Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why I like Twitter

Two months ago I joined Twitter. My first post was inane--Something like: I'm trying to learn

sk08i07 Giant Moose at Moose Jaw SK 2008Image by CanadaGood via Flickr

how to use Twitter. I've learned a lot since then. What have I learned and why do I like Twitter?

1. Pass it forward:

I like Twitter because it gives me a super easy way to share resources and ideas. I subscribe to many blogs with Google Reader and come across great ideas and writing all the time. I also follow suggested links in other people's tweets and this leads me to great resources. For example, recently I came across Kathy Cassidy (@kathycassidy on Twitter), a grade one teacher from Moose Jaw. Since she gave her website address as part of her Twitter profile (I like it when people do this), I went to her website. (,%20 This amazing Grade One teacher is having her students blog. Last week on Twitter, she asked for people available to talk to her class on Skype about what they learned in Grade One. She has posted one of those talks on her website. Last year her students recorded their reading using Vocarro. Then other people could comment (parents, aunts, grandpas, etc.) about the reading.

So you get the picture. I come across great resources all the time via Twitter and Google Reader. What is the simplest way to share those resources? It is via Twitter. If someone is on Twitter, I can simply put @ in front of their user name and post the link with a short description of the resource. I admit it is easiest if that person is following me because I could even send the resource via a direct message. I am hoping that most people on Twitter are like me and that they check their Twitter mentions using Search with @ and their user name. Thus if (like Margaret Atwood) you are receiving lots of messages from those people you don't follow, you can still receive those messages.)

Yesterday at church, I spoke with a friend who teaches kindergarten. I told her that I've been coming across lots of kindergarten resources. I asked her to please sign up for Twitter so I have an easy way to pass those resources forward to her. I'm hoping she will do it. (Hi, K. J.)

2. Building a network

I like the people I have found and that I follow on Twitter. They introduce a different world of ideas and link to other people.

Recently during my morning walk, it started raining. I noticed that the raindrops, falling in a puddle, sent little circles outwards from the point of impact. Sometimes the little circles m

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 29:  Heavy rain...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

et and overlapped. Sometimes they did not. I think it is like this with building networks in the digital world. There are so many networks happening as each person discovers those people with similar interests to themselves. Since each of us is unique, each of our networks will be unique.

This morning I came across someone new to blogging who is also on Twitter. His name is Ken Wilson (blog site: and Twitter: @kenwilsonlondon). He is big in English as a Second Language or Foreign Language circles. I had never heard of him before. When I started reading his blog posts, I was intrigued because I used to teach English as a Second Language when I lived in Hong Kong. So I decided to add Ken to my network of people I listen to on Google Reader and on Twitter.

I'm sure that if someone was interested in crocheting, Nascar racing, and geocaching, they could build a network with nodes which would represent each of these disparate interests.

I am trying to build a network of Twitter people (T-buds) from Saskatoon. With Saskatoon people, I am less demanding regarding who I will follow. Many Saskatoon people tweet about their plans for the evening and not about ideas. They don't often pass along resources. However, I believe there is power in establishing a local network (as Mack Male has done in Edmonton) and so I continue to work on finding and following people who live in Saskatoon.

I am also working on building a network of those who are into social media and using it with students (blogs, Twitter, Animoto, VoiceThread, podcasts, wikis, etc.). I also like to follow people with great ideas who inspire me (danah boyd, Seth Godin, Zen Habits).

One suggestion for you if you want to build your networks on Twitter: Find someone that you really admire and then click on the list of who they are following to find others who are influencing the person you are following. Read the tweets of those people and then you could follow them.

3. Searching on Twitter

I like Twitter for the search capacity it offers. I started to realize the power of search and the use of hashtags (when people establish a common way of referring to an idea or place in Twitter e.g. #yxe for Edmonton) during the Open Education Conference in Vancouver earlier in August (#opened09). Since all sessions in this conference were available in live-streaming video, people from around the world were virtual attendees of this conference. As I searched Twitter using the hashtag #opened09, I could see what others around the world (and even those present in the room with the speaker) were saying about the presentation. It was an amazing experience. I realized later that I was a "vicarious attendee" of the conference because I experienced so much of it through the tweets of those who were attending in a face to face manner.

Hotel Bessborough from the rear.Image via Wikipedia

I regularly search for tweets with "Saskatoon" in them in order to find people living here. Some of the searches that I use often, I have saved so that I can easily do them repeatedly.


The above are just three of the reasons why I like Twitter. I like to share resources, build a network, and search for ideas and conferences.

One thing I need to figure out though is how to use Tweetdeck or some kind of tweet aggregator. So far, I have been following Twitter by simply reading back through all the tweets that were posted since I last logged on to the computer. This has been fine while I have ha

HP Mini and TweetDeckImage by bwana via Flickr

d a little more time this summer. However, my busy fall schedule is kicking in. I don't want to miss important conversations and resources that are shared on Twitter.

I want to teach other people in my world how to use Twitter. I will be talking with those in the school board office, at my local school, at the university, and at the public library about teaching some classes on Twitter. However, I need to master the use of a tweet aggregator before I can teach others.

If any of my readers have other suggestions for ways to use Twitter or why they like Twitter, please comment below.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Making memories

When our three children were young, we had little money (husband full-time student, I was stay-at-home mom). My husband decided to take the kids to every play park in the city of Saskatoon. They played at every one and rated each one (my husband is an engineer. What can I say) I think it took them two summers to finish them all. Crazy. Fun.

ryerson public school playgroundImage by striatic via Flickr

Now my children are almost grown-up. But yesterday I spent hours shopping with my daughter who is heading off to college this week. We kept losing each other at the Farmers' Market. Ate some very sticky but delicious cinnamon buns from the Market. We stopped at a second-hand clothing store because she's into recycling. Then we trekked on to the downtown mall (we parked blocks away because I hate to pay for parking). At the mall, we kept buying stuff--big stuff like comforters, duvets, pillows. Eventually we had to head back to our car. We looked like bag ladies (no shopping cart though). We kept laughing about needing sherpas to help us carry everything.

The crazy park thing my husband did when the kids were young created amazing memories for them. I know that yesterday my daughter and I, bag ladies needing sherpas, created some more memories--links in

Bag LadyImage by guy.p via Flickr

that chain that binds us together as family.

