August 5, 2009

That Ain’t No Chance to Ruin Deep Reflection-Or is it-the Micro-blog

Posted in W2W tagged , , , , at 4:00 PM by Lesley Ann

Trent Batson, Ph.D.,executive director of The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL,,writes lately about the importance of understanding the role of natural language coding in the W2W world. Dr. Batson makes valid points about the insights we all are missing as we try to guess the needs of the new students in higher education. He points out that this generation is continually receiving information bombardment with blogs and now, with micro-blogging and he writes that this new W2W language code can change even within one single day. To him the task is simple, we have to teach them how to write in these virtual environments. Though I can concur with most of these premises, it strikes me as very unsatisfying that the new micro-blogging fad is becoming acceptable as a real means to communicating with students. I am not suggesting there is no validity to including it for instruction itself, yet I am apprehensive at how quick we have developed ways to use it, and will that enhance any negative potential. For instance, if we all end up reflecting in a few sentences, what will happen to the deeper critical thoughts, that in the past, we loved so much to inspire in our students’ research papers and academic essays? Hence in turn, how long does it take before our students start to avoid quality forms of written messages, like the ones we find in lengthy well thought out articles and books. Professional published ponders from expert teachers, whose sole responsibility is to pass on forms of knowledge or inspire critical thinking about the content that exists in a given subject, will be lost to the lack of tolerance students will most certainly build up as they become addicted to Micro-blogging for communication . I doubt that anyone with our professional teaching gifts can inspire new knowledge in our subject areas and just capture it all within 160 characters, not the deep thinking kind, anyway. With that, I do not want to see more of our students simply avoiding the serious tasks of harvesting the facts, delineating out the truths, and building on the principles involved in genuine extended study of material. What are the implications? I really have too much anxiety to guess.


June 2, 2009

Ode to the 20th Century

Posted in me me me tagged , at 9:54 AM by Lesley Ann

I read a quick edictorial on “…the passing of the working class masculanity” that makes me feel nostalgic…about the good ole 20th century. I was thinking last night that my father and grandfather were part of this absolutely extraordinary time in human history. Even though that 100 years might seem brief in geological terms, all those human efforts and inventiveness as a whole created such a razz matazz of change in such a short time that it will stay precedence in any history before it and all of the history to come. I mean our information age is of course fascinating and unpredictable, but it is not as intense, physical, and almost brutally majestic as the changes incurred in the world during the 20th century. I am compelled to drive that point home when I get a chance to write again.

May 15, 2009

The Somewhat Blind Guiding Sense of Open Education

Posted in Open Education at 7:30 PM by Lesley Ann

I guess I do not like the word “studio” for a classroom because it takes away from the seriousness of the value in education. I have practiced experiential learning in my instruction for 20 years, so I understand the advantages that Web 2.0 brings to the dynamics of driving the learning environment. I just wonder if we are rushing away from some of the tried and true instructional pieces that might be worthwhile to hang on to and/or adapt. Our quick shifting here and there because of technology is making the past phenomenal efforts in education seem trivial, unappreciated, and almost repulsive. Yet, it occurs to me that educators today were born out of that system, in that, they actually represent the quality choices “traditional” teachers made in helping my generation form our values, learning strengths, personal productive initiatives, and abilities to grow as an enlightened driven generation. Why do I see so many of my peers bashing our past for their own personal gains?
Another point about this supposed new “collectiveness and cooperation” through Web 2.0 bothers me. Yes, bring us together on the internet and on the Web. Never the less, this also leads to a type of social isolation and loss of physical identity. Not only that, but it defines a different kind of class system making even more of a distinction between the “haves” and the “have nots”. I personally feel, as usual, the “haves” are gaining and, in their inequities of thought, they are forcing to isolate the “have nots” who are becoming a much larger class. This is historically the way innovation works. Even still, if we are advocating that technology and changes in open education are bringing us ALL together in some special way, I think we are blinding ourselves to the fact that, in general, only a small majority of the world’s population have been able to stay up with us and therein lies the lack of social contract, not the birth of it.

