Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Relevant <> Visible

Rapportive in action

In a fascinating blog entry in which Dr. Scott McLeod introduces Rapportive (which is neat, and gave me the same buzz as Boomerang but for different reasons), Scott makes the argument that "Invisible = Irrelevant."

He points out the following:

In a world that’s hyperconnected and hypernetworked, these people are off the grid. Whatever ideas they have, whatever service they’re offering, whatever charity for which they’re trying to raise money, whatever product they’re selling – whatever they’re doing is invisible to anyone outside their local geography.
In 2011, it seems to me that these people are largely irrelevant to anyone other than their local community.

It's a provocative stance but is it accurate? And, is the converse true? Does being Visible equate to being relevant? It's not surprising but I know a lot of irrelevant people according to Scott's standard. Yet, I know a lot more visible people. Which have more of an impact on me?

Obviously, significant others in my life are relevant to me. Would them getting hyperconnected and hypernetworked strengthen that relevance in the context of my life, or weaken it? Does being hyperconnected mean that we may be less relevant in our face to face, local geography?

And, though we know there are obvious benefits to being connected, I have to admit, the last few weeks of being less connected or visible (although I'm more visible than most, even when I'm trying not to be) have been a welcome break. What does that translucence mean for me?

One of the challenges I wrestle with is, when are we over-exposed? When have we put so much of ourselves "out there" that it becomes counter-productive? How many social networking tools do I have to be a member of before I achieve relevance? How does Scott define relevance? Is it presence in the 3-4 tools that Rapportive supports?

I'm not sure. What I do know is that I want tools that allow me to 1) Share my message with others; 2) Facilitate dialogue with wide audiences that I wouldn't normally be able to learn from; 3) Not infringe on my life any more than is needed; 4) Enable me to maintain control of my 'digital footprint.'

Is translucence, rather than visibility, something to shoot for?

Alien from The Abyss
Or, is that too alien a concept?


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Finding a Podcatcher for @PeppermintOS ICE

gPodder (sudo apt-get install gpodder)

Driving home from work today, I realized that I hadn't been listening to podcasts recently. Not one. Caught up in a maze of text, it dawned on me that listening to fresh ideas had ground to a halt. After meditating on this, I realized that because of all the different operating systems I play with, I had skipped setting up a podcatcher or software to quickly download podcasts.

While many use iTunes on their Mac, my predominant platform is Peppermint ICE, and since I'd set that up some time ago, I hadn't really spent time getting podcasts going on it. So, I went looking for a podcatcher that would work on Peppermint ICE. There are many possible answers to that question, including the following (not an exhaustive list and the install command from terminal suggested):
  • Amarok - sudo apt-get install amarok
  • gPodder - sudo apt-get install gpodder
  • Miro - sudo apt-get install miro
There are many others, some command line, that I haven't really "gotten" into. Since my preference is for simple, single purpose tools rather than complex juggernauts that do everything, I found gPodder to be the better solution for my needs at this time. As nice as Miro (shown below) is, I simply get too distracted surfing and downloading more content than I can allocate time to go through...sort of like too many feeds in Google Reader.
Miro


For example, I wanted to quickly download the audio files in their original format (e.g. MP3) then convert them to a format I could burn to CD or drop onto my phone or Nook. My preferred sound format is OGG, so that's what I'm converting to, as I shared in this blog post (step 17).

The next step is figuring out what podcasts I want to download; here are two that I'm listening to (Note: Links are to RSS feed for the podcast):
  • Shifted Learning Podcast - I picked this one up from Bud Hunt. I know I'd listened to a shifted learning or shifted leadership podcast some time ago that I really liked, and I thought this might be it.
  • TheTightWadTech Podcast - This one is a great one because it gets into the nitty-gritty of free software tools.
Of course, there are zillions of podcasts out there you can listen to. EdTechTalk.com is one great place to get started as an educator. You can find a complete list of shows you can subscribe to here, or subscribe to all of them in one fell swoop.

