Got Social?

Academic iPad Wiki

I’ve been seeing many resources floating around already regarding the use of the iPad in education. I decided I wanted to start keeping track of those. Then I thought that it might be a great idea to get other to help, with the benefit that they would be able to see the resources also. So, I decided to start a wiki – which allows anyone and everyone to edit and add their resources.

The site address is:

http://academicipad.wikispaces.com

It is open for everyone, to see or edit, so please share the link with folks. If you have any resources you’d like to share, please do – I’m sure everyone will be most appreciative (especially me. :> )

Once again I amm laying in bed watching the d bulls play and working on things that I woud normally need to be sitting at my defsk to do. I was never one to feel comfortable using a laptop in bed.

Facebook krocks on the iPad

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.

https://www.sloodle.org/blog/?p=187

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.

FourSquare – love it or hate it?

For those of you who do not know what FourSquare it, you can look here or, from their FAQ,

foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.  We aim to build things to not only help you keep up with the places your friends go, but that encourage you to discover new places and challenge you to explore your neighborhood in new ways.

FourSquare is a flavor of the day when it comes to social networking.  It is geo-aware, so it lets you “check in” wherever you are.  If that place is not already in their system, you can add it.  You get points for checking in (and adding places) and that can be compared to your FourSquare friends.  When you’ve been someplace more than anyone else (also, more than once and you have to have a picture posted to you FourSquare profile), you become the “Mayor” of that location.  You stay the Mayor until someone unseats you – I’m not sure how many more times they have to check in than you, but you get the point.  Business have started using the “Mayor”-ship as an incentive, providing free food, drink, hotel nights, etc… for the “Mayor”

FourSquare gives you three notification options – you can notify your FourSquare friends when you check in someplace (or not), you can have it posted to Twitter (or not) or to Facebook (or not).  You can do any combination of the above.

So, for example – I got to work – check in when I get to my building.  Go to lunch, check in there.  Go for coffee, check in there.  Go to the gym after work, check in there.  Go for a bite to eat after the gym, check in there, you get the picture.  Thats a lot of checking in.

For those who follow you on your social network, it can be a lot of postings to your time line.  Now, if you have a handful of friends who are using it, wow – that could be overwhelming, depending on how frequently people check in.  On Facebook, you can block applications without blocking a person, so you wont’ see the notices.  Not so on Twitter.

So, this seems to have created a problem for some folks.  In fact, I’m having an ongoing discussion with someone in a Facebook thread on this very topic, which is what prompted this post.  A couple of people have said they “feel like their stalking me”.  A couple of others have said it bothers them that they get this notices.  They don’t mean just from me, but if someone is into social networking, it is likely they know others who are – so one could easily have an handful or two of people checking in  all the time.

Do you use FourSquare?
How often do you check in?
Do you have FourSquare notify Twitter and/or Facebook when you do?
Are the check ins of others starting to bug you?
Do you see any benefit to FourSquare?
How about educational uses – either to learn about someplace or as a tool for learning?
What other questions or comments do you have about it?

[UPDATE] I’ve added the following poll

[polldaddy poll=2540404]

Technology as place?

Although I attended Sloan-C this year, virtually, one of my colleagues attended on site.  She forwarded to me a slideshow from one of the presenters, Steve Kerby from McDaniel College.  Steve talks about “Technology as Place: Designing Environments for Student-Centered Learning”.

You can watch the presentation here:
http://www2.mcdaniel.edu/skerby/presentations/Sloan_2009.html
it’s about 16 minutes long.

The link should open for you in a new window.  Once you’ve watched it, feel free to come back here and in comments let me know what you think.

Hey Ya, You Make My Dreams Come True

Ok, so you really must be wondering what the title of this blog is about.

Last night, on the Rachel Maddow show, I watched segment she did about Rolland Burris, the now famous Senator from Illinois, who was awarded President Obama’s seat in Congress.  He actually did a quite original reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas, changing the words to reflect the current silliness in the Senate, thanks to “our friends on the right”.

This was a light covering to allow Rachel to cover this lip-dub-off that is going on between two schools in Seattle.

