Tag: reading (page 2 of 2)

How I put together ‘Things I Learned This Week’ [visualization]

Last week, Mark Warner asked how I put together my Things I Learned This Week posts every Sunday. It’s a week-long process, really, and one that benefits both author and reader. You get links that you may have missed, whilst it motivates me to read more than I would otherwise (and to bookmark and reflect upon it).

You may recognise the middle part from My Digital Reading Workflow. 😀

So, to summarize in bullet points:

  • I use a template to make sure I lay them out in a standard way (and to make it easier for me)
  • I read things via RSS (email) and ‘favorite’ things on Twitter, add to Instapaper, etc.
  • Interesting stuff is bookmarked with the week’s tag on Delicious (in this case TILTW9)
  • On Saturday evening and Sunday morning I choose the most interesting for each section to share in the post

Hope that helps! 🙂

Things I learned this week – #2

The most significant things I’ve learned this week have been snow-related. Have a quick look at the above YouTube video of me building an igloo. That took me 7 hours! Instead of getting all philosophical and talking about how good it felt to create something out of nothing and how I started to feel ‘at one’ with the snow, I’ll reflect on some practical considerations:

  1. I should estimate how long things are likely to take before they start
  2. The size of an igloo depends on the angle of the walls – easy to forget!
  3. There are lots of different types of snow.
  4. Igloos are actually quite warm!

I considered sleeping in it, but having worked on it for 7 hours straight every single muscle in my body hurt. I went in the bath, read my book and went to bed… :-p

Here’s a brief overview of other stuff I’ve learned this week, broken down by category.

Tech

Productivity & Inspiration

Academic

Data, Design & Infographics

Misc.

This made me laugh! (via Mashable)

This resonated with me – via Jennifer Hagy @ indexed

  • The ever-relevant and insightful Harold Jarche looks back at Seth Godin’s predictions for 2009 from 5 years ago (startlingly accurate) and his own from 2007, as well as looking forward to new and emerging business models.
  • I love mashups and Best of Bootie 2009 absolutely rocks. Especially DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop 2009 (top 25 Billboard songs, mashed up!).
  • Mashable reflects on ways social media has changed us. This post makes a lot of sense and I’m going to start to use the term ‘ambient intimacy’ to explain a lot of what goes on, online. It makes sense. 🙂

Frozen Britain seen from above

BBC News posted a great satellite photo of what Britain looked like without the Gulf Stream last week.

  • There are some places in the world you’re just not allowed to go. This post on listverse (via @dougpete) highlights the ‘Top 10’ of these.
  • Vicki Davis (aka Cool Cat Teacher) in a reflective and revealing post entitled Sojourner Truth outlines her recent struggles with blogging and celebrity.

Quotations

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it. (Robin Williams)

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. (Bob Hope)

(both via @gbmiii)

Read what I’ve read: 2009 edition.

CC BY-SA gadl

For some reason I didn’t do this last year – post which books I’ve read for pleasure over the last 12 months, coupled with a short review. And my 2007 version seems to be sans images now. Oh well. I’ll do it properly this year! Note that these books aren’t those I’ve read for my Ed.D. thesis – you can see those over at my wiki (along with notes)

Here, in chronological order, are the books I’ve read this year (click on images to see them at Amazon UK). If you’re impatient, scroll to the bottom for my absolute must-have book, one that I’ll be re-reading for the rest of my life!

Eggers - You Shall Know Our Velocity

Dave Eggers – You Shall Know Our Velocity (2-15 January)

After reading nothing but positive reviews for all of Eggers’ work, I thought this was a fairly safe bet to start off my year. Despite finishing it, however, I was left thinking it was nothing more than average and ‘not my sort of book’. He had some interesting observations at times, but it certainly wasn’t re-readable, for me.

Murdoch - Sovereignty of Good

Iris Murdoch – The Sovereignty of Good (16-22 January)

This consists of three essays. I though the first two were thought-provoking, whilst the third not so much. Not really one for non-philosophically trained folk.

