Monday, December 31, 2007

Testing XO Compatibility

I participated in the XO Give one, get one program. I have been testing it to determine the extent to which it can support the kinds of activities that I think are important for technology integration in support of learning and assessment. Here, I test blogger for its compatibility. Both the Edit Html and the Compose views work but the link tool will not open a new window so that it won't allow me to create links. The Labels for this post: tool works well by bringing up suggestions as I enter leading letters of some of my standard tags.

Image source a Primary 5 Student's photograph taken with an XO OLPC Galadima, Nigeria, Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Technology for human ends

"How can we use technology to make
this a humanly possible job?"

I met briefly with Heather Sadlier this morning in order to coordinate our integrating parts of her course in social studies methods with Technology for teaching and learning. She is very busy at this time of year because she meets with each of her students to assess reciprocally. We didn't have as much time as either of us wanted so we spoke concisely. I read her syllabus and reviewed the text website last night, and perused the text she uses this morning. I found several points of intersection between the two courses that we will be able to develop.

She told me that her students like the lesson plans that Parker includes with his text because they want quality material but need to be able to use it efficiently. I pointed out that they are using technology to support their needs. Then I said that that is a major theme of the new course. When I said the words quoted above, Heather grabbed my pen and a piece of paper and wrote the quote. She identified it as the essential question for using technology for teaching and learning and insisted on my giving her a copy. Let's build a powerful learning community on them.

Collaboration and databases for learning

Doug Lynch, Chair of our department, sent the following email message to me recently calling my attention to an article that he found:
Steve: I found this article that may be of interest as we craft grant plans...but has implications for your mission as well.
Douglas J. Lynch, Ph. D.
The citation for the article he recommended is:
Sara Dexter, Aaron H Doering, Eric S Riedel. (2006). Content Area Specific Technology Integration: A Model For Educating Teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(2), 325-345. Retrieved December 19, 2007, from Education Module database. (Document ID: 1017922091 [link requires UNE Network access]).
The article describes an ambitious college-wide strategy for dual integration:
This dual integration (technology integrated in the content area methods course, and the content area integrated into the technology course) is the essence of the model of teacher technology preparation we present here. The fellows were essential as they were the bridge between these two domains of knowledge as well as between the instructors of the technology and methods courses. All participants' willingness to learn and to organize their efforts around the teaching and learning of that content area was also essential.
This supports the initiatives that Heather and (and Dan to a smaller degree) have started for integrating across Social Studies Methods and Technology for Teaching and Learning.

I followed another lead in the paper from a section where the authors described their process of establishing the ways of working together
The technology course instructor, and usually the project director, met with the methods course instructors in each content area to learn about the standards, important ideas and processes in that content area, and the learning outcomes for the methods courses. During these meetings we introduced the concept of mindtools (Jonassen, 1996) and started to identify, which technologies might be best for their students to learn. The mindtools concept, and later the notion of using technology to add value to instruction and assessment (i.e., technology making possible something otherwise impossible to do or difficult to achieve) proved to be generative concepts for the faculty members' learning. These ideas helped the faculty members focus on topics in their content area where technology could really help teaching and learning. That we argued from the outset that technology wasn't a panacea, but rather a tool with capabilities that could be very helpful in carefully selected instances, also lent credibility to the project staff and technology course instructor's efforts.
Doug had marked the Jonassen citation (1996) with the comment "get." The citation refers to the book Computers in the classroom: Mindtools for critical thinking. While we wait to get the book, I searched for related work from Jonassen. He surprised me with the best justification I have found so far for my claim that databases are valuable resources for teaching and learning. For several weeks, I have been trying to help Doug understand why I think that Zoho Creator is such an important development.
Databases may also be used as tools for interpreting, analyzing, and organizing subject content by learners. Student-constructed databases using a Concept Development Strategy and an Interpretation of Data Strategy requires learners to select information to collect and to organize it into meaningful categories (Rooze, 1988-89). Student-constructed databases have been used to support history instruction (Knight & Timmons, 1986) and lessons on seashells (Goldberg, 1992), and as an inquiry tool to aid higher-level thinking in a fourth-grade American Indian studies course (Pon, 1984). Constructing database queries is a form of hypothesis testing (Katzeff, 1987). The database shown in Fig. 1 was developed by learners studying cells and their functions in a biology course. Although the intellectual benefits of building knowledge databases is obvious, more formal research on the efficacy of these activities is needed.

Designing a database requires the learner to identify a content domain, sense an information need, and develop a data structure for accommodating the information to be included. Building databases involves analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information (Watson & Strudler, 1988-89). Database construction is an analytic process which engages important critical thinking skills such as evaluating, organizing, and connecting information; a few creative skills such as analogical reasoning and planning; and several complex thinking skills such designing a product, problem solving and decision making (Jonassen, 1996).
Let's get designing and building!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Analogous standards

Last Friday, I wrote about observing a PERB, the culminating performances of teacher candidates: Reading/Writing Workshop and GoodReads. On Monday morning, department faculty met to discuss approaches that we can use to meet the NCATE standards for diversity. Susan Hillman pointed out that we need to be able to show evidence of meeting the standards. A flash of insight took me back to SATs and GREs. The Educational Testing Service uses analogy questions because they probe higher levels of thinking than straight recall.

PERB is to Candidates as NCATE Accreditation is to Faculty.

As a department, we need to understand and show evidence of creating a program that meets the NCATE standards in the same way that we expect candidates to show how they have met the Initial Teacher Certification Standards. We talked about saving samples of student work to share with the accreditation review team. Early this morning, Tuesday, I saw that we have an opportunity to develop a win-win solution for students and the department. If we explain the analogy to candidates in the Technology for teaching and learning course, they will understand easily based on their prior knowledge of standards as they experience them. Then the shared resources that students create in the course can also serve as evidence for meeting the NCATE standards. We model using standards to continuously improve our practice at the same time we ask students to use standards to improve theirs.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reading/Writing Workshop and GoodReads

Noelle Richard, a very recent graduate of UNE's Department of Education, presented her work at the Professional Education Review Board (PERB) yesterday. Candidates are charged with the task of showing the PERB panel of practicing educators that they understand and show evidence of having met the Maine Ten Initial Teacher Certification Standards. Standard Five addresses instructional strategies and technology:
Understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies and appropriate technologies.
Noelle described how she used Nancie Atwell's Reading/Writing Workshop approach in reading classes she taught at Saco Middle School (SMS). Maine's Middle Schools participate in the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) so each seventh and eighth grade student and teacher has a laptop. Noelle saw an opportunity to enhance the program with technology using GoodReads. She learned about the book-oriented social networking site from a friend and used it personally. She thought that SMS eighth-graders would probably learn from and enjoy using the site, too. She proposed the idea to her mentor and worked through details required for a pilot program (permissions, email logins, rules, ... ). She reported that students and teachers enjoyed and learned from their use of GoodReads. She certainly convinced the PERB panel that she met the Standards.

