Got Social?


I had the great fortune to attend TEDxNYED on Saturday.  This was the second year I was able to make this awesome event.  Last year we heard from the likes of Lawrence Lessing, Michael Wesch, Henry Jenkins, and Amy Bruckman, just to name a few.  It was an amazing day.  This year was no less amazing, although it was very focused on the K-12 learning environment.  I had a few minutes to chat with Co-Curator Karen Blumberg after the event and she accepted full credit/blame for that.  She must have heard that comment for more than one person, because she was quick to say it was all her doing, almost a little defensively.  I felt bad since I didn’t mean it in a bad way.  I thought she and Basil Kolani did an excellent job with this years events and I really enjoyed all the speakers.

I decided I was NOT going to be one of those tweeting every favorite line, since there would be more than one person doing that.  Besides, I hate when my feed ends up full of line and line after line from people using Twitter as their note pad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad when people tweet a line or two – just not treating twitter as a LiveBlog.  I’ve included some of the one line notes (I might have tweeted) below.  Toward the end, I lose steam.  I was mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day.  So the fact that I have no notes for Will Richardson and the others at the end is more a matter of fatigue than that he had nothing interesting to say.  Quite the contrary.

One thing I did learn…there is a K-12 revolution.  I don’t know how far beneath the surface it is, because I don’t pay attention to that area as closely as I should, but it is there, and it was an unspoken undercurrent of the entire day, at least for me.  This revolution is about how we teach K-12, and it has nothing to do with test scores or standardization.  Well, I guess it does, but not in the way those in power think of it.

As higher ed folks, we need to help them facilitate that revolution because that will have a direct impact on the quality of the students we’ll end up seeing in our higher education classrooms. In fact, aside from the quality of student, I’d guess it will increase the quantity.  So the industry of “higher education” has a financial incentive, along with the moral one.

We need to start talking about this more.  And in order to start a coordinated conversation, and a way for us all to follow this, I’m going to start using the hashtag #k12revo

Spread the word.

Alan November

  • Don’t teach any one technology, teach critical thinking and problem solving.  Technology will change.
  • Are our students leaving a legacy?
  • Purpose is what motivate people…Dan Pink book called “Drive”
  • What does purposeful work look Ike?

Homa Tavangar

Lucy Gray

  • The Global Education Conference
  • Technology is not dehumanizing people, quite the contrary

John Ellrodt and Maria Fico

TED video – Kiran Bir Sethi

  • The ican bug…it’s contagious
  • From “teacher told me” to “I can do it”
  • When children are empowered, not only do they do lol, they do very well

Gary Stager

  • Tougher is not an effective learning theory
  • “the Sasquatch effect” heard of it but never seen it before.
  • Innovation = willingness to change everything
  • A good prompt is worth a thousand words
  • Every visitor to your classroom is a teacher
  • We need to create environments that are coercion free.
  • Less us, more them

Brian Crosby

  • Get away from teaching kids how to be taught and move to teaching kids how to be learners

Heidi Hayes Jacob

  • What year are you preparing your students for?
  • Put GEO in front of everything you teach
  • What does a quality —- look like?
  • I’d rather have students make a Facebook page for Julius Ceasar instead of an essay

Dennis Littky

  • If you’re not standing not the edge, you’re taking up too much space

Diana Laufenberg

  • The culture of the one right answer

Rinat Aruh

  • Design has a role in education

Luyen Chou

  • The learning revolution…it didn’t happen

Patrick Carman

  • The high five….TV, Games, iPhone/Pad/Touch, Computer, Cell

Steve Bergen

  • FIO (figure it out) and plan b (what to do if plan a does not work)
  • The Jesse test… Nothing could ever please Jesse Helms, Jesse Jackson, and Jesse Ventura

Stacey Murphy

Samona Tait

Will Richardson

VeriziPhone vs iPhone (2G)

My great friend Anthony Fontana is visiting for a couple of days and he’s staying with me.  He is proudly showing off his new iPhone from Verizon, subsequently called the VeriziPhone.  Since my iPhone was stolen a few weeks ago I’ve had to revert back to using my old 2G iPhone which I got the January after the original came out.

We decided to use to test the speed of the networks.  Now, this is REALLY not a fair test.  Anthony is on a brand new iPhone 4G and I’m using and I’m using a pretty old phone.  We’ll have to try this test again in June when I have some other visitors thanks to the Emerging Learning Design Conference*

So, this was the response from Anthony’s test:

Test Date: Feb 12, 2011 7:43 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Server: Newark, NJ
Download: 0.83 Mbps
Upload: 0.69 Mbps
Ping: 211 ms

And here was my test:

Test Date: Feb 12, 2011 7:40 PM
Connection Type: Cellular
Server: Newark, NJ
Download: 0.05 Mbps
Upload: 0.03 Mbps
Ping: 1025 ms

Clearly a HUGE difference, perhaps even more than the old network/new network can account for.  We’ll have to try this again with similar phones.


