Monday, September 29, 2008

CCK08 Riddles?

My trip to the forum left me more confused, it's not a surprise.
As I sometimes find hard to locate the threads I will place an extract here and ponder about it during the week.

If you wish you can visit Stephen Downes original post.

"I have advanced a position in my own work proposing four major principles of association:

*resemblance - a.k.a. Hebbian associationism
*contiguity or proximity - a.k.a. salience
*feedback or back propagation
*balance, or entropy a.k.a. Boltzmann mechanisms


A lot of what I've tried to argue in this (admittedly long) post is that Connectivism is a non-intentional theory of learning and knowledge.
What this means is that, in connectivism, learning is not about content. It is not about entering a certain representational state with respect to the world.

Such an account makes the representational state - rather than our actual thoughts, perceptions and feelings - the arbiter of what it is to know, what it is to have learned.

But connectivist learning does not require representational states. It does not require on the part of the learner that they commit to a particular account of the external world.

It allows - indeed, encourages - the idea that people may have different, and individual, accounts of the external world.

Which means that what is negotiated is not some set of statements about the nature of that world - not representational states, not meanings - but mechanisms for communication, protocols for interaction (which may indeed be, and probably are, understood differently by each person engaged in communication)."

To add to this confusion I stumbled into Ken's blog, it did not clarify my ideas but I had a good laugh which I welcomed.
Will I someday be able to understand the riddles?
Time will tell.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Values. Overnight reflection. CCK08

The last post I read last night was from Tom.
He ponders about disfunctional families and disfunctional netowrks, it was almost midnight so I went to bed. I woke up with some thoughts and before rushing to answer, because he is asking about networks, I decided to place them here.

What moved me was that he is somewhat touching my area of expertise. I deal with disfunctionality every day at the office, the people that function in an acceptable manner for them do not come to visit.

How do I know if something is functional or disfunctional? Something functional for me can be disfunctional for you. What I do first is to get into their perspective and ask from there to gain clarity. Few people can tell others what is right or wrong, what is valuable and what is garbage; it deppends on the circumstances, everything is relative.

Sometimes they come saying: "I am lost, I cannot deal with this, I am losing my mind... am I crazy?"
My usual answer is: Crazy people don't go around asking if they are crazy, they believe they are not, they believe they are Napoleon or that someone is after them, or whatever and behave accordingly. If you are asking yourself if you are crazy it probably means that you are not.

Some other times they come expresing: "I don't feel safe, I am insecure, how do I know if my decision is correct?"
My answer would be: Don't look outside, look within. Observe what is bothering you, is the pain enough to complain but not enough to move? If you choose to keep complaining maybe it's not time yet for you to move. On the other hand, if you choose to move, imagine yourself in the new position... Does it feel right? Does it suit you?, What's lacking? From the answers we make an action plan.

It is easier to write about it than to do it. My main concern is to get them going where they want to go. I do not approve or disaprove their decisions or actions, if that's right for them probably it's right. What I have to watch out, precisely, is that whatever they do, they do it looking at themselves first. I often find myself saying: Convince me, I don't buy that, "you" are not talking, someone else is talking here, whose eyes are you wearing to look at the situation?

The point I want to make here is that to wander in the values, measures, evaluation or assessment area is a serious matter. It is relative. The same fact, the same behaviour can create havoc in one place and heaven in another.

What's funcional? What gives you comfort, a sense of well being, what allows you to move, interact and enjoy the path.
What's disfunctional? What causes discomfort, a sensation of being wronged, what keeps you rooted in one place unable to interact and enjoy.

Don't overlook the fact that sometimes is healthy to feel discomfort, it is part of the growing process. Sometimes by exploring the disfuncion or discomfort for a while you get some answers. Sometimes you save your life by not moving. Sometimes you enjoy discomfort. We come again to the same point. It is relative.

Friday, September 26, 2008

CCK08 Forest, trees, paths and a bit of clarity

Today's session at brought along wonderful gifts. Thanks guys!

I saw a bit of clarity. I understood that one of the things that was confusing me was that I was not clear about which was Stephen's view and which was George's. Certainly the gray hair in George's avatar got me thinking that I had also confused their identities!!! As mentioned in the live session, I was walking through paths of confusion. The second one was the "distribution" issue.