I find great promise in her experience. It shows how our students can take their experiences with recent developments in network technologies and build on them in professionally productive ways. Standard ten describes the importance of contributions to professional development.
Demonstrates a strong professional ethic and a desire to contribute to the education profession.
Noelle contributed to the professional practice of a receptive school community. She helped me identify a potential solution to an issue that Lisa Hogan and I have been discussing at the MSAD 75 wiki. By sharing her innovation with the PERB panel, she also contributed to our broader professional learning community.

Thank you, Noelle for your work and your sharing. I look forward to following your work at GoodReads.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

ProQuest Alerts: Tech for learning and research

Several weeks ago I used ProQuest via the UNE Library to get the full text of an article I wanted to read. I enjoyed the article and wanted to "keep up" on new developments from this research team. So, I signed up for a ProQuest Alert: How to Set Up an Alert. With the press of other tasks, I moved on to other work and let the alert fade from active memory. The ProQuest system surprised me pleasantly this morning with the following message:


Looking for publication of Penuel's research article on which the article with Riel was based.

Below are the latest results for your alert. Click the links to view an article in ProQuest.
Delete this alert - Use this link if you wish to stop receiving this alert.
Help - Having trouble using this alert? Follow this link for instructions and support.

Databases selected: Multiple databases...
1 new articles found for: AU(William R Penuel)

1. What Makes Professional Development Effective? Strategies That Foster Curriculum Implementation
William R Penuel, Barry J Fishman, Ryoko Yamaguchi, Lawrence P Gallagher. American Educational Research Journal. Washington: Dec 2007. Vol. 44, Iss. 4; p. 921 (38 pages)

Abstract Abstract | Full text Full text | Full Text - PDF Full Text - PDF

The message provides links to a very recent article on a topic of great interest to me and potentially to our teacher candidates. I am writing this post on a computer that is not on the UNE network so the links require login and password that I don't have. They won't work for readers of this post either. So, I will wait until I return to the authorized network and read it then.

Now, that's a technology enhancement for teaching, learning and research!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Organization for workshop classes

In her book, In the Middle, Nancie Atwell relates a story about Donald Graves visiting her classroom and identifying the basis of her success: organization. " 'Look,' he explained seriously. 'You can't teach writing this way if you're not organized. ... You two always ran a tight ship and you still do, but it's a different kind of ship.' "

When I first read this story, I worried because I don't think of organization as being one of my primary strengths. But as I read further, I started to take heart. Several of the tools that Atwell recommends for organizing workshop classes are paper-based forms. She writes at length about the evolution of her system. Finally she asks "again and again, as a teacher, what do I really need to know?" (p. 106)

For Technology in the classroom, we can ask "what do we really need to know, and how much of that can we capture in distributed data acquisition tools?"

The School and Society By John Dewey

I am reading Nancie Atwell's In the Middle to get a better sense of how Dan Rothermel approaches teaching reading and writing. As a department, we are trying to find ways to improve integration among courses. The question for me is how can we build on what students have learned or are learning in Dan's class?

Atwell writes about her reasons for organizing her classes as reading and writing workshops. She quotes John Dewey's School and Society to make a point about life in and out of school. I wanted to see the context of the quote so I searched in Google and found a copy of that book. I also found a new selection tool. So I test it here as an exploration of how to incorporate it into my work. The tool is a selection box that lets me select a passage and then put the snippet into my blog or a notebook. I can choose to insert image or text. Since the copy that Google scanned included a penciled highlight, I chose image:
Text not available
The School and Society By John Dewey
The anonymous reader's pencil mark gives me the sense that others have participated in this written conversation.
I don't yet understand the html code that Google Books transferred to my blog. I'll see when I publish it.

After seeing the published version of my post, I was still confused about the html. I have now resolved the issue by understanding how to use the tool. And while I am thinking about this larger community, I note that Google Books gives me more of a sense of writing community in its popular passages listing:

Popular passages

Page 27
possession of our school system. To do this means to make each one of our schools an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect...

Page 28
him with the spirit of service, and providing him with the instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guaranty of a larger...

I am part of a larger community of practice that spans both time and space. Google lets makes it easy to connect to others in this community.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Heuristic evaluation

Martha Corkery returned from a conference with a recommendation that we use a process of Heuristic Evaluation to refine and improve our courses in our new MSE graduate program. Independently, Brian Phipps, recommended a resource to support the development of brand usability that includes a section on: Heuristic Evaluation.
A usability evaluation method in which one or more reviewers, preferably experts, compare a software, documentation, or hardware product to a list of design principles (commonly referred to as heuristics) and list where the product does not follow those principles.
The site illustrates some important principles of usability and looks valuable for other approaches, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ohio EA- Don't social network; Maine LTI- Do

eSchool News reports that the Ohio Teachers' Union discourages use of social networking sites:
"Teachers, watch what you post online": That, in effect, was the message the Ohio Education Association (OEA), the state’s largest teachers union, delivered to Ohio educators in a memo it sent last month.
The memo strongly discouraged teachers from using social-networking web sites such as MySpace and Facebook to create personal profiles or communicate with students.
“OEA advises members not to join [these sites], and for existing users to complete the steps involved in removing their profiles,” the memo said. “While this advice might seem extreme, the dangers of participating in these two sites outweigh the benefits.”
Contrast this message with that of Maine's 21st Century Skills initiative:
While there are many subject-specific skills that are essential in making a successful transition from high school to college, there are three cross-disciplinary skills that are particularly important in this transition: autonomous reading/thinking/analysis, broad information literacy, and comfort in the use of electronic social networks.
This controversy seems to be the raw material for an authentic application for our students of the Showing Evidence tool at the Intel education site.
Using the interactive features of Showing Evidence, students make a claim, identify evidence, evaluate the quality of that evidence, explain how the evidence either supports or weakens their claim, and then make a conclusion based on the evidence. This thinking tool supports activities where students need to debate differences, reach conclusions, and organize ideas.
Let the debates begin!

