Online Language Learning Resources and Six/Seven Proposed US-UK Collaborative Initiatives from Prime Minister Gordon Brown
| Thursday, April 17, 2008
|Ok, time for my second post of the day; before you read it, please be aware that my blog posting may be light for a while as I go back to working on my huge book project to extend Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” book to education. Then again, I may start posting excerpts from the upcoming book since I do not yet have a publisher.
As indicated in my previous blog post, online language learning remains hot! And I mean sizzling hot! Just see the list of online language learning resources one of my research teams has compiled using our Wiki-RIKI site in Wikispaces in the past few months. Here is the linkto tons of Online Language Learning Resources: http://wiki-riki.wikispaces.com/Online+Language+Learning
There are so many resources, that they must be categorized and evaluated:
1. Free language exchange communities with instructional content (e.g., Livemocha, italki, Babbel, Soziety, Kantalk, ECpod, and many more; see above link!),
2. Free language exchange communities without instructional content (e.g., FriendsAbroad, Mixxer, Chinswing)
3. Free Self-Paced language learning web sites (e.g., Mango Languages, About.com from the NY Times, and lessons from the BBC)
4. Free Community-based Translation services (e.g., Cucumis, Mixxer again)
5. Podcast-based systems (e.g., Chinesepod, Englishpod, Spanishpod, Notes in Spanish)
6. Other resources: (e.g., Webheads)
So, it is clear that there are many ways to learn a language online. I am admittedly not an expert on learning languages online (hec, I do not even know my native language (i.e., English) that well…those of you sending me subtle (as well as not so subtle) emails of my blog post typos can attest to that). What I am interested in is emerging technologies for learning and opening up the world of learning to everyone on this little planet. I think that the above listed tools are a key part of reaching such a goal. At the Website noted above, my team has also listed potential areas for research, potential journals for publishing such research, related L2 acquisition theories that can ground such research, etc. There is a wealth of resources! Explore them!
Within just a few weeks of working in this area, the attention grew. As an example, read my previous post and all the article links and interviews within it. As another example, my team recently talked to consultants working with the Gates Foundation. These folks are searching for English language learning solutions at the community college level; in particular, online or technology-supported solutions. There is a dire need for supporting recent immigrants and others with English language deficiencies and needs. Do we recognize it at the federal level here in the U.S.? Not from what I can tell but this is not the area of my expertise. Over on the other side of the big pond they apparently do have political leadership and funding in this area (or will likely have funding, anyhow). In fact, UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wrote a piece, "Enlarging the Anglosphere," in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (April 16, 2008) which outlined areas wherein he seeks greater ties with the United States. See (same article--2 options):
Not sure why the Wall State Journal posted the same article twice but I list them both above in case one link comes down or becomes nonfunctional.
Here are the six key initiatives Prime Minister Brown outlined:
1. Fostering greater university student exchanges between the US and the UK (I just saw the bill for my son to go study in Seville, Spain in the fall and I agree with Mr. Brown that greater government support would be wonderful);
2. Greater cooperation on enterprise and fostering entrepreneurship of young people and the exchange of ideas among young business leaders;
3. Joint initiatives or consorted efforts by charities and foundations across the two nations;
4. Collaboration between the US and UK and other international partners on cancer research;
5. Cooperation on research and development related to global warming; and
6. Fostering ways for young people to do volunteer work and service in each other’s countries.
Wow. This is a highly bold plan. The prime minister hopes that these initiatives will bring the people of the UK and US together as “Winston Churchill met President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the deck of the H.M.S. Prince of Wales in 1941.” But unlike our current administration, he recognizes and values the Web 2.0 and social networking possibilities. As evidence, Brown notes that these six items “reflect today's more connected society, in which thousands of people who communicate across multimedia channels will now be able to visit, meet face to face, and gain knowledge and understanding that will benefit them, and both our countries.” Ah, online collaboration, interaction, and exchange. He gets it!
