My Nominations for The 2008 Edublog Awards are:
Best Individual Blog: teaching and Learning Design
Best Teacher Blog: teaching and Learning Design
Best educational use of a virtual world: Stephen Caldwell (Milarepa) Quest Atlantis
Best educational use of a virtual world: Bronwyn Stuckey (Bron) Quest Atlantis
I have been greatly influenced and impressed by the great commitment, deep thought, motivation and education expertise demonstrated long term by the nominees.
Posted in Uncategorized November 27, 2008
Continuing my train of thought, I am sitting here bemused at the similarities between technology and an enormous supermarket.
Swamped for choice is the common thread. Which washing powder is going to get the whites white, but not the coloured items as well, what will leave clothes soft but not be an allergen, what is good for the environment is as complex a decision making process as which tool is going to help me use and manage Twitter – do I want it to come into my phone, send from my phone, from my desktop, from the web, through Second Life, or from any of the other options I have not even been able to check out.
The choice seems absolutely endless for just one tool. How many communication tools are there? How many tools badged as Web 2.0? Some friends seem to be waiting on the edge of their seats for the next version, the next widget or the next tool, and joyously dive in and add it to their collection. I cannot.
I took on some very good advice from a friend, and made a conscious decision not to keep signing up for and trying to learn every tool that was listed / recommended. Heaving a sigh of relief I was able to concentrate on what was set up and functional, and manageable.
That worked well for all of a fortnight. Then it started. As an example, a group I was in put up some resources in Slideshare – sign up, add to list of applications. This has happened more than once. There are so many tools that the odds on multiple groups selecting the same tools to use seem to be very long.
So many tools seem do the same thing in similar ways. I wonder if there will be a rationalisation of tools, or will the variety and number just keep on climbing?
Could that swamped feeling be one of the barriers for some people in moving into the online and Web 2.0 world or is it part of the excitement of being an active creative participant on the web?
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged: Web2.0 webtools management technology overload August 20, 2008
As an online learner who is trying to come to terms with Web2.0, it has become extremely obvious why it is called the ‘read write web’. I started very gently, following those who I had already met online. Oh I thought to myself, this is cool, I can handle this.
However, by following person(a) I then found several other writers / teachers whose work was of interest. The same happened with persons(b), (c) and more. Each person led me to new sites, new people, new ideas, new writings.
Even trying to be very selective, I have pages of links, more RSS feeds and more memberships than I can handle. So I have moved into aggregating tools such as Diigo and del.icio.us, and hope that this will give me back some control over the information and sites that interest me.
Now I am asking myself:
“Do I have a defective filter?”
“Am I looking at too wide a slice of the ‘net?”
“How do others handle following hundreds of people?”
Does anyone have any strategies that help them keep on top of their Web2.0 selections?
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged: Web2.0 aggregation July 22, 2008
I have been a participant in Quest Atlantis for nearly twelve months, and I am still learning, and enjoying my learning as an educator. Quest Atlantis is based on gaming theory, and engages the participant, providing feedback and reward, both short and long term. It is an environment in which achievement is visible, is rewarded in several ways, and gives status. The social element is important, and students are able to develop social as well as learning networks with questers locally, nationally and globally.
Students earn ‘lumins’ and can luminate a system icon as a result of having quests accepted. The reviewer can also reward questers for effort and achievement with ‘spendable’ cols, or add their own reward system to the environment.
When questers have moved down the achievement path a little, it becomes possible for them to use some of their cols to rent land, and build. This is engaging and challenging for all questers (educators also have a building world).
QA is a very secure learning environment in which all educators have been formally trained before they can run a class, with all interactions logged and scrutinised. It is also however, an environment in which the educators model and expect safe online practices to be understood and used by all participants.
QA supports many different planning models, including Project Based Learning (PBL), the Maker Model (QA immediately modifies the environment, process and output required ) and the Williams Cognitive Affective as the quests and missions in the environment and the connections to real world problems and the social commitments do create an emotional response from questers. Curriculum differentiation is highly supported by the curriculum available.