Zoho Creator goes mobile

Zoho recently announced that they now provide access to Creator via cell phone browsers.
We are glad to announce the availability of Zoho Creator Mobile version. You can access it @ or from your mobile. In fact, if you visit from your mobile phone, you’ll be directed to this page.
This opens a whole new world of possibilities for both collecting and sharing data in a variety of contexts. It may be the opportunity that breaks through my resistance to adding another phone to our account.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Search serendipity

I have been creating activities for the course "Technology in [and beyond] the classroom" for Spring semester. I am building on resources that Intel provides at its Education site. In Destination America: Our Hope, Our Future, one of the exemplary unit plans that the site provides, I saw parallels with our present situation.

At first, I thought of asking students to complete a parallel assignment choosing an autobiographical perspective or a role. But last night, I thought of another way to frame the activity: Autotechnography. So first thing this morning, I searched Google for autotechnography and found only one hit: Engl 106-xxx, a pdf describing developments of another syllabus associated with Engl 680M: New Media at Purdue. I think they have interesting insights that will serve us well:
This studio goes beyond the traditional seminar model by not only investigating contemporary theories of media and media making but by actively producing new media. Readings and discussion topics will bring up questions such as “What is the New Media?”; “Why blogs, wikis, and podcasting?”; “When did virtual worlds and video games become educational?” and many others.

Alas, I reinvented a concept but it is in the early stages of development. But I also discovered another branch of a distributed professional development community. So, I tried to see whether the term has earlier roots, too. So I searched for technography and got thousands of hits. The one that resonated most with me came from DeKoven at While I think that copy-writing the word is unnecessarily restrictive, the concept is powerful:

We often used tools in this way at CTLT but the video clip explains why the approach may be so effective in some situations. I commented on DeKoven's page at Google Video:
The clip captures the essence of the conflict and its resolution starting at 4:09.

I look forward to using the approach in our course.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Testing trackbacks

I reset the trackback option in the settings for this blog to accept pings. Testing to see if it works. Seamless Services?: XO Laptops for teachers, too?

Gave one, anticipating the learning community

In an earlier post, I wrote about David Pogue's review of the XO laptop and the plan to make them available to North American residents as part of the effort to reach a critical mass for the program. Today is the first day that U.S. and Canadian residents can give one, get one XO Laptop. They warn that the organization cannot provide support. They encourage people to think of themselves as part of a world-wide learning community rather than as customers of a commercial product. That makes sense to me! I hope that pre-service teachers learning about how to integrate technology into elementary school classrooms will join the community, too!

Receipt ID: xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx Placed on Nov. 12, 2007
Payment For Quantity Price
G1G1 program donation 1 $399.00 USD
Subtotal: $399.00 USD
Shipping & Handling: $24.95 USD

Total Amount: $423.95 USD

Friday, October 26, 2007

Templates for PBWiki

Developers at PBWiki have created an important new feature: Templates for your PBWiki
We’ve have created a quick and easy way for you to create your own templates. A template allows you to easily replicate wiki pages from the same design or style. They save time because each wiki editor does not have to create the document format on their own.
The Education Department at UNE has started a project to support students' understanding of lesson planning. I tried to identify ways to provide templates for various types of lesson plans (direct instruction, inquiry-based, problem-based, ...). PBWiki provides a set of tool across the bottom of each wiki page. They include a feed of Recent PBWiki Blog Posts that called the innovation to my attention. I'll test it for this application.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why all Americans need to know more about technology

In trying to identify resources for students to use for learning with technology, A Blueprint for the Future, recommended Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology, a National Academy Press book, that makes the case for everyone to enhance their understanding of technology. The NAP provides this tool to make it easy to recommend this resource to others. Clip a snippet from their page and paste it into the html for this page:

Read this free online

Note that you can read it for free online and purchase paper copies if you prefer that form.

Friday, October 5, 2007

XO Laptops for teachers, too?

David Pogue, technology reviewer for the New York Times, wrote and video-logged an engaging review of the new XO Laptop, the $200 laptop for kids primarily in developing countries. He worries that sophisticated users may disparage the device and limit its diffusion:
Clearly, the XO’s mission has sailed over these people’s heads like a 747.

The truth is, the XO laptop, now in final testing, is absolutely amazing, and in my limited tests, a total kid magnet. Both the hardware and the software exhibit breakthrough after breakthrough — some of them not available on any other laptop, for $400 or $4,000.
I've thought that I'd like to have a set to work with teachers in learning how to integrate technology into schools. I've signed up to "give one, get one". Will someone please mesh with me?

Opportunities for diversity

At this week's faculty meeting, Susan Hillman called to our attention the need for us to facilitate opportunities for our students and ourselves to explore and understand the importance of diversity in our schools and society. We discussed the challenges of learning from faculty, peers and students of other races and cultures in states like Maine, which have relatively small minority populations. For example, the education department of the University of Maine at Orono has started to place more of its student-teaching assignments in Portland where some schools are more diverse than those nearer to Orono. We discussed how the additional demand for placement sites impacts the schools trying to serve those students. Despite our good intentions, we must not overwhelm those students and the institutions that serve them.

As members of the majority culture, we must also identify and use other venues to support our learning. Distributed networks of people from many locations can provide some of those opportunities if we can find ways to develop rich experiences. The Language Exchange, a new application on Facebook, seems to provide such an opportunity to explore and assess.
Access to the links for the Language Exchange require that you establish a Facebook account. The following exerpt describing the application may convince you that is its worth exploring:
Interested in learning languages and cultures?
Join our global language exchange network!

With this application it is easy to find the right language exchange partner according to the compatibility with your personal interests and your availability.

Your language exchange partners will be managed from your profile. You will be kept updated with the good practices developed by other members of our global exchange community on how to use text, audio or video to overcome the distance.

Accumulate experience and good references and you can become an "expert", resulting in extra-benefits such as more flexibility on the language exchange (e.g. you teach and learn from different people) and even receiving proposals for professional services.
With enough members in your area, we will be able to help you organise local networks as the one in the figure.

