Monday, December 14, 2009

Citing Wikipedia Using APA Style?

Citing Wikipedia in APA?

Why do we need to know that?

NO self-respecting educator would allow students to cite Wikipedia in a research paper! 

NO professional would try to cite Wikipedia in a refereed journal!

Why waste the time and effort to even consider how to cite it?

It's funny how the title of this posting will raise the dander of many an academic. It will cause them to respond exactly as the quotes above indicate. Many an academic will complain that Wikipedia is an indicator of how far our world has plummeted when they consider that a resource created "by the masses."  It is "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

This reminds me of a little known fact that Dr. David Thornburg mentioned once in a presentation I had the good fortune to enjoy. He was addressing this very issue of Wikipedia being considered unreliable because it was created and maintained by people who were not christened as "experts" in the field. He pointed out that the first Oxford Dictionary had been compiled by 800 volunteer readers back in the mid-1800s.

Many question Wikipedia's reliability.  It can be edited by anyone with an account.  Most teachers and publications don't accept it as a valid reference. I don't accept Wikipedia as a valid reference from my students.

But ask a room full of academics and educators about how many of them use Wikipedia and the only liars in the room will be the ones who don't have their hands raised.  Wikipedia is a WONDERFUL starting place for beginning research or getting familiar with a topic or even finding relevant references in the References and External Links at the end of each article.

Run a Google search on most any topic and there will be at least one Wikipedia reference in the first 10 links. Wikipedia is ubiquitous.  It is everywhere.

So what do you do if you want to refer to a definition in Wikipedia (not necessarily as an expert resource but as an example in a discussion) and you want to make an APA-appropriate citation?  Listen to Timothy McAdoo in the APA Style Blog.  His posting, How to Cite Wikipedia in APA Style, explains that it is quite similar to any other electronic citation with a couple of modifications to make it Wikipedia-specific:

Infinite Monkey Theorem. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved December 9, 2009, from
 Give it a try. Do you use Wikipedia? What is your call on using it as a reference tool?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, December 11, 2009

The REST of the Story - Checkpoint Charlie

I was presenting at the Iowa Technology and Education Connection conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The great thing was that I got to meet a number of people who follow this blog. One of the interesting questions that I received was about the photo that I have in header above ^^^^.

Just thought that I would share "The Rest of the Story" with you.

This is from a photo of me in Berlin at CheckPoint Charlie in 2000. I was one of the professors who escorted a group of UNI students to visit schools in Poland and The Netherlands. We landed in Berlin so did a little exploring the streets. I had actually found a hat that fit my huge head and had Joe Smaldino take this photo.

I know that this posting had nothing to do with educational technology but just sounded like it might be of interest to some of you.

Here's a city e-visit to CheckPoint Charlie

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thankful for Free Apps

LifeHacker asked their readers to submit their favorite Free Apps. It was a simple process. They posted the challenge and the readers were to comment with their favorite apps. It appears that they had 484 comments with hundreds of suggestions. After a great deal of review, they whittled is down to:

The 61 Free Apps We are MOST Thankful For [sic]

Check them out. You will certainly find old friends, but you might be able to expand your toolbelt with some new apps you find.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, December 07, 2009

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook - APA Style

Twitter and Facebook have DEFINITELY made an impact on Academia!!!!  APA Style now has defined how to cite them in a formal APA-formatted paper/article!

It's not even in the latest 6th edition of the APA Style Manual (you remember, the one with so many mistakes in its first printing that they had to call back all of those copies and have issued a reprint - the question is, how do you cite the second printing of the 6th edition?  =-)

Well, Chelsea Lee on the APA Style blog has provided guidance and examples for citing these social media sources. She says that these formats will work until more "definitive guidance is available." So I guess this means that she has received the blessing from the APA Oracles to share these rules.

Chelsea provides her guidance in two postings:

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part I: General
This provides the format for just referring to a Twitter feed ( or or a Facebook presence (http://www.facebook/barackobama or

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part II: Reference List Entries and In-Text Citations
This posting refers to citing particular posts.  These posts need to reference both the source and the specific posting.  The examples are more complicated than I want to post here so I will leave you to click on the title link to see how they work.

I teach a Seminar at the University of Northern Iowa on Writing a Graduate Paper.  I find it humorous how paranoid students get when they have to write in APA format. It becomes a barrier to writing because they are afraid that they don't know everything there is to know about APA.


By the end of my class, I have tried to demystify APA and convince the students that the important part of their writing is what they say and how they organize their thoughts.  The APA format is only to ensure consistency between authors and it can be implemented (and refined) towards the end of the writing process.

Sometimes it works . . . =-)

Trying to format the plethora of sources available in the world today is a moving target and I take my hat off to the folks at APA.  It's genius to run a blog that can be used to channel recommendations about formatting sources between their editions that are published about every 6 years.  It's just that educators shouldn't take the format's importance to the point of squelching creativity and original thought.

