December 10th, 2005 This is from about 70 minutes into this weekâ€™s brainstormâ€¦ just to give you an idea of some of the conversations that happen. This one has me sounding a little more proselytizing than i really feel about the issueâ€¦ just a little. This is the sound file. Check it out, join the debate.
First step – get a place to host it
Go to bluehost. Register for a one (or two) year account. Theyâ€™ll throw in a free domain name with that, 10 GIGS (etc. etc. etc.), cpanel of space pretty much everything you need. If you wanna check to see if youâ€™re domain name is taken or notâ€¦ i use godaddy
This costs just under $100 Canadian a year(credit card or paypall). This is the only cost you will incur.
Second step – get your site configured
At the end of the bluehost installation it will ask you if you want to go to your â€˜cpanel pageâ€™. you do.
Youâ€™ll see a bunch of icons over most of the page and a bunch of info on the left banner that you may or may not understand NO MATTER.
-in the far right column youâ€™ll see something called â€˜fantasticoâ€™ CLICK IT.
in the left column you will see a list of programsâ€¦ you want WORDPRESS
click on wordpress and the right column will change, you will want to NEW INSTALLATION
Fill in the information. The directions are there, read them carefully, and youâ€™ll be okayâ€¦ some tips
-install into the root directory (leave the first field (rectangle) empty.
-use â€˜adminâ€™ as your username and a familiar password
-donâ€™t worry about the email account, just use one of yours, itâ€™s for sending a new password if you lose yours.
click – finished a couple of times and youâ€™re wordpress will be installed.
Check to see if your domain has â€˜propogatedâ€™)
This can take anything from 2 minutes (which it did for us today) to 72 hours (which happened to me once). This is the lucky part referred to in the title. It takes a while for the internet to decide that your domain name is a place to go.
– type http://domainname.com into your browser (try with and without the www) (the â€˜domainnameâ€™ refers to the domain you chose in your bluehost install)
Get that podcast up and rockinâ€™
Once you are propagated you can go to http://domainname.com/cpanel
use your user and password from bluehost installation.
– click file manager (second column second row of icons (i think))
– click www (on the folder part (little yellow rectangle))
– near the top of the list you will see â€˜create new folderâ€™ click this
– call the folderâ€™ audioâ€™
– go to the â€˜audioâ€™ folder
– click â€˜uploadâ€™ (other list of options, somewhere topish right)
-find your mp3 file and upload.
Go to wordpress
-go to http://domainname.com
– post a title and some text and somewhere include a xhref=â€http://domainname.com/audio/filename.mp3â€³>my cool podcast (except youâ€™ll need to add a â€˜< ' to the front of it, which i can't, because it would just make a link. -click submit. I have to do this with the wordpress in fantastico, i don't know why. -after you've logged into wordpress (see above) click 'Presentation' -theme editor -footer template - In the first 10 lines of code there are two place where it says 'feed:' - in here, delete all the things that say 'feed:' save changes.
You have a podcast. Immediately return to this site, and post your podcast â€˜feedâ€™ in the comments. your podcast feed is available at the bottom of your new podcast page where it says â€˜entries rssâ€™
this link information will allow the whole world â€˜potentiallyâ€™ to enjoy youâ€™re great audio
-repeat as necessary. Technorati Tags: podcast, how to
4 Responses to â€œGet your podcast online in 10 minutes – if youâ€™re lucky.â€
Now that was a podcast. Took a while to kick in, the first 40-50 minutes included alot of babbling by yours truly with some pretty cool backchannel action, and then the inestimable Barbara Sawhill came in and started taking names. Harold joined in along with Art Gelwicks Jeff Flynn and I and we debated the place of the LMS, the PLE in terms of privacy, the real and whether the whole damn this is just a waste of time.