So, why I am including all this in a blog post related to online language learning? Well, after detailing these six initiatives, he adds one more with the following statement though it is NOT labeled as #7: “In the last half-century the English language has become not only the language of Shakespeare and Twain, of J.K. Rowling and Cormac McCarthy, but of science, commerce, diplomacy, the Internet and travel.”
Ok, this is getting interesting. He adds that, “So, finally, I propose that together Britain and America strive to make the international language that happens to be our own far more freely available across the world. I am today asking the British Council to develop a new initiative with private-sector and NGO partners in America, to offer anyone in any part of the world help to learn English.”
That is a somewhat stunning way to end his Wall Street article. He situates his opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal right in the heart of the online language learning movement. In addition, he used the word “free,” and, in effect, could be perceived as pushing his agenda into the open educational resource (OER) movement. In his words, the learning of English should be “freely available across the world.” I guess he just needs to visit sites like Livemocha, Englishpod, Mixxer, and FriendsAbroad and witness the millions of people learning English and hundreds of other languages online today. And then he might stop over at MERLOT, Connexions, Careo, and Jorum and explore the free online resources that are now available for any discipline or content area. Perhaps he already has been there. Perhaps he is learning one of them now.
If interested, Mr. Brown also appeared on Good Morning America as part of a three day tour of the U.S. Some of this is covered by an article, “Special relationship will grow stronger, says Brown,” published yesterday in the Guardian (a UK newspaper). See:
Now some will immediately say that this is Western imperialism all over again. That is certainly a point of view that can be taken here. I prefer a learning-related view. We all need opportunities to learn in order to work, live, grow, and feel good about ourselves in the twenty-first century. If learning English is a key part of success and self-satisfaction in this world, then help in learning English is a step forward. If what is needed to succeed or feel personally empowered is learning to speak Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Spanish, or Canadian (eh?), then that is possible too and we should push for new initiatives there.
Let’s not immediately highlight the perceived negatives in what Gordon Brown stated yesterday. Knee-jerk idea squelching and negativism typically do not help in the progress of humankind. Insightful criticism along with exciting counter measures are always welcome, and, in the long run, will lead to better solutions than what will be initially proposed. But to brush aside the possibilities based on the problems of the past, does not allow for the human race to nurture and support the learning of all learners housed here at the present time. Let’s see where his ideas go first. This is just an initial call to collaborate and exchange ideas more. The tools for doing have definitely accelerated since our last president left office at the turn of this century. It is now time to take advantage of them. Which candidate do you think has the awareness and leadership skills to do so? As is apparent, I think it is highly significant news that Prime Minister Brown has proposed innovative collaborative and cooperative efforts between the US and UK and all of Europe and the rest of the world that can improve research, education, philanthropy, science, business, and technology. Web 2.0 technologies will undoubtedly be a key part of those collaborative efforts. Mr. Brown sure seems hopeful. Perhaps our next president will be too.
Ok, Bonk is moving on to politics now. Not really. It is simply an interesting topic since the Indiana primary is May 6th and this state has become a battleground for the Democratic Party. I saw Bill Clinton speak in Bloomington two weeks ago on the IU campus at Assembly Hall. I saw him speak at an e-learning conference three weeks after 911 at the LA Convention Center. Once again, he gave a marvelous talk to an audience of perhaps 7,000 people, despite showing up 2-3 hours late. He is not the only one showing up here. My son, Alex, saw Barack Obama in downtown Bloomington last Friday coming out of our best pub—Nick’s English Hut. Ok, I wonder to myself, Obama at an English pub? Surely, he and Brown would have an immediate place they could meet to discuss world politics right here in little ol’ Bloomy. If not here in Bloomington, then I know a few places in London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Coventry, and Leicester they might meet up in and have a pint or two. Now, that would be newsworthy! Clank!
Online Language Learning Follow-Up Articles and Discount Coupon for my R2D2 (100+ Online Activities) Book
|Two months ago I blogged on an article in the New York Times related to online language learning where I was quoted. Here is a reminder of it: “Learning from a native speaker, without leaving your home,” by Anne Eisenberg, February 17, 2008.