(Thanks to Chris Brogan [] and Steve Bell [] who inspired me to write this post because of their reflections on their children and all the joy.)
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Digital Nomadic Student feeling Lonely

A month ago I read an article in the newspaper about Digital Nomadic Office workers (Rosenwald, 2009). These lucky people work wherever they like, as long as they have an internet connection. They rarely need to go to the real office but can stay home and work in their pyjamas, sit by a hotel pool somewhere, or hang out at the mall (in those comfy chairs that some malls have). The downside of all this lovely freedom is loneliness. Some of those digital nomads are gregarious individuals who like the water cooler visiting that takes place in a real office. Therefore, a few of these digital nomads invented something called a jelly (named this beca

An office water cooler with a reusable 5-<span class=gallo..." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="239" height="640">Image via Wikipedia

use of the bowl of jelly beans they were eating at the time) in which digital nomads get together to have company while they work on their individual projects. They will meet in private homes, in libraries, or in coffee shops. (See my blog post for more info:

At the time that I read this article, I did not realize that this year (from September 2009 to June 2010) I would be a digital nomadic student. I have an education leave this year so I am not teaching in an elementary classroom as I have for the previous ten years.

The university that I attend for my Masters of Curriculum of Studies in Education is the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. However, I am actually enrolled in two online classes from the University of Alberta for the fall semester. In January I will be working on my thesis so won't have any on-campus classes. I don't even need to go to the University. However, I like being at the University. I love working in the library there or in the computer lab. I enjoy the conversations with other people (although if I have no classmates, who will those other people be?). I have booked a study carrel space that I will share with many other graduate students. I'm just not sure what my days and studying will look like.

I know that I will need some structure in my days. I plan to go to the university three days each week. I will be working with a prof as a research assistant. Yet I do feel lonely already. I wish I could find a nomadic student jelly or create one with other online students who are physically attached to the University of Saskatchewan and yet are digitally in classes with other universities.

Perhaps, once the school year begins, I will put an ad in the student newspaper or put something on the bulletin board in the education building.

I'm feeling displaced--a student without a classroom (and a teacher with no students[but that's a whole different trauma]). I am grateful for this year to study and learn but the amorphous shape of my days and my year is making me feel discombobulated. (Note: "amorphous" -
  1. Lacking definite form; shapeless. See synonyms at shapeless.

    This is a picture i took for the Candy article.Image via Wikipedia

  2. Of no particular type; anomalous.
  3. Lacking organization; formless.
  4. Lacking distinct crystalline structure.)

I encourage myself with the thought that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Maybe I'll find me some jelly beans along the way.

Rosenwald, M. (2 August 2009). Digital nomads ditch their cubicles. In the Calgary Herald. p. D9.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Future of Books? Vinge or Kelly's Vision

I don't usually read Science Fiction books (in fact--never). Someone recommended Vernor Vinge's book "Rainbows End" as a novel that looks at where technology will take us in the future. So I read it (just finished today). It is set in 2025. Since I have been immersed in a Web 2.0 world for almost eight weeks now, I can visualize what this book is talking about. There are people clinging to their laptops and others using a single sheet of paper which becomes a technology interface for them (somewhat like a recent innovation of a table top becoming a touch screen for computer use). Some people wear their technology in their clothing. However, the most advanced users can simply see and hear the technology with no wires or gadgets.

A portable tree shredder and truck.Image via Wikipedia

So what does this have to do with books? Part of the story in the book is the conflict between those wanting to digitize the books in a University library and those wanting to preserve the actual books on the shelf. The way of digitizing the books is to throw the books in a wood chipper machine and digitize all the bits of information as the bits of pages swirl by. This destroys the physical entity of the book but preserves it as a digital entity.

Earlier in the summer, I participated in a discussion about reading online. I came across some interesting writing by Kevin Kelly.

Kelly (2006) wrote about the process of scanning of books. "In the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University (one of the five libraries collaborating with Google) is scanning its eight-million-book collection using a state-of-the art robot from the Swiss company 4DigitalBooks. This machine, the size of a small S.U.V., automatically turns the pages of each book as it scans it, at the rate of 1,000 pages per hour. A human operator places a book in a flat carriage, and then pneumatic robot fingers flip the pages — delicately enough to handle rare volumes — under the scanning eyes of digital cameras."

Kelly (2006) says that the books that are scanned can then be accessed digitally. Unfortunately there will be items missing from the grand library of scanned writing-- "The grand library naturally needs a copy of the billions of dead Web pages no longer online and the tens of

books i've readImage by heather via Flickr

millions of blog posts now gone — the ephemeral literature of our time."

Kelly (2006) has a vision for this digitized and connected library "When that happens, the library of all libraries will ride in your purse or wallet — if it doesn't plug directly into your brain with thin white cords. Some people alive today are surely hoping that they die before such things happen, and others, mostly the young, want to know what's taking so long. (Could we get it up and running by next week? They have a history project due.)" Kelly talks about the option in the future to create one's own virtual bookshelf filled with a phrase from this book, a chapter from that--somewhat like a playlist on an I-Pod.

Kevin's picture of the future of "book learning" and Vernor Vinge's image have many similarities. In Kevin's picture, there are still thin white cords while in Vernor's image, there are no white cords. In both images, the digitized bits of information are accessible to the whole world.

I like the idea of information being accessible to the entire world. However, I do not want to see actual physical books disappear or be destroyed in the process of digitizing them. There will always be room for more books in my study carrel or on the floor beside my bed. I love books. I also love reading online. However, when I head to bed and read before I sleep, I want to hold an actual book or magazine in my hand. Somehow it wouldn't be quite the same to hold my laptop.

Children readingImage via Wikipedia

What do you think of the future of books?


Kelly, K. (2000). Will we still turn pages? In Time Magazine. Online at (June 17, 2000)

Kelly, K. (2006). Scan this book. In the New York Times magazine. Online at

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How I Use Google Docs

ABIT KT7 PC motherboard, large version, 13 Oct...Image via Wikipedia

Recently one of the computers in my house died. The motherboard is toast and needs to be replaced. Hopefully, everything on the hard drive will still be accessible once some parts of this computer have been rejuvenated. What if I had been in the midst of a huge assignment with everything stored on that computer? I would have been toast just like the computer is now.

