Category Archives: Social software

September 26, 2008, 10:11 am

Some programmer needs to make this a reality

From the always-inventive xkcd:

August 8, 2008, 2:11 pm

What is a basic syllabus in educational technology?

So I’m plotting out my tactical plans for research and scholarship over the next year right now — my imagination being stoked by the completion of my Statement of Scholarship — and I’d like to go deeper into educational technology on a number of levels. I’d like not only to stay abreast of the rapidly-changing face of the technology being used in schools, but also the social implications of that technology, the legal issues behind it, and the technical nuts/bolts/bits of how this stuff works in the first place (including the computer network/programming side of things).

I’m just a user and a self-appointed pundit of ed tech, so I have no idea exactly where to start if I want really to go deeper on this subject. I do know that I’m going to swallow hard and read Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Prensky carefully (as opposed to skimmig it as I have done in the past) even though I…

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June 28, 2008, 12:27 pm

Jott as a diction-checking device

I’ve blogged before about Jott, the web service which lets you call in and leave a voice message, and then it transcribes it to text and emails it to you or others you want to contact. I use Jott quite often in lieu of a voice recorder for quick thoughts that might be actionable. When I want to catch an idea, I get my cell phone, hit “5″ on the speed dial to call Jott, then talk through my message. A few moments later, I get a transcribed version in my GMail inbox which then gets reviewed at my next GTD weekly review.

Jott’s capabilities as a speech-to-text converter are impressive, but it’s not perfect. When I get a mis-transcription, sometimes I wonder whether it’s Jott’s fault or whether it’s something having to do with how clearly I am speaking. Take this recent message for instance. I had just finished teaching a section on exponential growth and decay in my calculus class that me…

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June 19, 2008, 7:39 am

Higher education and Web 2.0

Martin Weller of the UK’s Open University notes in this blog posting that there is an emerging cultural conflict between the world of higher education and the world of Web 2.0:

[T]he challenge is this – when learners have been accustomed to very facilitative, usable, personalisable and adaptive tools both for learning and socialising, why will they accept standardised, unintuitive, clumsy and out of date tools in formal education they are paying for? It won’t be a dramatic revolution (students accept lower physical accommodation standards when they leave home for university after all), but instead there will be a quiet migration. The monolithic LMSs will be deserted, digital tumbleweed blowing down their forums. Students will abandon these in favour of their tools, the back channel will grow and it will be constituted from content and communication technologies that don’t require a…

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June 12, 2008, 6:25 am

Thursday morning links

June 9, 2008, 7:16 am

Rapture 2.0

We’ve all wondered from time to time, “Suppose the Rapture happened tomorrow, and some of my loved ones got left behind. How could I be sure I could send them Gospel tracts and personal information after I’ve been taken up to Heaven?” Well, wonder no longer: for just $40 per year, you can use this new web service to upload up to 250 MB of documents and 62 individual email addresses to send them to in case of the Rapture. (Or rather, in case you get Raptured and your friends — or at least the people you think are your friends — don’t.)

Here’s how it works:

We have set up a system to send documents by the email [sic], to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the “Rapture” of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe [sic] any false triggering of the system.

We give you 150mb …

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May 22, 2008, 8:32 am

Looking for an internet voice mail app for students

Sorry for the light blogging, but I’ve been trying to cram in a bunch of work this week so I can take next week completely off. (Summer classes start the week after that.) Today I’m prepping for my summer calculus course, and I have a question for the audience about a particular web service I need but can’t seem to find. 

The calculus class I am teaching this summer is in the evenings, and as far as I can tell all the students who are taking it are commuters. Normally, during the regular school year, I set up lots of office hours and have an open-door policy for students to come and get help when they need it. But since the class is in the evenings and I am staying at home with the kids during the day, and since the students won’t be on campus anyway except for my class, office hours are not really going to be the optimal way for students to get help. I’ll have office hours by…

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May 9, 2008, 7:56 am

Identity theft on Facebook?

I’m a little surprised you don’t hear about this sort of thing happening more often: 

A Roncalli High School administrator is asking a judge to force the Internet site Facebook to identify the pranksters who hijacked his identity for a phony Webpage.

Tim Puntarelli, Roncalli [High School]‘s dean of students, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese is suing Facebook and the anonymous creators of the false Webpage the suit claims contained false, embarrassing, and defaming information about Puntarelli and Roncalli High School.

The page creators used the Facebook page to pose as Puntarelli and send emails to Roncalli students, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Marion Superior Court.

Facebook officials removed the page when they were notified of the site on April 18, but refused to disclose the identity of the creators without a court order, according to the lawsuit.

Puntarelli and…

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March 15, 2008, 8:10 pm

Where are the 95 Theses posted?

Looks like everybody has a Facebook page these days (click to enlarge):


The “Poke Him!” option is particularly amusing. Haven’t you always wanted to poke Martin Luther? Speaking as a fledgling Lutheran myself, it’s nice to see old Martin — whose use of technology to propagate information under a repressive authoritarian regime ought to inspire Web 2.0 types everywhere — take up residence at his new Wittenberg Door.

Seriously, one person writes on Luther’s “wall” that making up these fake Facebook pages would be a pretty good way to teach historical biography.

[h/t Cyberbrethren: A Lutheran Blog]

March 3, 2008, 9:28 pm

Three questions for filtering new technology

One thing that is sure to happen at the ICTCM later this week is that I will be inundated with tech stuff (from the exhibit hall) and ideas about using tech stuff (from sessions and workshops) in my teaching. Of course it’s good, clean fun to play around with tech stuff, and it’s good to come into contact with other people who are passionate about technology in teaching and with their ideas. But there’s a danger here as well: You might get so swept up in the zeitgeist of the conference that you begin to uncritically adopt all kinds of tech stuff and tech ideas for inclusion in your classroom without really evaluating it.

So when I am at the conference, there are three basic questions that I will ask whenever encounter tech stuff or ideas. They are the same questions I have asked for years about technology, whether that technology is for education, entertainment, home improvement, or…

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