I think I got the point, I may be wrong. While knowledge resides in the connections or forest, learning resides on the individuals or trees. Hence, knowledge is distributed across the networks, knowledge emerges from those connections, while learning is the capacity to build those connections and use them for our own purposes.

In this picture I show what I found:

The conversation was abundant, I felt it lighter and I could engage with it. It was about time :-)
Nancy White wrote, in her particularly rich descriptive manner, the way most of us feel in this non directive course. Her comment gave way to a description of intelligence. Intelligence is being understood as the ability or potential to comprehend, achieve, understand, function and absorb huge amounts of information. David Vidal came up with with the question: what is first, the egg or the hen?

That in turn lead us to... What is value? This point will be reviewed later on in the course but for now Stephen mentioned two aspects that define the value of something or someone:
1.- Goodness. Is it helpful?
2.- Measurement. Cost or number of units.

This other picture shows a bit of today's conversation

CCK08 Where does Connectivism work best?

Yesterday I came across Mike Bowle's interesting post.

"Thus brings me to my opinion on childhood learning and Connectivism.
The two can absolutely work together, and do it well; but not in traditional,
highly structured educational systems. In my view, Connectivism works best in learner-led environments, and the most learner-friendly environment of them all is the home".

My response:
What you post here is not traditional either and I find it very true. In Mexico, not many people can afford to educate their children at home and most of the schools are traditional, controlled, marks seeking environments. It is sad but true.
In my work I usually encourage parents to integrate their child to society instead of forcing them to get good grades. You see, I work with kids that are different. Regardless the medical term with which those kids are labelled, they are intelligent and want to learn at their own pace, in their own way with their own creative resources. Of course this is not allowed at school but their parents still need to send them to one. My proposal to them is to teach them to beat the school system while encourage them to learn what they are interested in learning.
The second best learner-friendly environment of them all is the Internet.

In an earlier post, also from Mike, I found another bit of information that got me thinking as well.

"As we delve further into the course, I think it’s critical to differentiate
discussions on the theory itself from those regarding implementation of the
theory within a specific context. Both matters are very important ones to explore, but they are - at the core - very different questions".

I do not see Connectivism applied at schools in the future. If the theory manages to get around the evaluation and curriculum points it will stop being Connectivism.
In practice, it will depend on the openness of the schools and teachers, I do not see it in a near future. At least not in Mexico. As digital literacy is very low here
I do not see Connectivism blooming online with Mexican teachers or students.

I highly recommend reading and discussing Mike’s posts on his blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

CCK08 G. Siemens conference's notes

I made two presentations to share my notes. One in Spanish and one in English.
Enjoy them! I hope to find answers.
Hice dos presentaciones para compartir mis notas. Una en Español y otra en Inglés.
¡Disfrutenlas! Espero encontrar respuestas.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CCK08 George Siemens at Connectivitas

En Español al final.
Screenshots taken in SL during George Siemens conference on Connectivism at Connectivitas Headquarters. Sept 24, 2008.
The conference was a success with around 100 attendees.
Congratulations Dolors!! Thanks Elena for the translation!!

If you want to visit the UniHispana Auditorium this is the landmark:

After the conference we visited Connectivitas Headquarters. We invite you to our Spanish weekly meetings every Wednesday at 20:00 GMT. To join from outside please click here

You can also find me in SL every Friday at 19:00 GMT winter time (18:00 GMT summer time) at Webheads Headquarters.
This is the landmark:
We also have a Wiki where we place, among other things, the teaching resources we find.

Capturas de pantalla tomadas en SL durante la conferencia de G. Siemens en Connectivitas. Sept 24, 2008.
La conferencia fué un éxito, contamos con alrededor de 100 participantes.
¡Mis mas sinceras felicitaciones Dolors! ¡Gracias Elena por la traducción!

