Always Push Those Boundaries

It’s amazing how a blast from the past can be such a powerful reminder!

I created Animoto video below over 2 years ago!

It was unusual because as I said in the description:

Had to push the boundaries of using Animoto by adding words and voice. Not because it was a good idea, it probably wasn’t, but the challenge was there so had to try!

Today David N. left me the timely reminder in a comment:

Animoto comment

Happy to say I continue to push those boundaries and are learning new things every day.

My motto–

  • The only bad ideas are never trying or giving up too quickly

Since Animoto allows you to upload your own music I quickly recorded some audio (using Audacity) and uploaded it to put with my video.

And here’s the video for a chuckle

Oops and apologies in advance as I may have said bad words like ‘this might be crap’ when talking.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

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Relaxing Is?

I’m currently enjoying a leisurely few days family holiday visiting my friend.

Obviously I forgot to tell her dog I’m definitely NOT a dog person!  And balancing a MacBook and dog on lap while working on an iPhone isn’t easy :(

Send back the cat!

Hope you’re all having a great holiday break and here’s looking forward to an exciting 2010!

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!

Using Public Google Waves For Personal Learning

There’s always a shiny new toy– and with it the stampede to use.

Yes that was also me once too :(  Nowadays I’ve learnt very slow, steady saves time and my sanity.

So I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I’ve never watched ANY Google Wave videos, read ANY tutorials and avoided every invite until I stumbled across a reason for investigating.

My motivation was I discovered you can set up public waves that any one can join.

I decided this was a good way for me and other educators to learn how to use Wave, by working together with each other, while also seeing how Wave might be used for personal learning (and with student).

Joining a Public Wave

We’ve called our public wave eduwave.

Joining  it is as easy as:

  1. Search for Eduwave by typing with:public Eduwave into search and then hit Enter.Searching for a public wave
  2. Now all you need to do is click Follow once you’ve found Eduwave to start following it. Following a wave
  3. Feel free to add your own replies to the wave, test different features and send me a tweet (@suewaters) if you want me to log in and join you.

Off course I’m proud of the fact that my friends taught me quickly how to use Wave.

Creating a Public Wave

Big thanks to Rob Wall for quickly locating the information I needed to create the public wave.

All you need to do is:

  1. Add public@a.gwave.com to your contacts lists by clicking on Add new Contact, enter the email address public@a.gwave.com and then click Enter Adding public@a.gwave.com
  2. It should add Public to your Contact list
  3. Now hover your mouse over Public’s avatar and select new wave Creating a public wave

Now anyone in Google Wave can search and add themselves to your public wave.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please share your thoughts on Google Wave.

Your like(s), Dislike(s), What’s cool? Your tips… and links to any tutorials that I should have read 😎

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Here’s What I Said On Educational blogging! What Would You Say?

Commenters on my What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? post asked if I would share the essence of my presentation from Alec Couros‘ s EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course — so as promised here it is!

You can watch an Elluminate recording of the session here.

Pre-presentation Preparation

One of the best aspects of Alec’s course is that participants post reflections on their blogs.  Wouldn’t that be nice if you could research and interact with participants before every presentation to be better prepared?

By checking out their Shared Google Reader folder I was able to:

  1. Read their posts and leave some comments.
  2. Get a feel for who they are as individuals and where they are at
  3. Find out what they learnt in previous sessions
  4. Target my presentation based on my perception of their needs

Most of the participants are fairly new to using social media and blogging so I decided to focus on what they really needed to know about educational blogging.

Here’s What I Covered

I created the following diagram to explain how through the process of writing posts and engaging in discussions in comments we are constantly evaluating, reviewing, reflecting and revising information.  And that by this continual process we’re learning.

Unfortunately I don’t feel I adequately emphasized how this learning is very different from how most of us are used to learning.

Nik Peachey provides a great summary in  his comment “With out this final stage of reconstructing information and turning it into knowledge that is useable by others in my professional community, much of the information that I read or see on the web would just pass straight through me”.

bloggingcycle

Community and learning as part of a community (or network) is one of the most important aspects of educational blogging and one of the key areas that most educators fail to appreciate.

The whole process of creating, connecting, communicating and collaborating as part of a community through the interactions of posts and conversations in comments is essential.

