Here's my 59 second You-Tube welcome to class video. It was actually a longer video and you'll notice it cuts out abruptly. Apparently I need to spend more each month to get my upstream speed more to You-tube's liking--at least that is the diagnosis of my internet provider Commspeed. They were able to improve things a bit so that I am now getting more than the measly 20 seconds I kept getting yesterday and earlier today. So for what it's worth, here is the 59 seconds. Tomorrow I will call billing and get the faster upstream.
Visuals have always been an important part of the instructional process in my ITV ECE and EDU classes. Since I am only physically present on one campus and the other campus is viewing a screen, visuals add to the experience making it more vivid and real. I also find that many of my learners are visual learners, it being their preferred mode of taking in information.
Photo sharing Web 2.0 tools can make the teaching and learning experiences in my classes even better. My first idea of how photo sharing could be used involved students creating learning materials. I created a slide show of young children’s faces showing different emotions as an example. This could be shown to children when helping them learn the words for the feelings they have. Recognizing emotions is an important social skill that enables toddlers to use words for their feelings rather than striking their classmate in the head with a toy when they are upset. My students could develop their own slide shows to provide other learning experiences for their classes such as slide shows on colors, classifying objects, foods, shapes, learning the alphabet letters, etc., etc.
Another way that students in my class could use photo sharing would be to create portfolios of different learning activities they’ve developed. In the ECE 120 class I teach for one credit, students are required to develop a learning activity as a final project. Taking photos of these and placing them on a class Ning or Wiki would give students access to the ideas after the class has ended. They could start or add to their own E-portfolios as well. I found some preschool groups in Flickr that have good ideas on how one could take such a photo. A picture is worth a thousand words!
The Rise and Glide of Skyblog
Upon viewing the social network timeline presented in Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship by Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B. Ellison, the social network “Skyblog” caught my eye. I did a Google search of its history and ran across a blog posting by Amit Chowdhry in 2006. It was entitled “Skyblog Bigger Than MySpace in France, Plans Further Europe and U.S. Expansion.” The Boyd and Ellison timeline has Skyblog launching at the end of 2002. The Chowdhry blog provides a view of its development as of the end of 2006, two years later. At that time it had over 2.85 billion page views per month. Skyblog was operated by Paris-based Orbus and was launched by a French rap radio station, Skyrock. Chowdhry sees similarities between the beginnings of MySpace, which had its start with offline clubs, bands, and party promoters, and Skyblog’s promotion by the Skyrock radio station. Skyrock launched Skyblog to provide free blogging services that allowed users to share reviews on music and network with each other. At the time of Chowdhry’s 2006 post, the Skyblog counter had 6,241,674 active accounts, 318,588,540 published articles, and 600,313,300 comments on the blog posts. It was ranked #5 in France after Google, Adobe, Free.fr, and Symantec.fr.
When looking at its market share among rival social networks in Europe, MySpace claimed 7% of Europe while Skyblog claimed 4.2%. Skyblog added free e-mail services, IM software, and mobile download services with the goal of keeping users within the site to spend more time, see more ads. It tried to compete with MySpace by letting its users do more. Skyblog attracted corporate sponsorships such as McDonalds, Nike, Coca-Cola and Neutrogena and embedded their logos in the homepage. Since these are U.S. based companies approaching a foreign social network, the assumption was that the advertising opportunities were expected to grow from $445 million to $1.1 billion in 2007. Skyblog was soon to launch websites in English, German, and Spanish in its plan to expand throughout Europe and USA.
Where is Skyblog today? Here: http://www.skyrock.com/blog/. Skyblog is now called Skyrock, the original radio station name, and you can choose English, Spanish, French, French Canadian, English Canadian or International. When I checked the counter on Oct. 11, 2009, all versions of Skyrock read 27,657,343 Blogs | 18,150,255 Profiles | 7,578 Chatters online. It appears to remain popular with music enthusiasts and has grown beyond the French base, more than quadrupling its 2006 numbers. Has it beat its competitor MySpace? I don’t think so. Skyrock no longer has USA corporate sponsor logos on its home page. The prominent advertiser is for weight loss. MySpace France, on the other hand has a place devoted to music. At the top of that page is a big ad for Chevy Trucks. Later the ad was for Best Western. On the right hand side of the page was an ad for the Michael Jackson movie, “This is It” opening soon. (All the ads were in English by the way.) The big advertising dollars tell more than a counter that is not on MySpace France—this is a very popular social network. A Google search for MySpace Europe brings up 29,000 hits whereas a Google search for Skyrock Europe brings up 1,970. MySpace was too popular for Skyblog, now Skyrock, to beat. Skyblog despite its impressive expansion beyond France’s borders remains a niche social network for blogging about music. It’s interesting that the name has gone from Skyblog to Skyrock, the original radio station name. Since MySpace has an area for Music, but much, much more, it has more to offer more people, hence it phenomenal success.
