What would YOU like me to do a Presentation on?

Feel like helping out?

Some background

Reform Symposium 2010I”m presenting at The Reform Symposium, a 48 hour free e-conference that begins Friday, July 30th at 2pm PDT (LA Time) and ends Sunday, August 1st at 2:30pm PDT (LA Time).

You’ll find details for my presentation and how to join here!

But I’ve decided to be different.  Rather than me choose the topic of my presentation.  We’ve invited people to suggest topics (and titles).

I’ve now condensed topic suggestions — all we now need to do is finalise the choice.

Submit your vote

So here’s your chance!  What would you like me to present on?

Can you please vote by choosing your preferred topic from the poll?  And tell all your friends to vote quickly too.

For those wondering:

  • ‘Blogging for teachers” is tips and advice for teachers on blogging for personal and professional reflection
  • “Managing workflow” is how to effectively use tools like gmail, Google Docs, gtalk, Google Reader, Google Calendar etc to colloborate with others and manage your work

Voting has closed and the results are:

Student blogging

Final thoughts

Thanks for helping me out!

And off course — with limited time to organise.

Would love it if you should share your thoughts (for any of the topics) on:

  1. What you would like to know?
  2. What you think I need to cover?

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Free to good home!

Image by a href=Any takers?

I’ve had enough of the work involved with dealing with spammers on Ning sites.

So decided to reduce the workload by getting rid of eTools and Tips for Educators.

It’s a cool name and URL – http://etools.ning.com/

If Ning is like blog sites once a URL has been deleted no-one including the original user can create the site again with that URL.

Let me know if you would like to take it over (and use how you want) otherwise I’m deleting in 48 hours.

PS  Unlike my husband who I’ve tried to give away (occasionally) it doesn’t come with an inbuilt snore 😎

Image by Mubblegum licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike

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Edublog Awards – Thanks For Nominating My Sites

This is a tough one, which Larry hinted at here

But I think it is important to take the time to thank those who nominated me and my different websites (Sue Waters Blog, The Edublogger and PLN Yourself) in several categories of the 2009 Edublogs Awards.

Thanks Sue Wyatt, Jan Smith, Lesley Edwards, Burcu Akyol, Mike Sansone, David Truss, Gail Desler, RliberniDarcy Moore, and Shelly Terrell.

I’m honored to have been nominated by you all (and apologies if I’ve missed anyone from the list — please let me know if I did as it defnitely isn’t deliberate!)

As Larry Ferlazzo says:

‘the really important thing about these awards is that they provide an opportunity for everybody to learn about great blogs and other resources out there that can be helpful to our teaching’.

So take the time to check out the 2009 Edublogs Awards — because it’s a great way to discover cool ways of using social media in an educational context!

PS Please tell me about some of the cool ideas (and/or sites) you find when checking through the Edublogs Awards nominations!

Can Addictions Scare Readers?

Can be only one response to this tweet! Readers should answer it 😎

Image of chocolate addict

Personally I find it hard to believe for two main reasons:

a) I’m a chocolate addict – I think we need a clarification of addiction!

b) That it could be very scary!

Your thoughts:

  1. Is Ashley Proud right?
  2. Does it make me scary? And can an addition scare readers?
  3. Perhaps truth – he’s a chocolate hater?

Disclaimer: Sue Waters is a serious blogger

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The Great USA Coca Cola and Chocolate Scandal!

It’s my last day in USA and I’m taking home so many lovely memories of USA…..except for Coca Cola and Cadbury chocolate.

IMHO it is a scandal!

The Taste of American Coca Cola and Chocolate

Being well known for my Coca Cola and chocolate love (it’s what I’m holding in my avatar) I feel a need to expose this scandal. Worse still that I have to confess I’ve been drinking Pepsi and feeling physically sick from the memory of eating Cadbury Carmello chocolate.

While other Aussies rush off planes from USA to grab a true Aussie meat pie all I’m thinking about is drinking my first real drink of Coca Cola in 3 weeks. It may be an extremely long flight home for the Qantas flight attendants if they serve American Coca Cola and not Australian. Off course I’m also now concerned that I will no longer cope with the sweet taste of our Coca Cola and our chocolate 🙁 .

Reason for the taste difference

Before coming to USA I was aware that the chocolate would taste different but assumed that Coca Cola tastes the same World wide (as did most non-USA people in my network).

So why the different taste? Well here they use high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar. Besides not being as sweet it has a horrible taste.

In USA the price of sugar is considerably higher than the World sugar price due to factors such as sugar quotas on the import of sugar and government subsidies of USA sugar growers (read more here about the history of USA inflated sugar prices). The solution for reducing food production costs has been to replace sugar with high-fructose corn syrup or move production to countries like Canada where sugar is cheap.