During the past two months, my blog post on online language learning (and that article) has gotten thousands of hits. In fact, it is perhaps my post popular blog post since I started blogging. Not sure. Here is the link to the that blog post:
This syndicated article reappeared in many places such as International Herald Tribune: “Language lessons could be just a click away,” http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/17/technology/novel.php
And the Deccan Herald in India, “Learning a language over a cup of mocha.”
I was then interviewed for two other follow-up stories that appeared on online language learning the following month (March):
First, I was interviewed for “The Review,” University of Delaware student paper, article called “Livemocha,” by Maddie Thomas, March 7, 2008,
If you are interested in college views on language learning, read that piece. But it is short.
Next, a writer for Edutopia (from the George Lucas Education Foundation (GLEF)) got in touch with me, “Word up: Bringing the world’s languages to your classroom.” By Laila Weir, March 11, 2008, see http://www.edutopia.org/online-language-resources
If you are interested in K-12 views on language learning, read that piece. This article is much more elaborate and includes additional online language learning resources and other information. Laila Weier, a freelance writer from Santiago, Chile, starts with the article with the paragraph: “One of the biggest challenges for foreign language teachers is to expose their students to authentic speech by native speakers. Another is to immerse them in the culture of the language they're studying when that culture may be half a world away. But in our expanding digital age, it's increasingly easy to connect live with overseas students, find related videos and audio clips, and discover examples of living language online -- all free.”
Laila is right. The resources my research team and I have compiled (see next blog post) confirm that immersion in a language can now happen online. There are many pedagogical possibilities with these online language tools and resources. In fact, this past week I tried some out in Mixxer with a tutor from Taiwan who taught me a few words for my next trip to China or Taiwan. I wrote that up in a story for my next book. In fact, I have written extensively on the topic of online language learning in the book I am writing, “The World is Open: Now, WE-ALL-LEARN with Web Technology.” It is almost an entire chapter. I also have a few language learning ideas in the book I have coming out with Dr. Ke Zhang around July 4, 2008. Here is the book:
Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (in press). Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Preorders are here:
R2D2 is more a problem solving wheel or process than a learning style method. It is a way to rethink your online teaching activities and how you are addressing diverse learner needs. You can see a visual of the R2D2 model here:
Ke Zhang and I compiled a comprehensive list of Web resources in each of the chapters. Jossey Bass gave permission to post these to the Web. The Web resources discussed in the R2D2 book can be found at (they are organized by Phase of the R2D2 model, and, in effect, by chapter of the book):
If you want to order through Jossey-Bass instead of Amazon, you can get a discount form for 20 percent off here:
There are also discount forms off my homepage:
I will close with a book endorsement I just got via email from my good friend Thiagi:
"I have a library full of books on e-learning and most of them are vague, theoretical, and lengthy. I like Curt and Ke's book because it gives me freedom and flexibility. I can open to any page and discover something that is immediately applicable to the e-learning that I am designing." (from Dr. Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan, president, Thiagi Group, and author, Design Your Own Games and Training Activities)
Thanks Thiagi! It is always a fun advenure to explore Thiagi's Website at: http://www.thiagi.com/. Lots of free stuff and ideas to be found stuff there.
Hope you find some ideas in the R2D2 book (Empowering Online Learning) for your teaching; especially language learning ones. There should be tons of ideas for K-12, higher education, and military, government, and corporate training.
