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This is an experimental, informal blog for learning about blogging, blog development, and blog-related professional development activities.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

More to explore on the a/v blog interface

Months ago, cogdog discovered that Odeo allows recording of audio segments up to three minutes long. That is, if you are logged in as a registered user.

The Create on Odeo studio is here. Options include recording or adding audio from the web. Then, if you wish, you can create a podcast or embed the audio in your blog.

Let's get cracking!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

ODEO - Blogger Interplay


This post incorporates a RadioOpenSource program, Global Warming: Coal — It’s Cheap and Dirty (November 14, 2006), that I found at ODEO. Actually, I was looking for something else, "Is Global Warming Real? Climate Change and Our Energy Future," by Robert Dunbar (2004), but the program link to Dunbar's talk is defunct in ODEO (it is still available from the iTunes Store).

I created this post from an ODEO to Blogger uplink with an embedded player (above). ODEO to blog settings were easy in Firefox, even though the ODEO blog set-up interface doesn't display properly in Camino, and Blogger doesn't recognize ODEO as a secure interface, either.

To use the blog setting functions and generate automatically titled blog entries at ODEO, you have to register. However, registration may not be necessary if you just find a program you like, click the "Embeddable Player" link, and copy/paste the embedding code from ODEO directly into a draft blog entry.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sustainable community scenario


Wobbleys
Originally uploaded by pabeaufait.
Where Rick suggests various roles for member participants in WinK, that is, in a message posted within a less than public BaseCamp pilot, I find it impossible to respond with a picture. So I'm posting this here.

The illustration above is a [third] try to get at "other possible forms of participation and types of members" than just blogging learners and blogging teachers, which Rick suggests "might be a key to [community] sustainability" (Extending roles and styles of participation, November 29, 2006). A list of types might include core developers, founding members, volunteer or hired agents, facilitators, active blogging members, and possibly veteran commentators.

To suggestions regarding roles and styles of participation, I'd like to add one for a unified venue. I think that things are getting pretty twisted discussing WinK blogging and community development in a venue separate from WinK (namely BaseCamp), rather than unifying and consolidating activities, discussions and resources in one bloggable, community-friendly venue.

A unified venue, with searchable, feedable, public and protected components, might well minimize necessity of navigating back and forth, and transferring, transforming, or recreating bits and pieces from one venue to the next. At present WinK-related activity seems scattered from the blogosphere, to Rick's website, to Joe's wiki, to a BaseCamp project, and possibly to unseen glaciers, cirques, and summits beyond.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogging - Sixth Month in

It takes tremendous effort both to model and reflect upon practices for learning and teaching, but perhaps there is a knock on effect from using technology for both purposes: Keep trying!

Since I'm exploring learning and teaching with technology, I'm bound to try things that don't work - at least not right away - either for me or the folks I'm trying things with. Yet there are times when the technology fails to work, which isn't always obvious; as it should, which isn't always transparent; or when we fail to use it as effectively as we could, which may hardly ever be evident to novices without near-peer role models.

Among the techno-trials I've undertaken are blogging and wiki building, inspired by apparent success of colleagues. Earlier on, I decided my purpose in these endeavors was to find out how blogs and wikis might complement or extend upon conversations on a mailing list launched for purposes of continuing education.

As I struggle through uptake of tools and techniques (blogs, feeds, interfaces...), I find my time if not my attention deflected from purpose-full interaction with fellow learners and educators, into technical and problem-solving activities. That the edu-techno-learning curve would be so steep perhaps will come as no surprise to those reviewing the curve, once they're over the hump.

As far as modelling goes, my blogging pace leaves plenty of room for improvement, at least on this blog in isolation. Though I've commented, drafted, edited, and tagged potpourri entries recently, it has been over a month since my last published blog entry about switching to blogger beta.

In retrospect, I'd like to think that I've suitably distributed my time and energy amongst a project-related mailing list, two blogs, and three wikis (one directly project-related, the other two course-related) these past few months. It just may take years to whip up just the right blend.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Blogger beta IS better; switch NOW!

Blogger Buzz points out "the new version of Blogger in beta," and suggests, "If you can switch to it (see requirements), you really should. The new version of Blogger is better in almost* every way, including reliability" (The Blogger Outages..., October 26, 2006).

Friday, October 06, 2006

One of those days...

You might think that folks around the world are getting more web-savvy, or information literate, day by day. Then there are days like today that might shake your confidence in the human race.

That is not to say that, as humans, we should be in a hurry to get anywhere fast, especially if we are headed in wrong directions. However, if we have no clue as to what creates greater good, we definitely should not hasten interactions and call them progress.

I met a student in the hall outside my office today, who asked me whether I remembered her. Of course I did, by face and voice and course and language proficiency, if not by name (computer and paper records will remedy the latter, and confirm the former). We continued to converse in her second (or third) language, and I learned that she had come to visit a professor down the hall.

