Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can you share that with the other kids please?

"The Nine Events of Instruction"

Slide share and diigo and other sharing tools are kind of interesting and I am still trying to wrapt my head around them...what drives their creation (need, $$$, hobby?) and use and what is the market for these tools. I checked out slide share. and ran across some interesting presentations:

Robert Gagne's nine events of instruction are said to be linked to the learning process and they are:

a. Gain Attention
b. Inform Learner of Objectives
c. Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning
d. Present Stimulus Material
e. Provide Learner Guidance
f. Elicit Performance
g. Provide Feedback
h. Assess Performance
i. Enhance Retention and Transfer

So I don't know how much I agree with these but they seem intuitive and hard to argue against. I wonder if there are other models that have been tested and compared. It seems to me to be very simliar to explaining the what, how, where, and when to do something giving demos, practicing, evaluating and re-practicing and what you do as an instructor to make these things effective. The ancient prophet king, Benjamin, said, "And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may awalk guiltless before God—I would that ye should bimpart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as dfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants (Mosiah 4:26)." Surely we can share Gospel oriented slide shows with others and be involved in commenting and encouraging/sharing those slide shows that will help people understand the Church and gospel and clear up the mountains of confusion in the world.
In using Diigo to highlight and annotate Chalan's blog I ran into a bunch of errors and it was not as user friendly as I would have hoped. However, if I were doing some continuos research or working on a long term project I could see how helpful this tool would be.

As far as analytics...people are making a load of money off of them. I tried to get some web amalytics set up for my blog and I could not do it. For a while I was looking into blogging as a means to drive web traffic and get advertisements to make a little money. Particularly with Web analytics were crucial to get business and advertisers. I wonder if the Church uses any web analytics to identify the type of people checking out and help improve and cater to them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Podcast Question

Can I put a podcast onto my blog? Or what is the best way to stick a video that I have produced on my page or a screencast? Does anyone know?

Podcasts and the Gospel

I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw when I typed the search "podcast mormon" into google. I found some funny stuff and some really useful things. They have podcasted the whole entire "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" manual. I also found a funny deseret news blog that poked some fun at conference critics and member's responses to them. I think web presence is an important part of sharing the gospel and podcasts, vidoe and screencasts are definitely an important part of that in today's culture. We are used to short entertaining or informative web communications and we shouldn't shy away from that stuff as Church members but use it to share with others how we feel about the Savior.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Podcast 'o' rama

Ninja videos are great. I haven't got my own podcast out there yet but I am working on it (I need to get a hold of a microphone or do it at work where my computer has a microphone). My first introduction to podcasts was the grammar girl on itunes podcasts. Someone I respect at work, who writes very well, recommendeded the grammar girl podcast to me and up until then I had never, ever used podcasts (I know I am in the behind-the-times technology club for my age group) but I dove in and found out how convenient and easy they are. I see a lot of educational applications. For instance, if I were an English teacher I think some of my assignments would be to create podcasts for the topic and have the students watch each other's and give comments on each others. Other learning experiences might revolve around watching certain podcasts and summarizing them to other students and the class. Then there are some classic uses that any podcast could be used for: distance learning, lecture capture, repeat lecture listening, acommodating student needs. There are many others that Shawn Wheeler has outlined in some of his web pages and podcasts. They are great resources if the content is reliable. If it isn't then that can be used as an educational tool also.

As a side note, I was amazed at how much anti-mormon stuff was out there in the audio video material.

It reminded me of a few things that Elder Ballard shared in this last general conference.

“The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

“For God doth not walk in crooked paths, . . . neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.

“Remember . . . that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men” (D&C 3:1–3).

God has spoken through His prophet and announced to the world that “the Standard of Truth has been erected” and that “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.” That is undeniably and indisputably true. We have seen it for ourselves, in decade after decade, from the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith to the time of President Thomas S. Monson. Persecutions have raged. Calumny and lies and misrepresentation have attempted to defame. But in every decade from the time of the Restoration forward, the truth of God has gone “forth boldly, nobly, and independent.”

