Sunday, October 28, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
I am off to sign up and then report to my wiki and practice my presentation. Otherwise, I will have to go to 43 Things or TadaList and nag myself online!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
From: drmaryannbell, 2 minutes ago
This slide show is about how to use technology readily at hand in teaching K-12.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I was thinking about this yesterday as I relaxed during a heat treatment at the physical therapy clinic where I am receiving treatment for something aptly called frozen shoulder. Heretofore when I was lying on the nice padded table with pillows placed around my arm and shoulder, enjoying the lovely mild electric/heat treatment, I would let my mind drift, maybe thinking about a work project and how I would approach it. Another thing I might do was simply meditate, going through some of my repertoire of memorized Biblical passages and other inspirational ones, such as the Prayer of St. Francis and the Serenity Prayer. But yesterday I brought a new friend with me...a brand new iPod. I really enjoyed listening to my favorite lowbrow music, a mix of traditional country and Americana, with a heavy dose of Texas musicians including my own daughter, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Merle Haggard, Lucinda Williams, Alice Stuart, Gillian Welch, and lots of others. Even better was listening while doing my pulley exercises and using the hand bicycle. The music made these monotonous tasks much less boring and tiresome. But as I listened I did think about this new experience. Now I was NOT giving my undivided attention to the art of thought. And next time I have therapy, I know I will want to use the iPod again. It makes me wonder about people of all ages, but especially youngsters, who are never unplugged. I see then on the walking paths, on campus, in cars, and really everywhere. Do they ever just stop, be still, and think? Do we ever encourage kids to do this during school hours or at home? Don't we always scramble to keep them busily occupied, and even fill previously quiet areas with music or other sound to keep them occupied? Is this all to the good? In my graduate days I wrote a paper comparing American and Japanese educational environments. One big difference between the two, I learned, was importance given to silent time for thinking. Americans really seem to discount and also shy away from this. Now with all the wearable and easily carried technology to engage us, I wonder of anybody does ever stop and just think. And further, I wonder what it means to our society that we do not?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I took a trip down memory lane yesterday. I visited the periodical stacks at my university library. To tell the truth, it has been years since I have gone to the shelf and pulled down a tome, and riffled through the pages of a bound volume, hoping the article had not been cut or torn out by some other long-ago reader. It felt a little funny to be back there, even though I am on the same campus all the time since I teach at the same university where I got my MLS. Back in the old days at SHSU, library classes were held in this building, and on the same floor where I found myself yesterday. I could remember being there every week-end in the early 80’s when I was working on my degree. I could look in the little conference room where I had catalog classes with my hero, Dr. Bonnie Thorne. It is a storage room now. For those of you who remember her, Bonnie is doing great, retired, and looking amazingly unchanged from when you had her for a class. I found the volume and article, which was from 1995 and no longer available online, and made a few notes.
Looking at the article was another memory-lane experience for me. It was by Dr. Doug Rogers, director of the doctoral cohort to which I belonged in the late 1990’s, and still inspiring students at Baylor University. This article was the linchpin of his views on technology and I wanted to refer to it in an upcoming presentation. I want to talk about the article in a future posting but wanted to commemorate my library visit and search in this one. The questions I could not escape were…
1. I wonder how much longer all these resources will be here? The musty smell of all those aging pages was, if anything, more intense than I remembered.
2. I wonder when I may be back over her to do a search for a print article? I still use the library for books, of course, but for journal articles, no—online databases generally suffice. Of course my fields are educational technology and librarianship, and 99% of the time I want the most recent information possible.
Am I saying print files like these are passé? Do I advocate disposing of them? Emphatically not! Even in my field, I just proved the ongoing value of those bound volumes. My BA is in English and history, and I certainly know that scholarly thought regarding these realms does not get dated in the same way as information may in other fields. Indeed, my reason for seeking the outdated article, which is about educational technology, is to point how timely the premise is some twelve years later. Long live libraries and the treasures they hold until the time comes when I need that one remembered gem and find it waiting for me on the shelf!
- Packaging was a bunch of sturdy brown cardboard boxes. They did not reveal contents which is frustrating because, with several, you have to examine the thing inside to figure out what it is. What I mean is, there was one box that contained an external CD drive. It was in a larger shipping box that held other stuff as well. It took me a minute to figure out what the thing was because the box really did not say.
- Frankly, documentation is lousy. Packaging is mundane. After all these years, one might think that competitors would learn from Apple about the little things like these...
- The stylus was missing. OK that is not Motion's fault. Computer services handled the computer first and installed software, etc. They carefully packaged everything back up, but the sleeve for the stylus was, alas, empty. Since I already have an HP tablet, I tried that stylus, and was happy to find that it does work. BUT I think every tablet computer should come with at least two styluses (stylii???) Come on, people lose those things. Next on my list is to try to find the missing one and request that more are ordered.
- I was not the one who originated the order for this computer, so was not that familiar with it. I kept looking for the keyboard. THERE IS NONE. Unlike my HP, this computer comes with the assumption that you will use it just with screen/stylus, choosing between the three modes for text input: handwriting, single letter entry, and on-screen keyboard. At first this dismayed me, but the idea is growing on me. After all we really want this thing for conferences, etc. where the keyboard is less important. Handwriting recognition works great for me. My handwriting is OK, not pristine but not physician's scrawl either. So I am fine for entry.
- Another box held a large supplemental battery that is the same size as the computer and attaches to the bottom. Good for extended use, I am sure.
