Monday, November 26, 2007

YIKES! What does this mean?

So I ran this blog through the Blog Readability Test, and here's what it told me:

cash advance

Then I ran my Facebook profile through it, and here's what it told me:

cash advance

So again, I ask: What does this mean?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Last Five Songs Played

As I was going through my Google Reader earlier today, I came across a post by Michael Slezak on Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch Blog. It was entitled "the last five songs you played." Basically, he asked the question what were the last five songs played on your iPod. I'll tell you mine, but I'm curious what yours were. If you get the hankerin' to, drop me a comment and let me know what kind of mood you're in today. Mine are after the jump--videos embedded!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hulu.com

So some people have been complaining about how NBC has pulled the plug on iTunes and YouTube.

Well, I guess that's their right, isn't it? Isn't it the capitalistic way to have competition and protect what's yours? Now, I'm not saying that I necessarily like it, but I am saying that I like it.

Let me explain--clear pictures, TONS of content, and, um . . . FREE.

To see what my favorite thing I've found so far is, take the jump.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Today's not been good . . .

You know, it's just been one of those days. It's raining (though I like rain, but today it seems like a downer), and my car died. Not just quit working, DIED. I haven't had a car payment in years, and now it looks like I will. And just like everyone else, things are tight. I've got to finish getting ready for AECT, and I'm stressed about third-year review.

As I scanned my reader today, I saw a link to this video:



It kind of puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?When we lived in Idaho, we went to Church with a man named Gene Jeppesen. Gene had who knows how many bouts with cancer, but he was the cheeriest guy I've ever known. When you'd see him and give a half-hearted, "How's it going, Gene?" He'd always reply the same, "Great, but it's going to get better."

So tell me, what do I have to be down about?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Which blogs do I look forward to reading?

Right now my Google Reader has a total of 132 subscriptions. Some are news sites, some are sports sites, some blogs of family or friends, but mostly they are blogs dealing some way with Educational Technology. Some blogs are ones that post sporadically, others have information that I find tangentially applicable to what I do, and yet others are ones that I just like. But which ones are the one that I look forward to reading? Which ones are the ones that I get giddy as I go through my RSS feeds and get closer to them? Here they are:

HIT: Hokanson's Instructional Technology -- nice mixture of tools, work, and life
LifeHacker -- Just what it says: how to hack life. It's sweet.
Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day -- Cool tools.
Stephen's Web ~ OLD Daily -- Wanna think? Read here.

These are all work-related, but I seriously look forward to reading these every day.

What the Bible taught me about my job . . .

A few days ago, I was studying the creation of the world. As I did, I said a prayer that I normally do when I study the gospel. I asked the Lord to help me learn something applicable to my life. I don't know what I was expecting, but I got something.

As I pondered the creation, it hit me. It's all about ORGANIZATION. Lately I've been worried about going up for third year review here at Oklahoma State University, and I've been trying to get some articles out. Quite frankly, it's been overwhelming. I can't seem to focus long enough to get ANYTHING done, much less the articles. And the other day one of my former graduate students, Chris Duke (who writes EdTechatouille and MUVE Forward), called me about how you go about getting things done. I told him I didn't know, but when he found out he should let me know. Well, as I read about the creation, I began to think about how HUGE of a task it must be to create a world. Bear with me here: It would be too much to think I have to create the world today, but if you think: today I have to separate light from darkness, it isn't so bad. Organization will help take the overwhelming out of it all.

Do you feel my pain?!?

You know, I'm always there before the game to watch my team warm up, and I'm always the guy who stays until the end to cheer my team--no matter what.

Well, last night my Dallas Cowboys played the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. And after Dallas drove to come within a two-point conversion (only to miss said conversion with :20 left in the game), I turned off the TV and did the dishes. When I came to work this morning and logged onto ESPN, I saw that they recovered the onside kick and kicked the game winning field goal with :02 left.