Job Searching in Educational Technology and Instructional Systems Technology?: Hold Your Head Up High!
| Friday, April 04, 2008
|This is "the time of the season" for finding jobs for next year. In fact, it may be too late already. I have been chatting with people from the UK, Taiwan, and USA lately about jobs and giving them some advice. Given that this question comes up all the time, I decided to spend 30 minutes searching the Web for job-related sites related to educational technology and instructional systems technology. Below is a list of Web sites that I stumbled upon. Perhaps one of them will help you. Of course, I start with one from my own department. Here you go:
1. Indiana University, Instructional Systems Technology (IST) Department jobs listserv: http://site.educ.indiana.edu/InstructionalTechnologyJobs/tabid/5340/Default.aspx
2. The Chronicle of Higher Education (USA) (see jobs): http://chronicle.com/
3. ISTE (International Society for Training in Education): http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Career_Center
4. AECT (Associational for Educational Communication and Technology): http://www.aect.org/default.asp
5. Jobster: http://www.jobster.com/
6. EDUCAUSE job listing: http://www.educause.edu/JobOpportunities/38
7. MySpace listing (many pages): http://jobs.myspace.com/a/ms-jobs/list/q-Educational+Technology+Assistant
8. AACE (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education): http://www.aace.org/jobboard/
9. San Diego State University: http://edtec.sdsu.edu/jobs.htm
10. Academic Keys: http://education.academickeys.com/
11. Jobs PHDs: http://www.phds.org/
12. Job Hunt: http://www.job-hunt.org/computers.shtml
13. Women in technology: http://www.witi.com/ (JOBS plus local chapters, conferences, career fairs, and more); Search jobs: http://jobs.witi4hire.com/c/search.cfm?site_id=273
14. The Guardian (the UK) (I love the Guardian!!!): http://www.guardian.co.uk/
Ok, there were more job links sent my way in the comments to this blog post. Here they are:
15. eLearning Guild Job Board (must be an associate member—which is free): http://www.elearningguild.com/job_board/jobs/index.cfm?action=viewcats
16. HigherEdJobs.com: http://www.higheredjobs.com/default.cfm
a. Instructional Technology and Design: http://www.higheredjobs.com/faculty/search.cfm?JobCat=69
17. ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) Job Bank: http://www.astd.org/
18. AERA (American Educational Research Association): http://www.aera.net/
a. Job Seekers: http://www.aera.net/employment/Default.aspx?id=56
b. Job Board: http://www.jobtarget.com/home/index.cfm?site_id=557
c. All Jobs: http://www.jobtarget.com/c/search_results.cfm?site_id=557
d. Educational Technology Jobs: http://www.jobtarget.com/c/search_results.cfm?site_id=557&max=25&keywords=educational+technology
19. Times Higher Education (UK): http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/
a. Jobs: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/jobs_home.asp?navCode=84
b. Educational Technology: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/jobs_searchresults.asp
20. Inside Higher Education: https://www.insidehighered.com/employment/dashboard/?event=showhome
I just got 4 more from one of my blog readers (keep em coming!:
21. Academic Employment Network: http://www.academploy.com/
22. Top Higher Education Jobs: http://www.tedjob.com/
Instructional and Curriculum Design: http://www.tedjob.com/result.php?c=10057
23. Academic 360: http://www.academic360.com/
24. Association for Communications Technology in Higher Education: http://www.acuta.org/Dynamic/Jobs/index.cfm
Two more from Canada:
25. Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (Canada) http://www.aucc.ca/index_e.html
26. Canadian Association of University Teachers (Canada): http://www.academicwork.ca/
a. Job Seeker: http://www.academicwork.ca/en_signup_seeker1.asp
Still More to get to 30!!!:
27. Sloan-C JobLine (this one looks great): http://www.sloan-c.org/jobs/viewads.asp
28. Illinois Global Campus Career Center (job board): https://employ.global.uillinois.edu/public/UniversityOfIllinoisGlobal/default.cfm?page=jobboard
29. International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI) (note: these tend to be more corporate training types of jobs but not all): http://www.jobtarget.com/c/search_results.cfm?site_id=2637
30. Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT): http://www.salt.org/salt.asp?ss=l&pn=jobListAll
Alphabetic Summary List: I updated the above educational technology and instructional technology job links in an alphabetic list in the resources page at TrainingShare.com (http://www.trainingshare.com/; formerly, CourseShare.com):
Good luck with your job searching! Let me know if you find a bunch more that I am missing or if you there is a great site with additional job searching links. Don't give up during this process! Rejections come every day. Hec, when I got my Ph.D., I applied for 50 jobs and got 3 offers and one of those was for a temporary position. Stated another way, I got 47 rejections. If any of you approach 47 rejections, be sure to let me know and we will start a group in Facebook for those rejected more than 40 times. When I was at Wisconsin, one pub had "rejection letter night," where you could get a free drink with a copy of every rejection letter you brought with you. Let's just say I was able to buy a few rounds that night and made a lot of new friends. So my advice is that when those rejection letters get you down, be sure to hold your head up. Hold your head up high!
