Archive for March, 2006

Building a Personal Brand-YOU

Monday, March 27th, 2006

I’ve been following this thread of posts from ME “Liz” Strauss. I’m personally interested because, as you might imagine, I’d like to establish myself as a brand in the field of Educational Technology. I know I’m taking some clumsy steps towards this already (including keeping this blog), but these posts have helped raise my awareness about what I am doing and what I could be doing. And of course, because I’ve found it worth reading, I’m sharing it here. Perhaps some of you will find her tips useful as well.

Building a Personal Brand-YOU (Via Successful Blog.): ” It’s your uniqueness, your skills and abilities, your image, your traits, and your potential. Your brand is how you as a person will fill a need in a way that no other person can.” Liz goes on to suggest tips for forging a personal brand.

Raise your hand if you’re a rock star (Via Teach42.) This post is actually from Steve Dembo, but belongs in this thread: “Fame has become such an incredibly relative term lately. We’re all rockstars, and we’re all screaming fans. We’re all famous for fifteen people out there… there are so many teachers that I meet that don’t realize just how much of a rock star they are… that’s what I love about blogs and podcasts. They provide a medium for us all to become rock stars. Even if it’s only for 15 people.” Incidentally, I’d like to thank the 15 of you for reading. ;)

Brand YOU-Capitalize on Your Strengths (Via Successful Blog.): “Your personal brand communicates your unique value in ways that others understand who you are. Developing a personal brand is a process that takes time and requires investment. Your brand develops as you develop self-awareness. You have to know your product to communicate its values–in this case. your personal strengths.” Liz goes on to expand on her tips for identifying and capitalizing on your strengths.

Personal Branding: Strengths Assessment Tool (Via Successful Blog.) Liz takes the last post a step closer to pragmatic: “Here’s a tool to help you assess what you have to work with.”

Brand YOU-What’s the BIG IDEA? (Via Successful Blog.) This may be the heart of the personal brand philosophy: “The big idea of your personal brand is the most powerful point of your unique value. It’s the one sentence that folks can believe in it and can share with others easily.”

Brand YOU-You Are What They See (Via Successful Blog.) This may go back to the venerable dress for success movement, though in a less prescriptive way, and Liz ties it clearly to the personal brand: “Once you start thinking in this direction, you’ll start to see that everything you do is an opportunity to enhance the big idea of your personal brand. It’s not so hard to develop habits that form around your big idea. That’s the key learning to live your brand.”

Your Resume-The Brand YOU Brochure (Via Successful Blog.) Here is another pragmatic, but almost revelatory post: “You’re making a personal branding brochure. Just let other people think it’s a resume. They’ve been confused before.”

Incidentally, this all builds nicely on the idea of a global microbrand, which caught my attention earlier this year.

I Cosmeo, I can

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Steve Dembo cross posted the announcement of Cosmeo.com

I Cosmeo, I can (Via Teach42.): “It’s a subscription based service for children at home… it has 30,000 video clips in it, a ton of academic games, content aligned to state standards, activities and more.”

I Cosmeo, I Can (Via Discovery Educator Network.): “Think unitedstreaming, but designed with kids in mind and accessible from the home. They really did it up to, students can customize the look and feel of it the site in a ton of ways.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing from my perspective is the braingames Discovery has included. Almost a year ago, when Hall Davidson was making the transition to Discovery, he was picking my brain a little bit about using games to access the United Streaming content. I don’t think that’s what these are, but perhaps this project was part of what he was thinking. At any rate, I certainly haven’t explored all of these games, but while they do not seem particularly complex, some do seem to have simulation elements that might be used to communicate systems content. It’s great to see that Cosmeo is not limited to helping students access linear content. :)

Amber Alert Agent – Admin

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Amber Alert Agent – Admin I’ve just finished a meeting with the folks responsible for this site, which is a tool for parents and educators… it is also meant as a marketing vehicle for internet safety products, but taking a moment to play with the mapping and search features is sobering. Using Google Maps, this service plots the location of sexual predators in a given area. The vendor hopes that schools and other programs might be interested in putting the maps (and advertising) on their web sites.