November 4, 2008

Salty Fall

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:25 PM by Lesley Ann

I have been through Indian Summers, Blooms in Spring, and the Dead of Winter, but this is a Salty Fall….,

September 26, 2008

Rag Cloud, discovering alittlebit of ness

Posted in me me me tagged , , , , at 4:38 AM by Lesley Ann

In this poem, I just thought about the hurricane victims that most media is ignoring
as the great debate in money rages on.

I thought about a rag cloud- its an old term naming those small clouds left over from a gigantic deluge. They, themselves, turn mad and become a hurricane. When I wrote it tonight, I started out with my environment, which helped because I could connect almost everything to a rag cloud.

For example, my sympathy for hurricane victims that media is brushing over, politics, one individual I met recently and one individual from my past, even my children, and the strange day I had with my boss….I’m pretty sure they all are in the rag cloud…yeah.

Rag Cloud

Small and sync
Low, yet high enough
To see me blink up
At it
Might run for cover
But I can’t…

Want to watch what happens
in that firmament

pretty sure
its got strength
believes its not
far behind

so it moves slow and alluring
going to find
all the vigor
to collect
and arrest the day…

gathering others
it assumes as itself
that way

until it considers
to be done
in blasts of nature

still I peer
way up there
secured by
watching its approach

…seeing it move
make out
shapes it tries in anger
to be

as it pours down on

just like
its mother


September 16, 2008

Shirky’s “Speed of response in a catastrophe…” and the LA train wreck…a preposterousness

Posted in Books tagged , , , , at 6:00 PM by Lesley Ann

“Speed of response in a catastrophe” actually did manifest in the current LA commuter train wreck. In fact, it may have been that exact instant speed of response which kept the train engineer from paying attention to the real world. In this case, Shirky is right on many ironic levels, we can start with his suggestion that social networking brings us to places where regular journalists can’t go. Mobile phones and the internet can though. Think about it, the train enthusiast teens were right there during impact or at least it sounds like for now. On top of that, they are telling their story before the traditional journalists had even a chance to investigate then break the story themselves. Mainstream journalists are, out of necessity, adopting the amateurization of this unfortunate event, for that matter, so are other authorities: fascinating irony to me.

I can find more absurd relationships of Shirky’s words and the LA Commuter train disaster…Self synchronization of latent groups, his example is Flickr….ours now can be train enthusiasts, apparently representing different ages, so far, probably both genders, and no doubt a variety of races, how big? I’d guess relatively small…yet, a latent group, not necessarily prevented in the past from collecting together to enjoy their enthusiasm, but now collecting together in such a way as to cause a catastrophe, and dually, not even using every member of the group, further hold to Shirky’s support for the power in Small World networks (Watts & Strogatz, 1998).

According to Shirky, a network becomes sparse, but efficient and robust through connectors. That was an intensely small obscure and robust connection in my opinion…over 160 people injured and 80 of those seriously, along with a number of dead members. All of these volunteers are, themselves, sub groups who are connected to the enthusiasts or have a relationship to the “train enthusiast” group either by choice or by necessity, all by being on that train.

Here is another good Shirky link to the disaster:  social tools foster loose groups that operate without management and profit. Both were defiantly absent in this case, relatively speaking both were not just absent, but much to the negative: an extreme lack of control from the transportation institution the train belonged to and certainly providing no profit, instead, so much tragic loss.

Shirky suggets a list of three possible losses to withstanding transformation towards mass amarteurization, even though he follows with the pretext that this transformation really remains too large to  predict if it’s good or bad in totality –tonight I’m making an instant “speed of response…”real world connection to the irony of the likely bad.


Loss of profession- hmmmm, won’t necessarily need an engineer who’s not paying attention, can just readjust and use the automated systems already in place in other countries and some states.

Loss of who controls the information-yes, I can see that too, at least in a literal semi inferential way, missing the red light was a definite and consequential loss of information for many people who intended for it to support them on either train. 

Loss of control over the forming of harmful groups-even though the objective was certainly not aimed at causing such a disaster, unless there is an underlying death wish by the engineer that we are not yet privy to, the group, the “Train Enthusiasts” with its obscure members, formed harmfully and NO ONE, no institution, no government, no possible managing entity, not even friend nor family could control or predict the harmful shaping of that group at that point in time.

