The 2008 Edublog Awards!

My Nominations for The 2008 Edublog Awards are:


1. Best individual blog : Teaching and Learning Design – Dean Groom

2. Best group blog: Information Literacy Meets Library 2.0

3. Best new blog: And Another Thing – Sue Tapp

4. Best resource sharing blog: CogDogBlog – Alan Levine

5. Most influential blog post: The future of online learning – 10 years on – Stephen Downes

6. Best teacher blog: Cool Cat Teacher – Vicki Davies

7. Best librarian / library blog: Tame the Web – Michael Stephens

8. Best educational tech support blog: Mobile Technology in TAFE – Sue Waters

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog: Jane’s E-learning Pick of the Day – Jane Hart

10. Best educational use of audio: Audio Recorder

11. Best educational use of video / visual: The New Media Literacies

12. Best educational wiki: Web 2.0 Cool Tools for Schools – Lenva Shearing

13. Best educational use of a social networking service: Horizon Project 2008

14. Best educational use of a virtual world: Skoolaborate

Presentation power online

Thanks to a post from Elizabeth Clark, I’m excited to say that I agree with her that 280 slides has wonderful potential for teachers and students alike. In fact, this will become a key teaching tool for me in 2009, as I get my students away from desktop applications and into collaborative online tools.

This is a great place to start. Kids are all too familiar with powerpoint, youtube, and …..uh,oh , google images. How do we make the use of these tools more organic?

For my own presentations, and theirs – this is the go! Why?

Because 280 Slides is a free web-based service where you can “[c]reate beautiful presentations, access them from anywhere, and share them with the world.” It allows you to

  • import existing PowerPoint presentations
  • access your presentations from any computer with an internet connection
  • use media from services like Flickr and YouTube
  • use built-in themes
  • automatically save and recover your presentations
  • download your presentation to PowerPoint
  • publish your presentation on SlideShare, e-mail it, or embed it in a website
  • create your presentations on the web in your browser without downloading any software

I totally love that it works basically the same way as blogs, wikis and nings – use a url or upload an image to put it into your presentation. You can search YouTube or Vimeo to add some multimedia, as well as uploading something.

So students can make their movies, store their images – all online – then embedd them into their presentation – and download, upload, share and …… so the online conversation continues with the power of cloud computing.

Good one!

The Business Impacts of Social Networking

Corporations are changing the way they communicate: In fact, the suggestion is that changing the way you undertake external and internal communication, marketing and advertising will shortly become inevitable, simply because the Internet and Web 2.0 have delivered new instruments and the audience – especially millennials – is expecting corporations to use them.

AT&T has produced at Trends White Paper on The Business Impacts of Social Networking.

Social networking fosters collective intelligence, collaborative work and support communities. Tools and behaviors from the consumer world are now making the transition to the corporate world, with diverse implications for changing the way businesses operate. This paper explores 10 opportunities presented by social networking, along with 10 associated challenges.

Download White Paper [PDF, 612KB]

I think that educators need to know what the changes are that are taking place in the corporate world as we’re educating the future inhabitants of that world. Looks to me like we had better make immersion into Web 2.0 an organic process within our learning frameworks.

Search engine optimization

Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a document that first began as an effort to help teams within Google, but we thought it’d be just as useful to webmasters that are new to the topic of search engine optimization and wish to improve their sites’ interaction with both users and search engines.

Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When
viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined
with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. If you are a webmaster, you’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide, because they’re essential ingredients for any webpage, but you may not be making the most out of them.

From teachers or an information professionals point of view, understanding this guide is also important. It’s a level of understanding that can be used by us to help guide our own student’s interaction with the online world. They need to know about search optimization – because the world is often more about marketing than it is about altruistic sharing of information!

Social media makeover

Yesterday I wrote a reply to a question about my blog – BUT my answer should have been more thorough!

Jacinta, a post-graduate student, and learning about Web 2.0, wrote to ask me who the webmaster of this website is. I wrote a quick email reply, that was basic, therefore totally inadequate!