Meanwhile Americans who want to drink soft drinks containing sugar go to stores that sell Mexican imported Coca Cola and Pepsi.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’m arriving into Sydney airport Monday 13 July at 6.15 AM. Hopefully no one gets in my way as I run to grab some real Cadbury chocolate!

Sigh with a short time between my flight from Sydney to Perth hopefully in my rush to get some chocolate I don’t miss my flight home 🙁

PS yes I will tell you more about my USA adventure than just the chocolate and Coca Cola scandal. What else would you like to know?

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Connecting at NECC!

Did I ever imagine that one day I would be sitting at a desk in USA writing a blog post?  NOPE!

Yet, according to Google Maps, I’m currently about 14, 816 miles from my home (Perth, Western Australia).  Fortunately I didn’t follow Google Maps directions and kayak across Pacific Ocean from Australia through Japan to get here!

Purpose of my trip was to attend NECC 2009 (one of the World’s largest conferences for Ed Tech professionals).  This year over 18,000 people attended. Those following The Edublogger’s USA Adventure… to NECC and Beyond! have been asking me what the conference was like so here goes!

The Sessions

Many of my Australian friends would love to know how the NECC sessions compared to Australian conferences.  Unfortunately this is where I go sorry!  I only attended two sessions, both of which were keynotes, neither did anything for me.

There were several reasons why I didn’t attend sessions. I was representing Edublogs at NECC; I knew I could watch recordings of NECC sessions and read blog post reviews later.But most importantly, a fact that people don’t appreciate, is I’m quite isolated living in Perth (costly 5 hour flight to most conferences just in Australia).

I don’t have many opportunities to meet and network with others f2f.  NECC may have been my one opportunity to ever meet a people who I network with online f2f as there is no guarantee I will ever get a chance to visit USA again.  Creating stronger connections with people, by interacting f2f, in my view long term provides greater opportunity for learning than any session you can attend.

Biggest NECC Takeaways by Others

Looking for reflections by others?  Check out survey results of other people’s biggest takeaways from NECC09.  Or if you attended NECC, either in person or virtually, add your own reflections using this form.

Thanks to Alice Barr for creating this document which I will use to guide my viewing of NECC session recordings!

What I did At NECC

Most of my time at NECC was spent at:

  1. Bloggers Cafe (a casual space set up for people to connect with each other)
  2. and NECC unplugged (NECC’s unconference area where any one who wants can present to both f2f and virtual global participants).

I really enjoyed presenting at NECC Unplugged and plan to follow up with a later post on it.

Majority of my time was spent networking with others. Too many people, and too many stories to mention, but the slideshow below contains photos of most those I met.  Definitely existing connections through blogging and twitter enhanced these f2f interactions.

The Edublogger Shirt

For those unaware I has a shirt custom made for me by Paul Morris (CheekyTeez in Perth) with design input from Gary Barber.

The idea of the shirt was to fit with the beginners series I faciliate for Classroom 2.0 and followed the same theme of badges we organised for NECC.

In a crazy Sue moment I decided to use one of the shirts as a sovenior by getting people I meet at NECC to sign the shirt.  I’m hoping now poor Paul (or anyone) can figure out how I might frame it to keep as the souvenior.

Here is a photo of my favorite blogger signing my shirt!

The Slideshow below has a closeup of all the different signatures.

The Exhibitor Hall

WOW!  What can I say about the Exhibitor hall?  It was massive!

Felt like the size of a football oval and had to be seen to believed.

Lots of NECC posts were critical of the exhibitors hall however I think Alfred Thompson’s Sponges and Participants post is a reminder to Edubloggers about the needs of different types of conference participants.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks to everyone that I meet at NECC!  I enjoyed every second (except for all my misadventures on US air planes).  I will follow up later with some USA reflections in later posts.

Extra special thanks to James Farmer for giving me the opportunity to attend NECC!

  1. For those that attended NECC — would love to hear about what aspects you enjoyed the most?
  2. For those who attended NECC unplugged through Elluminate – what was it like?  What was the best aspects? The most challenging aspects?

Feel free to also any questions about what USA is like to an Australian 🙂

Badge image by Greatnews licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike

Need WordPress MU Support? Here’s Where You’ll Find it!

In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to for the past few months, and why I’ve had less time than usual, I can now explain.

Although maybe not everyone has noticed this less time?

Working with WordPress MU

Besides all my usual Edublogs responsibilities I’ve also been working for Incsub developing WordPress MU (WordPress Multiuser and also known as WPMU) support material (some is still a work in progress).

While installing and managing your own single install WordPress blog is relatively easy, but can cause problems, WordPress MU is considerably more specialized and requires a certain level of expertise.

