Laine’s Prof Blog

February 24, 2007

The finish line…

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 4:13 pm

Somehow, I think I lost track of things in the second half of our course. There seemed to be a disconnect for me from the first half. Not sure why…

I did participate in a flashmeeting today, and I finally had a microphone and webcam up and running and I used them for the meeting. I find that these freeflow discussions are very useful and later on there will be a record — although I would prefer if all the websites mentioned were put into a single annotated list for us (but, then who has time to do that??). There is a mix of technology issues, pedagogical issues, exchange of resources, some modelling, etc. and with the right attitude, it works fine. I used to think it would be more structured, but I get the idea now. Open for anyone to speak, comment, initiate, etc.

I visited the vlogging sites – instructions on how to do it; samples from the field, etc. and I see that it is a quick way to get video up on the web and into one’s blog. I have ordered a videocamera for our department and so I hope next year we can move into that. This year I just began having students (who are teachers in my case) try online journals, discussions, and blogs. Very new for them – they are used to hard copy handouts, papers, etc.

As I just turned in my grant proposal yesterday and our EVOnline course ended today, the timing was really off this year. Too bad. I would have wanted to put more into it. I think others drifted off completely — I tried to keep my attention on it a bit despite my schedule.

As in the past, the learning often gels later and one only knows what has transpired months later. So, I’ll just let it settle and see how owp tools and solutions impact my life.

Thank you to Bee, Patricia, Graham, Scott and Nick for your energetic leadership, your constant caring, and your tech sense.

Signing off for this session ,


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February 17, 2007

Responding to recent comments + a bit of Week 5 hw

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 1:46 pm

First, after much rummaging around in box after box, I finally re-located my webcam, mike and phones, so I am now ready to participate; however, this week’s events are at 3 a.m. and with my grant writing situation, I cannot be up at that time. I await Week Six to join everyone live for the final OWP Round Table. See the time/date stamp – that’s proof!

Several people have asked/commented about my methods class. It is for pre-service secondary language (not ESL) teachers. I am running it as a tutorial because there are only two students. We meet f2f once a month. In between, we have Blackboard as our course platform. In addition, they each have a WordPress blog that I read and comment on and I am trying to get them to read and comment on each others’ but I have not noticed that happening yet. One is going to be a Spanish teacher; the other, Chinese (Mandarin). For the course, in addition to traditional assignments to observe language classes and analyze them, read chapters of text, etc. , they also have to visit the Textbook Companion Website and view videos, comment on them; visit weblinks and comment on them, and generally use the site to complement the text. They also are each required to initiate and then facilitate an online discussion, in Blackboard, on a controversial topic in language teaching. At our next f2f meeting, they will be presenting a lesson plan that incorporates the theory and practice they have been studying and we will give them feedback. That’s the gist of the methods course. In June I will be doing another one, focused on Elementary Language, FLES.
Thanks for being interested in my teaching!

Actually, this week, I was working so hard on the grant proposal, I did nothing and forgot it was week 5! I just looked at our Week 5 wiki page for the first time today – actually, I have been reading the Yahoo messages and the blogs, so I am not completely out of touch. In seeing Week 5 activities, I note that I am already familiar with some of them.

Chinswing, for example, I think is a great way to have a conversation that can be easily reviewed, replayed, etc. individually or in a group in class. I think the potential for language students is amazing! More advanced students could create a script from it or design questions for it for the others to work from, etc. I visited an EFL discussion there and watched each day as it unfolded. It is in my blogroll, in fact!

Audacity, I have used to record a live presentation. The most helpful to me was a video that was recommended last year (GS – you recall it?) that explains and demonstrates exactly how to use Audacity. I think if you could post that video, it would help people (maybe it is there and I missed it!); that is how I learned it. I will try and use it to record our Week 6 round table next week and see how I fare!

Vblogging is totally new, so I will try and get to look at that over this three-day weekend (although that darn grant is still not done!)


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February 14, 2007

All meeting/No flash!

