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Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue

A NEW way to teach PHRASAL VERBS so that your students understand and remember them

Started by Andromeda Jones in Teaching and Methodology Dec 31, 2018. 0 Replies

Phrasal verbs are a verb + preposition, adverb or particle. Teaching…Continue

Tags: prepositions, teach, verbs, phrasal


I don't read any blogs religiously, even my daughter's. Mostly I prefer the discussion forums I read on my nings. I like that feeling of communicating directly with the posters, and I like how the discussion expands and sometimes takes unexpected turns. I need to be reminded to read blogs. Sometimes this comes from something that is mentioned in a discussion (oh yeah, I haven't read that blog in awhile) and sometimes it comes when there seems to be nothing new going on in the nings, people are just talking about the same things over and over (this can be as much from my state of mind as from the actual content.) Then I'll think, oh yeah, I can read some blogs and check out the ones on my RSS feed (another source I need a reminder to check) or I'll browse the blogs of note in the sidebars of my nings.

But there is one blog I subscribe to through email, and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful that it's only one, that he doesn't write every day, and that I can read the entire post without leaving my tab, and decide from the 'comfort of home' if I want to go visit his site.

That blog is dy/dan. He's a high school math teacher. I ran across some geometry curriculum he had developed, and I was jealous. I admire and adore as I read through peoples posts, but only once in awhile do I get that feeling of jealousy. This person has created something that I would want to create, and I'm not sure if I could. So of course I clicked over to his blog, and his tag line was, "I'm as disappointed as you are." :D Simpatico nature, at least in that moment! (He has since changed his tag line, he changes it once in awhile.)

He starts off his post today with a graph that he has removed most identifying labels from, and then presented to his students, for them to intuit what it's all about:

Link to original graph

And he leaves the questions the students can't answer, unanswered and moves on. But he is not so cruel to his blog readers (that really would have pissed me off, as I can't even see the details of the graph he has posted). First I click on the link that says, patient with irresolution, and then I click onto a series of articles in the San Francisco Chronicle about the Golden Gate bridge. I can't help myself; it's the most interesting thing I've read in awhile.

I'd like to regularly read about 5 blogs, which is why I'm asking the question, what blogs do you read, and why?

Going down a side street, Dan has changed his blog's tag line to "Teaching Every Year Like It's My Last"... this reminds me of a book I just read, "The Girl with the Brown Crayon" by Vivian Paley, written by a kindergarten teacher about her last year in the classroom- I deduced from references in the book that she is about 65. For those whose interest is sparked by a book's pedigree, the book is published by Harvard University Press and won their annual prize for an outstanding publication about education and society.

But it is not an academic book about educational theory. It is an honest, personal book where she shows her need for her students, just as they need her. They work through a series of life questions and where we fit in the world through studying Leo Lionni books. The choice surprises her- it is predicated by the passionate love one of her students, Remy, develops for the Frederick character, and she takes us through what happened.

Here is a quote from the book that is as close as she gets to preaching educational theory:

"I too require passion in the classroom. I need the intense preoccupation of a group of children and teachers inventing new worlds as they learn to know each other's dreams. To invent is to come alive. Even more than the unexamined classroom, I resist the uninvented classroom."

I need this too. And I need my students. This is an aspect of teaching that isn't often talked about : ).

So, what blogs are you reading, and what does it make you think of?

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Great funny blog- The New York Nerd - why I want to read it is self-explanatory : )

I love the picture! I have seen a coule funny ones, I really want to see for Korea. Instead we have this flow chart.

I read a lot of political science blogs especially ones about North Korea. NK Economy Watch has a wealth of info but the author is disingenuous about how much is speculation especially when it comes to comes to speculation that supports his own views.

I also head down to Zen Kimchi for a aggregate of Expat blogs. Someday I would very much like to be a contributor to this site. This site used to have a much nicer set up but I think they are having server issues now. The accompaning podcast is handy, but it is usually at least 2 hours long and notoriously sloppy. I have been on it as a guest to talk about EPIK at one point.

I need to read more education blog more regularly. I would be helpful if I could figure out this whole RSS and aggragator type of tools. I dream of a day when I can have my LJ, EFLclassroom, web comics, news feeds, and other blogs all on the same page
:D :D Problem solved!
As I'm a blogger, I read a lot of blogs about blogging! My favourite ones are ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Chris Brogan and Blogger Tips and Tricks.