The answers are easy. A blog is just that – something written by the blog owner. It is not a website that has a webmaster. So Heyjude is my blog, written by me. Same with all the blogs that are linked in my blogroll. That is what Web 2.0 is all about!! Anybody can do anything!!

Yes, I am actually the webmaster of my own blog – using an online hosted platform called WordPress! Good for me!

What I also should have explained is that WordPress can be deployed in a number of different ways for self hosting and multi-user platforms for blogging and website content management systems. Edublogs is an excellent example of a entrepreneurial deployment of WordPress in multiuser format by Australian guru James Farmer, who serves the education blogging community with his excellent services as well as creating an income stream for himself. We are lucky to have this service available to us all.

But WordPress itself is a powerful product. I chose WordPress.com for this blog just because it is robust, secure, and because the support services and forum are excellent. There is no downtime, and none of the little glitches that we have experienced in our Edublogs blogs.

But a fast growing trend is the adoption of WordPress for “CMS projects” where WordPress is being leveraged in building-out entire sites that are not necessarily blog-centric. I did that in a very small way for Judy’s Web 2.0 Notes, and Simply Books.

So I am particularly chuffed that I did that, especially when I found out that Gordon Brown’s No.10 Downing Street website was re-launched using the WordPress platform. So while WordPress is primarily a blogging application, No. 10 shows it is versatile enough to be used in many different ways. Another example in this trend is the recent launch of the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ. Magazine. Other sites include AllThingsD.com, and the Small Business How-To Guide.

There has also been a burst of writing about other social media being used for mainstream communication. It seems that Obama is going to address the nation each week via YouTube. The Obama campaign was marked by a variety of social media usage, including the tiny info pushes that kept the Twitter world informed.

President Bush had been doing podcasts for a long time. Gordon Brown is also utilising Youtube for communication with his constituents! supported by the WordPress driven interactive website at No. 10.

There are lots more examples you can find. What’s of interest to me is the notion that social media is ours! and theirs! – its in the hands of everyone to be used for whatever we like.

Are we teaching our students this? Teaching them how to use this media effectively? How to use this media to know more about our world? to contribute to the debate? to develop our own knowledge and understanding or political, social, cultural, ethical, religious, artistic, historical information and ideas?

Celebrating and learning together – ASLANSW

Saturday saw a group of enthusiastic Teacher Librarians gather to attend the last major professional development activity for the 2008 year hosted by the Australian School Library Association of NSW.

It was a great day because though it was cloudy, the sun shone with all the smiles as we acknowledged the work of a fabulous teacher librarian from Delany College here in Sydney.

Jan Radford and students

Jan Radford and Head Girl and Boy

Congratulations to Jan Radford for winning the Teacher Librarian of the Year Award from the Australian School Library Association.

I caught up with her Principal, and the Head Boy and Head Girl after the award ceremony. They were there to see Jan receive her award and join in the enthusiasm of the day. What they have not been part of is the many many years that Jan has devoted to keeping her school library at the forefront of learning through the years of change, adopting and promoting the best ways to encourage our young adults to become readers, writers, and young people of passion. Thanks Jan for all your work.

My workshop

I chipped into the day’s activities with a workshop on Social Bookmarking and RSS. I’ve run this type of workshop a number of different ways, but the focus today was not just on opening and getting into a tool, but more about what these two tools can offer us as professionals to manage our own information needs, as well as organise good learning opportunities for our students.

The usual handouts of course! But to to help the conversation along (and so people could go away and revisit the things we talked about ) I put together a demo site in Netvibes, which includes examples and some information for further reflection. We could have spent a day working on this!

Visit Heyjude’s Demo site to see what I mean.

Quotes worth keeping

Learning happens through connections

We learn when we connect ideas, people, thoughts. This isn’t new, but the more I’m in a connected world the more I realize that it’s through connections that learning occurs. Is it just me? Or should we not be teaching students how to connect information to create new knowledge.

