Showing posts with label worldbridges. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worldbridges. Show all posts

Friday, January 1, 2010

Modeling social media in networks and bringing the pieces loosely joined together

I haven't posted here for some time, but I've been quite busy, as you can see from my last-century web page at I've got a number of articles in the works for 2010, and in the last days of 2009, I managed to complete and submit in Wordpress my latest article for the column I edit four times each year (and often write myself) for the TESL-EJ online professional journal.

The article is entitled Modeling Social Media in Groups, Communities, and Networks: It's about the importance of teachers developing, nurturing, and interacting in networks and then modeling and demonstrating within those networks in order to scaffold each other's professional development. The Implications section starts out by saying:
"A major key to success in keeping current in one’s field is in nurturing productive contacts within a network ... the skill of leveraging networks is increasingly important in the 21st century in plumbing and aggregating knowledge when that knowledge base is forever changing at an increasingly accelerated pace. For appropriate use of online social networks to be taught in schools, teachers themselves must be familiar with their impact on learning. One problem is that teacher-trainers without sufficient experience with technology and who are rooted in old-school methodologies are simply not modeling new age learning behaviors for their trainees by showing them how to reach out to networks."
It was only the second time I had used Wordpress for my submissions, and the first time, for the article I submitted 3 months ago, I scrupulously followed directions including watching a 20-minute screencast on using the interface.  But this time around I tried to wing it and missed some steps, resulting in my article being the one to hold up the works as the editors were trying publish the issue.  Pressed to finalize my part of the process, I got up at 5 a.m., went through the article one last time, put in some final touches, and hit the publish button, then headed down to my car to drive off to work.

When I commute I listen to my mp3 player, and the program that I had been listening to was from the Worldbridges megafeed, and it happened to be Wesley Fryer speaking with Kim Cofino, who had recorded a keynote presentation for the 2009 K12Online conference entitled Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education,  Worldbridges had hosted a "fireside chat" with Kim, mounted on their website at I had been listening to the first part of the chat earlier, so the part that came on just as I was pulling away from the house was the part of her keynote where she was talking about the importance of nurturing networks, how those already in such networks can model their cultivation for others, and suggesting six ways to start one.

It was uncanny that as I pulled out into Abu Dhabi traffic I heard Kim say almost exactly what I had just been working and re-working in my head in my apartment just then and for the previous week as I massaged my article to completion. Her words resonated with me at just the right moment, and I felt as if a jigsaw puzzle of thoughts inside my head and Kim's were coming together on my drive to work.

I decided to extract the part of Kim's talk where she made those points and share it here:

My daily commute is an important part of connecting with my network for me.  This is a time when I listen to what others in my network have recorded and podcast online, and I often arrive at work itching to get onto my computer and check out web sites and URLs I've heard mentioned while I was driving to work.  Podcasts are a crucible of ideas for me, like Twitter, something I can monitor in the background and extract the nuggets of knowledge that are lurking in the stream as I run the sounds between my ears.

When Kim, and her colleague at International School of Bangkok Jeff Utecht, gave their keynote talk at the WiAOC online conference in May, 2009 (, I introduced them by telling the story of when I met Kim in Bangkok while traveling with the FLNW (Future of Learning in a Networked World) traveling roadshow in January, 2008.  This story is a great illustration of how networked worlds collide to release energy quantum levels above that of the disconnected component parts.

The FLNW roadshow is an un-event, loosely organized in 2008 by John Eyles who got Michael Coghlan, Trish Everett, and I to meet him in Bangkok for a few days or a week or two, whatever time we could spare, of hopping from one educational institute to another as John worked his way toward Thai TESOL in Chiang Mai and on to a village in Laos where he would deliver some books he had arranged to be donated there.  Our first event was a stop at ISB.
Talk about coming full circle and fitting together more pieces of the jigsaw, I have just re-read that and noticed where Kim said in that post "Not only was it fantastic to have three so well-respected and knowledgeable visitors talk to our teachers in a casual format about their questions, issues and problems, but it was so great to have them reinforce so many of the things Justin, Dennis and I say on a daily basis."  So here we are, echoing one another again.