This posting about referencing Facebook and Twitter is only a small part of the many suggestions available.

What is your opinion about APA and how it's importance in teaching writing in schools?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gigapan photos

On January 20, 2009, photographer David Bergman covered his first inauguration and took a photo (actually 220 photos) using his Canon PowerShot G10 camera and then "stitched" them all together to create a 2 GB 1,475 megapixal photo (59,783 x 24,658 pixels). That's HUGE.

Big is good, but what is exciting about these shots is that the viewer can look at the whole photo from a distance or zoom into specific people in the photo. (Click here to see the dynamic photo.) It is similar to the kind of technology that you see in Google Maps or Google Earth but the typical photography enthusiast can do this.

The trick wasn't in his camera but in GigaPan technology. This Carnegie Mellon University GigaPan technology includes a robotic arm and the Gigapan Stitcher software ($450). Bergman attached the robotic arm to a railing. The Gigapan will take the photos for you. You just have to designate the upper left corner and the lower right corner. Press the GigiPan button and it will automatically take the photos (video tutorial here). When Bergman's photosession was complete, it took over 6 and a half hours for the Gigapan to stitch together the 220 images on his MacBook Pro.

GigaPan has set up an agreement with Google. Google Earth will begin including Gigapan panorama photos. This began in 2007 and I haven't checked it out yet, but should be rather exciting for seeing closeups of places in the world.

Taking closeups like this can be a little scary as a continuing intrusion into our privacy, but it should also be considered a new opportunity for "the rest of us" to venture into new photographic territories at a reasonable price.

What do you think? How can we use the Gigapan Technologies in our educational settings?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Facebook Dangers (not involving predators)

"Wow Man!! I was SOO wasted!!"
"This job is really boring."
"I think that I am getting tired of my girlfriend."

These are all phrases that can get people into BIG trouble when they share them on FaceBook. FaceBook is a great way to communicate with your friends and share what's happening in your life, poorly selected photos and descriptions of your adventures can cause SERIOUS problems in getting jobs, being admitted to college, or even being sentenced in the courtroom.

's article, The 5 Facebook Dangers, in her Young Adults column, provides an important list of ways that poor choices in postings can affect their futures in school, jobs, and court prosecutions.

Students don't realize how much their presence on the Web will affect their futures. Every semester, I discuss this issue with my university students and the fact anything they post on the web will "be there forever."  They see their social networking sites as great places to share things with their friends, but they don't consider the fact employer and admission offices search the web to find out information that isn't conveyed on their job/school applications.

Be careful what you post because it just might come back to haunt you in the future. 

BTW, related to Facebook but unrelated to what I have been discussing, I just found some research by Aryn Karpinski reported in April, 2009, compared the grades of students who use FaceBook to those who don't. They surveyed 219 students from Ohio State University and found that Facebook users in the study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5.  Students in the study who didn't use FaceBook had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. They also found that FaceBook users spent an average of 1 - 5 hours a week studying and non-users studied between 11 - 15 hours.

It should be noted that this research DOES NOT find a causal relationship between low school performance and using FaceBook. It merely found that those who used FaceBook tended to have lower grades and study less. Chances are that if they didn't use FaceBook, they would have found other distractions instead of studying.

Another question is how can university students have a 3.0 GPA average with only 1 - 5 hours of studying per week?  I have plenty of ideas about that, but that deserves another posting.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Must See YouTube Videos

What YouTube Videos do you identify as your MUST SEE videos?

I was just reviewing Steve Dembo's posting about Mandatory YouTube Videos and it got me thinking about which ones I think people should watch.

Steve lists a few videos that I knew and liked including:
I was intrigued by the first two videos including:
  • Digital Dossier which describes the digital trail that we leave from birth
  • Food Fight which is an incredible example of stop action video creation. It is literally a war between foods. I would suggest previewing this before sharing with students due to the graphic depiction of food annihilation.
I would like to add a few of my personal favorites:
There are many more videos that should be listed here. What would YOU include in your list? Give us the link as well as the title.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How Would YOU Save Money in Our College of Education?

The State of Iowa has been hit HARD by the recession.  Admittedly, it is nothing like what California or Michigan have seen, but it hurts none-the-less.  In mid-October, Iowa's Governor Culver announced that ALL governmental entities would have to cut their budgets by 10%.  This include the courts, governmental offices, AND schools.

Yes, our University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has felt the cut of the sword. The greatest expense in education is faculty and staff. Personnel compose at least 85% of the budget. Faculty will suffer an average of 6 furlough days (unpaid days off) which will mean a salary cut of probably $2,000 - $4,000. UNI has announced that they will reduce their contribution to our retirement accounts and our health premiums will probably increase.

The scene is not pretty. President Allen has even opened a Budget website where he is trying keep the public posted about how the budget is evolving.