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 2:23 am

I remember last year having such a good time with my webcam, headphones, mike, and laptop. Somehow, with my house being renovated, I can no longer find my equipment and had all kinds of audio issues. Therefore, I was reduced to texting at our Flashmeeting.  Here I am  last year happily engaged with my EVOnline friends. I am working on the hardware problems and hope to be up and running soon.

Tonight I finally finished the narrative for my grant proposal, still have to do the budget, so once that is off my plate, I can turn to my outlet.  I read everyone’s postings as I see from flock very easily what is new, so I keep up with you all.  Not much from me today, but I wanted to thank the organizers of Flashmeeting and let you know I think it is a terrific platform (is that the word to use) once you catch on and have your act together.  As for the content of the session, as I don’t have language students, i had to use my imagination. So I actually am thinking of an exciting project involving Mandarin.  The districts in my area are beginning to jump in and offer it — in Kindergarten!  My student is going to be the teacher and she is in my methods course this semester.  I have been talking with her about getting something going with children in China through technological tools like those we have been studying.  It’s all quite vague at the moment, but GS said he can put me in touch with some folks in China that I may be able to network with for this possible project. 


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February 10, 2007

pod-efl revisited

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 12:32 pm

OK. I am now a member of GS pod-efl wiki and found our last year’s archives, suddenly remembering that terrible day when someone trashed our moodle. I had completely forgotten about that! As we are moving over to that space, I added it to my blogroll under the OWP Course links. I wanted to add a space badge, not just a text link, but, again, I think I need to switch to widgets for that, and I don’t have time re-create my blogroll completely.


Is there a quick way to reconstruct all the links and categories once you decide to use widgets? Maybe for my next blog, next year – or whatever technology we are using next year!

I added myself to participants, added an idea for podcasting, and I think I already have a podcatching software, which is itunes. I already have audacity and used it last year. Maybe my goal will be to pick up where I left off and use audacity to create a podcast, catch it with itunes and plop in into Laine’s Wave. Am I getting the idea? Am I getting the lingo?


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February 9, 2007

Laine’s Podcast/Laine’s Wave

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 11:14 pm

My podomatic site:

Click to listen to my 1st podcast (Jan 2006)

This was my podcast from last year.

I await confirmation that I am a member of the pod efl wikispace so I can comment on the uses of podcasting and do other tasks.

Got behind this week again, but at least i (like Karen G) took the podcasting last year, so I am not a total novice at it.

although if you go to my podcast, you will see i did not advance too much either!

I also set up Odeo but I like the interface better for podomatic; it seems more intuitive. However, it was also the first one I tried, and another principle of learning is that the one you first learn on will very likely seem better (then again there is the practice effect, the learning curve, the absolute difficulty level, and a ton of other factors — so who’s to know?)

Regarding Gigadial, I was already a gigadial member but never set up my station, so I did today and it is called Laine’s Wave. I added a link to it to my Blogroll Portfolio for this course. I am not sure yet what to put there. I added a EFL podcast. I wanted to add my own podcast, but couldn’t figure out how to do that.

I also wanted to add a button to my blogroll but since I don’t use widgets, I am not sure I can do that.
Check out my GigaDial staton!!


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February 4, 2007


Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 9:10 pm

My scatter-shot approach, dictated by the fact that I am running into a grant submission deadline, has led me to take the last hour to click on every single link for Week 3, grab a quick visual/audio/video of it and move on. If something did not instantly pull me in, or if I could see quickly that it was already familiar material from some other context, then off I went to the next click-able link. I did not even see these as questions, but clicks!

Now that I have made the rounds of the material, albeit briefly, I do have some comments on Week 3 themes.

I would like to return to one of my old favorites, Edward Hall, who first introduced us to the continuum of high and low context cultures. Note: I always point out to my students that dichotomies are rarely that but, in fact, are most often continua. I could add that as the concept of high and low context cultures is multifaceted, the two-dimensional model does not work either. In any case, I notice that in high context cultures the focus is more on the relationship than the information, while the reverse is the case for low context cultures. This comes into play in teaching and learning on the Internet because we can tap its sources for either purpose equally. I believe that in this course, the tension I have felt is that very tension. I am constantly focusing on the info, while the course is tugging at me to focus on the relationships.

