[social media and pedagogy online seminar]

I'm signing up for this online seminar! Social media AND education?! Perfect.

And yes, those are my professional writing students; on computers, with our class blog on the main screen.

Social Media Seminar Series: Trends and Implications for Learning (Online & No Fee)


Friday, October 30, 2009: 9:00 PM Eastern USA

(World Clock Calculator: http://url.aace.org/ft/200910302100)

Faculty: George Siemens - Learning Technologies Centre, Univ. of Manitoba, Canada
David Cormier - Univ. of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Organised by: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)

(http://AACE.org )
Co-sponsored by: Education & Information Technology Library (http://EdITLib.org)

The seminar series, led by George Siemens and David Cormier, is without fee and will include live interactive sessions, in addition to discussions with guest speakers and participants. All sessions are co-sponsored by and will be archived in the Education & Information Technology Library (EdITLib).

Social media and emerging technologies are gaining increased attention for use in education. The list of tools grows daily.

Examples: blogs, wikis, Ning, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, cloud computing, surface computing, mobile learning, and so on.

"Social Media: Trends and Implications for Learning" will explore the impact of new technologies, research, and related projects.

What does it all mean? Do long term trends and change cycles exist in the constant change? What patterns are emerging?

And, perhaps most importantly, should academics and education leaders respond?

"Social Media" will explore emerging technological and related research trends from a perspective of social and networked learning theory.

Finding coherence in the midst of rapid changes is increasingly difficult. This monthly session will create a forum for educators to gather, present, and discuss the future impact of today's trends.

Links for items discussed during the seminars can be found here on Delicious.


To receive event updates, signup at: http://AACE.org/GlobalU/seminars/socialmedia/
Seminar Recordings: http://EdITLib.org/GlobalU/
Seminar Community: http://www.AACEConnect.org/group/socialmedia


[sunday night supper: focaccia]

After a day of mulching, watering and general outdoor diy, what better way to recuperate than kneading?

My recipe for a super simple focaccia:

2 3/4 cups flour (in the U.K. plain flour is fine, here I used all-purpose)
2 teaspoons ground sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

a few teaspoons of whatever herbs you like. I chucked in chili flakes for one focaccia, fresh rosemary and sage from the garden for another and some chopped green olives for another. Just put in whatever catches your fancy.

1 cup warm water (this is approximate. I ended up using just under one cup)
3 tablespoons olive oil (again this is approx. you want a smooth and elastic consistency)

Now, get your hands dirty. Put all the ingredients in a bowl (though you might want to put in only a bit of liquid at a time to make sure you get the right consistency) and mix. When the ingredients have combined start kneading until you get a smoothish and elastic mound of dough. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the focaccia rise. My kitchen was quite warm so it only took about 20 minutes but you might have to give yours 30 min. to an hour to double (approx.) in size.

Have your oven on to preheat at 375 degrees (but perhaps 400 if you don't have a convention oven).

When your dough is ready, oil whatever baking sheet you'll be using. Then oil your fingers and punch down and then pat our your dough. Some people make rectangular shapes but whatever shape you choose, stretch out the dough until it's about 2cm thick (or so).

When you've lined the baking sheet with your dough, you're ready to make some finger indentations and then scatter on your toppings. Do give a healthy drizzle of olive oil too! You can use slivers of onion, potato (for a traditional Abruzzese focaccia), sprigs of rosemary, salami...

I did potato and rosemary on one, salami and sage on another, Parmesan and chili flakes on another.

I also had a little dipping bowl of olive oil and balsamic; adds a nice twist to your focaccia.


[kids online: new publication]

"Kids Online: Opportunities and Risks for Children", edited by Sonia Livingstone and Leslie Haddon (Bristol: Policy Press). 

The book provides an up to date account of how children use the internet in Europe, including such topical issues as social networking, risky contacts, parental mediation, media literacy and many more.

Ordering information is available here: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/EUKidsOnline/KidsOnlineflyer.pdf

As Professor Tanya Byron, author of the influential Byron Review into Safer Children in a Digital World says, "Professor Livingstone and colleagues provide extensive evidence-based findings which enable academics, educationalists, policy makers, parents and young people to think beyond anxieties generated by new technologies and make informed decisions about maximizing digital opportunities while managing risks. An impressive and essential book, central to the child digital safety debate."

Expected Results:

  • Core findings regarding children’s and parents’ experiences of online technologies, focused on comparisons of children’s and parents’ perceptions of and practices regarding online risk and safety.
  • Patterns of risk and safety online to be identified following top-down hypothesis testing and bottom-up exploration of relationships among different variables, conducted on a cross-national basis.
  • Evidence-based policy and research recommendations.

Read more here.

Note: top image from Kids Online book site and second image from Teenagers Today site.


[digital materials]

It seems quite apt, following the discussion over at the Transliteracy Research Group blog, that this new publication made its way into my inbox.

Reading Erna Kotkamp's chapter on e-learning I find numerous echoes with my own thinking of both transliteracy and pedagogy.

Here is just one, Kotkamp notes:

"According to Dewey, ‘all genuine education comes about through experience’ (Dewey 1938, 13). In a classroom setting this means that the experience of a learner has to be incorporated in the teaching to improve the learning process" (66).

Precisely. As with transliteracy, we learn about it through experience. And then reflecting on the experience - the coming together of modes, views, participatory sections - can be incorporated into the larger understanding of what transliteracy is meaning (gerund because it's under construction).

Digital Material: Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology
Edited by Marianne van den Boomen, Sybille Lammes, Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Joost Raessens, and Mirko Tobias Schäfer

Three decades of societal and cultural alignment of new media yielded to a host of innovations, trials, and problems, accompanied by versatile popular and academic discourse. New Media Studies crystallized internationally into an established academic discipline, which begs the question: where do we stand now? Which new issues have emerged now that new media are taken for granted, and which riddles remain unsolved? Is contemporary digital culture indeed all about 'you', or do we still not really understand the digital machinery and how it constitutes us as 'you'? From desktop metaphors to Web 2.0 ecosystems, from touch screens to blogging to e-learning, from role-playing games to Cybergoth music to wireless dreams, this timely volume offers a showcase of the most up-to-date research in the field from what may be called a 'digital-materialist' perspective.

The book is available in print from Amsterdam University Press (ISBN 978 908964 0680) and as a PDF file under a Creative Commons License (BY NC ND).


[meta meta cognition: the wired epileptic brain]

"A rare set of high-resolution readouts taken directly from the wired-in brains of epileptics has provided an unprecedented look at how the brain processes language.

Though only a glimpse, it was enough to show that part of the brain’s language center handles multiple tasks, rather than one.

“If the same part of the brain does different things at different times, that’s a thunderously complex level of organization,” said Ned Sahin, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

In a study published Thursday in Science, Sahin’s team studied a region known as Broca’s center, named for French anatomist Paul Pierre Broca who observed that two people with damage to a certain spot in the front of their brains had lost the ability to speak, but could still think.


During the several days that three patients at Massachusetts General Hospital were medically wired, Sahin’s team asked them to repeat words verbatim, and translate them to past and present tense.

In the space of a quarter-second, a small part of Broca’s area — the only part read by the electrodes — received each word, put the word in a correct tense, and sent it to the brain’s speech centers.

This tested only one type of verbal cognition, cautioned Sahin, and the focus was unavoidably narrow, but it was enough to show that Broca’s area is involved not only in translating speech, but receiving it. That role was considered specific to part of the brain called Wernicke’s area.

More broadly, the findings may represent a general rule for Broca’s area, and perhaps other brain regions: Each part plays multiple roles, rather than performing a single task (emphasis mine)."

NB: Image by Ned Sahin on the Wired site.


[colour matters...even in the twitterverse]

New Box UK Study Finds Twitter Users of Both Sex More Likely to ‘Follow’ White Women

Between June and October of 2009 London-based digital agency Box UK (http://www.boxuk.com) conducted two sequential social experiments to test how Twitter users reacted to being followed by strictly controlled test accounts. The results strongly suggest that given a choice of following black and white people of either sex, Twitter users are more likely to ‘follow’ white women, and least likely to follow black women.