To top it all off, our College of Education was just told that we need to return another $142,000 on a permanent basis by the end of December 2009.

What to do?  What would YOU do?

Time magazine ran an article, Colleges Find Creative Ways to Cut Back. It talks about mowing lawns less frequently and dumping free laundry services, but when it comes to academics it is always a matter of cutting people and programs.

Share your ideas.  Help us out.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Living in 4 Dimensions

A couple of days ago I had coffee with my friend, Gordon Dahlby, and he told me a story that “added a new dimension” to my life.

Gordon told me about one afternoon when he was walking with a friend around the Mall in Washington D.C. They came to a “buggy way”. This looked like an alley, but in reality it was one of the passageways that was designed in the early 1800s to accommodate horse and buggy vehicles as they traveled around the nation’s capitol.

Gordon said that he stopped for a moment to take time to absorb the sight. His younger companion said something like “If my mom were here, she would be taking pictures from here and there and getting all excited about this old alley. It’s so embarrassing.” Gordon thought for a moment and then responded “You need to remember that your mother would be experiencing this moment in 4 dimensions.”

4 dimensions – what did he mean about experiencing in 4 dimensions?

Aren’t we limited to only 3 dimensions: Height, Width and Depth? (My favorite description of the 3 dimensions is in the 1960 movie, The Time Machine. I couldn't find that specific clip, but here is a trailer clip that "kind of" addresses it.)

The answer is a resounding “No.”

The 4th dimension is Time. It involves being able to integrate the past or the future into your perception of an object or person or experience. Dr. Dahlby's observation that when this woman's mother experiences something she includes the Time dimension as well implies that she is including all of the things that she knows about the "experience" from personal experiences, historical accounts and related experiences.

Typically, when people discuss dimensions, they require that we must be able to move between them. My daily life is lived in 3 dimensions because; I can move side to side (width dimension); I can move forward and back (depth dimension); and I can move up and down (height dimension.) This is my life. The question remains, however, "How am I limited to experience these 3 dimensions in my life?" The potential to move through these dimensions is there, but can I really do it?" Probably not. I probably can't experience all of my world through 3 dimensions.

I can enter a room and experience most of it by moving forward, back (depth) and side-to-side (width.) I am over 6 feet tall, so I can probably almost reach the ceiling (or stand on a chair if necessary) to experience the height dimension. But what about when I leave the comfortable confines of my house? I can perceive the three dimensions, but can I experience them? In my home, I can experience all three dimensions because I can see and feel them in three directions. But these 3-dimensional experiences are extremely limited.

What about when I go to the shore and stand with my feet in the waves. I can move forward, back, side-to-side and up/down (6 feet) but the rest of my reality is limited to what I can see and hear. I can see the sky, but I can't touch it. I have to imagine it in my mind. I can see the ocean disappearing off into the distance, but I can't feel it in the distance. I have to experience it in my mind. I am limited by the physical boundaries that are imposed upon me by gravity, distance and the fact that my soul is contained in a physical body that has limits. I can move around in the 3-dimensional world but some of my movement is in my mind because I can't physically do it.

I must admit that the only time that I felt that I was truly in a 3-dimensional world was when I was SCUBA diving off Cozumel. I was 30 feet down amongst a school of Clown fish, and as I looked up to watch my bubbles drift to the surface, I realized that I wasn't limited to the 6-foot band of height that I have on land. I could move up, down, forward, back, left and right at will. I was truly living in a 3-dimensional world because I could navigate my way throughout this world.

Time is another dimension through which I have traveled. Admittedly, my physical movement is uni-directional. I live life by moving forward in time. It is possible to to move back in time, but at this time it is only by remembering it in my mind. I may remember an exact incident because I lived through it and I retain the details. I might have to imagine it because I only read an account or saw a video or heard a discussion about the event. Either way, it can be as exact as touching the sand (remembering) or as vague as imagining the sky (recalling someone else's account of an incident). It is another dimension of experience through which we live.

This also applies to the future tense as well. Jennifer James talks about Thinking in the Future Tense. When we are experiencing/viewing and event/object, we must integrate a future perspective as well because it allows us to consider how this event/object will/can be in the future. This attitude needs to be the basis in our teaching and educational leadership. Last month, at an ITEC conference, Daniel Pink said "We must teach for our students' future, not our pasts."

Living Life through the 4th dimension provides the context that gives our lives meaning. Teaching and leading with the past and present tense provides relevance to our activities and meaningful direction to our leadership.

BTW to all of you physicists. Yes, I know that 4 dimensions are no big thing when you are a String Theorist. The String Theory community boasts 10 dimensions. I have to admit that I don't know much about this, but it sounds like something I will have to research and share with you in a future posting.