Si quieren visitar el Auditorio de UniHispana la marca de terreno es la siguiente:

Después de la conferencia visitamos la sede de Connectivitas. Los invitamos a nuestras reuniones semanales en Español los miércoles a las 21:00 GMT horario de invierno (20:00 GMT horario de verano). Para unirse desde afuera por favor den clic aquí

Me pueden encontrar también en SL los Viernes a las 18:00 GMT en la sede de los Webheads, el idioma es Inglés.
La marca del terreno es la siguiente:
Tenemos una Wiki donde colocamos los recursos para la enseñanza que vamos encontrando entre otras muchas cosas.

CCK08 Mindmap Draft. Week Three

Mind mapping with tools is new for me so I attended a WiZiQ session with Brendan OKeefe to learn more about it. He gives free sessions not only about how to make mind maps but also on how to use them to define a personal life path.

Later on I found this helpful image.

I am glad I draw the map, my understanding shifted, I feel more comfortable and I enjoyed it. I have not found out how to make the tool do what I draw on paper, I need more practice. I understand that in order to share it I need to make it with a common tool to allow others to add to it, erase or comment. I will continue learning the tool to achieve that goal. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a draft and place my reflections.

Regarding the Connectivism concept I have more questions than answers. The foundation principles I drew are common to many learning theories while the branches on the learning process and networks are related to what I have read, seen and listened in the course. The branches on the role that our mind plays on learning and knowing also come from what I have found in this course.

I would like to understand better how knowledge is distributed in a network. I understand that knowledge requires a knower, that if I want to learn how to make a map with Cmap I have to find a person who knows and observe, connect with, him or her to learn. The airplane example tells me that one person alone cannot build one, knowledge is what a group has connected to get the airplane completed. Looking at the example it seems obvious but I do not get the point. How is the distribution process?, Is it a process?, What is taking place?, How do I know that it is distributed?, By areas of expertise?

Monday, September 22, 2008

CCK08 Where does my learning occur? Ideas. Week 2.

Regardless the type of network I use to connect, who or what do I connect with and the node I access, the concepts and new knowledge lands on the light bulb. It feels like an Aha!

The following image formed during week 2.

I placed myself (my mind) in the middle, surrounded by the three main areas, or networks, where I interact. Where two networks connect, the color changes, the kind of knowledge I acquire changes too.

Learning depends on the point of view, on pre-conceptions. Connectivism postulates that learning is distributed across the networks. I am still trying to work around this idea. I do not have it clear. Besides, at this point, I do not really see that "knowing" how and where is that knowledge distributed will help my learning process. As in week three we will revise the properties of networks I may gain more understanding.

Before I joined this course I found a way to make a picture of my connections using a Facebook application. Most of those connections are meaningful, we share common interests or have similar beliefs and values.

I wonder if at the end of the course I will manage to do it again taking into account the new connections I am making in Facebook. It is too early to say which of those new connection will become meaningful for me.

What kind of network is reliable? It has been put forward that diversity, interdependency, interactivity and openness are the key conditions to achieve reliability.

Stephen Downes wrote an interesting Analysis on Online Communities.

The subject for the week was: Rethinking Epistemology.

Epistemology (from Greek επιστήμη - episteme, "knowledge" + λόγος, "logos") or theory of knowledge is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. Another word that came up in the live sessions and the forums was Ontology.

In philosophy, Ontology (from the Greek ὄν, genitive ὄντος: of being
(part. of εἶναι: to be) and -λογία: science, study, theory) is a branch of metaphysics,often considered the most fundamental. It is the study of the nature of being, existence, or reality in general and of its basic categories and their relations, with particular emphasis on determining what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how these can be grouped and related within an ontology (typically, a hierarchy subdivided according to similarities and differences). Though distinguished from epistemology, as theories of knowledge typically involve some assumptions about existence and what exists, these can be seen as complementary disciplines.

The proposal this week was to move from knowing to being better persons. That is from Epistemology to Ontology.

As a Psychologist inclined towards a Humanistic Approach, one of my idols is Carl Rogers, I can easily relate to that.
As I believe in the "Third Force" in Psychology, Rhizomatic Education fits in the pattern, will Connectivism fit too?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

CCK08 Theory Recollections. Week One.

What is Connectivism?

The most concrete definition I have found is: An educational proposal that states that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections where learning consist of the ability to construct and traverse those networks. Stephen Downnes

I still have to munch over it. From the forum messages I see that the concept, the idea of Connectivism, as it is being described in the course, is familiar to many, including me. Maybe at the end of the course I will be able to answer this question standing on solid ground, maybe not.