YEAH! for them, but UGH! for me. I can't believe I didn't watch the last twenty seconds. See the comeback and interviews after the jump.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Top Ten Episodes of Angel

About a year ago, I wrote about my top ten episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I've been meaning to write about my top ten episodes of Angel as well. You know, it's really wierd, but I think I like Angel better as a series--especially season 5. To me that, from top to bottom, was an incredible season of television. At any rate, I like the character development on Angel much more. We get to see the most vicious of all vampires, Angelus, in all his glory in this series, as opposed to an emasculated wimp in Buffy seasons 1 and 3 (we get to see Angelus in season 2). Now granted, Angel wasn't Angelus in all of this series, but we did get to see him kick some serious rear. With that said, see my top ten after the jump.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My top ten tools for learning

So over the last couple of months I've been watching a series of posts from different people in response to Jane's e-Learning Pick of the Day post on top ten tools for learning. It's been interesting, but mainly because they didn't seem like tools I'd use at all. For example: why is Firefox the top listed tool? It's a web browser? How does it help? Is it because of all the widgets and add ins? I don't know. So what I decided to do was write my list with explanations as to why. But let me explain this: I chose tools based on how they directly effected the LEARNING of my students (either directly or indirectly). With that said, here's my list (in order of usage and effect):

Friday, August 31, 2007

Blogs, RSS feeds, and Del.icio.us

I remember last October giggling as I read Trey Martindale's blog post stating (follow the link to read the whole thing):
My friend John Curry reminded me that I’m not posting very often on my blog these days, and he’s right. It seems I’m taking a shorter route–kind of “mini-blogging”. Basically I’m just saving and tagging interesting net resources in my delicious bookmarks account. I now have over 1000 items in that account, and it’s been useful for me, and for students–sort of like my external long-term memory. So, if you would like to know what I’m reading about, investigating, or find interesting, that’s the place.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Say What?!?

In my reading today I came across Miss South Carolina's interview question and response at the Miss Teen USA pagent. Her question was: "Why can't 20% of Americans locate the U.S. on a world map?" Bless her heart. This obviously wasn't on her study list. I'm sure she's a very sweet girl, and my wife (who did some pagents in her day) has told me a lot about the pressure, but WOW. This is extremely awkward to say the least. Here's to hoping that my kids come out of their classes better able to 1) locate the U.S. on a map, and 2) reason logically. See her response after the jump.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Web 2.0 and meetings, meetings, meetings . . .

So today is one of THOSE days. You know what I mean, right? It's back to school time, and so we as faculty get to spend the day in meetings. So as I sit here listening to the same old things that we seem to go over every year (new faculty, policies and procedures, etc.) I'm wondering, isn't there some better use of our time? Right now I'm in my School meeting, and later I "get to go" to College of Education faculty meeting where we'll go over the same things.

I guess the good thing is I'm getting a free lunch from McAlister's Deli, and who can argue with their potato salad? At the COE faculty meeting, I'll get a new T-shirt, so here's to hoping I like it better than last year's which is now a sleep shirt for my kids.

But what does all of this have to do with Web 2.0?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Addicted to Blogging?

I was going through my Google Reader after class this morning, and I ran across a Bloggers Anonymous post from Doug Johnson at the Blue Skunk Blog. He references a short quiz he found thanks to Jeff Utecht at the Thinking Stick (I hadn't got that far down on my reader). Doug was 55% addicted to blogging; Jeff was 90% addicted. Well, these are guys whose blogs I read, so I know there is no way I'm that addicted.

My results?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Me in four slides

So a few weeks ago Dan Meyer, who writes dy/dan, held a four slide contest. The purpose was to see if you could represent yourself completely in four slides. Now the problem for me is that I have NO TALENT when it comes to visual representation, but I want my grad students in my online EDTC 5203: Foundations of Educational Technology course to do it as a way of getting to know each other. So, I made mine to serve as an example. I don't know how good they are (actually, I know they're not good), and they would certainly never win any awards, but they do represent me. See them after the jump.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

One of my all time favorite songs

Did you ever have one of those songs that held so many memories for you that it was tough to explain? Well one of those songs for me is Songs about Rain by Gary Allan. The lyrics don't have a single thing to do with it, but it was the time of my life and what was going on that it reminds me of. I actually have this as my ringtone on my phone. I was listening to it earlier, and I just thought I'd share.

See the video after the jump.

Facebook for CMS?