This application started with a student society at the University of Sussex in Brighton UK where we are already hundreds of members exchanging our native languages and culture with peers locally.
Using the facebook's social network, we can create a global goodwill network where we can understand each other better!
Note too, that enterprising students are showing us the way!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What do they know and do already? Creating and Connecting Report

In starting to design a course for elementary teachers to develop skills and understanding of roles for technology in teaching and learning, I asked myself "What do the students know and do already with technology? How can we tap into their experience and expertise?" I have not yet met any of the students so I don't know first hand. Theron Desrosier, a colleague at WSU helped me get an overview when he wrote about a new report from the National School Boards Association Creating and Connecting Report. He summarized:
Here are some of the other results:

"81% students report visiting a social networking site within the past three months.
71% report using social networking tools weekly.
59% report talk about "education" in their online social networks.
50% report talking specifically about schoolwork"
I suspect that UNE students will have comparable responses. I'll be interested to learn what they are saying about education.

Collaborative professional development - flu simulations

A case-study in continuing professional development

Tools for networked collaboration and learning develop at mind-spinning rates. As much as one might want to stay on top of all the new opportunities, programmers and system developers produce too many new ways of working. The only reasonable response that I have found is to share the responsibilities among people with common interests. Designers and analysts at the Center for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT) use this approach. I both benefitted and contributed to the informal cooperative learning effort.

Throughout my professional life, I have found simulations to be valuable tools for learning and research. So, that is one of the areas where I explore and share with colleagues. Several years ago, I found StarLogo and NetLogo, two variants of the Logo language, that facilitate the exploration of a wide range of phenomena using an approach called agent-based modelling. My colleague, Nils Peterson wanted to anticipate the adoption rates for the new WSU portal he and others were developing. I fired up an epidemic model in NetLogo and modified it to predict how dissemination of the new technology might develop. Theron Desrosier, another designer at CTLT, saw that work, appreciated the learning he derived from the experience, and filed the idea in his long-term memory (with few details other than an association with me).

Fast forward to this week. I have been studying the National Educational Technology Standards for Students and Teachers (NETS-S, NETS-T) as part of my preparation in developing a course to help elementary teachers facilitate learning using appropriate technologies. I may need to brush up on this topic because the new standards encourage teachers to use simulations to support learning. Yesterday, Theron indicated that he too wanted to brush up on his understanding of simulations for learning. He commented on my blog post: Institutional commitment to learning via real problems:

Do you remember the name of the tool you used to play with ant movements, evolutionary change, and tragedy of the commons. I am looking for something students can use to investigate the spread of flu.

Thanks, T

He wants to help students engage with the Flu project, an institution-wide effort to integrate learning through common reading and disciplinary extensions.

I could have responded to his question by firing off and email message with the words "starlogo" and "netlogo" and a suggestion to use one or both in a Google search. That might have met his immediate need. However, I chose to respond by writing this contribution to the examples of real cooperative learning because I think it has value beyond my serving as an extension of Theron's wetware.

Notes: I first wrote this post as a real example of informal collaborative learning for our department's new exploration of a wiki as a collaborative learning and work environment. I shared the link to the wiki page with Theron in a comment on my original post in this blog. Fortunately, I tested the link from a second machine because it reminded me that in the exploration we agreed that it be private as members of the department initially learn about wikis. Since I prefer working publicly, I copied the protected post and pasted it here with relatively little effort.

In reflecting on the voice, I see that I wrote it as if it were a blog post (personal) rather than as a disembodied wiki contribution. Maybe it really belongs here rather than in the UNE Teachers wiki. I'll have to pay more attention to the differences.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cooperative learning for our students and ourselves

Our department will devote one monthly faculty meeting to sharing topics that will help us improve our programs. We will engage in a form of cooperative professional development. For the first meeting, we will discuss cooperative learning. Doug Lynch suggested that we read Slavin's research review and an article by Johnson and Johnson, advocates of cooperative learning, to prepare for the discussion. He invited us to contribute readings that we share with students.

As part of my work with MSAD 75, I have been reading a recent book by Jonathan Supovitz entitled The Case for District-Based Reform: Leading, Building, and Sustaining School Improvement ( ). Supovitz uses his work evaluating reform efforts in the Duval County, Florida district as a case study in the process of reform. I found the book so helpful that I have recommended it to Sally Loughlin, Asst. Superintendent, as part of our reciprocal reading recommendations.

In the context of sharing ideas about cooperative learning, I found Supovitz's identification of seven critical components for professional development. I assume that they apply to us as well as they apply to teachers in districts. Supovitz contends that professional development must:
  1. show teachers how to connect their instruction to specific and ambitious criteria for student performance
  2. immerse participants in techniques of active learning
  3. be both intensive and sustained
  4. engage teachers in concrete teaching tasks that they can employ with their students
  5. focus on subject-matter knowledge and deepen teachers' mastery of their content area(s)
  6. capitalize on the experiences and expertise of peers
  7. be connected to other aspects of school change (pp. 81-83)
Supovitz elaborates on each of the components and cites research that support them. Since our program is a form of formal professional development, we will serve our students and ourselves well by reflecting on the ways our program supports these critical components. For example, we are capitalizing on the experiences and expertise of peers by collecting information from students in the program about issues they face in their classrooms, schools and districts. We hope to build distributed learning communities around some of those common issues. What other ways are we ensuring that we include these critical components in our work with students and each other?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Service-learning in 2017

A visioning exercise for KIDS Conference
Learners (students, teachers, administrators, community members and others) work together as teams to identify problems and opportunities to engage in real activities that contribute to the growth and sustainability of themselves and their communities. Community organizations solicit help from student teams and provide context for engaging problems that are rich sources of learning. Students read inspiring descriptions from portfolios of past projects and lead and develop new projects.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Institutional commitment to learning via real problems

Nils, Theron, John Gardner and I have been discussing new directions for universities as global networks develop. Nils points to ThinkCycle as an exciting direction:
... it's worth looking at ThinkCycle which seems to be engaged in an Extension-like coupling of universities with creative capacity to people with real problems. They say: ...

What strikes me about this approach is the global literacies that ThinkCycle is promoting which I marked in bold in the quotation above. Not only are students gaining experience on problems, they are building evidence of their competencies in what might be called a portfolio within the system. Since the system is open for searching, one could imagine members of one team seeking out people in the system who have demonstrated expertise in a related area and enlisting their help.

What is important about this form of global university education is that it is authentic and open. Its not a closed couse in WebCT and the problems are not toys with right answers set by the instructor.

Nils emphasizes the role of the students and their motivations. These portfolios have an important institutional role, too. For example, samples of students' Operations Management projects in DecS 340 served to help faculty and CTLT staff to reconceive approaches to learning and guiding learning. Their impact with faculty motivated my support for CTLT's development of ePortfolios.

