Rick(?), Thanks for...

Thanks for you question regarding the ADA requirements for transcript, you have challenged me to raise the level of awareness on this issue. Had this been an actual alert or a class, I would have provided a text transcript. I should have moved my lips to amount(?) the(?) words for visual recognition as well. So this is an important issue that we should all consider. One thing I'm doing here is testing the option for using jott as a means of providing a transcript. listen

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Moving to the Dark Side or Toward the Light?

My Dell is dying. At approximately 7:15 PM, Friday, February 22, 2008, my faithful friend flashed his main monitor and could no longer compute. Emergency calls were placed and technicians determined that although they could save him for now, his life expectancy is limited. Limping now with a borrowed video card and impaired capabilities, he has sent my files to a shared drive. Knowing his impending doom, he faithfully strives to keep me working as I use his very operating system to explore the virtues and capabilities of the "other side", the Mac.

I am writing this post from a Mac in our computer lab. I'm testing my comfort level in a different environment and I am salivating over the aesthetics and seductive qualities of everything Mac. So far, I'm feeling like a native, with only one problem, as I tried to connect to the Lotus Mail Anywhere system.

Somehow shifting to the Mac, with dual boot capability seems a lot more enticing than moving to Vista. Perhaps it's the adventure of it all which is consistent with my current learning mode. We'll just have to wait and see the outcome. In the meantime, thanks my old friend, for over 6 years of faithful service. Surely you will be rewarded in heaven.


Embedding Slidecast into Your Blog - Too Slick!!!!

As I am learning about all the cool features of Slideshare and Slidecasting, I noticed that there are icons below the slidecast which enable me to embed the slidecast into my blog. I even have the option to place it in my sidebar. All done by clicking on the desired icon, entering your username and password for your blog and clicking submit. Wallah!! It's Magic.

Slidecasting 101

From: jboutelle, 6 months ago

This is an instructional slidecast showing how to make a slidecast. Very meta, no? Anyway, it's a good example of the possibilities that slidecasting has. It's a new medium, somewhere in between pictures and video. We can't wait to see what kind of slidecasts YOU come up with!

SlideShare Link

Hi, this is Bret William...

Hi, this is Bret William again, I am continuing my experiment with Jott. I have some interesting discussions with Michelle and with my colleague [...] and I am very excited about the possibilities that this might offered. So, I am going to hangup now and see what actually appears in my blogspot. I hope this works. Bye. listen

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Jott Inspires a Reconsideration of Blackboard or Any LMS System In Higher Education

Man on Fire!!!

Today is the first time in many years of using, administering, and teaching in a Blackboard environment that I seriously ask myself: why use Blackboard? This is not an indictment against Blackboard or any other learning management system (LMS), but a revelation about the availability and capabilities of existing and emerging technologies that can at least enhance the LMS experience and make a serious attempt to meet learners in their own learning and communication spaces.

What has me fired up is the result of many recent discussions and collaborative efforts with my colleagues, Britt Watwood and Jeff Nugent as we explore and question working and learning in a web 2.0 environment, and Michele Martin’s posting which introduced me to Jott. I truly believe that Jott will change my life, my approach to sharing information and my consultation with faculty about their own course design, content delivery and interaction with students. Jott is still too new to me to understand the full impact, but it already has blown me away with its ability to translate my voice and send that as an e-mail to either myself, specific individuals or groups. Now I’ve yet to explore this, but Jott can also feed a message directly into a blog (see Jott Links). Yes, a blog. So what are the ramifications of that? Well, here is the actual text as transcribed by Jott while I walked from the parking deck to my office and contemplated some of the possibilities (and the message was there waiting for me when I arrived).

Screen capture of Jott message and actual text below:

"As a result of yesterday's experiments with Jott and discussing various things regarding RSS feets(?) with Breath. I am thinking about way to incorporate these technologies in conjunction with a blackboard class. I see some area of where I could be on the phone as I am now recording a message that would be forwarded to a blog. Then the blog will be then connected to my class with an RSSE and automatically update information into my class. It would be nice if this could be done in a blackboard announcement, but it may not be possible. So, trick could be to change to default announcement page to page inside the blackboard."

NOTE: There are a few things that did not get translated correctly, such as “feets?” and Britt’s name, which came out as “Breath”. Perhaps with a little more effort to articulate words more clearly and spell unusual words, its accuracy may improve. However, I must note that my earlier experiments resulted in perfect translation, including Britt’s name. Even with flaws, I could send these messages to myself and then proofread and fine tune them for postings.