I would not consider creating an account with Skyrock and using it even though I can now do this in English. My reason would be that I have no clue what its bloggers and chatters are talking about. I’m not a listener of their music and therefore have nothing to communicate with them. People in my online and offline social networks wouldn’t be interested in joining either. My personal experiences with social network sites have been related to sharing photos and family news and sharing educational ideas. If I were to join a new social network at this point, it would have to be one that accommodated those interests, which Skyblog does not. It failed to move beyond its original music niche so did not expand to be as popular a social network as Facebook or MySpace.
Amit, Chowdhry. "Skyblog Bigger Than MySpace in France, Plans Further Europe and U.S. Expansion." P2 PULSE 2. 03 Dec 2006. Amit Chowdhry Blog, Web. 11 Oct 2009. .
Steve Hargadon, who developed the Classroom 2.0 Ning site, shared some things he’s learned about building effective social networks with his blog posting of January 28, 2009. Of the six themes he discusses, I am going to talk about the first two and relate them to my Yavapai College ITV classes that I teach.
The first theme he explores is “You don’t really know which social networking sites you create will take off or succeed.” In other words, for a social networking site to succeed, people need to decide it is worth their while to get involved and participate. If they don’t do that, you’ve created a site that is meaningless. In fact, he says it is often the case that a social network will not get a response from people. When there is a response, the participants may go off in directions the network creator hadn’t envisioned. At this point, you have to let go of the sense of authority you have and realize that this is a collaborative effort and something new is being co-created by all involved.
I’ve been thinking of how I can get my students involved in a class Ning or social bookmarking site to share Internet research findings for issues in Child Care, a class I will start teaching in a few weeks. The class only runs for five weeks and is packed with in class activities already. However, I’d like students to be able to explore topics of their own choosing and share what they find with the rest of the class. In a full semester course, this would be doable by having students do presentations spread out through the semester. In a five week class this is not possible.
How will employing social networking to share web research work for us? I can force participation in the social networking site I create for the class by making it part of the course requirements. But is this what I want to do? Will students find value in participating and collaborating in what I’ve set up or will they simply post their info and make comments to each other but never become fully engaged? Discussion boards in Blackboard can sometimes feel like that.
This leads me to consider Hargadon’s second theme: “Topic or content is maybe not as important as the act of engagement.” Hmmmm. . .more for me to ponder. Hargadon says that our job is to help the conversation take place and not define what is talked about. I guess the implications for this when I develop my class social networking spot are that I don’t need to be so concerned about what students are writing about but rather that they are engaged and participating. This is a totally different idea than the Yavapai College outcomes based learning, a behavioral approach. This is a constructivist model of learning. I think it is worth pursuing to see what happens. I like the possibilities that learning of value to the student may come out of it even if it has nothing to do with the learning outcomes of the course. Wouldn’t it be great if the students built a resource and community they could continue to participate in after the class has ended?
I’m teaching two classes this semester at Yavapai College: EDU 200, Introduction to Education and ECE/EDU 222 Introduction to the Exceptional Learner. Both classes spend time in the curriculum talking about how to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students. In that context, Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences is brought up and it remains a theme throughout the rest of the course.
In the Intro to Education class we’ve been working in groups by grade level interests to develop multiple intelligences lesson webs on assigned parts of our textbook (philosophy of education and history of education.) Starting this week, each group will teach the class using activities from the multiple intelligences webs they created.
I created the Multiple Intelligences Wiki as a resource for students in both my classes to find information on all the intelligences that will help them in their lesson planning. I envision this as a resource that can be added to by the class as they find information worth sharing. In the spring when I teach EDU 210 Cultural Diversity in Education, the Wiki will come in handy as well!
I’ve set the Wiki up with a home page listing the Multiple Intelligences along with a short You-Tube video that portrays them. Each of the intelligences has its own page with a brief description of what a learner with that intelligence will be good at and like to do. Also listed are some famous people with that intelligence and how Bloom’s taxonomy could be used with it.
There is also a page with Internet and print resources on Multiple Intelligences that can be added to as well. A lesson plan page will be an area for the students to share their lesson plans with the class and the world. My expectations for the students will be for them share their multiple intelligences web of ideas related to their grade level and topic areas. They will also share their lesson plans that use one or two of those MI activities when they teach our class their topics of the text.
I’m pleased with the start of my Wiki and I’m sure it will undergo renovations as I start implementing it for collaborative efforts by my classes. I’m excited about seeing this resource grow as my students and others find ideas to add that make it better and better.
You're invited to visit my Wiki at http://multipleintelligencesforedu.wikispaces.com/
Like this kite I caught with my digital camera floating in the sky near a Cape Elizabeth, ME lighthouse, I am stretching myself to embrace new technologies and experiences in the Read/Write world of the Internet and education. Welcome to my blog!