Susan (?) at Ubernoggin proposed using Facebook as your CMS. She wrote:
Getting tired of the Learning Management System on your campus? Ever look to see how infrequently your students actually log in to see their assignments etc? Let me tell you, it’s pretty darn infrequently. So why not create a course site on a social network where they already live? Facebook now has several apps that make a near perfect course management system. Use “Courses”, a file sharing app, and a chat app and you’ve got every tool in Blackboard on a site that doesn’t go down, isn’t so bland that it puts you and your students asleep, and actually offers collaborative resources that BB can’t provide (oh and you’re not supporting a company which caters to administrators rather than instructors and students but that’s my personal grudge).

If you've read my post about Facebook, you might already know how I responded. If not, here's what I responded on her blog (which you really should check out--she's very interesting):

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I *HATE* these types of things, but . . .

My old grad student, Chris Duke, tagged me with the “8 Random Things About Me” meme.The rules are:

1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

I'm going to do 1, 2, and 4, just because I hate sending stuff like this on. So for those who are curious, here are my eight random things:

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Don't you just love the smell of books?

OK, so this really isn't about the smell of books, but they do smell good, don't they?

No, but the other day our librarian called me up because the new Cabell's for Educational Technology and Library Media was out. I went to pick it up, and the first thing I did, instinctually, was crack open the book and smell it. Why? Well, I guess the first answer is habit. But I just looked at her and said, "Don't you just love the smell of books? That's why they'll never go away, because you can't smell something on the computer screen." And it's true. There's just something about the way a book smells.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A tribute to a friend

myman2.jpg

I just found out that a friend of mine from high school died a few months ago. I googled his obituary, and I came across a website dedicated to his memory. His name was SSG Milford Dean Lacquement, Jr. Or as we called him in school, Deano.

I tried to e-mail his family with my memories of him, but the e-mail came back returned. But I want someone to know, so I'm posting the message here. So here's to you, Deano. You were a good man. Thanks for who you were.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

FACEBOOK revisited

Now, I have to admit that I LOVE Facebook. Now, I'm not an addict (that sounds hilarious to even write), but I use it to communicate with my students. You know, it's the whole "meet them where they are" thing. And here at Oklahoma State, 98% of the students I've taught (speaking specifically about the undergrads--I just get my grad students' cell phone numbers) use Facebook CONSTANTLY. So I began using it. But I've always been intrigued by the stuff that people will put about themselves on it--even when they know people look at it. I keep mine pretty inocuous, but some people don't know what TMI is all about.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Site updates

Man, this term has been BUSY. I've been reading a lot, but I haven't been posting. I'm trying to keep up with what's going on, and I've been updating my Del.icio.us bookmarks (as well as those for our undergrad EdTech course), but blogging hasn't been in the schedule this week.

I have added some blogs to my EdTech blogs page, and I'm trying to find a Del.icio.us plugin that I like for WordPress.

At any rate, here are some of the new websites I've found:

Friday, July 6, 2007

A GREAT new blog!

I found a great new EdTech blog today: Alvin's Educational Technology Blog. It's full of many, many tips on how to be more efficient, etc. when computing.

I highly recommend it!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Crash course in Learning Theory

I just ran across this, and I think it's great. Go see the Crash Course in Learning Theory. Talk about tailoring instruction to today's crowd!

BTW, I've also started browsing the blog it comes from, Creating Passionate Users. It's a hoot!

Wikis in the classroom

I'm always on the lookout for integration ideas and how to explain the benefits of Web 2.0 to people. Today as I read the Cool Cat Teacher Blog, I ran across the following slideshow by Adam Frey (founder of Wikispaces) on Wikis in the classroom. See it after the jump.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

One summer term ends, and another begins

WHEW. Final grades from the June session are in.

Now I'm into the July session. I'm helping get one of the EDTC 3123 (undergrad preservice teacher technology course) going for our new faculty member, Pasha Antonenko, and I'm teaching EDTC 5773, Instructional Systems Management (Project Management). So, I'm busy again. We're using dotProject in 5773, and so far it's working okay. I've never used it before, so we'll see.

At any rate, tomorrow for the 4th we're going to my sister Donna's place to go swimming. It should be fun.

Everyone be safe!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Rededication . . .

Wow. I didn't see that one coming.

