Friday, February 25, 2011


'Teenager excels at school despite life as 'unaccompanied youth' (February 24, 2011. St Petersburg Times) reminds us sometimes learning is supported by that much-maligned institution "school." This article describes a teen who's refuge has been school - "school" the physical place where there are teachers and fellow students, clubs and organizations. She might not have flourished without the school system. What happens to children in unstable situations? What alternatives to "school" would work? Can you be homeschooled if you don't have a home?

Also, at the same time, Jim Groom finds himself disenchanted with edupunk which he sees as setting up arguments for a move toward corporate education.

Also Alan Levine notes that the DIY approach doesn't necessarily supplant the need for formal education. He remembers the value in his own experiences in school.

Whew! Those two posts sounds like sanity to me.

In the meantime I'm excited about all the talk about the use of OER resources for people who can make use of that option. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, does it?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tampa Library on Second Life

We've got a library building up on Harambee, one of University of South Florida's eCampus islands. We kept the design to match the theme of the island. So far my colleague Joe has added some posters with links to the library web site and our special collections, some books, etc. We have plans to do more and I've contacted the School of Information to see if anyone there is interested in helping. Some of the plans we developed last year are here:

The CCK11 MOOC responsibilities

Ed Techie Martin Weller writes What is the learner responsibility in open education? about giving a presentation for CCK11. He sounds disappointed that some participants asked "how does this relate to the course?" He points out that since he was giving the session for free, he did not feel compelled to tweek his presentation to make a perfect fit with CCK11 objectives. That's a plausible attitude for a volunteer presenter, but he seems to have expected the participants to accept the material without questioning its utility since it was free. A "this is good enough because the course is free" attitude... That would doom open courses to the trash heap for sure. Don't the course organizers and presenters have a responsibility to create a coherent set of experiences? I think the CCK creators DO present an excellent group of materials even though the course is free to those of us who want to drop in and out - though,... there's certainly a lot of criticism of those participants who don't "give back." (Another possibility about those tweets: Some of the "how does it fit in?" tweets might have really been reflective and not critical of the presentation.) The comments to Weller's post are interesting.

(Presentations for CCK11 at

P.S. I like the layout of the CCK11 site a lot better than the last go-around!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OER University

I was able to get to some of this yesterday:

OER University - the sessions broadcast. It's a call for "open curriculum, open student support, open assessment and open granting of credits"

The agenda:

The "logic model":

A list of some opportunities and threats:

Some discussions happening on the forum at

I got to hear Dr Jim Taylor (University of Southern Queensland )
Main thoughts: Whatever else we think about the way education should be delivered, we can't possible build enough bricks/n/mortar schools to provide education to everyone who needs it. There are simply too many people. We have to find a way to educate at little to no cost. Developing an OER University model is necessary.
Dr Taylor's talk here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Disruption in education

I'm cheering union supporters in Wisconsin who are protesting their governor's plan to strip public employees of bargaining rights. The excuse is the current budget crisis, but clearly public employees rights to collective bargaining are under attack. President Obama is quoted as saying that this legislation "seems like more of an assault on unions" in an interview on a Milwaukee television station. ( Without the right to bargaining workers have no say in working conditions - conditions that go beyond salary and benefits. Since Governor Scott here in Florida has been making the same noises about public employees, those of us in education are watching the Wisconsin situation closely. I'm putting this current climate alongside all of those who are calling for disruption in education. I'm wondering if in some cases "disruption" is code for "get rid of collective bargaining", "pay those teachers less money since they are all left-leaning Democrats anyway", "take out the public school system in the USA to get women out of the workplace and back in the home where they belong homeschooling their children..."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Daily Shoot

I've continued to participate in the Daily Shoot - and have had to grit my teeth and continue to reject the idea that I must submit wonderous photos. I'm submitting "a photo that more or less meets the criteria." My photos: Photos done by others

PLEK 12 Personal Learning Environments for Inquiry in K-12

Another MOOC: Wendy Drexler gave such an interesting presentation for PLENK2010, that I may have to drop in on her course PLEK12 "EDG6931 Personal Learning Environments for Inquiry in K12" that's running from February 7 through the end of March.
Weekly Content; Syllabus; her blog; Teach Web 2.0 Wiki. Christopher Sessums is a teaching partner for the course. (One reason I'm already impressed: They talked University of Florida into letting them run an open course!)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

At your public library

I have been playing around at Hillsborough County Public Library's web site looking for some music to listen to and found a collection of recordings from from Sony Entertainment which provides the ability to download three tracks a week. This might be at your public library too. See
I'm now on to OverDrive and their OverDrive Media Console where I've managed to download Christian Elsner singing Die Schone Mullerin. I always feel like I'm having to back up when I use OverDrive. I'm used to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's interpretations German lieder. I might have to actually spend money to get some of that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reporting in on what I've been doing lately: Last week: I helped with a discussion about open textbooks for the TLT-Group. The participants had a lot to say and there are going to be more discussions on open textbooks for the TLT-Group. Also, Sunday: I got my 15 minutes to rush through a "what's Second Life" PowerPoint for an educational technology course. Dr. Zucker had over 50 students gathered in Elluminate and she had gotten even the new users to do a voice check and raise their hand and write on the white board and take a poll. One thing I miss about retirement: Getting to talk to groups! (Oops - does that sound like I like to lecture? Aren't we supposed to eschew lectures for more active learning? Sorry about the backsliding!)

DS 106 - Digital Storytelling course: I found some other blog posts where people expressed that they unable to keep up and had relaxed into picking and choosing what to accomplish. That cheered me up. I'm assembling some material for what I think was one assignment: To use some Web 2.0 tool to create a story. I might get there. The other thing I'm doing is the Daily Shoot ( - and I'm going to try to keep that up even though my photos aren't works of art. I like the assignments. They get you thinking about your visual environment, so I'm looking for "harsh light and deep shadows" or "repetition" or "modes of communication."

ECI 521 - I attended the first hour of Cris Crissman's session in Second Life for her students. She brought in a little bit of everything: voice presentation with slides with plenty of opportunity for the students to provide their thoughts about their experiences as teachers, about educational theories they'd been reading, etc. She used think/pair/share and had students text chat to the whole group for their reflections. Example: Students talked about their own "road not taken" after a reading of the Frost poem. A few students used voice. After a break they were going to do some more reporting on ideas for their action learning projects - and go on a field trip to Ramapo Island. Cris discussed Prensky's "digital native" idea and suggested that we move on to David White's "resident/visitor" idea instead. Personally I'm in favor of "resident/visitor." We've all had that experience working with students who seem to be the right age to have those supposed re-wired brains brought on by a thorough immersion in late 20th/early 21st century technology who are surprisingly inept - and as an old(er) adult I can not be a "digital native" - there wasn't any "digital" to be a native of when I was growing up - which makes me feel like an outsider, but I do feel I might qualify as a "resident."