At the time of this event I had never met nor heard of Kim, she had not yet become a part of my network, and I was there simply because John had arranged a van to pick us up and take us to ISB. John had mentioned we had been asked to talk about reading, so I had prepared a slide show on that topic, and as one does when illustrating the future or education in a networked world, I had arranged with Doug Symington on Vancouver Island in Canada to webcast our meeting, which I had hoped to stream from Bangkok out to the networked world at large.  We had of course asked in advance about the facilities at ISB and we were told we could have access to anything we wanted, but a disconnect occurred when we arrived on site and found that this was true only if we had specified in advance what we needed, and then their IT people would have allowed us to breach their firewall.  However, I arrived and discovered that having arranged with Doug to meet him online at a certain time, I was totally unable to connect to Skype or Elluminate, and I imagined Doug having rearranged his schedule to accommodate ours and having set up a webcast, trying to reach me but being unable to, and not having any way to tell him what was going on.

Meanwhile, the ISB folks had set up their own webcast via Ustream, which they had working, having made the necessary arrangements with IT.  And who should be in the chat there but Doug Symington!! So the network had come to the rescue.  Doug was in Kim's network, whose tendrils had reached out and roped him in, and all was fine, the network had saved the day.

I find it really fascinating how a system so prone to chaos and entropy so often works through the wisdom of the crowds that populate it to keep the pieces loosely joined all heading in the same direction.  Something is quite in synch here, and I hope in this post that I've been able to get at one small part of it.

You can share this post via

Comments from the Twittersphere (Jan 14 and Jan 3, 2010):

Monday, April 27, 2009

Countdown to 3rd bi-annual WiAOC May 22-24, 2009

Webheads have been busy piling on the web artifacts for the upcoming 3rd biannual Webheads in Action Online (un)Convergence. The WiAOC site since 2005 has been but links point to our current social network portals:

Planning under way ...
From WiAOC planning session April 26, 2009 hosted by Jeff Lebow at Worldbridges on

Community pitching in ...
From Minhaaj, almost ready for prime time, needs a few additional keynote speakers added ...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ustream I stream we all stream for Worldbridges

We had a great time at the usual Webheads weekly chatfest last night. Nelba is thinking to organize a blog camp in Argentina and has put it on the agenda for our next weekly chatfest (Dec 30, 2007, noon GMT at and WiZiQ), Bee is filling her sabbatical with an itinerary of such events starting with one like this one, and which she describes more thoroughly here:; and of course there were overtones of multicultural holiday foods and music. Many people seem to appreciate the 'musical gift' Dennis offered here: (hope he's got trackback in; he'll see that I've linked to his post!).

Afterwards, some of us moved over to Worldbridges at where we had a play-about with Jeff has archived the event at and at the WebcastAcademy Solstice 2007 Webcastathon archive. Here are a few links associated with the recording (if you can't get it to play, try: 'Open in a Popup Window'):

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Motivating Student Writers by Fostering Collaboration through Tagging and Aggregating

Hi Folks, I've just returned from a week in the states. Busy week, I settled my parents' affairs and bought their house off my siblings, so in a week I became once again a home owner. But my inlaws will move in there, so I hope not to be involved so much in home maintenance. Well that's another story. Meanwhile, back here in the UAE I'm waking up at 4 in the morning, which is good because it's a great time to blog. But I'm also falling asleep on the floor of my office at 4 in the afternoon, which is also good, because cat herders like catnaps occasionally.

This past week's activities in Texas made me miss the first week of the K-12 Online Conference. Our Writingmatrix project caught the attention of Wesley Fryer, one of my podcast heros. Wesley left this comment at our conference presentation node "Wow, what a GREAT presentation on so many levels. This was the best example of a “blended” presentation I’ve ever seen," and he followed up with reflections on our presentation podcast here:

Meanwhile Nelba, one of our Writingmatrix project members and co-explorer in the world of social networking, has gone down the path of exploring pingbacks and trackbacks. I've got mine activated, so let's see what happens if I cite one of her blog postings here, this one a brief reflection on the Writingmatrix participation in K-12 Online:

There, a link to this post should now appear in the one above.