Something to think about….and I’m not done commenting on Shirky’s ideas in “Here Comes Everybody”, this just seems a good point to stop and reflect on plain old paradox.


September 13, 2008

Just Finished

Posted in Books tagged , , , , at 11:54 PM by Lesley Ann

Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines by D. Randy Garrison and Norman D. Vaughan (2007).

The title is appealing, but its substance lacks. Almost 2/3 of the content focuses on the framework, Community of Inquiry (CoI, 2000, Garrison), which uses both the constructivist and social cognitivist perspectives to explain best practice for blended learning classrooms.

If that is what you really wanted to get out of this book, a base philosophy, perfect, it can probably make you reflexive of your own teaching beliefs especially if you are moving from a 100 percent F2F classroom to a hybrid classroom environment. If you are looking for concrete ideas and strategies there are only a few, explained in detail, BUT very basic.

I visited the Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) website,
that the book recommends, where institutes can join for free and have access to an extensive writing prompt library that takes students through a quality writing experience and a process for a calibrated peer review. An instructor can build their own writing assessments according to their context, without using the library, if they choose. I think that this site does offer quite a collection of convenient high quality writing assessment assignments.

I took a field trip through bits and pieces, most of the titles are probably not conducive to a technical college unless the instructors make their own, which might seem time consuming to some. I am going to spend time contacting a few of the community colleges that use it to hear what they have to say.

Some of the suggestions were good enough to prompt me into making a list of traits that I can use to remind instructors of best practice when I meet with them to support their elearning instruction. One of the metacognitive strategies mentioned for online discussion is to have the students look back at their own contributions and reflect on a scoring guide to judge the success of their personal participation. They can cut and paste examples from their contributions as evidence into the scoring guide. I am going to really push this as a great idea with instructors that are using threaded discussions in their online classes

MASTERY-posts indicate careful reading and critical reflection. Offers interpretations, supports opinions with evidence, comments on others’ posts, responds to comments on own post, has clear ideas, and attends to spelling and grammar.

PROFICIENT-posts indicate basic understanding of the readings, supports opinions with evidence, occasionally comments on others’ posts and consistently responds to comments made on own post. Ideas are sometimes muddy, and there are occasional spelling and grammar errors.

PARTIALLY PROFICEINT-posts indicate incomplete reading. There are little or no opinions in posts, and few comments on others’ posts nor responses to comments made to their own posts. The spelling and grammar errors are frequent.
(adapted, Garrision and Vaughan, 2007)

There is also a decent assessment rubric for an e-portfolio assignment in Appendix 11 on page 219.

September 6, 2008

lithesome tag

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:58 PM by Lesley Ann

Lithesome Tag

No one locates it deep inside
It’s just yours
They can’t find it
Even if they look
Yet, it’s pliant

Then one day some
Bee’s wondering ways
come round
Old in town
Knows where to
Shake it up

Bring you out
Find the spot that
Seems to hide
Just enough
To keep you
in your place
Your mark

There he flies
For you
Saying the words that
In the dark
With your eyes
And he doesn’t even have wings


No moon light to
Show you

Just wringing round
Hearing sounds like
uh uh

Finding peaks half way
Finding buttons
Down rays
Of sparkling dark

Lithesome tag
He realizes it
And he’s got you twirling
round and round
His life
Right now

To surreptitious
Yet, with Bee you

Even though it’s still dim
You covet him
Down there
With your lips
You have no wings either
But, delicious

He likes your
For now yet, only hours
Have knowledge
of this place

and no friends can
find any space
to save you

to some
who would not
dare to come
to this hint

you have argued before
that a tag
is for sure
an open door
and now you know

Bee, he’s not through
With you
Just building lag
For your embodiment

When he’s done
When you’ve quit
Are you sure he won’t
Come back
Steal this
Next time

its just a lithesome tag
and you wanted Bee
to find it…

August 29, 2008

Learner Centered Education Could Save the Day Professor Bauerlein

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:27 PM by Lesley Ann

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) by Mark Bauerlein

Bauerlein shakes his fingers at the Baby Boomers arguing we sent such anti establishment messages in our own counter politics that this new generation doesn’t fight establishment, it merely ignores it. He says we hampered them more by pushing for learner centered education where self esteem was placated first before skill instruction and declarative knowledge and suggests because of their new found self confidence, the “under thirties” don’t think they need us adults, or any establishment to mentor them, instead, they prefer to stick to their peers, figure it out for themselves, a type of “horizontal modeling” and us baby boomers, we brought it on ourselves.

