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Faculty in Education


Maps, language, colonization, and so much more.

1 min read

I'm digging through Evernote and Diigo to prep for next quarter and came across this map platform again.  It mashes together Google Translate with Wikipedia to create something pretty powerful.


(So, you should just go there to click around and discover how it works yourself.  But in case you don't have time, I'll explain a bit).

You can type in a word and the platform translates that word into multiple languages and then -- the amazing part -- draws lines between countries of origin for that word and then other countries (mostly colonies) where that word is also used.  You can hear the pronunciation of many of the words.


Clicking on the map gives you brief Wikidedia description of the country and a cout of how many other countries speak that same language.

So many layers of learning here.





A Research Report Created For Screen

3 min read

We've been talking togehter about mediating writing, about shifting from complex (and to me, sometimes convoluted) referencing styles to instead using hyperlinks, to the importance of composing for screen where many people will now read textregardless of how it's created as we use digital readers or read PDFs on screen.

But I haven't seen many examples of scholarly work created for screen in its original form.

So I was surprised this morning to click through in a news article to a new research report on school desegregration, expecting to see an uploaded PDF (and while PDFs have certainly gotten more graphically attractive recently, they're still things uploaded to the web, not created for the web).

Instead, this report appears to have been composed to be read on the screen directly. Only at the very end do we find the link to download the report to a "stand alone" version like a PDF that could be downloaded to read or use elsewhere.

Features I'm seeing on the first quick read through:

  • There's a "download image" button on each graph or chart -- a dream for teachers or people blogging about this work.
  • There are hyperlinks to many of the supporting ideas, while there is also a lengthy list of footnotes with more formal citations.
  • Headings are graphically strong for navigating through the document -- color and font size seems a big improvement over the three levels of headings in APA, for example.
  • There are sidebars with links to more background information.
  • There are graphically distinct "pull outs" of key quotes and recommendations that stand out from the text.
  • There are links to share the report directly on other social media.

I still wonder about the decisions to create one long scrollling document rather than a series of sections that are linked from a home page.   Scrolling that far into a site (the PDF is 41 pages long) can mean that I lose my  bearings.

I'm wondering also about the decision to include few other images beyond the graphs.   I'm noticing also that unlike digital books on my Kindle app, clicking on the footnote in the text doesn't take me directly to the reference -- a feature I've really loved as I read heavily referenced books.

We can annotate websites now in other sites like Diigo and Evernote, and I've gotten used to using those tools that let me pretty easily go back to find things I want to reference in my own writing.

So what do you think?  What's lost and what's gained in creating scholarly pieces directly for the screen like this?

writing reading



Doing Social Media Your Way

1 min read

flickr photo shared by x-ray delta one under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license


Royan Lee is a wise teacher who encourages other educators to use social media to connect and collaborate, and in this post, he reminds us that this does not mean being formulaic or overly concerned with addressing a mass audience.  We've talked about this before in class, yet his suggestions here for finding your way into the connections that are available to us when we are networked learners are succinct and straightforward.

#4: "Just own it. Whatever you do, please own it."


Be like Frank.




media learning


Scholarly Writing

1 min read

Over the weekend, @JakeMo348 published a series of Tweets about melding the New Literacies we're thinking about this quarter with conventional scholarly writing.

Today's Inside Higher Ed newsletter asked some of the same questions and offered some examples of interactive, hyperlinked, visually rich scholarly writing as an alternative to conventional journal articles.

What might we gain -- or love -- if we shifted how we communicate about reserach and other scholarly thinking?




Silly/Useful Web Tricks

1 min read


Alan Levine (@cogdog) seems to be one of the most generous people out there in the world of digital learning. He builds sites that support all sorts of collaborations, he teaches all over the world, he's funny, and he shares so much of what he does.

This morning he tweeted a presentation he's doing today in Puerto Rico (that alone is cool, that we get to see his materials as they do).

He calls it "Silly/ Useful Web Tricks" and there are days of good exploration here.  Mostly, I see useful.  Mostly, I see that I'll be spending time exploring more of these (and some other 467 adventurers could curate specific sites he's curated here). Live earthquake tracking maps?   Transcription of audio?  Remix the gender of characters in ads to see the sexism in new light?  It's all there.

And as he is prone to do, he invites others to contribute.  The joker includes a maker challenge.  Weekly Play anyone?



Fear of Screens: An Essay on Sherry Turkle's Work

2 min read

We've seen references in a number of our readings to Sherry Turkle's book about the loss of conversation, solitude, reflection as we become more attached to "screens".

This critique of Turkle's observations came across Twitter this morning and I thought that some of you would like to either agree or take issue with parts of this.  For example:

There is another way we can handle our phones, one that doesn’t call for a misguided “mindfulness” that misperceives technology as inherently toxic: Don’t be rude to others, with or without your phone. Be mindful of people rather than screens. Focus less on your relationship to your device and more on your relationship to human beings. This includes not feeling entitled to someone’s attention just because they are geographically near, and it especially includes not putting forward your nonuse of a phone as proof of your superiority and others’ subhumanity. Reading Reclaiming Conversation,I often felt that if Turkle were more mindful of others, she wouldn’t be so quick to see them as broken.


Lots to think about here.  Anyone want to Tweet ?  Blog ?  Create Plays on the themes here?




Digital Literacies Resource Platform

1 min read


Y'all, take a look at this new Digital Literacy Resource Platform that just went live this week.  It's the joint effort of a pretty impressive collaborative of academic and community groups with a pretty solid record of great work with teachers and young people.

I am so grateful for how readily resources like this are becoming available and are freely shared.

(and yes, I learned about this via Twitter).


There is so much here that some of you could readily sub-curate sections.  Take a look.  What would you like to look at much more closely and then tell us about here?




The Different Sorts of Networks Within Which We Work and Learn

1 min read

This quote caught my eye this morning:

We have to teach ourselves how to use social media. For the first time in history, 3 billion people are connected to each other. Is this a trap or an unrealized opportunity?

This article makes good sense of the the different ways that our work teams, our communities of practice and our looser social networks all contribute to our growth and learning, but each in different and vital ways.


Pieces like this help me get past the either/or questions of "is tech good or bad" to think about when and why digital connections can be productive and constructive.

Me?  I think it's an unrealiized opportunity.




Memes As Academic Mischief

1 min read

I found this article about memes in the history classroom in Feedly today. The post is worth reading for the references to vast digital libraries of historical images alone, but I also appreciate how it ties the fun we've been having with memes to broader academic goals.


What do you think.  Should "mischief" be part of serious learning?



Screen Time, Comics, TV, and Children

1 min read

flickr photo shared by j_philipp under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license


Cathy Davidson has been writing about the cultural shifts that come with new forms of digital connection and creation (Howard Rheingold mentions her in Chapter 1) , teaching very creative courses, working on building HASTAC: the Humanities, Arts, Science and Techology Alliance and Collaboratory -- a great resource for higher ed.

It was one of those serendipitous moments when, after some conversations about children and parenting last night in class that continued digitally this morning, this new essay from Davidson came across Twitter just now.  

I appreciate that she's stepping back from the good/bad binary, that she's offering some historical perspective, and especially like that she asks us to consider very different questions than "is technology good or bad for kids?".  

(Davidson was at UWB a few years ago, meeting with faculty and she then gave a major lecture down at UWS.  

Does the comparision of comics and screens work?  Why or why not?