Unfortunately educators often fail to adequately encourage the community and commenting aspects in their student blogging programs.

bloggingcommunity

Here are a few examples of good approaches to student blogging:

  1. Jan Smith’s Huzzah class blog – starts her students on the class blog and gradually moves them onto their own student blogs.
  2. Sue Wyatt’s Student blogging challenge

It’s really important to experience how blogging  changes your own learning to appreciate the impact it has and to understand how to use it effectively with students.

Here is the participants brainstorming of their thoughts, challenges and concerns based on where they are currently at with their blogging.

bloggingAlec

A key point I emphasized is their course provides them an excellent opportunity which is ideal for developing their blogging skills; they need to focus on working together as a community while gaining skills they can use with their own students.

My tips were:

Step 1: Change comment moderation settings

Currently they are all using the default comment moderation setting which means all commenters must have had a previously approved comment otherwise the comment is moderated.

Unfortunately in their situation this is negatively impacting in the comment conversations.  New commenters don’t gain from reading older comments.

You change comment moderation settings by going to Settings > Discussion.

discussionset

Step 2: Set up Google Reader

The best way to work as a community is to set up your Google Reader account so that you are subscribed to both posts and comments from all the blogs.

Here’s my instructions on how to Manage Comments and Posts On Blogs Using Google Reader.

Step 3: Engage in Conversations

They need to start focus more on learning off each other and engaging in conversations by:

  1. Reading each other posts – each of them will have different perspective on the topic and working collectively they will gain more than working individually
  2. Commenting on each others posts – take the time to share their thoughts in response to each others posts.  To expand the conversation and really make each other think.
  3. Comment back to comments on their own posts – respond to people who leave comments.  Use it as an opportunity to find out more information from the person who left the comment.
  4. Learn how to pingback on other bloggers posts

Final Thoughts

Alec asked me to frame a question for response by participants at the end of my session.

So I’ve asked them to write a post on “What are 3 questions (and why) you would like answered on educational blogging or building personal learning networks? so that I and the other participants could visit their posts and leave comments to answer their questions.

If you would like to ask me these same questions please feel free to write your own post and:

  1. Pingback my What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? post so I’m notified of your post
  2. And/or leave a comment with a link to your post on this post

Thanks to everyone who left comments on What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging? — all participants have been asked to read through your comments!

Would also love to hear your thoughts.  What would you have said differently?  What else should I have included?

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A Year Later And Are We Using Different Tools To Connect To Our PLNs?

One year ago I asked my network to complete a survey on Personal Learning Network.

The survey was used in a series of presentations and to build my PLN Yourself website.

Being a year later I’m wondering how much has changes?  Are we using different tools to connect?  Are the tools we would recommend to new people different?

Can you help in the following ways:

  1. Can you please complete my new Personal Learning Networks Survey?
    • There are only 2 questions
  2. Can you promote my Personal Learning Networks Survey to your network using a range of tools?
    • For example blog post, twitter, plurk, Facebook so responses aren’t biased by promotion by one tool or one individual

If you do promote this survey can you please link to this post by creating a pingback and/or leaving a comment?  So I have a record of all the different ways in which this latest survey has been promoted?

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What Are Your Thoughts on Educational Blogging?

I’m doing a presentation next week for Alec Couros‘ s EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course and as part of it I’ve need to organise some required reading one week prior to the presentation.

I’ve been asked to focus on educational blogging and building personal learning networks so I’m hoping you can help as I want to:

  1. Demonstrate how conversations in blog comments provides greater knowledge gain for all involved, because each individual sees a different perspective of the task – giving everyone greater “food for thought!”
  2. Model personal learning networks in action!

About The course

EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education course is an open access graduate course from the Faculty of Education, University of Regina for both registered and non-registered students.

Participants are all teachers, or principals, and most are new to using social media.

Can you share your thoughts on the following:

  1. What are the benefits of blogging with students and/or yourself?
  2. What are some of the challenge of student blogging and how do you avoid them?
  3. Can you recommend any ‘must read’ articles on student blogging?
  4. What questions would you most like me to answer if you attended a presentation by me on educational blogging and building personal learning networks?

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Here’s My Blogging Story! What’s Yours?

Well I’m a bit late  to help John Connell with his session at BBC’s Glasgow HQ!

But I like the blogging questions and think others would be intrigued by my answers.

