Archive for April, 2008

In this 18 minute clip, JJ Abrams, (creator of LOST), speaks of inspiration, imagination and his belief in mystery as a catalyst for imagination, infinite possibility, hope and potential. When he writes he sees a blank page waiting to be filled with something fantastic. He believes whatever he writes needs to be worthy of the technology he is using. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our students to looked at writing in this way, writing as an expression of infinite possibility? Take a few minutes and enjoy watching this, I did.


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With the abundance of online communities and tools now available to all of us there has been a lot of conversation lately of how people use these tools, for what purpose. The conversations have mentioned the fact some are seen as using these tools for self promotion, followings, name recognition, which I admit I believe some people do, but this is no different than what happens in our day to day, face to face lives, is it? We all have the same ability online, as we do face to face, we may chose to ignore what we find offensive, or follow along, either way the choice remains with the individual.

I am, as Sue Waters used to describe herself, a reluctant blogger. I am not skilled in writing, and it is something that does not come easily to me. I feel blogging is a means of reflection, having an opportunity to talk out loud, and maybe have someone listen, and respond who is interested in the same topic, is experiencing something similar or have an opinion on. We are all attracted to content for varying reasons, we are all attracted to different writing styles as well. What matters is this, I have a mechanism to write, publish, and possibly engage in conversations that would not be available to me otherwise. In order for those opportunities to present themselves to me, I also understand I have to make the effort to do the same thing with others, to be a good virtual citizen as well. Making connections, participating in conversations, extending myself beyond my blog to cultivate relationships – just as I do in my life everyday.

I believe we all contribute, we all have a voice and we all make a difference, although not everyone’s contribution and or difference may not be evident through a blog or online. For me my contributions to the greater good may not be through this blog, but I feel my participation in OpenPD with Darren Draper, the presentations we have done together about our experiences in providing professional development in a way not possible before now, have been important, have made an impact on those who attended the classes and the presentations. I know too I make a difference in my district; I am able to learn from those in my network and in turn share that knowledge with those I interact with face-to-face everyday. My contributions may seem small to others, but it is relative, the contributions I make where I work may never be seen by others in the online world I participate in, but that doesn’t mean they do not exist, or I do not matter either. I believe the words on this image apply to all of us,”There are some things we cannot do on our own” and “a strong and cohesive sense of community is essential to expanding opportunity to all of us”, maybe EdubloggerCon in San Antonio will be a time for all of us to talk about our sense of community.

Flickr Image Source user opportunity agenda

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The legendary story of his ear, the melancholy ballad Don MacClean wrote in honor of him, not to mention the hundreds of original works hanging in the finest museums in the world. Vincent Van Gogh remains to be an important part of world culture, a fascinating historical figure that continues to capture our interest and whose art touches our hearts.

Art history fans and anyone who is intrigued by the great Vincent will love this site. Learn about the man behind the art at this Web Exhibit entitled “Van Gogh’s Letters”. Many of the details of the master artist’s life are revealed through his personal letters, including his diet and penchant for alcohol, certain incessant psychological conditions such as agoraphobia and depression, as well as more intimate revelations such as his personal beliefs and feelings.

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Our OpenPD session this afternoon was designed to introduce blogging, my hope was the conversation would be beneficial for those in the class who are new to the concept and thinking about starting a blog of their own. Well once again my expectations were exceeded, and I am so grateful to all of those who participated today. Sue Waters was asked to join us and speak to those participating in class why she blogs, how she got started and if she would share any thoughts, and tip, for writing good posts. Well, Sue wrote a post about our OpenPD session, the topic for class, asking others contribute a comment on the impact their own blogging has had on them, their learning. It is full of interesting stories and suggestions, please take some time to read it. Sue also invited some other bloggers to join in the conversation as well; we were fortunate to have with us the following people:

Thank you all for making another session of OpenPD so worthwhile, I learned a great deal once again. I am grateful for the true sense of collaboration, and sharing everyone brings with them to class, what we are able to learn from one another is phenomenal. This is a wonderful experience for me. Sue thank you for all of your wonderful contributions to this class as well as your work in the edublogger world. On the wiki we do have an assignment for this coming week, look at and respond to 4 other blogs we have some listed on the participants page as well. Also to set up a blog at Edublogs so you are ready to start. Hope to see you all again next week.

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On Wednesday we completed the second week of OpenPD Round 3 and it was a great success. Conversations centered wikis, widgets, how to embed objects / widgets into a wiki. I learned about customizing embed codes when placing videos in a blog or wiki.
Jamie Gustin explained when embedding video clips from YouTube/TeacherTube you should customize the embed code so you do not inadvertently copy and paste code which allows for related videos to be embedded. I had no idea related videos could be pulled in through an embed code, very valuable information.

  • When you have a YouTube or TeacherTube video you would like to embed, to the left of the video there is a space where you are able to copy the embed code, well if continue to look to the right of the word embed you will see a customize link.
  • Click on the customize link and there is a radio button to check which says don’t include related videos. I would suggest always having this checked.

Scott Weidig and Bud Hunt also joined us in class and in our Skype call. Each has had experience using Zoho, another online collaborative tool with many components similar to Google. Zoho contains a wiki as well as many other features as well. Never having used Zoho myself, they both made excellent contributions to our session on the features of Zoho they use and their experiences.

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