Here is the link to Maddow’s piece from last night

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34557327

Here’s the deal, the first one, Shorecrest, is really quite good – and shot all in one take, which is quite an accomplishment.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPTd8MgAeqI]

They challenged their crosstown rivals, Shorewood, to top it, and for my money, Shorewood blew them out.  Here’s that video, but keep one thing in mind – this entire video WAS SHOT BACKWARDS!!!  Yes, shot backwards – thats how they got the objects to fly BACK into people’s hands.  And its AMAZING to see that even the lip sync is done pretty close to right BACKWARDS!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7TI-AJi2O8]

So, here is my point in bringing this up, aside from wanted to share both of these awesome videos with you.  This is what our kids can do if we provide them with the learning objective and let them create and construct the learning.  You might say, “please – what kind of learning in going on making a lip-dub video.”

Think of what had to happen in order for this video to take place.   These had to be very carefully planned out, orchestrated, organized, there are plenty of real-life, real-world skills on display in both of these efforts.   Maddow’s blog (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34511834/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/)goes through some of the highlights of the videos and also some of the detail on what went into making them.  Especially interesting is the details on how the backwards video idea person made this happen, including how he made sure the lip sync worked right – BACKWARD.

Did I mention this was all show in reverse.  Watching it, I’m even having trouble wrapping my head around this.  Kudos Shorecrest and Shorewood.  Sorry, Crest, Wood has my vote at the moment.  :-)

Digital Community and Friendship

I am readeing “The Young and The Digital: What the Migration to Social-Networked Sites, Games, and Anytimes, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future” by S. Cragi Watkins.  So far I am really enjoying the book and look foward to blogging about it.  Probably tomorrow.

So, here is a question from the book I want you to consider:

“Are notions of community and friendship changing in the digital age?”

What do you think?

You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay

…but you don’t have to call me Mr. Johnson.

Add two “old” points if you remember that.

Ok – so, time for our next weeks survey.  Someone who works in my college tweeted that
“unless you are a medical doctor don’t introduce yourself as “Hi! I’m doctor [last name]” when entering a room.”


This weeks question is simple.  Do you agree with this person or not.

Chime in below in the survey and in Comment with any extra thoughts.

[polldaddy poll=2283509]

Bad press for Linden Lab

Someone on the SLED list posted a link to the following Slashdot story

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/11/20/1323231/SecondLife-To-Remove-Free-Content-From-Web-Search

The write-up reflects very negatively on Linden Lab.  This latest dust-up, about freebie items in the online store, has not sat well at all.  Is it my imagination, or has Linden Lab had trouble keeping on the good side of the news cycle lately.  Lets look at what they’ve done recently.

  • Announced a great shiny new enterprise solution that cost $55,000 to own.  Oh, sorry, just today, apparently they announced that they are cutting that to a measly $38,000 for higher education.
  • They served legal notice to a very high-profile, and very SL-supportive, educator regarding abuse of the SL in the name of a project she’d created – which, by the way, was in support of Second Life as an educational platform and held up BY Linden Lab as exemplary.
  • Eliminate the freebie market from the officially support web-based sales tool. (or at least trying to)
  • On shorter notice than had been previously promised, we all had to update our viewer – required.  Most people I know have said that their experience since that forced update has gotten significantly worse.  My experience has been that things are worse now than in the recent past as far as the in-world experience is concerned (lag, slow rezzing, voice issues, etc….)

I look at the above items and see “business” decisions, as opposed to “community” decisions.

I have never had a problem with John or Claudia or George.  Ok, sometimes they don’t get back so quickly…. :-) ….but they are busy.  :-)
But I have never once doubted their commitment to the education community.

One has to wander, are enough people widening their scope that even a gesture from Linden Lab right now wouldn’t stop the diffusion of the academic community?

What do YOU think about the current state of things – with Linden Lab?  with other Virtual Worlds specifically? with virtual world technology?

Course Assessment

I am looking for samples of course assessments, specifically those that are used in hybrid and online courses.

A course evaluation is the kind that students complete at the end of the course, evaluating the course and, usually, the instructor.

If you know where I can get my hands on samples, either link the URL in the comment field below or email me a pd or word document to keltona at mail dot montclair dot edu.

If you don’t have an examples, but want to have a discussion here (which would also be helpful), do you think course evaluations should be any different for face-to-face classes, hybrid class, or online classes?

National Educational Technology Plan meeting

As mentioned in my previous post, I was one of the speakers at the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Second Life meeting with members of the President’s panel for the National Educational Technology Plan.  Below is the content of my speech.