Gombrich - A Little History of the World

E.H. Gombrich – A Little History of the World (22 January  – 10 February)

Absolutely marvellous. One for children and adults alike and one that, as a (sometime) teacher of History, I wish had been available in an English translation when I was young. Utterly re-readable. 🙂

Csikszentmihaly - 'Flow: the psychology of optimal experience'

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow: the psychology of optimal experience (11-26 February)

A life-changing book. Not only did change the direction of my Ed.D. thesis (I’m going to be investigating ‘digital flow’ now) but will illuminate my thinking and actions in everyday life. Instant classic!

Rand - 'Anthem'

Ayn Rand – Anthem (1 March)

This novella promised much. It had been referenced several times in things I’d read, so I thought I should read the original. It was disappointing. 🙁

Joseph Cummins – History’s Great Untold Stories: obscure events of lasting importance (2-26 March)

The tragedy of 2009 for me was when Borders, my favourite bookstore chain, went into administration. At the beginning of the year it offered this at half-price in one of its London stores (I was down for a meeting with Nick Dennis, who also availed himself of the opportunity). It was an eye-opening read: some stuff of which I’d never even heard which had a huge bearing on history. Essential.

Sun Tzu – The Art of War (27-28 March)

Again, a book that is referenced often but which disappointed. Didn’t find much in the way of inspiration or advice within it.

John Burrow – A History of Histories (29 March – 12 May)

Overly academic in places, but overall an interesting and informative read. Probably only for lovers of History.

Georgina Harding – The Solitude of Thomas Cave (13-22 May)

Easily the best of the works of fiction I read this year. The story of a man left behind in the cold. Really different, interesting (and relatively short!)

Clay Shirky – Here Comes Everybody (June sometime)

A great explanation of how social media has changed everything. Not only interesting in and of itself, but useful to give to people who don’t ‘get it’.

Joseph Cummins – Cast Away: Epic true stories of shipwreck, piracy and mutiny on the high seas (June – 14 July)

After enjoying the author’s History’s Great Untold Stories: obscure events of lasting importance I was delighted to find two more of his works (in a similar format) on offer. Perfect bedtime reading. 😀

Joseph Cummins – Great Rivals in History: when politics gets personal (15 July – 8 September)

I enjoyed this as the format is perfect for bedtime reading, but I’d recommend Cummins’ other two above this particular one. A useful background to stuff I already knew, nonetheless.

Seth Godin – Tribes (11 August)

Just like his blog posts. Eminently readable, empowering, and with a call to action for leaders (i.e. everyone!)

Brian Clegg – A Brief Guide of Infinity: the quest to think the unthinkable (20 August – 2 September)

Mind-expanding. I can’t say better than that!

Ann Patchett – Bel Canto (10-11 September)

This book won several prizes, and so I was looking forward to it. However, the author’s style began to grate and, after a while where nothing much happened, I gave up on it.

Edward Said – Beginnings: intention and method (12-29 September)

I got about half-way through this before I realised I didn’t really understand any of it and gave up. Far too heavy for (predominantly) bedtime reading. 🙁

Joseph Conrad – Nostromo (30 September – 3 October)

Really high hopes for this after enjoying Conrad’s Heart of Darkness last year. However, it was depressing and written in a slightly different style. Gave up.

C Leadbeater – We-Think: mass innovation, not mass production (3-15 October)

Poorly written and researched and, overall, didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. Avoid.

Michel Faber – The Fahrenheit Twins (16-26 October)

A wonderful find. It was in the absolutely-last-chance-don’t-miss-it-these-are-the-books-we-haven’t-been-able-to-sell-in-years section of a discount bookstore. I think it cost me about 49p. It was, however, really, really good! Stories from the margins of society and the last one (which gives the book it’s title) is downright bizarre. Recommended! :-p

Peter Watson – Ideas: a History from Fire to Freud (19 October – 29 December)

The author is a Professor of Archaeology and you can tell. The start is much better than the rest – which isn’t too bad itself – but he’s best when not having to rely on other people’s work. Fairly polemical towards the end.

Haruki Murakami – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (8 November)

Truly inspirational. Murakami, in a humble way, talks about how he’s been wildly successful as well as the synergy between his life as a runner and his life as a writer. Superb.


