Monday, January 31, 2005

Live Blogging James Farmer's Alado session


This is a combined summary of the three live bloggings of James Farmer's Alado session for the EVO2005 Weblogging Group held on Monday, January 23, 2005.

The original live blogging posts can be found here: Cleve's live blog , Gerry's live blog, Graham's live blog

Also, these bloggers posted about the session afterwards: Aaron , Bee

Longer comment on session can be found on the wiki

The session was held at the Alado WebHead page with live audio and webpages. Participants could speak over a microphone, and by text chat in a side window. The Alado communication platform performed very well, especially for broadband connections.

James Farmer's supporting material: James's Weblog Presentation Slides Original Paper

Summary of the Presentation

By looking at three critical elements, or “presences”: social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence, James Farmer frames and illustrates the questions:

- how to best facilitate communities of inquiry

- how these dynamics impact our ability to facilitate them.

Social presence is the ability of teachers to project themselves and create a community.

Cognitive presence is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse in a critical community of inquiry.

Teaching presence is the ability of the teacher to actually facilitate the development of social presence and cognitive presence.

Through these presences we can evaluate the dynamics within communities of inquiry.

Just like traditional communication environments such as lecture halls and corridors are not conducive to leaner interaction and collaboration, discussion boards tend toward participant anonymity and email is, primarily, one-to-one. Course management systems such as WebCT and Blackboard are highly structured and rigid. These attributes and architecture can limit learner presence in communities of inquiry.

These limitations are largely overcome with blogs. Blogging technologies, syndication and aggregators nurture the dynamics within communities of inquiry by fulfilling the potential of learner presence.

By using weblogs learners may project their real persona through sustained reflection and discourse in a loose, organic environment.

Comments related to postings and trackback links facilitate communication and the building of community.

For teachers, weblogs allow the design, facilitation and direction of cognitive and social processes that can lead to rich communities of inquiry and successful learner outcomes.

For those who want more, there is a more detailed commentary on the wiki

Live Blogging ( Some thoughts on this)

Graham: I found it exhilharating, and I was completely exhausted afterwards - I missed lots of very interesting points of discussion, which was annoying, but I found the experience to be very interesting indeed. What's sure is that the next time I'll be able to do it much better.

Cleve: I agree with Graham that it was a buzz. Reflecting about what liveblogging did for me as a learner, I feel that my relationship with the event was so much more active, and the (conceptual) interaction so much richer, that I gained quite a bit more than if I had been a "listener + a question or two" only, which is my normal posture. Much of this was a result of the 45 minutes I spent editing and organizing the post after the event (which I suppose means it wasn't truly "live"). And it was exhausting, especially for a two-finger typist.

Gerry: My experience with live blogging is that it was a little hard to keep focused - should I type or listen and read? When typing, I was concentrating on capturing the proceedings as well as I could, but at the same time, I was conscious that I was not paying close enough attention to what was happening next in the live event. As a result, I found it hard to provide good coverage of the entire event and often wondering what I may have missed. In the end, I just started typing as much as I could while not immediately editing or revising, but rather leaving that until the event was finished. I did repost my blog entry about every 5 minutes, with the thought that if anyone was following through the blog, they would be kept somewhat up to date.

It was obviously a good idea to have multiple people blogging the event as we seemed to compliment each other's work rather well. However, this process did prevent me from providing any editorial comments or personal views as I was not sure how that would fit when it came time to generate the collective work. I suppose this aspect could be worked around by somehow identifying what was opinion and was was simply the recording of the proceedings as I experienced them.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Ghost of Charlie Hoban

Why are people afraid of blogging?

This morning I got up early quite unhappy because my partners in a Socrates educational project refused to introduce the proposal of creating a blog within the partnership.
Why are so many teachers afraid of new things?
Sad and unhappy, I went to my personal blog.
Aaron had put a comment on it last night.
Suddenly the good feelings came back to me.
We, the people on this Planet have to learn how to be nice one to another.
Life is so difficult!
Blogging can make it nicer.
Thank you Aaron.
Thank you all for having created such a wonderful group!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What are blogs?

(Summary of chat with Anne Davis, Fri 21st Jan, 2005: 24 participants)

Advantages of blogs:
We are building learning communities unlike any we've had before. It's exciting!
  • They allow instant publishing to the Internet
  • They cost little or nothing
  • They provide a comment feature that allows interaction from others
  • They are dynamic and focus on content from the participants - listening, talking, collaborating, having a dialog, sharing
  • They work for any subject
  • They are empowering - they give everyone a voice
  • They make writing THE focus - send the message that writing matters
  • They promote ownership of work
  • They allow us to learn from our students
  • They allow us to reflect on our teaching and our student’s learning - think, review, rethink, an endless process
  • They allow the interchange of thoughts and ideas
  • They are exciting - seeing others comment on your thoughts/anticipating comments and replies

Anne's blog is Edublog Insights at Edublog Insights

Uses of Blogs:

Students write about current events, gave their opinions and learned to end their posts with a thought-provoking question to invite participation from others.

Students write little stories or sentences about idioms and illustrated them. Posted, then all class members made a sentence with that idiom in the comments section.

Elementary students were mixed with high school journalism students from another class. Students wanted their writing to be good because they had an audience they cared about.

List of possibilities for blog use

Blogging challenges

Need to make it clear that if students abuse the privilege of Internet use, they lose it. We have to build communities within our classrooms and not just let students loose on the web.

It may be a challenge to get other teachers to see the possibilities of blogging, and to get school administrators at the higher levels to take worthwhile risks for children to enter the information age and learn how to communicate in it.