I've spent the last hour or so doing what I do every day--skimming over the various EdTech blogs to see if there is anything new or of interest. Now before anyone says anything, YES, I know about RSS feeds. I just like going out and visiting the different sites. I found feedreaders boring.

At any rate, I came across a post on Shrubbloggers about Angie Arndt. Now I have to warn you--her story is tragic, actually, that's not even strong enough to describe it, and it is graphic. Suffice it to say that this sweet looking girl was murdered by the people at her day care. As I read the article (and I don't know why I did), all I could imagine was someone trying to make my Natalie sit still. Yeah, good luck with that. When I finished reading, I recognized that I was crying.

Why?

iPhone? Not in this lifetime . . .

I just don't get it. I don't get what all the hoopla is about this new iPhone. Yeah, it has cool features, but so does every other piece of technology out there. I just think it's kind of funny all the hoopla out there surrounding it. Do you know why? Because it's just a phone. I can spend $300 less and still make the same phone calls. My phone plays .mp3s and has calendars and contacts, too. But it's not snazzy--I get that.

You know, this sounds really wierd coming from me. I love toys. I just don't get this one.

Maybe it's Apple backlash. You know what I mean? It just seems that Mac users are so evangelical about it. I hear them talking about how you can't do on a PC what you can do on a Mac (and man, are those commercials hilarious!), but I haven't found anything on my Mac (yes, I use one at work--I'm using it right now) that I can't do on my PC. It just hasn't happened for me.

So am I going to go out and have a fit over the iPhone? Nope. Besides, there's no way my wife would okay that purchase . . .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A former student resurfaces

I've got to admit something: For as much grief as I give my students for being on Facebook all the time, it really is a great way to connect and reconnect. I require all my students to add me as friends, and I use it to contact them. It seems to me that they use it more than e-mail, and they are on it CONSTANTLY. Now I'm beginning to be on it constantly as well. I check it like I check my e-mail.

At any rate, today a former student resurfaced. Now I never taught him, but he was a student worker in our faculty develoment lab at BYU-Idaho. I remember him as being diligent, hard working, task-oriented, and just fun to be around. He asked good questions and wasn't afraid to look for answers on his own and he wasn't afraid to see himself as a learning peer to the faculty. I liked that. At any rate, today he found me on Facebook and we've been chatting. Go check Nic out at his blog: http://www.nicholascjohnson.com/blog/

My new Preciousssss . . .

So, I got another new toy. I had some money coming to me for some contract work that I did, and I got a 750 GB external hard drive. I looked around, and that's the one I got. I wanted to make sure that it was compact and would work cross-platform. I probably could have done better, but I must say that I am more than pleased with this new Buffalo drive. It has been a dream.

My wife loves it, too, because she has now backed up all our family photos on it.

Hooray for toys!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More about Web 2.0

I ran across this slideshow about Web 2.0 and how it is used in its entirety. Enjoy.


Excellent Integration Blog

If you're looking for a good blog that not only covers what new tools are available but also integration ideas for each tool, then go check out edugadget. It has information on some really neat tools, but unfortunately it hasn't been updated in a while. I am still going through all the previous entries.

GREAT Resource list of Web 2.0 apps

Once again, as I was reading through the EdTech blogs I have linked here, I ran across yet another useful tool: Web 2.0 Backpack. It's a nice overview of the different tools and it has them separated into different categories.

I suggest checking it out.

Turnitin.com

Since Oklahoma State has recently bought Turnitin for the campus, I found this blog post (and accompanying article) to be interesting. It seems that some students are suing Turnitin for copyright infringement.

It will be interesting to see how this one pans out . . .

I talked with my superstar grad student, Mark Jones, about this, and his comment was something like: "It will be hard for a couple of high school students to shut down a worldwide company."

But if you take that out of it, it's an interesting legal question, isn't it?

Web 2.0 and Your Own Learning and Development

Stephen Downes, whose blog I really enjoy reading and who I described to my wife as one of the most knowledgeable guys around in EdTech, has a great video about Web 2.0 and learning.

The video is succinct, to the point, and full of practical information.Nice job, sir.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Once again Dave Wiley gets it right!

I tell you, I like knowing smart people. I was reading up on back posts from David Wiley's blog, and I ran across this gem:
<grump mode=”on”>

I’m feeling grumpy today. Must be the jet lag.