It was Friday afternoon. The prof. that she had come to visit was not in, and we were headed for a three-day weekend ([Health & Sports Day,]... the next Monday holiday). I supposed that she would have to come back next Tuesday - five days hence - or later to see her prof.

Then it dawned on me that, since she had survived email assignments that I might have given her last year, she could email her prof. and, conceivably, make contact in less than five days. So I suggested that she email her prof., an option that had not occured to her.

Her eyes lit up with the idea, but then darkened again. She told me that she did not know her prof's email address. Hmmm, I thought. "You can find it on a university web page," I told her, and her eyes lit up again. Off she went to catch the elevator, rather than take the stairs down.

One down, one more to go!

First thing this morning, I received an email inquiry from someone named stan (no capitalization in original), who hailed from a yahoo.co.jp address, requesting information about "this weekend[']s seminar." I almost marked the message as junk mail and deleted it, because it gave no indication how the author had found my address, or why he (presumably male) was writing to me. However, I had second thoughts about doing so.

I knew of one event in Fukuoka this weekend, and another in Okayama, about which people might ask me, as had others who had taken time to make their inquiries explicit. So, instead of immediately trashing stan's message, I wrote back and asked to which event he was referring. Sure enough, he wanted to know about the event in Okayama.

Yet he had not tracked down the most complete and reliable online source of information about the event that took less than thirty keystrokes plus three clicks to find (Google search: jalt, teacher, october, okayama [I think], plus three clicks to the index: http://www.esl-efl.info/conference/index.html). All the information that stan had requested via email (fees, times...) was available through links in the sidebar (registration, schedule...).

Y'em, one of those days!

Cheers, Paul

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Flickr uploaders

According to the Flickr tools site, "There are loads of ways for you to upload your photos to Flickr, in addition to the web-based upload form," including Flickr and third-party uploaders for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. I've just downloaded the OS X.3+ version and authorized the program to read, write, and edit my photos on the Flickr site. It works slick as a whistle!


Island in the Sky
Originally uploaded by pabeaufait.

Here's a photo I've just uploaded using the Flickr Uploadr application for OS X.

Friday, September 29, 2006

QuickCam (R) for Skype (TM)

This post comes from Tucson, AZ, where I've worked on a Windows machine for days! Nevertheless, I succeeded in connecting a Logitech (TM) QuickCam (R) communicate STX (TM) webcam to the machine, and using it for slow-scan video-augmented audio/visual chats using Skype (TM).

The communicate STX model interpolates input from native VGA sensors to generate 1.3 mega-pixel still images. It produces live video at up to 30 frames per second, includes a built-in microphone and uses RightLight (TM) technology to compensate for low-light scenes. However, it lacks the RightSound (TM) technology of high-end QuickCam models. When set atop a thin-screen monitor with speakers at the bottom, the STX occasionally creates a feedback loop, or echoes, in Skype.

Friday, August 25, 2006

pab's potpourri: Blogger settings [re-]visited

For a lead-in, see: pab's potpourri: Blogger settings visited

Here are a few more notes on Comments settings:

I show comments, and allow only registered users to comment. However, I disable comment moderation, so I neither get email asking me to approve every comment, nor need to review them on the "Moderate comments" page before they come to light. If something irksome does pop up, as a blog administrator, I can always delete it later.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Threaded message view on topline mailing list

Recently, I've noticed that the topline mailing list at Yahoo! (R) Groups now features a threaded view - once you have a message open on the group site.

The thread view appears below the message itself in your browser window. You may need to scroll down to display it.

Message threads comprise a series of messages and replies to which an open message relates (for example, see Figure 1). They show replies, and replies to replies, in an inverted step layout.

Figure 1: Simple Thread - Three Related Messages
As long as you don't expand the messages, or sort them by date, any message indented below another represents a reply to the previous message.

If there are more replies than one to a given message, they will be indented equally; the message to which those replies thread is the first message up the list that is one step less indented (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Complex Thread - Changes of Topics
[[wiki:theltdproject:ThreadedMessageView]]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blogger step by step

I've just posted, on the KEFL wiki, draft instructions for getting a Blogger account [defunct link to KEFL wiki removed (2006.11.10)]. They talk beginners through the first few steps, but leave beginners to fend for themselves past the required input fields.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cross-Linking Blogs and Wikis

I've established an edublog for the Language Teacher Development Project. At present, it comprises a generic mission statement, and a comment about rate of development.

Two main reasons that I chose a free WordPress-powered edublog were: 1) the availability of a like-named wikispace linked to the edublog, and 2) a suite of captivating WordPress tutorials. The space is free, but you can limit access so that only you or subscribed community members can post.

Since linking the LTD Project Blog to the KEFL Wiki LTD Project Home Page [defunct link to KEFL Wiki removed (2006.11.10)], I've started developing more wikispaces, too - one for each of the courses that I teach. They are really easy to build and rebuild.

Wikispaces, in turn, support linkage to Blogger blogs, linkage which eventually will lead right back to this one.... It works: You can export blog entries to a linked wikispace, or import to the wikispace from a linked blog.