1.  How did you get into blogging?

I’m sure lots of people that are very glad I’m blogger would be totally surprised by the fact that initially I really struggled with the concept of blogging — Why anyone would blog and why others read their blogs?

It took almost a year from being shown what a blog was to becoming a blogger.

The turning point were a result of:

  1. Subscribing to blogs (which gave me a greater appreciate of blogs)
  2. My strong desire to reflect on what I was learning.

2.  What were (are?) the motivations?

My podcasts and wiki were excellent for sharing information but weren’t great for other aspects.

Blogging gave me what podcasting and my wiki lacked; the ability to reflect, collaborate, exchange ideas and connect with others.  These aspects plus my strong motivation to help others motivates why I blog.

3.  How does your “private” blogging relate to your work?

Well my ‘private blogging’ developed into my work.

And if you had told me when I first started blogging that within 8 months I would end up employed by a blogging company — I’d have said Get Real!’

Key events that lead to this were Darren Rowse’s 31 Days Project that made me a better blogger and James Farmer who saw potential!

4.  How do you achieve a balance of personal voice and authority

Sorry but I really don’t like words ‘authority’ or ‘expert’

We each have our own personal voices and own opinions — when we share and collaborate together we all gain in knowledge and skills.

5. What can be achieved through blogging that can’t through ordinary news/reporting routes?

Any one, any time, any where can share their thoughts, opinions and beliefs. We can now make the news, report the news and connect in ways we couldn’t previously.

6. How do you follow other blogs and other forms of “public conversation”?

By subscribing to blogs and using twitter.

7.  How does your blog connect to others in a “conversation”?

Wonder how John Connell answered this question?  Boy that’s a hard one.

My blogs help others become bloggers, or hopefully better bloggers.  Working together through engaging in conversations in comments  we connect and help with each other.

8.  Are there other bloggers you follow especially, others you think are exemplars of the practice?

Really hate those types of questions.  Reading  blog to me is like reading a novel.  Some people like romance, or horror, or sci fi or ……  PS don’t make me read a romance 😎

9. How do you feel about “lighter” practices such as Tweeting, facebook status updates etc…?

I think it’s s a mistake to see them as ‘lighter’ practices… a very bad mistake.  They are both complementary and becoming increasingly important for bloggers.

Many readers now prefer to grab links to posts from twitter.  Others like to read the posts as updates in Facebook.

Blogging is all about making your blog be more easily read by your audience.  Twitter, Facebook, RSS feed and email subscription all make it easier for your readers.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So that is my journey… would love to read  your responses to John Connell questions!

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Twitter (and Humans) Don’t Always Get It Correct!

Credit where credit is due is important.

Yes the “Twitter Handbook for Teachers” is an excellent resource.

While it is lovely for people on twitter to regularly thank me for the resources I create (and to get all the retweets of thanks) — I DID NOT write Twitter Handbook for Teachers.  But I can understand why people think I did.

It was written by Tomaz Lasic (@lasic) who used the quote from my PLN Yourself wiki on the front page of his handbook and then made the very human mistake of not adding his own details as author on the front page.   So now everyone sees my name (and website) and automatically assumes I created it.

But it is also important that I give Alan Levine credit also — as he pointed out in the comments I should have attributed him.  I’ve always felt that the following words were inspired by his audio he provided for a podcast I was asked to proved for the Knowledge Tree (here is the PDF version of the podcast).

“Watching from the outside, Twitter like the the dumbest thing you’ve heard of “Why would anyone want to tell others what they are doing in 140 characters.” And yet to dismiss Twitter is a mistake because it’s an incredibly powerful tool for your personal learning and connecting with others”

However they could have come from his Being There presentation that I attended twice in 2007 and wrote about on my other wiki.

Image of Twitter handbook for teachers

Please thank Tomaz Lasic (@lasic) for his great resource – he deserves full credit for his excellent work.  And Alan Levine (@cogdog) deserves full credit for his work.

And if you want to thank me here are the resources I created on twitter for my PLN Yourself wiki:

  1. Set up your own Twitter Account – helpful information for building your PLN using twitter
  2. Step 2: Set Up Twitter Account – designed as a step by step guide for f2f workshops

PS for those that know me I can’t believe you thought the handbook was my work — not one single step-by-step screenshots that is characteristic of my work!

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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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