...There is still much to be done before the Great Jehovah can announce that the work is done. While we praise and honor those faithful Saints who have brought us to this point of public prominence, we cannot afford, my brothers and sisters, to be comfortable or content.

We are all needed to finish the work that was begun by those pioneering Saints over 175 years ago and carried out through the subsequent decades by faithful Saints of every generation. We need to believe as they believed. We need to work as they worked. We need to serve as they served. And we need to overcome as they overcame.

Of course, our challenges are different today, but they are no less demanding. Instead of angry mobs, we face those who constantly try to defame. Instead of extreme exposure and hardship, we face alcohol and drug abuse, pornography, all kinds of filth, sleaze, greed, dishonesty, and spiritual apathy. Instead of families being uprooted and torn from their homes, we see the institution of the family, including the divine institution of marriage, under attack as groups and individuals seek to define away the prominent and divine role of the family in society.

This is not to suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life...Our testimonies must run deep, with spiritual roots firmly embedded in the rock of revelation. And we must continue to move the work forward as a covenanted, consecrated people, with faith in every footstep, “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Upcoming topics for my next post:
Sharing my own podcast, or screencast. Interesting ways that people are using one of these tools to share the gospel.

Educational Bookmarking (part two of bookmarking)

I know, I know I have tons of stuff on bookmarking...What can I say I laid it on thick with the bookmarking stuff since that is my topic for the book!

Let's say I am a student of biology. I cannot reference website material because only primary, peer-reviewed sources are allowed. But I can collect a set of bookmarks (click on the link to see a small collection of sweet educational vidoes) that act as quick references to help me learn material, view videos, track latest discoveries and stay plugged into the reviews of the latest publications and scientific news.

Likewise a facilitator or teacher could build up relevant bookmarks that can be used easily in class or outside of it as reference pages and teaching resources. I could see it being extremely convenient for lesson preparation and finding those awesome resources out there. Students could network with the teacher to find good material that is reliable and reviewed by the teacher.

The article I found written by Kyle James said:

"For Higher Education marketing I don’t know how much value holds, but for managing anyone, including Higher Education administers, online destinations and resources it can be invaluable. The community aspect of viewing and bookmarking with others can be a noninvasive, quick, and productive way to share resources with others to increase productivity."

The point is also made that the network is only as good as the people's bookmarks in them. So if each person's bookmarks are useful and well thought out I think it can be a powerful educational network of websites. There is a lot out there and if it can be organized and quickly accessed it becomes more useful.

One educational user of said "For the longest time I wasn’t adding users to my “network”, and now, everytime I find someone in higher ed web development with a delicious feed, I add it. Lots of great links, all the time."

I tend to be of the thought that if the tool is useful and helps us let's use it but technology in education should be plug and play because who knows what it will be like in a few years.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bookmarking in Plain English

Here is a good link to a bookmark explanation.


Does web sharing have a Moore's law equivalent?

- Sharing will probably continue to increase
- Sharing is a spectrum of superficial to personal information.
- I think shallow, easy things to share will continue to increase.
- Maybe there's some hypothesis between the depth of information and cost of sharing.

Web 2.0 is about web contribution and sharing. More sharing gives hope for some good things to happen whereas it gives a lot of other people heartburn. If sharing becomes a new frontier that is good for us as educators and for sharing the gospel.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


A bookmark in its simplest form is a saved URL. It can be tagged, put in a favorites list, or added to a list in your browser. When you start using a social bookmarking systems it is a little different.

Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is a way to gather, organize, search, share, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet.
People save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. This is usually done using a service like delicious. With services like delicious bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. You can access bookmarks through different channels: tags, chronologically, folders, search engine, etc.

Tags seem to be the trend and most commonly used organization method for large amounts of social bookmarks.

