Pearltrees – What is it and do I know about it?

I have stumbled across pearltrees I think via the fabulous Coach Carole and it looks really interesting. I am currently trying to work out how it works and why I would want to be a part of it. I can see it introduces you to other networks and then you can access their “pearls” or web pages so I guess it is another curation tool. Still working out how to save the “pearls”. Anyone out there a dedicated pearltrees user who can help?


Ementor Doings

Getting ready for my part of the eMentor Showcase at Converge on 24th and 25th November. The organisations assigned to me have been rattling along very well. Have visited Japara once, Rowville and OELP twice and Mulgrave once. Sadly, Mulgrave have had to withdraw from the project because of pressing commitments. Sue at OELP has been a revelation. Her technology skills are excellent and once we established that it was a wiki she wanted to set up, I only had to do a quick demo and she was off and away. She has mastered creating text and headings, hylperlinks, creating new pages, inserting anchors, uploading images and files and is looking at embedding mulitmedia for her low level literacy students.

Ros at Japara also has her wiki up and going. She also only needed one visit from me to work out what she was doing, her goals for the project and how to lay out the pages of the wiki and she completed the rest herself. She has mastered all the techniques mentioned above as well.

Everyone has now set up a blog and have made entries. This was new to all of them so they have had to learn about blogging along the way as well as about wikis, Blackboard Collaborate online classroom and Doodle, an online scheduler. Some participants are interested in exploring Jing so that will probably be our next demo in the online classroom.

Rowville had a seond visit yesterday to look at wiki layout and to see a demonstration of the online classroom as they have been unable to participate in the regional online sessions until now. Lisa and Kerry are going to be just fine and they have the backup of a Coonara wiki expert (trained by Yours Truly ūüėČ ) who can help out with some quick advice if I am unavailable.

Our fortnightly online sessions are progressing well and our last one for the year is coming up. My two eChamps are doing very well with their organisations and Claire, my newset recruit has been able to visit all of her eleaders now and start them off on their e-adventure. All-in-all a very satisfyling few weeks.

Wikis or Blogs – what’s the difference?

Reflecting on a question someone asked the other day – “What do you see as the difference between a wiki and a blog?” My response would generally be that I see a wiki as collaborative tool and a blog as a reflective tool.¬† I googled it and came up with someone who shares my thoughts exactly but puts it very succinctly in terms of an educator.

“A Wiki is a project based tool that allow for collaboration among students, work colleagues, or any virtual community. The impact that a Wiki has is the opportunity to learn together, plan and write projects, or draft work¬†utilizing shared applications. It can be used for the exchange of services to find experts, or fellow learners. It is also a way to plan and meet people in the virtual community.

A Blog is an example of a deep learning experience. A blog can serve as a personal diary artifact or journal, where students put their thinking in a open space for review, to give a good look, or to receive input and feedback from an instructor,¬†social media environment or class community.”

Another blog posting at begins by giving the wikipedia definition and talks about the similarities

  • they are both websites.
  • They are both user-generated (the content of blogs and wikis is created by the actual people who use the blogs or wikis.)
  • They both allow users to comment on the content.

and goes on to look at the differences eg what wikis are good for and what blogs are good for.

Adam Frey of wikispaces suggests that¬† “The simple answer is that a blog is like a journal. It’s great if you want to have an ongoing dialogue or discussion. Say, if the kids are keeping a daily diary about their homework, or about any topic.
A wiki, however, is less about new content every day, and more about evolving the same content over time.
So for example, on a wiki, you could have a student post an essay, and then another student can make some additions and corrections, and another, and another, and over time the essay improves and becomes the work of the whole class.
Blogs are about communicating, wikis are about getting work done, or working together.”

So, each has benefits. When thinking about which one to use for which purpose, think about whether you want to do some collaborating  (wiki) or reflective writing (blog).  I use both with students and for my personal and professional use and find both useful tools to add to my armory of web2.0 tools.

Learning from Mighty bell

A quick blog. I discovered a great quote that hopefully will drive me forward to keep this blog going. Seth Godin’s blog on blogging has some good advice for me about writer’s block “Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure. Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

I believe that everyone should write in public…. you need more writing.

Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.

If you know you have to write something every single day, even a paragraph, you will improve your writing. If you’re concerned with quality, of course, then not writing is not a problem, because zero is perfect and without defects. Shipping nothing is safe.

The second best thing to zero is something better than bad. So if you know you have write tomorrow, your brain will start working on something better than bad. And then you’ll inevitably redefine bad and tomorrow will be better than that. And on and on.

Write like you talk. Often. tweet. Write poorly. Every day. In public. ‚ÄĚ

I really like that – write poorly but often and your poor writing will improve. Of course it will – that’s a no-brainer for me. So from now on I am going to try to write something every day – both in here and on Twitter. Before I go to work is a good time – nice and fresh in the morning before my brain gets clogged up with the minutiae of the workplace. No more whingeing about how I don’t know what to write about, no more putting it off – just write something – and I will! In fact, I will tweet about this right now!

As if I don’t have enough to do!