From the live sessions and video presentations, as far as I understand, which is not very far yet, we cannot say if Connectivism is a learning theory or not. The debate goes on among the high spheres of knowledge, were the gurus are, I will let them solve this riddle.

As it often happens when dealing with non tangible outcomes, at the beginning, the new wave or new "theory to be" is challenged from every corner while it proclaims to solve all the problems, that it covers more or at least that is better than the ones preceding it. Only time will tell if it is a theory or if it is a fashion. It is too early to tell for sure how Connectivism will be labelled.

What I perceive is that Connectivism tries to explain how learning occurs. It tries to explain what many scientist and theories have tried to explain: How do we learn?
It tries to go beyond learning theories. Paradoxically, we are sent to review previous learning models; Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, etc. If Connectivism comes forward and gets recognition it will be the first learning model created by educators. Among the participants in the course there are mainly educators, probably all of them would like to have their own model.

That's the word that suits me: model. Connectivism has 5 principles as foundation.
1.- Our need to externalize, verbally or non-verbally, in order to make sense.
2.- Our need for frameworks or structures to deal with new information to make sense.
3.- Our need to socialize and negotiate around knowledge.
4.- Our patterning mind and
5.- Our need to extend our humanity, to overcome our limitations with inventions and technology.
This principles are shared by many learning models.

Connectivism believes that we build on the foundation of how we engage with others and interact with the world. Psychology believes the same, our perceptions shift when a significant other joins the picture and our perceptions shape our actions.

Connectivism takes into account three critical areas or surroundings or types of network:
Biological (Neural), Conceptual and External (Social).

What is new for me is the way in which Connectivism tries to explain learning.
It takes into account that our ability to understand is related to how well and how consistently we are connected with certain ideas or concepts. Such connections are a function of the depth and diversity of the connections, the frequency of exposure, the integration with previous concepts and the force or strength of the connecting ties. For someone expert on Artificial Intelligence or Neurology this will not be new.

However, Connectivism stresses that learning is the formation of new connections, that it is a distributed process. It states that different types of network with different types of attributes will serve different types of learning needs. Hence, the diversity of the network along with the strength of the ties influence the learning process.

"Learning in this model is not transferred but grown anew by each learner".

I feel strongly attracted by the above statement, I would like to prove it is right, I have sensed that growth in myself and observed it in others. How can we show this in an objective way? Is there a way to demonstrate it?
I may be naive but I sincerely hope that data from this chaotic course helps in that direction. Let's wait, watch and see how this course evolves.

CCK08 After the storm... a reasonable explanation.

Well, well, well.
What I felt as lack of interest or communication has a reasonable explanation. I owe a deep apology. Obviously they did not know I existed, they did not have the means to know!

I rescued from the trash bin two emails sent to Enrolled Learners CCK08 saying:

Date: Saturday, September 6, 2008, 4:39 PM

Welcome! Please reply to this email to confirm that you have received this…
You’re part of a group of learners that have enrolled in Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. As such, I want to make sure you feel somewhat “settled” and don’t have any outstanding questions. We have 22 participants enrolled with about another dozen who expressed interest but haven’t committed. (20 was our initial limit)

I have seen mishaps like this, only online.
22 enrolled out of 2000? Their limit was 20?

The second one goes as follows:

Date: Monday, September 8, 2008 11:47 AM

So, how’s day 1?
I’ve received several confirmations that my last email was received. If you did not reply, please let me know.
Exploring blogs and other media is an important part of this course. As such, we encourage you to set up your own blogs. If you do, could you please send me the URL? We are aggregating blogs in different sites, but I want to make sure I’ve got yours in my RSS reader…
Thx. George.

I toyed with the idea of deleting the former post but it doesn´t feel right to do so.
Due to no one's fault I felt isolated during the first week of the course. Two emails with the forum Digest were also on the trash bin, and the rest?
Vance's says that we learn more from technical difficulties, I agree. I have had my share of technical glitches even before the course started.

