Sunday, December 23, 2007

Go Elfster!

Trying out new interactive websites is what it's about, and I have tried out many (> 150) since August, 2007. Some of these WEB2.0 applications have been duds and duplicates of other applications that work better, but other new applications are excellent. These more effective new applications are easy to use, free to use, well-organized, helpful and fun.

I use these criteria to determine a web application's COOL factor, and Elfster has a very high COOL factor. This is a web application that Steve Dembo, a Classroom 2.0 and Twitter networks colleague, introduced to our network.

Using Elfster, Steve set up a EduTwitterverse Secret Santa group for those in the group who wanted to participate. I was curious, so I signed up. Steve set a spending limit and gave basic instructions. All throughout the gift exchange, Elfster helped Steve manage the entire program through excellent, well timed, information and reminder letters. Plus, he was available on Twitter. Thanks, Steve! Elfster was a great find!

When you join an Elfster group, you fill out a profile page. It includes information about gift preferences with available URLs that fit the spending limit.

Each EduTwitterverse Elfster received the name and profile URL of their Secret Santa recipient, so I read the profile information about mine.

To make it even easier, I found my secret friend and followed her on Twitter. She reciprocated. The Twitter colleague who received my name started following me, so I followed her. We add new followers on this EduTwitterverse group all the time, so I didn't figure out that one of my new Twitter colleagues was also my Elfster until she sent me a notice about my gift to Heifer International. Cool!

My secret pal made no specific gift requests on her profile, she just said, "Be creative!" That was scary! LOL! Then I remembered COFFEE! It was very interesting that my secret EduTwitterverse pal had posted a tweet about coffee a few days before we knew who are secret friends were.

It seems to me, this gift exchange became an excellent way to share cultural experiences with someone in another part of the world.

There is no more creative coffee selection than French Market Coffee. Based in New Orleans, French Market Coffee is the brand served almost everywhere in the area, including Commander's Palace, Gallatoire's Restaurant and other famous New Orleans area restaurants.

I like to buy from New Orleans merchants whenever I can, so that was another plus for French Market Coffee. Lastly, is their fantastic website. It is easy to use and they have excellent information at the French Market University. I ordered a gift set that included French Market coffee and chicory, mug and beignet mix, so my secret Twitter pal could really experience the New Orleans effect. Another plus: it only took 2 days from the moment of my order to my secret pal's receipt of the gift....that was awesome! Thanks, French Market Coffee staff!

For myself, I had requested that a donation be made in my name to Creative Commons or Heifer International. My secret Elfster agreed that Heifer International was a cool opportunity to give a gift that keeps on giving. She bought a share of chicks to be sent to a family who will raise them and send their offspring to another family. It was a very wonderful experience for me to know that my secret Elfster saw value in my choice of gifts, and I thank her very much.

While my Twitter colleagues and I really enjoyed this secret Santa exchange, Elfster has greater potential for social networking. I can imagine endless possibilities to use this for social networking with friends, family and school.

The Elfster exchanges don't even have to be about monetary gifts. For instance, teachers or students could send invitations or URLs for their favorite website, online game or web application. Each person could list their area of interest in their profile, say science, and their Elfster could send them a valuable URL.

What are some of your ideas of ways we could use Elfster for educational purposes?

Check out Elfster, and see what you think.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mac or PC: Can't Decide

People are still talking about this; Let's all get along; go opensource w/Linux and use web applications like IBM's new Symphony of office applications. What do you think?
clipped from

Missionairies of Macintosh

I need a new computer.
The disagreeable Toshiba from grad school crashes inexplicably on
it's own whim. I've wiped it clean so many times it has more in common
with Jim Carrey's character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
than it's brethren that recognize Windows. Needless to say, I'm a
little uncomfortable storing anything important on the old Tosh
(although my trusty external harddrive puts me at ease).
At the day job I use an archaic hand-me-down Dell. Occasionally,
it forgets it has memory upon booting up - only to curiously display
familiar desktop items later in the week just when I begin to get
And though I still adore that old Smith-Corona Super Sterling and it is wireless and portable, it's also disconnected, and just won't cut it long term.
Which leaves your resident blogger at a crossroads... PC or Mac?
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mobile post sent by n2teaching using Utterz Replies.  mp3

Testing as an Assignment Tool

Mobile post sent by injenuity using Utterz Replies.  mp3

Breathtaking View of History: Up Close and Personal

On Tuesday, December 11, 2007, three copies of the Magna Carta will be on free, public display in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

If you live close or can travel this will be the trip of a lifetime. Most times, these documents cannot be seen by the public.
clipped from

Oxford's Bodleian library holds a quarter of the world’s Magna Cartas

A new survey has revealed that nearly a quarter of the world’s original 13th-century manuscripts of Magna Carta are held at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

survey, conducted in advance of a Sotheby’s sale of the a Magna Carta belonging to Ross Perot, has found seventeen surviving Charters

The Magna Carta (or ‘Great Charter of English Liberties’) is considered one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy. It was agreed by King John at Runnymede in 1215 and reissued throughout the 13th century by England’s rulers. It was the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today, and its influence extends to the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

1217 Charters are a unique historical collection,’ says Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian. Each Charter originally bore the seals of the guardians of the boy King Henry III
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mobile post sent by injenuity using Utterz Replies.  mp3

Utterz: Jaiku Plus Jott...sort of

Please note that Injenuity's Utter posting is in the entry above this one. I am still learning how to use this application.

Jennifer Jones, elearning director at a postsecondary school in WA, is testing out utterz to determine the educational feasibility to use this social network. Her colleagues, including me, are trying Utterz with her.

The format is a bit more click intensive than Jaiku, but I will check it out before I make any more evaluations of utterz....wooohoooo! be herd;D

The asynchronous aspect and variability of options to transfer data, including images, video and audio helps raise utterz usability quotient.

