Saturday, September 27, 2008

Second Life Unconference

Link to the Jokaydia Unconference Wiki -


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Becoming a writer

Middle School learners learners thought more about writing online today as we learned and practiced hyperlinking - the good old fashioned way. We wrote links to go with our post about ourselves.
I am always surprised and impressed by these middle school learners. Today was no exception. The most offtask people were totally immersed in the task of writing the html code for hyperlinks correctly. Little wonder I had no time for pictures, as I raced between computers.
I didn't capture our immersion into writing today, but I did capture our relaxation with virtual worlds afterwords. Every Tuesday and Thursday we spend the last ten minutes in Woogi World or Club Penguin. One or two of us prefer to work on blogs or projects instead.
It takes a while to get middle school writers up to snuff, but watch out world, they will be surfing those streams of learning sooner than any of us expect - and with amazing skills at grabbing urls, switching tabs, hyperlinking, and tagging. Onto QARs next week.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sheryl Challenges Us - Are You Ready?

Find more videos like this on Learning 2.008 Shanghai Conference

This video is found on the Learning 2.008 Ning at , it was uploaded there by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on September 19, 2008. She needs no further introduction.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Connectivism 9-17

I thought empirical, rational, and connective were three different ways to describe knowledge, not three different kinds of knowledge.

Stephen says in his paper that there are three types of knowledge. “Connectivism is a theory that described this third type of knowledge. It is a theory that tells us what this third type of knowledge is, where it is, what produces it, how we learn it, and how it can be used. “ (Downes, 2008)

He goes on to say that there are two kinds of connective knowledge, a knowing of the connections and way of knowing. I thought connectivism was knowledge created by the connections.

For any of this to be valid, knowledge must exist even when not perceived. It is, if one accepts these definitions, there whether anyone senses, measures, or connects.

But if knowledge is created through the connections, then it does not exist outside of connection. It is not there if no one connects the dots (to use a poor analogy).

So I'm wondering, what do you all say about this quandary? Besides go have some more coffee Durff....

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I am involved in learning through the Connectivism and Constructivism course. In the first Elluminate recording Stephen Downes and George Siemens talked about the private versus public personas.
It would seem the general consensus is the same as mine. I once expressed this - I am who I am. Stephen and George, of course, were much more eloquent.
The connectedness of our world today and this question are related. Because we are connected to networks, there can be no separation of personas. We are one being. (I do wish I had more hands sometimes....) not two separate people. The private person simply does not exist.

Photo courtesy of Fleep Tuque taken on 9-10-08 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 license

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Ship without a Rudder

I found out the morning of 9/11 - a particularly wonderful day anyway. A colleague was kind enough to inform me that our principal quit effective 10-1.
Because the kids were not told until today I remained pretty much silent in places I knew my learners lurked, this being one of them.
Now, I can tell you how I feel. I literally lost my breath - I really thought it must be a joke - like the fan stealing going on around campus. But it is not a joke.
We are now a school without a helmsman - a ship without a rudder. I don't think anyone fully comprehends the repercussions this personal decision will have on the rest of us.
The message against all that I do is obvious. But of course now is too late to seek other employment for this school year. I've already been through the "pay for one's own health insurance" and don't want to return.
Then today I received a paycheck for about part-time instead of full-time. I think someone is trying to tell me something...
Anyone have a life jacket?

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Photo courtesy of serdir taken August 1977 available at covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Bagpipes!

Today at the very beginning of my most challenging class of 19 learners in a room of 16 desktops, during a block where I attempt (and poorly mind you) to include 4 learners who have been labeled (as I am labeled disabled, some even say I am retarded), my trusty Dell laptop hardrive became unbootable. Yup, nothing to boot the operating system. So with no way to approve learner blogs or blog headers, I dove into a pool with no water....
and this lesson went surprisingly well! Yes, there were a few bumps, a few too loud voices, a bit of wandering, and some off-task behavior. But all in all, we learned to ask three before Mrs. Durff, to use our call cups, and most importantly to get off the broken escalator (no helpless handraising).
Then at 6pm (took me a while to do all that work AFTER school rather than during like I usually do on the laptop) I stopped at Starbuck's, figuring I earned it today. There was a man in the parking lot playing the Scottish bagpipes. Just band, no occasion, no ceremony, just performing for those who heard him. That made my horrible, terrible, no good day, very bad day a lot better!
So if you wonder why I haven't been blogging, it is because I am throwing my all into facilitating the learners in my classrooms at the start of this school year. I know that once we all get the hang of things, once we all are signed up for all those different Web2.0 things, and once I have subscribed to all those blogs using RSS, things will get easier. It is just the getting there.
The IT guy just let me know on Meebo that he is looking at my sorry excuse (my description) of a laptop. ..... here's hoping he can make it boot!

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Photo courtesy of Gryphius, taken on April 21, 2007, available at, covered under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Monday, September 1, 2008

Preconference in SL

I followed a twitter from KJ Hax yesterday to a preconference session. It was held at the International Schools Island in Second Life. I choose a comfortable beanbag chair and listened to four speakers including David Warlick & Alan Levine, both of whom will travel to Shanghai for the Learning 2.008 conference. There are two more preconference events in Second Life on the next two Sundays, 7th September & 14th September. More information here.
While there, I forgot to snap a picture for this article, so we will have to do without. The speakers talked about tagging and librarians, among other topics. If you haven't been in SL lately, I encourage you to give it a try. Every Sunday there is a discussion at the Blogger's Cafe in SL, open to all. More information is available at the wiki.