Have you ever had the experience of working on a document on one computer and then needing to move that document to your home computer? I have had to email the document to myself as an attachment or save it on a memory stick.

This summer, I took an online class about Web 2.0 tools. Part-way through the class, I went on holidays. I took our laptop with me and simply continued to work on the class while on holidays. One reason that I could do this was because of something called Google Docs (Documents). Here is a video to introduce you to Google Docs.

Google Docs stores your documents online so that you can access them from any computer that has an internet connection. You can

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

keep the documents private so that you are the only one to view them. You can share the documents with a few others or with the entire world. As well, you can create a web page from a Google document (as I did with this survey of the type of tweets people use on Twitter:

Every day when I first log on to my computer, I go to Google Docs right away. I click on a page that I have created called Web 2.0 tools. I keep this document open in my tabs all day. I have all the sites that I visit regularly: my blog, Twitter account, email account, Google Reader, Flickr, etc. With one click, I am at the site. I don't have to sort through bookmarks, I just use this one page document.

I also use Google Docs when I am keeping notes for creating a blog post or writing a class assignment.

Two negatives I have found with using Google Docs are:

1. It doesn't work quite the same as Microsoft Word, the word processing program that I am most familiar with. It is more difficult to create tables with adjustable column and row size. It is more difficult to create links to websites or URLs. It's not impossible, just more difficult.

2. If the site for Google Docs ever crashed, I would be in trouble. It hasn't happened yet for me. It would be a good idea for me to follow Harold Jarche's suggestions for protecting the data that I store online (See his blog post here: I could save all my Google Documents as Word documents on my computer's hard drive.

I encourage you to try out Google Docs. Let me know what you think.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ruth's Random Resource Round-up Sept 1/09

I have been gathering interesting resources for teachers (although everyone would enjoy creating monsters which will dance [see below]). I decided it is time to post this. The ones with two stars (**) are the absolute best. Check them out. I found all of these resources using Twitter (great way to share resources) and Google Reader (which collects new posts from people's blogs). (A round-up for those who don't live in ranching/cattle country is when cowboys and girls gather the cattle together.A cracker cowboy  artist: Frederick Remington.That's why I have included a cowboy picture.)
  • Kathy Cassidy (teacher above from Moose Jaw) uses Vocaroo to record student voices. This looks much easier than using Audacity and then having to upload files to the internet. I did not try it myself.
  • **Natural Disasters for Grade 9 students (amazing). So many ways to use technology and put students to work--learning and having fun.
Enjoy this Animoto I created to celebrate the seasons on the prairies of Saskatchewan.

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Music in my Life

Joni MitchellJoni Mitchell via

A few years ago, I was driving down an Ontario highway and listening to CBC Radio. The DJ played two versions of Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. Joni hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan although she has lived for many years in the United States.

This song is beautiful. I love the lyrics and the music. In the first video below, Joni sings this song in 1970 or so.

Joni sings the same song, Both Sides Now, in 2000 after thirty more years of life and living. Her voice is much rougher (I believe she is or was a smoker) but the depth of emotion and feeling is incredible.

That day, driving down the highway with my Dad, the DJ played both versions. What did I learn? "Life changes our song."

Earlier this year, in the early morning hours of May 8th, I sat at the bedside of my Dad, Don Sanders. Dad had just turned 86 a few days earlier. For the last 20 days of his life, Dad was in the hospital and we knew the end was near. My Dad was a man of faith who knew he was going home to see the Jesus he had served for most of his life. He was at peace.

On May 8th, my husband and I sat beside my Dad. I was playing a CD that my sister, Dorothea Dantouze, had made. (She now has some songs up on YouTube.) We were singing along with In the Sweet By and By.

The Alien Shore - in Memory of Dennis Cyncor-M...Image by Ivan Makarov via Flickr

"There's a land that is fairer than day. And by faith we can see it afar. For the Father waits over the way. To prepare us a dwelling place there." "We shall meet on that beautiful shore." "And we'll sing on that beautiful shore. The melodious songs of the blessed."

My Dad's breathing was growing more and more shallow. Half-way through the song, my Dad stopped breathing. I've told many people, "Dad heard the beginning of the song with my sister (on CD), my husband and I singing here on earth. He heard the end of the song up in heaven with the angel choirs singing on the beautiful shore."

Last night we had a family birthday party for my daughter. We were gathered in the backyard around the firepit roasting marshmallows. Someone suggested that we should have a s

CampfireImage by JelleS via Flickr

ing-along. I started with Kumbayah. Then my daughter led us in a cool echo song. Next she suggested that we sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat as a round. I led out, then came my daughter, and lastly my son. Grandma, aunt, and cousins joined in. It was a beautiful summer evening and our harmonious melodies rose up to the stars.

Music plays a chord within me that nothing else can play. The best of music drills down within me to touch my soul--mind, emotions, and will. Music gives me a way to express my fears, joys, and sorrows.

How does music touch your life?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Get a Dose of Hope and Vision

All-The-World-for-YouImage by _william via Flickr

Tonight I came across three things I want to pass along for that touch of inspiration that we all need to brighten our days. danah boyd in her blog post mentioned the Symposium for the Future taking place October 27 - 29. danah and two others have been asked to write think pieces to provoke discussion leading up to the conference. One of the two others is Gardner Campbell. His piece, The Stars Our Destination, is a joy to read. He talks about the drawings and plans that Leonardo da Vinci made for planes and other inventions. In reality, those plans would not have worked (engineering details incorrect) and yet those plans inspired others down through the years until the plane was built. As Gardner (2009) says,

"If one thinks of Leonardo’s vision as a kind of song, a music that challenges us to shed our mannered attention to the grinding and broken processes of our wonderless calculations, it is a music that may well shake us out of our grim and measured comfort zones."

Gardner encourages us to value and treasure the wonders of the age that we live in: "I type these words and send them to you in a blog-shaped bottle upon a sea of articulate connections that depends on daily miracles born of technological innovation."(2009)

Gardner encourages all of us to do our part, whether large or small. "We may be forced in the circumstances of our various lives to work on smaller scales, but even a modest contribution may change the world if one is inspired by the vision of that possibility."

