Welcome to my EDU255 blog

Welcome to my EDU255 blog. I hope to learn all kinds of new technologies to improve my online classes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

my first youtube video

Truly the miracle of the internet, produce and publish your own video. Here's mine:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

photo sharing

For my online career discovery class I thought one application for photo sharing would be to have a collection of photos of professionals in their careers to be shared on the class wiki I created. As it’s a college level class, I think it would be fine to have students post photos they find of the career.
Students that were opting to interview someone as one of their projects, could also, with the permission of the interviewee, take and post photos on the wiki of that person doing their job.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

social networking: sixdegrees.com

I decided to research sixdegrees.com, since, according to the article, it was the first recognized social networking site. I thought it would be interesting to look back at what started it all.
Sixdegrees.com was started in 1997 by Andrew Weinreich to help people meet people they didn’t know through people they did know. The concept for social networks is based on a statement made by Guglielmo Marconi in his acceptance speech for a Nobel Prize in 1909, where he claimed the number 6 would connect everyone in a radio network. Later studies showed that most people on earth are separated by fewer than six degrees and also proved that the best way to meet people is through your closest network of friends, family and acquaintances.
Sixdegrees.com took concepts from online dating services and community sites and combined them into one place. The users could invite friends to join (their first degree), view and connect with the friends of their friends (their second degree), view and connect with their third degree (friends of friends of friends) and post messages on bulletin boards for all of their connections to see. Users could email each other, make connections with people outside their network, and see how they are connected to others on the site. It was revolutionary.
Although the site only lasted 4 years, ultimately closing in 2001, at its height there were over 3 million subscribers. However it was doomed for several reasons:
a. The site was way ahead of the technology available at the time.
b. The site struggled with keeping their users engaged with the content.
c. The site was unable to turn a profit due to a recession and online advertising had not yet matured.
d. Since they were the first, they were forging new territory. Sometimes companies that hit the market first don’t necessarily survive after the copycats come along. Sixdegrees.com was a great idea, it just wasn’t the right time.
Sixdegrees.com was cool because it was the only site of its kind in 1997. Since it was the first, it opened the door for other sites such as FB and LinkedIn.
As for whether I would have created an account on sixdegrees.com, I don’t know. I rather doubt in 1997 I would have done that. I think if it were now, yes, most definitely. Back then I would have been too scared to ‘join’ an online networking site. Certainly because it was so new, I most likely would have been skeptical to try it out. I guess I am not one of those people that jumps on the bandwagon of a new thing. I wait to see what happens. I recall that in 1994 (?) my boss had just gotten internet access in his office. We were already using email but the internet was new to the company. My boss, another assistant and I sat in the boss’ office and surfed for the first time on the internet. It was very cool and scary all at the same time. I think because it was so new, it was unsettling. I cannot remember how we did anything before the internet and I wonder what the next big leap after it will be.

Friday, October 8, 2010

about building effective social networks

As I mentioned in a DB posted earlier, I was drawn to his point that a social network depends on early adopters to be successful. He goes on to say that you must provide users the ability to collaborate and to build those collaborative networks. I found this particularly interesting as I considered not just social networking but blogging too. I think it is wonderful to have a blog where one can pontificate on whatever topic they desire, but if you do not give readers the opportunity to pontificate along with you, i.e. post a comment or even to go so far as to ask their opinion, what’s the use in blogging if you don’t have a place for discussion. As with any discourse, it takes two, so I imagine a social network or blog would need to have the option for users to be part of the discussion or determining the direction otherwise they wouldn’t bother reading or joining in.
Hargadon’s fifth point was also interesting to me and refers back to my last paragraph. If there isn’t anything interesting going on and a user isn’t involved in the discussion, why bother. He brings up the point that a social network needs to have focus. Like any good marketing plan, you need to focus on your audience and those you are trying to attract to your product. He states that numbers are as important as the discussion that is taking place and I would agree, if you can keep those few engaged, you’ve succeeded.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I've created a wiki at http://stu110careerdiscovery.wikispaces.com/. My intention is to have my students post information they learn about careers and occupations to this site so they can collaborate on creating a database of career information for Yavapai College students.

Friday, September 24, 2010

random thoughts about technology

So here's a random thing that happened today...I was searching for educational blogs and said to myself, I need a piece of paper to write these down and grabbed my mouse and opened Word! So, Word has become my virtual piece of paper and a mouse and keyboard are my 'writing utensils'. I agree that the energy use to run computers can impact our carbon footprint. So how do we find balance between using computers and paper? Is there a balance to be found?

I find that I don't read books and get my news from the internet. I hardly ever write using a pen anymore (I worry I will forget cursive!) instead use my computer to write notes to myself, email reminders to my home email, and generally use it for almost all of my communications. I even started texting my family lately. As someone that was born at the end of the baby boom, I am fascinated and terrified of technology. My husband, an old hippie barely knows how to use his cell phone. A co-worker of mine hates technology and says he only uses his computer when he has to. I am fascinated by this because he tends to be introverted, one would think a relationship with a computer would be comfortable for him. As someone that tends to prefer extroversion, I love to use technology. One would think that an extrovert would not enjoy the solitary pursuit of technology. Although, blogging could be a very extroverted exercise.

a new pedagogy

Will Richardson’s most recent blog post provides a list of thought provoking questions. As I read down the list and the subsequent comments from readers, I could not help but reflect on my own schooling. I attended a public school kindergarten and first grade. My parents pulled me out of the public school (that was right next door!) and shipped me off to a private Catholic school 10 miles away so I could get a ‘good’ education from the nuns. I will say, this is where I learned to speak French, but the rest is a blur, except of course for the ruler that was used to ‘control’ unruly children. Three years at that school, and my family moved from the big city (the great white flight) to the suburbs, where I again attended public school. It was the late 60’s, the summer of love. Public school was a little more relaxed than what I was accustomed to. After high school, came college. Although it was college and we could actually smoke (amazing, eh) in the classroom, we were still being taught in the same old way: teacher talks, you listen. Not very different than being with the nuns, except of course for that ruler!
Over 30 years have passed since I attended college and one would have thought that the institution of education might have made a giant leap forward. I am not sure it has. Richardson’s questions started me thinking about why education has remained the same all this time. My thought is because up until recently, it worked. The US was at the forefront of education, other countries followed our lead and went so far as to copy our educational systems. We set the world standard, but now we’re slipping. If we don’t ask and then answer the question ‘do we need to change how we educate our citizens and what does that look like’, how can we expect to compete in the world economy when other countries are surpassing us in science, math and innovation? The assignment was to answer the question, is there a new pedagogy emerging. I would like to say I think there are some new thoughts happening in education, but we have to actually make the transition, implement and see what happens. Given Richardson’s questions, I don’t think there has been a pedagogical shift. Reading further on his blog, he posts a quote from Neil Postman (Teaching as a subversive activity), written in 1968. In the quote, Postman posits that education must change to prepare students for a “rapidly changing world”. How is it that we’ve changed how we educate our citizens, if over 40 years ago it was a concern and we are still talking about it today?