Archive for the ‘Learning things’ Category

Web 2.0 is still evolving…as it has to

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I had always been a learner who read the content I was given in classes, outlined the material to organize it, and then review it to find the main points that would be asked on tests. But somewhere along the path of being a student who tried to do what was expected, I realized there was more that interested me than what teachers were presenting as content. As the Internet became a more important information resource, I realized that I wanted to learn about new things I may not have had an interest in before, simply because they were available to me. To this day I still have problems spending hours browsing the net finding one interesting and sometimes exciting concept after another. They seem to start in one place like a blog, then rapidly branch out to other blogs that were referenced, or to other types of websites. Finding less good stuff, rather than more, is a serious problem at times!

I also remember online courses when other students in my class simply didn’t involve themselves in the assignments, so I went looking for others who did. That was when I discovered people interested in my domain of studies who were already doing it! They were much more interesting to share my ideas with and to learn of their experiences with the topics involved. That was when Web 2.0 became the most valuable part of my learning experience. It was also when I realized that I could direct my learning according to what ticked inside me – I could learn what I wanted to learn, and with so many more resources than I even knew existed.

I still do a lot of learning on my own. I read a lot of articles about a lot of different things – see my account (wayneb) for some of my interests over the years. I read a blog post from someone I respect, and formulate a response to them, or I’ll write about it in my own blog. Then I test the ideas I arrive at by reading comments from others, and by getting feedback from someone I commented to. The social learning kicks in, and I bounce the various reflections of others with my initial thoughts on a subject, and it often grows and changes, and then I put it into practice.

Web 2.0 allows me to be a content producer, it gives me the tools to find and collaborate with others who have similar interests, and it gives me tools to manage all of the various interests that I have, so they don’t overwhelm me. Of all the changes in my personal process of learning I have experienced with these new technologies, I think the most important for me has been the discovery that I could be self-directed, that I didn’t have to depend on someone else to tell me what I should learn when. I can define my personal learning goals, and then confidently go out and learn what I choose to learn. This gift that I found has become a major purpose in my “teaching”:

At the heart of my teaching philosophy is a focus on the design, development and exploration of tools, methods, and environments that support people to take control over their own learning and to successfully manage their personal processes of change.


WordCamp Dallas 2008

January 15, 2008 Leave a comment

A unique opportunity for IMD students (and others) is the WordCamp Dallas event to be held in Frisco Saturday, March 29 – Sunday, March 30, 2008. WordCamp is an informal gathering of WordPress users where they “teach, learn, eat, drink and generally have fun with one another.” There have been dozens of these events throughout the world and this is the first opportunity for the Dallas/Ft.Worth area! The cost is $20 and there will be coffee and munchies, lunch, and t-shirts to take home. The event will be held at the George A. Purefoy Municipal Center in Frisco, Texas. To register and learn more about the gathering visit the website at

Categories: Learning things

Fall 07 Class URL’s

December 15, 2007 2 comments

The greatest expectation for this class is that you will continue to be in community with each other and to try and grow your community to include others in the program. You can do much just by keeping in touch with each other, as to collaborative process generates “distributed intellect” – a term used to describe how a learning community actually shares knowledge in a way that it collectively becomes one. You will grow your own potential in this industry by collaborating with others who share your interests. It is much like the way we work in this business. Some have talents for design, some for technical stuff like programming, some focus on coding XHTML/CSS, others focus on Flash authoring. Together, you represent a team with varied interests and skills and your each share the others skills by collaborating. I hope you have already experienced this in the Fundamentals class. Enjoy your community!

The URL list is stored on the class web site at:

Categories: Learning things

Interesting places, tools, and videos

November 26, 2007 1 comment

This is a copy of an article I wrote in February 07 about mashup software applications. While the technology is a little sophisticated, you can learn how to do some powerful combining of things like RSS subscriptions and a variety of searching functions. Not for the faint of heart but important tools for you to browse and get to know.

A rich mining session in about an hour this afternoon brought some new resources you may enjoy tinkering with, and learning from.