Many social bookmarking services provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags. This allows subscribers to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users.

As these services have matured and grown more popular, they have added extra features such as ratings and comments on bookmarks, the ability to import and export bookmarks from browsers, emailing of bookmarks, web annotation, and groups or other social network features.

Wikipedia lists the following as social bookmark sites:

Balatarin (Iranian site)
BookmarkSync (private bookmarking, created to give you your bookmarks at any cpu)
CiteULike (for sharing scientific references)
Connotea (similar to CiteULike; for scientists, researchers, and clinicians)
Digg (voting on the bookmarked links sets this one apart)
Diigo (users can highlight parts of a webpage and attach sticky notes to highlights or to a whole page and these notes can be kept private, or shared)
Faves (content is supposedly a little more 'rateable' than delicious)
IBM Lotus Connections
Linkwad (for Mozilla lovers)
My Web (Yahoo's version)
Mister Wong (German startup that is big in Europe; similar to delicious)
Mixx (more of a social network with bookmarking as the social object, I think)
Newsvine (more like a social news network)
oneview (German and English started in 1998) (used to be
Reddit (bookmarks appear based on # of votes)
SiteBar (available in more than 20 languages)
Windows Live Favorites (part of the Windows live application suite)

Many of these sites have specialties. As I searched some you could tell they had more bookmarks for media based sites. Others focused on politics and other on academic realms. Surely there would be a place for religous bookmark group...particularly one centered around things that could help people and answer their questions and that help get the type of content out on the web that is on How would you get that to spread to a circle of people that is not already LDS?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Social Network Ruminations (part 2)

Despite what I have seen and my personal opinions I still think a social network could be used effectively as an educational tool if you had the right dynamic and attitude between the learners and instructors. Perhaps a few uses could be:
  1. Online classroom: Applications could help enhance the classroom experience
  2. Educators network: A social network for educators could help them collaborate and stay connected
  3. Continue learning outside of the classroom: Parents could also get involved and be on or see the network and stay linked into what their kids are learning and see how they can help them, support them, etc.
  4. Research: I think studying, analyzing and experimenting on and with social networks can teach us a lot about people, technology, and learning
  5. Resource for students and the professor: Imagine a professor who uses a social network rather than blackboard or other online educational collaboration tools. If that is a popular social network that students use to connect with their friends that increases the exposure of the student to the content, links, assignments, and other class related items. It does make things more convenient for the student but I don’t know if it would increase learning outcomes.
  6. International connections: A social network could help you have a field trip more often. Or for language learning you could have a more immersion setting despite the language by linking in students that speak those countries.

Personally it is day 4 of having a Facebook account. I must be honest right now it seems less suited to be a formal educational tool than a blog or a wiki. Using it as a resource for certain assignments or discussions might be the most feasibly. I have a hard time thinking that K-12 children would use it for anything more than what we call it…a social network. As I looked at some of the social networks I didn’t since a whole lot of “education” going on. It was more like disjointed conversations or things about people’s personal lives (; Though one I found has some useful information ( but even in that case the things that would be most helpful are dead ends; I guess there are not enough people plugged in to make it worthwhile. I would love to see some research, experiments and tests to see what it takes to successfully use a social network in education.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Social Network Ruminations (part 1)

I joined my first social network about 4 years ago. I created a login added the friend who invited me to Hi5 (I only joined becuase he was in South America) and never logged in again. I thought they were uselss. Being a nature lover who pushed against anything that kept me indoors longer than I already had to be I refused to love social networks and fought against them..."What will our society be like if all our sociality and interaction was online (which I ignorantly thought was happening with the social network craze," I thought. "It'll disconnect us. They are just a waste of time and our lives."

