Tweet, Tweet Thursday, Feb 24 2011 

I will admit that Twitter is a service I have refused to join since it came out because I’ve only thought of it as the one aspect of Facebook with which many users go overboard–constantly posting where they’re at/what they are doing.  It’s really not of my concern that you’re eating dinner in front of the TV or going shopping at this exact moment.  Why would you waste the time to continually post what you’re doing every moment of the day?  I am driving in the car…I am at X restaurant…I am eating XYZ…I am driving back home…etc, etc.  Seriously, either you have way too much time on your hands or your ego is so enormous that you feel everyone is dying to know what exactly it is that you’re doing. 

The readings (here and here)for this week have introduced me to a new side of Twitter; increasing communication among students and between students and professors among other benefits.  We’ll see what additional information comes from class tonight…maybe I’ll be converted and jump on the Twitter bandwagon, well, at least for academic purposes.  You don’t have to worry about me posting my every action of the day.

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Diigo, Delicious and RSS…oh my!! Friday, Feb 18 2011 

Okay, deep breath in….sometimes when first learning about new technology it can be overwhelming.  This is something my group was discussing tonight during class.  While the prospects of refining the information available on the web and having concise information to suit your needs and interests delivered right to you is thrilling, it is also daunting at the outset.  Diigo, delicious, RSS…oh my!  Setting up the various accounts, more log-ins, more passwords; oh wait, what are the various features of the different accounts?…cross-reference notes, confer with classmates, okay now I remember…deep breath out.  I think I’ve got it.  Well, at least the basics.  I am certainly not at the skill level of many others when it comes to embedding things and other such fancy tricks. 

I definitely see the benefit in personal learning environments over blackboard when it comes to educational experiences.  Blackboard disappears when the semester is over ending the connections and conversations between a student and a professor and other students unless the student makes an effort to continue conversing with the professor and classmates via other services such as email (readily available information on most campuses).  There have certainly been times where I couldn’t remember a classmates full name from a previous semester to be able to look up their email address and thus that connection was lost unless I saw them on campus or at some point later ended up having a class together again.  In some of these instances, continued conversations through some of the technological advances we’ve discussed thus far–blogs, tags, RSS–could lead to important connections whether it be for networking purposes or for the acquisition of knowledge.  This makes me think of a moment I had earlier this semester in another class.  My assignment was to look up four research articles related to Educational Psychology.  In the process, I found multiple journals dedicated to my research interests that I previously didn’t know existed.  All of this due to having a background in psychology versus education…the key to a plethora of research related to my interests lie in the area of Educational Psychology which I did not become aware of until this past year.  I will remember this experience as I continue in my time as a student and then a professor in higher education…Any person might hold the key that unlocks the door to someone else’s quest for knowledge.  Blogs, tagging, and RSS used in the academic context can greatly expedite students’ journeys along the educational road toward that magical key that unlocks the door to the wealth of knowledge for which they are searching.

Tag You’re It Tuesday, Feb 8 2011 

The two major pluses I see with tagging/social bookmarking are

1.  the ability to access them from any computer versus one specific computer and

2.  the ability to share with others on the web

Similar to the use of blogs it allows for more immediacy, you have the assistance of others doing the same type of work you’re doing.  Instead of just the sites you find in your web searching, you can see websites that others have found that could be of great value.  Given modern times where our pacing is at warp speed, this can be an amazing asset when you need to have some bit of information yesterday. 

http://www.commoncraft.com/bookmarking-plain-english was an excellent how to guide for getting started with tagging/bookmarking and explaining its benefits. 

Jon Udell’s blog about the use of tagging was right on the mark for me.  http://blog.jonudell.net/2007/12/12/discovering-versus-teaching-principles-of-social-information-management/ I think the vast change that has occurred in internet programs Facebook, blogs, tagging, etc.  is definitely going to require some changes in what kids learn in primary and secondary schools as well as educational professionals at all levels.  I remember when I was in high school I decided to go ahead and take a typing class because teachers were beginning to require papers to be typed when submitted and I didn’t want to have to spend twice as long working on a paper because of not knowing how to type.  I am very glad I sacrificed an elective for one year to take that course as opposed to friends of mine who chose to continue with their normal elective choices and still “hunt and peck” in a computer driven world.  Kids of today and the future are going to have to go a step beyond basic typing skills and learn about the different platforms available to assist in their educational experience and every day life…learn about blogging, tagging, social bookmarking, etc. so they’re prepared to be efficient “knowledge finders.”

Technology & Teaching Wednesday, Feb 2 2011 

One of the key things that came up in our group discussion was the use of blogs for academic publishing and the issue of intellectual property.  It can be difficult to find a good balance between sharing some of your ideas related to your research interests to get feedback from colleagues and potential links to others with the same interest, but at the same time there is the fear that someone might take your concept and run with it themselves and potentially publish it before you’re able to do so.  There doesn’t seem to yet be any real rules or guidelines for blogs and intellectual property at this time.  At least one classmate stated he wouldn’t discuss his research ideas on a blog to prevent the problem, but it seems you would potentially missing out on the opportunity to improve your research effort by not posting at all about research interests. 

I believe that all of Chickering and Gamson’s principles are still applicable and if anything are easier to practice given the technology available today. Using technology in the classroom has its ups and downs as all techniques do.  It allows students who may be to shy to participate in class and in the instance of blogs it provides an opportunity for more discussion than would be possible in the classroom.  This is demonstrated in an article and video about Dr. Linneman a sociology professor at The College of William and Mary http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2011/linneman.php.  A downside of technology in the classroom is that unmotivated students may be even more distracted with open access to technology.  An article in The Chronicle also discusses the use of technology in the classroom, specifically skype/webcams for guest lectures or students who are unable to make it to class.  http://chronicle.com/article/New-Question-for-Professors-/126073/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en