While I was flying, Nelba and Saša participated in a fireside chat on our behalf of Rita, Doris and I. Here's more information from

13:00 PM GMT Saturday, October 20 - The Writingmatrix group Vance Stevens, Nelba Quintana, Doris Molero, Saša Sirk, and Rita Zeinstejer present “Motivating Student Writers by Fostering Collaboration through Tagging and Aggregating” at the K-12 Online Conference “Playing with Boundaries.”

Presentations at this conference are all asynchronous except for the live chat events. The presentation itself can be found at these web artifacts:

Here's what our presentation was about ...

The presenters play with boundaries through the simple expedient of having student bloggers in different countries tag their blog posts with the unique tag term writingmatrix. Searching on that tag in Technorati, the student bloggers in four locations in three different countries have managed to locate one another's posts, leave comments for one another, and have subsequently interacted in other ways as well. The presenters explain how they started the project and how it has branched into other online and even face to face activities involving the students in the participant countries. The presentation is made not only through the voices of the presenters, but with the students themselves lending their voices through their blogs and videos.

Now, I'll wrap up this post with a couple of discoveries. The first is the Jing project from This is a tool, free at present but perhaps for a limited time only, produced by Techsmith, the makers of Camtasia and Snaggit, which captures images or videos from your desktop in a very nice interface, easy to use, which allows you to save the capture either as a swf file which you can keep as a file on your computer OR as a hosted file almost immediately available.

To give you an example, I wanted to show Nelba how Technorati now allows you to calibrate the authority of the posts you view. The problem was that we would tag our posts 'writingmatrix', and have our students tag them the same, but only a few of those posts would appear when we would search Technorati for posts with 'writingmatrix' as their tag. In fact, the default search on tags with Technorati is to return hits on posts with 'some authority', and this returns ten posts at present on Technorati when you search on 'writingmatrix'.

The problem is that if you ask a student to create a blog and tag a post 'writingmatrix', that student's first post is vested with zero authority and at the default settings would not appear in hits returned by students searching on that tag elsewhere in the world. So Technorati added a feature that allows you to return posts with 'any authority' and if that setting is used, you get 1000 hits when you search on 'writingmatrix', which is what we want, because it means we can see the hundreds of students who are trying to reach one another through this mechanism. This also generates a URL which you can use to aggregate posts with any authority, and now I need to change out my aggregators on Pageflakes, Bloglines, and Google Reader with one's like this, which return posts with any authority:

Now, if you want a visual example of how this is done, here is my Jing screencast:

What a morning. It's truly the dawn of a new day out there. I've got to get to my more mundane daytime job now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Talking Multiliteracies Webcast Sept 30, 2007

As part of my 4-week Multiliteracies course, and as a recent graduate of the Webcastacademy put on through the auspices of the Worldbridges Network, I have been broadcasting a program of 4 webcasts each Sunday morning at 13:00 GMT. The first two were recorded at over the top bit rates of 128 bps which resulted in 80 mb files and I haven't had time to tinker with them. However, by the time the third week rolled around I thought it would be unconscionable of me if I didn't make a credible effort to get at least one of these webcasts 'out there' in podcast form. So I took a day out of my life (editing mainly) to produce:

Click here to get your own player.

This turned out to be one of those challenging experiences. In the belief that the file could be no larger than 20 mb I chipped away at it in Audacity till the mp3 rendered down to 19.5 mb, but still couldn't get it to upload through the Podomatic website. I think it was uploading, it was just taking a long time, but in the process of working out what the problem could be I discovered that Podomatic allows you to FTP your files, and once they are at the site, you select from a list of the files you have there to post them to your podblog. That makes it much easier, so it was a nice discovery. As I said, I spent the best part of a day on the process but I feel I learned a lot and become somewhat more multiliterate in the process.

Hope you enjoy the podcast. Now that I know how to streamline things, I'll try and clear my backlog. Stay tuned (RSS would be a good way to do that).