I gotta say, this debate is really working its way in my mind. Just put â€˜die lmsâ€™ into google and see what happens. Leigh has started one of those meme viruses i heard about at the pop tech conference. And with good reason i think. Iâ€™m not yet sure that i agree with him, iâ€™ve yet to either get a direct answer to my objections (my fault, as George Siemens said, i more implied (think he meant babbled) rather than expressly stated them) or managed to get my mind around the implications of the the exit of the LMS. Letâ€™s do a little imaginingâ€¦
Leigh Blackall kills the LMS
in other newsâ€¦ PLE on its deathbed
The LMS was found dead this morning, slain by a series of determined attacks by a group of blog wearing thugs lead by Leigh Blackallâ€¦ The classroom has been left without any place to put their grades, to forum, to wiki, to read and hand in their assignments. Teachers everywhere are throwing caution to the wind, and spreading out over the internet. An assignment popped up in the footer of cnn.com, linuxquestions.org was swamped with 6 year olds looking for a pen pal and fark.com has started itâ€™s own internet ethics course based on a discussion of the follies of others.â€œReally!â€, was all Josie Fraser was able to harrumph when she found 50957 comments in her last edtechuk post all from 14 year olds claiming to have an â€˜educational blogâ€™ and therfore demanding their chance to vote for themselves in the edublog awards.
â€œChaos is on the march,â€ an anonymous Blackall was reported to have blogged, â€œand not the silly anarchic chaos either, the real kind, the kind that my quantum mechanics prof used to talk about.â€ Leighâ€™s blog is currently down, of course, as the influx of 35 million new members have done the blogger service in for the forseeable future.
(unfortunately, i must runâ€¦ more news tomorrowâ€¦ any alternative interpretations?)
2 Responses to â€œThe LMS/PLE die debateâ€
I just may be the only person writing about post-modern educational theory today declaring a bias based on the person iâ€™m fortunate enough to share my life with. But I am. The paper iâ€™m talking about today was the final, deciding factor in my side of the decision to spend the rest of my life with Bonnie. It took that little frightened place inside me that could tell that things were not as they seemed, but was too afraid to admit it, and gave it language it could be proud of. It gave me the language I needed to understand the capacity of uncertainty, the historicity of change, the power hierarchies of language and the hipocracy and fear that lie at the heart of many of the worlds ruling ideologies. It, in effect, changed the way I spoke about the world.
I was brought back there by the post on â€œthe late age of printâ€ over at weblogg-ed. Iâ€™d like to suggest the thesis that sent me down a similar road that Will seems to be going down nowâ€¦ Itâ€™s not what youâ€™d call light reading, and the first few pages take a few readings until you get your mind around the language, but itâ€™s more than worth the time.
Bonnie Stewart, Techknowledge: Literate Practice and Digital Worlds.
This is a quote from the introduction, to give you a taste of both the content and the style of the writing.
The primary question behind it [the paper] is â€œwhat will it mean to know in the 21st century; in the digital age?â€ And its primary aim is to offer a contribution to the cultural conversation predicated by that question; a foray into the broad realm of possibilities that the query opens. In its focus on practice, the thesis represents an effort to breach the boundaries within which questions of â€œknowledgeâ€ and â€œtechnologyâ€ are popularly taken up, and to formulate an approach to the conversation that allows these concepts and their relationships to be examined in the cultural context.
Thereâ€™s a great description of the development of technology and how it changes knowledge inside (some of which i agree with, some not) and not a complete thesis sheâ€™d like to be held to now, but a great starting point for the conversation. And, as I say a great place to learn the language of one side of the debate. And, for me at least, an artifact both as an intellectual and as a partner to one very smart woman.
more details later.
Which bring me to Leigh Blackallâ€™s
polemic against the LMS/VLE/PLE. Iâ€™m a big fan of Leighâ€™s writing, but i have to say that this time, i have a few problems with his position, and iâ€™d like to start a little healthy debate on the subject. I have two main subjects that iâ€™d like to cover, one concerning relative computer literacy and the other about what the school and learning is all about.
Who needs ALL of the internet
Why do we need a PLE when we already have the Internet? The Internet is my PLE, ePortfolio, VLE what ever. Thanks to blogger, bloglines, flickr, delicious, wikispaces, ourmedia, creative commons, and what ever comes next in this new Internet age, I have a strong online ID and very extensive and personalised learning environment.