Wow Karen,

Blogs about blogging - metablogging? That's deep.....

One I always read is about language and very "astute" and academic. But Babel's Dawn always raises great questions and I go to him for questions not answers...

Justino -- I wish I did follow the Korean blogs more... but sometimes they are just too negative and cliquish. I've tried but they never really "grabbed me".
Speaking of blogging in June well will be having our 30 in 30 blog festival at LiveJournal again this year.
I remember that, Justino! I enjoyed reading your stuff. It reminds me of National Novel Writing Month, where you write a novel in a month... I started one a few years ago, lasted less than a week.

Karen, I'm going to check those sites out... I started a blog once, but again, it only lasted about 5 entries before I couldn't think of anything more to say : ). I know, surprise, cause I sure am chatty when I have someone to respond to. What I like about responding is that I go down paths I probably wouldn't have seen on my own... it's interesting, I learn something.

David, Babel's Dawn looks great- maybe it will be food for our Language Thinkers group, which really could use an infusion : ).

For the past day or two, I've been exploring Simply Box for interesting stuff. I've enjoyed a lot of what I've found there, and the idea behind the site is great, will be very user friendly, but the site is still pretty glitchy, at least it seems so to me... like how do I find other public boxes? And forget about the back button working... Maybe if I register it will all become clear : )
Hi everyone,
Tony Karrer has posted some comments re Forums Vs Social Networks at his blogsite at I also read some interesting comments by gsiemens at about some concerns he/she has with the recent emphasis on the strictly social network dimension to learning within e-learning circles. In particular, gsiemens is concerned about the article 'Chief Learning Officer' has published an article on 'Leveraging Human Networks to Accelerate Learning'. Personally I've had some doubts about some of the things I read about 'social learning' too. In the Journal of Learning Design, McWilliam ( writes a paper on 'unlearning pedagogy'. In my view I'm starting to think that yes - a twitter is good for twittering, a blog is good for blogging but I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with some of things or even rhetoric that I read regarding transforming ourselves in digital contexts. I support gsiemens call this month for New criteria for new media at this point.
Maija, have you joined a 'social learning network', contributed with your heart and with your head, and tried to learn something from the other members there? I ask because the learning value is so obvious to those of us who have invested in it.... It is like any other endeavor, you usually get what you put into it. I think you need to find a ning that speaks to you, jump in, and try it. Give of yourself, and be open to the opinions and discoveries of others. Share. Be generous and enjoy generosity in return. See if it works, see what you think of it... (maybe you have already done this... but if not....)

You know a ning you might really like? Fireside Chats... dedicated and informed professional educators discussing all aspects of pedagogy and educational theory. And, I think, an important source of personal and professional development for the members who have made it work. It was the first ning I really participated in, and I still visit when I need that kind of talk, or if I have a certain type of question, or am looking for a certain kind of valuable and sage advice. I hope you try it :)
Hi Ellen,
I've joined this 'social networking site' and two other Ning communities. Thanks so much for your comments. I've spent a lot of my life - learning in formal insitutions. I'm currently doing my fifth tertiary qualification - so I think it's fair to say that I've invested a lot of love in my own small way in that regard. Some of the people who have inspired me the most were some particular Social Constructivist theorists in Sydney. They were some of the people that were involved in generating ideas concerning the value of learning in authentic contexts - of course - they did so - at a different time - prior to the rise of the Internet communities that exist as they do today. I feel that people are best advised to be very rigorous in their approach to learning and I think the process of learning is important. Thanks also for your recommendations re 'Fireside Chats'. I will join that one too - it was very helpful that you recommended that site too - and thank-you for your time.
Hi Maija,

I don't know what a fifth tertiary certification is... which is an excellent little example of the learning that happens on a social network. First, I wouldn't have even thought to ask what that is, it isn't in my frame of reference. But because I've been exposed to you, I now know it's out there. Looked on google, still don't understand what it is, except tertiary has to do with third level? So I can start guessing, from the context... it might be equivalent to BA work, since in the US high school is called secondary, or it might be graduate (post BA work), or it might even be a PHD (wow, 5? :D). But we are on a social network, almost for sure you are going to let me know... and if you don't, if I really am still curious, I will go over and ask Ian on Fireside, who is also from Australia.

There are so many things I didn't even know I didn't know before I went on Ning. Especially in reference to the world outside of the US. Of course this happens in physical life too, but at least in breadth of awareness, it happens at a faster rate here, online.