Note that ThinkCycle derives from projects at MIT. As an institution, MIT, has a long and well-developed culture of engaging many students in real problems that are also academically rigorous. I suspect that culture of engagement is one of the reasons they can give away their OpenCourseWare and not worry about protecting their intellectual property and institutional reputation. Benkler's Wealth of Networks and Tapscott and William's Wikinomics argue that the principles are broadly applicable. Let's find out how far we can extend them!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Collaborative Service-Learning Projects

"3 helping one another will achieve as much as 6 working SINGLY"
Theron linked to a mind map image that he said remixed a presentation that John Seeley Brown gave at MIT. He also linked to a news story about the presentation. His post reminded me that I had read the story a few months ago. But now I see it in a new light. Seeley Brown cogently explains the approach I think we should take to building the networks for the new high school phase of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI details):

Rather than treat pedagogy as the transfer of knowledge from teachers who are experts to students who are receptacles, educators should consider more hands-on and informal types of learning. These methods are closer to an apprenticeship, a farther-reaching, more multilayered approach than traditional formal education, he said.

In particular, he praised situations where students who are passionate about specific topics study in groups and participate in online communities.

"We are learning in and through our interactions with others while doing real things," Seely Brown said. "I'm not saying that knowledge is socially constructed, but our understanding of that knowledge is socially constructed."

In one example, architecture students work on group design projects in a public setting. A professor's critique of a project is instructive to others. Collaboration is valued and encouraged along with individual achievement. Perhaps most meaningful is the students' process in completing the project, he said.

"As you work shoulder to shoulder with other kids, all the work you do and work in progress is done in public. So others understand what you're thinking," Seely Brown said.

The evolution of the Internet can facilitate this approach, he said. Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis and blogs, make information sharing and content creation easier.

I have described the irony that students are using social networking tools and schools are blocking the sites. Let's build teams of teachers and students working together as we have started at OpenProject and aim for an even greater multiplier!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Begging and beginning more discussion

In a recent blog post, Theron wrote "A very simple image that begs more conversation". I found Theron's post through my rss reader so initially, I saw only the title. Consequently, I expected to see a simple image (a small jpeg, gif, or other image format). At first, I could not find the image because he was not sharing a simple image but a link to the resource. I did not see the link because I first thought it was the formatted title of the post. Once I clicked on the link, I saw that I had started to download a 9.8 Megabyte pdf version of Teemu Arina's image-laden presentation at a recent conference. Despite the hardwire connection to a cable modem, I had to wait for the download.

While I waited, I followed Theron's link to his source: Stephen Downes' post about the presentation who in turn pointed to Arina's post "Missing third places of learning" about his own presentation. Arina provides links to his presentation in various forms: pdf, slideshare, mp3 and other enhancements. Since the pdf that I requested at Theron's site had still not finished downloading, I looked at the Slideshare version. It loaded quickly and I started using it before the complete pdf version arrived.

Slideshare offers several advantages beyond faster access. It provides links to individual slides within the presentation that update automatically as the viewer advances through the presentation. For example, the link
takes the browser directly to Arina's representation (a complex image) of the factory model of education. This feature improves the granularity of citation for presentations similarly to the time-code links that I described in Testing time-selected links at Google Video.

Slideshare also provides the code snippets that allow me to embed Arina's complete presentation in this post. Finally, Slideshare provides comment support at the level of individual slides. Slideshare requires users to register and login to use the comment functions in order to control comment spam but it keeps the discussion closer to the context of the presentation.

While many presenters abuse audiences with presentation software, most put substantial amounts of time and effort into planning and developing their presentations. These features of Slideshare go a long way to help them become more valuable resources for reflection and discussion as Theron, Nils and I have discussed for video ala Jim Gibbons.

Note: While I wrote this post, Theron revised his post and improved it along the lines I suggested here. We collaborate despite the distance.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sharing Charlie Rose ala Jim Gibbons

Charlie Rose provides Google video clips of his shows. He uses thumbnail and 2X3 layout of the videos. For the Gibbons method it would be helpful for more people to see the video. Can the video format be adjusted for group viewing?

Yes, the video can be expanded so that it comes close to filling the screen.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mapping help

My mother called from her cousin's home in Bethesda, MD. They want to drive from Jean's home to the Bethesda Station and want good directions. Mom called me and asked for help finding a map online. I described the procedure but it includes several steps. I used Google Maps to find the address and captured the link and created an email message to send the link. But it turns out that the link is so long, that the email program breaks it into at least 3 lines. Since it requires that they reassemble the link (fraught with challenges), I simplified it by creating a simple link here: directions to Bethesda Station.

Her browser did not render the link so she could not see the map (old browser or javascript not enabled?). I ended up cutting the directions from the map page and pasting them into an email message and sending it to Jean's address. They won't have the visual but the text will be accurate. The concept appeals but useability still lags. I forget too easily how much tacit understanding we bring to the interface.

Cradle to cradle learning

Sally Loughlin and I have traded recommendations for professional development reading for several months. Most recently she suggested one outside of our normal boxes: Cradle to Cradle by McDonough and Braungart. They offer an appealing new approach to design of a wide range of artifacts from buildings to communities and books to cars. The TED Conference invited McDonough to present to their meeting and recently published the 20-minute video of his presentation:

The video complements the text-based presentation of the book well so I wanted Sally to know about the video introduction. I could have sent the link to her but chose this post as a better alternative. It is part of my efforts to move from channels to platforms for collaboration.
McDonough presented a user produced video clip of an earlier dialog. He honors the remix culture. How do these principles apply to our work? We already aspire to life-long learning but find difficulty in doing it because of competition for our time and attention. What can we stop doing to make time for this important work?

Note: RSS readers and Google Readers send this post as an email message do not render the embedded video. Since the link is buried in the embedded text, readers need to "View the original" to find the video or link.

Friday, June 8, 2007

More incentive for dissemination of feeds and reading

In a recent post, Viral dissemination of feeds and reading, I described how Google Reader can help with dissemination of better communication and collaboration practices.
"This 'Email an item from Google Reader' tool seems like it can help encourage use of feeds and readers."

They provided another incentive recently by adding the ability to take your reading off-line. With the click of a button in reader, your browser downloads enough blog posts to a local database to keep you busy for hours catching up on reading that you could not get to in the office.