I do believe that our students’ cultures influence their approach to learning and therefore will affect their approach to Internet-based learning. My research has been on the Hmong, and I mentioned that in our round table, at which indigenous cultures in Australia were being examined and their work with our guest speaker presented. If the ecologies article is correct and literacy is now more linked to all intelligences with the options available on the Internet, then high context cultures will embrace this option, counter to what some may think about them as the least likely. As I ramble here, I cannot close without returning to the title of my post. As a French speaker, I appreciated the use of this term, along with the related, bricoleur, which I had not heard before, because I associate this word with a relaxed, take it as it is and see what happens. One of our blogs has this title, I believe (I changed them to the names, so it would take too long to see which — opposite problem now!) So my encounter continues, and yet I have not really responded to the week’s questions, or have I? Not sure.

At any rate, I could not join the exchange; i don’t have language students. My teachers all want their journals/blogs private period, and I cannot share them.

Just a quick note — my son and I keep intersecting via tools on the net — I first told him about Skype when I learned it from Graham/Scott/Nick last year; he first told me about TED Talks, which I see we have just been sent to, etc. So, in fact, in my own family, I see a bit of the bricolage, as we most certainly do totally different things when online!

Back to the darn grant — or maybe my hubby has din for me! Why do we all work so hard?


Discussion with tons of hidden reading to do!!!!!

videos: Sir Ken Robinson and Fatal Beatings
Blogging:two fundamental approaches

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February 2, 2007

Doors — Opening

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 7:16 pm

Several people found my picture interesting and left comments.  This leads me to ponder several points:

Georgina has asked if she can use it — yes, by all means, — If I need to do something to make that happen, please let me know.

This request leads me to see how one of my photos could be of interest to someone else, not because of my memory of my experience, but for some other reason.  I really never thought of that.  I think of my photos as for family archive purposes ( or in the case of my renovation, for documentation of the general contractor’s work).  I do take photos for my grant – work related, but again, for student bonding and/or documentation. In fact, I was hesitant to put any of my photos up (I have thousands on my computer) because of my privacy.  I carefully chose ones that were not of my family, my house, etc.

Georgina has mentioned her use would be as a visual for her students — a metaphor.  That triggered in my memory something I did years ago with my ESL students.  It was not online, but we did publish it.  It was called “At My Door.”  Each student wrote an essay about a major change in their lives – a new beginning of some kind.  Several chose coming to the US, but they also wrote about other changes and new directions in their lives.  For each student, I asked them to choose a door on our campus – inside, outside, any place there was a door.  I asked them to stand at their door — also any pose or angle – they could hold the knob or just stand in front or any idea they had as long as both the person and the door were in the photo.  Then we published the book, with each person’s photo and then their essay.  It was quite a project, and I had completely forgotten about it until Georgina’s request.

Once again, I am fooled and intriqued about this process we are going through in this class.  I find it unsettling, but also inspiring — an unusual duality.


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January 31, 2007

The view outside this summer

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 10:32 pm

The view outside this summer

Originally uploaded by lainemarsh.

I blogged this from flik’r.

Somehow there seems to be a photostream icon.

I did a lot of musing over the summer    from this little basement sublet we lived in while our house was being renovated. And that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Musings before attacking week 3 tasks…

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 10:05 pm

I just realized that when I quoted myself in the last post, I was talking about a closed group not open web. The class was really resisitant to blogging on the web per se, but they really responded to this contained journal inside their online course platform. So, in a way, on a certain level, for them it was a step toward owp because instead of just their professor, they were addressing all of us and inviting comments.