He can scare the reader, especially, when he taunts that 30 percent of all web users are low in literacy skills. Those are the people with potential to remain useless in supporting democratic values, and justices. He declares, those 30 percent are just a drop in the bucket to the amount of young individuals that have skills, but could care less. You can see the insurmountable dilemma he has created for us…basically there is nothing we can do for this LOST “under thirties” generation; this problem is just a runaway train.

BUT, I found his argument against education offensive. Let’s take for example, his blatant dislike for learner centered education; his speak embattles me. He says there’s evidence to show it actually alienates the situation because instructor-student relationships are replaced with more peer to peer interaction. I am sure we really did pat a lot of children on the back through the 90’s, gave everyone a prize whether they won or not, and let each kid feel like they succeeded because we presented little risk and little room to fail, yet I am just not sure, Professor Baurlein, this is the gist of the philosophy behind student centered classrooms and teachers that design them. I blame these pampering techniques, instead, on middle class coddling made possible by economic success, and a need to spear head social causes so they didn’t feel guilty about their new found wealth with plenty of time on their hands. Okay, okay there are some of his points I have to concede. In fact, I actually believe his overall picture, I’m just a little defensive when everyone turns on education as a consonant culprit in society for most of its problems.

One of his most interesting points is that undergraduates in 2006 rated 30 percent higher than their 1982 counterparts on a narcissism scale. Fascinating! So our current “under thirties” love themselves. Not a new concept when it comes to youth, but the fact that they love themselves even more probably is the baby boomers’ fault. I don’t think it’s the loss of mentors, per say, that has created the whole thing. In fact, I think there are plenty of those around. I believe, again, middle class values towards money and leisure time also acted as catalyst in breeding this ego trip. The time and money to pamper themselves with affordable technology, fashion garnishment, parties, two working parents, and social entertainment that morphed quite easily to myspace, Facebook, Flickr and other free social network services. This makes it even affordable for the lower income youth. How can they not be overcome with themselves, they are famous, popular, and it is free.

I believe the Iraq War was quite an eye opener to those volunteer soldiers and the narrssasstic views they brought with them to a dusty third world. With their eyes wide open and their egos in tact, they have spurred on a massive AWOL movement, which is the worst it has been since Vietnam. Haven’t you heard it’s an all volunteer army…well yes, but I also have to guess that that learner centered education actually worked, Professor Bauerlein, they have a better grasp of history than our DOD expected and a few more reasons from anti establishment history to question the United States intent in the war  once they find their butts in the middle of it ( I have 2 serving and about to have 2 more).  A few more years of this tragedy and we may have more activists on our hands, Professor Baurlein, than we can handle!

So one of his over all emphasis is that a generation that skips the traditional self criticism found after carefully absorbing the past in literature, politics and art skips the natural self criticism for the over emphasis on self. I want to agree, I can see how his logic leads to that point and I admit it is a scary thought. I just don’t want to all the doom and gloom. I know revolutions are equivalent to many paradigm shifts happening coincidently at the same time and creating chaos and fears of instability, but what if we actually approached it through learner centered education, another words, actually teach this generation to take a good look at themselves through active engagement in their problem…in their wake of civic inaction coupled with the issues it can cause later on and let them problem solve to their own destiny. This could work, most of the millennials are still young, the oldest are only 28. Let’s try that instead of touting it’s the worst that could happen, Professor Bauerlein.

August 28, 2008

CAUTION perspective in use, narrow road ahead

Posted in Books tagged , , , at 6:11 AM by Lesley Ann

Bauerlein makes interesting points when defending his ideas about the unawareness of this new “under thirty” generation. Yet as a reader, I think it’s important to take caution that though he backs up his beliefs with statistics from reliable sources like standardized test scores and NAEP, his personal perspective flows from the ebb of a liberal arts intellectual eye and this stance maybe considered liberal, but it may also leave out the perspectives of say, science and engineering lovers, who might see the “under thirties” with a little more promise.

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