Why do people think that open source licenses are a kind of magic pixie dust? Here’s a little thought…. Let’s call it Wiley’s Anti-openness Thought Experiment (WATE):
A major publisher publishes a beginning algebra textbook which is not very effectively designed. Most faculty avoid using it; those who do find that their students perform more poorly than the last few semesters’ students. The word gets out on the street about the poor quality of the book, and sales suffer.

One day, the publisher has a brilliant idea. The publisher releases the second edition of the book, which changes in only one way: the standard copyright statement in the front of the book is replaced with a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Now I ask you: is the second edition of the textbook more educationally effective than the first?

The answer is, obviously, No. So why is it that PhD students looking for dissertation topics keep proposing to gather evidence to establish their hypothesis that “open educational resources are more effective than proprietary resources?” Why is it that very smart people I know from prestigious universities in the OER world keep falling into this same trap in their thinking? AN OPEN LICENSE DOES NOT MAKE A RESOURCE MORE EFFECTIVE!!!

Now, obviously, I am not anti-openness. In fact, I am the most pro-openness person I know. But what you have to understand is that what increases the quality of a resource is when someone **improves** the resource, not when someone **openly licenses** a resource. The improvement is partially made possible by an open source license, but is not accomplished by the license.

Someone once said that a person who doesn’t read is no different from a person who can’t read. In the same sense, and open educational resource that has never been adapted or localized is no different from a fully copyrighted resource.

Please, please, please, let’s learn this lesson.

<grump mode=”off”>

I couldn't agree more. I am slowly beginning to understand this Open Source thing and its impact. It could be that our new faculty member coming to OSU, Pasha Antonenko (who is a MASSIVE TALENT), is big on it, or it could be that I'm just wising up, but either way David clearly articulates the issues at hand once again.

I know that I have struggled with some online content lately. I was sure I had things just the way they needed to be for one of my courses, but I couldn't figure out why it just wasn't working. I was doing what Dave describes here.

Thanks, Dave.

The full URL for his post is: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/327

I recommend reading him. Whether you agree with what he says or not, he'll make you think.

I finally pulled the trigger . . .

I've been wanting to change the site for a while now, but I've been hesitating. You know, I put so much work into getting to know Joomla! for the last site that I hated to get rid of it. But the truth is that every time I looked at the site it drove me crazy. And it was stupid stuff like the fact that I hated the theme I had (but I couldn't find one I like and I'm not going to create my own) and I was just too prideful to admit I made a bad technology decision.

But I did make a bad decision. Don't get me wrong--Joomla! is a great tool; I've set up sites for others using it. But what is it we always teach our students? "Never use technology for technology's sake." Me? I had Joomla! set up because I could. Not because I needed it, mind you, but because I could.

Then there was the lack of blogging guilt. But I addressed that in my last post, didn't I?

Anyway, as I tell my students, see you online . . .

Friday, March 30, 2007

Back to Blogging?

A couple of things have "kept me from blogging" lately. One is the fact that somehow I've been lucky enough to be the lap dog of some spam czar, and in just the last three weeks this blog has been hit with over 150 spam comment postings. It's killing me just to think about it. But more than that, it's been inherent guilt that I haven't been blogging. But really, should I feel guilty about it? I don't really know. I do know, however, that I have been enjoying many other blogs in the recent months--some that have to do with EdTech and some that don't. But as I've been reading and having my own pangs of guilt, I came across this comment from Brett Shelton over at Rhymes with Purple:
Okay, so this is the blog to apologize for the absence of previous blogs, but that's not what blogging is supposed to be about. It's here for when I need it, and to use it, and it just so happens that I did need it this last semester yet did not take advantage of it. A lesson to myself: do not take this for granted, I know that this helps, and I need to keep leaking the stuff here so that the rest is worthwhile. Okay. Done with self-lecture. I apologize to myself and it's time to move on.

I'm going with Brett on this one. Could I have blogged more? Obviously. Did I? Obviously not. Am I going to beat myself up over it? I'm thinking no. So I'll try to get on it more--again, some on topic with my profession, and some not, but either way, this blog is still called RANDOM MUSINGS of an Instructional Designer . . .