The bottom line is that I am now pondering:

  1. Why to I want to use Blackboard or other LMS? (Class administrative assistance; roster, gradebook, central location or portal, other?) See my concept map.
  2. How can I harness the power of other technologies, tools and resources to provide rich and engaging learning opportunities and meet my educational goals? (The resources I am exploring are mostly free, with the exception of a cell phone and IP which most people will have)?

    A few examples:
    • Jott
    • Blog
    • Wiki
    • Delicious
    • Google Documents
    • Google Reader
    • Google Calendar
    • Voicethreads
    • Slideshare
    • Slidecast
    • Flicker
    • Screencasting
  1. Why does my LMS administration insist that students use the university’s e-mail? If we want to meet students in their own learning (and communication) space, we should be providing ways to forward communication to the student’s desired location.
  2. How can students provide or input information to feed class content and communication to their various accounts outside of my LMS?

Here is an outline of a scenario related to teaching:

  • The instructor walks out of class and is contemplating the previous hour, questions which did not get answered, awareness of ideas which some students did not understand or simply has a few related ideas to share before the next class.
  • The instructor calls Jott via their cell phone
  • Dictates the content
  • Having set up Jott correctly before class, the content is fed to a blog which has been created for the class
  • The Blackboard (or other LMS) class has an embedded RSS feed from the blog to the announcements page or other location in the class (there may be some technical / coding issues to be ironed out)
    • I’m wondering if there might be opportunities for students to use Jott to feed information into the class as well

PS: I’m beginning to re-think my cell phone as a tool and a command center with which I can share information in many ways, formats, media, and remotely control actions and leverage time-shifting to accomplish my goals.

I’m also re-considering writing and different types of communication in light of their media format and best use. Perhaps an imperfect translation from a voice translation system is not a critical problem within the right context. It may be as my friend Jeff Nugent often says, “JGE”; just good enough. This is not to imply that I would accept text messaging and misspellings in a final document, but as a means to convey quick thoughts after class (much like handwritten notes), it may be JGE.

Stay tuned, I’m a man on fire.

Early morning thoughts in a rapidly changing world

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Social capital
Personal learning environment

What will be expected of each of us in the next 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and later? If we do not make time to learn and adapt to our changing environment, will we be relevant?

Social Computing Enhances Communication with Inhouse Colleagues

I can’t recall the source, but I recently read somewhere that the power of social networked computing may not be so much the connection of people at a distance as the first step to getting connected in the physical world. It claimed that in people in small towns tend to know most everyone or be indirectly connected with people of similar interests. However, the use of social networking in large metropolitan areas makes it easier to find people who might have similar interests. The claim is that the online connection can lead to more actual physical engagement. One example is eHarmony.

Somewhat related to this idea is an experience I’m having in my office. I believe the more engaged my colleagues and I become in reading blogs, creating our own posts, and jointly learning in and about the w20 environment, the more we tend to gather around the coffee pot or drop into each other’s offices for a quick chat (or maybe not so quick). We are becoming more excited about discussing what we read and the ideas which these readings inspire.

Learning Can be Painful

Learning can be a painful process. Being prompted by my peers and blogs like The Bamboo Project to believe that life is not worth living in a web 2.0 environment without the Mozilla Firefox browser, I finally bit the bullet. I decided that I would commit the next 30 days to working in the Firefox environment, to learn what this “religious experience” is all about. I opened the Firefox browser and started to focus on the tools. All was well and interesting in Mudville. However, at some point, I was prompted to update Firefox to the latest version and this seemed like a good starting point, so I did. I chose to do a typical installation, however I got strong recommendations regarding a few tools I should add to enhance my experience. So, I added a download manager, PDF download, Cooliris (which really did seem cool) and one of my top 10 tools; delicious. This is when the learning got interesting. With the few tweaks I made to my new browser, I realized what a different and unpredictable experience we may have from others with whom we connect and share content. The waters became even murkier when delicious made reference to bookmarks (I already thought that bookmarks were “old school”) and its ability to save the bookmarks on my local machine to my delicious account. When I went to a website to “tag” the site, the Google homepage appeared and a sidebar was presented on the left side of my screen which contained bookmarks and tags. Perplexed, I discussed what was happening on my system with my colleague, Britt Watwood, and reiterated the notion of different user experiences and how this impacts our work with faculty. This consultation confirmed the differences our individual experience with Firefox and delicious. It led to the reinstallation of Firefox, which did not solve the problem, and the restoration of my system to reflect its state 48 hours earlier. My computer recognized that today is Wednesday, but I’m sure it’s fuzzy logic must feel like it is Monday. Again, I removed and re-installed Firefox and this time I was careful to avoid the option for a “new feature” to save my “bookmarks” in delicious. After a morning of restoring my computer, removing and replacing my virus protection software and re-installing delicious, I’m ready to start. I’m engaged and I’m definitely learning.