As I said above that it is the time of the season for finding jobs in academia. Did you know "Time of the Season" is an old Zombies song which is a group led by Rod Argent. Remember what Rod Argent and his group "Argent" said a few years later in the classic song "Hold Your Head Up":
And if it's bad
Don't let it get you down, you can take it
And if it hurts
Don't let them see you cry, you can take it
Hold your head up, hold your head up
Hold your head up, hold your head high
And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes on you moving
And if they shout
Don't let them change a thing what you're doing
Hold your head up, hold your head up
Hold your head up, hold your head high
Musical Note: Anyone wanting to hear the Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone from the Zombies performing at Shepherds Bush Empire in London (West End) in "Legends Live" series in early March 2008 (March 6th-8th), can now watch them! So ironic. I did not know this until I did some more surfing as I was typing this blog post. Their lyrics had just popped into my head for some reason. Now I know why they had. The Zombies performance is less than a month ago and they have not played together for decades and never both "Time of the Season" and "Hold Your Head Up", two all time classics, in any performance previously. Watch "Time of the Season" about 12:30 minutes into the recording and "Hold Your Head Up" at 22:20 minutes with a special chanting to "hold your head up" at 26:50. Oh, by the way, for music junkies, the first song you will hear is the Zombies classic, "I love you."
mms://stream2.capitalinteractive.co.uk/gold/live/zombieshi.wmv (high band width)
mms://stream2.capitalinteractive.co.uk/gold/live/zombieslo.wmv (low band width)
Then at 37:10 you get a bonus of Alan Parsons Project song, "Old and Wise" sung by Colin (the original singer of it). It is quite a stirring rendition of what has been a song playing in my head repeatedly during the past year or two. So great to see it performed live. So much beauty and truth in this song, I must insert these lyrics as well. Being old and wise will get you a job, though preferably just wise.
Old and Wise, Alan Parsons Project, From the 1982 CD, Eye in the Sky
As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows approaching me
And to those I left behind
I wanted you to know
You've always shared my deepest thoughts
You follow where I go
And oh when I'm old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they asked me if I knew you
I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine
And the sadness would be lifted from my eyes
Oh when I'm old and wise
As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows surrounding me
And to those I leave behind
I want you all to know
You've always shared my darkest hours
I'll miss you when I go
And oh, when I'm old and wise
Heavy words that tossed and blew me
Like autumn winds that will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a friend of mine
As the final curtain falls before my eyes
Oh when I'm old and wise
As far as my eyes can see
YouTube Spins of Old and Wise: A elaborate, slick, and moving (though dubbed) performance of this song can be watched in YouTube:
Someone else got creative with this pictures around this song:
Final Note: Remember the above list of links (and song lyrics) just took 30 minutes of Web searching to find. I later got help from some of you to add to the list. Thanks! You can find dozens more such sites by spending 30-60 minutes of your own time searching. Have fun trying! It is the time of the season for Web browsing! Be sure to hold your head up high when you do.
WikiMedia and Scribd Visits and Interviews and AERA papers on Wikibooks, YouTube, and Blended Learning
| Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Sorry for not updating this blog lately. It is not due to inaction--I have been traveling a fair bit. TravelinEdman was in San Fran, LA, and San Diego the second week of March for spring break. And last week I was in New York for the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. In between, I was a couple of papers for the AERA conference.