Bioware Announces MMO

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Bioware Announces MMO (Via Kotaku.) This is exciting because Bioware has been responsible for a number of games that illustrate some of the principles of learning in games that show the most promise, such as the modable Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with it’s “morality engine” for instance, and because they might be able to tap into the promise of the MMO platform in a way that has not yet been achieved. It may be even more exciting that the Elevation Partners, Bono’s social change driven media investment company, are involved. :)

UPDATE:Here is an interesting perspective on this, also posted a while back: Life after WoW (Via Games * Design * Art * Culture.)

Game Institute Adds ‘Using Games In Education’ Course

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Game Institute Adds ‘Using Games In Education’ Course (Via Gamasutra News.) This is VERY exciting. I need access to this material one way or the other. Do I take the class? Or would Muzzy Lane be interested in some sort of partnership with the Orange County Department of Education, or with Educational Technology and Life for that matter? All I have to do is ask, I suppose. Nick deKanter was very helpful last time I talked to him. :)

Here is a direct link to the press release at Muzzy Lane, and teachers can register here.

Control Video Games… With Your Brain!

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Control Video Games… With Your Brain! (Via Kotaku.) This, however, was a first: “A computer controlled by the power of thought alone has been demonstrated at CEBIT in Germany.” I suppose its worth clicking through, for the picture if nothing else. I expect this is where games, virtual reality, and even casual computing is headed.

Using Video Games To Treat ADHD

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Using Video Games To Treat ADHD (Via Kotaku.) An article like this turns up every so often. I make a point of saving the link… and sharing it of course.

What happens when you don’t post right away?

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

In short, you get beat to the story. I’m not sure what the value of not getting beat to the story is for me, but these two cases are almost humorous.

Google’s acquisition of Writely, which has some hoping for an online office suite from Google, appeared all over my feeds:

Writely Confirms Google Acquisition (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Writely and Google (Via elearnspace.)

Congratulations! Writely is now part of Google! (Via theory.isthereason.)

Google and Writely (Via EDITing in the Dark.)

And, if we are to have an online office suite, perhaps it will include something like DabbleDB. DabbleDB is a Very Impressive Web Based Application… (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Google Mars had a similar effect over a few days:

Google Maps for Mars… (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Google Mars (Via EDITing in the Dark.)

Google Maps Mars (Via Lifehacker.)

Check for life on Mars yourself (Via Teach42.)

… and finally, Wesley Freyer posted about it. Google Mars and 3D earth (Via Moving at the Speed of Creativity.) But I guess I’m showing up later than Wesley even… but we did integrate this into our presentations at the OCDE straight away – in time for a presentation at CUE on March 11th even. :)

Hm. It seems the blogging principal, Tim Lauer, was the first to both of these – unless I was reading feeds out of order. How does he do it?

Some Good News… and Soliciting Feedback…

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Some Good News… (Via Weblogg-ed News: The Read/Write Web in the Classroom.) Will posted this good news some time ago and I’ve been meaning to get back to this topic and post my own good news.

I’m afraid the 15 Orange County districts affected by the web filters at the OCDE won’t be getting access to Blogspot back anytime soon. (15 other districts make this decision themselves, and are primarily not blocking blogspot.) The Next Blog button is still a deal killer for the OCDE. However, educators can request that specific blogspot blogs be unblocked, which has happened in a few cases. Unfortunately I know most educators won’t know to do that… and that there are far more educationally viable blogspot sites than we could ever realistically ask to have unblocked.

Even so, the internal discussions at OCDE have been promising. They are seeking a balanced message that will both get out the instructional benefits of these technologies, and help raise awareness about the concerns. Thankfully, I’ve been included in these discussion… and given some responsibility in crafting this message. I’ve already had a chance to develop and deliver drafts to authentic audiences.

