Friday, November 20, 2009

Storing Web links

Looking for recommendations on how to keep track of web links beyond using my favorites. Not very efficient so far at assigning labels to group web links, blogs, etc under. I seem to assign a label before I've downloaded enough links to know the major themes to my reading.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Igoogle

As you can see, my postings have become infrequent. It's been too easy to just dip into the river of information flowing through cyberspace rather than being proactive and creating blog posts. I read this blog post yesterday about changing the igoogle home page to keep one more focused on tasks and goals. http://andremalan.net/2009/11/dropping-out-is-sometimes-the-right-thing-to-do/ and I'm rethinking how I use igoogle. I've uninstalled a lot of stuff and am now trying to decide how I want to set up my igoogle page. For sure I'm going to add a timer/stopwatch to the page. Is there anything you've done with igoogle that has helped you achieve your priorities?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jane Howard quote on network

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
Jane Howard
(1935-1996)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

100 Free Ivy League Literature Courses

http://www.bachelorsdegreeonline.com/blog/2009/100-ivy-league-literature-courses-you-can-take-for-free-at-home/
Once an English major, always an English major. The great thing about studying English is that perfection doesn't make a good story. Heroes have flaws - sometimes fatal flaws. All good stories contain conflict and crisis and never knowing exactly where the story is heading and the expectation that the ending will most likely be a bit of a surprise.
I laugh when I hear young guys talking. They'll say, "She's caught my eye but I don't need any more drama in my life. So how crazy do you think she is?" They never ask "How crazy do you think I am. Do you think she's up to the drama I'm going to bring to her life?" And the real interest is what's the chemistry going to be when these two crazy, flawed people get together. Let's face it - if there's no chemistry, no craziness, no drama - well it sounds pretty boring to me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Biggest Obstacle

CCK09 challenges its participants to find out what web tools are available and to plunge in and start using them. I'm more of a reader, an observer, an introvert. So that's the goal - to experiment, to produce, to move beyond my comfort zone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Organizational Skills

Have you noticed how much more complexity is added to life with the passage of time? When it comes to tools for staying organized, well I'm just not using them. When I go into houses, I'm always curious about how people store their stuff. And when I see people with packed schedules, I can't help wondering how they stay on top of things. So how do you do it? Share a habit that really makes a difference in your productivity. How were you able to carve out the time required to take this course? Did you drop an activity to add an activity or did you become more skilled in accomplishing your responsibilities more efficiently?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blogs to Facebook to Twitter and Back

The online world moved from blogs to facebook to twitter in order to increase connections while decreasing the amount of time and energy required. Who even knew the world contained so many online marketers wanting to follow thousands of us? Call me corny but I liked it better when people were publishing their ideas. I suppose it's the difference between watching a movie and reading a million customer ratings of a movie. One great movie has the potential to change a person's whole world view in a way that a million two-sentence reviews of a movie can't.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reasons to take CCK09

I've initiated a google alert for CCK09 because it's easier to read a trickle of new blogs as opposed to the avalanche of new blogs on the first week of classes. Mike Bogle created a list of his aims and objections http://techticker.net/2009/07/07/cck09-aims-and-objectives/ which seemed like a pretty good idea to me. I'm following suit because it's an efficient way of recommending the course.

List of Aims and Objectives

1. Intellectual Honesty. Self-learning is deceptive. It becomes crystal clear quickly that dilettantes like myself are a totally different animal than full-time, committed academics. In CCK08, I picked Lisa Lane as the person to measure myself against and it was definitely humbling. As far as Computer Geek skills - well I was definitely the weakest link in that chain.

2. Personal Learning Network. I have an amazing group of facebook friends in a wide variety of fields. Not only do I receive a continual flow of interesting urls to explore but sometimes there's a question that you can't find the answer to on the web. I've found that I am now 2 degrees of separation at most from an expert in anything imaginable.

3. A Calculation of Mental Age. It's easy to know one's grown physically flabby and not so easy to turn things around. Mental flabbiness also creeps up but it's not so obvious. At the beginning CCK08 was exhausting. I still have no idea how people took the course, carried a full workload, traveled, did research/publishing, attended conferences and raised kids. I certainly stopped wondering what I was going to do when I grew up and started seeing myself more as a retiree who skipped the whole career thing.

4. Remaining Current. The course has given me a multiplicity of connections across various generational divides. At a stage where people begin to lose their social confidence, I'm broadening my interests and tastes because it's so easy to further explore whatever people are discussing.

