Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I know I'm late to the party, but finally got to play around with an iPad 1 given to a friend and... what do I think? I know one of things that makes me feel squeamish about it is the price.   It feels clunky. (Yes, yes, I know that the iPad 2 is somewhat more svelte.) I don't like the glare.  It's slippery when it's not in the case.  The experience with some apps hasn't been fabulous.  I'm sorry that Flash is an issue.  Obviously it's a choice that Apple's made no matter what anyone says about battery drain, etc.  Apparently Java is horrible as well - and we're all waiting for HTML 5 and everything will be terrific, right? Maybe I'll like the iPad better when I don't feel stymied visiting this site and that. I have friends who are in love with their iPads, so I'm missing something. Maybe I just need more play time.   (My iPod Touch? I like it. Perhaps I've expected less from it because the price did not seem outrageous to me - and because it's small (??) )  What about the iPad 3 coming... soon...?   Well maybe that will be the one to get even though I will resent having to get a case for it and something to make it less slippery and something to dull the glare and goodness knows how many other accessories.  However I can foresee the day when I'll need a suitcase for an iPad x an Android-based tablet and a laptop...and portable keyboards and extra external speakers and various accessories... (oh - and my Kindle which I still really like!)  

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Elementary School

My elementary school has a Facebook page and there's a sudden spate of messages asking about former classmates, remembering favorite teachers, one of the long-time principals of the school who had everyone playing soccer,  the music teachers, the playground and the trees behind the school where everyone played during recess. Some remember spelling bees and Weekly Readers. Some are recalling field trips.  Some are recalling air raid drills. Some remember the announcement that JFK had been assassinated. (Some - like me - were long out of elementary school when that event occurred.)   Many remember the penny candy store a couple of blocks from the school.  Could it be that some had good experiences in a public elementary school?  Maybe it was the good old days?  I suppose the people who did not like their time at this elementary school failed to register their views.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Defining OER

Stephen Downes developed this definition for OER:    "Open educational resources are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone."  There was a discussion on the OER Forum (oer-forum@lists.esn.org.za) about using open source only which is intended to help everyone - but sometimes slows down some who are in settings where certain file types might be supported by our employer/school or whatever.  David Wiley pointed out that using open source file types and programs is also a kind of orthodoxy that might not be practical. Rory McGreal supported that view. Some proprietary formats such as PDF are widely used - and as long as the document can be converted to other formats, perhaps we can relax a little on the open file format score.  There was the discussion of "free" as in "anyone is free to do anything they'd like with this OER - including market it."  That just doesn't sit well with everyone (yet).  I find myself going back and forth on that.  I'll keep thinking about that one.. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blogging - good intentions

Hey, Blogger just did its design change thing! That's what I get for not logging on for a few days. I'm just at the start of doing three courses online simultaneously (and all asynchronous)  and I'm letting myself off the hook for most other things for the next 42 days.  The eduMOOC research study group is having a discussion about lurkers/observers/non-active participants/frivolous learners who don't have any presence in the course- whatever you call them.  It seems like if a MOOC is "do as much as you'd like", then that's what some people do. They may not do much that's visible to the other participants.  If you go to the trouble to organize a MOOC, how many active participants are "enough"?  Can you be happy if  only 20 or 30 people are really active?  100 people? I'm not sure what MOOC organizers think about that.  What has to happen to make MOOC organizers think that there efforts are totally worth it?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wiley, Dowes, Siemens, Cormier and others discuss MOOCs

George Siemens, Stephen Downes, David Wiley, Dave Cormier having been having a discussion about MOOCs - all on their separate blogs - I find it really difficult to follow back and forth from blog to blog along with comments on each blog - but fortunately, Siemens has a list of the posts in his discussion at http://www.connectivism.ca/?p=325 This is off their actual discussion topic, but Downes' post at http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2011/07/knowledge-transfer.html struck a chord. He discusses some possible conversations: ""I'm doing a session today," I remark to a friend on Skype. "What time is it?" he asks. "Where?" I respond" thinking about time zones. I know Downes is making a different point, but that struck me as bad customer service. It's like a reference interview gone awry. Does the friend on Skype really need to be asked? Why doesn't Downes say "10am MDT"? He asks "Because I have actually taken the time to work through what is implied in a common everyday presumption, and to show that it is empty, does that somehow make me a snob?" I'm not sure the designation for that is "snob." It seems like a refusal to interpret questions with any empathy or intuition ignoring any knowledge of how people in his sphere use language. What do you call that? I presume that we reference librarians are doing a better job of interpreting what our users might really be asking. (I did adore this example: "My wife often uses expressions like "You could close the door." She means "Close the door," but won't say it directly." That's my mother though she doesn't even say "You". It's more like "The door needs to be closed" and that's just said into the air. If you don't move into action and close the door, she sulks. There must be a word for that too - but perhaps a word that shouldn't be use in polite company.)