Anne has never had any students refuse to blog or had parents concerned about blogging although one particpant’s students had refused to blog. Most participants seemed to agree that blogging should be part of student assessment, although there should be a real purpose for blogging too external to any academic purpose.

To correct or not?

Students are learning the language so mistakes are OK! The process is the important part. Anne puts an accuracy disclaimer on her class blog.

Summarized by Bogdan, Janina and Paddy

Monday, January 24, 2005

I wonder whether any of you have volunteered for
collective task 4
The chat is tonight, and blogging live is quite an exercise!!!
Anyone willing to face the challenge?

Coming into Week 2

Now that Week 1 has come to an end, we would like to offer a few reminders to everyone:

1. Collective Tasks: The success of this 6-week learning event hinges largely on your active participation in the weekly individual and collective tasks as outlined in the webquest:

The collective tasks are especially important, for most are designed to review, summarize, pool, collect, transcribe, etc., the relevant issues being discussed and links being offered. With the large number of participants, it will be of great benefit to all if these tasks get completed each week. If everyone chips in a tiny bit of their time each week, we can accomplish this easily. Of the 166 participants registered, only 18 have volunteered so far. Please help!

In order to better understand the use of weblogs and wikis for learning, it is imperative that we gain firsthand experience using them. The individual and collective tasks give us an opportunity to gain that experience while contributing something to everyone here in this learning community. It is best start the weekly tasks now and strive to keep up with them little by little as the course progresses. In this way, you will be giving life to the community and, in turn, receiving its fruits.

Click here to volunteer for Week One tasks.

Click here to volunteer for Week Two tasks.

2. Course Links: You will find quick links to all the important pages in this course on the front page of the Yahoo! Groups list to the right of the picture. Please bookmark them for easy access.

3. Weekly Schedule: Don't forget to refer to the Weekly Schedule to keep track of the weekly goals, activity checklist, and chat sessions.

4. Collective Blog: Please refrain from posting individual messages or chat in the collective blog. This is reserved for the reports and summaries from the collective tasks. You can use the personal blogs for that.

That's all for now! Have fun! And do not forget we have a chat with James Farmer tomorrow!

Graham, Bee, and Aaron

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Gmail - [weblogging] Google Toolbar (with Blog this! button) - a useful tool

Saturday, January 22, 2005

If I start it, will they come?

I've been thinking long and hard about the idea of incorporating blogging into teaching...loooong and hard. Here's my issue. I live in Switzerland, a place where being reserved is a national sport. Expression isn't looked upon as a good thing.

Remember, I'm an expat from the American South, so I *may* be overgeneralizing here.:-)

Most of my students are IT folks from the banking and insurance industries. It's hard enough to get them to fight through the layers of shyness brought on by their culture, jobs, and personalities and express themselves in their class. How in the world can I expect them to blog? How do I help them get over the fear of expression?

Also, there have been instances where people have lost their jobs for blogging. Should I help my students start blogs anonymously? What are the possibilities of creating a protected environment? Is it up to me to ease their fears?


A good start

This course is my second experience in the field. The first one was a very good introduction to the world of blogs.
That is why I am feeling more relaxed now. I have been fortunate to be invited to join the Introductory Course in November and this course in December.
I want to learn all I can in order to be able to use blogs in my teaching (young students and adults)
The beginning is quite promising. I am sure we will have a great time throughout this learning experience.

I've finally been invited ;-)

It feels good to be part of a community, and it feels much better to be able to share. Here's my first posting on a blog that I did not create but am very much a part of.



Tuesday, January 18, 2005

...out of the box...

Good morning is 6:37 Am here in Texas. I just logged into the BCP blog and saw that Bee had made an entry and Karen has a draft. So I feel like a bit of an explorer.

I have on one other occasion experimented with some blog structure that allows for multiple authors. It will be interesting to me to see how using Blogger accomodates the idea of a group blog. My first thought is that by allowing everyone to post and have access to the dashboard and admin panel, that you also take the risk, that someone is going to "mess" (couldn't think of a better word) with someone else's work. Perhaps, Blogger ought to have some sort of super administrator level so that everyone's ability to post over someone else has some control to it.

That is not to say that I think someone might "do" something to someone elses posts in this class, but I am wondering if such ability might not be something for all of you to consider when opening up a blog for all your students to post in.

On the other hand, there is blogware out there that allows for multi-authored posting in a more collaborative sense. So I think the blogging community sees the need, and is struggling to find a way to accomodate those who are interested in such collaborative blogs. for Karens Draft post...I found it to be quite coincidental that one of her lines is:
..."An interesting idea, to move beyond Yahoo Mail and into blog-blivion!"...
The template I selected for my blog looks like a Yahoo page and even has a link to Yahoo Mail on it. Karen, sometimes it is shocking that both our minds think along the same or similar paths. By the way, I liked the post and thought it gave many thoughts for one to consider today.

So I am out of here, and off to "blog-blivion". I am out looking at smart phones today. Hopefully, in the next few days, I will be posting from a cell phone instead of my PC. When I looked through the sites listed on the Wiki, I noted that at least one of our members is already on that wave link. Tze's still-under-construction "about rhymes" WAP site appears to be made for use on cell phones....Talk about "blog-blivion"....Where does it all stop?


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

So here lays

the initial thoughts presented to this Community of Practice, blogging away into eternity.....

An interesting idea, to move beyond Yahoo Mail and into blog-blivion! (For those making the leap---- ;)

Etymology: Latin transcendent-, transcendens, present participle of transcendere
1 a : exceeding usual limits : SURPASSING
b : extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience
c in Kantian philosophy : being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge
2 : being beyond comprehension
3 : transcending the universe or material existence

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary