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E4E on Hiatus (or just a new direction?)

gone fishing

So, I just got back from the last class of my final semester of coursework for my Ed.M. from Columbia. I had a wonderful semester, and the whole two years, really, were quite wonderful. I met amazing people, worked on inspiring projects, and grew in ways I didn’t know were still possible. That being said, it’s time to go “back to work” and I fear I will have even less time to update this blog, as it’s already been quite a few weeks, with the hectic nature of finals and just life in general. For now, I think I will leave it up and post occasional awesome links to share with my readers and so that I may find them again later (though I usually use Diigo and Pocket (formerly Read It Later) for that). I’ve become more active on Twitter lately and see that as my main outlet for sharing professional resources, as I don’t know WHO has the time to blog anymore! I’m still going to be blogging at two other organizations (a non-profit and a Games and Learning research blog), so I decided the one that had to go was my own.  Thanks for two great years in the blogosphere, and I’ll definitely still be around!

Follow me on Twitter to share awesome #edtech and #engchat links and sources:  @lindseyedixon

Literacy App Series #2: Grimm’s Red Riding Hood

Photo Credit: Me

Grimm’s Red Riding Hood – is an animated, interactive storybook for young kids that features some of the coolest use of the accelerometer (for the background shots) that I’ve seen in a kids app. You can read at your own pace or have a narrator read along with you. After each page or two, you are shown a wonderful, 3-D ‘pop-up book’ scene that goes along with the story and has games within it or interactivity to enhance the story for the reader.

Pros: Great animation, graphics and sound. The story is a classic, and is smoothly narrated when that option is selected. The pop-up scenes are fun to interact with and some even feature built in mini-games that help advance the story. The user-interface is slick and bug free and quite intuitive for kids: you can either use the arrows along the bottom of the screen or just drag the pages forward and back, as you would a real book.

Cons: It would have been nice to have a few more ‘game like’ features in the app to keep kids attention and allow them to interact more with the story.

Score: 4 and ½ out of 5 paperweights

Price: (as of March 1, 2012) Free

Twitter as a Personal Learning Network

Back from a long, mostly restful holiday break. School just started back up yesterday and I’m already enjoying my classes very much. I’m studying virtual worlds, mobile phones for learning, interactive media, and instructional design of ed tech.

But as much as I learn from my classmates and professors, I also learn a lot from Twitter. I’m still relatively ‘new’ to the Twitter scene, but I’ve already made some fantastic connections and picked up some great resources that have informed my research and studies. Twitter, despite my initial misgivings (aka: social media fatigue), is actually a wonderful way to start your personal learning network (PLN). It is truly easy to find and connect to other educators, researchers and #edtech gurus who all post excellent articles and provide a lot of ‘food for thought’ throughout the day. While at first, my English-major tendencies scoffed at the miserly 140 character limit, I now view it as one of the greatest benefits of Twitter: you can follow leaders in your field and other contacts, get their take on issues and avail yourself of their shared resources, without having to have long, protracted conversations with each of your followers or those you yourself follow. For a busy world, Twitter is perfection personified.

So, on that note: Follow Me @lindseyedixon and help me stay up on all things #edtech and I’ll do the same for you. I’m especially interested in the topics listed on my Twitter profile, but I’m also a musician, artist, polyglot (in training), multi-sport athlete and lover of all things pinot noir, so feel free to chat me up about those things, also.

The Benefit of My Class “Network” (aka: Where My Friends At?)

The real benefit of my class network…is that you all have such great thoughts!  I figured I would switch things up this week and focus more on *your* thoughts, you being in my ‘network’ as it stands, rather than posting a comment or three to your blogs where only you or a few others will seem them. This way, anyone who visits my page can see ‘my network’ in action and bask in your brilliance, and also see one of the very real benefits /aspects of social capital that comes with social networking.

Christine W.: “I think the internet has a lot of positives and negatives, but if used correctly it can positively effect almost every aspect of one’s life – such as jobs, relationships, and opportunities. Parents should be skeptical of the internet but try to keep an open mind and learn more about it so they can teach their children how to safely use it.” I agree. I don’t think we should prohibit kids from using the internet because it robs them of too many resources and opportunities…we do need to monitor that use, though.

Bank: (about one of his friends) “One of her friends suggested http://www.match.com to her. She met a nice American gentleman from the site. After establishing online relationship for a while, they finally met face-to-face. Two years later, they got married. They have been together for 4 years. – Happy Ending!” I know a few people as well who are still together  and happy after meeting online.

Fonteini: “Would Unthink have any luck against the well established Facebook, which is now approaching 800 million users? We will have to wait and see what happens!However, according to analysts, the mere appearance of a more “alternative” social network is a sign that a change is needed.” Welcome to Google+.

Sandra: (regarding online dating profiles) “Everyone expects the photos to be a little dated, the weight (if you are female) a little higher, the height a little lower (if you are male) and the age a little lower for both men and women. The real concerns are actually more serious. Many (perhaps a higher percentage for men) lie about their marital status, their relationship status and many other factors about their lives. Whether you are pursuing a relationship that begins online or offline, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).”  True dat!

Andrea: (a news article posted to her Facebook wall) “Translation: Having more friends on Facebook would enhance some brain areas.”  And see, I think it has made my mind mush.

Christine H.: “I think it is interesting that Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe write that “the internet has been linked both to increases and decreases in social capital” (p. 1146). In the early years of the internet, I think there was a fear that online communities would lead to a decrease in social capital because people were spending less time in their “real” worlds and more time in their virtual ones. However, I do think that SNSs, in their current form, are supplementing our “real” world relationships and so, it would seem, they could be helping us increase our social capital.”  I so agree. I feel that they supplement more than replace, though obviously they do both.

