Monday, October 27, 2008

Sharing Part 3

Exploring SlideShare, Diigo, and Google Analytics was great this week! I was especially excited about the following Slideshare presentation on Instructional Technology revolving around
Web 2.0. Even though there is a slant toward libraries of the future, (in fact, one slide speaks of the "Expresso"-a $US50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library, consumer- ready, a "library ATM" that made its debut in 2007!) the presentation really captures all of the applications that we have been discussing in class in a creative, well thought-out, visually appealing way. This slide presentation not only reviews the qualities of Traditional vs. Open Learning, but two of the slides gave a telling comparison between 20th Century learning skills and 21st Century Learning Skills. The slide on 21st Century Learning Skills was particularly appropriate as it lists Life Skills, 21st Century Content, Core Subjects, Learning and Thinking Skills, and ICT Literacy, all withing the frame work of appropriate 21st Century Assessment. Additionally, one of the slides says, "Creativity, not Productivity" which I thought was very insightful. It is a very thorough visual summation of what we have explored so far in class!

As 'design' underlies all of our instructional technology, the two web sites that follow provide informative and thought-provoking material on design. The first, promotes the idea of how critically important and foundational design is (and should be!). "Design is the fundamental Soul of a man-made creation" is one of the slides. This Slideshare presentation focuses on the business side of instructional technology. It poses the question, "What is Design"? and answers, "It is the principal difference between LOVE and HATE!" (It shows a Mac computer, and iPod, and a beautifully designed bed, and then as the opposite, a slide of Bill Gates, and six remote controls!)

Finally, you may link to a very short Slideshare presentation about "Designing for the World", an altruistic, practical site that underscores the necessity of thoughtful, humanitarian design!

In addition to enjoying Slideshare, I downloaded Diigo, and commented on Lyndell Lutes' blog by highlighting and creating a floating comment. I always enjoy reading Lyndell's blog with her strong writing style and wise insights!

After class on Wednesday, I went over the the Apple Store and spent some significant time with one of their specialists, who helped me apply Google Analytics to my Timeline Journal Website. Apparently, there is no smooth technology transition between Google Analytics and iWeb, and so there is a 'hacker' sort of way to accomplish it. After quite a bit of figuring and convoluted configuring, we were able to succeed! I am very interested in the subject of web analytics, as it adds such an important dimension of understanding as to the 'success' of websites, whether that success is defined in monetary terms, or in more spiritual terms. Cahlan and David both gave the class much 'food for thought' as 'key words', 'Google Pipes' etc. were explained. I was quite impressed with both, and saw possible applications for each in potential projects! As for the ways that the aforementioned tools can be used to share the Gospel, I can see how we might be able to quote passages of scriptures and highlight and comment on them for non-members. We can also prepare slideshare presentations that would focus on Gospel topics, or present our testimonies visually. It also occurs to me that when we say, "share the Gospel", we might also be including "sharing our testimony of the Gospel" which may extend to members of the Church as well as non-members.

Sharing Part 2

This week was fun! I really enjoyed creating a podcast in Garage Band! I actually posted it to iWeb and if you go into my Online Timeline Journal Site, you can press 'blog' and hit 'podcast Oct. 25th' and you will be able to see it! (see: I also downloaded Jing, and enjoyed creating a couple of short screencasts highlighting President Uchdorf's General Conference talk, as well as Brother Wirthlin's. I also used this application to take screen shots of various pictures that I had in a powerpoint presentation that I've created called, "Art and the Master" since I was unable to pull those images out of powerpoint. These screenshots became the images that I included in my podcast!

Also this week, I created a YouTube and TeacherTube account. I downloaded my podcast to iTunes, and found some interesting articles on the educational uses of podcasts.

The educational article that I found to be useful was a London Learncasting Presentation at: It is basically a powerpoint presentation with bullet points on each slide detailing some important information to remember about podcasting. They highlight the idea that a podcast should be interactive not just a one-way 'broadcast'. They present reasons for using the audio medium in education, and then list the advantages of using audio in teaching. Some of these advantages included: providing new ideas to learners who won't or can't read, providing a trigger for group sharing of ideas, incorporating voices of experts, users, clients, to an audience, including contributions from people (in the form of verbal interview) that would be unlikely to write, and providing variety in learning.

I then listened to a podcast about how to create an effective podcast. You can link to this presentation at:

This was a great little podcast. I actually took 1 1/2 pages of notes! The five main points stressed in this podcast were: (1)Know and show respect to your target audience...spend time to include tools in your podcast that will include a blog so that it can be interactive, (2)Use good equipment that is appropriate to your need, for example, if you are conducting a 'man on the street' interview, use a dynamic microphone that will not pick up as much of the ambient noise associated with that type of interview. However, if you are conducting an interview in a closed setting, you would want to use a condenser microphone that would be sensitive and have a better signal. Apparently, a microphone called the SM7 is of broadcast quality and would be great to use if your podcast needs to be of a professional quality. (3)ALWAYS BE PREPARED in your podcast... in other words, script it. It can seem off the cuff, but a great podcast is always (as Dr. Yanchar would say) 'pithy' and insightful and uses the time efficiently. A good podcast would last from 10-15 minutes, and would be well edited. Use of storytelling is an effective tool, as well as the use of leading questions..."What do you think about..." "How do you feel when...". Always leave your audience wanting more. (4)Consider using theme music to begin and end your podcast. Use an 'intro' and an 'out-tro' in your podcast. Introduce yourself, and pre-announce. It would sound something like: "Coming up later in the podcast will be...but first we will discuss..." then be sure to thank your audience for their time and interest. If there are additional podcasts to come, 'bait the hook' or give your listeners some 'hook' to look forward to...I thought all of these suggestions were very worthwhile!