There are 500 + quests which cover all KLAs, larger units of work, and system run missions. It is an environment in which participating educators can develop their own quests and units, so the curriculum can be made highly relevant, in topic, resources, process and product. There is support for questers to reflect on the processes they have employed, and how those processes have supported their learning.
This is an environment which is never static, always developing and changing, always interesting, for students and educators.
I was lucky enough in my PD group to connect with Al Upton from South Australia. We buddied up, and it is something I would highly recommend – find a QA buddy. Al acted as my online memory, mentor, friend and reviewer; all roles that meant that my early Quest experiences were positive and led to an ongoing commitment to learning in virtual worlds. Thank you Al.
Posted in Virtual Worlds Tagged: Add new tag, Quest Atlantis, Virtual Worlds June 19, 2008
I have been continuing to mull over what it really means to be a n00b. Several highly skilled, highly regarded people have recently categorised themselves as n00bs. So what is a n00b?
Personally I found that being a n00b is a combination of factors.
Yes there is the lack of familiarity with the new environment, but many newcomers have experienced similar environments, and so are able to quickly become comfortable in the new environment, but still feel themselves to be n00bs. Yes there is a new skill set that must be learnt – in an online environment it may be, for example, how to fly, how to walk, how to communicate. Again, many newcomers bring with them previously learnt skill sets that support their rapid acquisition of the new skills.
All too often though the familiarity and the skill set are seen as the only elements needed for a newcomer to move on from the n00b phase. There is at least one other element which I have found to be important for me to move into more confident territory – the conventions which are either associated with the new environment, or which are accepted by the other participants in that environment.
I wonder if I have paid as much attention to conventions as I have to skills and environments, enough to support my students in moving through their learning in the best way possible!
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged: learning, teaching June 14, 2008
Last night I was working in a virtual world in which I feel very comfortable, and I was joined by someone whom I envy because of their skill, knowledge and familiarity in a different virtual environment. When this person characterised themselves as a n00b, it started me thinking.
Getting started with new online presences has underlined to me how easy it is to move out of my carefully nurtured and protected comfort zone. It only takes a few steps in a new direction to enter the unknown. I have found this to produce a range of feelings, from timidity to challenge.
I have also found that having a background in other online applications and places has provided a bit of an air bag. I know what I can do, and am finding that some of those skills and understandings are supporting the new experiences. I also have the confidence to follow my nose and work things out. This does not mean, however, that I will be able to reliably replicate what I have done. I am a n00b all over again, with a slightly different entry point.
For me n00b therefore should not be a term that is looked down on or that should be discounted. It is a crucial element of the learning cycle. If I avoid being a n00b, I avoid initiating learning, and miss out on the challenges and the thrill of achievement. For me n00b is now a badge I will wear proudly (but I hope only temporarily) as it tells me I have started something new and am learning.
I hope that this new found understanding is also reflected in how I work with and support those who could be tagged as n00bs in all situations and environments.
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged: Add new tag, learning, online June 11, 2008
I am a primary school teacher who has been working online for many years, and who has been involved with a virtual world for nearly a year. I have, however, just entered another period of learning with a steep learning curve in relation to web 2.0.
I have always been a “doer”, and when I had something sorted, working and documented I would share with other teachers in a formal setting. This means that my journey so far has been undocumented, and therefore private.
All I have at the moment are questions:
Is it easy to blog?
Can I maintain a blog?
Will I really be able to document what I do?
Will anyone in the world be interested?
What is my personal focus at the moment? It is Second Life, and that is what has led me into the world of web 2.0 – it has been impossible to become involved in SL as an educator while remaining able to ignore or skip over the blogs and wikis that are created in relation to both SL and education.
From one bookmarked blog maintained by a colleague, my list has grown almost exponentially. And so it has happened. I have also now put a toe in the water of the blogging ocean. If someone reads this, I hope it strikes a chord, and they deal with it kindly.
Posted in blogging Tagged: blogging, learner, Second Life, SL June 11, 2008