Jeff Utecht New Schools

We’re living in a conversation

How do you feel about online conversations – in public, during conferences, in the classroom. The recent 2008 The Australian Computers in Education Conference generated quite a bit of discussion about the etiquette of blogging and microblogging (twittering) during conference sessions, which was further fueled by Grahams reflection on Redefining Conference Professional Respect. We talked about it on Twitter, and in other online and virtual spaces.

My fellow traveller on the ACEC study tour to NECC 2008 , Jason Zugami, has jumped in with a Google survey to get a better understanding of what it is that drives educators views on this matter – and interestingly, a comparison to what it is that they believe about the immersive use of online tools in classrooms.

By the way, there is a huge lesson in all of this for the way people run conferences these days. Wifi should be accessible and free. Collaboration and distribution of information and ideas should be considered the norm.

Conference Blogging and Microblogging Ettiquette

Please visit Jason’s online survey, and add your voice to the discussion.

I can’t wait to see the analysis on this! Thanks Jason.

I filled out the survey, and kept a copy of my responses for myself to push me to generate further ideas. Here are my quickly written responses – amazing how different my thinking is compared to a couple of years ago.

Buckle in and read the following if you dare!

How do you feel about the undirected use of laptops during conference presentations?

It is essential to have the freedom to search links, explore ideas and interact with concepts being presented at a conference. I choose my options as to when to listen and stare at a conference presenter, or when to listen and connect with my laptop to check out idea, share ideas with others, or discuss issues being raise. If I am bored I certainly don’t want to be captured with no escape as well..I would rather check my email than waste the time sitting in a presentation that doesn’t demand my attention.

How do you feel about the undirected use of mobile phones for texting/microblogging during conference presentations?

When it comes to professional learning this is absolutely essential for being engaged with the content, expressing opinions and reflections about the presentations, and just plain having fun through interaction. Remove the ‘industrial model’ from conference presentations, and allow them to be interactive and collaborative. Use the tool, don’t abuse the tool.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing their thoughts on a presentation on a public blog?

If a presentation is worth listening too, it is worth sharing. End of story.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing their thoughts on a presentation via micro blogging services such as Twitter during the presentation?

If a presentation is worth listening to, it is worth tweeting about. If a presentation is not worth listening to, it is worth tweeting about that too. Twitter is about conversation and reflection too. I particularly like it when questions come in via twitter that can be presented to the speaker for response. I like it even better if there is a twitter stream of the conference on display, so everyone attending the conference can see what is being said and what is being reflected upon.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing the content of presentations with those not at the presentation?

Share with the world – the more we share the more we grow in our understanding of what is possible. Refusing to share is like writing a book, publishing it and refusing to allow anyone to borrow it from the local library. If you only want us to buy a book, or buy our attendance at a conference presentation then you are not a 21st century learner. Sure, getting the information via shared feed at a conference is not as good as being there – we know that, because we love the F2F interactions. But sharing content is the next best thing! Go for it.

How do you feel about participants taking undirected photographs during a presentation and publishing these?

Fantastic. Just keep the flash off please!

How do you feel about participants taking undirected audio recordings during a presentation and publishing these?

Fantastic! So long as it doesn’t disrupt the streaming bandwidth for the main presentations (assuming the conference organisers are savvy enough to realise the value of streaming!). Standalone audio recordings on the other hand are fine but not as good as a presentation that incorporates image or video. Either way, publish and share at all times.

How do you feel about participants taking undirected video recordings during a presentation and publishing these?

Great! so long as it is not being streamed and using up the bandwidth of the main streaming organised by the conference team. Imagine 20 people streaming!! It’s great to have access to go back to sessions in this format, as good presentations lend themselves to review for further reflection. It’s about deepening our learning and understanding – not limiting it!

How do you feel about participants making undirected live broadcasts (audio or video) of a presentation?

