Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pens and pencils

I've started gathering things. Found all of the pens and pencils in the desk, here and there, by the end table. Found a large coffee cup. Some of these pens are years old. I'm not sure that they would all work. But, for some reason, I've held on to them. Some are from conferences, some from hotels, insurance companies, banks. Some are just pens. Getting ready to learn, I need a good pencil or pen. Just because I've got this cup of pencils and pens doesn't make me ready to take notes.

Maybe I'll see which pens write. Might even see if the pencil erasers are pliable. Probably should get rid of those pens that don't write. Dried ink doesn't work. Pencils that won't erase are about as good as the pens. Just because I've got a cup of pencils and pens doesn't make me ready to take notes.

Sunset and branches and the PLN

Sunset and branches
Originally uploaded by dpeter475

Sunsets in winter help us see the true expanse of a tree. This is a big tree, a really, really REALLY big tree. Hard to see the branches in the Spring, Summer or even early Fall. But now, in the Winter the branches become visible. The branches show how the tree has grown. The sunset helps the branches, even the smaller ones, become visible.

And, this is like the PLN. Sometimes it's difficult to see how far the PLN stretches. I know the connections are there, all of the connections help strengthen the PLN.

So, here's to the strength of the PLN.

Learning awaits

Learning awaits
Originally uploaded by dpeter475

Ready to learn? A library is a wonderful place. The collected and collective knowledge of society is on the shelf. We can walk the aisles, and look at the books ... and never really appreciate the value and worth that the book brings to society, a learned society, an educated citizenry.

Pick up a book, check it out, and read ... there's always a good time to read a book. What have you read lately?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ohio Boulevard

Originally uploaded by dpeter475

It's cold, and snowy. The boulevard makes us stop and think. Wide open spaces, tree lined roads. Ice on the road. This will change, in time. Grass will green, trees will bud and eventually cover the road and the boulevard.

Winter is a good time to stop and think.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Learning Style

A course is a course of course

A course is a course, right?
  • Classroom instruction, traditional courses
  • Online courses, or distance education courses
  • Video delivered courses, two-way video courses
  • Blended courses or hybrid courses
  • Correspondence courses
  • Self-study courses
They're the same, right? We teach them differently, student expectations differ, and technological requirements are different. So, a course is a course, but it depends, right?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All or nothing, or something in between

Multi-tasking, or doing more than I should be doing. Hohlbaum said it wonderfully "Multitasking hacks at our positive relationship with time, putting us back into the hamster wheel of fear and lack" (Hohlbaum, 2009, p. 33). We know we can "TRY" to do many things at the same time (which, the more I think about, it is IMPOSSIBLE to do two things at once), and we have some sense of success.

The hypnotic trance of technology ... BE EFFICIENT, BE PRODUCTIVE ... takes out of our ability to things or a THING WELL. "Remember: when a window closes, opportunity knocks at your door" (Hohlbaum, 2009, p. 34). The best way I have found to TAME the TECHNOLOGY TIGER is to ... talk to someone, go to their office ... instead of instantly responding to the email I will pick up the phone and CALL them. That provides the HUMAN TOUCH, the connection.

Laugh. Smile. I truly enjoy a good meal, and the conversation that accompanies the meal. Taking my time, enjoying the meal (even deciding on the occasional piece of pie for dessert) and talking, listening ... that can be the BEST way to relax, and not think of things, or think of things slowly.

I'd guess that I am a reformed multi-tasker. Now, one task can blend into the next instead of compete with the others.

HohlBaum, C. (2009). The power of slow: 101 ways to save time in our 24/7 world. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My top technologies (in no particular order)

  1. The iPhone 3GS 16GB. Portable, powerful and pretty amazing. My ubiquitious, pervasive, and transparent device.
  2. Google Reader. Find a great blog, subscribe to it. The posts are always THERE. I can share ones that are interesting or relevant. Helps me keep my data flow manageable.
  3. Delicious. Ideal for creating lists of bookmarks. I can tag them with multiple tags, create tag bundles and share them. 
  4. Evernote. Organizes me, my thoughts, and keeps them available.
  5. Blogger. My writing and thinking space. 
  6. Twitter. Instant connection to my PLN.
  7. TwitPic. Take a picture, share it, tag it.
  8. UStream. Whether from a workstation, laptop or iPhone, UStream lets me connect.
  9. Mindomo. Intuitive mind mapping web application.
  10. The netbook. Portable, powerful, fast, small, strong battery, wi-fi, web camera.

Time and I, or iTime

Came across an interesting new book this morning. As I was walking into the library, I noticed the new book displays. I always stop and gaze to see what's new. One book grabbed my attention: Christine Hohlbaum's "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World." I quickly skimmed through and found a quote. I posted that quote on my posterous site (and Twitter). Needless to say I was surprised to see that the author had re-tweeted my post! It is indeed a small, small, small world.

I found the first chapter interesting. The quiz (if you want to see the quiz, read the book) was a good way for ME to determine if I "control" time of if time "controls" me. I admit that I'm a balanced individual. I take time for things, and I make time for things.

I "unplug" or go "off-grid" occasionally. I'm NOT a heavy scheduler person ... I go with the flow. I like to be able to connect with people, talk with them.

Benjamin Franklin said "Remember that TIME is Money." The other part, that is less repeated is "Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both." (from

If I can't make time, I can definitely WASTE time. I try to make the best use of the time that I have.