From Stephen Downes OLDaily listserv is Pipes and Hypercard: Interactive vs Connected Media on Scott Wilsons blog, which introduced me to Yahoo Pipes!, a free online service that “lets you remix popular feed types and create data mashups using a visual editor”. Pipes is an intriguing tool that allows you to do all sorts of things with RSS subscriptions, collecting, mashing, and much more. I think everyone using aggregators and blogs will have fun with all the possibilities!

Scott Wilson also referenced xfruits and reblog, both similar products to Pipes! All of these webapps are free to use of course! I am just getting into these products and they are exciting for the potential to generate new ways of working with rss based content. Another link from Scott’s blog takes you to an article on LinuxWorld about Ten Web 2.0 APIs you can really use. You have heard of Google Maps api and Flickr api but others may be new to you.

And if that isn’t enough to get your techie heads swirling, there is a new database product that may dazzle you, another api, at It is a fee based service, but they offer a 30 day trial to learn about how you can implement it with your web pages, and they offer a free version that is intended for public access projects, which could offer some interesting development opportunities.

By the way, I am writing this post directly from Firefox with the Performancing firefox plugin (link follows) which is a neat tool that allows you to create a blog article while on a site simply by clicking an icon at the bottom of your Firefox page. When the article is complete it posts the article for you after you set up blog accounts you wish to post to and choose one. I have tried several stand-alone weblog editors and none is this simple and foolproof! Give it a try.

Categories: Learning things

Networks and connections

October 13, 2007 3 comments

From the information age to the connected age: “The Information Age is the age of the knowledge worker. The Connected Age is the age of the web worker. Knowledge workers create and manage information, massaging it into intangible knowledge goods. Web workers create and manage relationships across knowledge goods, hardware, and people”.

This is an interesting comparison of roles with a specific emphasis on validating the information age and the knowledge workers that drive it and the connected workers who manage the integral nature of mashup of all the various information and knowledge products. It affirms both the network and connected.

Does this add to the understanding of the role of the interactive media designer, or confuse it. At this point it probably depends on the level at which one is networked or connected, for perhaps in the transition occurring the designer is involved in both roles. But this is an important distinction to consider as you move toward a career that is still shaping itself.

Personal Portals

September 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Everyone in class is familiar with Netvibes as a personal portal. Some learners were having difficulty with Netvibes and certain browsers, so I promised a list of similar products for those of you interested in the concept of a portal, but not entirely well served by Netvibes.

The leading “competition” in my review would be the German “Pageflakes”. It has very similar AJAX based drag and create your page/tab section. They have an enormous supply of widgets and tools and ways of linking to your Pageflakes environment. There are some tools I had not seen in Netvibes, such as a Radio MP3 player which lets you tune in Internet radio among other things. It can play while you work of course, and there is every type of radio station on the Web that you would find anywhere. [] Another feature I like about Pageflakes is that they allow more and better page layout/skins capability.

I think the next best personal portal environment would be igoogle. It is a little stiff and the widgets are the same ol’ but of course Google does a great job at all this stuff and their products always work very well.

Two additional portals, Yahoo’s and Microsoft Live. Both are somewhat simple and plain, yet they share some basic concepts without a lot of extras. Another type of product that some may enjoy is a “desktop” application, that is capable of collecting anything live from the web. Three products stand out here with Zoho’s Desktop, Google’s Notebook, and Zude. Notebooks allow you to collect web-based items at will, and certainly could give us a personal portal collector of information and knowledge.

Categories: Learning things

Screencasting and other activities

August 28, 2007 1 comment

Sometimes a repeat article in more than one of my blogs is appropriate, so here is a duplicate of todays post in Webstuff2.

Leigh Blackall’s “What to Do” provides a group of instructional videos that engage you in some activities that will add to your PLE tool chest. I believe that as we experience new digital technologies we gain new potential as designer/developers and here you can pick and choose what is attractive and appropriate for your needs.

If you enjoy the videos and find some useful information, don’t hesitate to comment and thank Leigh for making these tutorials available. It never hurts to add a friend to our blogging network!

Categories: Learning things