As Tom Hank points out in this Yale talk--shared with me by Gordon Dahlby via Facebook--there are tons of media competing for your attention. Narrowing one's vision to focus on specific items in front of you, well, that can help narrow the choices and keep you from tripping.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

MyNotes - Using Social Media for PD


via Dr. Z


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MyNotes - How to Transfer Files to Your iPhone or iPad

Source: http://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/
ipad_sweatshirt-ju1.jpg


I have many reasons for not wanting to use the iPad 2 sitting in a desk drawer. Let's see which come to mind now: 1) I have  Nook that I use for reading; carrying another device for interacting with media is a waste; 2) I like to use a keyboard (Chromebook CR-48 works great for this) for typing (72wpm) not have to fumble with an on-screen keyboard; 3) I'm not convinced the iPad is the killer education device.   


As one technology list member put it:
I have found the Samsung Galaxy Android tablet to hold up its end vs. iPad2 in that it has the cameras front and back, is easier to hold, has equivalent apps for most applications and cost is far less.  Right now it's $149.00 from one of the major carriers. 
Most of the people I have using it like the 7 inch size as it fits in one hand.  They also like the SWYPE feature for the keyboard so that you can "type" much faster. 
I have both and find that I can move back and forth without a problem so next time I need to buy a tablet, I'll go by price not platform or company unless there is a MAJOR development.
Source: http://www.a1etechreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Samsung-Galaxy-Tab.jpg


 Still, I do think keeping track of how to do stuff on the iPad important...and being able to load files onto an iPad is one of those burning questions, which I was pleased to read the answer to at LifeHacker.com. I know the question burning in every tech director's mind is a simple one--how can I manage this device like I do my Dell computers?


 Do you have a burning question regarding the iPad that is impeding YOUR whole-hearted adoption? 

My Notes:
How to Transfer Files to Your iPhone or iPad (for Beginners) - Lifehacker
    • How to Transfer Files to Your iPhone or iPad (for Beginners)
      • A friend of mine recently called me, frustrated, because he couldn't figure out how to get PDFs on his iPad.
        • Adam Dachis
          • a look at the simplest method of transferring files to an iDevice
            • Connect your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to iTunes.
              • Click on your device in the list on the left side of iTunes.
                • Click the "Apps" tab up on top in the main panel of iTunes.
                  • Scroll down to the bottom where you'll find a "File Transfer" section with a list of apps. From that list, choose an app you want to transfer a file to.
                    • Onto the (probably empty) space to the right of the apps list, drag in the file you want to transfer. You can also click "Add..." to browse for the file and choose it.
                      • The most straight forward method is emailing the PDF to an email account set up on the iphone/ipad. Second to that, sign up for DropBox. Anything that involves hooking up your device with a cable to a computer is ideal for transferring a whack of stuff over.
                        • Just tap and hold on the PDF in the email, and you can chose to open/save it into other apps (iBooks and Evernote for sure, and I'm positive there are others.)



                          In Public Spaces - Birds of A Feather Facebook Together

                          What kind of redemptive intimacy are you prepared to offer?

                          Terminator 3 - Redemption
                          - Source: http://my-blackberry.net/wallpapers/18/
                          m/Terminator_3%2C_The_Redemption.jpg

                          Recently, Vicki "CoolcatTeacher" Davis wrote the following:
                          The PROBLEM I have is point number three in Sue's edublogger article: 
                          "Despite what you may hear, there are strong privacy options that you can set up so only those that you want can access your information" 
                          The primary problem as I maintained in Facebook Friending 101 is NOT you. Although there are educators who post innappropriate things on their walls all of the time, MOST of you IF you are using it with your students are not. These privacy options ARE NOT ENOUGH for the scenarios I've presented.
                          Here's the response I left in the comments:
                          Source: http://www.touchnote.com/files/assets/NITT009.jpg
                          Vicki, thanks for your post. The real problem is that 1) Individuals still think they can act one way in private, another in public online...and there's no division between the two; 2) We think we can tolerate that kind of behavior from those we associate with. Think of it this way..."birds of a feather facebook/tweet together." (smile) 
                          My policy, which appears to work but still results in occasional moments of embarassment when I notice it, is to unfriend anyone who uses profanity and does stuff that I don't want to have associated with me. I encourage my children to do the same.Is that enough? I fear we live in a place that isn't sanitized, linking/connections are desirable, and sometimes, those links will be inappropriate. This is why appropriating adult communication tools for use with K-12 students will always be bleeding age and problematic. Yet, this is real life and we must model appropriate behavior. Thanks for working hard to clarify the path ahead for adult learners.
                          Others, like Dean Shareski, suggest an "accept and forgive approach." And, that's not unreasonable is it? Why should we make our "friends" conform to our morals and standards for behavior in virtual spaces? The truth is, if *I* were cursing and carrying on, even if it were me just being who I am, wouldn't I be "cast out" or would I be forgiven?

