Presentations at ECOO and OTA

A busy week.  I gave a workshop on the range of Online Learning materials one could use in a course as part of U of T’s Office of Teaching Advancement series on Monday, two invited talks at ECOO on Thursday about technology directions in K-12 education, and flew out of town early Friday.  The presentations can be viewed here:

Back to blogging

I seem to not be a continuous blogger, although I am about to start a blog with the KMDI folks hopefully by the end of October. I was going to start tracking resources and ideas for a series of talks I have coming up in November which are about innovative and future possible school uses of technology.

CASCON conference, October, 07

I am spending the day today at the CASCON conference hosted by IBM ( presenting and participating in a session on Social Computing. Joan Touzet and I presented in the morning session as did Jim Slotta from CTL at OISE. Here is the presentation we gave in the “Learning in the 21st Century ” morning session, which you can download here:

Very interesting discussion. The second session was on Tagging and the third one on issues in social computing. The audience were a real mix of academic and corporate people, and had a keen feel for the key issues, problems and potentials with Web 2.0 technologies.

The blogging journey

In an effort to find an ever better way to integrate different technologies we are trying a new weblog and wiki/cms environment this year. So I am migrating my earlier weblog from this location:

to our new home here in an open source weblog environment within GRAIL.

There are other weblogs you can look at here:

Some of these are authored by doctoral students working with me, some by people in earlier versions of this course. However, this year I am orienting the weblog component of the course more toward “real” blogging, rather than narrowing it to course reflection, so the weblog content will be rather different in the current course from the earlier ones and more like the doctoral students who take a broader focus on things–linking resources relevant to their learning, finding things of personal interest and so on.

Outstanding Paper Award

The paper, Finding the Individual in Collaborative Online Learning Environments by Wendy Freeman and Clare Brett is the first recipient of the TACTL (Technology as an agent of change in teaching and learning) SIG AWARD, to be presented at AERA in Chicago this month. This paper is part of Wendy Freeman’s soon-to-be-completed doctoral dissertation! Congratulations to Wendy from the GRAIL research team!

For more information see:

Wendy has also been invited to submit her paper to the Journal of Research on Technology in Education to be included (after review) in the Winter 2007 edition. Yay!!

Research group and activities for the year

Well, it has taken me a little while to get around to this, but the tenure file is in and now back to all the other things that need to be done.
By my calculations our active research group is now: Wendy, Nobuko, Hedieh, Seeta, Maureen, Julie, Gerald, Gloria, Joan–and, from other research groups, Kimberley and Nathan. From some preliminary discussion I was looking to have research meetings every other Wednesday at 1.00pm. I will be setting up Breeze accounts on the new server shortly. We have had some problems with the logins for students, so I will set up the accounts, the system will notify you of your access information and if you have trouble logging in you can reset your password at the login window.

Most of this group are doctoral students at various stages of program so that should make for good shared discussion around thesis related issues, and so part of each of our research meetings can focus on a couple of people presenting updates or getting feedback on things like coding schemes or study design and so on. In addition I think we should continue the shared reading of key articles that people find and want to discuss. We can also talk about conferences people might be interested in submitting papers to, writing projects and other academic activities.

This year I am planning to submit to CSSE and AERA conferences but not more than that so I can focus on developing new research studies related to GRAIL; a possible SSHRC collaboration with IKIT; a TVO partnership with documentary film makers and WRITING–a number of journal articles that are in the manuscript stage with various students in the group. I can talk about all these projects in more detail during the meetings.

Now that we have a new beta version of the GRAIL environment I want to develop a series of research studies starting out with some usability testing, so I need volunteers!
The developers are still finishing up some details, but I would like to also have my January class try it out. In the meantime it would be good to look at what other functionality would need to be there to really use it effectively.
I will be emailing shortly re details of the meetings and when they will start.