Archive for October, 2007

A friend of mine sent a higher resolution copy of the video made by Michael Wesch’s students that’s circulating online right now. Amazing stuff. I can see more in the version I have now, so I pause the video to read what the students are saying. At one point in the video, where students are editing the survey they’ve created in Google docs, I noticed one line that really jumped out at me.

“I feel more connected online than I do in real life.”

Profound, eh? My daughter tells me that she can’t live without Facebook.  I’ve had learners tell me that what they learn online feels more real to them than what they learn in a classroom. I love when learners tell me things like this because you can see in their eyes that they almost can’t believe that they feel that way. It doesn’t make sense that they feel this way.  I also talk to my virtual friends about how close and real those friendships can become.

I wonder how many of us feel more connected online. Do you?  And how do we teach people who feel more connected online?


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There are lots of tools that allow people to share videos and pictures (YouTube comes to mind), but we’re starting to see a new generation of services (maybe inspired by Joost) that bring a bit of interactivity to a static presentation.

VoiceThread and Viddler are two examples. These services let you or learners share presentations, interviews, projects, or demonstrations. The difference is once something is uploaded, others can annotate or add tags and comments to it. That turns a broadcast into a kind of conversation. (It’s also important to note that both services allow you to continue to own what you produce. Not all do.)

Here’s a VoiceThread presentation that gives you an idea of some of the possibilities.


There are some fun ways to use these services. Imagine the kinds of comments that Uncle Joe would leave on the video of your family camping trip, for instance. There may be ways to use this to support learning, too. They might give learners a way to share feedback on each others’ projects. They could ease collaboration. They could offer you or learners a way to teach others something new (like this one from Dean Shareski). Learners could then tag their muddiest point, ask questions or leave comments in the video. This can be a bit tricky. You’ll notice that some of the comments in this Viddler presentation are a bit silly. (Tadpole eyebrows?)

What do you think? How would you use this? More importantly, how do you think you’s use a tool like this to encourage meaningful learning instead of goofy graffiti?

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From a chat with a colleague (and shared with his permission) …

“It’s funny but in many ways teachers are not about communication, they are about broadcasting. That is why they don’t get the web, it’s not that they don’t know what it does, it’s that they don’t like what it does…”

I wonder. What do you think?

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Trust the blog

Michael Hotrum did a small “trust test“. He searched the net for information about repetitive stress injury. He looked at web sites and blogs, and he concluded …

“Websites are primarily corporate, designed to deliver a message leading to a sale, and often dated. The weblog – personal ones – can be corporate and sales driven but then there are also gems like Amy’s where the message is up to date and more important than the sale. She as a blogger wants to share information and experience, not generate a sale. So for this trust test I side with the weblog.”

We hear a lot on the debate about how much we should trust the information on wikis (the Wikipedia vs. Britannica debate, for instance), but I never thought about trusting the information we find on blogs.

I’m curious. Which do you think you trust more? Blogs or web sites?  Why?

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our posse goes to the burridge campus

A group of us just spent a wonderful morning with the great group taking part in Foundations in Adult Learning at the Burridge Campus. Besides the amazing food (thanks Phyllis & Tony!), we had the chance to talk about “digital learners” and look at some of the technologies that are engaging them.For those who were there, thanks for great conversations. I came home to see that I’ve got a few new Facebook friends, and I noticed a few changes on the wiki.  Chris has posted a few more pictures on Flickr.

I heard some great ideas during the sessions. Don’t keep them to yourself! Dive into the wiki and share (either the Web Superhero wiki or the Organizational Learning wiki if you have access — although I notice that one is a bit wonky right now). The Web Superhero wiki is yours to play with so feel free to change or rearrange what you’d like. Also, I’d love if you’d leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the session. If we do this again, is there anything we should change?

Take care & stay connected. Is there anything I missed?

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What will Helen Barrett think of next?  She has created a version of her eportfolio in del.icio.us.

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