The way they have implemented reading off-line is even more interesting because it sets up the infrastructure necessary to use a wide range of web apps off-line. The project is currently in beta but it is open-source so I expect that it will develop quickly as external developers provide feedback and new ideas.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Working in Public: Linking Knowledge to Action

In discussions about using networking tools for school district business, Kate Greeley and I discussed several advantages and challenges. In looking for a reference link for a paper I am drafting, I discovered another advantage.

Bob Sutton and Jeffry Pfeffer identified a widespread problem in institutions and businesses that they called The Knowing-Doing Gap: managers know what needs to be done but very frequently do not implement the practices. Recently, Sutton reflected on an innovation described by Diego Rodriguez at Metacool To Do Lists: A Way to Link Knowledge to Action:
"Diego at Metacool has an instructive and inspiring new post. He has a picture and a great discussion of a 'To Do' list that was publicly displayed by the staff at the Denver Art Museum, which showed the things that they still needed to get done on a new addition. I love this because it not only advertises to donors what things they need money for, it also creates public pressure on the staff to get things done. As research on commitment shows, public proclamations are far harder to reverse than those that are made in private."
Sutton got one part of the innovation but Rodriguez took it another and more powerful step:
Even better would be to open up that to-do list to anyone. So when I find the typos on the FAA website, rather than writing a snarky post on my blog, I help 'em out by entering an item on their to-do list wiki. Now I'm part of the solution, and probably part of the brand. It's about leveraging the power of the many to create the best pile of real evidence possible about what works and what doesn't. At some point along the line this starts to feel a lot like open source. Might Mozilla really be one be one big public to-do list in disguise?

Back to the Denver Museum of Art. I wish they had a publicly addressable to-do list. I would add an entry right now. Something like "fix those crazy interior angled walls that everyone kept tripping over."
Hmmmm. Shall I add testing this idea to my public to-do-list?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Grass roots development and technology

The World Food Program uses a blog to encourage readers world-wide to understand and act on issues related to hunger and poverty. They also encourage other bloggers to spread the word with goals for sharing. I am using their tools to contribute to their goals and to understand how they have implemented the system. Fortunately, I copied text from the page that I wanted to use for a quote and can add the blockquote and paste the text below:
So I’ve asked around and it turns out there are all sorts of clever ways to generate electricity if you put your mind to it. A story in the Chicago Tribune talks about a foot-pedal-powered generator called a Weza that is now making all the difference in Rwanda. It’s a simple device, it’s portable, and humanitarian organisations are lending Rwandans the money to buy them.
The link to share simply provides the html for linking but requires that users understand html to make it work correctly. I would have found it more helpful to have worked like a bookmarklet.

Monday, May 7, 2007

International Student Survial Kit- gMap

Nils has engaged students from International Programs at WSU to help build Moscowwiki. Nils and I built some maps of Moscow using Wayfaring but they have stopped development. JB Krygier, a geographer at Ohio Wesleyan University in Columbus, has used projects in his course to achieve a similar goal.
So what about mapping your own data? If you can map your own data you can map what matters to you, or your organization, or your company, or your family, or your friends. Indeed, making your own maps with your own data means you are liberated from the confines of what other people think is important (and thus what data is made available) about the world.

Two students, Slesh Anand Shrestha & Trailokya Bhattarai, have created a survival guide to OWU for international students using the new Google Mapping tools. The final part of the assignment requires students to reflect on their mapping experiences:
Reflect on your project and relate it to other mapping you did on the web this semester. Is mapping your own data really more liberating than mapping with other peo/ples data? Can you forsee using the My Maps functions in the future? For what? Is My Maps and similar "map your own data" web sites going to have a impact beyond the "cool factor"?
I'd like to see some of those reflections.

The map includes fancier icons than those I have seen in the recently released Google MyMaps tools. I wonder whether they "come with" the Google Earth Pro tools that are available to educational institutions for free.

Costs of the War in Iraq

I searched for information about community/participatory GIS and found J. Krygier's site at Ohio Wesleyan. As a state, we are struggling with ways to make the education system more effective. A link at the cost of war site brought home the contrast in priorities.

The script form for including the counter did not work here.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Wiki Research / Viral dissemination of feeds and reading

Nils Peterson and I have frequently discussed ways to get people to understand and use RSS feeds and readers to manage information streams. Unfortunately, we have encountered challenges in getting adoption.

Theron DesRosier and I worked closely together when we rode the bus daily but not as much at a distance. So, Theron's decision to start a new blog gave me hope for new opportunties to renew our dialogs. I learned about Theron's blog from Nils' RSS feed. This "Email an item from Google Reader" tool seems like it can help encourage use of feeds and readers.

Sent to you by SC Spaeth via Google Reader:

Wiki for Original Research

via One small step for man by nils_peterson on Apr 19, 2007
In SOTLing: Open Research Wiki? Theron DesRosier asks about a wiki for publishing original research, noting that Wikipedia explicitly eschews it in its encyclopedic mission. Its an interesting question: what are the appropriate ways to get original research published? What mechanisms of peer review are desirable? How might publication be an invitation to collaboration? I struggled [...]

Things you can do from here:

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Technology Integration Committee- Next steps?

Andrew McAfee is a professor and researcher who studies how technology can be used to improve enterprises. I read his blog and reflect on the ideas for contexts important to me.

He and a colleague have recently written a piece that argues that technology can contribute to competitive advantage. They conclude the article with a series of recommendations that leaders can take to help the transformation: Dog Eat Dog, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson:
# First, they need to look at how the company should be doing business differently. That means deciding what new tasks should be enabled with technology, and how widely they should be deployed.
# Second, managers need to lead the deployment of new procedures to success. People don't like changes to their jobs dictated from outside and embedded in software. Overcoming this inertia and resistance requires skillful leadership.
# Third, managers need to foster innovation by encouraging experimentation, collaboration, dialogue and all of the other activities that generate good ideas. That means building a technology infrastructure and an accompanying set of practices that reduce the cost of creating and replicating process innovations.
The MSAD 75 Technology Integration Committee faces a similar challenge. Sally Loughlin described the next phase of our work as follows.
TIC group will be meeting at the District Offices. We will review the tech plan and discuss how our group may support the new tech goals and new tech staffing.
How should we modify McAfee and Brynjolfsson's recommendations to fit our public school context?