It’s been mostly non-fiction for me in 2009 – I plan to remedy that in 2010. 🙂

There’s been one book that, despite not being very long, I’ve been reading since June. The reason? I don’t want it to end!  Schopenhauer described it as,”Absolutely unique . . . a book made for constant use—a companion for life,” whilst Nietzsche commented, “Europe has never produced anything finer or more complicated in matters of moral subtlety.” It really is a gem.

And the name of this book?

The Art of Worldly Wisdom, published in the 17th century by the Jesuit scholar Balthasar Gracián consists of 300 maxims. You can view the full text at Google Docs but I really would recommend purchasing your own inexpensive copy. It really is, as Schopenhauer says, ‘a companion for life’! 😀

My digital reading workflow.

My digital reading workflow

The above is my first effort at visualizing how I approach reading stuff online. You’ll notice that it all ends up back at my delicious account. That’s because it’s important that I can re-find stuff that I come across, even if only briefly.

Down the left is the information I glean from blogs and news sites. I subscribe to these by email nowadays as I realised that the problem was with having to go somewhere else to read stuff other than my inbox. It’s sent to me, I read it and then bookmark it if important.

Down the right is the stuff I read on-the-go through my iPhone and Tweetie, my Twitter client of choice. The great thing about Tweetie is that it has Instapaper integration. If you haven’t come across Instapaper yet, I really do recommend it for providing a clean, stripped down version of text you want to read later. Once I’ve read the article/information on Instapaper I bookmark if I deem it worthy.

In the centre is my Twitter favourites. It’s really easy, using Tweetdeck (my desktop Twitter client of choice) to ‘favourite’ tweets. I then go back through these at http://twitter.com/dajbelshaw/favourites periodically and bookmark most of them.

So that’s how I roll. What about you?

Hannon: ‘Reflecting on Literacy in Education’

It’s not too often I read something which makes me continually nod in agreement, but Peter Hannon’s marvellous Reflecting on Literacy in Education (2000) certainly had me doing that!

As regular readers will know, in my Ed.D. thesis I’m looking at the concept of ‘digital literacy’ – whether it (or something like it) ‘exists’ and the implications this may have. At one point Hannon’s book made me think he actually had all the answers but, like all great works, it left me with questions and inspired me to do more thinking and research. 🙂

Hannon has a very logical and coherent style, demonstrating a clear-headed and considered approach to his subject. I’m going to string together some of his quotations so you can get a feel for what he’s arguing. He begins by explaining that differences between printed and electronic text are very real and cannot be ignored:

David Reinking (1994) has suggested that there are four fundamental differences between printed and electronic texts. First, he points out that while it has often been suggested that readers interact with text in a metaphorical sense, in the case of electronic text this can be literally true, for example in the way readers can respond to some texts by switching to other texts via ‘hot links’. Second, it is possible for electronic texts to guide or restrict the reading path according to educational or other criteria, e.g. requiring re-reading of passages if comprehension questions are not answered correctly. Third, the structure of electronic text can be radically different in ‘hypertext’… Fourth, electronic texts often employ new symbolic elements – not just illustrations but video clips and other graphics, including next ‘navigation’ aids. One can argue about whether or not these features of electronic literacy are desirable but that they have arrived and that they represent a radical shift seems beyond argument. (p.22)

Whilst I think that at this stage he’s probably jumping the gun slightly to ascribe these different elements to literacy, I do think that pointing out these four differences is important. There are those, for example, who simply believe that electronic text is simply printed text in a different format.