What do you know about 10 dimensions? Share your knowledge with us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

6 Resources for Using Twitter in Education

Twitter is sometimes considered a tool that is "a solution looking for a problem to solve." it is cool and immediate and useful for people to keep in touch. Here are some resources that educators will hopefully find useful when considering using Twitter in their classrooms.

Twitter Handbook for Teachers
An 18-page ebook for teachers. Begins with a basic intro about Twitter and then provides insight about using Twitter in the classroom. These ideas are from teachers and written for teachers.

Twitter for Teachers
A collaboratively-written, wiki-based ebook to "Teach Teachers about Twitter."

Twitter 4 Teachers
Another wiki created to help teachers find teachers through Twitter. This can be quite valuable if you want to find a group of twitterers in your field of instruction.

"Where Do You Learn?": Tweeting to Inform Learning Space Development
An EduCause article about how you can use twitter to provide real-time information about your learning environment.

Twitter Tips: For Teachers and Educators
David Hopkins' Overview of how and why to use Twitter in education.

Twitter in the Classroom (YouTube Video)
In this 9-minute video a high school AP Biology teacher tel
ls how he uses Twitter in his classroom. Begins with an explanation of Twitter and then discusses the applications.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Motivating Exercise through Fun

Had to share this one with you. This group,, believes that we can get more people to exercise if we make it fun to do it. In this video, filmed at the Odenplan metro station in Stockholm, Sweden, the group has placed musical "plates" on the stairs so that when people walk up and down the stairs, it will play like a piano.

2 out of 3 people decided to take the stairs with this added incentive. Some just ran up the stairs in sequence but some used the stairs to play music. I would have done the later. What would you have done?
is an organization funded by Volkswagen that is based upon the theory that making things fun can be used to change people's behavior for the better. They have a number of videos showing examples including:
There are only 3 examples on their website so far, but I am sure that more will be coming soon.

What forms of motivation have you used/seen to encourage exercise?

Share them with us.


This s
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, October 26, 2009

P.M. CoverItLive for the Web 2.0 and Digital Natives lecture

CoverItLive for Web 2.0 and Digital Natives

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five (+ 1) Sources for Free/Royalty-Free Music and Sound Effects

WAVImage via Wikipedia

I have been trying to find Free/Royalty-Free Music and Sound Effects and have not been as successful as I have anticipated. What do you use? Here are some suggestions that I have received:

Kathy Schrock
suggests using Soundzabound. She has used it for a few years and have been very happy with it. She says that the company is great to work with and the students really love the loops. They are categorized by broad topic, and students can easily find what they need. It is true royalty-free music and can be used for items in school and on the Web. I should note that this is subscription service where you pay $99/year/volume. Go there to identify the specifics.

Freeplay is a great source, too, but it has certain restrictions on use, as outlined in their policy. Here is the educational use portion of Freeplay. It cannot be used for anything re-published. If I understand this correctly, they charge $500/year to send you a hard drive full of music. That you can then use under their license.

Soundsnap is a membership source that offers royalty-free sounds. Soundsnap has a free membership (allows 5 free downloads/month) and then you have a variety of other membership options.

Soungle is a a free, public domain resource for sound FX and musical instrument samples. It has a growing database of sounds from which you can choose. These sounds are downloadable as .wav files.

Musopen is an online music library of copyright free (public domain) music. This music has expired copyrights so they are recording the music to create sources that have no copyrights. Their mission is to "Set music Free" They even provide the code to embed music:

Larry Ferlazzo
has a wonderful resource for finding The Best Places to Get Royalty-Free Music and Sound Effects in his blog. You should check this out.

What resources do you have for Free/Royalty-Free Music and Sound Effects?


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off the Grid and Lovin' It!

Getty Grid Warp

Blog this. Facebook that. Twitter your latest thoughts and activities . . .

Do you realize how addicted you are to your social network connections? I didn't until I had the opportunity to sever these connections for a few days.

Mid-June, I had a chance to spend 4 days mountain biking in Utah. This was no small endeavor. It involved riding about 70 miles at 8,000 - 10,000 feet elevation. May not sound like a big thing for my readers in Denver or Santa Fe. Although I ride my bike across Iowa each year along with 15,000 of my best friends (See RAGBRAI and Team Flamingo), Iowa's average elevation is only 1,100 feet. This was my first attempt at mountain biking and I found its demands to be much different than for RAGBRAI.

Utah Easy Downhill ride video

Thunder Ridge (Zion) Steep Downhill ride video

Excuse me, I digress . . .

This adventure was physically challenging but it was culturally challenging as well. I made the conscious decision not to take my laptop on this trip. No work time on the plane (I actually read a book for pleasure on my trip.)
AND believe it or not, I intentionally left my phone in our car.

This may not sound like a big move for most of you, but these were the first 4 days, in recent (and not so recent) history that I was disconnected from the net. I had an MP3 player with me, but I put it away deep into my backpack so that I wouldn't be tempted.

