Sunday, November 19, 2006

My plans for the holiday break

I am planning to have some lovely family time these holidays. My daughter Claire is coming home for Christmas (she lives in Los Angeles) with her partner whom I have not yet met so it will be great to show him around Sydney and catch up with her.

Before they come I hope to spend some time de-cluttering- getting rid of the things I no longer use or need !!!

I also hope to be able to spend a few days in a peaceful place in the country- I feel the need to get away from technology (which I love) and slow down and just enjoy the sounds of nature for a little while. One of my favourite places to unwind is Maleny, about two hours north of Brisbane... here is a picture.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A model of persuasive writing

Why should YOU care about Global warming?

Every one of us will be seriously affected by global warming. Many experts predict that it will end life as we know it, bringing drought, disease, tornadoes, floods, massive climate change, lost ecosystems.

And from sweltering heat to rising seas, global warming's effects have already begun.

If we do nothing this is what you can expect:

* Continuous water shortages
* Food shortages and starvation as farm land becomes unproductive
* Extreme weather- storms, cyclones, floods which bring plagues of rats and disease
* An increase in diseases for which there is no treatment
* A drastic reduction in wages and living standards,20867,20674023-30417,00.html
* Rising sea levels which will cause massive numbers of refugees- Australia could be forced to resettle millions whose homes have disappeared
* Increased conflict in the world which could see you or your children called up to fight overseas wars.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Welcome to my Cert III students

I'd like to welcome all of my Certificate III students in Communication to my Connected Learning Network. Last night they all created their personal blogs, subscribed to each other's blog using their bloglines accounts and manually created a blogroll on the side-bars of their blogs.

I will be very interested to see how you take to blogging and whether it helps you to increase your confidence and ability to express yourself in other contexts. My intuition is that writing in a blog is a different experience to writing in an online journal which we have all kept for the last few months.

It's also much easier to upload pictures too so let's get them happening.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A video game for training counsellors

Just read a great review of Facade, a video story that teaches social skills-

"Most serious, full-scale games are very large and take place in big alternative universes. Mateas and Stern decided to create a game you could play from beginning to end in twenty minutes... Mateas and Stern decided they would make a game about people and characters. In a standard video game, it’s very easy to kill someone but virtually impossible to talk to them. In their game, they decided it would be the other way around." from review October 2006 Atlantic Monthly

Here's the link for the game

Monday, October 16, 2006

Presentation on using RSS feeds

RSS feeds are at the heart of the concept of a Connected Learning Community which we define as a group of people having an online presence (like a blog) which has an RSS feed who subscribe to each others' blogs through RSS feeds.

Why use RSS feed?

1. a quick way to scan huge amounts of highly specific professional information.


2. subscribe to blogs which gather information from a huge number of sources

3. You can see what experts in your field are reading and subscribe.
Example GO to Members

4. Can quickly see anything new anyone in your network has posted- an alternative to clicking through lots of blogs needlessly or overloading email inboxes.

Set up a feed for each class
Set up a feed for family
Set up a feed for colleagues to share information
Set up a feed for emails.


Bloglines is one of a number of feedreaders.

1) setting up a bloglines account
2) Creating folders
3) Subscribing to some of these feeds
4) Saving articles that you want to view later.

Let's loook at subscribing to a UK newspaper

This is a presentation Sean did a couple of years ago on blogs and RSS feeds for libraries

Here are some videos you can watch from home on how to use it
(Note Acces to Youtube has been banned by DET )

Bloglines Registration
1 min video on how to register for Bloglines-Good for very basic distance learners

Video Episode0011 - How to use
A good starter video on how to use bloglines about 4 mins

Adding Web Feeds
a 2 min video on subscribing to rss feeds with bloglines-shows how to right click on shortcut button

Add RSS feeds to Bloglines
explains that you should only seleve one feed from each source- very useful for beginners.

Saving Articles about 2 mins. Good tip. Nice voice short video on how to check keep box on bloglines to stop article from disappearing

Subscribing to a Blog using Bloglines
about 4 mins- covers basics of rss feeds and how to set up and use bloglines. Also how to install an update notifier (if you're desperate for stimulation!!)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Explaining how to set up a CLC

Next Friday Diana Khabbaz and I will be trying to demonstrate to people at the Learnscope Showcase how to create a connected learning network.

I've spent the last few hours trying to simplify the steps of setting up a bloglines account and creating a blogroll.

I've broken it down into 7 steps- has anyone else got a simple summary?

Am I being too ambitious? Should we just show them how to edit the sidebar of the blog to add the names of the people in their blogging group?

People who inspire me 1.

I've decided to do some blog posts about people who inspire me- something I have wanted to get around to doing for years.

1. Peace Pilgrim

From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only "Peace Pilgrim" walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food." In the course of her 28 year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. I highly recommend the one hour documentary about her life.
Watch the entire hour long documentary film about Peace Pilgrim - Peace Pilgrim, An American Sage (Real Player)

Some thoughts on non-violence.