Have they hampered my learning?
I think so, I have spent a lot of time finding a way to answer replies to my posts without the digest and setting again my browser. My mind was clogged with so many technical issues besides the new concepts, I am behind on the readings and struggling with CMap.

However, tomorrow is a great day though it starts too early for a Sunday Morning.
I will be at 7:00 AM at Tapped in to celebrate...
Webheads in Action 10Th anniversary!
Then at 8:00 AM at the WiZiQ conference. I will surely re-charge my batteries in their company

Friday, September 12, 2008

CCK08 First week impressions

Mike Bogle's post made me realize that, instinctively, I look for people with a similar view to share what I know and ask what I don't. My reply to his clear post was:

"Your idea of connecting with a goal, to be honest, produced relief. I struggled with the idea of "using" others. Though I have seen that is beneficial for those involved, somehow I was not quite comfortable with it.
Only after reading your clear exposition I understood better what I do with my connections, I have a clearer picture of why people follow me and why they stop doing so and vice versa.
I am too far from you, the tools I use to connect are few, I invest long hours learning how to use them. I guess that as soon as I learn how to use them comfortably I will add more."

Jeffrey Keefer's presentation about the aim of Social Media & Web 2.0 tools points out that there should be an intention, permeated by a mission or vision, along with a message to transmit.
Is this course considered as Social Media?, Do I have to seek for an audience?

As student, my target audience would be the facilitators who would assess and shape my work. I don't even know if I reached them, if I am doing what I am expected to do, if I posted where I am supposed to post or if they are following me. Total Isolation. Jeffrey's questions ring in my head. What do they want from me? What do they think about me? Among so many participants they probably don't know I exist, no one from the staff has contacted me in Moodle.

This bothers me deeply. As a trainer I am quick giving feedback to show that I care and I am listening. Of course I have not had more than 2000 students! I have to admit that I miss the Webheads kind support. I will continue taking responsibility for my learning disregarding audience; though, one of the reasons to take the course for credit was to have regular feedback.

I know that the moderators of the course have a clear idea of the message they want to transmit though I am still lost in new concepts, tools and procedures. As far as I understand we are supposed to make our own learning connections or networks but as I don't have a clear idea of the message I cannot engage yet in serious conversations.

Monday, September 08, 2008

CCK08. My first connections.

I see now that I am connecting somewhat randomly in the course, therefore I feel isolated. I managed to disable the arrival of the Daily email summary which did not help either, I need to find out how to restore it.
Besides, I have not been able to post the RSS feed to my blog and this stormy week I have had long power cut offs.
I recovered the drafts of my posts but they do not seem to make sense anymore; I keep writing for myself. This will end up as a boring and long post for others to read. I guess this one will be posted with an earlier date. Today is September 12th.

It may have been for the best that I could not post here for a few days,to request a Gmail account had terrible consequences.
After reading Mike Bogle's post "Growing a Network" I realize that I have been doing reasonably well with the Webheads Community but that, besides BaeL, they are the only connection source I had until CCK08. I would like to connect with people who are taking the course for credit, I advanced a bit on that by asking in one of the live sessions. Lorraine Mockford picked up the flag and created a thread and I created a Survey that I hope help us to arrange live meetings when necessary.

This week I met new faces along with familiar ones. I received an emal from Elsa Martínez, she is also a Potosina uprooted from my beloved San Luis Potosí to Toluca. She has extensive experience on Distant Learning Education. I am delighted to have a Paisana as friend in Toluca!! We had a nice chat over the phone.
I also received a kind email from Steve Tuffill who came to read my blog before the last two entries were posted.

On the first and only email digest I received, I found a comment from my dear friend Nergiz Kern. She is a sweethearth! She's very generous, kind, caring and a certified Language teacher. I met her this year in the EVO Convention Courses and we hang every Friday in SL.

The other known faces I have seen in the course so far are: Vance, Bee, Nellie, Jose Antonio, Cris Costa (Adopted Mancunian), Teresa, Horacio, Cristina Costa, Carla, Hala, Natasa, Susan, Doris and Sasa.

Besides leaving a comment, I took screenshots of the interesting profiles I came across with and added to them part of the data they posted on their introductions and messages. I want to remember their objectives for the course and where are they from. The screenshots are here.