I think that Leighâ€™s logic here is solid insofar as his â€˜Iâ€™ is concerned. This is true for me as well, and for most of the people that are likely to be reading this blog. The majority of people will NEVER have an internet presence. By definition, there is no room for the â€˜presenceâ€™ of 6 billion people. Some people, like Leigh, will do enough good work to have room on the internet for Stephen Downes to read their work and post it, most will never. Community environments like elgg allow for them to be noticed, and interacted with, by their peers. Itâ€™s a safe, controllable environment, away from the chaos and uncertainty that is that rather long list of tools listed. The PLE and to a lesser extent the VLE/LMS provide some security, some much needed structure and most importantly guaranteed interactivity. Technorati is claiming 21 million blogs or so (i have 4 or 5) where will the interactivity be when there are 200 million or 2 billion. A PLE like elgg allows for focus.
Learning from life
My thinking is that we need to build media literacy in our institutions, and not prevent it by building replicas.
A PLE is not a simulacra. There are many instances in this â€˜real worldâ€™ that Leigh is refering to where the PLE is being used. I have several friends who have installed moodle and elgg as training and communication platforms for companies, from restaurants to government agencies.
So while I whole heartedly agree with the PLE and Scottâ€™s reasoning for rejecting the LMS/VLE, I canâ€™t say Iâ€™m with them on their alternative. In my view, the VLE, LMS and PLE are the same. A suggestion that the Internet, and informal networked learning are not enough. That people still need to come to school to learn. That people need to distinguish learning from life, that people need to download and install an application that will solve their learning needs.
If I understand correctly, â€˜informal networked learningâ€™ as it appears in the internet context, is â€˜real lifeâ€™ and the LMS/VLE/PLE are artificial. Iâ€™m not sure that i understand how someone would start informal learning in a â€˜natural way,â€™ but i would love to have this further elaborated on.
My real objection to this is the part about â€˜coming to schoolâ€™. I donâ€™t think that people come to school to gather knowledge in the traditional sense. In an ideal world they learn how to learn, they learn to work together, they learn how to kiss behind the water filtration system, they learn how to fightâ€¦ and eventually how not toâ€¦ they get the opportunity to know more than their parents do on all the above subjectsâ€¦ school still has this power (if used) to level the social classes. Now weather or not we replace the military classroom with another free, government sponsored place that isnâ€™t called school but still allows them to do the things above and many more, we still need them.
A friend of mine was called by another parent from the community about something her son was doing on the internet. Suffice it to say that he was about ten and he was emailing porn to his buddiesâ€¦ This will happen. Kids will publish porn, just for fun, to push boundaries, to experiment, all part of the natural experience. How do we teach appropriate behaviour on the internet? How do we pass our cultural values on to the wired generation? In these PLE/VLE environments, where we guide by example, where we leadâ€¦ where we teach.
12 Responses to â€œWhat is this whole school thing about anyway?â€
I started all my computer stuff on a Commodore Vic-20, which while i donâ€™t advise you to try and purchase one it was a really good system, didnâ€™t crash and you had nice cartridges that you could plug into the back. I grew up and got my first 8086, and then a 486 and then went through the pentium strainâ€¦ I was windows onlyâ€¦ then i got a consulting gig that forced me to learn linux, and iâ€™ve used it as my desktop software for the last year and a half, and now, 2 days ago, I bought an apple Ibook. My father called me a traitor. Someone told me my computer was â€˜very cuteâ€™. Very cute, i mean, how can you do any serious writing on something thatâ€™s â€˜very cuteâ€™. Is it any wonder that i ended up talking about leaves falling in the intro paragraph?
My transition to linux had been part learning experience, part psychological breakdown. I do alot of work on these little beastiesâ€¦ i develop curriculum, i communicate with my friends, i test software, i do a radio show, i consult with those who are kind enough to consider my advice worthwhileâ€¦ I need a computer that will work, and that has the range to perform a vast quantity of tasks RELIABLY. And i donâ€™t have time to spend a whole weekend figuring stuff out. Linux is, right now, an excellent solution for a couple groups of people. If you can get someone to set one up in your office (which i can now do, thanks to the last 2 years) it can run exactly like your XP or Mac with far fewer problems than the first, and cheaper than the second. It is by far the best option for a computer lab, a distro like edubuntu set up in a computer lab would be ideal. Super cheap(you could easily get the computers second hand for 200 bucks (or less and have good use out of them), all the functionality you need, and the students will be unable to mess it upâ€¦ Two great uses, desktop youâ€™ll never touch or computer lab. For me, itâ€™s just been plain murder. Crash, blank staring, crash. Skype crashed about a million times, it didnâ€™t like my usb mic, java had to be installed by hand, etcâ€¦ the linux people tell me – go check it out, figure it out yourself. Wellâ€¦ i have. and for either of the two groups mentioned above, youâ€™re good, for meâ€¦ i just canâ€™t do it anymore. I waste hours some days looking for that perfect piece of information that will get me what i want. Iâ€™m keeping my linux desktop, but itâ€™s going to second placeâ€¦ a testing areaâ€¦
Windows, well, most of you are familiar with it. Itâ€™s buggy. It crashes alot (my linux crashed too, more than i figured it would) it gets more viruses than a 2nd grade teacher, and they charge silly amounts for their software. Now, with all the open source software you can get around some of that stuff. Using firefox or opera will help alot, openoffice.org makes a great office package and most other software can now be downloaded leagally for free (see gimp and othersâ€¦ ) it is however what people know, and there is a great deal to be said for using what you are familiar with. That and almost everything works with it. Some things you just canâ€™t do with Linux or Mac unless your willing to â€™spend a whole weekend with itâ€¦ although this is far more true of linux)
I was worried about the mac. I remember all the propaganda about how expensive they were, how hard it was to get the software, how it didnâ€™t perform as well as the PC unless you were doing â€˜artsy stuffâ€™. Two days inâ€¦ iâ€™m cautiously converted. The damn thing crashed twenty minutes inâ€¦ and has been singing along perfectly ever since. (now mac-heads are coming out of the wooodwork and saying that theirâ€™s only crashes a couple times a yearâ€¦ and not – never) The transition was pretty painless, installing software is pretty hilarious, download, click and drag, â€˜thank you for installing your softwareâ€™. The service is different. they actually seem to care if my computer crashes. They offer advice in a non-condescending manner. But hereâ€™s the clincher, for all the stuff that i do, in 48 hours, i have only once wished i was using XP. I wanted to install openoffice.org and i needed X11(whatever that is, windows emulator of somekind) but then found neooffice, which seems to do everything i want. Thatâ€™s it, once, and i found a solution. Be not afraid windows user, come over to the white sideâ€¦ itâ€™sâ€¦ very cute.
4 Responses to â€œMac, Windows or Linux – thoughts from an educator without a countryâ€
Boring historical background stuff that i find fascinating
Imagine trying to be â€˜intelligentâ€™ or â€˜informedâ€™ in the time of Socrates. This was a time where there was no real writing, people still got most of the their information, political or otherwise, in person or through a friend, second or third hand. Imagine how this would work out in reality. If you wanted to be informed about everything that was going on, not only in Athens, but in other cities as well, you would have to have a vast network of people that you knew, and trusted, who would come by your house regularly to tell you about it. (Of course, you could go to their houses, and this would certainly be a cheaper proposition, but not nearly so convenient.) Platoâ€™s â€˜the symposiumâ€™ stands as the best recorded example of this.
How would one acquire these â€˜friendsâ€™? Well, it was possible to acquire them by money; if you were the sort of person to put on lavish banquets, to attract many people and hope that some of the informed people would come, this might work. But you would also attract very dull people, and this would obviously only work for the very rich. For most people, you would have to have something to exchange, you would want to BE one of the people who would be invited. This would force all but the most fantastically brilliant in a society (sayâ€¦ Socrates, who could be a little odd, and condescending, but was still on the whole charming) to be polite, to be interesting: that is, to do things that made people want to be involved with them.
Silent reading and 2500 other years of stuff
Enter the book. Socrates hated the idea. He thought it would upset the fabric of society, and make people lose the â€˜realâ€™ things they needed, like oratory and memory. With the coming of St. Augustine, some 800 years later, you have the first recorded instance of a person reading silently, and the transition was complete. Learning became anti-social, instead of supremely social. Something that happened in quiet, dank rooms instead of in the open air over beer. People still gathered together to do it, but one person talked about material theyâ€™d worked on in their room for a year and hundreds of people listened.
Skype and the backchannel
Now, we have a free Skype presentation (really a conversation) with people on a backchannel, all live. We have all the people whoâ€™ve heard about it and are interested coming over to join in on the fun. The meaning that is being made here is far more complex and contextualized than any that could be made in an office by a single person, or even by a group of people at a single institution. This morning, on the Etienne Wenger conference, there were people from all the continents (save Antarctica, reticent those Antarticans, penguins not being very interested in things other than fish). They were cross-examining and adding their own opinions, their own context, to the conversation.
How could the ivory tower possibly compete with this? Indeed, how will they even know, or get invited to join in the conversation that goes on if they remain aloof to the meaning that is being made in this kind of webcast? They will have to learn to communicate their ideas so that practitioners of their ideas (and now Iâ€™m sliding over to ed-theory particularly) if they want to be part of the conversation. They will need to be like the Greeks who wanted to be informed, they will need to be polite, inclusive and willing to be part of a larger community, or they will be left behind.
I donâ€™t mean to say that academics arenâ€™t polite, Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™d offer you a coffee if you went to their office. But they will need to bring learning, philosophy and theyâ€™re unique brand of intepretation back to the people for it to be valid, and to do so, they will need to learn the new way of speakingâ€¦
2 Responses to â€œSkype, Socrates and how learning 2.0 will marginalize the ivory tower and bring back the symposiumâ€
Iâ€™m very excited about the program that jay cross has told us about called suprglu. I think that it will allow teachers to set up a feedbook with relative ease, from delicious accounts flickr accounts and host of other sources at the click of a button. Itâ€™s ease of use is the real draw for this program, and i think it would also serve as an ideal introduction to new tech in a classroom. And a transparent one, which is the key.
So, what Iâ€™m going to be doing for my next class is sending students to this site to sign up for an account. I will get them to include a delicious and, say, a flickr account specially designed for the course (including my own blog, and hopefully the blog of other instructors). Some materials that are going to be especially relevant to the material we will be covering. Each student will have access to their own feedbook from any computerâ€¦ and I will have all of my coursework available for projection on the big screen. All images, video, textâ€¦ whatever, will be available for manipulation by me, or the students, in class.
As the course progresses i will encourage students to develop their own feedbook as their projects developâ€¦ I will also encourage students to start their own blog which will be included in the feedbooks of students. The feedbooks will progressively diverge from each other as each is configured to that studentâ€™s taste, while still keeping the essential content from the original delicious account.
Problems – wellâ€¦ once could say that this just sounds like a BIG blogâ€¦ and i guess in a sense it is. But I think it does a couple of things. It allows instructors who are forced to have a textbook of somekind to have something to point to. It also gives the students a sense of control over their own learning, a place where they are the prime movers of what gets to be included in â€˜what is important.â€™
I promise that there is a long line of cool people who think these kinds of questions are important, and not just a waste of time: Socrates, Erasmus, Wittgenstein and a whole pack of postmodernists. We use words all the time where we donâ€™t pay attention to the meaning (nothing like teaching English to teach you that!) or where the meaning changes when we changed the context. love. i love my house, my cat, my partner, my computer chair, fall leaves, the smell of roast chicken, and a whole host of other things in very different ways. I donâ€™t need to explain them, because the contexts are probably familiar to you. But. But if I say, I love Bonnie, you are left asking, who is bonnie and what do you mean love? Words like weird, nice, fun, deadly, terror, smelly and easy are also like this. They require context before they have meaning. If I tell someone that my quodlibetal was funâ€¦ they will probably be confused.
What is learning?
The simplest definition of this is – acquiring knowledge. A slightly longer definition would be To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through experience or study.
Either way, we have the words â€˜acquireâ€™ and â€˜knowledgeâ€™. Other definitions could be found, but, probably, they would leave with some version of â€˜get knowledgeâ€™. Getting is an action verb, it leaves us with the question â€˜how to we getâ€™. Knowledge is a nounâ€¦ we need to know what it means.
What is knowledge?
This is the tricky part. I like this definition from dictionary.com â€œFamiliarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study.â€ Essentially – what you get from learning.
Weâ€™ve created a circle, and quickly. Thatâ€™s why i told you it was a waste of time. someone might say at this point. But lets ask the question another way.
What does it mean to know?
This depends on what we are talking about.
- know whatâ€¦
- If we are talking about â€œthe generally accepted fact about an issueâ€ like â€œwho is the president of the united statesâ€â€¦ to know is to have the information â€˜George W. Bushâ€™ somewhere in you head. This kind of knowledge is as old as recorded (see the word recorded) history. (often called â€˜know whatâ€™)
- If we ask about a current phrase like â€œwhat is web 2.0â€³ we are going to get a different kind of knowing, as George Siemens says â€œChoosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.â€
- If we are talking about â€œto know how to fix my carâ€ this may involve knowing how to combine the information form my instruction manual, with my knowledge of how to use tools, and my experience doing it before (often called â€˜know how)
- if we are talking about â€œdo i know how to blogâ€ the answer changes again. The answer to the car question has a limited number of responses. There are a certain number of parts to a car, and a limited amount of ways they can break down. A blog runs on a completely different set of rules. You can add links to other places, images, audio, video, wikis, rss or a bunch of other things that I canâ€™t think about. The technology does limit you, but among the things that are possible are an indefinite amount of choices.
What it means â€˜to knowâ€™ is very different in both those cases. In the case of the president, it is to remember a recognized fact. In the case of web 2.0 it is a far more complex â€˜decisionâ€™. It is actually a decision about what definition to give. In the second set of examples, what it means to â€˜knowâ€™ has far more to do with â€˜decisionsâ€™ about assembly, rather than â€˜interpretationâ€™ or what would be the â€˜correctâ€™ thing to do in the case of the car.
So, letâ€™s return to our original questions.
What is learning, when we are talking about learning how to â€˜decideâ€™ about blogging?
What is knowledge when we are talking about things that shift instead of things that are solid?
What happens to Jeopardy! if there are no right answers? There are certainly right answersâ€¦ as long as quantum theory doesnâ€™t disprove 2+2=4 (whether this is knowledge or not is a whole other ball of twine the cats played with) and we leave sarcasm out of it, facts will not disappearâ€¦ we are, however, adding a new kind of knowing, and many things we used to think of as Truth will become â€˜truthsâ€™. A kind of knowing that we will all have to get used to.
I was having a skype discussion at the same timeâ€¦ and this is what I got from barbara sawhill
Barbara SawhillÂ Reminds me of the argument I have with people about learning a language vs acquiring a languageâ€¦being proficient in a language vs being communicatively competent.
[21:25:24]Â â€¦Â we need to get our terms straight, although i fear that means that we spend 20 mninutes of preamble for every point we want to make setting out the context so we donâ€™t offend, confuse or be misinterpretted
[21:26:01]Â dave cormierÂ trueâ€¦ but were not arguing about tableâ€¦ weâ€™re educators arguing about learning and knowledge
[21:26:09]Â â€¦Â thatâ€™s a good point[you made]â€¦ iâ€™m going to add that.
[21:26:15]Â Barbara SawhillÂ table?
[21:27:25]Â â€¦Â When there is no right or wrong, no right answer no wrong answer, it can be a very linberating thing for students and a very terrifying thing for teachers. But what i have learned in my 300 years as a language teacher is that unless you make mistakes, take risks, piss people off, wjatever, learn ing does not happen.