Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Canvas is another platform for offering free courses -- and Maria Andersen's course on social media deserves a look

Worth a look
Maria Andersen has a number of notable observations that have grown in popularity.  how about a click on her "Learn This" video?

She offers a Social Media course on Canvas.com, a platform for offering courses that has hundreds of instructors.  Kay Latona suggested that I look at it and I've invested about two hours in doodling on the site.  I haven't figured it out yet, but here's what a course looks like:

I like the ideograms for "no grade given" and some of the other features (peer grading) that are common to massive open online courses.

Visually the Canvas "look" has some appeal.  I plan to share this link with several students, especially students who claim that they'll never enjoy or want to take an online course.  "I have to see the teacher in the room," stated one student.  Well, it's amazing how much we can learn from someone's video so that when we are in the same room with that person, we'll be ready to ask questions and discuss some ideas.

The concept of "face time" with an instructor will eventually mean, "I read the instructor's works, I've seen some videos, and now I have some questions.  I've even emailed the instructor and gotten some guidance before the first class, so I think I've prepared myself for the first face-to-face discussion."  That might be the order of interaction.

As a survivor of an online degree program, I've gone trhough the stages of reading the author's words, scanning the author's website, downloading numerous recommended videos and audio files (that the author recommended), watching videos that the author had posted and even emailing the author (who is an editor of an online journal)... so I also read some of the journal that he edits.  Only at that point did I enroll in the author's class.   I felt more prepared to take the class than any course I'd taken before (where the usual first contact with the instructor is the first minute of the class).  

The online process is step by step... and I imagine that taking a course with Maria Andersen would be similar, since I had learned abou her lectures on YouTube and her writings in the Futurist before I saw her course on Social Media via Canvas.  

These logos and ideograms are the
ways to communicate in the future
So, students of the future, why not do a little digging into the archives of the Internet to learn what the instructor has previously written or posted on blogs or uploaded as "useful" or recommended as worth viewing?  You'll get some informal learning by reading what the instructor has read.   I also hope that my students who are taking a test prep class get the idea that informal learning that is tangential to the course's content is where more learning takes place.  For example, I read a book about Mother Cabrini (I think the book was called the Candidate) because the instructor recommended that book.  It had something to do with administrative law but the book revealed the spectrum of interests that the instructor had -- and the instructor eventually became a candidate and council member of the City of Fort Lauderdale.  His wife is a regular contributor to "what Steve is reading" because she sends recommendations to my wife (which I end up noticing, thanks to my spouse's tenacious sharing of her inbox).  

This ramble might give my students some ideas about what to include in their "learn this next" list.   The immediate goal might be certification and "learning enough to get through the gateway," but the long-term advantage goes to the people who have access to information... (and a system for developing a net to capture new information) and one way to get access to new info is to let enough of the right people know what you are interested in and hope that they will clip and pass along to you the information that you need.   

I want my colleagues at University of Havana to
have access to this material... 
My friend Mario and I are passing along requests for information from students in a university in the Caribbean who have limited access ot the Internet, so I'm looking for people who can help in their requests for information.  So look for the next blog item, something about "Request for Help in Responding to Requests for Information from Students who have limited access to the Internet."

https://www.canvas.net/courses/social-media  Maria Andersen's course

MentorsOnVideo.org, virtual mentors, JacketFlap.com and students in Los Angeles -- something is coming together...

I read somewhere that teachers ought to spend more time looking for mentors than lecturing in class.  More time spent scouring the city for role models would bring in more teachers.

(I think this idea is somewhere in The Big Picture) metcenter.org

From somewhere in JacketFlap.com
So I started an effort called MentorsOnVideo.org.  People who gave me short pieces of advice on video could turn into mentors that I could "call on" via YouTube to offer information to my students.

So when I heard about JacketFlap.com as a way to spread information about my books, I started posting some information and I got an email message from an artist who illustrates books for young adults.  Here's his message:

Hi, Eric Hammond has left you a comment on your profile at JacketFlap.com. Here's Eric's comment: 

Here's a message from Eric:
Greetings, fellow Floridian. Welcome to JacketFlap, Steve.