From here, Hannon goes on discuss, as other writers have before and after him, how literacy is dependent upon technology:

The nature of literacy in a culture is repeatedly redefined as the result of technological changes. Throughout history the introduction of new materials (stone tablets, skins, papyrus, paper) and new mark making methods (scratching, chiselling, ink, the printing press, typewriters, ball-points, laser printers, and so on) has meant both new users and new uses for written language. The consequences of such changes can be very complex – not just in terms of more literacy but different literacy (Eisenstein, 1982). Technology begins by making it easier to do familar things; then it creates opportunities to do new things. Our literacy today is consequently very different from that of  medieval England not just because the printing press is more efficient than having scribes copy manuscripts, but also because printing and other technologies have stimulated entirely new uses for written language (e.g. tax forms, novels, postcards, advertisements) unimagined by medieval society. If the past is any guide to the future, we should information technology to transform literacy rather than eradicate it. (p.22-3, my emphasis)

The point that new technologies create new literacies because they allow different methods of expression and communication I believe to be monumentally important. Such changes lead to different norms of behaviour and cultural practice. Hannon gives the example of how email has removed tedious barriers such as printing a letter, putting it in an envelope, posting it, waiting for a reply, and so on:

Eliminating these stages not only speeds up the process of writing letters but also, like earlier technological developments in literacy, changes the uses for written language. It encourages a casual, immediate style of communication and it becomes possible, for example, to sustain a research collaboration with people thousands of miles away. (p.24)

Writing in 2000, Hannon was able to set up somewhat of a ‘straw man’ – the opponent who claims that because everyone has not yet got a computer with Internet access, teaching such literacy skills are pointless. Hannon, in a move which would delight any enlightened reader of the edublogosphere and believer in ‘School 2.0’, writes:

All our literacy students will end up using written language tomorrow in ways very different from those we can teach them today. This applies… much more strongly to younger students and children who, if development proceeds in the next fifty years as it has in the past fifty, will use written language in ways which we cannot even imagine. What matters in this context is that we teach what is important about written language – those essentials which can be expected to endure in future contexts. These could include the ideas that the value of written language depends on what we want to do with it, that all texts can be read critically, that there are many genres, that literacy has a potential for liberation, that writing can aid thinking, that reading can be enjoyable, that public writing is for readers not writers, and so on.

This is almost a ‘meta-literacy’ – an ability to reflect upon literacy not as a state, but as a continual socio-cultural construct.

Hannon then turns his attention upon those who espouse, almost unthinkingly, a ‘unitary’ view of literacy. He gives examples, all of which assume that literacy is a skill, that there is an ‘it’ of literacy to which we can refer. Opposed to this, Hannon investigates the claims of thinkers who put forward a ‘pluralist’ view of literacy. He quotes Lankshear (1987:58):

There is no single, unitary referent for ‘literacy’. Literacy is not the name for a finite technology, set  of skills, or any other ‘thing’. We should recognise, rather, that there are many specific literacies, each comprising an identifiable set of socially constructed practices based upon print and organised around beliefs about how the skills of reading and writing may or, perhaps, should be used. (p.32)

Hannon also quotes Gee (1996:46) who is concerned about the context of literacy:

[T]he traditional view of literacy as the ability to read and write rips literacy out of its sociocultural contexts and treats it as an asocial cognitive skill with little or nothing to do with human relationships. It cloaks literacy’s connections to power, to social identity, and to ideologies, often in the service of privileging certain types of literacies and certain types of people. (p.34)

But does the pluralist conception of literacy lead to problems. What type of literacy should be taught at school. If they are all so very different from one another, should we be calling them ‘literacies’ at all. Hannon brings in Wittgenstein’s famous difficulty (1953: sections 66,67) in defining what a ‘game’ is in support of the pluralist argument:

And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and criss-crossing: sometimes overall similarities, sometimes similarities of detail. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than ‘family resemblances’ for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc.overlap and criss-cross in the same way. And I shall say ‘games’ form a family. (p.36)

Just as Wittgenstein found nothing concrete in common between the different activities we call ‘games’ – yet still found a way to put them into the same category – so Hannon wants to do with literacies. He imagines them being set out on a family tree, with some more closely related than others. It’s an interesting concept.

He then, however, goes and muddies the water somewhat and, for me, spoils his argument slightly, by stating that we don’t talk of ‘musics’ even though there are many and varied styles. He also reduces theorists’ conceptions of literacy into two broad camps. He believes that there are those who believe literacy to be a skill and come from a psychological point of view, and those who believe it to be a social practice, who come from a sociological background.