In another blog post, Angela Maiers shared a video that I found very inspiring. This video encourages me to notice and enjoy the small moments that make up each day.
It's not just about the end of the song and the last crashing chord. It's about savouring each moment as precious and valuable.

Watching that video caused me to remember a song that always cheers me, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. I found this YouTube video for your viewing pleasure.

Tonight it's probably not you who needs a dose of hope and vision. It's actually me. For six weeks I wrote this blog within the straight jacket of needing to fulfill the requirements for a graduate level class I was taking. I thought it would be so wonderful to throw off the straight jacket that confined and directed my blogging efforts. Now that the class is over, I am floundering around, wondering which direction to take next. I want to continue writing my blog. I know that I have had visitors from other continents and countries outside of my own. Maybe they were visiting because they wanted to learn how to use Twitter or how to do podcasts. Now that I have abandoned (if I have) those topics, maybe those visitors will abandon me. I do love to encourage others and I love to teach. Maybe I should keep doing that. I also love this whole social

Bottle #2, post glaze, pre firing.Image by Binks via Flickr

media thing--using Twitter and blogs for professional development. However, as far as I can find out, only three people from Saskatchewan were involved (one as a real life attendee and two of us as virtual attendees)in the #opened09 conference in Vancouver. How do I stir up some interest in social media? Where do I begin to get others to jump on the bandwagon with me?

I guess, that as Gardner Campbell says, I need to start small and work on a modest scale. I need to make my plans for the airplane and have some vision just like Leonardo da Vinci. Someday the plane will fly and reach the stars. However, until then I need to appreciate and enjoy the wonderful world in which I live.

And so I cast the blogging bottle out upon the waves. Will anybody pick it up and read the messages stuffed inside?


Campbell, G. (2009). The Stars Our Destination. At the Symposium for the Future website.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Teachers Serve It Up

Recently I have had some experiences with stores and restaurants that have made me think about customer service. During our summer holidays, we stopped at the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton for a few hours. I know that Edmonton and Alberta in general are having some difficult times economically. I noticed that even a large and popular store like H & M seemed to have less merchandise than usual. The aisles were wider and the selection was not as varied. Both at H & M and many other stores in the mall, only one or two cash registers were open so that the customers who wished to buy

World <span class=Waterpark pool" style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="300" height="225">Image via Wikipedia

something had to wait in a long line. At several stores where I was thinking of buying something, I walked away because I didn't want to wait in such a long line.

Suggestion: Hire more cashiers so you can keep the customers happy so you will sell more merchandise so you can hire more cashiers and so on.

Back in my home city of Saskatoon, my family decided to go out to a new restaurant for Friday night supper. When the four of us came in the door, the one, lone server greeted us and told us we could sit anywhere. Since it was a restaurant/sports bar type of place, there were about four televisions all tuned in to a baseball game. I asked if the Canadian Football League game was on. Some customers sitting at the next table said that they had asked the server to change the channel to show the football game and she said she would. (It had not happened yet.) After ten minutes, the server came and gave us menus. She said, "You are going to get terrible service here tonight." She said it with a smile like she was just stating the facts. Then she left again.

We waited one more minute and then walked out.

Suggestion: If you work in the service industry, always represent your restaurant or store in the best possible way. If you are having an issue because the boss did not bring in enough staff or because someone called in sick, explain that. At least the customers will understand that you are doing your best under difficult circumstances. As it is, I don't plan to go back to that particular restaurant again.

When we left the previous restaurant, we went across the parking lot to another restaurant. We were kept waiting to be seated while the cashier rang up people's bills. She did say sorry to us and that she would be with us right away. Since it was a buffet, once we were seated,

Vertical toilet roll holder of wood with a <span class=pai..." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="300" height="722">Image via Wikipedia

we selected our food immediately. That restaurant was Johnny Boy's. The food was delicious, fresh, and hot. Our server kept coming by to ask if we needed anything. I will definitely plan to return to this restaurant.

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to Regina for the Roughrider football game. We went to Joey's Only for lunch. When we arrived, there were few people in the restaurant. As it grew busier, the one main server just kept moving around effortlessly, setting up tables, bringing menus and drinks. She did phone to ask the boss to come in. Then she just kept doing what needed to be done, with poise and grace. The food was good but I was even more impressed with the calibre of the staff.

This morning, I took my son out for breakfast. There is a little cafe called Fong's in our neighbourhood. It looks like a small town cafe with booths around the outside and tables in the middle. I believe that they rent the facility which is part of a little strip mall. They have good home style food (breakfast all day) and Vietnamese specials. The thing that bugs me is the washroom. The bottom of the toilet has had a piece cracked and broken on it forever. There is no proper toilet paper holder. There is no paper towel holder. It says, "I just don't care." This washroom has been saying this for several years already. I don't think it is my place, as the occasional customer, to suggest using a few dollars to spiff up the washroom. Would I invite any of my friends to go to this restaurant with me? No. It's not up to "company" standards.

What do these stories of restaurants and stores have to do with myself as an educator? In the next few weeks, students will be returning to the elementary schools in Saskatoon. What kind of welcome will they receive? Will we have enough staff to meet their needs? Will teachers and office administrators speak politely and respectfully to all students and their families? Will students go home at the end of the first week saying, "I never want to go back" or "Can I go to school tomorrow, even though it's Saturday?"

Schools these days can be stressful settings. Teachers are being asked to do more and more. What kind of grace and poise under pressure will teachers show? How can we move eff

<span class=Calhan High School seniors in Colorado, USA." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="300" height="225">Image via Wikipedia

ortlessly around the room to graciously "set the table" for our students?

What does our school and our classroom say? Does it say, "We just don't care" or does it say, "We will go the extra mile to create a welcoming place where you will feel safe and be surrounded by joy."

For all you teachers out there, God bless. Have a great year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Just Don't Measure Up? Take my Twitter Survey

Supermodel ImanImage via Wikipedia

Pointless babble? I continue to have issues with the Pearanalytics study of 2000 tweets, over 2 weeks, sampled during the day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I have issues with their categories and how things are placed within the categories.

(Model, Iman's, photo fits with the title because as host of Project Runway, she uses those words to say good-bye to ousted contestants.)