The reason why people use WordPress MU is once you want to hosts lots of blogs on the same domain then you need to use it. Edublogs is a customized version of WordPress MU designed to include features that specifically assist educators with using blogs with students.

Most themes and plugins used on WordPress can’t be used on WordPress MU, and you also use mu-plugins on WordPress MU (some of these can be challenging to install). The idea of these support material is to help make the process of installing and using WordPress MU easier.

WordPress MU Support Material Locations

For a ‘one-stop shop’ for those that use WordPress MU here is where you will find these support materials:

  1. Site Admin user manuals
  2. WordPress MU manual – for installing WPMU 2.7.1
  3. WPMU.org – where The WPMU Manual is being serialized (here is the RSS feed if you want to subscribe).  Below are the first two posts!

Next step is adding more detailed instructions to the Premium plugins, where required. For example. this is the new instructions for installing the avatars plugin.

FINAL THOUGHTS

And yes, if you were wondering, it does mean I’ve had to install WordPress MU, bbPress, plugins, themes, languages, mu-plugins, use FTP and Text Editors.

I’ve also felt like I’m going crazy (occasionally) remembering the Site admin differences between Edublogs (WPMU 2.6.3/2.6.5 hybrid), Edublogs Campus (WPMU 2.6.5) sites, newer versions of WordPress MU (2.7 & 2.7.1) and site admin (and system admin) in blogs.mu.

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Have your Blogs.mu cake – and eat it too!

People are now asking me about Blogs.mu in terms of school blogging programs so I’ve decided it’s better to clarify because most people won’t appreciate how very different Blogs.mu is from other hosted blogging solutions.

But before I do it is important to point out, to ensure full disclosure, that I work for both Edublogs and Incsub (who own Blogs.mu).

WordPress blog vs WordPress MU blogs

When you sign up for a blog on Edublogs or WordPress.com what happens is these companies host your blog and you can get on with the job of writing your posts and blog design. The highest level of access you have is as an administrator and because it is a hosted solution features like adding extra plugins or uploading themes aren’t possible.

The other option for single blog users, who want to use WordPress but have more control over their blog features such as extra plugins or custom themes, is they will install WordPress from WordPress.org and host their own blog on either their own servers or pay a hosting company.

Once you want to hosts lots of blogs on the same domain then you need to use WordPress MU (WordPress Multiuser and also known as WPMU). Both Edublogs or WordPress.com use WordPress MU but Edublogs has been highly customised by our specialist team WPMU coders to include features that specifically assist educators with using the blogs with students.

WordPress MU blogs vs Edublogs Campus Site

Often schools and universities want higher level of control and access than achievable with Edublogs so they will look at solutions like hosting their own WordPress MU site or Edublogs Campus.

While installing and managing your own WordPress blog is relatively easy, but can cause problems, WordPress MU is considerably more specialized and requires a certain level of expertise.

This is why educational organisations choose Edublogs Campus because it provides all the powerful features of a WordPress MU site without having to worry about the stress of hosting, maintenance and upgrading the software.

The main feature which provides the higher level of control that educational organisations want is access to site admin. On a WordPress MU the next level of access of access above an Administrator is the site admin user.

As site admin user you can:

  1. Manage the access and level of responsibility of all users
  2. Manage blog features including access to plugins, themes and blog privacy settings
  3. Create new users and new blogs
  4. Edit posts, pages, comments on any blog
  5. Reset passwords
  6. Edit and delete any blog

In really simple terms, if you have problems with a student, as site admin user, you can immediately log into the dashboard of their blog, without being attached as a user to that blog, then edit/delete a post/comment plus change whether that student can access their blog.

WordPress MU blogs vs Blogs.mu Community

Blogs.mu is quite a bit different from the hosted Edublogs and WordPress.com. When you sign up with either of these services you are provided with a blog.

On Blogs.mu you can sign up for WordPress MU site of your own and then set up your own blogs, or blog community under it. For example you might like to set up a community on writing called writerspot.blogs.mu and then if the writer John Smith signs up in your community his blog is writerspot.blogs.mu/johnsmith.

Similar to Edublogs with Blogs.mu you can choose to be a free user or a supporter.

With Blogs.mu just like Edublogs Campus you are getting your own WordPress MU site with the high level of control minus the stress of hosting the site and specialist expertise required to maintain or upgrade WordPress MU.

The features of these two sites are quite different because Blogs.mu is designed for anyone who wants to set up a community using their WordPress MU while Edublogs Campus has been customised specifically to meets the needs of the educational community.

For a comparison check out:

  1. Blogs.mu Site Admin Guide
  2. Edublogs Campus Site Admin Guide and log into the University of Blogs Sandpit site

If you’re interested in the technical aspects of how blogs.mu was created check out Barry’s On Muing MU – A technical introduction post.