I know that in blogs you're supposed to put a link to long posts but I can't find an online version of this email that someone sent me. It crystallises so many of the things I've been thinking about this week.

What kind of people are these?
Joan Chittister, OSB

The country that went through the rabid slaughter of children at Columbine high school several years ago once again stood stunned at the rampage in a tiny Amish school this month.

We were, in fact, more than unusually saddened by this particular display of viciousness. It was, of course, an attack on 10 little girls. Amish. Five dead. Five wounded. Most people called it “tragic.” After all, the Amish represent no threat to society, provide no excuse for the rationalization of the violence so easily practiced by the world around them.

Nevertheless, in a nation steeped in violence — from its video games to its military history, in foreign policy and on its streets — the question remains: Why did this particular disaster affect us like it did? You’d think we’d be accustomed to mayhem by now.

But there was something different about this one. What was it?

Make no mistake about it: the Amish are not strangers to violence.

The kind of ferocity experienced by the Amish as they buried the five girl-children murdered by a crazed gunmen two weeks ago has not really been foreign to Amish life and the history of this peaceful people.

This is a people born out of opposition to violence — and, at the same time, persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants in the era before religious tolerance. Having failed to adhere to the orthodoxy of one or the other of the controlling theocracies of their home territories, they were banished, executed, imprisoned, drowned or burned at the stake by both groups.

But for over 300 years, they have persisted in their intention to be who and what they said they were.

Founded by a once-Catholic priest in the late 17century, as part of the reformist movements of the time, the Mennonites — from which the Amish later sprung — were, from the beginning, a simple movement. They believe in adult baptism, pacifism, religious tolerance, separation of church and state, opposition to capital punishment, and opposition to oaths and civil office.

They organize themselves into local house churches. They separate from the “evil” of the world around them. They live simple lives opposed to the technological devices — and even the changing clothing styles — which, in their view, encourage the individualism, the pride, that erodes community, family, a righteous society. They work hard. They’re self-sufficient; they refuse both Medicare and Social Security monies from the state. And though the community has suffered its own internal violence from time to time, they have inflicted none on anyone around them.
Without doubt, to see such a peaceful people brutally attacked would surely leave any decent human being appalled.

But it was not the violence suffered by the Amish community last week that surprised people. Our newspapers are full of brutal and barbarian violence day after day after day — both national and personal.

No, what really stunned the country about the attack on the small Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania was that the Amish community itself simply refused to hate what had hurt them.

“Do not think evil of this man,” the Amish grandfather told his children at the mouth of one little girl’s grave.

“Do not leave this area. Stay in your home here.” the Amish delegation told the family of the murderer. “We forgive this man.”

No, it was not the murders, not the violence, that shocked us; it was the forgiveness that followed it for which we were not prepared. It was the lack of recrimination, the dearth of vindictiveness that left us amazed. Baffled. Confounded.
It was the Christianity we all profess but which they practiced that left us stunned. Never had we seen such a thing.

Here they were, those whom our Christian ancestors called “heretics,” who were modeling Christianity for all the world to see. The whole lot of them. The entire community of them. Thousands of them at one time.

The real problem with the whole situation is that down deep we know that we had the chance to do the same. After the fall of the Twin Towers we had the sympathy, the concern, the support of the entire world.

You can’t help but wonder, when you see something like this, what the world would be like today if, instead of using the fall of the Twin Towers as an excuse to invade a nation, we had simply gone to every Muslim country on earth and said, “Don’t be afraid. We won’t hurt you. We know that this is coming from only a fringe of society, and we ask your help in saving others from this same kind of violence.”

“Too idealistic,” you say. Maybe. But since we didn’t try, we’ll never know, will we?
Instead, we have sparked fear of violence in the rest of the world ourselves. So much so, that they are now making nuclear bombs to save themselves. From whom? From us, of course.

The record is clear. Instead of exercising more vigilance at our borders, listening to our allies and becoming more of what we say we are, we are becoming who they said we are.

For the 3,000 dead in the fall of the Twin Towers at the hands of 19 religious fanatics, we have more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers now killed in military action, more than 20,600 wounded, more than 10,000 permanently disabled. We have thousands of widows and orphans, a constitution at risk, a president that asked for and a Congress that just voted to allow torture, and a national infrastructure in jeopardy for want of future funding.

And nobody’s even sure how many thousand innocent Iraqis are dead now, too.
Indeed, we have done exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do. We have proven that we are the oppressors, the exploiters, the demons they now fear we are. And — read the international press — few people are saying otherwise around the world.

From where I stand, it seems to me that we ourselves are no longer so sure just exactly what kind of people we have now apparently become.

Interestingly enough, we do know what kind of people the Amish are — and, like the early Romans, we, too, are astounded at it. “Christian” they call it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Welcome to Communicating with Online technologies

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to my blog which will explore some of my first steps into the Connected Learning Community.

Up until now I have been postng my musings on online journals but with some prodding from Sean FitzGerald and the brave example of Anne Paterson I have decided to "go public".