Integrating tech: finding the community

Yesterday, I wrote about the frustrations of finding important resources that are essential for community engagement on the MSAD 75 web site: Integrating tech: curriculum and community

Google did not find the new page (it did find older tech pages- only 3 pages May 2, 2007) so Google's indexing robots have not yet discovered the page. If Google can't find it, and an interested, engaged member of the community can't find it, then we need to think further about what it means to communicate with stakeholders."
I searched Google again this morning (less than 24 hours later) using the same query and today, the search found the desired page and listed it first in the results:
Web Results 1 - 6 of 6 from for Current Initiatives Technology. (0.08 seconds)

MSAD 75 Curriculum - 9:54am

MSAD 75 Current Initiatives: Technology. Current Initiatives English Language Arts Math Science Social Studies Health Physical Education Music Art World ... - 14k - May 2, 2007 -
Note that Google indicates that it indexed the page on May 2, 2007. While I cannot absolutely rule out coincidence, I suspect that Google "pays attention" to blogs as a source of what engages people. Google may also have noted that I searched repeatedly for a phrase at a particular site. In either case, I am convinced they direct the indexing engines to find those resources in which users express interest. Public conversations using Web 2.0 tools (in contrast to password restricted sites) are clearly part of the more robust strategies that I encourage the district to consider.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Integrating tech: curriculum and community

In the post Sharing the work of writing a new tech plan, I wrote about working with the District Technology Integration Committee to produce a transformative technology strategy. In describing some of the challenges in the collaboration, I observed, "I can't even show you the work of the committee because the Tech Department requires authorization even for reading the developing documents." But Sally Loughlin, Kate Greeley, and Steve C. have reported interesting developments new public access points. So, I searched for the web pages but I could not find them. When I saw Kate at the district office, I asked about the pages and she quickly showed them to me. She navigated so quickly that I did not follow the exact path to them but I knew that I could always find them with a Google Search. Unfortunately, I still could not find the pages.

I wrote to Kate and requested that she send the link to the page so that I could review and prepare for the meeting. Several days later she sent the following link to the index of pages for drafts of the new plan. The link took me to the new pages, in the curriculum sub-directory of the site so I wrote the following message back to Kate:

I browsed over much of the web site but not there [in the curriculum pages]. Now that I see where it is, it makes sense because you are trying to integrate technology with curriculum.

To check my sanity, I tried to search for this page using a Google Search based on known content:
Google did not find the new page (it did find older tech pages- only 3 pages May
2, 2007) so Google's indexing robots have not yet discovered the page. If Google can't find it, and an interested, engaged member of the community can't find it, then we need to think further about what it means to communicate with stakeholders.

Since Google indexes my blog pages much more quickly than the more than two-weeks for this page, I assumed that it would index the District's pages at least as frequently. Kate wrote back and asked if we should move the link to the District site's main page. No, we need a more robust solution. Effective dialog between members of the school and community cannot tolerate those kinds of delays.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Google's accessible My Maps tool

Google describes how they have made it easy to create and share maps.
Official Google Blog: Map-making: So easy a caveman could do it: "That's why we're announcing My Maps, a new feature that makes it quick and easy to create your own custom Google Maps just by pointing and clicking. You can add placemarks, draw lines and shapes, and embed text, photos and videos -- all using a simple drag and drop interface. Your map automatically gets a public URL that you can share with your friends and family, or you can also publish your map for inclusion in Google Maps search results. We'll continue to show organic local search results with red pushpins; user-generated results will have blue pushpins. The user-created results include KML as well as maps made through My Maps."
I suspect that this is the killer app for making it possible for nearly anyone to contribute map data to the Read/Write/Map Web. Note that Google will use the maps to push targeted ad-markers. I haven't seen any of them show up on my maps yet so I don't know how objectionable that will be to the presentation. The color delineation helps at least to distinguish my local recommendations from those that have been made algorithmically from California.

Let's map our visions of preservation and change

In an earlier post, I suggested community mapping as a tool for identifying elements of a vision for Maine: Let's preserve AND change. This grassroots approach aligns with those advocated by GrowSmart Maine and the Brookings Report: Charting Maine's Future.

I described Nils Peterson's and my efforts to explore how a community could use collaborative mapping using an online mapping application. I also expressed disappointment in the supplier of the services we used because the developers abandoned the effort and left us without access to our data. Nils asked me recently if I had found any better tools for doing this kind of work.

Google has filled the gap with the "My Maps" application. It provides the tools and ways to access the data for use in other contexts. I created map to evaluate the tools and refine how we can use them. My initial thoughts are that they meet many of our goals. But they will require further exploration in order to know how to use them optimally. For example, the area marker for Zeke's Island disappears at the scale and view that fits all points. To see it, the user needs to click on the list of markers in the navigation panel. Google will refine the tool and we will learn how to use it and who will be able to participate.

Let's preserve AND change

Monday, April 2, 2007

Testing public Zoho Show

Brian Phipps describes the potential for collaborative presentations in his blog about the development of brands.

Zoho Show already supports public sharing of presentations in a blog via an iframe snippet. Here I test a very simple test case:

I'll have to find someone who wants to collaborate on the development of a presentation to see whether it supports the kind of goals that Phipps advocates and works for authentic collaboration. Show's capacity for uploading .ppt files might circumvent the process that Phipps encourages but might help people to make the transition from familiar ways to working to new ways.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sharing the work of writing a new tech plan

This post is a dynamic document published using a method proposed by Owen Kelly in co-innovation with Zoho Writer.

Retesting Kelly-Zoho publishing innovation

Arvind found my post in Co-producing Innovation about the Kelly-Zoho publishing co-innovation and suggested a modification that might allow it to display as Kelly has proposed. Here, I try making the modification to see whether it works:

Apparently, it still does not work. Otherwise the post would display between the opening paragraph and this concluding paragraph. I tried the same test at Co-producing Innovation and Arvind's suggestion did not work there either. I'm glad I persisted. The script did not display in the preview of the post so I assumed that it would not show up in the published post. So I wrote the concluding paragraph so that I would have a record of the event and Arvind would have the feedback on his suggestion. Blogger gave me a pleasant surprise when it rendered the script in the published version. Note that I modified Arvind's suggestion in one respect: he suggested a non-breaking space   as a place holder. I tried that but switching back and forth among html, compose and viewing, Blogger lost the code for the non-breaking space. Instead, I just entered the word "tesTing". It survived the editor and does not display in the output.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Access to Zoho Scripts?

What will Blogger do with my Zoho Creator Scripts?