* Make sure to check out the Emerging Learning Design Conference, scheduled for June 3rd on the campus of Montclair State University.  The line-up of speakers is amazing and the price, which we’ll be announcing in a few days, is going to make the a can’t-miss event.  Go to the Registration page and sign up to get notified when we open conference registrations and you’ll get a discount code.

Walking the Tightrope

In November of 2001 my then new work colleague Roger Salomon and I made a conference presentation on being a distributed technology leader.  This is currently located on a server that could go away someday so I decided to move it to someplace a bit more permanent.

This was a fairly new idea, having high level distributed technology leaders located, and under the leadership of, the academic school or college.  There have always been individual faculty who played leadership roles, in their department, or even at the larger level (school, college).  This was, however, an idea thats time had come.   A year later EDUCAUSE started the Distributed Technology Support Constituent Group and it became one of the fastest growing and most active of the groups.  There was a real desire, and need, for these two side (us/them, central/distributed) to talk with each other and see that many of the issues and challenges were not unique to just their school.

Walking the Tightrope: Middle Management – The Distributed Leader

By AJ Kelton and Roger Salomon

Depending on the structure and scope of the university or school, a distributed leadership model of management for information technology integration provides many benefits to both faculty and the technology structure alike. In this article we will define the distributed leader as it fits into our campus environment. We will also provide a description of the technology structure of both of our academic units, how they fit into the campus paradigm, and discuss what the benefits and potential stumbling blocks might be for other institutions.

Initiated by the Academic Deans, Montclair State University (MSU) has, over the last three years, aggressively moved from a structure where all services and support were provided by a single, central unit (IT), to a distributed structure, funded and located within the academic units directly.

The “distributed leader” (DL), or Tech Liaison as we are referred to at MSU, is the technology person designated to support a specific, defined organization such as a school or college made up of associated departments. Ultimately, all financial issues are central to the university itself, but the line of responsibility changes when the Tech Liaison answers to the Dean and faculty directly as opposed to the IT structure, which is administrative in nature.

Distributed leadership should be constructed so that the TL can see the issues of technology that are important and explain to the academic side, in a language clearly understandable, why things are the way they are. Additionally, having the TL within the academic unit has many of its own benefits. The technologist can act as a champion for the needs of the faculty and staff with a good knowledge of why these needs are important and how to best move forward to help implement them.

Although each unit, and the IT relationship to that unit, is unique, there are some similarities that transcend all units. IT provides basic services such as email, ISP, network access, telephone, networked printing services, as well as first and second level help desk support when needed. The basic concept is that IT “brings service to the door”, and with the exception of telephone and network wiring services, the “local provider” is then responsible for all other services.

The distributed leader is in a unique position when answering only to the specific unit/college. As opposed to the centralized structure, whose responsibility is to the university campus as a whole, each DL concentrates his/her attention on the specific faculty and staff members in that particular unit. This allows him/her to gain a greater understanding of specific faculty and staff needs by being on the “front line”. The TL is not only able to understand immediate concerns, but also plan for future needs as well.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is the largest academic unit at MSU, representing 40% of the total semester hours taught. The CHSS is comprised of 6 Humanities departments and 7 departments of the Social Sciences as well as many Programs, Institutes, and Centers, with a combined faculty of approximately 170. In addition to full time faculty, the CHSS is supported by nearly 20 administration and staff members as well as roughly 200 adjuncts each semester.

The formal title for the “tech liaison” in the CHSS is the Coordinator of Administrative and Education Technology (CAET). As head of the Administrative and Education Technology (A&E Tech) unit, the CAET reports directly to the Dean of the CHSS. In addition, there is also a Technology Services Specialist (TSS) who concentrates on database and web services, in addition to assisting with the in-house technical student staff. A&E Tech deals with all issues that relate to education and administrative technology which include: computers, printers, scanners, faxes, copiers, software, and locally operated teaching labs. The CAET manages the CHSS Tech Team, which (as of the Fall 2001 semester) employees 5 student technicians and 3 student assistants.

