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Scavenger hunts and connectivism

Tower of the AmericasAt the Questionmark User's Conference here in San Antonio. Having some good ed-tech related fun down here. This one is a smaller conference, and I like those as opposed to the biggie ones since you actually get a chance to meet and network with people. Had some good times last night during scavenger hunt where we had to roam around San Antonio (some of us with more margarita in them than others...guilty!). We had to find the cheesiest souvenirs and take pictures from/on/with various landmarks. Over to the left is the "Tower of the Americas." No rules against using Photoshop, I hope.

Heard an excellent keynote from Terry McGinn this morning about organizational culture and how it can be empirically measured. This is an interesting concept, not only because I work at a school where there are multiple cultures (administrators, students, faculty and all the permutations thereof) but also since the speaker stepped through various slides illustrating the evolution of sociology and how the social scientists of yesteryear viewed society, culture, and behavior. This kind of parallels the march of other social sciences and how they all seem to dovetail into each other and run parallel to each other at various points along the timeline.

The point of the keynote was about something entirely different, but the first few slides got me thinking about how "social" thought and research has evolved. In the beginning (being late 19th century for the most part), the dominant focus was on the individual and what was inside their head. Psychology started off with psychoanalysis with its intense study of the self and our hidden impulses. Educational psychology itself started with an early form of behaviorism (Thorndike, 1898) which was eventually reflected in the field of psychology itself as it shifted to a more rote stimulus-response stance, allowing itself only to observe behaviors that can be seen and tracked: teasing rats with levers and food pellets, shocking monkeys when they are bad, etc. (really brutal time if you ask me). Around the 50s and 60s, science backed off a little bit and tried to study internal processing, what was going on inside our heads again...but more focus was placed on how thoughts were formed, judgements made, and how these affected how we view the world. Perception became a big deal. More research on cognition sparked an interest in group dynamics and behavior of individuals when peer pressure or other forms of social engineering are applied. Educational psychology and general psychology research finally seemed to get in synch and the study of education as a science gained some ground.

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I has a horn, gonna toot it

On our recent project to deploy Sakai at FIDM, I am presenting in biweekly seminars on sharing “Experiences Migrating from an Existing CMS to Sakai” through March.

More press releases:

At FIDM we also have done a lot of work utilizing Questionmark Perception for online testing. Getting faculty and student requirements documented before deploying that panacea technology solution is very important. They will be the ones using this app, and your customers will always have a unique perspective on how it should work for them. This is the subject of a presentation I will be giving at the Questionmark 2008 Users Conference in San Antonio.

Props to ICHC for the posting title inspiration.

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Happy Holidays…cleaning out the closet

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And so once again the holidays are upon us. 2007 has been a stressful in both our work and personal lives. Dear friends of ours are moving away, we have met up with new old friends this year, and have been adjusting to life back in the land of the living.

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Best. powerpoint. ever.

With my recent glut of presentation-giving, I thought reposting this here would be a great idea. Found it on lifehacker

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Twiterring by myself

twitterific rulez...google it

Yes it sounds dirty...

I read this article this morning in the Wall Street Journal, which is odd...primarily because it was the Wall Street Journal, and decidedly paper-based. But anyhow, the author was writing about Facebook, social networking and all that jazz.

I learned a few things:

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Liveblogging Educause 2007

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How sad and how web 2.0y of me to do this, but I thought it would be a nice experiment. Attending the Educause conference in Seattle right now and sitting in on a session about faculty training in learning management systems...most likely annoying the person sitting next to me with my tictacky typing. How many people are reading over my shoulder right now?

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Discover Kauai!

This is an excellent video about my favorite place on the entire planet, Kauai. If you are going, or plan to go, watch this video...and then go to my father-in-law's condo in Poipu (very local-friendly, we swear). We try to be good kama'aina.

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Why the Chronicle of Higher Ed sucks

Every education technology professional should be mad as hell right now. The Chronicle of Higher Luddites penned an eediot diatribe completely tearing down the very things we hold dear: educational technology. Read the article and email Mr. Rob Jenkins at careers@chronicle.com, email him in outrage. In fact, feel free to cut and paste my own email to him below. You can attack ed-tech in general, but when you attack my own bread and butter too, it's on.

Read on for the cut and paste letter that YOU can send Mr. Jenkins...

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It’s 115 degrees Fahrenheit

Vegas, baby!

I am broiling, well maybe not anymore as I am in the hotel room, but still. Things shouldn't get this hot. Al Gore, save me.

The wife loves Vegas, and I don't really care for it. It's like one gaudy overgrown amusement park. It is getting better for me though, and I have grown to appreciate it a little more every time. I got to see Spam-a-lot last night and that was a blast. Diana wasn't too into it though, since she wasn't a fan of Monty Python. But she stuck through it, I love her for it.

Today, we plan to stay indoors, hydrate, spend some "alone-time" together, and shop mostly.

The view, did you see the view up there?? Wow! Tonight is the 4th of July and I am going to try to snap some fireworks with my crappy camera (which you can plainly see in my beautiful scenery shot above) I will try to update the blog with the fireworks shots if I get any good ones.

I need this vacation. I just finished my big school project and have been stuck on the computer all-hours the last two weeks, on top of work, on top the "other" work...exhausted. Does anyone go to Vegas to rest? I do.

I can't deal with the casino right now since I can't breathe down there. After finally kicking smoking for good over a year ago, I totally seized up last night trying to play slots. This woman sat down next to me with an unfiltered and I closed up like an asthmatic kid. She moved though, but there were so many people smoking that it was generally impossible to breathe. Maybe I am oversensitive now.

"Death awaits you with big, sharp, pointy teeth!"

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I am building a Frankenstein

Between my wife getting her gall bladder removed and my sister getting a kidney taken out, I am going to start a Frankenstein monster. I figure I have a long way to go. As of now I would have the rudiments of a digestive system. The most I could actually stomach donating would be a pinky toe I think. Oh well, it was a nice thought.

So I made special e-cards for the occasions instead. I am not an animator, I develop online courses that I spend significantly more time on...so I will lay that out right now. But I think they are cute in a really morbid sort of way, so click on if you feel like watching.

Kidney the Kid Golly the Gall Bladder

Disclaimer: They both loved their cards before you dump on me. They are both doing just fine now.

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