Unlike other blog engines, Blogger does not strip out the javascripts, it leaves them intact in the code. I even see in the status line that the brower has sent a request for data to Zoho Creator. But I don't see the results of requests to render the data into a table. That means that Blogger parses the javascript, but selects what it will render. If it were working, you would see a table of values in the open space below. I need to check out Google Pages because they serve Tiddlywiki pages which contain scripts. What are the differences?

Learning to use JSON at Zoho Creator

This page documents my efforts to learn how to tap into the Zoho Creator Database that I can create with little programming experience. The potential users include anyone who wants to take advantage of the power of distributed data entry and use. Exhibit, a part of the Simile Project at MIT, allows one to mashup data sources for interesting renderings of data. They have demonstrated use of a Google Spreadsheet as a data source but require that it have all kinds of special treatment. I wanted to learn whether Zoho Creator would offer a better interaction. The data in the table below are a subset drawn from one of my public Creator databases. It demonstrates that I can access and use JSON data from Zoho.


Mon. 10:00AM 11-Mar. 2007: By looking at tutorials at, I found the javascript I needed to run through the list of records: For...In Statement. I copied the code and inserted it into my page, made sure that it worked there and then started to modify it to see whether I could make it work in my case. Still need to use the full names that come from Creator to access the values but it works. Able with a little trial and error to add the table formatting to the output to get the results in a standard form.

Sun. 8:30PM 10-Mar. 2007: GOT IT! This javascript page requests the data from the JSON output at zohoCreator and pulls back the selected values. Confirmed that it was working by going to the Creator page and modifying the entries there and making sure that they are reflected in the output here. Noted that Zoho Creator is relatively slow in providing the output. This page takes only 8 ms to load but Zoho took 28 seconds to give back the answers. Will have to inquire about their response times. After editing again, I tested again and found that Creator responded in less than 18 seconds (to return 252 b). And on the third try, it returned the data in 2.99s.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Google human's response

Less than 24 hours after submitting my request for review, a human at Google sent the results of the review that they prompted me to request:
Date: Mar 5, 2007 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: [#119919476] Blogger Beta non-spam review and verification request:


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and cleared for regular use so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

The Blogger Team
So much for a human response. And who is the agent here? What prompted the flag? What assurances do I have that they will accept further experiments with Scene Selector Lists? Have they modified the filters to accept this variant of legitimate multi-linking?

Attn: Google's Human Reviewer

Google's spam-prevention robots have flagged my blog.
Since you are reading this, you are not a simple-minded Bayesian spam filter. Please consider additional explanation for this approach that you will find at:

I would have preferred to keep this discussion here at to maintain integrity of the development. But I don't know what your decision will be so I created the additional information in a place where I could be sure that it will be preserved.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Multi-link comment from Google Video

I am trying to find a way to improve access to streaming videos. Yesterday, I showed that I could create two links in a single comment. That demonstrated the potential to create an index or table of contents for a video in a comment. So here, I test a longer list of annotated time codes and whether it is possible to include special characters.

Results at Google Video: The Google Video comment tool accepted both the longer list and the copyright symbol in my comment. The links that the tool added automatically work very nicely. The video jumps quickly to each of the time-code anchors. Looks like we have a way to develop table of content tools for videos at Google.

Transferring from Google Video to Blogger: Now, can I resolve the complications that I encountered yesterday when I tried to move the links from Google Video to this blog? I copied the text from the Google Video comment and pasted it directly into the "Compose" editor of Blogger. Then I switched immediately to the "Edit Html" tab and inspected the links. The first three links all contained only ampersands between the end of the docid number and before the #. The last url contained the & code instead. Since Google Video does not require/expect the ampersand, I removed all of them in the html editor.
This comment tests multiple links and embedded special characters:
2:03 ReadOnly vs. ReadWrite cultures
4:30 Sousa's concern for loss justified
5:10 Free labor movement
1:00 © War on RW- How to resist?
Analysis: Apparently, the Blogger editor was able to identify the need to url-encode the last of the four links but did not make the substitution for the other three cases. So when I saved the text in yesterday's experiment, the processor got to the ampersands and expected to find one of the standard codes for a special character. Since the Google Video time code is not a standard code, the processor truncated the url. So the url still links to the correct video but starts at the beginning rather than jumping to the desired location. Google Video tolerates the ampersand in the terminal url so it still worked.

Note that it retained the copyright symbol even in the "Edit Html" view.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Transferring time coded links from Google Video

Yesterday, I tried to transfer my comments from the space at Google Videos to this blog. I ran into several problems. I am trying it again with greater awareness of the challenges.

22 hours ago Mark as Spam
In this celebration of accomplishments of Read/Write culture, Lessig advocates for a new literacy:
18:30 New Literacy.
23:45 Recommends 2 action steps for individuals.

I typed the text above, copied only my comment from the page at Google Video, and then pasted the text here. Note that the font size of my additional text was changed by following the insertion. I will not preview to see whether that might help. I saved as a draft and have now reopened the post and will publish.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Testing time-selected clips at Google video

Claude Almansi and I have been discussing approaches to collaboratively add value to web-based resources. In order to more fully appreciate Claude's perspectives, I looked beyond our direct exchanges. I found this page in Italian: Captioning. Since I don't read Italian, I got Google to help me translate Claude's page (translated by Google). While the machine translation left much to be desired, it helped me to understand Claude's perspective better. In the post, Claude encouraged readers to look at video of Lawrence Lessig's presentation at Wikimania 2006. So, I took Claude's suggestion and watched it.

While watching the video at Google video, I saw that Google had introduced the capacity to queue up the clip to a specific time and speed up the access. Since this greater degree of control addresses one of the issues that Euan Semple raised in his analysis More is less, I decided to test it. The Google video site makes it very easy to add a comment to the video which links directly one or more starting spots in the clip. Unfortunately, the commenting function in Google exhibits some of the limitations that Claude and I had discussed. You will be able to see my comment on the Google site but let's first show that the system can jump to a point other than the start.

After 18 minutes and 20 seconds, Lessig promotes the concept of a new literacy: New Video Literacy.

Then after a few more minutes, Lessig recommends action steps for individuals: Action steps.

I tried to modify the embedding code that Google video supplies to make this embedded player start at some point other than the start. Thus far, I have not gotten it to work.


When I tried to incorporate these links to selected parts of the video clip, the Blogger editor interface kept messing with my writing. I lost parts of what I wrote a couple of times before realizing that the editor was balking at ampersands (&) in the urls. So, I substituted the code & in the urls and then it accepted the texts. I wonder whether the problem comes from previewing before saving.