The School of Business (SBUS) consists of five major departments and employs 68 full-time faculty members, 17 part-time adjunct professors, 8 administrative assistants and an Information Technology/Services (IT/S) Coordinator. Also known as the tech coordinator, the IT/S coordinator reports directly to the Dean and assists the entire school in the implementation and use of technology in their work. The tech coordinator normally has two student technicians reporting to him, whose responsibilities are to trouble-shoot hardware and software, make repairs, and give onsite training to faculty and staff of SBUS. Along with these responsibilities, at least one of the technicians is proficient in web authoring.

The technological needs of each department diffuse to individual faculty members. The scope of faculty knowledge ranges from the most advanced or power users to those who don’t even check their own email. That is where the importance of the TL comes in. The ranges of knowledge are not endemic to just the School of Business and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ faculty, but throughout the academic schools and administrative departments.

Although we feel the benefits to this paradigm far outweigh the negative aspects, there are some issues that become relevant when dealing with local support. Having a technology administrator and technical staff located in the same building as the constituents using their services can be a real challenge to productive work scheduling. It is difficult under any circumstances to explain to someone standing directly in front of you why the numerous prior calls need to be handled first.

In addition to being in the middle of “the action”, it can, at times, be a challenge for the TL to be physically removed from the central IT structure. It is essential to the success of a DL model that there be a good working relationship between the satellite (distributed) information technology structure and the central technology unit. The impact of the physical distance between IT and the TL will depend on this relationship.

Finally, without a finely tuned network of technicians or in the absence of an excellent relationship with the central technology structure, getting away to conferences such as this one becomes a difficult challenge.

Negatives notwithstanding, it is our opinion that the positive aspects of this paradigm outweigh the negative. Having an office within the building of those being served allows for quick response to issues and problems. Whether large or small, the faculty knows they can go a short distance to get help. In a centralized structure, response is often not immediate. If a call came in from the SBUS to the central Help Desk, located on the other side of campus, a return phone call, let alone a physical response, takes longer than with a TL in each academic unit.

Along with the close proximity of each TL, knowledge of each faculty members’ personality, knowledge level of technology, and technology needs provides a great advantage. As situations arise, the TL has a better understanding of particular problems and an easier time in solving them. In addition to the TL’s understanding of the faculty, the faculty members also become familiar with their TL, providing a continuity of service and support. This continuity is furthered by the direct report relationship between the TL and the Dean. Regular and direct access to the Dean allows for a smooth and balanced integration of technology while keeping an eye on, and in relationship to, the larger issues faced by the specific unit.

The goal is to establish a ‘one-stop shopping’ feel, where faculty can bring any technology issue and have their questions answered or at least have a dedicated starting point. It can be very frustrating for a faculty member to not know which IT department or representative to call to have a simple question answered. The distributed leadership model provides that starting point.

Training that concentrates on unit-specific needs is also a very positive result of the DL model. Such training may involve formal classroom training, IT organizational meetings and even attending trade conferences. At trade conferences like Syllabus, TLs can obtain an abundance of tips and suggestions from others in their field. Tech Liaisons should attend specific sessions that focus on faculty development and support issues, emerging educational technologies, and other sessions that may focus on a particular school or department.

And the knowledge is not only gained at formal sessions. As with all conferences of this type, networking with other support people, between sessions, at lunch, in the vendor halls, etc., is an excellent way to exchange knowledge.

It has been our experience that the distributed leadership model of information technology services is superior in providing the greatest benefit to both faculty and staff. By being able to provide fast and specialized support, as well as being able to focus on the academic side of technology, the Tech Liaison structure has worked well at Montclair State. Given the construction of the university or school, this model should certainly be considered as an integral part of total information services provision.

Streaming streaming into Second Life

I am working with the folks at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) on a few different aspects of their Annual Meeting in February.  One of the things we are working on is streaming the general sessions into Second Life.  We thought it might be a bit easier this year, with the new media settings included in Viewer 2.x but I seem to have run into a snag.

When I use this URL The page shows up on the prim just fine.

When I click on one of the videos I can hear the audio but the video does not show up.  Any idea why?

Thanks in advance.

UNC TLT Conference Plenary

The University of North Carolina Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference will be held entirely in Second Life and is free to all those who register.  I will be the plenary presenter at the opening of the conference on Tuesday, April 13th, at 9:00pm Eastern Time (6:00am Second Life Time).  The conference lasts for three days and has over 50 scheduled sessions in a well-rounded and well-informed schedule.

