Hello World. (Let’s try this blogging thing again)

It has come to my attention that I should give blogging a try.  Which really means trying again.  One person has been particularly nudgy since his #rhizo15 course launched a couple of weeks ago (Yes you @davecormier). It probably surprises him that I even had a wordpress site to begin with. (See, I know the mechanics). Another friend suggested it would be good for me and that I should consider it a “conditioning program for the brain.” (Which really gave me pause on what the perceived condition of my brain is. But enough of this digression).

It has been four years and two jobs ago since I last touched this space. I somehow remembered the site password but I can barely remember the birth dates of my immediate family members. (Maybe my brain does need some conditioning?)

I could make excuses that my dissertation has preoccupied me. That life, kids and work sucked up the precious spare brain cells that are needed to thoughtfully curate this piece of digital parchment. Yet these are not unique or exceptional reasons to have been away. I was a voracious participant in all manner of twitter edu chats up until 4 years ago. Heck, I used to teach a social media course at one of my previous universities and blogging was a central aspect.

But I gradually transitioned into an observer role, chiming in selectively here and there, invisibly skipping around the interwebs at my leisure, replacing my normal diet of non-fiction essay style books for blogs (and happily so).  I feel less compelled to jump directly into the virtual conversational fray and would rather turn to the person next to me (and most often it’s @mprutter these days) to say “what do you make of this?” Or I turn to the old school backchannel of backchannels, (chat)  for some 1:1 dialogue. I only half joked today that after turning 40 I seem to be technologically regressing on my preferred modes of digital interaction.

I am a verbal and visual thinker. I am rather keen on moving air with my words (just ask my husband) and drawing diagrams on writable walls.  But even I can’t disagree too much with a few of my peers that a blog might be worth doing to clear out a bit of the academic buildup of “stuff” and inner monologues that fill my mind on my train ride home. And let’s face it, to lurk on #rhizo15 is missing the entire point of the process. So, hello world.

My new TED- RSA: 21st Century Enlightenment

Via Scoop.itHigher Ed Faculty

RSA is my new TED (though TED still holds a special place in my heart). Also, I realize that RSA & TED are not same/sam, but there are worthy comparisons and find that their site, inclusive of their famous RSAnimate talks. Please look at this site for their publications other wonderful programs related to social change, new thinking theory, and just plain old other cool stuff.
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Crowdsource our ISTE Experience

#ISTE11 is officially/unoffically under way.  EduBloggerCon rocked as usual this morning lead by the amazing Mr. Steve Hargadon.  And now we have TEDxPhiladelphiaED happening. 

I don’t actually touch down in Philly until Tuesday morning and then I will turn around that evening and head back home. So yes folks, I have 12 hours at ISTE this  year, which is still better than 0 hours. I’ve named my impending trip the ISTE Dash & Crash.  (Crash as in sleep people –not trying for a plane, train or car wreck here).  

Collaborative Blogging Anyone? The Twitterverse has been humming with fabulous shares from the events this weekend, so I am thankful for being in the loop from today’s happenings (though nothing beats really being there). There will be plenty of Paper.li feeds to read as well as individual blog posts from attendees to fill in what you are missing. However, what if there was a giant collaborative blog for folks to post their finds and sightings to. What if you could simply email your pics, vids, and thoughts and it would immediately post to a blog?  I have a couple of friends who have tentatively said “heck ya let’s do it” to this idea. So I set up this ISTE Posterous site where we could do just that.  If you are interested in contributing to a collaborative, crowd-sourced ISTE Blog— drop me a line by clicking on the contact info for this site. You can easily email a picture, video, document, or posting to this blog and it will be posted (and tweeted). 

If you are not at ISTE, but merely flowing the webcasts and Tweets, you can participate too! Share your favorite tweets, observations, resources etc.

I am well aware that I should have had my act together on this crowdsourced blog thingy awhile ago to actually guarantee contributors. Next time!  Until then, I have to rely on the genoursity of a few thousand educators willing to contribute their finds and experiences. 




Blogs Elbow Up to Journal Status in New Academic-Publishing Venture – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Via Scoop.itHigher Ed Faculty

Today’s Chronicle article about Dan Cohen’s latest, work, PressForward, was music to the eyes. At this time last year I was completing a lit review on the status of “digital scholarship” in academia. One of the sticky spots was how to treat blogs, especially as they do not originate in the gold standard of print, nor are they likely to be seen as legit peer-reviewed work.

My interest in the topic is two-fold: As a budding scholar myself and as an administrator who must find ways to help faculty bring more technology into their teaching. The recognition of digital works as real scholarship is essential for the advancement of academe. It provides incentive for faculty to take risk while evolving our ideas of scholarly publishing.