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7 Things You REALLY Don’t Need To Know About Me

Been tagged by both Jarrod Robinson and Liz B. Davis for the meme 7 Things You Don’t Need To Know About Me so here goes:

  1. The reason why I majored in Botany, Biochemistry and Microbiology at University and NOT Zoology is I don’t like the idea of killing animals or looking at bloods and guts.
  2. Still consider it ironic that I’ve spent the past 21 years of my work life cutting up sick fish (DON”T tell anyone but the killing, blood and guts still makes me feel sick).Image of Skin Scraping
  3. Image of goldfishI’m a fish farmer who specializes in fish diseases but don’t ask me how to cure your sick goldfish because you WON’T be happy with the answer!
  4. I talk to fish, each species has a different personality, but I would never be caught talking to a goldfish!
  5. Passionately HATE talking on phones, mobile phones and SMSing but totally LOVE my iPhone….
  6. My f2f friends are (mostly) totally UNAWARE of my work online — lets just say testing the water with a simple explanation, early on, didn’t quite go so well! Needless to say I haven’t told them about changes to my work life.
  7. My husband Google’s me in his lunch break sometimes to find out what I’m doing!

The 8 thing should be my success rate in tagging people in memes is extremely low…..oh well here are the 7 8 people I tag:

Best of luck! All you have to do is list 7 Things You Don’t Need To Know About Me and then tag 7 people (if you want to)…

Life is One Big Top Ten (2008)

As a blogger does it really make any sense to write a post a few days before Christmas? Probably not! But just want to blog and besides I owed Paul C a post for Life is One Big Top Ten (2008). He deserves it after dealing with extreme sibling rivalry between my two blogs 🙂

Life is One Big Top Ten (2008) rule is you get to choose their own topic.

Top Posts

End of the year means it’s a great time for me to reflect on what were my top posts from my The Edublogger and Mobile Technology in TAFE blogs for 2008.

But how to decide? Google Analytics shows visits to site and provides no indication of how popular posts are to readers who subscribe using a feed reader e.g. Google Reader. Decided to use Tony Karrer’s idea of Top posts based on Delicious saves and used Post Rank to determine Delicious saves.

  1. Here’s My First Five Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts — What Are Yours? – if I choose from The Edublogger without looking at statistics
  2. How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier – most popular based on Delicious saves (73)
  3. Quick Start Tips For New Skype Users – post didn’t expect to be popular, Delicious saves (32) & 5 links in just 4 days
  4. My Quick Start Guide for New Twitterers (45) – my choose from Mobile Tech blog without looking at statistics and most popular based on Delicious saves (45)
  5. PLN post series – posts I wrote to share results/reflections and never expected to be popular

Top Personal Blogging I Want To-Do(s)

Absolutely totally crazy but I really would like to make time to:

  1. Revisit the 31 Day Project by working through Steve Dembo’s 30 Days to Being A Better Blogger
  2. Participate in Tony Karrer’s 100 Conversations. Here are my 10 picks from his list:
  • My ideal conference would be?
  • Email tricks I use.
  • How staying in touch has changed for me over the past five years.
  • Tools that I get free and tools that I pay for and why I’m willing to pay
  • How I do my work and where my work skills have changed in the last ten years.
  • A great example of the use of a tool that really impressed me.
  • My ways for keeping things organized, finding things again, and keeping lists.
  • My top challenges in my work
  • How I find blog topics
  • Why 100 Conversations is a really good or bad idea?

Image of Lolly Jar

Any one interested in joining me in either of these?

Top Problem I Failed To Solve!

Lolly (candy) jar has won!

2 years of plotting how I could get the it removed from desk right next to me, including hiding it, and I’m admitting defeat. Nothing worked.

I always said it was me or the lolly jar — one of us had to go!

Top Tweet Series

Surely the 2 weeks of toilet dramas? I tweeted 23 times about toilet and 16 times about plumbing problems over 2 weeks.

How can we forget the first toilet tweet?

Image of First Toilet TweetImage of Multitasking

Top Crazy Moment

Multitasking too much!

While writing this post on my PC while testing Second Life on my MacBook (to get ready for the Edublogs Awards ceremony) and having a Skype Chat (while watching Twitter on two computers).

FINAL THOUGHTS

The way I’ve tackled Life is One Big Top Ten (2008) made it hard for me to cover Ten since it would have made the post way toooooo long….. But I’m sure Paul C will understand and besides Darren Draper taught me it’s okay to break all the rules.

Who do I tag? No one 🙁 I’ve never had any success at tagging. But if you like any of my topics or the idea of the Big Top Ten please feel free to join us.

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