These developers are very punny!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Metacognitive Motes of Memory: 1st edition

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This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

normally I use the share-alike creative commons copyright, but this is part of a greater whole that, while it may SEEM familiar, is my own mashup.
This is a ROUGH DRAFT!

The first edition of a series of Metacognitive Motes of Memory: 1st edition


Wheel Keeps on Turning, an idea expressed by Kansas in "Dust in the Wind"!

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Synchronicity (Carl Jung) is a concept that may relate to nomothetic causality.

Behaviorism vs. ?????? Who stands for the anecdote?

A galactic hunter (networked machines),represented by the Old Man & Woman, reach out to spread the Nomothic Net to capture the Duncan Idaho ghola and the no-ship, impressions from Frank Herbert's last book, Chapterhouse Dune , written in 1985, just before his death!

My reaction: no data net can capture the individual, for the one is the anecdote...
Balance of nomothetic and idiographic is the mashup of successful living.

Anecdotes of the Nomothetic Net: "Every anecdote is a data point looking for a nomothetic network!" Anthropomorphic aphorism

Related historical folk sayings:

* Take one day at time!
* I'll worry about that when it happens!
* Go with the flow!

Is Game Theory an expression of the nomothetic net?

Is a meme an expression of a nomothetic net or an anecdote within it?

These are some current thoughts based on internal and external experiences and metacognition that have guided me, my education, my career and my interactions.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What Do Teachers Need?

What do we, as educators, require from teaching tools, resources and references?

When I began teaching children there were very few references that I could access to improve my teaching practice. There were no computers and only a few tools like calculators were available. Many times I couldn't complete lessons or projects in the way I envisioned them, because the tools or the natural abilities to fulfill what I envisioned were not available or didn't exist.

Since I grew up in a home that always embraced the future, I also did. One example is when I bought an electronic calculator as soon as I could afford it. My first one was about the size of a paperback book, and I was thrilled knowing this was high technology. All my other college friends and I were very self-congratulatory about these purchases. I would compare the social impact of these calculators, at that moment in time, with that of the iphone today.

Materials like glitter pens, fancy paper and similar technological advances were not available. Recycling was in, and that was great because I could easily cover Velveeta boxes, large manila envelopes and other stuff with a new colorful, sticky plastic, called Contac Paper. I loved Contac paper!

Living in such a special time when technology was moving faster and faster, I was still humble enough to realize that many of my older relatives, and later my older teaching colleagues, still knew way more about life and teaching than I did.

Looking back, it seems to me, I lived in a family where it was very important that children should carry on the best of the family traditions and common knowledge. To be allowed to sit with the grownups, and LISTEN was such an honor. I loved that, but if I was noisy...I had to leave. I guarantee that didn't happen very often. We lived in New Mexico, and we didn't see our family living in Oklahoma often...this was my best opportunity to learn and I couldn't blow it.

These Elders talked of our past, our present and our future with such passion that I just couldn’t wait to be one of them. They all looked forward to the future while living gracefully in the present. We can hope to be so lucky today!

In an ongoing series on teaching tools and professional resources, I will compare and contrast the development of various tools or resources and their impact on education during my career. I do this to help new teachers learn and develop their philosophy so they may effectively guide their social and technical interactions as they begin their career. Also, I do this for myself and my age peers. I want to remind us that we were young and smart and wet behind the ears at one time when older teachers befriended us and made us feel special.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Tweet, Tweet!

Unless you are a student of early 20th century music, Mitch Miller, or children's music, you may not recognize this song, Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing! Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. Tweet, Tweet!, but it is appropriate for what all twitterers do! We TWEET! & TWEET! often. I find Twitter to be an excellent mini-blogging and social networking tool that does allow opportunities for use in the classroom.

At Classroom 2.0, Elizabeth Davis started a discussion on Twitter, Are You Using Twitter?.

Many of us have contributed some interesting thoughts about why, how, where, when we tweet and to whom we tweet. This has been one of the most informative, interesting discussions we have had while I have been a member of Classroom 2.0 educational social network. Please access the discussion. You will enjoy it.

As the discussion progressed, the CR2.0 network evaluated the finer points of our use of Twitter. An important issue discussed was whether to follow people who don't follow you. The problem is that you become interested in their tweets, but you can't send them messages unless they also follow you. My ambiguous thoughts are reflected here:

Following someone on TWITTER is not all it's cracked up to be....sometimes! I don't follow anyone, for long, who won't follow me within a time span, UNLESS there are some overcompensating issues....such as access to information, humor, or other points of interest in their tweets.

For instance, it is highly unlikely (although not impossible:) that Leo Laporte, of TechTV,, and lately Lab with Leo will probably ever follow me, BUT he provides information that is so valuable TO ME that I continue to follow him. He also does not overwhelm my twitter network.

This interaction problem is not a drawback on Jaiku! I really like the comment section on each Jaiku posting. I can comment on anyone's Jaiku posting. There will be people who won't like this, and that is why they may appreciate the selectiveness of Twitter more than Jaiku's forum like qualities.

If people do not want to have a person on their Jaiku contact list, they can remove them. In my experience, what really happens is that most people check your Jaiku postings, and they often become a follower or at least they accept comments and contact! :)

Right now, another member of the #twit(tv) group and I are having a conversation about the low number of women geeks. He thinks there should be more, and I agree! I commented on his posting to Jaiku to #twit(tv)....because I am in the twit(tv) group. He is not in my individual contact list and I am not an individual contact on his list. As a result of this conversation, we may follow each other, or not....BUT we can interact.

What do you think about social networks, such as miniblogging and instant messaging? Do you use Twitter? If not, why not?