Hannon concludes the chapter by offering a rapprochement between the two by quoting with approval Delgado-Gaitan (1990:29):

The ability to interpret linguistic and graphic symbols associated with texts requires one type of ability. Literacy is a sociocultural process, and it follows that another literate ability has to do with the sociocultural knowledge and cognitive skills that are necessary for the child and the family to interpret text. (p.38).

When I first read this, I thought it was a somewhat of a cop-out, a way of sitting on the fence. However, if we unpick it slightly, we end up with:

1. To decode linguistic symbols is an ability.

2. To decode graphic symbols is an ability.

3. Literacy is dependent upon the ability to decode symbols using the technologies of a relevant culture and context..

Ergo = To decode symbols using technology is a literacy dependent upon sociocultural factors.

I’m still thinking about this. At the moment I’m thinking it’s akin to genius as it cuts through a lot of the problems in defining literacy. On the other hand, I’ve a nagging  suspicion at the back of my mind that it may be using a lot of words to say something which maybe isn’t worth saying.

Hmmm…. :-p

‘Literacy’

As I’ve neither the time nor the amount of energy needed to get published in an academic journal for the first time, this blog will continue to serve as a repository for slightly more formal blog posts (or less formal journal articles, however you want to think of them…) 😉

I’m aiming to investigate the concept of ‘digital literacy’ and issues surrounding it in my Ed.D. thesis. You can read my proposal at digitalliteracies.edublogs.org.

Everybody knows what literacy is. It’s the ability ‘read and write.’ But read and write what, and to what standard, and for what purpose? An even more important question might be ‘to read and write with which technology? For, as Tuman (1992:2) notes, notions of ‘reading and ‘writing’ are unstable as meanings shift along with technological change. We can no longer take it for granted that someone’s remark that they ‘read’ something means that they had to hand physical paper marked in a decipherable way by ink. By ‘writing’ we can no longer assume authorship using a pen or pencil. The digital world has turned literacy on it’s head.

Although people do write for an audience of only themselves in diaries, journals and suchlike, the usual purpose of writing is to communicate something – an idea or an emotion, for example. As new methods of communication become available, so new sub-literacies come into being surrounding them. As Kellner (2002:163 – my emphasis) puts it:

As technological convergence develops apace, individuals need to combine the skills of critical media literacy with traditional print literacy and new forms of multiple literacies to access and navigate the new multimedia environments. Literacy in this conception involves the abilities to engage effectively in socially constructed forms of communication and representation. Reading and interpreting print was the appropriate mode of literacy for books, while critical media literacy entails reading and interpreting discourse, images, spectacle, narratives, and the forms and genres of media culture.

Literacy, as alluded to above, it always reading and writing for a purpose. We would hesitate to call someone ‘literate’ who could read words and write them, but could not meaningfully communicate in written form with other people. Literacy is a ‘set of socially organised practices’ (Rodríguez Illera, 2002:51) or a ‘social technology’ (Tuman, 1992:vii) and, as such.

…involves gaining the skills and knowledge to read and interpret the text of the world and to successfully navigate and negotiate its challenges, conflicts, and crises. Literacy is thus a necessary condition to equip people to participate in the local, national and global economy, culture, and polity. (Kellner, 2002:157)

Without culture and society, there is no literacy. It is the practical application of historically-situated (Barton & Hamilton, 2000:13) sets of codes and signifiers that allow meaningful discourse within domains of various sizes. The activities within these domains are neither accidental nor random and are structured by these literate practices. (Barton & Hamilton, 2000:11-12) ‘Literacy’ has traditionally been pointed towards ‘high culture’ – which is actually a minority culture. (Beavis, 1998:240) The democratization of literate practices through technologies such as the Internet and the blog upon which I write this serve to illustrate this. Niche groups, with literate practices of their own, flourish. Take l33t, for example.