March 7th--my son, Alex and I fly to San Francisco on an early flight and we jumped in a taxi for downtown SF. Where were we going? To the WikiMedia Foundation (i.e., to see Wikipedia people)! I had written to Jimmy Wales, Founder of WikiMedia and Wikipedia, a few weeks earlier and told him of the research my team was doing. He said it looked very interesting and suggested I talk to their new director, Sue Gardner, and assistant director, Erik Moller. Erik is a friend so I quickly made some arrangements to be there. We also discussed the WikiMedia Foundation endorsing some of my research on Wikibookians and I am happy that they agreed! Data collection is ongoing at the moment.
Above is a picture from our visit. This was very special to us. Alex and I were among the first to see the new WikiMedia Foundation headquarters in the SOMA (South of Market) area of San Fran. After reading a press release (http://in.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idINIndia-29959220071011), I found out that they had recently moved from St. Petersburg, Florida to San Fran. My spring was coming up and I knew my son, Alex, would like to be in San Fran for part of it so I contacted Erik to see if an interview was possible. Unfortunately, he was headed out of town, but I got to chat with Sue Gardner as well as Mike Godwin, their General Council, about the company for my "World is Open" book. Was fascinating! Not the office space--it is like most other small technology companies. What was interesting was the history, growth, and philosophy of this company and just being there. Yes, being there--this is one of the roots of the open educational movement and I had my feet firmly planted there for an hour or two. Before we left, they gave us the book "Wikipedia: The Missing Manual." According the manual, wiki-related projects are complicated and there are many things one should know when coordinating one. The book is thick and barely fit in my luggage but I am glad it did.
March 24-28th: I wish I would have known about the difficulties of Wiki-work when designing a few wikibooks the past few years (and Wikibooks are much more difficult to coordinate than Wikipedia pages; especially when they involve students and instructors from many countries). You can read about our successes and failures as well as the twenty tensions my research team (from IU and the University of Houston) encountered in developing wikibooks (see top paper posted at http://wiki-riki.wikispaces.com/Research+Papers+and+Reports). We presented this paper at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) meeting/conference in New York city last week. This is a conference of thousands of papers and perhaps 15,000 people. What a zoo it is sometimes! But I have been going since 1987 in Washington, DC when I just 6 or 7 years old.
1. Bonk, C. J., Lee. M., Kim, N., & Lin, G. (2008, March). The tensions of transformation in cross-institutional wikibook creation, critique, and collaboration: Looking back twenty years to today. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see top paper posted at http://wiki-riki.wikispaces.com/Research+Papers+and+Reports).
It is a long paper that will likely need to be cut into two parts for later publication. In some ways, the above paper is a tribute to the work of John Seely Brown who I heard was at AERA for a panel related to technology and learning sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation (see http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.3599935/). I was presenting at the same time, so I missed it. If you were at AERA two decades ago or read Brown et al.'s work on situated cognition in 1988 or 1989, you will perhaps resonate with our AERA paper above on Wikibooks.
You can also find this quick paper I wrote on the use of YouTube videos in instruction. If you remember ideas related to anchored instruction and macrocontexts from John Bransford and his colleagues at Vanderbilt twenty years back, you might appreciate this paper on the use of YouTube to start and end classroom instruction.
2. Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see 2nd paper posted at http://wiki-riki.wikispaces.com/Research+Papers+and+Reports).
By the way, for a short time, you can also find this paper on blended learning in corporate training in five countries (Korea, China, Taiwan, USA, and the UK). Four of us on this team presented in 15 minutes. Perhaps a record! It was great to see my former students and colleagues on this one.
3. Kim, K.-J., Teng, Y.-T., Son, S., E.-J., Oh, & Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). Blended learning trends in workplace learning settings: A multi-national study. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. (see third paper posted at http://wiki-riki.wikispaces.com/Research+Papers+and+Reports).
I will need to delete paper #3 on blended learning soon since it is in review for publication in a journal. We have other papers from this project in review, in press, or published. Let me know if you want to read them. Some of my other papers and chapters on blended learning are at my Website at PublicationShare.com (see http://www.publicationshare.com/).