5. In CCK08, I had a lot of firsts but there were also a lot of things I didn't get around to trying. The second time around will be an opportunity to build on what I have already learned and explore new ways of putting information out on the web.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Loose Change Jar

This post is inspired by http://paperbackjack.net/2009/05/20/the-loose-change-jar/
Jack Weaver suggests that random writing ideas should be regarded like the change that disappears from pockets into the recesses of the sofa.

I've been on the receiving end of more loose change than the average kid. My American uncle would bring up a mason jar full of pennies whenever he came to visit. Every night he dumped the change from his pocket onto a tray on his dresser - the pennies eventually were mine. I also learned very young that just about everyone in my family was prepared to part with at least a dime (usually a quarter) if I promised to get lost for awhile. And then there's the laundry. The one that washes the clothes gets the loose change left in the pockets or at least gets to dump the loose change into a jar that no one else bothers with. You'd think with all the loose change flowing my way that I would have developed a plan for it - spent in on something I really wanted. But if truth be told, I have no idea what eventually became of any of it.

The same no doubt is true of ideas - lots of input but not much output. Maybe tomorrow I'll design an idea catcher reminiscent of dream catchers. And maybe the next day, I'll start thinking about having a plan for the ideas that get caught. Perhaps I can create gossamer wings, attach them to the ideas and set them free to fly into the moonlight.

Blogs I Read

I haven't made any changes to my google reader but I have dramatically pruned the blogs I list on my blogger sidebar. It's a bit like pulling all the clothes out the closet and then deciding which to put back. I know which bloggers that influence me enough that I send off the occasional email to them. I'll be slowly putting bloggers back on my sidebar as it becomes clearer which ones have the most impact on my life.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stand Up Desk

In theory, I'm quite intrigued with the idea of having a desk where I could world standing up. This sitting while on the computer does nothing for a woman's legs. I saw a small table that would have been perfect at Camp Borden but the stores on Canadian military bases are no bargain. The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking the right solution would be to create a broader top for an old bookcase so I can have my reference books near at hand. Next on the dream list is a drafting table. Maybe I'll look around for ideas of what has the potential to be turned into a drafting table.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Twitter Song

Hope there are more social networking songs produced.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYP-wBaqQAI
It's great to have songs produced that one can identify with. I'm a bit past the love song/hurting song phase of life but I really could use some music to twitter, blog, facebook by.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Men with Codes

This started with a recommended blog post on Obama's Code written by Geore Lakoff.
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/02/george-lakoff-on-obama-code.html
I live in a world of men with codes. Whether you agree with someone's codes or not, it certainly makes relationships much clearer. Figure out the guiding code and it's the difference between wandering around lost and being given a guidebook. My father-in-law, my husband, my sons all have codes of conduct that they just don't break ever under any circumstance.
I, on the other hand, would go to the depths of hell to save any of my children. That pretty much explains why I didn't get Sarah Palin. She lives by a code. I'd have bent my code and bought my child contraceptives.

A New Kind of Science

Basically I'm saving this text so I can find it again. It appeared on my facebook page and I'm intending to read it later.

Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science | Online - Table of Contents
http://www.wolframscience.com/nksonline/toc.html
Source: www.wolframscience.com
Complete online version of Stephen Wolfram's 'A New Kind of Science' book

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Care of Your PLN

I've set some rules for myself:
1. I'm going to do the reading. If the people on pln post to facebook, I'm going to follow their links. I'm also going to check in on their blogs.
2. I'm going to give back even if it's just posting comments.
3. If I see potential for collaboration between various facebook friends, I'll introduce them to each other.

So how am I going to do this without it overwhelming my life? I've decided to use the nursing model of checking everyone at the beginning and end of the shift. It's not perfect but it also doesn't let anyone fall through the cracks and it frees up the bulk of the day for my life in the real world.