As far as the use of podcasting, screencasting, or video on the web to share the Gospel, I found two very compelling sites. One is found at:
and gives you the ability to have the scriptures download automatically in whatever formate you selectn and in whatever segments you would like (ie. Please send one chapter per day from the Book of Mormon to my iTunes account). This seems like a great way to set and meet scripture reading goals!

Another great site can be found at: I was particularly impressed with this site which allows you to contribute prose, poetry, music, multimedia presentations, and has a link to the Mormon Videos on UTube. I will be spending more time investigating all that this site has to offer in the future! All in all, this was a very enlightening week in my personal progress in technology!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Educational Uses of Flickr

Being in the field of art, I found a great website that exemplifies a great educational use of Flickr. If you go into: and click on the painting of Christ, several white boxes will appear. When you roll the curser over each box, a different question about the artistic elements of the painting will pop up. The students are then asked to blog about their thoughts on the painting, whether or not it is from the Renaissance period etc. I am so excited to find this application for future art tasks in my 326 class! What a great educational use of Flickr!

Also, as I was searching the web, I found another article that highlights additional educational uses of Flickr. This site gives a wonderful visual graphic showing tags that are associated with photographs. It displays the photos in a virtual photo album-when you click on the photo on the left, it appears in the format on the right as the featured photo. You might have students post photos under a particular tag, or send them on a 'treasure hunt' to find particular photos associated with your curriculum via references to tags. For my class, we discuss the principles and elements of task might be to find and save one photo that exemplifies each of the 13 principles and elements of art. Another idea would be to have the students create a photo book where they photograph their art work and create a final portfolio via Flickr and Inkubook at the following link:

Additionally, this site allows one to experiment with color, a color wheel etc. A great resource for a an art color unit:
As you move the slider on the website, photographs of that color appear! Very cool!

As for the field of Art Aesthetics (the philosophical questions surrounding art) a sight that allows you to Bickr (debate) whether or not that particular visual is art or not is available at:

I can't believe I am still finding more great sites related to art and Flickr...the following site is a concentration game based on art images...

I promise that this is the last one: Montager creates a montage of several smaller flickr images...this could easier be converted into an art lesson on composition.

Thanks for indulging me in pointing my search for educational uses of Flickr in the art direction!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Comments on Social Networks, Social Graphs, Data Portability and Education

The subltle and almost unconscious nature of technology acceptance and use might be likened to a crowd of people passing by a doughnut shop in the early morning hours. The enticing smells of the freshly baked pastries wafting lazily through the air, settling lightly and enveloping the senses, fall on various unsuspecting passers-by, one individual at a time, in varying degrees of intensity. Some individuals will notice the wonderful aromas immediately and succumb completely to the enticment, others with practical restraint, will walk onto the other side of the street, to avoid the temptation, but with the delicious smell still lingering in the air around them, and yet others will not even be aware of the delectably distracting smells at all! The first acceptors will then buy some doughnuts, offering them to co-workers and friends. Those that walked onto the other side of the street, though vowing to avoid, still smell the lingering aroma, and think, "maybe tomorrow...". Those that were oblivious to the smells originally, might walk by the next day and awaken...

Maybe I'm just hungry, but it seems like the subtle settling of an aroma on individuals
and their varied responses to it approximates the idea of technology acceptance and use.
Some individuals who are highly sensitive to a particular medium might be the first to find, accept and experiment with a new technology. Many others, in turn, as the 'aroma' finds them either directly or through a friend, will engage in the technology. Some will be even later-comers, and then a handful of people will never 'partake' of the technology.

Social networks, Facebook included, seems to share that analogy. Many of the
early adoptors found the site immediately and immersed themselves in the technology. They were the first to find the uses and enjoyments from this social platform. The next wave of individuals are now discovering, through friends directly or word of mouth, the different ways to use that platform that is most helpful to them.

Educators have begun to incorporate the idea of social networks and find that by so doing, the students are being guided in learning and practicing 21st century skills. Christine Greenhow, a learning technologies researcher, states, "Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content and thinking about online design and layout. They're also sharing creative original work like poetry, and film, and practicing safe and responsible use of information and technology." In a first-of -its-kind study, researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered the educational benefits of social networking sites. The same study found that low-income students are in many ways just as technologically proficient as their counterparts, going against what results from previous studies have suggested. From this study, 94% of the students observed used the Internet, 82% go online at home and 77% had a profile on a social networking site. Their use of social networking sites focused on learning the technology, enhancing their creativity, and becoming aware and open to new or diverse ideas and communication skills. They also found that students connected on social networking sites to discuss problems in homework. Greenhow suggests that it is up to educators to broaden the use of social networking to promote education, and what it means to be a good digital citizen and leader online.

As for the social graph, it is truly amazing how connected we all really are! It really makes me think about the brotherhood/sisterhood of man, and how we need to find our commonalities in order to have peace and unity in the world. Maybe these social networks will enhance our ability to see those common elements. I also thought about how unity was stressed in the various Conference addresses. Maybe social networks, and the social graphs that describe them, will be a tool for unity. A social graph is a sort of geneology that might actually be helpful to the church's genealogical efforts!

Data portablity, as I view it from the articles I read, although frought with technological problems and privacy issues, is still valuable concept, and the discussion about it is the beginning of a conversation that may well eventuate into a more open internet society.
It will be interesting to see what develops over time in this area!