I decided to do a totally unscientific analysis of the most recent tweets I have received from the 52 people I am following on Twitter. I'm finding that who I listen to on Twitter translates into what seems important in social media right now. I realize that many of you have way more than 52 people you are following. I suppose you could look at the most recent 50 tweets that have entered your Twitter stream. First of all you would need to look at the Pearanalytics study to understand their system of categories. (

I have created a Twitter survey using Google Docs. The survey can be found on this website. ( (I'm sure there would have been a better way to create this so I welcome innovation or spreadsheets or some other means of data collection. Tell me what you have created.)

When I did my totally unscientific (no machines involved) study of the most recent tweets from the people I follow (including one dead president--John Quincy Adams @JQAdams_MHS), here are my category results (since I am following 52 people, I pretended it was 50 and multiplied by 2 to arrive at the percentages):

News: 4%

Spam: 0%

Self-promotion: 2% (I follow one local Saskatoon store.)
(Question: Should people saying, "Read my blog post at ___________", fall into self-promotion?)

Image via WikipediaPresidential $1 Coin Program coin for John Qui...

Pointless babble: 38% (using Pearanalytics definition. This includes people sharing URLs and promoting own blog posts. If no @ or RT, does not count as conversation or pass-along. I question this.)

Conversation: 38%

Pass-Along Value: 16%

(Since this was unscientific, I've missed 2% somewhere. My percentages add up to 98%.)

When I analyzed the most recent 10 of my own tweets, I discovered 5 pass-along tweets (50%), 3 conversational tweets (30%), and 2 pointless babble tweets (20%). I am not exactly conforming to Angela Maier's suggested 70% pass-along tweets, 20% conversational tweets, and 10% of pointless babble tweets (although she calls it chit-chat about your life). (See I believe that Angela would disagree with Pearanalytics categories as well. Under Pearanalytics system, the tweets during which I am sharing website addresses or other people's blogs (but not as a retweet)

Bobby! Emily! cover your earsImage by ian g via Flickr

would fall into the "pointless babble" category. However with Angela's system, those tweets would be pass-along tweets since you are sharing resources.

Here's what I wonder: If you analyzed your own tweets, what would you find? If you analyzed a sample of the tweets you follow, what would you find?

Could it be, that in order to alter the "noise to signal ratio" you might have to say (in the words of Iman on Project Runway Canada), "You just don't measure up" and cut some people loose? If you and I are reflective about our own "noise to signal ratio", are there other people who will be cutting you or me loose?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Open Education? How does that work? #opened09

One week ago today, I attended an online seminar with George Siemens and Dave Cormier. My professor, Jennifer, had told the class about this seminar. (See my blog post: During that seminar I learned about the Open Education Conference taking place in Vancouver. From Wednesday to Friday last week, I was a "vicarious" attendee at the Open Education Conference. (I love to see those ripples spreading outward. Jenn told us about the Monday night seminar; I attended the Monday night seminar; I attended the Open Education Conference; I told others about the conference. The ripples are moving outward, encompassing more and more people)

Water Ripples alicemariedesign. Flickr

I liked the idea of open education but could not see how this would work for universities. Professors need to be paid. Students need to get degrees that are recognized by the world. What would "open education" look like in that setting?

I still don't know but, a professor at the University of Regina may be pointing the way. Dr. Alec Couros is offering a EC&I course (graduate level) titled Social Media & Open Education. Students have registered for his course for credit. Now he is throwing open the course for anyone to join as a non-registered student. Here's what Alec has to say:

"The success of this course in past offerings has been greatly due to the tremendous support and participation from non-registered students. All lectures in this course, from September 15/09 to December 8/09 will be publicly available. To access the lectures, look for the appropriate date under "Synchronous Sessions", then look for the weekly Elluminate link. I will also offer the appropriate Elluminate link via tweet via the Twitter profile, @courosa.

Live lectures will take place every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Saskatchewan time. Additionally, all sessions will be recorded and made available in several media formats.

We would also love to learn from you! I invite you to visit the blogs of the registered students (links available soon) and leave comments and feedback. If you happen to come across an article, blog post, video, etc. you think would be valuable to us, please use the Delicious tag 'eci831readings'. And, we'd love if you responded to our weekly sessions in the format of your choosing (e.g., blog post, vlog, podcast, etc.) Just tag your media as 'eci831responses' and students will be able to access these. " (Class information,

In Alec's tweets about the class, he said that he takes care of the registered students in the class and the non-registered students take care of themselves. Alec is paid; students get their degrees; yet it is still "open education" because an unlimited number of non-registered students can join in. Wow! So that's how open education works.

Here's a video of Alec's introduction of himself to the class

Alec's class already has non-registered students from Australia, Chicago, Windsor, and Edmonton. I am seriously considering signing up to be part of this class. Why don't you join me?
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Have you heard of Rider Nation?

yellow umbrellaImage by // solidether via Flickr

Yesterday I sat in the pouring rain for over three hours watching my team--the Saskatchewan Roughriders--play football. During our previous two home games in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the temperatures hovered around 30 degree Celsius. We were cooking during those afternoon games. We had a misting spray bottle which we used to good effect. However, yesterday the misery was more of the cold and wet variety. As I sat at the game, I thought about community. I know that Rider Nation stretches far out from Taylor Field (now called Mosaic Stadium). All across Canada people are glued to their T.V.s, radios, and internet feeds to experience Rider games. When the Riders play in other cities in Canada, huge crowds of Rider fans show up to cheer on their team. At some games, there are almost as many Rider fans at those games as there are fans for the home team. (Photo from "Fan of the game, Aug. 16/09)

Sometimes the fans show up, even when the Riders are not playing. A few years ago, Calgary hosted a Grey Cup (the penultimate prize in the Canadian Football League). My husband and I made the trek to Calgary for the game (our first and only Grey Cup thus far). What impressed me most about that game was all of the fans wearing green and cheering loudly for the Roughriders. The Roughriders weren't even playing in the Grey Cup that year! People would just start cheering: "Go Riders Go. Go Riders Go" as though Gainer (Rider mascot) were there leading the cheer. It must have been disconcerting to the two teams on the field.

This video is from 2007, after the Riders won a key play-off game on the way to a Grey Cup victory.

So back to the game. I'm sitting there dripping and shivering--thinking about community. I am part of the Rider Nation. I'm also part of an internet, online community. During this Web 2.0 class, I have begun to find my place in the community. I have had my moments of despair, joy and triumph. As I discuss the Rider game yesterday, I also want to examine my experiences in this class. Just like Rider games, it has been a roller coaster ride.