All of these little interchanges build up, and after awhile, you are a broader person than you were before. It's a leap in growth that is very satisfying. It builds up over time. Honestly, Maija, I am not sure what you are asking or trying to measure. I looked at the links you posted superficially (I didn't dig past the link itself, just read what was there, minus the first link which didn't work for me) and I just don't understand what the fuss is about : D You write, but I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with some of things or even rhetoric that I read regarding transforming ourselves in digital contexts.
What is making you uncomfortable? What's the specific rhetoric that concerns you? Why is the rhetoric bothering you, is it having an impact on how students are taught in the public schools? Is your fear that children are being denied access and therefore their opportunities for learning are being stunted, or that access to social learning networks is, in itself, a waste of time? Or worse than a waste of time, that it is damaging the intellectual abilities of the people who participate in them?

I also don't understand what you mean when you write, I feel that people are best advised to be very rigorous in their approach to learning and I think the process of learning is important.. What do you mean by a rigorous approach to learning? What makes one approach better than another? Does it make a difference how you learn something? (I think so, but I think the importance lies more in the emotional well-being of the learner... I think learning out of fear is damaging to a soul, to our ability to feel empathy and show kindness to one another, to love and be open to life itself-- but I have not studied these repercussions, I just intuit it : ) )

Am I making sense, Maija? By the way, I didn't feel at all that you were not dedicated and had put your love and care into developing your own and others learning potential... just in this particular instance, I have wondered if, by coming to some conclusions about the value of social learning networks before giving it a full go yourself (which, even in this, is only the impression I am getting, I could be all wet) you aren't making assumptions in place of understanding. Again, I could be all wet... maybe I am not seeing clearly : ). So show me then, I need concrete specifics!

Hi Ellen,

I love digital technologies too in many ways. I think these questions that you are asking are very pertinent - essentially - what's the context? Have you seen a little video called 'The falling woman'? It's at by Professor Loire. That's what the fuss is all about.....

Sorry if I've hit a raw nerve there. Maybe we're not talking about the same thing! I think that's probably true. The first question of course is: What is a social learning community?? I have no doubt that it means different things to different people.

Okay, Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Snyder, W., 2002, 'A Guide to cultivating Communities of Practise' view knowledge as an asset. In fact, Wenger et al (2002) state 'companies need to understand precisely what knowledge will give them a competitive advantage. They need to keep this knowledge on the cutting edge, deploy it, leverage it in operations, and spread it across the organisation'. These authors assert seven principles for cultivating communities of practise: 1) design for evolution, 2) open a dialogue between the inside and outside perspectives, 3) invite different levels of participation 4) develop both public and private community spaces 5) focus on value 6) combine familiarity and excitement 7) create a rhythm for the community (Wenger et al. 2002, p. 51). I note quite a few online communities do employ the language of knowledge managment - but we don't always hear about that inherent and central concept held by people within these groups : knowledge is constructed as an asset.

Alternatively, Professor B. Khan from Bangladesh has devised a different approach within his E-learning Teaching Framework which includes eight dimensions - interestingly - including the ethical dimension. So before I jump in the deep end, Ellen, I'm thinking about the ethical dimension - and although I understand that you have the kindest heart - I am not giving my heart and soul to any small group of people who are talking about combining familiarity and excitement in the same sentence as 'leveraging the social network' on any account. I'm with Professor Khan at this point.

I'm not opposed to the idea of Aristotle's Rhetoric, Ellen - I like the dialectical nature of that type of Rhetoric in fact.

I note the way you position yourself as a knowledge barer in conversation, Ellen. It's so challenging. Some people may feel intimidated by it - and become compliant. That's why I don't like groupthink though. The nice people usually stay quiet in the cause of maintaining the peace.

People were big on holding passion in their hearts and expressing enthusiasm and on 'participation' in Germany at few points in history. Myth-making, narrative and anti-intellectualism were also high on the agenda during those periods too. So it's okay to ask questions, Ellen, before jumping in the deep end - that can go terribly wrong.

I gather that your interest lies in building hope and love amongst people and building a better world. We're in agreement on that point.

But I don't want to give the impression that I don't know what I'm talking about or that I don't love new technology as much as the next person, Ellen. I do. I'm going with the idea of clearly stating the context in conversation - and I'm thinking about the ethical dimension before jumping into anything.

Cheers, Maija.

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