My Personal Learning Network

I've been working on creating a personal learning network. So far I have about 200 people but as in anything else there will be some who never post anything. At the moment, they are heavily into education and educational technology which makes a lot of sense considering the purpose of a pln. I'm trying to branch out to include more people from the arts (writers, poets, artists, etc) and more from the health science. It's not like I've ignored those areas - I have a couple of writers, a couple of poets and a screenwriter as well as people in nursing education. I'm also trying to achieve a demographic balance - various ages, various locations, various career paths, etc. A kindergarten teacher and a university professor have different bodies of expertise even though they are both educators. Someone with a lot of experience has a different perspective than someone entering a field. It's very exciting - especially for someone who has mainly lived in very small communities.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Personal Learning Environments

I'm not entirely clear on what is meant by Personal Learning Environments (PLE). Graham Attwell has put together a presentation with the basics.
http://www.pontydysgu.org/2009/01/personal-learning-environments-the-slidecast/
After you have the general idea, go here http://edtechpost.wikispaces.com/PLE+Diagrams
for an extensive collection of PLE diagrams.
I'm thinking I won't really understand Personal Learning Environment until I create a diagram of what works for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grandmothers on Facebook

I'm not a grandmother yet but I'm sure most of the women I went to elementary school and high school with are. With only 10% of people in my demographic group on facebook and with most women in my day changing their last name when they married, it is really difficult to connect with old classmates.
I've been getting pictures posted by moms in my hometown of their "cutest kids" competition. So far none of the cutest kids pictures have also included grandparents Well I've decided that I'm just going to have to convince the moms to get the grandmas into a "cutest grandkids" competition so the grandmothers will start social networking. Hope it works.
I can't think of a faster way of getting a major network of 50 something facebook members than providing an outlet where it's socially encouraged to haul out pics of the grandkids.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Google Notebooks

If your google notebooks are worth transferring to another site, here are the 4 places that will import them
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10146908-2.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Webware
I, on the other hand, will be leaving mine where they are. If I had been creating original work which required collaboration, it will be worth transferring.
In my case it was more like an overflow from favourites and bookmarks and google reader. It's basically a collection of links separated into categories. There's never time to go back to them because so much new information is flowing in on a daily basis. By the time I look at my facebook friends' recommendations and follow my google reader and perhaps twitter, there's no time for the old links that didn't make favourites. Even my bookmarks don't have much of a chance of being revisited.

If I switch to something similar to Google Notebook, I will start clean and with a lot more preplanning. I jumped into notebook because I didn't spend the money to buy microsoft notebook and thought I must be missing out on something. Next time I intend to know the best use for notebook and whether or not I actually will benefit from the application.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thinkers50

http://www.thinkers50.com
I wasn't into making resolutions at the beginning of the year because all the old ones had been on the list for years and were no more likely to happen this year than any other year.
Finally I found something I'd actually enjoy doing. My resolution is to work my way through the Thinkers50 list. Each week I'll google someone's name and read some interviews or articles. There are a lot of names that are household words - Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Donald Trump, Al Gore - well actually around a quarter of them are people I remember hearing on tv and reading their online articles and some of those are even on my reader feed. I'll save those people for the crazy, busy weeks.
I'm actually very interested in the number one choice CK Prahalad. It's much more exciting to read about someone whose work is a new discovery for me.
I think this resolution stands a good chance of happening because last year I spent a bit of time picking various Nobel Prize winners and reading their acceptance speeches, bios and some googled articles so I'm not committing to a radical change in behavior.
I've noticed that men tend to be big readers of biography whereas women are more into the self-help genre for self improvement. What if the guys are right? Obama reads biographies and it worked for him.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Immigrant community and those with learning differences

The best thing that ever happened to dyslexic kids was the increase in the immigrant population. Funding for suitable materials for dyslexic kids was practically non-existant. Rather than getting highly trained teachers, taking on a general learning disability or specific learning disability classroom was seen as a sacrifice one made to get back into the system after a long absence from teaching.
With immigration, there was suddenly funding freed up to get older immigrant students caught up as quickly as possible. There were enough middle school children needing interesting material in simple language to make it worthwhile to publish age appropriate learn-to-read materials.
The slower learners formed coalitions with the immigrant students. I'll tell you the words you don't understand if you help me figure out a new concept. Slower learners suddenly found themselves with high achieving, highly disciplined friends.
The government changed the rules on how to qualify for licences. Instead of having to read the questions and possibly failing to receive a licence because you misread a word - it became ok to ask for the testing questions to be provided oralling on a tape.
The status of being a teacher of second languages or a specialist in learning differences took an upswing. The teachers received more status, more respect. Teachers in the specialized classrooms were there because they had a passion for the work. They became consultants to the teachers who formerly had felt superior because they had the higher achieving classes.
Folk wisdom had predicted that lower achieving students and immigrant children would be natural enemies fighting over the same low skilled jobs. If they formed coalitions, they both increased their chances of rising higher in life. The threat was more to those students who thought they had an inherent right to be the best of the best. Suddenly they had competition from the students they had written off as being no match for themselves. And in the end, they all become more because of each other.