Back-up Quarterback Steven Jyles Surprises Fans

This year, our back-up quarterback, Steven Jyles, has typically come in to the game during short yardage situations (when we needed less than a yard to get a first down). He has attempted to get that one yard quite a few times this year. Sometimes the ball has been fumbled and often the attempt has failed. So when Jyles came into the game when we were close to the end zone, I said, "Uh oh, not good." Steven Jyles surprised me and every one of the 30, 600 fans in the stadium. Rather than falling forward to get the one yard, Steven rolled out and threw the ball to Keith Shologan for a touchdown. Keith is generally a defensive tackle. He weighs 290 pounds and is 6 feet 2 inches tall. The crowd was on its feet after that surprising play.

Obviously, it's been a learning curve for Jyles. Yesterday he zoomed up that learning curve. Later on Steven ran the ball in for a touchdown. Amazing.

Being part of this class has been a steep learning curve for me. I began having diffic

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

ulties beginning with my very first blog post. I actually discovered Zemanta, my helpful photo and link finding friend, right away. I began posting and adding pictures and links like crazy. When I tried to check on the loading speed for my blog, it wouldn't load at all. I started deleting photos and links. Still didn't work. I started deleting blog posts but my blog still wouldn't load (Remember I was a baby blogger, it was my first day of living in the blogosphere.) I threw out a cry for help to the blogger help line. One person responded to tell me that blog sites do not use @ (like an email) in the address. I was so accustomed to typing out my email address with an @, that I had not realized I was typing my blog address with an @ rather than a period. Thanks to that one person who helped me out, I began to learn about the incredible generosity of the online community. I began to see that I too should "pass it forward" and support and help others.

As my steep learning curve continued, I was posting my assignments for this class at my blog site. This means I was being graded/assessed/marked/evaluated/judged on my blog posts. (For those of you who blog, can you imagine the horror of being marked on your first few blog posts?) On my second blog post assignment, I received a terrible mark. It was probably the worst mark I have ever received in my academic career. I was so discouraged and disheartened. (Around this time, three of my classmates dropped the class.) Just as Steven Jyles, our back-up quarterback, must have considered quitting after fumbling the ball in a short yardage situation, I considered quitting. I thought I was no good at this blogging thing. I was trying to learn about two new Web 2.0 tools each week, write a blog post including research sources, and take part in a e-class discussion group at the same time. As a teacher, this was supposed to be my summer holidays. Was this worth it?

Yes, it has been worth it. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, this class and what I have learned in it, have redirected my life. I want to continue to learn how to use Web 2.0 tools. As Will Richardson (2009, p. 137) suggests, I want to become a change agent in my school system using "these tools to move away from the more traditional paradigms of instruction". As I discovered during my vicarious and virtual participation in #opened09 and #steconf last week, there are many people out there who are holding out for the "bag of gold" (Campbell, 2009). As many in the online community are working toward open education and resources for all, where do I fit in? "Where do you find time for bags of gold? What would you spend it on?" (Campbell, 2009). Here is the live-streaming video of his session.

I envision working with students to discover what turns them on. I read a suggestion somewhere (may have been on the Zen Habits blog) about using 20% of your work week for individual pursuits. Apparently there are some companies that allow their employees to work on the company stuff for 80% of the work week while pursuing their own projects for 20% of the work week. Especially in an elementary school setting, could this kind of breakdown be possible? Even in a high school, could this work? Yes, there are always those curricular objectives to be met. What if teachers and students worked wholeheartedly on meeting those objectives 80% of the time while 20% was for individual, just-in-time, just-for-me types of learning?

ceramic piggy bankImage via Wikipedia

This would get away from the model of students as repositories for learning with teachers banking their knowledge in the students. (Don't treat your students as your own personal piggy bank.) Paulo Friere detested this kind of learning model. I came across a story of a child who asked the teacher at the end of the school day, "Teacher, what did I learn today?" The teacher asked, "Why are you asking me?" Child, "Because my parents always ask me, 'So, what did you learn today?' and I don't know what to tell them. So, please teacher, tell me what I learned today." (Link for interview with Paulo Friere.) Isn't there something wrong with this picture? Shouldn't the student be able to tell someone else what they learned today? I think the 80% 20% model may get away from the dependence on the teacher as the source of all knowledge. Students should be creating their own knowledge and then sharing it with each other.

On that one day of the week (for elementary students) or one class of the week (for high school), students would be encouraged to determine their own learning objectives. What do you want to learn? The teacher would become a curator, helping students find a question, information, resources, and ways to share that information. I came across this blog post to help digital immigrants understand the digital natives who work alongside them. I think these suggestions could also help today's teachers work with students exploring their own lines of inquiry.

Hamel (2009) asks us to think about these things:

The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” – the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, rather than as is currently the case, a mid-20th-century Weberian bureaucracy.

If your company hopes to attract the most creative and energetic members of Gen F, it will need to understand these Internet-derived expectations, and then reinvent its management practices accordingly. Sure, it’s a buyer’s market for talent right now, but that won’t always be the case—and in the future, any company that lacks a vital core of Gen F employees will soon find itself stuck in the mud.

With that in mind, I compiled a list of 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life. These are the post-bureaucratic realities that tomorrow’s employees will use as yardsticks in determining whether your company is “with it” or “past it.” In assembling this short list, I haven’t tried to catalog every salient feature of the Web’s social milieu, only those that are most at odds with the legacy practices found in large companies.

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. Ideas gain traction based on their perceived merits, rather than on the political power of their sponsors.

:en:Seth GodinImage via Wikipedia

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. Position, title, and academic degrees—none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight online. On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. Critically, though, these individuals haven’t been appointed by some superior authority. Instead, their clout reflects the freely given approbation of their peers. On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. Forget this online, and your followers will soon abandon you.

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.
The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. Everyone is an independent contractor, and everyone scratches their own itch.

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.
On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. Just as no one can assign you a boring task, no can force you to work with dim-witted colleagues.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
In large organizations, resources get allocated top-down, in a politicized, Soviet-style budget wrangle. On the Web, human effort flows towards ideas and projects that are attractive (and fun), and away from those that aren’t. In this sense, the Web is a market economy where millions of individuals get to decide, moment by moment, how to spend the precious

Christmas gifts.Image via Wikipedia

currency of their time and attention.