New York was great but a whirlwind. And I got a cold! Still cannot talk well--sore throat.
Back to March 7th: By the way, back to the start of this story...when in San Francisco, I got to interview Trip Adler, the founder of Scribd.com (see http://www.scribd.com/). This was also an exhilarating visit. Scribd is on the edge of Chinatown and was located a mere 3 blocks from my hotel room at the Sir Francis Drake. Since I had not received a reply to my email request for an interview, I popped in unannounced for this interview and was told it would be possible if I returned in 45 minutes.
So after a brief exploration of Chinatown, I got to interview Trip.
Trip developed many of the ideas for Scribd when a student at Harvard a couple of years earlier. He wanted a place to put many of the papers he had written that only his professors had previously read and graded. Cool! I like it! In effect, Scribd is like YouTube only for text or documents. They become a top 1,500 web site within their first week of launching a year back and have attacted much attention and venture capital. This is a place for all those old love letters, musical compositions, course papers, and poems you have never published or had read. If you want so share your thoughts and ideas, Scribd.com may be for you. It may be the ideal place for academics who are rejected by journal article reviewers time and again since they are not part of the click or in group. If you want to publish a series of your work, you can create your own account or group to share. And life today is about sharing! No longer just Flickr pictures, blog posts, or YouTube videos. Today we have Scribd! We can share well thought out thoughts as well as those less refined. Importantly, they have a unique viewing system called iPaper. What is iPaper?--well, it is a document format for the Web!
And what then is Scribd?
"Scribd is a free, web-based, document sharing community and self-publishing platform that enables anyone to easily publish, distribute, share, and discover documents of all kinds. E-books, presentations, essays, academic papers, newsletters, photo albums, school work, and sheet music are just a few of the different kinds of documents you can publish and share on Scribd. "
My friend, Jay Cross, has put much of his work up in Scribd--I think more than 20 documents or papers. He has created a group called the "Internet Time Group" (see http://www.scribd.com/groups/view/5620-internet-time-group). Equally important, he has blogged on the importance of Scribd..not just once, but three times!
Enjoy Scribd!!! Also enjoy my AERA papers from last week on YouTube, Wikibooks, and Blended Learning. Feedback certainly is welcome.
By the way, during these trips the past two months, I have seen 6 dear friends from graduate school days at the University of Wisconsin in the late 1980s. Two are educational psychology friends, Dr. Cecil Smith, now Professor at Northern Illinois University and Dr. Jim Middleton, now Department Chair of Curriculum and Instruction at Instruction at Arizona State University. I stayed with Jimbo at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square when at AERA in NY. I also saw my educational technology colleagues in San Fran (I minored in this at Wisconsin), including Dr. Kim Forman from San Francisco State University and Dr. Miheon Lee (now working in Korea but on sabbatical in San Francisco.
Former students, Dr. Wen Hao Chuang and Dr. Brian Beatty also joined us for dinner at a great restaurant on the Pacific Ocean side of San Fran. Brian arranged. Took Alex and I about an hour to get a taxi to stop and take us there.
I later saw Dr. Veronica Acosta from Cal State Long Beach and Dr. Tom Reynolds from National University when traveling to southern California. Tom placed the largest teacher education program in the USA on the Web a few years ago and it nearly killed him. It was great to jog with him each day when at his house near La Jolla (in San Diego) and get his perspective on e-learning. Tom has a quick and calm 3 mile drive to work each day (much of it along the beach). Am I jealous? Yes! Running the beach each day when there felt wonderful!
Tom has a beautiful house where Alex and I chilled out each day after exploring a different beach. I also got to see Veronica's gorgeous house and view up the road near Newport Beach. I miss all these friends already! As Jim said, it was the golden age at Wisconsin back then--so many huge grants, great professors, and brilliant graduate student peers. They are all great and successful people!
And it was great to spend time with Alex in California!!!!!!!! Even his friend from high school, Jennifer (now at USC), popped in for a day.