If you happen to be reading please stop. It's a long list of my new first connections.

The new faces I found and left a comment are so far:
Johan Potomus is interested in the tools we use, Tita Beaven is a lecturer in Spanish focused on Virtual Ethnography as research method, Jaime Caro is conducting a Web 2.0 program for teachers in Colombia, Juan José Calderón is member of the Sevilla University and editor of an e-learning blog, Fridemar Pache is interested on Extreme Open Business to integrate new income models, Maria Irene Albers is an English teacher graduated from the U. of Carabobo in Venezuela currentrly doing her PhD at the U. of Sevilla. María Gómez is an Undergraduate and High School teacher in Caracas using web 2.0 tools and wanders what exactly do teachers need to change. Silvia García from Caracas is an Online Courses Designer and Administrator interested on how do we use ICT's and their social effects. Collin Milligan from Glasgow Caledonian U. is researching learning technology. José Rodríguez teaches 3rd graders in L.A. and wisely calls CCK08 and Odyssey
Oriol Miralbell is a Lecturer at the Open U. of Catalonia, leading e-learning U. in Spain. Gabriel Bunser is a professional coach from Santiago, Chile interested on how Connectivism affects teaching and learning. Liz Renshaw from Australia interested on using technologies to work in diferent ways. Alejandro Valadez from Monterrey, Mexico works at Sanfora Training and Development and wants to share ideas and generate more knowledge. Bruce Nightingale is a Senior Lecturer at Nothingham Trent U.focused on training ICT teachers and researching multy modal learning. Gina Bennett coordinates distant education and educational technology in Canada.
Beatriz Jaramillo is an English teacher in Chile. Therese Weel from Vancouver, Canada expects to have her world view changed. Antonio González from Spain is an Andalusia's Government pedagogical advisor and Catherine Fitzpatrick who is active in SL, she/he claims to be skeptic but she/he is generating more connections than anyone.

CCK08 My long run connections.

People keep asking me why I am paying for a course given for free. The answers "I seek feedback to learn" and "credentials are important for me" do not seem to suffice. I have my mind racing all over the place, I wish I had a handy voice recorder! Besides meditation, what helps me to focus again is to write the bothering thought down. So, here I go.

The best way I find to explain my point of view is by telling stories, I use them with my patients. So I will tell the story of MMV®.

Our Centre, or company, is called MMV® Centro Multidisciplinario de Asesoría Integral. We founded it in 1993. Our first year was great. We had plenty of work and according to our accountant, we did exceptionally well considering that it was our first year on business.

When we where thinking about names, it was easy; we were a Multidisciplinary group of friends, we assessed students, people, projects and organizations and integrated our work fields. The initials issue was also easy. Vero's position was crucial. Her daughters, then just kids, were an important part of our engine; besides, she is the most visually attractive and friendly of us, her connections opened a lot of doors.

I worked with her giving Spanish/English classes and doing some of the English Spanish translations. She was Head of the Languages Area which included German. I worked with Margarita in the Educational programs and Psychology projects, she was the Head of the Education and Research Area and she took English lessons with Vero. Margarita and I worked together in the Organizational Projects with Toluca Industry, I was the head of the Organizational Area.

Looking at the way we interacted we thought that it was a good idea to place Vero initials at the middle, she was our strong connecting point. Lancelot was our shining Knight in Armour, an Arian car made in Monterrey Mexico: The Gross Borgward.

The funny part is that when we asked ourselves what would be the meaning of "MVM" initials or what would we say to people when they asked... the first thought that popped up was "Me Vale M..." There was a long lasting burst of laughter!
After a while we decided that the first "M" should stand for Margarita, who has a PhD. The second "M" should stand for me with a Master Degree. Vero has a Bachelor degree so "V" would be the last,obviously not the least, to avoid trouble and misunderstandings.

O.K. Back to read!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

After last night's crash came Google Chrome Beta

This post is a record my first impressions with the new browser.
Well, yesterday I crashed my PC. I lost all my favorites! The explorer just left, thanks God, my account on the browser navegation bar.

Somehow a pop up window inviting me to test Google Chorome Beta came along and I was so shocked by what had happened that I decided to give it a try.
I knew that I would have to invest time to set any explorer back on track anyway.