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.
The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. And you must do it quickly; if you don’t, someone else will beat you to the punch—and garner the credit that might have been yours. Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
On the Internet, truly smart ideas rapidly gain a following no matter how disruptive they may be. The Web is a near-perfect medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd—whether in formally organized opinion markets or in casual discussion groups. And once aggregated, the voice of the masses can be used as a battering ram to challenge the entrenched interests of institutions in the offline world.

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
As many Internet moguls have learned to their sorrow, online users are opinionated and vociferous—and will quickly attack any decision or policy change that seems contrary to the community’s interests. The only way to keep users loyal is to give them a substantial say in key decisions. You may have built the community, but the users really own it.

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
The web is a testament to the power of intrinsic rewards. Think of all the articles contributed to Wikipedia, all the open source software created, all the advice freely given—add up the hours of volunteer time and it’s obvious that human beings will give generously of themselves when they’re given the chance to contribute to something they actually care about. Money’s great, but so is recognition and the joy of accomplishment.

12. Hackers are heroes.
Large organizations tend to make life uncomfortable for activists and rabble-rousers—however constructive they may be. In contrast, online communities frequently embrace those with strong anti-authoritarian views. On the Web, muckraking malcontents are frequently celebrated as champions of the Internet’s democratic values—particularly if they’ve managed t

My Cubicle on Day #3Image by JL! via Flickr

o hack a piece of code that has been interfering with what others regard as their inalienable digital rights.

These features of Web-based life are written into the social DNA of Generation F—and mostly missing from the managerial DNA of the average Fortune 500 company. Yeah, there are a lot of kids looking for jobs right now, but few of them will ever feel at home in cubicleland.

My question to you is: will those kids feel comfortable in our schools and classrooms? How can we recognize their special learning "flavah" and scaffold and buttress their learning? What is the zone of proximal development that gives us access to where our students are coming from? If we set up classroom wikis or nings, each student could have a place to keep and display resources and their learning. Other students could contribute to the learning of their peers. Outside of the 20% of school time to devote to their individual learning projects, students could also continue to work on these projects outside of school time. (The next class I am taking deals with inquiry learning. I'm sure I will learn a lot more about assisting students in finding individual projects which will galvanize their learning.)

Darian Durant loses shoe; Runs for first down

During the game yesterday, our quarterback was running around in the back field

A pair of ASICS running shoes, model GEL-KinseiImage via Wikipedia

, looking for the open man to pass the ball to. A defender was coming at him. Suddenly Darian took off running down the field. He ran so fast that his shoe flew off. Darian kept running and gained a first down. Wow! I admire that kind of persistence under pressure.

During this class, I have also been persistent. Under the pressure of deadlines for posting class assignments to this blog, I have also started to find my voice with different kinds of blogs. I have begun to do some "Blustery Bandwagon" ranting and raving. This has been outside of my blog posts for this class. I am beginning to discover the synergy of using my tweets to direct people to my blog posts. If I have something important to say, I would love for more people to hear it. I remember my excitement when I had the first comment on a blog post from someone outside of our class. (Remember that earlier on, my concern was that no one outside our class would discover or read my blog. I wondered, If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, did it really fall?) This past weekend I went to the movie "Julie & Julia" (five thumbs up by the way. Oh, wait a minute, I only have two thumbs to use). Julie writes keeps a blog. I could identify with so many of her thoughts and feelings: when she wondered if anyone would ever read her blog; the day she received her first comment; the day she had 12 comments from "people she didn't even know" (that has happened to me yet). Just as Julie persisted with writing her blog posts, just as Darian Durant persisted with running even after losing a shoe, I have decided to persist with writing blog posts. Even after this class, I will continue to interact with my world and write blog entries about my thoughts and perspectives.

Fear, Despair, Defeat Snatched from the Jaws of Victory

At the previous home game, Riders vs. the Edmonton Eskimos, the Riders were winning with a score of 22 to 0 at half-time. Somehow in the second half, the Riders let victory slip away. The Eskimos came back to trounce the Riders. So awful.

i like the paper bags on headsImage by Torley via Flickr

Yesterday history seemed to be repeating itself. The Riders were up 23 to 0 at the half over Hamilton. I told the fan next to me, "I won't feel comfortable unless they are 35 points ahead." In the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, Hamilton came back to score 23 unanswered points. It was ridiculous and embarrassing. No one put a paper bag over his head but some of us might have wanted to. The Hamilton Tiger Cats turned into an intimidating force to be reckoned with. They marched the ball at will. They scored touchdowns and field goals. They even blocked a punt. It was looking bad.

In this journey of learning about Web 2.0 tools, there have been times when I was down, feeling intimidated or demoralized. Some of the tools (like podcasts and multimedia mash-ups) were so foreign to me before I began to learn about them. I felt defeated even before I began to learn. I can see this same attitude in some adults around me. I have a friend who has never used a computer. She isn't willing to try. I have other friends who throw up their hands at the thought of Twitter even though they are competent in many other areas of computer use.

Another area of intimidation for me is seeing how far I need to go in becoming a complex blogger (Richardson, 2009, p. 31). I have so many awesome blog posts coming into my Google Reader account. I see the research and high level thinking that goes into the best of these blog posts. I also see some blog posts that are so well written--the analogies, imagery, and grasp of the subject are so excellent (Shirley, you know who you are?). I don't feel that I can ever measure up.

My last area of intimidation is in the area of commenting on other peoples' blog posts (outside of the students in this class). The first time I posted a comment on Will Richardson's blog, I felt like a shy grade one student, walking into a classroom as a newcomer in February of the school year. I arrived at the party late; I don't know anybody else who is talking; maybe what I have to say is nonsense; do they even speak the same language as me?

Pouncing on the Quarterback: It's a Sack

In the fourth quarter yesterday, the Riders came roaring back. Many of our players went above and beyond the call of duty: Weston Dressler, Wes Cates, Rob Bagg, Jason Clermont, Stu Ford, to name just a few. The moment that lives in my mind when I think about the comeback (Riders won 33 to 23) is when one of our defensive lineman rushed forward and pounced on th

PounceImage by EricMagnuson via Flickr

eir quarterback (sorry I don't remember the name of the player). It was like one of those nature documentaries about a fox. Think of the fox's leap into the air to catch a mouse. That's what this defensive player did.