                          Many people object to bad language and it is not acceptable for general use. Someone who habitually swears shows that he lacks vocabulary and is unable to get his meaning across without swearing. Swearing at work makes a worker sound unprofessional. The workplace is a public space. (Source: Profanity in Work Communications)
                          In truth, in today's school climate, being cast out rather than forgiven would be the response considered most appropriate. Not only would you have the onus of cursing in front of children,but you would also have the issue of cursing in a public space which could cause considerable distractions in your workplace. What would parents think of a teacher or educator caught cursing in a public space in front of children? It's certain that students cursing in school may be fined.
                          Walking through town on most days you'll hear them cursing and swearing, practically every second word is a four letter expletive and in my opinion there's absolutely no need for such language.  It’s not just the boys that swear, the girls are just as bad if not worse.  I happen to think there is nothing less attractive than hearing a young "lady" cuss and utter such obscenities....Source: Swearing in Public Places is Unacceptable

                          Vicki makes a follow up comment to Dean's where she cites being a Christian. As she points out, being a Christian means being an imperfect work in progress, redeemed by God's grace and sacrifice. That means, I wouldn't necessarily look to fellow Christians as being the source of forgiveness. A man on death row may accept Christ and be redeemed, but he is still subject to the laws of the land, the consequences for his actions.

                          And, some consequences should be avoided in school and in life. Frankly, cursing is one of those. There are many topics that should be avoided in school.

                          ...some general actions and gestures to avoid as an ESL teacher in a multicultural class:
                          • Swearing
                          • Touching students
                          • Eating or chewing gum in class
                          • Embarrassing students
                          • Pointing
                          • Holding eye contact for a long period of time
                          • Standing very close to a student
                          As an educator with ESL background, do you think I'd ever introduce swearing as a topic in my classes?

                          In truth, many of the people we "friend" online aren't really true-blue friends. I can count true-blue friends on one hand, but imagine making "acquaintance" a verb like Facebook has done so successfully. Our desire for social interaction, for the new ideas engendered by those interactions, well, those aren't necessarily the acts of friends but of others we have decided to learn from.

                          In the end, that is the fundamental difference for me. The people I friend--no matter the social network--are people I'm willing to learn from, people who are sharing ideas and information. If I want my children to learn anything, it's that learning is 24/7 endeavour. There will be some people who will help them achieve that, and there will be others who won't. If you're not a "sharer" then I'm not sure I want to be your "friend." If you're someone who curses, who acts dangerously and irresponsibly, then let's back up and hit the BLOCK button. If you're a rumor-monger, so be it.

                          Since Vicki's introduced spirituality, let's remember that we are called to be a counter-culture to a world culture caught up in a self-centered perspective that is money-oriented, focused on marketing, and more. Ah, thank goodness for Google, I was able to find the quote without reaching for the book on my shelf:
                          As Church, we form a counter culture to our world, but a counter culture of a most ironic sort. We seek not to coerce and badger our neighbors, but to live our lives of intimacy in trusting openness to them, always hoping that they may see in us something of the 'parable of God' and finally get the point of it all."
                          Source: Dick Westley, Redemptive Intimacy 
                          Live our lives of intimacy in trusting openness...if a Christian approach is desired, how will the parable of God manifest itself in our use of Facebook and other social media?

                          When Dean Shareski introduces the idea of forgiveness, we are introducing an idea that goes against the grain. Before we involve children we serve in schools--especially public schools--we have to first ascertain whether the values we hold dear are those of the middle of the road, we'll back you up part of the community. If they are not, then unemployment is the price you may pay. 

                          That's not to say unemployment is a horrible price to pay for serving as a lighthouse in the fog of fanatic Facebook false friend frenzy, but you have to ask yourself, is that the price you are prepared to pay?

                          Facebook has grown to be a fundamental tool for communication, as have others. Schools must develop a structured approach to Facebook use. There must be recognition, though, that this approach will always be conservative until the Community grants the school permission to deviate from what is "socially acceptable." The time is coming when every student will be allowed to use Facebook on their mobile device at school, and friending students will be widely accepted...but that time will be unique to each culture and society.