This distribution also holds when the data is sub-divided into male followers and female followers for each account, showing that both sexes are most likely to follow White Female or Ambiguous accounts, and least likely to follow Black Females. We can also deduce that on average, female twitter users are 30% less likely to follow a request from a stranger, than a male twitter user.

“While it may be rather premature to conclusively argue that white women get more followers on Twitter than non-white women or men, we do know that a digital divide does exist and that certain groups of people tend to explore new applications with greater speed and enthusiasm. Without wading into a debate on technology users, more information on the aggregate of Twitter users is necessary to come to any real conclusions about their use of technology,” says Dr. Tina Basi a sociologist specializing in ethnography for design.

Basi, who previously worked with Intel’s Digital Health Research Group argues that, “perhaps what the data is pointing to, is that our relationship, as users, with new social media remains somewhat perplexing. We are still struggling with using Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, as ways of engaging and connecting with others, and instead, fall back on using them to simply keep tabs on others. The internet, as a medium, still holds the spectacle of say film or television, and seeing someone on your screen attaches a celebrity like status to them. The lack of reciprocity for some of the Twitter accounts created in this experiment, might better reflect our assumptions about celebrity and tendency toward voyeurism, as opposed to forming any real argument about Tweeters.”

Twitter is an increasingly important platform for conducting social experiments, with its ability to tap-into and measure human communication and behaviour on a massive scale. As the platform grows, we expect to see businesses and academics harnessing this capability to ‘invisibly’ survey the real behaviour and reactions of people, enabling a new wave of social research and customer intelligence.

Read more about the methodology and report here.

Image from Dan Zambonini's post on the report findings.


[digital participation: report]

"This review aims to provide a critical introduction to the policies and research on the subjects of digital literacy and digital participation, seeking to show what they mean for classroom practice. Aimed at teachers and practitioners, especially those involved in continuing professional development programmes, and providers of teacher training or practice-based Masters courses, it reviews the major research and evidence on developing digital literacy and digital participation in the classroom.

It highlights the fact that there is extensive theory, conceptual development and policy on digital literacy and digital participation, yet little evidence about how this can be translated into practice. The review aims to support and enable practitioners to start developing informed strategies to promote digital participation in real school settings by introducing them to a range of debates and key concepts and by relating these concepts to practice. It should be used as the basis for supporting the development of teachers’ professional knowledge and skills in the critical use of digital media and technology for learning and for the enhancement of the curriculum. Throughout, examples of existing and emerging practices are included as breakout boxes to illustrate the conceptual content.

The document supports Futurelab’s Digital Participation project, a programme of research and development in collaboration with teachers in primary and secondary schools which seeks to model, trial and evaluate practical strategies for enhancing young people’s digital literacy in the classroom and their development of digital participation for life.

For more details and related documents see:

Read the entire report here: http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/DigitalParticipation.pdf


[difference in edmonton]

As I've mentioned before, driving to and from uni gives me time to notice all sorts of differences between the village in Hertfordshire (Kimpton, just north of London) where I was living in England and now Edmonton.  Exiting the Anthony Hendy motorway (or rather, highway here) and travelling east on 100 avenue (all the streets go north and south, all the avenues go east and west), I found myself marvelling at the six lanes of traffic, all going in one direction while the next street north had six lanes for the opposite direction.

Although there are a few traffic lights, there doesn't seem to be a build-up and we flowed along nicely. Also notable each time I'm on the road is the sheer size of the vehicles. Most drivers here seem to prefer trucks though there are a few smaller jeeps and SUVs.


[teaching grammar]

As I craft an exciting lesson to help my students cope with the three-hour session, I came across this funny ransom note generator. After discussing what comparatives, superlatives, direct objects, indirect objects and predicates are, I'm going to ask my students to create their own ransom note. I've asked them to bring in newspapers and magazines and I'll supply the scissors. In the end, they'll have used all of the grammatical elements we've learnt.


[only in alberta]

would one spot a hummer (yes, there are quite a few here) with "oil man" pasted on the back window.

I know it's a little hard to make out but trust me, it does say "oil man."