Archive for June, 2007

You might have seen this floating around the blogosphere over the past few days. It’s Hans Rosling’s second presentation at Ted. For those who didn’t see the first, check it out. Rosling is brilliant at explaining tough concepts visually. Brilliant. In 20 minutes, he can change the way you look at the world.  Better yet, his tools are posted on his site so that you can download and play with them yourself.

I didn’t think he could give a more engaging presentation than that one but he has. Be sure you watch until the end.


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  • If you get tired, you can stop, save your place and pick up where you left off.
  • You can finish early without feeling guilty.
  • You can get rid of any viruses you catch with a $50 program from McAfee.
  • With a little coffee you can do it all night.
  • You don’t usually get divorced if your spouse interrupts you in the middle of it.
  • And if you’re not sure what you are doing, you can always ask your tutor.

I promise I got more out of this old presentation on design-based research (powerpoint) than the jokes. But this had to be shared.

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Lee LeFever does it again.

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Sharing your gifts

Summers are a great time at the college where I work. New faculty and staff go to Truro to attend Summer Institute. It’s the most energizing experiences you can have as a new employee. It’s time to reflect on what you do and how you can do it better. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with people who may work at a different campus or in another division. During the summer, you often meet folks that become lifelong friends.

ribbonAlthough I graduated from the program two years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to spend today in Truro along with fifteen of my colleagues to share something that we’ve learned — our “gift”. Each of us sat at a table. Every twenty minutes, participants could switch tables to hear someone else talk. It’s kind of like musical chairs except you get to learn something new every time you sit down. A couple of my colleagues talked about something unique they’ve done to engage learners on the first day of the program. Another person talked about using games in learning. (You know who you are & I’m coming to talk to you!) I talked about Second Life. It was an amazing day. After seeing the agenda, I wish I had been participating instead of talking.

I mentioned that a friend of mine offered an introduction to blogging at Summer Institute so I’m hoping that some of those gifts will start to get shared more widely. Blogging is one of those wonderful ways to share your gifts.

How about you? What’s your gift? Share.

(Photo, Red Bow, by Hey Paul)

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Hey NSCC bloggers!

My friend Chris tells me that he’s doing a session on blogs and wikis for faculty and staff tonight in Truro. I wish I could be there, but then I’d like to be anywhere with Chris because he’s taught me so much & because he’s such a great guy. Have fun & hope you learn lots!

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In the lead up to this week’s National Media Education Conference, I was checking out Project NML. Project NML is funded by the MacArthur Foundation to look at how young people are using emerging technologies to learn informally, what skills they’re developing, and then to develop materials for teachers so that they can support that learning in school. MIT’s Henry Jenkins is the leading the project.

I have the feeling that this kind of information is going to become more and more valuable to people like me (I’m an instructional designer) over the next few years since many online courses are little more than migrations of classroom learning experiences. That doesn’t come close to how people learn “in the wild” online. The more we learn about informal learning with technology and use that information to create vibrant, participatory learning environments, the more effective online courses can be.

Ok, off my soapbox.

If you want a taste of the kind of work Project NML is doing, check out this 5-minute piece on videoblogging featuring Steve Garfield. The video would be a wonderful thing to show students to give them a sense of what (video)blogging is about. (I like the bit about trust.)

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I came across a wonderful podcast interview (mp3) with Dave Sifry, the founder of Technorati, where he offers some two great pieces of advice people who blog to develop their brand.

Sifry says the currency of bloggers is the link. The more that people link to you, the better off you are. Sifry offers three pieces of advice if you want to get those links. First, you need to use a human voice when you blog. Be honest, not “official”. Next, write often. Set aside some time so that you can write enough about what you care about so that people will subscribe to your blog. Finally, link proficially. If you want people to notice you, read what those people are writing and link to them. Comment on their blogs. Engage in a conversation with them.

This is great advice for the brand-name blogger wannabe, but do you think it might be good advice for student bloggers as well? After all, student bloggers are branding themselves for future employers.  Or maybe students will brand themselves elsewhere?

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