I loved it. It was a feeling of emancipation. I wasn't connected to anyone but the 15 people of my group. It was all about riding our bikes and enjoying the woods. I was riding with my great friend, Jay Foster, and one of his friends, Larry. There were 3 guides and 9 other guys who were out to "beat the mountain."

I don't know what to tell you, but look at the 169 unread messages that you have in your email this morning. Consider the on-going stream of Tweets, IMs and phone calls you have to deal with daily and consider "Tossing It" for a few days. The world will still be there when you come back and you will be all the better for it.


P.S. I might note that I read Dan Brown's 700-page, Deception Point, on this trip as well. I had to spend some of the time in my tent while it was raining and having a great book was a good thing.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Google Wave is Here!

Back on June 2, 2009, I wrote the post "Google Wave: Google Docs Meets Email (& Social Networking)". At that time I was quite excited about this and I still am. They said that it wasn't going to be available until December of 2009, but I just received a Google Wave demo account (Thanks Seth) and it is quite an interesting product. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Google Wave, it is Google’s latest innovation in email.  Google wave is about having conversations, sharing photos and files, working with others on documents, chatting in real time, posting to blogs and lots of other things that I haven’t thought of yet.

Imagine using Google Docs as an email system. You write one version of a communication (i.e., letter) and then you share that with other Google Wave users. This document/communication is called a Wave.

Next, you add contacts. These are the people you want to have access to your new Wave. They can come to the single letter and then read, edit, reply, delete the letter depending upon what you allow them to do. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to send out 27 emails to 27 people, as you would do with today’s email. It’s a whole new concept (one video points out that today’s email system was developed the same year as the lava lamp so . . .)

The beauty of Google Wave is that you don’t have to worry about sending huge files.  They will just be at one site and then people will be able to go to the site and access what you want.  This can also be a place where you can share a large collection of photos or company files or . . . .

The Wave is more than just email. It can be a chat room or collaborative document that multiple people can edit at the same time. I would imagine that the Wave will eventually replace Google Docs. It is the next move towards a single app that “does it all.” 

Google Wave doesn’t work with regular email right now.  It is a system unto itself but they say that they are in the process of developing the interface.

A REALLY cool aspect of Wave is that it has a built in “Translator Robot.”  This means that even an a chat, if I write in French it will appear on other screens in the selected language of that user. I wrote earlier about a system in Second Life that acts something like this. (Language Translators in Second Life.)

I envision this Wave product as the beginning of a new Wave in online communication.  What do you think?

Here is a video which depicts 15 features of Google Wave:

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

David Warlick: PLN; A Gardener's Approach to Prof Learning

Warlick is beginning by talking about the different bloggers that he follows. He talks about those who have good original ideas and those who filter other blogs.

3 aspects of PLNs:
  • Web 2.0
  • Mining the Conversation
  • Mapping the Conversation.

Notes that he uses MindMeister to plan his presentations.

Wikis: He claims that he doesn't understand why he has a Facebook account. He uses his wiki to make his connection with his readers.

Twitter: Says that if he tried to explain it, we would say "why would we use it?" He notes that twitterers love it because they have a direct line to new things. Some people won't go on vacation because they don't want to leave twitter. Used the Twitter Search. Spoke about using TwitterPic to find out about a pyramid that he saw while on a trainride.

Second Life: Talks about the unusual experiences he had when he gave a speech in Second Life.

Nings: turns out that about half of the 200 people in the room don't know about nings. Nings developed by the same guy who developed the first web browser, Mosaic. Just shared the Classroom 2.0 ning. Now shared the learning 2.008 ning for the conference in Shanghai.

Blogs: "The Blogosphere is the exhaust of the human mind." Shows Technorati (Blog search engine). Just did a search of Technorati about "cartography". Technorati allows you to search specifically in Posts, Blogs, Videos or Photos. (this makes it much more functional than Just showed a blog called Strange Maps - hmmmm, interesting.

Delicious: Showed how he is using Delicious to sort and store and search resources.

It has been a good presentation and I like how he is sharing his PLN. Good job, David.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

David Warlick at ITEC: Rebooting the Basics!!! Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century!!!

Sitting in the ITEC Keynote session by David Warlick. He has started his presentation by showing all of the ways in which he is sharing this information with us. He has a wiki that collects all of the blog postings about this session. He has asked us to include the words "Redefine, Literacy, Warlick" in the tags. Hope this works.

Scott McLeod is running a back channel at

His handouts are available at http://davidwarlick/handouts

He says that we spend too much time teaching students to use paper. We need to teach them how to use light and digital.

He has just shown that Wikipedia is filled with warnings about content accuracy. Made the note that these sources are telling you about possible problems but textbooks don't do that. We need to teach about Reading that "Exposes what is true." They need to develop the skills to find information that is appropriate to what is to be achieved.

