Timing in take-up of new technologies

I was thinking about how I could better integrate weblogs effectively in future courses for graduate students. The trouble with introducing new technologies during a course is that the situation is somewhat artifical and the time is brief, neither of which support the deep incorporation of new practices. Reading a paper by Efimova, (2004) I was struck by how straightforward and accessible her list of weblogger activities was, and that it might offer reasonable guidelines and directions to start students off who are unfamiliar with weblogging.
They are:
Developing Ideas:
–Finding ideas/information/
–Capturing, articulating and organizing ideas.
–Initiating and following conversations– “blogologues” (Jenkins, 2003)

Developing relations with others:
–Self-representation and leaving traces
–Finding experts and cross-disciplinary connections.
–Developing, maintaining and activating connections with others.

Having those as a guide and as possible categories might be helpful to pointing out the possibilities of weblogs as well as allowing students to find the kinds of functionality that are most personally effective for them.

Using Weblogs and Discussions in Preservice Teaching

I thought I would summarize some points from a workshop on Weblogs and Discussion Forums–why would I use these in my teaching? that Wendy Freeman and I gave to the Elementary Coordinators on February 16, 2006. The powerpoint presentation from that talk is available here: Download file

One thing to remember is that each technology can be used in more or less effective and creative ways. So the educational goals and how the technology fits into the overall scheme of your teaching is the starting point to consider.

In discussion environments, involving students in the direction of the discourse–generating questions, moderating the discussion, creating summaries etc. will help make students feel more ownership and engagement.

If you want to consider this option in your own course, contact Seeta Nyary (snyary@oise.utoronto.ca)and talk to her about what you want and how you might design the use of a discussion environmentin your particular course.
Also see this website http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/online

In the case of weblogs, going beyond the simple use of them as online journals can involve the use of new and emerging technologies such as Technorati and Delicious that allow the tagging of ideas and concepts and connections to other people. Additionally, use of them for “close reading” of others weblogs, texts or other information provides an interesting alternative literacy opportunity that can help hone more sophisticated reading comprehension skills.

More on the action research project paper

I have been thinking more about how we might approach this IADIS paper on our beginning experiences of weblogging, and I thought it might be helpful if people started to record some of their thoughts in relation to these following questions. That would give us a common framework to use to explore our emerging notions of weblogs. I have chosen these issues as they are commonly referred to in the research and practice of blogging, so seemed a good place to begin. Accordingly, for those of you involved in this project it would be helpful if you could record your views on the following issues (in your blogs, of course :), and particularly how you thought or felt about these issues when you STARTED blogging, and then how, or if they changed at all. Feel free to suggest other areas for commentary and consideration, this is just to get us going?

1. What is the purpose of a Weblog in your mind?
2. Are Weblogs more of a public or private tool to you?
3. Do you see them as a primarily individual or collaborative activity?
4. If collaborative, what role might others play?
5. What does the idea of posting your thoughts online feel like to you?

Readings for proposal development

After our research and Weblog meetings yesterday I was looking around for articles that might be helpful for the proposal development process.

The article on literature reviews that I had mentioned is the following:
Boote, D. N. & Beile, P.(2005). Scholars before researchers: on the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Educational Research , 34(6),3-15.
This is the link to the library online version: http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/shared/shared_main.jhtml;jsessionid=4TPPJZMPJIYULQA3DIMCFGOADUNGIIV0?_requestid=5527
I thought this one was useful because it talks about the elements of a good literature reivew in more detail than the Anderson and Kanuka chapter we read this week.

The second article I found is about Mixed Methods research.
Johnson, R. B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Edducational Researcher, 33(7), 14-26.

I thought this one would serve as a good beginning article for us to look at in subsequent meetings and we can look later at more specific issues that arise out of this one.

Don’t forget to think about what we might submit for a proposal to the IADIS virtual conference (the elearning sub-conference http://www.iadis.org/multi2006/cfp.asp.
I think the notion of what a weblog actually is–a focus that was brought up yesterday– is a good angle. We could each contribute a picture of how we see and use them and organize those views into a series of perspectives which could each be connected to a discussion of the technical affordances and problems as design issues…. Will think more about this.

and music–learning theory to read music better

I changed my blog title as I realized that I want my blog to reflect more than just my work related interests, so I am developing two categories: musings and music!!

This entry is mostly about theory–I am trying to get better at sight reading and while I learned piano as a kid, I seem to have forgotten most of it! I am having lessons in theory and ear training and thought I would record my learnings here. First this week I discovered that really the whole system isn’t fixed–the patterns and relationships are relative to the key, the modality and so on. That was helpful!! I also discovered that the Do Re Mi thing is a real part of musical theory and not something from the Sound of Music 🙂 (for example: http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory1.htm#solfa

Some links I am using:
A Jazz improvization almanac. This is helpful to figure out what changes between jass and classical music (2 of many genres of music I enjoy singing).

This one is great for defintions and clearing up my terminology confusions between Britain and here. As well it is an entire program online complete with sound examples. Great stuff.