This is a great idea, but the reality is that most venues don’t have the bandwidth to have more than one stream working effectively. Hence it is really smart of conference organisers to incorporate streaming into their program, instead of impacting the audiences opportunity to focus on blogging, microblogging, or using online tools to collect conference notes etc. If we believe in cloud computing and Web 2.0 then we don’t build in restrictions into our conference structures – we capitalize on Web 2.0 to promote and disseminate the ideas and information being generated by the collaborative crowd.

How do you feel about participants making undirected ratings on the quality of presentations via blogs and microblogs?

Frankly, it adds a bit of spice, and keeps presenters and conference organisers honest! The time is over for tolerating boring presentations. However, this should not be seen as a way of attacking the presenter, nor undertaken in such a manner that is offensive. I see this as a golden opportunity if undertaken with a positive aim in mind. After all, we expect students to stand up in class and be assessed as part of their learning!! It’s time for educators to be accountable for their work too!

How do you feel about the undirected use of laptops during your lessons?

Awesome! Now here is a true challenge to teachers. The truth is that unless pedagogy has shifted in the classroom to create authentic and project-based learning, the undirected use of laptops doesn’t work. Teachers who are in control mode can’t cope with this. Teachers who are mentors know that it is essential.

How do you feel about the undirected use of mobile phones for texting / microblogging during your lessons?

Mobiles are just communication tools, organisational tools, and collaboration tools. What are we afraid of? Oh I know! We have to change our classrooms into 21st century learning places :-)

How do you feel about students undirected sharing their thoughts on your lessons on a public Blog?

A real-life skill to be learned, and one that is essential to 21st century learning. Sure students will waiver at times, but isn’t the idea that we should be supporting students to think and learn in multimodal ways? That is their natural domain – let’s work with it.

How do you feel about students undirected sharing their thoughts on your lessons via micro blogging services such as Twitter during the lesson?

Use the tools to shape thinking – twitter is just one of many ways for teachers to create effective blended learning environments. Microblogging is an ideal way for communicating and reflecting in that immediate MSN style of thinking that comes naturally to kids. Capture the world of opportunities and be amazed at the outcomes.

How do you feel about your students undirected sharing the content of your lessons with those not in your class?

Anyone students can share with works for me. That makes it a 21st century global class, and those that share back become members of my class.

How do you feel about your students taking undirected photographs during your lessons and publishing these?

Of course students should share. The bottom line is the nature of the digital citizenship and digital literacy skills of the students that we need to nurture. The truth is that unless we nurture them, then students will undertake activities that are counter-productive to quality learning. But simply saying ‘don’t do it’ is an abrogation of our role as guides and mentors in this 21st century world that we have stumbled upon. Let’s sort out our thinking and get one with learning.

How do you feel about your students taking undirected audio, video recordings or live broadcasts during your lessons and publishing these?

Please do! As long as it is focused on improving knowledge and understanding and incorporates safe digital citizenship in the production.

How do you feel about your students making undirected ratings on the quality of your lessons via blogs and microblogs?

Students need to learn how to be be authentic in their collaboration and engagement in the learning process. Whether it is reflecting on other students or commenting on the nature of the teacher’s engagement with the multimodal learning of their students, it is an area that is evolving. It is also an area that is highly sensitive for most teachers, but needs to be unpacked and incorporated into the formative processes of learning.

Overall comments.

The world has changed! I am thrilled to be part of the 21st century learning that is now possible at a conference, in my classroom, at home, in fact absolutely anywhere. I want my students to have the best opportunities. I want them to be thrilled too!

UPDATE: These same topics are currently being discussed at ISTE in relation to NECC conferences and more. Read about it or join in the conversation at Fair Use & Digital Citizenship 2009

Photo: Speedmonster 5

A Twitter love song

Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University in the UK, talks regularly on Web 2.0, VLE, LMS, open source and more. I missed hearing him talk in Sydney last year – but I am so glad that Web 2.0 makes it possible for me to find and watch his video – a nice bit of weekend work!!

more about “A Twitter love song“, posted with vodpod