I did a lot of musing over the summer from this little basement sublet we lived in while our house was being renovated. And that’s a whole ‘nother story


Another idea I had was that when we began this blog, I was doing it all as simply an assignment to “gain approval” and learn stuff. I really did not care about anyone else’s blog and didn’t want to read them or comment on them. I didn’t really care about my own blog either very much. I was focused on learning the tools, not reflecting on them. However, I have noticed some changes in my perspective lately. Firstly, as I did read other blogs, I noticed many similar points being made, (example 43 places error when trying to flip it to the blog) which made me feel validated. I also noticed very polite but clearly contrasting viewpoints expressed that forced me to re-think what I had posted (example was accountability – is it more or less this way). These experiences made me reconsider reading other blogs and made me appreciative of others’ reading mine and commenting. Eventually, I began to comment also and even on occasion provide insight or assistance ( how to rename our blogs for ease of identification).

Next, although I had planned that this course would help me as I introduced blogging to my students for the first time this semester, I was not prepared for the extent and significance of the connections my work with my students would have with the course itself. Just tonight in my methods class we had a discussion about privacy and security and how parents (these are k-12 language teacher (not EFL/ESL)) might object if we had their children blogging online to Chinese students in China to practice their Chinese, for example. I mentioned some of the points that have been raised in our class, some of the issues, the solutions, recommendations, caveats, etc. Finally, they seemed so interested that I agreed to give them the link to this blog, so they could read about what we are doing in the class. Now, how many connections is that?

I forget now who, but someone posted the tension between having a central place and each of us blogging and having to read each others’ to make sense of it all. I also feel this tension because I am so used to a center. I did like the moodle Graham and Scott gave us last year and it made me feel more secure. I admit that. I could always just go back to the moodle for comfort. I have now gotten into the rhythm of looking in my flock sidebar to see who has a new post. It is easy to follow that way — you can’t really miss anything; it’s just like unread mail, really. As in most courses, there appear to be a few who did not take off.. but others seem to keep chugging along, posting as they go. I think I am becoming one of those.

We’ll see what happens next.


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Second Week Discussion Questions

Filed under: Openwebpublishing Class — by Laine Marshall @ 1:57 am

Q: What are the differences you see between traditional learning systems (LMS) and open participatory environments?

R: non-finite – open-ended – sprawling /less accountability/focus on relating more than informing/

Q: How do you think can you effectively promote open participatory skills in your teaching?

R: I have just had an amazing experience that totally caught me by surprise. I must have promoted OP skills somehow because here is what I got. I am going to quote from an email that I sent to the group seminar instructors who teach in my program with me:

I was ecstatic when I read the Action Research Journals from tonight’s class. The APPLEs really got behind the activity of entering their topic in the journal and then commenting on each other’s topics. The comments ranged from cheering them on, to suggesting resources, to asking for assistance, to recommending ways to zero in more, to…..Only three students neglected to plop their question down – please follow through on them.You will want to make your own comments, especially for your own group, but for anyone, really. We are all collaborating together on the AR. [Action Research]”

The journal referred to here was in the context of the Blackboard Platform we are using for our grant project. I was going to have them set up WordPress blogs but then I thought better of it since we already have BB and I didn’t want to hit them with too much at once to manage!

Q: What may be the benefits and the constraints that open environments bring? How relevant are they to the task at hand?

R: Constraints are that everyone is watching and so one needs to think about that. Even now as I write this, I am processing it carefully to be appropriate for anyone.

Relevant to the task when the task benefits from collaboration, such as research topics among teachers, which is what we are doing this semester. Each teacher has a topic but they all can provide insights to each other, so having the open environment allows that. In class we meet in small groups, but on BB the whole class is there, each one has an individual journal and anyone can read it.

Q: How do you think students will react when they are introduced to these new environments?

R: It seems to depend on personality and learning style, and of course, comfort level with technology.

OOPS! I just saw the clock and it is 2am — did I get a second wind after I came home at 8:30 and had dinner? Faculty meeting tomorrow 10:30 — got to get my 8 hours if possible. Goodnight, class.


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