Just as that player exhibited heart, determination, and fearlessness as he went after the quarterback, I want to show heart, determination, and fearlessness in my interactions with my online community. I am already enjoying introducing one circle of online friends to another circle of online friends. Recently I connected Adrian Eden, who lives in Vancouver, with the resources of the Open Education Conference. Even though he lives in the city where the conference took place last week, he was not aware of the conference. Now he knows about it and has referred to the conference in his tweets. He watched one of the live-streaming videos and commented on the blog post of the presenter from the Open Education Conference.

I would like to introduce my real-time school community to my online community as well. I am willing to act as a curator to bring the best of the online world to my teaching colleagues and to my students. We may begin with something small like creating an Animoto video or commenting on VoiceThread. Later I could discover webinars or online learning conferences that we could attend. I'm sure they have those even for students. I remember the exhiliration of that first e-learning session with Mack Male. To be able to communicate with someone of that calibre so directly was amazing. Our questions were answered in real-time. Mack shared wonderful resources and ideas with us.

I came across Mitch Joel's (2009) suggestions for ways to build your presence in your online community. I will be following these suggestions as I continue to build my community one person at a time. Here are his eight suggestions.

1. Create a strategy. Far too often, people will hop on to Facebook with no set plan other than, "trying it out." There's nothing wrong with trying out any of the many digital channels, but it doesn't take long to jot down what you want to accomplish (and, more importantly, why you want to accomplish it) first - before filling out any online social networking profiles. If you uncover the strategy after you have already started, you may wind up having a couple of online profiles and spaces that really don't match your strategy. If someone comes by and sees those initial forays (that you have since abandoned), it might not be the ideal first digital impression of you.

2. Choose the type of content channels and online social networks that match your strategy. All too often we see people on Twitter who would be that much more interesting if they were Blogging. There are people doing things with text that might be better suited for creating images. It's best to focus on creating and publishing the type of content you are most comfortable with, and that you would enjoy creating the most. The amazing thing about these channels is that anyone can publish. The sad thing is, that some people forget that it's not just text. You can create audio, video and images as well (and many combinations).

3. Digital Footprint Audit. There are tons of free tools that enable you to listen and see what is being said about you, your company, your products and services. Google News Alerts, Technorati, Twitter Search, and even doing some quick, generic searches on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft can give you the overall temperature of who is saying what. In order to best manage these many tools, you should consider grabbing all of these feeds and unifying them in one singular space. Something like Google Reader or Netvibes is a great place to start.

4. Follow First. Without question, there is somebody (probably many people) already out there using all of these channels. From videos on YouTube to Blogs and Podcasts. Find out who your industry considers to be the top "voices" in the many online channels. Subscribe to their content in your reader and make it a point to read, listen and watch the content at some point everyday. By following those that are already respected, you will be better positioned to see where you can add your voice - both in their environments and on your own.

5. Add your voice. In a world where everyone can (and should) publish their thoughts, you might find it more interesting to either become a frequent commentator on the more popular spaces, or offer to become a contributor to some of the many multi-authored places online (this includes things like industry association Blogs or trade-specific publications). By adding your voice in places that are highly trafficked you can build your presence (and Google Juice) without the stress of maintaining your own. Places like The Huffington Post are prime example of non-industry specific online outlets that are highly trafficked, highly indexed by the search engines and will give you incredible visibility to new people.

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)Image via Wikipedia

6. Start your own, but have a plan. Your overall strategy (step number one) will become your lighthouse. As you fall deeper down the rabbit hole, you'll always be able to fall back on your strategy to ensure that you are on course, but once you choose to publish your own thoughts on your own platform, you might have an easier time if you create some kind of plan to get started. Think about what goals you want your channel to accomplish, how often you will need to publish, how you will tweak the content as your community grows and what will happen if you were to stop publishing? A plan (even one that includes specific dates for when you should publish content) will help you focus, and it will also get you in the habit of contributing and publishing.

7. Stay active and aware. It's not just about your space, and it's not just about following and commenting in the other spaces. It's about being aware. From Twitter to FriendFeed, there are many new types of publishing platforms being created all of the time. It's easy to sign-up for all of them and then to forget about them. Some of the channels may not even make any sense to you at the beginning (how many people do you know that still don't understand what Twitter is, or why anyone would care about that type of content?). It's also easy to forget about some of the channels that are not mentioned as frequently as the ones that are currently the topic du jour. Be aware of the new and older voices and platforms that are around and the new ones that are coming out.

8. Have fun. One of the primary reasons why people abandon either their own spaces or the ones they used to actively contribute to is because they were no longer having fun with it. It became a job. The trick is to always turn your job into work that you are passionate about. If you start out with the notion that you have to create, comment and participate because it's your job and that is what is expected of you, it's going to get ugly fast. There are so many channels out there. Find the ones you really enjoy and create the type of content that gives you the most pleasure. Find your muse.

As I follow these suggestions, I could also turn around and teach these strategies to my teaching colleagues and even to my students. They could also build their online community one person at a time.

AlanImage by TylerIngram via Flickr

As I write this last blog post for this class, I have to thank my classmates, my professor, and those people from the outside world who have been part of my learning journey. Just as I plan to continue as a member of the Rider Nation (part of the 13th man whose cheers drown out the snap count for the opposing team), I plan to continue to find my place and my voice in the online community. I want to create my own stories of openness (see CogDogBlog's stories of openness) as I pass it forward.

P.S For those who have never watched a CFL game, here's an example of one of the more zany plays. On the last play of the game, the Riders almost won.

P.S.S. Rider Nation--Sing along time (Find song below the Reference list).


Campbell, G. (2009). No digital facelifts. At Open Education Conference (#opened09). Online recording at

Hamel, G. (24 March 2009) The Facebook generation vs. the Fortune 500. At the Wall Street Journal blog. Online at

Joel, M. (5 March 2009). How to build your digital footprint in 8 easy steps. At Six Pixels of separation. Online at

McCormick, M. (17 August 2009) Roughriders defeat Tiger Cats 33-23. In the Calgary Herald. Online at

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

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