Says we should stop teaching technology and teach literacy. Today we are working on Literacy: Reading, Writing, Arthmetic. Need to change to new literacy. Part of being literate today is to ask questions - Who wrote this? What is the Source? Who published this? Is it valid?
Literate learners know how to find these answers.

URL Backtrack: Go to the end of a URL and delete the address until we find the sources.

He has just shown us a website about Dr. Martin Luther King. It didn't have the author on it. He used the Webmaster's email address to track it back to the publishers of it,, a White supremecy organization.

Just ran a cloud creator on the text of a number of US president inaugural speeches to analyze them and show which words are used the most. Looks like government is the most used word. Interesting way to analyze text for writing classes. Would be fun to see in

Talking about the Long Tail phenomenon. This is an analysis of the books and movies that don't sell enough copies to warrant store space, but they do sell to some people and make some money. Rapsody makes 27% of its income from Long Tail.

He is now talking about how he uses to publish books. His first book was available for purchase 1 hour after he submitted it to Lulu. Not bad.

Showing a video about sweatshops created by a high school girl instead of writing an essay on why globalization can be a problem. She was supported by Marco Torres in southern California. Music was quite effective.

Warlick just said that we have to include the arts into our definition of literacyl

Warlick's definition of today's literacy:
  • Expressing what's true
  • employing the information
  • expressing ideas compellingly
  • Ethical Use of information
Just showed us his English teacher and told us how she taught exactly the same way for 42 years. We can't do that anymore. Things and students are continually changing.

We will have reached true educational reform when no teachers believe that they can teach the same thing over and over and over again.

Closed by sharing a blog called "We're NOT Afraid."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back Channel for "Using Web 2.0 Tools to Create Your Own PLN" for ITEC

Today we will hold a workshop on creating your own PLNs. Lois Lindell (my co-presenter) and I thought that it would be an interesting experience to have a backchannel running during the workshop. This could be a place where the learners could share links to gadgets or widgets or other interesting information resources. It would also be a good place for questions and ideas to be shared.

The CoverItLive back channel (chat room) will be live between 3:00 and 5:30 CDT on Sunday, October 11.   Join us if even if you aren't in the workshop.  Maybe you can share some good resources for our PLNs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The 7 Steps to Viral Education?

How can we make education on the web as contagious as viral marketing? I was just searching on the web for some social networking information, when I ventured into some viral marketing websites. I found this one by which lists the 7 Tricks to Viral Web Marketing.

These tricks include:
1. Make people feel something.
2. Do something unexpected.
3. Do not try to make advertisements
4. Make sequels.
5. Allow sharing, downloading and embedding.
6. Connect with comments.
7. Never restrict access!

How do these fit with learning? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could apply these rules to learning? I see that some of them fit with some tricks that I use in the classroom but how about on the Web?

I know that I will be writing about this in the future because it intrigues me. I want to hear what you think about this.

How do we make learning viral?

Please leave your comments so that I can build on that and we can get a discussion going about viral education.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Building Your Personal Learning Network with Web 2.0 Tools

These resources are designed to support my workshop that I will be giving on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at the Nurse Aide Instructor Update Conference at the Marshalltown Community College.

Begin by completing the survey information at


Skype - Video Conferencing

Google Docs - Collaborative writing tools

Google News - Up-to-the-second review of news from around the world

iGoogle - Your own personal center for creating your personal learning network

Google Blog Search - Where to look for blogs that interest you.

Pharmacy Technician Advisor blog

The Pharmacy Technician blog

Be in the Know

The Nursing Show podcast

I hope that this is helpful.  Please comment with any additional resources that you feel would be useful.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Talk with My Cyber Twin

Looking for a way to be in multiple places at the same time? Want to provide 24/7 feedback to your students and friends?

Well, let me introduce you to MyCyberTwin. This is an online Chatterbot. You ask it questions and it will respond in ways that develop into conversations.

You may have seen a similar Artificially Intelligent conversational agent, Eliza. Eliza was an AI program that came with the Apple II+ computer back in 1980.  It was so good at responding to your questions that some people were fooled into thinking that Eliza was a real person. This is called the Eliza-Effect.

The beauty of MyCyberTwin is that you can teach it what to say. There are over 70 personality questions that you can answer to give your CyberTwin a personality. There are 18 lessons with as many as 36 items where CyberTwin provides you with a potential question/statement that might be provided by a user and you can provide possible answers. You can even provide your own questions and answers.

The best part is that your CyberTwin keeps track of every conversation and even emails each of them to you so that you can keep track of who your cybertwin's discussions. This also allows you to refine your answers as discussions are held.

In short, MyCyberTwin allows you to create your own clone or create a completely different personality - depending upon the persona you want to present.

POSSIBLE APPLICATION: Could you imagine having students create online personalities using MyCyberTwin? They research the personality, perspective and opinions of Thomas Jefferson or Harriet Tubman or Julius Caesar to define the answers that a specific individual would provide.