Schools, institutions that are perhaps the most conservative and preservative of the status quo in a society, perpetuate this link between literacy and ‘high culture’. As Alan Luke (2003) puts it,

Literate practice is situated, constructed, and intrapsychologically negotiated through an (artificial) social field called school, with rules of exchange denoted in scaffolded social activities around particular selected texts. (Eyman, no date:20)

Whilst there need to be some ‘rules to the game’ for there to be meaningful discourse, it would appear that schools are the enemy of evolving literate practices. Teachers have, almost necessarily, been successful at ‘working’ the existing system. They are at least reasonably successful within the bounds of traditional literate practices. There is therefore, somewhat understandably, a fear by some teachers that new technologies and literacies may somehow supplant those which they hold dear. As Illayna Snyder comments, however, such a sharp demarcation and transition is unlikely to occur:

New introduction of a new technology of writing does not automatically render older ones obsolete. For example, even though printing completely replaced handwriting in book production, it did not spell the end for handwriting. Rather, the boundaries between the two writing technologies blurred… The future of writing is not a linear progression in which new technologies usurp earlier ones. A more likely scenario is that a number of technologies will continue to co-exist, interact, even complement each other.

So just as we have both printed and online versions of newspapers, printed and electronic scholarly journals, and a variety of ways of accessing information we need for our day-to-day lives, so literacies can co-exist. Realising this, we need to embrace new technologies rather than fear them, finding ways to transform our world, and responding to the challenges we face by discovering new literacies (Kellner, 2002:154). 

Ultimately, decisions about literate practices are not ones we can avoid as educators by ‘sitting on the fence’. As William James put it, ‘…our thoughts determine our acts, and our actions redetermine the previous nature of the world.’ (Bredo, 2006:21). For us to be able to act, and interact, with others in a meaningful way given the nature of the technologies that surround us, we must develop new literacies, new pedagogies and new stories.

References

  • Barton, D. & Hamilton, M. (2000) ‘Literacy Practices’ (in Barton, D., Hamilton, M. & Ivanic, R. (eds.), Situated Literacies: reading and writing in context
  • Beavis, C. (1998) ‘Computer games, culture and curriculum’ (in I. Snyder, Page to Screen)
  • Bredo, E. (2006) ‘Philosophies of Educational Research’ (in Green, J.L., et al, Handbook of Complementary Methods of Education Research)
  • Eyman, D. (no date) ‘Digital Literac(ies), Digital Discourses, and Communities of Practice: Literacy Practices in Virtual Environments’ (Cultural Practices of Literacy Study, Working Paper #12)
  • Kellner, D.M., (2002) ‘Technological Revolution, Multiple Literacies, and the Restructuring of Education’ (in I. Snyder (ed.), Silicon Literacies: communication, innovation and education in the electronic age)
  • Rodríguez Illera, J.L. (2004) ‘Digital Literacies’ (Interactive Educational Multimedia, number 9, pp. 48-62)
  • Tuman, M. (1992) Word Perfect: literacy in the computer age
(image adapted from an original by Pink Sherbert Photography @ Flickr)

Things I’ve been reading online recently

Blog LinksI don’t like it when people automatically post their daily del.icio.us/diigo links on their blog. It just clutters up my feed reader. What I do like, however, is when bloggers share what they’ve really enjoyed reading.