To leave a comment on Eric's profile, please click on the link below:


Add caption
Hmmm...  I had recently met some students at Highland Park High School (see their efforts below) and I was in the midst of compiling information for a book about virtual mentoring.   So why not introduce some of those students to the artwork of EricHammondSite.com.  

Who knows who might get inspired?   You can find more info at the JacketFlap.com page for Eric.

oh, and looking for inspiration?  How about PeterBregman.com?  The columnist appears in PsychologyToday.com.  I've been looking at his columns for guidance

See the full column

Steve Jobs is often noted for thinking outside the box, but it turns out that innovators have to say "no" more often than I expected.  I thought that being flexible and open-minded might not go with saying "no."   Here's what Jobs observed:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying "no" to 1,000 things.   source for another side of the 1000 "no"s

What options do teachers have for using Facebook for creating informal learning by students? Can Facebook be used to alert students that their teacher has just read an interesting article on Scribd.com?

Building a responsible and protected space for students on the Internet is a challenge.  

It's nice when students can create a profile that appears with their profile on the same location as a teacher's profile.

Consider the status of "colleague" that a student might feel if that student also appears on JacketFlap.com.  "My teacher is an author... and I'm an author, too!"


This is my profile.  Imagine if one of my students creates a book on Createspace.com and then posts the information on Jacketflap.com.   Colleagues... 

How can we use Facebook without being "friends"?
One of the advantages of using Facebook publicly as a teacher is that when I visit Scribd.com and Youtube, the LIKES that I click on are public and go to my public wall.  Any student that is "friends" with me gets a notification:  Steve just read a document on Scribd.com.

Some of my students then read the document.  This is part of the YourNetImpact.com effect.  Teachers can lead students in the use of social media.  

Is it possible to have the same impact if the teacher is not in direct relation with the student?  Well, what if a teacher creates an open group that the students can join?   Then the teacher can post a link, such as, "Here's a document on scribd.com that I found interesting."


This is a closed group
My students have to be members to see the posts in this group.

Here's an example of an open group

When I post something, my students can see the items, even if they are not members of the group.

This is an example of a post (by Teri) that shows items that she is looking at.  Others in the group (and other people who are not members, such as my students) can see what Teri has recommended.

Here are some sample looks:

  1. Should Professors Use Facebook to Communicate with Students ...


    Feb 27, 2012 – Nearly 85% of faculty have a Facebook account, two-thirds are on LinkedIn, and 50% are on Twitter according to research from Faculty Focus.

  2. Friendly Advice For Teachers: Beware Of Facebook : NPR

    www.npr.org › News › US › Education
    Dec 7, 2011 – It's becoming a particular challenge for teachers who can quickly rile ...too broad and may have prevented teachers from using Facebook at all.

  3. How college professors use Facebook - Schools.com

    www.schools.com › Visuals

    Apr 27, 2011 – It's a known fact that students are Facebook-obsessed. A new survey shows that teachers might rival their younger counterparts when it comes ...

  4. Do College Professors Use Facebook? | Edudemic


    Apr 28, 2011 – From connecting students to enhancing the educational experience, it's popping up everywhere. Does that mean college professors u.

  5. Every Teacher's Must-Have Guide To Facebook | Edudemic


    Jan 2, 2011 – What do you think about teachers using Facebook? Are both students and teachers responsible for online interaction? Should teachers create ...

The general idea is "be safe.  Be careful about what you post.  Perhaps students can get information from you if you create a Subscribe opportunity."

This is a typical administrative attitude about the relationship between an instructor and a student.  It is easily addressed by having the professor sending the student to the official channel, thereby leaving the FB channel open for other interactions.

Send comments to TheEbookMan@gmail.com

Here's another example of what I do with Scribd.com and Facebook (with a little jump on Twitter).