The fog ghosts dancing in the sunset

A serene picture to help calm me - love the stillness of it. Picture from flickr licensed under Creative Commons

Just been inspired by Carole McCulloch to join Steve Hardagon’s Mighty Bell experience. Have just signed on which was a very simple exercise and am now waiting the one day it takes to to be approved before moving into step 2.

Am feeling pretty overwhelmed with things at the moment and not keeping up with the EpCoPMOOC very well but hopefully with my Alice Springs trip out of the way and the Brainfood Conference presentation and the presentation at the E-Standards group meeting and the first session of the EMR ementor group organised and the new eChamp interviewed and signed on, marking almost up-to-date, student field visits rolling along, online sessions for Cert III and Diploma groups organised and also the Committee of Management online fortnightly sessions organised for the CHAOS project etc etc I am almost up-to-date! However, when I see how much CMcC has on her plate and she can make time to take on the Mighty Bell challenge then who am I to complain! I must say – i do work better under pressure! Just need to be more organised so hopefully the Mighty Bell experience will assist with that!

I did manage to attend the Online session on Tuesday on Desire-to-learn and Vumi eportfolio programs. It was a really informative session. Both programs have a lot to offer and Ian’s presentation on the how and why of eportfolios was excellent. Now all it needs is for me to decide if I am going to keep on with mahara or set up a Google sites eportfolio. The amount of stuff to put up there is very daunting so I will do it in small steps – just get the site up and organised and then each day move a few more items up there. Even if I just get them scanned ans filed on my portable hard drive that will be a big step.

Well, I have ticked one thing off my list now – I have added to this blog!

Getting into week 2

I am moving quietly into week 2 of the epCoP MOOC. have not had much chance to do anything yet, but looking forward to doing it at the weekend wheni can devote some quality time to it.

Level 1 Achieved

I achieved Level 1 status - go me!


Leapfrogging week 2 into week 3!

Catching up

Seem to be already behind the eight ball! Except for managing to attend the online session on Tuesday in week 2, I did not get anything done and now we are rocketing through week 3! Was unable to attend the Tuesday online session on Mahara which was a shame as I really wanted to go to that but can catch up via the recording and picking Liz’s brains as she did attend. I had put my name down for a de-cluttering workshop which I thought was pretty-well mandatory for me lol! Time will tell if it has been beneficial but already I plan to take the first step which is to put away/throw out etc 5 items a day. I am going to do that at work and at home. Small steps into a muddled mind! In fact I might start right after I complete this blog – there is a mountain of paper on my desk which looks like it needs a home or filing under WPB!

Reading and watching suggested videos

What have I been doing:

  • Since starting this posting I have set aside a couple of hours and tackled the reading and suggested videos for week 2 as a way of trying to catch up. I enjoyed the Helen Barret video especially. Ever since I was lucky enough to hear her at the first eportfolio conference in Melbourne some years ago when I had no idea what they were about except that they sounded good, I have admired her and followed her doings. This video was a good refresher for me – she always speaks so plainly and with such basic good sense that I go away thinking anything is possible!
  • Visiting sample eportfolios – what a rich array of choices! ShanShan Deng’s visually beautiful butterfly eportfolio appealed to my senses and was¬† utterly right for an artist. I was using Firefox which would not download the media Player plugin required so I missed out on seeing some of the mulitmedia presentations. This reminded me of the importance of choosing media files that were accepted universally by all browsers.¬† I thought Sarah Stewart’s wikispaces EPF plain but very functional with information easy to see. She used different pages for each topic which is a good idea as I know that she could have put logins on selected pages thus only revealing certain pages for different purposes. She had it all open but wikispaces does give this facility to close pages which is a relatively new and useful feature for EPFs. I also thought Carole McCulloch’s Google sites was well set out and easy to navigate. I am wondering if Google sites lets you close pages – this would be a drawback if this were not possible. Something to find out from the online classroom session tomorrow night if I can make it.
Thursday 17th
This is my third attempt to get this blog posting complete so hopefully this will be the time I actually post it up!
  • I did manage to attend the last part of last night’s excellent online presentation on Google sites and I found the answer to my question about whether Google Sites lets you close pages – the answer is yes. I am intending to view the whole session again as I missed Christine Dix’s part and also to re-look at some of the fabulous suggestions that came through the chat text as well as from the two presenters.
  • I have now also listened to Radio EpCoP sessions for Levels 1 and 2 and was again reminded what a useful tool podcasting can be – especially Podomatic which is so simple to use and manage. What a great eportfolio reflection tool! Maybe I can use it here?
  • In my voyages around the learnspace also found a great resource suggested somewhere in the ePCoP MOOC about how to blog. It was called “How to format blog posts effectively” ¬†Thanks to saving it to my bookmarking tool, I found it again easily. From now on, I am going to make sure I refer to it every time I blog and blog as effectively as I can.
At this point I am starting to lean heavily towards wanting to set up a Google Sites eportfolio and have commented aboutwhy I think this on the Carole’s posting. It is mainly because it appears so user-friendly, has specific EPF templates and is customisable as I like to do my design graphics and tinker around in the html and CSS.
I think I can now successfully say I have comprehensively covered the Level 2 challenge and can now move on to the Level 3 tasks before we slip into Level 4!
Level 2 badge

Level 2 Achieved