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.

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