preparation for presentation

April 30th, 2008


Alright, sometimes it is necessary to get a little help. Thanks to Jim Groom my videopodcast now made it onto the UMW blog!

We will listen to it during the presentation…


April 29th, 2008

I decided to try things out a little before continuing working on the project.

To give a little taste, this jingle is going to be the start at all my podcasts:


I am curious if this works out. I did try to install the podcast plugin, but I am not quite sure if it will work, I might have to play around with it a little. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to post videopodcasts. Maybe I’ll end up bringing the videocasts to class and figure out the posting of those after my presentation. We will see.

Deschooling Society

March 27th, 2008

Well, this text has had quite the effect on me, it has been roaming around in my head for the past few days and I have to say, I still disagree with Illich.

I have to say I actually enjoyed going to school for the most part. Don’t consider me a nerd, as the majority, I didn’t really care too much for the homework part. Unless it was a logical problem or something that could pass as a game. 🙂

But looking back, even though I resented studying vocab in the afternoon, there usually came a point with about every subject I studied later in life where it suddenly clicked and I was glad someone had encouraged or forced me to continue.

So to me deschooling doesn’t make any sense. Another example that comes to my head is the way I was raised concerning food. Me and my sibblings had to eat whatever was served and a healthy serving of it. We had to stay on the table until we finished our plate and if time didn’t permit that we had to finish it for dinner. (Lunch is the big meal in Germany) We had to keep trying the foods every time, no matter if we had determined we didn’t like onions or mushrooms or tomatoes. My parents insisted that taste develops and changes with time and they kept telling us we might be surprised some day we like it. And they were right. But believe me, we weren’t happy campers all the time being forced to eat whatever was served. Would I raise my kids the same way? May not quite as extreme, but YES! Would I encourage them to study Spanish on top of French and English even though they think those languages are hard enough? Definately!

Also in a society that is as competetive as the one we live in, I can not imagine deschooling at all!


March 10th, 2008

I just love the title of this article. And a mindstorm was going on in my mind throughout the reading as well.I just think it is so fascinating, that 28 years ago someone was predicting the future so acurately. Teading this article reminded me of reading an old science fiction novel. I constantly compared the things he wrote about to what we have today and to what we had when I went to high school. I remember in 10th grade we had to write programs for a little roboter, unfortunately everyone in the class had more knowledge than the teacher about computers in general and  this activity which was embeded in math class and could have been a lot of fun and very beneficial turned out to be one of the dullest tasks.Especially fascinating to me is that in 1980 when most people didn’t even know about computers yet and they were extreemly expensive someone was thinking about how these computers could be used in education. People put so much research into something that many people thought dangerous or insane. And they were right. Children are fascinated by technology and computers and they get absorbed and spend hours infront of them. So wouldn’t it make complete sense to use them for educational purposes?And what is most surprising is the cultural differences he talks about. Today I was at my practicum at Hugh Mercer elementary school. This elementary school has a computer lab and ESL students spend one period a day in the lab working on their language acquisition skills through computer programs. In Germany very few elementary schools are equiped with computers especially in the quantity they had them at Hugh Mercer. Also the smart boards that are used in many American classrooms haven’t found their way into German classrooms yet. So he really has a point comparing cultures and he doesn’t even have to go as far as comparing African culture to American culture even countries that don’t seem to be that different have completely different approaches to teaching.It certainly was very fascinating to read what kind of visions they had about 30 years ago and how many of those became true.

Personal Dynamic Media

February 18th, 2008

Well, I am a little behind on blogging, because I was quite knocked out by a nasty cold, but I am back on my feet, and I’ll catch up on blogging on the old readings soon.

While reading the text on Personal Dynamic Media, my thoughts at first were, this is utopic, then I was surprised about how much of it was realized already and even brought to more perfection than they had invisioned it. But the very last bit of the reading made me think again, how unreachable the ideas are. And then I thought without those high goals or dreams we wouldn’t have what we have today. And if they were able to realize so many of their dreams already and even children were able to produce amazing programs, than it is right to dream big. And only by playing around with the media, trying to achieve the goals are we going to proceed to the next stages.

The sizes for personal computers are getting smaller and smaller, the power is getting bigger and bigger, so we are moving in exactly the direction these two authors envisioned we would. I find this amazing, it is almost as reading a science fiction novel!

Just on a side-note

January 31st, 2008

Well, I started out reading the introduction to the Engelbart text and was fascinated with all his inventions. I usually read over the words I don’t know and try to make sense out of the context, but the one word I didn’t know kept being repeated in every other sentence. So I finally decided to look it up after all. “to augment”
My favorite page to look up words is
I even consider changing my final project from podcasting in education to online dictionaries in education…
leo is amazing!!

podcasting in education

January 29th, 2008

I kinda had my mind set on podcasting before coming to todays classmeeting. That was my fist thought when I found out we would work on projects and I came across an article in the library later that week, that talked about using podcasts in the Foreign Language classroom. I think it is a brilliant idea, because students can be exposed to native speakers or are encouraged to practice their pronunciation and language skills before recording their own podcast.
I keep finding more and more information online as you can see in my and if anyone is interested in joining my project, just contact me.
I felt class discussion was quite difficult today, people either didn’t have many ideas or didn’t feel confident enough to share them. Also it seemed as if some people already had found their groups and projects and didn’t want to share. Anyway, we did get some results and I’ll just list the main ideas:
skype –> project group meeting online instead of in a classroom
youtube –> comedy video (He is looking for one or two more people to join his group…)
second life –> how to make money with it
art in multimedia and advertising –>create some thing
improv everywhere –> something like it in UMW
performance –> live performance on facebook
–> interacting with the medium and the audience
–> streaming in both directions
alice –> programming tool
e-commerce –> ebay
something with facebook?
well and podcasting as a use in the classroom as mentioned above


January 23rd, 2008

I came across an article today that talked about 7 suicides within the time period of one year in a small town in Wales. Police and families think the reason lies in a social networking site online.
“Social networking websites could be “romanticising” suicide, an MP claims after the deaths of seven young people from her area in the past year.”(BBC)
here’s the link to the BBC article.
How dangerous is the internet really?

Computer to throw at the wall

January 21st, 2008

So whenever you need to vent some frutstration and don’t want to ruin the real computer, here’s the solution, a computer-shaped stressball.

They can also be customized with your personal message or commercial, and the more you buy the cheaper they are, so if your dog develops a taste for them you might want to stock up here. I guess you’ll have to, because minimum quantity is a hundred…

As we may think

January 21st, 2008

Vannevar Bush

I started out reading and after a little I went back to check when this article was written. I found that it was published in 1945, now the text started to make much more sense. Later I noticed, that on top of each page there is a timeline, which in this case pointed at 1945… 🙂

This text made me think about how we have the need to categorize and order things. We have so much information and it is essential to file it and sort it. It also reminded me of little kids, or people in general growing up and connecting the synapsis. We build a spiderweb in our brains, make connections, build chunks in order to make sense and sort information.
Language learning for example works the same way nowadays. Foreign Languages are taught in chunks, we don’t learn single words anymore, we learn them in different contexts, so they are already put in little drawers or categories to help us store and later access them.

It is amazing how much they already knew 60 years ago and how much more was developed in the 60 years after that. It is just mind blowing what we can do with new Media today. And even 60 years ago to them it must have been just as astonishing.