Last, but not least, the LTD Project blog now sports a ticker at the lower right showing recently reworked pages on theltdproject wiki. Removing the spaces in the wiki name fixed the connection!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Topline wiring for access to learning contracts

Originally posted July 7, updated July 10, 2006

Towards the end of the Language Teacher Development Project meeting, June 24, 2006, participants generally endorsed the continued use of the topline mailing list as a primary venue for LTD Project communication. Participants also agreed to draft learning contracts by the 4th of July (or so I thought).

However, since the end of the meeting, I have encountered difficulties in subscribing new members to the mailing list. Though there have been very few posts by participants on list, I did get an off-list inquiry about resource books or articles suitable for learning about computer assisted language learning. I am waiting to hear what the participant's focus (or foci) might be.

I started out by inviting participants, whose addresses I had confirmed prior to the meeting, to subscribe to the topline mailing list (offhand, maybe two in four subscribed). Then, at the end of the meeting, I tried direct subscriptions by the list owner/moderator (me), which didn't seem to work. New subscribees didn't appear in membership lists, so I tried sending invitations again.

However, participants' mail programs may have treated Yahoo! invitations as junk mail. It also seems that the mailing list system reported neither faulty addresses from direct subscriptions, nor bounced invitations to faulty addresses. Perhaps there were no bounces, only non-respondents. How can you tell?

Here we are now. I've reverted to direct email to participants who are not subscribed to topline, and sent, or offered to send, learning contract file forms as email attachments to participants who have yet to sign on to topline as Yahoo! Groups members.

We'll see what we see, hopefully sometime soon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Long time, no meet!

Today's Language Teacher Development Project gathering was jam-packed with firsts.

  • First gathering in a long time (since August 2004)!
  • First time the coordinator forgot to put up signs directing people to the meeting room (at least in recent memory; my apologies to anyone who had trouble finding it).
  • First live participation from overseas: Yasuyo stayed up late in Toronto, Canada, and joined the new cohort by exchanging direct messages with everyone on site. Thanks, Yasuyo - Your fingers must be tired! For some of the participants this was a first go at instant messaging (IM), in English at least, and online interviewing. Comments, please, on what you thought about IM.
  • First go at wikis for most, if not all participants: Everyone got to see how wikis work, and almost everyone got some hands on. One participant who hadn't actually contributed to a wiki in session decided to make doing so one of her project goals.
  • First team of guest presenters: Thanks, Rick & Joe, for sharing your insights and ideas for using wikis, and pointing out all those spaces ready to use (podcast presentation available at iTunes Store - requires free iTunes software, first). I won't wait five years to put them to use!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Getting ready for RSS

My mailboxes get filled by discussion board and mailing list messages faster than I can read them. Yesterday, I hastily reviewed and disposed of hundreds and hundreds of messages, in just two prefiltered mailboxes, culling only a few which struck my fancy. Even though I'd searched for, and previewed items in one of those mailboxes containing my favorite term, "collaborati," and had sorted messages in the other mailbox for posts by members whom I know and respect to preview, on threads that had already caught my interest; it was a long, tiring, unsatisfying, and largely unproductive process

So I'm planning to start making use of RSS feeds and aggregation technology to create several focused collections of collections of related source materials that I enjoy reading, and find useful (or potentially so) in my work. One collection will combine SCoPE scheduled seminar feeds, with Online Facilitation mailing list posts that usually go into the two mailboxes that I emptied yesterday.

http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/rss/file.php/12/177/forum/132/rss.xml
http://rss.groups.yahoo.com/group/onlinefacilitation/rss

The question is, where and how to put these together, for my own ease of reading and uptake. Elgg..., Safari...? Hmm. Perhaps that depends on where I will be most likely to view and digest them in a deliberate and timely fashion.


All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blogger settings visited

  • Basic: Add...to...listings - No
  • Formatting: Time zone - Japan [UTC + 09:00]
  • Comments:
    • Only registered users
    • Backlinks - Show
    • Show word verification for comments - YES!
  • Archiving: Weekly
  • Site feed:
    • Publish site feed - Yes
    • Article footer: Add some sort of Creative Commons license?
  • Email:
    • BlogSend address - [none]
    • Mail to Blogger address - [username].potpourri@blogger.com [- publish]
  • Members: Add team members - Option (by individual email invitations)

One or two in 25 without...

One or two student-teachers or practicing teachers participating in the Pigate workshop today reported not having email. Another two participants, an ALT and a teacher educator, didn't have cell phones. So they were unable to complete a workshop activity to learn how to use cell phones to email photos immediately to new Flickr accounts that we all cross-linked to new Blogger accounts. Nevertheless, the workshop was honest-to-goodness techno-fun on a steep learning curve!

Joe & Rick do Pigate @ KGU

Bloggers do!
Joe & Rick do Pigate @ KGU
Originally uploaded by pabeaufait.
Joe & Rick conduct a blogging workshop for Pigate members in a Windows lab at KGU.

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