Keith: (from the Mashable Mediasummit in NYC): “There was some great discussion of where Foursquare is headed and what the competition in the market looks like for them.”  I ❤ Foursquare!

Jenifer: “After having read this article, can I really blame my parents for some of the opportunities I may have missed while growing up? My parents had no experience in computer knowledge and skills to be able to educate me. I truly believe that there should be more school programs that would reach out to the immigrant population to help educate them on the skills needed to be able to help their children at home.” This is probably true going back generations, with parents limiting kids use of of the TV, the radio, etc., based on what they think about the medium and content available at the time (and the ‘hype’ about it on the street).

Songlak: “since the magnitude is usually small and is hardly detected face-to face, I guess it is kind of okay to lie a little in Online dating sites. (as long as it is not the extremes, marital status, age exaggeration etc.) After all people you meet in a bar can lie to you about all sorts of things.” excellent point! I’m sure people DO lie when they flirt in bars, it’s just less researched or ‘sexy’ to look into, I think. We all misrepresent ourselves when flirting…even if it’s just doing the dishes more than normal that first few months.  😉

Yuewen: “I agree that parents should carefully monitor their young children’s use of computer and internet. For those parents who have limited or no computer knowledge and skills, they need to learn the technology to better protect their young children.” agreed. It’s the parents job to protect a young child, even if that means learning what they don’t know they don’t know.

Christina: “Makeup is not any more “natural” or “normal” than “deceiving” or “drawing attention” to people’s characteristics on an online profile.”  Favorite comment of the week! Gold star!  Wonderful analogy that makes the issue very clear to you readers and very relatable. 

Sorachai: “Parents should be taught be smart about the pros and cons of technology and non-technology. Kids should be taught how to have disciplines when work within the particular mode of lives. Be smart about things we see and encounter, acknowledging they all have pros and cons.” There is definitely a need to educate parents (at least those that aren’t ‘hip’ to technology already) so that they can protect their kids.

Maria: “As a female I catch myself in surprise judging females if they are overweight, sloppy at times and making up excuses for men if I spot them with a beer belly, with a stain on their shirt, with a bushy, unkempt hairstyle in the morning, etc. What does that say about what we came to believe whether consciously or subconsciously of how we are “expected to appear in public?” there are sooooo many shows on TV and in the movies where  the guy is overweight and often unkempt and gets a total knock-out babe, and you often see this in real life…or at least more than you see a drop dead gorgeous guy with a homely woman on his arm. 

Pinar: “In Victorian times the balls were social events where men and women tried to find and impress their future wives and husbands. Men looked for young and attractive women, and women looked for men with social status and ability to provide. But looking at the literature (although mostly fiction) from  that time we may not be totally off to assume men and women used deception to attract one another back then, too (although they would know each other offline). Maybe not about their height and weight but about their social status, background, affiliations etc.” excellent look to the past to find the same phenomenon we are now studying. I think this has been going on since the caveman lied about how big his cave was and how pretty his etching were. 

Liz: “The study in my opinion was not “eye” opening and didn’t present information that I wouldn’t naturally assume:  “women lie about their weight and men generally lie about their height”.”  Exactly!!  I was surprised that some of our classmates were surprised about this.  🙂

Will: “Play is one of the ways we learn about the world. I can image how playing with benign online norms without fear of reprisal could tease out new information about our offline social structures and their actors.” I loved your anecdote about not knowing the ‘propriety’ level when contacting a professor during off-hours through chat.

Cyrille: “As far as Facebook is concerned, the fact that three quarters of parents actually helped their child sign up calls into question COPPA’s relevance. COPPA was written into law before social networks came into being, boyd points out, and the question is no longer whether children should be allowed to share data but rather the ways in which this data is stored and used.” I thought this number was amazing (3/4ths)…most of the students I taught (numbering in the high hundreds) signed themselves up for Facebook and many of their parents were unaware of their accounts. Makes me skeptical of this ‘statistic.’

Patrick: “To challenge the authors of this article, is everyone necessarily using Facebook for social capital, or are these cries of longing? ” I love ‘cries of longing.’ I know that I use Facebook just as you said, as a way to stay connected to people I miss, whose lives I used to be ‘a part of’ (before time and distance and LIFE intervened). I think LinkedIn and Facebook are very different and serve vastly different purposes.

Weekly Round-Up: Education News

Study Links Higher Education With Lower Blood Pressure:
http://www.braintrack.com/college-and-work-news/articles/study-links-higher-education-with-lower-blood-pressure-20110228

UN Chief Says Invest More In Education:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37646&Cr=education&Cr1=

Why Teachers Are Enraged:
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/28/134134735/Op-Ed-Rage-Simmering-Among-American-Teachers

Weekly Round-Up: Education News

Sorry for the lack of updates. It has been a very busy month at the high school where I currently teach. I should be back on track now.

——————

Report ties Pakistan schools to militancy and violence:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65K5ZQ20100621

Sex-Education program causes stir in largely Catholic Phillipines:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gLNTkavNWian5g-nU5evTJnyJnIA

The hidden costs of “free public school education” in Myanmar:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/LF22Ae01.html

Migrant students struggle to get an education in China:

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_15311641?nclick_check=1

Weekly Round-up: Education News

Teachers from China teach Chinese language and culture to American students in the Mid-West; they have interesting perspectives on education in general (students in China can study upwards of 16-18 hours a day compared to 6-8 hours a day in America) and American’s attitudes towards teachers–and the profession–of teaching, in particular.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/education/10teacher.html?pagewanted=2&hpw

Great article about low-fee schools in India and around the world.  Provides compelling support for, but also opinions against, these schools.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/05/09/class_difference/

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