Think of the discussion and debate that would engage students for hours as they try to get it "just right." THAT is technology-facilitated learning!!

Well, try it out. Tell me what  you think.  I haven't answered all of the questions for my MyCyberTwin, but if you ask interesting questions I will work to refine it.

Please leave comment about how you might use this app.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ability Awareness - I'm Tyler

I just had the opportunity to experience an incredibly motivating and inspiring presentation by Tyler of Waterloo, Iowa.

Tyler was discussing the need to engage in Ability Awareness. Ability Awareness involves "recognizing what a person, any person, CAN do is much more important than what he/she can't. Many people have disabilities, of some sort, to difering degrees. But much more importantly EVERYONE HAS ABILITIES."

Tyler is a sophomore at Hawkeye Community College. He has a yellow belt in karate. He was in his Waterloo West High School's marching band. Tyler played a lead role in the Waterloo Community Theater. Tyler is an active young man . . . and Tyler has cerebral palsy.

Tyler is a person who doesn't discuss what he can't do. He concentrates on what he CAN do. Tyler earned his eagle scout and created the 7-minute video, I'm Tyler, as his eagle project (click here or on the image above to watch this video.) He and his family distribute DVDs of this video. They have shipped over 6500 DVDs. They don't actively market the video, but they have had requests from all 50 states and over 20 countries and US territories. This is a message that needs to be shared.

Tyler has been honored by receiving the National CEC "Yes, I Can" award; UCC National Disabilities Minstry Award and the Iowa CASE "Tyler Student Achievement Award" scholarship. He has spoken at conferences across the country. This is a message that needs to be shared. Visit his website!

"Ability Awareness is looking past the disabilities to the Abilities. It's Acknowledging Challenges, not obstacles, and find the accommoddations to conquer them. It working as a Team to reach a Common Goal . . . SUCCESS!!!"

Tyler has a dream . . . to change the world and the way it interacts with people with disabilities . . . to the world of CAN.

Go Tyler!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Skype an Author Network Unveiled

It's here!!!

Last January, Wesley Fryer and I were wondering on a Dr. Z Reflects posting, Finding Skype Connections for Your Classroom, where one would look to find experts/authors/interesting people to Skype into our classrooms.

Angela Maiers just tweeted about a new site, Skype an Author Network, unveiled by Mona Kerby and Sarah Chauncey that allows authors to post a page explaining how they could be Skyped into a classroom.

This is a wonderful idea that will go far. There isn't an author on the planet who doesn't want to share his/her ideas with kids and the public. That is why they write.

The interesting part of this site is that it is create on a wiki. I counted over 60 authors already and I am certain that the numbers will skyrocket in the near future.

Here's wishing you good luck, Mona and Sarah. Classroom teachers around the world thank you.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

NECC 09 - Cell Phones in the Classrooms Harness the Power for Learning

This is a report on a BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) workshop presented in the last session of NECC by David Rose (Southland Public Schools, Michigan) and and Kim Guffey (Haywood County Schools, NC).

Presentation wiki

Most of the resources are on the wiki, so this posting will only include my opinions about their comments.

Their schools have forbidden cell phones, but David has helped change that by encouraging a change in policy to include "except for instructional purposes."

Video includes testimonies about how students use phones to communicate with others to get assistance in math.
One school has the students using phones that have been disabled for phoning and used as a mobile unit. Useful for students and increased their test scores.

Now we are going to use our cell phones to collect temperature data from friends through text messaging. (My new Blackberry Storm has a TERRIBLE pressure keyboard and I will return it next week for a phone with a real keyboard on it.)

They asked us to average our responses and text it to their account in (My phone didn't let me do it.) Then they directed us to create an account on PollEverywhere and make our own polls. I have used PollEverywhere in many of my presentations. It works quite well.

Notes from the audience: Use Edit to turn off the response messages so that users aren't charged for response.

Suggested because it allows 100 responses. only allows 30 responses.

Suggested Place where kids can make an avatar to do reports. Another teacher suggested that she uses voki with kids by having them create their spelling lists through it. You get to create your own avatar and give it a voice through your phone.

Phone video: Suggested making a phone video and emailing it to the teacher so s/he could post it online.

This was a good intro. Suggested the ISTE book on using phones in the classroom. Looks good.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

EduBlogger Con at NECC '09

(That's me in the front left corner)
What an opportunity!!!! I am sitting in the EduBlogger Conference here in Washington, D.C. on the Saturday before the NECC conference. This is a unique experience that has been organized by Steve Hargadon. the most unique aspect of this experience is that it is free. ISTE provides the room and there are a few sponsors.

This is the 3rd year of the EduBlogger Conference. I would bet there there are probably 200 attendees. There is a schedule of events, but it is something that evolves as the day goes on. People sign up to present on the wiki and this provides for groups of people to get together to discuss their ideas. Very constructivist!!!