- The best thing about this gizmo is its weight. My HP feels like a ton of bricks in comparison. I can and will look up the weight, but right off am saying that it is very light.
- It is also very sleek and slim. I think my Motion and my iPod like each other...
- Conclusion? This is not someone's workhorse computer, at least not mine. But for conferences, meetings, etc, it is very, very cool.
- Take a look! Here is their website: http://www.motioncomputing.com/
- Oh my, Apple does know how to package things! I was presented with a small black box, about the size of an index card, gently encased in shrink wrap. Getting into the box did NOT require a screwdriver, blowtorch, or even a Leatherman. Indeed I just used my thumbnail to barely break the wrap and peel off. Opening the box was like opening a jewelry box. The top lifted off instead of having an end flap. It is a nice sturdy box, the kind you actually WANT to keep with the loose ends that go along with the device.
- Inside was nestled a sleek little black wonder. It makes my previously beloved iPod look white and clunky. Yep, I am fickle. Out with the old! In with the new!
- With the old iPod, there was a disk to install. That would have been an issue for me since I want to install this to an HP table computer that lacks a disk drive. Not a problem! As soon as you hook your iPod to your computer, you go right to the Apple site, register, and get the software you need.
- Of course you end up at iTunes with lots of music, books, etc. for sale but what the hey? I LIKE iTunes. I have not bought anything though. Not yet...but...
- THERE IS NO POWER CORD! How cool is that??? You just charge up by hooking up to your computer. I think that the old one was that way too, will have to check.
- My new lil' buddy went right to my previous collection of iTunes music and synced without even being asked. It did ask if I wanted my pics done too, and of course I said yes!
- How about documentation? Well there is not that much but this device is so intuitive that you don't NEED much.
- I had the little wonder up and good to go in less than 30 minutes, including syncing with my previous music and images.
- Do I love Apple for their style and user-friendliness? YES I DO!!!
- In fact here is a little secret I will share...as soon as I get a chance, I am going to finally allow myself to get an iPhone. I am hooked after playing with my nephew's this past weekend. He has been using his for several weeks and gave me the affirmation I have been using, a positive reaction from a fellow gadget lover who has been using the phone for several weeks, enough time for the novelty to wear off.
UPDATE SEVERAL HOURS LATER...I took Iola for a walk and just got back. I do have a habit of naming inanimate things that I really like:
- My car is Yolanda Dos Honda (Yolanda Uno gave up her life to save mine in summer 06 rollover)
- My titanium heart valve is named Fido. He never fails me!
- My Sony Vaio laptop is named Vera.
- And now...my new iPod is named Iola. I never named the other one.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
They also have pages for two other famous locals, Edna Ferber and Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Thinking of my own home town, I can come up with several great topics of local interest that could also be unique resources for others. San Marcos, TX could feature a page about President Lyndon Johnson, for instance, since he went to college there. Royalty free pictures could be available of the school buildings that were there when he attended, and the house where he lived (now a museum).There are certainly people around who knew him, and it might be possible to offer some interviews. I wish I had thought of this idea when I was still in a junior high library. It would have been a great project with kids just at the right age...
Monday, October 1, 2007
Survey Monkey is a "free" service whereby you can post questions and invite participants to respond online at the site. All that is required is registration. I had visited the site in the past, and had participated by responding to some surveys, but had never tried it out until last week. Then I got the idea to poll people about Web 2.0 participation, and especially ask how they feel about blogging. So I went to SM and registered. Setting up the poll was easy. I had a little fun playing around with various color combinations and background styles. I keyed in some ranking questions and also some open-ended queries, because to me on of the best things about polls is gathering people's comments. Once I was satisfied with my product, I took the URL that SM provided and checked to be sure it worked. I also forwarded the address to two friends who tried out the poll as well. Then, confident I was ready, I announced my poll on my favorite listservs, LM_NET, EDTECH and TLC, and waited for results. Alas, although I got a couple of takers early on, I got many more messages from people for whom the URL did not work. Instead of taking them to my survey, it just took them to the main page and asked them to register. Evidently the URL was not compatible with some (many) people's email providers At that point I was pretty peeved with Survey Monkey, and tempted to give him the boot out of my virtual life. Before doing so, though, I decided to give Mr. Monk one more chance. I converted the URL to a shortened tinyurl and posted this to the listservs.
Voila! That evidently solved the problem, and I ended up with 83 participants, having hoped for only 40-50. Next, I went to the survey site and analyzed the results. Voila again! I got a nice display showing both numbers and percentages for responses, and also displaying all comments. All Right! I thought! Now to share!
That is where I have to ask the question...is Survey Monkey sneaky or just clever? When I clicked on the button for displaying results, I got a message that my little primate friend would not do that unless I paid for upgraded service. And he is proud of this service, to the tune of $200/year! My first reaction was...forget it! I will just share on my own. But I really liked the display as it appeared at the site. I wanted all those nice people who had participated to see the final results of the poll. And I knew that I was going to refer to the poll in a couple of articles and presentations. I decided that I would cough up the money, opting for convenience and nice looking presentation of the data. So what is the best way to describe Survey Monkey? Sneaky? Clever? I think SM is both. I could have repackaged the data and avoided the cost, and having used the site still would have been worthwhile because it was a great way to collect responses. I made the choice to go ahead and pay the fee. Either way, the site does offer an easy way to conduct informal or even formal polls. Take a look: https://www.surveymonkey.com
And here is the URL for those results! For goodness sakes visit...after all I paid for it!