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

A snapshot of networked learning

What is networked learning? Is it just another round of techno hype? Is it just another name for an older idea? Is it even useful considering the current condition of our schools and colleges?

I dunno really. Now that I'm working on the "inside" the view is different and these questions seem more important. From the outside they seemed pointless - networked learning is inevitable when you're on the outside. From the collective inside its a remote idea, let alone possibility, smelling of yet another round of hype, and yet another thing to "do".

But, taking a break from that work today, I tapped into my learning network and found a post to the TALO eGroup by gnuChris pointing to Bill Kerr's post calling for a graphic representation of the Internet, and considering the mind shift that being internationally networked can cause...

Apart from Bill's yet-another-excellent post, and exciting link to a book coming out, the device that gnuChris points to for generating a picture of your network is a lot of fun and a bit of an eye opener. Pictured is my network of learning. From this network I have learned more than I could possibly describe in any certificate or qualification... there in lies a problem really... how can we assess learning done in a networked environment? do we? should we? can we? probably not. So networked learning may just be yet another "learning style"?

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

More on virtual world learning

GNUChris, a relatively new member to the TALO eGroup has jumped into the discussion on virtual worlds learning, and offered up some fascinating links.


I'm still getting my head around it, and the verbose and macro explanations to it aren't much help either, but hammering away at those descriptions reveals some amazing potential for furthering the concept of online learning.

Now its only thanks to Sean FitzGerald taking TALO members on a tour of Active Worlds and GNUChris pushing the links to Croquet afterwards, that the concept of virtual worlds and multi user networked environments in learning have taken any real shape and meaning for me. In the past I have been skeptical of such things and the general attempt to replicate real worlds, but since experiencing it with others who are learning about it, I see that it is not a replica at all, no comparison actually.

So, from what I can gather at this stage, Croquet is a 3D rendered, networked and multi user virtual world, that can be used as an interface to applications your own, and other's computers - or a shared operating system in a 3D interface. Being open source, Croquet can be made to do just about anything...

There's my attempt to make sense of the impenetrable explanations on the Croquet website and the Wikipedia entry. As usual, the pictures say a million words better to me, and I totally get it from them alone. Now for the doing... I'm currently downloading the client... it's massive! If from the pictures, like me you recognise a certain Sun MicroSystem concept, be sure to read the Wikipedia entry about this.

So, I'm hoping to get to try this Croquet out with others from the TALO eGroup. Can't wait for it actually. I hope you'll join us. I hope it works...

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