Right now we are talking about an original project that we (as a group) will design and then find a programmer using to actually create the application that wewould like to see available in the world. Presently, we are discussing a project that would enable a teacher to create an online rubric for students to use in peer-to-peer review. One person just suggested that these rubrics need to be aligned with district objectives. It is a bit complex but I believe that it is doable.


I am back, I am sitting in a session lead by Wesley Fryer that is showing the k12onlineconference
This is a unique concept for a conference. All of the presentations are "phone in." This means that they create a 20-minute audio/video recording and then submit it to the conference organization. These resources are presented in within a few days which constitutes the conference. The most important part is that they then become part of a huge archive that we can use for professional development or as resources for teacher education courses. Look into this!!! It is paradigm shifting.

Is Blogging Dead? Jeff Uteckt is leading a discussion about whether Twitter has replaced blogging. It appears that Twitter has redefined the blogging application. Twitter is for the the quick opinions of the writers and blogs provide the writer an opportunity to reflect on different ideas.

Question is why blog at all or why spend all of this time trying to keep up on all of this information. Some of the folks commented on how overwhelming it could be but Angela Maiers noted that what counts in blogging is consumption and contribution. It is an experience and understanding that our kids must have for the future. Warlick is noting that it is called "voice." it is important to be able to post content and receive a reaction from others.

Scott McLeod noted that there is a difference between "appropriate use" and "empowered use."
We talk about appropriate use to cover the legal problems. The winners of tomorrow's world
It is important for students to have clustermaps on their blogs. It validates the audience.

I raised the question about using Facebook in school. Dana Boyd has a good article on using Facebook in schools. They say that kids want to use FaceBook to keep connected with their own friends, not meet people they don't know. They equate Twitter with email. It is for old people. They don't want to share it with adults. Students want things that are authentic.

Dave Warlick notes that the question about whether blogging is dead is irrelevant. "Is writing dead?" He said that if these technologies are getting people to write, then they are addressing what needs to be done.

It was suggested that at the end of the session that we should read the book "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies." This provides a good foundation for teaching social networking.

Well, we have come to the end of the day. There were a few more sessions that I didn't blog, but they were quite valuable. This has been a profitable day because I have had the opportunity to meet people whose blogs and tweets I read. I made new friends who share my passion for using these tools to expand educational opportunities. It was informal and informative. Thank you, Steve Hargadon.

Best of all, Wikispaces is sponsoring a reception tonight. My son, Jeff (DC resident), will join me for the evening and it should be fun.

Best of all,


BTW, Here is a photo of me calling Kathy (my wife) on the largest cell phone in the world which was parked across the street here in DC.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NECC 09 - Using Emerging Technologies to Create a Collaborative Learning Environment

Join us in our 12:00 (Wed) session at NECC 2009 as we explore a variety of new technologies that can be used to create and support a collaborative learning environment in your class.

We will be using:
  • Skype (Video Conferencing)
  • Cover-It-Live (Back Channel Chatting)
  • Google Apps (Cloud Computing Environment)
  • Google Sites (Publishing)
  • Google Forms (Resource Sharing)
  • Custom Search Engines (Resource Sharing)
  • Delicious (Resource Sharing)
  • Zoho Notebook (Resource Sharing)
Cover-It-Live Chat Room (Click the arrow to review the archive)

Slideshow Presentation for the Workshop

Delicious Tags used to identify resources relevant to our presentation: necc09 cle

Zoho Notebook
Zoho Notebook sample page.

Embedded Zoho Notebook sample page


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching & Learning - Couros

Dr. Alec Couros delivered the closing keynote presentation at the 2009 Summer Faculty Institute program at the University of Delaware on June 5, 2009. I was fortunate enough to learn that it was being webcasted through UStream and enjoyed the presentation.

This man is genius. He is an advocate of Openness: Open Source, Open Curriculum, Open Classes, Open Teaching . . . the opportunities are endless. Alec displays the openness that we need to see in education. This holds true for both the university and K-12 worlds. He points out that sharing knowledge adds value to what you are doing. It brings it to life in a way that keeps it relevant and alive.

He is doing what I am trying to do in my classes. He is using the web as a all around source for information and research as well as a place for his students to publish and submit their work. I was struck when he said that his students published on the web and instead of them submitting papers or putting their links on a wiki (which is what I tend to do), he has them use a social bookmarking site like to tag their work so that he can retrieve it.

I know that these are small changes in the wide scope of the Web 2.0 world, but they are significant changes in perspective. This perspective considers learning as a global activity. It connects the students with the world in which they live.

How are you using Web 2.0 in your classes? What have you heard about and would like to do in your class but haven't figured it out yet. Please leave a comment so that we can get this conversation going.

I look forward to spending some time reviewing Dr. Couros' website, Open Thinking and following his twitter.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]