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 . . .