Monday, August 27, 2007

course reflection

This course taught me a lot about how to utilize the latest in web 2.0 technology. But more importantly, it taught me how to continue to keep myself educated with regard to innovations that come along. Thanks to being exposed to things such as "google reader" an wetpaint, I feel that I'm somewhat connected to the latest and greatest in online technology.

The biggest thing I got out of the course though was a much needed push. I had always considered myself computer literate. I thought this because I had grown up during the "digital age." I mean I remember distinctly chatting through dial up modems on aol v 1.0 or whatever. I used compuserve and the original napster. The thing i forgot though was that all those things were web version 1.0. I had definitely fallen behind with regard to web 2.0 tools for the classroom. Now, because of my familiarity, I was able to take my exposure with wetpaint and turn that into a website for my class (granted wetpaint isn't hard, but like i said, i needed a push).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

collaborative project

I have a recent frustration with the collaborative project. I dropped the ball with regard to doing work on the project earlier in the time frame for which it was assigned. I figured, "a massive benefit of this project is the freedom it allows it's participants"

I was all set to work on the site this afternoon...only to go to the site to see an amazing page dedicated to web 2.0 tools. The problem of course is that i did not contribute to the page's creation. My go - getter partners had done it all, and done it amazingly well.

So i sit and think about what i could possibly contribute to this amazing page that's dedicated to something i know little about, and when I finally think of something to contribute, I'm not allowed to because the first creator of the page set a limitation that requires "writers" to be approved by him. So now I'm stuck waiting on approval before i can contribute.

Despite this frustration with this specific project...

I think the collaborative wiki is sweet. I would love to hook up with another school for a number of projects/sites. I can see how educational and useful it would be. I hope to do so actually, with friends of mine that are teachers in the states.


I'm not against blogs, but i guess i'm not blown away by them either. Reading Ken Wedding's blog on AP comparative government gives me great insight into his expertise on the subject, it keeps me up to date on how he's teaching and what he's teaching in Comparative GOvernment.

I guess i should say that I think blogs are useful. I see their potential and I could see how they're applicable in the classroom. At the same time though, i find them annoying to a certain extent and that doesn't have anything to do with their educational value, which they have, I guess I'm just sick of hearing the word "blog" all the time and other such words like, "blogosphere" and "bloggers". I guess i'm referring more specifically to bloggers (damn, i used the word) role in politics, etc.

I guess this little rant in my blog opens my eyes to the importance of the Blog blog reader, what are they called? Anyway, if you read blogs through those means, you can focus on the good ones, ignore bad, pick and choose, etc.

Asia Online conference

I'm excited to be attending the Asia Online conference at Concordia International School in Shanghai. I've begun creating a website through Wetpaint for my AP Comparative government class. I've got a pretty good hang of it, wetpaint is so easy to use, but I'm looking forward to learning how to more effectively and creatively use web 2.0 tools to increase my effectiveness as a teacher and create relevancy for my students.


After participating in the elluminate tour with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach , I came away excited about the possibilities for education. The ability to have a guest lecturer from across the world is pretty sweet. The fact that in a classroom, you only need one computer in order to be "in" on the conversation is great because there is a lot of reservation re: tech focused around the cost of tech...but with elluminate, you can reap many of the rewards with only a single computer.

The difficulty would be getting the guest lecturer on board with elluminate...getting them familiar with the program, or getting them to purchase the program, although i believe Jeff or Sheryl mentioned that it was free for small groups...?????

Sunday, August 12, 2007


so i finally was able to upload my podcast. I chose to use the site: podango. It was pretty easy and seemed to have a ton of options, organizational benefits, and other features that make the site really user friendly but at the same time advanced.

here's the link!

Monday, July 30, 2007


On page 15 Siemens defines connectivism as "the assertion that learning is primarily a network-forming process."