I slowly began to change my thinking as I saw all my friends keeping in touch. Then we did a winter tubing event...we invited over 1500 people in 5 minutes. Lots of old friends came and I loved it. Friends started to sign up to do business networking and I started to see it as a business tool. I still didn't sign up until this assignment came and then I sold out to the social network craze. Within minutes I connected with old friends I had not seen for over 10 years. I am realizing that social networks generally don't help you meet a lot of new people (they could though if that were the goal I guess) but connect with people I already know.

My next step is to find out how these web 2.0 hodge podges can be used for educational purposes and if that is an effective use.

The following links are things I'm checking out. My first intimation that a social network could be used for education came from this link.

"'Social Networks' are really just collections of Web 2.0 technologies combined in a way that help to build online communities."

I can picture an ongoing discussion among learners from different countries as a gynormous tutor session. Informal learning could be huge. The information that one could tap into if they found the right contacts in the social networks could speed up collaborative learning and informal learning. For example, if you learn a lot from having a conversation with 3 people, imagine it being 50 people but you speed up the dialog from what it would be in a live discussion. I think that has power. Anyway, I have not wrapped my head completely around this but will post more on it as I discover more.

I still need to look into how social network applications and data portability could affect education.

I think I will start here: It is a list of social networks used in education.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Social objects can be defined pretty broadly. They can be anything that creates a socialty among people and helps them gather together to tak, debate, collaborate, or just plain hang out. That group of people that becomes a society around an object may be a specific, narrowly defined group of people or it may be wide open for anyone. All of these "objects" have nodes or things for people to grab onto and congregate around which enables them to become social objects. So can educational content be a social object. Of course it can. Can it be a succesful social object; an object that perhaps you could build a social network around? That is hard to say but my first thought is that the type of content would define your network and limit the people who would be interested in joining it. I think the social aspect would be more narrowly defined. However, I almost might disagree with myself and say that a social object could be very successful even if you cannot build a large network around it. The objective of creating an educational social object might be to create understanding, establish a base of people who are discussing certain things. In that case it might be very successful despite the size of the network.

Can assessments or assignments be social objects? Why or why not?

The object is the reason people connect with each other rather than connecting elsewhere. So I could see a community of scientists, for example, let's say you have a set of assessments that help you understand whether you are forming a good set experiments and logic for a scientific hypothesis. I could see the science community connecting with each other because of that set of assessments. I have to admit though that it is hard for me to see Assessments acting as social objects that can be used as a means to build a social network.

The same with assignments. If the content of the assignment is open to people and particularly interesting people may congregate around one of the blogs we have created. Or perhaps assignments could be forced social objects. If a set of students are required to gather around certain online assignments and connect through and because of them they have become social objects.

Both assessments and assignments, since they are a type of educational content, could become social objects.

Lets's look at what some people call the five key principles of building social networks using social objects:

1. You should be able to define the social object your service is built around.
2. Define your verbs that your users perform on the objects.
3. How can people share the objects?
4. Turn invitations into gifts.
5. Charge the publishers, not the spectators.

It is hard for me to see assessmentes or assignments in this role.

I have used blackboard...I think it could be spiced up with social objects...

If you've ever taken a class that used a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard, how compatible does the idea of social objects appear to be with the notion of a learning management system?

The food at a party in a lot of ways is a metaphor for social objects. One implication is that when the food is gone the people are gone. Or when the food tastes bad it can ruin the party. In education when the content runs out or no longer helps us think, learn and collaborate it has run its course as an educational social object and should be left...We got what we needed out of it so let's not beat a dead horse. Tests are sometimes like this. You learn how to think, how to assess and how to solve problems and then test time comes and instead of testing you on what you got out of the content the test is based on the content itself which no longer serves a useful purpose.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


What can wikis be used for in education?...anything that is paper in a classroom, could be converted to a wiki. Group projects, class collaboration and problem based learning can be facilitated by wikis.

In one article I read the students used a wiki and worked in groups to solve problems. They also posted pages for test reviews that were well done. These are younger children but they understand and grasp how to use these tools very well.