I can post an announcement on the Facebook page called FreeEnglishLessons.com and then I can tweet a short link to the scribd.com

These interactions can lead to informal learning outside the classroom.

We can strategically reinforce something that happened in class by going onto Facebook and posting some items.

Students who don't use Facebook miss these interactions but can sometimes get the information from peers.  Hmmm.  Any other suggestions about how to use FB to make discussions more interesting?

Free Ebook about Math: "When are we ever going to use this?" is a great way to reach young people

Why not throw a series of questions and interesting headlines at students (instead of topics of chapters)?   Why not ask questions instead of lecturing about division, algebra, slopes and matrices?

Here's a delightful approach:  a PDF math book.  Why not download it now?

This is from the Hal Saunders book


The Saber-Tooth Curriculum and Transformation of Schools -- ah, now I see why it's taking so long....

This journey on the Interent started with the announcement of a free online conference that will start May 6.

I saw a link to the conference.


The video recommended the website http://www.wholechildeducation.org/

The right side of the web site has a list of podcasts

One of the podcasts mentions a FREE CHAPTER 


I never found the free chapter but I did find the preface of the book interesting, which mentions the PDF that is listed below.

Here are two pages from the preface (which is freely found on the website, so I'm reproducing the pages here):

this is the little link to the "excerpt" view of the book's preface.  That's where I found the reference to the Saber Tooth Curriculum.

So... let's look up "saber tooth curriculum"

  1. THE SABER-TOOTH CURRICULUM by J. Abner Peddiwell ...


    by JAbner Peddiwell. Adapated from: Benjamin, H.R.W., Saber-tooth Curriculum, Including Other. Lectures in the History of Paleolithic Education, McGraw-Hill, ...

  2. The Saber-Tooth Curriculum by J. Abner Peddiwell - Reviews ...


     Rating: 3.8 - 52 votes
    The Saber-Tooth Curriculum has 52 ratings and 15 reviews. Bria said: Since the parody was so thinly veiled, I assumed every aspect of it had a specific a...

  3. Harold R. W. Benjamin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    The Saber Tooth Curriculum was written by Benjamin in a pseudo name of JAbner Peddiwell. Published in 1939, The Saber Tooth Curriculum is satirical ...

    The first link goes to a short summary of the book in PDF format.

    For people who just don't want to click, here are some delightful summaries of the story:

    A delightful tale.    

    There is hope in Florida.  It will soon be possible for a student to get a high school diploma without taking Algebra 2.  

    In other words, the concept of "transformation" is scary.  It's more thorough than "tweak" or "reform" or "new procedures."  The entire structure of a building is called into question.  Do we need a building?  What if we could deliver more of the curriculum through TV or audio files sent to the home?  Hmmm.

    See Dr. Fischler's blog to review some of these ideas...  abe.thestudentistheclass.com or Transform-Education.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Open Badges might be a way to award students for independent learning

Here's an interesting concept:  Earn a badge that shows others a form of informal or "less formal than from a University" education.
Go head, click on http://openbadges.org/

Sounds good.  Here are some screen shots from OpenBadge.org

All you have to do is click HERE to learn more

In the meantime, while I learn about wikis and the various pieces of creating an OpenBadge.org, I have offered the following course online:

The Certificate of Applied Instructional Technologies

You can learn more by clicking HERE

PaintBrush might be what Mac Users need: Free software that doesn't come with the Mac

One of the pleasures of buying a Mac (Apple) is the collection of software that comes with the hardware:

TextEdit for most easy text
Mail software
iMovie and iDVD

But what could new users benefit from?

I recommend these programs for downloads (free)

I learned about this program from this site

OpenOffice is free (with an excellent feature for creating PDF files).

Another type of "Paint" program is GIMP, the open source software that is similar to Photoshop by Adobe.

Pay for this:
Handbrake to rip DVDs and get the videos out of a DVD.

What programs have you found useful?
Send your suggestions to TheEBookMan@gmail.com