Hello, and welcome. I’m excited and honored to have been asked to speak today at what promises to be an interesting and informative event. My name is AJ Kelton and I’m the Director of Emerging Instructional Technology for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University, located in Northern New Jersey.

I am joining you from the premier technology in higher education event, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, taking place this week in Denver Colorado. What an appropriate place to be when considering this topic, as EDUCAUSE is heavily invested in talking about, and acting on, improving the use of technology in the learning and teaching process. I’d like to thank all the folks at EDUCAUSE, especially Victoria Fanning, Lida Larson, and Justin James for assisting me today.

At this event you are going to hear about assessment, tools, pedagogy, and, I’m sure, a wide variety of other aspects of the importance of technology in education. As a doctoral student in the Educational Communication and Technology program at New York University’s Steinhardt School, this topic is of great importance to me. The work being done in the Educational Communication and Technology program, and other programs like it, is invaluable to our industry.

Funding and support for education needs to be consistent with the incredible importance we place on education. If funding continues to take a back seat in our priorities, we will fall further behind regarding a well-educated public and, more importantly, we risk losing the support of the most important constituency in this process, our students.

It has been said that technology is anything that was not around when you were born. At the rate we are seeing technological advances, everything we know as technology today will be passé to most students entering our grade schools in a few years. Things are changing that quickly and our students are adapting to the change. If we do not adapt with them, we run the risk of becoming the dinosaurs of the educational process.

This is not to say I believe we have to use technology because the students want it; or that we should use it just for the sake of using technology. No, we need to invest both time and resources to an ongoing conversation about pedagogically sound uses of both current and emerging technology.

We can spend a great deal of time talking about different tools that will engage our students as we move further into an increasingly digital age. Virtual worlds, like Second Life, are an excellent vehicle to engage our students in ways that are simply not possible in the actual world. I have watched students, those I’ve taught, and those in grade school, become completely immersed in the learning activities in virtual worlds.

Although not for formal educational purposes, many children are already immersed in virtual environments. There will soon, very soon, come a time when these students will expect the same type of engagement when learning in school. Want proof of this? Watch any small child while they play away in Webkinz, Club Barbie, Club Penguin, or one of the many other virtual worlds exclusively for children. These students are engaged.

These students are prosumers, those who are both producers AND consumers of content. Think YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia. These students will soon be in our grade schools, our high schools, and then our institutions of higher education, making their way into our work force. If we don’t do what is necessary now, we run the risk of creating probably one of the greatest social injustices in our lifetimes.

But it’s about more than just Second Life, or virtual worlds, or any of the tools that are just cresting over the horizon. What good are virtual worlds, augmented reality, web-based games, etc…, if our system does not have the three things it needs to be successful making use of them.

First, everyone needs inexpensive access to the Internet. I have watched my home Internet access bill go nowhere but up. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford the $60 for high speed access. Many people, however, all across this county, like in cities such as Newark, NJ, where I was born and still live near, cannot. Let’s do whatever is necessary to make Internet access a utility, like water, electric, and gas, instead of a commodity more concerned with profit margins. Want to see a kid learn, hook him or her up to the Internet and guide their learning process. This is not just about hardwired connection, either – it is very much about wireless.

Second, the tools we use to connect to the Internet need to be easy to use, well designed, and inexpensive. This is not just about laptops and desktops. In fact, it is about much more than that. It is about mobile technology and what the students can hold in their hands, walk around with, be connected wirelessly, and explore. The One Laptop Per Child program is a great start, but we need to take it further. We need to see handheld devices for educational use at a price point most can afford. We need to see the access to those devices come at a reasonable price, so people won’t have to look at the bill each month to decide if they can afford to continue to learn using them.

Bottom line, we need to make it easier for students to get the technology and access they must have in order to be great learners and the future of our world.

Lastly, we need to see many more people studying and talking about pedagogically sound uses of the technology. Our schools need to employ people who have taken the time to learn, and continue to learn, about theories and practices that will help the teachers plan the educational uses of existing, and new, technology. One instructional designer for 100 teachers is just not enough.

How can the government help with this, meaning, why did I couch such large issues into a meeting like this? These issues, although large, are also foundational. Unless we do something about them, the other issues on top of which these three are build, will continue to flounder. There need to be incentives created for the private sector to develop and maintain partnerships with school and students at all levels.

We need to be more concerned about what students learn, and not just what they remember. Well thought out and pedagogically sound use of technology is a gigantic step in that direction.

Thank you for your time.