Bravo to Dan Cohen & peers for their progressive work in this area and the launch of PressForward. Looking forward to how this unfolds and develops.
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Free Webinar: Creating Engagement with Voice Tools in Online Courses

Via Scoop.itTeaching Online

THURSDAY, JUNE 9th -In this webinar, participants will learn strategies and techniques for using voice tools to support participant engagement and create personalization in online courses. Continue with this link to view registration information. Please note: Please register at least one hour before the scheduled start time.
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Actor Network Theory

I am experimenting with Storify (future review post on this new tool). I can post my Storify collections directly to WordPress, but this didn’t seem to go so well on the first run. Below is my embed link to my collection on Actor Network Theory.   And if you are wondering, what the heck is that- some kind of Oscar-prep course? I recommend you look at the resource collection :>) If you are into social networks + the tech tools, then you will really dig the whole actor network theory concept.

Actor Network Theory on Storify

[View the story “Actor Network Theory” on Storify]

Registration Open for Lesley’s Academic Tech Institute on Jan 19th.

This is our 14th year offering the Academic Tech Institute at Lesley. It’s my 11th time organizing it and I always marvel at how it starts to all fall into place.  In the history of the event we never opened it to outside participants, largely because we did not have the staff or technology to efficiently handle outsiATI 2011 Logode registrations. Thankfully, in our Web 2.0 world, we now can utilize easy sites like Eventbrite to expedite the registration process! Please consider attending.

Our institute always features a keynote. Over the years we have enjoyed hosting many distinguished speakers including Chris Dede from Harvard and Michael Furdyk, founder of TakingITGlobal.  This year we welcome Eric Gordon, a new media scholar and associate professor from Emerson College. Dr. Gordon’s talk Designing Attention & Learning in the Modern Classroom: Emerging social rituals and their influence on classroom learning, will examine the intersect of our how our time spent with “screens” and each other online impacts the dynamics of face-to-face and online learning.

The rest of the day features traditional presentations on topics ranging from  social media, using mobiles and cell phones, Web 2.0 tools, and sessions on facilitating online learning.  We also welcome Rob Ackerman, Principal at the Lt. Job Lane Elementary school and Lesley alum, for a presentation on why technology is not a choice in for our classrooms.  We conclude the day with digital poster sessions where faculty, students and staff will be sharing projects they are currently working on.  Some of the projects include:  using LiveScribe Pens in literacy instruction, Voicethread for reflective assessment, Blogging as a form of a an artist’s journal, the iPad as an artist’s sketchbook.  There is a wine and cheese reception that follows.

Please join us on  January 19th from 9am-4pm, in Cambridge Massachusetts. The registration fee for non-Lesley community members is $20 and includes lunch and afternoon refreshments.  To view the full program please visit: http://lesley.edu/elis/ati/ati2011/index.html

Find Hidden Opportunity in 3Rs: Reflect, Rethink, Reinvigorate

My mental calendar year always refreshes in August.  I plan my life around the highs and lows of an academic calendar.   So it is at this time of year I make my professional resolutions,  and from what I’ve read on the Twitter, #edchat and #edtech lists, I am in good company.

This year I am thinking specifically about impact: The impact my graduate students have on their k-12 students and  the impact our eLearning group has on both our faculty and students. Most specifically, I am thinking about the impact of modeling great practices, especially in the use of digital media and eLearning environments that are truly viable and replicable in a school environment.

To get my thoughts flowing, I’ve been using the following process for the past three years to reinvigorate my teaching, scholarship, and the way I lead and manage.

First, I reflect on any issues that need to be solved or addressed. Usually upon reflection (including consultation with peers), I almost always find hidden opportunities and untapped potentials. I consider these opportunities and then determine what kind of change, or rethinking, that needs to occur personally, curricularly and/or organizationally to foster these new ideas. At this point I am feeling pretty refreshed and invigorated. Ideas are flowing, especially on trying to carve out solutions to old problems. From here I craft a couple of tangible resolutions or goals for the year to focus on.

The trick is to keep things manageable and scalable.  This is the hardest part.  When crafting a goal or resolution that is bigger than just your own personal work, make sure you list the tangible aspects of what you hope to personally achieve. Remember this is about reinvigorating yourself for the upcoming year so picking something like “Get all my colleagues to use Moodle” is something that might be absolutely the right thing to do, but may not be something that you can achieve 100% on your own, without enlisting the support of other stakeholders.  If you don’t have stakeholder support yet,  perhaps a more tangible reframing of the goal might be “Help my colleagues understand the benefit of using a tool like Moodle” is a stronger, more focused start. (And this will help build stakeholders and support).

I find there is an important distinction between reinventing and reinvigorating. In the spirit of resolutions, to invigorate is to generate energy, excitement and focus. I don’t think we want to enter a new academic year saying we are reinventing with our students and colleagues. We do want to begin the year with reinvigorated spirits so we can create fertile ground for student and faculty potential to flourish. This year is my resolution is to make instructional impact one student, one course, one faculty,  and one department at a time.

What hidden opportunities are waiting for you to discover? Comment and let us know!