There is no doubt that web 2.0 tools can aide in connectivism, and that connectivism is desirable in the classroom. The battle for any teacher is, and always has been, getting his or her students to make connections among nodes of knowledge. This usually requires a certain degree of emotional involvement on the part of the student. Web 2.0 tools can certainly aide in creating an environment for emotions to become involved so that connections and learning can occur, however to assume that because a teacher is having his or her students blog or enter data on a wiki as opposed to discuss in class or create more "traditional" projects in the classroom setting that said teacher's students are engaging in connectivism and learning.

The challenge to us teachers still remains that of relevancy. Students can just as easily mindlessly blog or enter information within a wiki as they can mindlessly journal or fill out a worksheet. No matter what tools we use, it will be crucial to create relevancy for our students.

There is no doubt that packaging the information in a way that is familiar to students helps and that is why I'm immensely excited about using web 2.0 tools during this upcoming school year.

second life

So I created my alter persona for second life, downloaded the program, and as i was signing on to my session, anxious to discover what second life is all about and what it has to offer, my internet connection went down.

This was of course frustrating. The initial frustration was born of the inability to see what was up with second life...the secondary frustration was, "i hope this doesn't affect me adversely grade-wise."

I think this is one of the perceived problems with utilizing web 2.0 tools....i think a lot of teachers are afraid of technical failures and difficulties. We all know how to, and are taught to, have a contingency plan, but it's frustrating when one puts in so much effort towards something only to have it postponed or even fail due to circumstances beyond one's control.

However, living in fear is no way to advance...whether it's fear of a technological break down or fear of a more standard teaching exercise working, we must continue to take risks.

I hope to get on second life when the connection is up to speed (i'm writing this from the library...) and check things out for myself.


So as I sat down to create my first podcast, i came to a road block immediately: what do i say? Its hard to think of something that's "podcast worthy" for lack of a better term. After some contemplation, I decided to do a music review...or preview rather. I decided to do this because I wanted the challenge of integrating music into the podcast.

I integrated the music, but I think i did it the easy way....I simply played the music and recorded it via my cpu's internal mic as opposed to importing the actual mp3. I was happy with the end product, but i ran into another roadblock...

When i attempted to upload my podcast to gcast and podomatic, neither site would take my podcast. I thought perhaps it was because my podcast was in aif format as opposed to mp3. Right now i'm trying to figure out how to convert my aif. file into an mp3 file and maybe that will work.....

and ideas?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

new wiki

I've begun to create a wiki via wetpaint for my upcoming AP comparative government course....any ideas, suggestions, let me know!

comparative government

I'm hoping to utilize the latest web 2.0 tools in teaching my AP Comparative Government class....

I'm currently using Google Reader to Monitor Ken Wedding's Comp. Government Blog and it has already been extremely useful.

I'm curious though if there is a way for me to save certain blog entries via my Google Reader in a folder...because many great things are popping up on russia, but i may not get to russia till May!

Monday, July 16, 2007


I've enjoyed reading Knowing Knowledge by George Siemens.

His discussion of knowledge acquisition is concise and clear. I'm a big fan of his "connectivist" view of knowledge acquisition. I feel it accurately describes how we use and acquire knowledge without falling into the trap of relativism.

Such an explanation also serves to reinforce the value of web 2.0 tools in the classroom.

two point woah

first of all...not sure if that's the correct spelling on "woah"

So there's all this knowledge available, all these resources, and all the arguments / rationallizations / legitimizations regarding teaching and the web tools available make perfect sense. The problem of course is creating relevancy for our students.

In my mind the most difficult thing about using these web 2.0 tools will be determining the "proper tool and approach", as stated by George Siemens in Knowing Knowledge (p. 41), to use in order to most effectively and efficiently create relevancy.

At this point...i'm wide open to suggestions from anyone who has experience with these tools and their application in regard to teaching....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

writer's block took me WAY too long to contemplate the name of my blog....only to settle on "Mr K's musings" ????