Google Forms in the Classroom

The snapshot below represents content inspired by one of Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ways collections. It’s of a mindmap that I’ve whipped up with a tool scooped by Nik Peachey in his Tools for Learners collection (…SpiderScribe, 2011.06.22). A link to the actual mindmap is here. I can hardly wait to get permission to contribute it to Tom’s crowd-sourced Google Presentation: Interesting Ways* to Use Google Forms in the Classroom.

Google Forms in the Classroom

Google Forms in the Classroom

[79 words]

A Do, Don’t, and Duh meme

Though I don’t remember . . . where such a meme may have originated, nor where I cottoned on to it, nor what labels or tags the original meme suggested using, here goes, in hope that whatever mechanism(-s) the original author envisioned and implemented to identify and collate responses will serve to collect this one.

  • Do explain clearly and completely what and why you wish your audience to comprehend;
  • Don’t expect your audience to disambiguate references that you make in your messages or posts (a precept that I have intentionally violated in this one); and
  • Duh! Focus your messages and posts on single, or unified, topics.

Happy meme-ing!


“This Is How We Dream” (Miller, 2008)

newhumanities Channel

newhumanities Channel

Check out Richard E. Miller’s presentation for the Modern Language Association’s Presidential Forum, December 28, 2008, “to tell the story of how reading and writing have been transformed by the web” (YouTube, newhumanities, 2009.01.15), and see whether those are the kinds of reading and writing that we teach.

This Is How We Dream, Part 1

This Is How We Dream, Part 2

WinK Core: Weblogging in Kumamoto

The Group Badge below represents a Diigo group forming in Kumamoto to animate, promote, and study blogging initiatives and leadership within an expanding online community. The acronym WinK, for Weblogging in Kumamoto, indicates the group’s geographic focus, though not its initial tertiary education nexus.

The group description in the badge should be self-explanatory. If not please feel free to ask for additional information or clarification in comments on this post. Keywords for the Diigo group include: blogging, collaboration, community, education, leadership, technology, and writing.

A graphic representation for the Diigo group, to replace the default avatar, is in the works. We’ll stew on shortening the group name to fit badge width.

So little reciprocity?

In a Blended Learning and Instruction discussion of Social Networks, Marielle expresses belief in common and continuing desires to maintain individual spaces for online postings, and in increasing ease of cross-posting and cross-referencing from and to multiple venues. In the same post, she points out risks related to diversification of networks and multiplication of personal writing venues (blogs) diluting “critical mass that is key to their success” (Comment 18741, 2008.07.24, JST).

While Marielle recognizes strengths of networking technology that enable people with common interests to form networks, if not communities, easily and quickly; she also points out amplifications and caveats to those bent on rapid diversification of networking sites, and similar migrations from one to the next:

With the viral spread of online networks, we must take care not to dilute them so much (by rapidly migrating to new ones) that they lose their power, which derives from the quantity and quality of their membership. With the proliferation of blogs, we must take care not to get lost in a plethora of solipsistic silos, speaking without listening, reinventing rather than building upon each other’s ideas and deepening the collective dialogue.

(mpal3, So Many Nodes, Not Enough Reciprocity (Yet), 2008.07.03)

At present, lacking (or simply ignoring) great automaticity in propagating connections from one blog or network to the next, it remains a matter of choice where to establish or maintain a toehold on connected writing. For me, the choice this morning was easier done than said, or written about. Anyway, here goes – a short story long:

I’d followed Marielle’s link from Blended Learning to her blog (Authorship 2.0), previewed her post about reciprocity, and decided on the spot to bookmark it in Diigo, highlighting the passage that I’ve quoted above, sharing it with a Diigo branch of the Learning with Computers community, and sending it to a list of friends weblogging in Kumamoto. When I finished bookmarking, commenting on, and description of the post that I’d flagged, the description had grown to such an extent that it seemed almost more suited for blog commentary.

There I was, in Edublogs, ready to leave a comment for Marielle, when it dawned on me that I didn’t recall, immediately, what in a flurry of early morning activity had lead me there. Once I pasted the overflow from the Diigo bookmark description into an Edublog comment window, with no, “Hi, I found this interesting post on your blog through…” (no thanks to hot de-caf. coffee on a sweltering morning before the air-conditioning kicks in), I noticed how impersonal what I’d originally written for a bookmark description sounded as a stand-alone comment.

That inkling led to a quick poke about the Authorship blog to see who had written the post So Many Nodes… (above). However, finding little more than mpal3 on edublogs (and Bmused on there-abouts; I decided that, rather than leave my names, email address, and an impersonal comment on an unknown author’s blog (if knowing an author requires knowing her name), it would be easier to dump the description I’d clipped from Diigo into a new, full-featured blog entry here, then retrace my steps backwards through multiple browsers, tabs, and drop-down histories, in order to suss out what connections I could.

In short, I got lost, and wrote my way back. The remainder of the coffee is chilling, the air-conditioning is working now; I’m heating the world, and writing solipsistically. What else is new? I’ve rediscovered, in a very personal way, what so many nodes mean. I surmise that initial connections in or via writing, whether in the head or on the web, are necessarily loose, and that virtual connectedness is just that – virtual.

EduBlogs Insights: More True than Ever

… Blogging has helped me view each of my students as constructors of knowledge who need frequent opportunities to be involved in the process of creating meaning. Blogs can be short, quick writes that give them the practice they need to learn from putting their thoughts down and then engaging in the dialogue about the process, both online and in the classroom….

Davis, EduBlogs Insights,
Blogs and Pedagogy, 2006.05.31

Now that I’ve spent a year with students in a blended learning environment for whom blogging was the primary course activity, I must say that those choice words from a Blogging for Educators workshop reading ring more true than ever.

One activity that I will continue to assign next year will be quick-writes at the beginning of face-to-face class meetings in order to encourage students to develop fluency in written thought production. This activity will continue to challenge them not only cognitively, but also linguistically – as they write in a language other than their vernacular, and typographically – because they may be better at text input with a thumb or two on cellphone keypads than than they are on keyboards with four fingers and two [one or both] thumbs.

In order to engage them further, in dialogues about the process of writing in English as an additional language, I am seeking to adopt and adapt or develop activities that both promote and facilitate reflective, meta-cognitive and interpersonal writing. I’ll be looking in particular for activities like that as I view cristinacost‘s November 2007 SlideShare, “Practically Speaking: A ‘How To’ Approach and Practical Examples on Blogging in the EFL Classroom.”