You can find general information about the conference here:

The conference sessions are listed here:

And registration is here:

Here is the description of my session:

Big wheels generally move slowly and formal education can be a fairly big wheel. For many years, how we taught did not change. More recently there has been a shift from the “sage on the stage” methodology to a “guide on the side” approach. This constructivist approach has been at the heart of Montclair State University’s (MSU) nearly 3-year adventure in Second Life. AJ Kelton (SL: AJ Brooks), Director of Emerging Instructional Technology for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at MSU, will take session attendees through the three phases of adoption MSU has gone through since opening their first of three islands in April of 2007. Included will be detailed highlights of some of the most popular and pedagogically sound locations on MSU’s Second Life presence. The discussion will conclude with a brief look at what could be next for education and virtual environments. Following this presentation Mr. Kelton will take question from the audience.

SLOODLE Moot Conference in SL this weekend

A great friend of mine is working on the SLOODLE Moot conference that is happening this weekend – FOR FREE – in Second Life.  Here are some of the details.

SLOODLE Moot 2010 is approaching!

This weekend SLOODLE Moot – a free, online conference will be taking place in Second Life. A range of presentations, discussions and demonstrations will take place over the weekend including:

  • Devil Island Mystery. Learn how freshman students in S. Korea were stranded on a virtual island – and had to develop their English skills to survive – and solve the Devil Island Mystery!
  • Hacking SLOODLE tools. SLOODLE is open-source – in this sessions learn why you might want to change SLOODLE to suit your own ends – and how you can do so.
  • SLOODLE at the Open University. With around 250,000 online students, and individual courses with student numbers in the thousands, the OU faces some significant challenges in using virtual worlds to support its courses. Learn how the OU has been using SLOODLE to meet this challenge.
  • Cypris Chat demonstration. After a very successful set of demonstrations earlier this year, Mike McKay gives another demo of SLOODLE and the Awards system.
  • Saturday night social. Lights, music, dancing!

Timetable yet to be finalised, but get all the details at the SLOODLE Moot pages.

Six EDUCAUSE events in the next two weeks!

In the next two weeks there will be six events for the EDUCAUSE Virtual Worlds group.  All six will be simultaneous events.  If you will be attending the conference on-site, please plan to join us there.  If you’re not attending the conference in person, you are welcome to join us for any or all of the following events.  The Constituent Group meetings will be discussions, whereas the other meetings will be streamed audio and slide show from the featured session in Austin.  See the URLs for session details.

EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
Baltimore, MD

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

EDUCAUSE Virtual World Constituent Group meeting
Lloyd Onyett (SL: Komputer Merlin)
11:45am to 12:45pm ET (Baltimore time)
8:45am to 9:45am SLT (Pacific Time)
Montclair State University – InWorld

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Conference
Austin, TX

Penn State World Campus – InWorld

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

EDUCAUSE Virtual Worlds Constituent Group Meeting
Tanya Joosten (SL: Juice Gyoza) and Shannon Ritter (SL: Shannon Rutkowski)
10:00am to 11:00am CT (Austin Time)
8:00am to 9:00am SLT (Pacific Time)

Bob Heterick Memorial Lectureship – Digital Histories for the Digital Age: How Do We Teach Writing Now?
William G. Thomas, III,
1:00pm to 2:15pm CT (Austin Time)
11:00am to 12:15pm SLT (Pacific Time)

2010 Horizon Report and Lightning Rounds
Malcolm Brown, Laurence F. Johnson, Alan Levine, and Rachel Smith
5:05pm to 6:30pm CT (Austin Time)
3:05pm to 4:30pm SLT (Pacific Time)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Born Digital
John Palfrey
8:30am to 9:30am CT (Austin Time)
6:30am to 7:30am SLT (Pacific Time

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Computation Thinking
Jeanette Wing
10:45am to 12:00pm CT (Austin Time)
8:45am to 10:00am SLT (Pacific Time)

“And Justice for All”

I am attending the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) 2009 Annual Conference and had the privilege to present with Dr. Leslie Wilson and Dr. Laura Nicosia, both from Montclair State University.

Our presentation was titled “And Justice for All: Using Artificial Environments to Create Community and Teach Diversity”. We had a large, and active group, who stuck around after we were done to continue talking to each other (and to us) about the content of the presentation. We actually had to move the conversations out into the hallway so the next presentation could get rolling. That was fine, since the coffee and fruit tarts were out there. :-)

Here is the link to the presentation. I’ve posted it here in my blog, instead of directly to my networks, to provide a place for those who are interested to be able to post comments and, perhaps, continue the dialog.

Language, Race, and Power

Today I’ll be covering the MSU Center of Pedagogy 2009 Advance. We’re meeting in the 7th Floor Conference Center of University Hall on the campus of Montclair State University. See the LiveBlog below for details throughout the day AND you are invited to add your own comments, which will appear in the blog and, if you have questions, I’ll be able to ask them on your behalf.

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]