So here’s what I’ve enjoyed reading recently with a brief synopsis! 😀

  • Lifehack.orgHow to Be an Expert (and Find One if You’re Not)Some great advice; I like this bit especially: “In addition to knowledge, an expert needs to have significant experience working with that knowledge. S/he needs to be able to apply it in creative ways, to be able to solve problems that have no pre-existing solutions they can look up — and to identify problems that nobody else has noticed yet.”
  • indexed No matter what the DNA test saysJessica’s diagrams on index cards can be somewhat hit-and-miss, but I love this one reminding me what being a Dad’s all about!
  • Lifehack.orgQuantity Breeds CreativityThis post about creativity references problems with the school system, not least, “[W]hen our students leave school they are steeped in a system that says find the ‘right answer’ and you have solved the problem. Unfortunately the real world is not like that. For almost every problem there are multiple solutions. We have to unlearn the school approach and instead adopt an attitude of always looking for more and better answers.”
  • aphopheniadoes work/life balance exist?An honest post with some swearing, so be warned! I like this bit: “Underneath the sensationalism, there’s a core point here: those who are passionate about what they do do it to extremes.” In other words, you don’t get anywhere by half-doing something… 😉
  • BectaEmerging technologies for learning: volume 3 (2008)Several bloggers gave the heads-up on this. No great surprises, but interesting reading!
  • Drape’s TakesPrensky: Valiant Efforts on the War on BoredomDarren Draper summaries Mark Prensky’s article Turn On The Lights. I like the idea of working towards 100% engagement and being intolerant of anything less! 😀
  • ICT in my ClassroomTwitter – A Teaching Learning Tool Tom Barrett’s excellent post on how Twitter can be used in a pedagogically-sound way. Ironically, he composed the post when completely off-grid (“No mains gas, no telephones, no mobile signal, no internet connection, no possible way to interact with my personal learning network”). I love it when bloggers incorporate useful graphics in their posts. Very helpful – thanks Tom!
  • Drape’s TakesDrop.io: File Sharing With RSS = Endless PossibilitiesDrop.io looks like a great tool. A one-stop solution for sharing resources automatically with students!
  • Teaching SagittarianInspired by 3 Steps – Reflections on this video that looks at 3 steps to a more creative classroom. Great links and great ideas. I just wish I had most of my students for more than one 50 minute lesson per week!
  • Middle School Ed Tech BlogWeb 2.0 Overview for AdministratorsLinks to blogs you might not have read yet. Also good for ‘that’ conversation you’ll inevitably have with a member of your Senior Leadership Team!
  • Steve HargadonWeb 2.0 Is the Future of Education – ‘Web 2.0′ isn’t a great term, but some of what it represents are extremely powerful. The technologies really level the playing field and allow users to be very creative. Perhaps best summed up by this quotation, “I believe that the read/write Web, or what we are calling Web 2.0, will culturally, socially, intellectually, and politically have a greater impact than the advent of the printing press.”
  • RuminateSocial Fluency and Improvisation – Mainly useful for the excellent diagram at the beginning of the post. It’s a Venn diagram showing ‘Social Fluency’ as being a combination of ‘Knowledge’, ‘Communication Skills’ and ‘Thinking Competency’. It’s certainly interesting stuff… 🙂
  • ConnectivismPedagogy First? Whatever. – Although I usually agree with him, I don’t agree with George Siemens here. The most important sentence in this post which sums up his position is, “Pedagogy is not hte starting point of planning to teach with technology. Context is.” George quite rightly points out that ‘pedagogy’ can mean many and diverse things and that anyone can find research that backs up their own position. But that’s not to say that learning shouldn’t be put first. Of course context is important, but it’s a consideration on the way to creating learning activities. Otherwise, the learning is unlikely to be rigorous, or indeed, useful and long-term.

More and more I find myself using the mobile version of Google Reader on my Asus eee, starring and saving what I like in order to come back to it on a bigger screen.

I shared and starred the above items and you can see all the posts I do this to (and subscribe to the RSS feed it creates) here.

Recommend me 3

Just before Christmas I suffered from blogging burn-out. Having our first son in January last year knocked me for six and the consequences became apparent towards the end of the year. So I made a bit of a dramatic decision (at least for me).

I unsubscribed from every blog I subscribed to via Google Reader.

Now I’m suffering from information under-load (if there’s such a term). I feel a bit disconnected in terms of my main areas of interest: education, technology, productivity. So, reader, I need your help! Which blogs would you recommend in these areas? Are there any that you don’t miss a single post from? Check out my Trends provided courtesy of Google Reader below:

Trends in Google Reader for Doug Belshaw

Once upon a time I’d read 1,000 items in a day, never mind a month. Of course, I want quality over quantity.

I’ve shown you mine – care to show me yours? 😀

My (finely crafted) information environment

Raft

There’s sea of information and knowledge out there. I do the best I can, strapping together several planks by way of information channels into a raft to stay afloat. I thought I’d share those here – both online and offline sources – and I’m definitely open to suggestions and comments!

Read more →

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