Well, the instalation was fast and with no bumps, I was happy. I began to follow the tutorials to learn how to use it and to my delight I found out that they are very good. They even have video tutorials in Spanish that could be used as listening Spanish practice, it is a male voice, very clear and calmed but with Spanish accent. I could have enjoyed the videos more if they had a Mexican o South American accent. Perhaps I will use the videos for BaeL Spanish Group.

So my journey with Google Chrome was an enjoyable one until I started having difficulties. First of all, I changed the language to English just to find out that the next page I opened was again in Spanish. This was really annoying, it did not matter how many times I set the language to English... Spanish was back.
I usually do not mind the language, sometimes I do not even notice which of both languages is used by the program. I need to fix this.

In second place, as I should have foreseen but didn't, I came to my blog to find it also in Spanish!! This is really annoying because as I type the spell checker underlines every word with red. So, instead of enjoying the great spell checker that blogger has I find myself writting this post with no help to check the spelling. I hope you do not find many mistakes! I guess this has to do with my IP address but I am not sure.

On third place is the fact that I do not have the navegation menus I use. I do not have cut, paste, copy, print, etc at hand. I know a few shortcuts keys, like cut, paste and copy but no more! This is becoming a nightmare for me. I need to learn more shortcut keys!

I did not have in mind to write another post here but I am glad I logged in again before the CCK08 course starts. I see now that last night's crash will affect me more than I expected and will be more time consuming. Why? For example, now I would like to place a link to Google Chrome and I do not know yet how to go back to that page to get the link without closing this one. The pages are linked, I do not know yet how to detach them to have several windows opened as I am used to do with Explorer. If I do not find a solution soon I will revert to Explorer. Fortunatelly I wrote down the page address and I typed the link to the site. :-)

Let's see what other surprises I find today!

Well, I had a nice talk with Mbarek, he gave me useful links and helped me to install Dreamweaver. He also tried Chrome. At the end of the day I will unistall it, it is too much trouble, he already unistalled it. The good thing is that I learned how to install icons in my desktop to my most used sites though they may dissapear after I unistall.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

CCK08. My plans for BaeL and CCK08

My plans are to open the site, I may connect with teachers and future friends from CCK08. ;-)

I will create more groups. A Spanish one is required but I have not found a nice widget to assess Spanish level as the one I placed at the English Club. Spanish WiZiQ Club, English WiZiQ Club, Voicethread Clubs in Spanish and English are already a target.

The idea is to help those who need assistance to learn Spanish, English, WiZiQ, SL, Voice, etc. while at the same time promote the teachers activities and sites. In that way everybody wins!

I know about teachers that currently have free Language groups in different levels and are using different venues.
For example: I will create an English WiZiQ Club to direct them towards Nellie who teaches pronunciation in English and a Spanish WiZiQ Club to send stds towards Nancy Sánches who teaches Spanish. I need to talk to those teachers. They are already putting the effort so I won´t add workload to them. Does this gives you the idea?

I am having difficulties finding tutorials to WiZiQ, SL, PbWiki, and VoiceThread in Spanish. I cannot do them all on my own, besides my mic recording volume is terribly low and neither Gonzalo or I have been able to find a solution. At CCK08 conference I will be in touch with Spanish speaker teachers so I may find that they have tutorials in Spanish and they may be willing to share.

You see? So far my online contacts have been Webheads English teachers so I need to find support from bilingual teachers that teach their subjects in Spanish. I am so selfish! I am planning to connect with a purpose!

A new adventure CCK08

I joined Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Online Course, it starts on September 8, 2008 and ends on November 30, 2008.

Gonzalo and I, after checking our finances, decided that it was better to pay for it. After all, I will invest time and effort while we will shorten the little time we have to hang together. So to do all that for free without a Certificate from the University of Manitoba, Canada... did not feel right.

I am very excited, I know I will learn a lot though it may be out of my league.
The course has not started and I already have installed CMaps and got PageFlakes which are new for me.
I would like to add a Twemes account to follow the Twitter Course Site in this page, I will attempt to add it.

