Facilitating online communities

I’ve just started a new course called Facilitating online communities through wikieducator and so this blog will be mainly dedicated to reflecting on this course over the next couple of months.

I’ve been a part of an extremely nurturing online community, one filled with role models, many probably out of intuition rather than theory. So I do believe that some may have a certain talent for it, just as some have a talent for teaching, coaching etc.

But why did I choose this course? Well, while co-moderating one of the course at EVO 08, I realized that I felt a bit insecure in this role and at the same time intrigued by what happened in the group. I want to expand my background knowledge of how to do this as well as gain experience. In the future I can also imagine using online communities for my teaching setting and other settings, and to become more confident in this process.

Another reason for wanting to join is out of curiousity and the drive in me to go forward in an erea that I find fascinating.

Now I am looking forward to growing and seeing where this new journey will take me.

How many times do we need to recreate ourselves?

In my last post I asked a question about edtags, and one of the responses got me thinking and inspired me to write this post.

While listening to one of the NECC webcasts,  Our Students – Our Worlds, one of the points that were made  on the side was that the kids who grow up with technology**  have their place out there in the digital world. They choose a platform like Myspace based on what everyone else they know is using, and then that is where they stay. We, on the other hand, have tried myspace and facebook as well as Xing and others. Same for social tagging. Where are our tags? Are they in delicious, blinkspace, digg, diigo, or some other tool that will come up as the next best greatest thing? What will happen to our other tags? You can transfer this idea to bookshelves, musicboxes, picturebooks etc.

We as digital immigrants, however, are constantly searching and trying out new things. The result being that we have a little infomarmation scattered here and there, but no place to call home. We add a few details, look around, see how it works, and then a new tool is suggested to us by someone we know, an invitation to join – which we do, of course, and then the same thing happens again.

So are we a lost generation constantly in search for the perfect tool, which we’ll never find because, even if we do find it, a new one will come along, making the old one obsolete.

Why can then the digital users find a place to be and then stay there? What consequences will that have for them? What kind of consequences will our wandering have on us and our identity on-line?

And most important of all, how are we going to deal with this constant movement so that we have strong and useful ties to support and connect us? How are we going to approach all the new and exciting tools that will hit us in the future with even more and better possiblitites? What happens to the old tools we used and then fall into disuse?

**In the same webcast I believe, digital natives are described as being only natives for a very short time before new tools come up and they are no longer digital natives. Instead they become digital USERS.

EDTAGS – social tagging for educational purposes

The website edtags.org is presented in the NECC 08 presentation from Tuesday at 11am called edtag.org: Academic Social Tagging to Aid Learning and Assessment.

The difference to delicious, blinklist and diigo is simply that this site was made by educators explicitly for educators, so it is more limited in this way, at the same time perhaps making it more accessible to some.

I’d be interested in your opinion, do you see this limitedness as an advantage or disadvantage, and why?

btw- this entry is being posted through diigo

Your Day in a Sentence and Chinswing

Well, it’s Sunday and time to compile all those days that have been collected either here or over at Chinswing.

Matthew was quite busy and in need of a break from the break:

There is so much work to do on vacation; I’m ready for vacation.

As was Cristina

Today it was all about meetings, meetings and meetings!!Hoping 4 better days! ;-)

Anamaria was busy getting ready for a trip:

This weekend, I´m gonna pack for my trip to Fortaleza (Brazil) where I´m going to attend a conference and meet other members from Learning with Computers.

And our one and only Kevin was busy trying to remember passwords (also to be heard at Chinswing):

After working with kids in the morning on claymation movies and then teachers in the afternoon on (two) social networking sites, it occurred to me that our lives are comprised of way too many passwords into way too many systems, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a universal interface that would open the door for us into any piece of technology?

Sara was busy planning for the future:

It’s a true sign of my teaching psychosis that I’m already starting to plan for next year, now that I’ve found out I’m teaching *only* writing. Take a week off there, tiger!

And Murcha has just come back from what sounds like an excellent trip (also on Chinswing):

After an exciting week of travelling through Scotland, England and Hong Kong, I am finally home in Australia, catching up on all my online work and preparing for the start of term 3 next week.

Tracy had some good news this week – Happy Birthday!:

This week I … found out my dog has arthritis and not cancer as his vet thought, began the unpacking process after a move, interviewed for a new position at my school (still waiting…), and celebrated with friends as I turned 40. It’s been a full one )

Amy invites us all to join her class on voicethread:

This week I have had many KUDOS for the VoiceThread my 3rd graders created about Colonial America. Here is the link: http://voicethread.com/#q.b114961.i693296. Please visit and comment. My kids would love it!

And Mary seems to finally have some time off (enjoy!)

This week, I finished the last full week of classes for the semester here in Japan, but it was difficult to concentrate because of the hot, humid summer weather and the constant singing of cicadas!

Cynthia sounds up for some serious partying!

Wednesday we leave for Dallas to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday, but the celebration will not end there. We’ll be bringing our daughter Adair and Tommy LaRue home with us to celebrate not only his first birthday again with his great-grandmother, but also his grandfather’s 65th and his uncle Win’s 30th. So, right now, Larry and I are busy baby-proofing the house and sprucing up the yard. Whew!

And Nina shares with us a bit of sunshine:

Marvelous morning of the summer day-off opens doors for new thoughts, impressions, hopes for the fortunate day to be for solving problems.

Over at Chinswing Bonnie is waiting for her new iphone- We hope you got one and are having fun! And Delaine is thankful for the invention of air-conditioning. And, David, we hope next week will be a better one. In the meanwhile I’ve been enjoying the peace and quiet at home.

So, thanks, Kevin, for letting me host this week, and thank you to all of you who submitted both here and on Chinswing. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead!

Hosting: Day in a sentence

Welcome to Day in a sentence!

I am glad to have the honor of hosting it this week for Kevin and am looking forward to hearing from those of you who have stayed home for vacation. If you are new to Day in a sentence, it’s easy. Just tell us about your day or week in a sentence (or two).

You can do this in the comments section (it’s moderated, and will be published on Sunday) or you can tell us about it on Chinswing as a recorded message.

The 21 days are over

I really don’t know how many people I motivated to join in the challenge, but not many contacted me. It was the first time for me to organize something like this, and I’m sure I stumbled into all the potholes. naja

Nevertheless, I feel a sense of success and happiness at what I saw happen with my private course.

After telling my class about the Matopo Primary School, they wrote a letter to give to the school head (who contacted me afterwards) and then went to each class in their school to tell the pupils about the school and that they are collecting school materials for this school and the children there.

Their enthusiasm was impressive and the result was over 10 school bags filled with pencil cases, rulers, erasers, etc etc.

In addition, they now know where Zimbabwe is (and Africa!), they have had the experience of presenting a project for a real purpose, and have gained an experience in ethics.

However, I also had to make a few corrections so as not to cement the stereotype of poor little African children. Not such an easy job considering the reality of many parts of Africa at the moment.

So in the end I do feel a bit of satisfaction. I have fulfilled a promise to myself, a friend and, most important of all, a little school in the heart of Zimbabwe.