I think that in general wikis, blogs, etc. are plug and play. We should ask what are our needs in learning and education? Then we look at all the tools out there, whether it be a wiki or blog etc. and evaluate whether it is a good solution or not. What needs are there for web pages focused on certain topics and have the capalility to vote on content, to be edited, searched, and tagged? Whatever needs we may have for a tool with those specifications a viable solution could be a wiki. Will that be the case in 5 years, perhaps not.

I can imagine very easily a social issue that needs to be analyzed using knowledge of a discipline, say creative energy sources and biology. The problem could be posted on a wiki with some structure to the site and then the students would research, dig, learn, write and check the work of each other.

By no means should we force the use of technology just for technology's sake in education.


Dynamic collaboration in an open wiki's biggest weakness in my mind is that at any one moment they may contain inaccurate information. While I believe that these errors for the most part would be corrected fairly quickly if anything in a wiki is being cited in a paper or presentation you cannot guarantee the information in the wiki at any moment. Maybe that is not a bad thing but the way I see it it compromises its fidelity a little bit.

It seems that the biggest strength is the ability for virtually anyone to contribute to the wiki and improve it. Many more perspectives can be represented and biases can be limited. Information can be added as it changes or evolves which gives the opposite of what I mentioned above, the ability at any moment to get correct, up-to-date information.

Overall the positives outweigh the negatives and the negatives found in "closed-content," print materials seem to be much greater that in open content where many experts, and people are contributing.

I made a few improvements to the Wikipedia article on the Missionary Training Center by adding some information on the international MTCs, specifically the Brazil MTC. I also changed the total capacity because it was too high. We'll see if anyone changes it back.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Informal Learning

I ACCIDENTALLY DELETED MY BLOG...Here are the posts from before...

As I dug around for something on blogs I ran into the idea of informal learning which seems to be receiving some buzz in training/educational circles. The main idea is that most of our learning is informal...which I take to mean that we just learn more as we do and experience things; as we explore and dig around and research. That learning may be unexpected or intentional.

Blogs, wikis, internet media, and free content have probably increased the effectiveness of informal learning in a big way. 50 years ago informal learning may not have occupied such a big piece of the learning pie; I can't prove that though it seems intuitive that the internet has provided opportuinities to learners where previously they were scarce of non-existent. While I don't think we should play down the importance of formal training and learning it seems to me that high quality blogs, written by subject matter experts and experienced individuals, could enhance informal learning, particularly intentional informal learning. Do the organizations that we belong to understand the power of informal learning and the tools that can be used to facilitate it? What if job development was not found in training meetings, or educational conferences? It could be better found, in some instances, in some free time for employees/students and an insatiable attitude of learning.

Why this class?

Right now I am sitting in Argentina...It is a beautiful place with wonderful people. I am staying in the building you see to the left. As I sit here it is pretty obvious to me why I took this class. There are 16 different locations in 16 different countries that speak 4 different languages and our job is to work and support them. Our biggest challenge...maintaing clear, consistent personal contact and communication. I hope that we can find some tools that will enable us to collaborate, not only on a two way basis, us between them, but also in a way that allows them to connect with each other. The use of new media does not seem to be a fad that will come and go like a shooting star but I think its use will continue to grow and remain. Most of my friends have been using it for business, networking, and staying in touch. Others use it to share their feelings about the Gospel and their faith. I need to do a little more of all of that. Plus in a way blogs, wikis and other media can be wonderful records for family and for ourselves. Anyway, to say a little about myself. I have been married for almost four years to a wonderful, beautiful woman named Nadia. She is from San Diego. We have a 7 month year old explosion of fun and energy named Emerson. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile and my love for Latin America, Chile and the Gospel have been important parts of my life ever since. If I can be where I want I'll head for the mountains without regard to the season. Other than that, I love reading, learning, volleyball, soccer and of course my family! That is me and why I am in the class.

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