This will be my second course using Moodle, the first one was my Diploma Course on Teaching English to First Graders. I want to learn how to use Moodle, not only as participant but as facilitator. Andy's Computer Literacy Programs are in Moodle so I would like BaeL project to use Moodle too. I know it is not a free platform, the way to get access to it will show itself.

The outline of the course as stated at the Wiki is:

Course Description: Connectivism and Connective Knowledge is a twelve week course that will explore the concepts of connectivism and connective knowledge and explore their application as a framework for theories of teaching and learning. It will outline a connectivist understanding of educational systems of the future. This course will help participants make sense of the transformative impact of technology in teaching and learning over the last decade. The voices calling for reform do so from many perspectives, with some suggesting 'new learners' require different learning models, others suggesting reform is needed due to globalization and increased competition, and still others suggesting technology is the salvation for the shortfalls evident in the system today. While each of these views tell us about the need for change, they overlook the primary reasons why change is required.

Programs: For credit in Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education and Certificate in Emerging Technologies for Learning (certificate will be available January, 2009.

Technologies Used: Through out this "course" participants will use a variety of technologies. For example, participants will use blogs, Second Life, Page Flakes, attend UStream sessions, attend Elluminate sessions, participate in discussions in Moodle forums, and so on. Additional technologies will be introduced as is required to attend to concerns or opportunities arising over the next 12 weeks.

Facilitators: George Siemens and Stephen Downes will co-facilitate this innovative and timely course.

We have a Moodle Forum, a Course Blog, the above mentioned Course Wiki and a Course Mailing List.

We will have Wednesday Sessions at Elluminate and Friday Sessions held in UStream.

Learners will be asked to complete the following activities during the course (students enrolled for credit through University of Manitoba will receive feedback from facilitators.

The Learners Assignments and Evaluation is as follows:
Weekly reflections on blogs
Participation in moodle forums and commenting on blogs by peer learners in the course
Three short reflective papers (500-750 words)
Concept map (using a tool like CMAP)
Final presentation - video, podcast, presentation addressing "What is the quality of my learning networks: diversity, depth, how connected am I? How has this course influence your view of the process of learning (assuming, of course, that it has)? What types of questions are still outstanding?"

Views about CCK08

Why did I joined and I am willing to pay for it? My first life friends do not get it.
Because I learn more when I have feedback from experts and my work is evaluated. As a plus I will get a diploma, if I succeed, from the University of Manitoba, Canada. I know it may be beyond my league, I am not savvy but I am eager to learn.

On the other hand, to build credentials for online teaching is important for me. I feel more secure and I can provide better service if I study formally.

I toyed with the idea of creating another blog just for the course. At the end I decided to place my mind maps, findings, ideas, difficulties and so on here. I do not write to be read, I opened this blog to collect my experiences as e-Learner and to have a place to rely on to find answers and tools.
I know I won't be comfortable during the course with so many new tools and information; therefore, the idea of having a known blog platform, a known site with my links, the tools I have used and the posts with answers to difficulties will minimize the uncertainty I feel. After I take Blogging4Educators course, at 2009 EVO sessions, I will attempt WorldPress.

The course has not started and I already found two new tools and struggled with a known one. PageFlakes and CMap are new for me. I had seen PageFlakes at the Baw08 course but I did not use it and there was not a PageFlakes page for it, as far as I could understand. I struggled with Google Maps, I did not find where to change the color of the marker!

I have downloaded the readings, I got a no-break and I will find a way to have a printer and a Web Cam soon. I will borrow them :-)

I have taken just one course using Moodle, my Diploma course in Teaching Elglish for First graders. This will be my second one. I want to learn to use Moodle not only as student, I know Andy's Computer Literacy Program uses it. I would like BaeL project to use it too; I know it is not a free platform... the way to get it will show itself.

I found the following presentation, it really widened my views about e-learning and connecting with students. Stephen Downes web page got me thinking seriously. The tools he exposes, his point of view and experience made my imagination fly. My BaeL project will benefit a lot by reading him. He is one of the co-moderators of the course. George Siemens is the other one, in his featured page at The Daily I found a great site to learn about e-Learning, it gives structure to the concept and guidelines. I will explore it further.
If BaeL project gets strength I will need to learn the knowledge foundation that they expose and the tools the suggest.