The following are my speaking points from two discussions last week… one with the District Educational Technology Leaders and one with the Assistant Superintendents of Instruction. The discussion was lively, informed, and reasonable in both cases. Apparently the assistant sups had never spent so long on a topic (about 30 minutes).

Now I’m soliciting feedback (from any of you). How well have I covered these? Have I got anything wrong? Have I missed anything?

The Benefits

Engagement and Motivation: Digital natives already enjoy using these social technologies outside of school.

Context: Students access, process, and create content with an authentic purpose and audience.

Inquiry: Students can discover, explore, and contribute to topics that interest them.

Collaboration: Students can connect with peers and experts using the tools of the
21st century workplace.

Reflection: Ideally, these tools can facilitate and mediate student thinking and learning.

The Concerns

There is a continuum of concerns.
Access to Inappropriate Content
Inappropriate Sharing
Intellectual Property Issues
Fraud or Identity Theft
Cyber Stalkers or Predators
… and Lack of Understanding

NOTE: It is important to remember that friends and family are at risk, too. Students need to count on each other in order to be safe online.

I elaborate on these extemporaneously and then offer some prompts for discussion. I hope to elaborate in writing here soon. I’m thankful to now be working on two articles and a television spot focused on these same topics. For some audiences (such as the KOCE audience) I need to translate these things into layman’s terms. For the more academic articles, I need to compose a narrative, and include examples (with citations). These various projects will be pulled together over the next few weeks and I will share what I can here. (Some will be published and will only be reprinted with permission.)

So, what do people need to hear? How should I tell this story for maximum impact… for both sharing the potential and keeping our students safe? I look forward to any comments you might share.

Steinkuehler on MMORPGs and Literacy as Tool, Place, and Way of Being.

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Researching literacy as tool, place, and way of being. (PDF, Via c.a. steinkuehler – MMOG research.) I didn’t expect much alignment between this article and my research interests (compared to the previous articles I wrote about), but once again I seem to have chosen well. I found elements I can use in my discussion of context-embedded, inquiry-driven, and socially negotiated learning… and of 21st Century Skills. For the last time tonight… these quotes are categorized based on the section of my own paper they might appear in. They appear with minimal annotation, and they appear sans any formating – I’ve dragged and dropped from my outliner.

This article concludes my readings of Steinkuehler, at least for the time being. Next I move on to her colleague at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, David Shaffer. These posts will come later in the week. Now lets see if I can get any of these referral posts up before Eva or sleep claims me. :)

Context-embedded

- [ ] “MMOGaming is participation in a multimodal, and digital textual
place” (Steinkuehler, 2005b, p. 98)
- [ ] “Within video games… the reader becomes or inhabits a symbol,
enabling him or her to interact with signs as if they are the
very things they represent” (Steinkuehler, 2005b, p. 99)

Inquiry-driven

- [ ] MMOGs “serve as both the tool for (e.g. archiving digital
documents, accessing participant information) and object of (e.g.
fan fiction virctual social interaction) inquiry.” (Steinkuehler,
2005b, p. 96)

Socially Negotiated

- [ ] MMOGs allow “socially [and] materially distribvuted cognition
[to] aid us in unpacking the situatied interactions of
individuals with their environment, tools, artifacts,
representations, and other actors.” (Steinkuehler, 2005b, p. 96)

21st Century Skills

- [ ] digital age literacies: MMOGs “are new ways of reading and
writing – are new forms of literacy… [and suggest] new
definitons of what litracy is or could be.” (Steinkuehler,
2005b, p. 97)
- [ ] “video games are cutting-edge examples of digital technologies,
they represent a rich site for anticipating the new kinds of
literacies emerging.” (Steinkuehler, 2005b, p. 99)

ReferenceReading Research Quarterly, 40(1), 7-12.