HohlBaum, C. (2009). The power of slow: 101 ways to save time in our 24/7 world. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Continuing "The Dumbest Generation ... "

It isn't enough to say that these young people are uninterested in world realities. They are actively cut off from them (EMPHASIS ADDED) (Bauerlein, 2009, p. 13).
Has technology really cut us off? Has our use of technology changed our sense of right and wrong? Some could say that the USE, or OVER use of technology blurs our sense of reality. Think about it, we are connected day and night, 24-7. It's hard to believe life without our cell phones. We are always checking email. These things we do at the expense of ... what?

The truth may be that technology has changed us, changed how we learn, and how we life and interact with others.

Most young Americans possess little of the knowledge that makes for an informed citizen, and too few of them master the skills needed to negotiate an information-heavy, communication-based society and economy (EMPHASIS ADDED) (Bauerlein, 2009, p. 16).
Have we taught people how to become informed members of society? Who is ultimately responsible for the citizens, whether informed or uniformed? Society expects us, but may not adequately or fully prepare us, to be contributing, informed citizens. We are told to 'go to school, and get an education.' But, do we know why we NEED an education? Has society, or the school prepared us?

A society is a number of people held together because they are working along common lines, in a common spirit, and with reference to common aims (Dewey, 1990, p. 14).
Ultimately, it's our responsibility. We need to demonstrate APPROPRIATE uses of technology. We need to be able to use technology to find information, sort information, create information and use information - all interchangeably and simultaneously.

Knowledge has become so specialized and niche-oriented that knowledge purveyors don't notice a decline of general knowledge among large population segments (Bauerlein, 2009, p. 34).
Integrated learning. Liberal education has the potential to REFOCUS on the general and find ways to apply and integrate and extend it to the specific.

Technology can make a difference - when used correctly.

Bauerlein, M. (2009). The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future, or, don't trust anyone under 30. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.

Dewey, J. (1990). The school and society: The child and the curriculum: An expanded edition with a new introduction by Philip W. Jackson. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My key technologies for the Spring Semester

  • Twitter - of course. For obvious reasons, this lets me stay connected, ask questions, seek answers, and share with my colleagues.
  • TweetMic - audio tweets. Using my iPhone, I can tweet an audio tweet. Haven't encountered any issues yet.
  • PhotoScatter - take a picture. Upload to Twitter (via TwitPic) and Picasa.
  • TwitVid - also an iPhone application.
  • Google Reader - Easy way to subscribe to RSS feeds, search for ones, tag ones, share ones (, and push selected items to Blogger, Delicious, Facebook, Friendfeed, Posterous, Tumblr and Twitter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Libraries, the digital revolution, and information processing

There's been a slight resurgence within SoMe (Social Media) lamenting the death (or impending demise) of the library. I believe that the library will endure. Though technology will continue to grow and transform our concept of data or information, the library will endure.

We've gone to the libraries for books, newspapers, and magazines. Now, we go to libraries to learn, to meet, to share. Libraries are now a "learning space" where we go to learn. They supplement the classroom, they provide alternative spaces for learning, for collaboration, for community.

Library services have grown and expanded. Promoting digital literacy, assisting in digital searches, determining the value and worth of dynamic digital resources are a few of the new skills we go to the library to learn.

The demise of the book, and the library, is somewhat premature.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The NEW library

So, the library has often been thought of as a place that ... (fill in the blank). I go to the library to ... (fill in the blank again).

With the growth of digital medium the library is still a place for learning. The volume of information that we each face can be overwhelming. We still need someone to help us sort through the mountain of data, and help us make sense of the information.

The medium may change, but the mission still exists. Look at the mission statement from the Library of Congress ( ... the library is our collective memory, our collective history.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New technologies

TwitPic and TwitVid. Able to post pictures AND videos to Twitter. Paired with TweetMic, it's the trifecta of multi-media applications extending Twitter in new ways. With these applications on a iPhone 3GS, the power and possibility of communication, collaboration and professional development are anywhere, anytime and anyplace.

Friday, January 01, 2010

First Thoughts

Bauerlein, M. (2009). The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future, or, don't trust anyone under 30. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.

"Peer contact never ends, and digital tools are as essential and ordinary as food and air and sleep" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. x).
These new tools, these new digital devices connect people - all the time. They are everywhere. They are with people everywhere, and are used for almost everything. For the digitally connected user, they are natural. It's easy to notice younger users who do not have a 'strong signal' to connect to their digital world. The immediate connection, the immediate immersion in this connected world reinforces the need, or perceived need, for the technology.

"The Digital Age has embroiled the young in a swirl of social groupings and contests, and it threatens their intellectual development" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. xii).
The younger digital users measure their social worth in the number of connections. Is this the ideal way to promote learning? In this measure, do the users have the "right" members in their social groups to help them learn?
"This is not a benign evolution of old media into new media, traditional literacy into e-literacy. It is a displacement" (Bauerlein, 2009, p. xii).
It would be easy to assume or presume that technology, or the presence of technology, has evolved media - to a more digital, user created format. It would be more difficult to ask if the USE of technology has shifted or as Bauerlein noted, displaced, the learning process. Granted, we can see how technology extends learning - if it is used "correctly" - the digital age requires the use of technology, it is up to us to use it in a manner that integrates it into the learning and teaching process.

Technology cannot be an add-on to learning. Technology cannot replace teachers, or collaboration, or any other aspect of teaching and learning. And yet, we haven't successfully integrated technology into teaching and learning.

First Read

Started reading Mark Bauerlein's book, The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupifies young Americans and jeopardizes our future, or don't trust anyone under 30, a 2009 publication from the Penguin Group.

Looks like an interesting book.  On in the background is C-SPAN's coverage of a Michelle Rhee news conference on "Education in 2010" taped December 7, 2009.  That's an interesting pairing - this book and "Education in 2010" - and will provide some interesting thoughts.

More as the book, and 2010 develop...
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