Playing with Wordle

Created using Wordle -

Visualizations can be powerful…..maybe not so much for my blog but Wordle is  very cool. Maybe sometime soon I’ll plug some serious text into Wordle and see what it reveals. It would be even cooler if there were active links contained in the image, and then the ability to map relations, occurences, etc…..but I suppose thats when you bring out the bigger guns for text analysis.

Summer Seminar on Social Networking Tools

I’m putting together an online course – beginning June 15- for Extension Educators that looks at the possible uses of social networking tools for education. I’m posting the current outline here, open for input.

Social Networking for Education – New Tools and Challenges

* News forum
* Summer Seminar Online Course Goals Resource
* Your Guide to Social Networking Online file
* How much time do social networking tools take? file
* Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us file
* Using Information and Communications Technology for Agricultural Exetnsion (pdf) PDF document
* Social Networking for Education Glossary

Blogs and wikis

* Blogs and Wikis – The discussion Forum
* Difference between blogs and wikis file
* Summer Seminar Wiki file
* Educause Review – Educational Blogging file
* Blogging in MOODLE- How-to Screencast file
* Posting to your blog Assignment

Tags and Tagging

* What is a tag? Resource
* 7 things you should know about social bookmarking – educause pdf PDF document
* 13 Tips for Effective Tagging file
* file
* CiteULike file
* Supplementary/Optional Readings
* The Role of in Education file

The Multimedia Web

* Audio
*     Podcasting
*     7 Ways NonProfits Can Use Podcasting file
*     Audacity – Audio editor file
* Video

Social Networking Tools

* Ning – Social network
* Mashups
* Supplementary Readings
* Using Social Networking to Stop Genocide text file
* Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship file

Building Networks

* Characteristics of Successful Online Communities text file

Evaluating Use and Impact

Building online learning communities

It’s about time for another powerpoint. This one looks at a 2 1/2 year project we conducted that attempted to facilitate the growth of an online learning community around the topic of forest farming. I am hopeful that in the next week or so I will have time to narrate this and make it even more captivating than it already is.

Building online learning communities

Some of my beliefs about elearning

We are preparing an online instructor certification program here and as part of that process I’ve been forced to look at some of the underlying assumptions I have regarding online learning. I’ve never really attempted to distill what I think are the key points before, so this has been an interesting exercise for me. This is by no means an exhaustive statement, nor is it the most refined, but it’s a start.

My beliefs regarding the development of online learning :

I believe that, in developing online courses , we are creating “spaces” for people to engage online, with the goal of learning in community. A measure of our success can be whether people return and bring back new knowledge or perspectives that have been gathered as the result of their initial interactions in an online course. I believe that learning online can be a persistent and iterative process that creates knowledge that a learner can then use in action  in the real world. For the cycle to be successful we must create, and support, opportunities for the learner to then re-engage online, in order to share their new found knowledge and experiences.

Online learning can also create opportunities for mentoring or scaffolding which might not be available locally. The distributed nature of elearning allows an instructor to connect with learners from a broad geographic region. At the same time learners connect in a similar manner and the distribution of knowledge increases, opportunities for connection grow.

I believe that we are educating for action (or engagement), and that our courses must integrate the real world and educate our learners in skillful means and methods to  impact their local environment in a positive, constructive and self directed (or determined) way. Online learning can reveal others who are engaged in the same or similar processes. This learner to learner interaction or mentoring can be just as valuable and vital as instructor lead or structured content.

It is necessary, for our success, to provide access to practical learning opportunities that our users can put into practice in the world.

How, When and Why of Forest Farming – Designing a site/community

Below is an attempt to lay out the design rationale for development of an online course and learning community for forest farming. This process is underway now and involves a core group which is geographically dispersed over New York and Pennsylvania.

“Our initial motivation in using MOODLE to work with, as the core HWWFF group, was that it would allow all of our members to become acquainted with the tool they would ultimately be using to host online learning communities. MOODLE is a learning content management system which relies strongly on the social aspects of learning and knowledge construction. It has a range of tools which bring learners together online to engage in activities and discussions meant to form a “community of learners”.
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