Unemployed Looking

I am unemployed looking - an almost empty-nester woman.
http://unemploymentality.com/2009/01/unemployed-looking-people-in-your-neighborhood/
What will be the trickle down effect of this surge in unemployment amongst the highly intelligent, high achievement professional community?
Here's some things off the top of my head:
1. The unemployed-looking will have fewer people wondering what they do all day.
2. In social situations, saying one is retired or a homemaker or an out-of-work actor won't be an automatic conversation stopper. A truse may be declared in the mommy wars as well as between grunge and suits, and other pairings that have more in common than they realize. The lines separating them will become less clear and the real conversations and problem solving opportunities may emerge.
3. The blogging world will be flooded with information about the transition from being employed to becoming more marginalized, less valued. The unemployed will be taking notes on how the high achievers set up their world to save face, to find opportunities. How will they re-define their priorities to maintain their self esteem and land on their feet. What can we learn from each other?
4. Perhaps all that freed up time, intelligence, creativity will be used to build the 21st century world that everyone is waiting for. Internet networking may lead to informal think tanks - new ideas - new possibilities - new dreams - new visions.
5. I think Obama's slogan, "Yes You Can" will become a greeting. Yes You Can have a meaningful life in whatever situation you find yourself in. Yes You Can be a person the world is waiting for.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Classroom Blogs & New Years Resolutions

I don't know the rules about classroom blogs so I won't link you to one but I just had the best time reading the New Year's Resolutions of a Grade 3 class. I don't do much talking to children these days so I had no idea what a Grade 3 could possibly think needed changing about himself.

The one thing they all seemed to know is that tv is bad for your brains. That does not bode well for baby boomers. How many baby boomers are making New Years Resolutions to turn off the tv and read more "to make my brain work better".

Another kid is going to save the world by reducing his energy consumption. Did you start any of your New Year's Resolutions with "I am going to save the world by....."?

My resolutions are more like the kid who has resolved to grow 5 inches this year. I too resolve to recreate my genetic makeup to look way less like my ancestors and way more drop dead gorgeous.

But my favourite and I do mean my favourite is the child whose "brain is forgetting everything". She is the most blessed. You won't hear her complaining about baby brain or chemo brain or brain fog or wondering if she's developing Alzheimers. If I were her, I'd sell my list of resolutions to everyone over 50 who is wondering if they have a dementia or not. You were forgetting everything in Grade 3 - this is nothing new. Turn off the tv to make your brain work better.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Relationship with the United States

Canada exists because people made a decision to not follow the bright lights, higher wages and greater opportunities south of the border. Staying was an emotional decision - a love of the soil, family ties, patriatism, emotional ties to the founding nations or maybe inertia and fear of success or the unknown.

To understand the relationship between Canada and the U.S. watch the movie "A League of their Own". The U.S. is Dottie and Canada is Dottie's Sister Kit. Dottie is the beautiful, talented older sister who everyone notices and who attracts opportunities. Kit desperately wants a life - something, anything - one small break but she can only board the train if she can convince Dottie - the one they really want.

No matter how often I watch that movie I can't figure out the beginning or the ending. Why did she call her grandsons over separately and give them different messages on how to play together. Did the younger sister grow stronger or did the older sister throw the game? Which sister made the better choice - going home or staying?

The economic downturn in the States is distressing not mainly because it will inevitably lead to a similar downturn in Canada. It's upsetting because we're sisters. It's upsetting because our whole culture is built around having this older sister that dazzles us as much as, if not more than, she dazzles the rest of the world. It's upsetting because fighting her dominance gave us strength and hope and dreams.

Peter's Courses

This semester my son is taking Business Math, Statistics, Personal Finance, Micro Economics and Management. Who are the gurus in these areas and what's happening in the e-learning. The only online course is Personal Finance. He has to drive into the city Monday thru Friday - on two of those days the commute takes longer than he's in class. The positives: small campus, small class size, most of the class are locals, he's taken other courses from the same teachers, few community distractions. Personally I would have considered all those positives negatives. The progress Peter is making is absolutely remarkable. In this case, small really is beautiful.