                          If you equate revolutionary/evolutionary teaching that is edgy, wonderful with the use of social media in schools, then you may need to take a step back and ask yourself if schools are the right place for you to advocate this perspective.

                          Maybe, we need to reflect on Doug Johnson's words from his blog entry, The Technology Agnostic below....

                          Now I’d never dream of trying to convince a jihadist not to have faith in his virgins nor separate a political pundit from his bleak cynicism. Such attempts would be fruitless if not immoral. But I will try to persuade as many readers as possible that  as conscientious educators we better serve our students by being skeptics than evangelists.
                          Yes, share what works. If a technology use engages and motivates students; if it helps make them better communicators or problem-solvers; if it even, heaven forbid, helps them do better on tests, we should document and share these experiences.
                          “Documentation,” however, needs to be more than a simple story. Stories indeed can be powerful, but stories alone will not persuade us skeptics.


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                          Saturday, May 28, 2011

                          Installing CentOS 5.6 Network Install

                          In anticipation of a class on June 11, I thought I'd play with the CentOS 5.6 network install--as that is what the facilitator said we'd be using. This is what the slideshow of the installation looks like, not that I know what I'm doing or anything. I installed it using VirtualBox running on Peppermint ICE:

                          Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

                          Lots more work to do, i guess. What to do next? Install Moodle? Hmm.

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                          Friday, May 27, 2011

                          #Moodle Server - Set Me Up! Class Available


                          Want to setup a server for Moodle, but don't know how? You've heard it takes Linux, but you work in a "Microsoft shop" and no one knows how to do GNU/Linux? Or, are you like me, someone who wants to learn how to setup a Linux server to run Moodle and other Web 2.0 solutions (e.g. Wordpress) just for fun?

                          Whatever your motivations, Ken Task will be offering a class in San Antonio, Texas on this subject. You can view the flyer for details, get the PDF version (Printable) version, and/or visit the web site.

                          Session description includes the following:
                          A CentOS 5.6 Server Install Fest - ie, BYOLB - Build Your Own Linux Box.OS + Webmin + Moodle + config and scripts. Limit of 10 participants.  Participants bring their own Linux compatible server (with Keyboard, Monitor, Mouse + net cable) for development or production.  Installation will be done over the network.  Server participants bring (model/specs) to be Red Hatcertified.  Please see https://hardware.redhat.com/index.cgi for compatibility guide (use the link for version 5) 
                          In addition, participants should bring a laptop (Mac or PC / wireless/wired) which has DVD burner for remote admin of their own server and burning their own DVD install disc. (blank disc provided, ISO files provided).
                          Although the "official" registration form hasn't yet become available, you can indicate your interest online.

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                          Wednesday, May 25, 2011

                          4TVirtualCon - Optimizing Professional eLearning Opportunities #moodle #edchat

                          Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to present at the 4T VirtualCon once more. My preso is about 90 slides, but only about the first 50 were intended for the session. Most are "extra" in case we had more time to share stuff. You can find all the materials referenced in the presentation online at 


                          The session description included:
                          Professional learning challenges enable us to show off our instructional design capabilities using technology. Moodle, a course management system, enables professional learning opportunities that can reach a wide audience with diverse needs. Learn how you can optimize professional learning in your K-12 adult learning environment.

                          My thanks to Diana Benner (dbenner.org) for jumping in on the preso at the last minute, Peggy George and Kristy Vincent for being supportive during the preso and through some connectivity issues I experienced.

                          For me, part of the fun included discussion of the following:

                          ...teachers confide that they can't possibly create 32 different lessons for each of their students...When we give up control and empower the students to learn the way they want with the tools they want, the results are terrific and the students are partners with their teacher in designing learning methods, tools, and environments that are best for them.
                          Source: The Innovative Educator blog - http://goo.gl/3ZULP

                          What are your thoughts?


                          By the way, you can access the 4T Virtual Con recorded Elluminate sessions using this link and password:


                          http://4tvirtualcon.com 


                          password: 4t2011



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                          Monday, May 23, 2011

                          Discover Writing - Creating All STAAR Writers #writing #edchat #texas



                          What a thrill to have the opportunity to attend this writing session given by Gretchen Bernabei and Barry Lane. To be honest, I haven't seen/heard Barry but I have heard Gretchen, and she is phenomenal!
                          Of course, as much as I'd like to attend, no way with travel/conference budgets frozen. I highly encourage you to attend, if you can.

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                          Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure